Superfoods for Optimal Gluten-Free Gut Health

Afke Zonderland, Chef and Founder, Okanagan Rawsome

Afke Zonderland, Chef and Founder, Okanagan Rawsome

Afke Zonderland is the innovative chef behind Okanagan Rawsome, a made in BC success story! She makes it her mission to awaken your taste buds – and your minds – to delicious raw, sprouted, gluten-free vegan crisps. Afke promotes a plant-passionate lifestyle and the tasty recipes that will win you over. In Superfoods for Optimal Gut Health, Afke shares the secret to maintaining your gluten-free health – inside and out.

Heathy Soil, Healthy Microbes in The Atlantic

Heathy Soil, Healthy Microbes in The Atlantic

Farmers and gardeners alike know that a diversity of soil micro organisms are essential for healthy crops. The same can be said for our microbiome, or the ecological community of microorganisms that literally share our body space. In fact,  bacteria outnumber the cells in our body 10 to 1!  It is no surprise then that our immune system is 90% dependent on friendly active bacteria.

The food we eat contribute to the health and well being of our microbiome. Lacto fermented foods in particular are an ancient source of friendly bacteria, and are often used as starter cultures in the production of yogurt, cheese, sauerkraut, pickles, beer, wine, cider, kimchi, cocoa, kefir and more. Cultures all around the world have fermented dairy, grains, beans, vegetable fruits, meat and fish.

fermented foods

image by Shutterstock

On the other hand, it is said that “All disease begins in the gut”.  The alteration or destruction of our gut bacteria has been correlated to an incredible range of illnesses and conditions, some of them chronic: diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, arthritis, autism, depression and obesity.

How have we gained so much knowledge in technology in the last 100 years yet lost our gut microbiome?

  • The consumption of fermented foods saw a drastic decline as refrigeration kept vegetables, fruit and dairy fresh for weeks or months.
  • Replenishing our healthy gut bacteria with probiotics aids in re-colonizing our biodome with 20 to 50 billion units per serving after hospitalization or a round of antibiotics.
  • That said,  lab test confirm that vegetables produced by probiotic starter cultures had 10 trillion colony-forming units of bacteria.
  • One serving of vegetables is equal to an entire bottle of high potency (expensive) probiotics!

The Benefits of Fermented Foods

  • Eating some fermented food everyday protects you from the onslaught of antibiotics that we are exposed to from many different sources.
  • Fermented foods harmonize stomach acidity. Goodbye Pepto Bismol!
  • Fermented foods  stimulate peristalsis movement of food through the intestines, assist in blood circulation and prevent constipation. Goodbye Metamucil!
  • Lactic Acid locks and unlocks secretion glands as needed.  This is especially great news for diabetics as there is no demand on the pancreas due to predigested sugar fermentation.
  • Fermented foods reduce plaque buildup on the teeth. You still need to brush and floss though!
  • Fermented foods can transform the organisms in our bodies to those that produce a full range of B Vitamins.
  • Further reading:

Perhaps we need to get some dirt under our nails once in awhile and relax when our children ingest a little soil along with the raspberry that fell from the bucket. Lacking that, here is a recipe that can help to get you started on your journey to better digestive health!

Fermented-CabbageSauerkraut with Carrots

  • 1 medium head cabbage, shredded (use mandolin or food processor)
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup whey


  • Combine cabbage, carrots, sea salt, and whey in a medium bowl.
  • Cover with a tea towel and leave to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes while salt pulls juices out of veggies.
  • Remove towel about halfway through and massage with your hands to make sure it’s getting juicy.
  • Transfer to a wide-mouth quart jar or other fermenting container.
  • Press down firmly, so that liquid comes to top of mixture.  (You can place a couple of large leaves on the top.) Leave 1″ space at top of jar.
  • Cover tightly with lid or airlock.
  • After 24 hours, open the jar and press down firmly on ingredients a few times to make sure liquid is fully covering the mixture.
  • Leave at room temperature for 4 to 6 days.
  • Transfer to cool storage.

Okanagan Rawsome CCA ReviewApples and carrots from the Okanagan, dehydrated sprouted seeds and fruit offer gluten-free fuel for healthy celiacs and athletes alike! These ‘Smoothies in a Cracker’ come in 4 flavors: Choc-Ginger, Cran-Raisin, Flax-Sesame and Spicy-Chia-Hemp

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Okanagan Rawsome is a proud Sponsor of the Canadian Celiac Association’s Classes for the Newly Diagnosed. Details hereOkanagan RawsomeOkanagan Rawsomeraw vegan crisps