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How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: Delicious Fermented Foods?

Post Published: 21 February 2010
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Category: Column, How To Kick Your Thyroid's Ass, thyroid nutrition and health column
This post currently has 16 responses. Leave a comment

I was speaking to another Dear Thyroid lady this week about candida (that is, my immune system that is slowly recovering from being over-run by the stuff), and the most effective treatments in combating it. I do take several probiotics every day to help with this (I will be posting a resource list for HTKYTA in weeks to come, so you can see just which products, probiotics too, I find most effective and helpful). But, I know, intellectually, that a probiotic is not the best source of beneficial bacteria that I could potentially be ingesting. Naturally fermented foods are actually the best source for this immune-boosting, gut-healing bacteria. This means I have to get over my mental barrier with fermented foods. I may be a very adventurous eater, but I have a real problem with some fermented foods. It’s just a mental block, and it’s keeping me immobilized by candida.

Recently, I started trying (yet again) to incorporate real, healthful fermented foods into my diet — the same foods and the same way traditional cultures have eaten for thousands of years (kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, pickles, etc.). But keep in mind that fermented foods vary and some are pasteurized, heated, or force-fermented and devoid of good bacteria. So today, I’ve compiled a list of probiotics we can acquire from untraditional sources — those other than a pill supplement; that is, from real foods with live cultures.

Zukay sells a line of salsas, salad dressings, and relishes, all full of probiotics and live cultures: carrot ginger, cucumber mint, red pepper cilantro, sweet basil onion, and others. All products are raw and contain no soy. This would be a simple way to introduce fermented foods into your diet — simply add to salads, atop proteins, or dip with chips.

The Body Ecology Diet website (based on the book by author Donna Gates) offers a line of probiotic drinks that are fermented and contain the good bacteria we need, while still being tasty and refreshing. It is interesting to note that many of these drinks are grain-fermented, some from sources of gluten. However, the website claims that due to fermenting, no detectable gluten has been found in the products. Flavors include passion fruit, coconut, dong quai, whole grain, and innergy.

Recently I came across Coconut Aminos (essentially, a condiment that is used as a substitute for soy sauce), at Whole Foods. Besides being raw and naturally fermented, other health benefits include the fact that this product is soy-free and gluten-free (great for thyroid peeps who haven’t found a replacement for soy sauce or other soy- and gluten-derived condiments). The product is also rich in minerals, and essential amino acids that the body requires for muscle rebuilding and nervous system function.

And lastly — Rejuvenate Foods.   I’m a fan of the company and have been eating more of their raw sauerkraut recently, as well as on and off in the past. It’s good; yummy in fact, and I can actually feel a difference within minutes of eating — I feel better, and lighter (physically and mentally). Though, they also offer entire lines of other items, including salsas, kimchi, fermented salads and veggies, and various nut and seed butters. I buy their products at my local health food store.

Which fermented products do you use? Do you have a mental barrier with fermented foods too? Would you consider trying any of these, or other products that are fermented and contain good bacteria?

Until Next Week,

Love Always,

Liz

Also, Quin and Ericka, please email me your shipping info — you were announced as last week’s Shakeology winners, but we haven’t heard from you! Email me your addresses to claim your goodies!

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16 Responses to “How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: Delicious Fermented Foods?

  1. I never thought about fermented foods. This is a great article, Liz. Thanks for writing it.

  2. bitt says:

    I’ve been making my own sauerkraut and it’s really simple to do! never cared for cooked sauerkraut but i like the “live” version.

    thanks for writing about this!

  3. Hypogirl says:

    Liz,
    thanks for writing this article. I eat yogurt every morning now that contain live cultures with Blueberries. I add a small amount of granola because I like the crunch.I also take a probotic with this every day. I feel lighter and more alert like you. I had actually thought of adding more foods with live cultures to my daily food intake. Good article! BTW – did you catch my last Podcast? I talked about my story with Candida.

    Thanks for sharing I enjoy your articles a ton!

  4. LizSchau says:

    Bitt, thanks for your comment. That’s awesome that you make your own. How exactly do you make it?

  5. LizSchau says:

    Hypogirl,

    That’s great that you feel better on fermented foods. I’m upping my dose of them lately and feel so much better.

    And, no!– I didn’t see you had a new podcast. I definitely wanted to listen to that one so I will check it out asap! Such important information about candida… thanks for airing your struggles with it.

    🙂

  6. angela says:

    I have not had good experiences with fermented foods. I wasn’t going to share publicly, because I didn’t want to talk down about something that is good and healthy for most people. But Liz encouraged me to share my experience anyway – she’s so fantastic!

    http://girrlockholmes.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/nourishing-traditions-cultured-dairy-and-to-vsl-or-not-to-vsl/

    This blog entry explains most of the bad things that have happened to me when I try to incorporate fermented foods into my diet – weight gain, digestive distress, fatigue. Because I have SIBO, I don’t think the bacteria in probiotics or in food gets where its supposed to go, and instead I think it exacerbates the problem. There is also the issue of fermentation increasing the amine content of foods – I don’t know if this is part of my problem with kefir or what.

    And yet I’m still unclear and I often want to try again. A lot of people talk about die-off, and I know this is a real phenomenon as I’ve experienced it with antibiotics and butyric acid supplementation. However, after a month of “die-off” I start to wonder if I’m really just experiencing more SIBO instead. No one ever talks about how long “die-off” is supposed to last.

    I have an online support group for other people with SIBO and most of them can’t tolerate fermented foods either. I think its a shame. Personally I’d like to get some relief from my digestive misery every now and then!

  7. LizSchau says:

    Angela, So glad you decided to share this info!! The die-off experiences are very real and painful. And whether that be the reason some people can’t tolerate fermented foods, or something else, it’s important for those to be recognized and validated.

    We will ALL check out your blog, for sure! It’s got such valuable info!! Thanks so much for commenting on this one.

  8. Hypogirl says:

    Angela,
    thanks for coming forward with your story about fermented food. Liz is right. You need to get both sides of the story before anyone makes a decision to do something. Especially with stuff they ingest. I will read your story on your blog.
    Thanks for showing up the flip side. I am sorry to hear of your troubles and hope that you get some comfort.

  9. Lori says:

    Liz,
    Now I am completely confused! In my treatment for Candida overgrowth, the diet I’ve been prescribed by my doctor, excludes all things fermented. I know that in a healthy person, fermented foods are good for balancing gut flora, but I think the reason I was told not to eat it had something to do with the types of yeast/molds, etc. that it encourages. Now I see that you ladies are purposely eating fermented foods in your diet to control candida! Is there a good resource for me to find more info on this? I am trying not to lose my mind in this quest for better health, but just when I think I’m getting a handle on it . . .
    If I do need to consume more fermented products, I see plenty more red wine in my future. LOL JK . . .maybe.

  10. LizSchau says:

    Lori, the deal is this: he is right. He doesn’t want you to eat fermented foods. But he is referring to things that are fermented and FREE of beneficial bacteria. So, he doesn’t want you to eat things like ketchup, mustard, red wine vinegar, alcohol, bread, cheese because those things are all heated and pasteurized to kill good bacteria. The things I’m offering to you here are RAW and unheated, so they are breeding ground for GOOD bacteria. If you consume something fermented that is heated, like ketchup or bread, you’re not getting the good bacteria, you’re only adding fuel to the imbalance fire. Does that make any sense? You want raw, unheated fermented foods to combat candida.

  11. Ciara Maher says:

    Hi guys,
    I have just started out working from home with a business called miessence. They have a certified organic probiotic / fermented product called In liven which sounds like what you are talking about. I haven’t tried it yet but their Berry Radical Antioxidant owder is amazing – like a hot chocolate but with all the benefits of acai, goji, blueberries and more. Here is the link for the InLiven – http://detox4life.mionegroup.com/en/product/15101
    I will try to get more info on it for you. I will also get it out and have a try so I can let you know what it is like. I have been finishing off my Inner Health (not that I ever notice any difference with that) before starting the InLiven. If you are interested you can order it online and it ships internationally at a reasonable rate. They also have a money back guarantee and i think this also applies to the health products (sorry I am still very new to it but have loved all the products I have tried so far AND the fact that there are no hidden nasties!).

  12. Christina says:

    Huh…I have been dealing with the yeast issue for a couple of weeks have been ODing on the Acidcophilus wafers for the past two weeks AND I have been craving pickles. It’s miserable and nasty. I need to put up a sign on the bathroom that says DANGER TOXIC materials dumped here.

  13. Lori C says:

    Wow, I’m a bit behind and trying to catch up on what I’ve missed around here.

    With all the changes I’ve made to my diet, I should have noticed more benefit by now. I know I get very sick if I go off my probiotic so this sounds like something I should learn more about. There just are not enough hours in the day but I think this may be important for me. I know my “gut” was a bit better when I ate yogurt and blueberries everyday but stopped when dairy was bothering me. I do miss it; I love yogurt.

    Thanks Liz. I always look forward to what you will talk about next. It’s always enlightening and I learn more than I ever imagined. I think I need to get a binder. I’m having trouble retaining all this knowledge.

  14. Ciara Maher says:

    Update on the In Liven – you have a spoonful of green powder mixed in with water or juice – it is reasonably palatable given what this gunk is usually like and it definitely does something beacause i have been constipated for days (lost count) and after my first spoonful of this stuff yesterday went twice today (and a lot easier than usual). I have yoghurt and blueberries for breakfast every day – yummo but wasn’t making a heap of difference. InLiven is a certified organic probiotic superfood containing 13 different lactobacilli as well as wheat grass and other stuff. They partially ferment it and bombard it with stressors to kill off the weaker bacteria so only the strong survive! When you ingest it then it ferments away in your gut growing more and bigger colonies of the good bacteria. Worth a try at least – sounds a lot easier and probably cheaper than some of the other stuff you are talking about…..

  15. Lori says:

    Liz,
    Thanks so much for clearing that up. It makes perfect sense!

  16. Alexis says:

    Hi I love your resources for fermented foods. I make mine and sometimes I just want to buy them instead. Great website. Good luck on your journey!

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