Good digestion is right up there as a major contributor to feeling young and vibrant, a foundation for repairing your body if you’ve been ill and a foundation for eliminating depression and getting a feeling of well-being instead. The gut is an important part of the endocrine system, as are our hormones, as are the feel good brain chemicals, the brain chemicals that help you sleep, the other brain chemicals that keep you awake and alert at the right times and give you energy – they are all part of the delicate, constantly balancing endocrine system.
We’ve already talked about how bone broth / slow cooked soup made with bones, repairs the gut walls and makes it possible to absorb your other foods easily. And we’ve talked about the critical importance of healthy gut bacteria.
Here’s some ways in which to increase healthy gut bacteria:
Some people are so depleted in healthy gut bacteria that it takes a lot more than the recommended dose to get things really active again. If abundance is an issue for you, fermented foods are a much cheaper option to do the same job.
If using probiotic capsules appeal to you most, you’ll learn a way for testing yourself on the Happiness course to find out how many capsules are best for you personally. Those on the supported options can send in a photo of themselves and I’ll organize the testing for you and the other things that can be a physical trigger for unwellness and depression.
One of the pluses of our global village is finding out and having available, the different ways that various cultures around the world have traditionally used fermented foods for good health.
Food as medicine has become another passion for me. Making real sauerkraut is cheap and easy and it dances on my tongue, although I have to hide it under the mashed potato for my husband who eats it under sufferance knowing it’s good for him. Supermarket sauerkraut in Australia has been pasteurised which kills the bacteria and makes it useless.
For sauerkraut – once I have gathered the tools (two jars, one big, one small and narrow with rocks in it to use as a weight), some cheese cloth and a rubber band, a cabbage, some sea salt, a sharp knife and a big bowl – it takes me about five minutes to slice the cabbage and make the sauerkraut. Sit it on the bench for 4 days and eat with meals that have some kind of gravy or mashed potato in them. If you haven’t eaten it before, then 4 days is long enough to get the good stuff happening and the taste won’t be too strong.
Other fermented foods
Other fermented foods such as kefir, real yoghurt with real live yoghurt culture still in it (most so called yoghurts in the supermarket don’t have the live culture in them any more and they are loaded with refined white chemical sugar so you have to check the labels carefully) – live vinegars like kambucha (here’s a link to a kombucha recipe) and apple cider vinegar with the “mother” still in it (again most of the supermarket sold foodstuffs have been pasteurised and killed the good bacteria that our bodies are craving).
The Japanese have a number of different fermented foods, including miso and a lovely sweet rice called Kohji that my friend Haruko has sent me from Japan – all these things contribute healthy bacteria that are a foundation to being able to digest our food properly.
The Koreans have Kim Chee which is a bit like sauerkraut with other vegetables added and very spicy hot.
I’ve used all of these fermented foods at different times as I am drawn to them. Right now, there’s kombucha on the side bench and sauerkraut in the fridge. 🙂
When you are using fermented foods for well-being and not just for taste, remember that heating and cooking kills good bacteria as well as bad bacteria, so don’t cook fermented foods or heat beyond a nice eating temperature – i.e. add them at the end of the cooking process.
Do you know, there’s a good reason for people to not be attracted to their vegetables, when they aren’t digesting them properly anyway. Once we have healthy bacteria in our systems, we can start getting the benefit of all that lovely fresh food, fruits and specially vegetables that provide important vitamins and produce the digestive enzymes that are the other part of the healthy digestion that is such a significant part of our emotional and physical well-being. THEN we’ll start actually craving good food.