Saturday, June 23, 2012

Learn the art of fermented foods for gut health

The importance of probiotic supplements and foods cannot be exaggerated. Antibiotics have a way of getting into us through commercial foods even if we don't take pharmaceutical antibiotics. Of course, any rounds of pharmaceutical antibiotics demand an even stronger course of probiotics. Stress, GMOs, and other toxins that abound and surround also disturb the delicate balance of probiotic intestinal flora. Probiotic "friendly bacteria" are vital to more than digestion. They also are involved with activating killer cells in other parts of the body. In other words, they're 60 to 80 percent of our total immune system. Then there's the recently explored gut-brain connection that affects our intellects, moods, and behavior. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride uses diet to create friendly bacteria and promote the intestinal flora balance in her UK clinic that successfully cures young children with neurological problems. She even cured her son from autism with her dietary approach. She explains all in her book GAPS: Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Off the shelf probiotic supplements are pricey and commercially sold kefirs and yogurts aren't probiotic potent enough to affect a proper intestinal flora balance. But you can tinker with foods and beverages to create your own highly probiotic dense foods. It's economical and beneficial. Make your own milk and/or water kefir Homemade milk kefir is emerging as a grass roots movement. Even using organic pasteurized milk for making kefir has benefited some. But if you can get your hands on grass fed raw milk, the benefits are greater ( Lactose intolerance fades among many who switch to raw milk, and sometimes kefir made from pasteurized milk works that way too. Goat's milk may be easier to get raw or unpasteurized. Either way, you'll need "starter grains" to start the fermentation process. You can check online for videos on how to use starter grains and also locate starter grain sources. If you know what you're doing, local Weston A. Price Foundation chapters may help you get fresh starter grains ( A good start for starter grains with complete instructions can be found here: . You can email the kefir lady at Milk or water kefirs process starter grains completely within 36 hours. Kefir grains for milk or water have a way of multiplying so that if you manage them well, the initial grain batch will carry over generationally for many months. The lactose in milk helps the grains ferment. Water kefir is perfect for vegans. With water starter grains, you have to add sugar. Again, search the internet for water kefir starter grains and videos. A raw form of sugar is recommended. Avoid tap water. The grains' bacteria production is nullified by chlorine and fluorides. You can get reverse osmosis filtered water from machines at any health food store. Here are some helpful hints for homemade water and milk kefirs: Fermenting food Fermentation foodie expert Sander Katz recommends making sauerkraut as your first homemade fermented solid food. Simply chop up a fresh organic cabbage with maybe a few carrots or other veggies added. Place into a bowl, add unrefined sea salt according to your discretion and a little purified water, not too much, and mix. Place contents into canning or mason jars. Push the contents down to eliminate air bubbles and ensure veggies are completely covered. Screw on the lids and place into your refrigerator. Check daily and unscrew the lids just enough to release fermentation gas pressures. After three to five days, you can enjoy your sauerkraut. There are other foods that can be fermented. Making yogurt is beyond the scope of this article. Kefirs are easier and better. Source -

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