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3 Tips for Eating Ferments Without Regretting It: #1 Take It Slow

Does your belly hurt after you eat sauerkraut?

Over years of teaching people how to incorporate authentic traditional foods such as properly prepared ferments, I have heard my share of stories.  This is the first of three blog post with tips and stories about how to make integrating sauerkraut into your diet fun for your gut as well as your tastebuds. 

Tip # 1: Start S-L-O-W-L-Y when introducing ferments.

Often times, folks are so delighted to eat new deliciously sour fermented foods that they do not heed my warnings and dive right in to devouring sauerkraut in MUCH larger quantities than I ever advise.  Several years ago, a friend of mine heard all about the beneficial aspects of traditionally fermented foods and decided to try some.  He started with a taste and his eyes lit up.  So good!  He decided to have a half cup (4 oz) of sauerkraut with his dinner.  He then thought, “If some is good, more would be better!” and ate about that same amount again within a couple of hours.  I did my best to convince him not to continue and suggested that if he waited to see how his body responded to the first large dose, he would better know if that was a good decision or not.  After much dialog, I resigned from the conversation with the understanding that some of us just have to learn by experimenting (I include myself in this group as well!) and left him with, “OK, just don’t say I didn’t warn you.” 

He called me later the next evening to let me know that he wished he had of listened to me and that I was soooooo right.  His results are common – loose stools (and in his case severe diarrhea because of the large quantity), abdominal discomfort and bowel urgency.  I remembered my own exploration of over consuming fermented foods when I was first exploring them and felt much compassion for my temporarily miserable friend.  I recommended that he replenish his lost electrolytes and take it easy and wait a couple of days to eat any more sauerkraut and to just start back with a teaspoon.  In his case (no previous bowel health issues/concerns) this was the correct beginning dose, but for some of the gut impaired folks I work with, 1 tsp would be far too much to start with.  Keep in mind, there are billions (with a B!) of microbes in 1 drop of sauerkraut juice, so go easy on yourself and don’t overdo, especially if you have not consumed many fermented foods recently.  By the way, drinking a lot of certain fermented drinks with high alcohol content (AKA: wine or beer) does not count toward your healthy ferment consumption.  I’m on to you – you know who you are. 

Stay tuned for some additional tips on helping your fermentation integration be beneficial and fun…

Read more about sauerkraut by clicking HERE.

Find my sauerkraut recipe HERE.

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