“Isn't that like…bad milk?” If that’s what you think of when you hear the words “lacto-fermented” you’re not alone, but you would be wrong.
In fact - it's just the opposite! Fermented foods are probiotic power houses that boost everything from metabolism and digestion to immunity. They're not only not bad for you, they're GREAT for you!
But don't go running to your local brewery for a pint because although lactic acid is also used to ferment alcohol, the process for booze doesn’t produce the same benefits (sorry!) What you should be reaching for, are jarred veggies and sauerkrauts like the ones New Hampshire based brand, Micro Mama’s whip up in their kitchen. Your health is always worth making time for. So, for some insight on why these tart treats are so crucial to a balanced diet, and just how to eat them, I went straight to the source.
Check out what Micro Mama’s founder, Stephanie Zydenbos-Heino had to say...
why should we eat be eating fermented foods?
Lacto fermented foods are nutritionally dense probiotics.
They help produce digestive enzymes as well as antibiotic, and anti carcinogenic substances that help keep our small intestine happy and absorb nutrients.
WHAT TYPES OF FOODS FALL INTO THE CATEGORY OF LACTO FERMENTED?
Kombucha, miso, sauerkraut and kefir, just to name a few.
SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS LACTO FERMENTATION?
Lacto-fermentation happens when the starches and sugars in vegetables and fruit convert to lactic acid with the use of Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB’s). LAB's are also used to ferment dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, butter, buttermilk, kefir and koumiss.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS AND PICKLING?
While lacto fermented foods taste "pickled” they do not contain vinegar, and are not heat-treated. They’re living probiotic foods, which pickled items are not.
How much Should we be eating?
If you're not already consuming other living foods or taking a probiotic supplement, it's recommended to start with a teaspoon of fermented veggies with every meal for a week. Then bump it up to two teaspoons and so forth. The reason you start slow is that you can experience a "die off" of you're existing bad bacteria leaving the body. If you are already consuming a nice share of probiotic living foods, then dive in.
How the heck do you eat them?
Try a bit on or in salads, sandwiches, dips, meats, veggies, fish, cheeses, beans, rice, burgers and more… How ever you eat them, don't heat them! It wouldn't hurt you to cook them, but they are living foods and prefer to be added when cooking is done.
Natty Note: I personally love serving Micro Mama’s Devil’s Butter with sushi in place of wasabi, the Silly Dilly Carrot is delish as a snack with smoked salmon, and Mother in Law's Kimchi is perfect for a macrobiotic bowl! I guess fermented foods aren’t so scary after all…Bon Appétit!