We’ll take cabbage anyway we can get it, but preferably fermented and kimchi-ed. Enter Wildbrine, our go-to for all things gut health, and a company that specializes in organic, probiotic-rich fermented foods including sauerkrauts, kimchis, salsas, and srirachas for improved gut health.
Here, Wildrine talks us through how our gut is “our second brain” and why fermented foods have such magical powers over our guts and have a major advantage over supplements when it comes to gut health.
The Culinistas: So little is known about the gut. What’s a misconception people might have about gut health?
Wildbrine: That achieving a healthy gut is as simple as taking a supplement. The human microbiome is a very complicated part of the body. Scientists are only just now discovering its mysteries as well as its importance to immunity and overall health. When you get your natural, gut-building probiotics from food, you’re partaking in millennia-long traditions of human cultures from all around the world, and the food-based probiotics are able to live all the way through the journey from the mouth to the gut. Many supplements break down before your body is able to gain the probiotic benefits. Fermented foods have one major advantage: many of the probiotics are sequestered within the foodstuffs, protected from that initial harsh stomach environment.
TC: What’s one easy thing anyone can do to take care of the gut?
W: Eat raw fermented foods! Sauerkraut, kimchi, sriracha, miso, yogurt, and kefir are among the delicious examples of foods that will build up your gut health. Just make sure not to cook them to keep the probiotics intact.
TC: What’s the biggest impact of fermented foods on the gut?
W: When the probiotic microbes are alive and working within a food, a synergy happens that creates more benefits than the sum of the food, probiotics, and human digestive system benefits alone would predict. There is study upon study showing that our gut is our second brain and basically serves as the mothership for our functioning organ systems. According to a Harvard Research study, “An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel.” And the flora in your digestive system has been shown to impact your health. In fact, it is often the root cause of numerous ailments that could affect your body. Don’t underestimate this: Probiotics do far more than just “aid your digestive system.” Research by the National Institutes of Health shows that probiotics can assist with:
- Bladder and urinary tract infections
- Irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis
- Treating diarrhea
- Depression and anxiety
- Reducing “bad” LDL cholesterol levels
- Boosting your immune system
- Helping with weight loss and belly fat
TC: If your gut was a celebrity, who would it be and why?
W: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Healthy, fit and ready to rumble.
TC: Tell us about a time when you followed your gut and it paid off in spades.
W: One of our founders, Rick, was “chief mentor” for teens at the Ceres Community Project, a local Santa Rosa, California-based nonprofit whose mission is to restore locally grown, organic whole food to its place as the foundation of health for people, communities, and the planet. Rick’s role was to help develop large quantities of naturally fermented kraut for the organization’s client base of cancer patients. The krauts were a hit, so much so that Rick and Chris (Rick’s co-founder) helped Ceres sell the products to a few local stores as a way to raise funds for Ceres. When the success of the natural krauts grew beyond the scope of the Ceres mission, the executive director asked if we wanted to take over the kraut business. We went with our gut and said yes.
TC: What’s one thing you’ve never had the guts to do, but always wanted to try?
W: Pretty much nothing. We are a company that constantly innovates and tries new things. In fact, we’re opening WildCreamery in 2021, a new facility dedicated to producing a variety of plant-based dairy alternative products. Jumping into a different product category takes guts!
TC: What is your gut telling you is in store for 2021?
W: More people eating fermented foods to boost their immunity and overall health. It’s natural and delicious!
We asked Wildbrine to select six items from our Go With Your Gut menu and tell us why.
Spinach & Artichoke Dip with Crudités & Sourdough (spinach, marinated artichokes, sheep’s feta, yogurt, parsley, za’atar, sourdough, vegetables)
“Add a tablespoon (two if you like spicy!) of Wildbrine Sriracha for a probiotic and prebiotic boost! Prebiotics feed the beneficial probiotic bacteria that make up our gut biome.”
Think Pinker Salad (beet, radicchio, walnut, chevre, raisin, red wine vinegar, sumac)
“Add a ¼ cup of Wildbrine Red Beet and Red Cabbage Sauerkraut for a bigger probiotic fermented foods punch, as well as a zing of sour deliciousness.”
Shrimp with Tomato & Spinach (wild shrimp, tomato, spinach, sage, garlic, lemon)
“Adding two tablespoons of Wildbrine Dill & Garlic Organic Kraut just before serving would provide a full serving of fermented foods, with prebiotic garlic feeding the probiotics in the fiber-filled, fermented cabbage.”
Sea Bass with Leeks & Spinach (wild sea bass, leek, spinach, rosemary, lemon)
“A few tablespoons of Wildbrine Korean Kimchi would add delicious probiotics to this dish, as well as plenty of flavor. With the leek’s prebiotics, it’s a win-win combo.”
Miso Asparagus (asparagus, sesame seed, miso, parsley, lemon)
“Sriracha and asparagus are like a match made in gut health heaven. Miso is a probiotic-rich condiment that works hand-in-hand with prebiotic asparagus to further gut health. Squirt on a topper right before serving.”
Mushroom Grains Bowl (buckwheat, mushroom, apple, gouda, parsley, lemon)
“Adding Wildbrine Ginger and Arame Sauerkraut would brighten up this earthy salad and increase the probiotic benefits.”
Make sure to download our fun gut health bracket for your chance to win a set of our 10 Grove kitchen linens.