First up - my Apple-Cranberry-Walnut Grawnola finally made it out of my dehydrator and OMG!
I've been snacking on it all week straight from the jar I kept it in, that I only managed to get one proper brekkie out of it!! Served to moi (but of course) at work one morning with my brazil nut milk and a tasty 'nana it was out of this world. Kept me going and going and going... there will definatley be more where that came from!
But I wanted to make mention about fermented foods and good bacteria this time 'round (quite a jump from grawnola but hey). We touched on this in class the other day and it prompted me to dive a little deeper as I realised I had been eating miso and fermented cabbage salad, whilst also drinking kombucha this past week... all fermented foods high in good bacteria... but is there a fine line between good and bad? And how much one "should" have?
I still hear contradicting theories on all this bubbly stuff so I wanted to try and shed some light on the subject for those of you new to it all (but will let you in on a little secret - I'm still perfecting this myself)...
When I used to read those two words the same thoughts always came to mind - Rotten. Fizzy. Off. Stinks. Gross. Etc etc etc...
I suppose to a degree I wasn't far off. But since then I have learnt alot more and can appreciate the fizzy "off-ness" to certain things. Getting hungry yet?
Let me explain -
These so called "off" foods also known as fermented foods contain something I'm sure you've all heard of before; PRObiotics. Sold in the fridge at the health food shop... good to take after you've been on anti-biotics... what else though?
(NOTE: they are IMPERITIVE to take after a course of anti-biotics).
These little PRObiotic guys are basically living organisms - yes I mean bacteria - but they are the GOOD bacteria (just think "bacteria" eats things... good bacteria eats bad things, bad bacteria eats good things... I know which one I want more of). The good guys hang around in the large intestine keeping it happy and are said to have a miriad of health benefits (although some research is not conclusive on this; see further down*).
Foods such as miso, saurkraut, and yoghurt (thinking sour, fizzy, off again right?) are all fermented and therefore high in PRObiotics - the GOOD stuff!
Fermented cabbage salad from IKU Wholefoods
So that's step 1... (or could be Step 2... kinda like how Star Wars came out decades ago, but later on came the PREquels... ok having a Star Wars moment, sorry guys) Moving along...
Step 2 (or Step 1 - depends on how you look at it) PREbiotics.
These babies are a little different (but just as important) They promote the growth of PRObiotics. So without them, no PRObiotics can breed and make more beautiful PRObiotic babies to keep your guy happy :)
And that's when we can run into troubles and get tummy upsets, bloating, gas, yeast infections, IBS and more.
PREbiotics are easy enough to find in foods like onions, asparagus, garlic, jerusalem artichoke (used as low GI sweetener in David Wolfe's Sun Sweet raw chocolate flavour YUM), and two of my favourites - yacon syrup and bananas.
* This "in-conclusive research" I speak of... there have been tests to show probiotics and prebiotics provide a miriad of health benefits, but there are also alot that state otherwise. For this reason, all I can suggest is to try them for yourself and see how you feel, as most people notice a difference. Getting them either from the real deal foods, or from your health food store if you're in need of much higher therapeutic doses (such as if you've been on the contraceptive pill or anti-biotics for some time).
For me personally, I feel GREAT when drinking kombucha (fermented tea - yes it's fizzy) each morning on an empty stomach, and when having miso in my diet every now and then. My fav thing at the moment are nori rolls I make with an unpasteurised barley miso paste spread on the bottom and then stacked with vegies and sprouts - YUM!
So, in my opinion it's good to make sure you're getting both PRObiotics and PREbiotics in your diet, but my only caution would be to ensure you're getting them from a bunch of different foods and not just one. And see how happy your gut can be :D