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Heal Your Gut With Fermented Foods

Real Food for Less Money is a journal of sorts on how my family continues to transition from a Standard American Diet (SAD) to a real/whole/traditional foods diet (real).  Our transition as been slow and steady while trying to keep our budget under control. For the first 24 months or so of our transition, we were spending almost the same amount on a mostly real foods diet as we did on our SAD diet.  We increased this amount by about $100 per month mid last year when our income increased (mainly to incorporate additional milk and more bulk purchases).

I believe that by making slow and deliberate changes one can transition from a SAD diet to a real diet without blowing the food budget out of the water and becoming so overwhelmed that one’s head spins off.

I believe that any person on any budget can make changes that will be an improvement over a 100% SAD diet.  Can that same person have a 100% real/whole/traditional food diet? Maybe, maybe not.

At this point we are not 100% real foods. We are about 85% real foods and 15% not so much. Our plan is to continue this transition with the goal of having a 95% clean diet.  The remaining 5% will be saved for things like dining out (a challenge in my area) and miscellaneous social events.  But truth be told, we are not in any hurry to increase from the 85% right now. It works for us.

While I do believe that for many people this gradual change will work, I was reminded a few days ago that for some people a radical and immediate dietary change is necessary.

Our local Weston A. Price Foundation had a meeting the other night with a couple of guest speakers.  Kristin Urdiales co-author of Autoimmune: The Cause And The Cure was one of the speakers.   I had read this book before this speaking event was set up and had a general idea of what would be discussed.  Actually listening to Kristin speak really added to my understanding of the information. BUT what struck me the most was the questions from the people at the gathering.

Lacto-Fermented Kimchi

Some of these people were really struggling with their daily lives due to their illnesses. Even though I know that disease, especially autoimmune diseases, are rampant in our modern society.  Hearing the actual stories of people suffering from the effects of these diseases was a huge eye opener.

And actually quite heart breaking.

These are people in  my somewhat small town who are seriously ill. They have been doing the things conventional medicine encourages them to do (low-fat diet, take a pill) and are getting sicker.  We were the last stop on Kristin’s talks and she had met many people in my state of Wyoming suffering from autoimmune issues. Some to the point of barely being able to get out of bed.

Autoimmune: The Cause And The Cure shares in depth well documented research on the causes of autoimmune diseases.  Annesse Brockley is the other author of this book (and Kristin’s mom) and she shares her own story of suffering with Lupus.  Her research and finding foods that heal is the basis of the book. Annesse refused to take short cuts with her health (just treating the symptoms with medication) and searched out the root causes of her illness along with finding natural ways to cure.

Healing her gut became Annesses’s main mission. A quote I love from the book;

“You are sick because you have lost the beneficial bacteria that you were designed to have. What do you think would happen if all the bacteria in the world died? It would not be long before all life on earth ceased to exist. When we are sick, we often look to antibiotics, which kill bacteria, to become healthy again.  “Anti-biotic” means ‘against life’, all life.  They kill off all the bacteria in our gut, because they can’t recognize the difference between the good bacteria and the bad.  Only about 5% of our gut bacteria is pathogenic; the other 95% is beneficial and necessary for our survival. How do you fix that kind of destruction? By eating yogurt? By taking digestive enzymes? Remember, there are thousands of species of beneficial bacteria. How many strains does pasteurized yogurt contain?  The pasteurization process kills off all the original bacteria. The few strains present when you purchased the yogurt were added back in. They will not restore your gut to its original condition. Thankfully nature has provided us with foods that will. We will also need to avoid anything that can cause our GI tract further harm.”

The organizer of this talk tour is a good friend of mine who is an organic farmer here in Wyoming.  After Kristin shared her information he shared with us some of the issues with finding quality foods and how we can overcome those issues (know your farmer is the key phrase).  My friend was fully impacted by this multi-stop tour they made (9 stops in 3 days) and the number of sick people they encountered.  I was fully impacted by the people I met also.

Fermented Spicy Pickled Carrots

While I still believe that a gradual change from a SAD diet to a real foods diet is beneficial. I am reminded that some people need an immediate and complete elimination of foods that are causing them harm and the introduction of foods that will make them well.  Many, many diseases begin in the gut.

While listening to Kristin speak, I was often times reminded of Dr. Weston A. Price and his journeys and discoveries.  In the 1930’s he traveled the world and discovered a direct correlation between the foods consumed and dental and overall physical health. His book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration chronicles these journeys.  We’ve been reading through this book in our ‘book club’. Next Wednesday we’ll continue with the next couple of chapters.  I very much believe that by reading about the diets consumed by native cultures we can significantly improve our modern diets.


The answer to the question “Can you transition to real foods” is YES you can but perhaps you need a rapid change instead of a gradual transition.

As I’ve already said, I believe that any person on any budget can make changes that will be an improvement over a 100% SAD diet.

However, if your health is very fragile then you need to consider a drastic change to your diet.  Autoimmune: The Cause and The Cure is a great resource and works in combination with things learned from Nutrition and Physical Degeneration and the Weston A. Price Foundation.

What has worked/is working best for you? A gradual transition or an abrupt change in your diet?


Quote from Autoimmune: The Cause And The Cure page 97.

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you make a purchase that originated from one of these links then I’ll get a commission. I’m not telling you about this book to try to “sell” it to you. I’m telling you because I learned an incredible amount reading the book and visiting with Kristin.  This post isn’t meant as a book review, rather as a way provide you with more information in your food and healing journey.

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