Fermented by L A B

Three Years On: How I Manage My Eczema After Overcoming TSW

HealthAlana Holloway
 
Alana Holloway
 

As many of you may have read, fermented foods and improving my gut health were key to me healing from TSW and discovering how to manage my eczema - medication free - in a more natural and holistic way.  It would be lovely to pretend that they acted as a magic wand and made my eczema disappear, but it doesn't work like that.  What they did do was get me to a place where I felt healthy enough to make improvements in other areas of my life.  For example, improving my gut health improved my state of mind, so that I could find the motivation to exercise.  A healthy gut supported my body in healing my skin, meaning I was able to move and sweat without my skin hurting or burning.

Dealing with the root cause of a health issue can be a complex task that needs to be approached from a few different angles.  I've been asked a few times about how I manage my eczema outside of the fermented food/gut health arena, so I thought I'd create a blog post to consolidate it all.

Firstly, since eczema has been termed an auto-immune disease, my attitude towards it has shifted slightly.  For me and for many, it's a genetic pre-disposition.  A chink in the armour, if you will.  It will always be somewhere in the background but as long as I maintain balance within my diet and lifestyle - and use the tools I've compiled over the years - I'll be able to successfully manage it, medication free.  That does mean that I experience the occasional flare, but when I do, I know how to settle it.

Diet wise, I do tend to avoid cow's dairy and gluten as they tend not to sit well with me (although I've recently been experimenting with sourdough), and am mindful of my consumption of goat's dairy as it can make my skin feel 'damp/clammy' (you'll know what I mean if you're a fellow eczema sufferer!)  I've found what works for me and do experiment from time to time.   The wellness world can be so black and white about what's 'good' and 'bad' for you.  It doesn't allow for exceptions to rules and that can cloud judgement.  For example; I've found that I'm absolutely fine with ghee but not with butter.  In essence, they're kind of the same thing but the way in which ghee is made makes it tolerable.   My point here is: don't be too strict when it comes to food and food groups.  Experiment, test and keep an open mind.

Of course, fermented food and drink play a huge role in my life and since I've been eating/drinking them, it's not just my skin that's improved.  The multitude of benefits have been eye-opening, to say the least!  This may bee far too much information, but following all the steroid use, I started to get recurring yeast infections.  Since drinking water kefir daily, I no longer get them!

Over the past couple of years, I've been taking more interest in Ayurveda.  It's something I've only recently started incorporating into my daily life but find it really helps.  I've found it a really gentle and sympathetic way to approach my health, making tweaks here and there when I need to.  I would really recommend looking into it.

My other non-negotiables are;

- Yoga as much as I can.  To get my blood flowing, system moving and mind calm.
- Daily 10 minute meditation.  Stress has such a huge impact on my health and my skin.  I find the Calm App to be best suited to me.
- A water softener as I live in such a hard water area.
- A little fermented food and drink most, if not every, day.
- Sleep for 8-9 hours every night, although this is a constant work in progress!
- Natural skin products and no make-up (natural make up for when I have to!)
- Limited/no alcohol.  I've tried natural wines but find I wake the next morning more inflamed than I'd like. 
- Plenty of water throughout the day and herbal teas depending on my mood.
- Limited sugar.  I tried totally sugar free for a while but am only human and missed treats!  Saying that, I stick to the more unrefined sugars and try to keep my consumption below the RDA.

I really hope the helps some of you on your quest to optimum health.  As always, please feel free to ask any questions either in the comments below or by emailing me.


you may also like...

What Alana Eats in a Day to Keep Her Gut in Good Health

Alana Holloway
Abundance Bowl

This was originally published on the Pollen + Grace blog, as part of their Food Diary series.  Read on to find out what and how our Founder, Alana eats to keep her gut in good health.

Approach to food: I love to eat intuitively, according to the seasons… not only that, but according to the weather and how I’m feeling on any given day.  After a lifelong battle with eczema, I have now found the key to managing it with the right foods for my body, and a complimentary lifestyle, too.  I like to maintain a balanced, healthy gut and so eat/drink ferments every day… just as well I run a company that makes them!

Food Diary:

DAY 1 - FRIDAY

I tend to start day with about a pint of warm water. I really find it gives me immediate energy following sleep.  I’m really not a lover of cold water, so will always drink it at room temperature or warm/hot. 

I usually have breakfast about 10.30 as I struggle to eat too early in the morning.  I like to allow my body time to build up a good hunger!  Now that Spring is here, I’ve swapped my porridge for smoothies.  This morning’s is organic cooked beetroot (I cook up a batch and then freeze it for smoothies), organic frozen strawberries from last Summer, a green banana, which is a great source of prebiotic fibre, coconut yoghurt, goats milk Kefir for the all-important probiotics, Plenish cashew milk (my favourite) and a little raw honey for a some more prebiotic love! I also take an omega 3 supplement; generally speaking, I’m not a massive supplement advocate and prefer to get what I need from my diet, but as I am prone to really dry skin, I find this one helps.  

I grab a small handful of Brazil nuts as I head out the door.

At 1pm I have a chunk of goats Gouda and another pint on warm water whilst waiting for my lunch to cook.  I can tell it’s going to be a hungry day for me today! 

At 1.30, I have a lunch of sliced avocado roasted chickpeas with nigella seeds, soft boiled egg, roasted sweet potato, Fennel + Lemon Kraut from the Fermented by LAB Spring Collection, steamed broccoli & kale.

3.30 small glass of Kombucha as I need a bit of a kick!

At 7pm I have dinner - it's lentil Dahl with Carrot + Coriander Kraut from last year’s Autumn Box (one of my favourite things about fermenting foods is getting to eat them months later!)

I drink a Golden Mylk before bed and soak some oats for tomorrow morning’s porridge… I mentioned Spring too early and hear it’s due to snow tomorrow!

DAY 2 - SATURDAY

10am - I start the day with two huge mugs of warm/hot water again and follow it with the porridge I soaked last night.  I always soak my grains/pulses/legumes to make them easier on my digestive system. My porridge toppings are roasted rhubarb, coconut yoghurt, a little raw honey and some chopped Brazil’s. 

3pm - Lunch is a chunk of goat’s milk Gouda (I can’t get enough of it!) and roasted broccoli, carrot, fennel, sweet potato and nigella seeds with a soft-boiled egg (again!)  Despite it being the weekend, I’m working and need something easy to cook which doesn’t require too much thought!

5pm - I have a bottle of Red Grapefruit + Rosemary Kefir from the Spring Box.  I’m lucky enough to be able to delve into a good selection of seasonal ferments… it means I don’t get bored with eating the same Kraut all the time!

7pm - I try to stop eating by 8pm so that I can give my digestive system a break overnight.  As I had a late lunch, I’m not overly hungry so make a beetroot, carrot (both cooked and frozen), blackcurrant, green banana and goats kefir smoothie and have a mug of chicken bone broth.

I drink a small Golden Milk just before bed.  They really relax me and as I have a history of eczema, find they really help keep my inflammation at bay.

Best piece of advice about health + wellbeing?

Don’t search for all the answers in one place.  Every day, I try to remind myself that it’s not just about a healthy diet, a good exercise regimen, good quality sleep or daily meditation practice, for example, it’s a combination of all of them that allows you to live your healthiest and happiest life.

 Red Grapefruit + Rosemary Kefir

Red Grapefruit + Rosemary Kefir

Ingredient Spotlight: Health Benefits of Cabbage

Ingredient Spotlight, HealthAlana Holloway
Health benefits of cabbage

Cabbage, on the surface, is probably one of the most boring vegetables around. Unlike its celebrity cousins, kale and broccoli (all part of the brassica family), it often gets disregarded as smelly and bland. But I LOVE IT! Without cabbage, my beloved Kraut wouldn’t be what it is, so it only seems right to celebrate it every once in a while.

⁃           We’re now realising that, on the whole, our diets fall way short of the RDA of fibre. Not only is cabbage a great source of fibre, studies have found that raw cabbage juice has been found to help cure stomach ulcers.  All the more reason to drink that Kraut brine!

⁃           I’ve already mentioned it’s ‘superfood’ cousins kale and broccoli, which are well renowned for being high in antioxidants. Well if you fancy a change up, grab a cabbage which has its own array of the inflammation reducing, brain boosting powerhouses.

⁃           Cabbage is already a great source of vitamin K, but when eaten in its fermented form, it helps to support our gut flora in producing Vitamin K2.  A deficiency in K2 increases the risk of developing osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer.

A bit like marmalade, I like my Kraut somewhere in between thick and thin cut, providing the perfect bite! How do you like yours?

Ingredient Spotlight: Health Benefits of Rosemary

Ingredient SpotlightAlana Holloway
Rosemary

You'll know if you've followed LAB for a while that one of the most joyful parts of developing the recipes is getting to research the ingredients.  Not only are they chosen for their flavour, but for their health benefits, too.  I asked Claire, one of LAB's most devoted customers to have a look into the hardy herb and report back.  Over to you Claire...

To be perfectly honest, up until now I had never thought of Rosemary in terms of anything other than culinary as it is very frequently added to meat and fish dishes; so to increase my awareness of the many health benefits of this wonderfully aromatic herb,  and because it  is being used alongside red grapefruit in this season’s Kefir, I would like to share with you a few of the reasons we are so excited about it:

My knowledge of this herb is that it is a very hardy member of the lavender family and grows prolifically in well-drained soil and is often planted alongside thyme.  Therefore its floral fragrance provides a sense of nostalgia for anyone whose parents cultivated a herb garden or patch.  The scent of Rosemary always reminds me of the family Sunday Roast when lamb was that week’s joint as I would stab the joint deeply all over and poke in slices of garlic with a sprig of Rosemary before seasoning and popping into the oven.  Only yesterday I was at my daughter’s for Easter Sunday and it was so comforting to watch her do the same thing exactly when she was roasting the lamb.

What I didn’t know until today, was how Rosemary is used in herbal and holistic medicine and that when we add it either internally or externally, there are many ways in which we are helping to combat some health issues.  For instance, did you know that amongst many other things:

·     Rosemary is a powerful antioxidant. Its properties also have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory benefits and have even been shown to ease allergies ~ a good reason to increase your intake during the hay fever season!

·     Rosemary is a good source of fibre and vitamins A, B & E, copper, potassium, magnesium, manganese, calcium and iron.

·     The best thing I have discovered about Rosemary today is that not only does its intake improve memory and concentration, but current research into Alzheimer’s disease has shown, although a cure for the disease is not yet on the horizon, that two compounds of Rosemary, namely rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid, have been found to enhance the production of nerve protein structures responsible for the survival and repair of nerve cells and to protect brain cells from plaque ~ now considered to be one of the main causes of  Alzheimer’s disease. 

It would be impossible to list all the benefits of Rosemary in this blog, but for now, just try rubbing a leaf between your thumb and forefinger some time; and then inhale deeply.  I always find it gives me an incredible sense of well-being and comfort.


You may also like...

Finding The Motivation to Eat Well for Your Health

HealthAlana Holloway
 Fermented by LAB team lunch

Fermented by LAB team lunch

It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted on this blog - so much to do and so little time!  We’ve been having a blast backstage at LAB.  Alana has been working hard on developing the Spring flavours and I can’t wait to taste-test!  Alana and I call the day we package your fabulous ferments and send them out to you ‘Boxing Day’, but we often find it doubles up as ‘Therapy Day’ as we end up talking the hind legs off a donkey and putting the world to rights.  I cook lunch for us and bring it along to headquarters, usually a hearty soup or a reviving curry (with a generous serving of a complementary ferment, of course!).  After the obligatory high five when your boxes have been collected by our courier, we sit down, take a deep breath and relax.  I’ve got to say, working with my sisters is brilliant.  I am the eldest of three.  Alana is in the middle and our youngest sister is Georgina.  Georgina is currently working on her own contribution to LAB, which we hope will help spread the word about what we do.  We’ve all worked together one way or another before and I love that we can do that.  I strongly believe that having a support network as strong as we do is a huge factor in our potential to achieve, keeping us motivated.  Which leads me to the subject of today’s post-  motivation!

It’s remarkable how much motivation we can find for something that we want to do.  Whether it’s getting dressed up to go out or saving money towards a holiday in the sun, we can often dig deep when there’s a dangling carrot to spur us on.  Why then, is it so difficult to be motivated to eat well when the dangling carrot is good health?  You’d think that feeling good would be the ultimate reward, yet millions of us fall in to the trap of eating something quick and easy that doesn’t always satisfy our body’s nutritional needs.  We’re pre-programmed to enjoy high calorie foods.  Primitively, this helped us to survive when access to food wasn’t guaranteed .  With processed and fast food readily available today, our need for convenience often leads us to grab a sandwich from a petrol station or order a pizza.  The result?  A calorific intake is achieved, but our bodies haven’t necessarily been nourished.  

What we eat is fundamental to not only our body weight, but energy levels, ability to fight infection and disease, emotional well-being and ultimately, how long we live.  Most of us have tried various diets and with the media advertising the latest way to lose weight at the appropriate times of year (after Christmas, the lead up to summer for a ‘Bikini body’), we’re spoilt for choice.  Food is everywhere.  Deep down, we all know that eating healthily is as simple as these seven words.  “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mainly plants.” (Pollan, 2016).  Whilst true, this doesn’t provide the specifics on how to do so, or, equally importantly, how to want to do so. 

I am my own worst enemy when it comes to what I eat.  A self-confessed chocoholic and cheese addict, I find myself reaching for these things when I’m in need of comfort.  During the past 2 years, I think I’ve changed what ‘comfort food’ means in my head.  As I discussed in last August’s post, I started eating fermented foods by becoming Alana’s guinea pig!  I rapidly noticed an improvement in my mood, reduction in symptoms of my Endometriosis, clearer skin and the list goes on.  Fermented food and drink has acted as a bit of a ‘lightbulb moment’ for me.  I eat/drink it, I feel better.  I am comforted.  It is my healthy comfort food!  It has made me think twice about my food choices.  I recognise now that when I eat unhealthily I am actually sabotaging my chances of feeling good (read ‘Love What You Eat: Choosing Foods That Will Change Your Life’ by Nicholette M. Martin MDHC – so helpful!).

Many of us find things easier to manage step by step.  I’m one of those people!  My first step to eating for health was to eat a portion of fermented food or drink every day.  My second step was to drink more water.  My third step, to ensure that half of my plate of food contained vegetables.  I’m working on the fourth step (reducing my chocolate intake)!  I don’t get it right every day, but I do know why I’m doing it.  I want to feel good!  So far, I’ve found that changing how I think about ‘comfort food’ has helped motivate me to eat for better health.  What helps to motivate you?

LAURENS NAME-02.png
 

Does Fermented Food + Drink Help Reduce Body Fat?

HealthAlana Holloway

Metabolic disease is a modern, umbrella term for a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. Those effected are at a significantly greater risk of heart disease, stroke and other blood vessel illnesses.  According to the NHS, one in four Brits are known to have metabolic disease (in one form or another) and while we all know that leading a healthier lifestyle reduces the risk, you will be pleased to know that ferments also help along the way!

What We Get Asked Most About Fermented Food and Drink...

Alana Holloway
kimchi-pickle-sauerkraut.jpg

Dipping your toe in the water of fermented food and drink can be a little daunting; our whole lives we've been conditioned to believe that all bacteria is bad, we're not used to dealing with 'live' foods and with so many RDA's out there, we've forgotten how to let our bodies lead the way.  We get asked a lot of questions about the how's, why's and when's, but these are most definitely the ones we get asked the most, so we'd thought we'd share them for all to see!

How much am I supposed to eat/drink?
I really recommend listening to your body when considering how much to eat and drink per day.  If you are very new to fermented foods, then start with a small amount such as a forkful or a sip, and build from there.  You will soon discover your individual tolerance as you might experience some temporary gas and bloating if you exceed it!  This is completely natural and is just a sign that your internal microbial balance is shifting and once it settles, you can begin increasing your intake.

How and when am I supposed to eat/drink the ferments?
However you like!  At LAB, we believe that you should enjoy eating your probiotics; it should not be a chore!  This means adding them to your favourite meals, using them in your cooking (although they should only be added at the very end so that you don’t cook away all the living bacteria!) or just eating them straight from the jar.  We’ve got some great recipes here.  The same goes for the sodas; drink them at whatever time feels best for you.  They’re great post-workout energisers, morning/afternoon pick-me-up’s and thirst quenchers.

My ferment has a very strong smell; is it OK to eat?
Each ferment has its own personality; some smell stronger than others; some fizz more than others and some are tangier than others.  All these are great signs that the ferment is LIVE and perfectly OK to eat.

How much sugar does the Kefir contain?
Our 250ml, 1 serve bottle of kefir starts life with 15g added sugar, of which approximately 80% is consumed by the bacteria during fermentation.  By the time it arrives with you, that same 250ml contains approximately 3g sugar, which is under 1tsp.

There is some sediment floating at the top of my Kefir; is it safe to drink?
Absolutely!  Kefir contains naturally occurring carbon dioxide, which pushes any sediment in the kefir to the top, especially when particularly pulpy foods such as citrus and berries are used!  Just give is a gentle shake to re-distribute and drink away!

What are the health benefits associated with eating fermented foods?
Fermented foods are alive and kicking with good bacteria, or probiotics.  They help to balance your gut bacteria and stomach acids; releasing enzymes to help ease and improve digestion, making it easier for your body to extract and absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat.  Not only that, but when you introduce good bacteria into your diet via fermented foods, you enable your gut to support your immune system in fighting disease and contribute to the reduction of systemic inflammation, which is said to be at the root of many modern-day, chronic illnesses.  Read more about the health benefits here.

The Incredible Link Between Kefir and Cancer

Alana Holloway
kefir-grains

Phew, what a week!  Whilst Alana had a few well earned days off in Devon over the Bank Holiday, I was busy with a mammoth project for one of my clients.  Why is it that the week after a Bank Holiday seems to be the most hectic and stressful of all?  The silver lining is that it’s given me lots of food for thought about next week’s post, so stay tuned! 

Last week we were sent some information by Dr Caroline Kerridge, and felt that it was just too exciting to keep to ourselves.  Caroline is a fellow fermented food fan (don’t try saying that after one too many!).  She put together the following paragraph for us after conducting some research on the effect of kefir on cancer.  As a nurse who has cared for countless cancer patients, I think this is really quite incredible.

Dr. Caroline Kerridge says:

"Exciting research is emerging from scientists around the world implicating yet another potential benefit of Kefir.

There is a small, yet consistent body of evidence to suggest that Kefir products (both milk- and water-based) have beneficial effects on cancer prevention and treatment. Although the mechanisms of action are not clear, the effects have been attributed to the special bioactive products that are made during the fermentation process. Experiments have been carried out in numerous cancer models including cancers of the breast [1], skin, colon [2], sarcoma, stomach and blood. What is striking is the consistency between the studies, all of which show significant evidence of the slowing of cancer cell proliferation [3] (or growth) whilst having no negative effects on healthy (non-cancerous) cells [4]. There is still a long way to go, as studies will need to be carried out on humans, however, it is a promising emerging area of scientific investigation."

There is a significant amount of research which shows a link between consuming kefir (and other fermented food/drink) and the decrease of symptoms and growth of disease.  I’ve listed a small selection of the areas of research below, and look forward to exploring some of these fields in future posts.  This is life changing stuff!

-  Infertility

-  Diabetes

-  Multiple Sclerosis

-  Depression

Keep reading to find out about the countless ways in which enjoying fermented food can help us heal.

References:

  • [1] Zamberi et al (2016) The Antimetastatic and Antiangiogenesis Effects of Kefir Water on Murine Breast Cancer CellsIntegr Cancer Ther. 15(4):NP53-NP66.

  • [2] Khory et al (2014) Kefir Exhibits Anti-Proliferative and Pro-Apoptotic Effects on Colon Adenocarcinoma Cells with No Significant Effects on Cell Migration and Invasion. Int J Oncol. 45(5):2117-27.

  • Rafie et al (2015) Kefir and Cancer: A Systematic Review of Literatures. Arch Iran Med. 18(12):852-7.

  • [3] Jalali et al (2016) Kefir Induces Apoptosis and Inhibits Cell Proliferation in Human Acute Erythroleukemia. Med Oncol. 33(1):7.

  • [4] Chen et al (2007) Kefir Extracts Suppress in-vitro Proliferation of Estrogen-Dependent Human Breast Cancer Cells but not Normal Mammary Epithelial Cells. J Med Food. 10(3):416-22.

Are Fermented Foods, Probiotics? A Users Guide to Fermentation Jargon.

Alana Holloway
Thesaurus.jpg

It’s been another busy week for us at LAB.  On Monday, Alana and I were busying away packing subscription boxes to send out to our lovely customers.  We hope those of you who received your boxes on Tuesday are enjoying the last of the Summer flavours.  We’re so excited to see what you think of the Autumn flavours.  I haven’t even tried them yet, Alana’s kept them under lock and key!  I’ve had some great feedback from you about last week’s post.  Thank you all for reading! 

This week, Alana and I thought it might be useful if I did a bit of a ‘de-jargoning’ post for you all.  The world of fermented food and drink certainly involves some strange sounding names.  These can be a little alienating!  The first time Alana used words like Kefir, Kvass, Kombucha and Kimchi I thought she sounded like she’d swallowed a pretentious dictionary.  Now, I love these words because I know they mean something delicious and good for me!  Hopefully, this post can serve as a point of reference to those of you who, like me, thought these words were a foreign language.  I’ve added in some of the other words you’ll find that we use, so that we’re all reading from the same hymn sheet.

Cultured Veggies
A recent magazine article which detailed the diet of a chef who ate ‘cultured veggies’ sparked some pretty funny comments on social media (‘‘My veggies read The Times’’ was a personal favourite).  So what are they?  Cultured vegetables are lacto-fermented, which is a method of food preservation which also increases the nutritional benefits of the vegetable.  It turns a healthy vegetable into a probiotic superfood!  Lacto-fermentation is a fairly basic process.  The food (vegetables in this case) is submerged into a salt brine, creating an environment which encourages good bacteria (probiotics) to grow and thrive, inhibiting the growth of pathogenic bacteria.  The good bacteria convert the naturally occurring sugars from the food into lactic acid (a natural preservative).  It’s an age-old method of preserving food!

Fermented Food
The art of fermenting food is something that dates as far back as 6000 B.C.  Fermentation was used to prevent the need for constant hunting and gathering by preserving food, and was also a method of converting potentially poisonous foods into something safe to eat.  Romans ate Sauerkraut and relied on the health benefits it contained to stave off scurvy and and other diseases.  It could be said that the health benefits of fermented food were discovered by happy accident, as fermentation was originally intended to preserve food .  See ‘Cultured Veggies’ for details.

Kefir
Pronounced ‘Kuh-fear’.  There is more than one type of this gut loving drink.  Kefir is really just a mixture of yeasts and bacterias living happily together!  You may read about Kefir ‘grains’ (not actually grains), also called ‘SCOBY’.  Kefir can be added to various milks to create milk Kefir (tastes a little like natural yoghurt), or to a sugar-water solution to create water Kefir (the sugar is mostly consumed by the Kefir bacteria during the fermentation process).  We use raw organic cane sugar and add pure, cold pressed, organic fruit and vegetable juice (sometimes herbs/spices too) to our water Kefir to make our delicious sodas (pictured above)!

Kimchi
Kimchi
originates from Korea, and whilst it is best known as spicy fermented cabbage, it actually covers a variety of highly seasoned fermented vegetables such as cucumber or radishes.  It is considered to be one of the healthiest foods in the world, boasting high levels of B vitamins, vitamin C, minerals (including iron) and fibre.  Kimchi is also made using lacto-fermentation (see Cultured Veggies).

Kombucha
Pronounced ‘Kom-boo-cha’.  Kombucha is a fermented, probiotic ‘living’ tea drink.  Like many other ferments, it has been around for centuries.  It is made using SCOBY, but Kombucha SCOBY is rather different to Kefir SCOBY and is also known as the ‘Kombucha mushroom’.  It looks a bit like a jelly pancake, and is white or beige.  The SCOBY is added to a sugary tea, and ferments over 7-10 days.  It has many health benefits, which include improving digestion, fighting disease and stabilising mood.

Kvass
Pronounced Kuh-vah-ss.  Kvass is another type of fermented drink.  It can be made in many ways, including the original method which involves using stale rye bread.  Kvass originates from Russia and is always water based, usually cloudy in appearance and often contains fruit juice or honey. 

The Mother’- This is the cloudy, cobweb like substance that occurs in ferments like Apple Cider Vinegar.  It is often strained out, but it’s the best bit for your gut!  It is the original ferment, and is a natural carbohydrate which is produced by the bacteria in the vinegar.

Prebiotic
The concept of Prebiotics is relatively new, and was only introduced just over 20 years ago.  The definition of a prebiotic has been altered several times since then.  A prebiotic is currently said to be a specialised plant fibre which nourishes the existing bacteria in the gut.  Simply put, a prebiotic feeds the good bacteria in your gut.

Probiotic
The World Health Organisation defines probiotics as ‘’Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’’.  Essentially, good bacteria which do good things for your health when you eat them!  Probiotics are created during the fermentation process.  The word ‘Probiotic’ literally means ‘for life’.  

turmeric-black-pepper-kraut

Sauerkraut
Pronounced ‘Sow-er-krowt’.  Also known as ‘Kraut’.  Sauerkraut is lacto-fermented shredded cabbage.  Thought to have originated in China, over 2,000 years ago, it was first made by pouring rice wine over finely shredded cabbage.  It is more commonly known as a German delicacy, but in the German preparation it was made by sprinkling salt over shredded cabbage to draw out the water which provided the ‘juice’ or brine which accompanied it.  It was discovered to be so nutritious that, in Northern Europe, it was made a requirement for Sauerkraut to be on board every ship to prevent disease.  Our Turmeric and Black Pepper Kraut (pictured above) was a big hit this summer, but we didn’t post it out to any boats!

SCOBY
This is actually an acronym for ‘Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts’.  Essentially, it is cellulose containing the live part of the yeasts and bacteria, which multiplies when fed.  It is the presence of SCOBY in fermented drinks such as Kefir and Kombucha which makes them such a good source of natural probiotics.

So now you know!

Struggling to Eat Fermented Foods Every Day? Read This...

Alana Holloway

Incorporating something new into your diet can be a challenge.  Many of us are creatures of habit, particularly when it comes to what we eat, which can mean eating the same meals week after week.  Whilst this is convenient, it’s not the best thing we can do for our gut.  Meal planning can help with budgeting, time management and shopping lists, but how often do we think about our health when we’re deciding what to eat for the week?  More specifically, do we think about our gut health?

New to fermented foods and drinks?

Alana Holloway

Ferments are foods and drinks that have been through a process of lacto-fermentation, in which naturally present bacteria, or bacteria introduced in the form of a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) feed on the sugar and starch in the food, creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.