In my new video “High Fruit? Low Fruit? Or…?,” I share an insight regarding the latest Internet health debates on sweet fruit intake, high sugar/low sugar, raw food, wild food, and indigenous-style eating. I have found that you can have your ultra healthful cake and eat it too…with a little-known clever food preparation.
All ancient and modern cultures have fermented foods. They take sugar-containing foods (some foods that are edible raw/unfermented and foods that are not truly edible until fermentation) and subject them to a fermentation process (wines, kefirs, yogurts, cheeses, beers, sauerkrauts, sourdough bread, etc.) to create a NEW food. This new food – or ferment – has gone through a biological medium (usually a symbiotic colony of lactobacilli (good bacteria) and yeasts (good fungi) that eats up the sugar and turns it into more probiotic bacteria, amino acids, B vitamins, and a huge amount of co-factor nutrients that do wonders for our health.
A ferment typically takes 36 hours to many months to finish depending on the ferment and thus it can do what our own intestines (which are also rich in good bacteria and yeasts) cannot because our digestive process should be 24 hours or less. For the hardcore raw food simplicity eaters who think that we can skip ferments, this is a big concept to accept.
We must also accept the fact that most agricultural food (from the farm and the garden) has undergone a multi-generational genetic change through selective breeding based on farmer’s preference, which typically makes a food bigger (less nutrient dense), sweeter (too much sugar than we need) and less bitter (not enough medicines, which act to nourish our body’s immune system, endocrine system, nervous system, etc.). On the flip side, we must also accept that a lot of wildfood is often very small, not pleasantly sweet, and too high in bitters (too many alkloids can be toxic to consume strait).
Interestingly, fermentation can be a solution to rendering BOTH the agricultural foods and the highly medicinal wild foods into a more ideal food for us humans to consume: a ferment.
For example, agricultural fruits have too much sugar for most people to handle without spiking blood sugar. However, if we ferment fruits in a controlled manner we end up with a low-sugar beverage that is even more nutritious than the fruit itself. We also can take highly medicinal food and let a ferment break down some of the harsh alkaloids. Wild cruciferous (and to some extent domesticated cruciferous too like the common cabbages) have goitrogens (thyroid function suppressors), but upon fermenting them into a sauerkraut the goitrogens are broken down. The phytates (anti-nutrients that block our absorption of certain nutrients) in seeds can be broken down through sprouting (which is similar to fermentation in that you are activating an enzymatic process via soaking seeds in water) and fermenting when making seed mylk kefirs/yogurts.
Most fermented products available at your local health food store are NOT organic and are often adulterated with extra cane sugar and preservatives. Or in the case of many store-bought kombuchas,
the kombucha ferment is just not DONE yet, and thus a lot of sugar still remains to be eaten and turned into other nutrients. Organic unpasteurized sauerkrauts are easy to find, but all the other ferments are few and far between: raw kefirs, organic pure meads and ciders, organic pure vinegars (other than apple cider vinegar)…these varieties of ferments are not conveniently available for us high-quality seekers yet. Thus I hope my article and video inspire you to start making your own from scratch so that you can have a variety of ferments to add into your regimen. Do some research online and start making your own kefirs and other ferments in your own kitchen.
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