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In Liz Wolfe’s book, Skintervention, she suggests eating something fermented every day to improve gut health. So, in keeping with her “improve gut health and you will improve skin health” philosophy, I have braved the world of fermentables.
Why would you eat moldy foods?
First off, no, I do not eat moldy foods. There is a difference between “moldy” and “fermented”. And thank goodness there are more options than just pickles or sauerkraut. Foods can be fermented by using some sort of starter. I make beet kvass with a whey starter (or you could also use a whole lot of salt) and kombucha with a SCOBY.
Foods that have been fermented by bacteria and yeast are especially good for the gut lining because as they eat the sugar of whatever you are fermenting, they produce probiotics. You’ve heard that it’s good eat yogurt when taking antibiotics because the yogurt has the “good bacteria.” Antibiotics don’t play favorites; they are created to kill everything. Good news if you’re sick, bad news if you want to stay healthy.
There is a battle in your belly.
Think of it this way: there is a limited amount of food that all the bacteria in your gut lining can eat. (in case you were wondering, there are about about 3 pounds worth of bacteria living inside of you…but maybe don’t dwell on that). If there are more good guys (bacteria that are supposed to be there) to eat the food than bad guys (disease-carrying germs that make you sick), then the bad guys starve. Therefore, being careful to maintain a diet with lots of probiotics that add to the naturally-occuring good bacteria in your intestinal lining is vital to overall health.
What foods are good?
Personally, I’m not a sauerkraut fan, and everyone who knows me know my distain for pickles. Instead, I have a continuous brew kombucha system on my counter and have recently started making beet kvass. Both of these are very low maintenance. Both of these projects are easy to do, and the benefits are visible. I started drinking these consistently about a month ago, and as I was walking into my third night shift in a row a few weeks ago I noticed that I felt very alert and energetic. I don’t usually sleep well on night shift and I hadn’t had any extra coffee. The only thing that I’ve changed was the increased probiotics.
How to make continuous brew kombucha:
8 teabags of plain black tea
1 cup white sugar
2 gallons water, separated
1 bottle plain kombucha
1 glass container with a plastic spout (I use this one)
bottles for your new brew (I like these!)
Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil. Remove from heat, steep tea bags 10-15 minutes. Remove tea bags and add sugar, mixing until dissolved. Pour into drink dispenser. Add second gallon of water (this speeds up the cooling process). Pour in bottle of store-bought kombucha. Cover opening with cloth, let sit in warm area at least 5 days. After 5-7 days, dispense most liquid into bottles, leaving 1-2 cups as your “starter” for the next round. Repeat all previous steps (except now there is no need for store-bought kombucha).
If you like flavored kombucha, now is the time to add the different options! My favorites are lemon juice, ginger juice, and whole blackberries. Close the bottles and let sit for another 5-7 days. This develops the delicious “fizz” that makes kombucha seem like a healthy soda alternative!