Written by John Immel,
This category includes alcoholic beverages, pickles and other fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt. For many people fermentation and probiotics are the key to easier digestion and getting complete nutrition. Ferments helped humans survive cold winter temperatures before refridgeration and shipping. Now we can eat bananas in the middle of winter and the home canning industry has completely disappeared.
Do you know how to make a pickle? Ferments are easy. Simply submerge any vegetable you want in water! If you want crunchy pickles add grape leaves or any astringent herb. Add a little salt and your favorite seasonings.
Ferments are predigested food. Predigestion makes foods easier and simpler to digest for humans. The result is high nutrient absorption rate pacifying Vata but increasing Kapha. Bacteria also make vitamins for us including important B12.
Ayurveda uses many ferments but only medicinally. Predigested foods contain the metabolic waste products of bacteria (ie. bacteria poop). These waste products are generally acidic, sour and irritating. They require processing and burden the liver. Overuse of ferments increases Pitta and spoils the quality of the blood.
Takra, which is fat free yogurt mixed with water, is an Ayurvedic probiotic used in IBS. For a probitoic to work correctly, the beneficial flora should be fed with plants and vegetables that are high in inulin, a polysaccharide. Examples are burdock root, dandelion root, jerusalem artichokes, and root veggies like parsnips, and sweet potatoes.
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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It depends on the person. In Ayurveda we always ask - for whom, when and how much.