Have you heard from friends or family that they’ve suffered with a recent bout of tummy flu? Once or twice a year it seems to do the rounds through school and offices. Where it starts, nobody know, but it spreads with incredible efficiency, from hand to mouth through poor sanitization of unwashed hands.
 
Fever, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps are known as stomach flu, tummy virus or stomach bug. In children, rotovirus is the most common culprit of this mass digestive excavation. Hard and fast-hitting, a digestive virus or bacterial infection can last for hours or days. Most usually clear up within a week to 10 days.
 
Last weekend, both my daughters had the virus flying around school. It came and went within 24 hours, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday. I was at a conference, so (luckily) my husband was the one dealing with the mass clean up (although the first upchuck was in the Lego store).  Right on queue, three days later it was his turn. He was cleaned out from top to bottom within four hours and spent the night in the fetal position with cramps. It didn’t slow him down enough to call in sick to work the next day though. Men. 
 
My only worry when my daughters were ill was dehydration. Diarrhea and vomiting causes a massive fluid loss, which can be concerning with children. My daughters weren’t sick long enough to be really worried, but they did get coconut water. It is an excellent hydrating drink and contains a perfect balance of electrolytes; potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. 
 
With a four-day trade show on the horizon, I was determined not to get it. I started to double my intake of probiotics from 25 billion beneficial bacteria to 50 billion. Then I quadrupled it. One hundred billion good guys were overtaking and shoving out any unwanted bad bacteria. It worked. I did feel nauseous a few mornings, but managed to keep all consumed food in and am here to tell the tale.
 
Constant hand washing and probiotics, in my experience, is the only form of prevention. Eat fermented foods like kefir, miso or sauerkraut are chock-full of beneficial bacteria that sends any virus or bacteria packing. A well-known treatment for the worst diarrhea causing Clostridium difficile is Saccharomyces boulardii. C. diff, as it’s known, plagues hospital patients, the elderly and anyone who has had a recent dose of antibiotics. As it’s resistant to antibiotics, the good guys are the way to go.
 
Any meal can be dosed up with probiotics. Any of the foods mentioned above should be on your daily menu. One of my favourite fermented foods is sauerkraut, which is surprisingly simple to make!
 
After buying a large cabbage from our local market, I made a large batch of sauerkraut. My food processor made easy work of the recipe below, and in about a half an hour I was done. It keeps all winter long and goes with just about any dish, but we love it with turkey sausages and grilled cheese.
 
Carrot and Cabbage Sauerkraut
1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded
4 carrots, peeled and grated
1 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated (optional)
1 tbsp fennel or caraway seeds
2 tbsp salt
 
In a large bowl, mix cabbage, carrots, seeds and salt. Bash with a wooden rolling pin, pounder or meat hammer for about 10 minutes. You should start to cabbage juices in the bottom of the bowl. Fill about 8 to 10 quart sized Mason jars with the mixture. Press down with your pounder until the juices come up above the cabbage, leaving 2 cm between the cabbage and top of the jar. Put the lids on tightly and store at room temperature for three days. Then store in a cool dry place like a basement cellar.
 
It can be eaten straight away but the longer it ferments, the better it tastes.
 
Note: It’s normal to see bubbles or fizzing as you remove the lid.
 
What do you eat that’s naturally fermented?
 
Read More by Lianne Phillipson-Webb:
Honey, Lemon, Garlic and Ginger: Natural Ways to Ease Cold Symptoms

Miraculous Chicken Soup and Other Ways to Protect Your Family From the 'Flu

Cutting Back on Sugar for a Healthier Family

Avoiding Artificial Flavour and Colour For a Healthier Family

How to Serve the Right Kinds of Fat for a Healthier Family