Disclaimer: I’m basically self-trained in this subject and I have no actual authority to be writing about it. Proceed with whatever discretion you want. 🙂
This has been a game changer for me.
Did you know that ninety-something percent of all bacteria on the planet is harmless and most of it is beneficial? In fact, our bodies have ten times more microorganisms housed inside us than actual human cells (so I’ve read). These microorganisms perform all sorts of functions for us that science is just cracking the surface on.
We generally only hear about bad bacteria that make us sick or do other harmful things like cause death. It’s interesting how a handful of bad ones in a sea of trillions can create such a bad rap for all bacteria.
Inviting good ones into my life in various ways has had a huge impact on my body and overall health. More on that in a bit.
The good bacteria that serve our bodies are often lumped into the name of probiotics. Because they are living organisms (inside our bodies), they actually require sustenance. But they aren’t parasitic, so what do they eat? Fiber. That’s right. Fiber serves a much greater purpose than merely sweeping things through our system. Another name for this type of fiber is prebiotic. Prebiotics feed our probiotics. We need lots and lots of good bacteria (and preferably a variety of strains) for the optimal functioning of our bodies.
Possibly every civilization through time (except the modern one we know), cultured microorganisms as part of their diet. Some cultured dairy (like yogurt, kefir and cheese), some fermented vegetables (like sour kraut), some fermented beverages (like kombucha), and some cultured natural yeast for breads. I’m sure there are other forms that I’m not even aware of.
I had no idea about any of this until a couple of years ago when a friend introduced me to natural yeast. This prompted me to take a class, do a bunch of reading, and start cultivating colonies of my own from “starts” received from other people.
I was motivated to learn because I had become somewhat dependent on over-the-counter pharmacy help to make my tummy function properly. Nothing was medically wrong, yet things weren’t working like I knew they should. It had been suggested to me that my symptoms were probably just a part of getting older (I was still in my thirties at the time). I didn’t want to accept that.
So cultivating colonies began. My kitchen turned into a science-lab of sorts, growing yogurt cultures and natural yeast for bread making and brewing kombucha. Fermenting vegetables is next on my list.
How has my body responded?
Tummy problems have become entirely under control and mostly predictable based on what I eat. (No more over-the-counter pharmacy help needed.) Bloating has become very rare (it used to be very common). My muscles can contract more deeply; this might sound strange but I swear there was a difference. It’s almost like my body must have been slightly inflamed all the time, making it more difficult to fully contact muscles until my chemistry changed. Afternoon cravings for sweets are gone. (Actually, all cravings for sweets are gone. I have much more control over how much of them I eat because I don’t desire it the same.) Exercising started to show more results (I had felt plateau’d for awhile despite deliberate eating well and exercising). I can enjoy my delicious home-made bread in large quantities without any adverse side-effects! I don’t remember the last time I was sick. I could go on.
It might sound overwhelming or complicated to make yogurt or naturally yeasted bread or kombucha. That’s only because it’s unknown to a lot of people. It’s actually all quite simple; nature does most of the work. I love to share starter cultures with people because I know how important those little organisms are and how much good they can do. If anyone I know in real life is reading this and wants to know more, I will gladly share.
I believe the world would be a better place if everyone ate cultured foods!