fermentation

What’s on the Menu – Expiration dates need not apply

I’m a huge Anthony Bourdain fan. I know I’ve said it before, but he is my man crush. He’s a badass chef, a killer writer and trains jiu-jitsu nonstop. Besides the decades of substance abuse, I’d definitely want to be him if I could switch bodies for a day. One of the main reason I want Bourdain’s life is he gets to travel the world and eat unique and sometimes unusual cuisine. One such trip, which was documented on this CNN show Parts Unknown, took him to Denmark and the “science bunker” of the often #1 rated restaurant in the world, Noma. There he got to taste numerous food items in various stages of fermentation. Fortunately for us, we don’t have to travel to Denmark to reap the benefits of fermented foods.

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Inside the Noma Science Bunker (pic courtesy of eater.com)

Fermented foods are all the rage nowadays. You can find them at grocery stores, farmers markets and juice bars. You can even find them at baseball stadiums. You may have several fermented foods in your fridge and not even know it. Common fermented foods include: yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, natto and kimchi, which is today’s menu spotlight.

The nutritional value of the vegetables used to make Kimchi are actually enhanced due to the fermentation process. The primary bacteria responsible for Kimchi’s fermentation, Lactobacillus plantarum, not only increases the numerous vitamins and minerals contained in the vegetables, it also increases important bioactive compounds like thiocyanate and glucosinolate. These compounds have been linked to possible treatments for various health conditions such as cancer, obesity and atherosclerosis just to name a few. Kimchi also happens to be a natural probiotic that promotes proper gut health (source). Sounds like a miracle food right? I think it is and what’s even more amazing is that you can make this miracle food at home for next to nothing.

Menu post 4-27

Making homemade kimchi is so ridiculously easy that I’m pissed at myself that I haven’t done it yet. The only supplies you’ll probably need to invest in are several glass mason jars with screw on lids. Other than that it’s just vegetables and spices. Check out the video below to see how easy it is to prepare (sorry for the commerical).

If you already make your own homemade kimchi, let us know about your recipe. We’d love to share a pic of your delicious fermented veggies on our social media channels. Feel free to send any and all feedback to elementaltampa@gmail.com or reach out to us on social media. We’re not afraid to “fanboy” over the greatness of kimchi in a public forum.

What’s on the Menu – Kombucha: Legit Elixir or Placebo Soda?

I truly believe that we can heal ourselves of common ailments (colds, acne, obesity, etc.) with proper diet and exercise. That doesn’t mean that I think all prescription medication is poison. There are certain conditions that require a trip to a medical professional and a necessary prescription. However, the over prescription of certain drugs can and has led to further health concerns like antibiotic resistant bacteria. That’s why we need to learn about possible natural remedies that allow us to heal ourselves, instead of always relying on our pharmacist. One particular natural remedy has been receiving a lot of pub lately about its numerous health benefits, but conflicting reports make me wonder if it’s really the “miracle drink” people claim it is.

Kombucha is a fermented beverage often referred to as “living tea.” It is made by combining sugar and tea leaves with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast known as SCOBY. The final product is a slightly fizzy, sour beverage that claims to boost your immune system, help with digestion, provide energy and even mitigate serious health conditions like cancer.

Kombucha

Mother Kombucha is available throughout Florida

I’m a big proponent of probiotics. I guess you could say I’m pro-pro (rim shot). The benefits of probiotics range from better gut health to improved mood (source link). The fact that kombucha is full of these probiotics, along with other beneficial micronutrients, is why advocates believe it will cure what ails you. There has been some recent scientific studies that backup certain health benefits of kombucha like its antidiabetic (source link) and antioxidant (source link) effect, but almost all these studies were performed on non-human subjects. Critics have stated that a lack of research on human subjects negate a lot of kombucha’s supposed health benefits. They also state that kombucha prepared in unsanitary conditions could result in the consumption of deadly bacteria (source link).

I researched “deaths due to kombucha consumption” and was unable to find any cases in which drinking kombucha was directly responsible and only one case where it was believed to be a contributing factor (source link). It’s true due to the presence of active bacteria cultures, drinking kombucha does present some level of risk, but so does buying bagged spinach. Foodborne illnesses are an issue we need to be aware of. However, it shouldn’t prevent us from consuming items that provide certain health benefits. Kombucha has been consumed for centuries for a reason. I believe that the “living tea” does provide certain health benefits, but it should be enjoyed in moderation and by those with non-compromised immune systems. Also, if you do buy it, makes sure you research the producer. I’m sure where and how the kombucha is made can have an effect on its purity.

Are you a kombucha fan? If so, let us know about your favorite brand. Feel free to send pics of you drinking your favorite kombucha to elementaltampa@gmail.com. We’d also happily accept any feedback from any kombucha naysayers.