Considering their array of health benefits, it’s no wonder people are looking for ways to introduce fermented foods into their diets. Basic fermentation involves creating conditions where beneficial bacteria (probiotics) thrive. It may sound complex, but it is actually simple and rewarding. While the list of fermented foods is quite long, I especially treasure three quick, easy to prepare, and highly nutritious beverages: kombucha tea, kefir, and beet kvass.
Fermented foods undergo many seemingly miraculous changes. They are transformed into their most digestible forms. (For example, the milk sugar lactose is converted into the more easily digested lactic -acid. )Vitamins are created (commonly the B-vitamins 1, 2, 3, and 6, and folic acid). Powerful enzymes that aid in digestion and absorption are preserved when ferments are eaten raw. Additionally, the live bacteria in raw fermented foods help establish a healthy balance of microorganisms within the gut.
Although these feel-good bacteria are the latest buzz, they are also among the oldest of man’s benefactors. Prior to modern refrigeration and canning, peoples around the world relied upon the nutritional quality of long stored fermented foods. Now in the post-modern era we understand that our optimal nutrition still depends upon these tiny creatures.
I rely on beverages like kombucha tea, kefir, and beet kvass as daily supplements to my diet- as probiotics and multi-vitamins. They require no special meal planning because they can be consumed along with meals or between meals as a snack. I regularly incorporate them into other foods like ranch dressing made with kefir and soups garnished with beet kvass. When fermented foods are easy to prepare and convenient to eat I find that including them in my diet is a joy rather than a chore!
Sandor Katz, Wild Fermentation: The Flavor Nutrition and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (White River Junction: Chelsea Green, 2003.) (p. 6)
 Katz 6 Sandor Katz, Wild Fermentation: The Flavor Nutrition and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (White River Junction: Chelsea Green, 2003.) (p. 6)
 Sally Fallon-Morell Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (Washington: New Trends, 2001) (p. 47)
 Sally Fallon-Morell Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (Washington: New Trends, 2001) (p. 89)