This month a group of the team goodness gals went along to an introductory workshop on lacto-fermented and cultured foods, Get Cultured! run by Georgia Lienemann of Stirring Change. Before we launch into sharing the fabulous tips, tricks and delicious recipes which we gained from the day, we thought we would start with the basics of fermented foods and answer some of the questions we had before completing this workshop!
What are Lacto-fermented and cultured foods?
Fermentation in food is basically the conversion of sugars and other carbohydrates, used to preserve food, enrich the diet, eliminate antinutrients and reduce cooking times. Preservation techniques such as microorganisms (bacteria like lactobacillus), vinegars and other acids like lemon are used to produce foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut or kimchi.
Fermentation of foods is the oldest food preservation method after drying, dating back to 8000 years ago, and has strong nutritional and therapeutic value!
Medicinal – Ancient physicians of the Middle East prescribed soured milks for curing digestive and liver disorders and for stimulation of the appetite.
Food Preservation – Soured milks and yoghurt were used for preservation of meat against spoilage during the summer.
Cosmetic – Early writers of the Middle East mention the use of soured milks as cosmetics.
Traditional diets with fermented foods
In the first half of the workshop, Georgia took us through the amazing research of nutritional medicine pioneers like Dr. Weston Price, George Ohsawa, Dr Natasha Campbell-Mcbride and Donna Gates, who through their own research and studies have proven the role of traditional cultured foods in preventing health problems and promoting general wellbeing.
Dr. Price’s research of isolated nonindustrialized peoples in the 1930′s, demonstrated that traditional diets contribute to achieving perfect physical form and perfect health, generation after generation. In each village that he visited, although their diets varied slightly, all of them consumed unprocessed, nutrient-dense whole foods, including animal fats and fermented foods. Read more on The Weston A Price Foundation…
- No processed or denatured foods
- Animal foods in every diet – whole animal is consumed (except lean meats).
- High content of enzymes / good bacteria from fermented vegies, dairy, meat, beverages.
- Seeds, grains, legumes and nuts were soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened.
Why soak, sprout, ferment & naturally leaven?
- Deactivates ENZYME INHIBITORS (which block digestion)
- Neutralise PHYTIC ACID (which block mineral absorption)
- Neutralise TANNINS AND LECTINS (irritants)
- Pre-digest COMPLEX STARCHES AND SUGARS (hard to digest)
- Begins breakdown of GLUTEN (hard to digest/can be toxic)
- Begins breakdown of CELLULOSE (impossible to digest)
- Weight management
- Dramatically improve digestion and absorption of vital nutrients
- Lower cholesterol and improve blood lipid profile
- Optimise blood pressure
- Skin health – increased elasticity / collagen production
- Improve mood, mental function and emotional stability
- Dramatically improve all aspects of immune function
- Improve the colonisation of intestinal, respiratory and urogenital tracts
- Increase energy and reduce stress
- Vitamin K2 Crucial for cardiovascular and bone health
- Vitamin C Essential for immune health, a powerful antioxidant
- Lactic Acid (and numerous others) Optimises colon pH by increasing acidity – inhibiting pathogenic bacteria and yeasts like Candida. Actively breakdown pesticides, harmful chemicals and toxins.
- B vitamins Crucial for nervous system, mental function, digestion, blood health.
- Essential amino acids Powerful antioxidants, essential for a huge range of important functions in every area of the body.
- Plus: Any nutrient already contained the original food is made hundreds of times more bioavailable
Now you know the basics, stay tuned for part 2 of this blog post, where Georgia explains how to turn your food into medicine with fermented food and recipe ideas! If you can’t wait until then…
Georgia from Stirring Change runs regular workshops and classes. Her next cultured veg workshop is coming up on Saturday 3rd of March, details here!