Fermented Food Guide: the basics + 19 beginner recipes

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Live a Cleaner, Greener Life!

Are you new to this “Modern Hippie” lifestyle?

Do you want to Clean-up your health and Green-up your life but are feeling overwhelmed by the mass amounts of information and Do-It-Yourself recipes on the internet and have no idea where to start!?

Well you’ve stumbled upon the right place!

Not so long ago, I was in your shoes, too – completely overwhelmed by the amount of information on the web and feeling like a failure because everywhere I turned it felt like I was doing the wrong thing!

Well, you’re NOT a failure, and the fact that you are even considering making a positive change in your lifestyle, either for the sake of the environment, your health, your family’s health, or all of the above, deserves a big pat on the back.

It is possible to start the transition to a cleaner, greener life and avoid feeling overwhelmed while doing so – and I’d like to show you how (because I wish there was someone to show me when I was just starting out).

My Story

I remember the DAY when suddenly everything that my mom had been preaching to me for years, suddenly clicked into place.

“You are what you eat, Carly!”

This phrase, that had been said to me SO many times that it had lost meaning, finally started to make sense! Of course we are what we eat –  food is fuel for our bodies. If we put low nutrient, processed, and down right bad “fuel” into our bodies, then how do you think you’re going to run? Much like a luxury vehicle, our bodies run well on nothing but premium. But not only is it what we put IN our bodies that effects its ability to run efficiently, but what we put ON our bodies and INTO our environments, that plays a role, too!

The day it all clicked for me, I wanted every toxic ingredient out of my home immediately, but I had nothing to replace it with, nor the knowledge or skills to do so. I didn’t know where to start at first, and once I started to notice all of the unhealthy chemicals and ingredients lingering in my home, the task of replacing them seemed monumental.

Since then, I have spent a lot of time educating myself about homemade non-toxic alternatives, and not only are they better for our health and the environment, you’ll save a lot of money too!

My first suggestion to you, is to take a big breath and take it sloooww. You don’t have to change your entire life overnight!

Next, break your goals down into three categories/areas of focus, and within those categories, create sub-categories (don’t worry, I’ve laid it all out below). By focusing on ONE category at a time,  you’ll feel less overwhelmed, and as you complete each goal, your sense of accomplishment will give you the encouragement that you need to continue on this exciting journey!

The Three Categories

  1. Cleaning Products
    • Multi-Purpose Cleaner/Surface Cleaners
    • Carpet Cleaners
    • Laundry Soap
    • Air-Fresheners
    • Dishwasher Detergent
    • Fabric and Room Deodoriser
  2. Food and Drinks
    • Condiments/Spices
    • Bread and baking
    • Juice and Soda
    • Non-dairy milk
    • Healthy Sweets
  3. Personal Grooming/Hygiene/Beauty Products 
    • Hair Care (Shampoo/Conditioner/Hairspray)
    • Oral Hygiene (Toothpaste/Mouth Wash)
    • Body Products (Lotions/Butters/Shaving Cream/Deodorant)
    • Facial Products (Cleaners/Moisturizers/Toner/Lip Balm)
    • Outdoor (Sunblock/Bug Spray)
    • Salves/Medicinal Tinctures
    • Bath Products (Bath Bombs/Bath Salts)

#1 Cleaning Products

Homemade Cleaning Products

Removing toxic, chemical cleaners from your home is at the top of the priority list because, one, easy- DIY recipes are very simple and effective, two, switching to safe alternatives involves little life-adjustment, and three, the environmental and health impacts are huge!

If you’re not totally convinced, you will be after reading this article: Four Reasons to Make Your Own Cleaning Products

Here are the cleaning products and FIRST products to replace:

Citrus Infused Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Effective, Homemade Multi-Purpose Cleaner (Coming Soon)

Glass and Spray-Mop Cleaner

Homemade, Eco-friendly Liquid Laundry Soap

Dishwasher “Detergent”

Carpet Cleaning Solution for Carpet Cleaners

Alternative Ways to Freshen the Air in your Home

 

#2 Food and Beverages

Eating wholesome, non-processed, and so-called “real” food is the new focus on this journey to a cleaner life. It’s time to stop analyzing fat content and calories, and instead, start reading the ingredients!

This category involves a lifestyle change, so like I mentioned before, take it slow. Actually, you may need to take this one real slow… as there are skills that need to be acquired, heads that may take time to wrap around concepts, and, most likely, other family members in your household that may not be ready to give up their Lucky Charms.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions that may help clear the air…

“What food shouldn’t I be eating?”

Below is a list of some common food additives/ingredients that should be avoided. If you come across something in your pantry or fridge that contains one of the ingredients, don’t panic – just consider making it yourself instead! Have I provided you with an alternative recipe on the blog? If not, send me an email and I’ll work on it!

Acesulfame K, Artificial Colours (Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 3, Yellow 6), Artificial Flavours, Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame, Sucralose), Benzoate, Canola Oil (and other commonly GMO’d oils), Corn Syrup,  BHA,  Enriched Flour (white, processed flour), Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Palm Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Oils, Preservatives (Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Propyl Gallate, Potassium Sorbate, Potassium Bromate, Propyl Paraben), Polysorbate 60 & 80, Refined Sugar, Soy.

“But I don’t want to throw all of my food away – that’s a waste!”

I’m not suggesting that you should rummage through your pantry and fridge and toss out everything that contains a questionable ingredient. Throwing everything away all at once would be expensive and time-consuming to replace, and well, you may not even know what to replace it with at this point. So, here’s my advice to you – use up what you’ve got, and once it’s gone, consider making it yourself or finding a healthier alternative, next time around! For example, once your ketchup is gone (aka corn syrup sauce), try this Naturally Fermented Homemade Ketchup Recipe! Fresh out of Fruit Loops? Try this Homemade Coconut Flax Granola! Replace foods as you use them up – this will help determine the order in which you replace everything, too.

“Isn’t making my own food from scratch expensive?”

Expensive? No. Actually, making your own food from scratch can save you a lot of money. It is true that quality ingredients do cost more (organic vs non-organic, ancient grains vs refined white flour), but since you’re buying in bulk, you save. So when it’s all said and done, you’re getting nutrient dense food that saves you money.

“Isn’t making my own food from scratch time-consuming?”

Time-consuming? Yes, but not necessarily. Like I mentioned before, replacing everything doesn’t have to happen all at once. By following the method of “replacing once it’s used up”, you may only find yourself making something new once per week. Also, once you make something for the first time, like yogurt, for example, yes, it’s going to feel like a big task. But after making it a few times, you’ll have the steps memorized, and will easily be able to incorporate it into your morning routine.

However, if you’re feeling particularly short on time one week, opt for healthy store-bought alternatives. There are a lot of great companies out there that have health and the environment at their core values, too. Once you become educated on reading labels and ingredients, this option, although more expensive than cooking from-scratch, is very realistic.

If you’re curious about the nutritional value and health of one of your favourite store-bought foods, try looking up it’s Food Score on the Environmental Working Group Website. The Food Score will be rated between 1 and 10, with 1 being the best score and 10 being the worst.

Foods and Beverages to Stop Buying and Start Making

Basic Condiments

Beverages

Bread / Baking Staples

Breakfast Basics

#3 Personal Hygiene/Grooming/Beauty Products

Our skin does a pretty good job of keeping things out of our blood stream, but there is a lot of controversy out there about just how much your stratum corneum (the top layer of your skin) actually absorbs. Skin care ingredients are either absorbed into your skin cells before entering your blood circulation; they pass between skin cells before entering blood circulation; or are absorbed into glands, and quite often retained and stored in those glands, before being excreted out of the body (source). This can either be good news or bad news – we do want the good guys to penetrate the stratum corneum, like Vitamin C and E, while keeping the more harmful ingredients, like Retin-A, out.

It is impossible to put a figure on this absorption rate and it is impossible to estimate how much ends up in our bloodstream. Every person is different and every chemical is different, however, due to this uncertainty,  it is always good to question what you put on your skin.

One thing is for certain: making your own personal hygiene and beauty products is more cost effective, creates less waste because you can use and re-use your own containers, and you know and control the ingredients that you’re putting on your body.

You can tackle this category in the same manner that you tackle the food and beverage category – use up what you have, and replace it when you run out. But honestly, it takes a long time for lotions are makeup to run out, so you can also do what I did – throw out one product a week and challenge yourself to make your own, or find a safe alternative.

This is the biggest area of cost savings, and you can create very impressive, high quality and effective skin care and hygiene products without having to use a ton of questionable ingredients. Plus, safe and sustainable beauty products are all the rage! Trust me, I’ve built a business around it 😉 That being said, tackling this category is the most difficult and requires a little practice, patience and skill. I’ve shared my favourite DIY recipes for homemade skin care and personal hygiene products below, however, lucky for you, if you’re not interested in making it yourself, but like the idea of a natural skin-care routine, you can find my line of Modern Hippie Skin Care products available for purchase at an affordable price, in the Modern Hippie Shop!

Personal Hygiene

Skin & Hair Care Basics

Makeup

Why I Don't Make My Own Makeup and What I Use Instead!

I don’t make my own make-up, (read THIS to find out why) but I have found a brand of safe makeup that I absolutely love – Beautycounter Makeup. I’ve replaced all of my drug-store brand makeup with Beautycounters and have never looked back.

  • Check out Beautycounter’s selection of fabulous makeup HERE

As a consultant for Beautycounter makeup, I’d be happy so assist you in answering any questions you may have about the products!

Some Other Articles to Inspire

Last but not least…

…and this is important.

A warning from a perfectionist: DON’T aim for perfection! NO ONE’S health and wellness regime is perfect 100% of the time. DO your best, given the time that your life allows.

If you decide that you absolutely hate DIY-ing your own toothpaste, then don’t! Find a company that fits within your set of values and Buy It!)

Despise baking bread or simply don’t have the time ? Again, then don’t make it. Instead, educate yourself on quality brands that use quality ingredients. Silver Hills Sprouted Grain Bread is a go-to in our house when I don’t have time to make a batch of my own.

If you strive for perfection, you’re going to give up and fail, because it’s simply not realistic – you’re only human! Do your best and be kind to yourself. Celebrate your accomplishments – even the little ones!

I’m here for you and I’m proud of you! If you have any questions along the way, comment below, and either myself or someone in my shoes will be happy to respond 🙂

Your Modern Hippie Housewife,