8 Reasons to Eat Fermented Foods

A great article by Cheeseslave discussing the health benefits of raw and fermented foods we rarely find in our modern western diet anymore. Fermented foods (pre-pasteurized) are very healthy for our digestion, and scientists are finding more and more how much our health relates to our gut. Traditional diets in cultures around the world (including traditional American foods) integrate fermented foods, such as cultured yogurt and kefir, sauerkraut and pickles, kimchi and chutney, salsa and sourdough bread, even beer and wine.

8 Reasons to Eat Fermented Foods | CHEESESLAVE.

Many of these foods are still consumed in modern America, but most of them are now pasteurized to the point where the enzymes that make it healthy are killed off. Pickles and sauerkraut found in supermarkets are rarely made the way they used to, and thus have fewer of the health benefits. The best way to get these authentic foods at home are to make them yourself. From what I hear, they are not difficult (I shall attempt perhaps over summer vacation). Overseas, many of these healthy foods are still produced and can be typically affordable.

It can be difficult to eat healthy while traveling, but sometimes the food abroad is much healthier than the American diet. While in Russia in 2006, I made a friend and tried to convince her to visit America. She said she refused to go to America of all places because “the American diet is DANGEROUS! Their food is poison!”. Although I thought nothing of her comment at the time, thinking she was brainwashed by propaganda or something, I have since looked back on her comment and questioned its validity. Heart disease is America’s #1 killer. Cancer and diabetes rates are through the roof. We have the lowest life expectancy and highest infant mortality rate than ANY other 1st world nation. A lot of that has to do with our diet (perhaps the overprescription of drugs doesn’t help either). What do you think? Does diet play an active role in your health (for better or worse)? Do you have an easier time or more difficult time eating healthy while traveling? Do you think the western diet is killing us? Harming us? Helping us?

 

Russian Georgian Restaurant Pomegranate

I go to UCSD, so am always looking for fun places to go in San Diego. Also, I had not had anything resembling “Russian Food” since I returned from the Motherland in 2006. That is why I was so excited when my boyfriend found this place. Pomegranate, a Russian-Georgian Restaurant right in San Diego! The place is very cozy, it is not a ‘decorative fancy restaurant’. It is more like a hole-in-the-wall authentic cuisine with heart and soul! I had a serving of Borscht, since I have not been able to taste the sweet delicacy for 6 years now! I also ordered a glass of Samovar-style tea, served with a shot of berry syrup on the side to sweeten to your taste!

My boyfriend got a lamb dish and a Georgian soda. The meat was incredible! The soda was delicious! Funny thing is: we read the ingredients and saw very little sugar. Upon further analysis, I saw a main ingredient was “fragrance”. I tried breathing out while I sipped it and noticed that there was hardly any flavor to it by itself! Our sense of sweetness came from our noses! What a great ‘diet’ technique to avoid fake sweeteners! I wonder the effects of drinking ‘fragrance’.

I HIGHLY recommend this restaurant to anyone in the SD area. There is authentic Russian (and Georgian) charm exuding the entire place! Great place for families, friends, and couples looking for someplace fun and different!

Russian Georgian Restaurant Pomegranate.

Coffee Around the World

Turkish Coffee

Coffee was first discovered in Yemen, south of Saudi Arabia. It is said that goat herders noticed their goats bouncing around gleefully after eating a strange bean from some trees. The earliest style of making coffee is not so different from traditional Arabic (now called Turkish) coffee. Incidentally, this is not terribly different from traditional Cowboy Coffee. It involves taking a copper pot, adding water and a VERY fine powdered coffee grind, and hovering it over a fire. This involves a very careful procedure, causing the coffee to foam slightly (but not boil!!) and pulling the pot away from the flame, and then putting it back on the fire to foam again 3 times. The coffee is carefully poured into tiny demitasse cups (no filtering: this is why the grind must be so fine). The advantage to this style is it gives the fullest coffee flavor, since the grinds are not filtered at all. Also, if you like yours sweet or flavored, you can add sugar and spices to the mix before cooking, causing all flavors to be infused!

The trick to drinking it, however, is that you must let it settle for a minute, and sip slowly. This is not a drink to rush off to the office with! When the drink gets low, the drinker must NOT take that one last sip! If they do, they will surely gag on coffee syrup that has the texture of mud. What should be done, however, is to flip the cup onto its saucer and wait (if you are with company, this is the most fun!) to then flip the cup and look at the designs of the coffee grinds. You can attempt to read your future, similar to reading tea leaves!

This strong drink packs more of a punch than espresso. This is the ORIGINAL energy drink! For college students, it is much healthier (and cheaper) than the toxic elixers found in cans on campus. It takes time to get the technique down, but the pots are so beautiful!

French Press

I do not know the history of the french press, but I use it almost every day! This involves a simple beaker with a filter plunger. You put in the coarsest grinds of coffee you can get (although the regular grind you buy in the store is fine). You pour boiling water over it. You need NO ELECTRICITY except if you need it to boil the water. Stir it up once, then put the lid on (without pressing on the plunger) for 3-5 minutes to brew. When the liquid is dark enough for your liking, press down on the pump and pour into your favorite cup! This looks lovely sitting on the breakfast table, especially at a ladies brunch, or for after-dinner coffee. This is a great way to get a very full flavor out of the coffee, while having the strength that of regular coffee rather than espresso.

Espresso

Italians loves Bialetti brand pots. They are similar to an inverted percolator. A shot of water is put in the bottom reservoir, a filter disk goes above where espresso-grind coffee is placed, and the top pot is screwed on. This is left on the stove top until you hear it boil. Let it boil all the way through (wait for the sound to stop- like popcorn!). Pour it into espresso or demitasse cups to enjoy! Another very traditional coffee experience, and much easier than America’s unnecessarily complex automatic espresso makers.

Drip Coffee 

This is the traditional American brew. There are several versions out there, but most commonly it is an automatic coffee maker with a filter. These can usually be programed to brew before you wake up, making it ideal for morning commutes. The problem with these is that much flavor is lost in the paper filters. “Gold filters” work better and there is less waste since they are reusable.

Latte

This is the Italian word for ‘milk’, and in reference to coffee, it is short for ‘caffe latte’ aka ‘cafe au lait’, or ‘coffee with milk’. This is one part regular coffee (from drip, percolator, or french press) and one part milk. This is a lovely light breakfast drink. Foam or whipped cream can be added but these are optional.

Cappuccino

This is a traditional breakfast drink, and should not be drunk any other time of day. Here is one shot espresso to one part milk. Foam or whipped cream is optional. The difference between a cappuccino and a latte is NOT the foam, like some seem to think, but is the strength of the coffee.

Macchiato

Very similar to the cappuccino, with a shot of espresso, but with just a drop of milk rather than an equal part. This is very strong, and should come in a small serving.

Espresso is a single shot, so it comes the size of a shot glass. Macchiato is just barely bigger, with just a splash of milk. Cappuccino is twice as big as an espresso, with an equal shot of milk. Latte is generally the same size as cappuccino, with a shot of coffee. However, this can be any size as long as they are equal. What is your favorite way to enjoy coffee?