A sweet Korean lady introduced me to Kimchi 30 years ago! Like me, she was new to N. America, and both of us were not only fresh off the boat but dearly missed the food that we grew up eating.
Although Kimchi is not an Indian dish, the flavors resembled the foods my mom would cook.
I am unsure if my Korean friend made the Kimchi herself or if it was store-bought. Regardless it was very generous of her to share it with me, as we were both living in a Zen center and trying to make our way in the US.
I was so starved for spicy food, which is why, the moment she offered me some Kimchi, I wolfed it down without a second thought of wanting to share with my beloved. But, you see, like me, Russill was missing spicy food as well, and both of us made it an unconscious habit from the time we were married to share almost everything. Most often, it included even sharing a piece of gum.
Anyways to make it up to him, I pled with my new friend for a few more spoonfuls of her mouthwatering Kimchi, and she was once again generous to share it with us.
Since then, both Russill and I, whenever we could, started indulging in this gut-healthy goodness (see benefits below). But until six years ago, it never occurred to me to make it at home. I guess I was terrified of the fermentation process.
Surprisingly, I found it relaxing to make it and equally enjoyed checking on the fermentation action! However, I confess if you plan on making a large quantity, it can be a chore, mainly preparing the veggies. So be sure to get your family or friends involved and make it into a fun affair.
If you love spicy food, Kimchi is a must-have in your fridge. What's more, it will last you for a long no, let me rephrase it a very long time! For instance, I made my batch of Kimchi last September, and I still have half a jar left.
Tips for storing it:
a) As noted in my vlog, store it in airtight glass jars, and after the fermentation process is complete, refrigerate the glass container.
b) Ensure to use clean and dry spoons to dish it out and replace the jar in the fridge.
c) I keep mine in the lowest shelf way in the back of the fridge.
A word of caution: Homemade Kimchi needs extra caution, for it need not come outright. You can know this by the odor and the color of the veggies. If it is foul-smelling or it does not appear suitable, please discard it! Also, remember that it is a live culture, and take extra precautions during the fermentation and storage processes.
And here is the list of ingredients:
* 1 large green cabbage
* 3 large carrots
* 1 pound daikon radish
* 1 large yellow onion
* 8 cloves of garlic
* 2 green apples
* Red Chili flakes
* 1 TBS ginger
* Celtic Salt
Are you now ready for some of the health benefits of this humble yet excellent probiotic food?
1. Plant-based Probiotic: As Kimchi is a fermented food, it is brimming with numerous beneficial bacteria, but the predominant one is lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Hence it is considered a plant-based probiotic with similar benefits to dairy products such as yogurt (1). Therefore, it can be a good option for vegans as well.
2. Could Improve Gut health: in the above paragraph, we learned that Kimchi is probiotic-rich food. If you are not too familiar with what are probiotics and how they are beneficial to us, here below is a quick summary:
Probiotics are microbes that combine beneficial bacteria and fungi that live in your body. They are good bacteria. And yes, we have both kinds in our bodies.
Recent studies claim the number of bacteria may be very similar to the number of cells in the body (2).
Still, other studies claim that we house lot more bacteria than human cells. How about that?
For a microbe to be qualified as a probiotic (3), it needs to:
An excellent way to increase the good bacteria in your gut is by consuming probiotic-rich foods and beverages.
However, here is a News flash: every single human being's microbiome is unique. Therefore, what works for one need not work for another.
3. Powerful antioxidants: Although there are various ways of making Kimchi, traditionally, it is made with cabbage, garlic, ginger, radish, carrots, and scallions. These veggies are a nutritional powerhouse and potent source of antioxidants.
Antioxidants help with cell repair, reduce the aging process, assist heart health, and even protect against certain cancers. However, scientific studies point out that it is better to obtain antioxidants from a well-rounded diet than supplements (4).
4. May support Immune health: Quite a few of you reading this blog may be aware of the connection between gut bacteria and digestion. But, are you also familiar with the relationship between your body's immune system and the microbes that exist in your intestines?
About 70% of the immune system resides in your gut (5).
Earlier, we explored how Kimchi could help your gut health. So we can say a healthy gut equals a healthy immune system.
FYI, I work with students who have suffered for decades from issues such as constipation or irritable bowel syndrome. And it is an absolute joy to be able to reverse it in a matter of few sessions.
Moreover, almost all of them say that the relief is not just in their bodies, but their mental clarity improves. This additional benefit is not surprising at all. Why? Because numerous institutes, including Harvard and John Hopkins, have and continue to research the gut- brain-mental health connection. And the verdict is that microbes affect the way we think and feel.
5. Economic and easy to make: Like most homemade food, Kimchi is economical and easy to prepare in your kitchen. And a sixty-four-ounce jar of Kimchi could last several months for a family of two or more.
Giving you a heads up that I have a delicious salad recipe in my upcoming book with homemade Kimchi.
I trust you have enjoyed reading this blog :)
Feel free to share your comments below, and do reach out to me if you need help to manage your waist with taste or take your health to the next level.