fermented/cultured vegetables

They will speed up and strengthen your digestive system (especially for harder to digest foods, e.g. protein). They take a little preparation to make initially but are very cheap in the long run.

What are cultured/fermented vegetables (natural probiotics)?
If you have heard of probiotic yoghurt drinks then you may know that the main good thing about these are the beneficial bacteria in them. You can actually grow your own beneficial bacteria using vegetables and this is what cultured vegetables are.
Also, since they are grown with vegetables they break down the vegetables, making the nutrients more accessible to your body. Similar to the idea behind sauerkraut and kimchi.

Can be added to salads, used as a side dish, a snack, incorporated into dips, eaten with carbs and especially good with protein. The taste is slightly tangy to strongly tangy (depends on what vegetables you use and how long you leave it in the fridge before you eat it, longer = tangier).
fermented vegetables
How to make it:

You will need a glass or stainless steel airtight container, e.g. jar sealable with lid, mason jar etc. Ideally several large jars/containers.

You can use a starter culture of probiotics (explained why later) if you want, I use one capsule of this or several of these or these.

You can likely use any multi-strain probiotic tablet/capsule as long as it is good quality that can be broken into a powder or split open and its contents added to water. If you do not wish to buy these and make it as simple and cheap as possible, then you can use this recipe option. Red/white/green cabbage naturally contains probiotics that will multiply, so a separate probiotic solution is not essential.

Boil some water, let a cupful cool to lukewarm, add probiotic powdered tablet, add a sugar source to wake up and feed the bacteria. I used organic cold-pressed honey but you could use normal honey, one tsp is fine. Do not use refined sugar! Stir a little and leave for about 15 mins.

Ideally, use organic well-cleaned dried vegetables only. If not organic, rinse well and remove several outer cabbage leaves, peel carrots etc.

The base recipe is as follows (judge how much you will need by the size of jars you have):

3 heads green cabbage, shredded in a food processor or grated or chopped finely
6 carrots, large, shredded in a food processor or grated
1 stick celery, shredded in a food processor or grated or chopped finely
You can add a tiny amount of finely grated ginger, and/or one crushed garlic clove and/or pinch salt/pepper and/or cayenne pepper to the mix if you want. Depends on individual taste. You may wish to try it plain first.

Mix all ingredients into a bowl. Fill containers packing tightly, press down with utensil or fist, leave gap at top, place several cabbage leaves on top and press down firmly, leave a small gap at the top.

Then take your probiotic solution and pour into the above containers/jars equally. If the veggies are not fully under water, then top up with the cooled boiled-water or spring/filtered water until they are. (This is because they need a low oxygen environment to multiply and grow). Secure lids. Leave at room temperature in dark cupboard, check on it from time to time if it needs more water etc and maybe have a taste, if it's a little tangy it's fermenting as they should. You can tell when its ready when you notice little bubbles floating to the top. After 4-7 days pour out water or drink it*, remove cabbage leaves, refrigerate jars - can be enjoyed anytime up to two months. Remember, the longer you leave them the tangier they will become.

*this water will be highly dense with good bacteria and nutrients, so drink a little at a time (you can keep it in fridge for a few days) but definitely try it and you will notice your stomach turn into a digestion powerhouse. If you are efficient, you can even re-use this water in your next batch if you have it ready at the time. The taste should be a little sour/tangy.

Do not worry if some part of the cabbage leaves are dark, this is because they were probably sticking out above the water surface hence began to rot. These can be discarded.

You can add beets, peppers, dill, red cabbage, cucumber, turnip, pear, apple etc. Experiment and make your own recipes, add whichever herbs/spices you like. Refrigerate ideally in airtight containers, plastic is ok if you plan to finish them within 2 weeks.

How to eat:
Try to have a spoonful once a day at least.
Best to have a tbsp before and after a meal, to aid digestion. Especially if having protein (e.g. fish, chicken) or large meal.
You can mix it in with a salad or a dip (e.g. hummous).

Main site: www.ArthritisProtocol.com
List of the many benefits of probiotics - see ARTICLE.