It’s been a little while since I’ve posted. The summer wrapped up on a poor note, as my boyfriend has been sick for several weeks. He has been suffering from debilitating heart burn and related symptoms, and no course of medication was making a difference. Finally, he was sent to a specialist and they believe he has ulcer’s caused by helicobacter pylori, better known as H. Pylori.
H. Pylori is surprisingly common, in fact two-thirds of world’s population has it. Isn’t that nuts? Most people live with it their entire lives and never have any issues that would cause medical concern. However people with compromised immune systems, such as my boyfriend who is a type-1 diabetic, can develop serious infections. Luckily, a very, very heavy course of antibiotics should knock it out! We’ll know more after some tests next week.
This really got me thinking about what we put into our bodies and our overall gut health. I’m not terribly wild about him being on a heavy course of antibiotics for two weeks, as I’m not a believer in taking antibiotics. I truly believe that they are over prescribed and it is the cause for most people’s compromised immune systems. The two times in the past ten years that I have taken antibiotics (once for strep and once for a sinus infection that I couldn’t kick after getting strep), I was sick for months afterwards with digestive issues and serious candida.
So to start getting our guts healthy, I bought a couple bottles of Kefir to help us get some supped up probiotics into our diet naturally. This is where it started to snowball. I wanted to know what kefir was, how it was made and why it’s so good for you – which is coming up in a future post because it’s truly amazing stuff! This lead me fermentation and then consuming article after article about why it’s so amazing and how to do it… which has now lead me to a dozen jars of various organic vegetables fermenting away in our kitchen.
So what is Lacto-Fermentation and why is it so good for you?
First off, humans have been fermenting foods for thousands and thousands of years, this is not a new fad. Soy sauce, miso paste, sauerkraut, kimchi, cultured butter, yogurt, buttermilk – these are just some examples of fermented foods that we see everyday. However, what we buy at the store typically is pasteurized, which reduces the amount of good consumable enzymes and probiotics. Hence why homemade is going to be so much better for you.
Essentially lacto-fermentation is a microbial process using beneficial lactic acid bacteria, better known as probiotics! These probiotics come alive and explode in the anaerobic fermenting process. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. Besides the preservation advantages, lacto-fermentation increases beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, various strains of probiotics, enzymes, and digestibility. All of this leads to a boosted immune system, disease prevention (such as type-2 diabetes and heart disease), reduction in candida (better known as yeast – ladies, you know what I mean), improved mood, curbed sugar craving, increased longevity, and much much more.
What I love about it…
IT’S SOOOOO RIDICULOUSLY EASY! You can pretty much ferment any type of vegetable, quickly and in small batches. That’s my biggest issue with pickling, I always feel as though I have to do a huge batch to make it worth it. You can typically use what you have on hand… vegetables, sea salt, purified water, seasonings and herbs. Boom, done. A few days later, I have delicious fermented pickles that super duper healthy!!!
I’m pretty much becoming the crazy pickle lady. My boyfriend keeps coming up with silly names for future Kraut company, as he’s convinced that I will start schlepping my ferments to farmers markets at anytime.
What you need to get started
You don’t need much to get started. You probably have most of what you need already and there are some really amazing resources online as well. Mainly you need some wide mouth canning jars, purified water, sea salt, and some fresh organic (preferably) vegetables. However, like most kitchen hobbies, there are some amazing tools that will help you out and make your ferments successful and even easier! Here’s what I recommend to get started and why: