Cultured Foods 101

When adding cultured foods into your diet there a few things to consider: your bodies reaction, introducing one food at a time, preparing/incorporating foods with live cultures.

When adding a cultured food to your diet it is important to remember that they are alive! These live cultures are great for your digestive tract and there is growing scientific research proving the value of adding cultured foods to your everyday diet. However, if you are not accustomed to cultured foods there are a few things to remember, GO SLOW and not too much. I suggest starting with one food at a time such as yogurt, or sauerkraut, or kimchi (if you love spice). Add a tablespoon to a meal to start. If you add too much all at once you can have what is referred to as a “die off”. That is when all those good cultures inhabit your intestines and kill off the other and less desirable bacteria in your gut. These less desirable bacteria feed off processed foods, sugar, and wheat. Though it might sound good to have a “die off” it is not comfortable. When a “die off” occurs you will have frequent and loose stool (sometimes cramping). There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Once your body becomes accustomed to cultured foods you can eat to your heart’s content.

These are live cultures, as we have discussed, and you do not want to heat them. Instead, add them to warm food or leave at room temperature until you are done cooking your meal and then add. Sauerkraut is commonly used on sausages and meats. I have found it to be delicious as a topping on soups, sandwiches, and salad. Mixing in the kraut or the juice from the kraut into salad dressing is a great way to incorporate the flavors and reap the health benefits. The same for yogurt, kimchi, and all live culture products.