Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Fermented Vegetables: The Ultimate Superfood for Immunity!

Our ancestors ate ferments many, many years ago.

I remember when I first tasted fermented vegetables. Not many people take to it so easily at first.  For me, it's not a matter of taste, but more importantly a matter of health.  I eat for wellbeing, so flavors are the least of my concern.  If something is super for my health I will get it down no matter what it tastes like!  Don't worry, ferments don't taste bad at all!

Once you eat enough of these living foods and feel the enormous benefit, you will begin to crave them more and I do! is a pic of a batch that I made...yum!

What are fermented foods?

Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.  Fermentation preserves nutrients in food and breaks the food down to a more digestible form. A bevy of probiotics are created during the fermentation process, which assist with improved digestion.

Why eat fermented Foods?

Probiotics - you will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system.  This will help slow or reverse some diseases, improve bowel health, aid digestion, and improve immunity!  Things like sugar, processed foods and pharmaceuticals (antibiotics), destroy your gut flora; ferments help to recolonize the gut.

Improved digestion and absorption - when you have a good balance of bacteria in your gut, you are better able to digest your food, as well as absorb all the nutrients from your food, so you will need less vitamins and supplements, as you will be absorbing more live nutrients from your food.

Budget Friendly - ferments are way more affordable than introducing supplements to your diet.  Making your own ferments at home is very inexpensive and will cost you a few rand.

Preserves food - the process of lacto-fermentation preserves food for many months, and you will be able to store these food for long periods without them losing their nutrients, unlike canned foods.

Making your own fermented veg

What you will need:  a chopping board, a big bowl (for shredded veg), wide mouthed 32 oz glass storage jars (so you can get your hand in there and pound it), a nice wooden pounder (like a little baseball bat). *Remember to sterilize your glass jars with boiling water!

Last night, I prepared the following batch:
Pink Himalayan Salt
Fresh coriander or parsley / or dried powdered herbs
Cayenne pepper

It helps if you have a shredder.  I just chopped the cabbage, kale, onion, ginger and garlic up finely by hand.  I sliced the carrot up.  I then put a bit of each ingredient into the jar in layers, placing salt, cayenne pepper and coriander powder in between the layers.

Some people use water to make a brine.  I, however, prefer to juice vegetables, like cucumber and celery, for the brine, to make it more potent and better quality.  Or (like I did with this one), you can pound the veggies enough in the jar, until  the natural juices come out...and there is your brine!

I pounded the vegetables, as I added the layers, releasing all the juices, and filled up the jar leaving about three centimeters at the top to allow for expansion.  I then sealed with a lid and placed the bottle in a cupboard in the warmest room.  It takes a week or two to develop, depending on the weather and how hot it is.  You can simply test it after a week to see if you like it.

If you are not up to making your own, you can buy fermented veg, fermented yoghurt, and drinks (kombucha, kefir water), at various health stores, like Earthmother Organic.

"Your gut is much more than a food processing tube — it houses about 85 percent of your immune system. This is in large part due to the 100 trillion bacteria that live there, both good and bad that can stimulate secretory IgA to nourish your immune response.
When your GI tract is not working well, a wide range of health problems can appear, including allergies and autoimmune diseases. If you suffer from any major illness, you simply will NOT be able to fully recuperate without healing and sealing your gut. Balancing the menagerie of microorganisms that occupy your GI tract is a key part of maintaining your immune health."~ Dr Mercola.

Your gut is your immunity.  Be sure to consume ferments daily to protect your immunity!

Eat well...and Be well!



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