This week Julie examines how little things can make a big difference. Join her as she goes through the small and simple ways you can incorporate small doses of cultured foods into your diet.
From the Editor: Please welcome Julie Feickert, Cultures for Health Founder and Cultured Kitchen Keeper.
When I hear people talking about saving money, they often point out that even saving small amounts each week does add up over time. I think the same can be said for cultured and fermented foods. Sometimes it can seem like adding cultured foods into our meals is challenging or requires a lot of thought and effort. While it can be great to eat a large bowl of sauerkraut for lunch, in reality, even incorporating small doses throughout the day likely has a powerful cumulative effect. Providing your body with a steady stream of probiotic foods can be as simple as keeping a few things on hand and making some substitutions here and there rather than a full on effort to make massive dietary changes for your family.
Keep cultured finger foods in the fridge. Need a snack? How about a pickle, a dilly bean, or a cultured carrot stick? It’s so simple to just pull one out and munch away. Also useful for handing to a child when sending them back outside to play.
A forkful here and there. I try to keep a jar of sauerkraut and a jar of grated carrots on hand. I find that a forkful here and there throughout the day quenches my desire for something crunchy and salty. Cultured applesauce is another great one. Just a spoonful of sweetness can be a nice treat during the day. Or in the case of our applesauce-loving kids, a bowlful of sweetness mid-afternoon.
Replace your beverages. Perhaps my greatest asset these days is having a steady supply of water kefir and kombucha on hand. Water kefir is so sweet and hydrating. It’s delicious. I can drink it all day long and the kids will drink as much as we give them. In between glasses of water kefir, I’ll try to sneak in a glass of kombucha. If that isn’t possible, I’ll add even a tablespoon or two of kombucha to a glass of water. It gives the water flavor and provides another dose of probiotics. As a bonus, both are really quick to make. Water kefir requires about 5 minutes of care every 48 hours. Kombucha requires minimal care every few weeks.
Culture your dressings and condiments. Did you know you can add a dose of cultured goodness to almost any dish? Meats, vegetables, pasta, even dessert! Switching out your dressings and condiments for cultured versions is actually far simpler than it may sound. For example, I started making my own dressing using kombucha instead of vinegar. It’s a simple method and recipe that can be customized for any occasion. Making dressing takes less than 10 minutes and I can make a pint or a quart at a time. Lately I’ve been putting dressing on just about everything and using it as a dip for raw veggies.
I also try to keep cultured veggie condiments on hand. I’m currently making good use of some cultured lemons and garlic scapes. Lemon and garlic seriously go with almost any dish. I can add them to salads, vegetable, meat, and pasta dishes for amazing flavor and a probiotic boost.
Every common condiment can be made with a probiotic element (e.g. kombucha mustard, lacto-fermented mayonnaise, lacto-fermented ketchup, kombucha BBQ sauce, etc.) or you can even ferment ready-made condiments. Again, don’t get overwhelmed, just think of it as small doses here and there to add flavor and probiotics.
In short, there really isn’t a need to get wrapped up in trying to completely switch to all cultured foods immediately or when time is short. Even small bits here and there do count and will benefit you.