A new addiction: Fermentation

I have got an addiction for fermented foods. Secret is out! I know what you are thinking, what the heck is fermented foods? Well, allow me to explain.

Fermentation is the art of crafting regular foods into super foods; cabbage into sauerkraut, beetroot into beet kvass, milk into kefir, cucumbers into pickles, and tea into kombucha. Basically, during the process the bacteria feeds on sugar and starch in the food which then creates lactic acid. In earlier times, people from all cultures used it as a way to enhance flavour and preserve food.

Kefir
              milk kefir

Fermented foods or live probiotic foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, and beet kvass should really be at the top of the super foods list. Studies have shown that fermented foods boost immune system and promotes overall wellness and I am a living proof of that. Since I started including fermented foods in my diet, I’ve noticed a huge change in my digestive health. I feel more nourished, my skin is glowing and I have energy in abundance. I suffered from Irritable bowel syndrome for many years, almost anything I ate would leave me in excruciating pain. But through fermented foods, I’ve been symptom free for over a year now and enjoy food more.

The primary benefits of fermentation are pre-digestion of nutrients into more accessible and bioavailable forms, nutritional enhancement and creation of unique micronutrients, detoxification and transformation of anti-nutrients into nutrients and live lactic acid bacteria (The Art of Fermentation, Sandoz Katz). If you seriously want to improve your health, I suggest you start incorporating fermented foods into your diet.

DSC_0190
          red cabbage sauerkraut

I discovered fermented foods when my son was born almost three years ago. I had mastitis when he was only three months old and I had to take antibiotics. I don’t need to tell you what those suckers do to your immune system, so I started looking around for high quality probiotic supplements. And thats how I stumbled upon what would be the best thing to ever happen to my health; fermented foods. I learnt that a tablespoon of sauerkraut contains way more probiotics than a bottle of over the counter probiotic capsules and did I mention how expensive they are compared to homemade sauerkraut. So off to the library I went and picked up a copy of the Wild Fermentation by Sandoz (great book for beginners), joined the Wild Fermentation Facebook group and a new addiction was birthed.

sauerkraut
               sauerkraut

Making your own fermented food is quite intimidating at first, and it takes a lot of courage to take that first step. My first attempt with sauerkraut was a disaster. But I got there eventually, and now I can confidently say I’m a pro.  Once you take that first step, you realise that it is really quite simple and then it turns into an addiction that’s incurable.

kombucha
                   kombucha

Not all fermented foods are made equally. Most store bought fermented foods have been pasteurised and contain vinegar which kills the beneficial probiotics and enzymes. So pay attention to labels when buying. I would highly recommend you to try making your own fermented foods. Don’t be intimidated, it’s really easy especially if you start with kefir and sauerkraut.

In the next few weeks I will be providing recipes of my favourite ferments, and show you how you can start incorporating fermented foods into your diet. Your gut will thank you for it.

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