Raw cultured vegetables have been around for thousands of years, but we have never needed
them more than we do today. Rich in
lactobacilli and enzymes, alkaline-forming, and loaded with vitamins, they are an ideal food that can and should be consumed with every meal.
Since they are an excellent source of Vitamin C, Dutch seamen used to carry them to prevent scurvy. For centuries, the Chinese have cultured cabbage each fall to ensure a source of greens through the winter (if they have no refrigeration).
The friendly bacteria, the enzymes, and the high lactic acid in raw cultured vegetables add to health and longevity.
They taste tangy and it is probably a new taste for you, but personally speaking, cultured
vegetables are the best way to eliminate cravings for sweets. After initially getting use to eating cultured vegetables, you will soon feel that no meal is complete without
them. Since they are all vegetable, they combine with either a protein or a starch meal.
So what exactly are raw cultured vegetables?
They’re sauerkraut. The Austrians coined this word, from sauer (sour) and kraut (greens
or plants). But they are very different than the pasteurized sauerkraut you buy in the supermarkets. The pasteurization (heating) process destroys precious enzymes, and the added salt eliminates any health benefits. The variety of vegetables that you can culture are endless and once you culture your first batch of vegetables, you will want to experiment and try different vegetables that perhaps you’ve never tried before.
Here are many of the benefits to adding cultured vegetables to your diet:
- Help re-establish a healthy inner ecosystem.
- If you have ever experienced a sluggish thyroid, it can be such an emotional roller coaster to get it functioning properly. Personally speaking cultured vegetables are one of things that have helped to nourish and re-balance my thyroid which had been sluggish for about a year. It is very important when you have a sluggish thyroid, to do everything possible to eat more alkalizing foods such as cultured vegetables, coconut kefir (Fermented coconut water from young Thai coconuts. They are the white coconuts that you see at Asian markets or Whole Foods.), sea vegetables (kelp, dulse, nori, kombu, arame, etc.)
- If you have ever struggled with your weight or wanted to lose those nagging pounds we’ve all held onto, add cultured vegetables to your diet. Losing weight is all about how well everything is flowing in your digestive tract, how regular you are and how to balance the acids in your body to a more alkalizing state.
- They improve digestion. Knowing the health benefits of raw foods, eating cultured vegetables is an easy way to implement raw foods into your diet. However, depending on how well you digest your foods, your digestive tract may be too weak to tolerate them. Cultured vegetables eliminate this concern, since they are pre-digested. This means that even before they enter your mouth, the friendly bacteria have already converted the natural sugars and starches in the vegetables into lactic acid, a job your own saliva and digestive enzymes would do anyway. The enzymes in the cultured vegetables also help digest other foods eaten with them.
- They increase longevity. You could think of the friendly bacteria in raw cultured vegetables as little enzyme powerhouses. By eating the vegetables, you will maintain your own enzyme reserve and use it to eliminate toxins, rejuvenate your cells, and strengthen your immune system – which all add up to a longer, healthier life.
- They control cravings. Homemade cultured vegetables are ideal for appetite control and thus weight control. The veggies help take away cravings for the sweet taste in pastries, colas, bread, pasta, dairy, and excessive amounts of fruit.
- Raw cultured vegetables are alkaline and very cleansing. They help restore balance if your body is in a toxic, acidic condition. Because they do trigger cleansing, you may have an increase in intestinal gas initially as the vegetables stir up waste and toxins in your intestinal tract. Soon however, you will notice an improvement in your stools.
- And lastly, if you want gorgeous, healthy skin cultured vegetables will become your best friend. Our skin is our largest organ and whatever shows up on the skin is a good indication of what is going on inside the body.
During the fermentation period, the friendly bacteria are having the time of their life, reproducing and converting the sugars and starches to lactic acid. Once the initial process is over, it is time to slow down the bacterial activity by putting the cultured vegetables in the refrigerator. The cold greatly slows the fermentation, but does not stop it completely.
Even if the veggies sit in your refrigerator for months, they will not spoil; instead they become more like fine wine, more delicious with time. Properly made, cultured vegetables have at least an eight month shelf life, although my veggies have never lasted that long.