Learn how to improve gut health by fermenting your own food
In the last 100 years, most traditional fermented foods have practically been eliminated from our diet. In this country, about the only fermented food we continue to eat with any regularity is pickles made from fermented cucumbers. But commercial pickles are made using vinegar instead of just salt and water—and then they are pasteurized, which kills all of the beneficial lactic acid bacteria that boost digestive health. This process, in effect, renders the product nearly useless when it comes to improving health. (This true of commercial sauerkraut and yogurt, as well.)
The fact that 35 million people in this country alone suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, and that millions more suffer from ulcers, indigestion, recurring vaginal infections, chronic constipation or diarrhea, and dozens of other related health problems, should make it obvious that we need to add these foods back into our daily diet. But fermenting your own is the only way to realize much-needed gut health benefits.
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Although I like all fermented foods, sauerkraut has to be my favorite, with kefir a close second. I usually have two batches of sauerkraut going at all times: one that I'm eating, and one that is still going through the fermentation process. One of the many reasons I like sauerkraut is for its numerous strains of bacteria, many of which I'm sure haven't even been categorized.
There are three tools that will come in handy if you decide to make your own cultured-milk products and pickled vegetables:
- Miracle yogurt maker. To ferment milk at home I use the Miracle Yogurt Maker by Miracle Exclusives.
- Fermenting crock pot. To ferment cabbage and other vegetables, I use the Fermenting Crock Pot, also by Miracle Exclusives.
- Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions. There are several books currently in print on the subject of lactic-acid fermentation as a method of preserving food. One I highly recommend is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It has a wealth of information on various health topics and dozens of great recipes. Only one chapter deals with lactic acid-fermented foods, but it contains recipes for sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers, garlic, beets, radish, corn relish, potatoes, various chutneys, Korean kimchi, and more. You can order Nourishing Traditions from www.amazon.com.
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