Do You Have Culture in Your Life?

Bacteria in the correct form is essential to life. Within our bodies it creates an environment that is not hospitable to illness and disease. Unfortunately in our modern culture, we’ve dismissed many of the traditional foods processed by lacto-fermentation, or culturing. We do everything within our power to kill all bacteria with the use of medicinal antibiotics, antibiotic wipes and sprays, and constant pasteurization of our foods.

This severe lack of “culture” is damaging to our intestines and overall health.

Benefits of Cultured Foods

  1. Cultured foods help to repopulate the digestive system with beneficial bacteria that helps fight off any bad bacteria ingested, keeping your immune system strong.
  2. Cultured foods keep your intestines strong and working properly, diminishing the occurrences of constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
  3. Having the correct amount of beneficial bacteria in the body helps to fight Candida yeast overgrowth (a systematic yeast problem associated with eczema, fatigue, yeast infections, yeasty diaper rashes in babies, jock itch, athletes foot, etc)
  4. They decrease sugar cravings! Your body craves sugar when yeast begins to get out of hand.
  5. Cultured foods are essentially “partially digested”, making it easier for your body to digest the foods and absorb available nutrients.
  6. In many cases it enhances the nutrient profile of a food allowing it to become even more nutrient dense.

Allowing vegetables to undergo lacto-fermentation creates a colony of wonderful bacteria, increases to availability of certain amino acids, and allows our bodies to better digest nutrients within the food. Sauerkraut is a classic fermented vegetable, and you can even make a fermented root slaw, or fermented salsa.

Probably the most well known cultured food is yogurt. It’s frequently advertised that it helps digestion…….and it does – by allowing the beneficial bacteria to work within the gut. Another cultured dairy product is kefir (keh-fear), similar to yogurt but remains much less solidified. You can also culture cream to make cultured butter.

Grains can also undergo a fermentation when you use the process of making sourdough breads. Grains are actually rather hard for your body to digest and when you use sourdough to ferment before consumption, it decreases the activity of the phytic acid contained within. (phytic acid is basically an anti-nutrient) A sourdough starter is easy to make at home for use in breads and even pancakes.

You can also make your own fermented drinks at home by using a kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria & Yeasts) and fermenting tea, or using water kefir grains to ferment a water/sugar solution. (I get my cultures from Cultures for Health)

We would be doing ourselves a great service by getting back to the way our ancestors consumed these foods. In traditional societies, before the invention of refrigerators,  fermentation was a way to preserve foods and they were eaten each day.

How often do you eat fermented/cultured foods?

*This post has been linked to Real Food Wednesday

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About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.


  1. Just wanted to share the best analogy I’ve heard used to explain the importance of cultured foods.

    Your gut is like a giant mall parking lots with parking spaces on both sides of the lane. When you eat cultured foods, the beneficial bacteria take up the parking spaces, preventing bad bacteria from parking, so they just have to leave.

    donielle Reply:

    @Jendeis, Love this analogy!! Thanks for sharing! It just…makes so much sense. :-)

  2. When I first gave up refined sugar again about a month ago (maybe 5 weeks? lol), having a smoothie with plain yogurt in it really helped the sugar cravings. It was lightly sweet, of course, since it contained fruit, but it really helped me. I had a smoothie every morning and kombucha every afternoon and after about 10 days it was a lot easier. Now I don’t even want sugar, can’t handle it.

    Fermented foods have made a HUGE difference in our home, as has giving up sugar! :)

  3. Hi Donielle, Love the focus on the fermented foods! In my fridge, I have a little collection of mason jars of all colors and sizes full of these types of foods. I just can’t seem to feel my best without eating at least one at most meals.
    Those little bacteria are so awesome and so very underappreciated – they are truly the key to feeling good and wonderful health!

    I would love it if you would consider linking up this post to the Monday Mania blog carnival on Aug 2 at The Healthy Home Economist blog. This carnival is an eclectic mix of aweseom blog posts from around the Real Foodie world. Hope to see you there Donielle!

    Cheers, Sarah

  4. I culture as often as I can! I’ve been able to make kombucha, sauerkraut and pickles (which I then turned into pickle relish). I documented the sauerkraut making on my blog. It kept in the fridge for over a year and was tastiest after 6 months of storage. It turns out it takes us over a year to eat a quart of sauerkraut. So, even after a year, it didn’t go bad, we had eaten it all.

    I have failed at making yogurt, coconut kefir and sourdough. But I haven’t given up!

    This weekend I’m going to make a vegetable relish and gingered carrots. I also want to try making kefir sodas. The slightly sweet fizziness of kombucha was how I finally kicked my soda habit.

  5. We were just talking about this at lunch today. We try to eat some kind of cultured food at every meal. We have noticed an enormous difference since doing so. We do fermented pickles, fermented cabbage, dairy kefir, water kefir, kombucha, yogurt and sourdough bread. I am working out recipes for more fermented veggies! I love being cultured! :)

  6. Do you have any suggestions on how to treat babies w/ a yeast diaper rash?

    Donielle Reply:

    @shelley, We’ve dealt with yeast rashes over here and the biggest thing to focus on is what will take care of the yeast throughout the body – not just treat the symptoms. If mom is breastfeeding she needs to eat a very low/no sugar diet, and take probiotics herself. Baby’s gut health comes from her!

    For baby I always had the best luck with diaper free time to dry it out – in the sun is even better! If baby is in cloth dipes, washing in really hot water is essential. Sometimes coconut oil is useful as well as a topical treatment – make sure to stay away from powders as yeast can feed on the starches.

    Hope that helps a little!