Make Your Own Sauerkraut!

SauerkrautWith all the good things we’ve been hearing about fermented foods lately, chances are you’ve been adding a few more of them to your grocery cart. Foods and beverages like yogurt, tempeh, kombucha, kefir, and cultured vegetables are rich in beneficial bacteria that help keep your gut in balance and support good digestion and health. Below is a super simple recipe for homemade sauerkraut you can prepare right in your kitchen!

Homemade Sauerkraut
30 minutes to prepare, 7+ days to ferment
Serves 16

Ingredients:
5 tbsp. fine sea salt
1 quart purified water
2 heads red and/or green cabbage, cored and shredded

Directions:
Combine 3 tbsp. salt plus water in a large bowl. Let sit until salt dissolves completely. Place cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle even with 1 tbsp. salt. Massage and squeeze cabbage thoroughly with your hands so the natural juices of the cabbage are released. Transfer cabbage and juices to ten 12-ounce wide-mouth glass jars or a 1-gallon crock, pressing the cabbage down tightly. The juices should completely cover the cabbage. If not, add brine to submerge. The liquid should be no closer than 1 inch from the lid. If the cabbage floats above the liquid, you will need to weigh it down with a plate or lid.

Leave jars or crock in a dark, warm place in your kitchen (such as a pantry or cabinet). Allow cabbage to ferment for at least 7 days, loosening and retightening the lid (if you are using jars) every 3 days to release pressure. Check regularly to be sure the cabbage remains submerged, adding more brine if necessary.

After 7 days, taste the sauerkraut. If it is not to your liking, wait another day and taste again, and so on until it reaches the desired flavor. At that time, move the jars to the refrigerator to slow any further fermentation and to set the flavor. If you’ve used a large crock, portion the sauerkraut into jars or glass storage containers to store in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat. Enjoy!

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3 Simple Tips for a Heart-Healthy Summer

woman_drinking_waterSpending time outdoors this summer is a great way to stay active and naturally boost vitamin D levels, but keep in mind that rising temperatures can take a toll on your heart. Even a healthy heart needs to work harder to cool off in hot weather, so be sure to follow these 3 simple tips for a heart-healthy season:

  1. Exercise Smarter: Plan outdoor activities during cooler hours. Wear light-colored, breathable fabrics and avoid exercising when the sun is at its strongest (typically between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM). Ease into that run or bike ride, and stop to rest if you feel short of breath or lightheaded. Water activities such as swimming may provide cooler alternatives, or check your local rec center for indoor fitness classes.
  2. Hydrate: It is always important to drink enough water, and a good rule of thumb is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of purified (filtered) water daily. However, your body may need even more water on hot days, so be sure to hydrate before, during, and after any physical activity—even low-impact activity such as gardening.
  3. Eat Right: Why put extra stress on your heart this summer? Stick to a diet rich in protein, healthy fats (especially from fish and olive oil), low-sugar fruits, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, and legumes. Eliminate added sugars, starchy carbohydrates, and trans fats.

Finally, take extra precautions if you are overweight, have high blood pressure or diabetes, or have an increased risk of heart disease. Remember that your heart has to put in a little more effort to keep you healthy despite the heat, and you can help by doing your part.

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