Sunday, November 13, 2011

the panda quilts: #2: holden baby quilt

while i was hard at work on my first quilt, my mind was already churning about what to make next. a very dear friend was expecting a baby (due in november), and that seemed like a perfect project (and i liked having a pretty firm deadline in mind). i had the discipline not to start working on quilt #2 until #1 was 100% complete, but in the meantime, i picked out fabrics.

i had a whole yard of a lisa dejohn animal print fabric (same one i used for my first zipper pouch) and i knew i wanted to incorporate that...those darn animals with their little cute eyes!  i knew my friend had chosen light green, yellow and chocolate brown baby bedding, so....i wanted to try to incorporate that as well.  when i went to the fabric store, i ended up picking up some lime green (!) and orange (!) filler fabrics. on paper, sounds like a crazy mish-mash, but they all blended together really well. 

i like the looks of those simply-designed patchwork square quilts, so i cut 108- 4 1/2" squares from my seven different fabrics.  the sewing of the squares and rows went very smoothly and went a lot faster than i imagined. (side note: since i worked on quilt #1 over a 3 month period, i was surprised when this whole top came together in an afternoon). the final thing ended up with 11 rows with 9 blocks & the finished size was about 36x44.

i made the back out of some leftover squares & yellow and green solids, but it looked awful. field trip to textile, where i purchased kona natural fabric & a tiny orange checkerboard print (and a chocolate brown for the binding).

i opted for horizontal straight line quilting again.  when it was complete, i washed it and sent it away to california! baby holden arrived on october 28, and i have a secret hope that this quilt will be his lifelong blankie.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

the panda quilts: #1: sampler quilt + quilting 101 summary

several months have passed & i realized i never wrote about my quilting 101 experience. i began the class back in may as a total quilting virgin. while i had learned the basics of sewing during my spring sewing 101 session, i went into this class not knowing a single thing about quilts (and up until this point, i had it in my head that they were granny-ish and meant for country cabins).  boy, was i wrong.

during the 6-week course, we learned about piecing, quilting techniques and block designs. 
we learned how to make at least 9 different blocks which would be used to make a sampler quilt. every week, alexia taught us a new block or two, and we'd usually have to work on them independently at home throughout the week.

the initial stack of fabrics i chose to work with grew during this time - i envisioned yellow & turquoise as the predominant colors - and it was interesting to see how that evolved to include more browns. it was neat figuring out which fabric(s) would go best in which block - keeping in mind alexia's hints about scale, color and value - in order to create a nice visual harmony.

each week i grew more an more confident with my sewing machine and my fabric-cutting abilities. i checked out quilting books at the library and learned more about the history of the craft. i started reading more quilting blogs and buying more and more and more fabric. i didn't quite realize it at the time, but i was becoming obsessed.

when the class series ended, we chose a date several weeks away to reconvene. our goal was to have all of our blocks sewn together with the sashing and border- basically, complete the whole quilt top. at this point, i laid out a few different alternatives before i settled on this, which has similar blocks at opposing ends (a slight method to the madness):

it was crazy to see how it all came together.  as i sewed the sashing, i realized the importance of PINNING, PINNING and PINNING! 

quilt top, complete!

when our group got together in august, we basted our quilt sandwiches (top, batting layer, and back) and learned about the different quilting methods (hand sewing, tying, machine quilting). and that was that! we said our goodbyes and were now left to quilt the quilt on our own.

i was so scared to actually start quilting. i was afraid i'd botch it somehow and end up ruining all my hard work.  but, i had a goal in mind: textile fabrics wanted to do a display window filled with alexia's students' work, and she invited me to participate. i had about a month to finish it up.  i was honored to be asked & i couldn't pass up this opportunity.

i practiced a little bit, then opted for a simple horizontal straight-line quilting pattern using a light blue gutterman thread.  because my quilt was kinda big (i don't know the exact dimensions, but it grew from having 9-blocks to 16), it was really hard to maneuver - very heavy and awkward.  as time went on, i got more comfortable. it took awhile - several days of sewing for several hours, but finally, i finished.  next up - binding!  making and sewing the binding on was easier and faster than i expected it to be. i chose a turquoise fabric with a very subtle print.
quilt back - nicey jane hop dot in 2 colors
 i dropped my quilt off to alexia the next day, and a few days later, it was in the window!

at the start of 2011, i didn't know the first thing about sewing. it blows my mind that half a year later, I MADE A QUILT.  i guess that's the thing about having a passion. you spend all your spare time learning, practicing and thinking about that thing.  figuring out ways to improve and make your own mark. i feel very fortunate that i found something i love doing so much.

if you're interested in taking one of alexia's classes, learn more HERE or email her:

some of the fabrics i used in this quilt:

joel dewberry deer valley - floral drop in barnwood
joel dewberry modern meadow - herringbone in pond
denyse schmidt DS quilt collection for fabric traditions / joann
studio e - brooke by cp designs (biding)
heather bailey - nicey jane hop dot in sky and cream (backing & sashing fabric)
eleanor grosch - zoo menagerie - geometric green
spring street by carolyn gavin - raindrops in blue
innocent crush by anna maria horner - bubble burst in turqoise
dena designs - kumari garden sashi blue
atelier akiko - tiny dot chocolate
alexander henry - april showers

Friday, September 2, 2011

mary blair exhibit at disneyland

scotland concept art for 'it's a small world' 

i've had an affinity for mary blair ever since i stumbled upon her work years ago (as documented here...sheesh, can't believe i've had this blog for 4+ years!)  i've acquired a few books (glad i picked up "the art and flair of mary blair" before it went out of print...), but i've come to realize that her stuff is kind of hard to come by. i know she has some fans out there, but i don't know if she gets all the acknowledgment and credit she deserves.  anyway, about a week before my trip to california, i randomly googled "mary blair exhibit" and was ecstatic to learn they were showing tons of original works at the disneyland gallery (in the past, art galleries in tokyo and san francisco have hosted some of her art).  i was kinda already hoping to spend my birthday at disneyland, and learning this sealed the deal for me. side note: an old grade-school friend of mine hooked us up with FREE disneyland passes. we were blown away, and her gesture helped save us the almost-$200 admission fee. 
the last time i had been to disneyland was 1987. i had no idea if i would feel the magic and excitement that i felt as a 10-year-old, but when the shuttle pulled up to the gate i got a little misty-eyed. when you walk through the front gate, you're thrust into main street, which is lined with shops, restaurants, more shops and more restaurants. the disney gallery was our first stop (and the highlight of the day).  i never imagined i'd get to see those paintings and drawings in person, and i felt the same way i felt when i first saw works by picasso and miro and klee in "real" art galleries...such a different experience than seeing something in a book (or online). it was amazing. there were works from 'alice in wonderland' and 'cinderella', but most of the gallery focused on the concept paintings and drawings from 'it's a small world'. 
'cinderella' sketch. i love the deep turquoise color....
on our way out of the park, we stopped by the gallery's gift shop where i picked up some plates and mugs and ordered some prints from a little kiosk (which was super convenient, since they shipped them to our house and we didn't have to schlep them back to tennessee). basically i spent all the money i would've spent on admission at that shop.  a perfect birthday, for sure. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

the panda sews: another a-line skirt

making a second skirt has been on my to-do list for awhile now (ever since i made the first one, in fact). but then i started my quilting 101 class and all other projects fell by the wayside.  i even had the fabric (one of the denyse schmidt joann prints) pre-washed & cut & ready-to-sew for several weeks. 
 fabric close-up (ds quilts collection in "picnic")

last weekend i finished up my quilt top (one big round-up post documenting the whole process will follow in a few weeks, although i've excitedly shown a few people a sneak-peak picture i snapped on my iphone).  i had some free time last night so i finally got around to making the skirt. enough time has passed that i barely remembered what we did in class, so i was glad i ordered the official amy butler pattern & had the instructions to guide me. i installed the invistible zipper on the outer fabric without a hitch, but my trouble came when i had to attach this whole part to the lining.  but, it's done.  because of the length (a few inches longer than the first one i did) & the weight of the fabric & lining, it almost feels more like a fall skirt - almost a bit too heavy for these near-100-degree days.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

mango salsa black beans with quinoa

mango salsa black beans with quinoa
(2 servings)
1 15-oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup of "refrigerator"/ fresh salsa of your choice (i used chachi's mango salsa & some Mrs Renfro's Hot Habanero salsa)
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (i used 1/4 cup red, 1/4 cup regular)

1) place your black beans in a small sauce pan. add your salsa.  cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes.
2) meanwhile, cook your quinoa: in a small saucepan,  add 1 cup water, 1/2 cup quinoa and a dash of salt. bring to a boil. lower heat & cover. simmer for 15 minutes.  when all the water has been absorbed, fluff with a fork.
3) to serve: put quinoa in a bowl. top with black beans.  
topping ideas: tortilla chips, avocado, cheddar cheese, sour cream, etc.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

the panda sews (and sells!): an apron

i had an impromptu yard sale last weekend & wore one of my homemade aprons to stash all the cash.  a neighbor lady inquired about it, and she ended up custom-ordering one from me! i greatly undervalued/undersold it/my time, but i was so flattered that i didn't even care.  she wanted longer wrap-around straps & 2 pockets.  i completed it minutes ago, and just rode my bike up the street to hand-deliver my very first sewing sell! 
i am still getting all my ducks in a row in order to set up an etsy shop, and i will be sure to keep you posted when this idea actually comes to fruition.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

saturday morning blueberry muffins recipe

saturday morning blueberry muffins with crumble top
makes: 10 muffins

ingredients (muffins):
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

ingredients (crumble topping):
3 TBS flour
3 TBS brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 TBS butter

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. grease your muffin tin, or line with baking cups.
  2. combine all the dry ingredients & make a well in the center
  3. combine egg, milk and oil in a separate bowl.  add to the dry ingredients & stir just until moistened - the batter will be a little lumpy.
  4. gently fold in the blueberries
  5. to make crumble top: combine the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter until it turns into coarse crumbs.
  6. spoon batter into muffin tin (i made filled 10 tins, but i'm sure you can stretch it out to a full dozen if you're less generous when filling the cups).  sprinkle crumble topping on each of the muffins.
  7. bake for 18-20 minutes, or til a toothpick comes out clean.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

the panda sews: free as a bird tote

i spotted the fabric that heather moore designed for cloud9 fabrics on a few sewing/fabric websites and instantly fell in love.  in an effort to keep my fabric purchases at bay, i held off purchasing some, although "free as a bird" was tempting me every time i trolled for fabric online.  i was surprised to see it for sale on, and since i needed wanted to order the amy butler barcelona skirt pattern, i went ahead and picked up a yard. I LOVE IT. i knew it would pair great with some dark grey linen i got at hancock, so today i made tote bag, using the same lotta pattern i used for the mushroom tote.

note: when i made the mushroom tote, i had a hard time sewing the straps onto the bag. lotta says to attach them by sewing a rectangle - i did such a piss poor job on that thing, so i ripped up my initial stitches and re-did them {exercising more patience this time around}... it looks TONS better.  all that to say: when it came time to sew the handles onto this bag, i felt much more confident.

another note: i plan on buying some more of this fabric ASAP - i think it would make a lovely skirt!

the panda sews: a bicycle tool bag

the mister has a road bike & has been doing some distance rides (anywhere from 12-18 miles). he wanted/needed a tool bag to roll up & stash extra tubes, a pump, cell phone, etc.  (and after he got a flat tire a few weeks ago & had to walk a bit in order to find a phone to call me, the tool bag became an absolute necessity).  he found something he liked online and asked if i could try to sew him something like it.  so with this as my guide, i made him this bag (for a fraction of the cost). he picked out a sturdy railroad fabric & i went to work. it has three bigger pockets that have some "room"/dimension to them, and two small, flat pockets.  i also added a d-ring belt to tie everything together when it's all rolled up. i was kinda scared to delve into this, because it's been the first thing i've tried fully on my own without the assistance of a pattern or directions.  but it came together quite nicely and he's pretty happy with it (or so he says).

EDIT 9/2/2011: went back and re-read this - had a laugh that i noted the mister's long-distance rides were anywhere between 12-18 miles. since then, his riding skills have VASTLY improved and he averages 40-60 miles per day and he's also completed a century). 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

the panda sews: an a-line skirt

the final installment of my sewing class was held today. i went in with 1 1/4 yards of fabric and a zipper, and five hours later, i left with a skirt.  it boggles my mind that i was able to make something i could actually wear.  dare i say, it's better quality than the clothes at old navy (though that's probably not saying very much).  we followed the amy butler barcelona a-line skirt pattern, and i chose a joel dewberry fabric called "floral fields" for my main fabric. i made a trim at the bottom, since i didn't really want to hem the bottom up (i didn't want the finished skirt to be any shorter). yippppeeee!  i definitely plan on making another skirt or two in the near future...
don't my knee caps look funny?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

the panda sews: a chicken apron

my sister carrie has chickens & she loves the heck out of them, so as an early mother's day gift, i made her a chicken apron, using fabric from alexander henry's farmdale collection (i love the way the 'crosshatch sage' partners with the chickens! you can find it all over the 'net, but i was also surprised to see it at joann). i reinforced the pockets with some decor bond fusible interfacing, figuring she could fill them with chicken snacks. 

she's a fantastic mother to humans and chickens (and dogs and rabbits) and the most positively influential older sister a person could imagine.  i've never known anyone with a bigger heart. happy mother's day, carrie!i love you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

the panda sews: a sailor zipper pouch

i was really quite smitten with this sailor boy fabric i picked up at textile (it can also be found online at superbuzzy, which is my favorite place for all those cute japanese prints).  those lil' sailors are just so cute and tiny, with their miniature flags and sailboats and anchors.   since i only bought 1/4 yard and i wanted a quick-ish project to work on tonight, i decided to go with a zipper pouch. i lined it with a navy-with-white-polka-dot fabric i got at hancock fabrics.  the final bag ended up around 10" x 7", so now i just have to figure out what i'm going to use it for.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

the panda sews: a mushroom totebag

i wanted to try something out from my lotta jansdotter's simple sewing book, so i made another tote bag.  i used the same natural-colored linen from the raindrop tote & a mushroom fabric i picked up at jo-ann. i'm not 100% happy with how this one turned out - the tote isn't lined (nor does it require interfacing for added stability), so it doesn't feel as strong as some of the other stuff i've made. and her method of sewing on the straps left some unsightly stitches (although this is totally my own fault. it definitely would've helped if i had used a green thread to match the fabric rather than the white).  i'll probably end up adding some sort of trim or ribbon to cover it up.  all in all, i had more success with this tote bag method.

on a side note, i found a crazy-good rowenta professional iron at the goodwill for $6.99 (refurbished/used ones still sell for $75), so that was a total score!  way better than my previous iron.

edit: a few weeks after i made this, i pulled out my "unsightly stitches" and re-did it. i am now officially 100% happy with the results.

Friday, April 29, 2011

the panda sews: linen tote bag w/ appliques

class was canceled AGAIN last saturday, so i've been doing quite a bit of home sewing over the past few weeks. i made a few aprons and have toyed with the idea of opening up an etsy shop. in my "ideal fantasy" world, this would give me some extra funds i could use toward fabric-buying (wait, i guess in my ideal fantasy, i'd already have enough money to buy tons and tons of fabric...and i'd live on a beach.)  but it's still an idea at this point - i'd like to get a bit of an inventory built up- so stay tuned for updates. i guess i want to make sure i'm 100% satisfied with my product. 

i wanted to work on something else yesterday, and this tutorial really caught my eye (linen! little raindrops!) plus it would give me a chance to learn a few new things (sewing with linen & making appliques).

  • this is one of the best tutorials i've ever seen online - helpful pictures, easy-to-follow directions, etc.
  • seriously, be patient sewing the appliques, esp. the tiny raindrops. i used the hand-crank (she offers this advice in a different tutorial: When sewing around smaller, tighter curves or circles: I sew these in a very slow and methodical way, sometimes just a stitch or two at a time if necessary. I’ll sew one or two stitches, then, with the needle in the down position, lift up the presser foot, turn the fabric slightly, then put the presser foot back down and go another stitch or two. Sometimes I’ll even just use the hand wheel on the side of the machine to move the needle to avoid accidentally shooting ahead a few stitches with the foot pedal. I’ll repeat this process typically for just the tightest part of the curve, and get back to a normal speed whenever I can. 
  • full disclosure: the brown cloud is actually covering up my first botched applique attempt. same with the lightest-colored raindrop.  i was able to create slightly bigger versions and go over my 'mistakes'.  i tried hand-sewing them too, but it looked too sloppy.
  • i love the look of natural-colored linen, but it sure is wrinkly.
  • i can't hear the word "applique" without thinking of this song.  "designer jeans with appliques on it"  

edit: i added a trim to the top. here's what it looks like now:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

the panda sews: a big tote bag

when last we met, i had begun work on a tote bag in my sewing class. the next class ended up being postponed because the air conditioner wasn't working (and on an 85 degree day in a 2nd floor old house, you really need A/C...) but we were back on track on the 16th and i finished up the bag:
i chose a deep purple, floral fabric (to counteract all that cute animal stuff i'd been using, i suppose).  it's lined in aqua and has 2 big pockets, with some little pockets sewn onto the big ones (see photo below).  the bag could be reversible, but i sewed down the corners (much like i did for the produce bag) to add some depth. all and all, i'm very pleased with it.
"inside" of the bag

i've also been making some more wallets. i did a cute tree one for my good ol' buddy liz (didn't snap a picture)...and this rooster one:
 my fabric stash is getting slightly out of hand:
our final class is the 23rd...skirt!  in the meantime, i need to figure out if i'm going to take sewing 102 or quilting 101...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

the panda sews: zipper pouches

during last week's class, we made a zipper pouch. i used an awesome animal print (tiger! octopus! chicken! elephant! they have eyelashes & they're all hanging out on the same fabric!) and lined it with a brown w/ white polka-dot print. i felt really discombobulated and out-of-sorts during class, and ended up messing up my zipper piece 3 times (we sew a little piece of fabric to the ends of the zipper) AND i measured the fabric wrong for my size zipper. my zipper foot for the machine was a little wonky, so that played a (small) part in my error(s), but 99% of it was my fault.  and when i finally finished it, i realized i had sewn the fabric too close to the zipper and it didn't zip all the way open. boo. definitely not my proudest day. (side note: the next day, i got a migraine, so at least there was a reason i felt like a pyschopath).

l-r: carrie, courtney, katie. zipper pouches for sisters three! 

i decided to not let the day's failures prevent me from trying again, so i made 2 more pouches for my sisters. everything went swimmingly. the purple spotted fabric is carrie's (i lined it with a solid plum purple) and the panda/pig one is courtney's (lined with brown w/ white polka dots).  everything went really well making those two, so i decided to re-do my own animal pouch. more trouble!   (i'm beginning to think that fabric is cursed, but then again, it was 1am at that point). i finally wound up with something i'm proud of.

last night, my pal/classmate julia & i wanted some more practice before today's class, so after eating and playing some ms pac man at her house (they have many arcade video game machines!!!), i made this for my mother-in-law. it's lined with plain navy blue & has a grey zipper:

today's class was spent measuring out all the fabric for a tote bag, which we'll complete next week...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

how we make our sauerkraut

i've mentioned the mister's homemade sauerkraut when i made reubens and piroshkis.  i've also devoted countless facebook statuses to the stuff. so you may be wondering, "what's the big deal with sauerkraut?"

i had it in my head that i didn't like it (stemming from many unreasonable fears & general disgust for a great number of now-awesome (to me) foods (like rye bread, bananas, and sauerkraut). yet i used to eat mcdonald's happy meals and hot dogs.  go figure.

just before christmas 2009, the mister started doing intense research (as he tends to do) on sauerkraut and the vessels used to make it at home. mrs. claus brought him a harsch stoneware crock for xmas (she ordered it from this website - based out of alabama and very reasonable shipping rates for such a heavy item). since then, we've tried to keep a batch going at all times, although we experience some down time when he goes on tour. and then i have to buy bubbie's or boar's head just to get my fix.

so the mister made the very first batch, but it didn't really like it. i'm not even sure if i remember the first time sauerkraut really clicked for me, but i think it may have been triggered by a seitan reuben i had in chicago last spring. and now, i can't get enough. i like to eat it with mashed potatoes and kale (a la colcannon)...but it is also great all by itself. it gives me energy and makes me feel clean.

so what goes into making our kraut? (the mister used to be the sole kraut-maker, but i've helped out the last two times. so now i think it's safe to say we're co-kraut conspirators).
  • cabbage procurement (usually 6-8 heads).  ideally, we'd get locally grown / organic (or in a perfect world, we'd grow our own), but most of it has come from the grocery store.  reserve a few of the big outer leaves to put between the mashed cabbage & weight stones. 
 29 cents a lb at publix. we couldn't pass that up.
  •  clean it WELL, then cut the core out.
  • i shred/cut, while the mister salts (roughly 3 TBS per 5 lbs of cabbage) and mashes it down. (they do make cabbage-specific mandolins (and we own one), but usage resulted in a near decapitated fingertip (they recommend wearing kevlar gloves) and it doesn't cut the cabbage as thin/consistent as we'd like).
 the wooden cabbage tamper (also purchased from the wisemen trading company) is a very useful tool. prior to buying it, the mister used a standard mashed potato masher. 
  • basically, you mash the ever-loving stuff out of the shredded cabbage in order to draw the liquid/water out (the salt also assists in this process).  put the saved outer leaves on top. then you place the weights on top of everything. after the weights go on, you need the water level to be at least 3cm above the stone. Push everything down with the tamper, using all your might.
  • put the lid on (making sure the "lip" of the lid constantly has water to keep a tight seal), then wait 3-6 weeks (depending on the season/weather/temperature of the house).
not our photo. i wish we could make the lid levitate like that though.
and that's it! (let me just say that the cleaning/cutting/mashing is at least a 2-hour process (with both of us working. solo, it used to take him 3-ish hours). your hands cramp up and your muscles hurt. but it is oh so worth it.
Still need some convincing?  Check out some info i found here:

Specific Health Benefits

  1. Sauerkraut as immune booster
    One of the not so secret benefits of sauerkraut is the boost it gives to immune systems. Packed with vitamins andminerals, sauerkraut has been used as a lay immune booster for centuries.Sauerkraut contains phytochemicals which are created during the fermentation process. These naturally occurring, beneficial by products of sauerkraut help boost the immune system which leads to a decrease in a number of health problems. The common cold, skin problems, weight gain and tainted blood are all fixed by a healthy functioning immune system.
  2. Sauerkraut as cancer fighter
    The most recent evidence of sauerkraut's status as a Superfood is found in numerous studies on the cruciferous wonder's cancer fighting properties. The results of a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry concluded that sauerkraut is a cancer inhibitor. The study discovered that the fermentation of cabbage produced a substance called isothiocynates, which prevents cancer growth, particularly in the breast, colon, lung and liver. Although raw cabbage is normally rich in a compound called glucosinolate, the researchers found that during the fermentation process enzymes are released that completely decompose the compound into several breakdown products. The majority of these products are cancer-fighting isothiocyanates. The University of New Mexico published a study linking sauerkraut consumption by adolescent females to a reduced risk for breast cancer earlier studies indicate sauerkraut may reduce the risk for other forms of cancer including lung, colon, prostate, and liver We are finding that fermented cabbage could be healthier than raw or cooked cabbage, especially for fighting cancer, says Eeva-Liisa Ryhanen, Ph.D., research manager of MTT Agrifood Research Finland, located in Jokioinen, Finland. A recent study by the American Center for Cancer Research has found that sauerkraut has a profound effect in preventing and healing breast cancer. Based on reports that breast cancer rates amongst polish women in the United States were much higher than those in Poland researchers set out to find out why. Their answer; the women who still lived in Poland ate significantly larger amounts of sauerkraut especially important while they were in adolescence. The research found that the women who immigrated Americanized' their diets and stopped eating as much of the super food that is sauerkraut thus increasing their rates of breast cancer.
  3. Digestive Aid
    Eating sauerkraut is a great way to protect the balance of bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. Sauerkraut is one of the few foods that contain the bacterium Lactobacilli plantarum. L. planatarum is a very dominant strain of healthful bacteria which helps your digestive system in the following ways: boost the immune system by increasing antibodies that fight infectious disease help inhibit pathogenic organisms including E.coli, salmonella and unhealthy overgrowth of candida (yeast) create antioxidants (glutathione and superoxide dismustase) that scavenge free radicals which are a cancer precursor transforms hard-to-digest lactose from milk to the more easily digested lactic acid. It neutralizes the antinutrients found in many foods including the phytic acid found in all grains and the trypsin-inhibitors in soy generates new nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, digestive aids and the trace mineral GTF chromium. These various properties are the best scientific reasons given for what has been known by loyal users for millennia, sauerkraut cures an upset stomach and is the best natural physic there is. Many sources say raw fermented foods are beneficial to the digestive system by increasing the healthy flora in the intestinal tract or creating the type of environment for them to flourish. Sauerkraut and its juice are traditional folk remedies for constipation. Fermentation actually increases nutrient values in the cabbage, especially vitamin C. Fermented foods are also said to facilitate the breakdown and assimilation of proteins. They have a soothing effect on the nervous system. The benefits of sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice have been recognized for generations. In some families of southern Germany, the children are fed raw sauerkraut twice weekly to support their intestines. Today it is thought that these benefits may relate to a high proportion of lactic acid in sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice that naturally supports the digestive processes, maintain intestinal flora, and increase the feeling of well-being.
  4. Flu Fighter
    With the spread of Avian Flu spreading across the globe, one enterprising Korean scientist, Kang Sa-Ouk of Seoul National University, took 13 chickens infected with avian flu virus and a couple of other diseases, fed them Kim chi extract and found that 11 of the birds recovered. Experts think the vital bacteria are created during the fermenting process and this gives the dish its health-boosting qualities.