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Value of fermented foods

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Humans have been fermenting foods to aid in digestion for as far back as we can trace. Primarily they were fermented to improve holding and storing properties of foods. The milk from camels were fermented naturally to produce some of the first yogurts. Stored in goat bags and dropped over the back of camels in the hot deserts of North Africa with temperatures reaching 40C (110F) it was the ideal environment for lactic acid-producing bacteria to go to work. Pickles date back to ancient Egypt and vinegar was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as a digestive aid, and to promote a healthy liver and gallbladder.

Every culture in the world has some form of fermented foods they eat with meals to aid in digestion. It isn’t necessary to eat very much, just enough to provide the proper enzymes to help break down food and make the nutrients available for absorption in the small intestine. Common in Indian, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine are sweet, sour and salty pickles; while in North and Central Europe you will find sauerkraut and, again, pickles; the Mediterranean countries serve a small glass of red wine, cider or beer with meals to provide digestive enzymes.

When foods are fermented the bacteria, yeasts or molds used in the process, predigest the food, meaning they break down the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to create microflora, friendly, life giving bacteria beneficial to the gastrointestinal system. These colonize in your intestines and work to keep the unfriendly intestinal organisms under control, such as yeast, parasites, virus, and unfriendly bacteria. Fermented foods come in many guises, some you might eat on a regular basis, such as aged cheese, beer, and wine, while others can have medicinal qualities that support the immune system and aid in healing the digestive system.

Acidophilus: Lactobacillus Acidophilus is a beneficial micro-flora commonly found in yogurt, kefir and fermented vegetables. It can also be taken in capsule form.

Cultured Vegetables: cultured vegetables are made with a base of shredded cabbage and a few other grated vegetables packed tightly into an airtight ceramic container and fermented for up to a week or more. The process creates an acidic environment for friendly bacteria to reproduce. Korean Kimchi and raw sauerkraut are good examples of this.

Miso: made from either rice, soybeans, barley or chickpeas, miso is a fermented paste aged in wooden kegs for 2 months to 2 years. High in beneficial enzymes, with traces of B-12 and antioxidants, it is said to be helpful in removing radiation from the body. (Maha also enjoys tempeh from time-to-time.)

Pickles: Pickles contain large amounts of lactobacilli bacteria, which are important to the digestion of grains and vegetables. One property common to all pickles is high fiber, which is important to proper intestinal functioning.

Vinegar: specifically apple cider vinegar is rich in beneficial enzymes and used medicinally is said to strengthen the immune system, control weight, promote good digestion, and balance blood pH levels.

-- Delia Quigley
Director of StillPoint Schoolhouse, where she teaches a holistic lifestyle designed to achieve optimal health and well being, based on her 28 years of study, experience and practice. She is the creator of the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, Cooking the Basics videos and classes, and Broken Bodies Yoga. Delia’s credentials include holistic nutritional counselor, natural foods chef, yoga instructor, energy therapist and public speaker.

Quigley is the author of seven books on health and nutrition, including: The Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, The Complete Idiots Guide to Detoxing Your Body, The Everything SuperFoods Book, and Empowering Your Life With Meditation, available on To view her website go to:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KARBIE18 10/2/2009 7:59AM

    Yum! I love pickles, yogurt and sauerkraut!

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    Excellent info! emoticon

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DEUSMACHINA 10/1/2009 7:27PM

    Yummmm. After reading about all that yumminess, I'm feeling peckish.... I might need to go and have a bowl of my lovely home-made yoghurt!

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LYNNANN43 10/1/2009 3:58PM

    Let's hear it for sauerkraut, apple cider & yogurt!

emoticon MAHA for the info!

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SLASALLE 10/1/2009 2:46PM

    Maha - Thanks for additional information on a subject for which I am info-poor - but no longer, thanks to you!

Methinks me love me wine and me yogurt!!!!!

Have an awesome day! Will try you over the weekend, my friend.

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GENKI_WARRIOR 10/1/2009 12:55PM

    yep--a balanced diet provides what we need.

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VALERIEMAHA 10/1/2009 10:16AM

    Hey -- hi yoga buddy!

Notice that Quigley distinguishes between types of fermented foods, saying they "come in many guises, some you might eat on a regular basis, such as aged cheese, beer, and wine" that aid in digestion and then she goes on to list others that "can have medicinal qualities that support the immune system and aid in healing the digestive system."

So pickles aid digestion and yogurt has additional immune-supporting qualities!

Comment edited on: 10/1/2009 11:17:16 AM

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GENKI_WARRIOR 10/1/2009 10:02AM

    hmmm! so, maybe i'll try some pickles and yogurt rather than going for a digestive aid. lol maybe not pickles and yogurt together heh.
interesting :) yaaay microbiology (i do have an A, btw)!

lol in class we were talking about pickles: it is ok to stick your hand in the jar b/c the harmful bacteria from you get dehydrated and die in the juice : )

Comment edited on: 10/1/2009 10:06:40 AM

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let all go dear

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

OK, I'm on a roll here with Joe, who sends me such amazing poems.

So maybe the relationship of this e.e. cummings piece to my physical wellbeing isn't direct and obvious, but we all know, in our heart of hearts, that the body and the mind and the spirit (all housing the heart) have got to be in alignment to have optimal health. And I SO needed this today. So there!


let it go - the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise - let it go it
was sworn to

let them go - the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers - you must let them go they
were born
to go

let all go - the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things - let all go

so comes love

-- e. e. cummings
(Complete Poems 1904-1962)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LADYIRIS313 9/30/2009 9:27PM

    There's such a freeing feeling imparted here. I was just thinking a few moments earlier that 'growing up' takes a life time - so much to learn and feel and do. Thank you for sharing this.

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MAZZYR 9/30/2009 7:37PM


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VICKYWICKY1 9/30/2009 6:30PM

    I raise foster children. Their history is full of painful moments which are exhibited in anger and depression. I have to "let it go" while at the same time being deep within the midst. What a balancing act that has become!

Thank you for your comments on my convention blog. While I didn't get a chance to meet you, I do remember seeing your face and nametag several times. Perhaps next time we will have an opportunity to speak. What an interesting life you've led.


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CARLI_MAE 9/30/2009 1:45PM

    And I thought I'd read all of cumming's poetry! This is really timely, as just this morning I ran into someone I didn't remember meeting in association with some relatives I'd really had no other sane choice but to sadly "let them go" ... but the encounter did kind of stir up some old stuff for me I thought I was rid of. So I thought I'd truly released the remnants of the negative, hurtful peeps, and came home to realize I still have work to do. Dang, dang, quintiple dang! :(

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    "truthful liars and false fair friends" made me smile cuz well, thats just what those naysayers have been and I have said goodbye to all of them! Hope they stay away and I dont invite anymore of that kind in ever again! Course, ya just never know, until they let themselves be known by slip of tongue and slight of hand!

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VAL503 9/30/2009 12:26PM

    Beautiful... thanks, Maha! Just what I needed to read today.

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PEACEFULONE 9/30/2009 11:11AM

    Yes! Striking a chord again as so often happens. Yes, let go, but with forgiveness for them and for ourselves. I wish you peace and light and joy dear Maha. Thank you for being the very special, giving, sharing, luminescence that you are in this world!
"So comes love!"

Comment edited on: 9/30/2009 11:13:33 AM

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LYNNANN43 9/30/2009 10:22AM



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SPIRITRUN 9/30/2009 9:32AM

    That was a timely post / poem for me to read. Thank-you for posting. That was a meaningful coincidence that you posted that today and I read it...
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KUZINKEITH 9/30/2009 9:11AM

    I'm having a VERY hard time letting go of my hatred for liars right now. I've got to get past it, or a BIG DEPRESSION is coming.

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Can You Imagine?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What if imagination and art are not frosting at all, but the fountainhead of human experience?
-- Rollo May
(The Courage to Create)

Oh how poetry can speak to my soul! I'm going through a "Dark Night" and Mary Oliver's statement of the tree, "surely you can't imagine patience and happiness like that" speaks deeply to me. My journey to wellness is so intertwined with finding that place of patience and happiness within:


For example, what the trees do
not only in lightening storms
or the watery dark of a summer's night
or under the white nets of winter
but now, and now, and now - whenever
we're not looking. Surely you can't imagine
they don't dance, from the root up, wishing
to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting
a better view, or more sun, or just as avidly
more shade - surely you can't imagine they just
stand there loving every
minute of it, the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings
of the years slowly and without a sound
thickening, and nothing different unless the wind,
and then only in its own mood, comes
to visit, surely you can't imagine
patience, and happiness, like that.

-- Mary Oliver
(Long Life)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LADYIRIS313 9/30/2009 9:29PM

    Luv luv luv Mary Oliver - Thank you for sharing this...and my artist friends would surely appreciate the not 'frosting' notion! I'll have to share.

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STILLPOINT 9/29/2009 4:18PM

    Mary Oliver's poetry is truly the fountainhead of human experience. It's good that she gives you solace on a dark night. Thank you for sharing Maha, it's beautiful and so are you.


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MISS_VIV 9/29/2009 3:05PM

    Peace and tranquility follow and lead you wherever you go. You are truly blessed.

Thank you for sharing.

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LYNNANN43 9/29/2009 11:45AM

    What a beautiful poem!



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NORLANA 9/29/2009 11:37AM

    This is a beautiful and soothing poem. Thank you for sharing.

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JNEUBS 9/29/2009 10:29AM

    I am continually amazed by how fortunate I am to have you in my life!

ChiTown Jeff
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 9/29/2009 10:28AM

    emoticonI have often wondered why they dont uproot and dance around! Perhaps they do when I am not looking!

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SWIFTSEATURTLE 9/29/2009 10:18AM

    You and Gail introduced me to Mary Oliver. Sorry you're going through a dark night. emoticon

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KUZINKEITH 9/29/2009 10:00AM

    I can imagine it now, thanks to that lovely poem ... and would love to have even 10% of the patience of a tree.
Keep the great poetry coming, dear Maha.

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Change rooms in your mind....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Just back from the KY SparkProgram and here's what I have to say:


Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadows and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.
Make a new water-mark on your excitement
And love.

Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.

Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire

While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of

-- Hafiz
(The Subject Tonight is Love - versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKARINO 9/29/2009 10:48AM

    Your blog title 'change rooms in your mind' really hit me because yesterday while doing my few minutes of 'quiet sitting and breathing', for a moment -- just a moment -- I had a change in awareness and it was as if I had stepped into another room -- an amazing moment of clarity. The poem draws me toward more of those moments...Thank you for sharing it.

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GBOOMER 9/29/2009 6:20AM

    Nice poem! I usually don't "do" poetry, but this one attracted me.

Take care, Maha.

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DRAGONFLY7149 9/29/2009 2:21AM

    Overflowing with gratitude for this, Maha -- thank you, thank you, thank you!


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CJROMB 9/28/2009 10:30PM

    Beautiful. Thanx for sharing this. I needed this today, that's for sure.

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NORLANA 9/28/2009 10:17PM

    This is beautiful MAHA!

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KUZINKEITH 9/28/2009 9:26PM

    A thousand selves ... and a thousand homes ... may there be PEACE in each and every one.



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TEE803 9/28/2009 8:40PM

    Aw...this is great Maha!

And might I say it was FABULOUS meeting you in person? You are even more awesome in person than you are online!

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ZORAHGAIL 9/28/2009 8:09PM

    Love it!

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    I love the picture and the poem.

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DOKEYOKEY 9/28/2009 7:05PM

    Thank you, Maha!


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LUCY419 9/28/2009 6:34PM

    This is exactly what i need... think outside the box.. to get close to the inner self, in touch with potential for true happiness and inner peace! Your Blog is very enlightening, Thank you ! Hugs... lucy

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CARLI_MAE 9/28/2009 5:46PM

    What a cool site! I know I'm a bit dense at times, but is this what the Spark Convention inspired in you, or was it the road trip there and back? I know you do get off on those road trips! :)

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DEUSMACHINA 9/28/2009 5:35PM


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PEACEFULONE 9/28/2009 5:27PM


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MISS_VIV 9/28/2009 5:27PM

    absolutely beautiful.


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JNEUBS 9/28/2009 4:59PM

    Both insightful and blissful!

Thanks for sharing!

May you enjoy happiness and the root of happiness!

ChiTown Jeff emoticon emoticon

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TENAJ99 9/28/2009 4:58PM

  I like it.

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A Macrobiotic Approach to Good Health

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This is such a thoughtful and thought-provoking article, so worth reflecting upon...I decided to leave it for myself and others here who may want to consider it further, as I turn my computer off and prepare to depart for the two-day road trip to the SparkConvention. Loves me those road trips!


A Macrobiotic Approach to Good Health
by Delia Quigley

So often the meaning of good health is equated with lack of sickness. According to Macrobiotic principles, health encompasses a much broader scope of qualities and is not just about avoiding disease. Spiritual wellness requires that we know our Self on a deeper level of consciousness, mental health is knowing our purpose in life and the joy we bring to living that purpose, physical health is intimately entwined with our relationship to the earth, the way we grow our food, how we honor the environment and treat all life and living creatures.

The modern technologies we created were meant to provide us with more time to relax, be with loved ones, take care of ourselves and reduce stress. Instead, those technologies have only placed more burden on our shoulders. We now need more time to work longer hours to earn less money to grab time to relax for a few minutes each day. It is easy to get out of touch with our body, feeding it quick meals without slowing down and chewing each mouthful. It is not until there is pain, fever or exhaustion do some people see a doctor and receive medical care. But what if there was a way to assess your health by observing certain conditions that would alert you to any changes?

In The Book of Macrobiotics, The Universal Way of Health and Happiness, founder and author Michio Kushi outlines 7 conditions for optimal health, which I have condensed for your perusal:

1. Lack of Fatigue: Health means we should be able to adapt to whatever the day brings us without feeling overly fatigued. After a long day of work, it is natural to feel tired, but recovery should require a short rest or good nights sleep. We should be physically and mentally alert and prepared to respond to ever changing events with energy and a spirit of adventure.

2. Good Appetite: Appetite here means for food, sex, activity, knowledge, work, experience, health, freedom and happiness. The bigger the appetite, the richer the life. Lack of appetite slows progress and reduces our enjoyment for life. The caution here is moderation, as over-satisfaction reduces appetite and eventually slows down our life activity.

3. Good Sleep: Sleep should be deep and restful. This happens after a day of energetic physical and mental activity. Cloudy or fragmented dreams or nightmares, are all a sign of physical and mental unrest. When the mind and body are healthy, dreams can be interpreted as corresponding to real circumstances and are respected as insight into our lives.

4. Good Memory: Memory is the mother of our judgment. Without memory of what we have experienced, we have no judgment or ability to evaluate life's changing circumstances. Good memory is essential to a meaningful life.

5. Lack of Anger: Anger shows limitation, lack of patience and an inability to make an effort to understand. In one Asian translation of its written characters anger means an "acute sickness of the liver". Good health shows a willingness to accept circumstances with a smile, to make friends of an enemy, and resolve difficult moments in peaceful ways.

6. Be Joyous and Alert: Life calls on us to be active and alert to our surroundings and respond to each moment with joy and good humor. A joy filled life inspires those around us and is the natural result of good health.

7. Have Endless Appreciation: We are healthy when we experience appreciation for the order of the universe and for all phenomena manifesting within this universe. We receive life's bounty with endless gratitude, and we respond by giving with generosity.

Delia Quigley is the Director of StillPoint Schoolhouse, where she teaches a holistic lifestyle designed to achieve optimal health and well being, based on her 28 years of study, experience and practice. She is the creator of the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, Cooking the Basics videos and classes, and Broken Bodies Yoga. Delia's credentials include holistic nutritional counselor, natural foods chef, yoga instructor, energy therapist and public speaker.

Quigley is the author of seven books on health and nutrition, including:The Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, The Complete Idiots Guide to Detoxing Your Body, The Everything SuperFoods Book, and Empowering Your Life With Meditation, available on To view her website go to:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NORLANA 9/27/2009 10:17AM

    Thank you Maha for this very insightful and inspirational blog and for yet another "lead" for me to explore in my journey. I will check out her info.

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GOODHEALTH4EVER 9/25/2009 7:07PM



emoticon emoticon L.

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4DANCINGCATS 9/24/2009 9:51PM

    Very helpful and insightful.
thank you
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WILDFLOWER- 9/24/2009 3:15PM

    Thank you for sharing such an insightful article & webpage. It's much appreciated.

Be Peaceful. Shine On. emoticon

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BIKE82X 9/24/2009 1:46PM

    Thank you for sharing that. There are many good thoughts in the article.


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THECITYMOUSE 9/24/2009 10:21AM

    I love that you shared this with us...awesome, non tedious, thought provoking read.


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MAZZYR 9/24/2009 10:12AM


Have a safe trip, dear Maha.


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PEACEFULONE 9/24/2009 10:00AM


Excellent information and more at the website!

Enjoy your trip and please keep us informed of the activities at the convention.

Peace and blessings always, Elaine

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JNEUBS 9/24/2009 9:41AM

    Thanks Maha! Once again inspirational!

Safe travels!

Peace from within to you!

ChiTown Jeff
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REBCCA 9/24/2009 9:40AM

    Thanks for posting this Maha,
Wonderful to have it for easy reference! emoticon
Great information!

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