Fermented foods play an important role in the diets of many cultures throughout the world. Traditionally, fermentation is a food preservation method in which beneficial
microorganisms pre-digest and preserve the food.
This process makes the food easier to digest, releases nutrients, increases the enzyme levels, boosts the immune system, and supplies beneficial flora, or probiotics, to our digestive system.
The health benefits are enormous and the food is delicious!
The beneficial bacteria fights and prevents the growth of unhealthy, destructive, and pathogenic mycotoxins such as bacteria, yeast, mold, and fungus.
Examples of fermented foods include sauerkraut, veggie-kraut, kefir, miso, kim-chee, kombucha tea, yogurt or cheese made with nuts and seeds, rejuvelac, Nama Shoyu (raw soy sauce), raw apple cider vinegar, and pickles. These foods are easy to make and may be stored for months or years if prepared correctly.
Our modern culture has sacrificed many of the health benefits of traditionally fermented foods for the conveniences of mass production. The supermarket brands are commonly pasteurized, a process that destroys the enzymes and beneficial bacteria. In addition to this, they are packed with health destroying substances such as processed salt and sugar, vinegar, and chemical preservatives.
Traditionally fermented foods are an important part of various living foods healing programs such as those found at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, the Creative Health Institute, and the Hippocrates Health Institute. These retreats use fermented foods on a daily basis.
Fermented foods are occasionally made with cooked foods, and the fermentation process transforms them into living foods. For example, miso and Nama Shoyu are made with cooked legumes but the beneficial bacteria transforms them into healthy living foods.
It's tough to locate unpasteurized fermented foods in most cities. There's a company called Rejuvenative Foods selling unpasteurized fermented foods in health food stores throughout the US.
When making your own, adding a teaspoon of a high quality probiotic and/or a tablespoon of miso can speed up the process. This ensures that the beneficial bacteria is present and multiplies rapidly.
Within one hour, one bacteria grows into two. After two hours, the single bacteria will have grown into 4. It will have multiplied 256 times after 8 hours. I've found that probiotics containing multiple strains of bacteria give the best results.
A company called South River Miso makes my favorite brand of miso paste. You can make a delicious miso soup broth by warming up the water. Just don't bring the soup to a boiling temperature because the high temperature may destroy the enzymes.
My favorite way to eat nuts and seeds is to turn them into cheese or yogurt. Soak them for the required length of time. Blend one cup of nuts with one-cup of water until it becomes a creamy consistency. Next, add a half-teaspoon of a high quality probiotic to start the culture.
Let the mixture sit in a glass jar covered with cheesecloth. Let it sit for a minimum of 6 hours to let the mixture ferment. I've found that it tastes better after sitting for 24 hours.
My favorite yogurt ingredients are sunflower seeds and almonds. Blending in a little young coconut water and meat makes a delicious combination.
The yogurt may be added to your green smoothies and the leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Kefir is an ancient food full of beneficial microorganisms, which assist in replenishing the intestinal flora and boosting the immune system. It's full of easy to digest amino acids and is especially rich in tryptophan. It's also high in minerals and B vitamins.
The culture is usually called Kefir Grains, but they aren't cereal grains. The grains are a soft, gelatinous mass composed of proteins, fats, beneficial microbes and yeast.
Kefir contains unique probiotic strands not found in any other food. It is used to make a delicious vegan beverage with foods such as almond milk, juice, and young coconut water.
Making vegan kefir is an art form and will take some practice to get right.
I highly recommend reading the book "Wild Fermentation" by Sandor Ellix Katz. (aka Sandorkraut!)
You'll discover more about the art of fermentation in my eBook, "The Health Evolution"