Posts tagged lacto-fermented

The Raw Food Digestive Curse – by Frederic Patenaude

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The Raw Foodist’s Digestive Curse? by Frederic Patenaude

I’ve had a lot of personal experience in the raw food movement. Much of my adult life I’ve been actively seeking information and learning from others on the topic of nutrition and raw foods.

Over those years, I’ve heard many things said about what is the healthiest way to eat, how your body supposedly reacts to certain foods, and what is the healthiest type of water to drink, among many other things.

One thing that always caught my attention was the digestion people experienced on a raw food diet, and how a raw food diet may impact this.

Raw Foodists and Digestion

Any health-orientated person has taken a greater interest in their digestion, or how your body utilizes and absorbs nutrients from the food you eat, once they started to get in tune with how largely it impacts how you feel.

We all know the feeling of a sour stomach, and when your stomach isn’t happy, it’s hard to think about anything else.

Raw foodists, Natural Hygienists, and many Indian and Eastern health philosophies all put an emphasis on the importance of digestion.

Some stress the importance of eating certain foods together at the same time, or specifically not eating specific foods together at one time.

Food combining has been written about for decades now, and is something I personally used to follow relatively rigidly for many years.

Specifically the Natural Hygiene approach to food combining, like not eating melons with other foods, acid foods with sweet foods, and so on.

The Digestion Industry

Digestion has become so important to the general public now that it’s become a bit of a food-marketing gimmick.

Everything from probiotic-boosted green powders to endless brews of kombucha and lacto-fermented yogurts line the shelves of most grocery stores and supermarkets today, all touting a specific amount and strain of probiotic bacteria.

They’re sold promising improving the balances of bacteria in your intestinal tract, in-turn allowing you better digestion, sharper mental performance, clearer skin, etc. etc.

I think to a large degree, some of the benefits of these specific strains of bacteria and the packaged foods that are “boosted” with them are overall exaggerated to market them.

Naturally fermented foods like raw kombuchas, kimchi, and sauerkraut are much more likely to have truly beneficial bacteria in them vs. powder-boosted items too.

You can make these foods in your own home from your own garden!

It’s also questionable as to how many of the once-living probiotics actually survive from the time of packaging to you eating it, after transit and shelf-time.

I’m not saying that they may not offer some benefit to your digestion, but I feel that truly healthy gut flora starts with an otherwise healthy gut via eating and living healthfully, not a reliance on supplemental bacteria from packaged foods.

Some raw foodist will go as far as buying digestive enzymes in powdered form to supplement the enzymes everyone’s body naturally produces.

This could be a topic for a whole other article, but for now I’ll just say that the body produces all the digestive enzymes you need perfectly fine by itself, given you take care of it.

The Raw Curse

There is something that at one time felt like a phenomenon, but now just makes more logical sense as a natural progression of human adaption.

“The raw curse” is something I’ve written about in my books, “The Raw Food Controversies” and “The Raw Secrets”.

One thing I noticed amongst fellow raw-food-enthusiasts was that there seemed like a predictable decline in digestive abilities the longer they followed a strict raw food diet.

The longer they followed a raw food diet, the less ability they had to digest any other foods than raw foods.

The longer they followed that path, the types of raw foods they ate started being limited, too.

In many circles, you see people eating mostly mono-meals of one type of sweet fruit and tender, leafy greens, for most of their food intake. These are among the easiest foods for the digestive system to digest, as they are mostly composed of simple sugars.

This is a good and a bad thing.

There are valuable nutrients in fruits and tender leafy vegetables that can be easily absorbed by just eating them as they naturally come to you, from the garden or your nearest produce aisle.

But when you eat these foods and absolutely nothing else, you body quits producing the proper digestive enzymes and gastric juices to digest other foods, like dense proteins or starches.

Humans can eat and absorb nutrients from proteins and starch-dense foods just fine, but your body needs to “get used” to digesting them first.

Tuning Up Your Body’s Digestive Fire

I’ve come to the conclusion that many of the so-called digestive imbalances and woes that many people face amongst the vegetarian, vegan and raw food scenes may not always be caused by a complex imbalance of specific digestive bacteria, and more to do with the individual’s inability to digest foods that other people can digest, without any supplements.

The raw foodist who gets knocked out by eating a bowl of rice for the first time in nine months isn’t necessarily a sign that rice is bad for them. It could just be their body wasn’t used to digesting the rice.

You can observe this by the same person eating rice (and many other things!) in the years before and digesting them at least relatively well enough to still function and not be doubled over in pain.

Whether they are incredibly happy to admit it or not, there are many people who previously swore by a 100% raw food diet and now eat cooked foods of many different kinds. The same foods that people swore at one time would wreak havoc on the system are now being eaten and digested perfectly well.

Did their body magically gain the ability to digest the previously “poison!” cooked food from all of that meditation?

While the meditation probably doesn’t hurt anything, it’s mostly just a matter of the body producing the same digestive acids again, in the proper balance, once the new foods are reintroduced into the stomach. The body re-learns how to digest them again.

Like riding a bike!

Keeping Your Stomach Strong

Even basic activities like regular walking and movement/exercise of any kind improves the muscles in your stomach, leading to stronger, more efficient digestion and absorption of the food you eat.

You digestion is much more multi-faceted than some may lead you to believe, so when diagnosing your own circumstances, I encourage you to consider all points of view.

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Q and A Series: People, Products and the Health of Our Planet – Interview with Courtland Jennings, Founder, President, COO of Pickled Planet

For the fifteenth interview, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Courtland Jennings, “man wearing many hats,” Founder, President, COO of Pickled Planet, makers of fermented products since 2002.

My Comments:

I find great products in many different ways. Sometimes in a store, on Amazon, in a newsletter, through a “Google” search, etc. I found Pickled Planet at a raw vegan cafe. I looked in their cooler and being a lover of fermented foods, I wrote down their website and checked it out. It took a while to actually get the product, but it was well worth the wait. All their products are made with organic ingredients, vegan and raw. Packed in glass jars with some distinct and unique flavors. They make sauerkraut, kimchi and pickled vegetables (“Dilly Beans” are high up on the list of favorites that I sampled).

You can check out my video review where I sample four of their products:
http://www.youtube.com/TheRawsomeVeganGal

From their website:

The Pickled Planet Story

Pickled Planet was started in 2002 by Courtlandt Jennings, in the small hamlet of Ashland, Oregon. With a desire to make the best fermented products available to the world, the offer of a free kitchen to start in, the savings in his bank account, and plenty of local produce, Courtlandt started making tasty sauerkraut.

Our Mission
Our mission is to produce and sell lacto-fermented foods with a brand that inspires humanity and raises awareness of their importance in out diet.

Our Vision
Our vision is to help return balance to our living systems through the process of our business. We do so by providing a living wage to employees; buying produce direct from farmers, providing lacto-ferments and a path towards health for our customers; diverting waste streams out of landfills, using 100% organic ingredients, Using post consumer paper in our office and labels, offering bulk options and re-claiming jars; and most of all by building our business model around what helps the world, even if it costs more.

Why Are We Here?
Pickled Planet is a response to our modern world and its “diet gone mad” on hyper processed and pasteurized food and hyper imbalanced wealth distribution. We are in pursuit of a healthy balance between our species and all our relations, our human ecosystems and natural ecosystems, and the cyclical capture of solar abundance and the technological maintenance of lifestyles.

The way we see it, if microscopic lactic acid bacteria can bridge the gap from atmosphere, to barrel, to our guts, then we can bridge the gap between the bottom line and the planetary brine.
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Question #1: Tell me briefly about yourself and why you decided to get involved in the “health” industry?

My name is Courtlandt Jennings, I grew up in New Jersey but left in 1992 for the wider skies of the west. Health and personal development has always been central to my existence. At age 7, I started speech therapy to over come a stutter which taught me self discipline. At age 9, I found I had mineral and sugar imbalance in my blood and had to go on a special no sugar, no white flour diet. No one else in my family did this, so as you can imagine it was a real chore. My dad would take me to the health foods store, which in the early 80’s NJ was a hole in the wall. These two things were formative in my development as a conscious eater and being into personal development and exposure to the nacent natural foods industry.

Something else that was big in my early days was the family tradition of back rubs. We would always give each other back rubs, and this stuck for me and when I was 20 I took my first massage therapy training. Through the 90s I contined training and practicing massage therapy and so that was and still is a big part of my life, though now its just a hobby. My grandpa was an MD, my mom was an OT and I was and MT, so there’s a tradition of health care in my family as well as my own inclinations.

Once I turned 30 I realized I wanted to do something bigger than traveling and just kicking along, so I turned my passion for fermentation into a business. It was a perfect fit because natural foods were continuing to grow, my products ensured healthy guts and I could grow the business basically guilt free because what I was making was so healthy.

Question #2: If you were stranded on a desert island and were allowed to take only 5 items with you (they can be food, books or specific products that are all health-related), what would they be and why?

A lareg multi-tool utility knife (includes a magnifying glass), a solar stove/oven, a fairly large container, preferably rust proof like stainless steel, a large hemp tarp, and rope of several gauges…
I choose these things because they are basic holy 5 for survival, with them you can de-salinate water, craft hunting implements, protect yourself from the sun, and make most anything else you’d need.

Question #3: What one message do you want to share with the people of this world that is crucial for their ultimate well-being and longevity?

You are so much more than your thoughts, your body, and your stories. Find what is alive in yourself that is observing those things, continue being interested but not identified, and allow love to expand where ever it can. We are light and it is light that we share…and a healthy gut is one of the best investments you can make in your body.

Questions #4: If someone could afford to purchase only one product at this moment to start their journey towards better health (food or health-related), what would you recommend and why?

That would depend greatly on the person and where they were at…though if they are not eating fermented vegetables I would say that is a great start.

Question #5: Tell me more about your business/company and/or products you offer to the public to help them achieve optimal health and well-being?

Pickled Planet makes a great line of organic fermented foods that support a healthy gut, and provide enzymatic infusions that help lessen the speed of aging. We ferment everything for at least 5 weeks to optimize the strength of the probiotics and the enzyme count. We’ve been in business since 2003, making us one of the original artisan fermented food companies out there. We strive to pay a living wage to those that earn it, and the long range plan for the company is to become a worker-owned business. We use only post consumer paper for all our documents, and our labels, which utilize a zero waste application system allowing customers to tear off the label and recycle it again. We sell our products in glass jars, ensuring the product is less oxidized and as fresh as possible when opened. In our local area, we allow people to return their jars to us for re-use, we even get some in the mail occasionally, and have a discount pricing program to help make it affordable to those that need it.

In short, we aim to be a healthy cell in the body of the foods system, helping to heal the commerce system one business at a time.

Question #6: What are your hopes/aspirations/dreams for the future health of the people and the planet?

I really truly hope that we can come together as a unified planetary culture of inter-dependent nations, and we all realize and embody the truth of our earth body and our deep connection to it. A full reversal on unnecessary industrialization, the financial system, the consolidation of power and a deepening of ecosystem awareness and communing with nature and her cycles while providing our needs from them. We have all the tools and technology for a graceful existence, free from poverty and pollution, we just need to throw the bullies out of the playground, or at least put them in their place.

Question #7: Who is your greatest hero and why?

My Dad was my greatest hero for so many reasons I could not name them all, but he taught me how to work hard and be diligent, how to weigh options and make proper decisions and that being successful is doing what you enjoy, and he loves to laugh.

To find out more about the products and to order, go to: http://www.pickledplanet.com

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