Before the "raw" movement, before the fancy overpriced jars of carrots, pickles, green tomatoes and beets my grandma taught me perhaps the best beauty secret: how to pickle my own foods. In Eastern Europe fermented foods are like penut butter and jelly sandwiches in the United States. They are a staple. Since I was a young girl I learned how to make my own vinegar, kefir, cottage cheese, pickled vegetables and how to incorporate it into my daily meals.
I get countless emails about how to cure acne, rosacea, eczema and other inflammatory skin issues. I always, always ask clients: "Do you include a probiotic in your daily routine?"
WHY FERMENTED FOOD IS GOOD FOR YOU
When certain foods are left to ferment, they are 'pre-digested' by good bacteria and yeast found naturally on the surface of the food. These microbes eat the food before you do, breaking down the sugars and starches and making the nutrients easier for the body to absorb.
Some also release lactic acid, a natural preservative, which acidifies the environment in the gut, stimulating the growth of good bacteria. The fermented food effectively becomes a natural probiotic supplement.
Bacteria's role in health has attracted much attention in recent years and experts welcome the new interest in 'living' foods, as fermented food is also known.
HERE'S A SIMPLE RECIPE YOU CAN USE TO LACTO-FERMENT ANY VEGETABLE
3 tablespoons sea salt, pickling salt, or kosher salt
1 quart water
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1 cup carrot chunks or slices
1 cup red bell pepper chunks or slices
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns