"While we are providing the microbes a home, they are providing us with additional enzymes, minerals, vitamins and other metabolites..."
Hello and welcome to my page! I am so glad you have made it here. I have so much to share with you about the wonderful benefits of cultured foods. Firstly, let me introduce myself...
Who is Kimmy?
I am a fun-loving passionate health coach with a background in scientific research. I am excited to share my knowledge and inspire anyone who wants to take that step toward optimal health and wellness.
On a serious note, I have two university degrees and it was during my studies that I discovered the importance of probiotics. In particular the fact you can use favorable microbes to outcompete unfavorable bacteria and yeasts without the use of drugs and chemicals. Sure, you might think “ok Kimmy that’s related to the aquatic environment”, however the scientific principals and understanding of microbes apply to us as well.
On a personal note, I am currently travelling around Australia, solo, in my trusty four wheel drive. You might find me climbing mountains, swimming at secluded beaches or chasing waterfalls in the forests and gorges that cut through this beautifully diverse and vast country of ours. If you are interested in following my travels check out www.takemeworldwide.com also on Facebook and Instagram. Although it is tough to ferment in the car, I have managed to continue my healthy diet and lifestyle during my travels whilst also indulging in the seasonal and local delights of the area I find myself in.
What are Kimmy’s credentials?
As mentioned, I have a science background with a Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology) and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Aquaculture) from James Cook University in beautiful tropical North Queensland, Townsville, Australia. I have been working as a microbiologist since 2007, and previous employment includes genetic and nutritional research with the Australian Institute of Marine Science, CSIRO, and Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries.
My interest in science and health has driven me to become a qualified health coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. My professional research background has me accustomed to sifting through papers, books, online literature and other resources to find the best answers to troubling health issues, and to discover the best ways to achieve great health that can be applied to each unique individual.
I am a big advocate on preventative health and using food as medicine.
In seeking optimal health, my journey has lead me here, to fermented food. I believe that our microbiome combined with epigenetics (external factors that influence gene expression) are the pinnacle of health and wellness with our current scientific knowledge.
My mission is to share this knowledge and bring health to as many of you as possible so that you may live your best life through optimal health.
This is why I created Cultured Kimmy.
Why cultured food?
Through my own research and much experimenting over the past five years I have learned the ancient, and until recently, largely forgotten practice of fermenting foods.
Intended as a food preservation method and used by civilizations all over the world, fermentation of food is not a new ‘food fad’. Before we had fridges and freezers, vacuum sealers and dehydrators, pasteurization and preservatives, the newly settled hunters and gatherers started fermenting to preserve food and prevent the spoiling of newly harvested crops in their more agricultural based society. Evidence of fermentation dates back to the Neolithic era about 7000 years ago and the cultural heritage of virtually all civilisations include fermented foods; in fact, traditionally it is rare to eat a meal without them.
The act of preservation occurs like this:
Microbes digest the carbohydrates and sugars present in fresh produce
This produces acids which create an unfavorable environment for unfavorable microbes that potentially cause spoilage and produced toxins
As the conditions are not optimal for unfavourable microbes, these do not survive and multiply
We are left with produce that is preserved without chemicals and heat treatment.
Luckily for us there are a myriad of other health benefits as well. Fermented foods are a powerful probiotic that contain many more species and higher concentrations of beneficial bacteria than a commercial probiotic capsule. Many people are not aware that your gut houses approximately 85% of your immune system due to the 100 trillion bacteria (400 species) that reside there. They outnumber our own cells 10:1!!! While we are providing the microbes a home, they are providing us with additional enzymes, minerals and vitamins, assisting in digestion and absorption of our food, regulating hormones, controlling cravings, aiding in detoxification and preventing disease.
If all of these benefits are not enough, I might just mention that they are delicious!!! You would be surprised how easily they may be incorporated into the foods and meals you know and love.
Fermented/ cultured/ probiotic… what does all this mean?
Fermentation is the metabolic process by which microorganisms digest sugars and results in the production of acids, gas and alcohol. If food stuffs have undergone this chemical change they have been fermented, just like the way grapes are fermented to produce wine.
Biologically speaking, to culture a microorganism is to grow it in, or on, a controlled medium. We can therefore say that by fermenting foods we are culturing or growing microbes.
Probiotics are live microbes in food or supplements that replace or add to the beneficial micro environment of the gastrointestinal tract. Probiotic literally means “for life”.
What are fermented foods?
Fermented foods are often based on vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains and legumes. Think cheese, yoghurt, breads, wine, beer, miso, soy sauce, pickles, chutneys, relishes, kimchi, and sauerkraut or any food that has been changed by this metabolic process of beneficial microbes.
How do you make them?
There are many methods of fermenting foods. Basically it involves adding microorganisms to food and leaving them at room temperature or a specific temperature for a period of time to allow them to digest the food. Depending on what you are fermenting and how long you are fermenting it for, this might change the consistency of the food i.e. make it softer and it will also change the taste. The taste of fermented foods is best described as umami. Umami is Japanese and translates as “pleasant savory taste”. It is one of the five basic tastes along with sweet, salty, sour and bitter.
How do they benefit me?
Microbes predigest these foods providing us with additional enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and many other metabolites, assisting in digestion and absorption of our food, regulating hormones, controlling cravings, aiding in detoxification and preventing disease.
Do I have to eat like this all the time?
It is more beneficial to have fermented foods with every meal as the probiotics in these foods will assist in the digestion absorption and assimilation of your non fermented foods. However, some is better than none so just try and incorporate fermented foods as much as you can. You will be surprised how easy it is to add them to every meal. Also listen to your gut, if you find yourself craving fermented foods eat them, if you don't feel like them, have a day or two off.
How can I get the best benefits from fermented foods?
Fermented foods are best eaten without cooking them or without heat applied as this will kill the microbes. If you cook them you will still get the benefits of fermented foods minus the probiotics.
Can I really make them at home? Will they be safe to eat?
Yes it really is easy. Most of the ferments take place at room temperature.
If your food has not undergone the proper fermentation process and has become contaminated it will be obvious, foul smelling and unpalatable.
If Neolithic man could do it, I believe you can too!!!
Why choose fermented foods over modern pickled or pasteurized foods?
Pasteurized foods have been heat treated to kill microbes. This process is obviously non selective and kills beneficial microbes as well as non-beneficial microbes. It also destroys many enzymes, vitamins and minerals in our food.
Modern pickling involves pasteurization and then the addition of salt and vinegar to create an acidic environment which prevents the growth of microbes that may spoil the food. In fermented foods the beneficial microbes are encouraged to grow, producing the acids that discourage growth of unfavorable microbes.
What are some of your favorite recipes?
Where do I start!!! I’m a sucker for desserts. Coconut yogurt forms the basis of most of my recipes so I will have to say coconut yoghurt is my favourite for versatility. I really cannot go past my Kim Chi though... it really is delicious!!!
Will my kids like fermented foods?
The good thing about fermented foods is that we can incorporate it into the foods you know and love. You will be amazed at how it can be disguised… the kids may never know!!! I still want you to enjoy your favourite foods… I just want you to enjoy healthier versions of these.
Do fermented foods contain alcohol?
Alcohol is a byproduct of sugar fermentation so yes there is alcohol in fermented foods. The alcohol content is usually very low and may not even be more than a piece of ripe fruit.