Flu Prevention and Cultured Veggies

It was a winter afternoon eleven years ago and I was sitting in a chair, wondering how in the world I got to this place in my life. My life was filled with sickness and disease and I thought my body had betrayed me. Doctors were telling me this was normal with age. I had high blood pressure and diabetes. This ran in my family so maybe this was the reason it had showed up in my life.

I remember that day quite well, because I decided that my story was not going to end this way. From a quiet place in my soul I begged for help and told myself that the answers would come to me. The answers did come and they came in the form of food that was teaming with micro organisms. These special bacteria cultures that made probiotics in my food and increase the vitamins changed me from the inside out.

I no longer have high blood pressure or diabetes. Instead, I feel like I’m aging backwards. I need less sleep, have more energy, and can run circles around people half my age. I am 52. I credit these special cultured foods for transforming my life and taking me on a journey to discover who I really am; 100 trillion cells of bacteria that were already living inside of me. When I ate cultured foods everyday at every meal, I transformed physically. Emotionally, it was like having a new life. Cultured foods make serotonin in the gut and give you those feel-good chemicals in the brain. It is no wonder that the Turkish meaning for kefir is “To Feel Good.”

These cultured foods: kefir, kombucha, and cultured vegetables (I call them the Trilogy) sit on my counter day after day super charging my food. They make my food more than it is in its original state. They are my friends. They came to me when I needed them the most. They are, after all the essence of what we are; bacteria. Eat them consistently, then watch and see what happens. Cultured foods are my constant companions. They have changed the world inside of me. This change reflects on the outside and through the joy I feel.

There are many recipes on my site for all these foods. Here is a special one that I eat often during cold and flu season because of the extra Vitamin C that is in it. The vitamin C is also increased by the process of fermentation. I call this my flu prevention program.  I try to have spoonfuls with each meal or often as a snack on sprouted chips or vegetables.

Take the journey and include some cultured food at every meal. It is the road less traveled, but for me it has made all the difference.

~Donna Schwenk


Carrot Chips and Cultured Veggies

Cultured Veggies for Flu Prevention


By Donna Schwenk Published: January 4, 2013

  • Yield: 2 quarts (64 Servings)
  • Prep: 5 mins

These are a little spicy, and a little sweet and sour. They are wonderful for digesting your food, building up your immune system, and helping your adrenals feel nourished. It is the flavor I love the best. I'm a foodie and it has to taste good! You can find Vegetable Starter Culture online or in well-stocked health food stores.


  • 1 medium jicama
  • 1/2 head cabbage
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unrefined sea salt
  • 1 large orange (zested and juiced)
  • 1 package vegetable starter culture (or 1/4 cup fresh whey)


  1. Shred or chop the first six ingredients and place  in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. You can also layer it in the jar instead of mixing.
  2. Firmly pack the mixture into 2 quart glass canning  jars or a half gallon vessel, leaving an inch or two for the cabbage to expand when it ferments.
  3. Then add the orange zest juice, and culture, and cover with water, leaving an inch or two at the top. Seal jar tightly and let sit on the counter for 6 days and then place in the refrigerator.