Howard’s Story: Kraut is the New Granola

I used to be one of those crunchy granola dads, always trying to get my kids to eat healthy, sneaking in plates of fruits and veggies at their pizza parties and serving oats for breakfast. No more. For me, kraut is the new granola.

The health coach in my work place referred me to Suppers when she found out I was exploring living foods for solutions to my problematical immune system. I have follicular lymphoma. I am currently on a watch and wait approach to treatment. This basically means that since my lymphoma is an indolent, or slow growing, cancer and I am not symptomatic, they just watch me. I go to my oncologist every three months and twice a year I get a CT scan to monitor the cancer and make sure nothing has changed.

Up to last year, I was the guy who always got sick. I caught every bug that was going around. It was very annoying and disheartening. Even though my doctors told me my wimpy immune system really had nothing to do with my lymphoma, I was never convinced of that. Seeing that the lymph system is a major part of the body’s immune system and I have cancer in that system, wouldn’t it make sense that if I am always getting sick there might be a relationship there? That’s what I thought.

Anyway, I read a lot about food and health and decided to try fermenting foods to see if it would improve my immune system. I also began taking a multi-vitamin, some vitamin C, vitamin D, fermented cod liver oil, coconut oil, and a fiber supplement. My fermented food regimen consists of raw milk kefir (in a smoothie with fruit every morning for breakfast), kombucha with my lunch, and some kraut or kimchi at dinner. I just started a batch of kraut using kefir whey as a starter. I will have to let you know how that comes out.

It’s January and so far I haven’t come down with anything. Everyone around me has been sick at work and home. Even when I feel some congestion coming on, it goes right away. I cannot begin to tell you how happy and excited this makes me. I was beginning to get depressed because I ALWAYS got sick. I felt defective.

I have actually been afraid to tell anyone other than my wife and that health coach. I don’t want to jinx this. When I get a chance to go to Suppers — where it’s safe for a man to put on an apron –, there are guys like me massaging, squeezing and punching bowls of cabbage for kraut and brining vats of radish and carrot for kim chi. No lie! I can’t get to as many Suppers meetings as I’d like, but I follow all the mail. The program is alive for me, just like the food I eat because – like I said – kraut is the new granola.

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