When I first started to ferment veggies, I felt a huge resistance, it seemed as though I was embarking on an incredible culinary challenge.
I quickly realised that my fermenting fears were a little overdone! I am here to show you that it is really not that hard to become a fermented veggie master. And more importantly the benefit of the veggies to your digestive system will far outweigh any cost associated with allowing fermenting veggie into your life.
Having had an autoimmune disease for our fourteen years and facing a very challenged digestive system, I have been on the continual search for foods and supplements that will ameliorate my condition and heal my digestive lining most effectively. Interestingly, some of the most expensive supplements have been shown to be useless and some of the most simple foods and activities have made all the difference to my digestive health.
Before we started, I would love for you to get excited about what fermented veggies will do for you. The reasons to incorporate them into your diet go beyond the “trend’ and “cool” factor currently surrounding fermenting foods.
In fact, whenever I look into a food and its benefits, I love considering how it has been used across cultures, as this often provides a strong indication of the significance of its health benefits. It is interesting to note that when it comes to fermented food they have been used for centuries! The Romans regularly consumed sauerkraut for its health benefits, Ukraninans were heavy consumers of fermented foods including sauerkraut and kefir and Asian civilizations in particular have a history of fermenting a wide variety of foods—Japanese natto (soybeans), Vietnamese mám (seafood), Chinese douchi (black beans), Lao pa daek (fish sauce), Korean banchan (side dish). These foods remain essential components of the everyday cuisine of these civilisations.
Now, onto how fermented veggies will change your life (and your belly!):
Adios sweet cravings:
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly one of the first changes I noticed when incorporating fermented veggies was that my cravings for sweet things disappeared. It seems that the sour taste of fermented vegetables changes our sweet palette and our desire for processed foods. This can happy in as quickly as four to five days.
Sauerkraut tops the charts when it comes to its ability to increase gut microflora. It is thought to surpass that of even over the counter probiotics, with a recent lab of sauerkraut showing hat in a 120-180 g serve there were literally ten trillion bacteria.That means 60 grams of sauerkaut had more probiotics than a bottle of 100 count probiotic capsules. So one 480 g jar of sauerkraut is equivalent to 8 bottles of probiotics – well worth the investment in mastering the art!
The process of fermenting helps to break down food, which in its non-fermented state may be hard to digest or detrimental to health. For instance, fermenting lactose digests the sugar found in it and reduces its carbohydrate content. Fermenting soy in the process of making tempeh removes high levels of phytic acid which block nutrient absorption.
Most of us have a degree of damaged gut flora, which is compromised as a result of multiple courses of antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. Voltaren, Nurofen), long term medication, the oral contraceptive pill and exposure to mercury and other heavy metals. Fermented foods enable us to restore the balance of good bacteria in the gut and health the gut lining. This is instrumental in the management of chronic health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, auto-immune disease, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis and immune weakness.
Fermented foods are superharged with essential nutrients, one of those being Vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is an underrated and misunderstood vitamin and is hard to find in non-animal food sources. Sauerkraut, tempeh and natto are high in this vitamin which is one of the most critical vitamins for cardiovascular, bone and prostate health.Sauerkaut is also rich in vitamin C. In fact, in the 18th century, sailors ate sauerkraut on long voyages to prevent scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency.
Fermented foods are some of the best chelators available. The beneficial bacteria in these foods are very potent detoxifiers, capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals.
Given that an estimated 80% of your immune system is actually located in your gut, it makes sense that maintaining your maintaining a healthy belly is a major factor in maintaining a strong immune system and provides for the best first line defence against disease.
Keep an eye on your inbox for Stage Two of Fermented Veggie Mastery. We will be explaining the essential equipment required to get started.