BLOG: Fermented Foods by Trisha LeCompte

CrossFit:

As many reps as possible in 10 mins of: Muscle Up (Strict)

A) 10:00 Volume Accumulation of one of the following, listed from highest to lowest proficiency:
1) Strict Muscle-Up
2) Muscle-Up Negative (https://youtu.be/-LcZZGAMv_c)
3) Transition Rock

B) AMRAP 30 w/Partner
5 Pullups
10 Pushups
15 Squats
300m Run w/Medicine Ball

Rx & Comp: 20/14# Med Ball for Run
Performance: 14/10# - Bands OK
Fitness: 10/6# - Bands OK

 

Are fermented foods a part of your daily diet?
By Trisha LeCompte

Our ancestors used to eat them regularly and we should be too. 

Sour milk products and lactic acid–fermented foods have been dietary staples for thousands of years.  In fact, lactic acid-fermented cabbage has been honored as one of the most beneficial healing agents since early humans.

The Romans used sauerkraut to treat and prevent intestinal infections. Captain Cook used sauerkraut and lime juice to prevent scurvy on his three-year journey around the world. Throughout Europe, Russia, and the Balkans, sauerkraut and other lactic acid-fermented foods (kefir, yogurt, buttermilk, kapusta, kvass, borscht, etc.) have become entrenched in the diet after centuries of use.

Unfortunately, over the past century many probiotic foods have fallen from favor due to changes in the way we now preserve foods, particularly vegetables.
When fresh vegetables weren’t as readily available throughout the year, they were often preserved through fermentation. Nowadays, due to improved transportation and refrigeration, we can get a plethora of vegetables all year around; and when it comes to preserving vegetables, freezing and canning have become the methods of choice. These techniques are convenient and help retain vitamin content, but they provide little benefit in terms of digestive health compared to fermentation. 

So, what are Fermented Foods?  They are not to be confused with foods that have been pickled.  These are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and various strains of probiotics.   

Why should we eat them?   First and foremost, they taste pretty good.  Admittedly, it may take a little bit of "growing on you" but they will and once they do, you may actually find yourself craving them.  Most importantly, there are many health benefits that make them worthy of some space on your plate.

  1. Probiotics - Fermented foods will introduce beneficial bacteria to your gut and help the balance of bacteria in your digestive systems.  Probiotics have also been shown to help slow or reverse some diseases, improve bowel health, aid digestion and improve immunity.  
  2. Healthy Gut - The gut has two primary functions...the absorption of nutrients from the food we eat and about 80% of our immune system is located in our gut.  Having the proper balance of gut bacteria and enough digestive enzymes helps us absorb more of the nutrients from the foods we eat.  A healthy gut plays a major factor in maintaining optimal health, as a robust immune system is your top defense system against all disease.  
  3. Detoxification - Fermented foods are some of the best chelators available.  The beneficial bacteria in fermented foods are excellent detoxifiers and are capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals form our bodies.
  4. Budget Friendly - Lots of "health" foods can be downright expensive, but that's not the case with fermented foods. You can easily make your own fermented foods at home.  All you need is some culture starter or homemade whey and sea salt and the possibilities are endless.  Drinks like Water Kefir and Kombucha can also be made at home and are inexpensive to make.  As well, by adding these foods to your diet, you can also cut down on the number of supplements you may be taking which helps out your budget even further.

If you haven't experimented with Fermented Foods yet, you may be missing out on a natural and inexpensive way to improve your gut health.  Grab a couple of friends and make it an event.  Several of my girlfiends and I get together every couple of months to stock our refrigerators with our favorite concoctions of cultured veggies.  My personal favorite, carrots, jalepenos and garlic it is yummy on salads.  Bon Appetite!

Trisha LeCompte

Trisha LeCompte, who is a long time member of CrossFit Forest, is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.  In addition to leading the Whole30 nutrition seminars, Trisha has also worked with many athletes to create a personalized macro nutrition program to help them improve performance in the gym and focus on increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat.