Traditionally Fermented Foods
Did you know?
There is a traditional way to make pickles, sauerkraut and other preserves?
Fermentation will increase the naturally occurring vitamins, anti-oxidants, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria in any food.
Quick method ferments produce a crunchy and MILD taste
Acidophilus, friendly bacteria, cultured foods, and ferments are all “probiotics”, which means “pro-life”
Traditional Ferments have been shown to:
Heal your gut!
Reduce sugar cravings!
Let’s bring some culture back into our culture; cultured food that is! These cultures, once regarded as sacred food in traditional diets, are beneficial bacteria known as probiotics which actually means “for life”.
Cultured foods- also called ferments are considered a food group for many traditions around the world and for a good reason; they are a nutritionally dense super-food. They can help you and your family fight off -or avoid altogether – the flu, coughs, colds, ear infections, headaches, digestive issues, allergies, brain fog, and sugar cravings that seem to plague so many people today.
Probiotics are friendly, beneficial bacteria. These bacteria colonize the large and small intestines and are a very important part of a healthy digestive system. There are more than 500 different types of bacteria in the gut; the two most abundant types are Lactobacillus acidophilus (Latin for acid loving milk bacteria) and Bifido bacterium (Latin for bacteria that branches into two parts, from the morphing that happens with fermentation). Bifido bacterium are the most abundant bacteria in the large intestine and Lactobacilli acidophilus are the most abundant in the small intestine
Cultured dairy products such as yogurt, kefir and soured cream provide beneficial bacteria and lactic acid to the digestive tract. Research has shown that the regular consumption of cultured dairy products lowers cholesterol and protects against disease and bone loss.
The fermentation of milk makes it easier for lactose intolerance from the transformation of lactose into lactic acid which provides lactobacilli. The presence of lactase in fermented milk products helps to break down lactose in the digestive tract. Additionally, some of the milk protein casein is decomposed, liberating the amino acids of which it is formed. Research shows that proteins in yogurt are digested twice as quickly as those in non- fermented milk.
Fermenting vegetables is another ancient way of bringing some culture back into our food! Sauerkraut and Kim chi are commonly known cultured cabbage foods that some cultures consume daily; I recommend the consumption of these cultured foods from a variety of vegetables, fruits and dairy as a condiment with every meal for better overall health to all of my clients.
Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria. The naturally occurring sugars in vegetables and fruits are converted into lactic acid by the many species of lactic-acid-producing bacteria; Lactobacillus acidophilus is present on the surface of all living things!
These friendly creatures and their by-products keep pathogens at bay, guard against infections and aid in more optimal digestion of all the food we consume.
The tradition of preserving foods, enhancing their nutritive value and making them more digestible through fermentation is a very ancient one. A very modern way to consume these beneficial bacterial cultures or probiotics is through choosing a high quality supplement in the form of a capsule, powder or liquid at a health food store.
As a nutritional consultant, I ask my clients to consider all these ancient practices of culturing foods and bringing back fermented foods at least every day. When this is not possible because of many people’s busy lifestyles and taste preference, I recommend taking a probiotic supplement.
It is quick and easy to make your own probiotic preserves and bring back a ‘lost food group’ into the Canadian diet. There are many varieties that are still alive in other parts of the world today: sauerkraut (Ukrainian), Kimchi (Korean), Tempeh (Indonesian), Miso, Natto & fermented soy sauce (Asian), lassi & idli (Indian), viili yogurt (Nordic), skyr (Icelandic), polish pickles, etc. Unfortunately, many of these foods have disappeared from Canadian grocery store shelves; instead we see mass-produced, canned & pasteurized versions.
If you want to learn more about fermented foods, the many varieties to make and how easy it is to make them, check back here or like me on facebook.
Be well and stay nourished,
Elaine Doucette Cl.H Clinical Herbalist, Iridologist, traditional foods & fermentation revivalist; practicing traditional herbal medicine and nutrition for over 15 years.