Fermented veggies like kimchi have probiotics that improve our gut flora. It’s the last thing you’d want to miss out on as an eczema sufferer.
Gut health is important because it strongly affects our eczema skin conditions.
Fermented foods contain beneficial gut bacteria that is proven to fix microbe imbalance in our gut.
The problem is: it’s hard to find probiotics that are fresh (effective).
You can solve this problem by home-making it yourself. Although it may sound hard, making fermented veggies at home is painless, here’s how I did it.
Why do I emphasize so much on kimchi to you? (results I got)
Simple, because I’ve found great improvements (not 100% but significantly) from regular consumption of fermented foods:
- Less itching
- Smoother skin
- More moisture to the skin
- Peeling off of hardened rough skin patches
- Extremely better digestion
- More bowel movements
And kimchi is my favorite choice (bean curd too… but for now I don’t know how to make that) so I want to teach you how to make your own kimchi that actually work – it’s different from the restaurant stuff.
Eating fermented foods is extremely healing to the gut (I’d say the best course of action that’s from food). Of course, it’s not a magic pill with overnight results; the concept behind it is consistent consumption AND eating fresh and probiotic-rich foods.
But kimchi is not the only fermented food, it’s just my personal favorite choice; obviously, other fermented foods are also effective e.g. bean curd, sauerkraut, pickles, yoghurt, kefir.
The Problems We Face About Probiotics
*Probiotics = friendly gut bacteria/flora/microbes.
- Cost – probiotics in pill bottles are often quite expensive.
- Sustainability – probiotics are living organisms and they often die due to contact with acidic stomach acids before they reach the gut to even do us good.
- Freshness – store-bought non-pill packaged probiotics e.g. kimchi, sauerkraut, yoghurt have little to no actual bacteria because probiotics die with time. Most of the products are processed, the labelled organisms refer to at the time of manufacturing – not the time when you buy it (by then, some 80% would be lost).
Ferment your own kimchi at home!
Fermentation: Why DIY (Do-It-Yourself)?
Price: it’s cheaper in price and higher in quantity at the same time.
Fresh: the fresher the fermented foods are, the more probiotics you get and you’ll get the most benefits; whereas store-bought versions are mostly dead of fresh organisms. (actually this is the most important reason – the main reason of making your own kimchi is the freshness advantage – the fresher, the more healing)
Fun: to be honest, the whole experience is actually quite fun for the first few times, and you could even boast about it to friends or even sell it to them!
My Kimchi Experiment (It Worked)
I apologize for not having taken photos of each individual step I took to make it.
So, I read some materials online and learned how to make my own kimchi, originally I wanted to eat plainly fermented cabbage, but it smelled sour and was tasteless so I had to make it into kimchi.
Kimchi Recipe Instructions
As for amounts, this depends on the size of your container and how strong you want your kimchi to taste – note that anything fermented smells and tastes stronger.
- Apple/Pear (for a little bit of sweetness)
- Fish sauce/anchovy sauce (Koreans tell me this is very important)
- Brine (add salt)
- Chilli powder (add slowly, mix in more if you need, I’m saying this is because I added a little bit too much to mine)
Salt is the requirement for foods to ferment, therefore it is important to make sure all parts of cabbages are submerged in salty liquid.
Get a big container or jar with a lid (there are many people advertising jars specially designed for fermentation – those are nice in the long run but are not necessary).
- Wash your veggies cleanly (if there’s dirt the fermentation could go back into fungi and you’d have to throw it away).
- Optional: chop your cabbages into tiny pieces so you won’t have to do it later; or if you are making it in bulk you can just leave the cabbage as is and put the other ingredients in between each of the leaves.
- Add all the other ingredients into the container in the right amounts (mix around so you’ll know).
- Wear plastic gloves and mix the cabbages around until they are mixed equally with the other ingredients.
- Push the cabbages down to submerge all of them under liquid (this is required for fermentation).
- Let it sit around in the shade for around 24 degrees (the optimal temperature) and open the container day to day to release some CO2 generated by fermentation.
- Start tasting after 3 days and if it’s not sour enough let it ferment more; as soon as it is, put it in the fridge so fermentation slows down because of the temperature.
Note: if you’re going to use the container for other purposes later, first fill the empty container with a plastic bag before you do anything because it really stains after fermentation.
Extra Resources (for better understanding)
This article How to … Kimchi (family 김치 recipe!) provides a simple and thorough tutorial on making kimchi with pictures. I highly recommend you to read this.
And here’s a nice video too:
Additional Tips & Advice
Don’t pick yoghurt as your fermented food choice unless you’re 100% sure you don’t have a sensitivity to dairy products.
A recommended staple fermented food choice would be kimchi (it’s cheap and easy to make), or if you don’t like the taste go bean curd (natto in particular, it’s sticky and might be a little off-putting but it’s healthy).
Every time, eat your fermented foods before eating anything else in a meal because if you leave the probiotics at the end, then it would be very ineffective in protecting your body from the leaking of other food particles in the first place. Although it still helps, but it’s preferable to accommodate this practice.
Eating homemade fermented foods and eating so-called “fermented foods” bought from supermarkets are two different stories. Industrially processed fermented foods may have had a great amount of organisms when it was produced, but by the time it is delivered to the stores, they are mostly dead, becoming ineffective for us. Also, most of industrially produced goods are filled with food additives. Why panic from this when you can make your own at home?
The more sourer your kimchi, the more healthier it is because the more fermented it is. If you are a person of efficiency and want to get results as fast as possible; then go for the sourest kimchi you can tolerate.
To Eczema Sufferers (Don’t Skip This Part)
So now, you’re probably thinking “why am I learning how to make kimchi?”
My answer is, you’re not. The point I’m trying to give you is that consistently eating freshly homemade fermented foods is an extremely effective way to restore gut balance – which essentially means elimination of major eczema symptoms.
Key message: although this won’t heal your eczema completely right away, there will be significant improvements for instance less itching. Most people often give up early because they don’t see results, when in fact you should eat around two bowls of kimchi every day (half-half at lunch and dinner before the main course). You should aim for 1 month of the fermented foods consumption experiment before you decide on stopping, by then, anyway, you must see results.
And remember, you’re not limited to only kimchi, you are open to other fermented food choices! Google is your best friend!