By Alane Palmer, ND, CNC, and Donna Manrique

Why fermented food you may ask? The thought of making your own homemade miso soup, kimchee, or sauerkraut can sound intimidating, but it is easy and worth taking a shot at! We are absolutely thrilled to share some fermented food ideas with you because they can help you build a good foundation for eating healthy foods that have vitamins and lots of nutrients to help you heal your gut and achieve better wellness. A strong immune system is linked to a balance of the beneficial gut bacteria, and a strong immune system = a better YOU! The problem is, how do you really know what is in your gut? And what do you do about it?

The symptoms, although seemingly insignificant, will show up after the problem has manifested itself in your GI system and becomes an issue. Do you have acid reflux, gas and bloating? You may be constantly hungry, or conversely, not hungry at all? Many patients who have been diagnosed and suffer from Crohn’s disease have found ways to improve their condition by nutrition and adjustments to their diet.

Our stool testing kits will help identify a variety of bacteria OVER a 3-day period for MORE comprehensive and accurate results. We test for good bacteria, bad bacteria, parasites, yeast, candida, and mold. Digestion, absorption, intestinal and inflammation markers are all pieces of the puzzle that will complete the picture of your digestive health. Antibodies such as Secretory IgA can also indicate leaky gut. WOW! All that in one easy stool test!

What can help solve this imbalanced gut health issue? Fermented foods can absolutely help heal your gut! And what makes it even better – you can make them yourself!!!

The process of fermenting makes foods much more nutritious, rich in enzymes, minerals, good bacteria, probiotics, and Lactobacilli – all key to gut healing.

And the obvious question – why would you WANT to make them vs. purchasing them at the store? We all are juggling multiple priorities and wearing many hats, and it’s easier and more time efficient just to buy them, right? WRONG. Purchasing fermented food can just lead to other issues as they often have a high sodium content, and are pasteurized therefore killing all the good bacteria, and at a minimum, they can be over processed.

Now that we have given you the whys, time to get to the good stuff: THE HOW TO

Before you start, you will need the following:

1. Sterilized mason jars with airlock lid
2. Strainer (don’t use metal, it will impact the process), cheesecloth or cotton satchel
3. Pickling weights (glass)
4. Spoon (wooden) and rolling pin
5. Gloves
6. Starter culture of salt, whey or other starter culture

Now, time to get started:

1. Prepare the vegetables by grating, chopping, slicing, shredding, or you may choose to leave them whole.
2. Prepare your brine using by using purified water and your starter culture. A good rule of thumb is 4 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of salt, whey or other starter culture.
3. Place the item to be fermented and the brine in the jar and tightly pack it leaving a little space at the top of the jar as the mixture will expand slightly. Seal tightly, store at room temperature until the fermenting process is complete as noted by bubbling, aroma (sour, vinegary but pleasant) and taste. Remember – larger vegetables will take longer to ferment.
4. Voila, and you are done! Move your fermented super food to cold storage such as the refrigerator and they will keep for several months!

If you like this blog and have any questions, we are here to help! And we would love to hear about your fermenting successes, so please tell us how it goes!

If you are concerned about your gut and you want to do a comprehensive stool test, click here

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Medical disclaimer: Our Test kits and all tests cannot be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. All test results are to be used as educational materials and as a guide to help support your overall health and wellness. Always discuss health concerns with your medical doctor.