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“Hit Me With Your Best Shot”… flu shot, that is!

Ok, so now you have that Pat Benetar song in your head and we’ll both be humming it for days, and you may really want to hit me because of that, but, what I really want to talk about are shots of an immunity boosting drink and food that can help us ward off cold and flu.

In my last blog I mentioned 5 things to address when trying to boost immunity.  They were:

  1. Avoid sugar and dairy
  2. Manage your stress
  3. Get enough sleep
  4. Exercise outside, if possible, to get Vitamin D, or supplement
  5. Take a multi-strain probiotic.

I’d like to focus on that last recommendation and how we can support the “good” gut bacteria.  Your gut is the main area in the body where the immune system interacts with what’s brought in from the outside world. Signals from natural intestinal bacteria are necessary for an effective immune response to various viral or bacterial germs.

So in times of stress, or reduced immune, take a quality probiotic, but you can support your digestion and immunity with foods, also.  That’s where fermented foods come in. Kombucha and sauerkraut are two of the best sources for natural probiotics.  My personal experience with both of these foods had been limited to store-brought kinds until the last couple of years, because I was certain that if I tried to “culture” anything in my kitchen, it would end up really bad!

But several years ago, when reading Kimberly Snyder’s book “The Beauty Detox Solution”, she had an easy recipe for what she calls Probiotic and Enzyme salad. I’ve linked the YouTube how-to here -she is so stinkin cute, doesn’t she make you really want to eat this stuff?!! – as well as included a super-easy recipe from Detoxinista that is nearly foolproof to make. Cabbage is detoxifying and cleansing, and super-cheap compared to store-bought raw kraut at $8-10.

 The lactic acid process that naturally preserves sauerkraut is filled with probiotic power! There is a wide range of healthy bacteria responsible for these beautiful ferments, so you won’t find the same good bacteria count in every batch, which is perfect because we want to mix it up!

It’s recommended that you take 3-4 forkfuls at the beginning of lunch and/or dinner each day. It helps with digestion, bloating, immunity, and fighting candida.

So, that’s easy enough! Now, let’s make some Kombucha…

Vibrant Life Oklahoma - 7-Benefits-of-Kombucha

In the newest research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food 2014, researchers from the University of Latvia say the following about the health benefits of kombucha:

It is shown that [kombucha] can efficiently act in health preservation and recovery due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies, and promotion of boosting immunity.

Admittedly, this is the one that caused me some pause, just because the scoby thing was new to me, (scoby is an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), but I had enjoyed the benefits of store-bought bottles and paid nearly $4 each, so I was willing to give it a go.

Here’s mine now!

Vibrant Life Oklahoma Nutrition

That’s just tea sweetened with organic sugar- that’s what the scoby “eats” creating fermentation and probiotics. The result is a little bit of an acquired taste, a little sour and vinegary, but you only drink a little at a time, just a couple o’ shots. You can increase your intake during times of stress or when you’re starting to feel cold or flu coming on.

So, how do you get a scoby to start? You can get a bit from a friend. If you live near me, I’d be happy to share, just message me! (Those two smaller jars were for friends.) Or, you can order online. is a great source for supplies, scobies and recipes.  My own was cultured from a store-bought bottle that I was very, very patient to let grow.

Here’s the recipe that was passed on to me, and I’ve used over and over. I actually prefer to take some mason jars out this first batch, add a small amount of juice -pomegranate or grape work well- and let it sit for an additional 2 days. This creates enough of a fizz and sweetness, that I can almost imagine it’s soda.

One time I ate something that didn’t set well in my stomach, and a took a glassful of Kombucha…. Voila! In just a little bit, my stomach was settled and feeling back to normal. Bloating, indigestion and nausea averted!! Ok, maybe TMI, but if you’ve stayed with me this far, and actually looked at the picture of the scoby, I feel like we’re ok talking about this!

Just be aware that fermentation creates gases and once you seal your kombucha, you need to put it in the fridge. Pinterest has tons of great recipes for second ferment kombucha. But no matter how you like it, just know your getting some great health benefits, and it’s worth it!

Next time I’m going to give some additional tips for home remedies that can help you ward off a cold or flu, or shorten the length of the illness.

Until next time, here’s a toast to health, my friends!

Laura Warren