Kimchi and the gut

Dansk version Kimchi

Hello 🙂 I hope you are all having a beautiful summer.. Wow it’s been a while, but I have been so busy being in love that I couldn’t figure out doing anything online.. I am still in love, but as things are right now I have time again.. So let’s get right to it..

Todays subject is kimchi. Well actually todays subject is bacterias. But kimchi has a part in that discussion.

I’ll get back to kimchi in a little bit, first I want to talk about your internal best friends: The good gut bacterias.

You must have heard about your pretty amazing gut bacterias – everybody have been talking about it the last couple of years. How important they are for your health, your immune system, your digestion and how you feel in general.

Just a couple of fun facts about these tiny cells living inside you:

  • You have approx 2 kg of gut bacterias – that’s quit a lot of bacterias.
  • Actually you have 10 times more bacterias in your body than you have of your own human cells – you can argue that you are just a host for all these bacterias.
  • The more the merrier: When your gut is full of the friendly bacterias, there are no room for the bad bacterias, those bacterias that makes you sick with vomit, diarre and stomach pain, just to mention a few.

 

Considering how many you have, it kind of makes sense that you want to stay good friends with them. Which is actually pretty easy. Just feed them the right food, and avoid things that will kill them – then they are happy and when they are happy, you are definitely also (at least more) happy.

Things that kill the good bacterias are  e.g. antibiotics, alcohol, pesticide leftover from food and water and processed food with refined sugar.

Very roughly you can divide the good food for the bacterias into prebiotics and probiotics.

Prebiotics are “food” for the bacterias, or substances that induce growth and activity of the microbes. These are the non-digestable fiber compounds that pass undigested through your upper gastrointestinal tract and stimulate the bacterias that live in the large intestine (the colon). You will find these non-digestable fibers in any vegetable. This in one of the reasons why fibers are SO important in your diet. Your army of healthy and strong bacterias live of them, and as I mentioned before: STAY GOOD FRIENDS WITH THEM.. So next time you eat, invite them to a dinner full of veggies. E.g these very healthy vietnamese spring rolls with the most awesome dip in the world ;).

Maybe you wonder how preparation of food will alter the prebiotic content. It is not completely figured out, but it is fair to assume that at least some of the prebiotics will be lost in the process of cooking. So the more gentle you cook your food, the better for the prebiotics, at least very possibly. That doesn’t mean that you have to go all raw, as with almost anything in life a balance is the healthiest way to live. So vary your diet and eat both cooked and raw vegetables.

Probiotics are living microorganisms in itself – so these you eat to add more of the healthy microbes. Actually you can say that the prebiotics are food for the probiotics.. You can buy probiotics as a supplement, both as pills or powder. But my gut (aka my bacterias 😉 ) tells me that real food is always a better choice than a chemical. Having said that, sometimes you may need supplements if your body is out of balance, just always think of them as what they are: Supplements to a varied healhty diet full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Foods full of probiotics are: kombucha (fermented tea – really delicious, it is sparkling and super fresh), yoghurt (well maybe not full of bacterias, but it does definitely have some, and if you drink and eat animal products it is a much better and healthier choice than milk), miso, tempeh, sourkraut and kimchi (fermented kale and vegetables).

So this is where kimchi comes into the picture. Even the name sounds like something you want to try right? It is really healthy and good; it is spicy and sour and you can use it to spice up almost any salad, and a lot of cooked dishes too. On top of that it is super easy and cheap to make.. And this is the recipe I will share with you today

Kimchi – a Korean health booster

1 big glas jar

  • 1 organic white cabbage (save the 1 or 2 outermost layers)
  • ½ organic chinese cabbage
  • 4 big organic carots
  • 10 organic radishes
  • 1-2 tbsp sea salt

These are the vegetables I used. But I believe you can use what ever kind of cabbage, carrot, beet, radishes you have at home. Or add spices, that is another experiment for me too though.IMG_5241

Cut all the vegetables finely in a big bowl.

 

 

 

 

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Add salt, but start with one tbsp. Now start massaging the veggies with the salt until the juice starts to come out and the cabbage starts to soften. Keep massaging for about 5 minutes. You need to get enough juice to cover the veggies when you press them down. If you don’t get enough juice, try to add another tbsp. of salt and massage another 5 minutes.

 

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Now it needs to be under pressure for an hour or so, I made this arrangement. This is to make sure that you get enough juice – yes it is all about the juices. If it still isn’t covered with juice after an hour, then add more salt and massage a little more.

Be creative, just make sure it is covered in juice.

 

In the mean time you can boil a big glas jar to make sure it is clean. Now go watch some amazing human beings doing amazing things in the Olympic Games.

IMG_5242

 

After an hour you put all the veggies and all the juice in the glas jar.

Again, you need to make sure that everything is covered in juice, or it will rodden because of the contact with air – believe me I tried it, NOT delicious. On top of this beauty you place the outermost layers of the cabbage to make sure everything is covered in juice. If there is too much space in the jaw you can put more layers of cabbage, you can use a glass or a plate or whatever fits to keep the veggies under pressure and juice. Now close the jar and leave it on the kitchen table (or where ever you want, just not direct sunlight and not in the fridge) for 2-4 days for the bacterias to do their magic. Look at it daily, you will see bobbles as a sign of life :).

Vegetables are covered with good and healthy lactobacillus – fanzy word for a speciel type of the good bacterias. Now these active workers will start to ferment the sugars in the vegetable into lactic acid, which gives it its characteristic sour smell and taste.

After a few days (2-4 depending on room temperature) the process is done and you can take out the extra layers of cabbage. After this keep it in the fridge.

The taste in itself is sour, fresh and a little salty, for some it is a little “hard to handle” (I like it though), but if you use a spoonful (two if you ask my boyfriend) it spices up almost any salat, sandwich, pizza, cooked dish, pasta or whatever. Try it, you wont regret it. It keeps in the fridge at least a couple of weeks (that’s the longest one jar has been in my kitchen). You can even use it as a gift for the gut bacterias of a loved one.

 

Enjoy your day and eat the greens

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