by Donna Schwenk
It took a difficult pregnancy and declining health to provide the wake-up call to author Donna Schwenk. During her pregnancy she developed severe preeclampsia, her liver was failing and she develops gestational diabetes. Her doctor determined that the baby had to be delivered early – seven weeks premature.
Afterwards Donna experienced a life changing moment when her 10-month old daughter refused to nurse. This isn’t considered a problem with a child delivered full-term, but it was life-threatening for a 7-week premature baby. She needed the immunity protection provided through mother’s milk.
Immediately after she stopped nursing, her daughter had problems sleeping and suffered frequent colds. Donna determined that she did not want to live a life diminished by diabetes and prayed her daughter would not be a diabetic or live a life of chronic sickness.
That’s when she immersed herself into the world of probiotics and cultured foods. While searching for answers to her health problems, she came across information linking her illnesses to an unhealthy gut.
She was at a health food store doing research when she came across some cornerstone literature regarding cultured foods. One was The Body Ecology by Donna Gates and the other Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. The store employee gave high praise to the concepts described in the books. Donna purchased the books and another product called kefir.
Once home, Donna added small amounts of the kefir to her baby’s bottles. The transformation was practically immediate. The infant grew four pounds in a month, developed rosy cheeks, stopped spitting up everything and slept through the night. Donna was convinced the probiotics in the kefir were responsible for the positive changes in her baby’s health.
Donna created Cultured Food for Life: How to Make and Serve Delicious Probiotic Foods for Better Health and Wellness to encourage others to discover the benefits of adding cultured foods back into the diet. Once she experimented more with fermented foods, she was hooked because she enjoyed more energy and improved health.
Today she works to educate people how changing their diet can conquer a myriad of health including high blood pressure, diabetes, allergies, acne, hypertension, asthma, and irritable bowel syndrome.
The author’s website, www.culturedfoodlife.com, has a quote on the home page from renowned nutrition authority, Adelle Davis.
“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.”
Her message is shared by Donna in Cultured Foods.
In Cultured Food, you learn that your body, and especially your gut, is home for more bacteria than there are cells in the entire human body. There are both beneficial and harmful bacteria. When the harmful bacteria outnumber the good guys, your body’s defense mechanisms are engaged. This helps fight off illnesses.
As you recover, this system gets out of balance. This creates a toxic environment and you feel the results. You may develop allergies or struggle with recurring bouts of acne to more life-threatening disorders like diabetes and heart disease.
Donna believes in the power of your body to provide you a long and bountiful life. The key is to provide this miraculous system with the fuel it needs to provide you high energy, as well as the strength to fend off illness and disease.
The key is creating a place where the beneficial bacteria can thrive. Cultured Food teaches you how to do this successfully and naturally.
The book is broken out into:
- Part I: The Living Food You Should Be Eating
- Part II: Recipes With Cultured Foods
- Afterward, Resources
In the introduction and Part I, you learn about the nature of your digestive system and the benefits of a healthy gut. Donna introduces her leading players in her cultured food world which are kefir and kombucha.
So what exactly is a “cultured” food? A long, long time ago…before advent of convenience foods and modern-day processed foods, people ate more preserved foods. The process is a lacto-fermentation process to preserve the food with salt and water.
You (or your parents) probably recall summers spent pickling cucumbers, beets, peppers and cabbage. Other foods can be cultured, but those were the prominent “canned” produce tucked away on shelves in the root cellar or basement.
Culturing or fermenting a food changes its texture and flavor within a matter of hours. The bacteria living in the vegetable preserve the food and impart a tangy taste. The fermentation process aids the digestive process and helps us to absorb the nutrients.
You’ll discover how cultured foods such as kefir, kombucha, cultured vegetables, sprouted grains and sourdoughs help get your gut back in synch with beneficial bacteria.
Even if you know nothing about preparing and eating cultured foods, you’ll quickly discover that adding them back into your diet is relatively simple, fun, and provides delicious menu items.
Donna steps you through the basic preparation techniques for kefir, kombucha, cultured vegetables, and sprouted flour. You also have an inventory of over 135 recipes that you can use to create dishes to please even the most particular palate.
She takes you through the day providing recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, beverages, snacks, breads side dishes and desserts. Here are a few titles from the various categories:
- Apple, Kefir and Blue Cheese Dip
- Probiotic Guacamole
- Cultured Veggie Sandwich
- Golden Beet Sauerkraut
- Herbed Omelet with Kefir Hollandaise Sauce
- Sprouted Ginger Scones with Peaches and Kefir Cream
- Kefir Veggie Sprouted Pizza
- Brownie Cupcakes with Kefir Frosting
You’ll also be inspired by how cultured foods changed the lives of many of Schwenk’s friends and family.
Once you decide you are stopping the dietary death trap of fast and processed foods, you’ll need a little help with the transition. Some people start by a complete detox of their digestive track. But once that takes place, you still need a way to bring a bacterial balance back to your gut. You can skip the detox and begin adding fermented and cultured foods back into your daily dietary regime.
If you are a parent concerned about the health future of your children, you’ll find inspirational stories in this book to help you commit to a change for the better. Your kids will find it fun to help discover new dishes. Chances are they’ll enjoy helping out finding ways to ferment foods of all types. You’ll also find plenty of menu and recipe ideas within Cultured Food.
Are you sick and tired of being sick? Perhaps you need a little culture in your life?
You can have Cultured Food for Life: How to Make and Serve Delicious Probiotic Foods for Better Health and Wellness delivered to your home, your Kindle or Kindle reader and you can find it here.