Early myths about maple are widespread through the Eastern Woodland Indians, including the Abenaki, Iroquois, and Micmac (Mi’kmaq). According to legend, the Creator had at first made life too easy for his People by filling the maple trees with a thick syrup that flowed year-round. One day, Glooskap, a mischievous young man, found a village of his People strangely silent – the cooking fires were dead, weeds had overtaken the gardens. Glooskap discovered the villagers laying in the woods, eyes closed, letting the syrup from the maple trees drip into their mouths. Glooskap brought fresh water from the lake and using his special power filled the trees with water until the syrup ran from them thin and fast. He then ordered his people up, telling them that the trees were no longer filled with the maple syrup, but only a watery sap. He told them they would have to hunt and fish and tend their gardens for sustenance. He promised that the sap would run again, but only during the winter when game is scarce, the lake is frozen, and crops do not grow. Continue reading
Kvass is a favorite drink in Eastern Europe. Often it is consumed more than water. when i was in Russia, you could get kvass on tap walking down the street. Its similar to beer, but kvass doesn’t contain alcohol. Traditionally made by fermenting sourdough rye in water to make this drink, there is a beet version that is popular. Beet Kvass is described as “the blood of the Earth” and used as a liver and blood tonic. It is high in nutrients like B vitamins and probiotics because it is fermented. Continue reading
I remember one summer while i was in Russia, the first time I ate liver. I couldn’t get over the fact that I had just ate an organ from a cow. I thought, oh. My. Word. I did what?! I was disgusted and mortified. Little did I know, the liver I had just consumed was a super food! Continue reading
Let’s face it, we’re scared. We’re scared of the word ferment.
Why? Why does the modern diet fear fermented foods so much? Why do I fear fermented foods? Why do you?
Until 5 months ago, I don’t know that I ever ate anything (besides kimchi, and I’m not even sure that was true kimchi & store-bought kombucha) that was traditionally soured. So when I really dove into the Paleo lifestyle, I vowed I would make/try ferments. Yes, we drank kombucha, but we needed more.
What are fermented foods?
They are foods that contain necessary microorganisms, and are preserved by creating lactic acid that sour the foods. Fermentation is the process of converting sugar to ethanol.
Why do we need to eat them?
1. modern diet voids our bodies of necessary bacteria to digest our foods—> 2. we need to replace bacteria—> 3. when we replace bacteria, we improve digestion—> 4. when we improve digestion, we improve absorption—> 5. when we improve absorption, we improve micronutrient sufficiency—> 6. when we are micronutrient sufficient, we have optimal health.
1. We have unhealthy guts. Our diets are high in processed foods, refined sugars and carbs and lack foods with microorganisms. These foods strip our gut of the proper bacteria to break down the food and digest properly. When we cannot digest foods, it creates digestive disrupts (constipation, diarrhea, stomach cramps, IBS, leaky gut), improper absorption, micronutrient deficiency, etc.
2. We need to take out the foods that are stripping our guts of what it needs, and add foods traditionally soured; ex. sauerkraut, kimchi, other fermented vegetables, kombucha, yogurt, etc. These foods feed our guts and repair our gut flora.
3. When are gut flora is improved, are absorption is improved. How? 1) Our healthy gut can break down foods properly, 2) fermented foods are partially “digested”, and 3) fermented foods make micronutrients more readily available.
4. When foods are broken down properly, our bodies are able to absorb the nutrients in that food. If we can’t absorb the nutrients, there’s no point in eating it anyways. When you ferment, you break down the food. When you break down the food prior to eating it, the work your body would normally be doing to prepare to absorb the nutrients is already done. This allows for the micronutrients in the food to be digested more readily and quickly. Fermenting foods like beans and grains also breaks down the “anti-nutrients” that keep your body from digesting them, allowing your body to absorb the micronutrients from those otherwise useless food sources.
5. We are absorbing a whole lot more nutrients than we normally would be by eating fermented foods. These leads us to becoming micronutrient sufficient.
6. When we are micronutrient sufficient we have optimal health. We expierence weight loss (if over weight and overfed) or weight gain (if underweight and malnourished), improved vision, skin and hair, lower our cancer rates, lower our risk of diseases, we have improved immunity, our bodies function properly, and we can cure certain diseases. Just to name a few.
So again, why are we so scared?