The other day I was listening to Sean Croxton's Underground Wellness podcast with Dr. David Perlmutter, which was all about how gut microbes directly impact brain heath. A couple of years ago I suffered a traumatic brain injury when I collided with a large boy during a game of tag—this resulted in a concussion and post concussion syndrome lasting eight months. Looking back at my childhood and teenage years, it is clear that I was most likely predisposed to developing an autoimmune condition as a result of genetic predisposition and evidence of a leaky gut, although it wasn't until the brain injury occurred that my autoimmunity came into my life front and center. Since that injury, I have done tons of research into the gut + brain connection and boy it is clear how connected the two are. The most severe of my autoimmune symptoms were always neurological—anxiety, ADHD, mood swings, etc. After a couple of months of following a paleo-style approach to eating, my neurological health improved greatly. My anxiety and mood swings disappeared and I was able to stop taking prescription medication for ADHD after ten years of being on it. These days, along with continuing to eat a paleo-style diet to manage my autoimmunity and brain health, I have gotten very serious about taking care of the bugs in my gut by incorporating a variety of fermented foods, beverages and soil-based probiotics into my diet. After listening to the UW podcast with Dr. David Perlmutter, I was reminded how crucial fermented foods are for treating chronic illness, gut imbalances and for working towards vibrant health. After that podcast I went on a little fermenting spree—I made my own sauerkraut, lacto-fermented my own radishes and ginger carrots and made myself a batch of coconut yoghurt. I get loads of requests on Instagram for how to do at home ferments, so I will be sharing a few of my recipes over the next few months. With summer coming around, it is the perfect time to get your ferment on because the warmer climate means faster fermenting. Hooray!
The recipe I am sharing today for lacto-fermented radishes are fermented via a technique called lacto-fermentation, which refers to a strain of bacteria called Lactobacillus. The process of lacto-fermenting foods has been a part of traditional diets for thousands of years because it is a natural way of preserving foods. The bacteria Lactobacillus converts sugars or lactose into lactic acid, which naturally preserves foods, such as vegetables or dairy. By fermenting vegetables or dairy through lacto-fermentation, it makes the nutrients more bioavailable, increases digestibility and supports gut health. When embarking on learning how to ferment foods, remember that it is an art, not a science. It is incredibly easy to do and there is a lot of room for interpretation and mistakes.
- 2-3 bunches of radishes (or enough to fill a 1 quart jar), washed and sliced thin, with the tops removed
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 clean,
- quart sized mason jar
- 2 cups filtered water
- 2 tablespoons of
- sea salt
- optional: fresh dill
- Place smashed garlic in the bottom of a
- quart mason jar
- Place radishes on top of garlic.
- Make brine by combining 2 tablespoons of sea salt and 2 cups of warm filtered water and then let salt dissolve into water; stir to help salt dissolve.
- Pour salted water over radishes, leaving approx 1.5" of space from the top. Place jar in a bowl to catch whatever brine overflows. Place 1 small mason jar or
- fermenting weights
- into the mason jar to hold the radishes below the brine, as pictured. Set on counter to ferment for 7-10 days. Around day 7, check on the radishes. If they are still salty, let them ferment a couple of days longer. If they are sour and tasty, then cover mason jar with a lid and store in refridgerator.
- Note: These fermented radishes pair nicely with meats, tossed into salads or eaten alone as a snack. Enjoy!