We hear it all the time: Eat more fermented, traditional foods. But how? There is only so much yogurt a person can eat. Eating more fermented foods is hugely important, but it’s not always as easy as it sounds.
Why eat fermented foods?
Sure, you could just pop a pill. But that’s not the only reason to eat fermented foods.
Traditionally fermented foods are rich in diverse, healthy bacteria strains, yes. But the fermentation process also breaks down foods and makes the nutrients much easier for your body to digest and absorb. In fact, they are among some of the most healthful foods out there for your gut, brain, and waistline.
But you don’t need to just scoop boring plain yogurt onto everything. There are plenty of creative ways to add more fermented foods into your diet. Here are a few sneaky hacks to give you a leg up.
1. Eat more yogurt and kefir.
Yes, this is the most obvious, least sneaky hack.
Unsweetened yogurt and kefir are great staples for breakfast, sauces, smoothies, and nourishing snacks. Just be sure not to heat yogurt when you’re using it in recipes, as that can kill the beneficial bacteria.
Whether you’re a fan of grass-fed dairy or you prefer vegan alternatives, yogurt is an important, affordable, traditional food you should be incorporating on the daily. Almond, coconut, and cashew milk yogurts are becoming more and more popular, but it’s also pretty easy to make your own at home.
2. Add sauerkraut (and kimchi!) on top of everything.
And I mean everything; salads, soups, sandwiches, even breakfast sandwiches. You could even top your tempeh with it for a double probiotic benefits.
Sauerkraut and kimchi are so rich and flavorful, they are an easy condiment to become addicted to.
My personal favorite fermented kraut is a Gochu Curry Kraut that I get locally. It is so flavor-packed, I put it on literally every meal. Homemade ramen, stir-fry, eggs, sandwiches, tempeh, you name it. It’s a complete game changer.
You can also make your own sauerkraut!
3. Use lacto-fermented hot sauces and salsas.
If you can find lacto-fermented hot sauces and salsas, these are a great way to up your probiotic intake. If not and you’re up for a project, it’s actually pretty easy and cheap to ferment salsas and sauces on your own at home.
4. Use miso in your sautes and stir frys.
Putting a spoonful of this flavorful, gut-healing paste is a win for your tastebuds and your stomach. It has so much more potential than just plain old miso soup.
5. Incorporate pickles into your burgers, sandwiches, and tacos.
And I am not just talking about regular supermarket pickles. Vinegar-based pickles do not boast the same properties as traditionally fermented pickles.
I’m talking brine-soaked carrots, onions, peppers, and, yes, cucumbers. These are all easy to make at home, and naturally fermented pickles are a great way to get more good bacteria in your diet.
6. Eat sourdough.
That’s right, sourdough bread is loaded with probiotics. In fact, if you’re only mildly gluten-sensitive, you may be able to tolerate sourdough without any adverse reactions.
This is because the lengthy fermentation process needed to create true sourdough actually decreases the amount of the gluten protein and improves the digestibility of the grains. If you eat bread, help out your gut and choose sourdough.
7. Save the brine.
Yep, those homemade pickles have a dual use. Toss the leftover pickle brine into homemade salad dressings or use it in place of vinegar in a veggies stir fry.
Pickle brine is flavorful, rich in good bacteria, and a great way not to waste all the precious liquid. I mean, you could be a badass and take straight brine shots, but that’s not sneaky at all.
8. Replace your sodas with kombucha.
And forget about soda water in cocktails. Think of how much tastier (and healthful) your indulgences will be with a splash of kombucha in the glass. Not only does kombucha contain healthy probiotics, it’s lower in sugar than traditional sodas.
That being said, avoid drinking kombucha all day, every day. It still contains a bit of sugar. But if you’re going to be drinking something sweet, kombucha is a much healthier bet than any other carbonated drinks.
9. Make your own quick ferments.
Want to make fermented ketchup or salsa? Break a probiotic capsule into the jar of sauce, let it sit at room temperature overnight, and viola! You’ve enriched your favorite condiments with healthful, good bacteria.
You can also make a cultured vegan cream by soaking raw cashews and the contents of one high quality probiotic capsule in water overnight. Sure, it’s not traditional, but it’s a great way to increase the probiotic content of your capsules (since you are essentially feeding the bacteria and causing them to multiply) and enrich your favorite foods.
How do you get fermented foods into your diet? Share your favorite recipe ideas with the community below!
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