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Posts Posts by: "Donna Schwenk"

We all have trials and struggles throughout our lives and often these struggles have brought me to my knees. But without fail, each and every one of them has been a blessing in disguise. The pain turned to wisdom and I found myself so grateful for the struggle that brought me so much pain. Standing…(Read More)

For many years, and way before I found cultured foods, we would travel to my mom’s house in Virginia for Christmas. It was a twenty-hour car ride from my home in Kansas City and we would often drive all night to get there so the kids would sleep. We would always be exhausted…(Read More)

I’m going to introduce you to your microbiome. These trillions of microbial organisms, which normally inhabit a healthy small and large intestine, are your friends. They’ve been co-creating with humans since the beginning of time, but it is likely you know very little about them. We depend on these microbes for our…(Read More)

In 2017, we moved across the country from Kansas City to Southern California to be closer to our two older children. Our family – Ron, me and our three kids and our son-in-law – are thick as thieves. I’ve always lived far away from my mom and dad and sisters who mostly reside on…(Read More)

Sometimes I wonder how I got here. Symptoms of disease struck my life almost two decades ago and it broke me. Those symptoms shook me to my core and I didn’t know that my body was desperately trying to get my attention to help me heal. And heal I did. With a grateful heart…(Read More)

Female hormones are complex and beautifully made. But take those hormones and ignore them, and they will get your attention through symptoms of discomfort that can lead to disease and believe you me, they can wreak havoc on your life. There is no giant step that accomplishes this, just a lot of little steps that…(Read More)

Spend a day and immerse yourself into the world of making and eating cultured foods. Donna combines an inspiring day of information with lessons on how to make our trio, The Trilogy: kefir, kombucha, cultured vegetables, and extra info on sourdough bread, and water kefir.  You’ll receive a delicious lunch and you’ll be…(Read More)

Probiotics have become an exciting frontier in health and wellness. Most people only think about probiotic supplements in a bottle, but today we’re talking about foods that have probiotics in them. These probiotic foods have billions more probiotics than supplements. I think supplements are very good, but so often they are killed by stomach…(Read More)

Let me tell you about Mary. She sat on the front row of one of my classes and cried throughout my class while I talked. Right after class, she came up to me and explained how much these probiotic foods I teach about had changed her life. Sick with digestion and depression and feeling hopeless…(Read More)

Food cravings — why do you have them? We tend to think food cravings are normal and there is not much we can do about them, but there is much more to it than this. This is a time of change. A time to look at the way we function in this world and do…(Read More)

The Flu Shot in a Jar

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Fall through winter is the time of year they call “flu season.” People are really afraid of it but I have often said, “The flu should be afraid of me!” When you build up the good bacteria in your body, you create an army that goes with you everywhere you go and touches every person…(Read More)

Many people wonder if probiotic pills provide the same benefit as probiotic foods since they seem to be marketed in the same way—healthy bacteria for our guts. However, probiotic foods work significantly better because of their construction. To get into the small intestine and colon, where they do the work of breaking down and…(Read More)

Sleeping is fundamental to our wellbeing and health, and I have my own experiences with sleep and health. In 2001 when my daughter Holli was born eight weeks early and weighed in at four pounds, I was a woman on a mission to help her. Babies born this early don’t get the mom’s…(Read More)

Fermented pickles are the best pickles. Cultured pickles are super powerful, but so is the brine they are made in. The powerful bacteria in cultured veggies is called Lactobacillus plantarum.  It is a powerful weapon against pathogens that try to invade the body. It will steal nutrients from pathogens and they will die unable to…(Read More)

Sauerkraut is an incredible food. I teach people to make it at all my classes. It can be life changing along with kefir and kombucha and I’m pretty intense about it. It changed my life and I have watched it change thousands of other people too. I received three letters just this week from…(Read More)

It was early 2002 and my sixteen year old daughter climbed out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen. “How do you feel this morning?” I asked. Her response broke me. “I never feel good anymore mom. I feel bad all the time. My stomach hurts after everything I eat.” What had happened to my…(Read More)

Is kombucha good for you? Is it alcoholic? As of late, kombucha has been getting a lot of press. Kombucha has become a 0.6 billion dollar industry and is expected to reach 1.8 by 2020. It is causing quite a stir in the beverage business. Its popularity has grown strictly by word of…(Read More)

People often ask me about water kefir and milk kefir and which type of kefir I think is more beneficial. Water kefir is a non-dairy kefir that is gaining in popularity. Many people start with this method of making kefir because it’s so easy and fun and they want a non-dairy option…(Read More)

Bubbly, fizzy kombucha is one of my favorite things. Understanding the science behind how it works can help you create the carbonation that most people are looking for. #1 Probiotic Used in Hospitals Let me explain to you how it all works. When making kombucha, the fermenting tea will form a SCOBY on top. It…(Read More)

Your Body and Food. You can’t win together if you don’t work together. I learned a long time ago that if I wanted to feel good, I had to have kefir every day. It seems to work best for me to have kefir in the morning, but sometimes I have it other times…(Read More)

There is no better time to make cultured veggies than in the summertime! The fruits and veggies are abundant and when you ferment them they’ll last nine months in your fridge! Culturing, or what can also be called fermenting, is a no-sweat endeavor. It’s so much easier than canning and you’ll…(Read More)

When I walk into my kitchen each day, I see the bread knife and cutting board scattered with crumbs. It is a daily occurrence; and although I like a clean kitchen, this is one thing I tolerate with pleasure. My husband is constantly trying to even out the loaf of bread we eat each day…(Read More)

In 2001, I was battling hypertension and diabetes. It was then that I started drinking kefir and I noticed an interesting occurrence. It seemed that when I drank a glass of kefir every day my blood pressure would go down; and not just a little, but quite a bit. It would put me in the…(Read More)

One of the first things I noticed when we started drinking kefir was the help my husband received with eliminating his acid reflux. It was quite surprising to me since he popped antacids like they were candy. But fast forward sixteen years and I’ve had so many, many people tell me they’ve gotten…(Read More)

I love kombucha and not just because it tastes fantastic but because it has a special probiotic called Saccharomyces boulardii (S. boulardii). It is an incredible probiotic and when you make kombucha you can get lots of this powerful probiotic yeast. S. boulardii is one of the most researched probiotics and has been used worldwide…(Read More)

43 recipes for kefir cheese Go ahead and make some kefir cheese, it’s really easy to make. You’ll just need a strainer, coffee filter, and some kefir. Scroll down to see the 43 recipe…(Read More)

I’ve received several emails from people who have been greatly helped by cultured foods in regards to kidney health. More and more medical research is showing great benefits to using probiotics for kidney health. New probiotic supplements have been developed to specifically treat the kidneys, and there have been remarkable results. Certain strains of…(Read More)

I’ve been eating cultured foods for almost sixteen years. I eat them most every day with very few exceptions. When I first started eating cultured foods, I had diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pain, and felt discouraged and depressed. These foods were the answer to my cries for help, but never did I think…(Read More)

Goat milk was a godsend for my tiny daughter, Holli. She was born eight weeks premature and this little one rocked my world. I became a woman on a mission to help her be well. Nursing this tiny infant was a challenge. She was born so early that she didn’t have the strength to…(Read More)

Cultured vegetables are so easy to make with just a few exceptions. First of all, this is one of the safest ways to preserve your vegetables. It is scientifically impossible to get botulism from cultured vegetables.  When acidifying bacteria ferment the vegetables, the good bacteria dominates and controls the environment. Botulism can only occur when…(Read More)

There’s nothing better than bubbly fruit flavored kombucha. For those of you who don’t want to spend the money to buy it, you can make it. Many years ago, a friend of mine was in a bad car wreck. He actually broke the steering wheel off with his chest. He was in the…(Read More)

I’m always trying to find ways to help you eat more cultured foods. Taste is important as well as ease, and this recipe captures both. You will love this Buffalo Kraut created by my daughter Maci. It’s crazy good and just a spoonful is going to give you billions of probiotics. Your body…(Read More)

One of my good friends told me her cholesterol had gone up since drinking kefir, and then she said, “That’s my good cholesterol! It went through the roof and my doctor is very pleased.”  I got a few emails this week from people expressing to me that since they’ve been consuming kefir and…(Read More)

When you and I find the courage and strength to be better in any regard we help everyone around us. This goes for every area of our lives and even what we eat – and it includes our bacteria. You have trillions of hitchhikers that live in and on you, and they play a huge…(Read More)

Her name was Mary and she changed my life the day I met her. It was the very beginning of my journey with cultured foods, and I was in hiding with my newfound knowledge. People didn’t understand what I was doing, and the thought of letting food ferment on your counter for days at…(Read More)

In 2010, I had just started my blog and Facebook page, and the second person to post on my page was a man named Chris asking me How to Make Kombucha. He was a friend of my older kids and what I didn’t know at the time was Chris had just been diagnosed with…(Read More)

Kefir and Diabetes

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Captain of your ship and the master of your destiny. We’re shaped by the light we let through us. I remember that day quite vividly. It was over fifteen years ago. It was February and bitter cold outside. I made myself a breakfast that I thought was healthy – high-fiber cereal and skim milk…(Read More)

  Pain is the best teacher, but nobody wants to be the student. I have met hundreds of people who are now on gluten-free diets. My daughter used to be one of them. Gluten pain can make life difficult and become a heavy load to bear. How can this grain that has been around…(Read More)

Mayonnaise is a common condiment that so many of us use regularly. Mayo was said to be the invention of one of the great chefs of France. Marie-Antoine Carême was the personal chef of the Duke de Richelieu in 1756. While the Duke was defeating the British at Port Mahon, his chef was…(Read More)

Do you want to change your life and feel better? Here’s the truth. I have tons of resources to help you. You can find everything you need on my site to get started, and that information is free. I have other resources that I sell to expand and help you grow, but everything you…(Read More)

Forget everything you think you know about vegetables and let me tell you what happens when you culture them. Grow your own probiotics in a jar of vegetables, and you’ll be shocked and amazed at all they can do. I feel like I’ve been standing on the top of a mountain singing the…(Read More)

Emotions are my best friends. They help me not only understand my present state but also how my body is doing.  Researchers are discovering that an imbalance in your gut can cause mental symptoms. They call the gut the second brain, and boy are they right. I have witnessed firsthand those with ADD, anxiety, depression…(Read More)

Take a look at a few excerpts from some of the recipes: COLA KOMBUCHA In April 1865, John Pemberton was wounded in the American Civil War. He was slashed across the chest with a cavalry sword and soon after he became addicted to morphine to ease the pain. As a licensed pharmacist in civilian life…(Read More)

So, do you want to know why you have certain persistent problems with things like ringworm, toenail fungus, and athlete’s foot? All of these are caused by a fungus that can spread and grow like crazy and last for years and years. “Onychomycosis” is the medical name for the infection that causes the fungi…(Read More)

I get hundreds of emails about the subject of Candida, and a lot of them are asking me why so many health care practitioners don’t recommend the consumption of fermented foods if you have Candida. Most physicians and well-meaning practitioners only know of fermented foods made with vinegars rather than the cultured or…(Read More)

My husband was the last one in my family to try cultured foods. I experimented on my children first. My kids were sick and I wanted them to be well, so we all ate cultured food; and much to my surprise, everybody got better. Then as the cultured foods began to take over my kitchen…(Read More)

I believe in miracles and I believe that they live inside you and me. Do you believe that healing requires a miracle, or do you believe that our trillions of cells govern themselves and create the bodies that we have?  So how does the eye know how to focus or the muscle know how much…(Read More)

Cultured vegetables have special powers that go far beyond regular vegetables.  I love them and reach for them day after day and in times of special need. They can be powerful food – like medicine – and so I always have several jars in my refrigerator. I encourage you to do this as well; because…(Read More)

Kombucha is an amazing drink. Sales have grown to be over 600 million dollars, and this was all done strictly by word of mouth. I have watched it grow and I’ve also witnessed the major soda beverage companies start to lose their credibility and hit a 30 year low in sales as people wake…(Read More)

Do you wonder when your kefir, kombucha, and cultured vegetables are done fermenting? I have a few tips to help you understand how and when they’re at the perfect place with lots of probiotics and will taste the best. There’s a little science behind this, and since culturing your food is an artisanal…(Read More)

Years ago when I was young and raising my kids, I was often influenced by well-meaning friends and family. They scared me to death with the latest news they had heard and would say, “Don’t eat this and don’t let your kids do this and did you read that story about how…(Read More)

Pain touches everyone in some way; and when this happens, all of us reach for something that we believe will help us. The older I get, the more I find that every ounce of pain is here to teach me something. When I learn the lesson, the pain will vanish and I will have gained…(Read More)

“How do I apply all this cultured food stuff to my life? Where and how do I get started?” This is something that I hear quite often. People want to change their life and feel better but don’t know where to start. What makes people change their lives while others stay stuck in old…(Read More)

Cranberries are usually eaten only around the holidays. It’s really a shame we don’t eat them all year long as they are powerful foods that can work like preventative medicine. I got all emotional when I discovered all the things cranberries can do for us. Don’t you think it’s a divine…(Read More)

 Pumpkin smoothies are eggnog for morning people. I love, love pumpkin. It has many wonderfully healthy qualities and a creamy consistency that makes it a wonderful treat, especially around the holiday season. I use pumpkin in multiple ways, but some of my favorites recipes are ones I make with kefir. Fermenting pumpkin is a way…(Read More)

Trilogy is a set of three works of art that are connected, and that can be seen either as a single work or as three individual works. Fermentation is an art form and each individual cultured food is, in and of itself, unique. The three foods of The Trilogy each provide different good bacteria and…(Read More)

One day my daughter Holli came running into the room and burst into tears. She cried and said, “Help me! My stomach hurts so bad.” And then she ran to the bathroom and started throwing up. She had spent the night with a friend who had just had the same thing, so I’m pretty…(Read More)

Here are just a few of my favorite prebiotic foods and supplements. Acacia, often called acacia gum, contains 86% prebiotic content. It is used as a food stabilizer and has a substantial amount of fiber and is essential for strengthening the population of good bacteria in your gut. One place to find this prebiotic is…(Read More)

Lots of articles are popping up about reasons you should have kefir, but few of the people writing the articles have actually drunk kefir every day for 14 years. This post is specifically talking about milk kefir and not water kefir.  My reasons for drinking kefir are very personal and specific to me. But here…(Read More)

It astonishes me that everybody doesn’t know about Cultured Veggies – they are such powerful little scrub brushes for the colon and deliver such powerful anti-virus abilities. Over and over again I have seen these veggies knock out colds and flu and even work magic on food poisoning. The thing that most surprised me…(Read More)

Coconut water is my favorite water kefir. I love how it tastes, how easy it is to make, and how it makes me feel. In the early days of making cultured foods, coconut kefir was a huge part of my daughter Maci’s recovery from food allergies and IBS. It was something she really liked…(Read More)

The legend goes . . . in China, 2727 BC, the Emperor Shen Nong, who was known as “the divine healer,” was boiling his water to clean out impurities. The pot was underneath a tea bush and several leaves fell into the pot. The pot had such a wonderful fragrance, color, and taste that the…(Read More)

I have seen many people benefit from kefir, and this includes non-dairy kefir. So many people need a dairy-free version, so we created just about every kind of non-dairy kefir we could think of. The only one we tried and didn’t like was hemp milk. It came out with a really…(Read More)

   A sourdough starter has only two ingredients: flour and water. Combined with unseen organisms of bacteria and yeasts and its mysterious ability to transform food, you’ll have a universe of possibilities. It’s Tuesday night and I usually make bread on Wednesdays. I take my sourdough starter out of the fridge to feed…(Read More)

I love almonds and they make wonderful kefir. Some people call almonds the healthiest food in all the world and they have tons of health benefits. But I know a thing or two  about almonds that perhaps you do not know…(Read More)

I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I felt off, kind of loopy in the head and couldn’t think straight, and not myself. I was tired and wanting to rest a lot and didn’t want to exercise. This was not like me, and it scared me. Then I got a…(Read More)

  People have the mistaken idea that I only eat cultured foods all day long. Although there are a lot of days that I do eat only cultured foods, this is not the norm. I mostly eat them because they’re easy for me to prepare and are what I call healthy fast food. You…(Read More)

×Kefir Grains Here’s a list of the different types of good bacteria and yeast in kefir grains: Bacteria Species Lactobacillus Lb. acidophilus Lb. brevis Lb. casei subsp. casei Lb. casei subsp. rhamnosus Lb. paracasei subsp. paracasei Lb. fermentum Lb. cellobiosus Lb. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis Lb. fructivorans Lb. helveticus subsp. lactis…(Read More)

I usually make sourdough bread once or twice a week. I make sourdough more than sprouted bread as my family likes it better and I enjoy making it so much. There is nothing as special as having a sourdough starter that has your own unique yeasts from your kitchen and hometown – that makes it…(Read More)

My husband was called for jury duty this week and found himself in jury selection for a case involving a very popular restaurant. The complainant was a woman who said she got carpal tunnel syndrome on the job, was treated, and then six months later was fired. My husband was picked as Juror Number Two…(Read More)

Your body’s ability to heal is greater than anyone has permitted you to believe. My husband is used to my crazy new ideas and has become accustomed to my enthusiasm for whatever happens to be my latest discovery. He goes along for the ride but never jumps in with both feet until coaxed. Kombucha…(Read More)

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