Over the past couple of years, fermented foods and drinks have become a staple for those looking to add depth to their diets. Diane Teall Evans, NTP, RWP, Certified Nutritional Therapist, says fermented foods and drinks are here to stay.
"Raw fermented foods and cultured dairy have been used across cultures for thousands of years. It's my hope that more people are coming around to these time honored, tasty options for supporting overall health."
Diane Teall Evans, NTP, RWP, Certified Nutritional Therapist
Evans explains why consuming drinks like kombucha, kefir, and beet kvass and foods like pickles, sauerkrauts, and kimchi are so beneficial. "Lactic acid fermentation helps preserve food and the process helps promote the growth of beneficial 'good bacteria' or probiotics in the gut microbiome. This helps improve digestion and absorption of food and valuable nutrients as well as helps build a more resilient immune system—between 70 to 80% of it is in the gut! By giving the gut more TLC, my clients notice better, more regular digestion, better skin healing, and others have also been able to improve their seasonal allergies and tolerance for high-quality dairy."
And she recommends starting out slow. "A couple of tablespoons of kimchi on your stir fry, a half cup of kombucha—share with a friend!, some whole milk kefir or yogurt in your smoothie ... If you go hard on the raw fermented foods, you might find yourself with an upset stomach."
Where could you try this out? One place is Sacred Springs. Geoff Lamden and Joel Andrus, owners, opened their Wealthy Street SE taproom in June 2018, after several years of offering its products in West Michigan retail stores and farmers markets. Andrus notes they brew their kombucha a little differently than most companies.
"We do not approach our beverage with the mindset of 'What can I get out of it?' but with a mindset of 'Let's make a delicious product that just so happens to be full of probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, and healthy acids.' We do not make a healthy product that tastes good, but a delicious beverage that allows our body to promote self-healing."
Sacred Springs Kombucha
Andrus agrees with Evans about easing into the world of fermented foods and drinks.
"Everyone is a little bit different. Twelve ounces for someone is great, but for someone else, they might be drinking 30 ounces a day. We always say, 'Start small and go from there.' I don't encourage people to start training for a marathon by running 26.2 miles right away. That's ridiculous. The same can be applied to eating/drinking more healthfully. Don't go all-in right away, but slowly introduce more and more. Life is a journey; enjoy every step of it."
Andrus' favorite thing on the Sacred Springs menu? It's tough to choose. "Currently, I am loving our newest flavor, Matt Van Cherry, where we take organic black sweet cherries and blend it up with hibiscus and whole vanilla bean, then let our kombucha do the rest."
Written by Jennifer A. Pascua, Digital Content Manager for West Michigan Woman.
This article originally appeared in the Aug/Sept 2020 issue of West Michigan Woman.