Is Fermentation A Hobby Or A ‘Whey’ Of Life?

My food and beverage fermentation storage cabinet.
    Fermentation of foods and beverages may seem to have started out as a hobby for me. But as I have continued, I have been discovering otherwise. I am learning more and more about these historically documented traditions that add valuable nutrients to food. In fact, before refrigeration and food additive preservation, fermentation was one of the essential, natural means of preserving food. The beauty of fermentation was that it accomplished two valuable results, food preservation, its primary goal, and nutritional enhancement, the natural bi-product of this process. The more I learn, the more food I want to ferment to add to the nutritional value.

Today, we live in a world of food preservation technology that has made fermentation unnecessary. Food is prepared and processed with ‘food preservatives’, chemicals that only increase shelf life. Fermentation is no longer needed. Or so it may seem. Ironically, the removal of natural fermentation and the addition of synthetic chemicals is leaving us nutritionally bankrupt. This has resulted in serious health issues for many adults and children.

Buying prepared foods that are natural and nutritious can become very expensive. I am exploring alternatives so I can eat healthfully and economically. I’ve begun to go back-to-basics. I’m giving fermenting beverages and foods a whole-hearted try. It is clear to me that this can be a good means of improving and maintaining good health. What I did not realize was that this nutrient dense solution can take a good deal of time. What might have seemed like a hobby initially, has become a ‘whey’ of life for me.

Making whey from yogurt strained through cheese cloth

Over the last six months or so, I have learned numerous techniques of fermentation. They include using a SCOBY (symbiotic cultures of bacteria and yeast) to make fermented teas, called Kombucha and Jun; using kefir grains or crystals to ferment milk and water; adding whey (a cheese making bi-product) to make lacto-fermented foods and beverages; using a ‘ginger bug’ (a fermented syrup of ginger, sugar and water) to make delicious, nutritious, homemade sodas; and one of our all time favorites, making lacto-fermented (whey again) lemonade. In fact, I make my own whey from yogurt and milk kefir by simply separating the ‘curds’ and ‘whey’ with cheesecloth or a paint strainer. It is easy but adds more time to the process of preparing nutrient rich food.

Eating this way increases good ‘gut’ bacteria. A new field of science called the human microbiome has revealed that the human body is only 20% human cells and 80% bacteria. This sheds a totally different light on how we need to look at improving and maintaining health. Our bodies thrive on good bacteria and need ‘probiotic’ foods and beverages to continually supply us with an abundance of it. Processed foods with food additives are, at the very least, dead. At their worst, they rob the body of any healthy bacteria it may have had. This means that eating processed food makes the body vulnerable. It creates a ripe environment for illness.

Be on guard when you shop for food. Read ingredients. If there are more than a few ingredients, don’t buy a packaged product. One of the worst food additives is high fructose corn syrup. Avoid it like the plague. Learn to make probiotic rich foods and beverages. It could save your life.

‘Ali’s Kombucha Kitchen’, the facebook page

As much as I can, I’m going back to how food and beverages were prepared before industrial food preservation. This means creating a healthy ‘whey’ of life supported by the latest scientific research, the human microbiome. We are seeing through the microbiome that when it comes to food, nature’s way is most likely best. I believe that only by going back in time to natural, probiotic enhancing food preparation methods, can we go forward with health.

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Label Reading 101

Label Reading 101

Label Reading 101 should be a required course for anyone considering buying packaged food.

The amounts of sugars, salt and chemicals are enough to make anyone sick. As a matter of fact, they do. Packaged food often equals processed food. Many sophisticated consumers know that processed food also equals unhealthy food.

An article in cautions consumers about reading labels no matter what promises and temptations the front of a packaged food offers. This article includes ingredients photos of about a half dozen typical foods.
Label Reading 101 and a magnifying glass are both required here.

It is both shocking and unnecessary to add most of the ingredients. In fact, a study was done on two types of macaroni and cheese dinners. One is sold in the US; the other in the UK. They had the same ingredients and even tasted the same. The exception was that the US version also had food coloring. Two moms in the US protested the addition of this needless and not nutritious chemical. They actually petitioned Kraft to remove the dye. Read about it here.

Food additives are big business in the US. Packaged and processed foods are the mainstay of many diets. It is easy to see why we have a nation of so many sick people.

A major food issue currently has to do with GMO foods. GMO stands for genetically modified food. US companies are not required to label food as such. The consequences have been fascinating. Other countries refuse to buy food stuffs from us. An app is now available that lets you know if a product you want to buy is genetically modified. You can read more about that in this article.

Good luck food shopping. Don’t forget the lessons from Label Reading 101. Especially make sure to read the fine print on the ingredients part of the label.

Enjoy this and other stories, at right, on Alison*s Art Online Magazines, features of Alison*s Blog.

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