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Fabulous Fermented Foods

Fabulous Fermented Foods

Lacto-fermented veggies in anaerobic fermentation jars.

 I first stumbled into the world of ferments when my youngest son had a host of digestive issues as a baby. After working with numerous naturopaths and doing countless hours of research, I was able to learn a mountain of information in a very short period of time about the traditional “superfood” of ferments.

Traditionally fermented foods such as Sauerkraut, pickles, yogurt and the like are fairly well known, however the process of store bought fermentation greatly differs from the time honoured traditional sense.  Traditional fermentation had been a dying art for some time thanks to the industrialization of the food industry, but it is now making quite the comeback in all sorts of health circles and lifestyles as some of the healthiest (and tastiest) foods on the planet. Fermentation is an ancient food preservation technique that uses the biology of good bacterias, yeasts and molds to prepare and preserve delicious foods.  It creates exquisite preserves, but the real magic behind ferments is in the Probiotics they contain.

Probiotics – that word sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  Probiotics are the good bacterias that inhabit our body. Why are they important? Over 80% of our immune system is found in the gut. Yes, you read that right, over 80%.  Believe it or not, more and more people are now coming to the realization that the root of one’s health is in fact in the gut and digestive tract.  Countless naturopaths, nutritionists and even conventional Doctors alike are learning that not only physical, but even mental illness can be traced back to gut health.

Heart Shaped Cabbage

Lacto-Fermented Cabbage, aka Sauerkraut, is one of the most well known forms of fermented vegetable.

We maintain an incredible symbiotic relationship with the trillions of microbes in our body!  We all have a balance of good AND bad bacterias, yeasts and molds in our guts. The key to optimal health is to have more of the beneficial bacterias then the pathogens. Unfortunately, this can be a difficult task this day and age with the bombardment of antibiotics, denatured foods, environmental toxins, prescription drugs, vaccinations, genetically modified foods, fluoride and chlorine in our water  … I could go on. But the key is to understand we must heal our guts and continue to maintain proper balance with Probiotics to maintain optimal health.  Fermented foods are essential in achieving and maintaining optimal gut health due to the high probiotic content they contain.

Fermented foods aid in digestion, as the active bacterias and probiotics actually predigest your food for you!  Fermentation actually increases the flavour, enzymes and preserve the vitamin content in your foods.  Fermentation is an easy and very inexpensive way to preserve foods and make them as nutrient dense as possible. Turn any vegetable into a “superfood” once it’s been fermented.

Did I mention they are de-li-cious?! Ferments are paired beautifully with almost any meal. Add them to soups, as a side dish, heck, my kids will even eat bowlfuls of Sauerkraut just on their own! Water kefir and kombucha are both delicious, mineral-rich, fermented beverage that can be sweetened with fruit.

Ok, so now you want to run out and buy some ferments, right? A word of caution, don’t be fooled by some of the store bought products. Most companies will pasteurize their product (killing all the beneficial microbes).  Also, since the fermentation process can be quite unpredictable based on temperature, length of ferment and seasonality of the vegetables, companies can also add flavour enhancers, colorants or unnatural preservatives to make their product more uniform – yuck!  My best suggestion, look into learning to make ferments yourself.  That’s how I started. It’s quite easy and as I said, inexpensive. The other option is to find local, reputable fermenting artists that do their own raw, organic ferments.  They can be few and far between, but they are out there.

There’s many fermentation articles and tutorials online as well as workshops that are taught locally. This article is not meant to treat, diagnose or cure any illnesses of course, it’s simply encourage you to explore the benefits of fermented foods. You owe it to yourself and your family to learn more about these amazing super foods.

Looking to learn more about ferments? Stay with us for more amazing info.

With Love and an grateful heart,

 

Rebecca