DID YOU KNOW?
From kimchi in Korea to sauerkraut in Germany, the process of fermenting foods is as old as humanity, with its origins dating back thousands of years. Unfortunately, fermented foods have largely disappeared from the Western diet, and with MUCH detriment to our gut health.
Like it or not, fermentation is everywhere and it’s an everyday miracle. Microscopic bacteria are essential to life’s processes allowing us to digest food into nutrients, protecting us from dangerous organisms, and helping our immune systems to function optimally.
WHAT IS FERMENTATION?
In the process of fermentation, bacteria or yeast convert carbohydrates into alcohol or lactic acid under anaerobic (aka without oxygen) conditions.
We won’t be diving into alcoholic fermentation because for those of you dealing with digestive issues this could add more problems than benefit. When I talk about fermentation, I’m mostly talking about the lactic acid kind (think fermented vegetables and the like).
WHY EAT FERMENTED FOODS?
Your gut microbiome is made up of 100 TRILLION or so bacteria and microorganisms. Research has linked these tiny creatures to all sorts of health issues, with everything from digestive issues to neurodegenerative diseases and in between.
In short, fermented foods are a powerful aid to digestion and a great way to put your gut back into balance. Why?
First, fermentation serves to enhance the digestion of the foods you eat. It makes nutrients more bioavailable by providing enzymes to properly absorb, digest and utilize nutrients in foods.
For example, lactose (a sugar found in milk) is broken down during fermentation into simpler sugars, glucose and galactose.
This process allows those who struggle with lactose intolerance to consume fermented dairy products (like kefir and yogurt) without experiencing digestive discomfort normally seen when consuming non-fermented dairy products such as regular milk.
Second, fermented foods are filled with TONS of beneficial bacteria that work to reinforce the good bacteria that already exist in your gut. They basically help keep proper balance between the good and bad guys living in your gut!
Third, fermented foods help boost your immune health. Did you know that about 80% of your immune system resides in your gut? Nurturing your guts’ immune health helps keep your intestinal tract healthy and in tune.
WHY MAKE YOUR OWN FERMENTED FOODS?
First off, adding a small amount of fermented food to each meal will give you your biggest bang for your buck. Why? Because they can contain a greater QUANTITY and greater VARIETY of beneficial bacteria than some probiotic supplements out there in the market. Not to mention they’re a lot cheaper than the ferments you buy at your local grocery store.
Second, making your own ferments ensures the ingredients you add to it are tolerable for you specifically. Most commercial ferments out there, such as pickles, have added ingredients such as garlic, onions, and other spices that often act as triggers for those struggling with digestive issues.
Third, not all commercially fermented foods are created equal. The jars of pickles you buy off the shelf at the supermarket are sometimes pickled using just vinegar and NOT with the live organisms that exert the health benefits as discussed above. If you DO opt to purchase ferments be sure the label states “naturally fermented” to get the most benefit.
Finally, as Sandoor Katz, author of Wild Fermentation: the flavor, nutrition, and craft of live-culture foods states: “Do-it-yourself is an ethic that is practiced by many people. It is an attitude of self-empowerment and openness to learning.”
Making your own ferments is a source of empowerment and it gets your creative juices flowing. Fermentation is really an art, you can ferment nearly anything and be as creative as you want!
So why not uplevel your health (and creativity) starting in your very own kitchen?
HOW TO GET STARTED.
Here’s a few important tips to get you started!
Choose Quality Produce.
Non-organic produce is sprayed with pesticides and kill of any beneficial bacteria before even making it to the grocery store shelf. Bonus points for those who choose organic or locally grown produce as their ferment base!
Use the Right Tools.
This is the most important piece. To get started, you’ll want to make sure you have the following tools:
Get Started with an Easy Recipe.
This Ginger-Lime Carrot Ferment is a quick and easy recipe to get you started on your fermentation journey.
Now you’re on your way to becoming a fermentation pro! Adding a small serving of ferments daily will help supercharge your gut health, boost immunity, and improve nutrient bioavailability.
I hope you’ll give it a try!
Are you ready to have the energy to enjoy a beautiful hike? To channel calm-as-a-cucumber serenity each day and to have a belly that finally behaves? Let’s chat!
Now is the time to book your free clarity call so that we can talk all about you, and your symptom-free future.