January 14, 2019
Humans are ‘superorganisms’, which means that we are organisms made up of several different other organisms – cells, parasites, yeast, and, yes, bacteria! – living in symbiosis on and within each one of us.
What does all of this have to do with fermentation? Well, fermented foods are great sources of probiotics, which are nothing but beneficial bacteria and, when we have good levels of this type of bacteria in our gut, our bodies work as a finely attuned machine bringing numerous health benefits.
Probably the first thing we think of when we hear the word ‘fermentation’ is a mouldy or bubbly stinky ‘something’ that we run away from in disgust with the belief that, if we dare to eat it, it is going to make us sick.
And, don’t get me wrong, if not done right, it can. But fermented is not a synonym of spoiled. Fermentation of food, when done right, aids with the absorption of nutrients, the synthesis of vitamins, protein break down, restoring the alkaline/acid balance in our bodies and boosting immunity. Not bad for such tiny organisms! Go bacteria!
Consuming fermented foods, which have been basically pre-digested by micro-organisms, give our bodies a rest since they do not have to work so hard to break down the food and they get the added benefits of probiotics.
Don’t Let The Word ‘Fermentation’ Scare You
It is well known that the foods we eat have an impact not only in our physical well-being but also in our mental and emotional ones. So, what exactly are the benefits of fermented foods? Let me name a few of the magic things they do for us:
- Improve digestion and bowel function.
- Promote healthy bacteria in the gut.
- Create a protective lining in the intestines.
- Boost metabolism.
- Improve energy levels.
- Enhance nutrient availability and absorption.
- Aid cell regeneration.
- Balance PH levels.
- Can help treat candida.
- Boost immunity by increasing antibodies.
- Provide vitamins, minerals, enzymes and, as already mentioned, tons of probiotics.
Now that you know all this, don’t be afraid to experiment. But, what fermented foods are out there? Well, my friend, let me introduce you to some of my stinky favourites:
- Plant-based yogurt.
You see? Fermented foods are your friends and can be found pretty much anywhere.
When we are not used to eating fermented foods, it might take a while to grow fond of them, but once our palate, and stomach, experience their particular flavours and their endless benefits, we will feel like we just cannot have enough of them.
Their effects in our bodies can vary and they can make us dubious about consuming them – take me as an example, I would get tipsy with just a few ounces of Kombucha when I first started drinking it and now I am an avid enthusiast of kombucha making and, even though I gracefully fail at every single attempt to ferment other foods, just for the fun of it, I still have learnt to love them and understand them, to appreciate their complexity and beauty, to be fascinated by the processes of nature and to feel connected with the food I am ingesting. Also, this brings the added benefit of being known as the crazy SCOBY lady! Nothing beats arriving at a party with homemade Kombucha and a baby SCOBY floating in some sketchy starter liquid. Trust me, you will get credit for originality and you will be remembered by all the attendees of the party.
So, give your body a well deserved punch of probiotics and start experiencing its benefits, have fun, make it a habit to try new things, and even give it a shot at preparing little Frankensteins on your own, it might not turn out right the first few tries, but once you manage to create a beautiful living food and enjoy its benefits, not only will you enjoy of its several health benefits – even more if we take into account that homemade products are always best since we have full control over what’s going in them – but also of the satisfaction of being the author and creator of such tasty creature.