Kimchi, miso, tempeh, kefir, sauerkraut. Sauerkraut? Let’s be honest, if you’re from the Midwest, there isn’t a big chance that the post-marathon race food will stray much from beer, brauts, and maybe more beer.
Before we throw out our favorite traditional fat-laden, high sodium favorites, let’s take a closer look at why our grandparents managed to live into their 90’s. Well, at least, mine did, and they didn’t worry too much about eating summer sausage or hotdogs. But they did have a root cellar stocked with home canning. Fermented foods such as pickles, beets, green beans, sauerkraut and corn were an essential part of their every day menu.
A lot of today’s athletes might not realize that home canning is chock full of healthy probiotic bacteria. Fermented foods provide gut-friendly bacteria that the gastrointestinal (GI tract) needs to balance the not-so-healthy bacteria.
Next time you finish a race and the food tent offers brauts or hotdogs, demand that natural sauerkraut be served – not the commercially pasteurized or homogenized as these processes will destroy the health promoting microorganisms.
If you are not into home canning, try products available from local farmer cooperatives, such as Hawthorne Valley Farms, or just make some in your own kitchen.