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Fermentation and Fiscal Fitness

Hello! How's your gut treating you today? Pertinent question as since I've last posted, I've become much more involved in the Traditional Foods community. Specifically, insofar as today's post is concerned, with fermentation.

A couple of things to know about fermentation. First of all, properly fermented foods are essential to establishing that enviable balance of gut flora to which many of us aspire. (My dogs are pooping like rock stars these days, 'nuff said.) Second, either you've got to learn to do it yourself in your own kitchen or have the budget to hire someone to do it for you. It's that important. Buying prepared fermented foods from the store really does not cut the mustard.

So there you have it. You want the result, it's one more thing you've got to learn to do for yourself. Like cooking dinner, exercising, sleeping, and taking the occasional shower. That said, one might think that the biggest obstacle in someone's path to success would be the time element. "Jeez, something else to do?" one might think. "But I'm overextended already!"

Surprisingly, from what I have been able to observe by hanging out in the community, that is not the case.

Back when I wrote Word Cures, "no time" led the field when it came to people's reasons to stall out on health-promoting behavior. But interestingly, despite the time investment involved in creating a quality fermented product at home, that doesn't seem to factor very highly in the fermentation community today. The stop is money.

We need a little more background. In order to prepare a properly fermented product, it has to be done in a certain way. Certain members of the lactobacillus family of bacteria, essential for optimum gut health, can only be produced in an environment that excludes oxygen. We call such an environment "anaerobic." That is a scientific fact.

So what's the best way to exclude oxygen from a fermenting vessel? Great question, eh? Turns out this debate is all the rage right now. Fortunately for the non-scientists in our midst (me, for instance), some fantastic science-minded folks with a lot at stake have taken on this project. Read about the background story of one such mind in this article on lacto-fermentation originally published in the Weston A Price Foundation's journal.

Yeah, so to do it right you need a special vessel. Moreover, you need to buy it. Open your wallet, let a few moths fly out, and shell out a small amount of cash. This is what puts people off. (By the way, there is another vessel that also works very effectively, but it's way more expensive and cumbersome. Better suited to large-volume applications like restaurants than to the average home kitchen.)

But here's the rub. If you don't buy the special vessel to do your fermentation, you won't get the full spectrum of lactobacillus bacteria. Therefore you won't get the result. You may indeed produce an edible (if not consistent) food product that meets your taste requirements. But you will not re-populate your gut. At the very least, you'll end up buying probiotic supplements to take along with the foods you produce. The cost of those supplements, over just a few months' time, may very well exceed the modest price of the special equipment.

Hey, I understand that times are tough and people are strapped. I've lived on the bologna and cheese diet myself.

But let's think this through.

We're not just talking about fermentation here. We're talking about how you as an individual approach any major health-promoting choice.

  • Chiropractic is covered by your insurance, but massage therapy is not. Yet a soft tissue work is essential to your healing. Do you continue a treatment that isn't working simply because it's covered? I sure hope not.
  • You are sensitive to gluten and get sick every time you eat a product that contains wheat, yet starches are easy to come by and cheap to buy. Do you still insist on donuts for breakfast? Hopefully not...

If the "bargain" solution is not producing the result you're looking for, then is it really a bargain? To me, this brings us to the essence of fiscal fitness. Using money wisely.

  1. First get clear on the reason you're doing something; the outcome you desire.
  2. Then do a little research. Ask around. Try a few things to see how they work for you.
  3. And then, invest (at a level that fits your budget) into the strategy that's most likely to get you where you want to go!

You'll be fiscally fit!!

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Elizabeth Eckert can help you explore how simple everyday choices create health — or undermine even the best of intentions. With a background that ranges from energy medicine to structural bodywork to developmental psychology, this "Stick-To-It Coach" has the experience to support you in creating the healthiest possible expression of — you!

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Elizabeth Eckert, Healthy Living & Wellness Coach

Elizabeth Eckert, PhD

I enjoy observing human nature and helping people be healthy. I'm author of Word Cures and creator of the WordCures.com healthy living website. (more)

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Note: The information and ideas offered here are personal opinions of a general nature. No opinion posted here constitutes medical advice, either general or personal. If you have a health concern, please consult with your medical doctor and follow his or her advice. The author disclaims responsibility for any misuse or misinterpretation of any opinion posted here.

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