I go on a lot about alkaline and acidic foods purely because a diet that is highly acidic makes us more vulnerable to developing chronic disease. Acidic foods promote inflammation within the body and we know that inflammation is the root cause of most chronic disease such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis at al. Eating a highly acidic diet also allows our intestinal bacteria to get out of whack. You’ve seen those adverts that promote drinking those sugar-laden drinks that help to restore healthy gut flora right? Well, there’s a healthier way to do it. Eat cultured veggies!
Cultured veggies? Yes I know it sounds a little like something that’s growing in a petri dish but I’m going to give you some really compelling reasons why they should feature regularly in your diet. But first, here’s the lowdown on what the hell cultured veggies actually are. Cultured vegetables are vegetables that have been cut or shredded and left in an airtight environment for several days or longer at room temperature. (Stick with me…I know that doesn’t sound overly appetising!) This process allows the lactobacilli and enzymes to proliferate creating a wonder food full of minerals and enzymes (we like enzymes as they are needed for every bodily function).
Here are 8 reasons why you should be eating cultured vegetables:
1. They aid digestion lessening the energy drain on your body (great for anyone that has a weak digestive tract and has a hard time digesting raw foods)
2. They help to eliminate toxins from the body
3. They help to restore a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria within the intestines
4. They help to reduce sugar cravings (hellooooooo this is reason ENOUGH!)
5. Eating animal protein creates toxic by-products in the intestines and by eating the veggies WITH the animal protein, it helps to turn these toxins back into healthy amino acids
6. They are extremely alkalising and cleansing for the body. (They may make you a little gassy to begin with but once you get everything cleaned out then it will all start working nicely!) I had to go there…these things are important! A toxic colon is a toxic body people!
7. They increase your longevity. (As they allow you to reserve your body’s own enzymes for digestion, your body is better equipped to repair cells, eliminate toxins, strengthen your immune system etc)
8.They are perfect for pregnant and nursing women as they provide a healthy inner environment for good bacteria and can help alleviate morning sickness! Plus the liquid from the veggies can help relieve the babys colic
The above photos are of some cultured veggies called Kim Chi which is a traditional Korean dish of fermented seasoned cabbage and other veggies. (Fermented just means the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts or other microorganisms.) At first you might struggle with the idea of roaming bacteria or yeast in your food but these little dudes are actually a good thing as you can see from the reasons above. Additionally cultured vegetables have had profound positive effects on children with autism.
You can make them at home very easily (future blog to come) or you can buy them ready made. If I’m having a good old creativity session in the kitchen I will make it but sometimes I buy it ready-made from Raw Living. If you are completely new to cultured veggies then I would recommend you buy some first to try and see if you like it. It will be a new experience for you as it has a fairly strong flavour but once you try it, I’m pretty sure you’ll like it. It has a kind of tangy flavour and can be eaten on salads, as a side dish or on their own and combines particularly well with a protein or starch meal which can be very heavy on the body.
Raw sauerkraut is also another fantastic source of cultured veggies but don’t mistake this for the salted and pasteurised version sold in most shops. (The pasteurisation process destroys the enzymes and the salt is bad bad bad!)
If you want to find out more about cultured foods you should check out Donna Gates’s The Body Ecology Diet book on the left hand side of this page on the book turnstyle.