How to introduce fermented products into your diet
Below are some of my top tips for introducing fermented foods into your diet.
1. Start with one ferment at a time
Every ferment will contain a variety of probiotic strains. These strains will vary from root vegetable ferments, such as beetroot kvass, to ferments made from ‘above the ground vegetables' such as sauerkraut.
The probiotic strains will vary greatly between dairy ferments and vegetable ferments. Within dairy ferments, there is a significant difference between the spread of probiotics in various dairy ferments. For example, milk kefir has a significantly broader number of strains when compared to yogurt. Milk kefir also contains beneficial yeasts, that yogurt does not.
Each ferment can affect you differently with the different probiotic strains. This is why I suggest introducing one ferment at a time.
Increase the quantity of the ferment you are having twice per week, say on a Wednesday and Saturday, to ensure you tolerating the ferment well and coping with the cumulative effect I talk of later in this blog.
Once you have successfully introduced and mastered one ferment, broaden your beneficial microbes and introduce another ferment. It is beneficial to have a range of ferments included in your daily nutrition.
2. Get acquainted with your ferments slowly…
Please introduce your ferments slowly, particularly if you have health issues.
Probiotic foods are incredibly powerful and each probiotic food has a different spectrum of beneficial microbes.
When you introduce ferments, you will be killing off some opportunistic microbes. They release toxins when in your body and release toxins when they die off, that your body has to process.
Some people refer to this as the ‘die off effect’. This die off effect is often seen as an exacerbation of the original symptom picture so you may need to start incredibly slowly with each ferment.
For some people, with serious health concerns, this may mean just one drop of a fermented probiotic liquid being added to a soup during cooking. The heat in the cooking process will kill off the beneficial microbes, leaving the beneficial metabolites, which are not as potent as the microbes themselves making them easier to tolerate.
3. Remember the cumulative effect of probiotics
It is important to remember there is a cumulative effect to probiotics.
You may find you feel fine on day one of consuming the ferment, maybe not notice anything too different on day two, and then feel quite woeful on day-three.
Die-off effect may present as muscle ache, tiredness, headaches or feeling like you are coming down with something, however nothing eventuates.
If this occurs, best to remove any probiotic foods and any probiotic supplements you are taking for three to four days and let your body catch up.
Reintroduce at half the previous amount you were having.
4. When to introduce higher fat, lower protein ferments
If you do wish to introduce dairy based ferments and you are experiencing constipation, best to start with the higher fat, lower protein ferment of crème fraiche (sour crème).
For those with diarrhoea or looser stools, best to start with yogurt and work your way up to kefir.
Kefir is substantially more probiotically powerful than yogurt, as it has a broader spectrum of beneficial microbe strains.
If you are unsure whether you tolerate dairy or not, I recommend you start with a vegetable ferment.
5. Try fermenting beetroots & cabbage at home
Fermented Beetroot (Beet Kvass)
Beet kvass is great as an adrenal tonic, good for constipation and a super blood tonic.
Making the kvass at home, allows you to be creative and add herbs to your kvass such as turmeric for it’s anti-inflammatory properties, fennel for digestion or chamomile for it’s calming properties and anti-inflammatory properties.
If you have the chance to ferment some golden beets, you will love the syrupy kvass they make.
Don’t be too diligent in scrubbing every last bit of soil off the beetroot you intend to ferment, especially if they have been grown organically or biodynamically. The soil based probiotics are great intestinal cleaners!
Fermented Cabbage (Sauerkraut)
Sauerkraut has a bacteria called the Lactobacillus plantarum, which has been scientifically proven to assist with the excretion of heavy metals.
Sauerkraut increases the level of HCl in your stomach, which is beneficial for those with impaired HCl and those with yeast issues. Yeast impedes the release of HCl in the stomach, compromising digestive processes.
Once you have begun fermenting at home, it is easy to have a continual supply on tap as you use the starter from one ferment to commence another ferment.
The broader the range of ferments, the broader the range of beneficial microbes you will have available in your GI Tract as the fermented foods make their way through.
Another bonus of having a range of vegetables ferments on hand, is that your ferments can easily be used when your fresh vegetables are running low and shopping or market day is still a day or so away! The ferments can make a great addition to a protein based meal, and look fabulous when plated up.
Via a series of eight short videos, all less than 5 minutes, and a downloadable recipe book, you can start fermenting in your own home!