I’m always on the lookout for foods and alternative remedies to help make me healthier and stronger without filling me with all sorts of crazy chemicals and drugs, and when I saw this book on making and using probiotic foods I knew I needed to read it.
The book was written by Donna Schwenk, who is the Kansas City Chapter leader for Weston Price Foundation, a worldwide organization comprised of people dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense food to the human diet through education, research, and activism. She teaches classes in the Kansas City area to open people’s eyes to the power of cultured foods, which dramatically changed her health and the health of her family when she been making and eating them in 2002. And she’s a blogger (check her out at http://www.culturedfoodlife.com/) which made me even more excited to read her book. I love it when bloggers become book authors!
Basically, the book is exactly what you’d expect by reading the cover, Donna explains how she came to learn about cultured foods, and why she first started bringing them into the lives of herself and her family, and the changes she experienced first hand. Then she goes on to share some stories of others who have introduced these foods into their lives and how they as a result began living a healthier live.
She goes into great detail on how to make your own, the benefits of different varieties of probiotic foods, and then moves into the recipe section which consists of nearly 3/4 of the book. I love that she has provided so many recipes because I don’t think most people would know where to go for recipes if they were unfamiliar with these foods.
I read the book a few weeks ago on a day when health was very much at the forefront of my mind as my husband was undergoing a couple relatively “safe” but still scary procedures on his heart. I often think I am probably one of the most sickly, yet perceived healthy people I know. Everyone thinks that I’m super shape and healthy because I am so active teaching fitness classes & running, and yet I have fibromyalgia, a lung condition and IBS and was very excited about the prospect of adding foods to my diet that would have anti-inflamatory effects.
I already knew about the importance of probiotics before reading the book, and had tried kombucha and certainly had, had sourdough before, but had never tried any of the other foods mentioned in the book. The one that intrigued me the most was kefir because I had heard about it a number of times before and knew it was available at our local grocery store.
That weekend I bought my first container of plain kefir, which for those of you who have never tried it, tastes like a more liquid version of plain yogurt. Not exciting but also not gross. In the book Donna talks about adding probiotic foods to your diet slowly as to avoid a sudden “killing off” of the bad bacteria in your gut which can (and will) make you sick. I started us both on 1/4 cup/day knowing that the boughten kefir has only about 10 strains of healthy bacteria (which is only slightly higher than the amount found in yogurt) compared to the 30-56 strains in homemade. I know that within 24 hours I felt like my stomach (which has been really mad at me since mid-September) was settling down. My IBS had been quite troublesome since my long runs go up over 15km and had never settled down and as a result I was no longer eating nuts, or raw fruits. I can not eat raw veggies again without any discomfort which is wonderful! I’ve even found that I am sleeping better at night, I’m not sure if the kefir is to thank for that but it certainly hasn’t hurt!
Since I know boughten kefir to be lower in strains of healthy bacteria, and it costs about $3.50/container I’ve already purchased kefir grains and am waiting for them to arrive so I can start making my own! They should show up sometime this week so by this weekend I should be able to start eating my own. It’s the small things that excite me . 😉
Like I mentioned above, I had tried kombucha before and liked it, but it isn’t all that easy to come by (I only know of one place locally that sells it year round) and the flavours can be pretty dull so was very excited about making my own and currently have a test batch brewing. Go me!
If you are interested in bringing probiotic foods into your life I think this book is a must have, and I strongly urge you to purchase it, or at the very least go check out Donna’s blog, because I personally think most everyone would benefit from the addition of even one of the foods in her book to their regular diet.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.