Musician’s Health – fermented foods

Fermented foods?… isn’t that when milk goes “bad”???…

Well, it seems that there more than one kind of fermenting that can happen in foods… some bad for us and some good.  Some quite good in fact.

Yogurt is a prime and famous example that has live and active “cultures” in it of “human-friendly” bacteria… yes, I know, that we’ve mostly been taught that bacteria is the enemy!  Today we have a multitude of anti-bacterial products available to us, and have had public scares of e-coli epidemics, but this is only half of the story.  It seems that we can not live without bacteria either!  We need the good kinds in us to fight off the bad kinds or we can get very sick in a very short time!

Back to the yogurt… better quality yogurt products will have a number of different friendly bacteria strains in them.  I personally avoid the sugar-coated candy types no matter how good they might taste.  I also highly doubt that yogurt coated candy has any live bacteria left in it as well.  Maybe it’s another topic, but sugar seems to be a great culture for growing bacteria… NOT the good kinds though.  I personally start with a good quality organic plain yogurt (not the low fat kind, contrary to current popular fads, it seems that we need fat for our body to function properly… but that too is another topic).  I add locally produced honey if I want my yogurt sweetened.  Honey, in it’s natural as possible state, is quite good for us too.  I’m told that it can help with digestion and actually can counter act the bad things that white sugar does to us (…sorry, off on another tangent I go!).  Another reason I purchase plain yogurt is because then I have dietary combination options.  Plain yogurt is good on cucumbers and other veggies …I wouldn’t want to try the sugar coated french vanilla strawberry banana kind on my veggies… that doesn’t sound very good to me, and is not very good “food combining” principles either… oopps, sorry, there I go again… is it that I am easily distracted?  Or, that all this natural health stuff is just inter-linked?… probably both!

Another cultured product you may want to look into is Kefir.  Like yogurt, it is a “friendly bacteria in milk” drink.  I’m told that it has many more strains of good bacteria in it… kind of like super yogurt!  It’s history goes back thousands of years and was an aid in keeping milk before refrigeration was invented.  I personally have a problem with drinking commercial ultra homogenized milk… it seems to give me a sore throat almost every time, but Kefir has never been a problem for my body.  I grow my own by starting with a bit of the kefir culture (gifted from a friend who claims it possible saved his life!), and just “feed” it milk.  Simple as that.  That friend, who is a professional nurse, was having severe intestinal problems… to the point that his doctors were going to remove portions of his intestines surgically!  He thought that there might be another option, and did a last minute internet search on the subject, finding out about Kefir.  He gave it a try, and within only 5 days, was completely healed of his intestinal disorder!  A great story.  The only saddening part, is that when he told his doctor about how Kefir might have saved his life, the doctor did not even want to know anything about it!  This friend is still a working nurse, but the episode was a rude awakening of the oftentimes narrow mindedness of his profession.  …that is another subject too… I’ll try to stay on point.

There are other fermented products too.  Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), miso (fermented soybean paste), …even beer and wine have some merits for health… just don’t over do them please!

Keep me posted on your health successes!

PS: Update warning: I’ve found in my own experience that some fermented products (like Kefir), by nature, have histamines in them.  Some people (me) might have a sensitivity to this.  My symptom was itchy skin, and it seems by doing a Google search, that I’m not the only one with this problem.  Always good to check out anything to see what others have to say about it… even if it seems great for you on paper, it may not be the best for YOU in particular!

…of course, with me, it could’ve been just the old “too much of a good thing” habit I have too!  ;~) I admit, that often I fall into a “if it is good for you, then more is better!  Right?” trap.  I like to try my best at health related things.  Doing so gives me pleasure, but what is “best” can be a moving target sometimes too.  My advice?  Take any new thing slow.  Your body will tell you what it likes… if you listen. ;~)

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