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. Thirty minutes later a terrible feeling came over me […]

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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 since time began suddenly wreak such havoc on […]

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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. […]

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We love pancakes at our house. I mostly make sourdough pancakes, but I made a new pancake recipe this week, and switched out my sourdough starter (which I love) and replaced it with kefir. Oh my, they were wonderful, fluffy pancakes. […]

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You really must eat kimchi. Kimchi has a special probiotic that can keep a virus at bay. It can also help with any kind of stomach distress. Just ask the thousands of people in Korea how kimchi protected them from the bird flu epidemic. […]

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Do you have picky eaters at your house? Do your friends and family scoff at eating cultured foods? Well, let me tell you about Mister Picky Eater, my husband. When I married him (30 years ago) he ate nothing green. […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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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. […]

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Cookbooks — I have a lot of them, 229 to be exact, and as you can see from the picture of the bookcase in my living room, I have quite a collection. My daughter Maci said to me, “I have a lot of cookbooks too, but you know which one I use the most?” […]

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We went to a nut farm this weekend and found just about every kind of nut you could imagine. Nuts are prebiotic foods and your gut loves them. I love my kefir, but nut milks don’t always make thick and creamy kefir as much as cow’s milk — until now. […]

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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. […]

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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. […]

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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. […]

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I have been getting a lot of letters asking if you can ferment vegetables with water kefir or kombucha. You can ferment vegetables with these two different cultures, but the vegetables tend to get mushy and don’t last very long. […]

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Day 1 (side view)

Watching tea turn into kombucha is quite a thing to behold. You give it the ingredients and let it work its magic. Billions of microbes and yeasts transform the tea into a bubbly probiotic tea that you will love. […]

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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. […]

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I have glass jars everywhere in my house, and I have lots of cultured foods in many of them. I’m always looking for new recipes and jars to make my cultured foods in. This is an unusual recipe as it combines fruit and veggies in my favorite jar that looks like a pot. […]

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I love coffee, and I drink a cup every day. Some believe it’s not good for you, but I’ve gotten so many benefits from it that I just knew this couldn’t possibly be true. I have a philosophy about the foods I eat. If I eat or drink something that I know is bad for me, I can never get a positive result from it. […]

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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. […]

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Flashing back to 2001 and my first few months of making kefir, my husband was really leery of it. “Milk sitting on a counter for 24 hours . . . are you sure about this?” he said. He always tries my crazy creations, but it takes him a little bit to wrap his head around it and this one was no exception. […]

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Soup can not only comfort your mind and your gut, but soup also has secret healing modalities that perhaps you’re not aware of. I think combining soups with cultured foods can help cure what ails you in a myriad of ways, but soup can stand on its own as a powerful kitchen medicine. […]

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As we close out 2016, I hope you will look to this next year as a chance to find the you that you were always meant to be – healthy and happy. This is our top content of the year that you may have missed. Below you’ll find some of our most popular blogs of the year. […]

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We love traditions in our family. Every Christmas my mom always made a Christmas braid which was a giant concoction of cinnamon, nuts, and bread topped with a creamy frosting. I kind of changed the recipe with my family and made it from sprouted grains, and this year I decided to break with tradition and make something new. […]

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Food as medicine is the way that I live my life. Cultured foods are front and center, but there are many other things I turn to when we need extra help and one of the most important is ginger. […]

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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. […]

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I love to eat and make kefir as well as yogurt. I’ve been having lots of fun making different types of yogurts made famous in different parts of the world. I have discovered that in certain parts of the world, yogurt and kefir have been strongly linked with an unusually high number of centenarians. […]

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I’m always looking for ways to enjoy my kefir, and kefir ice cream can be enjoyed anytime – even for breakfast! If you don’t have an ice cream maker that sits on the counter, you may want to consider owning one as they are a great investment. […]

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Several years ago I found myself with much to do. With my daughter getting married and a deadline for my new book looming, not to mention the fact that both my husband and I have our own businesses . . . it was intense at our house. I started feeling the pressure and found myself in tears a lot and feeling completely overwhelmed. […]

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I love, love, coconut oil for a myriad of reasons that relate to many different aspects of my health and wellness. First of all, coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid. This is a saturated fat that’s found in coconut and in mother’s milk. […]

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I get a lot of people writing me letters indicating that they are afraid they are going to get sick from eating cultured foods. They don’t understand cultured foods and how they work; preconceived ideas and the media have created fear, a lot of fear. […]

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If you like this, then please share! Probiotic Mocktails! Kefir, Kombucha, and More! Can Cultured Foods Hurt Me? Why People Fight Over Kefir The Many Legends of Kefir One of my favorite things about kefir is the many stories, legends, and history behind it.  It has been around for thousands of years and the stories…

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Everybody knows we should eat more salads, but if you make probiotic salads you quadruple the benefits. The most powerful food combo you can have is prebiotics (food for bacteria) and probiotics (cultured foods) together in a meal. These salads will do just that. When you eat a probiotic salad, you’re getting billions of probiotics.…

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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 and she would have a glass with a slice of fresh lime. […]

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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 emperor quickly told everyone of his findings. […]

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This little guy in the picture is my puppy Scoby (pronounced like kombucha SCOBY) enjoying his kefir. Kefir is incredibly good for dogs and we hear many stories of how it helps them in so many ways. Did you know that your pets need probiotics, too? […]

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Kefir can be made with many different kinds of milk, be it non-dairy or dairy milk. It differs in calories and nutritional differences depending on which type of milk you use. Kefir is far superior to regular milk. Fermentation is the alchemy of milk. […]

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Somebody asked me the other day how I come up with recipes for cultured foods. Many times they come suddenly into my brain. This will often make me miss my exits while driving on the highway because I am thinking about the specifics of how to make it. […]

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I was young, nine years old, and sitting in a classroom staring at my teacher’s desk. She had a thermos; and from it she poured a bright orange liquid and I would stare in wonder. I found myself obsessing about what she was drinking. I should have been working in my workbook, but I would watch her every time she went to take a drink. […]

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It’s Tuesday night and I usually make bread on Wednesdays. I take my sourdough starter out of the fridge to feed it. I check it. Does it still have bubbles? Is there hooch on top? If I see a layer of dark liquid (called “hooch”) and no bubbles, this means my starter is really hungry and needs to be fed. […]

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I love kefir grains, but I didn’t start my journey making kefir using kefir grains. I started with the powder kefir and was very glad I did. I was pretty much a wreck at that time in my life and I needed something easy and foolproof or it wasn’t going to happen. […]

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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 cold. […]

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They knew the grandkids were eating badly. They fussed at our parents but nobody listened, because the foods we were eating were so addictive. We reasoned that they were the older generation and they were just being cranky. They didn’t like it when we ate sugar-laden cereals for breakfast or soda pop with lunch and dinner. […]

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Scoby treats 2I get an overabundance of kombucha SCOBYs (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). Every time you make a pot of kombucha you get another SCOBY. So what to do with them? I usually just put them in my garden. The plants love the B vitamins in the kombucha SCOBYs and they seem to nurture the soil and keep the bugs away. […]

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Many years ago, I was desperate to feel better. I had no one to help me get started with cultured foods. In fact, everybody I talked with told me I was crazy and not to consume them. But I had an overwhelming desire to figure it out. Little did I know they were calling me to wellness. […]

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Captain Cook was one of the first people to make cultured sauerkraut a healing modality. When he took his first vessel and crew on a long voyage in 1768, a violent storm arose. The waves tossed the ship about violently, and many crewmen were injured. […]

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When I was growing up, my mom had a huge garden. She grew lots of broccoli and we would pick it for her. Even though broccoli is one of the plants least affected by pests, it is not uncommon to find worms on broccoli heads. Without a doubt, I was always the one to find those worms on my broccoli and often it was right before I put it in my mouth so I declared broccoli my least favorite vegetable. […]

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I am very excited about the new veggie starter culture, Cutting Edge Cultures. I decided to make a video about it and share a fun recipe. Making cultured vegetables is easy and fun. People can be intimidated by making cultured veggies and are afraid they will do it wrong and get sick. This is the wonderful thing about cultured vegetables – they preserve the foods and make them safe with billions of good bacteria that dominate and keep the pathogens out. […]

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Here is one of the very first videos I ever made. The first half of the video explains why I started drinking kombucha and how much it helped my family and me. The second half shows the process of how to actually make kombucha. I hope you enjoy the video and you will learn not only how to make kombucha, but why you should. It’s still my favorite beverage and I’ve been making and drinking it for 18 years. […]

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Last year on my thirtieth wedding anniversary we took a cruise to the Caribbean and stopped in Cozumel, Mexico. We took a Salsa Salsa class where we made lots of salsa, guacamole, and Margaritas. We had so much fun and since I don’t really drink, but loved the taste of Margaritas, I wanted a kombucha recipe to enjoy instead of all the alcohol. […]

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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. […]

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When we were healing my daughter’s Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) many years ago, I didn’t realize that, along with cultured foods, we were including a powerful addition that made a huge difference in her recovery. I actually discovered many years after she healed, and it has opened an entirely new world for me. […]

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Kefir grains love to eat the sugars (lactose) in milk. These sugars are the primary food for this culture. Fresh milk kefir is only 1% sugar and live kefir grains contain over 50 different types of yeast and bacteria existing in a symbiotic relationship. […]

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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. […]

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A few weeks ago I had a dream about kefir. I was watching TV in my dream and heard a newscaster say that kefir had swept the world and there was now kefir in every kitchen. I woke up and carried that dream with me for weeks. If everybody drank kefir, the world would be a better place. I am convinced of this. […]

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It’s January and it’s cold here in the Midwest. All I want is hot tea and soup. It’s hard for me to want a cold smoothie when I am craving warmth and comfort, but high heat kills the probiotics in my cultured foods. […]

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Kombucha, pronounced kôm-bo͞o-CHA, is a beverage produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria. The good bacteria and yeasts eat the sugar out of the tea and make probiotics and then produce naturally-occurring carbonation. You don’t get tons of sugar because the bacteria eat it […]

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This is a cashew apple tree. Cashew nuts are actually the kidney-shaped seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple grown mostly in Brazil. Interesting, isn’t it? Cashews are all the rage these days and used in all kinds of health food dishes – and for good reason. They’re delicious and good for you. […]

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Is your kefir separating into whey and curds? Is your kefir thin and runny? Most of the time this is because it is over fermenting and you need to add more milk or remove some of the grains. It also might be warm in your home and this will make it separate faster as well. […]

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Many of you write to me and ask how you can encourage friends and family to eat these foods. Like you, I notice how sick our loved ones are and want to help them but they don’t always want to listen. […]

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My daughter Maci got married and moved to a farm with her husband. She has a couple of apple trees and she’s making tons of recipes with apples in them. Before her husband, the love of her life was kombucha. She has been making gallons of super fizzy apple kombucha and discovered something special. […]

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Every year I plant my garden, anxious for my fruits and veggies. But each year I don’t plant cucumbers because each year they come back anyway. They will sprout in different places in my garden, always in a place where they can have lots of room. […]

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When your feet hit the ground in the morning are you pumped about the day? Do you feel appreciation and love for others? Do you have energy that will last all day? Did you know that you are supposed to feel this way? […]

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One of my favorite things about summertime is the farmer’s markets and fresh veggies. Turing fresh produce into perfectly preserved cultured veggies makes me so happy, but it wasn’t always that way. […]

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This is a favorite summertime salad made with cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions that are abundant in the summertime. The taste is so light and fresh that I can eat gallons of this salad. I have had this salad many, many times made with vinegar but it was never fermented. […]

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I often make fermented vegetables using a canning jar with a lid, but there are many methods and vessels you can use to make cultured vegetables. Some say you should only use an airlock jar to culture vegetables. They claim that the canning jar method doesn’t seal well enough to remove the oxygen […]

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You do not need a starter culture to make cultured veggies. However, by using a starter you will receive more probiotics and a lot of other benefits. Let me explain your options and you can better choose which is the best method for you. […]

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This last month my husband and I had our 30th wedding anniversary. Ron and I and our three kids are a tribe and we’ve always done everything together. This was the first vacation we have had alone since our honeymoon which we spent on a houseboat in Lake Powell, Utah. […]

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As a kid, I spent many summer vacations in Nova Scotia on a small island (Cape Sable) where my grandparents lived. Their home was right on the water and it was over 100 years old (see pictures). My great grandpa, Captain Horatio Brannen, was a sea captain and built the home there. […]

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Kombucha is growing in popularity and for good reason. The detoxifying power of kombucha is enormous. It has been recognized for its ability to counteract liver cell toxicity. As you drink kombucha, you will notice a flushing of toxins from your body as it filters toxins through the kidneys and the bowels. […]

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I have been making this salad a lot lately. A while back I had my nephew, his girlfriend, and my older kids spend a few days with me due to a snow storm. I watched these five young people devour this salad and ask for more and tell me how good it was. […]

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Having babies is a big event. For me, it was life-threatening and life-changing. My third pregnancy was actually the catalyst for this blog, my website, and my books. My pregnancy was a scary event – things quickly went from bad to worse and they delivered my baby 7.5 weeks early to save my life and hers. […]

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If you like this, then please share! The End of My Culturing Career Should Babies and Children Have Cultured Foods? Coconut Almond Kefir Ice Cream Probiotic Ice Cream If I had to choose only one cultured food, which would it be? If I were banished to a desert island, which one would I take to…

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If you like this, then please share! Salad in a Fermenting Jar Coconut Almond Kefir Ice Cream The End of My Culturing Career Making Cultured Vegetables A few years ago, I had a great plan to sell cultured veggies at a health food store and they were so good they sold out again and again.…

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Salad in a jar

If you like this, then please share! Walnut Kefir & Chocolate Fig Pudding The End of My Culturing Career Salad in a Fermenting Jar Travel Food with Culture I spend almost all of my weekends in the spring and summer out of town at the lake. Because of this, I have to pack coolers and…

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Have you tried making your own nut milks? Walnut milk is delicious and easy to make. I have been trying a lot of different recipes using different nut milks and I am really enjoying them. Kefir is easy and fun to make using nut milk, and is a great dairy-free alternative to regular kefir. […]

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I’m in this picture, but inside my mom. My dad’s (Don) birthday is coming up in a few days. Several years ago he died suddenly. Three months before he passed, my mind was filled with loving and joyful thoughts about my dad. He died suddenly so I had no idea at the time that in…

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This is something special to know about sauerkraut. You don’t actually need a culture to make it. The cabbage combined with salt will make its own good bacteria. These bacteria dominate and crowd out the harmful ones and preserve the food in a safe way. You can make sauerkraut with just salt. […]

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If you like this, then please share! Popeye and Olive Oyl Kefir Ice Cream Sauerkraut Without a Culture Don’t Rinse Your Kefir Grains! Kefir Grains Never Rinse Them in Water I get so many emails from people, who in attempt to help their kefir grains, will rinse them in cool water. You should NEVER EVER…

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This is a wonderful smoothie that can be made into kefir ice cream. Popeye and Olive Oyl This is probably one of the things I make at least once a week. I love it, and so does my family. Kids will never know that this has spinach in it. I have disguised this by saying,”…

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Some of the best friends I have today came to me through cultured foods. I meet people who are looking to be well – they either come to one of my classes or they find me through friends to purchase kefir grains. […]

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  I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process….It may not be true, but do I dare take the chance? Sourdough is my favorite bread to make in the fall and winter. It is loaded with Lactobacillus bacteria that transforms the wheat into incredible properties. It unlocks all the zinc and minerals…

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Kefir Ice Cream Sandwich I love Kefir ice cream. It is easy and delicious. It’s something special you can make for your family.  It is a treat, plus it loaded with nutrients and probiotics. If you can purchase one of those ice cream makers that you put in your freezer and sit on your counter and…

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