How to make fermented vegetables at home for better gut health (Science+Recipe)

Why should you care about gut health?

As we covered in multiple blogs already, Gut Health is such an important topic that links to all aspects of your health.

In our modern-day SAD-prevalent society (SAD=Standard American Diet), sugar, salt, saturated fat, bad habits, and poor lifestyles are ruining people’s gut health.

This is why we have so many inflammatory diseases and chronic gut issues like leaky gut and food allergies. These chronic inflammations are signs of imbalances between beneficial and disease-promoting bacteria. If not addressed, they can ultimately lead to life-threatening comorbidities including obesity, heart diseases, diabetes, and poor mental health.

A quick recap on what gut health is linked to:gut health and brain


So at Vegan Palette, we always teach people to improve gut health before anything else. A better gut just makes everything so much easier – dealing with deficiencies, improving health and nutrition status, becoming more energetic…

Make sure you check out these resources on Gut health after this blog.

Why are home fermented vegetables better than probiotic supplements and beverages?

Fermentation is not just a hyped “superfood”. Even Harvard Medical School has advocated for the benefits of fermented foods.

A recent review study published on Foods also states that:

“Ingestion of vibrant probiotics, especially in fermented foods, is found to cause significant positive improvements in balancing intestinal permeability and barrier function, with direct effects on metabolic syndrome, atherosclerosis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and colon cancer and indirect effects on depression, anger, anxiety, and levels of stress hormones.”

gut health probiotics

Thus, fermented vegetables are natural probiotics that help the 100 trillion bacteria in your gut flourish. Because they produce a wide range of probiotics naturally, they work better than supplements!

One important benefit of fermenting vegetables at home rather than taking probiotic supplements directly is the phytonutrients that are naturally occurring in vegetables. These also have a number of health benefits, which we have covered in a previous blog.

Fermented vegetables contain not only live probiotics, phytonutrients but also enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. But these could very likely be destroyed by commercial processing, which reduces the benefits you can get from fermented foods and beverages. Since you don’t know what exactly is done to the products out there, ferment your own vegetables at home is the best!

How to make fermented vegetables at home?

Fruit and vegetables already have ‘good’ bacteria on their surface naturally. When you put them into an oxygen-free environment, these bacteria start turning natural sugars from the vegetables into lactic acid. Lactic acid acts as a preservative and also creates a delicious flavour – brilliant!!

fermented vegetables vegan palette


It is really easy to ferment your vegetables, here are the steps:

  1. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of sea salt in 2 cups of filtered warm water (no need to boil, it is just to dissolve). Set aside to cool while preparing the next step.
  2. Get a jar (eg. a mason jar) and sterilize it by filling with boiling water. Empty the jar.
  3. Choose a range of vegetables. Common options are carrot, cucumber, jalapeños, cauliflower, cabbage, and capsicum. Chop and tightly layer vegetables in your jar.
  4. Add spices to taste. Common options are bay leaves, oregano, hot chili, mustard seeds, and peppercorns.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to cooled saltwater to finish the brine.
  6. Pour your brine over the veggie stash. Make sure that all your vegetables are completely covered below the water level.
  7. Screw the lid or cover with a fermentation lid. Leave it in a cupboard to ferment.
  8. You may need to loosen the lid a little bit each day for the first few days and then every other day to allow gasses to escape. Also, add more salted water if the vegetables are no longer completely covered.
  9. In 3-5 days depending on the temperature, your pickles will be ready. You can find out by taste-testing using clean utensils. Note that vegetables will pickle faster in a warmer temperature.
  10. When the vegetables are fermented to your liking, seal the jar and refrigerate. They will be okay for about one month.
  11. The vegetables are perfect to add to any meal or sandwich. If you want to get rid of some salt, rinse gently with water.


See, that wasn’t too hard? Give it a go and let us know how it turns out!


If you like our content, let us know and spread the words so more people can get the benefit of healthy whole food plant-based eating. Also be sure to check out our brand new Ebooks that are on sale for just the price of a coffee, and upcoming workshop in Gold Coast!


About the author
healthy vegan palette writer Rainie

Rainie is a health, fitness, and nutrition enthusiastic. She graduated from a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences degree with first-class honours from the University of Queensland.  She is now looking to pursue a PhD and using here research skills to help more people learn evidence-based nutrition.

Cheat Day Vegan Burgers in Brisbane (mouth-watering photos included)

As much as we encourage everyone to live a whole food plant-based lifestyle to the best of our ability, there might just be those days when you want to treat yourself to a vegan burger.

Or you might want to impress your vegan-curious friends that vegan burgers might actually taste better!

It’s great to see more places adopting vegan options on their menus, and more good news – the vegan options are slowly getting upgraded to plant-based!

Let’s take a look at 5 vegan burger places we went to in Brisbane and Bryon bay!


On Brewski’s menu, you will find the “Burgers for the plant-based” section with 5 amazing burgers:


Their top seller beefless burger is also my personal favorite, but I’m sure you will find others just as amazing.

I also had to include their vegan nachos here because it beats all the nachos I’ve ever had!!

Besides the most amazing food, I also had a lovely chat with Antoinette, who told me all the effort that went into sourcing ingredients locally to reduce the environmental impacts of importing mock meat. I was so glad to hear that all the ingredients were ethically sourced, with lots of consideration concerning health, safety, and environment!

Highly recommend Brewski for your Friday nights, birthdays and any functions 🙂

Find Brewski on Facebook and Instagram.

Just Poppy’s

If you are going to try out every burger on Just Poppy’s menu, it’s gonna take you a lifeeeeetimeeee.

I’ve never seen a burger place with shocking 13 vegan burgers!

Certainly would keep your tastebuds satisfied if you are sharing different burgers with friends 😛

I loved the Catch of the day (fishless fish) and was blown away by how real the “fish” patty tasted! Definitely a treat for someone who used to love fish.

Plenty of plant-based, minimally unprocessed burgers such as Hommos to god, which uses a chickpea patty, The plant-based disgrace with a black bean and beetroot patty.

Just Poppy’s also has the most beautiful vegan platter, perfect for a group of animal lovers!

OH!! And this one is SPECIAL – Potato Portato using scallops as buns! – Very unique, very creative, very delicious!

Find Just Poppy’s on facebook and Instagram.


Grassfed is a new burger joint tucked away in the Fish Lane, brought to you by the amazing I Should Coco man behind the Brisbane vegan market scene.

They offer very affordable vegan burgers, as well as coconut-based icecreams!

This one is their biggest and most popular B.F.C burger, which will definitely make you happy on a cheat day.

Find Grassfed on facebook and Instagram.


How cool is a green burger?

I know. These green burgers just look so appetizing!

Stacks on was one of the 11 amazing vegan burgers and my favorite as it uses mushroom and eggplant instead of a processed patty!

Sweet-kale Roline is another must-try, made of sweet potato, chia seed patty, onions rings and kale!

Find VeganBurgz on facebook and Instagram.


Best is saved to the last!! Elixiba is the ultimate plant-based burger you can dream of – The bridge between health and social life.

It is currently located in Byron Bay and Sunshine Coast, but I’ve heard rumors that they will be coming to Brisbane soon!! Fingers crossed.

Hemp patty, jackfruit, massive sweet potato chips! All so yummy and healthy!

Elixiba also offers a range of other plant-based dishes that I wouldn’t call cheat meals, all made from healthy whole foods, satisfying both your taste buds and nutrition!

Find Elixiba on facebook and Instagram.

There you have it – 5 burger places you can go to on your cheat day! Remember not to do these toooooo often and base most of your daily foods around plant-based foods in their whole form 🙂

Remember – A small step towards plant-based vegan is a big step for health, environment and animals!

All photos are taken by Raymond, the vegan dietitian and photography enthusiast at Vegan Palette! Show your love for vegan and plant-based cafes/restaurants to encourage more people to try out the vegan options 🙂 If you own a vegan restaurant/cafe and would like a professional photoshoot/menu design/nutritional advice with Vegan Palette, please get in touch at or our Facebook, Instagram, Website.


You’ll love these

Have you checked out our comprehensive Vegan Health & Nutrition Resources page? We have a bunch of support materials waiting for you including a dietitian guidebook, lifestyle checklists and assessments, and the best vegan websites we recommend, all for you for FREE.


About the author
healthy vegan palette writer Rainie

Rainie is a health, fitness and nutrition enthusiastic. She studied a bachelor of Biomedical Sciences degree to learn all about the human body and continued to pursue higher research training in a neuroscience laboratory to investigate how the brain develops. Rainie is now using the research skills she learned in the science degree to bring evidence-based nutrition practice to more health-conscious people.



The simple act of eating healthy plant based holds promise to depression prevention

Said not me, but a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

. . .

Last month I went to a career networking event – nothing about the event itself changed, but I did.

I’ve always liked going to events for the extra perk of getting free food. I didn’t care about whether they are junk food because free = good.

But over the last year, I have become a lot more mindful about the food I put into my body, after reading research articles on the health implications of the standard American diet, processed food, meat, and dairy…

I was constantly in shock of how much misinformation we hold regarding health. I mean, just look at the number of fad diets out there if you don’t believe me!

I got to the networking event. Everyone was having a great time with alcohol and free food. In the past, I would too. But I wasn’t so happy looking at the food options — all sorts of deep fried finger foods: spring rolls, chicken wings, beef pies, pork dim sims, chicken nuggets, fries …


Everyone else looked so happy, voluntarily ingesting one piece after another, while sipping some delicious alcohol.

But … are we really happy?

According to the World Health Organization, 300 million people around the world have depression. Nearly 50% of all people diagnosed with depression also experience an anxiety disorder. It’s estimated that 15% of the adult population will experience depression at some point in life.

I am not saying that bad eating habits and unhealthy food cause depression (although likely true), but it is a common practice for depressed people to indulge in some addictively yummy junk food — ice cream, chips, soft drinks etc. Once it becomes a habit, the occasional cheat meals naturally become the default, even when we are not feeling depressed.

And what does that lead to?

Unhealthy diet contributes to approximately 678,000 deaths each year in the U.S. due to nutrition- and obesity-related diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. 1 In the last 30 years, obesity rates have doubled in adults, tripled in children, and quadrupled in adolescents.

Does what we put into our body affect how we feel, physically and mentally? Of course it does! When you don’t treat your car nicely by giving it the cheapest, crappiest fuel, will you expect it to run far?

broken car analogy to food

One day, the car will break down because of all the crap it was fed. You will have to dump in a lot of money to fix it, just like fixing depression and anxiety with a bunch of drugs that don’t always work.

But…why didn’t you just put in some good fuel in the first place?

The effects of healthy diets on mood have been known for some time but many people (including doctors) will rather turn to the “safer” option of medications to treat disorders like depression. This is often simply because the impact of dietary modification as a treatment or intervention strategy is not straightforward to quantify and the evidence seems to be “up in the air”.

But, a new Australian study has looked at 16 randomized control trials with outcome data for 45,826 participants and come back with a simple, clear message:

“If you want to feel better, eat less junk.”

What we call “comfort food”, high in sugar and fat, activate our brain’s reward center. This is just similar to smoking and drug addiction — while we may feel some temporary pleasure, it doesn’t benefit us in the long run.

Instead, eating nutrient-dense foods that are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, while reducing processed foods with refined sugars are truly beneficial, in the short and long term. Health-promoting whole foods should be consumed daily, in great variety and abundantly.

How should your plate look like?

A variety of plant-based whole foods: vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, legumes, grains making up a colorful palette.

vegan palette food plate

While further research is always required to understand the specific mechanisms underlying the effect, we are slowly getting a more comprehensive picture of how food affects the whole body, one that includes our massive gut microbiome. Changing what we eat firstly affects the plethora of bacteria living in our bellies.

While the finding that “Junk food is bad, plants are good” isn’t so new, this meta-analysis is still a significant step forward in really implementing dietary interventions for mood disorders such as depression.

If you are already eating plant-based, amazing! If you are considering and need more evidence, there are plenty:

The best diet for depression“, “Improving mood through diet” by

Foods that fight depression” by Physicians committee for responsible medicine

Knowing something works is one matter, but using it for real is another

Health practitioners usually have a heavy influence on what approaches patients take to improve their health. Doctors, dietitians, psychologists, therapists, coaches, and the plant-based community should take up the responsibility to be early adopters of lifestyle changes as disease intervention and treatment.

With this new study, health practitioners should be more confident in prescribing dietary interventions alongside other treatment options.

Of course, health is yours. No matter what the doctor, or the dietitian, or the internet says, you hold the ultimate choice of what to put in your body.

You may not be able to decide what kinds of food appear in an event you have to attend, but you can choose to avoid eating them and seek healthier alternatives.

When depression and anxiety kick in, you may feel like you don’t have control over your mind. But don’t just give up taking the control back and indulge in fast food for temporary pleasure.

Seek professional help, learn some nutrition from credible sources, and make small changes every day! Of course, exercise is another key element for improving your mood and overall health 🙂

healthy vegan


You’ll love these

Have you checked out our comprehensive Vegan Health & Nutrition Resources page? We have a bunch of support materials waiting for you including a dietitian guidebook, lifestyle checklists and assessments, and the best vegan websites we recommend, all for you for FREE.


About the author
healthy vegan palette writer Rainie

Rainie is a health, fitness and nutrition enthusiastic. She studied a bachelor of Biomedical Sciences degree to learn all about the human body and continued to pursue higher research training in a neuroscience laboratory to investigate how the brain develops. Rainie is now using the research skills she learned in the science degree to bring evidence-based nutrition practice to more health-conscious people.


Top vegan places to eat in Brisbane: 2019 update

Are you a vegetarian, vegan, or just trying out plant-based foods? YES, why not? Healthy, cruelty-free and delicious!


I created a video featuring my top 5 places for yummy vegan food in Brisbane 3 years ago. Wow, time flies! Brisbane's vegan community is going strong and plant-based foodie places are shaping up.


Time to review my top 5 and see if any new places have caught my taste buds!



YUMM, Yep I still love those places. These mouth-watering photos on my instagram are the proof!


Number 5 - Botanica

Botanica is the living proof that salads don't have to be boring at all! They have a variety of different salads ready to go everyday, definitely a good go-to when you want some yummy salad takeaway!


Number 4 - The Green Edge

A vegan hub - cafe, restaurant, supermarket, everything vegan! Completely guilt-free when you walk down the aisles at Green Edge 🙂


Number 3 - Super Roll

Super Roll will probably move up my list (probably because of my Asian blood). Their mock fish made of cabbage is the best and I can never get tired of it. I have been there so many times and tried many things on the menu, not a single dish has disappointed me so far! Definitely try it out if you are around the Sunnybank area.


Number 2 - Vegeme

Vegeme is also one of my staple place, maybe because of their punch cards that keep getting me back? Nah, I was joking. The food itself is amazing, plus the friendly staff, nice environment and the punch card reward 🙂 My favourite dishes there are cold tofu, inari, okonomiyaki, dumplings and bibimbap.


Number 1- Vege Rama

At Vege Rama, you get the experience of fine dining with a reasonable price 🙂 They always have new specials on the menu that keep getting me back - they are healthy, creative and well-presented. You can also drop in for a coffee, smoothie or desserts anytime.


What's my new favourites?

Charlie's Raw Squeeze 

You might know Charlie's fresh food market or açai bowls and smoothies. I know they are great, but have you tried their rainbow wraps yet? If not, you definitely should! I go back for Charlie's rainbow wrap over and over again. It's full of colourful fresh ingredients and tastes more than amazing.


Slice Pizza & Pasta

Although this place is tiny and easily missed in the busy westend area. They offer the most delicious vegan pizzas! A whole range of mock meat and vegan cheeses that I have never tried before. It is definitely a treat to your tastebuds, but of course, not too often!

View this post on Instagram

How to turn a friend vegan? This pizza is the answer 😉😇😇 Taste: 9.5/10. I can't decide but this has to be the best pizza I have ever tried in my life. Presentation: 9. Would of given a 10 if there was a bit more toppings. Health: 5/10. Well it's a pizza. The combination of flour, chess, oily sauce and processed mock meat means its a once in a while treat. #vegan #veganfood #vegansofig #plantbased #veganism #veganlife #govegan #whatveganseat #veganfoodshare #vegansofinstagram #vegans #vegano #vegangirl #crueltyfree #veganfoodporn #veganrecipes #veganlifestyle #veganpower #veganshare #veganeats #vegancommunity #vegetarian #veganaf #veganfortheanimals #foodporn #healthyfood #veganlove #healthy #food #dairyfree @askveganpalette

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Coffee, brunch, afternoon tea, or wines, Dicki's got all you want plant-based! The cooking style is light on oil, definitely one of the healthier places!



A special mention of JoJo's because even though it is not a specialised vegan restaurant, their vegan dishes are among some of the best, no worse than those served in vegan restaurants! Check it out and you'll be surprised.


Green House Canteen

"Cruelty-free and Killing it" is the slogan of Green House Canteen - a place full of inspiration and love. The food there is always beautifully presented, in very LARGE portions! All plant-based and super healthy 🙂 It's probably the closest thing you can get to home cooking. Plus, you can ask for no oil!

Grass Fed Vegan

"Latest Plant Based Burger Joint in Brisbane"  a fresh twist to what burgers should taste like, you won't even believe how close to meat it taste like - you will love the interior decor. Everything served has no meat, dairy, cheese, seafood, whatsoever, ALL VEGAN 🙂

Liked this? Let us know what your experiences are eating vegan in Brisbane!


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Have you checked out our comprehensive Vegan Health & Nutrition Resources page? I've compiled my gifts, knowledge and tips regarding thriving on a vegan lifestyle in this page, including a dietitian guidebook, grocery shopping list, lifestyle checklists, and the best vegan websites I recommend, all for you for FREE.


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About the author


Raymond Setiadi is an Australian Accredited Practising Dietitian and is the founder of Vegan Palette,  a Brisbane-based dietitian practice.

As an expert in whole food plant-based nutrition and fat loss strategies, Raymond has a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between food,  human physiology, goal-directed psychology, and how they all play a pivotal role in one's pursuit of optimal health.