Fermented Foods 101

Did you notice that there was a BIG piece missing in last week's "How to Fill Your Plate" equation?

It's a part of basically EVERY one of my meals.

A food that boosts your digestion and your immunity, helps banish sugar cravings AND {most importantly} adds AWESOME flavor.

Do you know what this mystery, miracle food is yet???

FERMENTED FOODS!!

Likely you've seen me share about kombucha, sauerkraut, and tempeh but today I am going to explain WHY I consider these foods "superfoods" and what benefits you can expect to see from incorporating them into your diet.

Alright, so what exactly are fermented foods?

They are foods that have been through a process of fermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.

Ooooh yeah probiotics, I've heard of those guys! But wait, tell me what they are again?

They are the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system. This “good” bacteria helps your body absorb nutrients and minerals from from food.

Side note: The word "probiotic" is a compound of two Greek words: "pro," meaning promotion of and "biotic," which means life. So probiotics literally promote life. And “anti-biotics” means anti-life...

You can totally take a probiotic supplement but you’ll get more, diverse strands of bacteria (which is what you want!) by eating a variety of fermented food. Which brings me to my next point...


Why should I eat fermented foods?

  1. Fermentation jumpstarts the digestion process. Fermented foods are already partially broken down which makes them easier to digest than their non-fermented counterparts. PLUS they've got those good-for-your gut probiotics which further boost your digestive health.
  2. Fermented foods boost your immune system! It's estimated that 70-80% of your immune system is located in your GUT so keeping your digestive tract healthy is key to keeping YOU health.
  3. For FLAVOR, my friends! Above all, I am a foodie and fermented foods are my favorite way to add killer FLAVOR to any dish.

Ready to try 'em? Here are just a few of my favorite ferments:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kombucha tea
  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Kefir (fermented dairy drink)
  • Pickles (the kind in the refrigerator section)
  • Kimchi

Check out this post for some ideas on how to incorporate these foods into your daily diet: 10 ways to eat fermented foods.


Now, here's your homework assignment for this week: try ONE fermented food! You may already have one of these nutritional powerhouses in your diet, and if that's the case, I encourage you to try something new. Avid kombucha drinker? Try another fermented beverage like kefir or beet kvass. Sauerkraut totally your thing? Try a different brand or flavor variation!

10 ways to eat fermented foods

If you follow me on Instagram, or eat ANY number of meals with me, you know that I LOVE me some fermented foods. Today I'm sharing 10 ways to add these wonderful superfoods into YOUR diet.

[What the heck are fermented foods? Check out this post: Fermented Foods 101]

10 ways to eat fermented foods:

  1.  Sip on some bubbly kombucha (or... make a kombucha cocktail!)
  2.  Start your day with a Superhuman Breakfast
  3.  Order miso soup along side your sushi roll.
  4.  Top your salad pan seared tempeh.
  5.  Add kimchi on top of your stir fry or noodle bowl.
  6.  Snack on some raw pickles (either homemade or ones you find in the refrigerator section).
  7.  Upgrade your avocado toast with this recipe: Upgraded Avocado Toast.
  8. Try your hand at making beet kvass! It's SO easy, I promise, and GREAT for heartburn or indigestion. Here's a recipe: Homemade Beet Kvass.
  9.  Use unsweetened kefir instead of milk in your favorite overnight oats. Check out my recipes here: Overnight Oats OR Paleo Overnight No-Oats.
  10. Take a forkful of your favorite kraut or fermented veggie and stir it into any salad or bowl for an INSTANT flavor boost!

What is YOUR favorite way to eat fermented foods? Let me know in the comments below!!

What I Ate Wednesday 7/8/15

In an effort to show you all more of what I eat as a primarily plant-based, active adult, I'm starting a new series here on the blog - "What I Ate Wednesday."  Each Wednesday I'll snap a picture of everything I eat and post the pictures plus descriptions here on the blog.  I'll share helpful information on what I'm eating and why. 

PLEASE, please, please do not think that your food choices should directly mirror mine - we are all different and what works for my body may not work for your body, and vice versa.  I'm still figuring out what works best for me and guess what?  It's changing all the time.  I'm simply sharing my choices with the hopes to give you more ideas when it comes to plant based foods and meals. 

Here's what I ate this Wednesday:

Upon waking:  Lots of water, matcha green tea + hemp milk (recipe will come soon!)

Breakfast: Lulitonix Chia-X blend + decaf coffee.  I went to a morning rooftop yoga event (amazing, I know) and they had some Lulitonix blended drinks to share.  Lulitonix is unique in that all their products are blended (versus juiced).  This one was hearty - packed with nuts, seeds, dates, and coconut oil - so it was a good meal alternative. 

Lunch: Sweet and Simple Asian Slaw over a bed of quinoa and shredded veggies.  A crazy day running from meeting to event to meeting called for a packed lunch, and I apologize for the not-so-stellar-picture but I'm impressed I remembered to snap a picture between everything.  Quick tip: When I don't have appropriate time to eat my full meal, I eat half at a time, making an effort to chew each bite.  This meal was consumed in two portions, about an hour apart.  Maybe not ideal, but its better than shoveling it all in and then feeling BLAH because you didn't take the time to chew properly!

PM Snack: Kombucha with my friend Amy while chatting about our upcoming event: CHILL OUT with Essential Oils and Yoga (if you are in NYC this weekend, COME!! It's FREE!).  Quick tip: If you are feeling like an afternoon snack, but not sure if you are really hungry, have a drink!  Often times we are simply thirsty and drinking something totally crushes any hunger craving. I love kombucha (in case you guys didn't realize that already) or water with a drop of doTERRA lemon essential oil

Dinner:  Green Protein Smoothie + a little Chocolate Avocado Pudding.  Honestly, it was a long, HOT day and I just didn't feel like cooking, or eating for that matter.  Yes, I have those days too! So I whipped up this and it hit the spot: 2 scoops vanilla protein powder of choice, 1/2 avocado, 1 cup nondairy milk or water, 1 cup ice, large handful (or three) of greens.  No, I don't recommend having a smoothie every night for dinner but is it okay every once and awhile? SURE! 

 

And there you have it - another day in my food life.  If there is anything specific you are interested in, or would like to ask me, please don't be shy!  I would love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comments below.  

Meet me back here tomorrow to hear about my favorite superfoods!

Loving Lately June 2015

Wow!  Can you believe that we are nearing the end of June??  I know I can't.  Before the month really gets away from us, I want to share with you all the things that I've been loving this month

Here's what I'm currently craving and crushing on:

- Banana Nice Cream - It's really starting to heat up, so I've been finding myself craving a cool sweet treat.  While it's nice to go out for a vegan ice cream cone every once and a while, Banana Nice Cream is a healthiest every day choice.  Mix in some greens, protein powder, and healthy fats to make this treat more meal-like.  

- Cucumbers - One of my favorite cooling snacks - slice 'em up, sprinkle with some lemon juice and salt (and cayenne if you like a kick!) and crunch away.  They also make great dippers for guacamole and hummus. 

- Sparkling Probiotic Drinks - Bubbly that you can drink at any time of the day! My favorite brands are GTs Kombucha (try Original or Trilogy flavors), Health-Ade (mmm Grape!) and KeVita (Coconut and Lemon Ginger).  Do check the labels when purchasing these types of drinks - many contain TONS of sugar - go for the ones with less than 3g sugar per serving.  I've been drinking these drinks a lot more recently, so I think I will need to get back into brewing my own.

- doTERRA Serenity Essential Oil - I've been rubbing a drop of this on the bottoms of my feet before I go to bed and it puts me into the DEEPEST, most restful sleep!  If you are have trouble falling and staying asleep, I highly recommend trying this!  Purchase Serenity and other doTERRA oils here. 

Questions on anything I've noted above?  ASK ME - next Monday 6/29 at 9PM - this is a FREE information session where you can ask me ANYTHING!  What it's like to BE a health coach, what it's like to WORK with a health coach, where I buy bananas, etc.   Register here!

What are you loving lately?  Let me know in the comments below!