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Healthy Food Lover's Newsletter, Issue #13 -- Do You Need Some "Culture" In Your Diet?
March 15, 2013
Hello Healthy Food Lovers,

Do You Need More "Culture" in Your Diet?

As most people know, a life without culture - is not really any type of "beneficial" life at all!

Not only is culture being removed from our school systems, but it is also being removed - slowly but surely - from our food supply.

Traditional and Ancient diets from around the world have usually included a variety of cultured foods - which are also known as fermented foods.

Cultured foods include salami, yogurt, kefir, beer, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, aged cheeses, and soy sauce. These foods were teeming with many beneficial strains of bacteria.

Unfortunately, many of these foods have been replaced with commercialized or sterile versions that no longer contain any "real" culture.

And without enough culture or beneficial bacteria in your life, it becomes very hard for your body to remain in an optimal state of well being.

Bacteria - The "Good" and The "Bad"

There are over 10 times the number of bacteria that live inside your body compared to the number of your cells and these bacteria are so numerous that they can weigh over 3 lbs.

I don't think most people realize how much they rely on these large concentrations of bacteria to keep them healthy.

Most people think that they must kill off all bacteria in order to stay well, but the problem really only starts when there is an imbalance between the "Good" and the "Bad".

The Western Diet has created this imbalance with its heavy reliance on pasteurized, processed, factory farmed, sugary, vegetable oils, food additives, GMO, and irradiated foods.

This along with taking too many antibiotics, using anti-bacterial products, chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, etc. has lead to an imbalance in favor of the "Bad".

On the other hand consuming foods that provide "Good" bacteria will help to restore this balance.

Good Bacteria is Needed for:

  • Proper Digestion
  • Making Key Nutrients like Vitamin K2
  • Eliminating Toxins
  • Crowding out Bad Bacteria & Pathogens

There seems to be over-whelming evidence that you can treat and even prevent common illnesses with foods or supplements that contain beneficial or good bacteria.

Lacto-Fermented Foods

Lacto bacilli are the bacteria used to make lacto-fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi. The starches or sugars found in these foods are converted into lactic acid by the many species of lacto bacilli.

Lacto bacilli are salt tolerant bacteria.

Salt is typically used to make this ferment because it inhibits putrefying bacteria for several days - which gives the lacto bacilli species enough time to produce the lactic acid which is needed to preserve foods.

The lacto-fermentation process has numerous benefits which go far beyond the preservation of foods.

Benefits of Lacto-Fermented Foods:

  • Stronger Digestive System
  • Helps with Yeast Overgrowth
  • Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
  • Normalizes Stomach Acidity
  • Promotes Healthy Flora
  • Creates Vitamin K2 & B Vitamins (like B12)
  • Creates Important Enzymes
  • Creates Anti-Cancer Compounds
  • Helps with Detox

Most people are familiar with a lot of the lacto-fermented foods, but the sky is the limit on what you can choose to lacto-ferment.

Lacto-Fermented Foods & Drinks video

The Korean Super Food

Kimchi is typically a spicy fermented cabbage dish and it is a food that I have eaten from a very early age as my Korean grandmother was in the kimchi business.

Kimchi is a traditional food that dates back over a thousand years and is one of the most popular dishes of Korea. It is an excellent digestive aid and many Koreans may actually eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

There are literally over a hundred varieties to choose from, but the most common type is made from napa cabbage, radish, red chili powder, and fish sauce.

Kimchi is a good source of vitamins A and C. It's also a source of certain B vitamins and minerals like calcium.

Kimchi is loaded with lacto bacilli bacteria and may contain up to 4 times more than is found in yogurt.

Fermented cabbage dishes such as kimchi also have compounds that may be helpful in preventing certain types of cancer. Kimchi is also known to lower blood cholesterol levels.

You can use kimchi as a side dish for your meat, poultry, or fish meals. You can also flavor soups or stews with this spicy condiment.

Please make sure there is no MSG in the kimchi that you purchase at your grocery stores - a lot of brands include this neurotoxin which is a brain killer.

General Lacto-Fermentation Tips

Lacto-fermentation is an Anerobic process - or a lack of oxygen type of process. About only 1 inch of space should be left at the top of your fermenting jar.

Provide lacto bacilli with plenty of nutrients in order for them to do their best job and use organic foods to get the best results.

A room temperature of approx. 72 degrees should ensure a lactic-fermentation in 2 to 4 days. If your kitchen is colder, fermenting time will be longer and if your kitchen is very warm, the fermenting time will be short.

Lacto veggie ferments should keep for many months if stored in the refrigerator or cold place of 40 degrees - lacto veggie ferments may actually increase in flavor in a few months time.

Lacto fruit ferments will not last as long and should be eaten within a 2 month period.

The amount of salt used in veggie or fruit ferments can be reduced or even eliminated if whey or celery juice is added to the "pickling" solution.

Whey is an inoculant that is rich in lactic acid producing bacteria which reduces the time needed for sufficient amounts of lactic acid to be produced for a successful ferment.

The use of whey will result in a more consistent ferment. You can also use something like sauerkraut juice to inoculate your ferment - to replace whey.

Celery juice is naturally high in sodium and can be used to replace salt when making vegetable ferments. However, I would always use some whey when fermenting fruit.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotic stands for Pro Life and they are the "Good" organisms that help to keep your body and digestive tract healthy.

On average, the human digestive system contains more than 400 types of probiotic bacteria - and their health benefits are determined by the job they do in your gut.

Your gut microflora can consist of many types of bacteria such as lacto bacilli (of which there are more than 50 species) and Escherichia Coli - that's right E-coli.

There are many strains of E. coli and other "thought to be scary" bacteria. Typically only a few specific strains - usually the man made ones - will create havoc!

Aajonus (the most controversial teacher in the world of nutrition and maybe the smartest) talks about Bacteria

Traditional diets included both raw and fermented foods to provide the necessary bacteria or probiotics that the gut needs to digest foods.

And raw foods went far beyond just fresh fruits and salads. It was very common in the past for people to eat raw animal or raw seafoods such as ceviche, steak tartare, raw milk, and carpaccio - and remember the amount of raw fish that is eaten in Japan.

You see 140 to 165 degrees F is where most bacteria is totally destroyed - the "Good" and the "Bad". Although, according to Aajonus - 105 degrees F will stop all bacterial activity.

Most people are terrified of eating raw animal foods because of the risk of consuming pathogenic organisms. However, if you have a somewhat healthy gut, you can withstand a small number of these organisms.

The Holy Trinity of Foods

That would be Raw, Cultured or Fermented, and Cooked foods. There needs to be a balance between all three in order to get the most from your diet.

Raw Foods - contains beneficial bacteria, enzymes and many other heat-intolerant nutrients. Raw food also contains far less AGEs and Acrylamides - which are only two of the toxins formed when cooking your food.

Raw food also doesn't dehydrate your body like cooked or overly salty foods - which is a problem with both cooked and fermented foods.

Salt has "Explosive" properties! Not only is too much salt dehydrating, but it is also explosive. It would not take too much salt to take out a large city and it will not take much salt to blow-up your cells.

Cola and Rock Salt Explosion - shh... don't tell the terrorists!

Raw foods are also great cleansers and can be used to detoxify your body - raw animal foods in particular can cleanse as well as help to rebuild tissues.

Cultured or Fermented Foods - aids in the digestion of food and is especially complementary to cooked animal foods. Most fermented foods will be extremely Yin because of the fermentation process and can help to balance a very acidic cooked meal.

Fermented foods can increase the nutrient content of foods especially B vitamins, enzymes, vitamin K2, and even the master antioxidant - glutathione.

These foods are also known for adding probiotics into your intestinal tract which will improve your immunity, help prevent constipation & diarrhea, protect against food poisoning, protect against food allergies, increase nutrient absorption, and protect against "bad" bacteria & other pathogens.

Cooked Foods - cooking helps to destroy anti-nutrients found particularly in plant foods. Plant foods contain anti-nutrients like fiber and phytic acid which will bind to important minerals. Deactivating these anti-nutrients by slightly cooking - increases the absorption of certain nutrients.

Cooked food is more Yang which is warming to the body and is basically a comfort food. Cooking also brings out certain flavors and is more pleasing to the taste buds.

Cooked food is also more calorie dense because of the cooking process which creates a more condensed type of food - thereby, supplying more energy. It is very similar to the effects of coffee as it can give you instant energy, but like coffee - too much will leave you feeling drained.

I actually prefer to eat the majority of my animal and seafoods on the rare to raw side. And I also prefer to eat a balance of raw, fermented, and cooked plant foods - but that's just me.

How much you decide to eat from each category will depend on your own needs and everyone needs to decide for themselves - what is best for them.

Eat to Live,

Kathryn

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