With the winter season in full swing and a chill in the air, fresh salads are disharmonious for your body.
Unless you live where it is sunny year-round, chances are that the winter season brings a limited variety of vegetables for you to enjoy.
Raw vegetables are most accessible and best eaten during the warmer spring and summer months.
Winter Vegetables Are Sweet and Hearty
At your local market, you may find sweet winter gourds like acorn and butternut squash. When you cook any vegetable, especially a winter vegetable, you begin the process of breaking down plant fibers.
If you have a history of digestive issues, cooking your vegetables can make your food easier to digest.
Unfortunately, high heat also can destroy some of the nutrients and vitamins found in vegetables. Slow cooking at lower heats is one great approach.
Fermented Juices… The Body Ecology Way
Give your body a boost of friendly bacteria this winter with a Body Ecology fermented vegetable juice smoothie! This delicious smoothie is made with winter veggies like cabbage, carrots, and squash, as well as warming spices like garlic, cinnamon, or ginger.
During the first stage of the Body Ecology Diet, we discourage pure vegetable juice. This is because when we juice anything, we remove the fiber.
Without fiber, juice becomes more expansive, and we metabolize it quickly. This creates an effect similar to sugar.
If you feel queasy, dizzy, or hyperactive after drinking vegetable juice, this is a sign that it is too expansive for your body. It is especially important to keep this in mind if you are considering a vegetable juice cleanse or if you would like to juice sweet vegetables, such as carrots and beets.
Instead of juicing and completely removing the fiber, we recommend blended smoothies. Blended smoothies still contain fiber, but they are more digestible than raw vegetables or vegetable juice.
For example, you may find that you feel gassy, bloated, or crampy after eating raw vegetables. If this is the case, try blended smoothies instead.
Better yet, you can ferment your blended smoothie with Body Ecology’s Culture Starter.
The gut houses trillions of bacteria, most of which are beneficial to the body. They do things like:
- Make important B vitamins and vitamin K.
- Help to regulate the immune system.
- Help to reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and in other areas of the body.
- Detoxify heavy metals and pesticides from the body.
- Repair and protect the lining of the gut.
Best of all, fermented vegetable juice is brimming with beneficial bacteria that can help with digestion and give your immune system a little extra nourishment over the winter season.
Body Ecology Fermented Juice Tonic Recipe
Choose a variety of hearty winter vegetables such as:
Cut all your vegetables into thumb-size pieces. Add to your blender.
Next, add just one warming spice. Some examples of our favorite warming spices include:
- Ginger. This warms the body at its very core and is a traditional digestive tonic. Use a ½ thumb-sized knob.
- Cayenne. Helps to stimulate circulation and can even relieve pain. Because cayenne falls into the nightshade family, avoid it if you have joint issues or an autoimmune disorder. Otherwise, use a small pinch.
- Cardamom. A little goes a long way. This spice is especially good if you feel sluggish and heavy during the day. Add a pinch of powder or, if using the whole spice, remove seeds from the pod before adding.
- Cinnamon. A classic during the holiday season, this spice is deeply warming. In Chinese medicine, it is used to restore core energy levels and can help to warm the limbs. Avoid the sticks and instead use a pinch of cinnamon powder.
- Garlic. If you have ever eaten this herb raw, you may be familiar with its “hot” nature. Studies have found that garlic helps to break apart the protective matrix, or biofilm, that harmful bacteria build around themselves. An excellent choice for flu season! Add 1 small piece.
Finally, cover the vegetables and warming spice with water and blend well. After the vegetables and warming spice are blended, add one packet of Body Ecology’s Culture Starter into the blender. You can stir the starter with a wooden spoon or blend gently for 1-3 seconds.
Transfer your blended smoothie to an airtight glass jar and allow it to culture for at least 24 hours. Be sure to place your smoothie someplace warm. Warmth will encourage the bacteria in the starter culture to grow and multiply.
Once the vegetable smoothie has fermented, strain it to remove the pulp and refrigerate. Don’t worry about the juice being too expansive or difficult to digest. Once the mixture is fermented, the pulp is no longer necessary.
Enjoy your fermented, blended vegetable juice after meals, before bedtime - really, any time you need a little extra support!