You may have heard about fermentation and its benefits. I had heard a bit, but hadn’t thought too much about the whole fermentation business until rather recently – after a visit to the doctor, to be precise. I visited the doctor complaining about some new stomach issues and she prescribed me some probiotics. I was quite torn. I thought something was really wrong with me that would either require a long treatment or be unfixable. But on the other hand, part of me was quite eager to try the probiotics in hopes that they would fix my ailments. The good news is that the probiotics helped me substantially. The thing is they are pretty expensive, especially considering that they can be made at home very cheaply. So I considered looking into fermentation. However, just starting to understand it felt daunting. That’s when I noticed Marni Wasserman offered a fermenting class in uptown Toronto. Marni agreed to let me take the class on a complimentary basis in order to write this blog post. Before I knew it, I was signed up to attend. It’s great taking action so fast!
So I went to her bright, beautiful and clean kitchen and I met the health-conscious Marni, who believes in making subtle changes to complement, not deconstruct, your current lifestyle. She led a very interesting class (the lady who sat next to me exclaimed her surprise quite a few times).
Did you know the intestinal tract contains 500 diverse bacterial species? Because of this, our goal is to make the GI tract an inviting place for beneficial bacteria to procreate. One of the best ways people can do this is by consuming healthful fermented foods like raw sauerkraut, kimchi, and beverages like kefir and kombucha. These foods introduce beneficial healthy bacteria that promote gut health. Many people are getting into it.
Some of the important health benefits of fermentation:
- Fermentation creates more nutrients and enhances others.
- It destroys toxins and harmful bacteria found in many foods.
- It improves your digestion, especially when consumed before your meal.
- It aids in the preservation and creation of important enzymes.
- Fermentation is a huge supporter to your immune function.
We learnt how to make sauerkraut and also the variety of plant based foods that can be fermented. We found it fascinating and easy to make at home.
I asked Marni about the difference between Kombucha and kefir. Kombucha is fermented sweetened tea. Fermentation is typically initiated by a combination of beneficial bacteria and yeast (known as SCOBY). The end result is a sour tonic, which tastes similar to a pungent apple cider.
There are two different types of kefirs: water-based and milk-based. Water kefir is really just a carbohydrate-containing, nondairy liquid (like coconut water) that’s been fermented. So you could think of kefir as a drinkable probiotic supplement. The best types of water-based kefir are made from coconut water sans added sweeteners. She gave us some “grains” to start our own kefir that night. I didn’t have sucanat sugar, which she recommended for making kefir, but I did have coconut water, so I started the process that very night. Two days later, I was drinking my own kefir and I have been making it ever since. I love that it is so easy!
The fermenting class had a few hands-on components, but most of it was learning the process, and rightfully so. Once you understand how to make these fermented foods, you’ll find it very simple to make your own. Try it. Your gut will thank you.
Marni offers a variety of organic, plant-based, hands-on cooking classes, workshops, and guest chef classes in an inspiring sustainable space.
Marni Wasserman is located in midtown Toronto, at 510 Eglinton Avenue West, which is west of Avenue Road.
Check Marni Wasserman online for classes, recipes, podcasts and more.