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The “What’s Up” with Sauerkraut and Digestion

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I REALLY THINK ALOT OF YOU (whether you’ve got colitis or not) are going to dig this meal.

And let’s start off by agreeing that ALL of our individual systems act differently, poop differently, smell differently…and no two of us are the same in terms of gut bacteria within our colons etc…, but I’m really hoping that food like this can help bring some rock hard poops to a bunch of you and a smile on your face.

I’ve been eating pork chops for a long time, probably written about them before on this site (if not…sorry pork folks), but it’s not the pork chops that make this meal so special.  It’s the cabbage that goes along with it.

Actually, the meal I made March 21st had sauerkraut as the side not cabbage.  If for any reason you’re wondering what the frigger sauerkraut is… OK no worries.  It’s finely chopped up cabbage that’s been fermented.  AND, if you eat this sauerkraut stuff raw (without cooking it—i.e. RAW SAUERKRAUT, there’s lots of bacteria that many folks around the world feel is VERY helpful with digestion.  If you’re German or and Eastern Euro…this is way old news to you for sure!).   You can read more about it here on wikipedia’s sauerkraut page.

So, if you believe that your colitis symptoms have something to do with the food you eat, sauerkraut is most definitely an interesting food to think about.

And, if you want to read up some more about the bacteria I’m talking about, check out wikipedia’s page on Lactobacillus, you’ll understand even more about what’s so cool with sauerkraut.  One more link, if you follow the SCD diet like I do (almost) all of the time, there’s another link from the BTVC page stating sauerkraut is legal for “advanced SCD’ers”.

Pork Chop Sauerkraut Recipe:

Serves: 1 person


  • 1 Pork Chop (I use one about 1 inch thick (2.5 cm)
  • full handful of sauerkraut (no sugar added sauerkraut! just salt)
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (use less or none, it’s not mandatory)
  • tiny bit of pepper
  • 1 cup water (about 200 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


  1. Heat up your frying pan to medium heat
  2. Add your olive oil
  3. A few seconds later once the oil is hot (before it’s burning/smoking), add pork chop.  Sprinkle some salt and a tiny bit of pepper to the top of the pork chop and cover the pan.
  4. Once the bottom of the pork chop is browned and looking nice, flip it over, and again add some salt and pepper to this cooked side.  Also, add to the pan your sliced onion.  The onion should start to change colors pretty quickly, and once both sides of the pork chop are brown, your onions should have some brown too.  Feel free to stir or push around the onions from time to time if they are starting to stick to your pan.  Otherwise, have your lid on-top of your frying pan.
  5. Once both sides are browned and the onions are as well,
pork chop with sauerkraut
The meal once you’ve browned both sides and cooked your onions. That’s the sauerkraut all around the pork chop and there’s some water steaming in there too.

add your cup of water to the pan, and then add your sauerkraut.  I have the pork chop in the middle of the pan, and the sauerkraut all around it.  No need to use a huge pan, as long as there’s a tiny bit of space around the pork chop for your water and sauerkraut, you’ll be all good.  Cover back up your frying pan, and reduce the heat a tiny bit.

After about ten to fifteen minutes, you should still have your water in the pan. Now, you can lift off the lid and let the water evaporate. Once the water is all gone, it’s time to enjoy your meal. If you’re not sure if the pork chop is cooked…What you might want to do is take a cut into your pork chop to make sure its cooked the all the way through and how you like it.If you need to cook it more, that’s fine. Just a little more water and cover it up again and continue cooking. The goal is to never have the pan go completely dry because that would cause the sauerkraut to burn…and you don’t really want that, so keep a good eye on your water level.


You’re probably wondering why I cranked out a bomb dinner and COOKED the sauerkraut, when it seems that RAW sauerkraut is what’s actually so beneficial for our gut.  Darn good question.  And here’s the way I see it, let me know if I’m way off:

sauerkraut pork chop

The meal I made is so friggin tasty, that I’ll bet 95 out of 100 of you who make it will totally agree(I’m guessing about five of you are vegetarians:).  And, I’ll also bet that most of you haven’t eaten sauerkraut in the past few weeks/months.  So, if you take some baby steps, and get your feet wet with some tasty sauerkraut that’s cooked,  I’m guessing once you have that under your belt, you’ll be more apt to try some RAW SAUERKRAUT and potentially get the full on gut flora, hard doodies, whatever you want to call it benefits.  How’s that for a frigalicious rambled arse bit of reasoning UC’ers??

And at the end of the day, if you want to take the plunge and jump into some raw sauerkraut, more power to ya you corner cutter you!  Or, you can get really creative and add some raw sauerkraut to this dish after you’re done cooking some of it…  I just remember hating sauerkraut when my folks forced it on me when I was little.

For any of you who are experienced sauerkrauters, do you feel like it has helped your UC?  Do you think the sauerkraut talk is a bunch of bull?  What’s your thoughts?

Best regards to all of you, especially those of you in the middle of tuffie times with your UC right now,


(I’ve posted an update to this post on July 3, 2014, here’s the link for that – probiotics & sauerkraut update

32 thoughts on “The “What’s Up” with Sauerkraut and Digestion”

  1. Hey Adam-
    I was so excited to read this post and now I have a hankering for a pork chop!
    I also LOVE sauerkraut and almost all things fermented (kimchi, apple cider vinegar, yogurt, kefir, mayo, ketchup, kombucha…)
    It’s fun to make on your kitchen counter when you get comfortable and have time… super easy and tons of blogs out there on the internet.
    I think fermented foods are GREAT for UC. Those societies that regularly eat them don’t suffer digestive disorders. Think Japan with natto, fermented fishes, tamari, miso, tempeh etc., In parts of Africa and Mongolia, fermented drinks are all the RAGE! Again, they don’t seem to get UC.
    I like the thought that the food is ALIVE & active.
    Anyway, start slow everyone but then get crazy because there is a whole world of delicious and beneficial fermented food out there!
    Adam- I also love eggs with sauerkraut or kimchi and tuna melt with avocado, kraut and goat or raw cheese.
    Yogurt or kefir with honey and vanilla make delish ice cream if you have an ice cream maker.

    1. Allison,

      Right on!!

      Now you’re making me want to get on a plane and head to Mongolia and ask the flight attendants if they have any kefir and honey or some other fermented foods on board!

      Or maybe you can start up a restaurant…”Ali’s Fermented Foods”….???? I don’t know…:)


  2. Wanted to also share that I really love Bubbie’s products.
    pickles, krauts and relishes that are naturally fermented and not full of any crap, perservatives, not pasteurized and dead.
    I can even find them in our local Shop Rite’s refrigerated section, they are pricey but last a while. I only eat 1/4 cup at a time.
    Here’s the link.


  3. I try to have a small side of sauerkraut with every meal (except breakfast!). There are good probiotics in it. I take a tiny bit of sauerkraut along with every bite of food, as I’ve read that the enzymes in sauerkraut immediately begin breaking down the food we’re chewing and practically pre-digests it for us … making it much easier for our body to digest. I can actually feel it breaking down the food as I chew. Pretty cool! I treat sauerkraut like it’s a condiment … the way people dip their french fries into ketchup, I take a little bit of sauerkraut with every bite.


  4. I love sauerkraut, too. I get a raw kind from the health food store and have a spoonful before meals. my favorite way to eat it is with sausage links.

  5. Hi im on Azathioprine and Apriso + homemade sauerkraut every day, i actually grew up on it in Poland.
    My every day tee is a 1 to 1 to 1 of Calendula officinalis, Matricaria chamomilla, Angelica archangelica. I works slow, but helps.

    1. What up Marek!

      Hey man, quick question since I know the Eastern Euro’s have some serious cabbage/sauerkraut skills.

      Did you guys make your own sauerkraut out there in Polska? Or did you guys do the store bought?

      If home made… what’s the Polish secret to making it. Seems there’s several variations, but I’m wondering what you guys did if you made it on your own.



      1. I’m sorry for a late response, I’m very busy man lately:)
        We always had barrel of sauerkraut prepared every fall. Secret i know is to keep it simple, kraut and salt, flat piece of wood and big, heavy rock sitting on top. Some people add carrots as well. I take sauerkraut from my parents, so i don’t really know exact proportions. But I will find out And post it. Companies that produce sauerkraut speed up the process of fermenting by adding vinegar. That’s why homemade is the best. Have a great day.

  6. Caroline

    I love fermented foods and do think that they help a lot. I am coming out of my first flare, and just finished a 2 month round of Prednisone (ugh!) and am taking Apriso as well. However, my preferred way to treat this long term is more natural – I am also seeing a naturopath as well as an acupuncturist. I am currently on the Autoimmune Protocol Paleo diet and my naturopath suggested that I focus heavily on fermented foods – he believes that poor flora and leaky gut were how I got into this situation and I agree.

    I love kimchi but most of the kimchi I am finding has red peppers and is spicy – I am still avoiding nightshades, so I haven’t had that yet. However, Bubbies Sauerkraut and pickles have been a lifesaver! There is also a brand called Wild Brine that makes really good sauerkraut mixed with herbs and other veggies. I love the garlic and dill one! Make sure that you are buying one that is truly fermented – there are some out there that have cabbage cured in vinegar, but from my understanding you won’t get all the good bacteria. Bubbies is just cabbage, water and salt. You can always make your own if you are patient!

    I am also drinking kombucha tea – so good! I check the labels on those because some of them can have a lot of sugar, so just keep your eyes out for that. Good luck to everyone!

    1. just fyi, the bubbie’s website says that the sauerkraut probably doesn’t have a good amount of probiotics since it’s been heated. the pickles, on the other hand, are fine.

      1. Caroline

        Thanks, Joanna! I went to the website and saw that it was low temperature flash heated, which made it somewhere between pasteurized and raw. I wonder why they do that to the sauerkraut and not the pickles? Oh well – all of their stuff is delish and I will take any additional good bacteria I can get! :)

        1. no problem! there’s a brand called rejuvenative foods that has a raw sauerkraut. the cabbage isn’t cut into strands (it’s mashed) but it’s still pretty good.

          1. Caroline

            Hahaha….so, before I found out I needed to back off of the nightshades, I bought some of Rejuvenative Foods’ Kimchi! It was a little pricey but I was excited about it, it looked SO good – and then I found out that peppers were not the best for me at the time. I could have returned them, but they don’t expire until July so I am ambitious that will be able to try them by then. I will need to find the sauerkraut. Thanks for the tip – it’s good to find another live foods friend.:)

    2. Hi there, I’m actually writing on behalf of my husband who was diagnosed last July with Uc. Any suggestions on where to start with a diet? He can’t figure out what to eat that doesn’t upset his gut. I’m starting him with fermented foods like kefir, and kombucha, after reading more blogs. Do the symptoms get worse first before they’re better? Also isn’t cabbage hard to digest?? Thanks!!

  7. Hi All!

    I have been eating fermented food for the last winter with good results.
    Don’t forget there are plenty of different foods you can ferment.

    My favorites are: beetroot, carrot, whitecabbage (sauerkraut) and red cabbage

    But you can also ferment: Onion, paprika, cauliflower, squash/zuccini, beans, cucumber, tomatoes and more.. Fruits are also a good complement, whitecabbage with apple or orange for example.

    If you want to learn more there are lots of information about fermented food on the internet. In Sweden there is a very good book called “ferment on your own” or “Syra Själv” in Swedish.

    If a lot of you request it translated to English there might be a english version of it :)=

    If you have any questions reply and I’ll do my best with my fermentation skills!

    1. Hey Johan,

      Thanks so much for the info buddy!!

      I had no idea you could ferment so many things. Cauliflower,,,,awesome!!:)

      Hope you are doing well and tucking into a nice springtime up there,


  8. Hi Adam, I am new to your website, I only recently discovered it. I am having UC troubles and I am on trail and error with my diet, I am going to purchase your books and hopefully it will help me. I am curious because I can’t eat pork it makes me terribly sick and gives me bad bowel troubles, but I find I can eat thinly cut ham…
    Also I can’t eat cabbage so is everyone’s UC different? And if so, buying your book and the diet book is this
    going to help me? Or is it just trial and error?

    1. Hi Natalie,

      I’m sorry to hear you’re in the middle of active UC symptoms right now, but you’ve got to keep your head up.

      Regarding trial and error…I think that is for sure a partial component to much of our disease. You can read in tens of thousands of places on this website alone of some people having success with certain medications and others having no luck with the same one…for example.

      In terms of your question about the ebooks i’ve written and if they will help you, well, that’s a really good question. I wrote the books mainly to help other people or family members who are struggling with getting control of their UC. Can I say that the ebooks will help you with 100% certainty – NO I can’t.

      But I can tell you that there is a 100% money back guarantee(and wouldn’t it be nice if all the drug companies had something like that in place too…) and in the past year less than 1% of the people who have downloaded my ebooks have returned them.

      Again, I wish you the very best, and hope you are back to normal soon,


      1. Thank you Adam, I will definitely buy your ebooks, I will try anything right now especially if it prevents me
        from taking anymore auto immune drugs or steroids, I guess everyone is different and it is worth a try.

        Again thank you for your reply,

        take care :)

    2. Wendy

      Hi Natalie, I was wondering that too while I was reading about the kraut. Any kind of meat hurts my system, but raw vegetables are really bad for me. Right now, I would be too scared to try the saurkraut. Maybe when I’m not in a flare I would give it a try.

  9. Joe H

    Love kraut! I was born in NJ, just over the Hudson from NYC. The only way to eat a street vendor dog is with kraut & spicy brown mustard! :)
    My home town had a good size Polish community with their own delis and bakeries. I could buy the real deal kraut & pickles from Poland and fresh or smoked kielbasa. One of my aunts was first generation born in the US of Polish parents, so I got to taste all the Polish special dishes at every family get together.
    I haven’t had sauerkraut or a good kielbasa since I left NJ in 1976. :( I will look into making my own, they really don’t know about sauerkraut in the South. :) What they put on franks is a sin. :)
    Speaking of meat … While looking on youtube for videos on making kraut, I found that salami is meat that has been fermented by the same lactobacillus bacteria. Would this be a legal item in the SC Diet?

  10. Caroline

    Hi Joe! I don’t know that it would compare to your good stuff back home, but I like Bubbie’s brand sauerkraut a lot. They have it at health food stores, with the refrigerated pickles. I have heard that it’s easy to make your own fermented cabbage, but for some reason my hubby is not down with me taking over the kitchen with fermenting veggies. I’ll have to work on that. :)

    As for the salami, that’s a good question. I know most salamis have dextrose, which is a no-no on SCD. However, some say that if the ingredient list has the lacto bacteria starter, it would consume the dextrose which could make it a moot point. I wonder if there is a dextrose-free salami out there somewhere….

  11. Joe H

    Hi Caroline, There are bunches of videos on youtube, on making kraut. I like this one, because if you listen on how he says sauerkraut you know he’s German. :) His method was about the simplest of all.

    I read the SCD diet book and the main reason it looks at dextrose in foods as being illegal, is that we can’t be positive it’s pure. Dextrose is a simple sugar (monosaccharide), which are the only kind recommended in the book. I agree with you about the bacteria consuming the dextrose.
    I found this on monosaccharides:
    The most basic units of biologically important carbohydrates. They are the simplest form of sugar and are usually colorless, water-soluble, crystalline solids. Some monosaccharides have a sweet taste. Examples of monosaccharides include glucose (dextrose), fructose (levulose), galactose, xylose and ribose.
    The sugar is necessary to feed the bacteria that produces lactic acid and starts the fermentation process.
    To me a light snack of salami, cheese and fruit would work on the SCD diet.

  12. Caroline

    I think you are probably right – I found SCD by way of Paleo and now have added in a lot of GAPS elements as well. I am a believer in doing whatever works for you and your body – and for me, I have had processed meats (salami, proscuitto, etc) with no issues. However, it may not be for everyone. We are all different and have to find what works for each of us! I hope diet continues to help you – I really believe that and healing our gut linings (through probiotics and healing foods like fermented ones and broths) are key. Best wishes for continued healing and happy Salami’ing!

  13. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I don’t eat pork for religious reasons, but I am interested in fermented foods to deal with my UC. I am in the middle of a flare up and was hospitalized. I am home now.

  14. Hey Adam, I’m writing on behalf of my husband. He was just diagnosed with UC and we are asking “What now?” What are the first steps to getting it under control? He had been feeling fine for about 3 months, but currently is having digestive issues. Where do we start with diet? Do we go completely “cold turkey” and try an all bland diet i.e. easy to digest foods? I should also mention that we are starting to incorporate probiotics like kefir and kombucha into his diet too. He also has it in his mind that he can’t eat any veggies…that can’t be right can it?

    Thank you for all of the insight!! I feel like we were given the diagnoses and just sent on our way with no resources…

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