Category Archives: gut health

My experience with h. Pylori Bacterial Infection and Low Stomach Acid

Yesterday, I posted about low stomach acid issues.  Ironically, I didn’t experience heart burn or reflux with my low stomach acid, but it was contributing greatly to my Leaky Gut Syndrome by preventing me from digesting my food properly or absorbing nutrients from my food.

The root cause of my low stomach acid issues was revealed when my health care provider ordered a GI Effects Stool Test through Genova Labs and it came back positive for helicobacter Pylori, h. Pylori for short.

h. Pylori is a helix-shaped pathogenic bacteria which embeds in the mucosal lining of the stomach.  It lowers stomach acid levels to create an environment in which it can thrive, which then allows parasites and other pathogenic bacteria to invade the body.  It also feeds off iron stores.

I’ll be honest, learning about this bacteria that was inside of me gave me the heebie-jeebies!

I wondered, how on earth did I get this?  Mayo Clinic website states that,

“H. pylori bacteria can be passed from person to person through direct contact with saliva, vomit or fecal matter. H. pylori can also be spread through contaminated food or water. The infection is usually acquired during childhood.”

Also, many feel that H. pylori is more common in feedlot meats due to the unhealthy conditions of the animals, so the risk of contracting it from this kind is meat is higher.

Those who are at a higher risk include children, elderly, those without an optimal amount of beneficial bacteria in their bodies (such as those who have been on antibiotic therapy), or those who are already ill.

In my extensive reading on this little demon-bacteria, I was thrilled to come across this valuable information by Caroline Lunger.  Caroline highlights the damage h. Pylori can cause:

  • Absorption issues
  • Impairs iron absorption
  • Low zinc/high unbound copper (read here and here)
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, especially for: B12, iron, vitamin D, and lactoferrin levels
  • Food allergies/sensitivities
  • Seasonal Allergies
  • Autoimmune issues
  • Fatigue
  • Adrenal stress
  • Lowered thyroid hormone conversion issues (Reverse T3 issues)
  • Elevated Histamine levels
  • Chronic bacterial infection
  • Parasites
  • Low stomach acid (read here and here)
  • Ketosis
  • Neurotransmitter imbalance, including GABA
  • Liver and Gallbladder issues
  • Peptic Ulcer
  • Cancers of the stomach, liver, or cervix
  • Teeth and sinus problems
  • Cancers of the stomach, liver and cervix
  • Teeth and sinus problems

In my reading and in discussion with others who suffered from h. Pylori, I learned that many people have no outright symptoms which might be typical of H-Pylori, such as abdominal pain or ache, nausea, vomiting, frequent belching, or weight loss. Others may have symptoms that are more subtle, causing dysfunction of other functions of the body.  I was certainly in the latter category.

As I researched, I became increasingly concerned about how poorly antibiotic treatment works for h.Pylori infection.  Since I had Leaky Gut Syndrome, I knew that antibiotic treatment would be an increased risk for me (it is one of the causes of Leaky Gut).  I had come really far in my treatment for LGS and I didn’t want to undo that.

In contrast, I was really impressed with what I was hearing about the efficacy of herbal treatment for h. Pylori.  So, for my treatment and with the approval of my health care provider, I chose:

I believe that the triphala in particular was helpful because I had intense gas pains once that herb got into my system; activated charcoal capsules helped, although I used them as little as possible since they bind with everything.

Treatment Options

Obviously, you should discuss your treatment options with your doctor.  If you’re concerned about the risks of antibiotics and the efficacy of them for h. Pylori, herbal treatment might be for you.  Some of the supplements that might be worth consideration are: 

    • Triphala
    • Turmeric
    • Oregano oil
    • Ginger
    • Thyme
    • Goldenseal
    • Clove
    • Berberine
    • Licorice (note that this herb can raise blood pressure)
    • Slippery Elm
    • Myrrh
    • Oregon Grape
    • Bismuth Citrate
    • Bentonite Clay
    • Baking Soda (helps disorient the bacteria, but also neutralizes stomach acid)
    • Mastic gum
    • Vitamin C (don’t use ascorbic acid which is made from mold)
    • Vitamin D (see these studies herehere and here)
    • Coconut Oil
    • Manuka honey
    • Garlic
    • Cruciferous vegetables
    • Lactoferrin (which can also help support iron levels – see here and here)
    • raw Apple Cider Vinegar
    • Betaine hydrochloric acid (HCl)

Do you have experience as a patient with h. Pylori that you’d like to share?  Join us here!

I’m not a doctor, but a patient.  Have you read my disclaimer?


Stomach Acid: are Antacids or H2 Blockers the Answer?

The role of stomach acid is to help breakdown our food and signal the release of digestive enzymes.  Stomach acid plays a direct role in immunity by killing off any harmful bacteria or parasites we ingest.  It’s also crucial for absorption of Vitamin B12, which is essential for gut health.

While many people are prescribed antacids or H2 blockers for heart burn, what they may be experiencing in reality is regurgitation of bile through the stomach into the lower esophogus.

“Heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest caused by the regurgitation of bile through the stomach into the lower esophagus, is a frequent symptom of low gastric acid. The traditional approach of treating heartburn is to suppress gastric acid by taking antacids or alkalizers. This approach is the opposite of what should often be done, and in many cases only worsens the problem by suppressing gastric acidity when it is needed and promoting it (rebound phenomenon) when it is unnecessary.”

Symptoms of low stomach acid can include:

  • Heartburn
  • GERD
  • Indigestion and bloating
  • Burping or Gas after meals
  • Excessive fullness or discomfort after meals
  • Constipation and/or diarrhea
  • Chronic intestinal infections
  • Undigested food in stools
  • Food allergies, intolerences, and sensitivities
  • Acne
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Mineral and nutrient deficiencies (including iron and/or vitamin B12 deficiency)
  • Dry skin or hair
  • Hair loss
  • Weak or cracked nails
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Vitiligo
  • Urticaria

Risk factors for low stomach acid can be:

  • h. Pylori bacteria infection
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Any autoimmune disease diagnosis including Addison’s Disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, etc.
  • Psoriasis
  • Anemia
  • Cancer
  • Gastritis
  • Colitis
  • IBS
  • MS
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Two ways you can raise low stomach acid levels are by taking unfiltered, unheated apple cider vinegar with meals (always dilute it) or by taking hydrochloric acid with betaine before meals.  Read here for more information on how to dose and of course discuss with your doctor.

Remember, I’m not a health care provider.

For more information about stomach acid, here are some excellent articles:

Kiddie Constipation

Pint-sized constipation is not a pint-sized problem.  Nothing in my years of parenting have given me more anxiety than seeing my kid in agony from severe constipation.

Here is the course of action that gave us hope and, more importantly, relief.

(These tips are geared toward kids, but they’re great for adults, too.)

Game Plan for Kiddie Constipation:

  1. Consistent Potty Time
  2. Exercise
  3. Water
  4. Magnesium
  5. Probiotics
  6. Fiber
  7. Coconut oil
  8. Chiropractor
  9. Massage + Oils
  10. Smoothies

Consistent Potty Time

Make sure your child is having consistent time on the toilet to help him create a routine.  Pick a time of day that works best and make it Toilet Time.  Get some music, books, whatever it takes, and sit ‘er down.

Also, discourage your child from holding it when he has to go.  Some kids just hate to take the time to stop life to go to the bathroom!


Even though many kids are constantly moving, they need exercise.  Make sure your child is getting at least 15 minutes of daily exercise.  If they’re not in organized sports every day, or on days when they’re not, get them outside, running around or biking.  Do hop scotch, jump rope, make snow angels, stomp through crunchy leaves or puddles.  Go for a walk as a family.


Increase water intake.  If Junior’s colon isn’t moist, all that dry poo isn’t going to be able to move.  In our family, we each have our own water bottles and try to drink half our body weight in ounces.  So, my 48 pound daughter tries to drink about 24 ounces of water daily.


Probiotics are ESSENTIAL for gut health.  Whether you choose a supplement or fermented food and drink, the health benefits of making probiotics a consistent part of your child’s diet will build a foundation for life.  If your child has had to take antibiotics, then they are even more crucial.


Yeah, you can ask your doctor to to run a Red Blood Cell Magnesium test on your kid, but our doctor and figure that most people have low magnesium.  Besides, if my kids get too much magnesium intake, we’ll figure it out pretty quickly when they’re trying not to poop their pants.

My kids take 1 heaping teaspoon of magnesium powder in a glass of water with a splash of orange juice, plus a few drops of Stevia, the contents of 1 probiotic capsule, and their daily dose of Vitamin D3 drops.  This cocktail has been really, really, really helpful for my kid with constipation issues.  In fact, she CRAVES it.


Yeah, I know, there’s a big fat debate on fiber.  Do what works for you or your kid, but most people can use the extra veggies.  Our list includes raw veggies, nuts, raisins, prunes, and popcorn with lots of butter and real salt.

There’s also whole husk pysllium, which I hear helps make some amazing bread, although I haven’t tried it.  You can read about the health benefits to it here.

Also, introducing a ton of fiber at once may not be wise.  Start slow.

Coconut Oil: Lube Things Up

Coconut oil can help get things moving.  It also has numerous gut health benefits, so if your kid has gut health issues at the root of his or her constipation issues, it’s a win-win.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic adjustments were HUGE for my daughter.  It is uncanny how I can always tell if her spine is out of alignment because she stops going.  Within hours of an adjustment, she will have a bowel movement.

Abdominal Massage with Essential Oils

Abdominal massage was recommended to us by our chiropractor.  Despite my daughter’s extreme ticklishness at first, it came to be a source of deep comfort and help.  It did get things moving, although it took time and consistency to work.

How we do it:

  1. Using an essential oil blend of ginger, anise, fennel, peppermint, tarragon, lemongrass, patchouli, and juniper, mixed with a carrier oil (usually coconut), I have her lay on the couch or my bed with her abdomen exposed.
  2. Starting at the top left (her right) of her abdomen, just below her rib cage, I work gently using circular motions, moving in a circle toward the right, then down below her belly button.  I’m sure to use the “flat” of my fingertips, not pointy-style.  I go round and round in a large circle, using a smaller circular motions.
  3. When I get to “6 o’clock” just below her belly button, I make sure, as our chiropractor suggested, to work on the area downward a little bit, since that is where the colon goes down toward her rectum.  This is all on her abdomen, but it makes sense to work on that area.  (I’ve also heard you’re supposed to stop over the iliac crest since poop can get caught there.)
  4. Then I go back up toward the left then top.
  5. At first we only did about 5 minutes, but we worked up to about 15 minutes a session.  Mostly, we did this once a day before bedtime, but when things were really bad, we did it twice a day.


Ah, smoothies!  You can hide a myriad of things in smoothies!  Coconut oil, beets, blueberries, psyllium, magnesium, psyllium (mix it in just before) and more.  Some people like to make up baggies of ingredients, but I liked to make a whole batch, then freeze it in Dixie cups.

Please, please, please, stop and do your research before using things like Miralax.

Miralax, which is polyethylene glycol or PEG for short, did a number on my kid, causing irregular heart rate, fast heart rate, chest tightness, and anxiety.

WebMD and other sites note that PEG has been associated with irregular/abnormal heart rate including extra heart beats and premature ventricular contractions.  You can also read some excellent research here:

There is a Miralax Yahoo Group geared toward the discussion of issues and side effects related to the use of Miralax or other similar products.  In that group, I found a lot of other parents and individuals concerned about the side effects PEG caused in their children or themselves.  I also found comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone in my intuition, and I found information that gave me the knowledge to back it up.

Goitrogenic Vegetables: To Eat or Not to Eat?

A lot of people have asked me why I am not afraid to eat a lot of cruciferous vegetables, which can have a goitrogenic effect on the thyroid gland, even though I have Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disease.  My answer?  Cruciferous vegetables won’t hurt my thyroid, they will help it. 

Liver Health and Thyroid Hormone Conversion

Cruciferous vegetables are chock-full of nutrients and vital for detoxing the liver, which plays a key role in the functioning of healthy thyroid hormones, particularly the conversion of the storage hormone T4 to the bioavailable hormone T3.  When this conversion doesn’t take place, the result is an increase in Reverse T3 which blocks Free T3 (the thyroid hormone that’s actively used in our cells) and the end effect is hypothyroid symptoms (fatigue, lack of motivation, depression, weight gain, hair loss, etc.).

This can be confusing to some doctors who are trained to by go TSH because TSH can be what they consider normal.  Even Free T3 levels can be normal, while Reverse T3 levels are building up, blocking all the Free T3 that is there.

Estrogen Metabolism Helps Thyroid Hormone Health

Cruciferous veggies are crucial for healthy estrogen metabolism (those of you taking DIM supplements know this!), which is important for both men and women and positively impacts thyroid hormone health.

Fermented Veggies Help Everything

Many of cruciferous vegetables make great ferments which are rich in healthy bacteria for our gutsA healthy gut helps protect thyroid function.  Fermented garlic sauerkraut in particular is loaded with probiotics, especially s. Boulardii, a good yeast strain; really, the benefits are infinite.

Crucifers are Anti-Inflammatory

Crucifers contain sulforaphane, which stimulates the release of antioxidant enzymes, i.e. crucifers are anti-inflammatory.

Crucifers are Anti-cancer

Crucifers reduce the risks of cancer, even thyroid cancer. (See links below.)

Want to Eat Crucifers?  Keep Iodine Levels Optimal

Unless you’re low in iodine, affects on your thyroid gland are likely not a concern.  The Paleo Mom explains the science behind cruciferous vegetables and iodine health:

“Importantly, the evidence linking human consumption of isothiocyanates or thiocyanates with thyroid pathologies in the absence of iodine deficiency is lacking. This means that these substances have only been shown to interfere with thyroid function in people who are also not consuming adequate amounts of iodine (if you are severely deficient in iodine or selenium, addressing those deficiencies before consuming large amounts of cruciferous vegetables is a good idea; see page ##). In fact, the consumption of cruciferous vegetables correlates with diverse health benefits, including reducing the risk of cancer (even thyroid cancer!). In a recent clinical trial evaluating the safety of isothiocyanatesisolated from broccoli sprouts, no adverse effects were reported (including no reported reductions in thyroid function).”

Frankly, we should be far more worried about the environmental toxins that are causing our thyroid issues (anti-thyroid and mood depressing fluoride in our tap water, for one) than about such nutrient-dense, anti-cancer, gut health-helping foods.

Dr. Mark Hyman also has a wonderful, clear article on goitrogens:

“There is a lot of chatter in the pop-nutrition culture saying that these vegetables have an ill effect on the thyroid because they contain goitrogens. . . .

The truth is, you would need to consume a large amount of these vegetables for their goitrogenic constituents to have an impact on your thyroid. Even more important is that you would have to consume them raw [emphasis mine]. When was the last time you ate 10 cups of raw Brussels sprouts or blended up 5 cups of raw kale in your Dr. Hyman’s Whole Foods Protein Smoothie and consumed it every day?

. . . So, my advice is not to worry about eating moderate servings of raw or cooked cruciferous veggies and to actually make a point of consuming 1 to 2 servings of them daily because they are so fundamentally crucial to disease prevention (especially cancer), as well as normal metabolic function (such as detoxification).”

If you do have concerns about consuming goitrogenic foods, cook them a little before consuming.  Just remember: the more you cook them, the more the nutrients are lost.

More good info on the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables:


  1. Higdon J, Delage B, Williams D, et al: Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis. Pharmacol Res 2007;55:224-236.
  2. Wu QJ, Yang Y, Vogtmann E, et al: Cruciferous vegetables intake and the risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Ann Oncol 2012.
  3. Liu X, Lv K: Cruciferous vegetables intake is inversely associated with risk of breast cancer: A meta-analysis. Breast 2012.
  4. Liu B, Mao Q, Lin Y, et al: The association of cruciferous vegetables intake and risk of bladder cancer: a meta-analysis. World J Urol 2012.
  5. Liu B, Mao Q, Cao M, et al: Cruciferous vegetables intake and risk of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis. Int J Urol 2012;19:134-141.
  6. Lam TK, Gallicchio L, Lindsley K, et al: Cruciferous vegetable consumption and lung cancer risk: a systematic review. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009;18:184-195.
  7. Bosetti C, Negri E, Kolonel L, et al: A pooled analysis of case-control studies of thyroid cancer. VII. Cruciferous and other vegetables (International). Cancer Causes Control 2002;13:765-775.
  8. Dal Maso L, Bosetti C, La Vecchia C, et al: Risk factors for thyroid cancer: an epidemiological review focused on nutritional factors. Cancer Causes Control 2009;20:75-86.
  9. Higdon J, Drake VJ: Cruciferous Vegetables. In An Evidence-based Approach to Phytochemicals and Other Dietary Factors 2nd edition: Thieme; 2013
  10. Krajcovicova-Kudlackova M, Buckova K, Klimes I, et al: Iodine deficiency in vegetarians and vegans. Ann Nutr Metab 2003;47:183-185.
  11. Leung AM, Lamar A, He X, et al: Iodine status and thyroid function of Boston-area vegetarians and vegans. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2011;96:E1303-1307.
  12. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Iodine.
  13. Tonstad S, Nathan E, Oda K, et al: Vegan diets and hypothyroidism. Nutrients 2013;5:4642-4652.
  14. McMillan M, Spinks EA, Fenwick GR: Preliminary observations on the effect of dietary brussels sprouts on thyroid function. Hum Toxicol 1986;5:15-19.
  15. Chu M, Seltzer TF: Myxedema coma induced by ingestion of raw bok choy. N Engl J Med 2010;362:1945-1946.
  16. Zhang X, Shu XO, Xiang YB, et al: Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality. Am J Clin Nutr 2011;94:240-246.
  17. Hooper LV: You AhR What You Eat: Linking Diet and Immunity. Cell 2011;147:489-491.
  18. Zimmermann, M.B. & Köhrle, J., The impact of iron and selenium deficiencies on iodine and thyroid metabolism: biochemistry and relevance to public health, Thyroid. 2002 Oct;12(10):867-78
  19. Barrera, L.N., et al., TrxR1 and GPx2 are potently induced by isothiocyanates and selenium, and mutually cooperate to protect Caco-2 cells against free radical-mediated cell death, Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Oct;1823(10):1914-24
  20. Bonfig, W., et al., Selenium supplementation does not decrease thyroid peroxidase antibody concentration in children and adolescents with autoimmune thyroiditis, ScientificWorldJournal. 2010 Jun 1;10:990-6
  21. Chandler, J.D. & Day, B.J., Thiocyanate: a potentially useful therapeutic agent with host defense and antioxidant properties, Biochem Pharmacol. 2012 Dec 1;84(11):1381-7
  22. Ertek, S., et al., Relationship between serum zinc levels, thyroid hormones and thyroid volume following successful iodine supplementation, Hormones 2010, 9(3):263-268
  23. Hodkinson, C.F., et al., Preliminary evidence of immune function modulation by thyroid hormones in healthy men and women aged 55-70 years, J Endocrinol. 2009 Jul;202(1):55-63
  24. Jakubíková, J., et al., Effect of isothiocyanates on nuclear accumulation of NF-kappaB, Nrf2, and thioredoxin in caco-2 cells, J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Mar 8;54(5):1656-62
  25.  Magnusson, R.P., et al., Mechanism of iodide-dependent catalatic activity of thyroid peroxidase and lactoperoxidase, J Biol Chem. 1984 Jan 10;259(1):197-205
  26. McDanell, R., et al., Chemical and biological properties of indole glucosinolates (glucobrassicins): A review, Food and Chemical Toxicology. 1988; 26(1):59-70
  27. Shapiro, T.A., et al., Safety, tolerance, and metabolism of broccoli sprout glucosinolates and isothiocyanates: a clinical phase I study, Nutr Cancer. 2006;55(1):53-62
  28. van Bakel, M.M., et al., Antioxidant and thyroid hormone status in selenium-deficient phenylketonuric and hyperphenylalaninemic patients, Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Oct;72(4):976-81
  29. Virion, A., et al., Opposite effects of thiocyanate on tyrosine iodination and thyroid hormone synthesis, Eur J Biochem. 1980 Nov;112(1):1-7
  30. Zimmermann, M.B. & Köhrle, J., The impact of iron and selenium deficiencies on iodine and thyroid metabolism: biochemistry and relevance to public health, Thyroid. 2002 Oct;12(10):867-78

Link Up: All Things Pumpkin

If you’re a natural foodie and pumpkin lover, this is the hot spot for pumpkin recipes!

Soups & Entrees

Creamy Paleo Bacon Pumpkin Soup by Fed and Fit

Soup Is Medicine: 7 Spice Pumpkin Turkey Soup

Thai Curry Chicken Meatballs by One Lovely Life (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Whole 30, Paleo)

Paleo Pumpkin Sausage Soup (AIP) by Beyond the Bite 4 Life

Meaty Rice-Stuffed Pumpkins by Paleo OMG

Pumpkin Cream Chicken Casserole by PaleoOMG

Pumpkin Cashew Coconut Curry over Coconut Rice by PaleoOMG


No Bake Pumpkin Tarts (Vegan, Paleo) by The Detoxinista

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe by Deliciously Organic

Mini Cinnamon Doughnuts by Raia’s Recipes

Pumpkin Delights Cookies by Paleo Parents

Pumpkin Cookies by Whole New Mom

Pumpkin Pie Shake by Deliciously Organic

Dairy-free Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups by Primally Inspired

Pumpkin Fudge (Dairy-free) by The Coconut Mama

Easy Pumpkin Custard or Crustless Pumpkin Pie by Balanced Bites

Pumpkin Spice Cookie Cutter Cookies by Multiply Delicious

Paleo Pumpkin Bread by Elana’s Pantry

Pumpkin Mousse (Paleo, AIP)


Paleo Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer (Dairy-free) by Predominately Paleo

Garlic Sauerkraut

Of all the ferments I make, this Garlic Sauerkraut is the star.  It’s jam-packed with an intensely rich beneficial bacterial profile, including a special one from the yeast family: Saccharomyces Boulardii.

S. Boulardii is a phenomenal little probiotic, known in particular for keeping Candida yeast overgrowth in check.  (You can read more about S. Boulardii in this great post by Joanie Baxter at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.)  So many people today face long-term battles with Candida overgrowth: those who eat a Standard American Diet (SAD), which halts the proliferation of healthy bacteria in the gut; those who are facing chronic health conditions such as Autoimmune Disease, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Lyme Disease, and more.

In addition to the vast bacterial profile that sauerkraut contains, the addition of garlic makes it a one-two-punch for fighting candida yeast overgrowth.  But, because of the intense die-off it can cause, it’s best for those with candida to start with consuming just one tablespoon daily and slowly increase over time.

Fermented Sauerkraut can help to not only lower candida overgrowth, but prevent it.

In addition to its rich probiotic profile, sauerkraut is loaded with digestive enzymes, lactic acid, Vitamin C, B Vitamins,

One last thing worth mentioning: as a Lyme patient with lots of unhealthy bacteria and yeast wreaking havoc in my body, this is a really beneficial ferment for me to consume.

Essentially, if you face any health issues whatsoever, this is a “supplement” worth having in your arsenal.


  • 1 head of organic green cabbage
  • approximately 2 tablespoons salt
  • 3 cloves organic garlic, sliced



  1. Thinly slice the cabbage, wedging out the core.Kraut 3
  2. Place the shredded cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of salt.  (Do not use iodized salt for this.  You want unrefined sea salt.)Salt
  3. Using a cabbage tamper, the end of a French rolling pin, or, if you’re really cut out for a work out, your hands, pound the cabbage until the liquid starts to release.  This step helps the cellulose in the cabbage start to break down.Kraut 4
  4. In the 5-liter Fido jar, layer the cabbage and the sliced garlic.  Press the cabbage down.  Kraut 5
  5. Lock the jar, label the date on the jar (I use a Sharpie on a strip of masking tape), store the jar in a dark cabinet, and mark the calendar for four weeks.  It’s important that you wait four full weeks both for the flavor and the bacterial profile.

Kraut 1


Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade has a great article highlighting the most common fermenting mistakes.

All About Gluten

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a binding protein found in certain grains – all wheat (durum, semolina, faro, kamut, einkorn, graham, spelt), rye and barley.  (It’s also in triticale which is a mixture of wheat and rye.)  Gluten is what gives elasticity to dough that give it it’s shape. 

A Word About Oats

Oats do not naturally contain gluten.  (  However, there can be two problems with oats.  First, some, especially those who have Celiac, may have sensitivity to oats due to the protein avenin found in them, although not all with Celiac will have issues with oats.  (See:  Second, oats can also be a problem for those due to cross-contamination.

Those who are not sensitive to oats may prefer to buy certified gluten-free oats, which are processed in a facility where no gluten-containing grains are processed.  In addition, some like to soak their oats before cooking and consuming to reduce phytates (see Information on Soaking Grains, Nuts, Legumes to Reduce Phytates). 

Symptoms of Gluten Issues

Symptoms of gluten issues can be delayed.  Some people report having delayed symptoms around three days after consuming gluten, lasting days or even months.  Symptoms of gluten issues can include:

  • stomach ache
  • gas
  • bloating
  •  constipation
  • diarrhea
  •  leaky gut syndrome
  •  brain fog
  •  joint pain
  • tingling in fingers or feet
  •  headaches/migraines
  • chronic fatigue
  • infertility
  • hypothyroidism
  • ADHD Autistic behavior
  • and more

Note that not all people who have gluten issues have gastrointestinal symptoms.  I didn’t.


What to Look for on Labels

The following items contain gluten:

  • barley
  • barley malt
  • barley starch
  • breading and coating mixes or packets
  • communion wafers (see here for info on very low gluten-communion hosts)
  • couscous
  • croutons
  • flour
  • malt
  • matzo meal
  • natural or artificial flavoring or coloring
  • Panko
  • soy sauce
  • sprouted wheat
  • tabouli
  • wheat (durum, wheat germ, wheat bran, wheat meal, wheat stabilizers, wheat starch, white flour, whole wheat, einkorn)

Cross-Contamination in the Farmer’s Fields?

Beans and Buckwheat flour don’t naturally contain gluten, but cross-contamination in the farmer’s fields may be an issue if you’re really sensitive to gluten.  Educate yourself and use your judgment.

Also, additives can sometimes mean gluten:

  • dextrinhydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • starch or modified food starch (can be corn or other starches, too)
  • caramel color

Obvious gluten-containing foods like bread and crackers are easy to avoid.  But some “hidden” gluten-containing foods include:

  • beer
  • bouillon cubes
  • broth
  • brown rice syrup
  • candy
  • corn tortillas
  • dressings, like ranch
  • energy bars or protein bars
  • french fries (not just from cross-contamination in the fryer, some have wheat in the ingredient list)
  • imitation seafood like fake crab meat
  • lunch meat
  • marinades
  • oat bran or oat germ
  • pasta
  • rice like box mixes
  • spices and spice mixes
  • sauces, such as ketchup, honey mustard, barbecue sauce
  • soups

More info on gluten-containing grains and ingredients and contaminated ingredients from

Besides food, what else do I need to make sure is GF?

  • Beauty Products
  • Cleaning Products
  • Dental Products including dental glue, paste, etc.
  • lipstick, lip gloss
  • Make-up
  • Medications
  • Supplements
  • Play-doh
  • Vitamins and other Supplements

Worried about your beauty products?  Check out my list. 

Prepared Gluten-Free Foods

Be careful with prepared gluten-free foods.  Even though they might be gluten-free, they are often heavily processed and loaded with preservatives or sugar, which are not good for achieving or maintaining a healthy gut.  A good rule of thumb is to try to get foods as “whole” as they can get: meat, veggies, fruit, dairy, eggs, gains (if you can have them), avoiding allergens or sensitivities, of course.

Gluten Issues and Dairy

Some people with gluten issues have issues with dairy, at least until they heal their gut.  For those with Celiac, the villi that are damaged with Celiac Disease can’t produce the lactase enzyme, so depending on the extent of the damage, they may need to avoid lactose until the villi are healed enough to properly digest lactose.

Soaking Grains, Nuts, Legumes to Reduce Phytates

Many people, especially those who have gut issues, prefer to soak their oats overnight in luke-warm water, which helps reduce the phytates, which are difficult to digest.  The following links contain useful information about soaking grains, nuts, and legumes.

Fermented Sourdough Grains can be Gluten-free

Fermented grains can have health benefits for those with gut issues.  Read:

Flours, Starches, etc.

Eliminating gluten from your diet doesn’t mean you will have to miss the foods you enjoy, but you will have to find alternatives, if your gut health allows them.  Flours and starches that you can experiment with include:

  • Almond
  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Brown Rice or White Rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Garbanzo
  • Coconut Garbanzo
  • Guar Gum
  • Millet
  • Nut Flours such as almond, hazelnut
  • Oats (certified gluten-free)
  • Potato Starch
  • Quinoa
  • Seeds such as Chia, Flax, Hemp
  • Tapioca Starch
  • Teff
  • Xanthan Gum

Note that Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum are binding agents which add elasticity, but they can become quite gummy when too much is used.

Gluten-free may not be enough for those with Leaky Gut Syndrome (consider fermented grains, at least):