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Flu Prevention — In A Jar

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Flu Prevention — In A Jar

Try Something Different This Year
Donna  Schwenk
Donna Schwenk More by this author
Sep 27, 2017 at 02:45 PM

Cold, and flu season is coming. Every year my family got the flu or several colds. But so, did everybody else I knew. It’s normal, right? Well, it’s actually not. This is no longer a common occurrence at my house and it can be so empowering to know just how all of this works and what you can do to prevent it.

Understanding Your Microbes

You have 100 trillion microbes that call you home and are designed to keep your body healthy. Your gut is responsible for 80 percent of your immune system. The more good bacteria you have, the better your immune system is.  A virus is running around looking for a human host to inhabit. When it finds one, your body has special helpers designed to seek and destroy this invader.

White blood cells destroy germs as soon as they detect them. However, if a viral infection begins to take hold, they fight back using a more powerful defense with T and B cells. Antibodies are special proteins made by B cells. They bind to a virus to stop it from replicating, and also label viruses so that other blood cells know to destroy them. T cells have different roles to play. Some act as warning bells that raise the alarm when they detect invading viruses. Here’s where your microbes come in . . . certain good bacteria in the gut influence the strength of the immune system by increasing the number of T cells. There are two kinds of T cells: killers and helpers. Killer T cells find and destroy infected cells that have been turned into viruses making communities. Helper T cells don’t fight invaders; instead, they are like a military intelligence system. When a helper T cell sends out a chemical message, its matched killer T cell is alerted that a virus is present and seeks to destroy it. Having lots and lots of good bacteria in the gut increases T cell production and keeps communication among all the cells functioning at optimum levels. Signals from these beneficial microbes are essential for keeping the immune system strong so it can seek and destroy a virus or infection.

Italian Lettuce Cups

Here’s where the jar comes in

You need lots of healthy bacteria to keep lots of healthy T cells in your body. One of the best ways to do this is to get lots of probiotics. Supplements are good, but probiotic foods work better, are less expensive and sustainable for years to come.  I can help you grow your own probiotics in a jar that makes delicious cultured foods you can eat every day.

On a daily basis, our body uses antioxidant vitamins to boost the immune system.  One of the most important antioxidants for this is vitamin C (sometimes known as ascorbic acid). We don’t have the ability to make this special vitamin in our bodies, so we must obtain vitamin C from the diet. One of the best ways to do this is through cultured foods and especially cultured vegetables. Lactic acid fermentation increases the micronutrient profile of foods. Not only does vitamin C increase when you ferment foods, but many other vitamins too such as A and B vitamins are also increased.  All of the essential nutrients boost our body’s ability to fight infections and invaders and keep our adrenals running at optimal levels.

Sugar lowers your immune system by 75%

One of the things that can affect your immune system is eating sugar. In the 1970’s, Dr. Linus Pauling (one of the greatest researchers in the field of microbiology) discovered that vitamin C helps the body combat the common cold. But what he also found was how sugar can do the opposite.

Let’s say you decide to have a sugary treat. Maybe you decide to have something like a big piece of cake, or some cookies, or a large glass of soda. Any of these would be enough to get your blood sugar to rise. As your blood sugar starts to rise from the sugar and gets to 120 units or above, the white blood cells start to lose their ability to absorb and fight infections.

Your cells think sugar is vitamin C

Vitamin C is used by white blood cells to engulf and absorb viruses and harmful bacteria. White blood cells need to contain 50 times the concentration of vitamin C as would normally be found in the blood around it. Sugar or glucose has a very similar chemical structure to vitamin C; so, when you eat sugar, your cells hungrily take in the sugar thinking it is vitamin C. The 50% concentration of vitamin C in your cells starts to drop and your immune system’s ability to fight a virus is reduced by 75%. It can take four to six hours for the vitamin C concentration in the white blood cells to go back to the normal concentration and to be able to function at the highest level again. So, it’s not a great idea, and especially if you’re sick, to eat any kind of sugar, because the white blood cells can’t get past the sugar to do their job.


Kefir Krunch


A wonderful way to change the world within

Having lots of vitamin C in your diet is a great way to keep your immune system healthy. Did you know that one cup, or the juice, of cultured cabbage can have as much as 700 milligrams of vitamin C, while un-fermented cabbage only has 70 milligrams of vitamin C. Impressive, right?! There are many reasons your body needs cultured foods, and my new book Cultured Food in a Jar has everything you need to get started making your own probiotic foods. They’re easy on the go recipes and I made them that way for me, because I’m too busy to make hard complicated recipes.

Here is a great recipe from my new book Cultured Food in a Jar. It’s the perfect way to boost your immune system and prevent viruses this cold and flu season. I have over a hundred recipes in this book along with free videos to show you just how to make probiotics delicious foods —all in a jar! Learn from your body, feed it food that not only tastes wonderful, but that has just what it needs.

Cultured Food in Jar will teach you how to find a fast and easy way to make probiotic foods that can change your gut flora and speed you on your way to health. Check out the recipe.

Lemon Ginger Kraut

Lemon Ginger Kraut

This kraut is a lovely addition to any meal or snack. Lemons are loaded with vitamin C, which makes this kraut especially important for cold and flu season. And ginger is an anti-inflammatory food and immune booster. It pairs well with avocado toast and even tastes great in guacamole. I also love it on sweet potato toast. Just cut a sweet potato into thin slices, pop it in your toaster once or twice or until slightly brown, and top it with some kefir cheese, lemon ginger kraut, salt, and lemon pepper. Yummy!


1⁄4 teaspoon Cutting Edge Starter Culture plus 1⁄2 cup water, or 1⁄4 cup Kefir Whey 

1 small cabbage (about 1 pound)

1 apple, unpeeled and cored

2-inch piece ginger, grated

1 tablespoon Celtic Sea Salt

1 lemon, sliced


Step ➊: If using the starter culture, stir together the culture and water. Let the mixture sit while you prepare the other ingredients—around 10 minutes.


Step ➋: Remove and discard the outer leaves of the cabbage. Finely shred the cabbage and apple using a food processor or hand shredder. Mix in the ginger and put the mixture in a bowl.


Step ➌: Mix in the salt and set the cabbage mixture aside.


Step ➍: Line the inside of a half-gallon jar with lemon slices, then pack the cabbage mixture into the middle of the jar.


Step ➎: Add the starter culture or the whey and fill the jar with filtered water, leaving 2 to 3 inches of headspace to let the cabbage mixture bubble and expand as it ferments.


Step ➏: Seal the container and let it sit on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight, for 6 days.


Step ➐: Check the kraut every day to make sure it is fully submerged. If it has risen above the water, simply push it down so it is fully covered again. If white spots of yeast have formed on any unsubmerged pieces, do not worry. Remember, this isn’t harmful. Just scoop out the yeast and the kraut it’s on and push the rest back under the water.


Step ➑: When the kraut is done fermenting, place it in the refrigerator.

Storage note: This kraut can be kept in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to 9 months. Makes 32 servings

About Author
Donna  Schwenk
Donna Schwenk is the Kansas City Chapter leader for Weston Price Foundation, a worldwide organization comprised of people dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense food to the human diet through education, research, and activism. She teaches classes i Continue reading