For the past three years I’ve been making my own fermented foods at home. I fell in love with fermented foods the first moment I tasted a homemade batch of fermented sunflower seed spread, almost as if it were a love affair! From that moment on, I began preparing ferments at home. There’s a beautiful sense of fulfillment that continuously grows when preparing fermented foods in your own environment! Especially when you notice you’re reaping the benefits 🙂 However, I’ve learned that there are many moments where it seems like the time is not available to prep!
When managing an active lifestyle that involves juggling work, family, extracurriculars, workouts, relationshps, and friends, there are many moments where the last thing you want to do is prepare your foods for the week, or even just the next day.
So, if you just have no clue where to start, you don’t have time, or don’t want to make your own ferments, there’s options for you to begin incorporating these healing foods in your daily life!
These are the top fermented foods I recommend to my clients. They’re easy to obtain, delicious, & support gut health! The best place to find these are at your local health store.
You may be wondering why I’m advocating dairy when there is so much controversy on the topic of it.
Along with other fermented food, fermented dairy has been shown to have fantastic benefits in supporting the body with B vitamins, digestion, improved immune function, increased energy, and even weight managment. I’ve seen those who have had sensitivities to dairy have little to no problem with fermented dairy products when they really begin working on digestion, and incorporating other fermented foods and digestive support into their daily lives.
All products that are being advocated in this post have been thoroughly researched in regards to farming practices.
Miso is a fermented soybean paste that’s been used traditionally in Japanese culture as soup, broth bases, eaten with rice, and even with oats in Japan. It supplies the body with
vitamins, microorganisms, salts, minerals, plant proteins, carbohydrates, and even good fat! Research has shown that miso has the ability to support the cardiovascular system, digestion, & also supplies the body with many phytonutrient antioxidants! The longer the fermentation, the greater amount of antioxidants. Aside from digestive support, Miso is also known to protect the body against radiation . I find this to be fascinating!
As powerful as this ancient food is, it needs your body’s assistance, if at all possible. Miso needs enough micro-organisms and bacteria to break down two compounds (genistein and daidzein) that generate phytoestrogens, which increase or decrease estrogen activity when necessary. This delicious fermented food has been shown to prevent multiple types of cancers (breast, colon, lung, liver & stomach) and tumors!
I love using South River Miso as a base to any soup, or even as a miso yogurt sauce!
Yogurt has been used as a dietary staple for thousands of years beginning in the Middle East through a process called lactic-acid fermentation. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that stops the growth of harmful bacteria. Beyond its preservation advantages, lacto-fermentation also enhances & preserves the vitamin and enzyme levels, as well as digestibility of the fermented food. Yogurt wonderfully supplies the body with Calcium, Vitamin B2, B6, and B12! I’m a huge fan of making raw fermented dairy products from home like kefir, but for those of you who are not there yet, I love Wallaby Full Fat yogurt! This awesome yogurt serves as a great sour cream replacement on baked potatoes, a smoothie base, or even as a base for oil-free pasta sauce. Consuming something simple like yogurt influences the microflora of digestion for anyone!
Who else remembers their Doctor telling them to eat yogurt when taking antibiotics? It makes sense now, doesn’t it?
3. Aged Cheese
Who doesn’t love cheese? I’m definitely not talking about cheese made over night, or string cheese…
When consuming dairy products, it’s always best to consume them in a raw, fermented form. Depending on where you live, sourcing raw dairy may not be as available as aged cheese.
Is there a specific cheese to eat more than the others?
Studies show that cheddar cheese has higher alkalinity, surprisingly much more than other cheeses, enduring a longer survival rate. With the high fat content of cheese, it’s a possibility that the fat content serves as a blanket of protection as the food makes its way through the digestive tract. Picking a cheese that’s been aged for at least 12 months is always a better option! More fermentation time= more beneficial bacteria.
With time to cultivate beneficial bacteria to support the immune system & digestion, fermented (aged) cheese has the ability to consume the lactose, making it easily digestible for those that are lactose-intolerant. When picking cheese, purchasing grass-fed cheese from cows that are humanely raised will ensure a higher quality product for consumption. Always do your research!
4. Sourdough Bread
In order to incorporate this incredible comfort food, it must be organic due to glyphosate & GMO concerns. Sourdough is a fun and comforting way to support the gut ecology! It goes through a lactic acid fermentation process that assists with starch digestion, gluten assimilation (breakdown), increases in mineral content, and even lowers & sustains blood sugar.
Moderation is definitely the key, however. It’s definitely easy to get back into the flow of bread cravings!
I’ve recently found an artisan, Jack Bezian, here in LA that truly makes one of a kind sourdough. Bezian Bakery has been around since the 60’s and has used his passion to educate the masses on how sourdough bread supports digestion through its microbial activity and fermentation process. I was fascinated by his love of sourdough and the information he so openly shared with his valued customers! If you live outside of LA & travel in on vacation, you’ve got to visit the best farmers market in town on Wednesdays! You’re are in for a treat!
5. Cream Cheese
Over the past several months I’ve become a huge cream cheese fan. Once you’ve lived an oil free lifestyle for more than 6 months, you’ll soon realize that condiments are your best friends 🙂 They literally “make or break” your meals. I love to support Green Valley Organics because of their outstanding farming practices. What’s not to love about this creamy tanginess that’s rich in probiotics, supports the immune system, digestion, and meets the need for childhood comfort foods! It’s also incredibly affordable!
Kefir is a fermented yogurt drink that dates back to the Caucasus Mountains of Russia from centuries ago! The word “kefir” is derived from the Turkish word “Keif,” which means “good feeling.” It’s been used for centuries to activate the immune system & even improve lactose digestion! It’s also been shown to prevent the growth of tumors, fungi and pathogens— including the bacteria that cause most ulcers, Helicobacter pylori. It provides the body with various essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and vitamins B2, B12, D, K and A.
Wallaby kefir seems to be one of the best kefir options on the market right now due to their bacterial culture variation! They have an incredible amount of probiotics to support digestion through their bacterial diversity. Wallaby features a strain that I particularly admire, Lactobacillus paracasei subsp. paracasei, which supports dental caries! Your overall mouth health (teeth, gums, and even breath) are directly connected to the gut!
Did you know this?
Aside from mouth and dental health, paracasei has also been found to reduce bloating and abdominal pain. Incorporating fermented dairy products has a much greater influence on the body compared to consuming traditional conventional dairy products. When choosing your kefir, it’s important to stick with the plain flavors to avoid any coloring or potential preservatives.
Kraut is one of those “good ol’ American” condiments for hot dogs. Not all kraut is the same when buying it in your grocery stores, and not all kraut supports digestion. Most store bought kraut is not organic, is pasteurized, and not even truly fermented. Many companies get away with simply soaking their cabbage in salt and vinegar to get the same taste, creating a pickling effect and taste. Pickled does not always mean its truly fermented! Eating truly fermented kraut increases your mineral absorption, Vitamins A, B, C, & E, increases your body’s ability to manage intestinal flora, and fight pathogens! If you need to grab kraut for on the go, and don’t have time to make your own, I always know I can trust Wildbrine. They have many types of kraut, but I always go with their raw organic options. I’m sure you’ll love them as much as I do 🙂
Kimchi is widely known as one of the worlds healthiest foods from ancient Korean culture over 4,000 years ago. Its preparation method was developed as a means for storing vegetables throughout the long cold winters underground. Its consumption assisted in digesting grains like barley and millet. Today, it’s widely consumed as an authentic dish and should be incorporated on a regular basis!
Kimchi offers similar probiotics found in yogurt, lactobacilli, further supporting digestion, the immune system, mineral absorpotion, and vitamins A,B, & C! Studies show that Chili peppers used in kimchi assist the body with anti-inflammatory properties, cardiovascular support, protect the fats in your blood from free radicals, support the prostate, and even support the pancreas!
As of now, I haven’t found a kombucha that really meets my standard. Perhaps this might seem absurd to you, but I’m quite the stickler when it comes to quality 🙂 Maybe there will be one soon to come!
Again, I’m extremely picky on quality, and love to sniff out chemicals where they don’t belong. It’s challenging to find natural foods that are even clean of chemicals and preservatives. Even the natural brands of pickles contain Calcium Chloride as a preservative? Code name for this? Calcium + Chlorine.
This is another area of controversy with how it effects the body. Your body doesn’t want it, so don’t let it have it.
So if you’re entirely new into the world of fermented foods, and are wanting to dive right in without making anything from scratch, I hope this helps to guide you on your new leaf of greater health by supporting your digestion!