written by: Dr Meghan Birt, CECP / CBCP
It’s estimated that over 80% of Americans have a leaky gut. That means the cells in the gut (enterocytes) actually open up and allow particles to pass through the gut cells and into the bloodstream. Our cells in our gut are held together by something called tight junctions and they are meant to allow certain small molecules to pass through. When the gut becomes unhealthy, whether from diet or nutrition sources or toxins, those tight junctions are broken apart. And healing those cells can be a hard process. You need to know what to do and how to do it.
One of the key pieces to healing the gut and keeping it well is fermentation. It is something that goes way back into ancient history as a means to preserve food without refrigeration. One thing that was found when studying cultures with a high level of fermented foods in their diet was good health. Europeans commonly use cabbage and they make sauerkraut. Asian cultures ferment soy to make miso, tempeh and natto. They also make kimchi with sauerkraut, ginger, garlic and hot peppers. And I bet you have heard of kombucha, which is fermented tea, which also originated in China.
Fermented foods are extremely healthy for your gut because they contain healthy or beneficial bacteria. They feed the beneficial bacteria already present in our digestive systems. (See my article on the gut here to learn more). And you want more good bacteria present then bad bacteria, or pathogens. Fermented foods also contain high levels of nutrients and when you consume them you absorb more nutrients from your foods too. Fermented foods are what I like to call “pre-digested”. That means that they are very easy to breakdown and assimilate the nutrients from.
Because of all of the amazing health benefits of fermented foods you may be thinking that if a little is good, then a lot must be better. Well, that’s not exactly the case. You do want to consume fermented foods multiple times per week. But you don’t want to consume them in mass quantities because you could have the potential to throw off the balance of your gut to too much good bacteria. An extreme overabundance isn’t what you want either. And if it is in the small intestine it is called SIBO, Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth. (The main symptom is bloating and gas about 30 minutes after eating). Actually, some people don’t do well on fermented foods. They get some major GI problems from it. If that is you, start in small amounts (1-2 Tablespoons per day). If it continues on for a week or more, then I would guess you have a microbial imbalance in the GI tract that needs to be addressed with a gut cleansing protocol. (Guess what, I can help you with that! I do Health Coaching for this very reason)
You can buy some amazing fermented veggies and drinks. But they can be expensive. But making your own? It’s both easy and inexpensive. It takes some time to get into the groove of fermenting and learn the basics. Once you have learned the basics you will be completely ready to get to fermenting yourself!
I don’t have any recipes on my blog (so far) that are specific to fermentation. So, in order to provide you with amazing recipes and resources to get you started fermenting foods, I put together a recipe round-up. There are some amazing recipes here, so spend some time looking over these recipes!
How to Make Kombucha: A Beginner’s Guide from Delicious Obsessions
Continuous Kombucha Brewing: How To and Why… from Delicious Obsessions
Kombucha 101 from Health Starts in the Kitchen
How to make Kombucha from Real Food Outlaws
How to second ferment or flavor Kombucha from Divine Health From the Inside Out
How to Make Water Kefir from Delicious Obsessions
I drink Soda Everyday (Water Kefir Basics) from Real Food Outlaws
VIDEO: Making Water Kefir from Real Food Whole Health
Lacto-Fermentation (With Whey)
What is Lacto-Fermentation and How To Make Lactofermented Sauerkraut from Girl Meets Nourishment
Lacto-Fermented Kimchi from Nourishing Minimalism
Lacto-Fermented Garlic Pickles from Real Food Outlaws
Lacto-Fermented Ginger Carrots from Real Food Outlaws
Lacto-Fermentation of Vegetables from How We Flourish
How to Make Kimchi from Real Food Outlaws
Brine Pickled Brussels Sprouts from Delicious Obsessions
Lacto-Fermented May (with video!) from Girl Meets Nourishment
Easy Lacto-Fermented Ketchup from Girl Meets Nourishment
Making Fermented Garlic and Ways to Use It from Learning and Yearning
Sweet and Spicy Fermented Fruit Chutney from Real Food Outlaws
Garlicky Salsa from Divine Health From the Inside Out
Milk Kefir from Divine Health From the Inside Out
How to Make Sour Cream from Divine Health From the Inside Out
Yogurt from Divine Health From the Inside Out
And a Bonus…
DIY Airlock for Fermentation from Learning and Yearning
Fermenting Methods: We’ve Had it All Wrong from Delicious Obsessions
I hope you Enjoyed the Round-Up! Now you can really begin fermenting!!