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25 Easy Ways to Get More Fermented Foods in Your Diet

Food
25 Easy Ways to Get More Fermented Foods in Your Diet

Most people know that fermented foods build great gut health, but a growing body of research shows they also build strong immunity, brain health, heart health and more. As a result, there are more reasons than ever to eat more fermented foods. Check out my blogs 9 Reasons to Love Sauerkraut and The Surprising Foods that Alleviate Anxiety to discover several reasons.

Most people know that fermented foods build great gut health, but a growing body of research shows they also build strong immunity, brain health, heart health and more. Photo credit: YES! Magazine

But, if you’re like many people you may not know how to get more fermented foods into your diet, outside of yogurt with fruit or sauerkraut on your favorite hot dog.

Here are 25 of my favorite ways to get more fermented foods into your diet:

Using Yogurt or Kefir

1. Smoothies: Blend some yogurt or kefir (a fermented dairy or fruit juice beverage) with a handful or two of fruit for a delicious smoothie.

Photo credit: Chatelaine.com

2. Frozen Yogurt: After making a fruit smoothie, pour it into popsicle molds for a frozen yogurt treat.

3. Yogurt Cheese: Pour yogurt into a cheesecloth-lined sieve and let it sit for at least a few hours for a soft yogurt cheese—simply add your favorite herbs for an unbeatable fresh cheese. Like all of the yogurt-based suggestions, these approaches work for vegan yogurt as well.

4. Yogurt Salad Dressing: Blend some yogurt with lemon juice or vinegar and some herbs and sea salt for a creamy salad dressing.

5. Save Yogurt to Make More: Save a few tablespoons of yogurt or the whey from yogurt-making as the starter culture to make even more.

6. Breakfast Cereal: Add a dollop or two of yogurt or kefir to your favorite breakfast cereal or oatmeal in place of milk.

Using Sauerkraut, Pickled Vegetables or Kimchi

7. Over Brown Rice or Quinoa for a Quick Meal: Simply adding sauerkraut or other fermented vegetable dish to cooked grains (after the grains have cooked) makes a quick, nutritious and delicious meal. Check out my blog “Make Your Own Probiotic-Rich Sauerkraut.”

Photo credit: The Prairie Homestead

8. Over Salad: I threw some sauerkraut on top of a homemade Caesar salad and it was delicious. You can add fermented veggies to almost any salad for a quick probiotic boost.

9. On Noodles: Tossing brown rice or other whole grain noodles with kimchi or pickled veggies makes mealtime a cinch.

10. Sandwiches: Adding pickled turnip, fermented onions, kimchi or sauerkraut to your favorite sandwich gives it a flavor and nutritional boost.

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11. and 12. On Burgers and Hot Dogs: This one is fairly self-explanatory.

13. Lettuce Cups: Place freshly-grated vegetables, bean sprouts and fermented veggies or kimchi in a large leaf of lettuce and wrap it up for a simple snack or meal.

14. Salad Rolls: Soak rice paper wraps in hot water, pat dry and wrap them up with fermented and fresh veggies and kimchi.

15. Tacos: Top your favorite tacos with fermented vegetables like carrots or onions for a flavor boost.

16. Salad Dressing: Blend sauerkraut or kimchi with some two parts oil and one part vinegar for a quick and easy salad dressing.

17. Condiments: Add pickled vegetables or kimchi as a condiment to almost any meal.

18. Guacamole: I mix an El Salvadoran fermented salsa known as Curtido with mashed avocado for a simple and amazingly delicious guacamole in minutes.

19. Salsa and Chips: Mix fresh salsa ingredients: chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, lemon juice and minced chilies with the contents of one probiotic capsule and let sit for at least a few hours but preferably overnight. Then serve your fermented salsa with chips for a great snack.

20. Hummus: Blend sauerkraut (or sauerkraut juice) and chickpeas with a little extra virgin olive oil for a quick and probiotic-rich hummus. The sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice adds flavor and replaces salt in this recipe.

Using Other Fermented Foods

21. Fermented Juice: Empty the contents of a probiotic capsule into your favorite fruit or vegetable juice, cover and leave at room temperature overnight or for a day. Not only will you get the probiotics found in the capsule, but the beneficial microbes will proliferate and actually reduce the amount of natural sugars present in the juice.

Raw vegan creamy cheese. Photo credit: One Green Planet

22. Choose Kombucha over Soda: Skip the sugar-laden soft drink and instead enjoy a naturally-sparkling kombucha (a probiotic-rich beverage).

23. Cultured Cream: Soak raw, unsalted nuts like cashews, pine nuts or macadamias in enough water to cover and the contents of one probiotic capsule. Let sit for eight hours or overnight. Blend. Use over fruit in place of cream. Use only as much of the soak water as needed for a thick vegan sour cream.

24. Vegan Cheese: Follow the instructions under 23 but use only enough water to cover the nuts and allow them to ferment with the probiotic powder for at least 24 hours or longer for a sharper cheese flavor. Blend until smooth and creamy for a quick and probiotic-rich soft cheese.

25. Vegan Pudding or Cheesecake: Follow the instructions for vegan cheese but add some fruit and sweetener (if you wish), along with a couple tablespoons of a thickening agent like ground chia or flax seeds. For a cheesecake, crumble some graham crackers or cookies with a small amount of coconut oil and press into a small cheesecake mold. Pour the fruit-cashew mixture over the crust. Refrigerate until firm, et voila! Enjoy a simple, raw, probiotic-rich pudding or cheesecake.

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By Elliot Douglas

In early October, Britain's Prince William teamed up with conservationist David Attenborough to launch the Earthshot Prize, a new award for environmentalist innovation. The Earthshot brands itself the "most prestigious global environment prize in history."

The world-famous wildlife broadcaster and his royal sidekick appear to have played an active role in the prize's inception, and media coverage has focused largely on them as the faces of the campaign.

But the pair are only the frontmen of a much larger movement which has been in development for several years. In addition to a panel of experts who will decide on the winners, the prize's formation took advice from the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and the Jack Ma Foundation.

With more and more global attention on the climate crisis, celebrity endorsement of environmental causes has become more common. But why do environmental causes recruit famous faces for their campaigns? And what difference can it make?

'Count Me In'

"We need celebrities to reach those people who we cannot reach ourselves," says Sarah Marchildon from the United Nations Climate Change secretariat (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany.

Marchildon is a proponent of the use of celebrities to raise awareness of environmental causes. In addition to promoting a selection of climate ambassadors who represent the UN on sustainability issues, Marchildon's team has produced videos with well-known narrators from the entertainment world: among them, Morgan Freeman and Mark Ruffalo.

"We choose celebrities who have a lifestyle where they are already talking about these issues," Marchildon explains.

"Sometimes they reach out to us themselves, as David Attenborough did recently. And then they can promote the videos on their own social channels which reach more people than we do — for example, if they have 20 million followers and we have 750,000."

Environmental groups focused on their own domestic markets are also taking this approach. One Germany-based organization that uses celebrities in campaigns is the German Zero NGO. Set up in 2019, it advocates for a climate-neutral Germany by 2035.

German Zero produced a video in March 2020 introducing the campaign with "66 celebrities" that supported the campaign, among them Deutschland 83 actor Jonas Nay and former professional footballer Andre Schürrle. They solicit support as well as financial contributions from viewers.

"Count me in," they say, pointing toward the camera. "You too?"

"We are incredibly grateful for the VIPs in our videos," says German Zero spokeswoman Eva-Maria McCormack.

Assessing Success Is Complex

But quantifying the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement of campaigns is not a straightforward process.

"In order to measure effectiveness, first of all you need to define what is meant by success," says Alegria Olmedo, a researcher at the Zoology Department at the University of Oxford.

Olmedo is the author of a study looking at a range of campaigns concerning pangolin consumption, fronted by local and Western celebrities, in Vietnam and China. But she says her biggest stumbling block was knowing how to measure a campaign's success.

"You need a clear theory of change," explains Olmedo. "Have the celebrities actually helped in achieving the campaign's goals? And how do you quantify these goals? Maybe it is increased donations or higher engagement with a cause."

A popular campaign in China in recent years saw famous chefs Zhao Danian and Shu Yi pledge to abstain from cooking endangered wildlife. While the pledge achieved widespread recognition, both Olmedo and Marchildon say it's difficult to know whether it made any difference to people's actions.

"In life we see a thousand messages every day, and it is very hard to pinpoint whether one campaign has actually made a difference in people's behavior," she explains.

Awareness Is Not Enough

Many campaigns that feature celebrities focus on raising awareness rather than on concrete action — which, for researcher Olmedo, raises a further problem in identifying effectiveness.

"Reach should never be a success outcome," she says. "Many campaigns say they reached a certain number of people on social media. But there has been a lot of research that shows that simply giving people information does not mean they are actually going to remember it or act upon it."

But anecdotal evidence from campaigns may suggest reach can make an active difference.

"Our VIP video is by far the most watched on our social media channels," McCormack from German Zero says. "People respond to it very directly. A lot of volunteers of all ages heard about us through that video."

However, some marketing studies have shown that celebrity endorsement of a cause or product can distract from the issue itself, as people only remember the person, not the content of what they were saying.

Choosing the Right Celebrity

Celebrity choice is also very important. Campaigns that use famous faces are often aiming to appeal to members of the public who do not necessarily follow green issues.

For certain campaigns with clear target audiences, choosing a climate scientist or well-known environmentalist rather than a celebrity could be more appealing — Attenborough is a classic example. For others, images and videos involving cute animals may be more likely to get a message heard than attaching a famous face.

"We choose celebrities who have a lifestyle where they are already talking about these issues," says Marchildon from the UN. "You need figures with credibility."

McCormack cites the example of Katharine Hayhoe, an environmental scientist who is also an evangelical Christian. In the southern United States, Hayhoe has become a celebrity in her own right, appealing to an audience that might not normally be interested in the messages of climate scientists.

But as soon as you get a celebrity involved, campaigns also put themselves at risk of the whims of that celebrity. Prince William and younger members of the royal family have come under fire in recent years for alleged hypocrisy for their backing of environmental campaigns while simultaneously using private jets to fly around the world.

But Does It Really Work?

While environmental campaigns hope that endorsement from well-known figures can boost a campaign, there is little research to back this up.

"The biggest finding [from my study] was that we were unable to produce any evidence that shows that celebrity endorsement of environmental causes makes any difference," says Olmedo.

This will come as a blow to many campaigns that have invested time and effort into relationships with celebrity ambassadors. But for many, the personal message that many celebrities offer in videos like that produced by German Zero and campaigns like the Earthshot Prize are what counts.

The research may not prove this conclusively — but if the public believes a person they respect deeply personally cares about an important issue, they are perhaps more likely to care too.

"I personally believe in the power this can have," says Marchildon. "And if having a celebrity involved can get a single 16-year-old future leader thinking about environmentalist issues — that is enough."

Reposted with permission from DW.

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