Tag Archives: probiotics

Book Giveaway: Fermented Foods For Health


This fabulous book from colleague extraordinaire has just hit the shelves.  It’s timely, well-researched, full of vital information and healing recipes AND we’re giving away a copy!

Use the Power of Probiotic Foods to Improve Your Digestion, Strengthen Your Immunity, and Prevent Illness
by Deirdre Rawlings

We advocate eating fermented foods as a part of your daily diet on Cookus Interruptus (hence our sourdough bread fundraiser, recipes for sauerkraut and more). Fermentation is a process that uses microscopic organisms to transform food into easily digested, long-lasting, probiotic rich foods.   Increasing good bacteria in your diet is important for intestinal health—and a healthy intestinal tract means a healthy immune system, as 70% of our immune system resides in the intestines.

Holistic nutritionist and naturopath Deirdre Rawlings, Ph.D., makes  incorporating these vital foods into your meals simple and accessible. She does this not only with recipes for relishes, tonics, chutneys, yogurt, kefir and more, but also by clearly outlining these powerful foods work therapeutically.

I’m often confounded by the constant bickering between advocates of restrictive diets; each side claiming their way is the right way. Ms. Rawlings supersedes the nutrition rabble babble by cutting to one of chief causes of our ill health – poor gut bacteria – and gives us a toolkit for feeling better.

You want this book; you NEED this book, right?  Be the winner.  Here’s how to enter: Continue reading

Should You Eat Gluten Free?

Christina wrote us a note and asked “why someone would eat gluten free other than to relieve celiac sprue?”.  She asked if I might address this on our blog.   For me, this could be a trick question, with a tricky answer.  There seems to be some benefit to eating less flour and I’ve always been a fan of rotating grains (not just eating wheat and corn).  There’s no doubt in my mind that some individuals feel better with less carbohydrates in their diet while others gain energy keeping protein (particularly animal protein) to a minimum.  No one-size-fits-all healing diet exists.  Gluten-free eating is no exception.

That said, there are a growing number of people with Celiac Sprue Disease.  These folks must completely avoid gluten to be healthy and stay nourished.  There has been a huge increase of Celiac patients: –  1 out of every 5,000 people in the 1950’s to 1:133 today.  Predictions agree these numbers will continue to rise.  The cause for the rise is unclear.

But diagnosed Celiacs only account for a small fraction of the current demand for gluten-free products. Continue reading

Freshest Bite of 2009

What happened this year in your kitchen?  Did you learn something new?  Re-discover something old?  What was the best new thing you tried a bite of?

Two new foods entered my life this year.  Every winter I teach a course called “Cooking Demonstration” where students design and practice teach a cooking class.  One of my students chose fermented vegetables  as her project.  I had made them, but never gotten into the rhythm of the process.  Eliza made it seem so easy.  I pulled my crock out again and haven’t stopped using it.  I adore the fresh-tasting sauerkraut and kim chee that I always have either brewing or jarred in my refrigerator.

Another lovely student that was in my class spring quarter brought in her homemade tempeh to share.  It was so much fresher tasting that anything I had purchased in a store.  I bought the very inexpensive culture online this summer and started cooking soybeans and making my own tempeh.

All those probiotics from fermented food keep my belly happy.  And thank goodness I teach!  My students keep me perpetually learning.

How about you?  What did 2009 bring to your food life?

Dances with Tacos

Once or twice a year my friend Holly and I go to a beautiful Korean women’s spa. After the soaking, scrubbing and steaming we have lunch in their small café. The meals are simple; usually rice with egg, tofu, chicken or beef and cooked vegetables.  But the best part is the half-dozen bowls of condiments that arrive with the meal, called banchan.  Each one has raw, pickled or fermented vegetables and sprouts. These unique flavors make the meal come alive.

Not only do these traditional foods add flavor and zip to grains, beans, meats and cooked vegetables, they are helpful for the gut. Two major food components that aid digestion are enzymes and probiotics (or friendly bacteria). These are found in foods that are raw, pickled, fermented or cultured. Most traditional cuisines include these as a traditional part of the meal. The standard green salad served before or after the meal is a familiar example though somewhat ho-hum.  More scintillating examples include  pickled ginger, miso, aged vinegars, traditionally-brewed soy sauces, beer, sour cream, kim chee, slaws and salsas.

Enzymes are present in food that has not been heated to over 116 degrees F (or is too hot to touch). The enzymes from raw or lightly heated foods can stimulate the release of digestive enzymes in the mouth and continue activating digestion in the stomach. Raw foods also tend to contain more bacteria and microorganisms than cooked food which may stimulate the immune system and help populate the gut with beneficial flora.

I believe in serving digestive-friendly condiments with every meal.  In fact, when my students design menus they are required to include something raw, pickled, fermented or cultured in each meal composition.  We have a bunch of snappy condiments featured on Cookus Interruptus, including Raita, Sweet Pepper Relish, Lemon Tahini Sauce, Parsley Pumpkin Seed Garnish and Mango Lime Salsa.  They are easy to make and most can be kept in the refrigerator and used for several days.

C’mon.  What do you like to plop on your soup, salad, fish, tofu that gets your juices going?  What makes your tacos dance?