when in doubt, kraut it out.
*this information is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, perevent or cure any conditions, nor is intended to constitute advice on which reliance should be placed. Any information in this blog should be discussed with your health care practitioner.
I’m super down for ferments. They’re such a crazy nutrient dense world of goodness that most of us millennials are scared of, or just think “what the fuck”, or just don’t care because we don’t understand why they’re so bomb, and so therefore don’t bother to incorporate it in our lives.
So, as we explored in our “what’s up with my gut” series - 70% of our immune system is located in our gut.
Our energy is produced there by our friendly bacteria who dominate our human cells like 10x
Our neurotransmitters like serotonin are made in our gut.
It determines how well we sleep, how well we absorb our nutrients, how well we recover, how often we get sick, our resistance to fatigue, mood balancing, and everything else in between. And ain’t nobody enjoy being sick. So adding fermented foods into our diet strengthens our immune system and will raise our overall wellbeing.
Fermented foods are CRAZY RICH IN POLYPHENOLS, (which as we’ve talked about in previous blogs) are plant properties, that are able to not only influence gut bacteria – such as kill off unwanted and encourage good ones (aka ensure the ratio of bacteria is more favourable to the good guys), but they’re also potent antioxidants (which help to mop up free radicals which are rogue cells just running amok), they also can work on gene expression (very cool), and all of these occur in fermented foods, particularly kraut’s as they’re fermented veggies, and veggies are the kingdom of good tings.
So when I talk about ferments, we have options.
We have krauts, which there are so many amazing ones out there, and kraut’s not just cabbage, there’s beetroot, carrot, kale, cauliflower, radish, broccoli, kimchi, etc etc. (i breakdown my fave's @lewisandson 's and how i include them in my meals, what i cook for dins/lunch/ and their therapeutic benefits woooooo)
I personally gravitated towards @lewisandson because a) there colours are awesome b) SO MANY OPTIONS and c) all their ingredients are local, ethical and superb, no pointless additives or flavours or sugars or anything like that, and D) they follow Ayurvedic principles which is awesome, and means that their ingredients also have therapeutic properties (i explain further down).
And then meeting Daniel and hearing his story resonated, in that it's fucking hard in todays society to find amazing, delicious foods that aren't spiked of shitty additives. And so i'm super blessed and humbled when he reached out!!
We also have keffir – which you can make your own with keffir kits or just buy it, but be careful, because a lot of the commercial ones are just packed full of sugar and shit. So remember to be flippin that package and reading what’s inside
We have kombucha and same thing, because there’s a lot of companies jumping on the good gut health bandwagon and just creating really sweet, not effective or therapeutic kombucha’s. So again, be aware.
There’s tempeh, miso, tamari, apple cider vinegar, CHOCOLATE (yes cacao is fermented) sourdough bread, wine, pickles/pickled veg, chutneys, coconut yoghurt, natto, and yaas that’s all I can think of right now.
Consuming fermented foods also helps reduce INFLAMMATION.
Inflammation is at the root of all pain, disease and conditions, as there is some kind of dis-regulation and imbalance and inflammations usually there like “oh hey guys, I’m just gonna hang out here” but it’s like can you not? So eating fermented yums can decrease inflammation, and thus, help with all conditions associated, anything and everything from IBS, some autoimmune (U.C / R.A), chronic fatigue, reoccurring UTI’s, psoriasis, eczema and acne to name a few!
A lot of us are missing these vital foods in our diets, because growing up us millennials just were never exposed to them, (unless you have awesome parents). Like shit, until a few years ago I’d never had tempeh or miso or any of the krauts, in my mind fermented foods were like milk yoghurt and cheese and alcohol? (all of which are pro-inflammatory..) And these ferments help to get rid of bloating, aid digestion and just all the not fun times, because they usually have a bitter / sour flavour profile, it increases our digestive juices and aids in bile release (which helps us break down fat).
It’s like a cute lil sumin sumin on the side, a baben sidepiece, that gives us that extra goodness.
PS alcohol loves to kill and bomb our microbiome, so it’s kinda important and worth adding in some into our diets to help our immune system and microbiome, pow pow.
So the way i cook i feel is the most easiest, basic yet flavour & nutrient dense way. Personally, i'll take the time to cook and bake and all that fun stuff when i have a day off or make the time (coz it makes my soul happy), yet when its a work day i just want to get in, get out, eat something delicious, satisfying and nutritious. And i feel that's how most of us millennials do. like we want something yum, easy and fast haha.
Like my legit general go-to for dinner and lunches (coz i usually make enough to have for lunch too pow pow) is a like "rainbow bowl" aka "anything and everything i have in the fridge", all the veggies i can pack into it, with a bomb protein source and some serious scrumptious herbs and spices, and pimping my bowl with kraut, is how i personally consume them on the daily.
I always make sure in my cupboard i have cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper, coz they're my right haaaaaand, they my go to. I also try to always make sure i have tamari &/or coconut amino's for when I'm feeling that asian persuasion vibe. For me, being able to make sure i eat wholesome foods is just enabling yourself access to them. I get my spices from @thesourcewholefoods, because i can just get as little or as much as i want, plastic and waste free - which i love.
And then its like all your veggies, i aim for 5+ different types, greens as the base - whether thats spinach, rocket, mixed leaves, sautéed kale, lettuce, and then adding in my polyphenol rich veggies that are in season (i downloaded this seasonal guide that shows you what F&V are in season in your state). And then i add either some coconut oil or olive oil for the good fats, my tempeh/tofu/lentils/protein, nuts and seeds for texture goodness, and then my spices, and kinda mix it all up in this giant mixing bowl and das it! add tahini or avocado and my kraut and das it. And its just about switching up the flavours when you get bored or have a craving.
Otherwise, i have quinoa flour usually in my cupboard, and i make like a savoury pancake thing and then load it with all the veggies and like make a wrap type thing?!? haha, or i have lupin on the side, or make cauliflower rice, those type things.
So, recipe's including @lewisandson's kraut for me, is my bowls. And then adding a decent forkful or two to my bowl, but making sure i keep it away from my hot food if it's in there, as heat will destroy and kill the live bacteria (which is what we want!!!). Upon opening and trying every single kraut they have (hahah), i feel for meal/flavour pairing;
- kimchi - stir frys, macro bowls, sushi, anythinh tamarai / terriyaki / coconut amino / based / on anything and everything also haha. it has all the amazing pre-biotic goodness and anti-inflammatory benefits of ginger, garlic and chilli!
- sweet n sour kraut - is a game changer. I feel this pairs well with your root veggies - sweet potato, potato, pumpkin, beetroot, those kind of vibes! with some coriander even? it has apple in it (so good) which also adds extra fibre!
- beetroot kraut - in / on anything (ayeeee haha). it's an all rounder. has caraway seeds which are great for heart burn, bloating, and anti-spasmotic!
- cauli-flower power - has turmeric, fenugreek & dill - super anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, fenugreek boosts libido, great for digestion. legit so good.
- rockin' out brocco-kraut - has turmeric and ginger - super anti-inflammatory, great for digestion, any curry type scenarios would go down excellently, or just on crackers with avo as a always haha
- kale kraut - has spring onion, parsley and turnip - is again, anti-fungal/bacterial, great for bloating, diuretic and helps with fluid retention, and great for the kidneys!!!
- saurkraut - is just the OG with cabbage and salt. add to a side of whatever you love to munch.
AND THEN I TRIED THEIR WILD FERMENTED SALSA AND OH MY GOD.
SERIOUSLY. MEXICAN HEAVEN DREAMS ENVISION IT IS INSANE. if you're a mexican lover like legit, cannotttttt stress how bad you need to try this. It's like so much flavour. It's insane.
And then they're vegan basil pesto is 10/10 CRACKER TIME GOOD TINGS, DIP, PLATTER, ON ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING ALWAYS AND FOREVER AMEN!
like legit, with ferments. whether its cooked, animal based, plant-based, a pre-packaged post-gym meal, uber eats, a BBQ, platters, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, whatever, i feel you can just add a forkful of kraut to whatever you're eating and not only will it boost the nutrient absorption of whatever you're eating, support your immune system and digestion, it also is just such an easy way to take care of yourself and add a heeeaaaapppp of flavour to your day!
That's the end of my ferments story (for now...)