Naturopaths have always viewed a healthy gut as fundamental to good health. They focus on digestive and elimination issues first when assessing and treating their patients.
Researchers now regard the 3 – 4 pound weight of living organisms in our GI tract as another organ that provides essential support for many living processes in our bodies, but can also make us mentally and physically ill. If the mix of organisms is top-heavy with pathogenic rather than beneficial bacteria, disease will ensue.
A simple, natural way to boost the percentage of beneficial flora is the addition of fermented foods to our diet. Other cultures have been enjoying these for centuries. The Romans had sauerkraut; Bulgarians their fermented milk and kefir, Ukrainians their raw yogurt and buttermilk, and Asians their pickled fermented vegetables of all kinds, known as kimchi.
Fermented foods are potent detoxifiers and pack way more probiotics than
probiotic supplements, so they work well to optimize gut flora. These beneficial gut bacteria also increase mineral absorption; produce B vitamins and K2 (essential with vitamin D to maintain strong bones and reduce cardiovascular disease), prevent obesity and diabetes, lower cancer risk, improve mood and even prevent acne.
A neighbor who is youthful at 80 plus grows his own cabbage, ferments it in a crockery pot and eats it daily year around. Inspired, we challenged our daughter-in-law to make us a fermenting pot - no small feat for such a large item which we then had to transport back from Canada, by air and road! In fact she made two, so sure was she that the drying and firing process might prove fatal! They are beautiful to behold and have each produced a delicious and pungent batch of fermented veggies. We learned what we needed to know and gained confidence in our process from this posting on Dr. Mercola’s website. Dr. Mercola uses a very simple method that does not require a crock, and explains the whole process and great benefits very clearly.
We have had fun creating recipes we like, and it is proving SO much less expensive than buying it ready-made. So far we are simply refrigerating the product and have no trouble keeping up with the supply. We are now experimenting with spicy seeds, hot peppers and different vegetables, and plan to stage a kimchi ferment-off in the near future! Our new Kimchi Cook Book and a full pound of Korean Red Pepper Powder has just arrived!