Category Archives: Nutrition

9 Ways to Use Sauerkraut Juice

How to Use Sauerkraut Juice

Do you throw out sauerkraut juice after finishing your sauerkraut? If you do, you are throwing out a nutrient-dense and health-promoting (and delicious!) liquid that you could be using in so many different ways! Before going into all the various uses, let’s talk a bit more about sauerkraut, and how to get the best quality.

If you are a fermented food lover like me, you probably know the amazing health benefits of a properly made sauerkraut. Not only is it chock full of vitamin and nutrients, it has a high dose of fiber and probiotics to feed your healthy gut bacteria to improve your immune and digestive system. I love what a huge difference incorporating sauerkraut into my diet has made in my digestion and overall health, and I highly recommend you try it out. It has actually been the best remedy for my candida symptoms because it doesn’t contain sugar like kombucha or yogurt that can feed the yeast.

I always prefer making my own sauerkraut because it’s so cheap and easy, and contains way more gut healing nutrients and probiotic strains than the store-bought kind. However, if you do decide to purchase it, always buy it from the refrigerated section and make sure it has the words “fermented” and/or “live cultures” on the label. The ingredients should also be pretty simple, usually just cabbage, salt, and water, without sugar or vinegar. Bubbies is one of my favorite brands that makes quality fermented products.

If you regularly enjoy sauerkraut, you are probably left with a varying amount of sauerkraut juice or brine, and you may not know what to do with all of it. Don’t let it go to waste! These are 9 of my favorite ways to enjoy sauerkraut juice:

1. Drink it straight as a gut shot

Have you ever walked around a health food store and come across “gut shot” products by Farmhouse Culture? That’s just sauerkraut juice that’s been bottled up!

If you don’t mind the sour tangy taste of the sauerkraut juice, this is one of the ways to get a healthy dose of probiotics very quickly. Since the juice contains just as much beneficial nutrients as sauerkraut, but in a more concentrated form, drinking it straight can be a really healthy supplement to your diet. I love taking a “gut shot” first thing in the morning and before going to bed, instead of taking probiotic supplements. Remember: probiotics in food form is much more absorbable by your body  (and cheaper!) than trying to get it from a pill.

How to Use Sauerkraut Juice

2. Use it in salad dressing and other sauces

I love using sauerkraut juice to make dressings and various sauces. Almost all dressings and sauces need some kind of acid to make them tangy and more flavorful, like lemon juice or some kind of vinegar, and you can just substitute those ingredients with the same amount of sauerkraut juice. Not only does it give it a delicious flavor, it’s also way healthier!

3. Splash over cooked vegetables and meat

One of my favorite cooking tricks is, when you taste your food and you think it needs more salt, try adding vinegar instead. It’s an instant flavor boost, and your veggies and meat just taste so much better with a bit of acidity. Using sauerkraut juice as a vinegar substitute is a delicious and probiotic-rich way to elevate almost any savory dish and I do this for almost every one of my meals.

4. Make the next batch of sauerkraut or pickled veggies

Normally, you use cabbage, salt, the water “sweat out” from the cabbage, and/or a bit more water to make a new batch of sauerkraut at home (you can see the detailed instructions here). However, you can also use a bit of sauerkraut juice to mix into the new batch to give the new batch a boost with an active culture starter.

This helps the sauerkraut ferment faster, and helps ensure success if you ever failed at making sauerkraut in the past.

5. Add it to your favorite dip recipes

Another favorite method of mine! I love a good dip and they are usually so addicting because they have a delicious balance of salty and tangy. If you love salt and vinegar potato chips, you know what I’m talking about.

The next time you make a yummy dip like Caramelized Onion Bacon Dip, Paleo Pumpkin Hummus, or Dairy Free Salmon Cream “Cheese,” use sauerkraut juice instead of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice for a fun, healthy twist!

caramelized onion bacon dip

paleo pumpkin hummus

Dairy-Free Salmon Cream Cheese

5. Give it to your pet

The probiotics and the nutrients in sauerkraut juice are just as beneficial for our pets as they are for humans! Just like us, we commonly administer medications and antibiotics for out pets starting at a young age, which compromise their digestion. Also, a typical store-bought kibble is quite dehydrating and deficient in necessary nutrients that are necessary for their optimal health. Supplementing with sauerkraut juice gives our pets enzymes and healthy nutrition, while repairing and restoring their gut, especially if they suffer from food allergies.

You can start by starting out with a teaspoon of sauerkraut juice splashed over your pets food (or even less if they are especially small) and increase the amount as necessary. My dogs looked a bit confused when they first tasted it, but they now enjoy it regularly without a problem.

6. Use it as a pickleback or in a cocktail

If you don’t know what a pickleback is, it’s when you take a shot of liquor and chase it with a shot of pickle brine. I know, I know… This isn’t necessarily the healthiest way to use sauerkraut juice, but hey, if I’m going to enjoy a drink now and then, might as well keep my health in check by replenishing my body with nourishing and healing nutrients. Am I right, friends?

You can also add sauerkraut juice to a refreshing, savory cocktail like a Bloody Mary or a Michelada. Again, if you are going to indulge in an unhealthy habit, this is the to do it in the healthiest way possible!

7. Marinate meat with it

You’ll commonly find some kind of acid (vinegar, wine, citrus juice, or tomatoes) in a meat marinade recipe because it tenderizes the meat faster and cuts down on cooking time by breaking down the protein bonds. Try using sauerkraut juice instead next time and you’ll find that it brings out a delicious flavor to the meat. I especially love using sauerkraut juice when cooking pork as they complement each other really well.

One quick note about using sauerkraut juice as a marinade: you won’t get the same healthy benefits after heating up sauerkraut juice so this is for the flavor purpose only. For its full benefits, enjoy it in its raw form.

9. Use it as a facial toner

How to Use Sauerkraut Juice

You are probably thinking, ” What the f—??” But, it’s true! Sauerkraut juice makes a really great toner because of its acidity level, along with it beneficial nutrients.

The main purpose of a toner is to restore the pH level of the skin, which can be disrupted because of poor diet, stress, environmental toxins, and conventional skin products. Our skin should be on a slightly acidic side, but typically becomes more alkaline because of these disruptive factors. Using toners that are more acidic than our skin normalizes the pH level of our skin to where it should be.

Typical store-bought toners are filled with toxins and hormone disruptors that do more harm than good. By using naturally acidic sauerkraut juice, which is also filled with beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, it gently exfoliates the skin and can be quite helpful for skin conditions like acne and eczema.

I suggest you start out diluting 1 part sauerkraut juice with 4 parts water and building it up to 1:1 ratio depending on the sensitivity of your skin. Store this DIY potion in the refrigerator.

As you can see, there are so many different ways to use sauerkraut juice! The next time you have some leftover, I hope you save it to use in 1 or more ways listed above. It’s a delicious and health-promoting nutritional powerhouse! 

9 Ways to Use Probiotic-Rich Sauerkraut Juice

Guest Post: How to Heal Hormonal Acne Naturally

Amie, from Rebelle Nutrition, is a fellow NTP and Beautycounter consultant with a passion for healing the body from the inside out. Like me, she was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired all the time, and turned her health around with the power of real food. She started having way more energy and vitality, but her skin issues and hormonal acne took a bit more work and digging around to solve beyond simple nutrition. So here she is to tell you what steps made the biggest difference and resulted in the radiant, clear skin she has now. I hope her story and advice help you on your skin care journey!


Amie Tollefsrud - Hormonal Acne

Eating real food but still suffering from painful hormonal acne?

Here are the steps you might be missing.

So you’re eating a nutrient-dense, whole-food diet but still have annoying (and painful) adult acne. This was exactly my story a few years ago when I first made the change to a paleo-ish style way of eating. My fatigue, joint pain, and acid reflux all improved drastically, but the one thing I could not seem to get a handle on no matter what I tried, was healing my hormonal acne. It continue to pop up, month after month, no matter how “clean” I ate or how dedicated I was to my “natural” skincare routine.

After about a year of research, trial and error, and intense healing, I discovered 5 key steps towards healing hormonal acne that have worked wonders for not only myself, but dozens of my Nutritional Therapy clients who come to me with the same problem. Keep in mind, these steps are intended for those people who have already made the switch to a nutrient-dense, whole-food diet. Improving the quality of the food you eat is the first step towards healing; after which, I recommend bringing in the “big guns” aka these 5 steps:

1. Don’t guess, test!

Unfortunately, there are plenty of nutrient dense foods that can still cause a histamine response (or “sensitivity”) in our bodies. This is especially true of foods we eat on a regular (or even daily) basis. Without rotation and a wide variety of different nutrients, our bodies can create antibodies to these foods, causing a number of physical manifestations such as joint pain, eczema, migraines, or painful acne. If you are eating a paleo style diet that has removed inflammatory foods like grains, dairy, soy, sugar and other processed goods, it might be time to look into food sensitivity testing. But don’t worry, you don’t need to run out and spend hundreds on expensive testing just yet. There is an easy at home test I like to do with clients, called the “Coca’s pulse test” that measures your pulse rate in response to eating certain foods. Here’s how to do it: 

Pick 1 food that you suspect may be causing you problems (coffee, eggs, milk) make sure it is only 1 ingredient and not a combination of different things (banana bread, for example, would not be able to decipher it is the bananas, wheat, or eggs causing the reaction).

Take your pulse for one full minute, record.

Put the chosen food in your mouth and chew but do not swallow for 20 seconds.

After 20 seconds, take your pulse again for one full minute with the food still in your mouth (do not swallow). Record your findings. Spit out the food and rinse your mouth if you plan to test again.

What are your results? An increase of 6 beats per minute or more indicates a stress response from that specific food, and may mean an elimination protocol may be needed. The higher the pulse increase, the greater the response. (Want to watch a video tutorial of this? Go HERE!)

2. Heal your leaky gut

You might be wondering, but WHY is my body creating antibodies to delicious and nutrient rich foods? The answer: your gut is “leaky”. Leaky gut is the term used to describe the process of increased intestinal permeability; which means that undigested food particles are able to make their way into the bloodstream – instead of being properly digested an used as fuel. This causes the immune system to elicit an “attack”, aka a histamine response or sensitivity reaction (i.e. increased pulse rate). Leaky gut is at the root cause of nearly every health symptom imaginable, and I find that repairing the gut lining is one of the most successful ways to improve a variety of skin related conditions – specifically acne. Some of my favorite gut-healing nutrients include L-glutamine, collagen peptides, plenty of nutrient rich bone broth, and DGL

3. Change up your skincare routine

I’m willing to bet that if you have acne, you’ve already tried nearly every product on the market, am I right? As a nutritional therapy practitioner, I tried so hard to make the oil cleansing method work for me, but all it did was create a mess of my bathroom and make my skin look greasy. When I finally learned about Beautycounter, a company that aims to remove harmful toxins and chemicals from their skincare products (without compromising performance), I was sold. I now consider myself to be a bit of a Beautycounter whore; but when I first started out, there were 3 products that improved my adult acne better than ANYTHING else I’ve ever tried. Seriously.

Charcoal Bar for cleansing (morning and night)

Purifying Charcoal Mask (2-3x a week for a spa grade facial)

Balancing Face Oil for moisturizer (I know what you’re thinking, oil on acne?!? But hear me out- Beautycounter specifically formulated this oil for acne prone skin, to moisturize and balance out levels of skin sebum and actually reduce excess oil production – how cool is that?)

4. Get off the treadmill

I know, I know. This is one that my clients, nor I, wanted to accept. But the truth is, if you have hormonal acne and you continue to do intense workouts in the form of running, cross fit, cycling, or anything that elicits a stress response in the body – this is likely to be a key player in the formation of your acne.

Intense exercise leads to heightened levels of stress in the body, causing increased cortisol output and insulin production. For women especially, this can also throw off the delicate balance of progesterone to estrogen – amplifying testosterone levels and causing increased oil production, clogged pores, and – you guessed it: acne.

5. Zinc supplementation

Zinc is an amazing skin-healing mineral that most of us are deficient in, despite eating a good diet. Zinc has been shown to lower chronic levels of inflammation and prevent acne-causing bacteria on the skin to become painful and inflamed. It also helps reduce the bacteria on the surface of the skin that causes acne, reduces keratin production that leads to clogged pores, and balances hormones by keeping levels of acne-causing testosterone in check. If you aren’t getting daily sources of zinc from foods like oysters or pumpkin seeds, I recommend experimenting with zinc supplementation in the form of zinc picolinate for around 3 months or so (make sure to work with a practitioner). 

There you have it! If you are already eating a real-food diet but still struggling with hormonal acne, I hope that these 5 key steps will be as life-changing for you as they have been for the clients in my practice. 

Want more? Download my free e-book: Acne Free in 30 Days HERE

Amie Tollefsrud is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and minimalist living in Maui, HI. She recently downsized to a tiny house by the beach with her husband, where she spends her days surfing, building her online business, and figuring out how to cook real food without a kitchen. Find out more by visiting her blog, Instagram, or Facebook page.

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

Guest Post- How to Heal Hormonal Acne Naturally

My AIP Road Trip with My Mom

AIP Road Trip

I recently went on a 2 week Pacific Coast Highway road trip with my mom from San Francisco to Los Angeles over the holidays. My mom has had rheumatoid arthritis for a few years now, which is an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks your joints, and has yet to find relief from pain and discomfort. She still has a hard time walking at a normal pace and gets tired easily throughout the day.

It’s been frustrating and difficult trying to convince her to go on the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet for a while now, especially because she lives in South Korea, where almost all foods are heavily spiced and filled with nightshades and soy sauce. It was too daunting for her because she has a hard time cooking for herself with her aching joints, which I completely understand. So when she told me she’ll be visiting for the holidays for an indefinite period of time, I thought, “What a great chance to put her on the autoimmune protocol!” And it was!

So today, I want to share my experience of what worked, what didn’t, and how we were able to stick to the diet for 2 weeks during out AIP road trip. But first…

What is the Autoimmune Protocol?

Although I’m familiar with the Autoimmune Protocol as an NTP and what it’s about, it’s a whole different beast when you are attempting it yourself, especially while traveling, and it took a ton of preparation and education beforehand.

The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is a diet designed to heal the gut and reduce inflammation in the body for anyone dealing with an inflammatory disease. Especially for those who are suffering from an autoimmune disease, AIP can be quite helpful because it limits all foods that are known to cause allergies and inflammation like eggs, gluten, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, dairy, processed foods, vegetable oils, alcohol, and nightshades like tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and all types of peppers. Yes, it’s restrictive, but after some time of feeling better, you can start re-introducing some of the foods back in one at a time to see which foods you do not react to and which ones you do.

All autoimmune diseases begin in the gut. Once the digestion is compromised by poor diet, stress, genetics, and/or toxins, it can lead to leaky gut, which means that inappropriate food particles seep through your intestinal lining and into various tissues in the body. Eventually, the body cannot differentiate between its own tissues and foreign invaders, and starts attacking its own tissues. This can manifest in many different ways and this is how different types of autoimmune diseases form. My mom’s autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis, is the type that attacks her joints.

By limiting the foods that inflame the gut, AIP can reduce the inflammation that affect the body as well. 70% of our immune system reside in the gut, so it’s extremely important to heal the gut first in order to heal the body. And that’s why the AIP diet works for so many people!

Preparing for the road trip

Like I mentioned above, it took me a few hours of studying and educating myself to get prepared for this trip. I had to start from scratch with how to cook in the kitchen, what spices to use (and not to use), and which new ingredients to purchase that were AIP-friendly. AIP blogs like The Paleo Mom, Phoenix Helix, The Curious Coconut, and Autoimmune Wellness were EXTREMELY helpful. I also bought 2 books: The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook and The Autoimmune Wellness Cookbook, and I can’t recommend them enough if you are starting your AIP journey. They had some amazing insights and recipes to start out with.

AIP Road Trip

Besides the knowledge piece, I did a ton of prep cooking before the beginning of the trip. I made Fig Energy Bites (above photo), AIP Mayonnaise, Bacon-Beef Liver Pâte, and Carrot Ginger Soup from The Autoimmune Wellness Cookbook, as well as bone broth, sauerkraut, and AIP breakfast pork sausage.

AIP Road Trip

I also bought tons of snacks for the road. The last thing I wanted was us getting hungry and having to stop at a random restaurant in the middle of nowhere, where we have to slip on the AIP diet because nothing on the menu is compliant. These snacks were lifesaver on the road and it was able to hold us up until we found a kitchen or a food allergy conscious restaurant.

Some of the snack items were:

Dining in

During the 2 weeks, it took us about a little over a week to get from SF to LA, with many stops along the way. We made sure to only stay at Airbnbs with a full kitchen, so we can really focus on quality home cooked meals. Like I mentioned, I used the cookbooks that I bought and AIP blogs for delicious recipe ideas and inspirations. However, I’m such a free spirit in the kitchen and don’t like to follow recipes exactly. So after trying out several recipes, I quickly got more comfortable with AIP cooking, and was able to produce my own recipes and ideas. You probably noticed that my past few recipes are AIP-friendly and that’s because I was able to be more creative once I became familiar with the Autoimmune Protocol!

AIP Road Trip

One of the most helpful tricks was batch cooking, especially when we wanted to spend more time exploring the area and the beautiful coasts and less time in the kitchen. By making multiple portions at once, we were able to enjoy the leftovers for 2-3 more meals which made sticking to the AIP diet much more manageable.

Dining out

When first going on the AIP diet, it’s really difficult to dine out because most restaurants use cracked black peppers, nightshade spices, and vegetable oils. I knew that eating at restaurants may be unavoidable at times while traveling, so I researched a lot to find places that were food allergy friendly, gluten free, and/or farm-to-table to make sure they used quality ingredients. Yelp was honestly our best friend and I used search terms like “organic,” “gluten free,” “nightshades,” “paleo,” and “food allergies” to find dining spots that would cater to my mom’s diet.

AIP Road Trip

AIP Road Trip

I was actually surprised about how accommodating these restaurants were and how they allowed us to change the dish completely to fit my mom’s diet. I even asked some places if they could cook her food in olive oil instead of vegetable oil and they were totally fine with it. I think the trick is to be super nice and friendly, and don’t be afraid to ask a bunch of questions.

It was surprising to find out that a lot of the servers knew what nightshade vegetables were! We ended up paying a bit more for her meals but I think it was totally worth it to stay on the safe side. We even brought our own dressing to the restaurants so she can enjoy burgers and salads without worrying about the inflammatory oils in the dressings they serve.

It was a bit more difficult when we decided to eat Korean food in LA, because all the sauces and side dishes were heavy on the soy sauce. However, we were able to get Korean BBQ with non-seasoned meats, and oxtail soups that we asked them to hold the black pepper for. It worked out really well and we were able to avoid non-AIP foods to the best of our abilities.

My mom’s progress

It’s actually a bit too early to tell if the diet has changed her flare ups. We’ve been on the road for 2 weeks with occasional dining out, so you can see why it’s difficult to be 100% compliant to the AIP diet. However, I do see that she has more energy throughout the day and she’s been talking about how much better she’s been sleeping. She’s also been eating a lot when this time last year, she didn’t have much of an appetite. This is a good thing because she lost so much weight in the last few years because of her illness and she has always been skinny. I think the diet definitely helped her feel better overall so I hope to update you later when there’s more progress.

The road trip is over but my mom is still staying with me for an indefinite period of time, so we are sticking to the AIP diet while she’s here. Expect to see more AIP recipes from me because that’s mostly what I’ve been cooking up recently!

AIP Road Trip

If you or anyone you know suffers from an autoimmune disease and you need help on how to get started, or if you have any questions about my experience with my mom, do not hesitate to contact me! I love sharing my stories with you all, especially if it can help you or your loved ones in your health journey. I look forward to updating you again soon so stay tuned!

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

AIP Autoimmune Protocol Road Trip Travel