Now that we are preparing to embark on the GAPS diet, I'm trying to build my family up to eating fermented foods once more. My husband grimaces every time I use the word, 'ferment'. I'll be honest, I shudder too. My experience with fermented foods extends to sauerkraut filled pierogi and sour cabbage rolls. Neither of which I enjoy at all. Yet, people around the world eat fermented foods and like them, so clearly there must be recipes out there that make a person want to eat them. Or perhaps the problem stems from our distorted sense of taste. Too much sugary laden food in our diet has changed our ideas about what is palatable.
I often lament the fact that growing up, I was not exposed to fermented foods early on in life. Perhaps I would find it easier to eat them now. Maybe if I had grown up understanding how to ferment foods, the process might not be so scary. Coming from a generation of vaccinating, anti-biotic using, hand sanitizing, canned food, germaphobes, the idea of eating food laden with bacteria (even if it is good) goes against everything I was raised to believe. Bacteria is bad, it's harmful, it will make you sick.
|Photo by Chiot's Run.|
I know that this is not the case with fermented foods. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Fermented foods contain helpful enzymes (to help supplement our own body's finite supply), which aid and improve digestion. Fermented foods contain vastly more nutritional value than their raw and cooked counterparts. Fermented foods, according to Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation, are safer than canned foods and there is no risk of contracting botulism. Fermented foods help keep the bacteria populations in our digestive tract tipped in favour of the good guys - a state most of our guts in the Western world are not in.
I desperately want to like fermented foods. I certainly love the idea of them and I feel very passionately about the fact that we all really, really need fermented foods in our diet. But, fermented anything - in my family at least - is not going to be an easy road of acceptance. I know it will require a huge leap of faith, a change of mindset and probably a lot more, for most of us to get on board with eating them.
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