Modernizing Lactic Acid Fermentation

Probiotics seem to be all the rage these days, from commercialized probiotic yogurt and kefir “ized” kombucha, to supplemental probiotic pills.

One might want to ask, if we really need all this beneficial bacteria, then why is it not readily available in the human diet? Are probiotics just the latest health food fad? Or are they actually what Gary B. Huffnagle, Ph.D., Professor of Internal Medicine, Microbiology, and Immunology
at the University of Michigan Medical Center calls “the missing food group” in his book Probiotics Revolution.

The reason that today’s average person is short on probiotics (beneficial microflora) is primarily because we have eliminated unpasteurized fermented food condiments from the diet. Secondly we have reduced the beneficial microflora that we were born with because of the prevalence of antibiotics and antibiotic substances like chlorine.

In addition, the following every day substances of our modern world also reduce or kill our inherent beneficial microflora:
antiobiotics, birth control pills, steroidal & hormonal drugs, chlorine, coffee/tea,  carbonated drinks, vitamin pills, radiation, stress, preservatives, additives, pesticides, fertilisers

So it is obvious that our microflora balance has taken a huge assault over the
last 100 years, but just how did our ancestors get probiotics before the advent
of the health food store?

The answer is, they ate Lactic acid fermented drinks and condiments. In
cultures all around the world, there have been ample fermented condiments
consumed on a daily basis in the diet. For more information on exactly who ate which fermented foods and where, please refer to the book Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice or Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Ironically, making probiotic foods at home is simple, cheaper, yummier and more effective than store bought supplements, yet many families spend over 100 dollars per month on probiotic pills- when everyday condiments can be turned into living probiotic foods right in your kitchen!

How would you like to get your probiotics on a daily basis or even at every
meal without even trying to?

Wouldn’t that be easier than having to remember to pop pills?

In addition, veggie ferments don’t only add probiotics to your diet, but they add nutrients and lactic acid too, being that fermented vegetable increase the amount of nutrition in the foods you are already eating, optimize your digestion, eliminate anti nutrients (intrinsic substances that can make nutrients difficult to digest) and finally,  feed the good microflora you already have, while being antagonistic to pathogenic or bad bacteria.

The following is a list of simple condiments that you likely already have in
your fridge that can be replaced with lacto-fermented goodies (which you can
make quickly!) and on a shoe string budget:
Salad Dressing
Dill Pickles

Recipes for these all time favourites can be found with a quick “google” or “youtube” search or in cookbooks such as Nourishing Traditions, Wild
and Full Moon Feast.

Many of our favourite comfort foods can be nutritionally upgraded by the
addition of lacto fermented condiments.

Can you just imagine turning an easy meal of fast food such as “mac n cheese” or a “grilled cheese sandwich” into a probiotic feast?

How about digging up grandma’s old recipe for homemade macaroni? Why not substitute the pasteurized cheese for raw cheese (available at most organic food stores) and then serve with lacto fermented ketchup on top?


Just dip that grilled cheese sandwich into some lacto fermented ketchup, add a fermented pickle on the side and voila! This simple comfort food can even be easily nutritionally upgraded by using naturally leavened sourdough bread and by grilling it in cultured butter!

In the meantime, if you have the money, but don’t have the time, many food
sources of probiotics can be purchased at your local health food or organic
food store. While this list is not conclusive, here are a few reliable sources
of good bacteria for the whole family:

1)The local bread company Integrity Bread provides a delicious Spelt Desem Bread (provides metabolic products that nourish beneficial flora)
2) non homogenized full fat plain yogurt (Saugeen or Jerseyland)
3) non homogenized full fat kefir milk
4) raw cheese
5) Bubbies brand naturally fermented pickles
6) unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
7) unpasteurized sauerkraut
8) unpasteurized miso
9) In-Liven (fermented green drink)
10) Mi-Vitality (liquid probiotic)
11) Grainfields (liquid probiotic)-many health food stores carry it.
12) Cultures and Ferments by
13) Probiotic Dressings, Relishes, Salsa and Drinks by

While many people imagine that fermentation is difficult, finicky or a lot of
work, the truth is, it is a simple, affordable and accessible art, and a means
by which we can preserve food, while at the same time increase the nutritional value of our diet.

To learn about upcoming fermentation workshops at Mary Jane’s Cooking School, please contact Sherry at 417-8073 or


Gain your access to my FREE 4 Part Video e-course titled “First Steps to Becoming a Whole Foods Family!” @  where you can expect to learn how to upgrade the QUALITY of the foods that you already eat, so that you can IMPROVE your diet WITHOUT changing it!


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