Apple cider vinegar has always been a favorite of mine, but the way I’ve chosen to ingest it over the years has changed a bit. As a kid, I hated pickles (I was an incredibly picky eater), but loved the cut up cucumbers in vinegar my family used to have as an appetizer for dinner. These days I still enjoy the cucumber and vinegar combo, and add a tablespoon of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar to a glass of water in the morning. Fun Fact: if you’ve ever used Emergen-C or Airborne to fight off or prevent a cold, adding a splash of apple cider vinegar makes it tastier (or easier to stomach, depending on your opinion).

Health Benefits

You may have heard that apple cider vinegar has weight loss benefits, can prevent cancer, etc, but how much of that is true? Unfortunately, I’m not a doctor, so I can’t speak to all the ins and outs of apple cider vinegar.

It is acidic in nature, so it can shift the body’s pH balance. It can also lower your blood sugar levels because the enzymes responsible for digesting starch slow down when vinegar is present, meaning the glucose levels don’t get out of control (i.e. that spike and crash you might experience in energy after eating a bagel or a donut). The weight loss component comes from the starch that doesn’t get digested- it passes through and some of it will become food for your gut bacteria (the good kind). Over time, this adds up but don’t expect to drop weight fast.

Because it’s highly acidic, you’ll want to be careful when incorporating this into your diet and make sure you aren’t drinking too much. In college I suffered from acid reflux issues to the point where I was on prescription medication for a couple years, so I’m always careful about how much acidic material I’m eating at one point.

There’s a debate about whether the vinegar with “the mother” (if you’ve ever seen Bragg’s or other vinegars in the organic section, it’s that stuff floating around on the bottom) or the filtered kind is better. There’s not enough evidence to show either way that one is superior (apparently it’s the acid in the vinegar that helps with the blood sugar levels) so it’s up to your personal preference.

I haven’t tried this popcorn trick…but it’s definitely on my “must try” list now.

Recipes

Chia, Lemon, ACV Drink: Back in the day, I used to be really bad at hydrating, especially during training for my first two marathons. They took place in the spring, meaning the heavy parts of my training took place in the winter. As pitiful as it may sound, I had to train myself to get enough water. One of my favorite ways to hydrate that I used after longer runs was a chia, lemon, ACV drink like this one from Wholefully. One of my friends used to refer to it as “frog water,” so if you aren’t into things floating around in your drink, you might want to give this a try sans chia seeds.

ACV Skin Toner. This is great for daily cleansing and topical skin clearing (if you have cystic acne, unfortunately, this won’t do anything for that). All you need is water and some ACV (this recipe from Coconuts and Kettlebells shows what ratios to use for different skin types, which is super helpful).

Cucumbers and Vinegar. A family (and personal) favorite, especially in the summer when we have cucumbers pouring out of the garden that need to be eaten. All we did was cut and peel a cuke (or two, depending on how many people were around), season with black pepper, and pour about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar on top. Delayed gratification wins here if you wait a few minutes to let the cucumbers soak up some of the vinegar.

Salad Dressing. Vinegar and oil is really all you need for a salad dressing, so Apple Cider Vinegar can easily stand in when you want to make your own dressing. Here are 6 fun recipes to try using ACV (the coconut ranch one looks interesting- I’m usually not a ranch person but this might change my mind…:  https://yurielkaim.com/apple-cider-vinegar-salad-dressing/ 

Apple Pulled Pork: Pork and apple have gone together forever, and who doesn’t love a good slow cooker meal? I’m a huge fan of throwing things in a pot and moving about the cabin for the rest of the day (or going to work and knowing there’s an awesome meal waiting afterwards). This recipe from Womanista uses apple cider vinegar, pork tenderloin, and only a few other easy to acquire ingredients to make a healthy, filling meal.

**Keep in mind that the Ingredient of the Week is not meant to replace any medication or doctor’s advice, this is just based on what I’ve found works well through my own trial and error**

What are your favorite ACV recipes? Please share in the comments!

Any recommendations for upcoming Ingredients of the Week?

Ingredient of the Week: Apple Cider Vinegar
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