Fermented & Cultured Foods 101


(Kvass Soup, Kefir, Pickles)

Fermented and cultured foods have long been touted for their health benefits, but do you know why? A staple in many cultures, fermented foods like kimchi, miso, sauerkraut and kombucha, and cultured foods like kefir, Greek yogurt and buttermilk promote the proliferation of good bacteria in our gut, which aid in digestion and boost our immune system. Having a healthy gut filled with good bacteria, known as probiotics, can help us reduce gas and bloating after meals and even shed a few pounds!

Fruits, vegetables and fiber from whole foods can help promote the growth of strong, healthy bacteria, but, unfortunately, many things in our environment wreak havoc on a healthy gut.

Good Bacteria, Don’t Go! 

Step 1: Don’t eat processed foods. Many ingredients in processed foods are foreign to our digestive tract and we are not equipped with the right enzymes to break them down. Unhealthy bacteria feed on these foreign ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, which cause them to proliferate and potentially outnumber the healthy bacteria. An uncomfortable side effect of this process is gas, which makes us feel bloated. Cutting down or avoiding processed foods, as well as adding cultured and fermented foods, can help the good bacteria flourish.

Step 2: Check your antibiotic use. Along with wiping out the bacteria that makes us sick, antibiotics clear the healthy lining of good bacteria in our gut. If you are prescribed antibiotics for longer than three days, you may consider taking a probiotic supplement during and for at least a week after treatment. Recommendations can range anywhere from 1 to 30 Billion CFU’s (Colony Forming Units) per day, depending on age and symptoms. Some of my favorite probiotic supplements include: Align® probiotic, Culturelle® probiotic, Designs For Health probiotic synergy, and Garden of Life raw probiotics. 

How can we bring the good bacteria back?

Eat cultured and fermented foods! (Of course…) These foods contain healthy bacteria, yeasts and/or fungi that set up shop in our gut as we digest them. To start, aim for one serving of these cultured and fermented foods per day.

Here is a list of fermented and cultured foods to try:


  • Pickles
  • Pickled Fruits and Vegetables
  • Miso
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Homemade Ketchup
  • Kimchi
  • Kvass
  • Fermented Salsa
  • Sourdough Bread 


  • Kefir
  • Buttermilk
  • Cultured Sour Cream (low fat)
  • Lebneh Cheese (low fat)

Let me know what your favorite cultured or fermented food is at Bushwick Nutrition! 

Co-Written by Debi Zvi RD, CDN & Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN 

Originally posted on NYHRC Tumblr 

Reference: Probiotics & Fermented Foods. Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op. 

Edited by the Tamara Cabrero & NYHRC Team 

2014 Food & Fitness Trends!

Getting fit, losing weight and feeling great are always top priorities for the New Year. How we achieve these goals is constantly evolving to fit our busy, eclectic lifestyles. 

Here are a few of the top food and fitness trends for 2014!

Clean Eating. I don’t mean practicing food safety like washing your greens, the idea behind Clean Eating is to eat foods in their “whole” state. With increased awareness of frankenfood (GMOs) or fake foods, people are paying more attention to what they put in their bodies rather than just looking at calories and grams of fat. This means staying away from processed/refined foods and additives like artificial chemicals (i.e. artificial sweeteners), flavors and preservatives. Next time you have a meal, ask yourself: Is this food or foodstuff? 

Farm-to-Table. Following in the footsteps of the clean eating approach, choosing cleaner, sustainable, exotic meats (like goat and rabbit that come from small-scale producers) as well as seasonal produce from local farmers offers a new feel-good approach to eating. A few of my favorite farm-to-table restaurants in NYC are Rosemary’s (don’t forget to visit the rooftop garden that supplies their kitchen!), Roberta’s in Bushwick, Brooklyn (where I had my wedding reception—oh yeah, ahead of the trend!) and Blue Hill NY (you can also visit their farm).

Promoting Healthy Gut Bacteria. It’s just not enough to take away foods that may be bad for your gut, i.e. the Standard American Diet (appropriately called SAD); we also have to promote a happy gut. The hundreds of trillions of bacteria (or lack thereof) may predispose us to obesity and a whole range of inflammatory chronic diseases including metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and perhaps cancer. Eating foods high in fiber such as whole grains, vegetables, fruit (not just supplements), fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, yogurt, kombucha and kefir increase our microbial diversity and keep our gut healthy.

Egg Yolks Are Back! Woohoo! Blood cholesterol (aka having high cholesterol) is strongly affected by saturated fat, but not so much by dietary cholesterol. So, unless you are at particularly high risk for cardiovascular disease, there is no need to shun the egg yolk! This awesome whole food is loaded with choline associated with brain health; lutein and zeaxanthin two antioxidants particularly great for eye health and vitamin D, a vitamin that most Americans highly lack.

Fishy Fish. I get it; most people have a love hate relationship with anchovies and sardines. But there is no denying these fish are really good for you. They are extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids, amazing for your skin, hair and heart. In addition, they are chockfull of calcium and vitamin D. They are also on the bottom of the seafood chain, so they are naturally low in mercury and PCBs. If you are interested in the canned fish experience, check out Maiden Lane in the East Village. If you’re not sure what to order, try their excellent fish board!

Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts. I will be talking more about these amazing vegetables in later posts, but for now, all I can say is—eat them. These cruciferous super vegetables are incredibly beneficial to your health, versatile and go well with just about anything.

Express Workouts. High intensity interval training (HIIT) involves short bursts of exercise with brief recovery breaks. Jenn Hamlin, a group fitness instructor at NYHRC, describes Tabata, a specific form of HIIT, as the perfect New York workout. “It enhances your athletic performance activating both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems and spikes your caloric expenditure while decreases body fat in the shortest amount of time!” It’s an efficient method of training that still gives you time to grab lunch. 

Corporate Wellness. Ask about Worker Incentive Programs. These are part of employer-based health promotion programming and health care benefits. They are becoming very popular and many businesses offer them. Imagine how quickly you would achieve your goals if you also paired it with nutrition counseling!

What trend are you looking forward to trying out in 2014?

Written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN  


Fitness Trends 2014: 20 Popular Workouts For The Year Ahead. Huffpost Living. 

2014 Nutrition trends and their nutrition benefits. Rachel Begun.  

The Top 8 Healthy Food Trends for 2014. Wake Up World. 

10 Fitness and Wellness Trends of 2014. Well+Good’s

Fitness trends 2014: Zumba not the HIIT the trendspotters thought 

Exciting new fitness trends are making workouts easier. The Wellness Advisor, Fall 2013/ Winter 2014.

Edited by Tamara Cabrero 

Originally posted on NYHRC Tumblr