Anti-fungal Chaparral Oil Recipe for Healing Skin Problems

Part 1: Making Chaparral Oil 


In this video, I show you how to make Chaparral Oil that I made during my trip across the country.


In Death Valley making Chaparral Oil

In Death Valley making Chapparal Oil


Chaparral is a strong antifungal herb and can be used as a low SPF sunscreen.


This oil Can be used on fungal infections, Candida, discoloration on your skin, athlete’s foot, etc. If you do have Candida I recommend you use it on your skin to support your immune system overcome the infection even if it is in your gut, too.


Before you attempt at making this oil, give the leaves at least 24 hours to dry after it has rained if they are wet.


Put the plant inside a jar and cover with olive oil.


Take off most of the stems and just keep the leaves for the oil.


There are no specific measurements here, just cover the plant material with oil.


Put a lid on it.


Give you oil  a few weeks and allow it to get warm inside the jar by setting it near a warm appliance, heater, or next to a sunny window.


It needs to be warm. If the oil is cold it cannot pull the constituents out of the plant.


Put in a crockpot or allow to sit in the sun.


When it’s done strain it through a mesh strainer or a cheese cloth.


I recommend using this oil after a shower or a bath all over your body and even on your scalp if you struggle with dandruff.


You can also turn it into a salve using beeswax after you’ve decanted the oil. 


Part 2: Decanting


After sitting in the jar for 2 months, the oil looks super dark.


Decanting Chapparal Oil

Decanting Chapparal Oil


If you look at the plant matter in the oil, you can see that the leaves are thin because all of the constituents have been pulled out of the plant.


That’s why the oil will appear to have a super dark green color.


To strain you can use a cheese cloth or muslin (unbleached) and you will want to pour the oil into the cheesecloth to separate the plant matter from the oil.


Pour out as much as you can from the jar and then pull the ends of the cheese cloth up and squeeze to get all of the oil out of the plant matter.


You want to store your chaparral oil in a sealed jar.


You can use your chaparral oil when you get out of the shower after your body is dried. Slather on your scalp and all over your body. NOTE: If you put it on your scalp, you will need to wash it with shampoo a few times to get the oil out. 

If sleeping in the oil make sure to wear a shower cap and put a towel on your pillow to protect your sheets.


-Summer Bock

How to Use Energy Power to Boost your Adrenal Function

Today I will be sharing a treat with you. I made two super quick videos showing you how to use my wildcrafted Energy Power mix.

There are so many ways to infuse Energy Power into your food so you can increase your energy when you need it most during the day.

In this first video I am simply mixing the Energy Power into nut butter, but you can add it to just about anything you like.

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In the second video I  show you how to make an herbal latte!

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You can really do just about anything with this great stuff.

Mixing Energy Power into your food:

In this example I have chosen to use almond butter.

There are many different ways to mix your energy power into your food.

Take 1/2 tablespoon of Energy Power and mix it up in the almond butter until it is blended well. You can also add in honey or other goodies to create your own treat.

Simple as that!

Recipe: Making a fresh almond milk herbal latte with ‘Energy Power’

1 Cup of almond milk

Heaping tablespoon of Energy Power

Mix these together, add to a frother or stove top and whisk away.

Summer-11printPour into a glass and enjoy.

You can also add this to other drinks or liquids and some even add Energy Power to coffee to keep your adrenals stable.


Shop at Guts & Glory Apothecary




Why Herbs Are Important For Digestion


Summer Bock here. I thought we’d kick off the month of April with a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, herbs.

Did you know that I’m a trained Herbalist and the products I feature are here on my site? It was a lifelong dream of mine and it has come true!

I trained in the woods and hunted and gathered herbs to learn what worked well together. Also I learned what herbs worked well in different organ systems of the body.


Alkaline Protein Power by Guts & Glory Apothecary
(my herbal company)


Herbs are a tremendous ally in my Gut Rebuilding Program that I do with my clients.

Herbs help to:

  • Seal and heal the intestines
  • Stimulate digestive juices
  • Mitigate gas and bloating and indigestion
  • Increase parastalysis (the movement of your intestines) to alleviate constipation
  • Balance the microbiome

Find all the products in my store



How to make easy and delicious, probiotic-rich Kimchi at home

In this video I am going to show you how super simple it is to make a delicious kimchi that you can use in your meals daily.


  • Napa Cabbage soaked for 3 hours in salt water
  • 2 cups carrots in matchsticks
  • 5- 6 cups of mini Daikon
  • Green Onion
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Chili Flakes


  • Stainless Steel Bowl
  • Crock
  • Blender/Vitamix/Food Processor
  • Glass Jar
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife

Quick Directions:

  1. Cut the Cabbage into 1 inch pieces or pieces of about the same size
  2. Add the carrots matchstick size
  3. Add the Daikon, cut into thin coin pieces
  4. Add the green onions in 1 inch slices
  5. Add 3-4 tablespoons of salt for every 5lbs of vegetables
  6. Mix around using your hands so the salt starts to pull the water out of the vegetables

For the paste:

  1. Cut up 2 yellow onions and toss in the blender
  2. Cut up the ginger (you can leave the skin on) and add to the blender
  3. Add 5 cloves of garlic to the blender
  4. Add Chili flakes and more salt to the blender

Blend up!

Next pour the paste on top of the veggies in the bowl and massage in with your hands.

Taste you mixture

“You want it as salty as a Lays potato chip”

Add the mixture a layer at a time to the jar so you can push it down and get all the bubbles out.

Next clean the edges of the jar to prevent it from getting moldy.

finished product!

finished product!

Let it ferment for 3-4 days or up to 2 weeks and then put it in the fridge.

I hope you enjoyed this and it was helpful. Please let me know how this recipe turns out for you and share if you have a great recipe of your own!



How To Make Kefir

How to make kefir:

In today’s video you will learn how simple it is to make kefir both dairy and non-dairy.

Also added in here is a vegan recipe for sunflower seed and flax vegan yogurt, for those who are intolerant to dairy!



Ingredients used in the 3 videos:

  • coconut
  • kefir grains
  • blended sunflower seed and flaxseed soaked for a day
  • dried apricots
  • kefir grains sitting in cow’s milk

Benefits of kefir:

  • full of probiotics
  • good for those with lactose intolerance
  • helps you digest milk probiotics

If you can’t drink straight milk, sometimes kefir is just fine.

Kefir is one of the top promoted products by health enthusiasts, BUT ONLY if you make it at home. The reason for this is the starter that is used in an industrial environment is a powdered culture that is a mono culture and its added to milk and it sits for 24-48 hours and you end up with a sterile environment.

Kefir grains are made up of some bacteria and some yeast and one of the bacteria produces cellulose and they hang out and live in the granules and then you put them, about 1 tablespoon in the milk or coconut water, put in a jar and let it ferment somewhere warm for 24-48 hours.

Probiotic rich, delicious and a little sour with about 1% alcohol

Key component- get your hands on real kefir grains so you aren’t using starter cultures.

Key is to get your hand on real kefir grains, not a starter culture because the starter does not have the same benefits.

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 2.08.39 PM
his is me about to plop kefir grains into a fresh jar of raw milk.

Apricot Fizz Kefir:

Take a jar and add 1/2 cup apricot and 1/2 cup of water and add 1 tsp- 1 tbsp of kefir grains, put the lid on it and  let sit for 24-48 hours.

If your grains were kept in the fridge beforehand your apricot fizz kefir will need the 48 hours to ferment.

The finished product will taste like an apricot soda, so delicious!

Sunflower Seed Flax Yogurt:

This is very versatile and can be used as a sour cream, you can add onions to it or use it on crackers and add spices.

Sunflower seeds and flax seeds have been soaked for a day and then blended in the blender to make a paste.

Then you need to thoroughly rinse the kefir grains and get all of the milk off of them.

Add the kefir grain that have been thriving in the cows milk.

Once cleaned off, plop them into the sunflower and flaxseed mixture.

Put a lid on it and let it sit for 24-48 hours.

Rule of thumb for making kefir: Use 1/4 of liquid to a tbsp of kefir grains. This is not an exact science.

TIP- After awhile of the kefir grains being out of the milk they tend to look sad, add them to some milk and they will plump back up again.



I have eleven more (free) videos at if you want to learn how to make more probiotic-rich fermented foods!!!

Comment below with any questions you have about kefir. What is your favorite way to drink kefir?

Temple Food and Insights from the World’s Greatest Chefs

I have a difficult time watching the same movie twice. It feels like a waste of time. But there are a few select cinematic presentations that capture my heart. The first one was Dirty Dancing. I probably watched it everyday after school in 4th grade with my friends. We practiced ‘the lift’ in the neighbor’s pool each summer. I recently watched it again two times in a row. I never get tired of that one.


There is a series on Netflix called, Chef’s Table. I have watched each episode from all the seasons countless times. I watch, I cry, I get inspired. I am moved by the precision of mastery. I exhale mesmerized by the painful beauty of the toil of perfection. These chefs engage all of their senses to create masterpieces that I only dream of tasting.


When I watched Francis Mallmann from Patagonia, Argentina I became enthralled in his romantic relationship to fire and what it does to food. He’s pares down his productions to pit fires and open flames to alchemize the simplest of foods into pure pleasure. The scene where he is on the plane and he says that he has to keep going, keep experiences new things to stay inspired. That’s me, too. His final quote leave me speechless every time. “In order to grow and to improve you have to be there a bit at the edge of uncertainty.” And then he reads aloud the last two lines from The Call of the Wild. “There’s a whisper on the night-wind. There’s a star agleam to guide us. And the Wild is calling, calling…let us go.”


Francis Mallmann cooking fresh fish on a boat.


Francis Mallmann’s pit roasted pumpkin with greens and goat cheese.


One of my favorites is Magnus Nilsson. I bought his beautiful hardbound book, Fäviken, named after his restaurant. He makes art on a plate delicately garnished with lichen. Lichen! I studied lichen in college. I took two classes on it and it fascinated me. As an herbalist, I am seduced by its medicinal qualities. To involve an organism that is so taken for granted, growing on tombstones and eating away at rock for hundreds of years – a symbiotic relationship of a fungus and a cyanobacteria – and celebrated in a gourmet meal. YES. In Sweden he has a root cellar behind his restaurant. The rustic shelves and dirt floors are lined with ferments resembling a mad scientist’s lab filled with jars of preserved floating experiments. I dream of a cellar like this. A special place to keep ferments happy. This episode inspired my recipe for my lacto-fermented whole carrots with tops which you can follow in the book Find Your True Fork, where I’m featured as the fermentation expert, which releases in July 2017.


Nordic chef, Magnus Nilsson.


Blade of beef with crispy reindeer lichen.


The root cellar behind Fäviken, the restaurant.


Magnus Milsson’s beautiful hardbound book, Fäviken. Click here to purchase.

Virgilio Martinez from Peru is so inspired by his homeland that he creates each of his meals as mini ecosystems based on the altitude from where the plants/animals/fungi are found. He works with his sister who catalogs and researches the ethnobotany of these plants.


Virgilio Martinez prepping a plate.


Green algae balls from the mountain lakes of Peru.


Virgilio Martinez uses all kinds of traditional corn

In season four, they follow a Buddhist nun, Jeong Kwan, who has risen to the ranks of Michelin star chefs by preparing vegan temple food for her fellow monks. She gardens, meditates, and cooks. She pulls kimchi out of crocks buried in the ground to add to the meal. She ferments her own soy sauce. She has famous chefs falling to their knees in adoration at what happens in their mouths and subsequently their brains when they eat her food.


Jeong Kwan serving (delicious) food.


Her chef-worthy plating skills rival top rated chefs worldwide.


She talks about how temple food keeps the body in a calm and focused state prime for reaching enlightenment through meditation. She doesn’t use garlic, scallions, onions, or leeks because they are too stimulating for the mind and makes it more difficult to meditate. She says that is one of the biggest differences between temple food and laypeople food.


Temple food. I’m utterly floored by this concept. I grew up Southern Baptist where we are taught that the body is a temple. And that’s when it struck me. When you are on a healing diet, you aren’t necessarily eating food that everyone else eats. You are eating temple food. Food that feeds and nourishes the temple that is your body. Food as medicine in its purist form. Food that makes you stronger, keeps you calm, wards off sickness, clears the body of wastes, and makes you peaceful. I feel the truth of this message in my core.


This is the essence of the work I do – I teach this to my clients by recommending a healing diet that is easy to digest and helps remove toxins.


I am inspired to plant a garden this year. I want to create the most healing, gut-rebuilding, temple food recipes I can muster. I know what it feels like to be clear and strong. I don’t feel that way right now. I feel good, but since moving back to the South, I feel as though I have succumbed to the bad habits of my region. I spent a year experimenting with gluten after 14 years without it and I know (again) that it is not for me.  


It threw my body for a loop. I started drinking smoothies at the local juice shop down the street and because they are paying more attention to flavor than health, I was drinking sugar bombs that has made me slightly insulin resistant.


I have some things to sort out in my body this year. I have been getting mentally and emotionally ready. I try to eat how I know I need to eat and then I break at the need for convenience and socializing. I am trying to figure out why it feels harder than it did before. I eat really healthy, don’t get me wrong, but I am eating an imbalanced diet too high in honey, dates, chocolate, and meat.


I search for why it isn’t easy like it was before and I realize the current challenge has so much to do with the fact that I’m not in a state of panic about my health anymore. I was willing to do anything in the past to get away from the terror of getting sicker. The panic attacks were a real motivator for change. I am happier than I’ve ever been. I’m more relaxed and unshakable. The wrong foods used to really throw me off. I would get reactive, anxious, and stressed out about it. It no longer happens like that.


Now that my mental and emotional state are more balanced I am seeking a new motivation – one from a positive place. One that isn’t based on moving away from pain. Instead, I’m moving towards pleasure. This is a lesson in self worth. What does it take on a daily basis for me to feel happy and want to take in foods that aren’t so stimulating? What motivates me now to eat the foods that keep me calm and my body as healthy as it possibly can be? Why do I listen to the doubts and excuses that creep in?


It brings me to addiction. That feeling of the floor falling out from under me gets stronger and stronger the more relaxed and easy my life gets. I’ve worked diligently to get here. I have encountered immense struggles to raise myself up from the depths of suffering. I spent so much of my life in pain – both emotional and physical – that I get a little uneasy when there are no bumps in the road. I actually crave the feeling of tenseness and friction that addictive substances and stimulants have on my body.


I did my genetic testing recently and discovered that I have a gene snp for dopamine issues. The ‘need’ for chocolate, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, drugs, anything – that external stimulant to help trigger a dopamine response so my central nervous system can relax is akin to a real physiological issue. I have some healing to do on this level. And I’m a little scared about it.


What is life without these stimulants? Can I function? Will I sleep a lot while my brain heals? Should I check into a healing retreat center so they can serve me the healthiest foods and give me the moral support to make it over the many humps? What will happen to my business if I can’t focus?


Regardless of these doubts, I’m confident in my abilities to achieve this.


And through watching the Chef’s Table I realize what I’m missing. I’m missing my relationship with nature. With plants and animals. With quiet. With humans who care deeply about our planet and the symbiotic relationship with life. I think we are a bit more on the parasitic side right now. That’s what fermentation has taught me. That a symbiotic relationship benefits all involved. The health crisis that is happening in our world from obesity to cancer, diabetes to heart disease, is proof enough that we are not benefiting from the relationships we are forging (forcing) with nature.

There’s where my new health journey begins. Symbiosis. Planting. Growing. Appreciating. Preparing. Eating. The Temple Food. That is my next mission. Will you join me? Share your feedback and thoughts in the comments below.




Overcoming food addiction to lose weight with Susan Peirce Thompson

If you have ever had trouble stopping eating, eating when you’re not hungry, or dealing with cravings that have taken over your mind then please watch the newest Guts & Glory Blogcast with Susan Peirce Thompson, a good friend and psychology professor who has figured out some pretty cool solutions!

She’s giving a free webinar in which she’s going to explain how people’s brains are blocking them from losing weight…and what they can do about it. Once you register for the webinar you will get access to the quiz!

Not All Fermented Foods are Probiotic, But Are They Still Good For You??

While many fermented foods have incredible benefits, from increasing digestion, nutrient assimilation, and gut rebuilding, not all fermented foods improve your health.

Some are pure deliciousness, but can have harmful side effects.

Now, of course I’m a fan of ferments. Incorporating certain kinds of fermented foods is a big part of what I recommend as one small, yet important step for people looking to rebuild their gut.

That said, I want to make sure people are aware that just because something’s fermented, doesn’t mean it has beneficial probiotics.

Look, I’m definitely a fan of shamelessly enjoying chocolates and cheese. So please know that what I’m sharing is in no way meant to cause guilt. It’s just to point out that not all ferments provide probiotic advantages and that all ferments—yes, even the super healthy ones—should be consumed in the appropriate amounts.

Here is a rundown of some common ferments that don’t have probiotics and their pros and cons.


Alcohol is an obvious example of a ferment that isn’t exactly “good” for you. But before you beer fanatics throw up a middle finger, know that even some alcoholic beverages can have health advantages! We all know that too much alcohol can severely harm the liver, not to mention cause intense remorse and embarrassment if you get drunk….

Many people converted to drinking red wine when they heard about the many health benefits.

The American Gut Project has claimed that:

“Alcohol consumption also affects microbiome diversity. Those who had at least one drink per week had a more diverse microbiome than those who abstained”.

The science behind how alcohol is fermented

Fermentation is the conversion of sugars to ethanol and carbon dioxide, with the implementation of bacteria—in the case of alcohol, yeast. Yeasts are single cell fungi that are necessary in producing ethanol. In a normal fermentation cycle, yeasts use oxygen at the beginning and then continue to thrive once the oxygen no longer remains. It’s during this anaerobic (without oxygen) period that ethanol is produced.

As with most yeast ferments, if Candida is an issue, I don’t recommend it. The byproducts in a yeast ferment support the growth of yeast – feeding the bioterrain for yeasts to grow – not ideal. Alcohol is essential straight ‘sugar’ that feeds yeasts in the body. In fact, when I was studying herbal medicine in school, my mentor told me that most alcoholics are actually consumed by a yeast overgrowth and can make major strides in their alcohol consumption by addressing the Candida first.

So there you have it. Perhaps the foods and drinks that are generally considered “bad” can in some ways be “good.” This is why I hesitate to call foods “good” or “bad” and instead look at food on a person by person basis.


Another example of a questionable-probiotic ferment is cheese. (And of course, cheese goes well with that glass of red wine.) But as we know, dairy consumption can also cause issues. High in fat and difficult-to-digest proteins, too much cheese (or other dairy products) can result in chronic inflammation, digestive issues, and a wide array of other undesirable side effects including weight gain.

I call cheese a ‘questionable-probiotic ferment’ because there at least a thousand different kinds of cheese and depending on whether it is pasteurized, raw, or aged will determine how many kinds of probiotics are in it (or not).

However, even without probiotics, the protein in cheese (if you can digest it) naturally helps to curb hunger. These proteins help break down absorption of carbohydrates, therefore helping balance blood-sugar levels and boost your mood!

Other nutrients in cheese includ zinc and biotin, both helping aid tissue repair, protecting skin, and strengthening nails and hair.

The science behind how cheese is fermented

To ferment cheese, a starter culture is usually used. Milk must be kept at around 90 degrees for 30 minutes in order to ripen. At this time, the bacteria grows and fermentation begins, lowering pH levels and developing the mature cheese flavor. You certainly don’t want to (ok, I do) eat an entire block of cheese, but these dairy products do indeed possess miscellaneous nutrients, mainly proteins and calcium.


For you coffee addicts, guess what? Coffee is usually fermented. A common method of processing raw coffee involves washing and separating the skin from beans before fermenting the beans in cement tanks. Fermentation is what causes this outer layer to break down and disappear, essentially de-pulping the seed and leaving behind the coffee bean. After fermentation takes place, the beans are then rinsed with water and the remaining mucilage is then dried.

We are sometimes in denial of the health concerns related to coffee, but in the back of our minds, I think even regular drinkers are aware that coffee isn’t always the most health-promoting beverage.

That said, while coffee can lead to cardiovascular issues and a myriad of anxiety-related problems, this non-probiotic ferment does have its benefits. Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants; it can protect against diabetes; it aids the liver and combats alcoholic cirrhosis, as well as prevents gallstones and kidney stones; it can prevent and revive any retinal damage; and coffee can potentially lessen your chances of certain cancers and Alzheimer’s. It also helps mental focus and productivity, which is the main reason most people drink it.

Other non-probiotic ferments

Various teas, chocolates, and vinegar. While all of these non-probiotic ferments have pros and cons, so do the “good”, probiotic rich foods.

Even healthy ferments can have negative side effects if consumed too often in too great of quantity. For example, kombucha—though it possesses a myriad of benefits and is high in vitamins and enzymes that help detoxify the body—can also contribute to Candida issues, dysbiosis, heartburn, and inflammation if drank too much too frequently. To read more on the pros and cons of kombucha, read this article.

The important thing to remember for these non-probiotic containing ferments is that they can still bolster the bioterrain, making the gut a happy place for probiotics to live, but they aren’t adding bacteria into the digestive system.

The main thing to keep in mind, even with fermented foods that do have probiotics, is that they work best when implemented into your diet, not when they become your diet. Having even one small servings of fermented food as a side item helps immensely. That’s when they work their magic best to help you digest your meals more fully! Whether it be a non-probiotic ferment, such as wine, or a probiotic-rich food like yogurt or sauerkraut, listen to your body first. Make sure you’re eating what your body is asking for and not overriding your physical needs with your mental knowledge of the health benefits of the foods. I teach more about how to listen to your gut in Gut Rebuilding where you clean it up and rebuild it from scratch.

To check out my favorite 11 probiotic-rich ferments, read here.

What To Do Before Fermenting At Home

Maybe you’ve wanted to ferment, but think,

“This seems risky. There are so many things that could go wrong. Why should I make fermented food, rather than just buying it at the store?”

Kimchi, sauerkraut, miso…These are just a few of the easy-to-make, tasty fermented foods that contain probiotics. But one of the biggest debates is which system is the best?

When setting up your fermentation station, BEFORE FERMENTING organizing a clean fermenting environment is absolutely vital. In order to ensure safe, healthy practice, your fermentation station has to be top priority!

Read on to learn how easy it is to start fermenting safely at home.


Crocks are used to help prevent mold and lactic acid producing bacteria. That said, it doesn’t have to be a crock—it could also be a glass container like a mason jar. Whatever you end up using, make sure it has straight sides with limited possibility for oxygen.

When it comes to fermenting, oxygen is the well-known enemy. In an aerobic (oxygen) environment, yeasts can oxidize to form acetic acids—the same thing as vinegar. Sure, vinegar is a fermented product, but that’s not what we’re trying to make here.  Also, if oxygen is present, candida-preventing yeasts—such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and all the gut-friendly probiotic bacteria—cannot prosper. If the oxygen is eliminated, these beneficial bacteria and yeasts can help clear your gut of harmful bacteria.

Don’t worry; owning a super fancy, expensive jar is not required. However, if you do use a mason jar or alternative option, setting up the jar properly according to your ferment is very important.


100% airtight jars can be harmful, as CO2 forms during the gaseous stage of fermentation. This can cause your vessel to explode! CO2 gasses must have a way to escape. If yThe best jars have rubber gaskets, and my personal favorites have airlocks. This prevents mold spores from inoculating the ferment.ou feel comfortable setting up mason jars and making alterations, go for it! Otherwise, consider buying a high-end crock or jar with airlock sealing that can release the bi-product of fermentation.

The best jars have rubber gaskets, and my personal favorites have airlocks. This  prevents mold spores from inoculating the ferment. I recommend spending more money on jars that will save you time and energy, while also ensuring quality of your ferments! If you’re an avid fermenter, it’s worth it.



Beyond the very necessary crock or storage item, there are several other tools necessary to create a safe, healthy, sanitary and proficient fermenting space.

  • Knives: You’ll want a large, quality knife able to cut through thick foods such as cabbage. If you have a dull knife, sharpen it! If you don’t own a sturdy knife, invest in one. It could last you a lifetime and is totally worth the purchase! You also will want to have a small, quality paring knife for cutting smaller items.
  • Cutting board: Plastic or wood is fine. If your wooden cutting board has black spots of mold on it, please throw it out and get a new one. We don’t want mold spores ending up in your ferment.
  • Weights: Using anything from pickling pebbles to glazed ceramic weights helps keep your ferments compact inside your jar. I personally don’t recommend using rocks as weights because I’ve just had it fail too many times.
  • Rolling Pin: You can use a rolling pin as a tamper for pushing your fermented goods into your crock. Or you can buy a dedicated tamper, made specifically for this purpose.
  • A rubber band and cloth can be used to keep bugs away

When it comes to storage location, you want to make sure your ferments are in an area where they can evolve efficiently. You’ll  want to keep you ferments in an area away from light, free from temperature fluctuation, and UV rays that can alter your food.

“How do I know if oxygen is in my crock? What are some signs of bad set-up?”

If it looks off, it probably is. Signs of a ferment gone wrong include:

  •  Brown cabbage
  •  Yeasty odor
  •  Slime
  •  Mold


I get asked a ton of questions about what kinds of crocks to use and how to avoid mold, so I made a video.

This mini tutorial explains my personal fermenting methods, shows off some of the most popular varieties of crocks, and lets you in on one of my favorite choices for making the best homemade probiotics with fermented veggies. Check it out!

Watch this mini lesson to learn more about the following:

  • Something you have in your recycling bin that you can use right now
  • Airlock vs. traditional style crocks and jars
  • Size—does it matter?
  • Where to score giant crocks, and the dangerous kind to avoid
  • Which weights to use
  • And my personal favorite system!



The process of fermenting may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s actually quite simple once you’ve gotten the swing of things. Also, it’s worth noting that homemade ferments generally have more than eight times the amount of probiotics as an entire bottle of store bought supplements!

The real question is why would you NOT make your own!

Comment below and let me know

What ferment have you been wanting to make at home?

The Dark Side to Kombucha

Pros and Cons of this Magical Drink

Kombucha—fermented tea created from Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeasts (SCOBY)—is commonly hyped up as being a magic elixir. Regular consumers claim this tea potion aids weight loss and digestion, serves as an anti-aging regimen, helps prevent cancer, improves liver function and supports overall immunity.

However, like with many things, pros come with cons.

Although this incredible tonic is now popularly marketed on a large scale for its countless health benefits, kombucha can also have negative side effects if consumed too frequently.

Why kombucha is so great:

Bacteria and yeasts in kombucha work to eradicate most sugars from the tea, transforming the liquid into a fizzy, semi-tart, delicious drink.

Kombucha is high in Vitamin B—protecting the pancreas and liver.

It’s also rich in enzymes that help detoxify the body, high in glucosamine that helps joints and prevent arthritis, and packed with probiotics—helping to aid digestion and ensure gut health.

Hannah Krum of Kombucha Kamp shares in her new book, The Big Book of Kombucha:

“Kombucha is often referred to as a gateway food, because this one health-promoting choice can lead to a whole host of others, bringing balance to body, diet and lifestyle. With regular consumption, kombucha can be part of deep, positive changes in all aspects of life….We are living in a bacterial world, and I am a bacterial girl!”

So what’s the problem?

The main issues are frequency and quantity that people consume kombucha. A lot of health experts will advise drinking kombucha every day, but I strongly disagree.

While I love kombucha and appreciate its benefits, I believe everything should be done in moderation!

If you are taking medications, are an alcoholic, diabetic, alcohol sensitive, caffeine sensitive, sugar sensitive, or have Candida…kombucha may not be the drink for you. Symptoms of SIBO can be revealed or exacerbated through drinking kombucha. In some cases it can trigger acid reflux or heartburn and possibly irritate ulcers.

How to get all of the benefits with none of the buzzkills:

While kombucha is not a magical drink with wizardry powers, if drank in moderation this yummy concoction can provide health benefits like increasing your bacterial diversity, which helps prevent chronic disease.

(One of my Fermentationists, Gayle, calls kombucha the “designated driver’s drink” while out at the bar.)

The key to reaping the benefits of kombucha without the negative repercussions is to be aware of how often you’re drinking it and how it’s making you feel.

In general, I recommend drinking kombucha no more than two times a week.

Here are some of my clients’ personal experiences with kombucha:

Kevin Gianni of Annmarie Skin Care, “the only dark side of kombucha is when you run out…. lol… we have it on tap at the office here” :)

Elissa, “I used to drink lots of kombucha and loved the different flavors at the store. I also liked the idea that it was healthy, until I got a “baby” from a neighbor (that was super fun, like sharing sourdough starter) and realized how much sugar and caffeine it got fed! Yikes!”

Morray, “I have done kombucha on/off for a couple of years. I could definitely tell when it was not agreeing with my system (bloating and digestion just off), removed it for a time and have been drinking it again for a few months with no issues. I think the amount is key and I do better WITHOUT the second ferment. I have never really liked carbonation…”

Catherine, “I started making kombucha five years ago and loved it, drank it almost daily in amounts of 4 to 12 oz with no ill effects, I rarely used a second ferment. Then over time I developed SIBO and noticed increasingly that I didn’t feel as well after drinking it. This actually helped clue me in that I had SIBO. I was drinking it less and less so I stopped producing it at home. After a year or so without it I took a sip from my husband’s Celestial Seasoning kombucha as we were shopping in Sprouts Market one day and holy cow, one sip was enough to blow my gut up to basketball proportions. I think that brand has inulin added to it. I didn’t touch kombucha again until I got an all clear signal from my retest for SIBO. Now I respect the power of the ferment more and I limit my kombucha use to keeping a bottle of GT in the fridge on occasion and sipping from it as I’m passing through the kitchen. I do the same thing with Kevita Lemon Ginger Tonic. My sister also finds she feels best taking kombucha an ounce or so at a time. Hope this helps.”

Myra “The first time I ever tried it was in this program [FCP]. I thought it tasted like “hard” iced tea. I like that sort of thing!” 😉

Shawn, “Like Myra, the first time I tasted it was in this program. I only had one drink of it since I do not tolerate caffeine or sugar well. My daughter loves it however, so I am continuing to make it for her. She says it is so much better than any of the many different kombuchas she has purchased from stores, and that she never wants to buy any again! This summer she wants me to teach her how to make it so she can make it herself and experiment with different flavors.”

Marlies, “I drank a lot of it for about 2 years, about a year ago. I did not realize then that drinking it in large amounts ( as to was sold in large bottles) was not a good idea. My teeth started to ache and I suspected it was causing my candida problem to flair up. Now I have it on occasion.

Jennifer Delaney I can drink it on occasion, but if I start drinking too often I start getting headaches. I am prone to food related migraines and know certain things must be done in moderation for me.”

Jane, “We as a family like Kombucha . We go through a lot of it. I have a hard time keeping up to the making of it. I do not find the alcohol in it affects us in any way. I don’t know what the alcohol content is but I’m sure it has a low alcohol content. We have been drinking it for about two years now. I really like Kombucha and gingerale mixed together. My favourite way of drinking it. I was diagnosed borderline diabetic but was able to reverse that diagnosis. I think that the Kombucha may have a part in that. Im not sure. I know lifestyle changes affect that also. Eliminating processed foods, sugar etc. My daughter had a histamine reaction to it. She does drink it but less of it now.”

Laura, “My son, by drinking kombucha regularly, has gone from borderline constipated to 3 poops a day! He spends so much less time in the bathroom, it’s awesome.”