Health Benefits of Eating Raw and Fermented Foods
by Kristen Michaelis
Every culture has a long tradition of fermented and raw foods -- foods that provide
for healthy intestinal flora and decrease the load on your pancreas and liver.

Sadly, because of today's industrial food model, these traditional foods have
morphed into something unrecognizable. Corned beef is no longer raw and preserved
with salt and spices. Cheese is made from devitalized pasteurized milk. Bread makers
rarely use real fermented sourdough starters in their so-called sourdough loafs. And
homemakers hardly ever soak their freshly ground whole wheat flour overnight in
buttermilk to create the light and fluffy pancakes and biscuits we love to love.

The modern equivalents of age-old fermented foods are nutritionally empty when
compared to their historical counterparts.

Take grains, for example. Did you know that traditional societies either soaked,
sprouted, or fermented their grains prior to consuming them? While the reasons our
ancestors practiced this level of grain preparation are debatable, we do know that
sprouting, fermenting, and soaking grains can increase vitamin and mineral content
availability by 300-500%.

That's quite the nutritional kick!

And whatever happened to preserving food using lacto-fermentation? Before the
modern era of hot water bath canning and vinegar brines, people used to preserve
vegetables and fruits in cans and other air tight containers using lactic-acid
fermentation. The lactic-acid caused the food to pleasantly sour (think: pickles),
increased the vitamin & mineral content of the food, provided a rich source of
valuable digestive enzymes, and preserved the food for months at a time.

We need to get over our prejudices. Cooked and over-processed to the extreme,
the average American diet lacks the vitamins, minerals and enzymes natural to
fermented and raw foods. Compare this to traditional diets around the world where
raw and fermented foods make up 60-80% of their food intake.

While science debates the ins and outs of exactly why raw and fermented foods are
so much healthier for us (living enzyme content? more available nutrients?),
anecdotal evidence makes the benefits clear.

People who start eating a diet high in raw & fermented foods reverse the course of
cancer, stop diabetes in its tracks, and notice an increased level of heart fitness.

So, what are you waiting for?


About The Author

Kristen Michaelis is a wife, mother, , and passionate advocate for
REAL FOOD. She is the voice behind Food Renegade, a growing community of
like-minded people dedicated to passing on practical wisdom about traditional food
preparation techniques.

If you're a lover of raw milk, pastured meats & dairy products, locally grown and
organic vegetables, and slow food, come join us at the Food Renegade Blog at
.
Quick! Name a fermented food.

What did you pick? Sourkraut?
Kimchi? Chutney? Did you even think
of cheese, sour cream, yogurt,
sourdough bread or buttermilk
pancakes?

Now, try your hand at naming a
popular raw meat.

Don't get all squeamish on me. Think.

How about pastrami? Corned beef?
Ceviche? Sushi?
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