“Good health begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates
Lacto-fermented foods give us some of the best health benefits we can get. Many experts believe our chronic health problems, digestive issues, mysterious viruses and parasites are, in part, a result of us abandoning our traditional practice of fermented foods.
The process of pasteurization destroys beneficial bacteria, enzymes, omega-3 fatty acids, B-vitamins and other nutrients in common foods like pickles, sauerkraut, cheese, milk and yogurt.
- Read more about the truth behind raw milk.
Rarely do we get the friendly bacteria we need from the food made available to us in grocery stores, and most people today are loading up on foods with anti-nutrients. This leaves more room for pathogenic bacteria, yeast and fungi to wreak havoc in our guts. And we know for a fact that the health of our intestinal flora is extremely crucial to the health of our immune and brain function as well as our overall well being.
In a great article by Wellness Mama, she says, “Instead of the nutrient rich foods full of enzymes and probiotics that our grandparents probably ate, the average diet today consists mainly of sugar laden, lab created dead foods.”
But there’s a way we can get the good bacteria we need! That is, with fermented foods that we make ourselves. They supply billions of beneficial probiotics naturally and can do wonders for our health.
Scientists have discovered at least 170 diseases, like eczema, allergies, IBS, depression and obesity, that can be helped by eating probiotic foods or foods with good bacteria. Green Med Info researchers have compiled more than 250 studies proving this fact.
In this short video, Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, talks about some of the benefits of fermented foods.
A healthy gut is our protective barrier to so many health issues plaguing our world today, period. Humans are made up of 10 to 100 times more bacterial cells than human cells (source). It’s no wonder our guts needs a healthy balance.
Everyone can benefit from eating real live fermented foods. I’m not saying we should eat homemade sauerkraut everyday. (Remember – the sauerkraut in the store is likely pasteurized and without benefit) There are so many other options!
When I started learning more about fermented foods, I tried kombucha first, which tastes really good! I consider that my go-to probiotic drink. My boys love it, too. And I’ve definitely noticed a difference with my son’s eczema after he had been drinking some kombucha everyday. You can find it at some grocery stores or it’s actually pretty simple to make yourself.
- Here’s a recipe from Wellness Mama for how to brew your own Kombucha at home.
Other quick and easy fermented foods you can find at the store are raw, grass-fed cheeses or SO-Delicious yogurt, as well as other coconut-based or grass-fed brands that aren’t made with junk ingredients. Always read the labels. Most yogurt brands are actually not that good for us. Organic and grass-fed, without a load of added sugar is key.
There are also plenty of recipes you can try. Fermented foods were pretty foreign to me at first. But, I quickly figured out that it’s not rocket science, it’s actually super easy. I started out fermenting some apples and cabbage with orange slices in it, and I was not happy with how it turned out. It was gross! I was totally bummed. But, I wasn’t about to give up.
I started researching more ways to ferment foods. Foods that my kids would actually eat, too. I was pretty amazed at how many options there really are out there!
- Probiotic supplements are always an option. But, they must be quality enough to pass through our stomach acid, contain billions of beneficial bacteria and have at least six or seven different strains. Dr. Mercola’s Complete Probiotic supplement has 70 billion active probiotic cells and 10 different strains in every serving. They are also dairy free and non-GMO.
Check out these eight “more normal” fermented food recipes we rounded up that are so simple and so worth it. If you start adding them to your diet, you may notice a big difference. Let us know how they turn out for you!
1. Fermented Orange Juice
Not all fermented food recipes need a starter culture, but fermenting food experts strongly encourage it. I use Body Ecology Starter Culture because I can get it right here at Natural Healthy Concepts, so I know it’s a trusted brand. Plus, it’s organic, non-GMO and free from dairy, soy and gluten. It’s also the starter culture that Tamara from Oh Lardy recommends for her delicious sparkling, fermented orange juice recipe!
Once you have your starter culture, all you need is some fresh squeezed orange juice, distilled or reverse osmosis water, a pinch of quality sea salt and a little patience. It takes 48 hours at room temperature to go through the fermentation process. That’s it! It’s really that simple to add fermented foods to your diet and conquer the bacterial war in your intestines.
- Get the detailed recipe and more from OhLardy.com.
2. Fermented Ketchup
With this recipe from Homemade Mommy, you can turn your kids favorite condiment into a probiotic nutrient powerhouse! You can’t go wrong with ketchup that will help you absorb more nutrients from that grass-fed burger and give you more enzymes needed to help digest it all. This recipe calls for a few more ingredients, but it’s still simple. Lindsey says to use sauerkraut juice or whey, but you can also use a packet of that same Body Ecology Starter Culture we talked about.
Just like in any fermented food recipe, you’ll need that quality sea salt because it promotes the fermenting process and inhibits the growth of bad bacteria. Then you’ll need some garlic, raw honey, cayenne pepper, organic apple cider vinegar and tomato paste.
Mix it all together and leave it at room temp for three days and it’s good to go!
- Get the detailed recipe and more from HomemadeMommy.com.
3. Fermented Berries
Here’s another great recipe from the ladies at Oh Lardy! Lacto-fermented berries that can be used in so many ways when they are done. You can add them to your smoothies, on top of yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes or even enjoy them just as they are.
You’ll notice the same ingredients popping up in these fermented foods recipes. So, you’ll need your starter culture, sea salt, raw honey and filtered water in addition to whatever berries you’d like to ferment. Except strawberries. Tamara says according to the Nourishing Traditions book, strawberries don’t ferment well because they are too acidic. Instead, stick with blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.
This recipe will take between 12-48 hours to ferment depending on how hot it is in the kitchen. Tamara says if it’s a hot summer day and your house is 80 degrees, they could be done in just 12 hours! Otherwise, in a 70 degree house, 48 hours is how long it will take.
- Get the detailed recipe and tips from OhLardy.com.
4. Fermented Applesauce
The Coconut Mama says this is her daughters favorite snack! And all you need for this recipe is a bag of organic apples, your starter culture, sea salt and cinnamon. Blend it all up and keep it on the counter for three days.
That’s it! You’ve got fermented applesauce you can enjoy for a good two months. Although, it will probably get eaten up way before that!
- Find this recipe and more from TheCoconutMama.com.
5. Fermented Fruit Leathers
The Coconut Mama shares a very creative fermented fruit leather recipe using her fermented applesauce! You can puree any fruit in with the applesauce to make whatever flavor you’d like. Coconut Mama mixes it with banana. Once it’s nice and smooth, you just spread the mixture evenly on some parchment paper and let it sit out to dehydrate for 12-48 hours.
Coconut Mama says to check it every eight hours and once you notice the top is dry, flip it over to let the other side dry out. Once they are dehydrated or dried on both sides, you can cut and store them in an airtight glass container.
- Get the entire recipe with pictures from TheCoconutMama.com.
6. Homemade Fermented Soda Pop
Colas are poison. There is not one healthy thing about the way soda pop is made today. But, soda doesn’t have to be BAD. You can make it GOOD. I mean, so that it’s actually healthy for you! Read ‘Em & Reap gives us two methods to making homemade fermented soda pop using organic juice or water with organic cane sugar. Believe me, your kids won’t have any problems sucking this one down.
This recipe calls for Kefir grains as well as some Trace Mineral Drops from Trace Minerals Research.
Using the juice method, and making sure it’s a quality organic, real juice, just add the Kefir grains to the juice and put it in a jar. Screw the lid on loosely and let it sit for 12 hours. Then you simply strain out the Kefir grains, pour the soda into glass bottles, screw the lid on tightly this time and let it sit at room temp for another 12 hours. You’re done! And this soda will last in the fridge for a week.
Get the detailed recipe, both methods and more from ReadEmAndReap.com.
7. Fermented Red Salsa
If you need a great recipe to try with all of those tomatoes from the garden this summer, try this lacto-fermented salsa recipe from Happy Mothering! It’s so simple, tasty and filled with nutrition. Chrystal makes a homemade taco seasoning that she uses in her salsa. It’s just a mixture of seasonings. In addition to that and about 12 medium organic tomatoes, you’ll need a starter culture, an onion, garlic, lime, cilantro and some jalapenos.
You just chop up the ingredients and blend them together, tasting it throughout. Put the recipe in jars and let it sit for three days. Chrystal says you may need to burp the jars and stir the salsa every couple of days. When it’s done, you can transfer it to the fridge to chill and enjoy!
Get the detailed recipe and more from Happy-Mothering.com.
8. Fermented Carrot Sticks
Last but not least, is a super simple fermented carrot sticks recipe courtesy of Shannon from Health Impact News. To make it even easier, you don’t need a starter culture for this one. All you need is a pound or so of organic carrots, two garlic cloves, pure water and sea salt.
After a few days of sitting on the counter, they will be slightly tangy and still very crunchy. Give them a try! You can keep them out on the counter for up to two weeks, but will need to move them to the fridge after that. By this time they will be very flavorful and just a tad softer, but still have a pleasant crunch. Health Impact News says this is an especially kid-friendly ferment. Perfect!
- Get the detailed recipe from HealthImpactNews.com.
Adding fermented foods into our diets can benefit us greatly. We can improve our digestion, absorb more nutrients and protect and even reverse common health ailments affecting so many of us.
I hope you were enlightened with helpful information, as well as inspired to try some of these simple fermented food recipes for yourself.
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