Right now, I am waiting patiently for my home lacto-fermentation kit to arrive.
What a sentence!
I was turned onto this specific kit from a Catalyst Camp member who experienced incredible healing results and vibrancy from adding all kinds of fermented foods- from sauerkraut to fermented salsas and even cranberry sauce!- to her family’s diet.
Where I live, in Los Angeles, I am privy to full aisles of fermented veggie slaws, krauts, kombucha on tap, lacto-fermented pickles and just about every wild healing food in the world, pre-made, but not only is that an expensive endeavor ($15 for less than 2 cups of shredded veggies adds up fast!) it’s also not something that a lot of the world has available. To make these things on my own seemed terrifying— the risks of mold and food poisoning seemed great. Until, that is, fermentation kits became widely available.
While I’ll be posting some veggie and fruit recipes and my own experiments in the wild world of fermentation, there are simple ferments and more wide;y available foods with a wide host of benefits that you can try right now!
“You have approximately 1,000 different species of bacteria living in your body, and these bacteria actually outnumber your body’s cells by 10 to 1. You also harbor viruses (bacteriophages), and they in turn outnumber bacteria 10 to 1.” – Dr. Mercola
A microbiome is a community of microbes or bacteria. Each one of us has at least 100 trillion microbes or bacteria. Our guts alone contain 500 to 1,000 different bacteria species. According to Dr. Raphael Kellman, these trillions of bacteria “…inhabit our gut, mouth, lungs, nasal passages, skin, and brain. Although we’ve been aware of these bacteria for a while, until now we didn’t realize what a crucial role they play in just about every aspect of our health.” The bacteria in our microbiome help us digest food, fight anxiety, depression, headaches, muscle pain, auto-immune diseases and even eczema.
Beneficial microbes break down food and produce vitamins in our guts. They coat our skin, protecting us from attacks by harmful microbes.
Here is what Fermentation actually is:
Lacto-fermentation, is an anaerobic process where lactic acid bacteria, mainly Lactobacillus species, convert sugar into lactic acid, which can be a preservative. By using salt, this creates an environment that favors the growth of bacteria – it also extracts water, creates flavor and enhances the quantity of nutrients – such as probiotics, B vitamins and enzymes.
Yogurt contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which your body does not produce on its own. It boosts your immune system, lowers your risk of heart disease, increases metabolism and decreases your cholesterol levels. (you can learn more HERE)
Yogurt also contain probiotics which create a healthy digestive tract and allow for the production of vitamin B12 and vitamin K.
The strains of healthy bacteria depend upon the “starter” used to make the yogurt (and you can typically see them listed on the yogurt container), but here is an overview:
This is a bacteria that resides in the mucous lining of the gastro-intenstinal tract and aids in the absorption of nutrients and also helps to reduce intestinal infections.
HERE is more on L-Bulgaris: “L Bulgaricus can change the pH of the GI tract. At lower pH ranges, or higher acidic levels, it appears that many pathogens simply give up the fight to survive. Also, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus excretes natural antibiotics, which can have a broad spectrum of immune-boosting functions.”
According to an article from Body Ecology , L. Acidophilus prevents and treats diarrhea, reduces the pathogens in your digestive tract, relieves Irritable Bowl Syndrome and Crohn’s disease, boosts your immune system and can help with inflammation in the body. On the SCD Diet I’ve followed for 10+ years now, large doses of acidophilus and powerful yogurt brewed for 24 hours with an acidophilus-rich starter are key to healing from inflammatory auto-immune issues.
Cultures for Health explains how to make your own Natto here, and you can also find it in stores that stock Japanese food items. It’s wildly popular when I visit the Japanese countryside.
This is a fermented food that is made by soaking soy beans, then steaming them and adding the bacteria Bacillus Subtilis. Natto is rich in vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 can prevent hardening of the arteries, neurological degeneration, and kidney stones.
Nattokinase is an enzyme produced during the fermentation process. WebMD explains how tpowrful the nattokinase can be when used as a supplement:
“Nattokinase is used for cardiovascular diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, chest pain (angina), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), “hardening of thearteries” (atherosclerosis), hemorrhoids, varicose veins, poor circulation, and peripheral artery disease (PAD).
It is also used for pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, muscle spasms, infertility, cancer, and a vitamin-deficiency disease called beriberi.”
I’m loving this truly-fermented Pickle How-To from Phickle!
Eating lacto-fermented pickles (some say these are the only “real pickles”) can improve the health of your intestinal tract, boost your immune system, allow your body to absorb nutrients better, and balance your gut flora.
Donna Gates from Body Ecology creates her wellness-famous fermented vegetables in this awesome (albeit long) video. I learned so much even from the first moments!
Sauerkraut is cabbage that has been fermented. It contains large amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin K . It also serves as a good source of iron.
The iron in the cabbage increases your circulation and helps oxygenate your organs and cells. Cabbage also has high levels of fiber, which helps reduce constipation, bloating and gas.
According to Organic Facts.net, Sauerkraut can, in part:
- Boost your immune system
- Reduce risk of heart disease
- Aid in energy production in the body
- Slows down the appearance of wrinkles and age spots
- Helps to regulate digestive and excretory system
Kefir is made from cow’s milk or goat’s milk and is fermented from kefir grains. This Fermented drink has about 30 strains of bacteria and yeast, making it a more powerful probiotic than yogurt.. It is a prebiotic as well as a probiotic.
Lactobacillus kefiri is one strain of bacteria in Kefir and it protects the body against harmful bacteria like salmonella and E.coli. https://authoritynutrition.com/9-health-benefits-of-kefir/
- Boost Immunity
- Heal Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Build Bone Density
- Fight Allergies
- Improve Lactose Digestion
- Kill Candida
- Support Detoxification
Kombucha is a fermented black tea and some type of sugar – cane sugar or honey. Once kombucha is finished being fermented, it becomes fizzy and contains a large amount of probiotics, enzymes and B vitamins.
Wellness Mama explains HERE about the process of kombucha brewing: “The SCOBY, or Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, is the collection of microbes responsible for turning sweet tea into a probiotic beverage. Essentially, it is a living colony of beneficial organisms that turn sugar into healthful acids and probiotics.”
Kombucha is thought to have many benefits.
HERE Dr. Axe explains in detail but the simple summary:
- Aid in your digestion
- Increase your energy
- Cleanse and detoxify your body
- Boost your immune system
- Relieve joint pain
By now, you may have some idea why I’m so so so excited to get my fermentation kit!
Presently, I make my “super-yogurt” at least once a week (24 hours of brewing it as explained above), and I take both a prescription-strength probiotic (VSL3) and another one, S Boulardii, every single day. Plus, I grab lacto-fermented pickles and krauts and veggies when I feel like I need something extra. But, with the kit coming, I can add more daily veggies, condiments and fruits to my own days that are super-rich in so many various strains of probiotics, my own microbiome is excited!
One thing I have learned over time is that my body prefers to start slowly with new things that have power like probiotics. A spoonful of fermented veggies with a salad, a dollop of yogurt in a smoothie… In this way, there’s less upset and more flow.
Experiment, learn what’s best for you, stay simple and always talk to your doctor if you have any health issues or concerns. And, if you are adventurous and want to make your own fermented foods, learn and follow directions well as there’s a lot to be said for the rules in making these things well and safely!
Yet another way to add more energy, vibrancy, glow and deliciousness to your days!
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