Rejuvelac, The Fermented Super Drink

Rejuvelac is a cultured probiotic-rich drink made by fermenting freshly sprouted grains in water. It first became popular in the 1960’s under the influence of living food enthusiast Dr. Ann Wigmore, the original founder of the Hippocrates Health Institute.

Born in Lithuania, “Dr. Ann”, as she was called, is believed to have acquired the recipe from her Baltic origins. The beverage is closely related to the traditional Romanian drink, called Bors, a fermented wheat bran used to make a sour soup called ciorba.

Many people since then have been using this slightly tart, lemony-tasting liquid as a digestive-type tonic for its high enzyme content.

Small shot glass size portions are known to be helpful as a natural gentle laxative which can assist in relieving constipation and potential toxic buildup.

It is extremely beneficial to include some kind of fermented foods in the diet on a regular basis. We like to change it up with variety and rejuvelac is a simple, easy to make alternative to other cultured food and drink that doesn’t require special techniques, culture starters or equipment.

Although you wouldn’t think that water sitting around for a couple of days with sprouted grains in it would taste all that great, the fermentation process actually produces a very clean tasting, tangy drink with a citrus-like aroma.

The active enzymes in the cultured water are largely a byproduct of the grain sprouting process.  Like the name implies, rejuvelac is “rejuvenating” and is a “super sprout drink”, made from these concentrated energizing compounds.

The potent and minutely fizzy strained liquid that results, we have found to be a health-enhancing potion that is mainly beneficial when consumed before or between meals on an empty stomach.

It should really be considered a digestive tonic rather than a beverage you would drink in larger quantities.  We usually drink between 2-4 ounces at a time in shot glass size glasses, as drinking too much may cause gastrointestinal upset and/or loose stools. If you are new to drinking it, definitely start out with a 1oz portion and build up to more over a period of time.

What is Rejuvelac Exactly?

It is essentially the fermentation of sprouted grains in pure water for a 1-2 day duration. Although original methods actually just soaked the grains in water before making it, these days most all recipes sprout them slightly first. The idea is that the grain is plump and basically preparing to reproduce itself. A process which activates compounds necessary for the ferment.

It is traditionally made from wheat berries, but can also be produced from other varieties like rye, kamut, barley, millet, buckwheat or quinoa, with each having their own special bouquet of flavors.

It is one of those fermented foods that can’t usually be purchased from the health food store, but must be created homemade-style.

Rejuvelac is a bit different than other ferments in that you are not using a specific culture starter, like you would when making kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, miso and tempeh. It is considered a “wild fermentation” because the beneficial microorganisms needed to successfully culture the water are naturally present on the grains and sprouts themselves.

As we mentioned, the process of fermenting the sprouted grains in water encourages high enzymatic activity but also, as a lactic acid ferment, supports the production of beneficial Lactobacillus bacteria. When consumed, these friendly microbes can further proliferate the gastrointestinal tract and help to balance our gut microbiota.

Two Ingredients: Sprouted Grains and Pure Water

Rejuvelac is a simple and “old school” culturing technique that is very inexpensive to make. It is sometimes used as a liquid culture starter for other fermented foods, like nut or seed cheeses.

Dr. Wigmore, who also popularized “seed cheese” made with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, used small amounts of rejuvelac to culture her raw seed-based cheeses to produce a cheese-like flavor.

Unlike other cultured foods such as kombucha and kefir, which may contain small amounts of alcohol as a byproduct of fermentation, rejuvelac is considered a non-alcoholic liquid, containing only very minute amounts, nothing more than you would find in a jar of sauerkraut.

Gluten-free Alternatives

For those of you who wish to avoid gluten products or ferments, rejuvelac can also be made from gluten-free grains like quinoa and millet. We have included our quinoa recipe further below on this page.


What are Sprouted Grains?

All raw grains, seeds and most nuts will sprout little roots when given the water needed to do so. Soaking them overnight is the best way to ensure that they will sprout or grow little white root-hairs from the end of the seeds.  This helps activate the lacto-fermentation process required to make rejuvelac.

In the words of Sandor Katz, “When you soak the grain, it begins to swell, setting in motion a series of changes that, given the right conditions, will result in its sprouting into a new plant. At the same time, water also revives the bacteria and fungi that populate the grain’s surfaces, and initiates fermentation.”

Rejuvelac is much easier to make of course, if you are familiar with the seed sprouting process. Many grains and seeds are “sprouted” when growing sprouts, microgreens as well as when making essene bread, sprouted rye crackers or rejuvelac. Sprouting is not all that complicated, but it does take some practice, mostly just keeping up with rinsing and making sure you don’t sprout them too long.

The same method is also used to sprout wheat berries for tray-growing wheatgrass.  Dr. Ann Wigmore was also one of the first to discover the healing properties of wheatgrass juice, which she used medicinally, along with rejuvelac, with great success in her holistic health care practice.

Sprouted Wheat Berries
how-to-make-rejuvelac-quinoa-sproutsSprouted Quinoa

How to Sprout Grains

Sprouting the grain first before fermentation, while not completely necessary, is highly recommend it as it will only boost beneficial components. The sprouting process will take a few days of preparation before you make your actual recipe, but it is very simple.

First off, you want to use whole, raw, non-GMO and preferably organic grains that have not been heat treated or radiated. Once you have some high-quality grains, in this case either soft wheat berries or quinoa for the two recipes on this page, you are ready to make rejuvelac!

Health Benefits of Rejuvelac

Enzyme-Rich Drink and Digestive Aid

Consuming lacto-fermented foods, like rejuvelac, can be a valuable asset to overall health and helpful for processing potential leftover byproducts of a low-quality enzyme-less diet. Poor dietary choices over a period of time can cause toxic buildup in the body and chronic health issues like bloating, constipation, obesity, fatigue and lowered immune response.

Rejuvelac is very high in enzyme content, which is created from the bacteria and yeasts present, one of which includes the amylase enzyme producing Aspergillus oryzae species, the “koji” culture used to ferment miso.

Sprouted grains themselves are known to have very energizing effects on the body, mostly due to their improved level of these sprout activated enzymes that continue to increase when fermented.

Dr. Johannes Kuhl, a German researcher and author of several books including “Cancer in Check”, wrote this about the benefits of lacto-fermented foods:

“The natural lactic acid and fermentive enzymes which are produced during the fermentation process have a beneficial effect on the metabolism and a curative effect on disease. Lactic acid destroys harmful intestinal bacteria and contributes to the better digestion and assimilation of the nutrients. Fermented foods improve the intestinal tract and provide a proper environment for the body’s own vitamin production within the intestines.”

A Liquid Probiotic Tonic for Intestinal Balance

Rejuvelac is a nutritious and energizing probiotic tonic for inoculating the large intestine with friendly Lactobacillus microflora and encouraging the healthy proliferation of good bacteria. It is helpful to consume probiotic supplements and/or fermented foods for this reason on a regular basis and this sprouted wheat berry-based drink is an easy to make inexpensive option.

A healthy balance of intestinal microorganisms should include approximately 80% bacterial group-based species, like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and 20% of the more acidic fungal group species such as Candida albicans, which are actually beneficial in small amounts. (Source)

Other Nutritional Components

In research conducted by food chemist Dr Harvey Lisle, rejuvelac was shown to be rich in proteins, carbohydrates, Lactobacillus, B vitamins, vitamin. C, vitamin E, dextrines, phosphates, Saccharomyces and Aspergillus oryzae.

Rejuvelac Benefits List:

  • Introduces friendly lacto-bacteria into the gastrointestinal tract
  • Encourages regular bowel movements
  • Energizes the body through enzymatic activity and cleansing actions
  • Helps to remove toxins and excess undigested waste material
  • Acts as a digestive aid and can increase the absorption of nutrients

Can Rejuvalac Go Bad?

Yes, during the process of fermentation, rejuvelac can spoil and produce an inedible liquid, which means that other unfriendly microbes have taking over the ferment and have dominated the lacto-bacteria present. This is usually obvious by the presence of a very strong, unpleasant putrid odor. It will also look overly cloudy with possible mold growing on the surface.

You will need to discard it and begin again with clean sanitized equipment. Spoilage often occurs when the atmospheric conditions were either too hot, too humid or both. Ideally a 70-75°F (21-24°C) temperature is best for optimal results.

Potential Rejuvelac Contamination

There are some health authorities, like Brian Clement, who warn against the use of rejuvelac because there may be a likelihood of what is labeled as “contamination” in the final product. Not the lethal variety, but other more fungal yeasts, like Saccharomyces, which may be present in small amounts in the cultured liquid.

However, we have found that this is not an unusual phenomenon, as other fermented foods are also known to contain them in small quantities. These types of yeast are found in other ferments, like kefir, and are beneficial in lower volumes (about 20%) as they are in our intestines.

The Lactobacillus species are hardy strains of microbes and are what is needed to create a successfully fermented product, without them you would not achieve a lacto-fermented end result.

We personally have only experienced positive effects from drinking rejuvelac and feel that we wouldn’t have such associated health benefits if other less beneficial species were present in large quantities. Also, if the final liquid outcome looks and tastes pleasant, like it should, these are good signs of a lactic acid bacteria-rich fermented drink.

It is a good idea, as suggested, to take precautions when preparing it, making sure all your equipment is thoroughly clean and sanitary to avoid spoilage. In addition, to prevent possible airborne yeast contaminants, it is advised to place a loose lid and clean cloth securely over your jar and culture it in a ventilated, yet clean environment away from dust and foot traffic. We have also successfully used airlock fermentation caps, which is also another option

How to Use

Rejuvelac does agree with most people, but not everyone, so it is good to start out slow with small amounts (2T) to test it out if you are prone to digestive sensitivities.

Drink rejuvelac first thing in the morning as well as before or between meals for optimal results.  Again, it is best consumed in smaller quantities rather than large glasses, especially if you are new to drinking it.

Unfortunately Kratom is Ban from the country where it Originated from Thailand…

Even if it sold in Bali legally do not bring it to Thailand ….

8 Impressive Benefits of Kratom Leaves

Kratom leaves have traditionally been used for medicinal purposes. The interesting health benefits of kratom leaves include their ability to relieve pain, boost metabolism, increase sexual energy, improve the immune system, and prevent diabetes. They ease anxiety, help with addiction, eliminate stress, and induce healthy sleep.

What are Kratom Leaves?

Kratom is a tropical tree native to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, where the leaves have been used for medicinal purposes due to its morphine-like effects. The majority of the health benefits of kratom are derived from the unique chemical compounds and nutrients found within the leaves of the plant, including a wide range of alkaloids and other organic substances that affect many organs of the human body. Mitragynine, the primary active alkaloid in kratom, is associated with being responsible for its opioid-like effects.

The plant’s leaves are widely chewed in countries where the tree grows naturally, and some high estimates suggest that up to 70% of the male population of Thailand would chew anywhere from 10-60 leaves each day. It is sold as leaves, powder, extract, capsule, pellet, or gum, and it can be smoked, chewed or consumed as a tea.

The scientific name of this evergreen tree is Mitragyna speciosa, and it has had a very interesting history, including being banned in Thailand (despite being indigenous there), as it was a natural substitute for opium, thereby affecting the economy of the country.

Kratom, which is readily available for purchase on the internet, has come under the international spotlight in recent years for its medicinal use as well its abuse as a recreational drug. And it has been banned in countries including Australia, Malaysia, and Myanmar. In the US and European countries, kratom is increasingly being used by individuals for the self-management of pain or withdrawal from opioid drugs such as heroin and prescription pain relievers. However, use of kratom is recommended if you live in a country or region where the possession, use, and distribution of kratom is legal.

Health Benefits of Kratom Leaves

Let’s take a closer look at some of the fascinating health benefits of kratom leaves.

Pain Reliever

Kratom leaves are rich in analgesic properties and can quickly relieve pain throughout the body by impacting the hormonal system. The amount of serotonin and dopamine released into the body increases when the leaves are chewed. This further alleviates the pain. Essentially, the alkaloids dull the pain receptors throughout the body. This morphine or opium-like quality of kratom leaves is widely regarded as its most important application.

Immune System Booster

Independent studies on the various alkaloids found in kratom leaves have shown that the combinative effects can have major effects on the strength and resilience of the immune system. Kratom leaf extracts, which were traditionally used as herbs, are endowed with free radical scavenging and antimicrobial activity and are a natural source of antioxidants.

Energy Booster

The metabolic effects that kratom has are one of the other reasons that the leaves are so popular, particularly with laborers in various countries. It can increase your energy levels by optimizing certain metabolic processes and impacting hormone levels. This is a result of increased circulation, despite its soothing nature, and a general increase in oxygenated blood to areas of the body that needs it, combining with increased metabolic activities to provide a burst of energy. For sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, kratom leaves are often an alternative, natural solution.

Sexual Stimulant

Kratom is seen by many traditional practitioners and users as an aphrodisiac and a fertility booster, as the extra energy and blood flow can help increase fertility, re-energize a tired libido, and improve duration/conception rates.

Reduced Anxiety

Kratom leaves are widely used as anxiolytic substances for people who suffer from chronic stress, depression, anxiety, and mood swings. By regulating the hormones in our body, people can finally get relief from these exhausting symptoms of chemical imbalance without having to rely on pharmaceuticals and all of the implicit side effects of those drugs.

Addiction Recovery

Due to the inherently healthy nature of kratom leaves, in combination with their range of effects, they have been used as a method of curing addiction for hundreds of years. In many cultures, opium addiction is a major issue, but regularly chewing on kratom leaves provides a similar sensation without the comedowns and negative side effects. Therefore, when people are attempting to “get clean” and stay that way, they often turn to kratom leaves as a tolerable solution, thereby making these leaves very valuable in many parts of the world. This also helps to cover withdrawal symptoms during the transition away from that more intense drug.

Diabetes Treatment

One of the lesser known benefits of kratom leaves is their effect on blood sugar levels. Limited research has shown that the alkaloids found in the leaves are able to help regulate the amount of insulin and glucose in the blood, effectively preventing the dangerous peaks and troughs that diabetics face. This can not only help diabetics manage their disorder, but also prevent it from developing in the first place.

Side Effects of Kratom

Regular kratom users can tend to have psychotic symptoms such as mental confusion, delusion, and hallucination. Others claim a “kratom hangover”, which includes headaches or nausea in the morning after use. This is something you can determine for yourself, based on your particular sensitivities. Studies show that regular kratom use is associated with drug dependency, development of withdrawal symptoms, and craving.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Kratom

Physical withdrawal symptoms include anorexia, weight loss, decreased sexual drive, insomnia, muscle spasms and pain, aching in the muscles and bones, jerky movement of the limbs, watery eyes/nose, hot flushes, fever, decreased appetite, and diarrhea. Psychological withdrawal symptoms commonly reported are nervousness, restlessness, tension, anger, hostility, aggression, and sadness.

Note: The US FDA issued a public health advisory in November 2017 about kratom, saying it appears to have properties that expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and dependence. Because kratom is a supplement, it is not regulated in the US. Globally, it is banned or controlled in 16 countries, including Thailand and Malaysia, where it grows naturally.


John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA).

The Benefits of Soaking Nuts and Seeds

Nature has set it up so that the nut, grain, and seed may survive until proper growing conditions are present. Nature’s defense mechanism includes nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances that can be removed naturally when there is enough precipitation to sustain a new plant after the nut, grain or seed germinates. When it rains the nut, grain or seed gets wet and can then germinate to produce a plant. So we are mimicking nature when we soak our nuts, grains, and seeds.

Nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances found in nuts grains and seed can be minimized or eliminated by soaking. These inhibitors and toxic substances are enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens.

What Are Enzyme Inhibitors?

There are digestive enzymes and metabolic enzymes. Digestive enzymes help break down food. Metabolic enzymes help every biological process the body does. Enzyme inhibitors will clog, warp or denature an active site of an enzyme. They may also bind to the enzyme, which will prevent the intended molecule from binding. “Once again, the habits of traditional peoples should serve as a guide. They understood instinctively that nuts are best soaked or partially sprouted before eaten. This is because nuts contain numerous enzyme inhibitors that can put a real strain on the digestive mechanism if consumed in excess.”

What Are Phytates?

All grains contain phytic acid in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term, many other adverse effects.

Why Soak Nuts, Grains, And Seeds?

  • To remove or reduce phytic acid.
  • To remove or reduce tannins.
  • To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.
  • To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.
  • To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
  • To break down gluten and make digestion easier.
  • To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.
  • To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
  • To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.
  • To prevent many health diseases and conditions.
    The Benefits of Soaking Nuts and Seeds

Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli, and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. Soaking in warm water also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, present in all seeds, and encourages the production of numerous beneficial enzymes. The action of these enzymes also increases the amount of many vitamins, especially B vitamins. During the process of soaking and fermenting, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.

What Can Be Used To Soak Nuts, Grains, And Seeds?

I have found many references to soaking nuts, grains, and seeds in water, salt water, or a warm water mixture with something acidic like yogurt, whey or lemon juice. It seems within 7 to 24 hours the enzyme inhibitors are neutralized and the anti-nutrients are broken down regardless of the method you choose. There is evidence that the process works when you see sprouting begin.

How Long Does The Soaking Process Take?

As little as seven hours of soaking in warm acidulated water will neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. The simple practice of soaking cracked or rolled cereal grains overnight will vastly improve their nutritional benefits. Flour products should be soaked at room temperature for at least twelve hours, but better results may be obtained with a twenty-four-hour soaking.

Are The Nuts, Grains And Seeds Used Wet?

I have enjoyed almonds wet. If you choose to try consuming anything in the soaked state, make little batches and store them in the refrigerator. Usually, everything that is soaked is dried in a dehydrator or oven on the lowest possible setting for 24 – 36  hours to remove all moisture.

Wheat berries can be soaked whole for 8 to 22 hours, then drained and rinsed. Some recipes use the whole berries while they are wet, such as cracker dough ground right in the food processor. You can also dry sprouted wheat berries in a low-temperature oven or dehydrator, and then grind them in your grain mill and use the flour in a variety of recipes. Nuts, grains, seeds and legumes can be ground up to use as flour in many recipes after they have been dried.

Any Advice On What To Do With Legumes?

Maureen Diaz recommends soaking any beans or legumes in water and vinegar for at least twelve hours before cooking. Soaked and dried beans may be ground up and used as flour for thickening and baking. This is helpful for those on a gluten-free diet.

One recommendation includes placing soaked kombu or kelp seaweed in the bottom of the pot when soaking legumes. Add one part seaweed to six or more parts legumes. This is for improved flavor and digestion, more nutrients, and faster cooking. Soak legumes for twelve hours or overnight in four parts water to one part legume. For best results, change the water once or twice. Lentils and whole dried peas require shorter soaking while soybeans and garbanzos need to soak longer. Soaking softens skins and begins the sprouting process, which eliminates phytic acid, thereby making more minerals available. Soaking also promotes faster cooking and improved digestibility, because the gas-causing enzymes and trisaccharides in legumes are released into the soak water. Be sure to discard the soak water. After bringing legumes to a boil, scoop off and discard foam. Continue to boil for twenty minutes without the lid at beginning of cooking to let steam rise (breaks up and disperses indigestible enzymes).

Delicia Beaty and Sharon Foutch

Are You Soaking Your Nuts, Seeds, Grains, And Legumes?

Reishi Mushroom: Fight Cancer, Boost Immunity & Improve Liver Detox

The reishi mushroom is an edible type of medicinal fungus that has been used for its healing abilities for thousands of years and fits the definition of a true superfood. Also known as Ling Zhi in Chinese, these mushrooms are anti-inflammatory and tied to longevity, better immune function and mental clarity, earning them the nickname “king of mushrooms.”Throughout history in holistic medicine, reishi mushrooms have been considered to be adaptogenic herbs, meaning they help your body deal with the negative effects of stress such as increased inflammation, depleted energy levels, damaged blood vessels and various types of hormonal imbalances. Studies have repeatedly shown that reishi mushrooms have antioxidant abilities that allow them to strengthen the body’s defenses against cancer, autoimmune conditions, heart disease, allergies, infections and more.And believe it or not, this is all just skimming the surface of a few of the health benefits that reishi mushrooms have to offer. Ready to learn more? Let’s take a look at why you should consider adding this incredible medicinal mushroom into your routine.

What Are Reishi Mushrooms?

Like other disease-fighting mushrooms, reishi mushrooms are a type of fungus that grow outdoors. They’re native to several parts of Asia, including China, Korea and Japan. While they’re edible and are often described as bitter-tasting with a tough texture, you’re much more likely to find them in supplement, tincture or powder form.

Reishi mushrooms, also known by their scientific name Ganoderma lucidum, grow above ground and produce “a fruiting body” along with connective strands (called mycelium), which are turned into an herbal medicines, tinctures, teas, powders and extracts.

For most of history in Traditional Chinese Medicine, fully-grown reishi mushrooms were dried, cut into slices, boiled in hot water and then steeped to make a healing tea/soup. Today, manufacturers of reishi products use a processing technique where reishi is boiled multiple times at a high pressure, allowing the active ingredients to be extracted to form a tincture.

Thanks to the concentrated compounds that these mushrooms contain, potential reishi mushroom benefits include protection against tumor formation, improved liver function, better heart health, enhanced blood sugar control and a reduced risk of asthma, allergies and infection.

Reishi Mushroom Nutrition Facts

In supplement form, reishi mushrooms typically contain little to no calories and only a small amount of dietary fiber and protein. However, the true reishi mushroom health benefits come from the ingredients that aren’t listed on the nutrition label.

In particular, reishi mushrooms are jam-packed with antioxidants and health-promoting compounds such as polysacchraides and triterpenes. These powerful compounds have been linked to a number of health benefits and have been shown to account for many of the anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties of the reishi mushroom.

How Reishi Mushrooms Work to Fight Disease

Over the past several decades, dozens of different studies conducted in Japan, China, the U.S. and the U.K. have demonstrated that reishi mushrooms are capable of offering protection against numerous diseases or illnesses, including

  • inflammation
  • fatigue (including chronic fatigue syndrome)
  • frequent infections (urinary tract, bronchitis, respiratory infections, etc.)
  • liver disease
  • food allergies and asthma
  • digestive problems, stomach ulcers and leaky gut syndrome
  • tumor growth and cancer
  • skin disorders
  • autoimmune disorders
  • diabetes
  • viruses, including the flu, HIV/AIDS or hepatitis
  • heart disease, hypertension, high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • sleep disorders and insomnia
  • anxiety and depression

Because they work as an “immune modulator,” reishi mushrooms can help restore hormonal balance, bring the body back to homeostasis and regulate activity of the immune system, helping to fight tumors and cancerous cells. Research shows that reishi mushrooms act as a normalizing substance, regulating various cellular functions and systems, including the endocrine (hormonal), immune, cardiovascular, central nervous and digestive systems.

One of the biggest reishi benefits is that they’re capable of doing so much, yet produce hardly any side effects and are much less toxic than traditional medications. In fact, most people report a quick improvement in their energy levels, mental focus and mood while also experiencing a reduction in aches, pains, allergies, digestive issues and infections.

The secret behind their healing potential? It’s the various active ingredients that the reishi mushroom contains, which include complex sugars known as beta-glucans, plant sterols that act as precursors to hormones in the body, polysaccharides that fight cancer cell development and acidic substances called triterpenes that turn off the body’s response to allergies.

Recent findings suggest that reishi mushrooms can lower inflammation and increase the release of natural killer cells, which work to remove various types of mutated cells from the body. This makes the reishi mushroom ideal for preventing heart disease and working as a natural cancer treatment. Some of the ways that reishi mushrooms work to promote better health include:

  • activating cytotoxic receptors (NKG2D/NCR)
  • inhibiting cell proliferation
  • suppressing vascular endothelial growth factor
  • increasing plasma antioxidant capacity
  • enhancing immune response
  • converting excess testosterone to dihydrotestosterone

Reishi Mushrooms in Traditional Medicine

Many forms of holistic medicine take advantage of the full scope of benefits of reishi mushroom and use it to treat a variety of ailments. Reishi mushrooms are an especially common ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine and have been used as a staple for thousands of years. They are believed to nourish the heart, preserve liver health, slow aging and enhance vitality, stamina and strength. They’re also said to promote calmness and relaxation and are often used to supplement spiritual practices.


Top 7 Reishi Mushroom Benefits

1. Contains Powerful Anti-Cancer Properties

Just like other anti-inflammatory foods, reishi mushrooms are packed with important nutrients, including antioxidants, beta-glucans and amino acids. Researchers believe that one of the most beneficial components of the reshi mushroom are its polysaccharides, which are a water-soluble type of nutrient found in carbohydrate foods that are known to have anti-tumor abilities.

Polysaccharides, which also found in other beneficial plant foods like sweet potatoes or beets, are immune-modulating substances. They are one of the compounds that help reishi mushrooms protect the DNA and block cell mutations while preserving healthy cells in the body. (5) According to some studies, certain medicinal mushrooms help fight cancer because polysaccharides have important biological benefits including antioxidant, neuro-protective, radio-protective, anti-diabetes, anti-osteoporosis and anti-fatigue abilities.

Additionally, laboratory tests have demonstrated that the triterpenes found in reishi mushrooms may also have cancer-fighting properties, which is one reason why brightly-colored or bitter-tasting, antioxidant-rich foods like pumpkin, berries and black rice have a reputation for promoting health. Triterpene compounds seem to inhibit tumor formation and metastases by limiting the attachment of cancerous cells to endothelial cells. Beta-glucans can also help fight off cancer formation by blocking the growth and spread of cancer cells and increasing the activity of the immune system.

Studies have turned up promising results on the link between the reishi mushroom and cancer prevention; it has been successfully used to help fight cancer of the breasts, ovaries, prostate, liver and lungs in in-vitro studies, sometimes in combination with other treatments.

Research in cancer patients suggests that reishi has antiproliferative and chemopreventive effects, helping alleviate side effects of chemotherapy like low immunity and nausea and potentially enhancing the efficacy of radiotherapy, making the reishi mushroom one of the most powerful cancer-fighting foods available.

2. Improves Liver Function

The liver is one of the most vital organs in the body and is responsible for aiding in detoxification and helping clean, process, store and circulate healthy blood and nutrients.

Reishi mushrooms work as an adaptogen to help improve liver function and prevent liver disease, allowing your body to flush out toxins and bacteria more efficiently and improving immunity against diseases that can develop over time. A 2013 study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms found that reishi induces hepatoprotective effects on acute liver injury because it contains antioxidant properties and fights harmful immune responses that slow down liver function.

3. Promotes Heart Health

The triterpenes found in the reishi mushroom may have blood pressure-lowering abilities as well as benefits for blood-clotting and cholesterol, likely because they help lower inflammation within blood vessels and arteries while also restoring hormonal balance.  High blood pressure and high cholesterol can sometimes be caused by hormonal issues, including thyroid disorders or high amounts of stress, but reishi mushrooms help restore optimal hormonal levels to strengthen the cardiovascular system.

In addition to lowering blood pressure, reishi mushroom extract can improve overall circulation, lower inflammation that worsens heart problems and prevent clogged arteries by keeping cholesterol under control.

4. Balances Hormone Levels

Reishi mushrooms work as adaptogens, meaning they can help your body cope with stress more efficiently and help regulate hormone levels to optimize your health. Although research is currently limited to mostly animal models, some studies indicate that reishi mushroom extract could help normalize levels of certain receptor hormones, which may be beneficial in the treatment of cancer.

Other studies show that it can also protect and positively impact the endocrine system, which encompasses the glands throughout the body that are responsible for the production of hormones.  This could have far-reaching effects on many aspects of health, as the endocrine system has a direct impact on metabolism, growth, sleep, mood and sexual function.

5. Stabilizes Blood Sugar

Sustaining high levels of blood sugar can bring detrimental effects to overall health, causing symptoms like fatigue, unintentional weight loss and frequent urination. Some research shows that reishi mushrooms may have anti-diabetic properties, helping to maintain normal blood sugar levels to prevent adverse side effects.

For example, one review out of Taiwan showed that reishi mushrooms were able to decrease levels of both blood sugar and insulin in mice. They also helped modify levels of certain enzymes involved in blood sugar control and improved the way that the body uses insulin to transport sugar from the bloodstream to the tissues to be used as fuel.

6. Fights Allergies and Asthma

One of the active ingredients of reshi mushrooms are triterpenes, a type of ganoderic acid that is tied to a reduction in allergies and histamine reactions associated with asthma. For this reason, the reishi mushroom is often used as a safe and effective asthma natural remedy.

Triterpenes are capable of lowering allergic reactions because of the way they affect the immune system, strengthen the digestive organs, protect the gut lining, lower inflammation, inhibit a histamine release, improve oxygen utilization and improve liver functions.

7. Protects Against Infections and Viruses

Reishi mushrooms are considered a natural antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal substance thanks to the active compounds that they contain. For example, aside from relieving allergies, triterpenes offer protection against microbial, viral and fungal infections. Triterpenes can be found in many plant foods that taste somewhat bitter, a sign that they’re protective in nature and defend the plant against predators.

Because reishi mushrooms can improve blood circulation and lower inflammation, they can help resolve infections more quickly, reduce pain and fight fatigue. Reishi mushrooms have been used to help treat symptoms and underlying causes of urinary tract infections, hepatitis and even HIV/AIDS.

The Mushroom Battle: Reishi Mushroom vs. Turkey Tail vs. Chaga vs. Lion’s Mane vs. Shiitake

Are mushrooms good for you? If you’ve ever had any doubts, take a look at any of the powerful nutrients found in of any of these medicinal mushrooms and you’re bound to be a believer in the many health benefits of mushrooms.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how the reishi mushroom compares to other popular varieties of medicinal mushrooms:

  • Reishi Mushroom: balances hormone levels, improves heart and liver function, stabilizes blood sugar levels and fights allergies, asthma and infection
  • Turkey Tail Mushroom: feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut, prevents infections and combats cancer cells
  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom: protects brain function, relieves inflammation, preserves digestive health and fights free radical formation
  • Chaga Mushroom: enhances endurance, reduces inflammation, stimulates immune function and contains anti-viral properties
  • Shiitake Mushroom: supports immunity, fights cancer cells, promotes skin health and supplies a hearty dose of important B-vitamins to maintain energy levels

Additionally, different mushroom varieties have distinct differences in the ways that they are used and enjoyed. For example, reishi, turkey tail and chaga are all most often found in supplement form while lion’s mane and shiitake are more palatable and can be swapped in for other mushrooms in your favorite recipes.

Where to Find & How to Use Reishi Mushrooms

Wondering where to buy reishi mushroom supplements? Thanks to their growing popularity, you’re likely to come across reishi mushroom powder, capsule or extract supplements in health food stores or online. It’s important to always read the directions carefully since dosage can vary depending on how concentrated the product is and the likelihood of having side effects can increase when you take too much.

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can also try your hand at mushroom foraging; you can typically find reishi mushroom growing in warm regions throughout Asia, the southeastern U.S., southern Europe and the south Pacific. If you have a green thumb, you can also grow the red reishi mushroom at home by purchasing reishi spawn online.

When purchasing reishi, ideally look for products that are certified pure, produced in Asian countries and in extract or essence form. There are many different types of reishi products available, all of which have different levels of active ingredients that are affected by factors including the plant’s mother fungi, the growing conditions and the processing method used to extract the reishi.

Products from Japan are considered to be some of the purest and are usually cultivated using techniques that preserve the delicate compounds in reishi. Check the product’s labeling for the species name (Ganoderma lucidum), extract ratio, country of origin and if any fillers are added.

Reishi mushrooms are often said to be most effective if you take them in the morning on an empty stomach. Drinking water along with reishi seems to help them absorb best, as does pairing them with vitamin C foods, which can ensure proper absorption of the active ingredients and antioxidants. You can also try using them to brew up a cup of reishi mushroom tea or Ganoderma coffee to start your morning on the right foot.

Are fermented foods as good for you as the headlines say?

Are fermented foods as good for you as the headlines say?

Sales of fermented foods and products that contain live bacteria and yeasts known as probiotics are now worth billions of pounds a year. But is this way of eating really a recipe for a healthy gut and improved wellbeing – or just another fad? Sue Quinn investigates.

Scientists’ rapidly expanding knowledge about the microbes in our guts and the effect they have on our health has seen sales of foods containing probiotics soar in recent years. The global market for these foods, drinks and supplements that claim to contain live beneficial bacteria was worth £30 billion in 2015 according to one report, and is forecast to rise by almost 50 per cent by 2023. The big question is, do probiotics actually work?

Research into the human microbiome – the billions of microbes that call the human body home – is still in its infancy, but according to scientists working on this new medical frontier, some facts are clear. Gut bacteria are crucial for human health, especially for brain development, digestion and maintaining a healthy immune system. Disruption of certain gut microbes, scientists believe, might be responsible for a wide range of common health problems, too.

The question is, can we really improve the diversity of microbes in our guts, and therefore our health, by downing a daily bottle of yogurt drink that has so-called good bacteria or probiotics added, or by chomping through a bowl of fermented vegetables?

Gut bacteria and probiotics
Incredibly, the collection of microbes that live in the average adult’s gut weighs just over a kilogram – about the same as the human brain. The microbes help break down food that we can’t digest, extract key nutrients and essential vitamins, and produce chemicals that aid bodily functions. The wider the variety of bacteria in our gut the better, as poor diversity is associated with (but not proven to cause) a range of health problems including obesity, diabetes, mood disorders, infertility and even cancer.

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are thought to give gut microbes a healthy boost, although scientists don’t fully understand them yet. They’re added to probiotic drinks (although the term ‘probiotic’ can’t legally appear on the label) and are naturally present in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, miso, kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut. But does eating them really benefit our gut bacteria? “It’s uncertain whether probiotics have a definite effect or not,” says Professor Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and author of The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat. “But the emerging evidence suggests they do.”

The official advice from the NHS is that some probiotics might help in some cases. Professor Spector agrees, adding that people with specific health problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), poor immunity or those who have just finished a course of antibiotics (which can wipe out protective gut bacteria) are most likely to benefit. “Most of the diseases we are seeing now are associated with a lack of beneficial microbes, and it’s usually several in a group,” he says. “These might be microbes known for dampening inflammation, so people who lack these tend to be those getting autoimmune diseases.”

There’s no proof that probiotics benefit healthy people, but Dr Gemma Walton, a gut microbiologist at Reading University, says some studies suggest they might. “We never know when we are likely to encounter something that could make us unwell,” she says. “If you ate something that gave you astroenteritis, for example, you’d probably be better equipped to deal with it with a fortified microbiome. Studies analysing instances of diarrhoea among travellers showed those taking a specific probiotic were less likely to suffer from a stomach upset – or they experienced symptoms for a shorter time.” But which probiotic foods are best?

‘Natural’ probiotics are better
Probiotic foods aren’t tested in the same rigorous way as medicines. So it’s difficult for consumers to be sure whether a probiotic food actually contains the bacteria stated on the label, or enough of them to have an effect. It’s also impossible to know whether sufficient bacteria will survive exposure to stomach acids and thrive in the gut. In fact, in 2014 when scientists at University College London put eight probiotic drinks and supplements through three tests, only one product passed them all.

Professor Spector points out that yogurt drinks with probiotics added by the manufacturer generally contain just a few strains of bacteria, so he suggests opting for kefir, a fermented milk drink. “If there’s 
a natural food alternative to yogurt drinks, take it,” he says. “Kefir probably has five times as many species of bacteria as yogurt drinks.”

Then there’s prebiotics…
Some researchers believe the key to good gut health might be prebiotics – high-fibre foods that feed the good bacteria in our guts. Fermented vegetables such as kimchi and sauerkraut are prebiotics as well as probiotics. Other effective prebiotics include onions, celery, asparagus, chicory and garlic.

“Prebiotics are types of food that our own enzymes don’t break down, so they arrive in the large intestine and can be used by the bacteria that live within,” explains Dr Walton. “Prebiotics promote the growth or activities of some positive bacteria that we already have within us, changing the balance of bacteria to one that is likely to be more favourable.”

The verdict
A lot more research is needed into probiotic and prebiotic foods, but scientists believe the very sick, the very young and the very old might benefit from them. There could be advantages for healthy people, too. Opt for fermented foods over yogurt drinks and eat a varied diet that includes prebiotics.

Professor Spector’s 5 tips for gut health

  1. Try a shot of kefir every morning, ideally on an empty stomach.
  2. Kombucha is one of the richest sources of healthy microbes.
  3. Other natural probiotics worth trying include fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso
  4. Eat a wide variety of foods and try new things to encourage the diversity of gut bacteria.
  5.  nuts are particularly good at nourishing gut microbes.

Professor Spector and a team of gut experts have launched a new testing service that enables you to have your gut microbes analysed by health professionals.

How Cancer Tumors Use Meat To Fuel Their Growth

The rate of instances of diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, autism, and many more continues to increase at an alarming rate. Since we first began recording statistics on disease we have seen a skyrocketing upward trend which has many scientists and researchers looking for answers, most notably towards our environment. We are surrounded by toxins on a daily basis, and we are also ingesting them constantly. Scientists have been examining the many common habits of modern humans, and one of those habits clearly includes eating a tremendous amount of meat.

How Meat Fuels Tumor Growth

The association between meat consumption and diseases like cancer is no secret. Ever since researchers started studying the links between diet and cancer, one thing has stood out above the rest: people who avoided eating meat were much less likely to develop cancer.(1)(2) Many studies have shown that there is a significantly decreased risk of cancer associated with veganism.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) published their second review of the major studies that have taken place with regards to diet and cancer prevention. They determined that, for multiple cancers, red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) as well as processed meat consumption increases cancer risk.

Studies have also shown that specific chemicals formed when meat is cooked (specifically HCAs and PAHs) can also be linked to cancer, and when I say “linked,” I mean there is a serious cause for concern. There is a great deal of evidence to support the claim that high meat consumption leads to cancer. One such example involves a recent case-control study conducted at the University of Utah. The study included 952 subjects with rectal cancer and 1205 controls, and found that men and women with the highest consumption of processed or well-cooked meat showed an increased risk for developing rectal cancer.

Cooking meat produces (as mentioned above) what are called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. These are widely believed to play a significant role in human cancers.  I find this to be one (out of many) remarkable examples of how there is plenty of strong evidence, yet mainstream medical literature considers the link between meat consumption and cancer inconclusive.

Keep in mind, when looking at this type of science it’s important to use the Bradford Hill Criteria when doing your research

In another study, researchers followed and analyzed the diets of more than 525,000 participants to determine whether there might be a link between the consumption of fats from red meat and dairy, and pancreatic cancer. They found that the more people ate these particular fats, the higher the risk of pancreatic cancer. Interestingly, this same study found no association between plant-food fat and pancreatic cancer.

The list goes on and on. Another recent study published in the British Journal of Cancer found that vegetarians are 12 percent less likely to develop cancer than meat-eaters overall. They followed 61,000 meat-eaters and vegetarians for over 12 years, and also discovered that cancers of the blood, such as leukemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, were significantly (“drastically” as they say in the study) reduced by as much as 45 percent for those following a vegetarian diet.  Although this study points to an overall reduced risk, this may well be an underestimate of the benefits of vegetarianism. Previous studies have shown as much as a 40 percent reduced risk for all cancers.

On the flip side, one could certainly point out the fact that many people go their whole lives eating cooked meat and live long healthy lives. That might hold true for some, but definitely not all. No one can deny that cancer rates are pretty ridiculous today, and it would be wise to start to take a closer look at our human experience. All of us need to help turn things around, and this is one area of our lives that we can easily control.

It’s also noteworthy to  mention the fact that the meat available to us today is laden with drugs and other contaminants, and that GMO feed is causing a great deal of damage to the animals consuming it, and us in turn.

There are plenty of studies to choose from, though I am aware that studies do have their limitations. At the same time, think of the Bradford Hill criteria – when you have so much consistency and so many links, it is highly logical to make certain conclusions.

Whenever you have some time to think, whenever you pause for a moment during your day, consider taking a step back and really observing what we are doing to our planet and how we rationalize it. There is much to see, including, of course, the fact that an enormous amount of people consume meat on a daily basis. I don’t mean to say that this is inherently wrong, or to lay judgement down, but merely to question why we do this knowing it’s detrimental to our health and to the environment.

Sometimes bringing up topics like this can rub people the wrong way, but facts are facts; we currently live in a society where so many people have closed their minds to new possibilities, new explanations, and in many cases, new evidence. For example, many people still believe that consuming meat on a daily basis is a completely natural, and that throughout different stages in our evolution we have always eaten meat. This simply isn’t true. In fact, most of our ancestors were completely vegetarian, and the ones that ate meat appear to have had a much higher percentage of plant food than meat in their diet. Pointing to the “cave man diet” (a completely false idea) is not really a valid justification for eating meat, and it doesn’t mean that we are “designed” to eat meat at all. You can read more about that, and access specific studies about the the “cave man diet” myth

If you are truly curious about meat and its association with human disease, hopefully this article is a good kick start for you to start doing some research about it.

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Vitamin B-12 Recommendations for Plant-based and Vegans

B-12 is a crucial nutrient for vegans. Not having a reliable source almost guarantees serious long-term health problems.
Of all the nutrients that vegans must pay attention to, Vitamin B12 is at the very top of the list. It is essential for nervous system health, so every vegan needs to take this nutrient seriously. People with B12 deficiency risk developing a variety of conditions ranging from the worrisome to the horrific.

Vitamin B12 is found exclusively in foods of animal origin, and the amount of this nutrient present in an unfortified vegan diet is essentially zero. It can, however, take several years for a deficiency to arise, since B12 is stored in the liver. It’s dangerous to be complacent about finding a reliable source of B12 because deficiency can creep up over time, silently doing damage before symptoms arise. One of the great annoyances of being vegan is that you will sometimes encounter other vegans who insist that there’s no need to take a B12 supplement. Generally speaking these people will say something like, “I’ve been vegan for eight years, never take B12 supplements, and I’m in perfect health,” but meanwhile they’re all twitchy and something just isn’t right. In many cases these people will experience a health crisis, return to eating meat, and then tell the world that a vegan diet leads to failed health. Unfortunately, having a productive dialog with these folks is generally futile, just like there’s no reasoning with the Vegan Police.

Why are there so many vegans who take pride in spurning B12 supplements? It’s because back in the 1980s and 1990s several prominent vegan advocacy books came out that downplayed the need for vegans to take B12. Because these books were published at a time when there weren’t many reliable vegan books available, B12 misinformation got a big head start on the truth. There are all sorts of ludicrous arguments asserting that vegans don’t need B12, ranging from the idea that it’s produced in your intestines (it isn’t, at least in a way that you can absorb), that it’s found in algae or seaweed (no, it’s not), or that you can get enough B12 by not washing your vegetables (that’s just silly.)

In at least a couple cases, the vegan authors contributing to B12 complacency went back to eating animal products. But the damage these books have done have produced ripple effects continuing to today.

Meeting Your B12 Needs

The B12 needs of vegans can easily be met through supplements or by regularly eating B12 fortified foods. Some B12 supplements contain non-vegan ingredients, but the supplements featured on this page are all vegan.

B12 isn’t absorbed especially well when it’s swallowed in a tablet. You’ll get better absorption if you purchase B12 lozenges or ‘sublingual tablets’, which are different words for the same thing. You let these tablets dissolve under your tongue, and the B12 is absorbed through the capillaries in your mouth. A sensible dosage is a 1000 to 2000 microgram tablet taken a few times a week. Note that many brands of B12 contain methylcobalamin, but cyanocobalamin is currently considered the better choice by nutritionists who’ve carefully studied the topic.

Foods commonly fortified with B12 include non-dairy milks, cereals, meat substitutes, energy bars, and nutritional yeast. You have to check the nutrition label for B12, since many of these foods aren’t supplemented, or are supplemented in tiny amounts. Note that B12 fortified foods are dosed with the very same B12 that gets put into tablets, so obtaining your B12 through fortified vegan foods is in no way more “natural” than getting it through tablets. Additionally, it may be difficult to meet your B12 needs through fortified foods, since comparatively few products are fortified, and B12 fortification of foods is often at low levels.

For most vegans, it’s therefore much easier and more reliable to simply buy a bottle of vegan B12 lozenges. Sublingual B12 supplements are easy to find online or at any natural foods store. Of the dozens of B12 supplements Amazon stocks, probably the best buy is Now Foods’ 2000 microgram cyanocobalamin lozenges. A bottle comes in under $10, and gives you a large dose of B-12, that includes the cyanocobalamin molecule.

Unless you like burning money, avoid sprays or other high-priced alternative ways to get B12. While sprays may perhaps be more absorbable than lozenges, they also cost vastly more. The one thing you should care about when choosing a vegan B12 brand is bang for the buck. You want to get the most micrograms of cyanocobalamin in the bottle at the lowest cost, while choosing lozenges instead of pills intended to be swallowed. If you pay a premium price for your B12, you’re just being victimized by slick marketing.

Ability to absorb vitamin B12 decreases with age, and some people cannot absorb sufficient B12 orally. Luckily, determining your B12 levels is one of the cheapest bloodwork tests available, and it’s standard on every basic nutrient panel. If your levels are low despite regular use of sublinguals, injections may be warranted. Since injections go straight into the muscle, they guarantee that high levels of B12 will be absorbed. These injections require a prescription in the United States, but hypodermic needles pre-loaded with B12 are sold over the counter in Mexico and many other countries. Obviously, injections should only be done by someone with proper qualifications.

Beans: a Cooking & Nutrition Guide for Vegans

Beans can add so much to your diet. Here’s everything you need to know.
New vegans sometimes complain that they don’t feel sufficiently satiated by their meals. But beans will stick to your ribs as thoroughly as meat-centered meals once did, leaving you satisfied for hours. They are flavorful, easy to prepare, and dirt cheap. Not only that, they come in a multitude of varieties so they can be a staple of your diet without ever becoming monotonous. They are also a terrific source of protein, and most varieties are virtually fat-free.

Black beans and pinto beans are two of the most popular ingredients in Mexican cooking. They’re delicious served as a burrito filling, or alongside rice, guacamole, and salsa on a Mexican-style supper plate. Beans also make the world’s best leftovers: In many Mexican households, leftover beans are refrigerated and then fried up the next day. To make Mexican style refrieds, just mash the beans and then mix in some water. Then heat it in a frying pan with some minced garlic that’s just been sautéed in some vegetable oil. Stir in some chopped cilantro (if you’re not a cilantro hater) just before serving and you’ll really have something special.

While black beans and pintos dominate Mexican cooking, Garbonzos are wildly popular in India and the Middle East. Garbonzos—which are also knows as chick peas—just might be the tastiest bean variety of all, offering a distinctive flavor and an incredible texture. One reason garbanzos stand out among beans is that they contain significant amounts of fat, which delivers a richness of flavor that’s absent from other beans. Perhaps the most popular entrée in all of India is chana masala, a delicious curry comprised mostly of garbanzos which is served atop basmati rice or alongside samosas. Garbanzos are every bit as important in Middle Eastern cooking, as they are the main ingredient in that cuisine’s two most common foods—hummus and falafel.

Black beans, pintos, and garbanzos are a great starting point for your exploration of beans, but don’t stop there. There are dozens of other varieties available canned or dried at your local grocery or natural foods store. And there are two different all-vegan cookbooks devoted entirely to the topic that will give you dozens and dozens of great new recipe ideas: The Great Vegan Bean Book and Vegan Beans from Around the World.

Beans can be purchased either canned or dried. Canned beans are super convenient, since they are pre-cleaned and fully cooked they need only be drained, heated, and spiced as desired. While less convenient than canned, dried beans carry three advantages: they’re less than half the price of canned, they’ve got superior taste and texture, and they carry a smaller environmental footprint.

The best place to buy dried beans is the bulk section of a good natural food store. Most of these markets carry about a dozen different varieties, and often these are organically grown.

Dried Bean Preparation

Preparing dried beans is easy. Start by pouring them into a mixing bowl. Comb your fingers through the beans to make sure there aren’t any molar-cracking pebbles lurking within (never skip this step; you’ll be surprised how frequently you find a pebble!) Next, pour enough water into the bowl to submerge the beans. Since the beans will soak up a lot of water it’s important to use plenty of water so they’ll stay entirely submerged.

Cover the bowl to keep dust out, and soak for at least four hours. Many people start soaking the beans before bedtime so they’ll be ready to cook in the morning.

Note that soaking isn’t strictly necessary but doing so will cut your cooking time significantly, while saving time and energy. But even soaked beans can more than two hours on the stove pot or in a slow-cooker. That’s why many bean lovers own Instant Pots or pressure cookers. These appliances can usually reduce your cooking time to 30 minutes or less.

The cooking time for beans varies by its variety, whether it has been pre-soaked, and the cooking method. Garbanzos, white beans, and kidney beans take the longest cooking time—up to a few hours for beans simmering on a stove-top. Smaller beans take substantially less cooking time.

You’ll know your beans are properly cooked when you can easily smoosh one against the roof of your mouth using your tongue. As Moosewood Cookbook author Molly Katzen memorably put it, “crunchy beans don’t make it.” That was true in the 1970s when Katzen wrote those words, but it’s even more true today, as it has recently become known that many beans contain a toxic sugar-protein called lectin. Thorough will destroy the lectin, but eating undercooked beans can be a hazard. This is especially true with red kidney beans, which are loaded with a variety of lectin so toxic that it’s even hazardous to pronounce: “phytohaemagglutinin.” Red kidney beans are sufficiently high in this substance that it’s wisest to soak them for at least five hours prior to cooking, and to discard the soaking water. The same warning applies to cannellini beans and broad beans, but those varieties are far less popular than red kidney beans. Please don’t let this warning frighten you away from eating these delicious bean varieties. With proper soaking and cooking, they’ll become as safe as any other food you can eat, and they’re loaded with nutrients.

If all this soaking and simmering seems daunting note that there are a few varieties of tiny dried beans that can be quickly cooked without soaking: split peas, lentils, and mungs. Split peas are obviously the main ingredient for split pea soup. You’ll want to simmer them until they mostly break apart—mixing with the cooking water to form a thick and creamy base. You can alternately simmer yellow splits or mung beans and before serving add roasted cumin seeds, curry powder, and salt to make dal—the most popular Indian soup.


With all the virtues beans have in terms of being cheap, delicious, and healthful the one thing that stands in their way of world domination is their tendency to cause intestinal gas. Few people realize that this problem can largely be mitigated. Beans cause flatulence because they contain a sugar that your body can’t readily digest. When the sugar reaches your intestines, bacteria feed on it to form gas.

The good news here is cooking dissolves a substantial portion of this sugar into the cooking water. So if you pour your cooking water down the drain and use fresh water to finish preparing your recipe you’ll likely find your beans are more easily digested. The same thing goes for the water that canned beans are packed in—discard it and use fresh water and your meal will be far less gas-producing.

While thorough cooking will tend to improve digestibility, don’t overdo it or your beans will become mushy. Blending or mashing your beans for dishes like hummus or Mexican-style refrieds is another way to substantially improve digestibility.

If these tips don’t yield satisfactory results, don’t give up until you’ve experimented with split peas and lentils. Many people who can’t tolerate a black bean burrito will find a thin yellow split pea dal creates no digestive problems whatsoever.

There’s also a product called Bean-Zyme that contains an enzyme that breaks down the sugars of beans. Depending on who you ask you’ll hear it’s miraculous, totally ineffective, or somewhere in between.

And finally, many people plagued by indigestion don’t realize that a little knowledge and attention can resolve lifelong difficulties. Specifically, your body’s digestive powers are at their peak at mid-day. So if you’re going to eat beans and other coarser, harder-to-digest foods early afternoon is the time of day to do it. Ideally only eat these foods on an empty stomach when you’re truly hungry, and you’ll gain quicker digestion and less flatulence. Where people get into trouble is when they eat late at night and when they eat something tough to digest when their digestive system is already busy working on food already eaten. Obviously the longer hard-to-digest foods take to pass through your intestines the more gas will form, so being genuinely hungry before you eat beans will help ensure they don’t hang out in your digestive tract for an undue amount of time.

Give Beans a Chance

Moving gracefully towards a plant-based diet depends on discovering delicious vegan foods to crowd out the meat, milk, and eggs you grew up eating. Bean-based meals can play a key role here, especially since they are among the most filling and protein-rich foods available. So give yourself every possible advantage when exploring the world of beans. Venture beyond pinto beans to explore the delicious, colorful, and tasty lesser-known varieties, and consider investing in a pressure cooker and a book on vegan bean cookery. Beans are so cheap relative to any other healthful food that you’ll quickly make back any money you invest in books or cookware, and your diet will become more diverse, healthful, and satisfying than ever before.

As you can see, even though beans are one of the simplest foods in existence, there’s a great deal to know about them. There’s likewise a lot to learn about rice, which offers the ideal complement to beans where flavor and protein is concerned. Since these two foods pair up perfectly, there’s really no way to get the most out of one without also learning about the other.



Pumpkin Seeds have 24.54 grams of protein | Beef has 26.55 grams of protein | Those who have stopped (or never had been) eating beef can get, gram for gram, practically the same amount of protein with pumpkin seeds as this notoriously known protein-rich meat, less all of the gmo feed, drugs, & hormones injected into these creatures that are raised for years & slaughtered simply for one simple meal that is easily forgotten. 1/2 a cup of pumpkin seeds provides you with 92% of your RDA of magnesium (America’s #1 mineral deficiency, which is responsible for over 300 known bodily processes). Pumpkin seeds: are high in zinc (which battles osteoporosis); lower depression (due to l-tryptophan within, which is the precursor to serotonin); and are immensely rich in an array of vitamins & minerals. The next time your doctor recommends that you eat artery-clogging meat for protein, know that you have a true alternative that spares you of much upcoming pain & bodily conflict. Pumpkin seeds actually lower cholesterol, instead of raising it. It’s quite unfortunate that the American Medical Association doesn’t teach these poor doctors this information. It really could change a lot of people’s lives for the better and also spare them thousands and thousands of dollars in medical expenses in the long run when they recommend eating meat for protein, which has been proven time and time again to cause heart disease. These protein comparisons come from a 100g serving of both items. | Organic, unprocessed pumpkin seeds found at your local health store (or online) can be added / blended to smoothies, casseroles, sprinkled on salads, topped in yogurt, added to oatmeal, eaten by themselves, and any other way your appetite can imagine.

| SHARE, SHARE, SHARE THIS INFO!!!! | Pumpkin seeds are a far healthier & equal source of protein compared to beef. Pick up a nice supply at your local health store and enjoy the MANY benefits they offer us!

What Is Fermentation & Benefits of Fermentation

Yes, fermentation. It’s everywhere and happening every day with no escaping it, and you’ve heard all about the benefits of fermented foods. But just what is fermentation, and why is it so important?Fermentation is a process used to produce the finest wine; many of our basic staples, such as bread and cheese; and pleasurable delights, including beer, chocolate, coffee and yogurt. Fermentation is an easy process, enjoyed and done by anyone and anywhere with the most basic tools. Cultures around the world have been fermenting longer than we’ve been cultivating soil or writing books, benefiting from the countless delicacies as a result. Best of all, fermentation brings out some amazing health benefits in the foods we eat. What is fermentation good for? Well, fermentation helps increase digestion and bioavailability of nutrients, as well manage and prevent disease, including H. pylori infection, cancer, liver disease, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and lactose intolerance. Furthermore, it’s been shown that fermented foods can reduce social anxiety.

What Is Fermentation?

What is fermentation? It’s the process of using microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, to convert carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids under anaerobic conditions.

There are two types of fermentation: alcoholic and lactic acid. Alcoholic fermentation, or ethanol fermentation, is where pyruvate (from glucose metabolism) is broken down into carbon dioxide and ethanol by bacteria and yeast. Alcohol fermentation has been used to produce beer, bread and wine.

Pyruvate molecules from glucose glycolysis may be further fermented into lactic acid. Lactic acid fermentation converts lactose into lactic acid.

There are several benefits to fermenting food. First, fermentation serves to enhance the digestion of food. Your body needs adequate digestive enzymes to properly absorb, digest, and utilize nutrients in food. When vegetables like cabbage and cucumbers are left to steep and sit until the sugars are broken down to promote the growth of bacteria, this is when the vegetables are fermented.

Fermented foods are also filled with beneficial bacteria that work as reinforcement for the good bacteria in the digestive system. Since 70 percent to 80 percent of the immune system lies in the gut, having proper balance of gut flora is important.

What else is fermentation good for? It preserves food. How? During fermentation, organisms produce acetic acid, alcohol and lactic acid, which are all “bio-preservatives” that retain nutrients and prevent spoilage. Lactic acid acts as a preservative by reducing pH, which inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. (2)

What Is Fermentation? Fermentation and Probiotics

In the late 19th century, microbiologist realized microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract of healthy individuals were different than those who were sick. These beneficial microflora were named probiotics, literally meaning “for life.” Probiotics are microorganisms proven to exert health-promoting influences in humans and animals. The reason why fermented foods and drinks are beneficial is because of the natural probiotics they contain.

According to the Journal of Applied Microbology, the benefits of consuming probiotics include “(i) improving intestinal tract health; (ii) enhancing the immune system, synthesizing and enhancing the bioavailability of nutrients; (iii) reducing symptoms of lactose intolerance, decreasing the prevalence of allergy in susceptible individuals; and (iv) reducing risk of certain cancers.” (3)

Probiotic bacteria not only balance the good bacteria in the gut, but they also help to “tune up” the immune system. As high as 70 percent of the immune system lies in the intestine, so nurturing the bowel immunity with probiotic bacteria keeps the intestinal tract healthy. Probiotic-rich foods include fermented cheese and soy sauce, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Just as there are fermented foods, you can nurture your intestines with fermented probiotic beverages like kefir and kombucha.

What Is Fermentation Good For? Health Benefits of Fermentation

1. Improves Digestion

Fermentation breaks down nutrients into more easily digestible forms. When lactobacilli in fermented foods proliferate, their vitamin levels increase and digestibility is enhanced. When it comes to soybeans, this protein-rich bean is indigestible without fermentation. Fermentation breaks down the soybeans complex protein into readily digestible amino acids, giving us traditional Asian ingredients, such as miso, tamari (soy sauce) and tempeh. (4)

Milk is also difficult for many individuals to digest. A type of bacteria present in fermented dairy products converts lactose, the milk sugar that many individuals cannot tolerate, into digestible lactic acid. In a study out of France on women who reported minor digestive problems, those women reported improved gastrointestinal digestive symptoms when fermented milk containing Bifidobacterium lactis was consumed. (5)

2. Suppresses H. pylori

H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori infection) is an important risk factor for many gastrointestinal diseases. Some fermented foods serve useful for suppressing H. pylori infection.

An observational study published in World Journal of Gastroenterology involving 464 participants found lower prevalence of H. pylori seropositivity in those who consumed yogurt more than once a week compared to those who did not. (6) This confirms other research findings that fermented milk improves gastrointestinal symptoms in patients who tested positive for H. pylori. (7)

3. Has Anticancer Effects

Cancer is caused by activation or mutation of abnormal genes, which control cell growth and division. Researchers believe probiotic cultures and fermented foods might decrease the exposure to chemical carcinogens by: (8)

  • detoxifying the ingestion of carcinogens
  • altering the environment of the intestine and decreasing metabolic activities or populations of bacteria that may generate carcinogenic compounds
  • producing metabolic products that cause programmed cell death or apoptosis
  • producing compounds that inhibit the growth of tumor cells
  • stimulating the immune system to defend itself against cancer cell proliferation

There are several reports on the ways fermented foods can help treat cancer:

  • Large cohort studies in the Netherlands and Sweden have observed the effects of regular consumption of fermented dairy products in reducing the risk of bladder cancer.
  • Strains of bacteria called lactobacillus prevent toxicity of heavy metals by excreting harmful heavy metals and heterocyclic aromatic amines, carcinogens found in overcooking meat.
  • Kimchi, a fermented cabbage cuisine, contains strains that promote the degradation of organophosphorus pesticides, by breaking down a cancer-causing food preservative called sodium nitrate.

4. Enhances Bioavailability of Nutrients

Fermentation helps create new nutrients, like B vitamins, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine and biotin, and has been shown to improve the availability, digestibility and quantity of some dietary nutrients. The bioavailability of fat and protein are enhanced by bacterial enzymatic hydrolysis, and the production of lactic acid, butyric acid, free amino acids and short chain fatty acids (SCFA) are increased by lactic acid bacteria.

When SCFAs are absorbed, they may help protect against pathological changes in the colonic mucosa. They play an important role in maintaining an appropriate pH in the colon, which is important in the expression of various of bacterial enzymes and in carcinogen and foreign compound metabolism in the gut.

5. Reduces Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance

Lactobacillus consumes lactose in milk and transforms it into lactic acid that may be easier for individuals to digest. Lactic acid in yogurt reduces symptoms of lactose intolerance in individuals who are lactase-deficient. This may be because the lactic acid bacteria in the milk causes an increase of lactase in the small intestine.

One review of the topic states:

In clinical practice, replacing milk with fermented dairy products allows for decreased diarrhea, better digestion and improvements in other symptoms of intolerance in participants with lactose intolerance in subjects with short-bowel syndrome and children with diarrhea.

Enhanced digestion of sucrose was shown in infants with sucrase deficiency as well. 

6. Helps Treat Hepatic Disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the buildup of extra fat in the liver cells not caused by alcohol. Liver disease can cause liver swelling, scarring, and even lead to cancer or liver failure.

In a double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial, some participants consumed 300 grams a day of fermented probiotic yogurt containing lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium lactis, while those in the control group consumed 300 grams a day of conventional yogurt for eight weeks. The group who consumed the probiotic yogurt had reductions in alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol compared to the control group. The reduction in these parameters may be useful in management of liver disease risk factors.

7. Improves Arthritis Symptoms

Most people know someone with arthritis. It is the leading cause of disability, with symptoms including aching, pain, stiffness and swelling of the joints. It is thought that inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms may be modulated by the consumption of fermented foods.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of probiotics in active rheumatoid arthritis found that “patients with at least four swollen and four tender joints and stable medications with no steroids for at least one month prior to and during the study, showed a significant improvement in the Health Assessment Questionnaire score after three months of probiotic treatment.”

8. Treats Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Fermented milk supplemented with probiotics can exhibit a direct effect in the gut in managing inflammatory and functional bowel disorders. Clinical trials show that probiotics help reduce abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and flatulence in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease.

Best Fermented Foods

1. Kefir

Kefir is a unique cultured dairy product due to combined lactic acid and alcoholic fermentation of lactose in milk. Kefir is produced by microbial activity of kefir grains, which have a relatively stable and specific balance of lactic acid bacteria and yeast.

The benefits of kefir make it a “functional food,” meaning it can potentially help treat or prevent disease. It’s been associated with a reduction in lactose intolerance, better immune system activity, lowered cholesterol and anti-cancer actions. (15) Consequently, research on kefir has increased in the past years.

2. Kimchi

Kimchi is a spicy and popular fermented food enjoyed in Korea. Since it is low in carbohydrates, fat, and has a high content of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and phytochemicals, it is a perfect fermented food for weight control.

3. Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea that can be made from home or bought commercially. Benefits of kombucha include reducing blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, increasing the body’s resistance to cancer and detoxifying the body.

4. Miso

Miso is a paste-like, half-solid food with sweet and salty taste, which has been gaining popularity worldwide. It has been a staple food in Japan and is used to cook miso soup and side dishes as seasoning. The bioactive compounds formed or released by the enzymes during miso production have been shown to exhibit antioxidant, antidiabetic, anticancer and antihypertensive properties.

5. Natto

A traditional Japanese food made from fermented soy with Bacillus subtilis is natto. The enzymes during the fermentation process produce mucilage that contains nattokinase. Natto is a natural blood thinner.

6. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is finely chopped cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid-producing bacteria. By fermenting cabbage, it can become more functional by protecting blood vessels and increasing vitamin C, folate and manganese.

7. Tempeh

One of the exceptions to the “soy is bad for you” rule, tempeh is a fermented soybean originally from Indonesia. (17) In a clinical study, daily consumption of boiled tempeh for two months among patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis on standard therapy showed a positive effect on weight gain and physical function change.

8. Yogurt

No cultured food is more well-known or acknowledged for its health benefits than yogurt. Probiotic yogurt is extremely high in calcium, zinc, B vitamins, probiotics and protein.

What Is Fermentation? How to Ferment Foods

Fermenting your own food seems like a daunting adventure, but it can be done at home with the help of easy-to-follow instructions. Fermented foods are made by a process called lacto-fermentation, which is feeding starch and sugars to natural bacteria in the food, creating lactic acid. This process is used to create beneficial B vitamins, enzymes, omega-3 fatty acids and strains of probiotics.


Fermented food are budget-friendly and will help you to secure food for a longer period of time. Plus, fermenting is better than traditional canning methods. Almost any fruit or vegetable can be fermented, and you can include different herbs and spices to add variety to your ferments. Here’s a list on how to get started:

1. Equipment

The basic pieces of equipment required for most fermentation are containers to keep them in. Glass containers are a great option because they don’t contain chemicals like BPA and don’t scratch easily. Plastic containers should be avoided for various of reasons, such as plastic is easy to damage, leeching chemicals and foreign bacteria that can affect the fermentation.

Ceramic containers are commonly used to secure large batches of vegetables. Food-grade porcelain containers can be used to ferment, but avoid vases and decorative pottery because they are not used for fermenting food. Cloth or coffee paper filters are used to secure the small jars with a right rubber band. A butter muslin and a tight-weave towel with a rubber band can also be used to secure the fermented food. Canning lids should have airlocks to reduce the chances of mold and yeast formation.

2. Prepare Vegetables

Chopping, slicing, grating or shredding are several ways to prepare the vegetables for fermentation. Cutting the vegetables into smaller pieces speeds up the fermentation process.

3. Salt, Whey or Starter Culture

Depending on what you want to ferment, the recipe may call specifically for salt, starter culture, sugar or whey.

4. Weighing

It’s best to use river rocks to securely hold the vegetables under the brine. Those are available at your local river, or you can boil them for 15–20 minutes after scrubbing them with soap. You can also use heavy parts of a vegetable to add some weight to the fermented vegetables below the brine. It is important to keep the fermented vegetables under the brine to prevent spoilage.

5. Storing

When vegetables are done fermenting, move them to a cold environment. You’ll know when you vegetables are ready for storage if you notice bubbling, a sour aroma and taste good. If you notice a rotting or spoiled smell, discard, clean the container thoroughly and try again another time.

Fermented Foods Recipes

  1. Give your taste buds a tangy and tasty treat with this sauerkraut recipe
  2. Please any palate by trying a classic switchel drink.
  3. Spice up your dishes by adding a warm bowl of miso soup.

What Is Fermentation? History of Fermentation

Many people throughout history have recognized that fermentation as a mysterious life force. Louis Pasteur, a French chemist who turned his attention to fermentation processes, worked with Lillie industrialist, a beetroot alcohol manufacturer whose factory was experiencing inconsistent results.

According to Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live Culture Foods:

Pasteur’s methodical study of beetroot fermentation quickly convinced him that fermentation was a biological process. The “Mémoire sur la fermentation appelée lactique,” a study on fermentation, was published in April 1857. Pasteur solved the beetroot alcohol manufacturer’s problem by heating the beet juice to destroy naturally occurring lactic acid-producing bacteria and adding it with alcohol-producing yeast.

This was the earliest application of the heating process now credited on every milk carton, pasteurization. Pasteur’s discoveries gave a great boost to the mass production of fermented drinks and foods. These products had been enjoyed for thousands of years, created by using processes learned from nature, often accompanied by prayers, rituals and offerings.

Fish, fruits, meat, milk and vegetables are highly perishable, and our ancestors utilized every technique to store foods for later consumption. The 18th century English explorer, Captain James Cook, was recognized by the Royal Society for having conquered scurvy among his crew by sailing with large quantities of sauerkraut. His 60 barrels of kraut lasted for 27 months, and not a single crew member had scurvy, which previously killed large numbers of the crew member on a long sea voyage.

What Is Fermentation? Precautions with Fermentation

Due to the possibility of contamination of improperly fermented food and raw milk, certain fermented foods should be avoided during pregnancy.Follow recommended temperatures, time and weight usage during fermentation to prevent contamination.

Tyramine, is natural substance found in aged and fermented foods, is a well-accepted migraine trigger, so be careful if you suffer from migraines.

Final Thoughts on What Is Fermentation

  • Fermentation is everywhere and been used by humans for thousands of years.
  • What is fermentation good for? Fermentation has many health benefits, such as enhancing bioavailability, reducing symptoms of lactose intolerance, and holding anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.
  • Fermented foods house beneficial bacteria called probiotics that can be found in eating kimchi, kefir, natto, tempeh, kombucha and yogurt.
  • Proper preparation of fermented foods can allow you to enjoy and benefit from your tasty fermentation for a very long time. 

  • by Joe Boland

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