I was recently introduced to Mark Taylor, the Chef at Ashgate Hospicecare and also the founder of Tummy Tonics who produces Artisan fermented probiotic foods in many delicious and original flavours. As I like to try out different types of foods and diets to see the effects it has on me and in an attempt to have a more balanced and healthy diet long term, this intrigued me to do some more research into probiotic foods and the effects on the body.
Mark has worked for a chef for over 20 years within hotels/restaurants/gastro up to 2 AA rosette level, based mainly within the Derbyshire area. He set up Tummy Tonics as his love for food and nutrition lead him to researching into nutrition and how food is a vital part to a long and healthy life. This lead him on to fermenting and as he became more interested in the effects of fermented foods on the body and their benefits, he decided to sell his products and get his own unique flavours out there for others to enjoy.
Facts on Bacteria & Fermented Foods and the Body
Live fermented foods and the billions of beneficial bacteria they contain interact with the body in many ways to build a healthy digestive system, improved immune system and can even help to lift your mood, after all 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut!
As human beings we each have around 1KG of bacteria living in our large intestine which adds up to around 100 Trillion in numbers and these help to digest food, transfer nutrients and keep our gut in good health. When an imbalance in these bacteria due to poor diet (lacking in vegetable fibre), taking antibiotics (destroys good and bad bacteria) or illness,this can have a detrimental effect on health and well-being not only physically but mentally too.
70% of the human immune system is found in the gut as a first line defense system and 90% of Serotonin the body’s own feel good chemical (made through an amino acid called tryptophan) is also produced in the gut. So any inflammation or imbalance due to poor food intake or consuming foods which individuals may be intolerant to, can also produce mental changes as well as physical, this is known as the Gut/Brain axis. The gut is also known as the second brain containing as many neurons as a small dogs brain and it is in constant communication with the brain via the Vagus nerve passing on information, hence the ‘gut feeling’ and butterflies in your stomach when we become nervous.
By eating live, uncooked fermented foods we keep a diversity of these beneficial bacteria in our bodies keeping our immune system strong, keeping pathogenic bacteria in check and our gut in great shape.
Production & History of Probiotic Foods
Mark at Tummy Tonics makes fermented live foods specifically Kombucha and Sauerkrauts.
Kombucha is green tea brewed with raw unprocessed sugar and fermented with a large floating disc called a SCOBY. A Scoby is a ‘symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts’ also called a ‘mother’ which is a cellulose structure made by this colony and forms many layers which floats on the surface and ferments the beverage. The first known recorded date for Kombucha goes back to the year 222BC, but its origins are unknown most probably China or Japan.
Sauerkrauts are cabbage based and include other vegetables which are salted and pounded to release liquid to make a brine and are then packed into vessels and left to ferment for 1 month. These foods are cultured with natural beneficial bacteria and are referred to as Probiotic – a word of Greek origin translated to pro (to promote) and biotic (life) so to ‘promote life’.
Fermentation is a method of preserving food that we have used for thousands of years to either feed us through lean times or to get us drunk, but we are only just becoming aware of the benefits this has.
Recommended Meals & Diet
Having personally tried the Kombucha and various flavours of Sauerkraut, I have come up with some meal ideas that you can incorporate the Sauerkraut into as an accompaniment. Tummy Tonics recommend that its best to have small amounts of Kombucha and/or Sauerkraut daily as probiotic foods work best in the little and often principle, and this also gives the body time to get used to them as not everything suits everybody!
Kombucha should be drunk straight as it is and seems to be good before breakfast as the acidity gets the liver and kidneys flushing. About 150-250 ml is a good size serving.
Also we would recommend a 75g serving is a good start with sauerkraut/kimchi, or more if you like it and enjoy it!
Here are a few meals I enjoyed with the Sauerkraut;
Although I have only been trying these fermented foods for a short amount of time, I have already noticed my mood and motivation has improved and I am really enjoying trying these new and distinctive flavours with my homemade meals.
If you would like to learn more about this subject, please don’t hesitate to contact me on jen@jensfoodblog or contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Tummy Tonic’s Facebook page here or their website here. Keep an eye out for their products at Artisan fairs/markets in the Sheffield/Chesterfield area as well as tasting sessions that they hold, or buy direct from their website.