Fermented VegetablesSuper Foods
Guest Blogger: Rachael Todd
Miss United States 2017
Certified Health Coach and Yoga Instructor, Certified in Positive Psychology
This series is written to increase the detoxification effects of Planet Beach services. It is focused on nutritional ingredients that you can add into your daily regime to take the already incredible results even further.
At Planet Beach you will find services that strive to ultimately make you feel better and look better, but they do this by reducing inflammation in the body. Utilizing red light therapy, the meditation booth, the hydration station, the HOTWORX infrared sauna and more, these powerful treatments are ancient technologies that are available to you.
In addition to utilizing services at Planet Beach that are based on ancient treatments and traditions, you can enhance your results with superior nutrition.
This month’s new food to incorporate is…
First things first, so many of my clients want to address their digestive tract, or more like their digestive issues. What I have found is an entire generation of people who were overprescribed antibiotics. This has created a disrupted environment in the gut, or as medical professionals and researchers are now calling your microbiome.
How does this apply to detoxification? Your digestive system, your gut, and, essentially, your microbiome are responsible for carrying out the detoxification process, along with your liver and kidneys. If this system is overloaded with toxins and unable to function properly, it is not detoxifying your body to the best of it’s ability.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into the microbiome:
As of 2014, it was often reported in popular media and in the scientific literature that there are about 10 times as many microbial cells in the human body as there are human cells; this figure was based on estimates that the human microbiome includes around 100 trillion bacterial cells and that an adult human typically has around 10 trillion human cells.
There’s an entire ecosystem of bacteria and a vast neural network operating in our guts. This ecosystem is our second brain, and comprises some 100 million neurons, more than the spinal cord. This is not a thinking brain—it does not reason, write poetry, or solve multi-linear regressions—but mounting evidence suggests that your gut’s health strongly influences your mood.
Basically, we need to care for this environment in our bodies and we can do that with exercise, sweating, detoxing, and putting in nutritiously dense foods, especially foods that we know help to cultivate a healthy gut environment.
Today I’m discussing fermented vegetables.
Not just your average sauerkraut, but organic, natural, less than 3 ingredients, fresh fermented vegetables.
Sauerkraut, a form of fermented cabbage, has been popular throughout Central Europe for hundreds of years. Sauerkraut combines one of the healthiest foods there is (cabbage) with one of the most beneficial and time-honored food preparation methods ever used (fermentation).
Fermentation simply refers to an ancient technique and perseveration method that naturally alters the chemistry of foods. Similar to cultured dairy products like yogurt and kefir, sauerkraut’s fermentation process produces beneficial probiotics that are now linked to improvements in immune, cognitive, digestive and endocrine function.
First and foremost, sauerkraut’s live and active probiotics have beneficial effects on the health of your digestive tract — and therefore the rest of your body too.
As we learned earlier, that’s because a very large portion of your immune system actually lives within your gut and is run by bacterial organisms, what you can think of as “your gut’s bugs” that live within your intestinal flora.
The good bacteria living in someone’s healthy gut environment have been proved to be crucial for lowering the risk of just about every form of acute or chronic illness there is. A 2006 report published in The Journal of Applied Microbiology states that probiotic benefits from cultured foods include lowering the risk of:
- brain disorders and mental illness
- digestive disorders like leaky gut syndrome, ulcerative colitis and IBS
- mood disorders like depression and anxiety
- hormonal imbalances
- food allergies and sensitivities
- metabolic conditions such as diabetes
- obesity or weight gain
- various autoimmune diseases
The Best Kinds of Sauerkraut to Buy and How to Make Your Own!
The kind of sauerkraut you want to buy is the type that’s been prepared in the traditional way and is refrigerated in order to preserve the “live and active cultures.” These types can be found in health food stores and now in some larger grocery stores in the refrigerated section — NOT in room-temperature jars or cans!
Keep in mind that many commercial food manufacturers have tried to standardize the fermentation process in order to produce larger quantities of cultured foods in less time. The result is that many mass-produced foods that were traditionally fermented (including sauerkraut, pickles or olives, for example) are now just treated with large amounts of sodium and chemicals and then canned.
This type of product might be labeled “sauerkraut,” but it actually hasn’t gone through the proper process to develop probiotics. In some cases, cultured foods are also pasteurized to kill potentially harmful bacteria, which kills the probiotics we want in the process. Only true fermentation, without pasteurization, gives you the amazing probiotic enzymes, like lactobacillus for example, that have the benefits mentioned above.
Making sauerkraut is one of the most basic fermentation processes there is, so it’s a great place to start if you’re new to making your own cultured foods. All you need to make sauerkraut (or any fermented veggie for that matter) is simply the vegetable (in this case cabbage), water, salt and some patience!
Lacto-fermented vegetables increase in flavor with more time, at least according to fermentation experts. Some traditional preparation methods call for the sauerkraut to rest for at least six months to become fully mature and beneficial, however many people ferment theirs for just one to two weeks successfully. One of the best thing about lacto-fermented vegetable condiments is that they’ll stay fresh and “alive” when stored in a cold place like the refrigerator for several months, instead of going bad within a week like fresh veggies do.
To make your own sauerkraut, you simply clean one head of cabbage (any color) and chop it into small pieces or shreds, add your salt and massage the two together for several minutes, and then pack the mixture into a quart size glass jar that has a tightly fitting lid. After waiting for several days — you’ve got homemade sauerkraut beaming with live probiotics, fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients!
Total Time: 20 minutes active prep; 4 weeks total
Serves: Makes about 1 gallon
- 5 pounds shredded cabbage
- 2 tablespoons sea salt or pickling salt
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- In a large bowl, mix cabbage with salt and caraway seeds. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Pack cabbage mixture into a large glass food container. Top with a lid small enough to fit inside the container and place a sanitized glass jar filled with water on top of the lid to weigh it down.
- Place in a cool spot overnight. Check to make sure the sauerkraut is completely submerged in liquid. Check cabbage every other day for 2 weeks, skimming off of any scum that may form on the surface.
- Let stand for at least 4 weeks total. Then store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.