Fermented Foods

We at Be A Smart Woman are so excited to partner with Meg Chamberlain of Fermenti Foods to share the wealth of knowledge and positive effects that Meg has found with the addition of fermented foods into her diet. If you haven’t already, go check out the first two parts of our ongoing series with Meg where we talk about her journey into the realm of fermented foods and how it has changed her life for the better. You can find those podcasts here and here.

So why are fermented foods considered such a dynamic health food? Why should we be eating it as part of our daily diets? And most importantly, how can we learn to love it? I mean after all, we are basically consciously controlling rot! We are here to tell you.

For those who aren’t familiar with fermented foods, let’s break down exactly what they are before we talk about their positive effects. Food fermentation relates to a process in which microorganisms or bacteria act to convert carbs into alcohols or acids. You might have heard the term fermentation in relation to beer or wine, but did you know that the list goes on!? We all know that a glass of red wine is considered healthy for your heart, but other types of fermented foods are even healthier for your gut. Probiotics are a result of the fermentation process, so as a result, the cabbage you fermented now serves you in multiple ways. We have all heard that if you have a consistent upset stomach the addition of probiotics to your diet can help. That is because these helpful little suckers act to clean out your gut of all the garbage, leaving only the good. Would you believe us if we told you that for every 16 ounces of living probiotic that you consume, that is to say, with every 16 ounces of probiotoic-rich fermented food you consume, you are getting more lactic acid bacteria and variety than if you were to consume nine bottles of store-bought probiotics? Well, believe it; it’s scientifically proven.

So how do you begin your journey into fermented foods and where should you start? Meg suggests that you begin slowly as, in the beginning your gut has to get used to the change in diet. You could add sauerkraut, kimchi or even fermented salsa or hot sauce to your diet as a way to incorporate “normal” foods first. As you begin to test out incorporating fermented foods, Meg warns that you may experience elevated levels of gas for about three to six weeks. We know, nobody likes to talk about farts, but it’s a real side effect! As your body begins to release the impacted glucose from your intestine due to the fiber in the fermented foods you may experience some stomach pains or bloating, but it’s normal, and it will pass!

So how do you incorporate these foods? The first sign Meg says to look for is to make sure that if you are eating kimchi or a kraut of some sort to make sure it wasn’t heat canned or processed. If during the canned process the can is taken above 105 degrees, you lose the probiotic structure. Second, make sure you’re incorporating fermented foods with fresh and raw vegetables. An easy proportion to remember is 2:1 fresh to fermented foods. Finally, make sure that you are choosing foods that you are ACTUALLY going to eat!

As a wrap up, Meg has three key tips to follow as you begin your journey into fermented foods:

  1. Double your servings of fermented foods to start.
  2. Be aware that you CAN overdo it. We do not recommend eating an entire jar of a fermented food in one sitting
  3. Follow your gut…literally!

Stay tuned for more from our fermented series here at Be A Smart Woman. Thank you, Meg for all of your expertise in this area and for sharing your knowledge with our listeners and followers. We are excited to keep this series going!

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Paige Sparkman