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Oktoberfest begins this weekend in Munich, Germany! (September 16, 2023). Oktoberfest is celebrated each year around this time in Deutschland and regions settled by people of German ancestry. The festivities are usually characterized by lots of beer, music, dancing, and fellowship (gemütlichkeit). Here’s how to do Oktoberfest at home the healthy way.  

Kombucha Instead of Beer

Yes, beer is the main staple of Oktoberfest, but the combination of brewer’s yeast, alcohol, and glyphosate-contaminated wheat isn’t exactly good for you. Instead, try one of the many kombucha options out there.  

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage made through the fermentation of sweet tea with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). This fermentation process results in the production of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria for your gut. Probiotics can help support a healthy balance of gut microbiota, which is important for digestive health and may have broader effects on overall health. 

The fermentation process produces glucosamines, which may benefit joint health and alleviate symptoms of arthritis. However, more research is needed to firmly prove this connection. 

Potato Soup with Bacon

Potatoes are about as German as you can get (after beer). These root crops are a good source of essential nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants. They have both soluble and insoluble fiber, which aids digestion. Fiber helps maintain regular bowel movements and may help you stay full longer, helping with weight management.  

Rather than reaching for anything deep-fried, try this Dairy-Free Potato Soup recipe. It’s naturally dairy-free, but you can garnish it with shredded goat or sheep cheese, bacon, and green onions or chives. It’s the perfect appetizer or comfort food entrée. 

Gluten-Free Pretzels

Rather than buying some large, gluten-rich, doughy pretzels, find some gluten-free/grain-free pretzels to enjoy with a simple honey mustard dip! Gluten-free pretzels are easy to find now; you can even find grain-free pretzels made with cassava flour.  

Cassava flour is rich in resistant starch, a carbohydrate that resists digestion in the small intestine and feeds beneficial gut bacteria. Resistant starch may help digestive health and support balanced blood sugar levels. 

Liverwurst or Braunschweiger

Including liverwurst or Braunschweiger is a great way to get your organ meats in while staying with the German theme. Liverwurst and Braunschweiger are both types of liver sausages, and the terms are often used interchangeably. However, the two can have some regional, ingredient, and textural differences. 

Liverwurst typically refers to liver sausages with a mixture of liver (often pork or beef liver), meat (usually pork or veal), fat, and various seasonings. It may have a higher percentage of meat than liver. Braunschweiger, on the other hand, traditionally has a higher proportion of liver (often pork liver) than meat. It also tends to have a stronger liver flavor, which some prefer and others dislike. 

Liverwurst often has a smoother, creamier texture, similar to a pâté. It is generally milder in flavor due to the higher proportion of meat. Braunschweiger tends to have a coarser texture and a more pronounced liver flavor because it has more liver.  

You can enjoy these creamy sausages in a few different ways: 

  • As a Spread: Liverwurst and Braunschweiger are often used as a spread for sandwiches or crackers. It pairs well with mustard, onions, and pickles. 
  • Cooked: These sausages can also be sliced and cooked. They’re sometimes pan-fried or grilled until they form a crispy crust on the outside while staying creamy inside. 
  • As a Pâté: In some cases, liverwurst or Braunschweiger is prepared as a pâté, which is a smooth, paste-like spread. This version is often served as an appetizer or dip. Garnish with fresh herbs, chopped onions, or capers for an elegant appetizer and serve with crackers. 
  • Wrapped in Bacon: Wrap slices of Braunschweiger with bacon and secure them with toothpicks. Bake or pan-fry until the bacon is crispy for a savory and indulgent appetizer or side dish. 
  • Sausage and Cheese Platter: Create a charcuterie-style platter with slices of Braunschweiger or liverwurst, cheeses (even goat or sheep), gluten-free crackers, and fruits like grapes or apple slices.  

Due to their organ meat content, these two sausages are good sources of nutrients, particularly vitamin A, vitamin B12, iron, and other essential minerals. Learn more about the Health Benefits of Eating Liver. 

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage dish consumed for centuries in Germany, known for its tangy flavor and potential health benefits. It is one of Dr. Patrick Flynn’s most recommended foods for vibrant health. Sauerkraut is a must for any German celebration. Here are some reasons why you may want to eat more sauerkraut: 

  • Nutrients: Sauerkraut retains many nutrients in cabbage, including vitamins C and K, and minerals like potassium and calcium. The fermentation process can increase the bioavailability of certain nutrients, making them more accessible for the body to absorb. 
  • Probiotics: Sauerkraut is a natural source of probiotics, formed during fermentation. These beneficial bacteria promote a healthy gut microbiome.
  • Digestive health: A balanced gut microbiome is associated with improved digestion and overall health. 

It’s important to note that not all sauerkraut is created equal, and the health benefits can vary depending on factors like the fermentation process and how it’s prepared. For the most health benefits, look for sauerkraut that is naturally fermented and doesn’t have added preservatives or vinegar. These kinds of sauerkraut will be rich in live probiotics. 

Naturally Fermented Pickles

Pickles are another way to benefit from fermented foods. Just be sure to look for naturally lacto-fermented pickles that incorporate bacteria cultures that naturally occur on cucumbers. The result is pickles with live, active cultures that support digestion.  

Again, look for pickles made with natural fermentation without added vinegar, sugar, or preservatives.

Cucumber Salad

Then again, cucumbers don’t have to be pickled! Cucumbers are a hydrating vegetable-like fruit that can be a nutritious addition to your diet. Many health benefits come from eating them in their whole form, including the skin, as the skin has a significant portion of the nutrients and fiber.  

Cucumbers are nutrient-rich, full of antioxidants, and a good source of fiber. The silica in cucumbers is considered beneficial for joint health and may reduce symptoms of arthritis.  

Germans love creamy cucumber salad as a side dish. While a traditional German gurkensalat (cucumber salad) has sour cream and white sugar, this dairy-free version with Vegenaise and xylitol is an excellent substitute.  

Need More Direction on Healthy Eating? The Wellness Way Can Help!

These foods may not be good for everyone. If you have histamine intolerance, kombucha, sauerkraut, and pickles aren’t your friends. If you have food allergies, any of these healthy foods could contribute to chronic inflammation and health issues. You don’t know what you don’t know. Contact a Wellness Way clinic to get your food allergies tested, check your inflammation levels, and find out what’s going on with your gut health. We do health differently!  

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Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your Wellness Way clinic or personal physician, especially if currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Pregnant women, in particular, should seek the advice of a physician before trying any herb or supplement listed on this website. Always speak with your individual clinic before adding any medication, herb, or nutritional supplement to your health protocol. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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