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We really are what we eat, or rather what we digest, as this influences our internal microbiota.

We can cultivate beneficial bacteria microbiota, or gut flora, by changing the foods we eat.  Bacteria that live in our intestinal tract thrive on certain foods.  Try our fairly straightforward Low Carb Gut Health Recipes below.

5. Low Carb Gut Health Recipes

1. Homemade Live Bio-Yoghurt Recipe
2. Vegan Dairy-Free Yoghurt
3. Traditional Sauerkraut
4. Gut Friendly Garlic & Thyme Carrots
5. Homemade Ginger Water Kefir Drink
About gut health foods..

Good gut bacteria is vital to supporting overall health.  Beneficial bacteria can support a healthy digestive system, essential to our whole health system.  Healthy gut bacteria balance can impact on everything from digesting food, to supporting our immune systems and even gene expression or epigenetics.

We can encourage good gut bacteria to thrive by eating a varied diet that includes plenty of fibre and 'live' and fermented gut friendly foods.  

Foods that beneficial gut bacteria thrive on include fibre-packed low carb veggies, fermented pickles and 'live' dairy products.

 

1. Homemade Live Bio-Yoghurt Recipe

Homemade Live Bio Yoghurt is made by adding live bacteria cultures to milk, this causes the milk to ferment resulting in a thickened, creamy texture with a mild tangy flavour. 

Most yogurts available in the UK are ‘live’, meaning that they contain active bacteria cultures. 

Live yoghurt’s beneficial bacteria cultures are thought to be beneficial to our gut system in stimulating the digestive system’s friendly bacteria populations while suppressing harmful bacteria.

There are a wide range of different types of live yoghurts available to buy.Yoghurts are made with cows, goat’s, ewe’s, sheep and buffalo’s milks, as well as more unusual milk sources such as camel.

Serves 8 Serves

Ingredients

  • 1 ltr whole (full fat) organic milk
  • 50g natural live yoghurt (starter culture)
  • equipment
  • thermometer
  • 1 litre sterilised air tight jar


Instructions

  • Pour the milk into a pan and warm gently to 43°C, this will neutralise the milk to allow the yoghurt cultures to populate the new environment.  Make sure not to overheat.  If the milk gets too hot it will kill off the friendly bacteria cultures  introduced.
  • Stir in the yoghurt culture, mix with a wooden or plastic spoon, then pour into a jar, seal and cover with a tea towel.  Put in a warm place, such as the top of your refrigerator, for 6 hours or overnight.  NB: A yoghurt maker can also be used to provide a warm environment for culturing but it is not essential.
  • Check your container, the milk should have thickened into a creamy yoghurt overnight.  The longer left to culture the tangier the taste.  The final product will usually be runnier than a commercial yoghurt.  You can play with adding cream to make a thicker creamier yoghurt product.

Your Homemade Live Bio Yoghurt is now ready to eat!  Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

 

2. Vegan Dairy-Free Yoghurt

For a vegan friendly or lactose intolerant dairy free alternative you can try substituting the ingredients for non-dairy alternatives.  Nut, seed or coconut milk can be cultured in the same way and non-dairy milk powders and yoghurt cultures are now available too.

Ensure that the dairy free beneficial probiotics still contain beneficial lactobacillus acidophilus and bacterias from the lactobacillae family.

Recipe Notes

Making homemade yogurt is easy, involves few ingredients and can save you money compared to buying yoghurts.  All you need is bacterias (starter culture) and milk.

The benefits of good homemade live yoghurts include milk-derived nutrients, beneficial probiotics for optimal gut health.  However not all yoghurts deliver the same benefits, some commercial brands deliver non at all. 

Your homemade live bio yoghurt will depend on the quality of the milk that you use and the fermentation process. 

Tips:

Save some of your homemade live yoghurt to produce your next batch.

Consider using unpasteurised, unhomogenised raw milk, from an organic grass fed dairy, if this is available to you.

 

3. Traditional Sauerkraut

Our traditional sauerkraut takes around 30 minutes to prepare.  It is really satisfying to make, once you have the knack, and provides you with delicious, zingy, kraut brimming with healthy probiotics for months.

Preparation time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 (2 ½ kg) cabbage (any type)
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds optional
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds optional

Instructions

  • Remove the outer leaves and cores from cabbage, then shred or slice the cabbages finely into thin ribbons.  I food processor will speed up this process or you could use a cheese slicer tool.
  • Mix the thinly sliced cabbage with the seeds and sea salt in a large bowl, making sure that the cabbage is thorough coated in sat.  Press down firmly into the bowl and let it rest for about ten minutes.  The salt will make the cabbage begin to release liquid. 
  • Now stuff your cabbage, salts, seeds and any liquid brine that has been produced into your fermentation jars or large fermentation crock.  Pour any liquid from the bowl into the jar over the cabbage. Add a little filtered water, unless enough brine liquid has been released to cover the cabbage. 
  • Now add folded outer cabbage leaves to cover the mix and fermentation weights if you have these.  Seal your jar so that it is airtight.  Store in at room temperature.

Fermentation should begin within a day or two and take 2-5 weeks, depending on temperature and preferred sharpness.  After 1 week you may need to ‘burp’ your jar by opening slightly to let some air out, just so that there is not too much pressure building in the jar. 

The sauerkraut should be slightly fermented after only a few days, but I recommend leaving for 2 weeks so ensure that fermentation has taken place to encourage greater active cultures are present.  Check your sauerkraut mix for flavour at around 2 weeks in.  If you prefer a less sharp mildly vinegar taste than it may be ready for you at this point.  Others may prefer to wait and enjoy a stronger tarter flavour. 

By the way, it is normal to see bubbles or foam at the top during the fermentation period.  however mould is an indication that air has accessed the mix, scrape any off the top and ensure the remaining cabbage is fully submerged and weighted down below the brine level.

Once fermented your sauerkraut can be eaten straight away or store your batch in a clean glass jar in the refrigerator for up to six months.

Sauerkraut is a delicious lively addition to salads, snacks or with fish or meats.

Recipe Notes

  • Use mason jars (2 quart size or 1 half gallon size with air tight lids) or fermentation crock with weights. 
  • Jars or fermentation crock must be thoroughly cleaned to prevent contamination.
  • Salt ratio should be approximately 2% weight to 98% cabbage.
  • This recipe makes approximately 2kg sauerkraut, which should do you for the winter.

Nutrition data may vary depending on fermentation time, as longer fermentation periods break down more carbohydrates in cabbage.  The reduced carbohydrates in fermented foods make fermented vegetables ideal low carb diet foods.

 

4. Gut Friendly Garlic & Thyme Carrots

This crunchy, tangy Gut Friendly Garlic and Thyme Carrots Sticks are fab.  Our Low Carb Family love them as a snack with a soft cheese dip or to tuck into as a meal side.  They are great for our health and for our taste buds!

Lightly steaming carrots before cutting them into sticks and fermenting them amplifies the nutrients available, such as antioxidants that protect our cells from serious disease and typically makes digestion easier.

Ingredients

  • 450g 5-6 medium carrots scrubbed and trimmed
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 ½ tbs sea salt
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1 sprig thyme finely chopped
  • 1 tbs mustard seeds
  • 1 large cabbage leaf
  • 1 quart glass mason jar

Instructions

  • Make the brine by dissolving the sea salt and honey in warm water.  Let brine cool to room temperature before using.
  • Cut carrots into quarters lengthwise to the height of the narrowing of the jar if narrow-mouthed. If using a wide-mouth jar, cut carrots so that they are 1 – 2 inches below the bottom of the ring of the jar.  Lightly steam the carrots for approximately 2-3 minutes, so still crunchy, not soft.  Allow to cool.
  • Place peeled garlic cloves in the bottom of the quart jar.
  • Place carrot sticks vertically in the jar on top of the garlic cloves. Pack them in so they are snug but not too tightly as the brine needs to penetrate the carrots.
  • Add half of the mustard seeds and thyme, jiggle the carrots around to help to distribute the seeds and herbs around the carrots.
  • Pour the 2 cups of brine liquid over the carrot sticks so that they are completely covered by as much liquid as possible, leaving a 1 inch gap at the top between the brine and the lip of the jar. Add more water, if needed.
  • Add the remaining dill and mustard seeds and agitate until well distributed through the jar.
  • Place the large cabbage leaf over the carrot sticks and tuck it in to the sides as tightly between the carrots and the jar as you can. Keeping your carrots submerged with this cabbage leaf is one of the most critical part of the process.
  • Place the lid on the jar and close tightly.
  • Store at a cool room temperature, allow to culture for around 7-10 days or longer as preferred.
  • During the earliest stages of fermentation you will need to ‘burp’ your jar if you are not using an airlock.  For best results do this only very slightly just barely unscrew the lid until you hear a small amount of the gas escaping and then screw it back on quickly. You want to let just enough of the carbon dioxide out so that the jar won’t explode, but leave enough in so that you achieve as much of an anaerobic environment as possible.
  • Eventually the formation of carbon dioxide will slow down and you won’t have to burp the jar any longer.

You can eat the carrot sticks right away at this point or move them to cold storage, i.e cool larder garage or cellar. Store in your fridge if you don’t have anywhere cool enough, but this will halt the ‘activity’ of the ferment.

Enjoy your gut health boosting snack!  We like to add it as a side to a meal for an added tang.

 

5. Homemade Ginger Water Kefir Drink

Homemade ginger water kefir drinks offer a wide range of benefits.  It is a tasty, lively drink that is brimming with multiple beneficial bacterias, yeasts, enzymes, digestible natural sugars, acids, vitamins and minerals.

Water kefir can deliver billions of good bacteria and yeast into your digestive system, helping to support your body with digestion, absorption of vitamins and minerals and your immune system to fight off unhelpful viruses, bacterias and excessive yeast growth.

The sugars used in the fermentation process are broken down depending on the length of the fermentation.  The longer the kefir drink is fermented the less sugar will be in the final ferment.

Homemade Ginger Water Kefir Drinks also may contain a very small amount of alcohol, typically under 0.10%, this is due to the yeast activity. 

Preparation time 10 minutes

Serves 10 Serves


Ingredients

  • water kefir grains and starter liquid
  • 1/4 cup raw coconut sugar
  • 1 large wedge root ginger scrubbed and cut into strips
  • Items needed
  • 2 ltr glass jar
  • clean muslin or tea towel to cover jar
  • fine strainer
  • a funnel – helpful for pouring
  • airtight glass storage bottles (jars can be used)
  • 5 cups filtered water (not chlorinated tap water)


Instructions

  • Pour the kefir grains and accompanying liquid into glass jar. You won’t need to close the lid at this stage, as the water kefir process is aerobic, meaning that the live yeast cultures thrive on oxygen.
  • Add coconut sugar and ginger strips to the jar and also 4 cups of filtered water.  This is important as chlorinated tap water could kill the grains.   Stir with a plastic or wooden, not a metal, spoon – not metal. The sugar doesn’t have to dissolve fully.
  • Cover the jar with a clean cotton cloth such as a muslin or tea towel or a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band or a fermentation lid if available. Cover the whole jar with a tea towel to keep the light out.
  • Store for 1 – 2 days out of sunlight but at room temperature, so that it doesn’t get too cool.   
  • After day 1 of fermenting try the water kefir liquid.  It is ready when it is very slightly sweet and a little sharp.  If it tastes like alcohol or vinegar, it has fermented too long, this can still be used in dressings and salads.  If it still tastes like sweet sugar water it needs to be left to ferment for longer.  There is a knack to catching the ferment at the right time, but you will get the hang of this. 
  • When your water kefir has finished fermenting and is ready to drink you will need to strain kefir grains from the kefir.  Pour the finished kefir in a separate airtight glass bottle or jar and seal.  REFRIGERATE AND ENJOY! 

Repeat steps 1 – 6 again with your grains, so that you have another batch on the way. 

Recipe Notes

Kefir can be an acquired taste.  When fermented correctly it should taste slightly fizzy, musty and sharp.  Kefir is a potent probiotic live drink so it is best to start with small amounts of around 1/4 cup per day for the first few days, to let your digestive system get used to it.

  • Play with different flavours and colours
  • Add a dash of vanilla
  • Unsweetened cranberry or blueberry juice to add colour and flavour
  • Herbal teas, such as mint, chamomile, red raspberry leaf, hibiscus
  • Matcha tea for a bright green fizzy soda
  • Look after your kefir grains, think of them like a pet that need feeding and storing correctly.

Tips

Don’t rinse your grains in water, they should be kept in kefir liquid.

Don’t let your grains ferment for too long, three days maximum, or they may be damaged.

 

 

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