Our guts have a lot to answer for (in more ways than one). A huge range of health problems are linked to the gut, including heart disease, a poor immune system, diarrhoea and constipation, autoimmune diseases, acid reflux, obesity, mental health disorders, skin problems, sinus infections, asthma, cancer, type II diabetes and Parkinson’s disease to name a few.
One of the best ways to ensure a healthy gut (and potentially your general health and wellbeing) is to regularly eat traditionally fermented foods, also known as probiotic foods. Over the last few decades, the amount of probiotic foods and enzymes in the average diet has declined sharply – as pasteurised milk and yogurts have replaced raw, homemade varieties, and vinegar based pickles have replaced traditional lacto-fermented versions – so eating traditionally fermented foods is more important today than ever before.
These are just a few of the things the Ape team learnt in our recent fermented foods workshop with Olivia Wall from Wild Cultures. As well as learning all about the fermentation process, we made our own sauerkraut (using nothing more then cabbage and a pinch of salt), we tasted a range of fermented products, including different types of kimchi, kombucha, kefir (water, dairy milk and coconut milk varieties), ginger beer and elderflower cordials, and we witnessed our first ever scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), a jelly-like disc that is the living home for the bacteria and yeast that transforms tea into kombucha. Our tastebuds were opened up to a whole new world of flavours: some sweet, some sour, some rather smelly. It was a lot of fun.