OK, it might sound like an exaggeration (because it is), but despite some of the magical culinary creations that have come out of my kitchen, it hasn’t always been the most pleasant place. To be honest, most of the disputes in our chick house (previously occupied by myself, my mama and twin sister) have gone down in the kitchen, whether it be due to me taking over the kitchen, not letting anyone else in to dare make a grilled cheese, or by experimenting with fermentation for the first time.
After trying to choke down my overly-vinegary kimchi and not even being able to bear the stench of it upon opening the jar, I decided it was time to surrender to my first kimchi making experience. And then the chaos ensued …
Side note: Initially I had saved a screenshot of the conversation between my Mom and I over text, but time passed and that [now-hilarious] screenshot has dissipated into the cyber world. To give you an idea of what the conversation consisted of, the scent of my beloved colourful kimchi was equated to the stench of a dead body and I was demanded to come home from work downtown to deal with the matter.
Yeah, it wasn’t pretty. My failed kimchee attempt had caused our whole house to smell like a cabbage-infused morgue. I was positive that my luxurious time of living at home was on its last legs. But how could something so vibrantly colourful and beautiful taste so awful?!
When I had embarked on my first Whole 30 the year prior, it was by far the worst. As much as I enjoyed it, I had to spend numerous hours in the kitchen to stay on track, except instead of a failed-fermentation infused home, it smelt like meat and a lot of it. Sometimes, leading a different lifestyle than others can be challenging.
In some ways it’s great to expose those to the goodness of wholesome, clean living. In other ways, it can be challenging to constantly have to explain yourself and put up with the “that’s so weird” comments. But I suppose that’s the only way we’re going to get more nourishing foods into people’s hands, right?
You’ll be happy to hear that my fermenting skills have improved since this catastrophe as I’ve been whipping up batches of homemade kombucha and sauerkraut on the regular – BOOM! I’ve been a bit timid in approaching kimchi again, but I’ll certainly work up to it sooner or later. The benefits of fermented foods is what has been keeping me so eager in experimenting with fermented foods. After all, we are more bacteria than we are human. So, let’s talk about the benefits:
1. Probiotics – Unless you’re eating fermented foods on a regular basis or taking probiotics in supplemental form, you’re not getting any of this in your diet, which is a shame, given that it’s responsible for proliferating beneficial bacteria throughout our digestive system and can help slow or reverse some diseases, support digestion, improve immunity and bowel health. Over 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates claimed that “All disease begins in the gut” but it’s only now that we’re discovering how right he actually was. It only makes sense that we would then want to do everything in our power to support and protect the health of our gut, which is also said to play a significant role in our mental health, or what’s referred to as the gut-brain connection. If you’re currently suffering from gas, bloating, indigestion, acid reflux or brain fog, it might be time to up your probiotics (especially if you are currently taking or have taken antibiotics in the past as they deplete all good gut bacteria).
2. Improve Absorption of Nutrients – When we have a happy balance of good bacteria and digestive enzymes, we’re able to break down food better and assimilate nutrients properly. Now think of the contrary, when we don’t have enough or a good balance of these two vitals aspects of digestion, but have a healthy diet, we aren’t able to make the most of those nutrients we could be obtaining. This will be reflected in your energy levels and the frequency and occurrences of various ailments or diseases in the future.
3. Helps Remove Toxins From The Body – When foods are fermented, it breaks down the nutrients in the foods and creates natural chelators that bind toxins and eliminate them from the body. A toxic ecosystem in the body paves the way for diseases to manifest. Need I say more?
There are loads of fermented foods you can be consuming on a regular basis, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso paste and natto. By reducing/eliminating your poor gut bacteria and proliferating beneficial gut bacteria, you will discover a great improvement in your digestion and overall health.
What are some of your favourite fermented foods? Do you have any disastrous kitchen stories to share? Spill!