Wild Fermentation

Cultures throughout the world have been fermenting foods as a preservation method for thousands of years. This was necessary before the advent of refrigeration. Kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, yogurt and kefir are traditional examples of foods fermented by humans around the globe.

But fermenting foods does more than extend their shelf-life. Today, we understand some health benefits fermented foods have to offer. Hint: some benefits are similar to those expensive probiotic supplements you may take!

Contrary to popular belief, we are not meant to be sterile beings. Bacteria are crucial, even in a COVID climate!

Today, I’d like to discuss a method of fermentation known as lacto-fermentation. This method is used to make sauerkraut and can be applied to nearly any vegetable.

What is Lacto-Fermentation?

Lactobacillus is a type of beneficial bacteria found on the surface of most fruits and vegetables. When placed in an oxygen-free environment (ie: under water), this bacteria multiplies while turning glucose (or sugar) into lactic acid. Lactic acid gives fermented foods their signature tangy flavor.

Benefits of Bacteria

The process of fermentation increases the digestibility and nutrient content of some foods while introducing meaningful amounts of beneficial bacteria to consumers.

The presence of beneficial bacteria gives fermented foods unique health benefits and acts as a preservative by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria.

Beneficial bacteria live alongside “bad” bacteria all throughout our bodies. They can be found on our skin as well as within our digestive, urinary and genital systems. The foods we eat,  medications we take, the environment we live in and the products we apply to our skin impact these fragile bacteria. When in balance, these organisms promote harmony in our bodies.

“Pickled” vs “Fermented” Foods

It is a common misconception that pickled and fermented foods are the same. While both  are sour, this flavor is achieved using very different methods.

  • Pickled foods rely on vinegar. They are most often heated and, therefore, do not contain live beneficial bacteria.
  • Lacto-fermented foods rely on lactobacillus bacteria and its byproduct, lactic acid, to develop a sour flavor. Heat should be avoided during and after the fermentation process as it kills these volatile bacteria.


Warning: Sanitary practices are imperative during the fermentation process. Always use clean hands and utensils.

When lacto-fermenting vegetables with a high water content, such as cabbage, it is unnecessary to make a saltwater brine. Instead, thinly-sliced cabbage (core removed) is massaged with salt (1-1.5 teaspoon unrefined salt per pound of cabbage) until enough water is released to keep it submerged when packed tightly in a jar.

But for most vegetables, a saltwater brine will be necessary.

The Brine Method

Warning: Sanitary practices are imperative during the fermentation process. Always use clean hands and utensils.

  1. Wash ingredients with water.
  2. Cut ingredients uniformly to ensure everything ferments at the same rate. If you wish to peel your vegetables, preserve the peels.
  3. Add ingredients to sanitized glass jars. Start with optional aromatics and any peels you preserved.
  4. Fill jars with saltwater brine, leaving approximately 1″ of headspace. *See brine recipe below.
  5. Keep ingredients submerged with a weight or cabbage leaf. Anything above the water is likely to mold.
  6. Cover jars with a cheesecloth, coffee filter or a clean linen and secure with a rubber band. Do NOT use a lid unless it is a specialized fermenting lid.
  7. Store at room temperature in a cool, dark area. Fermentation occurs more quickly in warm environments.
  8. After 3-6 days, begin tasting until desired sourness is achieved. For a more sour product, continue fermenting! Personal preference, type of vegetable and environmental temperature will dictate how long it takes to achieve desired results.
  9. When veggies are to your liking, remove the weight and store in the fridge with a secure lid. Remember: heat destroys these volatile beneficial bacteria. To reap the full benefits, eat them raw!

For the Saltwater Brine: Dissolve 1-3 tablespoons of salt per quart of purified water. Keep in mind that various salts will measure differently based on their granular size (eg: Kosher salt versus table salt).

What is RESTART®?

RESTART® is a guided, comprehensive 5-week program designed to replace processed, health-disrupting foods with nutrient-dense, real food. The program is lead by a certified holistic nutritionist who guides and supports you through this transformational journey.
Nutritional education and a whole food diet is paired with an online support group moderated by yours truly. ❤ This multifaceted, empowering combination not only makes RESTART® enjoyable, but sustainable. After all, this isn’t about a “quick fix”!
Small groups meet once a week to discuss relevant topics led by their instructor. These meetings will equip you with time-honored nutritional wisdom that will never go out of style—so apply liberally each and every day! The entire first week is dedicated to preparation, meaning you don’t need to anticipate what to eat or where to start prior to beginning the program.
With a 21-day sugar detox built into the program, you will experience the power of unadulterated, real food in the absence of “food-like substances”. By eliminating sugar and common food triggers, this 21-day challenge helps participants uncover food sensitivities that may be contributing to digestive issues, autoimmune flares, sleep disorders, anxiety, skin conditions, joint pain and, of course, energy fluctuations associated with blood sugar dysregulation.
The online support group boosts motivation, improves accountability, provides culinary inspiration and fosters a sense of community amongst participants. I encourage you to share your successes, your struggles, your questions and, of course, what you’re eating! While all three components of the program are pivotal, I find the support group to be invaluable.

Whether you would like to become more well-versed in the science of nutrition, incorporate more nutrient-dense foods into your life, take the primary (and least-invasive) steps toward addressing your health concerns, or cultivate your own circle of like-minded individuals, RESTART® would be of great value to you!

 I look forward to supporting you in your real food journey!


Mallory Nowak, NTP

Weekly course materials are as follows:
  • Week 1: Preparation for your real food sugar detox
  • Week 2: Your digestive check-in
  • Week 3: What sugar really does in your body
  • Week 4: The truth about fats
  • Week 5: How to move forward and CELEBRATE!

* $249/person. See Services for upcoming classes and promotional offers. Virtual (online) classes are available for those who are not local to the Sacramento area. Contact us to sign up today!

“This was by far the most impactful nutrition/lifestyle change program that I have ever participated in. 🙌🏼”

Alma P.

“Prior to RESTART – I was puffy! My eyes, hands and feet felt tight. Now I know what triggers this reaction, NO more grains and sugar! My husband and Mom shared this journey with me and we ALL felt full and overall more balanced with sleep, our moods more consistent.”

Andrea N.

“A 21 day program that can create healthy habits for the rest of your life is a program I would recommend to anyone. During the program, I had increased energy, felt full all day, lost 7 pounds, and felt like my inflammation went down. I developed a better relationship with my kitchen and meal prepping … Continue reading Ash C.

Ash C.

“Thank you, Mallory, for everything you taught me. It has become a part of my life everyday.”

Carol H.

“This class was packed full of information that I will share with my friends and family!!!! It’s made a lasting impact on how I feed my body!”

Jill B.

“Mallory’s expertise on the subjects we discussed was unprecedented. She was so thoroughly informed about all we discussed & to have that information passed on to me was a true blessing.”

Robert D.
%d bloggers like this: