FERMENTED BEVERAGES (the non-alcohol variety)
With winter just around the corner, I have decided its time to schedule one of my workshops on fermentation. For our next workshop, I will introduce to the lucky attendees the what, why and how of fermenting nourishing probiotic rich beverages. Everyone who attends will recieve their own living cultures to bring away home so they can begin their own journey into the world of fermentation.
Fermentation is an ancient method of preserving foods and beverages. Countries around the world have their own unique signature 'cultured' recipes specific to their environment.
Beetroot is in abundance this time of year. So it's only natural todays blog is all about this ruby red superfood. Sometimes when we think of superfoods, we think wheatgrass, spirulina, goji berries and chia seeds. However, in Ireland it is very easy to grow your own superfood in your back garden. Beetroots are a prime example of how local and inespensive superfoods can be.
Fortunately for me, my friend Marsha was a little over ambitious when planting her beets in spring and has kindly shared with me some of her harvest!!
According to an article in Medical News Today by Megan Ware a 2008 study published in Hypertension examined the effects of ingesting 500mls of beetroot juice in healthy volunteers and found that blood pressure was significantly lowered after ingestion. Researchers hypothesized this was likely due to the high nitrate levels contained in beet juice and that the high nitrate vegetables could prove to be a low cost and effective way to treat cardiovascular conditions and blood pressure. Beetroot is also very rich in choline - an important nutrient in regulating sleep, muscle movement, memory and learning. Choline is essential in keeping cell membranes healthy - allowing for the transmission of nerve impulses, aiding in the absorption of fat and reducing inflammation. And for all you fitness warriors out there beetroots are rich in the anti-oxidant nitrate. This is the key to keeping your blood oxygenated and enhance tolerance to longterm endurance exercise.
Picked early in the growing season the young leaves can be added to salads or used to make beautiful pestos. The bulb can be grated into salads, roasted, steamed, fermented and juiced!! So if you are like my friend and have too many beetroots consider your self lucky. Set aside a couple of hours and bake an indulgent beetroot brownie, let some more simmer away into a savoury chutney for homemade Christmas hampers, ferment another 2 or 3 into the best kvass tonic your body will ever know or stock up that freezer with these hearty beety burgers! Check out the recipe overon my facebook page Marians Nutrition Therapy - just copy and paste the link into your browser. (check out my prescription page for all nourishing recipe links)
Ever since I was a small girl seaweed fascinated me. Of course my first introduction to this sprawling coastline shiny leathery plant was when we were brought on our annual trip to the beach. Back then and yes I am talking decades ago - our parents had us warned not to go near it - for fear of slipping and sliding along these long slippery belts that donned the rocks that just begged to be climbed. Naturally anything brown and slimy was enough to keep us safe from that paternal threat of ''dont come running to me if you......'' I neednt say anymore.
Isnt it always the case we dont miss something until it's gone! I find this is something very relevant about our immune system. For years we can plough through life not giving it a second thought until we are struck down with an illness. Of course, anyone who has been diagnosed with any of the big guns know exactly what I am referring to, but what about all those little triggers that bring us to a halt - winter colds, kidney & ear infections, cold sores, swollen joints or candida! The list of course is endless. Each time our well being takes a hit its usually a result of a compromised immune system.
First a little insight into what exactly is this invisible fortress of immunity inside all of us. Put very simply the immune system consists of various cells, tissues and organs inside the body. Each of these protects against disease or foreign bodies such as toxins, viruses, harmful bacteria etc. Along our digestive tract (think of a very long hollow tube opened on both ends) has the largest colony of micro-organisms that form a major part of our immune system. These assist in the break down of nutrients from foods, identifying harmful microbes and producing anti-biotic substances against invading harmful bacteria or substances. Other organs include the thymus, spleen, bone marrow and lymph nodes. In many ways keeping your digestive system working and making sure the lining is in tip top shape will influence how nutrients are absorbed, pathogenic bacteria or harmful toxins are identified thus keeping the rest of the body's organs healthy.
So what can we do to keep this fortress armed to prevent these invading symptom triggering armies from attacking.
nourish life with Marian
Young at heart mother of one with a passion for food, foraging & fun with friends!