Fermenting Foods – Ideas And Sources For A Healthy Gut
Love Your Guts with Fermented Food
Fermenting foods is all the rage right now, but to some people it seems like just a fancy term for rotten vegetables. When I first tasted sauerkraut, I thought it was disgusting too. But now I enjoy fermented food, and the goods things you hear about it are all true. Fermented food is not just a fad; it’s been a part of healthy diets since ancient times.
Your Internal Culture
The good bacteria abundant in fermented food gets into your guts and begins to break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates—making everything more nutritionally bioavailable. The biome of bacteria in your digestive system is also one of the biggest parts of your immune system. In fact, you have as many or more bacteria as you do cells in your entire body—some 100 trillion. So, by the numbers, you’re probably more bacteria than anything else.
When you eat fermented foods—and fresh foods that later ferment in your digestive system—you’re inviting good bacterial cultures to live inside you. If you’re eating poor, processed foods, bad cultures can also easily develop. And, of course, when you’re sick, bad bacteria can really multiply. So imagine a bacteria battle going on inside your body, and you want to help the good guys win.
Long-Lived Human Cultures
I like to look in the past and in the present to see what is healthy in human cultures and why. I read an interesting book, Healthy at 100, by John Robbins. Robbins looks at several traditional, long-lived cultures—cultures where people live without debilitating conditions well into their advanced years. These cultures range from the Abkhasian of Russia to the Okinawana of Japan to the Vilcabamba of Ecuador. Natural food, including fermented food, is one thing all these peoples have in common—though, of course, the specific foods are different.
Find a Favorite Ferment
A wide variety of savoury and sweet fermented foods is available nowadays. Korean kimchi and German sauerkraut are both made by packing the vegetables in salt and allowing them to ferment. (Salt prevents bad bacteria from forming but allows the good bacteria to build up.) Different kinds of yogurts made from milk, like popular kefirs, can be sweetened naturally and are really delicious. And the latest craze is kombucha, a fermented sweet tea.
Even on a vegan diet, I make coconut yogurt from raw coconut meat and cashews. I whip them together in a blender, add a vegan probiotic, put the mixture in glass jar, and cover it with a cloth overnight. Yes, it looks like the coconut is rotting, but it is really making beautiful bacteria. I sweeten it with a little honey and eat it right up. So find some fermented foods that appeal to you and get that good stuff going on inside you.
Thanks for reading,