4. Types of Fermented Foods in the Diet
Various fermented foods are eaten all over the world. Fermented fish cake is a delicacy in Japan, while the Koreans eat pickled garlic. Our discussion of fermented foods is limited to those foods eaten in the United States./p>
4.1 With A Moo-Moo Here…
The most popular types of fermented foods in this country are those made from dairy products. We have already discussed the unsuitability of milk and its products as human foods, so we’ll give you a brief rundown on other aspects of these fermented foods.
Yogurt has been aggressively marketed as a health food. It’s been called the “perfect food” and “insurance for good health.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its yearbook for 1965 makes this unqualified statement: “Yogurt has no food or health values other than those present in the kind of milk from which it is made.”
Yogurt has also been advertised as the perfect diet food. Even on this point, yogurt fails. It is high in saturated animal fats, and although plain yogurt has 154 calories per cup, over 80% of all yogurt eaten is the sweetened fruit-flavored variety which has 275 calories a cup.
Research in the last ten years has pointed out another danger of yogurt: cataracts. A cataract is the cloudiness of the lens of the eye. In severe cases, it causes blindness.
In animal experiments, all animals that were fed yogurt exclusively for several months developed cataracts in both eyes. In parts of India where yogurt is a large proportion of the diet, the incidence of cataracts is very high. A coincidence? Doubtful.
Researchers finally decided that some individuals may develop cataracts if they eat foods containing high levels of galactose (a sugar less soluble and sweet than glucose). Yogurt is one of the highest foods in galactose. Most commercial yogurts are 22% to 24% galactose.
People that usually do not eat dairy products sometimes feel obligated to sneak some yogurt into their diet for “health” reasons. There is nothing magical or healthy about yogurt. Like all milk products, it should not be used in the diet.
4.3 Don’t Say Cheese!
Cheese is a very popular fermented food. The harmful effects of this food have already been discussed in an earlier lesson. You may want to consider this fact: most commercial cheeses have their fermentation process started by the addition of rennet to the milk. Rennet contains the enzyme rennin which is found naturally in the stomach of a cow.
To get rennet to ferment the cheese, the stomachs of cows are scraped. These stomach extracts are then added to the milk for curdling the cheese. So, can you be a “vegetarian” and still eat cheese which is made with stomach scrapings of cows? Probably not.
Cheese is a food that is always rotting. Leave a piece at room temperature and you’ll have blue, green, white and yellow mold growing all over it. Some people even like to eat this mold, but then some people will eat anything. You don’t need “moldy milk” or cheese in your diet.
4.4 Buttermilk, Sour Cream and Kefir
There are other fermented dairy foods besides cheese and yogurt. Buttermilk and kefir are two popular fermented milk drinks. Sour cream is exactly that: cream that has soured and gone bad.
Be aware that not only are these foods substandard because they are dairy products, but they are often adulterated before being sold. Buttermilk frequently has salt added to it; kefir is usually sweetened, and sour cream will have preservatives to keep it from becoming totally putrid.
4.5 Vegetables You Can’t Digest
A popular diet a few years ago allowed the dieter to eat all the pickles he or she could hold. If you wanted a snack, eat a pickle. If you had a meal, eat some pickles with it. Why? Because pickles are indigestible. They pass right through just as they were eaten, undigested and unabsorbed. There are better ways to lose weight that this pickle diet, but it does point out one fact: pickled and fermented vegetables are indigestible.
A cucumber is an excellent vegetable. It’s crisp, slightly sweet, full of vital fluids, minerals, vitamins and amino acids. But if you soak that cucumber in vinegar and make a “fermented” food out of it, you’ve destroyed any beneficial properties it had. Digestive juices cannot penetrate pickled foods. They’re like eating rubber. They pass right through you in the same small chunks that you chewed.
They are also heavily salted, spiced and preserved. They should not be eaten.
Although almost any vegetable can be fermented, the next most popular vegetable besides cucumbers for this purpose is cabbage. Sauerkraut is eaten in great quantities by some nationalities. Could it possibly be an acceptable food? Here is what T.C. Fry wrote about this food in 1981: “Sauerkraut is indigestible. The acetic acid (vinegar) that results from its bacterial decomposition is damaging to our digestive tract and inhibits the digestion and utilization of foods eaten with it. It is in the same class as all rotted foods.”
4.6 Where’s The Joy In Soy?
Most of the fermented foods eaten in the world are made from soybeans. Of course, most of these fermented soy foods are chiefly popular in the Orient, but in the last few years they have greatly increased in use in this country as a result of the macrobiotic and other health movements. Is a fermented soybean good for you? You probably know the answer by now, but let’s look at some of them briefly:
Soy Sauce or Tamari: This is the most popular fermented soy product. It is a liquid made from fermenting soybeans and sometimes wheat in large barrels. The end product is a very dark and salty liquid. It contains ammonia, alcohol and various acids. It is also 18% salt.
Another high-salt fermented food made from soybeans principally. It is used in great quantities by the Japanese, which in turn makes them the highest salt-consuming nation on earth. The Japanese also have the highest rates of stomach cancer on earth—a fact closely related to their high-salt intake of fermented and pickled foods.
Tempeh: This is not a very widely known fermented soy food yet, but it is being very aggressively marketed by private soy industries in this country and also by the Department of Agriculture. Tempeh is a cake of souring soybeans that have a heavy layer of grey-white mold growing all over them. This heavy layer of mold is somehow supposed to make the soybeans more digestible (incidentally, soybeans are probably the hardest to digest of all beans, none of which are easy to digest anyway).
Research in the last 15 years has shown that there are dozens of different toxins produced by molds. Different molds produce different toxins. Aflatoxin is the best known toxin and is a potent cancer-causing agent. All molds, however, produce their own unique toxin. Cooking does not destroy the toxins produced by mold. Why anyone would desire to eat moldy foods is a mystery, but it is no secret that they are dangerous.
4.7 Other Fermented Foods
There are fermented grain products such as sourdough bread. There are fermented drinks such as beer and wine. Some health enthusiasts have devised fermented “nut” cheeses and saltless sauerkraut.
There are two things you need to know about these and all other fermented foods. First, these foods are not needed in the diet. They perform no function, provide no special nutrients, contain no “beneficial” bacteria and have no magical, life-extending properties. Secondly, all fermented foods contain harmful bacterial waste byproducts as well as possible salt, vinegar and other preservatives. In and of themselves, they are harmful to the living organism.
If a person follows the biologically correct diet of fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts, he will have no perverse cravings for such spoiled foods. Eating rotting, putrefying and decomposing foods is an acquired habit, much like meat-eating and eating junk foods. Like these perverse habits, the practice of eating fermented and putrefied foods should be quickly abandoned by the dedicated seeker of health.