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Monday, March 24, 2014

Fermentation: Sisters Are Doing It For Ourselves!

clear mason jar with metal lid. Inside are shredded, bright orange carrots in a little bit of clear liquid. The jar is sitting atop a light brown bamboo chopping board, and is standing in front of a window. Outsie are branches of the tree in front of my apartment, on a clear spring day.
First batch: fermenting carrots
I've been eating fermented foods (primarily raw sauerkraut) for most of the last year of my food journey. It's (generally) a cheap and good source of beneficial bacteria for gut healing and overall digestive health.
For me, fermented foods deliver several rewards: (1) they must reduce inflammation because I get less puffy and smaller when I eat them; (2) my food desires are much clearer, so I don't graze the fridge as I try to find the nutrient my body  hungers for; and (3) I seem to digest my food much more thoroughly, and (likely as a result) have a lot less hunger.
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, creator of the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) food/nutrition plan, has been a major cheerleader for the benefits of fermented foods for mind and body health. Whether or not you subscribe to all of her assertions, research is showing us that poor gut health and inflammation are not only linked to one another, but also to numerous chronic illnesses (e.g., diabetes mellitus, depression, anxiety, arthritis, and heart disease).
I'm the first to admit, however, that sauerkraut doesn't top the favorite foods list for most people (including me). A fellow writer introduced me to fermented ginger carrots, and they are definitely the exception to the nasty food rule: crunchy and chewy, sweet yet tart. Last week I bought some, but at $8 for a small jar of the stuff, I didn't think I'd be eating it often. When I looked at the ingredients, however--carrots, water, and ginger--I decided to embark on my first foray into the world of fermentation.
I found a simple recipe at 6512andgrowing, and tried it out. It will take about three days for the fermenting to finish. Although I do have some concern about the jar exploding and/or me getting botulism or some other food-jockey illness,  I'm hoping for the best.

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