has existed as a way to preserve for thousands of years. With the advent of refrigeration, fermenting has become a lost art.  Luckily, there is a renaissance occurring and fermented foods are gaining in popularity once again.  The best resource I have to share with you is www.wildfermentation.com, Sandor Katz’s website.  I highly recommend his book by the same name.  He gives simple, easy to follow guidelines for making all kinds of fermented foods and drinks and his book is fun and interesting to read.  Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon is another great resource.

Fermented are also known as live, or cultured or “saurkraut” or “kim chi” as well as other names.  The canned saurkraut in the supermarket is dead and doesn’t have the same health benefits as the fresh, live stuff.  You can buy live saurkraut from Deer Gardens in store refrigerator sections, but it is extremely expensive.  It is so easy to make your own for pennies that I recommend you give it a try.

Fermented foods have the following health benefits:

  • and prebiotics in these foods supplement our beneficial gut bacteria
  • Lactic acid and in these foods aid digestion and elimination
  • Easy to digest and assimilate the nutrients
  • Cabbage ferments are rich in L-glutamine, the amino acid our intestinal cells use for fuel
  • Reduce sugar cravings
  • Reduce risk of chronic disease
  • Encourage alkaline pH in the body
  • Click on the links or get the books I recommend in this post for more information

Click here for a simple and easy raw, live saurkraut recipe.  I made some of this on Tuesday from cabbage I grew.  I added a little fresh dill and garlic to mine to jazz it up a bit.  The beauty of making your own fermented veggies is that you can experiment and find the flavor combination that you like.  It is important to check on your kraut every couple of days to make sure the veggies stay under the brine.  It is fun to see the fermentation process in action and rewarding to make your own probiotic supplement on the kitchen counter.

I rely on these cultured veggies for an instant snack when my blood sugar gets low and I am tempted to eat junk.  They are satisfying and reduce sugar cravings.  I pass this information on to many of my patients and they come back with great feedback about how these fermented power foods have helped them heal their GI issues.

Some resources say to avoid all fermented foods for reducing candida yeast overgrowth.  I agree that moldy cheeses, soy sauce, and alcoholic beverages can feed yeast.  Otherwise, saurkraut, kim chi, kefir, kombucha and other raw fermented foods actually help reduce candida overgrowth.  We need these foods to ensure that our intestinal ecosystem is diverse and balanced.

I hope you broaden your food horizons and give some of these fermented foods a try.  Let me know what you think!

Dr. Margaret Philhower, ND