October 26, 2014 § Leave a comment
So to give you a little bit of background, I live in a place where all four seasons come in full swing. And winters are long and harsh, unfortunately. Don’t get me wrong I love the snow but after New Years, I’m about ready to blow it a kiss goodbye till next winter. So with the change in seasons, I’ve been eating a lot more starch than I was over the summer, and honestly I feel great. Switching from primarily fruit based, I find that I am waaaay less bloated throughout the day. And I am not immediately hungry after huge meals anymore. I’m lovin’ it. And the dive that my grocery bill has taken makes me even happier!
But- and this is a big but. My digestion has definitely slowed down. Granted, I’ve only been consuming more starches for about a month, but it’s taken about that long to get my tummy straightened around. I won’t bore/ terrify you with the gruesome details, but let’s just say I was barely visiting the ladies room once a day. Part of this I think was just the difference in hydration levels of the starches. And part of it was because I think my body became accustomed to the quick digesting sugars in fruit, versus the slower digesting sugars that are in starches.
Enough of that babble. So to make sure I am doing everything I can to have my digestive system in tip-top shape, I decided to look into vegan probiotic options. After seeing Mel from Raw Nourishment‘s video about good gut health, I realized it wasn’t going to be as tricky as I thought. Any time I had seen probiotic drinks and such in the supermarket, they had typically been dairy. Gross. But with Mel’s advice, and a little bit of my own research I decided to go the homemade probiotic route.
For vegans, our options are pretty much limited to this list of probiotic foods:
- Raw Kimchi
- Sour pickles (made with salt water, not vinegar)
- Traditional sauerkraut (not pickled, but fermented)
- KambuCha drinks (which are unfortunately out of my price range)
- Non-dairy yogurt
- Homemade probiotic drinks
- Vegan probiotic supplements
- Vegan Kefir
Really not bad though, right?!
I decided I wanted to be as thrifty as possible in this endeavor, so homemade sour pickles was my go to. Who doesn’t love a crisp, juicy pickle?! I have a bit of a secret love affair with them actually. So this was going to be an easy addition to my diet! I had pretty much all the ingredients at home other than the cucumber, for this recipe from Pickles & Honey, with a few minor adjustments and a little bit of my own creativity thrown in there!
I didn’t use actual pickling cucumbers for this, since these english cukes were cheaper, but they did the job just fine! I just sliced the cucumber into 3 sections, then cut those sections in half. So each cucumber yielded six pickle halves.
The first jar I made was pretty much exactly Pickles & Honey’s recipe, with the garlic, fresh dill, and bay leaf. But the second was where I got a little daring. I used fresh dill and a heap of roasted red pepper flakes. NOMS. You’re probably wondering what they taste like though, right? How different do they taste from your typical store bought jar of dills? They actually do taste sour like a normal pickle! But whoa, next time I am definitely cutting back on the salt! I typically eat a very low sodium diet so I am pretty sensitive to salty foods. But even my SAD eating, salt-loving boyfriend was taken back by the extreme saltiness of this batch. Other than that they taste wonderful. I am a pickle fiend so these babies probably won’t last too long in my fridge!
Why all this fuss though? What good do probiotics actually do for us? I’ll try to put it as simply as possible. THEY DO EVERYTHING.
Probiotics are primarily good for these three things though-> Strengthening immunity, decreasing allergies, and aiding & improving digestion. Of which, all three have the potential to make you pretty damn miserable if they’re not working up to par. Of course there are indications that increasing the amount of good bacteria in the body can also help prevent cancer, ulcers, colon issues, yeast infections, and candida. So what’ve I got to lose by eating some delish homemade sour pickles? Nothing but a little room in my belly!