|Sauerkraut--a known cancer-fighter|
Well, who knew? That's all I can say. The workshop that I did with Rene Oswald from Florida last week at our local Clover's was a big hit. It was a big crowd for that rather small venue (28 or so), and all the participants were very inquisitive, curious, energetic, and pretty impressed with the several samples we shared. Some of the questions that arose that evening were re-iterated in some followup emails to my last blog, so let me share some of the "most asked" items here.
First and foremost, though, the fermented foods that I'm talking about are the raw and living ones that you either make yourself, or find in the refrigerated sections of health food stores, and possibly some grocery stores. Sauerkraut, for example that has been pasteurized has been heat treated and is dead, and thus contains none of the life-giving positive microbrial life that our bodies need.
By far, the main benefits to consuming any of the fermented foods are two: Friendly bacteria and flora present in the digestive tract first help maintain gastrointestinal health and regularity, and, second, work with other body systems to improve immunity from other bacteria which cause diseases of all sorts. Fermented foods help to keep the body in balance.
Antibiotics, at risk of being over used and abused, destroy both harmful and beneficial bacteria, which is why people go running to the store for pro-biotics after a round of antibiotcs -- to replace the body's probiotics killed by the antibiotics. Fair enough. Microbial competition in the gut is the only thing that keeps the internal balance in a heatlhy system and opportunistic pathogens...such as Candida (yeast) in check. The bests way to guard against unwelcome bacterial infection is to nurture a healthy inner terrain, and eat a good variety of living foods that contain healthy bacteria --- raw and living fermented foods.
There are possible side effects when introducing fermented foods into the diet. There may be some detoxing, which is not a bad thing, but may mean some temporary indigestion, gas, and diarrhea in the beginning. These are common cleansing reactions that occur when the body expels toxings and brings itself back to balance. The key to success is to be sensible, don't panic. Observe how your body responds to these foods, modify the intake to a comfortable level, and know that the probiotics are working in your favor. Then increase the variety, frequency, and amounts accordingly, and you'll be fine. Fermented foods -- nature's best probiotics -- have been around and enjoyed in many cultures for many centuries.
Taste will be one determining factor, as fermented foods are sometimes too sour or acidic to consume in excess. Miso is quite salty. So start conservatively, and add these healthful foods and drinks to your repetoire of healthy eating a little at a time, as you acquire new tastes and sensations. You'll be glad you did!
I am hardly and expert on fermented foods, though I can answer other questions about raw and living foods pretty well. If you are interested inlearning more on fermentation, click on the Amazon icon on this page and check out their offerings both on crocks and fermentation. That's how we got our start. When you go through this page to Amazon, it is a help to me as I try to spread the word around so that more and more folks are eating in healthier and healthier ways. Thanks for that. Happy fermenting!
Kombucha -- fermented sweetened tea--(my favorite!)