My Story: Part 2
Last time I told you how the idea to begin Olive My Pickle came from a desperate situation, when my wife and two little boys were living in motels after we’d lost everything, including our house.
But the story began well before that. I grew up in Israel, which in the 1980s was definitely old school. I'm not talking about leftover bellbottoms and shaggy hair either.
Our family car was a tiny fiat with no seatbelts, and a 1.3 liter engine (ahem, that's the same size motor you'll literally find in a lawn mowers.) Our house also didn't have AC, and I slept pressed up against the cold cement blocks of my bedroom wall in summer.
We had a black and white television set which (up until I was 12) had one state-run channel. Most of the broadcasting was world news and PSAs about oral hygiene. But for a couple hours a week, we'd get the real treat: American TV shows.
Perched on the edge of my chair, back straight, I'd lean in with wide eyes, taking in every detail. I was fascinated and enchanted by life in America, and my idea of what that was, was 100% informed by these three shows: Dallas, Dynasty and Alf.
From this Hollywood exposure to Texas oil wealth, people that wore tuxedos around the house and lovable alien puppets, my dreams of America were born. I created a composite picture of American life-- the drama, the comedy-- it was all mixed together (along with some other cliches about streets of gold and money growing on trees...) and I knew from a young age I'd travel to America someday.
It feels like another life.
When the shows were over and the TV turned off, I'd be with my family. As old school as everything was, it didn't compare to how it was when my grandparents arrived in Israel in the 1940’s… it wasn’t even old school. It was old world.
Tell you more about that tomorrow.
We eat lots of eggs in my house. We get fresh, pastured eggs from farmers we know from our farmer's markets but whether your eggs are from the farm or the grocery store, they are always a low carb, inexpensive and highly nutritious choice. There isn't enough room here to list all the health benefits of eggs, here are my top 3:
1. Egg yolks. They contain nearly every vitamin and nutrient the body needs including vitamin A, vitamin B 12, vitamin E, selenium, zinc and others.
2. Egg yolks contain many valuable fats that are vulnerable to oxidation at high heat levels, therefore its recommended that you enjoy your yolks runny (or custard like ) or cooked to a medium-boiled level (avoid hard boiling them.)
3. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, with a single large egg containing six grams. They contain all the essential amino acids in the right ratios, so your body is well-equipped to make full use of the protein in them.
4 Medium boiled eggs: place eggs in water and set to boil.
When boil is fast, remove from heat, cover and set timer for 5-6 minutes.
You will get a medium-boiled egg which is much more moist and delicious than a hard boiled egg.
Rinse with cold water and place in the freezer for ~15 minutes, eggs peel easier when cold.
Roughly chop up the eggs for salad
1/4 diced small sweet onion (I like sweet Vidalia onions
1/4 fermented pickle chopped
(you can opt for a spicy fermented pickle)
1 Teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
Pepper and spice to taste: paprika, cumin, curry are all great choices
Make it probiotic: Use pickle brine in replacement of salt, to taste (or about 1 Tablespoon). The pickle and brine in this egg salad make it contain over 20 billion CFUs (colony forming units) or lactobacillus (good guy bacteria).
Keto-Friendly option: Make wraps by serving on a
leaf of romaine lettuce.
We get a lot of questions about our process, starting with the name. Lactic acid bacteria is the type of good bacteria that results from the process-- hence the name. 'Lactic-acid fermentation' is shortened to lacto-fermentation which is again shortened to simply 'fermentation.'.
1Is this a fad? Are naturally fermented pickles a new innovation? The recent rise popularity of fermented foods and probiotics may lead one to think this is a new hot trend or fad. Not so. Cultures spanning the globe used fermentation methods to preserve food, dating back thousands of years.
When the industrial age was ushered in, the long-standing tradition of fermentation fell by the wayside.
Recent scientific findings of probiotic health benefits are so amazing that the mainstream media deems them newsworthy, reporting them to the public. This has created a class of enlightened consumers actively seeking out fermented and probiotic-rich foods at farmer’s markets and in stores.
2Is there any milk in lacto-fermented pickles? What’s the ‘lacto’ refer to? The word ‘lacto’ in lacto fermentation creates the misconception that there is milk or dairy products in pickles. This is not the case. The ‘lacto’ is short for ‘lactic acid bacteria,’ the specific type of good bacteria—or probiotic—that is created in the fermentation process. While there are some fermentation traditions that utilize milk-whey as a starter culture (for example beet kvass from Slavic traditions) there is absolutely no dairy in lacto-fermented pickles.
3Are lacto-fermented pickles safe to eat? This is a common question, because fermented pickles are not pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process of heating food to above 144 F to kill any and all bacteria within—the good and the bad.
Pasteurizing fermented and probiotic vegetables would destroy their probiotics, rendering them a ‘dead’ food. Lactic-acid bacteria are also considered non-toxic, food-grade microorganisms, and most of them have what’s called GRAS status from the FDA, which stands for ‘generally recognized as safe.
4Why are fermented pickles so much healthier? Fermentation is a unique method that creates live, good bacteria called probiotics in its process.
Probiotics, defined as bacterial organisms that confer health benefits to its host, are absolutely essential to great health because they support your gut. But knowing that is just the beginning of understanding it all.
Your gut—as recent research has found and continues to discover—is responsible for so much more than just your digestion and elimination. In fact, there is evidence to support the claim that your gut and its microbiome within may be a near-equal partner to your brain as the command center in your body.
5What’s the connection between fermentation, probiotic foods and the microbiome? Within each of us, lives a colony of cellular, bacterial, microorganisms so plentiful in mass that its weight (which is about three pounds) is equal to that of our brain.
Its cell count is so vast, that it amazingly comprises 90% of the cells in our body, with only the remaining 10% being human cells. This colony is your body’s microbiome and the BEST thing you can feed your microbiome to optimize its health (and therefore your own) is probiotic-rich, whole foods like pickles, kraut, kimchi and olives.
3 Daily Tips + Hacks for Better Gut Health
1. Water can act as a digestive aid. Proper digestion makes minerals and nutrients more accessible to the body. Water is also necessary to help you digest soluble fiber, which helps you poop easier.
2. Not only is water required for some breakdown reactions, it is involved with production of saliva, which contains digestive enzymes to help break down foods.
3. Drink probiotic beverages like kombucha in moderation, they can be high in sugar. Too much sugar in the diet lead to a proliferation of bad bacteria in the gut.