Could you see yourself eating a big bowl of sauerkraut?
Before you say, “um no thank you”, let me tell you a bit about fermented foods (including sauerkraut), and how you can enjoy them and why they are a fabulous superfood for your microbiome.
Lucky for me, I grew up with a family who naturally loves fermented foods, so I started eating various types at a young age. I love salty flavors so a lot of these foods have always held a soft spot in my heart. Little did I know all of the benefits that come with them.
If you think of sauerkraut and think “oh heck no”, there are more fermented food options that you can enjoy – So don’t fret!
What are fermented foods?
Many of our favorite fresh foods including cucumbers and cabbage turn into pickles and sauerkraut by a process called fermentation. This means that these veggies sit in their own sugars in air tight jars to create lactic acid and many other beneficial nutrients.
The benefit of this process is that these fermented foods then create some of my favorite beauty boosting properties such as b-vitamins, probiotics, and enzymes. To go into even more detail, I want to share quickly (again) how probiotics benefit our inner and outer beauty.
You’ve seen a few posts on here in the past talking about the benefits of probiotics, so I truly can’t reiterate enough how important probiotic rich foods are for our gut. Probiotics help balance healthy bacteria in our gut which help improve our immunity and digestion.
My Favorite Healthy Fermented Foods
Tempeh: My favored alternative to tofu, tempeh is fermented soybeans. Not only does it contain probiotics, but also amino acids, so it’s a beautiful source of plant-based protein. I also like consuming this around that time of the month (ladies you know what I’m sayin’) because it is also a great source of iron. Here is a recipe for tempeh stir-fy!
Miso: I like using miso in moderation due to its high amount of sodium, but miso is a glorious fermented food that adds hearty flavor and depth to many recipes. I wrote about the benefits of miso a while back for reference, so you know it’s been on my radar for some time. I think this could really help with replacing the nutty flavor we are in search for when using dairy, so I may be incorporating more miso into my recipes in lieu of cheese. Try out this Bok Choy Miso Soup recipe!
Kombucha: Kombucha is a divine drink that I love to consume when I want flavor (without the booze). It’s fizzy and tart and all the right combinations to satisfy my thirst. If only bars served kombucha, it would be so easy to say bye-bye to alcohol for good. Besides its great taste, kombucha contains many microorganisms that help our gut flora.
Sauerkraut: My love for sauerkraut will never end. Sauerkraut and pickles are my two favorite fermented foods because they are known to be the highest in probiotics. BUT you must make sure that you find unpasterized sauerkraut (if you’re pregnant, don’t do this). Look for sauerkraut jars that show on the label that it is raw or that it contains live and active cultures. Pasteurized sauerkraut means that it’s been heated, which destroys all of the bacteria produced.
If you want to ensure that you are consuming the healthiest version of sauerkraut, you can make your own at home!
Pickles: One of my favorite foods (seriously). I’m obsessed with pickles. I always steal them from other peoples plates (either relatives or friends, not strangers), and one Christmas as a child I asked for a jar of pickles from Santa.
I think pickles are the easiest way to incorporate more fermented foods into your diet if you are weary of sauerkraut and kimchi. Just make sure you are also looking for brands that are raw (just as I recommend with sauerkraut) or you can make your own as well!
Dairy free yogurt: Many of us are on our journey to becoming more and more dairy free. I shared my favorite dairy free nut milk options in Nylon this past month, and I’m still in the process of completely cutting out cheese.
Which is so hard. I really love cheese.
But alas, there are dairy free yogurts that you can include into your diet that have the same benefits including coconut yogurt. Coconut yogurt, just like regular yogurt, contains a slew of enzymes and probiotics to help your tummy be in tip top shape.
Kimchi: Now this is one fermented food that I’m still trying to figure out how to incorporate into my diet without feeling bloated. Maybe it’s the sodium in recipes that call for kimchi, or maybe it’s the brands that I’m finding.
Either way, kimchi is another fermented food that helps with digestion and satisfies my spicy / savory cravings.