lacto-fermented veggies

 

I consider myself healthy. I do yoga 3-4 times a week and try to bike rather than drive whenever its warm, which is mostly always. Fiancé and I eat well—lots of grilled, lean meats and salad at every meal. Because Mexican food is my greatest love, I’ve created healthy variations: including fresh, homemade salsas, low calorie “refried” black beans, and fish tacos that are grilled and not fried. We even eat whole wheat bread and tortillas most of the time.

But apparently there is healthy and there’s healthy. I have learned right out of the gate that I am not the kind in italics. Healthy in italics means you sprout your quinoa so that you’re able to absorb the minerals you don’t get when you eat the cooked kind. Healthy in italics means you drink a green smoothie once (or twice or several times) a day. Healthy in italics means you already know what stevia and amaranth and adzuki beans are, you know all about (and regularly employ) lacto-fermentation.

I just eat well. I have not yet achieved “health nut” status. And don’t, for one second, get the idea that I think there is anything wrong with what I’m calling “health nut.” The term is merely a way to differentiate from myself—a health-food-loving cooking instructor-slash-food blogger with a TON to learn about health.

As a result of this Post to Post Links II error: No post found with slug "challenge-2013-elimination-diet-food-allergen-cleanse", I’ve had to seek out inventive new recipes, predominantly from the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen’s website. It’s there that I discovered that there are “normal” pickles (laden with sodium, not nutrients) and then there are “healthy” pickles.*

What’s that, you say? Healthy pickles?

That’s right pucker lovers, hoarders of the brine, seekers of the tang. “Pickles”–or pickled veggies of your choice–that introduce healthy bacteria into your intestinal tract! You begin with raw, nutrition-packed veggies (think radishes, cauliflower, cabbage, or green beans), and pack them into a salt brine where they are allowed to ferment at room temperature. No pasteurization (or heat) is involved, preserving the nutrients. And the lactobacillus bacteria that cause the fermentation produce B vitamins–a cherry on top of the probiotic love they’re already giving to our gut.

Read more about the benefits of this friendly bacteria here.

 

kimchi

 

Lacto-Fermentation

In high school my best friend Julie told me that her Korean family made kim chi by burying a glass jar of cabbage in the yard for several weeks. She was describing what is apparently a very common method of employing lacto-fermentation. For me, however, the image (slimy intestines) and corresponding flavors (sweaty socks) that came to mind made kim chi that food I was never able to wrap my head around enough to try. Until a few years ago when I was “tricked” into eating the condiment while dining at a Korean BBQ for the first time. I was rapidly shoveling bowl after bowl of the stuff into my mouth when my Korean roommate commented on my affection for kim chi. I tried–for all of three seconds–to be horrified, then just conceded that I might actually have fallen in LOVE with the spicy-sour stuff.

In the initial weeks of the Elimination Diet, without vinegar or lemon, I found that I really missed tangy foods. So I was excited to come across this recipe. I happened to have a couple of canning jars, so I can attest to the fact that metal lids will work, although I plan to buy the plastic kind for my next round. And as a bonus—they’re really pretty on top of your fridge!

Here’s Tom the Nutritionist, doing a better job of explaining the process than I could ever hope to recreate here.

For a written step-by-step, click here.

So easy, you can’t not try it! I love the idea of getting my savory munchie fix with something that’s actually benefitting my health.

*In spite of their many benefits, lacto-fermented veggies are high in sodium, so would not be considered healthy for those on a low-sodium diet.

Have you tried lacto-fermentation? Any favorite flavor combinations?

Have you done something delicious today?
(Bottom photo by Nagyman)

 

 

5 comments on “More Bang for Your Veggie Buck: Lacto-Fermentation

  1. genevieveyam

    Oo, I love kimchi! I, too, try to eat healthily whenever I have the chance, but sometimes it gets difficult when I have cravings! Thanks for stopping by Life Is Like A Dumpling 🙂

    1. Jennie the Writer

      And thanks to you! I don’t have a recipe for falafel that I like so I can’t wait to try the one off your site. Keep up the great work!

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