Sometimes, I forget that not everyone was born Polish and fed with sauerkraut from infancy. So, I am still a bit surprised when people ask me how to eat fermented food, even though I heard this question so many times. In fact, every time I push a jar on an Irish person or teach them how to make fermented food, I can see a bit of panic and confusion in their eyes like the jar was going to bully them requesting to be eaten in a particular, highly ritualised way.
But it’s not that hard to implement probiotic ferments in your diet. Here you have a few tips:
- Start slowly; you are about to change your internal microbial ecosystem, and no ecosystem likes to be altered rapidly. Eventually, the change will be for good, but if you have never had proper probiotic products and your diet has been rich in sugars and other processed foods, the transition can be unpleasant. Surely, your “bad bacteria” will fight to survive and this can be dramatic. You may experience bloating, indigestion, and even flu-like symptoms.
- Consider starting with drinking a half glass of kombucha or water kefir first thing in the morning. You can also use water with a spoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV). ACV is a product of acetic acid fermentation, but organic, unfiltered brands contain strains of lacto-bacteria. Wait at least half an hour before you eat or drink anything else. This way you will cleanse your gut and allow the lacto-bacteria to colonise.
- It is not a bad idea to familiarise yourself with the taste of sauerkraut by eating a pasteurised product first. You can buy decent jarred sauerkraut in every Eastern European shop. Regardless what was recently said by one of the media personalities, it is NOT packed with vinegar, unless sold in tins, but those are rarely sold in Dublin anyway. Never, ever buy sauerkraut in a sealed plastic bag; it may contain some nasty chemicals.
- When you feel you are ready, start using lacto-pickles as:
– a side dish with any dinner meal, especially meat and fish.
– condiment for sandwiches
– an ingredient for salads; also, fermented brine (so called ‘pickle juice’) is great as a salad dressing
– the base for salads (try to make coleslaw with sauerkraut instead of fresh cabbage and oil instead of mayo)
– a snack; fermented vegetables are usually salty, so if you crave crisps try to eat sauerkraut instead
- drink kombucha and water kefir instead of soft drinks, especially with meals; don’t forget, however, that fermented drinks have the strong detoxifying effect, so you still have to drink a lot of water to wash those toxins out of your body
- swap milk with milk kefir; don’t pour it into your tea or coffee, though
Do you have any other interesting ways of implementing fermented food in your life and your diet? Drop a comment below, please, or contact me.
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