WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: FERMENTED FOODS
Long before the beneficial bacteria known as probiotics hit store shelves, cultures around the globe have been enjoying the benefits of a microbe-rich diet by eating fermented foods.
Thousands of years ago, when fermented foods and beverages were first consumed, the microbial and enzymatic processes responsible for the transformations were largely unknown. What was known was that fermentation extended the longevity of foods and they came to be valued for their medicinal and nutritive properties.
Fermentation is one of the oldest forms of food preservation technologies in the world. Indigenous fermented foods such as bread, cheese, and wine, have been prepared and consumed for thousands of years and are strongly linked to culture and tradition, especially in rural households and village communities.
Why Fermented Foods Should Be a Part of Your Diet?
Fermented foods are packed with beneficial microorganisms that most people do not get elsewhere. Did you know that your gut houses about 85 percent of your immune system? YEP!
This is in large part due to the 100 trillion bacteria that live there, both beneficial and pathogenic.
When your GI tract is not properly balanced, a wide range of health problems can appear, including allergies and autoimmune diseases. In fact, over the past several years, research has revealed that microbes of all kinds — bacteria, fungi, and even viruses — play instrumental roles in the functioning of your body.
Health Benefits of Fermented Foods..
Fermented foods are potent chelators (detoxifiers) and contain much higher levels of beneficial bacteria than probiotic supplements, making them ideal for optimising your gut flora. In addition to helping break down and eliminate heavy metals and other toxins from your body, beneficial gut bacteria perform a number of surprising functions.
Imbalances in gut flora are widespread, not only due to modern high sugar and high-processed food diets, but also due to exposure to antibiotics, both in medicine and via conventionally raised livestock.
The solution is simple – in addition to cutting back on sugar and antibiotics (choose organic foods as much as possible), consuming fermented foods will give your gut health a complete overhaul, helping to clear out pathogenic varieties, and promoting the spread of healing, nourishing microorganisms instead.
GU-IT-YOURSELF: Tips for Making Fermented Vegetables at Home..
• You can ferment almost any vegetable.
Fermenting your own vegetables may seem intimidating, but it is not difficult once you have the basic method down. Use organic ingredients - starting out with fresh, toxin-free food will ensure a better outcome.
•Wash Your Veggies and Prepare Them Properly.
Wash your vegetables thoroughly under cold running water. You want to remove bacteria, enzymes, and other debris from the veggies, as remnants could affect the outcome of your fermentation. Next you'll want to decide whether to grate, slice, or chop the veggies, or simply leave them whole.
One "rule" is to keep the size of the veggies consistent within each batch, as the size and shape will impact the speed of fermentation. Grated veggies will have the texture of relish when finished (and may not need an added brine). Chopped veggies will take longer to ferment and usually require brine, while cucumbers, radishes, green beans, and brussels sprouts may be left whole.
•Use Glass Jars.
You do NOT want to use plastic, which may leach chemicals into your food, or metal, as salts can corrode the metal. Large, glass Mason jars with self-sealing lids make perfect fermentation containers, and they are a good size for most families. Make sure they are the wide-mouthed variety, as you'll need to get your hand or a tool down into the jar for tightly packing the veggies.
•Prepare the Brine.
Most fermented vegetables will need to be covered with brine. While you can do wild fermentation (allowing whatever is naturally on the vegetable to take hold), this method is more time consuming, and the end product is less certain. Instead, try one of the following brine fermentation methods:
Salt suppresses the growth of undesirable bacteria while allow salt-tolerant Lactobacilli strains to flourish. Salt will also lead to a crisper texture, since salt hardens the pectins in the vegetables. There are actually quite a few compelling reasons for adding a small amount of natural, unprocessed salt — such as Himalayan salt — to your vegetables. For example, salt
strengthens the ferment's ability to eliminate any potential pathogenic bacteria present. It also adds to the flavour and acts as a natural preservative, which may be necessary if you're making large batches that need to last for a larger portion of the year. Salt also slows the enzymatic digestion of the vegetables, leaving them crunchier.
Starter cultures may be used on their own or in addition to salt, and they can provide additional benefits. For instance, I recommend using a starter culture specifically designed to optimise vitamin K2. The water used for your brine is also important. Use water that is filtered to be free of contaminants, chlorine, and fluoride.
•Let Your Veggies "Ripen"
Once you've packed your veggies for fermentation, they'll need to "ripen" for a week or more for the flavour to develop. You'll need to weigh the vegetables down to keep them submerged below the brine.
•Move the Veggies to Cold Storage
When the vegetables are ready, you should move them to the refrigerator. How do you know when they're "done"? First, you might notice bubbles throughout the jar, which is a good sign. Next, there should be a pleasant sour aroma. If you notice a rotten or spoiled odour, toss the veggies, wash the container, and try again. Ideally, test the vegetables daily until you reach the desired flavour and texture. They should have a tangy, sour flavour when they're done fermenting, but you can let them ferment an extra day or two depending on your preference.
If you're feeling ready to give fermenting a try, head to your local Bali Buda Café & Health Food Shops to stock up on supplies. If you're not ready, you'll be happy to know that Bali Buda stock a ready-to-use range of Fermented Foods such as Kim Chi & sauerkraut. Find your nearest Bali Buda on Gu Guide..
WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: RASPBERRY LEAF TEA
Hands up if you L❤️VE Raspberries 🙋🏽🙋🏻🙋🏾🙋🏼
The raspberry fruit (Rubus idaeus) is absolutely delicious - the perfect combo of sweet and a little bit of tartness - a favourite fruit to many! You'd be very familiar with raspberry as a fruit, but are you as familiar with the raspberry leaves?
The leaves of the raspberry plant have been used as a medicinal herb for centuries. They are thought to have many varied properties including those that are beneficial for pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.
It is believed that raspberry leaf, if taken regularly through pregnancy and labour can:
• Ease the symptoms of morning sickness.
• Sooth and prevent bleeding gums which many pregnant women often
• Relax the smooth muscles of the uterus when it is contracting
• Assist with the birth of the baby and the placenta.
• Calm cramping of the uterus.
• Provide a rich source of iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium. The magnesium content is especially helpful in strengthening the uterine muscles. Raspberry leaf also contains vitamins B1, B3 and E which are valuable in pregnancy.
Raspberry leaf is also used for the following:
• To aid fertility.
• To promote a plentiful supply of breastmilk.
• To help stop excess bleeding after birth.
• To treat diarrhoea.
• To regulate irregular menstrual cycle and decreases heavy periods.
• To relieve sore throats.
• To reduce fever.
Some women believe that it will shorten labour and make the birth easier. The use of this herb for remedial purposes dates back to the sixth century and its benefits in childbirth have been recorded as a proven aid in maternity in the most ancient of herbal books.
Raspberry Leaf has been recommended by naturopaths and herbalists as well as some midwives and obstetricians.
Raspberry leaf can be taken in tablet form, in teabags, or as a loose leaf tea.
GU-IT-YOURSELF: BREWING LOOSE LEAF TEA
Bring one cup of water to the boil. Remove from heat and add one teaspoon of the herb. Stir, cover and let sit for ten minutes (do not boil the herb), strain and sip. Adding sugar or honey many improve the taste.
2 to 3 cups per day is often recommended especially after 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Get your raspberry leaf tea at your nearest Bali Buda, and drink to wellness! Find your nearest store using Gu Guide..