How Lactic Acid In Fermented Foods Keeps The Body Happy
I don’t go a single day without eating lacto-fermented vegetables. They keep my immune system boosted (I get a cold less than once a year), give energy to think more clearly so I can kick butt in my business, keep my skin lovely, and keep my weight where it should be by reducing my appetite, sugar, and carb cravings.
The fermented foods I eat actually SAVE me time because I have more energy and focus all day long.
These foods are also the best resource I know of to heal the body after toxins, stress, and processed foods have wiped out the balance of beneficial bacteria inside our digestive tract.
Which, unfortunately, is almost everyone! So that’s why I’m sharing this quick overview of lacto-fermentation.
What is the best way to get probiotics?
The probiotics found in raw, fermented foods stock the body with healthy flora that serves as a protective lining in the gut and shields us against harmful pathogens — basically making it a real challenge for harmful bacteria to reproduce and cause illness. Our bodies’ immune systems necessitate “good bacteria”, or probiotics, which provide beneficial germs while crowding out the bad. It’s a pretty genius cycle that’s kept human health in check for millennia. In fact we can’t live (for very long) without this bacteria!
Store-bought probiotics vary greatly in quality — and often lose their potency as soon as they are packaged. Many tests have shown that probiotic supplements lose their strength by half by the time they reach your house. Unpasteurized fermented foods contain as much as 8x the number of probiotics as one bottle of probiotic supplements. Yup, even that bottle that costs $40 or $50 is nowhere near as potent!
So what is fermentation, scientifically speaking?
Though just a small part of the complex system of our nutritional needs, fermentation plays an essential role in keeping our bodies healthy and happy.
As you may remember from science class, fermentation is a process of producing energy in the absence of oxygen. During fermentation a chemical reaction in bacteria, yeasts and miscellaneous microorganisms break down and eradicate all sugars from a substance.
Bacteria in sauerkraut, for example, ferment when they eat up the sugars in an anaerobic environment. This is how the bacteria produce energy. The byproducts of this process are carbon dioxide (bacterial farts) and lactic acid (bacteria pee!) Ok, I know, I just made that really gross, but you’ll never forget it!
Here’s the coolest part.
Humans can ferment, too! And I don’t mean when you lift up your armpit after a long sweaty workout. Your muscle cells have the same contraptions that the bacteria have. When no oxygen is present, your muscle cells make energy using the process of fermentation. Guess what the byproducts are? Carbon dioxide and lactic acid! You know that sore feeling in your muscles after a workout? Yep, that’s lactic acid running amok.
6 Things You Didn’t Know About Lactic Acid
- Lactic acid is a natural antibiotic that kills off bad bacteria and helps end dysbiosis — an imbalance of probiotics.
- When you eat lactic acid, it does not make you sore.
- Lactic acid does not contain dairy. It is named after Lactic Acid Bacteria, which happen to thrive off of lactose (a sugar found in milk) and the carbohydrates in vegetables. http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/largegut/ferment.html
- Lactic acid is what makes raw unpasteurized sauerkraut sour, not vinegar. The sour flavor from vinegar is a different kind of acid — acetic acid. In fact, probiotic-rich kraut contains no vinegar whatsoever.
- The sour flavor in yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, and sourdough bread is also from lactic acid.
- Lactic acid is the byproduct of fermentation. Many bacteria can do this when there is no oxygen present.
Where have fermented foods been all my life?
In ancient times, people were constantly exposed to beneficial bacteria because they didn’t live in a sterile environment. They actually consumed plenty of naturally occurring probiotics by eating fresh foods produced from good, nutrient dense soil.
While most everyone is familiar with the fermentation process used to create alcohol, fermentation is still a foreign craft to many Westerners. Fermenting foods for their health benefits has gone on for thousands of years, and plays an essential role in holistic healing and nutritional practice around the world. However, widespread pasteurization and the shift toward eating processed foods has created a giant void in our diet, health, and culture as a whole.
Danger In Your Grocery Store
In today’s world, the majority of food is processed, which not only means it has little-to-no nutritional value, but it’s actually dangerous. Much of the readily available produce we buy today has quite a large amount of pesticides.
Unless it is organic, meats contain antibiotics, giving you a daily low-dose, which kills off the good bacteria your body needs. By adding probiotic rich foods into your diet, you’ll see improved digestion, increased energy, and an all-around stronger immune system.
Have you heard about my webinar multi-series called “Say Hello to My Little Friends”? If you enjoyed this article, you need to check it out. It’s happening right now! Get the most in-depth, up to date information that will make you snappier and stronger.
Grab the Webinar Series package with all the recordings, handouts and transcriptions for all 7 classes… if you are recommending probiotics to anyone! Register here.
11 Most Potent Fermented Foods In Your Healer’s Toolkit
Wondering which fermented foods to use for Candida, weight loss, allergies, diabetes, cancer, and other conditions?
Whether you’re looking to increase your energy or heal a specific condition such as high blood pressure or IBS, certain fermented foods can get you results quickly and naturally.
You’ll want to use certain fermented foods depending on the desired result you want. And not all fermented foods are used medicinally, such as beer or chocolate.
(Even though you could make an argument for chocolate being medically necessary…It definitely is for me sometimes!)
Below is an overview of functional fermented foods— foods that are used for their nutritional and healing properties.
First mentioned in a Chinese poem nearly 3,000 years ago, kimchi is one of the world’s first lacto-fermented foods. This traditional Korean dish—made of cabbage and spices—improves the cardiovascular and digestive systems. Its antioxidants help lessen the risk of serious health conditions, such as cancer and diabetes.
Of all fermented products, yogurt is the most popular and most commonly consumed. Yogurt directly impacts diet quality, metabolism, and blood pressure. There is a new study that shows a major correlation between reduction in diabetes and intake of sugar-free yogurt. NOTE: When buying yogurt, check that the milk source is either grass-fed goat or sheep, and that it’s certified organic. Or, of course, you can make your own!
This fermented milk product is high in calcium, magnesium, and vitamins, with a similar taste and texture to that of drinkable yogurt. This sour-flavored fluid is made from milk and kefir grains, boosting immunity, alleviating bowel-related issues, improving digestion, and building bone density. It’s even been linked to killing Candida—a yeast-like parasitic fungus. Although it’s less popular than yogurt, it is actually higher in probiotics. (Coconut Kefir is a great dairy-free option that utilizes fermented juice of young coconuts to replace milk.)
Kombucha is a fermented beverage, composed of black tea and sugar that originated in China about 2,000 years ago. (The sugar can come from various sources, i.e. cane or pasteurized honey.) When the SCOBY is added, the fermentation process begins. Once fermented, the sugary tea transforms into a carbonated, fizzy drink, high in enzymes, probiotics, advantageous acids, small amounts of alcohol, and vinegar. Studies show that kombucha improves digestion, increases energy, supports immunity, aids weight loss, and serves as a full-body detox. To read more about the pros and cons of Kombucha, click here.
There’s two different kinds of pickles. When you preserve cucumbers in vinegar, you get pickles. But when you soak cucumbers in a salt-water brine, you get probiotic pickles!!! One pickle can contain up to 20 percent of your daily Vitamin K value—a vitamin essential to bone and heart health. NOTE: Because pickles are commonly processed and come in many forms (i.e. relish, dill pickle, sweet pickle, etc.), it’s important to look for organic or locally produced pickles to ensure quality. You also want to make sure that they say ‘cultured,’ ‘unpasteurized,’ or ‘lactofermented.’ Pickles are one of the most common ferments, and super easy to make yourself!
Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage made with salt and often herbs, which enhance the flavor and nutritional content. High in fibers, vitamins, iron, copper, calcium, and magnesium, consuming sauerkraut strengthens bones, supports your natural, healthy inflammation response, reduces cholesterol, regulates digestion, fills the gut with much-needed Lactobacillus plantarum (a great probiotic), and assists circulation. It’s also dairy-free and can be made ‘wild’ which means no starter culture is required! Learn how to make your own probiotic factory on your kitchen counter!
Idli is a steamed, naturally leavened cake, made from ground rice, urad dal (white lentil) and beans. This gluten-free food is light and digestible, with high levels of calcium, potassium, and iron. Because idli requires steaming, it doesn’t have probiotics; however, its high iron content is crucial to oxygenating the blood.
Unpasteurized vinegar is considered an extraordinary stimulant. While the majority of vinegar in American grocery stores is a cheap, mass-produced product with absolutely no health benefit, traditional vinegars made with quality alcohols and live cultures possess various health benefits. Vinegar is among the world’s first preservatives, and apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been used as a home remedy for thousands of years. Raw vinegars—made from unpasteurized juice of fruits—contain all the nutrients and enzymes of the fruit used. (For example, ACV contains all the nutrients of apples: pectin, acetic and malic acids, B vitamins, etc.) All in all, vinegar is a tonic that aids digestion, lowers blood pressure, and relieves stress and fatigue. Additionally, consuming vinegar makes it more difficult to absorb sugars and starches. To read more about the variations of vinegar and their specific health benefits, click here.
Miso is a broth formed from fermenting soybeans, barley, or rice, and mold. This popular Asian dish has anti-aging properties, strengthens bones, allows healthy skin, helps lower the risk of cancer, and aids the nervous system. It is alkalizing and delicious – especially when homemade.
Traditionally an Indonesian cake-like dish is made from fermenting soybeans with live molds. Because it possesses the same protein qualities as meat, it’s a great option for vegetarians! It’s high in vitamins, reduces cholesterol, and quickens muscle recovery. Fresh tempeh is more delicious than the stuff you get out of the freezer, alas this is one of the more time-consumptive and difficult ferments to make at home.
This popular Japanese side dish is similar to tempeh, also made from fermented soybeans. The power of natto lies is in its high levels of vitamin K2, a vitamin that delivers calcium appropriately to the body. It’s common that those who take calcium supplements experience absorption problems. When K2 is not delivered to the bones, calcium is deposited into the cardiovascular system and can cause osteoporosis, but with the help of K2, the calcium is distributed properly to help strengthen bones. Natto also contains nattokinase an enzyme used to support cardiovascular health and blood clotting.
Raw cheese and Nut Cheese
Raw milk has not undergone the pasteurization process that kills many of the beneficial bacteria. Goat, sheep, and A2 cows’ cheeses are particularly high in probiotics, healing digestive tissues and studies show it is linked to relieving depressive symptoms and lifting neurological problems. Only raw and unpasteurized cheeses possess probiotics.
Nut cheeses can be made from a variety of nuts: almonds, cashews, macadamia, walnuts, etc. A great substitute for cheese made from animal milk, nut cheese is ideal for those with vegan diets, as well as those who are lactose intolerant. Though the nutritional value isn’t quite the same as raw cheese, nuts provide high levels of protein and healthy fats. By adding probiotics and fermenting them you get a delicious vehicle for probiotic delivery to the gut.
Sourdough starter is a leaven for making bread, comprised of fermented wild yeasts and bacteria. Sourdough has lower sugar levels than most breads, and it helps reduce damaged starches. Because the bacteria and yeasts in sourdough pre-digest the starches, eating it supports gut health and strengthens the bacterial ecosystem, making one is less prone to infection.
Kvass has been brewed in Eastern Europe for several thousands of years, traditionally created by fermenting rye or barley. Nowadays it is usually made with fruits and various root vegetables. Loaded with Lactobacilli probiotics, kvass is known for its ability to cleanse blood and the liver.
This traditional Ethiopian, yeast-risen flatbread can be made from different grains, but generally is made of teff. Packed with proteins, calcium and iron, injera serves to build strength and aid in recovery after illness.
Please keep in mind that many foods not listed here can also be fermented for nutritional value, if done appropriately. Some of these include pumpkin, hot sauces, salsas, daikon, dilly beans, olives and mushrooms. You can learn more about other highly nutrient dense fermented foods in the Fermentationist Certification Program.
For more information on how to use these foods for specific conditions, including recommended amounts, preparation methods, and current scientific research showing the benefits of these healing foods, consider joining us in the Fermentationist Certification Program.
Take the Mystery Out of Latin Names of Probiotics and Other Microorganisms
Don’t let the ancient Latin throw you! Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know about the latin names of microorganisms found in fermented foods.
When you are teaching a class or writing a blog post about microorganisms like bacteria and yeasts (or talking about it at the dinner table like we do all the time at my house!) you may want to double check that you are writing the names properly so you are professional in everything you do.
It may have been awhile since your high school science classes, so below is a refresher so you can have a working knowledge of these organisms at your disposal.
How To Write The Names of Bacteria and Fungus
All these microorganisms follows a certain set of rules called NOMENCLATURE.
When writing bacterial names by hand on a chalkboard or whiteboard, you will want to underline them. When typing the names, you will use italics.
The first name is the GENUS. It is always capitalized. For example, Lactobacillus is the genus. This is the generic name of the kind of bacteria. You may refer to bacteria by their generic name. The plural form of ‘genus’ is ‘genera’.
To get more specific, you will want to include the SPECIES. This is the second word in the name. It is always lowercase. You never refer to bacteria by their species without including the genus. In Lactobacillus casei, the second word, “casei” is the species.
Once you’ve mentioned Lactobacillus you may refer to it as L. casei and L. acidophilus. If you are discussing two different genera that start with the same letter, you will want to write out the entire name of the genus.
Using the genus and species is ideal when discussing bacteria and yeasts. Sometimes a microorganism will have three names. This means there is a subspecies, though for healing and teaching purposes, it is rarely relevant to get this specific.
Voila! You just got smarter!
Love the science? In the Fermentationist Certification Program we delve into the microorganisms that inhabit your favorite fermented foods and your favorite intestines.
Which Latin name for a microorganism do you wish you knew how to pronounce? Tell me in the comments below.
Can kombucha help you?
Kombucha is a fermented beverage made with tea, sugar, and a SCOBY—a thin layer of cellulose that houses bacteria and yeast. (Contrary to popular belief, the SCOBY is not a mushroom!) Kombucha is now on the shelves in almost every grocery store and on tap at every startup and tech company… but this drink ain’t new.
This ancient elixir has been consumed for centuries all over the planet because, besides being delicious and fizzy, kombucha’s certain kind of wonderful leads to better digestion, increased energy, and a clearer mind.
Today I spoke with Hannah Crum, author of The Big Book of Kombucha —the brand new book that’s basically the encyclopedia of Kombucha.
Join us for this Guts & Glory podcast where we talk about:
- The vital enzymes and beneficial bacteria strains in kombucha—and how they can help you
- Why Kombucha should be served on tap in every single bar
- How to make your own—and get the most vitamins and beneficial bacteria strains
- How much to drink each day for maximum health benefits
- The number of days to ferment it so it contains less alcohol (yes, this stuff can get boozy!)
- Who shouldn’t drink kombucha
On the podcast I talk about why I don’t personally drink kombucha, so you’ll want to swoop in and eavesdrop on our conversation of this popular fermented beverage.
In early 2014, Kombucha was a $122 million dollar industry. This year sales could be up to $500 million, according to Hannah Crum, who, besides writing the soon-to-be foundational text, [The Big Book of Kombucha], also started Kombucha Brewers International (KBI), an organization with a global membership of nearly 50 producers.
At $4 a pop, this drink can get pricey, but you can make it yourself for practically pennies. Kombucha is also super easy to make at home—though be forewarned…if you get into it, there is no end to the variations and tweaking. (Hannah’s book alone has 400 recipes, and offers troubleshooting, tips, and dozens of glorious photos of brews. This is like porn, for fermentationists.)
Hannah has a book tour coming up (including some cocktail parties featuring kombucha!), so you can meet her, learn more about the science and health benefits of kombucha, and try different brews. Go to Kombuchacamp.com and get a free recipe plus tour dates.
Comment below and let me know…
What’s your favorite kombucha brand?
Welcome everyone. This is Summer Bock, and you are watching Guts & Glory. Today I’m really excited. I have one of my favorite people. This is Hannah Crum. Hello, Hannah.
Welcome. Hannah is … Well one reason we have her on the show is to go ahead and basically show you “The Big Book of Kombucha”. I’m really excited about this. We’re going to chat about this a lot today. If you don’t know who Hannah is, she’s the Kombucha Kamp’s main force, along with Alex … What’s Alex’s last name?
Alex LaGory. She and Alex are … They work together on this book as well. Kombucha Kamp’s mission is really to change the world one gut at a time by educating and empowering everyone to ferment food and drink safely at home, just as we have throughout human history. Research continues to prove that all living things are truly just bacteria powered, and humans need all the good bacteria we can get, especially in this day and age. Hannah Crum is also known as the Kombucha Mamma, and she’s been brewing kombucha since 2004 and educating others about how easy it is to make this delicious and healthy longevity elixir. This really began as a love of lip puckering brew. This enjoyable process has evolved into her passion, and her lifestyle. In addition to teaching, she installs large scale kombucha set ups and is a master brewer for numerous restaurants and shops in the LA area, as well as consult for many kombucha brands, from those just starting out to established breweries looking to scale up. Welcome. Welcome, welcome, welcome to Guts & Glory.
Thanks. Thanks for having me. The one thing that wasn’t mentioned that I’ll just point out is I’m also president and co-founder of Kombucha Brewers International. Alex and I started that nonprofit trade association to support the bottled beverage industry. I first discovered kombucha by buying it at the store. How about you, Summer? Where did you have your first taste?
That is a good question. I actually think I had my first taste of kombucha at a friend’s house.
I first saw it at a friend’s house, but we didn’t try it. It was just these jars covered with cloths. They go, “That’s the kombucha.” I’m just like, “I don’t even know what that is,” but I came back to LA, they had it all over the Whole Foods. It was love at first sip for me. You know when you try something, and this often happens with fermented foods, when like every nerve in your body just electrifies all of a sudden? You’re like, “Ooooh.” That’s how it felt for me when I had my first sip. I was like, “Oh, I’m in. This is awesome.”
That is so cool. Yeah, I remember that was a time when I was starting to make sauerkraut, and so that’s how it came up in conversation. Like, “Oh yeah, I ferment.” Like okay, I think I’ve heard of this kombucha business. I was a little nervous. I was definitely nervous in our first interaction, I was also-
I have to say sauerkraut was not on my list of foods that I was into growing up. It like smelled weird. Like old feet. I was like, I’m not, no. I never thought I’d be into it. I got into kombucha, and of course my chemistry changed, and my palette changed, and I love sauerkraut. I don’t know, have you seen the Farmhouse Culture’s gut shots where they just put the juice in the bottle?
You used to do that. I remember doing shots over here with you.
Yeah, oh yeah. Shots of brine. It’s one of my favorite things. I mean, so tell us like … Here’s my big question. Is it mamma? Is it baby? Are they kombucha mammas? Are they kombucha babies? Like how can they be a mother and a baby at the same time?
Well, how are we at multiplicitous in all of our beingness? It starts as a baby and very quickly graduates to mamma once we move that little mother ship from one batch to the next. When selecting which culture to use we always recommend what looks the healthiest? What feels the firmest? It’s not always automatically going on auto-pilot. As you know Summer, whenever we’re fermenting it’s really on taste, it’s what we’re observing. It’s a very interactive process. It’s not just I follow the recipe, here’s the result, because there are so many factors that can influence that end product. We really need to have that relationship, that engagement with it.
Right, absolutely. Well, okay so I have so many questions. I know we have such a short amount of time together compared to how long I want to talk to you. I mean obviously, like you wrote this all in a book, so if anybody really wants to take the time, I recommend this book highly, highly. I got it in the mail. I devoured it very quickly. The pictures are gorgeous, first and foremost. I mean it’s just always nice to flip through a book and get an idea of what’s in here just by looking at the visuals. I mean it’s a stunning, stunning piece of art.
Thank you. Yeah, lots of credit to our photographer, Matt Amenderiz and our food stylists Mary and Cooper Karens. The folks at Story just did a tremendous job with the design. I love the interplay of the watercolor elements, which is kind of evocative of kombucha and it’s liquid form, the circle shapes and the bubbles, but then really great photographs to contrast that also … I think people are really going to like it. Of course, I love it. What I thought was really neat was how they portrayed like the different names of the cultures, or the different bacteria. There’s these really fun motifs in there that are visually entertaining while you’re also absorbing all this great information.
Well, I mean because here’s the thing. You’ve made, also, a very like scientific book at the same time. Yet, it’s completely accessible. It doesn’t matter what level a person comes in to read this book. If they’re just like a fermentation fanatic, or if they’re just beginning, like no matter what they’re going to come in here and be able to access the information, get what they need out of it, and not get overwhelmed by the science that you did not hold back on, which is sort of fun for me. I love that piece of it.
Absolutely. Well that’s what we really wanted to do is root it in the science. There’s plenty of kombucha books out there. I suppose most of us who are huge kombucha fans remember Günther Frank’s book from ’95. That was kind of the first time we saw illusion to or references to the vast body of research that has been conducted on kombucha. One of the knocks on the american websites, and really part of why I started Kombucha Kamp as a blog, was to provide accurate information about kombucha. It was frustrating for me to read different websites talking about the dangers of kombucha when this so clearly is such a safe, healthy, easy to do process, just like all of the fermentation processes are. I really needed to dig in and share that more authentic information. Having that research portion was really vital to the book. It’s part of what sets it apart from some of the other books out there, is we really do give you that deeper slice.
Again, it’s not taking over the whole book. Like you said, even if that’s not what you’re interested in, you’ve got the 200 and some odd flavorings with all the pretty paintings there, and lots of technique and how tos so anyone who’s wanting to figure this out, or afraid to take that first step, we really break it down so that you have access to the information and it feels really easy to absorb.
That’s awesome. I mean I think I do have to say, I want to be fully transparent to you. Like I work with people who suffer from gut issues, dysbyosis, candida, and I work with people who I recommend to not drink kombucha just based on their health conditions. For my own self, like I had a client recently and I love this. I’m just going to say it’s the coolest thing ever, because I don’t really drink alcohol, and I’m really trying to push to get the bars in my area that serve beer to serve kombucha on tap. She called it, a little shout out to Gail, she called it the designated driver’s drink.
Absolutely. That is one of the education points that we’re working on with KBI this year is to create a brochure so that bars understand you’re not giving up a beer tap to something that’s not going to sell, or not going to have real value to it. If anything, you’re broadening the opportunity for your clients to come enjoy even more of their experience at the bar because when you give someone either that, like you said, designated driver option, it’s fun, it’s not the same old soda, it’s not full of sugar, it has unique flavor profiles, moreover it’s a terrific cocktail mixer.
One of kombucha’s really helpful benefits to the human body is it makes that gluconic and glucaronic acid. These acids support healthy liver function, and when we remember that the liver’s our filter, so that’s where alcohol, pharmaceuticals, everything that we’re absorbing, that our body needs to process and prevent from entering our bloodstream, that’s going through the liver first. If you’re consuming a beverage that supports the liver, and keeps it clean and running smoothly as it should, you not only feel a lot better, but you’re able to metabolize that alcohol, metabolize those xenobiotics, metabolize those things so much easier. Think about it like this, when you have a clean filter of course the system’s going to run better.
Absolutely. Well, I mean what’s interesting to me about kombucha is that there are a few studies, not studies, there’s these like two stories of people dying, and we’re going to put this out there and we’re going to slash it down. The crazy thing to me is that there’s a recent study that just came out that talks about how 11,000 people die per year from liver failure from taking Tylenol. Like that is out, it is proof, it’s out there people. That is the truth about Tylenol, acetaminophen. 11,000 people a year die from liver failure from acetaminophen. Like just let that sink in. Like think about the last time you took Tylenol, or acetaminophen without worrying about it, without fearing for your life, and now think about like any of the fear around kombucha. That like-
It makes no sense.
It makes no absolutely no sense.
It’s totally outside. It’s like two people maybe had an issue with it. It happened in 1995, and therefore we should all be afraid. This is the pattern of kombucha. It has been around for hundreds, maybe thousands of years, and it’s always had these kind of ebbs and flows where there will be points when it peaks in popularity, and something will come out about it and everyone will freak out and get rid of it. There’s a couple of those stories in the book. The one about Stalin is pretty interesting if you’re into history. There’s also, even here in the U.S. with those women in ’95 or whatever. Kombucha’s one of these things that continues I think to persist in our consciousness because we really need it.
I feel like part of why it’s coming to fruition, and manifesting in the form it is right now is because we are at the height of toxic absorption. Our bodies are the canaries in the coalmine. The incidence of autoimmune disease, metabolic disease, just people feel terrible because they’re being poisoned by everything. The air, the water, the food, the beauty products. Everything is loaded with chemicals. Our bodies are freaking out, and when you only deal with symptoms and never the root cause, you never get to what it is that’s actually happening to your body. You think of symptoms as your internal working’s way of expressing to the outer self, “Hey there’s a problem in here. We need to go inside and fix what’s happening,” but it’s not until you’re seeing those external manifestations that you can truly get your head wrapped around it. What’s interesting is so many people live with this illness, live with this pain and suffering, on a daily basis. Not understanding that it’s connected to what they’re putting in and on their bodies. Not realizing that these are our friends, these fermented foods. All of them. The kombuchas, the kefirs, the kavaases, the krauts. Why do they all start with k? I don’t know, but in any case they all … Maybe because they have vitamin K. They help you feel good. How do you put a price tag on feeling good? How do you quantify feeling good?
It’s the thing we hear people say time and time again when they drink kombucha, “It makes me feel good.” When you consider that the yeast have all the B vitamins in living form, some testing has shown appreciable amounts of B-12 in that living form being bioavailable to people in kombucha, and it makes a lot of sense why this is a really great beverage for all kinds of people. It has every amino acid, every essential amino acid. Now I’m not talking about in massive quantities, but it’s also when we remember that too much of anything is toxic. Too much is toxic. It’s less is more when it comes to almost anything we think of. I know we imagine we’re feeding this giant organism, this big human body, but really what we’re feeding are the bacteria, and the bacteria are microscopic. We can’t even see them, so we don’t need massive quantities of anything. We need high-quality, nutrient dense, think trace amounts of quality items, is what really your body needs in order to thrive. Kombucha is not necessarily for every immune system, because some people, their gut dysbiosis might be so severe, they need a milk kefir, they need a coconut water kefir first in order to repair. Usually once they’ve done some repair work, kombucha can then be added in at that time.
Also, kombucha has, like I said before with the detox properties for the liver, sometimes your immune system isn’t ready to release all of those things back into your system, and so you have to do it gradually. That’s where trusting your gut, listening to your body, is so crucial. I think that’s what you and I both do. We try to teach people biofeedback. If you put something in here, observe how it makes your body feel. Do you have a huh-huh in your throat? Do you have a drippy nose? Do you have … There’s many many ways in which our body will indicate to us, this thing I just consumed is not working for me. The other is true. This thing I just consumed, I feel great! I’ve got all this energy. I’m feeling alive again, or I’ve got movement where I didn’t before, whatever that might be. It’s really listening to your individual body, and giving what your individual body needs as opposed to getting hung up on all the orthorexic rules, and this diet, and that diet, and what should I eat over here and over there?
There are some really interesting infant studies, which you may already know about, where they’re allows to just select any food that they want. They’ll gravitate towards one thing on one day, another thing on a another day, but by the end of the week, they’ve given their bodies everything that they need, and did anyone tell them what they had to eat? No, because your DNA knows. Your DNA has so much information encoded into it, if you just listen to it, you just listen and allow that information to resonate in your being, you will find the inputs that work for you. You might be vegetarian most of the time, but every once in a while your body says, “Hey I need a steak,” or whatever that is. It doesn’t mean that you’re violating your principles. It just means you’re giving your body what it needs in the quantities that it needs. Again, it’s not that all or nothing type of thing. We live in the subtleties, as much as our culture tries to tell us otherwise.
Yeah well, so I have a niece who’s almost two years old. I see this study in practice every day because one day you’re like oh you loved that yesterday, and she’s like nothing to do with it the next day. It is pretty amazing. It’s really cool. That is something that I teach in my gut rebuilding program is that whole concept of intuitive eating because it’s hugely important, and if you don’t have the right bacteria in your body, then you’re actually listening to potentially dysbiotic bacteria, and potentially yeasts, that are actually tell you to eat sugar, and processed foods, and easy to digest simple carbs because that’s what they like to eat. There’s this like interesting difference between like your own physical DNA and your own intuition, and then there’s this whole conglomerate of bacteria and their DNA, and what they want to eat. They can communicate through your nervous system, and basically tell you what to eat as well. You have two big voices to listen to, and I find that that’s one of the reasons you really want try to be healthier and actually get some of these probiotic rich foods in your diet so that you’re choosing which bacteria are going to be communicating to your brain, so you’re not a sugar zombie, essentially. That’s what I think of them as.
Exactly, right. There’s five hundred to a thousand different types of bacteria, and that’s just the most recent guess. Who knows what else they’re going to figure out or find out? You’re not going to get all of that from one fermented food, or one fermented drink. While it’s great to start with one, and we think kombucha’s a terrific gateway to other fermented foods, to feeling good, to nutrition in a living form, it’s about a variety. Getting a variety, and in living form I think is really crucial. Now there are times when taking probiotic supplements might be beneficial in certain cases, but I truly believe that getting your nutrition in food based formats is … Look it’s what we evolved to do. We didn’t evolve to eat supplements. We evolved to play in the dirt, and get our hands dirty, and let those bacteria coat our bodies. We evolved to let the dog lick us on the face, to kiss the baby with the slobber, to even have wet nurses and pass them around from boob to boob and get different immune systems in them. I mean really what we’re here to do is to connect. It’s common immunity. Community.
It’s when we come together. When we light the stove we throw out our nanofibers of cellulose, and connect with each other. That’s where, I mean again, strength in numbers, and we’re not isolated, and we start to stand up and say, “Hey you can’t poison me anymore. I’m not going to tolerate this. I’m going to look for a better food source. I want to be an organic farmer. I want to provide organic vegetables for my neighborhood or community, or whatever that is.” That’s what changing the world one gut at a time is about. It’s not about a specific outcome.
When you are back in balance, when you have that energy, when you’re not dealing with being sick everyday or worrying about what to eat because is it going to send me to the bathroom, or whatever that is, when you have that energy to now reinvigorate your own family, your own community, I am really confident that when people feel good again, they’re going to go and do great things to help others feel good.
Oh, that’s so true. Okay, so before we move on to some specific questions about making kombucha, and some of your tricks, I do have another like health style question for you. One of my big issues in my own healing journey was dealing with like massive candida and dysbiosis. Like kombucha for me really was like, there was a gateway period where it helped me … It actually helped me a lot in the beginning. Like got my digestion up and running and like was really part of that process in the beginning, but then I reached a point where I really couldn’t drink it in any frequency without getting a candida flare-up to come back. Personally, that was for me. I found that like no matter how long it sat and fermented, until it was pretty much vinegar, it was too much sugar, and I’m a slow caffeine metabolizer, and I just really can’t handle the caffeine either. It like boosts up my cortisol levels essentially. I can’t sleep, like it’s bad. It doesn’t work for me at this point.
It did at one time, and I would, if they had it at the bars, I would absolutely be there person being like, “All right get me a pint of that kombucha tonight.” That would be fun to hang out with my friends and like have my own special drink. It wouldn’t be all the time. For me, that’s how I’d rather use it in that style, personally. I guess my question for you, because I work with so many fermentationists in training, and fermentationists who do enjoy kombucha, and there’s this discrepancy where I talk about my personal experience, and I talk about the clients that I deal with with candida and various other things who when we remove it, it is better, but then we have this whole conglomerate of people out there who are benefiting from this on a regular basis. I don’t want to take away from that side of it. I just really wanted you to … If you could just speak for a minute about, I’m going to throw like three points at you here, but kind of the concept around this being a health food, like the probiotic quality of it, and talk about the sugar as well, and like how you see this fitting into somebody’s diet, and working. Like I want my people who love their kombucha and drink it to like have that moment.
Totally, again that’s coming back to trusting your gut. Many people have had candida overgrowth, they drink kombucha, and it really helps them get rid of it, but oftentimes you have to go through a die off period. That can feel like, oh well the kombucha’s causing it then, as opposed to if I stick through this I know I’m going to get out on the other side it’s just, you’re literally beating them back into submission, and they’re like, “No I don’t want to go!” They’re freaking out, so your body’s like “Ahhhhh!” It can definitely create a lot of problems. There are known candidacides in kombucha, but like you said, we do need to ferment the sugar out of it because here’s the issue, if you’re drinking a commercial kombucha they’re not also vinegary, right? Kombucha’s essentially tea vinegar, but for most people the concept of drinking vinegar would be like, “Oh there’s no way I would do that.” In order to kind of bridge people into the category, many brands have chosen to be a lighter profile, to maybe have a sweeter flavor than you might get in a really traditional fermenting kombucha. That sometimes can create an issue because there might be more sugar present in those flavors.
Again, it’s listening to your body and how is it reacting. Are you … I can’t tell any one person what die off feels like. I can’t tell any one person how long that’s going to take or what you have to go through to get to that other side. That’s why sometimes reverting back to those coconut water kefirs … Kombucha has caprylic acid, but coconut water kefir has a lot more. In terms of organisms and diversity in probiotic, the definition of probiotic, if we take it just in what the base words mean, pro-biotic, for life, kombucha’s definitely probiotic. Does it have the same number and quantity of bacteria or organisms as other beverages? Not necessarily. That’s again why we emphasize a variety of fermented foods because you’re going to get the full monopoly then of the different types. Kombucha’s an acetic acid ferment, so you’ve got your glucon acetic factors. It’s not really a lacto-ferment, though lactobacillus are also important. Whether we’re getting those from our sauerkraut, or our yogurts, that’s why you have those variety there.
In terms of … Candida and diabetes are both sugar sensitive, cancer as well, and kombucha has a lot of research and history. If you got to the book into that back section, the appendix, you’ll see some of those research studies demonstrating it’s efficacy in helping with those specific things. That’s because it’s able to just metabolize and get the junk out. You do have to listen to your body, you do have to realize it might not be right for me right now, but it’s going to be right for me later. It’s finding that balance between everything. Like you said, it’s again, it’s that idea of balance. If we’re always drinking one thing all the time, at some point that might be out of balance. It can be good to take breaks. I myself have an ebb and flow with my kombucha. I like to drink [inaudible 00:23:56] every day.
You like to drink how much every day?
Well some days I have none, and some days I have eight ounces, and some days I have thirty-two ounces. It just really varies depending on where am I, what’s going on, what’s happening. Always on the road when I travel I love to buy kombucha wherever I go. First of all, whenever you’re travelling you’re exposed to so many foreign organisms, and secondarily, I love to taste the local flavors because it really is a craft product. It’s not like a soda where you’re expecting the same flavor again and again. Each brand has their own style of brewing it, their own way of flavoring it. Just like you have ten hefeweizens, or twenty pinot noir’s, or whatever all on a shelf next to each other, and they’re all there, different price points, that’s what kombucha is. It is this craft, unique beverage. I think that gives people a huge opportunity to try all different kinds. Like maybe you’ll try a kombucha and you’ll be like, “Nah, I don’t like that.” Well try a different flavor. Try a different brand. There’s probably a kombucha out there that fits your needs, your flavor profile, and your desire.
If you are dealing with those more intense issues, making it at home is sometimes better. Even if you buy store bought, let it sit. Let it get more tangy in the bottle, as opposed to being fresh and sweet from the store. Those are some ways you can work with it, but really it’s so individual Summer. There are kombucha files. There are people who are self-proclaimed kombuchaholics, or whatever, which I don’t think they’re addicted to anything. It’s more their body feels good, they get a nutritional benefit, and where’s that nutrition coming from? The tea. If we look at tea, tea is already such an incredibly healthy beverage. The polyphenols, the antioxidants, the calcium, the magnesium, all of these nutrients are made more bioavailable, easier for your body to absorb in a form that you can instantly utilize and catalyze all of those reactions. It’s really listening. It all comes back to that. You’ve just got to listen.
I have my friends at Harvest Roots, they came over just the other day after the farmer’s market, and they make amazing krauts, and they make these incredible kombucha blends. The one they brought over was elderberry lemongrass.
It’s really cool what you can do in terms of flavoring kombucha, and like coming up with, using even like some medicinal qualities from other herbs as well combined with the tea benefits. Tell me some of your favorite recipes, or favorite blends that you’ve tried.
Well what I’m drinking right now, which you’ve probably seen me sipping, is elderflower lemon, so I just … Plants and herbs have been here to support us the whole time. Humans evolved this strategy where they’ll eat a little bit of a lot of things. Again, it’s that concept of if I eat too much of just one thing, that might be toxic for me. Looking to nature, looking to those flowers and plants, your garden is a great place for inspiration. That’s where I made some of my earliest flavors, garden dew, which was rosemary, lavender, thyme, oregano, just things I found in my garden and put into my kombucha.
Think about it like this, kombucha, like I said, tea vinegar, vinegar extracts nutritional value into it. It’s a carrier. It’s the catalyst for those things. Whenever you’re infusing herbs, flowers, or whatever into your kombucha, those nutritional benefits are passed onto you. That’s also why when you put those elderberries in there, you get that beautiful purple color. All that anthocyanin, all of those nutritional components are being passed on to the beverage. The flavor that got Alex hooked, which he thought I was a total weirdo making this stuff at home when I was not a cook at all, definitely standard american diet back then, was pink lemonade. That’s a strawberry lemon thyme, and yes. It remains one of our most popular flavors. Then one of my favorites, and I called it Love Potion 99, because I love to drink it, is blueberry lavender rose. A lot of these recipes are in the book, but like you’ve said we’ve got bacon recipes, we’ve got mushroom recipes, we’ve got all kinds. You can so creative with this stuff, it’s fascinating.
I have not tried said recipe, but-
Yeah and it was so fun researching the recipes for this book because obviously we wanted to make things that were fun and accessible for people. Things they already enjoy, but then some little twists. That banana ketchup was really a food of necessity in terms of how it came into being. During World War II, tomatoes were scarce in the Philippines, and so this wonderful food scientist figured out a way to make ketchup so people could feel good about it out of bananas. It’s really good.
I can’t wait. That’s totally amazing. Okay, so then here’s … Just to put it out there, like making kombucha’s pretty easy. I want to just give some of the more advanced people who have been doing kombucha for a while, I want to give them an opportunity to get some tips from you right now. There’s two big questions that I get on a regular basis about kombucha, and one is second ferment. Can you talk a little bit about what second ferment is, and some of your favorite additions to the second ferment?
Well that’s what we’ve just been talking about. Flavoring is secondary fermentation. We always do our primary fermentation with just the tea and sugar, because we want to protect the mother culture. Some herbs have high amounts of essential oils. They might be antimicrobial, which to me is always like okay anti-which microbial? In any case, we just to protect the culture, we keep those things separate. Secondary fermentation is also where we build the carbonation. In order to do that we need some of the yeast bodies present. [inaudible 00:29:43] can just stir it first before it pours out of the spigot in order to get some of that yeast in the bottle. Once the yeast is in the bottle you add that little bit of flavoring, nutrition for the yeast, the ginger, the fruit, whatever it is, and that drives the carbonation up again.
Now because it’s capped in that bottle we get our bubbles in there. Bubbles are a primal signal. They’re a signal that nutrition is present because how did ancient people know that microbes were doing their work. First of all, they had no clue there were microbes. They had to look for the bubbles. The bubbles look like the same bubbles you see in a boiling pot of water. What’s so neat is that root word for ferment, is fevere, which means to boil because it was always by witnessing the bubbles that people knew something was happening, something good was happening. That’s unfortunately the bait and switch of sodas. We call those simulacrum. They are mimicking, they are imitating, all of the qualities of these beverage that we instinctually know are good for us, but then replacing them with things that addictive chemicals, that are cancer causing potentially, that really offer no nutritional benefit, and worse they often rob your body of needed nutrients. I really think we’re going to see, not just kombucha, not just kefir, but all kinds of traditional fermented beverages continue to bubble up in a commercial way. I’m really excited about that.
We’re even seeing people combining kombucha and kefir. Kefir has a softer flavor, a little bit milder, can temper the tanginess of the booch, and now you’ve got even more probiotics in there. I think we’re going to see a lot of really fun, creative stuff. Same with the cocktails. I know we have a prohibition hangover in this country, but alcohol’s a vital nutrient, and again it’s when we consume it in the right quantity at the right time. Now I’m not saying everyone should go out there and drink alcohol. You have to, again, listen to your body and do what’s right for you, but I think if we start to put it back into it’s appropriate cultural position, we can enjoy it in a healthier way. In a way that supports life, as opposed to becomes a negative drag on the body.
It’s an invaluable preservative, and when we think about the root cause of disease being diet and stress, we all know having that first couple of sips, it all melts away. Those trace amounts of alcohol not only help to carry nutrition, they also help to relax the organism, and in kombucha it’s metabolized so quickly there’s not a negative effect. Now, some people who are really sensitive to these things, they might feel something, but a lot of people also report those same feelings of euphoria from getting a B vitamin shot. Is it nutrition in a living form that you’re just not accustomed to experiencing, versus inebriation. I think that’s the case more often than not. Again, there’s people allergic to peanuts, there’s people allergic to anything in the world, so it’s always again, that communication with yourself.
Well, and so one of my fermentationists, Riah, she has this question because she keeps making kombucha, and she had it tested actually and it keeps coming back with really high alcohol content. I saw that you had some good tips in the book. I was wondering if you could share with me a couple tips. I can tell you she does two and a half gallons of tea, with 1 and 3/4 cups sugar. I’m just curious if you have any tips. That didn’t seem over the top crazy to me in terms of sugar content, so maybe it’s something else.
Yeah, it sounds like the initial sugar being reduced to that level should yield lower amounts of alcohol, that is true, but again what’s creating the alcohol is the yeast. It’s always the yeast. Now what limits the alcohol in kombucha is the bacteria. There’s a couple of different techniques. One of course is filtering out the yeast. Remember when you filter out the yeast you filter out that nutrition. I mean there’s still some in there, but you’re filtering out some of that, and also flavor. Like when you go and look at beer and wine have been studied for hundreds and hundreds of years, so much research, and more often than not you’re tying specific yeast strains to different flavors that come through. Remembering that that’s going to be part of what you’re compromising in that process, but it is still very possible to make an under half a percent kombucha that tastes delicious, and doesn’t lack it’s body, but filtering the yeast is an important thing to do if you need to minimize that. Also, letting it age longer in the bottle, which is hard if you’re trying to do it commercially because then you have to hold product, you have to have storage for that, you have to come back and check on it, this, that, and the other. I think we’ll eventually see folks evolve into these different styles of fermenting kombucha in that way.
The interesting thing about the 0.5 percent is it’s a number not tied to anything. It’s either alcoholic or not, so at that point it should be .00001. It’s alcoholic. That doesn’t make any sense. Fruit juice has trace amounts of alcohol, so does energy drinks. [crosstalk 00:34:41]
She ages it seven to nine days. What would you recommend?
Yeah that’s not long enough.
How long would you go?
For two and a half gallons? I would say ten to fourteen days would be a good amount to start with, but again, you’re dealing with taste preference. It depends on what you’re trying to do. Sometimes mixing older kombucha with younger kombucha because the older stuff has less alcohol, it’s a little tangier, but you’re still tempering the flavor. That’s kind of what we get in a continuous brew. That’s our favorite way to make kombucha because it’s just so easy. It streamlines the whole process. Everything goes into your vessel. It comes out your spigot. You just keep with that process. There has been some initial research showing that it may help fight the levels of glucaronic acid with that reintroduction of sugar at that point in the process. It offers additional glucose to those organisms creating the glucaronic acid. Again, that’s just an initial study.
It’s always about balancing these things. I try not to get too hung up on the does it have this one strain? Does it have this amount of this vitamin or whatever, because it’s really that intuitive eating, that trusting your gut. Your body knows what it needs, and we don’t need a number in order to quantify that. That only gets our brains confused a lot of times, and focused on the wrong things. Again, it’s diversity, just like nature. Nature loves diversity. You walk out your door, what do you see? You don’t just see only grass. You see the birds, and the bees, and trees, and flowers, and different types of grass. Nature loves diversity. It loves diversity of ideas, it loves diversity of opinions, it loves diversity of colors, and freckles, and all kinds of things. If we embrace that diversity, and realize that just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s bad or anything, I think we find there’s room for everybody, for all kinds of organisms to thrive together.
High five for that. All right. Well we could keep jamming on this stuff forever. Just for everybody, like remember this is called “The Big Book of Kombucha”. It really is the encyclopedia of kombucha as far as I’m concerned. Like this is where you need to go to get your answers, and ideas, and really a lot of troubleshooting, like if you want to keep it safe, like read this. Then, you also have a tour going on. If you’re watching this in time for the national tour of “The Big Book of Kombucha” there’s some great tour dates out there. You can probably go onto what? Kombuchakamp.com to get to that?
That is correct. Kombuchakamp.com. We have a free recipe there if you’re new to kombucha. You can download that. You can also click on to find our tour dates. We’ll be doing all different kinds of fun events. Some are cocktail parties with tastings, some are book signings in the book store, but all of them are going to have kombucha samples because we have partnered with our friends in the commercial world to make sure everyone has a chance to try some kombuchas while we’re talking about it because there’s nothing more fun than … I don’t know about you Summer, but I love talking about food and like talk about the qualities of it, and what did I like, and what didn’t I like. I think our minds enjoy those levels of sophistication. We know about single-estate shade grown coffees, and pu-erh tea that’s been fermented for, you know what I’m saying? Humans love that kind of information. Really excited to share kombucha, and our love of kombucha, and our kombucha livestock philosophy with everyone. Thanks so much for having me on, and sharing this with your people.
Absolutely, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for all the hard work that you put into this book. I remember back when you were talking about this, it was quite a while ago, and it’s wonderful to see this come to fruition. Thanks for that, and everyone this is Hannah Crum and Summer Bock signing out. Bye bye.
Getting Strong Digestion—4 Tips Plus What Not To Do
You’ve heard the expression, “you are what you eat”.
But it’s not just what you eat that matters, it’s what you ABSORB.
Getting your digestion strong means that you actually break food down into nutrients you can absorb—
which is the whole basis for energy, immunity, and long term health.
On today’s Guts & Glory Podcast you’ll learn:
- Why I absolutely start every meal with bitters (and where to get them)
- Why I absolutely start every meal with (and where to get them)
- Vitamin K and the science behind WHY probiotics are key for good digestion
- Why a 45-minutes meal will make the rest of your day more productive
- How to cook a meal right so your body can easily absorb vitamins and minerals
- Why a raw food diet is straight up wrong for people with poor digestion
- What was the worst advice I’ve ever been given!
You can tell if you’ve got A+ digestion when you don’t have visible food left over as it’s being eliminated from your body. (Yes, I want you to study your BMs like you’re trying to pass a test!)
There are very simple, inexpensive (or free) ways to improve your digestion that you can do beginning with your next meal. I’m going to share the top 4 to start with…and you know I love me some action steps, so watch the video and you’ll get those too.
I focus on digestion with my clients on a regular basis — it really is the foundation of everything!
Comment below and let me know…
Have you tried any of these tips to improve your digestion?
Hello everyone. Welcome. I’m Summer Bock. This is Guts And Glory. I want to answer some of the frequently asked questions that I get on Facebook as well as email. Here we have one from Lindsey Davis.
Lindsey Davis wants to know more information about getting your digestion stronger. This is a fantastic question because I do this all the time with people. I did it with myself and I focus on this with my clients on a regular basis.
Let’s talk about digestion because really your digestive system is the most intimate interaction that you have with the environment. You are literally absorbing sunlight and bringing it into your body. I’m not joking. Sunlight hits plants, converts it into sugars inside the plant. The plant stores the sugars. We eat those sugars. It becomes us. It’s crazy awesome. It’s actually this really fascinating, very wonderful metaphor for your own ability to absorb and take in nourishment on all levels.
Getting your digestion stronger, first and foremost you want to really look at some of that more emotional, mental stuff. How good are you at taking in nourishment, being receptive, taking in the things around you that are given to you? How well do you take a compliment? Just things like that. Notice, take inventory, and see. That’s just kind of like the mental, emotional field of it.
Then some of the action steps that you can take to get regular, stronger digestion is taking bitters. Bitters is one of my absolute favorites. It’s so bitter. It’s good though. I know I don’t look convincing when I say that. I love these bitters. These are my product. They’re called Liver Lover Warming Bitters. We have Lauren from Wooden Spoon Herbs making these and mailing these out to you guys. You can find them at summerbock.com/bitters. Awesome place to go check this out and you can order a few months’ supply. Or you can order some for your purse, some for your kitchen, bathroom, anywhere, your office. Wherever you need it, but take it before meals. This actually helps to stimulate your digestive enzymes and your gastric juices so that you’re going to digest your food more fully. Getting your digestion stronger means that you actually break things down. You don’t have visible food left over as it’s being eliminated from your body. You want it broken down completely. Bitters is going to help with that.
Probiotics, obviously, is a great option for this, getting your digestion stronger, because you end up with these probiotic allies who are in your gut converting certain vitamins. They convert the Vitamin K from plants into a usable Vitamin K2 that your body can now absorb and utilize, which helps with blood coagulation, it helps with bone development, bone growth. It helps with dental health as well. Vitamin K is very, very important. You want to make sure that you are getting that by having strong digestion. That will happen with those happy, little bacteria living in your colon. Those are two things, bitters and probiotics.
This is a very simple one. This one’s like …You know when you go to a yoga class and they’re like, “Destress, breathe.” You’re like, “Awesome, and breathe,” like I’m breathing all the time. That’s the worst advice I’ve ever been given. You know how that moment when you’re just kind of annoyed, it’s like too simple, it’s annoying. You want something challenging, meaty, juicy. Well, I’m going to give you the most boring advice for getting your digestion to be stronger, but honestly, it’s some of the most powerful advice.
That is chewing. Chewing is kind of like breathing. Breathing and chewing really, absolutely, digesting your food in your mouth before it even gets into your stomach. Very, very important. It slows down the process of eating, too, which helps you in general. If you can slow down your meal intake from five minutes to twenty, or even to thirty or forty-five … Honestly, the slower you eat the better. I don’t want you to eat for like ten hours or anything like that, but if you can have a slow meal where you get to breathe, eat, laugh, talk, set your fork down in-between bites, chew, swallow, feel it, feel it in your body before you take another bite. Those kinds of meals are the best way to have strong digestion, because you’re just working with how the body was meant to work.
Another tip for you is actually like stronger digestion, would be making food that is cooked slow at low temperatures and that is like, in some ways, pre-digested ahead of time. The fiber is broken down. It’s been prepared in a way that your body can now absorb those vitamins and minerals really easily. A lot of people get hooked on this idea of doing a raw food diet and they feel like that might be the best thing for them. I have found in my clients, who are coming through my Gut Rebuilding Program, really I find, on a regular basis, that they do better with cooked foods. I think this is because they have a digestive impairment to begin with coming into the program. We want to build digestive fire by using foods that they can already absorb. That’s why people do really well with smoothies and juices, because those are really easy to digest foods, but they’re still nutrient dense. That’s what you need. You need those nutrients to heal your body.
All right, so that’s just a few tips. There’s really way more to go and we talk about those in the Gut Rebuilding Program. Feel free to check that out. I also have some video tips over at gutrebuilding.com. There’s a lot of moving parts. When I work with clients individually or in my group setting, we figure out with people what’s the part of the puzzle that’s missing for them. A lot of times people are missing something. There’s all these little moving parts and it might sound so easy that how could chewing solve all your problems.
Well, it can actually solve a lot of your problems, but really you have to ask yourself underneath that. What would allow you to have the time to sit down and chew and enjoy a meal with other people that you love, and be laughing and enjoying yourself? How do you do that? That’s the real question. If you’re doing that and you’re chewing your food, you’re living a good life, you’re body’s going to be much healthier. If you’re one of those people who just can’t figure out how to make the time to chew your food or you feel bored while you’re doing it, your life is not exciting enough for yourself. Your brain is getting bored.
You need to liven it up a little bit around mealtime and figure out what that means, whether you’re making foods that taste delicious, spicier. Maybe you’re adding more herbs to your meals to really make it excite your tongue a little bit more. Or you bring in some good friends or you start eating with your coworkers, or you make it a point to sit down and have meals with your family. Whatever it is, I just want to make sure that you’re enjoying those meals. This makes a huge impact on digestion.
Then you’ll see in other episodes I talk about stress. Stress is a digestion killer. It really is. The less stress that you can have in your life, the better, obviously. I’ll leave that for another episode. Alright, everyone, thanks so much for listening and I hope, Lindsey Davis, that that helps you with your journey for digestive strength. Alright, everyone, Summer Bock signing out.
My Current All Natural Hair and Skin Care Crushes
It used to be really hard to find good natural products that didn’t have nasty chemicals and that actually worked. I have literally tried hundreds of products in my quest for the best. Nowadays there are so many great options for skin and hair care that it’s overwhelming, so come along for a little show and tell of my favorites.
Here’s the rundown of the best smelling, most hydrating, and most effective products I’ve found.
And I’m also sharing where to buy them to get the best price…click to the blog to find out!
Quick spoiler: I also love the face wash, facial, and scrubs from Annmarie Gianni. They’ve got these sample kits that you can order. If you go to SummerBock.com/Skin-care you can get access to one of these. Your face will look so happy and shiny and different after using this stuff for just even a week. It’s really crazy. You just notice the difference.
Watch today’s Guts & Glory podcast (or read all about it in the transcript) and learn what shampoo, conditioner, face wash, face scrub, all natural sunscreen, and which product I buy by the baker’s dozen.
I’m excited to share all these luscious products from companies that I love!
What’s your favorite all natural hair and skin care product? We all love trying new things so let us know!
Comment below and let me know…
Hi everyone. I’m Summer Bock. This is Guts & Glory. I have a little special question here today. I love doing the FAQ’s. We get so many questions in email and I just want to get a chance to answer these for people.
This one is from Lacy Maloney. She says, “I want to know what skin and hair care you use.”
Good question. All right. I think I’m going to share some of the things that I do for my skin and hair. First of all, I switch around hair products for awhile like shampoo and conditioner and stuff. Right now I’ve landed on this one. It’s Acure. This is their volume shampoo and then I use their Moroccan Argon Stem Cell plus Argon Oil Triple Action Repairing for Normal, Dry, Damaged Hair because I got my hair a little bit lightened so I decided to use the heavy duty conditioner.
I don’t usually have to, but that’s what I’m using right now and I love these. I like the way this one smells. I don’t like the way this one smells very much. It smells like almonds. I don’t know why, but I still use it because it really makes my hair super soft and I feel like it goes right in. My hair soaks it up. I love the Acure stuff. I buy 15 bottles of these and stick them under my cupboards so I don’t have to buy shampoo very often. Actually I buy it from Thrive Market so if you go to SummerBock.com/Thrive you can get access to a trial membership. They’re awesome. I order that stuff by the bucket. I just put it under my counter.
In terms of face stuff, I wash my face with good old Dr. Bronner’s. This the baby mild or whatever and that’s what I use. I use a washcloth a lot of the times and sometimes I don’t, but usually use a washcloth. Use just this really basic Dr. Bronner’s. Pretty simple. I also love the stuff from Annmarie Gianni. They’ve got their whole sample kits that you can order. If you go to SummerBock.com/Skin-care you can get access to one of these. This is their Dead Sea Facial scrub. I like scrubs from time to time. I use this every once in awhile and then I like to use their normal oil. They have these little samples you can get normal, oily, all that. I like their normal oil. I think it’s awesome and it smells good and your face looks so happy and shiny and different after using it for just even a week. It’s really crazy. You just notice the difference.
For sunscreen I use this product called Suntegrity. I love it. Five in One Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen. I use this every day because I’m outside. I ride my bike, I run, do whatever. I put this stuff on. It’s slightly tinted. Make sure you get the right tint for your face, but I absolutely love this stuff. It’s oily, it stays on, it’s delicious. It soaks in. I love it. That’s what I use.
Thanks Lacy Maloney. Great questions. All right. I’ll talk to you guys later. This is Summer Bock signing out.
People ask me all the time “Summer, what are your favorite books and resources for fermentation, microbiology, and gut health?”
Today, I’ve picked my top 7 favorite books that I turn to on a regular basis. I’ll be honest, I’m a textbook junkie. I love reading science books that are backed with research. This helps me gain more confidence in my work with clients and helps me teach more effectively.
Sometimes I don’t understand everything I read in the books, but the more I read the more I put all the pieces together. I encourage you to pick out the books from this list that appeal to you and read them all the way through. Don’t get stuck if you don’t understand something – just keep reading and you’ll gather sweet gems along the way!
Today, I’ve picked my top 7 favorite books that I turn to on a regular basis. I’ll be honest, I’m a textbook junkie. I love reading science books that are backed with research. This helps me gain more confidence in my work with clients and helps me teach more effectively.
Sometimes I don’t understand everything I read in the books, but the more I read the more I put all the pieces together. I encourage you to pick out the books from this list that appeal to you and read them all the way through. Don’t get stuck if you don’t understand something— just keep reading and you’ll gather sweet gems along the way!
This is one of those books that is hard to read if you’re not familiar with scientific academic papers and microbiological procedures for testing and culturing. But if you’re willing to get over ‘feeling stupid’ and reading quickly through this text, you will find gems that will completely change the way your view gut ecology. I love the opening line, “Lifelong cross-talk occurs between the host and the intestinal flora, and the outcome of this can determine whether health is maintained or disease intervenes.” When I hear probiotic companies spouting the miraculous benefits of their gut healing probiotic formulas that contain 8-20 strains of bacteria (in only 2 different genera) I always think back to this line in the book, “The microbial flora of the GI tract forms an extremely complex ecosystem. There are at least 17 families of bacteria yielding at least 50 different genera. There are then countless species, subspecies and biotypes, with at least 400-500 bacterial species thought to be present in the faecal flora of a single person. This complexity imposes limitations on attempts to fully delineate the flora and changes in its composition.” And while that conclusion might overwhelm our favorite doctors, I find relief and turn back to the wisdom of my ancestors and the studies compiled from The American Gut Project, which leads me to go back to food as medicine. The food feeds the environment that these organisms inhabit. Give them good food and they will give you good nutrition, immunity, and a positive response to stress.
Honor Thy Symbionts by Jeff D. Leach
This is a great easy read filled with short essays on how probiotics and humans live together. You will gain new insights on this intricate relationship and start to understand the magnitude at which our health is determined by them!
This is my go-to resource for lacto-fermenting anything from basil to beets. This book has tips to keep your highly experimental (squash kraut, anyone?) ferments from getting mushy, moldy, or slimy. Also, I interviewed Kirsten back on the Guts & Glory Blogcast if you want to hear her journey and tips firsthand!
Another science-heavy text, my favorite chapter “Indigenous microbiota” has the most flags. This is the book where I learned that mucus is a major source of nutrients in the respiratory, genital, and urinary tracts – can you say fascinating?!!! A favorite quote that confirms my desire to focus more on feeding bacteria through proper nutrition and good health (over single and double genus probiotic supplementation), “In order for an organism to become a member of the indigenous microbiota of a body site, the environment of that site must be able to satisfy its nutritional and physiochemical requirements.” This is why some people can take probiotics all day long and not see the effects. Their ecosystem internally is not set up to support those bacteria to stay and grow inside and they pass right through.
While many food science programs offer courses in the microbiology and processing of fermented foods, no recently published texts exist that fully address the subject. Food fermentation professionals and researchers also have lacked a single book that covers the latest advances in biotechnology, bioprocessing, and microbial genetics, physiology, and taxonomy. This book is a must-read for those wanting to start their own fermented foods production company.
In Microbiology and Technology of Fermented Foods, Robert Hutkins has written the first text on food fermentation microbiology in a generation. This authoritative volume also serves as a comprehensive and contemporary reference book. A brief history and evolution of microbiology and fermented foods, an overview of microorganisms involved in food fermentations, and their physiological and metabolic properties provide a foundation for the reader. How microorganisms are used to produce fermented foods and the development of a modern starter culture industry are also described.
This is an easy-to-read book that compiles and synthesizes all the pertinent information you need to become a micro biome masters student. He cites the literature (relevant scientific studies) that confirm the correlation between obesity, asthma, allergies, diabetes, and even certain forms of cancer with the rise in antibiotics and the subsequent destruction to the gut inhabitants. A must-read for anyone suffering from or working with people who have gut-based health issues. He offers many solutions from a doctor’s perspective, as well.
I haven’t read this, yet, because it just showed up at my house yesterday! But I have talked with Hannah at length for years about this project and have been waiting with bated breath for this bad baby mama (kombucha joke, get it?) to hit the shelves. She may have the most comprehensive history of Kombucha in a book. In case you’re familiar with Kombucha, you’ll know that the exact history is hotly debated – she shares her best theory based off travel and extensive research. She also goes into major depth about sweeteners, water quality, and many other details that makes the book the new go-to encyclopedia for Kombucha. I interviewed Hannah on the Gut Rebuilding Experts Telesummit a few years ago. It was one of my favorite interviews. You can find it here.
This is only a small sampling of the collection of fermentation, gut healing, and microbiology texts that I have on my bookshelf, but I picked some of the big hitters. I hope you enjoy. Please let me know below in the comments what your favorite books on these subjects are (even if it one of the ones I already mentioned).
Comment below and let me know what are your favorite books on fermented foods
Information about fermentation and microbiology has exploded on the Internet in recent years— I’m always scouring for the most up-to-date facts on the benefits of fermented foods.
Check out the list I’ve compiled to find a combination of NPR articles (check out what the Buddhist nuns in Korea have to say about fermented foods!), a Radiolab podcast on gut health, and the Microbiome Medicine Summit which includes dozens of leading health experts sharing about all aspects of healing with fermented foods.
This information is perfect if you want to be able to articulate why fermented foods are so important to your family members, health care practitioners, or, if you’re a wellness practitioner yourself, to your clients.
The surprising back-and-forth between our gut and our brain.
The cloud of microbes that follow you everywhere
The Invisible Universe That Lives On Us — And In Us
Morocco’s Funky Fermented Butter
And more….You could spend a few minutes or many happy hours delving into these fun facts and important science findings.
What I love about these resources is that the information is so varied—you’ll find everything from the science to practical step-by-step instructions, such as Chris Kresser’s link on How to Restore Healthy Gut Flora Over the Long-Term.
Quick list of my 11 favorites resources!
‘Fermentation': When Food Goes Bad But Stays Good
Buddhist Diet For A Clear Mind: Nuns Preserve Art Of Korean Temple Food
The Microbiome Medicine Summit
Smen Is Morocco’s Funky Fermented Butter That Lasts For Years
Auto-Brewery Syndrome: Apparently, You Can Make Beer In Your Gut
Why You Shouldn’t Wrinkle Your Nose At Fermentation
Guts by Radiolab
“This hour, we dive into the messy mystery in the middle of us. What’s going on down there? And what can the rumblings deep in our bellies tell us about ourselves? We stick our hand in a cow stomach, get a window into our core (thanks to a hunter who became a walking science experiment in the 1800s), and listen in on the surprising back-and-forth between our gut and our brain. And we talk to a man who kind of went out of his mind when a medical procedure left him (for a little while) gutless.”
Wherever You Go, Your Personal Cloud Of Microbes Follows
Exploring The Invisible Universe That Lives On Us — And In Us
Revolution Health Radio (RHR): How to Restore Healthy Gut Flora Over the Long-Term
A great gut podcast
Hope you enjoy this smattering of info! You can bookmark this page so you can have these articles to refer back to whenever you need!
Comment below and let me know—What are your favorite fermented food resources on the web?
“Spice” up your microbiome
Top spices for gut health
Lunchtime! I’m making Indian food.
Indian food is one of the best microbiome-bolstering diets on the planet.
The spices found in Indian food combat dysbiosis, any kind of gut impairment, and digestive issues— they reduce gas, help with peristalsis, eliminate indigestion and heartburn, all while they support good bacteria.
These herbs also assist in breaking things down—making it easier to get your minerals and your vitamins, and absorb the things that you need for your body to stay in a state of healing.
Find out which of these herbs kill bad bacteria, empathogenic bacteria, and help your digestion work at the same time.
Today’s quickie Guts & Glory covers my top three favorite herbs that I work with for an optimum biome. And I’ll talk about some extra tips to get the most out of your healthy meals—like how long to cook things and the best preparation methods to get the most nutrients from your Indian feast.
Learn how to create a really hospitable environment for probiotics to thrive in your body so that you can be as healthy as possible, using food. Because hey! You’ve got to eat. Might as well make it yummy and good for you!
Try these spices this week and report back here to let me know how it went!
Comment below and let me know…
Hello everyone. Welcome, I’m Summer Bock. This is is Guts & Glory. Today I want to chat for a minute about the fact that I’m reheating Indian food and it inspired me. I’m about to eat lunch and I realized that I think that Indian food is one of the best microbiome-bolstering diets on the planet.
Two reasons. One, things are cooked at a slow, low temperature. The vitamins and the minerals are able to be extracted from the food. For people who are suffering from dysbiosis or any kind of gut impairment, digestive issues, when you can actually aid the digestion and help assist breaking things down, it’s easier to get your minerals and your vitamins and absorb the things that you need for your body to stay in a state of healing.
That’s one reason. The second reason, and the one that I’m going to share with you today, a little bit more in detail about, is the herbs. Oh my gosh. Indian food has the most amazing herbs that help support good bacteria. Partially, because these herbs kill bad bacteria, empathogenic bacteria, and they help your digestion work at the same time. You create a really hospitable environment for probiotics to thrive in your body so that you can be as healthy as possible.
My top three favorite herbs that I work with, and that I cook with, and that I think are great for the microbiome are coriander. Coriander is one of my absolute favorites, especially when you buy the whole seeds and you grind it up fresh before using it. Coriander helps to reduce gas. It helps with peristalsis. It helps you to eliminate indigestion and heartburn and things like that. It does help kill off bad organisms, so I think coriander is one of my absolute favorites to add to food.
Ginger, ginger is another one. Ginger is a little bit spicy, it’s warming, but it also is going to help with circulation. It helps with nausea, indigestion, gas, burping, anything like that. Ginger is a great one to add to your food to help support the right environment, help you digest your food better so that those happy probiotics can live there.
Third favorite, fennel. Oh my gosh, I love me some fennel. Fennel is on the sweeter side. It tastes a little bit like licorice, but in traditional Indian meals you eat fennel seeds after the meal to help aid digestion. Again, this helps with gas, this helps with peristalsis, which means that the food moves through better, and with all the ones I also mentioned … Diarrhea is almost eliminated in situations like this.
Eating these really amazing herbs like fennel, and ginger, and coriander is going to help support the good bugs to live in your gut. If you don’t want to make it yourself, go get some Indian food. You’ll probably get some of those spices in there along with a bunch of other amazing spices that have similar qualities.
If you want to experiment at home, grind them up, add them to your food, cook it at slow, low temps, and start to feel the effects of a happy, healthy belly. All right, everyone. This is Summer Bock signing out.
A few months back JJ Virgin and I went through my pantry. It was a really popular topic—everyone wanted to know what one of the top health experts and New York Times bestselling author had to say!
I showed her how disorganized things were and she gave me some advice about how to set it up. I just want to show you the progress that I’ve made—from my own supplement mess and to how it’s been going with my boyfriend and the Bisquick problem…
Come along on this quick little tour of what’s in my cupboards—you’ll get to see how I’ve organized it in a way that make WAY more sense, and you’ll also get a peek at some of my current favorite snacks, like the paleo wraps I can’t live without and what’s in my secret snacktime stash!
You’ll also see what I always keep on hand for a healthy alternative.
And the next step for getting my boyfriend on board with the overhaul…will it work?
What do you need to organize or throw away that is lurking in your pantry?
Has there been one organizational thing that has totally transformed your kitchen?
Share your best kitchen tips here so we can all geek out!
Comment below and let me know…
Hello, everyone. I’m Summer Bock. This is Guts and Glory.
After JJ Virgin and I went through my pantry and discovered some amazing snacks that are things I would never eat, I showed her how disorganized things were and she gave me some advice about how to kind of set it up. I just want to show you the progress that I’ve made. Here we go. I’m pretty happy actually, so look at that. I created a little jar system and I’m using … Oh, there we go. I’m using all of these jars. Right when we walk in the pantry, this is what I see. I’ve got all my cookbooks that I like, my little maple syrup stash, and my little cacao stash for the snack time.
I have more packaged stuff that, honestly, I don’t use very often. This is little crackers and things like that. I kind of use these when I’m traveling. I have some flour that I use from time to time, some pasta, but I don’t use the stuff on this shelf very much. I have some sardines that I eat on salads when we’re out of stuff.
Then down on the bottom shelf here I have my supplements that are just kind of a crazy mess. This is cool. I have this bin here with these little paleo turmeric wraps that I freaking love. They’re so good. I use that instead of bread and I make sandwiches with it. Looks like here’s some more sprouted crackers. I do like these from time to time. I feel like I’ve done a really good job. I’m pleased. You go on down. There’s sort of a mixture here, but here’s kind of the other situation.
I will say the update is that the boyfriend hasn’t really changed very much of his eating habits at all. A little bit, he’s been buying some really good meat and he is more aware… I don’t know quite how to explain it. There has been some shift, it’s just not … It’s not easy to see it really in a certain way. I don’t know how to explain it.
There is still some … You know, we still have our crazy Bisquick situation next to the liquor and there’s still these peanut butter crackers, but you know what? He doesn’t eat this stuff very often, so I’m still really trying to get to the place where he and I can go through here and actually have a bit of a pantry clean out where we can get rid of some of the stuff that he doesn’t touch, that’s too old, that doesn’t really need to be cluttering up this space anymore. That would be my ideal situation. I have to say, this shirt translates much better in person than it does on video. I love this shirt, but, man, it looks like I’m wearing a giant orange balloon, folks. Well, there you have it. There’s the update. I hope you enjoy.