When it comes to fermented foods, fermented drinks like kombucha are the little darling of the ferment world right now. Easily one of the most mainstreamed health foods, there are tons of brands making kombucha and even more people taking on making fermented drinks themselves. Though kombucha isn’t my favorite, I do have favorite, and it’s ginger beet kvass. Stay with me here! It’s much easier to make than kombucha, it’s cheap, and dare I say, it may be even healthful of a probiotic drink than kombucha.
Why have fermented foods?
So, what’s the deal with all of this probiotic/fermentation buzz these days? It may be trendy now, but fermented foods date way, way back beyond the packages that we find in stores today. Before refrigeration, fermenting foods was a way to keep them fresh while also adding the benefit of probiotics. Fermented foods as a traditional food rather than a hot health trend, and probiotics are a much needed part of our diet.
Probiotics help maintain and refresh our gut flora which is necessary to maintain proper gut health, and just good health in general. Unbalanced gut flora can lead to a myriad of problems from autoimmune disease, digestive dysfunction, and even changes in our mood. We’re born with a certain amount, but our ancestors taught us that we need to keep replenishing our gut flora with fresh probiotics. But wait, can’t we just take a probiotic pill and call it a day? Well, it’s said that one jar of a fermented food like sauerkraut is equal to 8 jars of probiotic pills! Fermented foods are more traditional, cheaper, and more probiotic rich.
Why ginger beet kvass?
So, what makes beet kvass so special? Not only does it actually taste surprisingly delicious, but beet kvass packs more of a punch than just your average kombucha. Not only is it fermented, thus probiotic rich, but it’s great for both liver and gallbladder health.
In our low-fat/poor quality fat centric world, many of us fall victim to poor fat digestion caused by our gallbladder getting lazy. The bile within our gallbladder isn’t needed if we’re not consuming fat, or consuming bad fats… it gets viscous and doesn’t flow well even when we switch over to a good quality fat diet. Beets help to naturally get the bile moving, thus improving fat digestion.
Not only does improving fat digestion take away digestive distress, but it also helps with satiation, nutrient absorption and cures tons of mystery symptoms. Have dry hands all of the time? Blame poor fat digestion. What about bloating? Most likely poor fat digestion. The list goes on, and on as so many of us suffer from it.
The ginger also helps aid in digestion, and adds great flavor!
Ginger Beet Kvass Recipe
- 1 large purple beet
- 1 large golden beet (could sub for another purple… I think the golden helps enhance the flavor)
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup of juice from sauerkraut
- Enough water to fill the half gallon jar (varies by how large your beets are)
- Chop the beets into large cubes and add to the bottom of the jar along with the ginger into a half gallon jar
- Add the juice from the sauerkraut, water, and sea salt
- Take a clean kitchen cloth and cover the mouth of the jar, securing it with a rubber band
- Keep in a cool dry place for at least 3 days. You’ll see the top of the jar will start to fizz a bit.
- Remove the cloth, and add the lid.
- Refrigerate, and enjoy!
How do you drink it?
I probably wouldn’t drink the entire thing at once, just as I’d want to save it! I drink a few sips, or a half of a small glass daily. It has enough flavor to drink by itself and is so much better than just taking a probitoic daily.
I also find that if I eat a high fat meal and start to ever feel discomfort, I take a swig of this and it aids in any discomfort.
What’s your favorite fermented food?
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Have you ever seen those big beautiful smoothies on Instagram? The ones that are just overflowing from a mason jar or have a mosaic of toppings in a bowl? They look so beautiful, so fresh, and most of the time… pretty full of sugar. If you actually take a good look at the recipes that go along with these popular green smoothie bowls or juices, they’re usually packed with sugar, scarce on veggies, and almost always void of healthy fats and protein. But, it doesn’t have to be that way! That’s why I created a nourishing smoothie bowl thats packed with all the good stuff while still being full of flavor.
Smoothies can be one of those pseudo-health foods that seem healthy, but can have just as much sugar as a soda if not more if not made properly. So, what does a good, nutrient dense smoothie need?
Mostly veggies. Especially leafy greens! Smoothies are a great way to get in lots of leafy greens. Have as many veggies as you want in your smoothies!
Moderate fruit. Fruit may be natural sugar, but it’s still sugar. And in excess, it’s still going to swing your blood sugar and not satiate you. If you’re relying on mostly fruit to make your smoothie, I guarantee that you’ll be hungry soon after and craving more sugar. In nature, we didn’t have much need for more than 2 servings of fruit a day. However, smoothies can easily have 3-4 servings of fruit along with sugar-y juice that’s void of fiber. Try sticking to one serving of fruit in a smoothie and using something like a frozen banana, or fresh berries.
Healthy Fats. Fat is usually the big thing that’s missing from most smoothies. Healthy fats like avocado and coconut oil are a great addition to a smoothie, and are what actually satiates us. Adding a tablespoon of fat to your smoothie will help keep you full.
Good quality protein. Extra protein is a great addition to a smoothie, but be cautious of poor quality powders. Many protein powders can be filled with sugar, fake ingredients, and soy. I like adding grass-fed collagen to my smoothies. It doesn’t add any funky taste either! Collagen from grass-fed cows is also great for gut healing as helps to restore the intestinal lining that is often destroyed by leaky gut. Get some here!
It’s also important to note that I say smoothies not juices. Juices can be great in moderation if you’re juicing mostly vegetables, but when we’re talking fruit juice, it’s a huge shot to your blood sugar.
Now that we’ve got all of the essentials laid out, let’s put them all together in my coconut kale smoothie bowl!
- 3-4 large kale leaves, destemed
- 2 frozen peach slices
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp collagen hydrolysate
- 3 ice cubes
- Juice from 1/4 lemon
- Optional Topping
- 1/2 banana sliced
- 1 tbsp coconut flakes
- Add the kale and coconut milk to the blender (vitamin, ninja, nutribullet, etc) and blend until smooth
- Add other ingredients and blend until smooth and all frozen chunks are broken up
- Pour smoothie into a bowl (or cup if preferred)
- Add toppings as desired
- Eat with a spoon and enjoy!
I highly recommend trying this out if you’re looking for a cold treat, or are struggling to get extra leafy greens into your diet. Not only is it nutrient dense, but it’s so much fun to eat!
Do you make smoothie bowls? What are you go-to toppings?
This recipe was shared on the Pheonix Helix Recipe AIP Recipe Roundtable. Go check it out!
Though I follow the autoimmune protocol for the most part and have an autoimmune disease, I do enjoy a few reintros. Coffee, goat dairy, and certain spices are just a few and I’ve been incredibly thankful during the season of pumpkin spice latte’s! However, these deliciously cliche autumn drinks aren’t totally off limits for AIP folks. When September rolled around, my first move was to make an AIP pumpkin spice “latte”. However, for the sake of all my fellow fall lovers, you can never have enough pumpkin. So, I also wanted to share a paleo version that I also enjoy made from local goat milk from Hidden Valley Creamery, Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee, and a pumpkin pie spice blend.
So, why did I chose chameleon cold brew? Well, it tastes bomb for one. The mocha flavor is a spot on, and the cold brew is much appreciated as iced coffee is still appropriate for me in Texas. Also, it’s great quality and doesn’t make me feel weird. Instant coffee is often cross reactive with gluten, and non-organic coffee has high pesticides. This coffee easily makes the best iced coffee I’ve ever had.
First, let me address the goat dairy as it can be a gray area for some on the paleo diet. I follow a more ancestral and local approach, and let’s face it… when it comes to milk options, coconuts do not grow in Dallas. Not everyone can tolerate dairy and coconut milk is a good option if you can’t, but local goat milk is a good option for myself, and for many. Eating local is such an integral part of my own health journey, and it’s the way that we’re primally wired to eat. I fully believe that dairy is a good option for many (not all, of course). Goat milk is a perfectly healthful and delicious option for this drink, and I highly recommend finding a local source!
(update 2016: I’ve since stopped drinking goat dairy as I wasn’t tolerating it well. I advocate it for some, but stick to coconut for myself).
- 4 oz Mocha Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee
- 2 oz Coconut Milk (sub the grass-fed goat milk if you’re feeling spicy)
- 1 tsp maple sugar or local honey
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground clove
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 5-6 large ice cubes
- Blend the spices in a small ramekin separately
- Fill a glass with ice cubes
- Add cold brew, and finish with milk
- Combine the mixture with a spoon or coffee stirrer
- Add the pumpkin pie spice blend to the coffee
- Combine with a spoon
- Add more ingredients as needed, and enjoy!
What’s your favorite fall drink? Are you pumpkin spice crazy too?
The time has indefinitely come. The leaves are changing, the air is getting more brisk.. well those things are happening somewhere other than Dallas, but hey, a little coffee told me that it’s time for pumpkin spice everything. So therefore, I can only deduce that it indeed almost fall. That means it’s was time for me to come up with an AIP pumpkin spice latte of my own that was dairy free, coffee free, and fit the autoimmune protocol.
So what’s in a normal pumpkin spice latte that someone following AIP can’t have? Dairy for sure, but there’s also the coffee, and all spice. Not to mention the mystery sweeteners and flavorings that you’d find anywhere else other than making this homemade.
Personally, I’m at a point in my journey where I can tolerate coffee just fine once or twice a week, and that’s fine. Strict AIP isn’t made to last forever as Pheonix Helix reminds us, but I wanted to make something that was fully compliant for someone who was currently strict AIP. That’s when I brought in the tea. I used a black tea for the base, but remember it’s fermented and won’t work for someone with yeast issues. You can try a chai or roobis tea, but be sure to get something with a neutral flavor.
- 8 oz Black tea, brewed
- 1 tbsp canned pumpkin
- 1/4 cup coconut cream
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp mace (sub nutmeg if tolerated)
- 1/4 tsp maple syrup or maple sugar
- Combine the ingredients in a blender of your choice
- Blend for 5-7 seconds on low
- Reheat slightly either in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or on the stove until it starts to steam if desired
- Throw on some leggings, an oversized jumper and enjoy
Like I said, you can easily sub ingredients that you’ve been able to add back into your diet, but this is strict AIP! There are lots more yummy AIP pumpkin goodies coming soon! I did have a whole can to play with 😉
That’s all for this week! Stay seasonal my friends.
What’s your favorite way to get your first taste of pumpkin in the fall? Have you had a pumpkin spice latte yet?
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