Author Archives: michellegallik

The importance of enzymes

One of the first things I learned after being diagnosed with Crohn’s/Colitis was the importance of enzymes.  I’ve attached several interesting articles to read along with a video, but basically your damaged gut isn’t producing much if any enzymes and most likely your poor pancreas is tired from doing double duty.    I had several tests from Naturopaths and GI’s all confirming low pancreatic enzymes.   Here’s what my favorite enzyme company, Enzymedica has to say :

“Enzymes are biologically active proteins found in all living cells.  Metabolic enzymes catalyze and regulate every biochemical reaction that occurs within the human body, making them essential for cellular function and overall health.  Digestive enzymes turn the food we eat into energy which may be utilized by the body for various biological processes.  Our bodies naturally produce both digestive and metabolic enzymes, as they are needed. Enzymes are protein chemicals, which carry a vital energy factor needed for every chemical action, and reaction that occurs in our body. There are approximately 1300 different enzymes found in the human cell. These enzymes can combine with coenzymes to form nearly 100,000 various chemicals that enable us to see, hear, feel, move, digest food, and think. Every organ, every tissue, and all the 100 trillion cells in our body depend upon the reactions of metabolic enzymes and their energy factor. Nutrition cannot be explained without describing the part that enzymes play.”
 

 Here’s the link to their site where you can read more: FAQ about Enzymes My Gastroenterologist told me that as we age, we produce less enzymes and supplementation is a good idea.   I noticed rather quickly that I was burping less and what I ate didn’t appear to be identifiable in the toilet bowel.   Raw foods are packed with enzymes, but unfortunately most IBDers have such damaged guts, you can’t eat too many raw foods including a simple salad.  I found that if you rest your gut by only eating cooked veggies and fruits with enzyme supplementation, in stage 1, you can quickly  reach stage 2, where you can start eating butter lettuce and a few raw fruits until you reach stage 4.  At that point you can easily start trying more raw salads and vegetables.   Here’s a quick video followed by an article from The Weston A. Price Foundation.

How Enzymes work in your gut

 

Edward Howell, MD PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD   
Saturday, 01 January 2000 16:21
An important branch of twentieth-century nutritional research, running parallel to and equal in significance to the discovery of vitamins and minerals, has been the discovery of enzymes and their function. Enzymes are complex proteins that act as catalysts in almost every biochemical process that takes place in the body. Their activity depends on the presence of adequate vitamins and minerals, particularly magnesium. Many enzymes incorporate a single molecule of a trace mineral-such as manganese, copper, iron or zinc-without which the enzyme cannot function. In the 1930’s, when enzymes first came to the attention of biochemists, some 80 were identified; today, over 5,000 have been discovered. Enzymes fall into one of three major classifications. The largest is the metabolic enzymes, which play a role in all bodily processes including breathing, talking, moving, thinking, behavior and maintenance of the immune system. A subset of these metabolic enzymes acts to neutralize poisons and carcinogens, such as pollutants, DDT and tobacco smoke, changing them into less toxic forms, which the body can then eliminate. The second category is the digestive enzymes, of which there are about 22 in number. Most of these are manufactured by the pancreas. They are secreted by glands in the duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine) and work to break down the bulk of partially digested food leaving the stomach. The enzymes we need to consider when planning our diets are the third category, the food enzymes. These are present in raw foods, and they initiate the process of digestion in the mouth and stomach. Food enzymes include proteases for digesting protein, lipases for digesting fats and amylases for digesting carbohydrates. Amylases in saliva contribute to the digestion of carbohydrates while they are being chewed, and all enzymes found in food continue this process while it is mixed and churned by contractions in the stomach. The glands in the stomach secrete hydrochloric acid and pepsinogen, which initiate the process of protein digestion, as well as the intrinsic factor needed for vitamin B12 absorption; but the various enzymes needed for complete digestion of our food are not secreted until further down line, in the small intestine. However, while food is held in the stomach, the enzymes present in what we have consumed can do their work before this more or less partially digested mass passes on to the enzyme-rich environment of the small intestine. Enzyme research has revealed the importance of raw foods in the diet. The enzymes in raw food help start the process of digestion and reduce the body’s need to produce digestive enzymes. All enzymes are deactivated at a wet-heat temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit and a dry-heat temperature of about 150 degrees. It is one of those happy designs of nature that foods and liquids at 117 degrees can be touched without pain, but liquids over 118 degrees will burn. Thus, we have a built-in mechanism for determining whether or not the food we are eating still contains its enzyme content. A diet composed exclusively of cooked food puts a severe strain on the pancreas, drawing down its reserves, so to speak. If the pancreas is constantly overstimulated to produce enzymes that ought to be in foods, the result over time will be inhibited function. Humans eating an enzyme-poor diet, comprised primarily of cooked food, use up a tremendous amount of their enzyme potential in the outpouring of secretions from the pancreas and other digestive organs. The result, according to the late Dr. Edward Howell, a noted pioneer in the field of enzyme research, is a shortened life span, illness and lowered resistance to stress of all types. He points out that humans and animals on a diet comprised largely of cooked food have enlarged pancreas organs while other glands and organs, notably the brain, actually shrink in size. Dr. Howell formulated the following Enzyme Nutrition Axiom: The length of life is inversely proportional to the rate of exhaustion of the enzyme potential of an organism. The increased use of food enzymes promotes a decreased rate of exhaustion of the enzyme potential. Another rule can be expressed as follows: Whole foods give good health; enzyme-rich foods provide limitless energy. Almost all traditional societies incorporate raw, enzyme-rich foods into their cuisines- not only vegetable foods but also raw animal proteins and fats in the form of raw dairy foods, raw fish and raw muscle and organ meats. These diets also traditionally include a certain amount of cultured or fermented foods, which have an enzyme content that is actually enhanced by the fermenting and culturing process. The Eskimo diet, for example, is composed in large portion of raw fish that has been allowed to “autolate” or “predigest,” that is, become putrefied or semirancid; to this predigested food they ascribe their stamina. The culturing of dairy products, found almost universally among preindustrialized peoples, enhances the enzyme content of milk, cream, butter and cheese. Ethnic groups that consume large amounts of cooked meat usually include fermented vegetables or condiments, such as sauerkraut and pickled carrots, cucumbers and beets with their meals. Cultured soybean products from Asia, such as natto and miso, are another good source of food enzymes if these foods are eaten unheated. Even after being subjected to heat, fermented foods are more easily assimilated because they have been predigested by enzymes. In like manner, cooked meats that have first been well aged or marinated present less of a strain on the digestive mechanism because of this predigestion. Grains, nuts, legumes and seeds are rich in enzymes, as well as other nutrients, but they also contain enzyme inhibitors. Unless deactivated, these enzyme inhibitors can put an even greater strain on the digestive system than cooked foods. Sprouting, soaking in warm acidic water, sour leavening, culturing and fermenting-all processes used in traditional societies-deactivate enzyme inhibitors, thus making nutrients in grains, nuts and seeds more readily available. Most fruits and vegetables contain few enzymes; exceptional plant foods noted for high enzyme content include extra virgin olive oil and other unrefined oils, raw honey, grapes, figs and many tropical fruits including avocados, dates, bananas, papaya, pineapple, kiwi and mangos. Copyright: Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, PhD. ©1999. All Rights Reserved. About the Author

     

  • © 2013 The Weston A. Price Foundation for Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts.

   

How to make your own fermented vegetables

Sandor Katz, a.k.a Sandor Kraut has made making  kraut and fermented veggies an art revival of one of our oldest traditions.   His work is currently being published everywhere including the New York Times. He’ll show you how to make your own fermented veggies in minutes. Why buy probiotics when you can make your own ? did you know nearly all the ancient cultures had fermented traditions of processing their foods ? sourdough bread, beet kvass, yogurt, sauerkraut are just a few.

Making Nut Yogurts

ALMOND, FILBERT  OR MACADAMIA YOGURT
 from the Pecanbread website.

You can also use Yogourmet yogurt starter, but if looking to stay away from dairy, it has dried milk as a base.  It’s easy to find in Health Food Stores too.

NUT YOGHURT RECIPE

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cup whole, RAW blanched almonds or RAW blanched hazelnuts (filberts) or RAW macadamias
2 TBL clear honey
Water
Yoghurt starter (ProGurt by GI ProHealth)

Step-by-step instructions for making nut yoghurt:

1. Put all things you need on a tea towel on the kitchen table:
blender, a fine sieve, some tea towels, the nuts, honey, two tablespoons, whisk, water, yoghurt maker + yoghurt container. Get the probiotics out of the freezer only when you need them.
2. Put nuts into blender
3. Add enough cold water to get a total of 4 to 5 cups / =1 litre
4. Add 2 tablespoons of honey
5. Blend for 10 minutes (use a stopwatch)
6. Pour about 1 cup of the nut milk through the fine sieve
(You can squeeze out more liquid if you use a teacloth and twist it firmly.)

NOW take your probiotics out of the freezer

7. Add 1/8 tsp of ProGurt from GI Health, or I use Yogourmet yoghurt starter to the milk, per 1 quart of yogurt.
8. Stir well with whisk, add the rest of the milk, with back of spoon press out all liquids
9. Stir well and place container in yoghurt maker
10. Ferment for 8 hours.
11. Place in the fridge overnight or at least for 5 hours (overnight is better)
12. Get a bowl, put the sieve on the bowl, put a cheesecloth in the sieve
13. Pour the yoghurt in the cheesecloth so that it can drip
14. Drip for about an hour, or longer if you’d like the yoghurt thicker
15. By pressing the dripped yoghurt further, you can make something that resembles cheese

The fermentation process takes place at about 105 Fahrenheit.

As you see, I do NOT cook or heat the milk.  After blending, the milk should be lukewarm, not warmer than 105F.  If you heat more, the milk will separate and the fermentation will not take place.

Try to find RAW nuts that have been through minimal processing. Deep frying them may be very tasty, but it will negatively affect the outcome and it is also a bit unhealthy.

The sieve is such, that if you pour orange juice through it, there’s no pulp in your glass.

This nut yoghurt is a nice and safe alternative when you cannot tolerate goat’s or cow’s yoghurt (yet). Go for it!

p.s.  I like my yogurt pretty thick and don’t often have time to drip.  So, I don’t sieve the milk to remove the nut skins or coconut shreds.  I leave them in and the yogurt is much thicker, then add to the blender with fruit for a smoothie.  Saves a step. 

Maple Syrup Substitute

Maple Syrup substitute
Yields 3
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 stick of butter, or 8 Tablespoons. Organic butter is best and I prefer Kerry Gold or Strauss. (they don't use soy in their feed and mostly pastured cows)
  2. 5-6 Tablespoons honey
  3. 1 tsp. maple syrup flavoring
  4. 1/2 tsp. water to thin honey
Instructions
  1. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and honey. Thin with water if too dense for your liking.
  2. Add maple syrup flavoring to taste, but start with 1 tsp. and add more if desired.
Notes
  1. You can add frozen blueberries or raspberries to this while it cooks - about 5 mins. Omit water if using fruit in butter.
  2. It's delicious and so much healthier and less expensive than Grade A or B Maple.
Life with IBD http://lifewithibd.com/

Cinnamon pancakes
Yields 12
A delicious grain free luscious pancake. My son LOVES these and has no idea they aren't gluten. A little pat of butter and he's happy.
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup whole organic cashews
  2. 2 large eggs
  3. 2 Tablespoons homemade yogurt
  4. 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  5. 1 Tablespoon honey
  6. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  8. pinch of salt
  9. 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Grind the cashews into a paste in a food processor. Add all the ingredients except coconut oil and blend well.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over med-high heat. Pour the batter into small pools and cook 2-3 mins. until golden. Flip and cook add'l 1-2 mins. Serve hot.
Notes
  1. These can burn easily, so start with a lower med. high heat vs. a strong med. heat. You can always turn up a bit. Watch and don't walk away from these or they might burn.
Adapted from Eat Well Feel Well
Adapted from Eat Well Feel Well
Life with IBD http://lifewithibd.com/

Mock Moroccan Couscous
Serves 4
A couscous dish that even your kids will love and they won't know it's not pasta, but cauliflower. Mine son is super picky and he couldn't guess. It's super easy and delish ! You can make it a Greek or Italian salad too by changing spices and condiments.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 head of cauliflower. A small head will feed 3-4 servings, a large 6 servings. Remove core.
  2. Chopped onion - 1 small for 3-4 servings or large for 6 servings
  3. Butter, olive oil or coconut oil
  4. 1/4- 1/2 tsp. of Curry powder * start with smaller amount, taste and then increase if needed
  5. 1/4 tsp. Cumin seeds or ground cumin
  6. Salt and pepper
  7. Chicken stock or water
  8. raisins
  9. Slivered toasted almonds
  10. Chopped cilantro
  11. * you can try different spices for an Italian flavor; try different fruits like dried apricots; substitute cilantro for chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. Place RAW chunks of cauliflower in the food processor and pulse until you get very small pieces, or use a box grater and manually grate the raw cauliflower.
  2. Melt butter or oil in large skillet.
  3. Add chopped onion and cauliflower couscous.
  4. Sauté until browned and softened, about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Add spices, raisins and if mixture is dry, add water or stock. You can use several Tablespoons depending on how moist and sticky you like your couscous. If I am serving with a
  6. meat or chicken with a natural juice or sauce, I will leave dry.
  7. Top with chopped cilantro and almonds are optional.
  8. .
Notes
  1. Will keep for a week in your fridge. Makes a great thermos item and will never get mushy.
  2. Excellent with Chicken Stew with Cashews and Saffron.
Life with IBD http://lifewithibd.com/

Blueberry Coconut Flour Muffins
Yields 6
Great wheat free, sugar free blue berry muffins. Perfect for breakfast or as snack with cream cheese
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Ingredients
  1. 3 organic pastured eggs
  2. 2 TBS. butter
  3. 2 TBS. coconut milk or whole milk
  4. 2-3 TBS. honey
  5. 8 oz. organic fresh or frozen blueberries
  6. 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  7. 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  8. 1/4 cup coconut flour
  9. 1/4 tsp. baking powder
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in a mixer or if by hand, whisk wet ingredients and then add dry.
  2. Add blueberries last by hand folding in with spatula.
  3. Pour batter into muffin tins.
  4. Bake at 400 f. for 15 minutes.
  5. * On SCD use 1/2 tsp. baking soda instead
Life with IBD http://lifewithibd.com/

Almond Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Yields 1
A delicious dense breakfast bread. Perfect as French Toast. You'll never miss the gluten, butter or yogurt if you can't yet use these ingredients.
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Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 eggs
  2. 3/4 cup smooth almond butter
  3. 2 Tablespoons honey
  4. 1/4 cup blanched almond flour (Bob's Red Mill is easy to find)
  5. 1/2 tsp. salt
  6. 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  7. 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  8. 1 cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. You can either line sides and bottom, but I put a whole sheet in and just press into folded corners. Use a 4 x 7 pan to ensure some height.
  2. Blend all ingredients until creamy, fold 1/2 cup raisins at the end.
  3. Pour the batter into the pan.
  4. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of raisins over the top. They will settle into the bread - if you stir, they will all end up on the bottom.
  5. Bake 40-45 minutes until toothpick or knife comes out clean. I prefer a moister bread at 40 minutes.
Notes
  1. Let cool before slicing, otherwise it will crumble.
  2. You can make French Toast by lightly toasting the bread first.
  3. Seal and store in refrigerator up to a week or freeze.
Adapted from The Comfy Belly Blog
Adapted from The Comfy Belly Blog
Life with IBD http://lifewithibd.com/

Make Your Own Yogurt

Using probiotics to heal your gut is essential.  Whether you are killing off the bad bacteria through diet (no sugar, or starches) or with various medications prescribed by your doctor (sulfa and antibiotics), you’ll need to replenish the good bacteria in your gut.   Probiotics can be costly and the only time I use them now is when traveling and it’s much easier to make your own at home.

There are quite a few yogurt recipes out there, but here’s what I used for myself and now IBD patients.

I have a yogourmet bain marie style that let’s me make 1/2 gallon at a time.  I’ve never needed a dimmer, I just adjust the lid to let heat escape during the hot summer months.  Depending on where you live and how hot your machine runs, you’ll want to monitor and take the temp of the yogurt several times within the 24 hour process.  You can always get a dimmer connected, but you might not need one.

Making SCD™ Yogurt

Making yogurt in a Yogurt Maker

A dehydrator is the best machine for controlling the temperature of the yogurt. Other yogurt makers may overheat but this can be corrected with a light dimmer.

 

1.) Put one or two liters (quarts) of milk into a clean pot and heat slowly on a medium heat until the temperature reaches 180 degrees F.* Stir the milk from time to time to keep the bottom from scorching, and again before you take a final temp reading to make sure that the entire contents have reached 180 degrees. The purpose in heating the milk to this temperature is to kill any bacteria that might be present and interfere with the yogurt making culture.

*Goat milk is delicate and should not be heated above 185 degrees F.

2.) Turn the heat off and allow the milk to cool. The heated milk needs to be cooled to ROOM TEMPERATURE or below (as per Elaine’s yogurt making instructions in BTVC). The range for room temperature is 20–25 °C (64-77 °F). Stir well before determining the final temperature. You may cover the pot with a clean tea towel while it cools.

( Pour the milk through a little sieve into the yogurt maker insert, to remove the film that forms on the top of the milk as it cools. You do not have to, but it will make for smoother yogurt.)

3.) Add 1/8 tsp (1 quart) or 1/4 tsp (2 quarts) of ProGurt yogurt starter from GI ProHealth to several tablespoons of the milk and mix it well until it seems well dissolved. Then add about half a cup more of the milk, mix well, and pour all of that back into the milk in the yogurt container. Again, mix it well. Put the lid onto the yogurt maker insert, making sure it is secure.

4.) Fill the outer container of the yogurt machine with warm water to the appropriate mark (i.e. for 1 liter or 2 liters or as instructed for individual cup yogurt makers.)

Then, put the yogurt maker liner, containing your milk and yogurt culture into the machine – in some models, it may feel as if it is floating in the water slightly. This is fine. Put the top of the yogurt maker on, plug it in to ferment for at least 24 hours. Some commercial yogurt makers may overheat, especially after 6-8 hours. If this occurs you can try venting the lid, turning off the yogurt maker until the temperature lowers and then turning it back on or placing the yogurt maker on a rack to prevent overheating.

5.) After at least 24 hours, unplug the machine and remove the inner container. Carefully, (remember – it’s ALIVE), put the container into the fridge and let it rest for about 8 hours until it has cooled.

6.) Gently but thoroughly, stir the yogurt with a spoon or metal whisk to make it smooth. If you stir it too much it can separate, so remember to treat it gently.

he original recipe can be found at www.pecanbread.com including recipes for nut and goat cheese yogurt.

Making your own Probiotics

I am personally tickled about all the buzz around this topic.  Years ago, you’d never hear anyone talking about it, let alone finding products on the grocery shelves with probiotics.   I think  Dannon yogurt was the main player in the yogurt market too.

Now, there are literally dozen’s of different yogurts and many of them from locally produced dairies.  Celebs like Jamie Lee Curtis is  talking about her bowels and regularity for Activa’s line of yogurt (from Dannon). There are vitamins and all kinds of products (many for children) that have added probiotics to them.   Its literally a smorgasbord of probiotics out there.

I think I have tried a lot of them and there is some controversy about the source of the bacteria, just like commercial yeasts.  Is manufactured or naturally brewed best ?   which strained are best ?  I think I just counted a product with 21 different strains in them.   That sounds a little scary too, because what if I introduce something new into my already damaged gut ?!   Let’s face it, IBD’ers guts are already in bad shape.

Just like in sourdough, the best probiotic bacteria is one grown naturally.   That’s why fermented foods are the idea probiotic !  Between making my own yogurt and using fermented veggies, I only buy a commercial probiotic when traveling and I use one with a limited about of strains, and only use strains that are not new fangled lab experiments.

Under recipes, I feature 2 basic recipes, 1 for yogurt from the SCD handbook for dealing with the most damaged of gut conditions.  Another from Sandor Katz, who is now affectionately known as Sandor Kraut, because of his excellent recipes using ferments and kraut.   I have also added a link to his website, so please check out his wonderful books.

If you are just struggling to get buy and don’t have the time or energy yet to make fermented vegetables, please look for Firefly kitchens in your local healthy market, like PCC or Whole Foods. They make a lineup of excellent products like kraut, ginger carrot slaw, pickles etc. which are all naturally fermented.   Bubbies Kosher Dill pickles are also naturally fermented and tasting like pickles from the old country !

Here’s a great article from the Firefly Kitchens about probiotics:

What’s in a Fermented Food and Why is it Good For Me?

Probiotics, Digestive Enzymes, Lactic
Acid, Vitamins, Minerals, Antioxidants and Immune Boosters, All In One Tasty and Convenient Bite.
Probiotics: “Good” or “friendly” bacteria that live in your digestive system. Probiotics aid in the overall function of your internal systems by maintaining a proper PH level conducive to digestion and absorption without the growth of bad bacteria. Probiotics also play a role in the muscular contractions that move food through your stomach during digestion and help promote the healthy passage of material through your body. Probiotics have been linked to the development of a healthy immune system, cholesterol level, blood pressure, intestinal wall and vitamin and mineral absorption.  The most commonly known probiotics are acidophilus and bifidus, although there are many other beneficial strains.
Digestive Enzymes: Naturally produced chemicals that help breakdown food.  The body produces and uses specific enzymes to breakdown specific foods. Age, poor diet, chemical exposure and poor diegestive health can interefere with the production of digestive enzymes and prevent the easy and effecient breakdown of foods. Supplements and enzyme rich foods can supplement the poor production of digestive enzymes and help the body break down, digest and absorb food for nourishment and energy production.
Lactic Acid: Nature’s way of preventing the spread of bad bacteria.  The process of lacto-fermentation that we use to make our products creates a by product of lactic acid.  Lactic acid not only keeps bacteria from growing in the food during fermentation, it keeps bad bacteria from developing in your digestive system.  By balancing the PH level of the food, and your stomach, lactic acid plays a large role in the health of what you eat and how your body digests. A digestive system with an off-balance PH level can result in bloating, incomplete digestion, sickness and digestive malfunctions.
Vitamins and Minerals: The digestive enzymes, probiotics and lactic acid in fermented foods help promote better absorption and utilization of vitamins and minerals.  When paired with a snack or meal your body will not have to work as hard to acquire the nutrient supply it needs to maintain healthy function.  In addition, the fermentation process creates new nutrients in the food including the B vitamins folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and biotin which help cell growth and division, immunity, nervous system function, metabolism and muscle toning and Vitamin C which is an antioxidant that battles harmful free-radicals, helps build immunity, and is essential to the functioning of many necessary enzymes in your body.
Antioxidants: Fermented foods have been studied for their antioxidant functions, patrolling the body for free radicals and helping eliminate the potential cancer causing substances from the body.  The lactobacilli in fermented foods also help create omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for cell membrane and immune system function and play a role in helping eliminate toxins and oxidized compounds from the body.  Digestive enzymes and other detoxifying compounds found in fermented foods all play a role in the antioxidant function within the body.
Immune Boosters: Vitamin C created in the fermentation process helps bolster the immune system and put up a fight against bacterial invasion, and omega 3 fatty acids provide additional immune system strength.  The efficiency of your digestive system when eating fermented foods helps better absorb nutrients and create energy, which helps maintain your overall health on a daily basis.  When the digestive enzymes and probiotics are present, your body doesn’t have to work as hard to get what it needs to function and has help eliminating toxic buildup throughout the digestive system that can contribute to illness.
By maintaining good gut flora, you’ll prevent all kinds of different diseases, especially chronic degenerative ones. Probiotics help control inflammation, which is a central feature of so many degenerative diseases…help increase antibodies…improve digestion…have anticancer properties…[and] can increase good cholesterol while decreasing the bad kind.” – DR. Sonja Petterson

Why are the fermented foods from Firefly Kitchens so good for me?

Foods that undergo the lacto-fermentation process are unpredictable and hard to control in an industrial setting.  Most of the pickled and preserved foods of the same nature that you get at your general grocery store have undergone an altered process involving heat, and vinegar, which preserves the food in a similar nature but does not create the nutritional power food that the natural process of small scale fermentation at Firefly Kitchens does. Through the process of small scale natural fermentation, Firefly Kitchens creates foods that have great benefits for your body.  Due to the above list of qualities regular intake of fermented foods can:

  • Help your body breakdown otherwise difficult to digest foods and make the nutrients more accessible
  • Maintain a more regular and efficient digestive system
  • Promote more efficient energy production
  • Increase nutrient consumption, absorption and impact
  • Build immune function by stimulating cellular and antibody function and creating more immunoreactive cells
  • Help build and maintain a healthy intestinal wall that resists leakage of harmful toxins into the bloodstream caused by poor diet and digestion
  • Decrease allergic reactions by exposing your body to natural microbial colonies, which helps develop immunity to allergen exposure
  • Restore digestive health and re-build gut flora after exposure to antibiotics, which kill all good and bad bacteria
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reverse hypertension by lowering blood pressure
  • Help alleviate irritable bowel symptoms
  • Aid digestion of lactose and proteins

More on the nature of probiotics-

Probiotics are live microorganisms that live inside a host organism such as your body.  They are considered “good bacteria” that are found naturally on and in living organisms in places such as your gut and intestinal tract.  These “good bacteria” play an important role in the digestion and assimilation process.  Unfortunately, in a world filled with antibiotics, refined foods, high sugar diets, caffeine and alcohol addictions, non organic practices and vastly unbalanced and high stress lifestyles, these naturally occurring good bacteria have a hard time surviving.  Current research is now showing that adding probiotics back into your body while accompanied by a more balanced diet can have immense health benefits.

How do these “good bacteria” get into my foods?

Probiotics are allowed to thrive when a product is not homogenized, pasteurized, artificially preserved or chemically processed.  In fermented foods, like ours at Firefly Kitchens, probiotics prosper in the anaerobic and acidic environment that the lactic acid fermentation process creates.  When our vegetables are washed, chopped and packed with salt in an airtight container, the lactobacilli (a probiotic bacteria found on most living surfaces) that the veggies naturally contain go to work breaking down the starches and sugars and creating lactic acid.  The lactic acid creates a very acidic environment where bad bacteria that may spoil the food cannot grow and good bacteria can multiply.  The un-heated and un-processed techniques we employ provide an atmosphere where billions of probiotic strains thrive and multiply.

For every individual-

Having live bacteria in your body can be a really good thing and every body needs intestinal flora supported by good bacteria and digestive enzymes. The changes you experience with probiotics will vary depending upon the strain and amount you ingest but with a well rounded diet of many types of fermented foods such as our sauerkraut, kimchi, veggies and dressings, as well as other probiotic rich foods such as home made yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, tempeh and miso should give your body an ample variety of probiotics to support a healthy change.