The average person has about 39 trillion bacteria in their body, roughly equivalent to the amount of cells you have. Most of them reside in your gastrointestinal tract. There are an estimated 700 species of bacteria in your mouth and a million bacteria per square inch of skin. They are everywhere and they are necessary!

Our bad habits. For the past few decades we have been waging a war against our own bacteria. We have been a terrible host! We destroy our bacteria with antibiotics, chlorinated water, processed food diets and antibacterial soaps. But we don’t stop there! We mess with microbes in our environments by spraying pesticides on crops, pre-washing vegetables with chlorine, pasteurizing (sterilizing) and irradiating our foods and introducing GM toxins into our soils. We are obsessed with sterility to our own detriment! Basically we have become hyper-hygienic.

How bacteria help us? Every day we learn new things about how bacteria serve our bodies. Bacteria may help detoxify our bodies by breaking down dangerous pollutants like phthalates in our plastics and cosmetics or by biodegrading some pesticide residues on our vegetables. Gut bacteria help free up nutrients in our foods for better access and even produce a number of vitamins on our behalf (including vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B12) as well as hormone precursors that may affect our sleep, weight and mood. Good bacteria can help prevent overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria that contribute to things such as acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, yeast infections, prostatitis, bacterial vaginosis and acne. Babies born naturally and covered by bacteria as they exit the mothers body are less likely to develop allergies and eczema. We have really just scraped the surface of the ingenuity of bacteria. Our gut bacteria also play a key role in our immune system, inflammation and potentially in many diseases like allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, alzheimers, autism, obesity and more.

Fermented Foods. Bacteria and yeast help us produce fermented foods like sauerkraut, sourdough, cheese, kefir and kombucha! Fermented foods seem to offer additional benefits over their raw counterparts. For example, when cabbage is fermented a substance called indol-3-carbinol (I3C) is increased. I3C is sold in capsules at stores to help breakdown estrogen in the body thus reducing our risk of fibroids, breast cancer and more. If not for fermentation, some foods, like cassava root, would be toxic. Fermentation reduces phytates (nutrient blockers) which in excess can bind up food minerals. It also reduces the oxalic acid content of foods which may play a role in kidney stones. Fermented foods are also like natures probitocs. Evidence suggest that bacteria may even help us adapt to our local diets by excreting enzymes to help us digest those very foods.

I’m so excited to be offering a FERMENTATION WORKSHOP on Sunday July 16th at 6pm! I’ve been dying to share my experiences with fermentation – the tastes, techniques and of course the amazing health benefits.

Sign up quickly to reserve a spot! https://5-fermented-foods.eventbrite.com
These recipes are so easy you will be fermenting all of them within a few weeks! There will also be a few prizes so bring your business card for a draw!

HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL LEARN!

** How to Make: MEAD (Honey Wine), Sauerkraut, Brining Vegetables, Kefir (vegan or dairy), Sourdough starter
** The amazing benefits of bacteria on and inside of our bodies
** How fermentation alters foods for easier digestion and better health
** 5 daily habits we have that destroy our precious bacteria
** What sourdough starter, kefir grains and a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) look and feel like!

Leave with instructions to make all FIVE ferments and, for those of you who can bring along a few simple items (instructions to follow) your first jar of sauerkraut.

References
http://www.nature.com/news/scientists-bust-myth-that-our-bodies-have-more-bacteria-than-human-cells-1.19136
The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz

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