August 26, 2013

Monday Health Tip - Fermented Salsa

If you like salsa, you must make this recipe of fermented salsa! Anyone who likes real salsa knows the difference between the store-bought and the fresh versions. The store-bought salsa is nearly devoid of all nutrients because it is pasteurized. It contains too much sodium and other preservatives that increase the shelf life of the product. Fresh salsa is a great way to include an extra serving of vegetables in the diet without consuming artificial and chemical preservatives. It provides minerals, an extra dose of vitamin C and fiber. 

Benefits of lacto-fermented foods:
  • Provide beneficial microorganisms that are important for gut health and immunity. We know that probiotics are so important in our diet for gut health and good absorption. 
  • Lacto-fermented salsa is a fun way to include more probiotics in your diet, and also kid-friendly. 
  • The amount of beneficial microorganisms in lacto-fermented foods like homemade yogurt and condiments is far more than those in store-bought products. 
  • Lacto-fermentation is also a great way to preserve vegetables as condiments and increase their health value. 
  • It's also unbelievably easy and cost-effective!

The recipe is basic and uses tomatoes, onions, garlic, hot chilli peppers, cilantro, salt, and whey or yogurt.
The recipe:

4 medium tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine (you can use more or less as you like)
1/2 onion, chopped (I used white because I didn't want the salsa colored red. Use whichever type of onion you prefer.)
5-6 sprigs of cilantro, chopped with stems
2 Thai chillies, chopped, with seeds
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp homemade yogurt
Non-chlorinated water to fill the container (about 1 cup)

Take all the ingredients except water in a wide-mouthed clean glass jar that has an air-tight lid. Mix well to blend the flavors. If the liquid from the vegetables is not enough to cover the vegetables, add the water slowly so that it covers the salsa, leaving at least 2 inches space from the top of the jar. Check for saltiness with a clean spoon. The salt should be just right, according to your taste, but it should not be overly salty. Adjust the salt if required, then cover with the air-tight lid and let the jar sit in a cool dark place for 2 days. You can leave it on your counter or put it in a cabinet. Just don't forget it if you put it in a cabinet! 

After a day, check to see the fermentation. You may be able to see little bubbles forming at the bottom of the jar and rising to the top. If you don't, then leave the jar for another day. If the temperature is warm enough, the level of fermentation might cause the jar to leak. At this point, or when you see little bubbles inside the jar, you can move the jar to the back of the fridge to control the speed of fermentation. It usually takes 2 days at 70F for the fermentation to start after which you can keep the jar in the fridge. In general, fermented foods last for months as long as they are stored well in the fridge.

You might be wondering how the salsa tastes after being fermented this way. It develops a sourness from the lactic acid that is released from the beneficial bacteria that are present in the yogurt culture. The longer you keep the salsa, the sourer it gets. The level of sourness also depends on how much culture you use and the temperature it is stored at, but the taste is not much different from fresh salsa that uses lemon or lime juice for sourness.

Some tips:
  • Watch for mold. This is the only thing you need to be careful of when making any fermented foods. If the beneficial bacteria is not active, it is easier for other organisms like mold to grow. I would not consume salsa that has grown mold. To prevent mold growth, make sure you use a good active culture. Use clean vegetables and utensils and cover the vegetables in the jar with water. 
  • Use non-chlorinated water. Chlorinated water does not allow beneficial bacteria to grow. 
  • If you find your jar leaking, remove the lid and let some of the gases escape. Cover again, shutting the lid tight. 
  • You can use more or less of any vegetable you like. Bell peppers, cilantro, extra garlic or chillies, cauliflower - you can use whatever you have on hand. 
  • Instead of yogurt, you can use the whey that floats on top of most homemade or organic yogurts.

It is so easy to add this salsa to any of your food, whether breakfast or a healthy snack. Tasty, easy, economical, and beneficial - it's an excellent way to consume probiotics.

August 14, 2013

Homeopathy in Dentistry

Not many people realize that homeopathy can help with dental problems. Homeopathy is a gentle and effective way to relieve many common dental problems and the symptoms associated with them. It is important to see your dentist too, and an integrated style of treatment can help you get the maximum benefit as well as reduce the cost of treatment. A trained homeopath can help you with everyday dental problems.

Some conditions where homeopathy can help are:
  • baby teething pain
  • slow dentition in babies
  • tooth pain due to various causes
  • bleeding gums
  • strengthening the teeth
  • fear/nervousness about visiting the dentist
  • pain relief and to aid in healing after surgery
  • chronic jaw pain or headaches
  • chronic mouth sores
Homeopathic remedies that may be used in dental problems are
Belladonna, Coffea, Calendula, Phosphorus, Chamomilla, Mercurius etc. Your homeopath will customize the best remedy suited to you. 

So don't hesitate to contact your homeopath for your dental problems!