You'd have to be hiding underneath a rock to not know about fermented foods... but if you were like me, when I heard the words "fermented foods" it was like hearing a foreign language.
I literally had no clue how to eat, source, or even get my hands on fermented foods. I never grew up eating gut-healing foods so when I began my journey towards moving myself and my family towards optimal health, I learned quickly how imperative it was to consume foods that contained SO many gut-healing qualities.
My wish is to inspire you, if you don't already, to consume fermented foods regularly. It's vital to our health and the health of our gut!
Fermented foods offer a myriad of health benefits.
Fermentation literally increases the nutrients in our foods. Humans have been fermenting foods since Neolithic times.
When we eat fermented foods they:
There is also evidence that the beneficial compounds in plants are compounded when they are fermented!
Ideally adding ½ cup or 2 servings every day of fermented foods will reap many health benefits.
Here are the top fermented foods which are easily obtainable at your health-focused grocery store:
Let's explore these further to get you more comfortable with them and willing to try one or two of these options!
Kimchi / Kraut - A traditional fermented and probiotic rich food, kimchi is a blend of many different vegetables and seasonings. There are MANY different versions available, so finding one that works for you is key! I love the brands Farmhouse Culture and Wild Brine.
Kombucha - Always looks at sugar content when buying kombucha at the store. Many have added sugars and other ingredients. Follow the “I understand all the ingredients” rule and choose options with lowest sugar content (check how many servings are in each bottle too!)
Tempeh – Also a fermented soybean product, is a great alternative to Tofu, which is not fermented.
Miso - When cooking with miso, it’s important to add the miso in just before serving. Take a small portion (1 cup) of what you are cooking and place in a bowl. Slowly add in the miso and stir until mixed. Turn off the dish you are cooking and add in the miso.
Kefir – A fermented milk product truly tastes like a drinkable yogurt. When sourcing Kefir opt for WHOLE FAT and organic. Also, check for sugar content and opt for unsweetened and flavored options. Many are loaded with sugar and “natural flavoring”. Add in your own sweetness like raw honey or seasonal fruit... I love to even add kefir into our smoothies! Which is a great way to get your kids to get fermented foods in their bodies!
Pickles - pickled cucumbers are a great source of probiotics but not all pickles are created the same! Make sure to always source pickles without vinegar and are served in the refrigerated section. Be sure to always check ingredients as calcium chloride is a common preservative added to make them taste salty without adding sodium. Even better find a local pickle creator!
Natto – One of the least popular fermented foods, natto is a popular dish in Japan consisting of fermented soybeans. Here is a great article on ways to use Natto! Check it out!
Yogurt – Same principles as kefir. ALWAYS source organic and unsweetened. Ideally yogurt from sheep or goats is best. If sourcing from cows make sure it’s grass-fed! Also yogurts made from nuts and coconut are always great options! Just make sure you read all the ingredients! I love COYO & GT's COCOYO as options for coconut yogurt!
MAKE YOUR OWN COCONUT YOGURT!! If you want to make your own, check out my blog post (with video) on how to make your very own coconut yogurt! It's SO easy and a lot less expensive than buying it from the store!
Raw Cheese - Raw cheese from grass-fed cows, goats, and sheep may contain live probiotics. Make sure to look for live and active cultures on the ingredient lists. The good bacteria survive the aging process in some cheeses, including Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar, and cottage cheeses. Be sure to eat these cold and not heat them up as heat will kill healthy probiotics!
Look for local sources, always source organic. and make sure ingredients follow our guidelines!
Making your own fermented foods can also save you SO much money and it's SUPER simple!
Check out this article by The Kitchn, 23 Essential Fermented Foods for Better Gut Health. There are many great resources on creating your own fermented foods! Just be inspired and eat your daily servings of fermented foods!
Disclaimer - Should you have a known histamine intolerance, it's paramount to avoid fermented foods and consult with your local Naturopathic Doctor. You can also check out this article Histamine Hack: How to Safely Eat Fermented Foods
We add fermented foods in all of my clean eating programs! Cleaning up our food and consuming nourishing fuel is key to moving ourselves towards optimal health! If you are looking for more ways to up your nutrition game, check out my new 14-Day Gut Reset Program! It's a simple and straightforward program giving you 5 simple steps to reset your gut!! I also run an 14-Day Clean Eating Detox program. You can check that out here...
I also offer personalized nutritional therapy programs tailored to YOUR lifestyle! Reach out! I'm here to guide you and support you in your journey! It's never been a better time to invest in yourself!
In wellness and love,
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner
Clean Eating Educator & Advocate
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