Probiotic-rich fermented foods may seem at once foreign and familiar, depending upon your cultural heritage. In fact you've probably eaten them and just didn't know it.
Yogurt and sauerkraut are two modern examples of fermented foods (though beware - most yogurt and sauerkraut you find in typical grocery stores are not the healthy fermented form anymore, they are a cheap imitation). But it turns out that the tradition of fermenting foods is thousands of years old!
According to ancient folklore, cheese was first discovered around 6000 BC in ancient Mesopotamia. An old myth tells the story of a mysterious Arab who stored milk in his saddlebag and proceeded on a trip through the desert. The galloping of his camel and the hot sun produced curds and whey, which he ate and enjoyed.
The First Cheese
Little did he know he was experiencing all the benefits of fermented milk! Even today in modern Baghdad "meira" is a popular cheese; until recently it was their only cheese made of fermented sheep's milk (aged for 6 - 12 months).
Fermentation and Pasteurization
The solid cheese we eat in modern days is not the same as the cheeses of our ancestors.
Cheese in ancient times was fermented and made of raw milk. Today, many commercial cultured foods, like cheese and yogurt, are pasteurized. Pasteurization heats food to high temperature and destroys the healthy enzymes and microflora (healthy yeasts and bacteria) that are naturally present in the milk of healthy mammals like sheep, goats and cows. It essentially kills the immunity-boosting benefits of the foods that kept our ancestors strong.
It is the microflora that populate our digestive tracts to create a healthy inner ecosystem. A healthy inner ecosystem is made up of the friendly microflora (good bacteria) that reside in our intestines, aid digestion and keep us healthy and strong.
Now, when we eat the pasteurized versions of these foods, besides being harder to digest, we don't get the healthy benefits of the good microflora.
Cheese is made up mostly of casein (the protein in milk) plus the milk fat. Many people find cheese hard to digest, and because it is naturally dehydrating it can also be constipating.
While yogurt is more well known here in the US, it never has the amount or variety of beneficial microflora found in milk kefir. This is one of the many reasons why Body Ecology recommends kefir made from goat or cow milk instead of cheese and yogurt. (NOTE: If you can obtain sheep milk, we'd recommend you also make it into kefir. Camel milk is becoming popular in Europe these days so if you find an organic source near you by all means kefir it as well.)
How to Incorporate Dairy
In the beginning stages of The Body Ecology Diet we do not recommend eating any dairy foods (not even milk kefir) except raw butter. But we definitely do recommend eating lots of other fermented foods and beverages like cultured vegetables and Young Coconut Kefir, These are a daily "must" for establishing your inner ecosystem, correcting digestion, increasing your immunity, your energy and for healing your digestive tract.
After eliminating those foods that are making you weak and replacing them with delicious fermented foods, in a few months your inner ecosystem will become populated with dairy-loving microflora. Then you may be a good candidate for fermented raw milk kefir. and will experience its many wonderful benefits.
For more on how to choose the starters for your fermented foods, read: Which Fermented Food Starter Should You Use for What?
Why Have Real Fermented Foods Disappeared From Our Diets?
Our dietary needs evolved based more on lifestyle and convenience, and less on nutritional guidelines. The result…the Standard American Diet (or "SAD," a fitting acronym).
SAD includes packaged and processed foods, with time and taste being the most important factors. It's no surprise that we'd value fast, good-tasting food in a society that puts in more hours of work than any other. Fortunately, we are now re-discovering the age-old wisdom behind these ancient superfoods.
To look and feel younger and healthier, drink Young Coconut Kefir in the initial stages of the Body Ecology Diet, then add milk kefir when your digestion heals!
Feel Good With Kefir!
Milk kefir an easy way to get all the health benefits of fermented foods that were customary for ancient people in Baghdad and elsewhere in the world. Not only does it help reestabish your inner ecosystem, it also helps keep your skin looking moist and young and your body feeling healthier.
Our ancestors may have taken fermented foods for granted back in their day, which is why we may have lost an understanding of kefir's valuable benefits. Eat and drink yourself young and healthy with the wisdom of ancient times - fermented foods!
Make Your Own Kefir at Home
Try Body Ecology's Kefir Starter for Young Coconut Kefir and when you're ready, milk kefir. Soon you'll be on your way to feeling great!
Want more articles like this?
Sign up to receive weekly articles. You'll also receive a 15% off coupon, weekly articles, and tips from Donna and her team.