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Happy Monday! It’s time to share how we did on the #HealthyHabits2017 challenge from this past week which has been to eat fermented food. I think anything with adding food in generally goes down pretty well. I think it’s THE hack to changing your diet in all honesty - adding in rather than restricting.

You may have seen our video tip encouraging you to stock up on fermented food.

Fermented food has been around for a super long time and you can pretty much ferment any food - even some breads can be considered fermented, hello sourdough. Fermented foods are growing in popularity... Well and Good has an article with very helpful suggestions of some of the best ones. And there is an entire list on wikipedia but some of the well known ones are things like sauerkraut, vinegar, kimchi, miso, marmite, yogurt, pickled veg, soy sauce, tabasco and there’s a whole world of things that can be eaten.

When a food is fermented is creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, various strains of probiotics and it’s all adds good stuff into your digestive system. Our Sagitta Immun supplements also use fermentation to add in good bacteria to boost your immune system. 

One of the main benefits of fermented food is that they provide pre-biotics and probiotics to the gut. Probiotics are the good bacteria in yogurt and most fermented foods and add to the good bacteria in your system. Pre-biotics are non digestible fibre that act as food for your probiotics - only present in plants, mostly veggies and the bacteria here grow rapidly in your digestive system to enrich all the good bacteria in your system so both are really beneficial.

Fermented foods also help with the manufacture and absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. They reduce inflammation and can improve your digestion and prevent bloating. There’s a great video here by a nutritionalist about what the benefits are with a little information about the best ones.

HOW DID IT GO?

I think this week went well! I had never really ever thought about if I ate that much fermented food before, and while I don’t each much pickled veg or yoghurt as it’s usually dairy and doesn’t agree with me, we do consume quite a lot of soy sauce, fish sauce, chilli sauces and marmite.

This week I set out to try some different things and see if I could find some bits I could incorporate into daily regular life - basically I wanted to involve things I could get from the shop and not necessarily have to go out of my way to try.

 Over the course of this week I’ve had a few varieties of coconut yogurt, kefir, pickled cucumber, kombucha, tabasco, soy sauce, fish sauce, sour cream and pickled chillies… half of this food I would usually actually eat - the discovery that these foods are fermented was much to my delight - and mostly the ingredients involved in the Filipino food that my boyfriend cooks quite a lot of. I also bought some sauerkraut made with beets but haven’t had a chance to try it yet so need to figure out what it’ll go with.

The unusual ones that aren’t usually in my diet were kombucha, coconut yogurt, kefir and the pickled cucumber - we’ve had these sitting in our fridge unopened for two years and I had forgotten how super delicious pickles are when we had them. I only ever really eat them when my mum makes a rice salad using rice, hot dogs, chopped up pickles and sour cream. It might sound odd but it’s definitely delicious.

The Kombucha was very tasty - I’m a bit picky when it comes to food so I was pleasantly surprised that I like the fizzy tea. I tried a ginger variety and it mostly just tasted like Ginger beer. The only odd thing was that because the drink is considered alive there were bits from the SCOBY (symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) floating around at the bottom - it’s the good stuff but I didn’t really want the texture in my mouth so I avoided that part. I liked it overall but kombucha isn’t terribly popular in the UK so it’s hard to get hold of. I’ll make sure to have it if I come across it while exploring though. 

The coconut yogurt was so creamy and delicious - I’d say it was just as if not more creamy than greek yogurt. I had two different varieties across four different flavours - vanilla, natural, chocolate and strawberry - the vanilla one was the best. I think I’ll be incorporating this into my diet a lot more as it didn’t leave me with that lethargic bloated feeling dairy usually does to me.

I noticed the kefir in the shop and bought it on a whim. It was pretty tasty and kefir contains three times the amount of good bacteria and enzymes yogurt does but it was made from whole cows milk which upset my stomach so I’ll be sticking to the coconut yogurt and maybe I can explore some water kefir as I only just discovered that’s a thing - you can find plenty of videos (like this one) on youtube if you want to make your own so I might give that a go.

It was surprising how easy it was to incorporate stuff, and even more surprising to see how much fermented food we do actually include in our diets already. I definitely want to go and try more stuff (that wiki list if massive) or make some of my own. It’s really nice to feel more conscious of this part of my diet just by having found out a bit more about it. Healthy Habit happily incorporated.

Next up we’re making the most of essential oils.

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