This post was written in partnership with Farmhouse Culture. As always, we only write about products, services, or experiences we truly love.
You cared for your sourdough starter for days, treating it like a living child and giving it way more attention than that shriveling succulent in the corner of your living room. Finally, you feasted on the fruits of this labor—sourdough pancake, pizzas, crackers, and of course, bread. Not only have you become an Instagram baker, but whether you knew it or not, you’ve waded into the world of fermentation.
Fermented foods are exploding in popularity right now, as more and more experts are making the connection between a healthy gut and a healthy brain (quick reminder: in food processing, fermentation is the process of converting carbs to either alcohol or organic acids using microorganisms (like yeasts or bacteria) under anaerobic conditions). And while you might be brave enough to dabble in DIY fermentation (making pickles is actually one of our quarantine hobbies), some innovative companies are coming up with unique ways to get all the benefits of fermented foods without any of the weird vinegar smells in your house.
Farmhouse Culture, for example, takes organic vegetables and transforms them into intense, flavorful products, like live sauerkraut, Gut Shots, and Kraut Krisps. The idea came when founder Kathryn Lukas was working as a chef in Europe and became fascinated by fermentation, which her American friends had never heard of. Inspired, Lukas came home and founded Farmhouse Culture to spread the word of unmistakable gut health benefits.
Brian Evangelista, VP of Marketing, sat down with us to talk all things fermentation, probiotics, and what “culture” means to Farmhouse Culture.
The benefits of fermented foods
While this may be the first year you’ve heard the word “fermented” thrown around as a health benefit, the trend isn’t actually anything new. In fact, fermented foods date as far back as 6000 BC, and nearly every civilization since has had at least one fermented food as one of its dietary staples.
The strong flavors of fermented foods may be what tasters first notice, but the gut health benefits are what make these foods last throughout history.
“Consumers are prioritizing good gut health for numerous reasons that include overcoming digestive problems, skin issues, managing appetite control, and even increasing brain function,” explains Evangelista. “Most recently, immunity-boosting products have been a major trend which goes hand-in-hand with fermentation and gut health.”
A whopping 70 percent of your body’s immune cells live in your gut, which is why many immunity-boosting products also have gut health benefits.
But what about probiotics?
Probiotics are the good kind of bacteria that help regulate your immune system, boost energy, absorb vitamins and minerals, improve digestion, and help brain and mood functions. So how do probiotics fit into fermented foods?
“The key for Farmhouse Culture is that our products are naturally probiotic, meaning that we believe in wild fermentation of organic veggies as a source of good gut health vs. lab-based products,” says Evangelista. “Our Gut Shot is the only functional shot that is fermented, cold-brewed and filtered. Most other brands sterilize their products (killing the good gut bacteria) and add probiotics back in to get the packaging claim. That’s not our ‘culture,’” he laughs.
Why BIG flavors make real fermented foods more exciting
You might be tempted to just add a probiotics supplement to your routine and call it a day. However, if you can get your probiotics from whole foods, you’ll enjoy extra benefits like micronutrients, plant compounds, and fiber (which is super important for gut health).
And in fact, this was something the Farmhouse Culture team considered when coming up with their flavors—dynamic taste profiles like Sriracha Ginger, Chili Lime, and Garlic Dill.
“It really comes down to reinforcing that gut health can come from real food versus supplements,” says Evangelista. “The tangy flavors are a reminder! We’re sharing natural probiotics from fermented organic veggies that are cold-brewed and filtered for the best drinking experience. Wild fermentation provides the microbial diversity to help your gut thrive, but it’s all just part of a healthy lifestyle.”
How to eat fermented foods
Are your taste buds curious yet? While fermented foods like Farmhouse Culture’s come in delicious flavors, you might not be sure where to work these probiotic wonders into your diet. Luckily, Evangelista has advice for you.
“Our Kraut is a healthy side or condiment that livens up any meal,” he says. “We’ve seen it topped on eggs for a gut-strong start to a busy day or the flavorful addition to a sandwich. So many people just eat it straight up as an energizing snack! Our Kraut Krisps have a tangy fermented flavor and hearty crunch that’s hard to beat. Kalamata Olive hummus by Ithaca Hummus or Chipotle Bitchin’ Sauce are a couple of our favorites.”
And if your Zoom happy hour gets a little wild, well, fermented foods can help with that, too.
“A healthy gut works to extract energy from food, absorb nutrients and water, and remove waste from your body,” he reminds us. “For years, Farmhouse Culture fans have been reaching for a Gut Shot as their hangover cure to help restore and replenish after a long night out or even after an intense workout. Natural probiotics from real food are exactly what your body needs to make the most of everything you eat or drink when you need a little rebalancing.”
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