FERMENTED FOODS, AND WHY AVOID MOST OF THEM
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© July 2016, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Fermented foods have been used throughout human history as a way to enhance the vitamin and amino acid content of foods, acidify the intestines, and support healthful flora in the intestines. They are also recommended to help resist intestinal infections, enhance the flavors of some foods, and as a way to preserve foods.
Some health authorities today recommend eating a lot of fermented foods. I find this harmful, in all cases. Most fermented foods are somewhat toxic and stimulating, and can even be addictive for this reason. The exceptions are butter, sauerkraut, miso, and a little cheese, yogurt and kefir.
GENERAL PROBLEMS WITH FERMENTED FOODS
1. Too yin for several reasons. The reasons are:
a. Ferments, which are bacteria or yeasts, tend to be very yin organisms.
b. The food is eaten in an essentially raw state. This also makes the food much more yin, in general, than if the food were cooked.
c. Most are eaten cold, which is more yin.
To read more about the important subject of the yin and yang aspect of foods, read Yin And Yang Healing on this website.
2. Aldehyde poisoning. Aldehydes are a type of organic chemical compound that are produced by some fermenting organisms. If the food is prepared correctly, aldehyde production should be minimal. However, often it is high in fermented foods such as kombucha tea, some pickles, and others.
Aldehydes are quite toxic for the body, and this is a major problem with some fermented foods. On hair mineral tests, we see the results of eating aldehydes. The person’s sodium/potassium ratio starts to decline and one’s vitality diminishes. This is a consistent finding. The more aldehydes one eats, the worse the problem.
The worst foods for the production of aldehydes are wine, beer, kombucha tea and Rejuvelac. These must be avoided, please. The least are produced in foods such as miso and some good quality sauerkraut. For more information on aldehydes, read Aldehyde Toxicity From Fermented Foods on this website.
3. Possibly unclean. It is true that fermenting a food often kills harmful micro-organisms and affords some protection against intestinal infections. However, fermented food, because it is not heated or boiled to cook it, is still subject to carrying some unclean pathogens. Fermenting, in other words, may not kill all the parasites, bacteria and viruses that are found in many raw foods.
4. Disadvantages compared to cooked vegetables. These include:
a. Cooking tends to break down the fiber better than fermenting, in most cases, and this allows one to absorb more nutrients from vegetables and fruits.
b. Cooking tend to concentrate most foods more than fermenting. This allows one to eat more of the food, which is helpful today to obtain more nutrition.
c. Cooking warms the food, which appears to be less upsetting to the digestion than eating cold fermented foods that the body must warm up.
d. As stated above, cooking makes the food much more yang than does fermenting.
5. Addictive (stimulative). This occurs with some fermented foods because they contain stimulants. The most important today is Kombucha tea, discussed below.
SPECIFICS OF FERMENTED FOODS
Butter. This is probably the best fermented food. When cream is made into butter, it is churned physically. Some fermentation occurs, converting some of the sugar in the cream to other chemicals. This is why butter is not as sweet as cream, and why it has a different consistency.
We particularly like Challenge brand of butter in the supermarket. Some other brands are okay, as well. Fast oxidizers can have more butter than slow oxidizers. I consider it one of the best foods available.
Cheese, yogurt and kefir. These are not too bad, and some contain beneficial bacteria for the intestinal tract. However, please do not overdo on any of them, as they are all quite yin. Keep the amount to four ounces daily or less for the total of all dairy products each day.
Coconut kefir or cream. Coconut is extremely yin because it is a tropical fruit. Please avoid all coconut products, no matter what other nutritional benefits they offer. Remember that yin is a type of toxin.
Fermented nut and seed milks. This includes seed cheeses. These are extremely yin because all nuts and seeds are yin (fruits) and ferments are very yin. As a result, I do not recommend any of them, no matter what benefits they may have.
Fermented vegetables. Some doctors recommend these. I would avoid them, except for sauerkraut (see below). The reason is that all of them are raw, which is very yin, and all ferments are yin. As a result, fermented vegetables are extremely yin. Also, many contain toxic aldehydes. Please avoid fermented vegetables except for some sauerkraut.
Kimchi. This traditional Korean dish is eaten a lot in Asia. It is made from fermented vegetables and fruits. Therefore, it is very yin and I cannot recommend it, except perhaps once in a while as a treat.
Kombucha tea. This, and some other fermented teas, are fungal and very yin. Kombucha also contains a powerful amphetamine-like substance that is very stimulating. This causes people to drink it all day, in some instances.
However, we find it drives people into a four lows hair analysis pattern, which is a burnout pattern. Kombucha tea also contains aldehydes that poison the liver.
Miso. This is a very special Japanese food that is an excellent source of beneficial bacteria, in some cases. A cup of miso soup, on occasion, is an excellent treat. I do not recommend it on a daily basis because it is rather yin.
Pickles. These are cucumbers soaked in salt water and often fermented, as well. Cucumbers are fruits, in a botanical sense, not vegetables. This means they are very yin. I cannot recommend pickles at all for this reason.
Rejuvelac. This is a drink made from fermented wheat sprouts or possibly other fermented grains. Dr. Ann Wigmore recommended it highly. However, sprouts are quite yin, and the bacteria it contains are not usually easy to control. As a result, I cannot recommend it.
Sauerkraut. This is usually a safe product, and can be purchased at any supermarket. Organically grown is not necessary for the benefits of the fermentation. A tablespoon or two of sauerkraut with each meal for a few weeks will help with some cases of gas and bloating.
Sauerkraut can also be eaten as a vegetable. However, it is a raw food and contains bacteria. Therefore, it is quite yin, so I do not recommend eating much of it on a regular basis.
Tempeh. This is a fermented soybean product that is high in protein. However, it is fairly yin, even when cooked. It is also not a high quality protein, and somewhat toxic. I do not recommend it.
Tofu. This is another fermented soy product. Unlike tempeh, however, the soy beans are well-cooked and mashed to a pulp. Tofu is also quite yin, not a high quality protein, and not recommended on a nutritional balancing program for these reasons.
IS FERMENTED FOOD REALLY MORE “ALIVE”?
One of the main arguments in favor of eating fermented foods is that they contain more bacteria than other foods. We are told this is helpful for digestion. One website even says that this spares us having to use our own enzymes for digestion.
However, bacteria are only one form of life. Fermented food contains more bacteria, but not more life. My understanding is that cooking food (which kills bacteria) enhances its etheric energy. This attracts more advanced souls than those that live in colonies of bacteria. This is much more desirable than having the less advanced souls in a bacteria-laden fermented product. Someday, I hope this will be clarified.
I recommend avoiding most fermented foods except some sauerkraut and miso soup, on occasion. Also, one may have up to four ounces daily of dairy products such as cheese, yogurt or kefir.