Ferments: A Cornerstone of GAPS(TM)
Seems that everyone I talk to that is “doing the GAPS diet” is not actually doing the GAPS diet. FERMENTS are a cornerstone of the GAPS diet, so why aren't folks eating them and using them as they need to? I’ve got a couple of ideas: 1. They don’t know how to make them, 2. They don’t know where to buy them, or 3. They just don’t realize how important they are to the success of the diet.
Ferments are oh so easy to make. I LOVE ferments. I love teaching ferments. I think ferments may be THE MOST IMPORTANT part of a healthy diet today. That’s why I run around giving people fermented condiments and teaching fermentation to almost anyone who asks. If you don’t know how to make them, pick up a book (GAPS, Nourishing Traditions, Wild Fermentation or my book, with Love from Grandmother’s Kitchen: Traditional Cooking Techniques for Well-Being). Learn to make fermented ketchup, mustard and mayo! (how easy is that?) or come to a class! I will be teaching one on Saturday, February 25, inWestminster, CO.
If you don’t want to learn, there are more than a few good ferments out there that you may purchase. Food co-ops tend to be full of them, and here inColorado, lots of folks make them and then swap them at food swaps. MOMs (My Organic Market) or the Takoma Park Coop in the DC area are chock full of them. You may also order them online. Some brands are Deep Root or Bubbies. So I hear you say, “I can’t find those brands; we don’t have those brands. How do I know a “good ferment” when I see one?” And I say, first, a ferment that is live will be found in the refrigerated section of the store. (That rule doesn’t help when you are shopping on the internet, I know.) So use rule number 2: look at the ingredient list. A true ferment will have “the thing” that is being fermented, for example, cucumbers, water, spices and salt. That is all. No vinegar. Just salt. (Most ferments available in stores do not have whey as an ingredient.)
Now that we have cleared up how to learn to make the ferments, or how/where to find them, let’s move on to THE IMPORTANCE OF FERMENTS to the GAPS Diet. They are CRITICAL to the success of the diet. So don’t skip them, folks, and don’t just “kinda” do them. What I call “food ferments” and “bug juice” can be far more powerful than probiotics you take in a pill, for several reasons, not the least of which is that they areFOOD. That means your body will easily use them. They are also truly alive. I continue to be wary of probiotic pills, because although they “guarantee” a certain number of “live cells” per serving as of processing date, they are dying all the time…and how fast? How many are left per serving when you are at the bottom of the bottle? And what was the “process” they used to culture the bacteria, harvest the bacteria, or encapsulate the bacteria? I know you know I always encourage you to get back into the kitchen and make your own…everything…whenever you can.
So ferments, ferments. Good for the gut; crucial to the immune system; help clear brain fog…cheap and easy to make. Ferments give a “big” nutritional and immune system “bang for your buck” folks. No refrigerator should be without them. And...please note that homemade ferments can be very powerful. Go slowly, folks! If you have never eaten homemade, real sauerkraut, or fermented pickles, or fruit kvass, take it slow. For those of us who have been eating dead food for a while, ferments can pack a wallop! That means that they can "provoke a detox reaction". What is a detox reaction? Diarrhea, for one. Dizziness, headaches, aches in bones. At the extreme, vomiting. So go slowly. You just can't down an entire jar of fermented salsa like you would a dead jar from the store dead zone. A teaspoon or a tablespoon at most to start, and work your way up. Don't say I didn't warn you!!
To learn how to ferment just about anything--vegetables, fruits, beverages, berries, grains, beans...you get the idea...! buy my book, with Love from Grandmother’s Kitchen: Traditional Cooking Techniques for Well-Being HERE. And stay tuned for an entire weekend of Cooking GAPS (TM) Style coming your way in Colorado, California, and Boston this year!!
For more about how much I love ferments, check out the Washington Post Food section article Fermentation: A Wild Way to Make Food Come to Life :)