elderberry syrup

Elderberry Syrup: Why My Family Takes it in Lieu of a Flu Shot Every Year (and How to Make your Own).

Elderberry syrup is one of the most important tools in my home apothecary for keeping my family healthy when there are colds and flus flying around. We take it almost daily during the sickness season and completely forgo the flu shot. Let me outline a comparison between elderberry syrup and the flu shot to illustrate why we do this. At the bottom of this post is a printable recipe so that you can make your own Elderberry syrup.

Elderberry syrup:

  • is proven against 10 strains of the flu.
  • shortens the duration of both colds and flus. 
  • works with your body’s immune system to boost your natural immune response. 
  • contains vitamins A, B, and C.
  • has NO risks associated with it. 

If you are curious and would like to read the studies on elderberry where this information comes from, go here, here, and here

The flu shot:

  • is only effective against 3 or 4 flu strains. 
  • ranges from 19%-48% effectiveness depending on the year. 
  • is less effective in the people who need the protection the most, the elderly and children. 
  • carries risks, such as seizure, facial palsy, encephalomyelitis, convulsions. There are even 115 reported cases of death. 
  • contains aluminum, ethlymercury, and antibiotics. Read about these and the other undesirable ingredients in flu shots here.



If you are curious and would like to read the studies where this information about the flu comes from, go here, and here

I’m sold on Elderberry Syrup! Now what?

Okay, so you want to avoid the flu shot and take elderberry syrup instead, right? Well, you can buy it online, in your favorite health store, or even many drug stores and grocery stores. I recommend getting an organic version, of course. Natures’s Way and Gaia have good ones that can be found on Amazon. They come in 8 or 4 ounce bottles. It is also easy to make your own elderberry syrup. When you make your own elderberry syrup, you can customize the flavor a bit. Depending on what you like, you can add other immune enhancing ingredients such as ginger, clove, cinnamon, fennel, and/or cardamom. You can buy a pound of dried organic elderberries for about $20. This will last you ages, because you only use 3/4 of a cup per batch. Plus, your house will smell amazing while you area making it! 

How to make Elderberry Syrup for cold and flu prevention:

elderberry syrup

Directions:

  • Put the elderberries, water, and spices (except fennel) in a pot.
  • Bring it to a boil.
  • Turn the heat down to simmer (usually medium-low).
  • Once the mixture is reduced by half, remove from heat and let cool. Strain out the berries/spices. Be sure to squish out the berries to get all the goodness out of them. You can do this with a wooden spoon and a sieve or pour the mixture through cheesecloth so that you can use your hands to squeeze it out.
  • Once the mixture is about room temperature (or just above), you can mix in the honey. Honey has beneficial enzymes and microbes that can be killed by heat, so just be patient.
  • Transfer to a glass container that is easy to pour from. I use pretty flip-top bottle like these and put a waterproof label on it. Keep it refrigerated. This recipe makes about 2 and half cups.  

Should I add other spices? What do the other spices do?

  • Ginger: anti-inflammatory. Also good for settling upset tummies and helps the body sweat our toxins. I always add a knob of ginger, thinly sliced, to the berries before bringing to a boil. 
  • Cinnamon: antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and contains antioxidants. (Also balances blood sugar.) I usually add one cinnamon stick to the berries before bringing to a boil. 
  • Clove: antimicrobial and antiviral. Clove is a strong flavor, so I usually just add 2 or 3 cloves to the berries before boiling.
  • Fennel: boosts white blood cells, is antibacterial and anti-fungal. My kids are super sensitive to the licorice-y taste of fennel, so I do not add it to our elderberry (syrup at this time). I add fennel to my morning tea blend, so at least I get it that way. My recommendations for adding it to elderberry syrup are to put 1/2-1 teaspoon into the berry mixture just in the last few minutes of simmering.
  • Cardamom: helps clear congestion from colds, settles digestion and is antispasmodic (this is good for coughs and stomach cramps.) I love cardamom! I add cardamom seeds to my morning tea blend as well. For elderberry syrup, I add a few cardamom pods to the berries before bringing to a boil. 

Tips for adding Elderberry syrup to your home apothecary:

  • Elderberry is great for hiding things in! We put our virgin cod liver oil in ours. My kids drink it up and look forward to it!
  • The standard dose for a child is 1/2 teaspoon daily and 1/2 tablespoon for adults.
  • If you or a family member is coming down with something, bump up the dose to 3 or 4 times a day. 
  • I add echinacea tincture (go here to find out how to make your own tinctures) to the elderberry if one of us seems to be coming down with something. 
  • Don’t freak out if you miss a day or two here and there. That is actually a good thing. I subscribe to the sentiment that you really shouldn’t take anything every day. I like to take weekends off from most supplements. 

I have to take the flu shot for work. Is there anything I can do to help my body detox those dangerous ingredients?

If you are required to get a flu shot because of your line of work, you can help speed your body’s recovery and detox by eating “clean” and taking one or more of the following:

Milk Thistle: Your liver has a huge job on any given day with the onslaught of modern toxins, but after a flu shot, it can’t hurt to give it a little extra help. Milk thistle is a great liver protective that also boost the liver’s detoxifying capabilities. It can be found in capsules, tea, and tinctures

Dandelion Root: This is another great detoxifier. Read more here. It can be found in capsules, tea, and tinctures.  There is a fun coffee substitute with dandelion root called Dandy Blend

Chlorella: This amazing algae binds to metals in your body and helps escort them out. This is particularly helpful for shots with mercury or aluminum added to them. Be sure to get “broken cell wall” chlorella so that your body can actually use it. 

 

 

Elderberry Syrup
Tasty elderberry syrup for cold and flu prevention and treatment.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup dried organic elderberries
  2. filtered water
  3. optional spices: ginger, cinnamon, fennel, cloves, and/or cardamom pods or seeds
  4. one cup raw honey, organic
Instructions
  1. Put the elderberries, water, and spices (except fennel) in a pot. Bring it to a boil.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium- low to simmer.
  3. Once the mixture is reduced by half, remove from heat, let cool, and then strain out the berries/spices. Be sure to squish out the berries to get all the goodness out of them. You can do this with a wooden spoon and a sieve or pour the mixture through cheesecloth so that you can use your hands to squeeze it out.
  4. Be sure to let the liquid cool down before you touch it and before you add the honey. Honey has beneficial enzymes and microbes that can be killed by heat, so just be patient.
  5. Once the mixture is about room temperature (or just above), you can mix in the honey.
  6. Transfer to a glass container that is easy to pour from. I use pretty flip-top bottle like these and put a waterproof label on it. Keep it refrigerated. This recipe makes a bit more than 2 cups.
Notes
  1. Kids take 1/2 teaspoon a day for prevention and 1/2 teaspoon 3 times a day during a cold or flu for treatment. Adults take 1/2 tablespoon a day for prevention and 1/2 tablespoon 3 times a day during a cold or flu for treatment.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
 Have you ever used elderberry syrup? Have you tried making your own?

 

Fermented Garlic

Fermented Garlic: Your Dragon Glass for this Winter’s War

Ok. I truly hate to be the one to bring this up while we are all enjoying a beautiful summer, but…Winter Is Coming! We need a stockpile of “dragon glass” (aka fermented garlic) to win the war against colds, sinus infections, flus, bronchitis, and stomach bugs this sickness season. (If you’re not a Game Of Thrones fan, I apologize, but I just couldn’t resist.) Even though I believe a crucial part of being healthy is being present in the moment, this, of course, has to be balanced with preparation for the future, something I failed at last year because “winter” came early. 

Last winter:

Last winter was a doozy for us here in the pacific northwest, especially my little household! I can usually get through the winter with a cold or two (and rarely a GI bug), but not last winter. My littlest one started preschool and brought home every sniffle and flu. Every single one. I had meant to make this fermented garlic, but the season started off with a bang in September, and if I wasn’t sick myself, I was caring for a sick child (or two). I had my usual arsenal of homemade echinacea tincture (go here to learn how to make your own tinctures), elderberry syrup, raw cod liver oil, and kraut juice (this one was our savior), but I feel like if I had had the fermented garlic, I could have prevented more of the colds or nipped them in the bud before they took me (and my family) down.  

This summer:

Fast forward to this beautiful, sunny summer day, and I am starting my preparations for the winter to come. The first item on my list is to stockpile fermented garlic for my family and friends. With fermented garlic, you get the benefits of raw garlic multiplied without the drawbacks such as garlic breath and garlic sweat. I am sensitive to the smell of raw garlic on my breath or through my skin, but fermented garlic and cooked garlic are fine. Although cooked garlic is good for you, it doesn’t hold a candle to raw garlic, and can’t even come close to being compared with fermented garlic. As always, I would love to break down the nutrition for you in my attempt to convince you to make this for your family as well.  



Fermented Raw Garlic:

Garlic Cloves

  • Is powerfully antibacterial. It has been shown to be effective against drug resistant bacteria. 
  • Is anti-fungal, and antiviral. It can not only prevent colds and flus but also lessen the severity and duration. It has been shown to be particularly effective in inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the GI tract and lungs. This is due to the high allicin content. 
  • Is loaded with probiotics to support your microbiome
  • Lowers blood pressure and protects against heart disease
  • Balances cholesterol levels by lowering bad cholesterol
  • Contains protective antioxidants
  • Promotes healthy blood sugar levels and can even help with diabetes
  • Has anti-cancer properties
  • Reduces yeast infections such as Candida
  • Can reduce build up of plaque in the arteries
  • Removes heavy metals, such as mercury, from the body
  • Is helpful for ulcerative colitis

To make one quart of fermented garlic you will need:

  • 12-14 heads of garlic, peeled
  • 2 T sea salt
  • One quart mason jar
  • Airlock lid (optional)
  • herbs (optional) Some good and tasty antibacterial and antiviral herbs are oregano and rosemary.
  • Optional: starter culture (if you use starter culture, you will want to reduce the amount of salt.)

First, to peel the garlic, start by smashing one head with the heel of your hand. Next, place the cloves in between two bowls and shake, shake, shake!! (Metal bowls are really the only way to go here. Borrow them if you have to. You don’t want to peel this many cloves with a paring knife or even one of those rollers. ) Your garlic head should be peeled. Continue on with the rest of your garlic heads.

Second, fill your clean quart jar with your peeled garlic. Leave at least one inch of headspace. Next, pour your salt water (or dissolved culture plus salt water) over your peeled garlic. Add any herbs such as rosemary or oregano. Top with a fermentation weight. Leave out of direct sunlight for at least 3 or 4 weeks. The longer it ferments, the more powerful it gets and the milder it tastes. A win, win in my book. I prefer it to have a more mild roasted garlic flavor. You can ferment it much longer than 4 weeks if you like. 

 

Fermented Garlic
Fermented garlic to prevent and lessen the severity of colds and flus.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 12-14 heads of garlic, peeled
  2. 2 T sea salt
  3. One quart mason jar
  4. Airlock lid (optional)
  5. herbs (optional)
  6. Optional: starter culture (if you use starter culture, you will want to reduce the amount of salt.)
Instructions
  1. First, to peel the garlic, start by smashing one head with the heel of your hand. Next, place the cloves in between two bowls (metal is best) and shake, shake, shake!! Your garlic head should be peeled. Continue on with the rest of your garlic heads.
  2. Second, fill your clean quart jar with your peeled garlic. Leave at least one inch of headspace. Next, pour your salt water (or dissolved culture plus salt water) over your peeled garlic. Add any herbs such as rosemary or oregano. Top with a fermentation weight. Leave out of direct sunlight for at least 3 or 4 weeks. The longer it ferments, the more powerful it gets and the milder it tastes. A win, win in my book. I prefer it to have a roasted garlic flavor. You can ferment it much longer than 4 weeks if you like.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/

Fermented Garlic

How should I use my fermented garlic?

  • First, you can just chomp on a clove if you feel a cold coming on. I would probably follow that with some elderberry syrup mixed with echinacea tincture a few times a day. Mixing fermented garlic with raw honey is another (tastier) possibility. Raw honey has it’s own host of benefits when it comes to fighting colds and flus. You can’t go wrong with a bit of kraut juice either. 
  • Second, use your fermented garlic preventatively in cooking. (This will probably be the easiest way to get it in your children if you have them.) I prefer to use it in unheated dishes so that I don’t kill the probiotics. Some ideas are white bean dip, hummus, salsas, salad dressings, garlic butter, and pesto. Basically, anywhere you would use raw garlic or roasted garlic should work.Be sure to save the garlic brine after all the garlic is used up. It is great to use in dressings or marinades.

 

Have you had fermented garlic before? If so, did you ferment it yourself? What did you think?

 

 

Baked beans

Dutch Oven Baked Beans with Maple and Bacon

These Dutch Oven Baked Beans with Maple and Bacon are a great side to make if you are grilling this Father’s day. They go great with my Sourdough Cornbread,  Probiotic Potato Salad, and Carrot and Cabbage Coleslaw! You could even start off with some Homemade Ranch Dip and Veggies. Crack a cold one or pour yourself a kombucha spritzer and you’re ready! These baked beans are so delicious, are easy to make and you can make them ahead of time leaving you free to socialize with your family!

  • 2 cups of assorted dry beans (I like 1/2 cup kidney, 1/2 cup cannelini, and 1 cup small white beans)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 to 8 slices pastured bacon
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoons mustard (yellow or brown)
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
  • sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. First, soak your beans overnight, changing the water once or twice.
  2. Next, cook your bacon until almost finished. (It will cook the rest of the way in the beans.) Save about 1- 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease. 
  3. Next, drain your beans. Add your broth and your beans, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cook until tender. Stir gently. Most of the liquid should have boiled out.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  5. In your dutch oven, heat the bacon grease and then add the onions on medium low. Cook until soft, about 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute.
  6. Add the beans, ketchup, maple syrup, mustard powder, and vinegar and stir to combine. 
  7. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to one hour. The mixture should bubbly and much thicker than when you started.
  8. Add salt to taste if needed. 

Baked beans

  • Dutch Oven Baked Beans with Maple and Bacon
    Delicious dutch oven baked beans with maple and bacon.
    Print
    Prep Time
    20 min
    Cook Time
    2 hr
    Prep Time
    20 min
    Cook Time
    2 hr
    Ingredients
    1. 2 cups of assorted dry beans (I like 1/2 cup kidney, 1/2 cup cannelini, and 1 cup small white beans)
    2. 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
    3. 8 slices pastured bacon
    4. 1/2 onion, chopped
    5. 2 cloves minced garlic
    6. 1/2 cup maple syrup
    7. 1 cup ketchup
    8. 1 tablespoons mustard powder
    9. 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    Instructions
    1. First, soak your beans overnight, changing the water once or twice.
    2. Next, cook your bacon until almost finished. (It will cook the rest of the way in the beans.) Save about 1- 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease.
    3. Next, drain your beans. Add the broth to your beans, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cook until tender. About 1 hour. Stir gently occasionally. Most of the liquid should have boiled out.
    4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
    5. In your dutch oven, heat the bacon grease and then add the onions on medium low. Cook until soft, about 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
    6. Add the beans, ketchup, maple syrup, mustard, and vinegar and stir to combine.
    7. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to one hour.
    8. Add salt to taste if needed.
    Adapted from Dutch oven baked beans with maple and bacon
    Adapted from Dutch oven baked beans with maple and bacon
    Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/

 

Homemade Ranch Dip with a veggie tray

Magnesium-rich Homemade Ranch Dip (or Dressing)

This homemade ranch dip is loaded with magnesium and probiotics as well as other important nutrients. There is no guilt when dipping your veggie (or even your cracker) into this delicious dip! I have written the recipe using dried herbs assuming that unless it is summer you probably won’t have all of them on hand. If you do happen to have them fresh, just use about half of the amount. Fresh herbs have more magnesium and other vitamins and minerals than dried, of course. Let me break down the nutritional highlights of this homemade ranch for you.

  • Homemade Mayo: Homemade mayo made with pastured egg yolks and avocado oil is abundant in healthy fats. If you choose to make a lacto-fermented option, this will up the probiotic content of your dip. 
  • Grass-fed kefir (or homemade yogurt or cultured sour cream): Kefir, homemade yogurt, and cultured sour cream are all good sources of healthy fats, calcium as well as magnesium. However, kefir contains far more probiotics than yogurt which contains more than cultured sour cream. Go here to learn how to make your own cultured sour cream.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: You have probably seen many a post about the wonders of raw apple cider vinegar. It is helpful in balancing blood sugar and managing weight among many other uses. It contains probiotics and beneficial acids.
  • Parsley: A good source of magnesium as well as other vitamins and minerals. 
  • Chives: A good source of magnesium as well as other vitamins and minerals. 
  • Dill: A good source of magnesium as well as other vitamins and minerals. 
  • Basil: A good source of magnesium as well as other vitamins and minerals. 
  • Garlic Powder: While there is minimal magnesium in garlic powder, it is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal.
  • Onion Powder: Onions follow in garlic’s footsteps. They have minimal magnesium, but are anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal. 
  • Sea Salt: Celtic and Himalayan are good sources of magnesium as well as other important minerals. 
  • Kelp Powder: With 780 mg of magnesium per 1/2 teaspoon of kelp powder, this is a great way to get your magnesium levels back up or to maintain them. Kelp powder is also a great source of many other minerals as well. 

Homemade Ranch Dip (or Dressing):

Homemade Ranch Close up

  • 1 cup homemade mayo (or quality store-bought brand)
  • 1 cup grass-fed kefir (strained). If you don’t have kefir, use grass-fed plain whole milk yogurt (homemade or quality store-bought). You could use grass-fed cultured sour cream as well. 
  • 1 teaspoon to one tablespoon Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (this will depend on how sour your kefir is. If you are using the sour cream or yogurt, go with the full tablespoon.)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon chives
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill 
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon kelp powder (optional but significantly increases the magnesium content)
  1. Mix all ingredients. Allow to meld together for at least a few hours before serving. 

 

Magnesium Rich Homemade Ranch Dressing or Dip
A nutrient-dense, delicious version of ranch dip that is loaded with magnesium and probiotics.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup homemade mayo (or quality store-bought brand)
  2. 1 cup grass-fed kefir (strained). If you don't have kefir, use grass-fed plain whole milk yogurt (homemade or quality store-bought). You could use grass-fed cultured sour cream as well.
  3. 1 teaspoon to one tablespoon Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (this will depend on how sour your kefir is. If you are using the sour cream or yogurt, go with the full tablespoon.)
  4. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  6. 2 teaspoon chives
  7. 1 teaspoon parsley
  8. 1/2 teaspoon dill
  9. 1/2 teaspoon basil
  10. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  11. 1/2 teaspoon kelp powder (optional)
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Let flavors meld for at least a few hours before serving.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
Marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallows made with Gut Healing Ingredients

These homemade marshmallows have collagen rich grass-fed gelatin and contain a decoction of marshmallow root. Both are healing to the gut lining. They use maple syrup and honey instead of corn syrup or refined sugar. They are still a treat, however, and I recommend just having one if you can stop yourself. Best made and taken to a party or campfire to share! 

To make homemade marshmallows you will need:

  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • organic chopped marshmallow root
  • 4 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin
  • 1/2 cup raw organic honey
  • 1/2 cup organic maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • coconut oil (avocado)
  • Arrowroot or organic cornstarch
  • Candy thermometer
  • Parchment Paper

Directions:

  1. First, add your marshmallow root and your water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat. Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, strain out the marshmallow root.
  2. Next, add your gelatin to the bowl of your stand mixer with 1/2 cup of the marshmallow root water. This will allow the gelatin to soften.
  3. Next, add the honey, maple syrup, and 1/2 cup of the marshmallow root water to the medium-sized sauce pan you used before (be sure to rinse it out first.)(You may have some water leftover. Just drink or discard.) Make sure your pan is not too small or your mixture may boil over. It is a horrible mess to clean up! I am unfortunately speaking from experience here. Also, don’t use a large pan or your mixture may get too hot too quickly and burn. No fun!
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat until it reaches 240-242 degrees, no higher.
  5. Next, turn on the stand mixer on low to mix soften gelatin. Very slowly add the honey/syrup mixture.
  6. Once all the honey/syrup mixture is added, turn your mixer on high. Once it is almost cool, usually about 7 minutes, add your vanilla. Mix for 1-3 more minutes.
  7. Spoon the mixture into a pan lined with parchment paper, greased with either coconut oil or avocado oil, and lightly dusted with either arrowroot powder or organic cornstarch. Choose the pan size for the shape marshmallow you like. The bigger the pan, the shallower the marshmallow. For a square marshmallow, choose and 8 x 8 pan.
  8. Smooth the top of your marshmallow mixture with your spatula. If it is not smooth emough, you can grease your hands and pat it down.
  9. Let your marshmallows set overnight. (You don’t have to do this, but they will cut much easier.)
  10. After your marshmallows have set up, use the parchment to life them out of the pan.
  11. Cut with a well-greased serrated knife or pizza cutter.
  12. Dust marshmallows with arrowroot powder or organic cornstarch (the only way to get cornstarch that is not GMO is to buy organic cornstarch.)
  13. These roast better after they have set out a bit. I set mine on racks for most of the day before moving them to an airtight container.

Homemade Marshmallows made with Gut Healing Ingredients
Print
Prep Time
40 min
Prep Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 cup water
  2. Organic Chopped Marshmallow Root
  3. 3 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin
  4. 1/2 cup raw organic honey
  5. 1/2 cup organic maple syrup
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  7. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  8. coconut oil (avocado)
  9. Arrowroot or organic cornstarch
  10. Candy thermometer
  11. Parchment Paper
Instructions
  1. First, add your marshmallow root and your water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat. Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, strain out the marshmallow root.
  2. Next, add your gelatin to the bowl of your stand mixer with 1/2 cup of the marshmallow root water. This will allow the gelatin to soften.
  3. Next, add the honey, maple syrup, and 1/2 cup of the marshmallow root water to the medium-sized sauce pan you used before (be sure to rinse it out first.)(You may have some water leftover. Just drink or discard.) Make sure your pan is not too small or your mixture may boil over. It is a horrible mess to clean up! I am unfortunately speaking from experience here. Also, don't use a large pan or your mixture may get too hot too quickly and burn. No fun!
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat until it reaches 240-242 degrees, no higher.
  5. Next, turn on the stand mixer on low to mix soften gelatin. Very slowly add the honey/syrup mixture.
  6. Once all the honey/syrup mixture is added, turn your mixer on high. Once it is almost cool, usually about 7 minutes, add your vanilla. Mix for 1-3 more minutes.
  7. Spoon the mixture into a pan lined with parchment paper, greased with either coconut oil or avocado oil, and lightly dusted with either arrowroot powder or organic cornstarch. Choose the pan size for the shape marshmallow you like. The bigger the pan, the shallower the marshmallow. For a square marshmallow, choose and 8 x 8 pan.
  8. Smooth the top of your marshmallow mixture with your spatula. If it is not smooth emough, you can grease your hands and pat it down.
  9. Let your marshmallows set overnight. (You don't have to do this, but they will cut much easier.)
  10. After your marshmallows have set up, use the parchment to life them out of the pan.
  11. Cut with a well-greased serrated knife or pizza cutter.
  12. Dust marshmallows with arrowroot powder or organic cornstarch (the only way to get cornstarch that is not GMO is to buy organic cornstarch.)
  13. These roast better after they have set out a bit. I set mine on racks for most of the day before moving them to an airtight container.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
Homemade Marshmallows

 

 

Carrot Cabbage Coleslaw

Carrot and Cabbage Coleslaw

This Carrot and Cabbage Coleslaw is perfect as a side for summer BBQs or picnics. If you like your coleslaw a bit sweeter, opt for the dried cranberries addition. This slaw is delicious as well as nutritious. Let me give you the nutritional highlights.

Cabbage Nutrition:

  • Extremely high in vitamin C which is crucial to a well-running immune system.
  • Rich in vitamin k which is a harder to get vitamin that helps your body absorb vitamin D as well as many other important functions.
  • High levels of powerful antioxidants such as thiocyanates, lutein, zeaxanthin, isothiocyanates, and sulforaphane.
  • Detoxifying (as a result of the above antioxidants).
  • Contains a good amount of fiber which is important in regulating blood sugar and preventing constipation..
  • A good source of folate, B6, B5, manganese, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
  • Raw cabbage contains goitrogens which can hamper thyroid function, so if you have a thyroid condition, don’t “indulge” in raw cabbage every day. 

Carrot Nutrition:

  • Contains a unique fiber that flushes out excess estrogen from our body!! (Since there are estrogen-like hormone disruptors in everything from plastic containers that we put our food in to body products that we slather on our skin, this is important for men and women alike.)
  • The soluble fiber in carrots helps lower blood sugar levels by slowing down the digestion of starch and sugar.
  • Rich in betacarotene which is a precursor to vitamin A. Vitamin A is good for your eyes, your immune system, and your growth and development.
  • Good source of biotin, K1, potassium, and vitamin B6.

Dressing Nutrition:

  • Lacto-fermented (Kombucha/Probiotic) Mayo: The pastured eggs yolks in this mayo contain healthy omega 3 fats, protein, most of the B vitamins and well as vitamins A, E, D, and K as well as important hard to get minerals such as choline and selenium. The avocado oil is full of healthy monounsaturated fats. The kombucha in this lacto-fermented mayo both gives probiotics and beneficial acids as well as preserves the mayo for a longer shelf life. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Helpful in managing blood sugar and contains probiotics and beneficial acids. 
  • Raw Honey: Contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals, and 5,000 enzymes. Go here for an in-depth look at the nutritional benefits of raw honey (which are many!)
  • Dried Cranberries: Are loaded with antioxidants and are a good source of iodine (this is important if you have switched to sea salt over chemical laden iodized salt.) Contain many minerals. Go here to learn more. 

To make Carrot and Cabbage Coleslaw, you will need:

  • One small cabbage, shredded
  • 4 organic carrots, shredded
  • One cup of probiotic mayo (or half a cup probiotic mayo and 1/2 cup homemade yogurt or kefir)
  • 1/4 cup raw ACV
  • 2 Tablespoons Raw Honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Optional: Organic dried cranberries (or raisins)

Directions:

  1. First, shred your cabbage and carrots and add to a large bowl.
  2. Next, in a small bowl, mix your mayo (and yogurt if using), ACV, honey, and salt.
  3. Add the dressing to the carrots and cabbage and toss.
  4. Finally, add the cranberries if using.
  5. This is best when it is allowed to set for a few hours to let the flavors meld.

 

Carrot Cabbage Coleslaw
Carrots and Cabbage tossed with a kombucha mayo-based dressing.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. One small cabbage, shredded
  2. 4 organic carrots, shredded
  3. one cup of probiotic mayo (or half a cup probiotic mayo and 1/2 cup homemade yogurt or kefir)
  4. 1/4 cup raw ACV
  5. 2 Tablespoons Raw Honey
  6. 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  7. Optional: Organic dried cranberries (or raisins)
Instructions
  1. First, shred your cabbage and carrots and add to a large bowl.
  2. Next, in a small bowl, mix your mayo (and yogurt if using), ACV, honey, and salt.
  3. Add the dressing to the carrots and cabbage and toss.
  4. Finally, add the raisins or cranberries if using.
  5. This is best when it is allowed to set for a few hours to let the flavors meld.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
 Carrot Cabbage Colelaw

Probiotic Potato Salad

Probiotic Potato Salad: Feed Your Microbiome with Resistant Starch and “Good” Bacteria

This nutrient dense, delicious recipe for probiotic potato salad gets its probiotics from the lacto-fermented mayonnaise, the raw apple cider vinegar, and the lacto-fermented pickles. Also, the cooked and cooled potatoes are full of resistant starch to feed your microbiome. This twist on an old classic is perfect for barbecues, picnics, and camping and is quick to prepare. As usual, I would like to break down the nutritional value for you.

Nutritional Benefits from Probiotic Potato Salad:

  • Lacto-fermented (Kombucha/Probiotic) Mayo: The pastured eggs yolks in this mayo contain healthy omega 3 fats, protein, most of the B vitamins and well as vitamins A, E, D, and K as well as important hard to get minerals such as choline and selenium. The avocado oil is full of healthy monounsaturated fats. The kombucha in this lacto-fermented mayo both gives probiotics and beneficial acids as well as preserves the mayo for a longer shelf life. 
  • Pastured Eggs: Loaded with protein and amino acids as well as everything just listed above for egg yolks. The egg whites also contain magnesium, potassium, and sodium. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Helpful in managing blood sugar and contains probiotics and beneficial acids. 
  • Red potatoes: As stated above, cooked and cooled potatoes are a great source of resistant starch. If you are not sure why you need resistant starch to feed your microbiome, go here.
  • Lacto-fermented dill pickles: (Bubbie’s is a good brand if you don’t make your own.): Lacto-fermented pickles are full of probiotics and super tasty. This is what a real pickle was until they started being produced on the assembly line. Go here for a good recipe to make your own. 
  • Dill: An anti-microbial herb that can help with depression, aid digestion, lower cholesterol, and even repel bugs. Contains vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese. Go here for more information. 
  • Mustard: Contains potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.

To make Probiotic Potato Salad you will need:

Probiotic Potato Salad

  • 2-2.5 pounds organic red potatoes
  • 6 hardboiled pastured eggs, chopped
  • 4-8 lacto-fermented pickles, chopped
  • 1 1/4-1 1/2 cup Kombucha Mayo
  • 2 tablespoons Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon organic maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Directions: 

  1. First, hard boil the eggs and put them in an ice bath to cool.
  2. Next, quarter the potatoes, put them in a pot, and cover them with water. Bring them to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes. You want them to be fork-tender.
  3. Once they are cooked, drain and let them cool.
  4. Meanwhile, chop the pickles and then make the dressing in a large bowl. Add the mayo, ACV, maple syrup, mustard, salt, and stir.
  5. After the potatoes have cooled to just above room temperature, add them to the dressing and toss.
  6. Finally, add the eggs and pickles and toss some more. Add chopped dill to the top of the salad, or serve on the side. It tastes better when the flavors have had a chance to meld for at least a few hours. 

Probiotic Potato Salad
A nutrient dense potato salad filled with probiotics and resistant starch.
Print
Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2-2.5 pounds organic red potatoes
  2. 6 hardboiled pastured eggs, chopped
  3. 4-8 lacto-fermented pickles, chopped
  4. 1 1/4-1 1/2 cup Kombucha Mayo
  5. 2 Tablespoons Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  6. 2 Tablespoons organic maple syrup
  7. 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  8. 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  9. Chopped fresh dill
Instructions
  1. First, hard boil the eggs and put them in an ice bath to cool.
  2. Next, quarter the potatoes, put them in a pot, and cover them with water. Bring them to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes. You want them to be fork-tender.
  3. Once they are cooked, drain and let them cool.
  4. Meanwhile, chop the pickles and then make the dressing in a large bowl. Add the mayo, ACV, syrup, mustard, salt, and stir.
  5. After the potatoes have cooled to just above room temperature, add them to the dressing and toss.
  6. Finally, add the eggs and pickles and toss some more. Add chopped fresh dill to the top of the salad, or serve on the side.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
 Do you love potato salad? Are you trying to get more resistant starch or probiotics? Are you going to try this recipe? Let me know if you do!!

Tiger Nut Milk

Tiger Nut Milk (AKA Horchata de Chufa) and Soaked Tiger Nuts: Tasty Treats With Resistant Starch

Tiger Nuts as a Simple Snack

Since tiger nuts have been dried to allow for long storage, you will need to rehydrate them. Soak your tiger nuts in water for at least 12 hours and up to 48. The soaking time will change the texture. Less soaking equals crunchier tiger nuts and more equals softer tiger nuts. You can also add flavorings such as cinnamon sticks and or vanilla beans to the soaking water. Drain and let dry and enjoy!! 

Horchata de chufa (tiger nut milk)

Another tasty way to get the benefits of tiger nuts, such as resistant starch, is horchata de chufa. Instead of being made from rice, this Spanish horchata is made from tiger nuts.

  • 1 cup of tiger nuts that have been soaked overnight and drained
  • 4 cups almost boiling water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Ground cinnamon
  1. Add your soaked and then drained nuts to your Vitamix or other high powered blender.
  2. Add the hot water to your blender and blend on high for about 2 minutes, or until fairly smooth.
  3. Pour this mixture through cheesecloth or nut milk bag into a bowl.
  4. Once the mixture is cool enough to handle, make a bag with the cheesecloth to squeeze out the extra liquid with your hands.
  5. Add your salt and maple syrup and mix.
  6. This drink is traditionally served cold and/or over ice.
  7. This should keep for about a week in your fridge.
Horchata de Chufa
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of tiger nuts that have been soaked overnight and drained
  2. 4 cups almost boiling water
  3. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  4. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  5. Ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Add your drained soaked nuts to your Vitamix or other high powered blender.
  2. Add the hot water to your blender and blend on high for about 2 minutes, or until smooth.
  3. Pour this mixture through cheesecloth into a bowl.
  4. Make a bag with the cheesecloth to squeeze out the extra liquid with your hands.
  5. Add your salt and maple syrup and mix.
  6. This drink is traditionally served cold and/or over ice.
  7. This should keep for about a week in your fridge.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/

 

 

 

Tiger Nut "Corn" Bread

Tiger Nut “Corn” bread: A Delicious Way to get your Resistant Starch (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Corn-free)

Although there is no corn in this cornbread-like tiger nut bread, it is tasty and loaded with resistant starch! If you haven’t yet heard of the importance of resistant starch, go here. If you have, then you are probably hoping to find some easy ways to incorporate resistant starch into your diet to feed your microbiome. Well here you go, my friend. First though, indulge me while I breakdown the other benefits of tiger nuts for you. 🙂

Tiger NutS:

  • Are not a nut but a tuber.
  • Contain resistant starch to feed the bacteria in your colon (as stated above)
  • Are full of antioxidants
  • Contain a ton of fiber (10 grams per serving) 
  • Are antibacterial
  • are a good source of iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and B6

Quick note: If you are experiencing a gluten sensitivity, are Celiac, or just like to rotate your grains seasonally like we try to do, you can rest easy because this recipe is gluten-free. If you make this bread with buckwheat flour instead of brown rice flour, it will also be grain-free. As stated above, there isn’t actually any corn in this recipe either. We call it tiger nut “corn” bread because the gritty texture of the tiger nut flour is reminiscent of the grittiness of corn bread. We like to top this bread with cultured honey butter!

Tiger Nut “Corn” Bread Recipe (gluten-free)

  • 2/3 cup tiger nut flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour (or you van use rice flour if you aren’t grain-free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3 pastured eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup non-homogenized grass-fed milk or milk substitute (coconut milk works well)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons melted grass-fed butter, plus 2 more for pan
  1. Preheat oven to 400 and put your cast iron skillet in to preheat.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add wet ingredients and mix.
  4. Take skillet out of oven and add a couple of tablespoons of butter and melt it.
  5. Pour batter into hot cast iron skillet. Bake for 15 minutes.
Tiger Nut "Corn" Bread
A corn bread like tasty treat full of resistant starch.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2/3 cup tiger nut flour
  2. 1 cup rice flour (brown or white) (Use Acadian Buckwheat for grain-free version)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  4. 2 tablespoons baking powder
  5. 3 pastured eggs, lightly beaten
  6. 1 cup milk or milk substitute
  7. 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  8. 6 tablespoons melted grass-fed butter or ghee, plus 2 more for pan
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 and put your cast iron skillet in to preheat.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add wet ingredients and mix.
  4. Take skillet out of oven and add a couple of tablespoons of butter and melt it.
  5. Pour batter into hot cast iron skillet. Bake for 15 minutes.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/

Tiger Nut "Corn" Bread

 

Are you gluten-free or grain-free and looking forward to tasting something like corn bread again? 

Kraut

Three Easy Ways to Add Fermented Foods to Your Daily Diet and a Basic Kraut Recipe

You have probably heard that fermented foods like kraut (sauerkraut) are full of probiotics and that probiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut or microbiome. Now the question is how to get them into your daily routine so that they become a habit. You are much more likely to eat fermented foods if they are on hand all the time, of course. One easy way to assure that this is so is to make your own. Most fermented foods are truly simple to make and do not require a lot of time. I usually do it while I am in the kitchen making dinner anyway. See the bottom of the post for a basic recipe for Kraut that you can change up however you like. 

      1. Breakfast: You’ve heard me say this before. Start your day with kefir (water or milk) mixed into a smoothie (or a “shake” as my kids call it). We have this in addition to our breakfast. 
      2. Soups, Salads, and Sandwiches: Top your finished soup with veggie ferments (kraut and kimchi work well). Just be sure to let your soup cool for a minute or two so that you don’t kill the beneficial bacteria with the heat. You can also add veggie ferments to your salads. Radishes, beets, jicama, and carrots are my favorites). Add veggie ferments to your sandwiches. Pickles come to mind, of course
      3. Snack Time: Make fermented foods your snack We like to make homemade ranch dressing with homemade yogurt, and homeade kombucha mayo. The we dip raw veggies like carrot sticks and sugar snap peas for a healthy snack. Another favorite snack is homemade yogurt with a drizzle of maple syrup or a dollop of lemon curd.  
      4. Bonus: Add a glass of kombucha or water kefir lemonade to your daily routine! So simple to do and so delicious.

Veggie Ferments

Basic Kraut Recipe

Kraut Close Up

      • One large head cabbage (or 2 small)
      • 2.5 Tablespoons Celtic Sea Salt
      • Filtered Water
      • Optional: Spices: one Tablespoon caraway or juniper berries (Caraway is my favorite.)
      • Mason Jars (wide mouth quart), sterilized (3 or 4)
      • Airlocks, sterilized (optional but they do really protect your ferment)
      • Fermentation weights (or a sterilized flat rock)

Shredded cabbage for Kraut

 

      1. First, take off the first couple of layers of cabbage. Then shred or cut the the cabbage. I like to do this with a knife because I like crunchy kraut, but you could use the shredder function on your food processor. Do not use the core. 
      2. Put the shredded cabbage in a large glass or steel bowl.
      3. Next, sprinkle the salt over the cut cabbage. Let the salt sit on the cabbage for about 20 minutes or so.
      4. After the salt has soaked into the cabbage, use your hands to mix it and “work” it into the cabbage. You should be seeing the liquid in the bottom of the bowl grow. Work it for about 5 or 10 minutes. (You can do this with a wooden or stainless steel mallet as well.)
      5. Now mix in the spices if you are using them. I like to use 2 teaspoons to one tablespoon of caraway seeds.
      6. Finally, add the cabbage and salt (and spice) mixture to your mason jars. Pour the salty cabbage water over the top, dividing it equally between your jars. Add water to cover the cabbage, leaving about an inch or inch and a half from the top of the jar to allow for expansion during fermentation. Top with a fermentation weight to keep your cabbage submerged in brine. (Or you could use the cabbage core or a sterilized rock.) Keeping the cabbage submerged is crucial to not developing mold!
      7. Screw on your airlock lids or regular lids. The airlocks are optional, but they really do help protect your ferment. 
      8. Let it set out of direct sunlight for at least 3 days and up to 2 weeks. 
         
Basic Kraut Recipe
Basic Sauerkraut is so easy to make!!
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. One large head cabbage
  2. 3 Tablespoons Celtic Sea Salt
  3. Filtered Water
  4. Spices: Some common choices are caraway or juniper berries (optional)
  5. Mason Jars (wide mouth quart), sterilized
  6. Airlocks, sterilized (optional but they do really protect your ferment)
  7. Fermentation weights (or a sterilized flat rock)
Instructions
  1. First, Shred or cut the the cabbage. I like to do this with a knife, but you could use the shredder function on your food processor.
  2. Put the shredded cabbage in a large glass or steel bowl.
  3. Next, sprinkle the salt over the cut cabbage. Let the salt sit on the cabbage for about 20 minutes or so.
  4. After the salt has soaked into the cabbage, use your hands to mix it and "work" it into the cabbage. You should be seeing the liquid in the bottom of the bowl grow. Work it for about 5 or 10 minutes.
  5. Now add the spices if you are going to. I like to use 2 teaspoons to one tablspoon of caraway seeds.
  6. Finally, add the cabbage and salt mixture to your mason jars. Pour the salty cabbage water over the top, dividing it equally between your jars. Add water to cover the cabbage, leaving about an inch or inch and a half from the top of the jar to allow for expansion during fermentation.
  7. Let it sit out of direct sunlight for at least 3 days and up to 2 weeks.
Reclaiming Vitality http://reclaimingvitality.com/
    1.  Do you make your own kraut? What are your tricks for getting fermented foods into your daily diet?

 

Kraut

Veggie Ferments