The Raw Foods Evolution

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

How to make Fermented Foods

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.

A great book on this subject is "Wild Fermentation" by Sandor Ellix Katz. (aka Sandorkraut!)

You'll discover more about the art of fermentation in my eBook, "The Health Evolution"

Food Combining Techniques

One of the most important eating habits to practice is that of food combining.

Food combining rules are misunderstood and rarely used. Poor combinations cause indigestion, abdominal pains, and the numerous health challenges related to indigestion.

Many chronic illnesses occur after years of indigestion. Read on to learn about this art of eating.

When you combine food incorrectly, the food is not properly digested and will rot, decay, ferment, and putrefy in the digestive tract. This defeats the whole purpose of eating because the body cannot digest or assimilate rotten food.

Bad food combinations are eaten at almost every meal by those eating the standard American diet. Starchy bread, rice, or potatoes with high protein meats or nuts, sugary desserts after dinner, and acidic red tomato sauce on starchy pasta and pizza are a few of the most common examples.

Food combining is based on the length of time it takes to digest each unique food, the enzymes required to digest them, and the acid or alkaline pH required in the stomach.

The enzyme factor is important to consider. There are 75,000 to 100,000 enzymes present in the human body. The digestive enzymes create a chemical transformation, turning the food into nutrients.

Eat food group requires a different enzyme to digest it. For example, fat requires lipase, protein requires pepsin, and starches require ptyalin and amylase.

- Melons

The first food to be aware of is melons. The melon sugars digest quickly. It may take 20 minutes for them to pass through the stomach and into the digestive tract.

If these sugars are eaten with other foods, they will be held up in the stomach for hours. The stomach is a warm, moist environment and the sugars quickly ferment. Fermented sugars cannot be assimilated by the body.

- Fruits

The next food group to focus on is fruit. Fruits may be broken down into four general categories:

- Sweet (bananas, mangos, dates, figs, raisins)
- Sub-Acid (apples, berries, pears, persimmons)
- Acid (grapefruit, pineapple, oranges, kiwi, tomato)
- Salad (bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado)

As a general rule, eat fruit alone and on an empty stomach. This rule may be broken. Fruits may be combined with neutral foods such as celery and leafy greens. It may be combined with pre-digested living foods such as sprouts, soaked nuts, and soaked seeds.

You may safely combine sweet fruits with sub-acid fruits. Sub-acid fruits combine well with acid fruits. Avoid sweet with acid fruit combinations.

The salad fruits are low in sugar and they may be eaten with vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sea vegetables.

Do not combine the avocado with nuts and seeds. This is a hard to digest combination and it creates too much fat for one serving. Eat your meal with one or the other.

While not ideal, small amounts of the sub-acid or acid fruits may be eaten with nuts, seeds, and vegetables without discomfort.

For example, a combination with pear slices in a salad with greens, veggies, and walnuts may be eaten. Almond butter on apple slices should be an okay combination.

Everyone has different digestive strengths so you must experiment to find what works for you.

- Celery and Greens

Celery and leafy greens are neutral and may be eaten with any other food. Eating celery or leafy greens with or soon after a fruit meal greatly improves the digestive strength.

- Starch

Starchy foods are next on the list. They combine well with vegetables but make a horrible combination with protein foods.

Starchy vegetables include carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips, rutabagas, sprouted grains, and turnips. The cooked starches include grains such as breads, pastas, potatoes, and rice.

Digestion of starches begins in the mouth. The enzyme ptyalin is released to begin the chemical change.

When chewing food, the stomach creates a gastric juice filled with enzymes specific for each food.

If you chew starches, the gastric juice will have a slightly alkaline pH. If protein foods are chewed, the gastric juice will have an acid pH. If you chew non-food item, such as a pen, the stomach will not create gastric juices.

If starches are eaten with proteins, the stomach will be confused. It may create gastric juices with a slightly acid pH. The starch enzymes ptyalin and amylase are destroyed in an acidic environment. The stomachs pH may not be acidic enough to digest proteins.

When eaten together, neither starches nor proteins will be fully digested. The proteins will putrefy and decay and the starch sugars will ferment.

This poor combination is stressful for the body. Viktoras Kulvinskas writes “95% of people are deficient in amylase, starch digesting enzyme, and should take a full spectrum enzyme with all starchy meals or leave them alone.” (P. 125, The Lovers Diet).

In his article "A Talk Given by Viktoras Kulvinskas", he writes “All food is poisonous if it is not digested, no matter what you are eating.”

- Acids

The acid foods include tomatoes, lemons, ketchup, red tomato sauce, vinegar, & acid fruits. They combine well with non-starchy vegetables, fats, and proteins.

The acid foods should not be consumed with starches. They will create an acidic pH which will prevent the starch enzymes from working.

- Liquids

Liquids should be consumed 30 minutes before eating food. Drinking liquid with a meal will dilute the gastric juices and the food will be held up in the stomach too long.

- Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds combine best with vegetables. Nuts are high in fat and should not be consumed with other fats. Seeds are high in protein and combine well with other fats.

In a recent interview with author Frederick Patenaude, author David Wolfe
said “If you have hemp seeds with coconut oil, you double the conversion ratio of medium-chain omega-3 to long-chain omega-3, which is very interesting.”

This is significant because the long-chain omega-3 fats are difficult to find in vegan foods.

Soaking the nuts and seeds makes them much easier to digest. The soaking process will partially pre-digest them and bring the dormant enzymes to life. When soaked, it is okay to combine small amounts with fruits.

- Desserts

Desserts should be eaten alone or after a simple salad. The desserts are usually high in sugar and consumed after one is already full. This is overeating and the sugars will ferment.

The perfect way to beat the sugary dessert craving is to eat fruit 20 minutes before the main entrée.

The good thing about raw vegan desserts is that they make a healthy, nutritional, complete, and satisfying meal.

You could be eating cake for breakfast, pie for lunch, and cookies with ice cream for dinner, and you will be eating healthier than most people.

(These delicious desserts are all made with fruits, spices, and soaked nuts and seeds)

- Juices

Fresh raw juices require little to no digestion. They should still be chewed to help digest and assimilate the nutrients. There is an old rule, “Drink your food and chew your liquids”.

With fresh juices, do not combine fruit juices with vegetable juices. The vegetables contain fats which may slow up the absorption of the fruit sugars.

- Fermented Foods

Fermented foods combine well with vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sea vegetables. They may combine well with fruits depending on the food.

In "The Lovers Diet", Kulvinskas writes "Because of the acid component, the fermented foods are NEVER to be combined in the same meal with starchy foods such as bread, rice, and other grains, root vegetables, ect.

- Simple meals

The easiest to digest meals consist of one to five ingredients. Mono-eating, which is eating one food until full, is an excellent way to eat.

The food combining rules are not as important when eating a primarily living foods diet. The living foods have their own enzymes which assist in the digestive process.

- Enzyme Supplements

It is not always possible to follow the food combining rules, especially during raw gourmet potlucks or special dinners.

This is where the multiple digestive enzyme supplements come in.

The Natural Choice Products Multiple Digestive Enzymes contain enzymes that digest every food group. These enzymes work in any pH. It does not matter if the gastric juices are alkaline or acidic, the enzymes will still digest the food.

I highly recommend the enzymes. You can order through me or off their website (Just tell them I sent you!)

The site is:

- Celery and Ginger Root

If you experience discomfort after a meal, chewing celery sticks or drinking fresh ginger root juice or tea will improve digestion. Chewing the celery will assist the body in creating more enzymes, and the ginger will improve circulation and digestion.

Proper food combining will lead to improved digestion, youthful and enthusiastic energy, improved health, and hopefully a longer life-span!

More tips for succeeding on the raw foods diet can be found in "The Health Evolution: A Guide to the Raw Foods Diet" by Michael Snyder

Kale: The Bitter Truth

This article is from the Raw Food Ezine titled "Fruttas e Verdure", which simply means..."Fruits and Vegetables."

Kale: The Bitter Truth
by Tara Bianca Tiller, quoted from

The truth is that I love kale. I know I am not the only one who loves this bitter, yet healing green leafed wonder. Of course, few dearly love kale, but those who love it, love it strong.

Kale, my favourite dark leafy green. A true life saver. I credit this stellar, yet humble green in returning my sanity and my sleep many years ago. Faced with deep depression and insomnia I tried fresh greens. Within one week of including uncooked dark leafy greens in my diet, my depression disappeared and I had a solid eight hour sleep for the first time in over 3 years.

Kale and other greens are rich in chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the pigment in vegetables that makes them green and it is involved in transforming the sun's energy to energy that we can use for food. The benefits of consuming chlorophyll, also known as 'plant blood', are numerous. Here are a few:


* helps our bodies detoxify and can purify our blood.

* can help make our bodies strong and healthy.

* builds blood, renews tissues, counteracts radiation, activates enzymes, improves liver function, establishes healthful intestinal flora.

* also benefits anemia, reduces high blood pressure, relieves anxiety and nervousness, strengthens intestines.

* rich foods can slow down the aging process, improve mental capacity, and enhance a healthy weight loss program.

* rich foods can protect the vascular system by lowering blood fat and guarding against artery deterioration.

* Greens are highly cleansing foods.

"Studies suggest that vitamin B9 (folate) may be associated with depression more than any other nutrient, and may play a role in the high incidence of depression in the elderly. Between 15% and 38% of people with depression have low folate levels in their bodies and those with very low levels tend to be the most depressed." (from )

Rich in Minerals and Vitamins

Rich in minerals and vitamins, kale is among the most nutritious vegetables. Kale is loaded with calcium, potassium, indoles (cancer-fighting substances), beta-carotenes, and other antioxidants.

A 100 gram serving (1.5 cups) of kale provides double the amount of vitamin-A compared to regular red and green leaf lettuces. This works out to be 306% of the recommended daily value. And, you receive 134% of the RDV for Vitamin-C. Kale is also abundant in calcium, magnesium, silicon, boron, zinc, and copper.

One study revealed that kale, a low-oxalate vegetable, is a good source of bioavailable calcium. Other members of the brassica family includes broccoli, turnip greens, collard greens and mustard greens. These low-oxalate, calcium-rich vegetables are therefore also likely to be better sources of available calcium than high-oxalate vegetables such as spinach or chard.

Since magnesium is essential for boosting bone mineral density, kale is an ideal source for bone health. Kale is an often-overlooked vegetable that happens to be loaded with folate (folic acid), an important B vitamin for everyone.

Folate, present in dark leafy greens such as kale, is also known as vitamin B9 or folic acid. Folate is crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health. It is a water-soluble vitamin that works along with vitamin B-12 and vitamin C to help the body digest and utilize proteins and to synthesize new proteins when they are needed. Folate is necessary for the production of red blood cells and for the synthesis of DNA, which is used to guide the cell in its daily activities.

Kale is available in many varieties, including purple, Russian, and "dinosaur". Although kale can taste slightly bitter to those not acustomed to its flavour, it is most palatable when combined with other, sweeter ingredients, such as cucumber and apple. As an individual increases their consumption of kale over time, it begins to taste less bitter and can even taste sweet. Especially when the kale has been exposed to a light frost during cultivation.

Ancient History

Kale is a primitive cabbage native to the eastern Mediterranean or to Asia Minor. Due to migrating tribes over thousands of years, it is not certain which of those two regions is the origin of the species. The Latin name Brassica oleracea defines this green as a 'headless cabbage'.

All principal forms of kale eaten today have been known for at least two thousand years. The Greeks and Romans grew several kinds of kale. European writers mentioned kale in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 13th centuries. Although the first mention of the kales in America was in 1669, it is probable that they were introduced earlier.

Enrich your Diet

Find ways to include kale in your diet everyday. Making friends with this king of greens is a fabulous way to get a varienty of necessary nutrients. Here are some tips:

Shred: Enjoy kale shredded or finely chopped into your salad.

Juice: Juice kale with some apple and celery for a delicious beverage.

Green Smoothies: Combine kale with other vegetables and fruit in a Vitamix (superblender).


Green Smoothies blend best in a powerful blender, like a Vitamix. These recipes are suprisingly sweet. Over time you may want to decrease the amount of fruit added.

If you are new to eating kale, start with small amounts first, then increase over a few weeks. I prefer dark green kale, such as lacinato, dinosaur or black kale. The first two recipes are by Victoria Boutenko. Enjoy!

1) Pear-Kale-Mint
4 ripe pears
4-5 leaves of kale
1/2 bunch of mint

2) Pear-Kale with a Bite
2 ripe pears
4-5 leaves of kale
1 handful of raspberries
1 apple
1 small piece of ginger

3) Bosc Pear-Raspberry-Kale
3 bosc pears
1 handful of raspberries
4-5 leaves of kale

4) Tara's Favourite Green Smoothie
3 to 6 leaves of dark green kale
2 apples
3 stalks
1/2 cup or more Water
Ginger (optional)

For more Kale recipes, sign up for Mike Snyder's raw gourmet newsletter at