When considering gut health the old adage “we are what we eat” certainly rings true. Over recent years we have seen many changes in schools of thought as to the positive and the negative factors that impact our health. In the 60’s and 70’s natural foods like butter, dairy and meat have been villainised, vested interest has attacked the natural whole foods that our grandparents flourished on and many of us were raised on, fad diets that did not satisfy the requirements of balance, processed foods and unnatural synthetic substitutes have had a massive impact on the overall health and well-being of the affluent, wealthy nations of the world.
A case in point is butter, for many years we were fed the propaganda that butter and animal protein was bad for us. We are at last becoming aware of the fact that the onslaught of negative mass media against natural foods was promoted by those that wanted to substitute natural foods for artificial, synthetic and by-product substitutes. This trend has been devastating for the health of western nations generally resulting in exponential increases in obesity, diabetes, heart and cardiovascular disease, allergies, asthma, eczema, depression, chronic fatigue, some forms of arthritis also some forms of cancer.
Just look at the range of cereals in the supermarket, there is very little natural food; much of it had significant added sugar or even worse corn syrup sweetener. Also have a look at the options for pet food, much of our pet’s dental health and skin problems come back to the lack of natural diet. So let’s move onto what we can do to remedy the situation, another well-worn adage “if great grandma prepared it, it is almost certainly good for you” as it was probably fresh natural seasonal ingredients; that contain fibre, trace elements, minerals and amino acids, natural sugars, fats and salts, all of which are the basic buildings blocks and catalysts that promote good health.
Our gut is rather like our garden, a healthy garden needs healthy soil that contains bacteria and nutrients to nourish the process. Our gut is home to trillions of micro-organisms; it is hard to conceive of a number this large as the US debt is only 1/5 the size numerically; in terms of dollar bills laid end to end we could wrap around the earth to the moon and back 400 times; the concept is mind blowing.
Stomach bacteria combinations are like finger prints, no two people’s combinations are the same, there are good bacteria and bad bacteria. We have written previously about helicobacter pylori in the past and the problems it causes; it was so common it was thought to be normal a hundred plus years ago. Tuberculous was so common it was considered normal, oh how the landscape has changed. We are beginning to understand cause and effect, for instance the wonder drug antibiotics destroy gut bacteria and change the balance; after a course of antibiotics it is important to eat natural foods rich in good bacteria and enzymes to restore and repopulate our gut bacteria.
Foods to consider are home-made yoghurt using whole milk and if possible raw milk if available from a local farm, the availability of which has improved with a change of compliance requirements. Another great source of food for gut health is fermented foods like, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, vinegar, olives and cultured dairy foods that have been fermented.
The cultures for making your own yoghurt or cheese are readily available from food hobby stores or cheese making suppliers; having bought the appropriate culture for making yoghurt or cheese you can use your available bowls or dishes or source a specialised yoghurt or cheese making container or equipment. For many, yoghurt and cheese making is a great family project, there is a lot of literature available online or in book form.