There are two types of people in this world, friend: those who LOVE pickles and those who hate them. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground in terms of preference, right? We certainly have our sweet tooth, but if you crave savory, salty flavors as well, like sandwiches with jalapeños or peperoncinis, we are in the same camp. A touch of tang and a hint of sweetness at the same time lights us up like...
When I reached into the fridge the other day and couldn't find my favorite make-any-meal-taste-bomb-sauce, aka Brianna's Poppyseed Dressing, I knew I had to get creative. Then, I saw it... a random jar of pickles with just one left. My inner Remy starting thinking, what if pickle juice mixed with something a little sweet and savory could be the new low-fat, low-sugar dressing alternative for my daily BAS (Big A$$ Salad)?!
Then BOOM, magic happened. I'll tell you later about the little known added benefits of my new creation!
Pickle Juice Vinaigrette
2 Tbsp Pickle Juice
1 Tbsp Honey Dijon Mustard
Dash of Cayenne Pepper to taste
In a bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together until emulsified. You can also throw everything into a protein bottle shaker, and it works just as well! Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
If you are thinking, Shannon, I have been doing this for years! Well, good for you, and why didn't you tell us about this?! For those of you who haven't tried this and are now chomping at the bit to know how this tasted, I will happily share the outcome.
My BAS, which included peppered turkey breast, romaine lettuce, tomato, onion, and this magical pickle juice vinaigrette ended up tasting exactly like a sandwich. Honestly, I felt the full experience of a sandwich flavor profile without one ounce of bread. This is now my favorite daily low carb meal - the one that our members throw into the mix to expedite weight loss goals without restricting carbs 24/7.
Now, onto the incredible health benefits of pickles and pickle juice as promised!
4 Health Benefits of Pickles and Pickle Juice
Digestive Health: Packed with probiotics; all fermented foods contain this healthy bacteria.
Contains Vitamin K: A pickle spear contains about 15% of our daily needs; vitamin K supports blood clotting and bone health.
Blood Sugar Regulation: Vinegar-based pickles can decrease blood sugar spikes after eating.
Great Source of Electrolytes: This benefit is my favorite! Because pickles contain water and sodium, consuming pickle juice immediately after an intense training session will restore lost electrolytes and re-hydrate the body.
Before you go pickle crazy, there is a drawback from those bought at the store: they’re brimming with pickling salt and not the kind that we're aiming to include in our diets. Just one large dill pickle has more than 2/3 of the ideal amount of sodium an average adult should have for the entire day. Our members are well aware that excess salt in the diet can raise blood pressure which in turn causes serious water retention and a whole host of nasty conditions I won't list here.
Table salt, or commercial pickling salt used to pickle cucumbers or any other vegetable, has been stripped of these essential minerals. That's right, not all salt is created equal! The body does need a certain amount of salt each day for essential minerals and electrolytes, which help with fluid balance, nerve transmission, and muscle function. That's why we prefer naturally-sourced Himalayan salt because it has been sourced in a way that retains the essential minerals we need to reap the health benefits rewards that come from salt.
So, what's a Green Door Lifer to do?! Well if you've still got a little extra time on your hands, you can try pickling at home!
The two most common methods for pickling is (1) in a salty brine or salt water and (2) in vinegar. In the case of salty brine, beneficial bacteria eat the sugars in the vegetables on their way to becoming pickles. As a result, lacto-fermentation: lactic acid is released, turning the saltwater into an acidic solution. Almost every ancient culture included fermented foods in their diet as a way to support a healthy gut from the beneficial bacteria.
When vinegar is used for pickling, the solution is heated and good bacteria is killed during the process. While this allows for a longer shelf life and a more consistent result, it won't have the same health benefits as making it at home.
I opted for the salt-water, lacto-fermentation process, and the pickles are fermenting as I write this! For the next week or two, I will be consistently checking on my babies to ensure that they don't spoil. If you want to know how this process is going or have your own pickling experience to share, hit reply and we will keep you in the loop!
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