Christmas Kraut

 

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This spicy, tart and juicy Christmas Kraut is a match made in heaven for your plate, throughout the holiday season.

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Traditional Christmas foods are naturally rich in fats, nutrients and, of course, sugar! Many of us will also be enjoying a tipple or two at parties over the coming weeks. Adding a fermented aspect to these meals, this Christmas Kraut may help the body to deal with and digest all these excess foods and drinks. Hopefully lessening the fatigue, bloating, hangovers, sugar highs (and lows) and of course the noxious fumes that generally comes with turkey, sprouts et al.

Christmas Kraut star loulanatural

Perfect on the plate at the main event or served with cheese, this Christmas Kraut will totally change some of your Christmas traditions!! It will certainly be on the menu for me for years to come.

christmas kraut made Loula Natural

So simple, if you are in a warmish climate you could ferment this in a week and have it ready for your Christmas table this year.

Christmas kraut collage Loula natural

To find out how to make a basic sauerkraut see here and for my beetroot and ginger flavour see here.

Christmas Kraut
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Ingredients
  1. Ingredients
  2. 1 whole green cabbage thinly sliced
  3. 1 whole red cabbage thinly sliced
  4. 1.5% Salt
  5. 250g of fresh cranberries cut in half
  6. 1 orange (zest and segments cut in 3)
  7. 2tsp Pumpkin pie spice (or use a mix of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and star anise)
Instructions
  1. Retain 1/2 of the outside cabbage leaves for later.
  2. Make sauerkraut by mixing the cabbage with the salt. Massage the cabbage until it starts to wilt and release water.
  3. Add and combine the cranberries, orange and spices.
  4. Press the mixture into a fido (airtight sealable jar) jar and keep pressing down to release liquid.
  5. When the mixture is all in the jar and there is liquid covering the top, press down the outside cabbage leaves to keep any stray bits of cabbage from floating to the surface of the liquid.
  6. Seal and leave to ferment on the counter for a week-28 days. Keep tasting the kraut every few days.
  7. Put in the fridge for an additional week.
  8. Enjoy, Merry Christmas
Notes
  1. This recipe is especially nice with cheese or an alternative to cranberry sauce.
Adapted from How to Ferment: Sauerkraut
Loula Natural http://loulanatural.com/
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Can you change how you look in under a minute?

articlesChange how you look

Change how you look loulanatural

Internet marketing bombards our feeds and screens. Countless numbers of before and after images to prompt us and cajole us to buy something. I see these all the time and knowing what is in most of the products, it makes me so cross. I very rarely wear any make up- have very little skincare routine and always use natural products on my skin. I have good skin and I think it is a combination of clean eating and living.

change before and after loulanatural

So I decided to do an experiment. What if I took two photos, different intensions and different compositions to see if I could manipulate perception. I sat down in a chair and I had a set of thoughts, made my facial expression neutral and took a picture. I then simply turned my head away from the light had a different set of thoughts, a neutral facial expression and took another picture. Put them together and posted them asking you to guess. Well it worked!

People instantly wanted to know whatever it was I did, were eager to know just what I had done to “look so good”. I had more comments on this post  in a matter of minutes then any other in the same time period. Everyone asking what and how!

Nothing, I did nothing, except change how I spoke to myself and how I presented myself. I even reversed the images (I actually took the after picture first!)

Yes thats it!

Guess what it worked! Transforming this experiment into a bit of a profound experience for me. Not only was I chuffed that people obviously know me well, many of you expected that what I did was completely natural and probably something fermented! Also so many of you chose to communicate with me, I had your attention. I also received dozen of personal messages from friends asking me for the answer.

All of you collectively came up with the real secrets to good skin, methods I do actually use!;

Water (drinking and directly on the skin)

Sleep

Natural products like clay masks, vinegar, kombucha (I also use rose and neroli water)

Oil cleansing (I also use oils with essential oils on my face and take my make-up off  if I wear it with oil)

Massage (I also love my facials with natural products)

Lots of you, of course, realised that beauty comes from within and of course know that I always talk about the vibrancy and nourishment you get from fresh, real and fermented foods. I was once told you could tell someones health by looking at the whites of their eyes and mine were bright white!

I was amazed how many people actually created changes in the photos, looking one to the other- expecting the before to be terrible and the after to be so much better. “Plucked my eyebrows?” was popular. Another change was had I had botox and my eyes were visibly lifted. It made me question, does how we frame ourselves make people see us differently. When we frame ourselves positively and declare ourselves beautiful- is that what we direct others to see? Try it for yourself- instead of saying to your friends that you want to change something; lose weight, I hate my skin, I have bad/sallow complexion, reduce lines, change hair etc. Try saying how pleased you are with something; I really like this shirt, I love my body shape at the moment, my skin is glowing. See what the other person says, more importantly how you actually see yourself. Do it in front of a mirror.

However, the single biggest thing that makes you gorgeous is the “you” that comes shining through. The person you believe you are, will always come through. Good or bad.

In the “before” picture I told myself how tired and old I was looking. You can see this in my eyes and mouth, a little sadness and despondency.

Before loulanatural

In the “after” picture I told myself how wonderful I am, how amazing my skin was and how happy and grateful I am to be me. So many of you remarked how young and amazing my skin looked.

after loulanatural

Sure I changed the light, but my eyes and mouth are different in both pictures. I really tried to stay neutral to keep the angle and position the same (this cannot be said with most before and after images of course). I wonder what the reaction would have been had the pictures been in the reverse?

other way loulanatural

So whats the point? Well how many of us buy into this way of advertising? All of us I would say- why else would it be so damn popular! How many of us buy this miracle worker, use it and think- oh its a little better but not the same as the pictures I saw, and look for the next thing? Maybe actually all you need to change is your perception, of yourself. There are many ways you can do this and its been a huge leap for me.

Thank you for helping me come to this conclusion, this experiment actually went in a different way than expected and I have learnt a huge amount about myself in a very short period of time. I would love to know what you think?!

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How To Make Kombucha

 

How to make kombucha loulanatural

How To; Make Kombucha

I have been making Kombucha for years now. I love it so much. I even wrote a book about it so you could learn all about it and have it in your own life. Read here for my 5 Reasons to Brew Kombucha to find out why it is so great!

Kombucha is a fermented Tea. It is described as a ‘delicious sour tonic beverage’ slightly sparking and a little like apple cider. The drink is made with a SCOBY( symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Also known as “The Mother” just like with Apple Cider Vinegar. It is a bit like a disc which floats on the surface as it ferments.

Magic Kombucha

Kombucha is an aerobic process so it has to float as its where the oxygen is- if it is not floating after a few days or generate a new film- sadly it may have died. Although sometimes it will sink then rise. It is best to use a wide glass vessel (no metal) that is partially filled. Your SCOBY will generate a film that is the same size and shape as your vessel. As you make more the SCOBY will get thicker and generally grow in layers that you can peel off and use to generate other batches and to share (babies!) As they have no added benefit by being thicker you can share or why not puree it into a paste and use it for a facial?!

This is how you can make it at home

Each SCOBY and brew will be different, much like Kefir. Some will be more robust than others and some may be able to brew herbal teas and adapt to other sugars. Some people have even used fruit juice. It is best to start with a more fail safe ‘tea leaf’ brew; black, green or white tea.  Then play with the herbal teas in the second fermentation.

All you need is Tea, sugar and an acidic environment. The amount of sugar is dependent on your taste. It is possible to brew a strong tea as a concentrate and then water down (also to cool it). The tea can be sweetened while still hot (as it is easier to get the sugar to dissolve) but can also be done when cold

What you will need:

Wide glass jar (I use 1.6 litre Jar)
1 litre Cooled, strong brewed tea (blackgreen or white tea
1⁄2 cup sugar (I use coconut)
Acid (either 100mls brewed Kombucha saved from last batch or 2 tbs of any vinegar) Plastic tongs (to transport the mother)
Piece of cotton or muslin/rubber band to secure)
Plastic Funnel and Glass bottle to store for drinking
Glass Jar to keep mother in (with some reserved tea)

Directions

The tea needs to be at body temperature (no hotter) mix in the sugar.
Then add 100mls Kombucha about (5-10 percent so for a litre about 50-100mls)or  2 tbs of vinegar (any kind) if you have no matured Kombucha.

Add the Mother (SCOBY)

Always cover the vessel with a light porous cloth that allows air circulation but protects from bugs and dust. Kitchen towel works well too.

Leave Vessel in a warm spot away from direct sunlight.
The length of fermentation will depend on how warm it is and how acidic you want your drink to be. Taste it every few days to see if you like it, but on average it is between 7-14 days (can be months-  when it’s really cold)

When it is to taste, take the mother out and place in a bowl to separate the layers or the ‘babies’

Reserve in some of the tea to store in the fridge (cool temp stop fermentation). Have another batch of tea ready to start again and drink tea (bottle as is either in tight sealed bottle or open bottle and store in the fridge) or bottle with fruit for the second fermentation. 

culture your life kefir:kombucha

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Lemon Sage Cordial

Lemon Sage Cordial

Lemon Sage Cordial

sage leaves Loula Natural

Sage has so many amazing benefits. It has seen to be effective at cooling down the body (especially during hot sweats) and reduce perspiration, it also helps to dry up excess phlegm and diarrhea.

It contains anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds which helps to protect and heal cells all through the body. This maintains good circulation of blood and flexibility of muscles and blood vessels throughout the body.

Read more about how and why Sage is so great here. I absolutely love the smell and taste of sage too.

 Lemon and sage cordial Loula Natural image1

Lemons are also amazing for the body. Rich in vitamin C, good for boosting the digestive system and restoring a ph balance to the body. Lemons stimulate the body and they go really well with Sage. Combined with the raw honey and water kefir, this cordial is great for an immune boost, hormone balance, is cooling and effective at helping to reduce any heat or irritability on the skin or in the digestive system. 

The water kefir helps you to absorb and digest the volatile oils in the sage and also help to support the body back to balance. To make it see here or check out my book- Culture Your Life.

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However, please consult your natural health provider if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, on blood thinners, or epileptic before using this recipe. It may have undesirable effects. As always listen to your body and try to take responsibility for your own health and knowing what your body needs.

Lemon Sage Cordial
A great cordial combining Sage, Lemon, Water Kefir and Raw Honey. An immune powerhouse and hormone balancer. Not to be used during pregnancy or breast feeding.
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Ingredients
  1. 5-6 Fresh Sage leaves or 1tsp dried organic sage
  2. 3 lemons- juiced
  3. 1tsp raw honey
  4. 1tbsp Water Kefir
Instructions
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a glass jar
  2. Leave out of the fridge for an hour or two then place in the fridge.
  3. Use 1-2 tbs of cordial to sparking water, warm water or filtered water.
  4. Also can be used to flavour water kefir or Kombucha
Notes
  1. Use sparingly. Good to help cool down the body- especially during a hot flush and also used to help balance hormones after breastfeeding.
  2. Gives an immune boost and can help to dry up excess phlegm and soothe sore throats. Also good for dental health especially chewing the sage leaves.
Loula Natural http://loulanatural.com/
Check out some of my other homemade recipes and articles for natural health;

Elderberry Cordial

Hibiscus, lemon, ginger and honey tea

Lemon, Orange and Ginger Curd

5 reasons to make Kefir

Kefir Gummies

5 Reasons to brew Kombucha

How the Immune System Works

How do I naturally boost my immune system

How to choose Essential Oils

Lemon and sage cordial Loula Natural Pin 

 

Sage

Nutrient Fact File Sage Loula Natural

Nutrient Fact File; Sage

I am a Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist. I make recommendations to my clients based on their individual needs. If this information is useful to you please discuss your options with your trained health practitioner able to help you to make natural choices that are suitable for your individual needs. Take responsibility for your health and choices.

Sage is a herb native to the Mediterranean, an evergreen perennial shrub it also is traditionally grown in south eastern Europe. It is a common garden pot plant. Sage belongs to the Lamiaceae family along with other herbs, such as oregano, lavender, rosemary, thyme, and basil. The general scientific name is Salvia officinalis which is derived from the latin word to save or heal. There are many types of sage (red sage, clary sage and many others) Interestingly the word sage in the dictionary means;

noun

1. a profoundly wise person; a person famed for wisdom.

2.someone venerated for the possession of wisdom, judgment, and experience

adjective 

3. sager, sagest= wise, judicious, or prudent: sage advice.

To call someone ‘sage’ is to call them wise, full of wisdom and those known as ‘sage’ were also treated with an abundance of respect. 

sage leaves Loula Natural

It is quite easy to grow and likes sunny conditions. A popular garden pot plant for centuries with many health benefits. It has been used throughout the ages in chinese medicine, in Arabic foods and medicine (they considered it gave immortality) and in Greek and Roman times. Throughout its long history of use, it has been thought of as a powerful and protective herb. It was one of the ingredients of Four Thieves Vinegar – a mix of herbs which was made to prevent the plague. It is often hung in doorways as an protector (especially in Europe of protection from witchcraft!) or used in purification rituals my many cultures. Known as the “thinkers tea” Sage is one of those surprising “all over good health” foods. It is very distinguished and has an amazing aroma with a tactile appearance. Grey-green, soft leaves with visible fine hair-like growing on both sides. The leaves can grow to about 2.5 cm and looks very delicate but is strong and rich in nutrients with health promoting and disease preventing capabilities.  Sage leaves are used and they are normally harvested just before flowering for cooking with. Tough stems can be discarded before washing them and gently drying the leaves before using. The leaves can then be dried in the sun or in the dehydrator  then stored in an airtight container. You can also freeze chopped sage in a little water kefir or coconut oil In cooking sage is often paired with meat, vegetables, cheese and eggs. It is also traditionally used in stuffing for chicken along with parsley, rosemary and thyme. Pork with sage is another traditional known pairing. Used to both help digest foods it would also help to counteract any imbalances caused by bacteria or parasites in the meat. Since refrigeration is relatively new technology, sage along with other herbs would help as a natural preservative and could help to flavour and enhance stews and also vegetable dishes. 

Health benefits of sage herb are numerous, the following list are conditions that may have seen positive effects when adding sage to the diet. They are also the traditional ways that the herb has been used. The main components of sage, from a medicinal perspective, seem to be found in the oils in the herb which may be why a balanced ecosystem in the digestive system has been seen to help to release and absorb Sage’s nutritious offerings.

Sage has a long list of beneficial nutrients including Vitamin K; antioxidants like vitamin A, beta-carotene levels and vitamin C. Also B-complex of folic acid, thiamin, pyridoxine and riboflavin. Together with minerals like potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium, Sage is a nutrient powerhouse. Organic Compounds include α-thujone, and β-thujone, cineol, borneol, tannic acid, cornsole and cornsolic acid; fumaric, chlorogenic, caffeic and nicotinic acids; nicotinamide; flavones; flavone glycosides and oestrogenic substances. Most of these compounds have been seen to have some evidence of being anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-fungal and anti-septic properties. This study confirms its microbial balancing abilities by showing efficiency against Staph infections. Which makes sense for why this herb was traditionally used to protect against infection and preserve meats.

Menstrual cycle and Menopausal symptoms;

There are phytoestrogen substances in Sage which  may help to mimic estrogen, which may benefit menopausal women and other mensural imbalances. During menopause the ovaries diminish their release of oestrogen. Hot flushes is one of the symptoms of this. The adrenals take over the production of oestrogen and the adrenals and liver are often associated with heat. Phyto-oestrogens can help the body to recognise oestrogens in the body without the body actually absorbing them completely. Herbs with phytoestrogens require healthy digestive system bacteria levels to help access and utilize the hormones as mentioned above. Sage may be able to suppress perspiration and help the body cool down during a hot flush (see this study) Oestrogen may also affect the brain, causing changes in emotional well-being. Sage has been seen to help many to relieve some anxiety and depression symptoms associated with menopause or other menstrual cycle imbalances. Sage may also help others to deal with grief and depression by helping to lift mood and balance hormone levels. Check out this recipe for Lemon Sage Cordial

Lemon and sage cordial Loula Natural image1

Memory, concentration and moods enhancer

Sage has been traditionally used over the centuries to enhance concentration, attention span and has also been seen to quicken the senses and improve memory. Sage may play a role in the treatment methods for memory loss associated with the diseases like Alzheimer’s. “extracts possess anti-oxidant, estrogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties, and specifically inhibit butyryl- and acetyl-cholinesterase (both of these disrupt neurotransmitters message integrity- affecting memory- source)…whilst a chronic regime (of sage) has been shown to attenuate cognitive declines in sufferers from Alzheimer’s disease” (source) This means that Sage will not only support memory function (Studies showed clear improvement in cognitive recall), but also the integrity of message from the brain to the rest of the body. Enhancing messages to the rest of the body can have several advantages for many people. Especially in healing situations to help release anxiety and stress to the body. Other reports suggest that sage essential oil can help to relieve headaches and fatigue. Chinese Medicine has used Red Sage, Salvia miltiorrhiza, also known as Danshen or Chinese Sage in the treatment of cerebrovascular disease for over thousands of years.   Some of the compounds found are similar to the ones that have been used to produce AChE Inhibitors used in pharmacological medicines to treat Alzheimers. They have been seen to reduce plaques which form in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease.  Also allowing better blood circulation through the brain.

 Prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

 Three lobe sage(a specific type of Sage) contains called salvigenin. Research studies found that salvigenin may offer benefits in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases by relaxing the walls of blood vessels. Flexibility in veins and arteries is very important in heart health. Chinese Sage has also been used for centuries as a blood thinner to reduce blood clots and ‘invigorate the blood‘. Traditional Chinese medicine use it with other herbs to help improve circulation and reduce hardening of the arterial walls. Sage’s reported anti-inflammatory capabilities (source) may also help with cardiovascular health as almost all cases of heart health have inflammatory indicators (source and here).  Sage tea has also been reported to balance cholesterol levels by having a positive effect on HDL and LDL levels (source)

Skin Conditions

Sage’s  anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (vitamin A content) may also help us to understand how Sage and Sage oil can help in irritated skin conditions. Sage herb oil can be used used externally, rubbed on the skin, and has been seen to soothe painful ailments like muscle stiffness, rheumatism, and other nerve pains. Through Sage’s support of the digestive system, the excretory role of the skin is reduced and more nutrients are absorbed to help provide strong building blocks for the skin. Sage oil is often recommended as a hair rinse for dandruff, oily hair, or infections of the scalp. The herb reportedly restores color to gray or white hair (source).

Diabetes type 2

By helping to balance hormone levels (oestrogenic compounds) insulin is also affected in a positive way. A research team at the Research Institute of Medicinal Plants in Iran found that “Salvia officinalis leaf extract may have anti-hyperglycemic and lipid profile. This is beneficial for diabetes patients. Reduced cholesterol imbalance is connected to a reduction in type 2 diabetes symptoms. With improved blood circulation and reduced inflammation (as mentioned above) the body is going to work better in all areas. By helping to increase digestive ability and stimulating appetite it is reasonable to expect that the blood sugar levels and hormone levels of the body will be come more balanced, thus improving the lives of those with type 2 diabetes. 

sage leaves Loula Natural

Supports the digestive system

Rosmarinic acid is found in Sage and Rosemary. It may be readily absorbed from the GI tract especially when consumed with a healthy ecology in the body or with fermented products. Once inside the body, this oil has been seen to reduce inflammatory responses by altering the amounts of inflammatory messengers released by the immune system. This moderates the immune system and its response. The rosmarinic acid in sage may also function as an antioxidant. Together with the antioxidant capabilities, sage can help to give the digestive system space to heal and repair. Especially in any IBD (crohn’s or ulcerative colitis), IBS symptoms, leaky gut and other digestive sensitivity issues (intolerances, eczema, heartburn). Like most culinary herbs, sage is traditionally used as a digestive aid and appetite stimulant. You can use it to help reduce gas in the intestines and, as it may have antispasmodic herbal actions, it may also help to relieve abdominal cramps and bloating. The volatile oils in sage help to maintain balance in bacterial levels. The fibre in the leaves and stems can help feed bacteria, making the herb useful to encourage and create a balance mycobacterial environment to help our bodies to function normally.

Respiratory system;

The respiratory system is harmonised when the immune system is less sensitive. Sage’s assistance in anti inflammatory and anti oxidant actions, whilst balancing bacteria can greatly enhance and help to heal the respiratory system. It is often used to help asthma symptoms. Sage is astringent and so may help to dry up phlegm. With its bacterial balancing abilities you can gargle with the tea to help protect and treat coughs and tonsil or throat infections. It is also chewed to help balance the bacteria in the mouth to prevent tooth infections.

Safety precautions;

when breast feeding or when pregnant restrict sage intake (unless cooking with it). The properties have been reported to help dry up milk. It is often used after breastfeeding to restore hormone balance. The herb should not be used in pregnancy as chemical compounds like thujone in it may cause uterine stimulation resulting in miscarriage (hence clary sage is used during labour but not in pregnancy) When prescribed blood thinners, be aware sage (like garlic) has similar actions and will also thin the blood. It is also not recommended with epilepsy.   If any doubt contact your naturopath, herbal practitioner or aromatherapist. 

Further Reading;

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/sage.html http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/sage-herb.html http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266480.php http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/herbal-remedies/sage-herbal-remedies.htm http://www.healthy.co.nz/ailment/2121-herbal-phytoestrogens-and-menopause.html http://www.susunweed.com/Article_Phytoestrogens.htm

Nutrient Fact File Sage Loula Natural Pin

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