Embracing the Unseen: Microbes, Fermentation, and the Gut

Sandor making sauerkraut...

Sandor making sauerkraut…

I’m so thankful that a friend of mine got Sandor Katz, the fermentation wizard of the Wild Fermentation movement, to come to my hometown last night!  I was able to geek out on all things gut and all things bacterial for an *entire* evening.

For those of you that know about my health crisis, healing my gut was a critical piece in my recovery process.  Ferments played a major role, along with bone broths, dietary changes, and certain herbal allies (dandelion, burdock, yellow dock, marshmallow root, red raspberry leaf, nettles, black walnut, and monarda are some of the all-stars). 

Basically, I am alive and well today to tell the world that gut health has EVERYTHING to do with mental health, biochemistry, and immune function.  With 1 in 5 American adults on a psychiatric drug (and 1 in 13 American children!!!), I think it’s high time we started to pay attention to what our guts are actually telling us!  If you want to learn more about the link with gut health and mental health, I suggest the book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome.”

Here’s a simplified recap of the benefits of fermentation!

Benefits of Fermentation

1 – Pre-digestion of food (including difficult to digest proteins such as gluten in grain and casein in milk) ~ increased nutritional bioavailability of food

2 – Detoxification ~ toxic compounds found in food stuffs are digested and broken down into benign forms (for example ~ cassava tuber and cyanide, oxalic acid and spinach/chard, phytic acid in grains, legumes and nuts)

3 – *Added* nutrition due to the fermentation process ~ commonly B vitamins are an added benefit (even beneficial bacteria in the gut can create needed B vitamins when your body needs them!); some examples are Vit K2 in natto and Vit C in sauerkraut

4 – Inoculation of a diverse culture of beneficial bacteria (and sometimes yeast) into the body ~ helps to synthesize nutrients in the gut, supports our immune function (as 70-85% of immune cells are found in the gut), protects the gut lining from alkaline loving pathogens (by creating an acid barrier), helps detoxify the body, and aids the liver in its regeneration process

...got my books signed...

…got my books signed…

Wild Fermentation ~ one of Sandor’s first books
The Art of Fermentation ~ Sandor’s latest book on fermentation
Sandor’s Event Listings (as well as other fermenters)

This workshop with Katz was the perfect dovetail to my recent workshops at the 10th Annual Southeast Women’s Herb Conference in Black Mountain, NC.  I taught two workshops ~ one on “Reviving the Alewife” and the other on “Gardening the Gut with Nourishing Foods.”  They were both loads of fun and the recordings will be available on the website in about a week.  For now, you can download the handouts to each of my workshops (listed under Lindsay Wilson).  The handouts are quite comprehensive with a nice collection of recipes.

2 thoughts on “Embracing the Unseen: Microbes, Fermentation, and the Gut

  1. Pingback: Ginger-garlic Sauerkraut | Madhupa Maypop

  2. Pingback: Give Thanks: Feeding Your Microbes and Feeing Your Lineage | Madhupa Maypop

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