Fermentation

Okay, I'm just going to come right out and tell you that I am fermenting crazy. I don't know what it is but the beauty of the process just captives me. My idea with this tab is to post my ongoing adventures in culturing, and of course alert you all to my upcoming workshops on the subject as well. I will post pictures, experiences, contacts, and recipes.

Everyone needs to eat fermented foods. Our bodies evolved on this stuff and need it. I believe it to be a missing modern health link. I do not believe that something in a capsule will ever replace the intricate plethora of differing microorganisms that make up a healthy colony. This is not to say that a supplement would not be useful therapeutically, I just think that it is not the whole solution. I am talking about our microbiome. What? This is the symbiotic colony that lives within each of our colons. Symbiotic of course means that it can't live without us, and we can't live without it. Sounds like something out of a science fiction novel but it's the truth. Feed, love, and cherish your symbiot, because it will will repay you with resistance to disease and a powerful sense of well being. Oh yeah, and let me give you an idea of it's size; consider a healthy bowel movement of approximately 12 inches long and 1 inch in diameter, this would be comprised of more than 60% dead bacteria and other micro organisms. A strong microbiome is 100 trillion members strong. That's 10 times the amount of actual cells that make up our entire bodies!

Virtually every culture on the planet has some form of fermented food in their daily diet. Many still do. You name it, it can be fermented. Of course this was a necessary thing in the days before refrigeration, canning, modern processing and preservatives. Really, it's only been the last couple hundred years that these healful foods have been disappearing from our diets, especially in the Western World. 

Some interesting physiological facts worth noting: we have so much nervous tissue associated with our gastrointestinal tract that it's been dubbed our 'second brain; up to 90% of our body's immune tissue is also found surrounding this area. Both of these tissues are in direct communication with our microbiome! Now consider all of the 'modern illnesses' that have surfaced: autoimmune conditions like Crohn's, Colitis, MS, Celiac, and a vast array of allergies,  just to name a few; anxiety, depression, bipolar, and other mood disorders. Hmmm...coincidence? I think not. I'm not saying this is the answer to all our problems, but I'm pretty sure it's a big piece of the puzzle. Just a word of caution though, if you are new to fermented foods start slowly. Introducing too much at once can make things, shall we say, uncomfortable. Don't give up though, just back off till you find an amount you can tolerate and build up gradually. There are many different forms of fermented foods and drinks, so experiment with different types till you find something that suits your tastes and body.

Fermenting is not difficult. If you can make a cup of tea and a salad then you already possess all the skills necessary to create these health giving foods easily, using very simple basic and common ingredients. In many cases you don't even need a starter culture. These are known as 'wild ferments' because the microorganisms necessary to inoculate your food or drink are all around us and already living on the very food you want to ferment. Sauerkraut is one of these.