Please keep in mind I am not a health professional. I am simply doing my best with the knowledge and understanding I have at the time. If you have an issue you need to address, please consult your health care provider.
Now, I am not one to jump on the back of any old health trend floating about, that is for sure. God knows we have had a few in our time.
In my experience the little crazes and fads will come and go but we cannot dismiss the most tried and true of them all: That is eating whole, fresh food as close to nature as possible. The less processes, numbers, additives (yes, even the so called “natural flavours and colours), hydrogenated, isolated, bla-dee-bla the better.
The awareness that has come with the explosive growth in the wellness industry is phenomenal. Many more people are continuing to take matters into there own hands and move away from processed crap and towards nourishing whole-food which is great but their may just be another piece to the puzzle.
Looking back at our ancestors and going back to basics, a.k.a, to whole-foods found in nature, has been one way we have been able to follow the trail of learning to discover what is best to eat to achieve optimal health and wellness.
One thing many overlook however, that was present in almost every single ancient culture, is fermented food.
I have been a fan of fermenting food for a little while now, dabbling in it here and there, making my own kombucha, sauerkraut and coconut yoghurt. Even adding a few of these easy recipes to my recipe book.
I had heard all of this was good for you and I love the idea of naturally preserving vegetables so I gave it all a go and added it in to my diet here and there. The idea of a healthy fizzy drink (kombucha and kefir) just seemed too good to be true. So, like so many, I brewed and bubbled away at home, adding Remedy brand kombucha to the menu at the caravan and enjoying the fruits of my labour.
It wasn’t until recently that I decided to take a much closer look at why fermented foods are actually good for you.
Safe to say I was completely blown away….
It seems that, if say, you where a house, fermented foods would be the solid foundation that you could then build your beautiful healthy home on.
From what I have read, if your gut is not in good shape, no amount of green smoothies, rainbow salads, slow cooked lentil casseroles, and various elixirs will give you optimal nourishment. Apparently, having a healthy gut is the key and cornerstone of nutrient absorption and therefor a healthy, balanced self.
To use the building analogy again: It’s like spending all this time and energy, not to mention money on designing and creating the most amazing, beautiful, sustainable, passive-solar home of your dreams and then locking the front door and sleeping in a hike tent in the front yard for the rest of your life. Pretty silly huh?
So now for the juicy stuff. From what I have read, here are some of the benefits you may experience form regularly incorporating fermented foods into your diet:
Glowing skin – Yep. The is correct. Fermented foods, by destroying the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the gut, can aid in detoxification as well as providing some essential vitamins and minerals. All resulting in a glowing complexion. Yes please!
Better digestion – By balancing the production of stomach acid and keeping it at the optimal level for correct digestion.
Better nutrient absorption – Fermented foods help to produce digestive enzymes. To reap the optimal amount of nutrients from each bite of your beautiful food make sure to add a little fermented food to each meal.
Improve bowel health – This one goes hand in hand with better nutrient absorption and improved digestion.
Strengthen immunity – Who doesn’t want stronger immunity. Some experts say that a dysfunctional gut can result in a weakened immune system. To get the balance right we need to up the good bacteria and some of the absolute best probiotics are in food form.
Increases nutrient value – What a bonus. Sauerkraut for example has higher levels of vitamin A and C than regular old fresh cabbage.
Detoxification – Beneficial microorganisms in fermented foods can produce “natural chelators” that then binds to toxins to remove them from the body. Win, win!
Fights disease in the body – Some experts believe that chronic inflammation can be reduced by re-colonising the gut with good bacteria.
So now, If this is all news to you, I am sure you are wondering where you get your hands on all these magic foods and how you can make them at home (very cheaply I might add!).
We are so lucky, now that there is a real trend towards them, that we have so many ready made, organic, great quality Australian made versions available at most health food stores and organic larders. Some amazing cafes have even hoped on board.
Some of my favourites are:
Kimchi – (pictured above) A spicy combo of garlic, chilli, ginger and cabbage . My favourite is the vegan kimchi from the The Fermentary (pictured above). Seriously delicious. Add to salads, asian dishes and even just as a snack with avocado or hummus on crackers.
Sauerkraut – Traditional fermented cabbage. Tangy, sour and salty. My favourite is the dill flavour from Peace love and Vegetables and the beetroot and ginger from Kehoe’s Kitchen. Top salads with a spoonful, on toast with Avocado or add as a side to any dish. I also have tow simple recipes in my recipe book.
Water Kefir – A fizzy refreshing drink, similar to kombucha. My favourite is the fig and ginger version from The Fermentary.
Kombucha – Chances are you have heard of this one, if none of the others. It is ridiculously easy to produce yourself at home and flavour with fresh fruits and spices. My favourite bought version is definitely Remedy. They are a great company, based in Melbourne and produce delicious, naturally fermented kombucha. You can even learn how to start your own from two of theirs!
Coconut Kefir – A sparkling probiotic drink made from coconut water. Super tangy and creamy. This one is a favourite of mine. My favourite brand to buy is “Wild thing” coconut kefir from Peace Love and Vegetables. That one is super potent! Or if you are making at home Kultured Wellness is a great brand to source your starter from.
Coconut yogurt – Because it is so cheap to make at home and super simple I tend to do that. There is a recipe in my book or you can jump over to Kultured Wellness to grab your starter and watch their quick video on how to make it at home. Perfect blended into your favourite smoothie or smoothie bowl or enjoyed with oats or as a topping to pancakes! Yum!
Cultured cashew cheese – These are like my cashew cheese in the book but with a non-dairy culture in them that has added health benefits. They are super delicious, creamy and extremely rich. Delicious on crackers or spread on toast. The options are endless really. My favourites are Peace Love and Vegetables (yes, again. I love them!) and Keno’s Kitchen.
So there you go, pretty amazing huh? Not to mention exciting. I know I’m a bit of a dork but I find this stuff so fascinating. It makes sense you know. We are after all 10% human and the rest microorganisms. Which just boggles my brain really.
See you next week!