Fermented Food – Fountain of Youth?

You have probably heard fermentation is the latest health craze. Most people relate to fermentation as vinegar, yogurt or sauerkraut, but many people do not fully understand there is a health benefit to the process of fermentation or how it works. The fermentation process is basically a variety of bacteria that feed of the sugars of food, building lactic acid and releasing beneficial probiotics, enzymes, omega fatty acids and a variety of vitamins.

How does fermented food improve your health? It may surprise you but your gut is responsible for the majority of your immune system. Your ability to maintain good health is very much dependant on the gut’s microflora that resides there and the food you eat to support it. Microflora is a complex combination of good and bad bacteria, yeast, fungi and other micro-organisms that all play a part in keeping the body working properly and fighting off disease.

As you can see, probiotics are very important to add to and support the gut which in turn improves your immune system. Just like eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is important to get all the different vitamins and minerals you need, eating a number of different fermented foods is important to get the  variety of probiotics you need to keep your gut or immune sytstem working at it’s best. So rather than depending on your yogurt for all your probiotic needs, you may want to expand into a wider range of fermented foods. There are many varieties of pickeled items you can purchase and are readily available.

But why do they call fermented food the fountain of youth? Physical aging, especially in the skin, is easy to see. It’s caused by the body’s exposure to free radicals and toxins or lack of necessary elements. Continued support to your immune system allows the body to fight and regenerate. People with good immune systems physically age slower.

I watched a Japanese documentary that discussed fermentation and toured farms and facilities that supplied a number of our imported fermented foods including miso and pickled vegetables. At one point the interviewer asked a woman and her family how old they were.  It was shocking to find people in their 60s looking like they were in their 30s. Their daughter who was in her 30s looked like a child and claimed the only time she went to the doctor was when she had her baby. Another woman whose job was to sprinkle the fermenting fungi onto soy to make miso had not a wrinkle on her face. It was all amazing. Keep in mind that these people ate the foods they produced on a daily basis and were exposed to the activators most of their lifes.

Rather than focus on this fountain of youth claim, know that watching what you eat and adding some fermented foods to your diet is great for your overall health.



The Winter Fruit Blahs

I don’t know about you, but next to a snow storm, what I hate most about winter is the lack of variety of quality organic fruit. Pretty much my choices are apples, oranges and bananas, especially if you are on a budget or vowed to only purchase in season. Those couple months after the grapefruit and pears have gone dry is so hard for me!

Here are some tricks that should hopefully brighten up your fruit in the winter:

Try your hand at juicing – Have some tasty fun experimenting with online recipes. You may be surprise how good it tastes this way. Even adding some vegetables can make life even more interesting.

Make a fruit salad – I don’t know why, but cutting up the fruit and mixing it together makes it taste better to me. Buying a small container of berries and tossing it on top make it seem even more special. If you don’t have oranges in your salad, make sure to add some lemon or lime juice to keep the fruit from turning brown.

Make fruit desserts – Slip the fruit into desserts like apple cobbler, banana splits, chocolate covered bananas or even bananas foster. Look that one up online. It’s really good!

With a little imagination you can get rid of the winter fruit blahs and make sure you get in your 5 servings of fruits or vegetables everyday.




Let it Go

There is so much happening in the world today that it’s driving many people into a high emotional state. Unfortunately some of those people have been so emotional for so long that it’s worked them up to violence!

This high emotional state is not good for your health. It creates not just mental, but also physical stress on the body. If you don’t take a break from focusing on what’s upsetting you, your body literally goes into a fight or flight response resulting in an increased use of adrenaline and irrational behavior. It’s only a matter of time before your organs suffer the consequences and it starts effecting  your health.

I seem to remember a cartoon that we play for our children. A young woman lives in what she believes is a horrific situation and her and everyone around her is under significant stress. This young girl finally comes to the realization that all she needs to do is just “let it go” to find her happier side and control her emotions to live a better life.

Why can’t we all learn a lesson from what we teach our children and focus on making the world a better place for us and the people around us? It’s not only to improve our circumstances but also create a healthier life for ourselves, our friends and our families.