By Yvonne Quincey-de Guzman
Sauerkraut and pickles. Just the words on paper make my mouth water. Growing up, we frequented Jewish Delis and small Eastern European markets on a weekly basis. My parents were frugal, but certain foods items were not economized. Pickles and kraut made everything taste better; sandwiches, salads, sausages and pretty much everything else.
As years and fads come and go, fermented foods have hit a trend high, once again. Probiotics, prebiotics, soluble fibre, vitamins C & K, together with lactic acid to increase iron absorption, sounds like a party in your belly. Nutrient dense deliciousness oozes out of tangy sauerkraut. But, more often than not, you will see sauerkraut on the “not preferable” list when it comes to low FODMAP eating.
While white cabbage is traditionally high in FODMAPS, preserved foods offer a convenient and easy way to increase your veggie intake without all the fuss. If you’re following the Low FODMAP diet it can be tricky to determine which canned or pickled foods are safe to eat. Monash University has found that the process of canning or fermenting foods (i.e. pickling) can cause the greatest changes to FODMAP content. These changes can either cause an increase or decrease in FODMAPs depending on the food’s composition, the cooking process, and the solution in which the food is preserved.
Regular sauerkraut contains high amounts of mannitol, making it a red-light food. This is due to that fact that traditional sauerkraut is made using lactic acid fermentation. When the lactobacilli bacteria start breaking down the fructose in the cabbage it converts it to mannitol, thus increasing the FODMAP content.
Daniel Lewis, of Lewis & Son and chief sauerkraut maker tells us, “By traditionally fermenting it is done slowly with harbouring a welcoming environment for beneficial bacteria. These bacterium consume sugars from the raw product and in doing so pre-digest the food, making it easier to digest for us humans.” Most of the taste comes from the action of bacteria. Not just one bacteria either, but a whole range of different species are involved in the fermentation process. The bacteria don’t even need to be added to the sauerkraut, as they live naturally on the cabbage leaves. All that is required to start the process off is shredded cabbage and salt.
Traditionally fermenting it is done slowly with harbouring a welcoming environment for beneficial bacteria. Lewis & Son’s Sauerkraut fermenting process, along with controlling portion size, allow it to be incorporated into a low FODMAP diet. Also to consider is that our ferments are still alive when you eat them. The beneficial bacteria is not killed off by pasteurisation. Many with IBS have a depleted gut flora which makes you sad, sluggish and give you the blahhs. These probiotics work wonders for peoples gut and in turn, happiness and contentment. Aside from that, we are the only producer to undergo rigorous, independent laboratory testing with guidance from a reputable certification to ensure that our pickles and sauerkraut are safe for consumption those following a Low FODMAP diet.