I recently had the wonderful opportunity to speak to a group of breastfeeding moms about gut health and the immune system. It was the annual Mom’s Night Out (MNO) for our local La Leche League. MNO is a fun night when moms, many of them wearing and nursing babies of various ages, are able to get together to support each other and get some extra enrichment in their lives. I was impressed with how many women sat down to listen to my presentation amidst the shopping, hand massages, contests and food. I only had half an hour to talk about a subject that I could really talk about for hours. Many attendees asked great questions and expressed an interest in attending my upcoming fermentation class at Basics Co-op.
I think that once you try adding fermented foods to your diet, you will be hooked on health. I credit live fermented foods with helping me solve a whole list of digestive issues and reducing my allergies. As much as 80 – 85 percent of the human immune system is in our guts, making digestive health the key to avoiding many seasonal illnesses and chronic conditions. The technology that makes much of our processed food safe from pathogenic bacteria also guarantees that we are not getting as much beneficial bacteria on a daily basis as our not too distant ancestors. Traditional diets contained several times more fermented foods and live cultured foods than we are currently eating. Fermentation provided a way to safely store vegetables, dairy products and meats before refrigeration. These foods also provided beneficial acids, good bacteria, vitamins and minerals in an easy-to-digest form. Sauerkraut, for example, contains more vitamin C than cabbage. The bacteria make vitamin C! Have you ever looked at the vitamin content on a bottle of kombucha? The impressive amounts of various B vitamins are not added synthetically. They occur as a result of the bacteria and yeast fermenting some sugar and tea. The bacteria in live fermented foods will help populate your digestive tract and go to work making vitamins for you too. Those that don’t set up residence will still interact in beneficial ways with your own lively gut flora as they pass through your system. With bacterial cells outnumbering our own cells ten to one, it makes sense to put some thought and some culture into the foods we eat every day. Click here to purchase some of my favorite fermented foods.