Primitive Diva

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Three Goats Farm of Montgomery, Texas
Melissa is a former beauty queen, personal trainer and certified holistic health coach. Melissa founded Queen Bee Wellness to specialize her coaching practice towards Women's Wellness and Beauty. She helps women focus on finding their own natural beauty from a integrative approach of balancing Mind, Body and Soul. Melissa believes that what we put in our mind is just as important as the nourishing food we put in our bodies and products on our skin. She strives to coach women to balance a healthier body image, approach to wellness and authentic living. With her passion for a clean lifestyle, Queen Bee Wellness therapeutic skin care products were born- to help women enhance their natural glow, without causing harm to their health from chemical laden toxic products. Melissa's philosophy to real beauty is summarized in "Wellness is Beauty". Melissa resides on a 10 acre farm in Montgomery, Texas with her husband and teen aged children. In her spare time she is chief goat wrangler and milker of her "Queen Bee" herd of dairy goats at Three Goats Farm.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Ancestral Alchemy of Fermented Foods

Fermentation….? Let’s look back to one of several traditional methods our primitive ancestors would have prepared and preserved the nutrients of the food(s) they had worked so hard to hunt and gather. The ancient greeks understood the chemical changes that were produced in the body with these functional foods...their name for change was "alchemy". Though the term "fermentation" sounds vaguely distasteful, the results of this ancient preparation and preservation technique -- produced through the breakdown of carbohydrates and proteins by microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts and molds -- are actually delicious. Even more so, they are such a foundation of good health that some of these "functional foods" are now considered to be therapeutic doses of "probiotics," increasing your overall nutrition, promoting the growth of friendly intestinal bacteria, and aiding digestion and supporting immune function, including an increase in B vitamins (even Vitamin B12), omega-3 fatty acids, digestive enzymes, lactase and lactic acid, and other immune chemicals that fight off harmful bacteria and even cancer cells. So how were our primitive ancestors so knowledgeable and educated on these alchemical functional foods. Actually their efforts were born out of necessity and practicality since they could not rely on refrigeration and freezing of their food supply. Lactic acid fermentation proved to be not only an efficient method of preserving food for our ancestors, but also a critical one. Indeed, fermented foods often sustained tribes and villages during harsh winters when fresh food simply wasn’t available let alone plentiful. Mankind has been eating fermented food for millennia, I think it's time we got back to practicing the same healthy ways of preparing our family's foods!

In many societies including our own fermented food has gained a reputation for its beneficial effects on immunity, intestinal health and general well-being. Modern researchers are just beginning to understand what the sages of old were tuned in to: fermented food conveys clear and calculable health benefits to the human diet. Lactic acid fermentation in and of itself enhances the micronutrient profile of several foods.
Scientist and doctors today are bewildered by the magnificent proliferation of new virus(s)—a whole gamut of human viruses that seem to be associated with everything from chronic fatigue to cancer to arthritis. There have also been staggering increases in the incidence of of intestinal parasites and pathogenic yeasts, even among those whose sanitary practices are faultless. Could it be that in abandoning the ancient practice of lacto fermentation and in our diet where manufacturers insist that that everything must be pasteurized, we have compromised the health of our intestinal flora and made ourselves vulnerable to legions of pathogenic microorganisms? If so, the cure for these diseases will not be found in vaccinations, drugs or antibiotics—but in restored intestinal symbiotic bacteria like varieties of Lactobacilli---our microscopic defense army!
Beware the BIG Difference Between Healthy Fermented Foods Versus Commercially Processed
Fermentation is more of an artisanal craft than a science -- so commercial food processors eventually developed techniques to help standardize more consistent yields. Technically, anything that is "brined" in a salt stock is fermented, but that’s where the similarity ends, as each type of fermented food has specific, unique requirements and production methods.

Refrigeration, high-heat pasteurization and vinegar’s acidic pH all slow or halt the fermentation and enzymatic processes. "If you leave a jar of pickles that is still fermenting at room temperature on the kitchen counter, they will continue to ferment and produce CO2, possibly blowing off the lid or exploding the jar," explains Richard Henschel of Pickle Packers International, which is why, of course, all "shelf-stable" pickles are pasteurized.

It’s probably not surprising that our culture has traded many of the benefits of these healthy foods for the convenience of mass-produced pickles and other cultured foods. Some olives, such as most canned California-style black olives, for instance, are not generally fermented, but are simply treated with lye to remove the bitterness, packed in salt and canned. Olive producers can now hold olives in salt-free brines by using an acidic solution of lactic acid, acetic acid, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate, a long way off from the old time natural lactic-acid fermenting method of salt alone.
Some pickles are simply packed in salt, vinegar and pasteurized. Many yogurts are so laden with sugar that they are little more than puddings. Unfortunately, these modern techniques effectively kill off all the lactic acid producing bacteria and short-circuit their important and traditional contribution to intestinal and overall health.
How to Make Sure You are Getting the Incredible Health Benefits of Lacto-Fermented Foods
As fermented foods expert Sally Fallon asks in Nourishing Traditions, with the proliferation of all these new mysterious viruses, intestinal parasites and chronic health problems, despite ubiquitous sanitation, "Could it be that by abandoning the ancient practice of lacto-fermentation, and insisting on a diet in which everything has been pasteurized, we have compromised the health of our intestinal flora and made ourselves vulnerable to legions of pathogenic microorganisims?" Like the $2.97 gallon jars of dill pickles Vlasic sells at a loss at Walmart, are we undermining our health and even economic well-being by our insistence on "more, faster and cheaper?"

You can still find some healthy traditional varieties. The stronger-flavored, traditional Greek olives you are most likely to find on olive bars are not lye-treated and are still alive with active cultures. So are "overnights," the locally-crocked fresh pickling cukes made in local delis every few days, as well as the pickles, sauekraut and other fermented foods you make yourself at home. Generally, the more tangy and stronger the flavor (not counting any added jalapeño or other hot pepper flavorings), the more likely that the food will still have active and beneficial lactobacteria.

So how can you be sure if you are getting the benefits of these active, fermentation cultures?

For one thing, you can make your own. Once you have surpassed the hurdle of inexperience. It is actually quite easy.

I wanted to share a simple and basic recipe for Sauerkraut from the upcoming Primitive Diva book. This is the longer fermentation recipe- I will also share one with a Whey starter in the book.
They offer great zesty flavors as a side or salad while strengthening digestion and immune systems, and even proactively helping us fight off and prevent disease.

Primitive Sauerkraut:

1)Remove outer leaves from mature heads of cabbage. Wash and drain. Remove core and shred cabbage with a large knife.
2) Carefully weigh 5 lbs to ensure correct cabbage to salt proportions!
3)Measure 3 tablespoons sea salt/kosher salt and sprinkle over 5 lbs of prepared cabbage. Mix well with spoon or hands. Allow 15 to 20 minutes for cabbage to wilt slightly.
4) Pack cabbage into 1 gallon jar (glass). Press firmly with hands or wooden spoon until juice is drawn out to cover shredded cabbage.
5) Put a heavy plastic bag on cabbage and fill with water until it sits firmly, allowing no air to reach the cabbage.cover jar with cloth secured with string or rubber band to prevent dust, hair, etc… Ferment for five to six weeks. Gas bubbles indicate fermentation is occurring. Temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Farenheit are ideal for fermentation.

Here is another VERY interesting article on the benefits of just Sauerkraut- so get that cabbage bubbling guys, ENJOY!

In Health~ Melissa

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While many people think sauerkraut is something you out on a hotdog, for the past couple of years scientists have been letting people know that this food which is made out of fermented cabbage is actually a superfood capable of boosting your immune system, aiding the digestive process and even fighting cancer. Let us look at a few of the benefits of Sauerkraut.

Sauerkraut and the immune system

It is no secret that sauerkraut has a beneficial effect on the immune system. Not only is it packed with vitamins and minerals that are also found in raw cabbage, sauerkraut also happen to contain beneficial phytochemicals which are created by the fermentation process. Eating sauerkraut on a regular basis can help fight off things like the common cold as well as help us deal with issues such as bad skin, weight gain and toxic blood which are all side effects of an unhealthy immune system.

Cancer Fighter

Recent studies have shown that eating this fermented crucifer may actually help prevent cancer growth, especially in the breast, colon, lung and liver. It a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, it was found that the process of cabbage fermentation broke down the compound glocusinolate found in the plant into cancer fighting isothiocyanates. Another Study from the University of New Mexico found that fermented cabbage is actually better at fighting cancer than if it is raw or cooked. In yet another study, researchers found that Polish American women had much higher breast cancer rates than Polish Women. When they try to determine why, they found it was because Polish American women were eating much less of the cancer fighting super food than they were in the motherland.


Like yogurt, Sauerkraut is laden with beneficial bacteria that can help maintain balance within the gastrointestinal tract. Fermented cabbage contains the bacterium: Lactobacilli plantarum which can help boost your immune system by increasing the amount of antibodies that can help fight off E-coli, salmonella, and candida. L.planatarum also contains the antioxidants glutathione and superoxide dismustase which can help fight off free radicals. These beneficial bacterium also helps turn hard to digest lactose into easily to digest lactic acid. It also neutralizes phytic acid found in grains and trypsin-inhibitors found in soy. It also helps generate omega-3 fatty acid and GTF chromium a trace mineral that help with digestion. Suffice it to say, that sauerkraut has been used for hundreds of years to help cure upset stomachs by increasing healthy flora in the intestinal tract.

Flu fighter

With the Avian Flu and the Swine flu causing worldwide panic, it is more important than ever to take preventative steps to help keep our immune system in tip top shape. Thankfully we have sauerkraut on our side. During the latest Avian Flu outbreak, a scientist from Seoul reportedly fed Kim Chi extract (a form of fermented cabbage) to 13 chickens that were infected with the deadly disease. 11 of the 13 made a full recovery. Scientists believe that it is because the fermentation process actually added nutrient value to the food. Fermented cabbage has shown to have more vitamin C and the ability to facilitate the breakdown and assimilation of proteins.

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