Eating for Mental Health

This is part 4 of a 4-part series designed for Bend + Bloom Yoga's May Challenge. Click to read Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3.

Just as the final limbs of yoga highlight the unity of the Self & the Divine, there is a very close link between your gut and your brain. Supporting your gut through proper nutrition can improve general mental health, and may facilitate the mental fortitude necessary to explore these advanced yogic techniques.

Probiotics are "friendly" gut bacteria that help nourish our gastrointestinal tract and protect against the bad bacteria that comes from excess consumption of sugar, processed foods, alcohol, or medications. Probiotics are found in naturally fermented foods like real pickles, kimchi, kombucha, or real sauerkraut (not the fake stuff with vinegar).

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Homemade Sauerkraut
1 head green cabbage
1.5 T. salt
1 T. pickling spices (optional)
Large glass jar
A weight that fits inside your glass jar (e.g., a smaller jar filled with pie weights)
Cheesecloth & rubber band

Chop cabbage into thin slices. Mix the cabbage and salt together in a big mixing bowl and massage it together with your hands until it wilts & gets juicy, about 5 minutes. Fold in optional pickling spices and transfer cabbage (and its juices) to a large glass container, pushing it down as you go. Place a weight on top of the cabbage. Place cheesecloth over the mouth of the glass container and secure it with a rubber band.

Over the next 24 hours, press down on the weight every so often until you end up with a layer of liquid on top of the cabbage, completely submerging it.

Keep the cabbage on a countertop away from direct sunlight. After 5 days, taste the sauerkraut. You’ll know when it’s done by how it tastes - it could take 10 days or more. Once it’s done, pop a lid on the glass container and transfer it to the fridge.

Hungry for more? 

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