People jump on the bandwagon of eating fermented foods after they hear about how probiotic rich the foods can be. We are told today by many in the health field how probiotics can improve our health and keep colds, the flu, and even sickness at bay. Wow, that is exciting right! But has it become a video game methodology; kill the most bad guys and you win. Sometimes we don’t see the forest because of the trees.
What am I trying to say?
The Human body is basically like a machine! Yes, I understand we are not a machine. I am just using the basic principal of a machine. Put fuel in and it runs. In our case the fuel is food. So if we are a food burning machine it makes sense to use the highest quality food, Right! Am I saying fermented foods rich in probiotics don’t matter, no not at all. Probiotic rich foods are great for the body, but the food making up the fermented item is more important. Probiotics don’t fuel the body! If they did we could just eat pills all day and skip the food. We need nutrition!
Our ancestors, I am talking about people say 500 to 2,000 years ago, did not eat fermented foods or any other foods because they were rich in health gaining probiotics. Heck, they did not have a deep understanding of human biology. What they did know, was that if they ate certain foods they had the energy to accomplish the day’s tasks and stay healthy. Which was often was a matter of survival. Actually our ancestors had a better understanding of food than many today, they knew quality mattered, not quantity.
Since fermented foods were commonly eaten and important to these ancestors, these food types must have been a great source of power packed energy. Why else would they have eaten them daily? Now are you starting to ask, “What is up with fermented foods beyond the probiotics?” Sauerkraut has been traced back to the Chinese when they were building the great wall of China, over 2,000 years ago.
Fermented Foods Are Baby Food!
Fermented foods are rich in the raw materials we need to function daily. First and foremost is that fermented foods are actually pre-digested to a certain level. I know, when you think of pre-digested foods you think of baby food and we are not saying fermented foods are baby food; or are we? In a way they are! Baby food is puréed food so the baby without teeth and a fully developed digestive track can get the most nutrition possible during the most rapid development period of their life. So how is fermented food like baby food? Well the cell walls of fermented foods are softened during the fermentation process and cabbage that is almost inedible when raw, is transformed into a delightful sauerkraut after fermenting.
Here is something we share in all our classes on fermented foods. Each day we have a certain amount of energy for use by our body, to think, work, play, and heal, this amount of energy differs from person to person. One of the most important uses of this energy supply is digestion, and while this only accounts for about 10-15% of the body’s daily energy expenditure it is the most important 10-15% of operations happening everyday. Keep in mind this estimate is for a digestive system that is working at peak efficiency. My experience in consulting with people is that I feel their digestive system is only working about half as good as it should. Why do you think we have such an issue with constipation in this country? Keep in mind years of eating improperly weakens the body since it does not have the nutrition needed to function, repair, and grow.
We understand that the digestive function breaks down, processes, and absorbs all the nutrients, vitamins, enzymes and minerals your body needs to survive daily. Ok, so we have that basic understood. Is your body using excessive energy trying to pick through the poor quality food it is given for that needed nutrient or is it picking from high quality food stuffs abundantly supplying all the needed nutrients? And what if your digestive system is operating at a less efficient level? Energy requirements for basic digestion climbs from 10-15% to what level we don’t know, for an operation that supplies the nutrients needed for LIFE!
The voice of Grandma rings loud, “You are what you eat child, so stop complaining and eat that good food.”
So what was that I mentioned earlier about fermented foods? That they are predigested so the body does not have to work hard to get the nutrients and that fermented foods are high in quality since you are picking choice items to ferment in the first place. Can you say, JACKPOT!!! And do you want a bonus round? These foods are high in digestive enzymes making them even easier to digest, sounds like pre-digested foods are what we need. There have been many cultures studied to find out what gave them vitality and longevity, they all have one aspect in common, fermented foods.
Add to this that fermented foods taste great. I have to tell you they are much better than eating the vegetables raw. The foods that are fermented through a process called lacto-fermenting taste different, they taste kinda cooked. But since no heat is used in the lacto-fermentation process the food is still raw. Wow! All the vitamins, enzymes, and nutrients are unharmed in the lacto-fermentation process and yes that goes for the great healthful probiotics. In fact these vitamins, enzymes and nutrients are made more bio-available for easier digestion, hence BABY FOOD!
If you have never made fermented foods your next addition, question may be, “How hard is it to make fermented foods?” My answer, “Not hard at all!” Fermented foods have been made for centuries in just a simple jar type vessel, so it is cheap. Today we do have some improvements in the equipment, but at the heart it is still a simple jar. And since this process has been around for centuries it is tried, tested and proven.
USDA research service microbiologist Fred Breidt says –
“Properly fermented vegetables are actually safer than raw vegetables, which might have been exposed to pathogens like E. coli on the farm…With fermented products there is no safety concern. I can flat-out say that. The reason is the lactic acid bacteria that carry out the fermentation are the world’s best killers of other bacterica,” – San Francisco Gate, June 2009.
Where would you start if you are interested in fermenting vegetables? Let me suggest you start reading “the methods“, so you can understand how the process works. We have many articles on Cooking God’s Way that cover lacto-fermenting along with the needed hardware to lacto-ferment. We have developed The Original Veggie Fermenter to make it so easy to make fermented foods. You don’t even have to be local to take one of our classes, we have created videos that take you through it all. Joining the ranks of the thousands that have learned how to ferment the easy-way.
Whichever method you choose is up to you. But do take the time to read about how easy fermenting your own food can be to help improve your health and if you have a question or comment leave it below or write us.