Trying New Things

I haven't posted much since my Whole 30 finished. I have been really busy with work, but I have also been using my time to try new things. Even though one challenge is over, I wanted to try and challenge myself in the next 30 days to add more probiotic foods to my diet.

On the first weekend after my Whole 30, I started by trying two new things to get my probiotics. The first thing I tried was kombucha, which is fermented tea that sometimes contains fruit juice. It's really low in calories even though it has juice in it. I got a strawberry-flavored kombucha. There were a lot of different flavors at the store, but I got strawberry because I thought it would be a simple flavor. I couldn't believe how good it tasted! It was a really hot day, and it instantly cooled me down. It reminded me of unfiltered apple cider vinegar with a slight carbonation, plus some strawberry flavor. It was just about as sweet as fresh strawberries, which can be rather tart in my opinion and not too sugary. Now I want to learn how to make it!

When I bought the kombucha, I also bought some kefir, which is kind of like a yogurt drink but has a lot more probiotics than yogurt. For one, I was curious how I would feel after eating dairy after my 30 day omission, so this low-lactose drink was a good place to start. Also, after reading an article by Chris Kresser which talks about how kefir is a not-quite-paleo superfood. It was pretty convincing that if I can handle dairy, then kefir seemed like a good choice. I also read an article of his about instead of following a paleo diet, try following a paleo template, where you decide what works for you within the scope of the paleo diet. Under the assumption that dairy worked for me, I wanted to keep a few servings of fermented dairy like kefir and yogurt and the occasional hard cheese because I love those foods a lot. So finally a few days after I ended Whole 30, I blended some kefir with a small amount of cherries to make a small smoothie and had it with breakfast. It was really good! I got the full fat version, and I think the fat kind of buffered how tart the kefir tasted. The fruit helped add sweetness, even though I only added about half a cup. I also made other variations with half a banana and some strawberries and coconut and then another with half a banana, strawberries, and raspberries. Smoothies never keep me full, so I only had about 12 oz along with breakfast, and overall it kept me full. I didn't have any bloating or stomach discomfort, so I felt like I handled the dairy well. I didn't have cheese or yogurt for a full week after, but again no bloating or stomach problems so I conclude that I'm well-adapted to dairy.
Black cherry

Strawberry, banana, coconut

Strawberry, banana, raspberry

For another probiotic food, I also made raw fermented sauerkraut. There are a lot of variations on how to make it between youtube and recipe sites, so I sort of used them all to come up with a method. I used this recipe, but only used cabbage---no peppers or carrots. I didn't like the idea of leaving the container open to the air, mainly because I live in an arid climate and I figured the brine would evaporate too quickly. Also, west Texas is dusty and I didn't want any dust to land in my sauerkraut! So I used this youtube video and took their advice on closing the lid but also opening it periodically to keep the jar from blowing up. It tasted finished to me on the morning of the 4th day. The flavor was really good...not too tart and the cabbage still had texture. I like to have a spoonful of this for breakfast if I don't plan to have yogurt, kefir, or kombucha during the day for delicious hit of probiotics.

The only thing I will do differently next time is not fill the jar so full. I didn't have quite enough room for all the cabbage, so I poured off some of the brine. I wish I had kept the extra brine but not the extra cabbage because the kraut was a little dry. Next time I might also use the food processor for even smaller pieces.


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