Fruit Vinegar

Some of you may recall grandparents talking about sipping vinegar “back in their day” and how it was good for their constitution, gout, the sugar or insert-any-other-old-timey-ailment-word-here. And really, they weren’t all that off. Although their Windex-styled fix-it-all solution is hilarious, they really were on to something.

Natural raw vinegars, ya know, the ones with the mother in them, are quite good for you and are a great source of good bacteria that aid in the health of your gut and overall body. (If your gut is horrid, the rest of you is going to feel horrid because you’re not getting the necessary nutrients to pass through the blood-gut barrier or you’re getting mal-digested nutrients passing through. Bottom line – it’s horrid.)

Anyway, fruit vinegar is easy to make and isn’t super vinegary. In fact it makes a great mocktail. In the heat of the summer, I’ll grab a tumbler, throw a few ice cubes in it, some gassy mineral water (San Pellegrino is my fave) and a bit of the vinegar. The result? A light and refreshing drink that’s outta this world.

You’re going to look at it and wonder how you ever bought your own vinegars. Trust me. I do it to myself. In the mirror. True story. I frequent vinegar shops all the time and have been known to drop $100 on a few bottles of fruit vinegars. Yea. I did that. A lot. Whoops.

A few key things:

  • Your fruit shouldn’t be moldy or rotten.
  • They should be fresh, not frozen (I made that mistake once).
  • Scraps work, too! And they’re economical. Which I like. Bruised fruit is also okay. Use peels, rinds, cores, etc.
  • Use organic. If you can’t afford organic, ask your organic grocer if they have “seconds” in the back. Sometimes they’ll sell you those for a discounted price.
  • Also, if you can’t use organic, stay away from using peels.
  • It’s a lot of sugar, but you need to feed the bacteria something. By the time it’s all processed and fermented, the sugar count will be much less, making it usable if you have a special diet. 
  • Keep fruit submerged with a glass plate, rock, plastic lid (like a yogurt lid, BPA-free).
  • A bowl or wide-mouth jar works best because it encourages oxygen.
  • Save the mother!!! If it develops a mother, save it for a starter for the next batch (and omit the apple cider vinegar).
  • The ratio is 1 part fruit to 2 parts water.

Fruit Vinegar

  • 4 cups fruit scraps or fresh fruit
  • 1 qt filtered water
  • ¼ cup organic sugar
  • 1 tbsp organic raw apple cider vinegar (such as Bragg’s)
  1. Put scraps in the jar or bowl.
  2. In a separate container, dissolve water in the sugar and pour over fruit. (There should be about 1 part scraps to 2 parts water, just eyeball it and add more fruit if necessary.)
  3. Use a rock, plate or a plastic lid to keep fruit submerged. If it won’t stay under, stir daily to prevent mold growth. 
  4. Cover the jar or bowl with a cheesecloth or a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band. (Make sure fruit flies can’t get in, they LOVE this stuff!) 
  5. Let it sit on the counter for a week and then strain out all the fruit using a fine mesh colander and a coffee filter. 
  6. Return the liquid to the container and cover it again with the cloth or filter and let it sit another 3-4 weeks. 
  7. If white yeast develops, called Kahm yeast, try to scrape it off – it’s not bad for you. So don’t worry. Otherwise, you can strain it out in the end. If mold develops, also known as the fuzzy stuff, pitch it.
  8. Bottle in narrow-neck bottles, cover and store indefinitely (as in it doesn’t go bad) at room temperature.

Beet Kvass

I’m sure by know you’ve noticed that I’ve been on a fermenting kick… it’ll end. I promise.

… Maybe.

Truth is, having a healthy gut is going to let you absorb the nutrients you’re taking in so much better. I can give you recipes that are “this”-free or “that”-free but if you haven’t given your gut time to heal, given it the nutrients that the body needs to facilitate healing and have repopulated it with healthful bacteria, all of that is for naught. So my latest ferment: Beet Kvass. Sounds tasty, doesn’t it? (Kidding.) It’s definitely an acquired taste and the first few times you make it, you probably won’t like it. But stick with it! Your taste buds will be adjusting and usually people come around.

Kvass is salty and picks up the earthiness of the beets. Historically, it was an Eastern European tonic and was more or less the Windex of that area. (Three points for you if you recognize that movie reference.)It’s weird to think that they have carts in Eastern Europe selling this stuff. But, unlike our fried and greasy food carts or 7-11s selling food laden with high-fructose corn syrup and other nasty additives, this stuff is super healthy.

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(Kvass Wagon from a photo on Wild Fermentation)

According to “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon (which, btw, I highly suggest adding to your library), kvass is

“valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are loaded with nutrients. One glass morning and night is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.”

Traditionally, kvass was not made with beets, but with stale sourdough rye bread. I personally am more than happy with the beets. In an article from  The Weston A. Price Foundation,

Folk medicine values beets and beet kvass for their liver cleansing properties and beet kvass is widely used in cancer therapy in Europe. Anecdotal reports indicate that beet kvass is an excellent therapy for chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivities, allergies and digestive problems.

So here’s the recipe, inspired by “Nourishing Traditions” – enjoy!

Beet Kvass

  • 2 quarts filtered water
  • 2 tsp sea salt, non-iodized and no anti-caking agents (add an addt’l 2 tsp if you do not have sauerkraut juice)
  • 1/4 cup sauerkraut juice
  • 3-4 organic beets, gently scrubbed with peel on, and cut into ½” cubes  (any color beet will work and avoid finely chopping or grating the beets, which can lead to very rapid fermentation and alcohol production)
  • Place beets, sauerkraut juice and salt in a half gallon glass container (2 quarts).
  • Add filtered water to fill the container to just below an inch from the top and stir well and cover securely.
  • Keep at room temperature for 2 days before transferring to refrigerator.
  • When most of the liquid has been consumed, you may fill up the container with water and keep at room temperature another two days. The resulting brew will be slightly less strong than the first.
  • After the second brew, discard the beets and start again. You may, however, reserve some of the liquid and use this as your starter instead of the whey.

Bulletproof Coffee

So. I have a confession to make. I like butter. Grass-fed Irish butter. It’s my favorite.

Okay, so that’s not much of a confession. However, I like butter….

… in my coffee.

Now, while I’m sure some of you are now gagging, and really, I gagged the first time someone introduced me to it. (Thanks, Mom.) I thought she was crazy and my exact words were probably, “Mom. You’re putting straight-up FAT in your coffee, not cream… but F-A-T.” If I didn’t say that, I definitely thought it. So… I tried it. And I’m hooked. However, I make mine a bit different. She just lets a glob of butter melt on top, I blend it. And she uses salted. I love you, Mom. But, ew ew ew. Sweet-cream unsalted for this chica.

So. Butter. Why do I use it? It’s pretty magical and I’m convinced that it was delivered to us by the gods. Or something like that. In reality, grass-fed butter is super super healthy for you. Here’s a short list.

Grass-fed/pasture-raised organic butter…

  • is an anti-microbial.
  • aids in activating the immune system in the gut.
  • actually helps you absorb the nutritional qualities of coffee.
  • aids in weight loss/management. True story.
  • contains short and medium chain fatty acids, which are ready-to-use and don’t have to be converted in the gut to other chain lengths. Thus, it provides quick-burning and sustaining energy.
  • is high in saturated fat. And that’s good for you. (Your brain is 60% saturated fat… it’s kind of important that it’s in your diet. And the whole saturated fat/disease thing is a lie. All massive, big fat, liar-liar pants on fire lies.)
  • is an anti-inflammatory.
  • has tons of Vitamin K2 (only found in grass-fed animal products) – which aids in DE-CLOGGING your arteries. (You might want to be sitting from this point on, your world is about to be rocked again.)
  • and, finally, it’s high in CLA, or Conjugated Linoleic Acid. It’s a naturally occurring trans-fatty acid. And no, contrary to what we’ve been told, not all trans-fats are horrible. This one is actually necessary, and isn’t made by some crazy lab scientists working with rancid seeds and toxic chemicals. This one just occurs. Naturally. And we need it for tumor suppression, heart health, and reduced belly fat/weight loss… which it could be argued then, that having grass-fed coffee in butter might counter-act the weight-gaining properties of coffee. Umm – if this is true, sign me up.

So, here’s what I do for my coffee in the am:

  1. I brew my cup of French press – you can use whatever method you like. I’m partial to my press. But, do make sure you’re buying good coffee. As in fair trade, organic. Chances are there are less toxins in the coffee. Living in Portlandia, I’m partial to Stumptown. It’s good. Real good.
  2. You can start with 2 tbsp organic grass-fed/pasture-raised non-salted butter (I use Kerrygold – it’s cheap at Trader Joe’s or they sell it in bulk at Costco) per cup of coffee until you are able to wean yourself down to 1 tbsp (the optimal amount). But, back to the instructions: Place 2 tbsp in a tall measuring cup and pour your cup of coffee in, making sure you have plenty of room on the side to blend… or get a mop ready. I warned you.
  3. With an immersion blender, blend until the butter has emulsified and is completely blended. If you want a little bit of sweetness, the slightest amount of raw and local honey can be added to the blender. But the goal is to get your energy from the fat, not the sweets. Pour into your mug of choice and enjoy.
  4. This should be your view right before you take a sip:

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If it’s not, you’re doing it wrong. Enjoy!

Superfood Smoothie

Sounds… amazing. Doesn’t it? This is my favorite post-workout drink and might be my favorite pre-race healthy carb-loading beverage… at least the day or two before the race. Speaking of races, I have a 10k tomorrow at the Coast. Now, I live an hour and a half away from where the race will be and, thankfully, packet pick-up is at 8:30. But that still means that I’m up and out the door at the crack of dawn. I’m totally going to be stopping by Dutch Bros to pick up my decaf coconut milk honey latte (the poor baristas) and hoping it doesn’t affect my performance.

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But back to the race. It’s a 10k. Not too bad. When I signed up for it, it was before my detox and I had no idea how much that was going to affect my body – basically it annihilated any and all energy and strength I had. So when I realized that the trail run (pretty innocent, I’ve done plenty of those) was actually a half trail/half sand run, I almost cried. Here’s hoping that my arches and calves can keep up with me. I might have to slow my time a bit to get over the dunes but I will finish… hopefully in under an hour. Really, though. I am pumped. I love running at the Coast, especially in the morning. The air is fresh and crisp and super oxygenated. I can go for miles and miles and miles and not tire. It’s one time where my joints fatigue before my muscles or lungs. So, here’s praying for a bit of rain overnight to harden the dry sand and no breeze to fight. Let’s do this thing. Oh, and I guess you need the recipe, too. 🙂

 

Superfood Smoothie

  • 1 scoop Green Superfood 
  • 1 scoop Protein Powder (I use this one because it contains no dairy or soy or gluten)
  • 1 tbsp Beef Gelatin (I use Great Lakes Gelatin
  • ¼ cup Ground Flax Seeds
  • 2 cups packed Organic Spinach
  • 5 Frozen Organic Strawberries (for sweetness)
  • ½ banana (for sweetness)
  • ¾ – 1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend well. Enjoy!