Homemade Probiotic Borscht Recipe

The Elusive "Sour" One of the foods I miss the most from back home is homemade, sour borscht - a dietary staple unique to Eastern Europe, in particular to Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, and parts of Russia. The essence of "borscht" in these countries is not beets, as it is commonly associated with, but rather the "sour" we add to the bone broth base. The "sour" - tasting almost like a combination of sauerkraut juice and kombucha - is made by old grannies in clay pots with fermented wheat germ, fresh well water, and a variety of esoteric herbs. It is a quite involved process, and most younger women don't have the patience or knowledge to ferment it properly. I have been trying to get a starter going for a while, but besides simply lacking some of the skills and expertise, I am missing many of the herbs that my grandma used to add to use. A Suitable Substitute? [...]

February 28th, 2013|Categories: Recipes|Tags: , , , , , |8 Comments

My Laparoscopic Appendectomy

A trip to the Emergency Room   Our last weekend started like any other: reading books, watching movies, and hanging out with friends. The nausea began Saturday afternoon while we were enjoying a good cup of tea and an interesting conversation at J-Tea. I chose to ignore it at first and attributed it to my overly abundant fresh fruit snack. But the nausea continued, eventually followed by sharp stabbing pains in my back. While my husband was driving me home, I threw up for the third time in my life; at this point I knew something was really wrong. I decided it was probably food poisoning and began self-medicating with mineral water, Swedish bitters, and probiotics. By 9 pm I developed a 102.4 fever and chills. I took some Tylenol PM and went to bed thinking maybe I had the stomach flu. On Sunday morning I woke up feeling much better; no [...]

May 21st, 2012|Categories: Diana|Tags: , , , |9 Comments

Probiotics: Part Two – Supplements

There are quite an overwhelming number of probiotic supplements on the market. Pharmaceutical companies are aware of their vital importance in the human digestive and immune system. They each advertise their product as being the best, dazzling the consumer with various miraculous health claims neatly written on the labels. Choosing a good probiotic can be overwhelming and frustrating. I have poured over many labels in food stores, on line, and in various catalogs. There really isn't a perfect one that carries every single member of the probiotic family. But we can try to purchase one that carries at least the most important bacterial strains. ( To read part I of the Probiotics series go here) Source Here is some advice, based on my own struggles to find a good probiotic to rejuvenate and heal my gut flora: 1. When you are purchasing a probiotic, go for the one that has the most [...]

May 4th, 2012|Categories: Nutrition|Tags: , , , |11 Comments

Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe

As I explained in an earlier post, one of the best ways to fortify your gut with good healthy bacteria is lacto-fermentation, a process which results in some of the most mouth-watering foods around. My favorite is sauerkraut, but with a little whey and/or salt, you can ferment all sorts of veggies. Here is my sauerkraut recipe, step by step. Ingredients: 2 medium-large heads of Cabbage About 1/3 cup whey (optional) About 1 tbsp sea salt Herbs & spices (mustard seed, dill, caraway, pepper, bay leaf, juniper berries) (find it here) Directions: 1. Chop the cabbage into quarters. 2. Slice it into as long, fine strips as you can. Tip: The lid you see in the background of Step 1 is from our food processor; we tried to use it initially, but we found that it just diced the cabbage into bits. For this task, your hands and a sharp knife are [...]

April 26th, 2012|Categories: Recipes|Tags: , , , , |26 Comments

What in the World is Lacto-Fermentation?

Three years ago I suffered from a severe facial staph infection. Over the course of six months my face turned beet red with daily flair ups and dryness. At the time I had no idea what the cause of it was. I slowly gave up sugar, gluten, spicy foods, alcohol, all to no avail. I finally discovered the root of the problem when a dermatologist tested my facial dermis for a topical staph infection. Happy ending? Yes absolutely; my skin infection went away in a matter of weeks. But amidst the myriad of tests I had to take, I learned something that  totally shocked me: my gut flora was completely depleted of any good bacteria. In fact, the doctor asked me if I had taken any antibiotics recently because only someone who had been on an intense course of antibiotics could have as poor of gut flora as myself. I hadn't taken any antibiotics in at least [...]

April 23rd, 2012|Categories: Nutrition|Tags: , , |5 Comments

Why I Take Antibiotic Prescriptions Seriously

This past weekend I went in to have my two lower wisdom teeth removed. While some of you might cringe and shake your head in sympathy, the experience was not bad at all. I opted for conscious sedation, the doctor categorically refused to preform the surgery with only local anesthesia even though I tried to explain to him that in Europe it is a common practice. The whole experience was short and efficient. Post Surgery Face Afterwards, I was sent home with prescriptions for 15 Hydrocodone and 30 Keflex antibiotics. Before the surgery the nurse talked to me about the medicine I was to receive afterwards. Nurse: You will take the antibiotic after the surgery in case you get any infections in your mouth. Me: What if I don't get any infections in my mouth after the surgery? Nurse: We advise our patients to take it just in case. After mouth surgeries most people develop [...]

March 22nd, 2012|Categories: Nutrition|Tags: , , |10 Comments
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