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 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!
Our ancestors did not eat fermented foods or any other foods because they were rich in health gaining probiotics. Heck they did not even understand basic human biology. What they did know, was that if they ate certain foods they had the energy to accomplish the day’s tasks and that 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?”
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 tack can get the most nutrition possible during the most rapid development period of their life. 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% of the body’s daily energy expenditure it is the most important 10% of operations happening everyday. Just consider this function breaks down, processes, and absorbs all the nutrients, vitamins, 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? So this 10% operation supplies 100% of our 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.
If you have never made fermented foods your next question may be, “How hard is it to make fermented foods?” My answer, “Not hard at all!” Fermented foods have been being 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 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 with the methods, so you can understand how the process works. We have many articles on Cooking God’s Way that cover fermenting along with links to other websites expounding on the operation. If you are local you can even sign up for one of our classes and join the ranks of the many hundreds that have learned how to ferment the easy-way. If you are not local or want to learn at your own pace we offer a total lacto-fermenting kit to get you started.
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.