Did you know that an estimated 90% of serotonin is made in your gut? Serotonin is the feel good neurotransmitter that helps balance and uplift our mood. Hundreds of millions of nerve cells are located in your gut lining, that’s why many of us feel queasy when we get nervous! Our bodies also need adequate digestive enzymes and beneficial bacteria to properly absorb, digest and utilize nutrients in food.
Since 70-80% of our immune system also lives in the gut, having a proper balance of gut flora is essential for both mental health and physical health. As the months get colder, less time outside=less sunlight (vitamin D) and reduced physical activity. These both impact our mental and physical health.
Eating fermented foods can help restore our microbiome, build our immune systems and make us more resilient all around. Check out one of my favorite fermentation recipes below and let me know how you like.
Farmers market Kimchi:
• 2 heads Napa cabbage, chopped
• 2 pieces daikon radish, chopped
• 1 bunch scallions, chopped
• 4-6 cloves garlic
• 1-2 inch of ginger, peeled
• 1/4 – 1/2 cup Korean red chili powder/other red pepper flakes
• 1-2 tsp fish sauce, optional
• 3-4 TBSPs sea salt
*I like to add Dandelion or Burdock root to mine for the added liver and prebiotic benefits.
Chop vegetables, add to a bowl. Sprinkle sea salt over vegetables, mix well. Massage the salt into the veggies with your hands, squeezing and crushing to draw more liquid out. In a food processor or mortar and pestle, blend the garlic, ginger and chili flakes into a paste. Mix this paste into the cabbage, vegetable and salt mixture. Use a wooden spoon or wear gloves when mixing, the chili flakes will burn! Once everything is incorporated, pack into mason jars. Add a little at a time, squish down using a tool with a blunted end. Make sure the brine is covering the vegetables, so pack tightly. Continue packing leaving at least an inch between the top of the brine and the top of the jar. Lightly screw a lid on the jars, leave them at room temperature for 2-7 days. Burp jars daily to release gasses. Using a clean utensil, squish down any vegetables trying to expose themselves above the liquid. Let mixture ferment to your taste. The colder your home is the slower fermentation will be. Once it is to your liking, transfer the jar to the fridge and enjoy!