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Adding Cultured Foods Into Your Diet
Cultured foods have many benefits, especially if you are sick or have a history of being on antibiotics. While antibiotics kill the bacteria that may be causing illness, they do not discriminate between good and bad bacteria and so kill the beneficial bacteria in your gut as well.
Taking a high-quality probiotic that your doctor should recommend is important, but adding cultured foods to your diet is another step you can take to replenish the good bacteria.
Helping to restore healthy intestinal flora is not the only health benefit from eating cultured foods. They also:
- Increase the bioavailabity of nutrients.
- Improve digestion and absorption.
- Have cleansing properties.
- Are rich in enzymes.
Yogurt is a commonly known cultured food, but unfortunately is not an option for the dairy intolerant. Non-dairy cultured foods include cultured vegetables, cultured tea (kombucha) and cultured beet juice (kvass), to name a few.
There are several wonderful brands of cultured vegetables that we love, including the Massachusetts-based company called Real Pickles. Try purchasing some cultured foods and adding them to your diet.
If you’d like to make your own cultured vegetables, there are many helpful resources online, including videos that take you through the process step-by-step. The one I learned from can be viewed here. There are also wonderful cookbooks with a wide variety of recipes for cultured foods.
Below are a few recipes from our book that have been adapted to include cultured foods:
- Calico Slaw (page 91) is delicious when made with cultured red cabbage. The tartness of the cultured cabbage is a tasty contrast to the sweetness of the other ingredients.
- The Cook’s Note to the recipe for Deviled Eggs (page 87) suggests transforming the recipe into egg salad. When making this egg salad, chop up real kosher pickles (cultured cucumbers) and add them to the eggs. Yum!
- Shredded Carrot Salad (page 81) can be revised by using 1 cup grated raw carrots and 1 cup cultured ginger carrots.
Or just serve any type of cultured vegetable as a side dish with lunch or dinner. Cultured veggies round out your meal and make it even more nourishing.
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