Last weekend I went to the Fermentation Festival in Santa Barbara. I couldn’t believe it, but yes there is actually a festival to celebrate, eat, and learn about all things fermented. A festival where I can get samples of kombucha and kimchi is absolutely a place I want to be. My tummy was very happy that day, not only because all of the festival’s culinary selections were on point, but also because fermented foods are so great for your gut!
So why are fermented foods such a trend in the wellness world right now? They contain loads of probiotics, the good-for-you bacteria species. When food ferments, the carbohydrates (sugar/starches) in the food are converted to acids, like lactic acid. The low pH and anaerobic environment (no air because the food is submerged in a liquid brine) creates the perfect environment for good bacteria to thrive and prosper, while the bad bacteria are kept at bay, since they require oxygen and a less acidic environment. Without getting into too much science, this process preserves the food and gives life to TONS of beneficial bacteria that you get to eat up! Sounds kind of gross to eat lots of bacteria, but probiotics do the body some serious good. Plus, fermented foods are unbeatable when it comes to flavor, and so versatile to use.
Probiotics are known for their super powers- many people know that they aid in digestion and help promote regularity, no thanks to Activiaaaaa. But probiotics do even more for us! These good bacteria are necessary to supply the body with B vitamins, like vitamin B-12, and vitamin K. In addition, probiotics maintain the integrity of our immune system, since the majority of our immune system is in our gut!! Feeling sick and run down all the time? You may need a dose of probiotics! It’s all that good bacteria that keeps our immune defense up, and gets those antibodies synthesized and ready for action. It’s no exaggeration to say that probiotics are LIFE!! And if you can’t down any more yogurt cups, fermented foods are a zesty twist on getting your probiotics in.
What are some options for getting probiotic-rich fermented foods into your diet?
Kombucha (a bubbly, sour drink that comes in tons of flavors-it’s a great low-cal, low-sugar sub for soda if you crave that carbonation sensation)
Kimchi (a traditional Korean dish made with veggies, typically cabbage, and spices)
Kefir ( drinkable-style yogurt that comes in both dairy-based and dairy-free varieties)
Tempeh (organic, please- soybean cake)
Miso (organic, please- salty, umami soybean paste )
Sauerkraut (cabbage, lots of cabbage)
Don’t worry if you can’t invest in an expensive probiotic pill. These foods provide a major amount of fresh bacteria that will feel right at home in your gut with all the other flora. Feed your gut fermented foods, and it will love you right back!
Tell me- have you ever tried any fermented foods? Also, has anyone tried fermenting foods at home, like DIY-style? I am a little hesitant to try it, but I’m curious to hear your experiences with it! Have a fabulous week!!