One of the main principles of the GAPS diet is to propagate a healthy gut ecology. Ones gut flora becomes out of balance due to processed foods, sugar, stress, lack of sleep, antibiotics, environmental toxins and the birth control pill. We are even born, our sterile tummies become off balance from those first gulps of amniotic fluid. When opportunistic bacteria take over in your body a myriad of symptoms pop up, it might be simple headaches or joint pain, often as time goes on it will get more drastic with symptoms like allergies (food and seasonal) or an autoimmune disease. It is a wide spectrum and gut health is complicated.
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that keep opportunistic and pathogenic bacteria under control and in the right balance. It is a gradual process to build up the good bacteria in your system because the bad guys fight back, it in not a quick fix. Probiotic supplements have become a big thing in the past ten years and most of them are helpful, but pale in comparison to fermented foods which have more active cultures, a wider range of types of bacteria and cost much less, so you can consume even more.
Fermenting foods is a traditional food preparation that preserves food for many months in cold storage. The most popular fermented food is yogurt. Pickles and sauerkraut used to be fermented, but now they are made with vinegar and no bacteria. You can ferment your condiments like ketchup and mayo just by adding some whey and leaving at room temperature for 24 hours to inoculate the batch. You can do many vegetables by soaking in a brine for a week. You can make probiotic drinks and of coarse cultured dairy all in your own home. Homemade ferments are optimal because they are fresh, live active cultures die over time, counting the time they are transported and sit on the grocery store shelf.
I took an ecourse a couple years ago called Get Cultured by Nourished Kitchen. I was so impressed by the quality of the information. Above all, the videos were so helpful. These ferments are easy, the big hurdle is getting started. Here is an overview of what the course covers;
Fermented & Cultured Dairy: Greek- and Bulgarian-style yogurt, fil mojlk, kefir, sour cream, bonny clabber, clabbered cream, yogurt and kefir cheese, farmers cheese, cultured butter, buttermilk.
Dairy-free Coconut Ferments: coconut yogurt, young coconut kefir.
Probiotic Beverages & Tonics: kombucha, water kefir, beet kvass, rejuvelac, wild cider and mead, natural sodas, probiotic herbal tonics.
Condiments & Relishes: Lacto-fermented mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup and barbecue sauce, pickle relish, horseradish, salsa and hot chili sauce.
Fruits, Chutneys, Fruit Butters & Jams: Preserved lemons, lacto-fermented fruit chutneys, fruit butters and jams.
Sauerkraut & Shredded Vegetable Ferments: Basic cabbage ferments, pickled greens, sauerruben, gingered carrots.
Brine Pickling & Whole Vegetable Ferments: Sour pickles, sweet pickles, pickled garlic, pickled beets.
Naturally Cured Meats & Fish: Corned beef brisket, bacon, gravlax, anchovies.
Fermented Legumes & Naturally Fermented Soy: natto, tempeh, Japanese-style miso bran pickles, fermented bean paste.
Sourdoughs & Naturally Leavened Baked Goods: sourdough starter, gluten-free sourdough starter, sourdough bread, gluten-free sourdough bread.
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