Fermented foods are an important part of a healthy balanced diet because they are extremely rich in enzymes, predigested protein, and lactobacillus bacteria.
In a healthy person, enzymes are manufactured by the body. It is thought that aging occurs because the body loses the ability to synthesize new enzymes, often setting the stage for disease. People known for longevity — the Hunzas, Georgians in Russia — used many different fermented foods daily, such as yogurt, sour dough bread, kefir, soured vegetables, sauerkraut and sour pickles. The Hunzas enjoyed drinking wine, naturally fermented. These people rarely had digestion problems.
According to Dr. Kuhl, a German researcher:
“The natural lactic acid and fermentative 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 better digestion and assimilation of the nutrients. Fermented foods can be considered predigested foods — they are easily digested and assimilated even by persons with weak digestive organs. Fermented foods improve the intestinal tract and provide a proper environment for the body’s own vitamin production within the intestines. They also help a person with constipation problems.
(Ed. Note: People who are lactose intolerant can often tolerate fermented dairy product, such as yogurt, kefir, etc., because they are predigested and, thus, more easily metabolized.)
Rejuvelac — the Enzyme Drink
Rejuvelac is an easily homemade drink that puts into your body the enzymes cooked food doesn’t. Enzymes help friendly bacteria such as lactobacillus bifidus to grow. Lactobacillus in turn gives off lactic acid, a natural astringent, which helps your large intestine maintain its natural, healthy, vitamin-producing environment. This leads to a clean colon where sludge does not collect on colon walls, and where harmful, disease-producing bacteria are unable to survive.
Rejuvelac is a pre-digested food — the proteins are broken down into amino acids, the carbohydrates into simple sugars (dextrines and saccharines). These nutrients are readily assimilated by your body with little expenditure of energy. Rejuvelac is extremely rich in eight of the B vitamins, as well as Vitamin E and K.
Rejuvelac has a pleasant, thirst-quenching taste. Drink as much as you like in between meals to flush the system out and help cleanse the intestinal tract.
How to Make It
For approximately 3 cups, you’ll need:
– 1 cup organic whole grains (soft wheat berries, millet, rye, brown rice, barley, etc.)
– 3 cups pure water (preferably distilled)
– a container, e.g., a wide-mouthed glass jar, a ceramic or stainless steel bowl
- Soak the grains in the water for 48 hours. (You can place a plate or towel over the top of the jar or bowl.)
- After 48 hours, pour off the rejuvelac. Drink for that day or store in a jar. It doesn’t have to be refrigerated, but if it is, it will keep several days.
- Pour another 2 cups water over the grains. Allow to ferment only 24 hours before pouring off.
- Repeat another 24 hour cycle, so that the grains are soaked a total of 3 times.
A dark quiet place is ideal for setting your jar or bowl. The temperature of the fermenting environment is important. Warmer temperatures will shorten fermenting times. In the summer, try soaking the seed 36 hours to start, then 16 hours instead of 24. Let ferment to your taste. It should be tart, not sour.
Adapted from Recipes for Longer Life by Ann Wigmore.