It’s also for sauerkraut (and the lost art of fermentation).
Do you know your body has 10 times more bacteria than it does cells? Think about that! Think how many cells are needed to comprise your entire body . . . now multiply that by 10. 10!!! That my friends, is the number of bacteria living within.
Wait, isn’t bacteria bad? Isn’t bacteria gross? That’s what our sterile, hand-sanitizer-happy country would like us to think. They’ve done a good job convincing us, too. Contrary to the infamous Clorox Wipes obsession, Bacteria is VITAL to your health and well being. I’m not talking on a simply internal level, I’m talking about skin conditions, dandruff, “IBS”, joint pain etc.
“Gut flora” is a fancy term for the trillions of bacteria living in your intestines. These species are responsible for a host of tasks. Interestingly enough, they train your immune system! Remember when we talked about the importance of gut health? God placed flora in our bellies for a reason and they are not to be messed with. Unfortunantly, they are messed with.
Stress (remember this post?), NSAIDS (Aspirin, Bayer, Excedrin), birth control, refined foods and toxins (this includes American-ized wheat, guys) and freaking (this post is clearly not very scholarly) antibiotics all play a significant role in altering and/or damaging the gut flora. Disturbed gut flora is like pushing the first domino . . . it leads to leaky gut which leads to an autoimmune response (ignored = autoimmune disease). Gut flora isn’t something to roll your eyes at. It would be like rolling your eyes at the kidneys. Flora is just as important but not as popular as the kidneys. Please don’t be fooled, just because you don’t have “tummy troubles” DOES NOT mean you don’t have tummy trouble. Leaky guts can expose themselves via acne, eczema, arthritis, autism . . . the list goes on to about every “normality” we are experiencing these days and every “medical” commercial shown during New Girl (what?).
Gut flora can also be disturbed quite early on, we’re talking very, very early on. When a baby passes through the vaginal canal, he swallows vaginal fluid containing the mother’s own flora. This is not happenstance. This is amazing! As babies enter into the world full of germs, disease, toxins and (yes) bad bacteria, his mama passes on some of her own defense system for his own little belly (bellies = defense system. Own this)! Sadly, the baby does not receive his mama’s flora when delivered via C section. As Hippocrates taught us many moons ago, “All disease begins in the gut.” He’s probably rolling in his grave as we pop Aspirin like candy, prescribe antibiotics for broken nails and so quickly result to C section deliveries.
What in the world does this all have to do with sauerkraut? I’m glad you asked because otherwise I would have gone into a C section rant. Here’s the deal . . .
1. You need a healthy gut in order to promote a healthy body. It all goes back to the gut, folks.
2. You need healthy, DIVERSE species of gut flora in order to promote this healthy gut. The problem with antibiotics is not necessarily a loss of flora as it is the loss of diverse flora
3. The best way to promote diversity is to ingest and expose yourself to a diversity of bacteria
4. Sauerkraut (among many other types of fermented foods) is one of the easiest, cheapest, natural ways to do so!
Stay tuned for a special edition of “S is for Sunday, not Saturday” as we tackle the “how to’s” of sauerkraut