When you hear the word fermented food, you might not think of it as the most glamorous of thing to be eating. However, this is far from the truth! In fact, raw fermented vegetables are an amazing way to beautify and cleanse your body, from inside to out. They are also a food that has been eaten by humans across many cultures for hundreds if not thousands of years, and eating them regularly is a really healthy practice to get into.
What are fermented foods?
You might have heard of sauerkraut and kimchee. These are examples of fermented foods, but do beware if buying these straight from the shelf at the supermarket. Store bought fermented foods are often laden with salt. They also tend to be completely over processed and are also usually pasteurized, which means they have been prepared at high temperatures that kill all the goodness that properly fermented foods provide. What you want to look for is raw fermented foods. An example of raw fermented foods is cultured vegetables that are left in airtight jars at room temperature for several days. Commonly, the vegetable used for this is cabbage, but you might also find it mixed with carrots or beets or radishes and other vegetables which can be used as ferments too.
Why eat fermented foods?
When vegetables have been fermented, they become even more nutritious. The healthy enzymes which are present in the vegetables flourish when fermented, and create an environment that is full of probiotics, enzymes and minerals which are important for a healthy body. The probiotic good bacteria and enzymes in fermented foods help to populate our gut and intestines with Lactobacilli which are really important for healthy digestion. They also help to eliminate toxins from our body, so eating them will allow your intestines to detox which is a really good thing!
Raw, cultured vegetables are really potent in terms of helping your body to operate efficiently. When your body is working the way it should, then you will not only feel great, but you will look beautiful too. Eating fermented vegetables will also help with weight loss and lead to more energy, as well as balance out the pH levels of your body. When everything is working as it should, you will find your immunity is boosted from having a healthy gut and you will start to really feel cleaner.
The other hidden benefit of eating fermented foods is that they can help to control cravings that you might have for sweets. This is because they help us to feel full, so your appetite is reduced.
How to eat fermented vegetables
I guess one of the reasons that I never ate fermented foods much until I went raw was that I didn’t really know about them, and I had no idea of how to incorporate them into the foods I ate. I knew that sauerkraut was often eaten with meat, and didn’t know that it also could be eaten with just about anything!
It is important to eat fermented foods regularly to really experience all the amazing health benefits that I have mentioned above. The great thing is that they are easy to eat with just about anything. It is recommended to get into the habit of adding them to your salads or even just having them as a side to other dishes you eat. They are particularly good to eat paired with starches and proteins, as it will help you to digest these foods better.
How to make fermented vegetables
So that you don’t end up eating store-bought fermented foods that are laden with salt and other preservatives, I recommend making your own at home. It is a cinch and not expensive or complicated to do.
1. I recommend starting with a cabbage, though you might later move onto other vegetables too. Shred the cabbage in the food processor or slice it finely with a knife. Add this mixture to a bowl and start to massage the cabbage with your hands. If there is some liquid that appears this is good! Next, make brine from blending water and unpasteurized miso paste. Use about 4 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of miso as a good quantity for a medium-sized cabbage. Pour the brine over the cabbage and mix well.
2. Next fill the mixture into a jar, and squash it down so that the cabbage is tightly packed. Leave some space at the top of the jar, as the cabbage mixture will expand. Fill the space between the top of the mixture and the rim of the jar with rolled outer cabbage leaves. Now seal the jar and leave at room temperature for 5 days.
3. After 5 days, remove the top cabbage leaves and throw them away, then put the jar into the fridge. If you have a scum or bubbles at the top, this is great! These are a sign of the healthy probiotics being present in the ferment. You can start eating some of the fermented cabbage once you put the jar into the fridge and don’t forget to enjoy it daily!
Once you start eating raw, fermented vegetables regularly, you will likely become quite addicted to the strong flavors as well as to the awesome way that you start to feel and look by consuming the nutritious and transformative mixture. I use home-made sauerkraut as a replacement for salad dressing that is fat-free, oil-free, super tasty and filling. Do not be intimidated I am sure you will love eating fermented foods as much as I do once you try!
Have you ever tried eating or making your own fermented foods? How do you like to enjoy them?