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robiotics are all the buzz right now, but have you
ever tried to grow your own probiotics? I wrote
my new book, "Cultured Food in a Jar," to share
how this is actually a very easy, affordable, and sustaina-
ble thing to do; and it can change your life like it changed
mine. Food can be quite magical. After all, it's what our
bodies are made of. The process of fermentation is an
old tradition that has contributed to many healthy and
long-lived cultures. Believe it or not, we're more bacteria
than we are human. Bacteria outnumber the cells of our
bodies ten to one, and these microbes govern many of
our body's key functions that are essential to our overall
health. They're key to having a strong immune system,
balancing our hormones, digesting our food, support-
ing mood and brain function, making necessary vita-
mins that we can't make on our own, and much more.
The healthier and more diverse your microbiome, the
healthier you will be.
Hippocrates, one of the earliest physicians, said
it well when he stated, "All diseases begin in the gut."
We all harbor trillions of diverse groups of microbes
that live on us and inside of us. Some bacteria that are
"permanent residents" and other bacteria are "tourists"
that only stay with us for a short time. If the population
of good bacteria isn't large enough, then an imbalance
can occur. Bacteria send signals to our immune system
to reduce inflammation when there is something caus-
ing distress and flare-ups. Good bacteria train your im-
mune system to distinguish among the good guys and
the pathogens and the non-harmful antigens, and then
they train them how to respond. This will prevent your
immune system from overreacting to non-harmful an-
tigens, which is what happens when your body devel-
ops allergies. Your body is overreacting to a substance it
shouldn't overreact to and treats it like a foreign invader
attacking it, thus creating inflammation throughout the
body. Now new studies are finding that a loss of good
bacteria is at the basis of food allergies.
The key is to eat probiotic foods and let them multiply
and change you from the inside out. This is an easy thing
to accomplish and it's quite delicious, too. Cultured Food
in a Jar allows you to easily incorporate these foods into
your life. Foods like kefir (similar to yogurt but much
stronger) will help you reestablish good flora, reduce
inflammation, and much more. Kombucha, a delicious
fermented tea that is bubbly, can help you detoxify from
unhealthy eating since it assists the liver in detoxifica-
tion. Cultured vegetables are superfoods and can fix
many kinds of stomach distress with just a spoonful. Wa-
ter kefir is a fantastic replacement for soda pop. You'll
not only get a bubbly probiotic drink but also one that
isn't loaded with sugar. I teach people how to make this
a lifestyle by just adding a few things to their diet.
All these recipes are loaded with probiotics and con-
suming them daily is a fantastic way to change your
inner world. Making them in jars provides you with on-
the-go meals and snacks that are fun to make and super
tasty. Eating probiotic foods can make all the difference
if you're struggling with digestive issues, food allergies,
inflammation, or a host of other health problems. Those
trillions of unseen microbes will thrive and keep you
healthy, happy, and strong.
"Cultured Food in a Jar" will teach you fast and easy
ways to make probiotic foods that can change your gut
flora and speed you on your way to health.
Donna Schwenk is the best-selling author of "Cultured
Food for Life," "Cultured
Food for Health," and "Cultured
Food in a Jar." She is the founder
of the blog Cultured Food for Life.
For a decade, she was the Kansas
City Chapter leader for the West-
on Price Foundation, a worldwide
organization focused on restoring
nutrient-dense food to the human diet through education,
research, and activism. Donna continues to teach classes
opening people's eyes to the power of cultured foods. Her
work has been featured around the world, including on
two PBS specials, in Britain's Daily Mail, in Energy Times,
and in MindBodyGreen. Her weekly radio show, Cultured
Food for Life, is featured on You can
visit her online at
Probiotic Foods in a