I am blessed to live in rural Ontario; a food producing part of the world.
I had great conversations at my local market this past Saturday. Matt McIntyre (a professional chef) has turned his love of health and food into an amazing offering of fermented food products.
We got into a conversation about food and health, and the conversation took an interesting turn.
Are We What We Eat?I told him that I had read a book; Lone Wolf by Jodie Picoult. Picoult talked about how the wolf-pack functions like a family and how the alpha shapes her pack’s roles, acceptance and behaviours by what foods she allows them to eat. The beta wolf (the enforcer of the pack) gets the muscle meat. When she wants to introduce her new cubs to the pack, she orchestrates the kill of a lactating animal. In this way, the hormones in the food make the pack more receptive to the newcomers.
It got me wondering if part of our collective social problems could be attributed to our diet. If we are more connected to diet than we realize, what kind of beings are we becoming with dependency upon corporate driven foodstuffs?
The Brain of the GutInflammation of the gut is responsible for many of our elusive health issues. The Foundation Docs (the new breed of science driven M.D.’s) are looking at the gut/brain connection, and observing how the brain and nervous system are disturbed in tandem with gut issues.
The idea that we can restore our health with diet is not new. What is new, is the question: can diet change heal many mental and emotional issues by treating the Brain of the Gut? The new science is showing that much of our thinking and emoting is connected to the health of our primary interactive system; our digestion. Diet and inflammation could be at the root of depression, mood swings, bipolar disorders.
To take this idea to the opposite end of the spectrum; is it possible that many of the people who have been incarcerated for violence and poor impulse control have diet at the root of their behaviour?
At one point in Picoult’s Lone Wolf, a pack that was re-introduced into a national park turned on a human and killed him. Very unusual behaviour for a wolf pack in the wild. The wolf expert they brought in to investigate looked at the diet. These wolves had a diet predominantly of fish. This diet disturbed the natural order of things. The diet turned this wolf family into a gang.
Let Food Be Your MedicineThe conversation expanded with (Jessica of Whitefield Farms) a neighbouring booth, who told me about the number one definitive resource for foods that healed the gut; Nurturing Traditions. LINK HERE
Going Hardcore by Making Your OwnYou can make your own sauerkraut and Kimchee. Lactic acid bacteria, or ‘probiotics’ as they are sometimes called, are friendly bacteria that help to maintain the health of the intestinal tract.
Some people prefer to take capsules of probiotics. The one I most frequently recommend is HMF (Human Micro Flora) as it is human specific bacteria derived from human origin. Another way to increase the friendly bacteria in the gut is by using fermented food products.
Fermented foods such as yogurt, buttermilk and kefir improve digestion by introducing more of these lactic acids bacterial strains. These fermented foods educate the gut to digest milk products.
Naturally fermented Sauerkraut also contains lactic acidophilus bacteria. This form of bacteria educates the gut to digest vegetable matter more effectively. Many commercial types of sauerkraut are made using vinegar, but they are in no way the same thing. They stress and imbalance the gut.
The Making of Vegan Kimchi
In a large stainless steel bowl add:
- 1 head white cabbage or Napa (Chinese cabbage) cut into ultra thin slices
- 2 carrots cut very thin
- 2 Tablespoons of Himalayan salt
- 1 Tablespoons dried dulse, cut fine (use scissors)
¼ Daikon radish, sliced thin
½ leek, cut length-ways and sliced fine
First mix the salt into the vegetables with your hands and let this sit for an hour or so. Cover with a clean damp tea towel. To get the batch juicy, whump them with a pestle (looks like a small baseball bat) until the mixture releases its juices.
- 1 inch ginger shaved or grated fine (too much makes your Kimchee slimy)
- 1 or 2 garlic cloves chopped fine (too much makes your Kimchee bitter)
- A teaspoon of Sriracha sauce (hot) more or less.
(You can add some juice from an old batch to your new batch to hasten the ferment.)
Transfer this to a clean old fashioned crock pot. (You can use a slow cooker as your crock pot – unplugged!)
The trick is to keep the liquid levels high enough to completely cover the vegetables
- Invert a small plate or saucer on top, pressing it down.
- Assess how juicy it is and if it needs more water.
- Top up with a little distilled water if you need to until the water level is just sitting above the top of the plate.
- Add a weight on top to keep the water level above the plate. A boiled-clean stone will work here.
- Cover with a clean tea towel and let rest for anywhere from 5 days to to 3 weeks.
Your nose will tell you when it is ready. Is is kind of funky, but that’s ok.
Keep checking it to see how it is doing.
Any moldy looking stuff can be scooped off. Don’t be too upset about this ‘bloom’, as any sign of life other than black stuff is your assurance that your acidophilus culture is alive and well.
When it has fermented to your satisfaction, store in mason jars in the fridge.
Don’t Be Scared!
When I first considered making a batch of sauerkraut I went on line to learn how. I saw a tutorial by a woman who made a huge batch in a wash tub. At one point she took off her sandals and jumped in! This is how she got the juices happening. After I saw that, I felt a lot more confident.
You can customize small amounts.
I didn’t like the taste of my first batch so I added a can of tomato paste to it. It was great.I love the idea that I am creating my own personal supply of health.
Most people are desperately trying to reduce infection by taking anti-biotics, which in essence, destroy their foundational gut health. This in tern leaves the digestive tube more vulnerable to other infections.
In contrast, in a simple nourishing way, you can ward off illness by building the strength of your immune system daily by enjoying fermented foods.Nelda McEwen has been practicing as a Medical Intuitive in SW Ontario for over 25 years; counselling individuals and families, as well as offering her signature ICH training to other Medical Intuitives in the health field. Nelda’s professional research has been acknowledged and published in the Professional Kinesiology Practitioners Manual. The PKP program is recognized through the International Kinesiology College of Zurich Switzerland.