[Guest blog post from Ruth Almon of Ruth's Real Food.]

The first time I heard that people from traditional cultures eat a small amount of fermented foods at each meal, the information passed right by me. That’s fine for them, but I wasn’t about to start eating kimchi and sauerkraut with every meal.


The second time I learned about the wonderful properties of fermented foods, I was intrigued. It seemed like a good thing to do, but difficult.


Finally, after thinking about it for months, I took the plunge and made dill pickles. What had I been so afraid of? It was easy, and the pickles were delicious. Now I always try to have something pickling on my counter.


Why are fermented foods so beneficial?

Simply put, if your gut is unhealthy, you are unhealthy. The gut is home to trillions of organisms. For health, we need to attain a proper balance between those that are beneficial and those that are harmful. Fermented foods replenish beneficial bacteria that have been compromised by such things as poor diet and antibiotics. Scientists are only beginning to understand the many ways that compromised gut health influences your overall health. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110228163145.htm


Is it probiotic?

The regular pickled foods you find in the supermarket are pasteurized. With nothing living in them, they can be stored for long periods of time. Great for the producer and retailer; less great for us. Note that, fermented vegetables made with vinegar aren’t probiotic to begin with.


Many other foods, besides vegetables, can be fermented. The one we are most familiar with is yogurt, but there are many other types of fermented dairy products, such as kefir. Even drinks such as ginger ale and lemonade can be fermented.



To my mind, fermented foods are a win-win proposition. They not only taste wonderful, they’re also healthy. There are countless varieties to make. Fermented foods even look attractive pickling in their jars. Additionally, once they are ready, they keep in the fridge for a long time. No matter what you make for a meal, you will always have an extra side dish or two if you can pull out your fermented salsa, sauerkraut, or dill pickles.

Read more about nourishing, nutrient-dense, chemical-free food that looks and tastes great at Ruth's Real Food.

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