I've learned an awful lot about gut health this past ten months. Eben was born with gut issues, a result of his entrance into the world - six weeks early, Caesarean Section, administered antibiotics upon birth, kept in a sterile incubator without much human touch those first few days of his life. It was far from ideal and has resulted in a lack of good microbes, which means he is intolerant to lots of things.
And when I say lots of things, I mean lots of things - dairy, wheat, gluten, oats, soya, tomatoes, strawberries, and peppers. If he eats any of these things then his digestion is compromised (constipation mainly) and his skin flares up with eczema.
It's been quite some journey managing this, not only for him but for me too given that I've been breastfeeding him. We've followed the GAPS diet as best we can, with bone broth (yep, I even ate organic chicken for a time), lots of coconut oil, olive oil and fermented foods. My Mum's been helping lots and has made this wonderful 'Everything but the kitchen sink' Kimchi", which I share with you here:
Jill's everything but the kitchen sink Kimchi
There are many recipes for Kimchi but I guess the overriding difference to Sauerkraut is the inclusion of chillies.
1 small daikon/mouli grated (I got mine from Forest Stores and they are large, so I only used half in this recipe. You could use ordinary radishes instead and would need at least a whole packet)
2 large carrots (or equivalent) grated
1 apple grated
1 onion (red or white) or a bunch of spring onions, chopped
1 cabbage, sliced (core removed and cabbage quartered). KEEP 2 or 3 of the outer leaves for 'sealing' the mix in the jar.
1/2 bunch kale (red/white or both) or pack of small pack choi, sliced
5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
2 or 3 red chillies finely chopped or 1 to 2 teaspoons chilli flakes (to taste)
4 or 5 cloves of garlic, finely grated or minced (you do need some garlic but can reduce this amount if not keen or increase - to taste)
2 tablespoons fish sauce or dulse flakes (the latter from Hansa)
2 tablespoons Himalayan pink salt (or sea salt such as Celtic salt - as long as it is decent quality.
Using your hands mix it all in a large glass or ceramic bowl, squeezing it as you do so to start the release of the juices. If you do this in the morning you can transfer it to jars later that day. If made later in the day it should be left overnight before potting.
When potting, pack it down so that you force the juices to cover it, but don't pack right to the top of the jar, leave 4 - 5 cm. Fold one of the retained outer cabbage leaves to create a 'lid' inside the jar, then use a bit of carrot set in the middle of the leaf, a little bit higher than the lid, so that as you screw the lid on, it forces the leaf down and ensures the juices cover the mix. DON'T screw the lid tightly at this point as you need to leave it on a work surface for 3 days so that it starts to fizz a little. You can leave it longer but after those 3 days the lids can be screwed on tightly and it can now be stored in the fridge for up to 3 months (if it lasts that long - it is moreish!).
You can vary the vegetables, although cabbage is a staple in it.