Happy New Year friends! I hope that you all had an amazing holiday with your friends and family and that your year has started on the right track. I spent my first day of the year doing almost nothing with my husband. It was nice to finally relax and spend quality time together making dinner and watching movies. We were still a bit tired from traveling and it felt fantastic to not have anything planned.
But I have been planning new goals for myself and the blog. One of the new habits I am going to adopt is waking up earlier in the morning to set my day up for success. I’ve been reading “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod and it’s inspiring me to change my morning routine. I’ll let ya know how my morning transformation goes in a few weeks :)
Speaking of goals, fermented foods are the perfect addition to your health goals. They will complement any new diet, help manage sugar cravings, reduce bloating and detox and cleanse your gut. If you are trying to lose weight or eat a nutrient rich diet, eating fermented foods is a must.
What are fermented foods?
Fermenting food is an old tradition that was common before refrigeration to preserve food. In fact, people never drank water because it was too polluted and instead drank fermented foods like beer. Can you imagine beer as a health food? Sounds kinda crazy, but it was back in the day.
Fermented foods include sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha, water kefir and alcoholic drinks like beer and wine. The process of fermentation creates an environment where lactobacillus (lactic acid) bacteria eat the sugar and/or starches in the food being fermented and turns it into a food rich in probiotics, enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Lacto-fermentation creates an environment where only the good bacteria can survive, making it safe for eating.
Meet your health goals, the main benefits of eating fermented food
Some of the positive effects I have experienced eating fermented foods are clearer skin, better digestion and increased energy and maintaining my weight. Dr. Mercola explains the benefits of fermented foods as…
Fermented foods are chock-full of probiotics or good bacteria. A myriad of research has demonstrated how the ideal balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut forms the foundation for physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
- Eating fermented foods daily will strengthen your immune system, reduce bloating and control weight.
- Can heal a multitude of health issues including leaky gut, IBS, weight loss, lead to clearer skin and better immune system.
How to incorporate fermented foods into your diet
Making your own fermented food is cheap, easier than it sounds and doesn’t require a lot of tools. In fact, you probably have everything in your kitchen right now to get going. It’s ideal to make it yourself, because you control what goes in it and you can customize it to your tastes. It’s also really hard to find fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickles at the store that were made in a healthy way. Most pickles and sauerkraut are packed with too much salt, have a ton of distilled vinegar in it, has been cooked in the canning process and some even contain sugar.
Sauerkraut is an easy and cheap fermented food to make. It has a rich umami flavor and makes a fantastic addition to salads, dips, sandwiches or as a side to any meal. My favorite sauerkraut recipes on Fermented Food Lab are:
- Basic Sauerkraut Method For Newbies
- Orange Apple Cranberry Sauerkraut
- How To Make Ginger Kraut And Relieve An Upset Stomach
Pickling vegetables or fruit is another great way to eat fermented foods. Some of my favorite pickled veggie recipes are:
I would love to suggest drinking beer and wine everyday for your health, but unfortunately consuming alcohol everyday is not good for your gut or health overall. So lets save it for the weekend and game nights with friends. There are many fun fermented foods that you can drink and the flavors you can create are endless. My favorite probiotic drinks are:
- How To Make Coconut Water Kefir And Get Clearer Skin
- How To Make Orange Kefir Soda Pop
- Apple Cider Vinegar And Honey Drink
Brands I recommend if you can’t make your own
There were times when I ran out of pickled veggies or water kefir and didn’t have time to make a new batch. Not so much now since I always have something on the counter fermenting for recipe development to share with my readers. But those times when I purchased from the store I would usually buy pickles or kombucha. Be cautious when buying pickles or sauerkraut from the store and read the labels. The only ingredients they should have are water, salt and spices. If it says distilled vinegar, sugar or anything you can’t pronounce, put it down.
- Sauerkraut and Pickles: Bubbies brand of pickles and sauerkraut or Farmhouse Culture brand. Both use the lacto-fermentation method and contain no additives. When I run out of kraut or pickles I buy these brands.
- Kombucha has become very popular and can be bought in most stores. My favorite brand is Synergy, because they don’t have any unwanted ingredients and can be bought almost anywhere now.
- Milk Kefir or yogurt: If you are going to buy it at the store instead of making it yourself, I suggest Redwood Hill Farm’s plain goat milk kefir and plain yogurt, because they don’t add sugar and goat milk is easier to digest than cow milk.
Most farmers markets now have vendors selling fermented foods such as lacto-fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and kvass. If you are not going to make it yourself, the farmers market is your next best thing.
Follow Fermented Food Lab for the latest and greatest
If you would like to stay in the loop on fermented foods, subscribe to my weekly email. I always send new recipes and valuable information about fermentation on this blog. I am also very active on Pinterest and have several boards dedicated to fermentation. I pin mostly recipes that I find from other blogs and sites around the web. Follow me on Pinterest if you would like to get the recipes that I collect from around the web.
Have you tried making fermented foods yet or is it part of your New Years goals? Let me know in the comments or email me.
Have a great week!
- Fermented Foods: How to ‘Culture’ Your Way to Optimal Health
- Sauerkraut Recipes
- Probiotic Drinks
- Pickled Veggies