Archive for the ‘Fermentation, Culturing & Curing’ Category

Continuous-Brew Kombucha

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

Kombucha SCOBY

By Catherine Haug, December 11, 2016 (Image, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Kombucha is one of my favorite fermented beverages, and a great way to add more fermented foods to your diet, to support your microbiome and immune system. But making serial batches can get old and tiresome. What if you could just make one batch and add to it regularly for a continuous brew?

Kombucha has many health benefits. It contains high levels of antioxidants, b-vitamins, probiotics and glucaric acid in addition to the beneficial microbes. It has been reported to have a variety of health benefits including (1):

  • liver detoxification
  • improved pancreas function
  • increased energy
  • better digestion
  • improved mood (helps with anxiety/depression)
  • keeps Candida (yeast) under control
  • helps nutrient assimilation

See also Continuous Brewing: Tastier, Easier and Superior Kombucha, by John Moody (2) for the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) website for more about the benefits of Kombucha and the continuous brewing method. Read on for a review of what is needed, and for references.

Fermented vs unfermented soy: friend vs foe

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Silk vanilla soy milkBy Catherine Haug, Sept 9, 2014 (photo, right, from (3))

The vegetarian, vegan and veggie-juicing communities all promote the consumption of soy and soy products as good for you. Many site that Asians consider soy to be a sacred crop as proof of its goodness. But is this really true? What are the facts and history of soy consumption?

It is true that many Asians consider soy to be a sacred crop, but this is primarily because of the nitrogen-fixing benefit it provides, as a legume, to the soil for growing other crops, not because of any dietary healthfulness. It is also true that many Asians include soy products in their daily diet, but not the same soy products sold in Western countries.

May people site the isoflavones present in soy as being beneficial for health, especially women’s health because of their estrogen-like (phytoestrogen) activity. However, one of soy’s isoflavones – genistein – is believed to have toxicity issues, though more research is needed as various studies report conflicting results (see Fact Sheet: Phytoestrogen Genistein, from Breast Cancer and Environment Research Centers, or BCERC (1). Genistein is present in other foods, including mothers’ milk, but in much lesser quantities than in soy.

What is one to believe? The answer lies in the differences between fermented and non-fermented soy. (more…)

The importance of the microbiome (essential microbes in and on our bodies)

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

By Catherine Haug, May 15, 2014

Are you wondering what a “micro-biome”  is? Here’s an entertaining, animated video that explains what it is and why it is important for your health. Even your kids and grandkids would enjoy this – and learn something at the same time. It’s a short video, about 5.5 minutes.

In our 21st century American culture, we have become afraid of microbes, believing all of them to be deadly germs. But did you know that the bacteria inside our bodies outnumber our own cells by 10 to 1, and that we would live a miserable, short life without them?

This article includes the animated video, and discussions about gut health and antibiotics. (more…)

Your primitive brain – your gut

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

by Catherine Haug, July 25, 2013, updated July 29,2013

In college I took a class on comparative vertebrate anatomy – we studied the anatomy of many vertebrates as a way of better understanding our own anatomy. This study began with the tiny fertilized egg of each species studied, and progressed through the development of the adult. One of the things I took home from this class is that the first organ to form is the gut, and it serves as the brain for the developing individual while the heart and circulatory systems form, and finally the central nervous system (CNS) and the brain. But we also learned that the primitive brain in the gut continues to function in intimate contact with the actual brain, throughout the life of the individual.

What does this mean for us humans? It means that while modern medicine has pretty much ignored the effect of the gut on human health and happiness, the gut deserves more study and respect. We need to ensure that our gut has healthy colonies of gut flora (probiotics), and that it is not overburdened with toxins in our food.

It is important to remember that diet and gut health are not the only factors that influence the overall health and longevity of a human individual, but it may well be one of the most important. Other factors include (but are not limited to) genetics, lifestyle and stressors (7), medical care, gender, accident, and environment.


What to do with beets – a nutritional powerhouse

Saturday, April 20th, 2013
Beets at market

Beets at market

by Catherine Haug, April 20, 2013

(beetroot photo from Wikimedia commons)

At our April Gathering last Wednesday, on Nutritional Value of Herbs, our presenter Linda Peterson suggested that beets – yes, that common red root with dark green leaves – are a powerhouse of nutritional value. And that inspired me to write this article.

How do you eat this colorful veggie; how do you maximize their nutritional value?

Beets have the most nutritional value when eaten raw or fermented, but cooked beets are tasty and nutritious, too, especially if not overcooked. How do you eat your beets? Send me your ideas as Kitchen Hints.

You can eat both the greens and the root. Read on for lots of ideas, and more on the nutritional value of beets. (more…)

Learning from your grandparents could save your life

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

by Catherine Haug, February 3, 2013

As a kid, I used to follow my Dad around the house and yard, watching (and little did I know, learning) what he did. My Dad was in his 60s; when he retired, he became the homemaker and my Mom became the provider, managing our bar. Having been a bachelor until 1946 (he was 55),  he only knew homemaking the old-fashioned way that he had learned from his Victorian-era parents.

It turns out, these were things that made for a rich and healthful life, and if we would return to at least some of these old-fashioned ways, our lives would be richer and more healthful, according to Dr. Alexandra Carrasco. Read on for more. (more…)