Fermentation for Life

Fermented foods are the most potent source of beneficial bacteria, and these probiotics are capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals. In short, fermented foods are essential to our overall health. The good news is that this nutrient-dense food is both economical and easy to make. With very little effort, fermented foods can become a staple item of your daily food intake and, once they do, you will likely wonder how you could have lasted so long without them.

Here are some easy ways to add fermented food to your diet:

1) Ferment vegetables. This is one of the best ways to secure living food in the winter months, and it’s good to eat throughout the year. It’s simple: select vegetables to mix with cabbage, which is an essential ingredient because it contains the lactobacilli that culture on the vegetables. One flavourful variation is: cabbage, carrots, ginger, and garlic. Chop the ingredients finely and them mix in a bowl with with quality sea (or himilayan) salt to draw out the water. Then use your fist to firmly pack the mixture into a jar. This packing process helps draw the water out of the vegetables and when the entire jar is full the mixture should be covered with naturally occurring brine. If the liquid does not cover the entire contents within 24 hours, add a salt-water brine to cover the contents. Seal the container and wait. Fermentation times vary but for 500mL-1L containers, you should start tasting the fermented vegetables after a week. The final product should be quite tangy, salty, and sour.

If you would rather buy fermented vegetables, there are a few important things to note. Be careful to read the ingredients and ensure that the product is naturally fermented, a process which requires only cabbage, salt, and water. If there are added ingredients such as vinegar, it is likely that the sour taste is not from lacto-fermentation and does not provide the same health benefits. Another thing to ensure is that the product is unpasturized, otherwise eating it will defeat the purpose: pasturization kills the probiotics you want to introduce to your gut!

2) Make Kambucha. Another very simple way to add fermented food to your diet is to make Kambucha tea. You can get a culture from a friend or buy it online or at a local health food store. It’s very simple to make: brew a giant pot of tea; add 1 cup sugar while the tea is still warm; add 2 cups of cold water; add 1/4 cup white vinegar or previous Kambucha. Cover the jar with a cloth that allows the brew to breathe; do not use metal containers or instruments; and keep out of sunlight for 6-8 days. For online recipes and tips, check out Kambucha Dave.

3) Eat Kefir. Eating kefir is another great way to add probiotics to your diet. It cleanses the intestines, provides beneficial bacteria and yeast, vitamins and minerals, and complete proteins. It is also relatively easy to assimilate, so people who are otherwise lactose intolerant may still do well with Kefir. You can buy kefir grains and make your own kefir at home or buy some at the store. Remember that a little goes a long way: 1 cup contains more than 1 billion probiotics!

Check out this video below on how to turn your veggies into superfoods!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05lVOmj1Pqg?feature=player_embedded&w=640&h=360]