Why I Love Cabbage Tonic! (and you will, too!)
by Monica Corrado, MA, CNC, CGP, The GAPS Chef, Simplybeingwell.com
Can’t get enough sauerkraut juice? Cabbage Tonic!
Is your sauerkraut jar full of kraut, and devoid of juice AGAIN?! Cabbage Tonic!
Do you have low stomach acid? Cabbage Tonic!
Yes, folks, if you are on the GAPS Diet, are thinking of starting the GAPS Diet, or just want to boost your digestion and immune system and be well, I encourage you to make Cabbage Tonic! What is Cabbage Tonic? I like to call it “kraut tonic”. It looks a lot like “waterlogged” sauerkraut, and by golly, that’s pretty much what it is.
As many of you know, I have been teaching traditional food cooking classes for almost two decades now; in fact, my career as a teaching chef began with classes I designed from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook by Sally Fallon, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation. About 10 years later, I began teaching how to cook “GAPS-style”, teaching those important nuances that make certain cooking methods appropriate for the GAPS Diet. The therapeutic goals of the Diet sometimes require “tweaks” in traditional cooking methods that can really make a difference—cooking times, temperatures, types of starters, etc. Cooking “GAPS-Style” and understanding these differences can sometimes result in whether or not healing takes place at the pace that it generally should.
Where does Cabbage Tonic come in? When I started working with individuals and families to guide them through GAPS, I realized that there was often a need for large amounts of sauerkraut juice called for in the Intro Diet. I knew that Sally’s recipe for Cabbage Juice Tonic could provide what was needed, so I adapted it for GAPS. Thank you Sally!
Like sauerkraut, Cabbage Tonic is a lacto-ferment. Lacto-fermented foods, beverages, and tonics contribute so much to health—beneficial bacteria, lactic acid, enzymes, increased vitamin C, (what a great way to get the full spectrum of the vitamin C complex!), some B vitamins, and so much more! (I invite you to learn more about lacto-fermentation—different methods, different starters, the how and the why, in my book, The Complete Cooking Techniques for the GAPS Diet.) Lacto-ferments are an important part of any healthy diet and play a very important role in the GAPS Diet. In fact, lacto-fermentation is what I call one of the “pillars” of the GAPS Diet—along with Meat Stock, cultured dairy, and cutting out the foods that would feed pathogenic and opportunistic microbes.
What makes Cabbage Tonic so special, besides the fact that it can provide a lot of “good bug juice”, with all of the benefits of a lacto-ferment mentioned above? Cabbage, and cabbage juice, have long been known to increase digestive juices if taken prior to a meal. What does that mean? That means that consuming cabbage of any kind—but especially fermented Cabbage Tonic—will help you to digest your food more efficiently because it can stimulate the secretion of stomach acid. Many people have low stomach acid—aka hypocholoridia or gastric hypoacidity—especially “GAPS-ters” (people on GAPS or people who need GAPS)! Low stomach acid can lead to a whole host of problems (not the least of which is not digesting your food)—from belching, bloating and nausea to malnutrition, H.pylori, SIBO, and many other things. I like to call stomach acid “the guardian at the gate”, because potent hydrochloric acidic in your stomach is meant to destroy any pathogens you may ingest when you eat so they cannot get into the bloodstream. Have I convinced you that stomach acid is important?! Drinking Cabbage Tonic 10-20 minutes prior to a meal can help get yours where it needs to be.
Cabbage Tonic Recipe
Makes 2 quarts
¼-1/2 organic cabbage, sliced fine or chopped
1 tablespoon fine sea salt (high mineral, no anti-caking agents)
¼ cup (4 oz./118.3 ml) whey dripped from yogurt or kefir (see recipe below)
pure water (spring, filtered, or re-mineralized RO/distilled)
OR No-Whey Version
Add additional tablespoon of salt and omit whey
Place cabbage in the bottom of a 2 quart, wide-mouth jar.
Add salt and whey.
Pour pure water to the shoulder of the jar.
Cap tightly and leave on the counter at room temperature (68°F-72°F/20°C-22.2°C) for two to five days, or until the cap is taut. (You cannot press it down with your finger.)
Makes 2 cups
1 quart homemade yogurt or kefir (or organic, whole milk, plain, from grass-fed cows, no fillers)
You may use a cheesecloth or cotton napkin-lined fine mesh sieve placed over a bowl or 2 cup liquid measure, or a nut bag placed over a bowl
Pour yogurt or kefir into the sieve or nut bag and let drip for 12-24 hours at room temperature.
When finished, pour the whey into a clean glass jar, cap tightly, and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Place the yogurt or kefir “cheese” in another container and place in the refrigerator. Use as cream cheese! (It is so much better for you than cream cheese that you buy in the store!)
Here’s to increased stomach acid and beneficial bacteria to boot!
Monica Corrado is a Speaker at the first annual GAPS OnCon 2021. Join her, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, and so many others January 30-31, 2021. More information here: https://gaps-oncon-2021.heysummit.com/
For more information about Monica, see www.simplybeingwell.com, FB Simply Being Well: Cooking for Wellbeing, Instagram mcsimplybeingwell, Twitter @simplybeingwell.