Normally on Mondays, I write up a quick recipe that anyone can pull off at home. However, today is going to just be a guide to fixing your gut health by eating fermented foods. You may ask, “why do I need to care about my gut health? Aren’t there things my body does naturally to keep me healthy?” The short answer to that is a solid no. If you want to see this broken down in really deep detail including studies and the science behind all of it, follow this link to an article on T Nation, one of the best free sites out there for health and training.
For our purposes, I’ll keep it pretty simple: your gut health is bad, and is probably affecting your ability to get leaner, feel better, and have more energy. The culprit here is a lack of healthy gut bacteria. Probiotics and prebiotics are definitely buzz words in the fitness industry, and for good reason. Essentially, these two words sum up the healthy gut bacteria you are after. Along those lines, of course, supplement companies have started making probiotics and prebiotics in pill form. The plus sides to these are that they are extremely convenient. You can bring them anywhere, and always have your healthy bacteria on hand. However, they do not possess nearly the amount that fermented foods do, and some question if you can even digest these bacteria in pill form. In short, save your money here, and just buy some fermented food and eat it.
Now, the elephant in the room is that some people really do not enjoy fermented foods. I definitely get that. They have a certain sort of sour flavor that can be kind of gross. Heck, one of the healthiest foods out there is sauerkraut, and frankly I don’t know five people outside of my own family that enjoy it. Here is some tough love advice: get over it, and you’ll eventually learn to like them. For example, I hated tomatoes for a solid 18 years. Then I started making myself eat them on sandwiches and tacos, and now I can eat them sliced. Your body adapts. Give it a chance to like these foods.
Sauerkraut also is not the only option when it comes to fermented foods. Kombucha is probably the trendiest drink out there, and I just tried it today, and I have to say it is pretty delicious. Some people apparently don’t enjoy it, but I think it tastes like funky soda. Another good option is fermented pickles. You can find these (along with the correct sauerkraut) in the refrigerated section at the supermarket. Additionally, you can add Japanese miso to stir fries or salads and reap the benefits of fermented foods. There are actually a ton of options, so get out there and find one you like. If you do, you’ll benefit from improved skin, less bloating, and even decreased symptoms of asthma, allergies, and even arthritis.