Practicing Zymology

October 8, 2018



Are you dabbling in it yet? For those who haven't heard this term, zymology is the science of fermentation. Gut health has certainly been a hot topic among health experts, educators and practitioners the last few years as more and more connections are being made between gut health and the immune system as well as the gut-brain connection. Likewise, fermented foods and drinks are becoming "all the rage." I'm happy to say, though, that unlike many "health" food trends, fermented foods truly are the real deal. However, they are certainly not new. Fermentation has been practiced for thousands of years, spanning many different cultures. 


Some of the most common fermented foods and drinks include milk kefir, yogurt, kombucha tea, lacto-fermented vegetables, beet kvass, kimchi and sauerkraut, sourdough bread, home-brewed beer, and natural wine made with only native yeast fermentation. Personally, I have dabbled in making milk kefir, kombucha and sourdough bread. There is something very fulfilling about fermenting at home. Seriously, the end product is always so satisfying. Perhaps this is because fermentation requires patience and attention--a true labor of love. This Thursday, for our weekly Healthy Living Education class, local fermentation expert Kim Fyfe will be leading her DIY Kefir and Kombucha class. If you're curious about fermenting and haven't attended, this is a must. It is one of our most popular classes and Kim is a very valuable resource for newbies.


What is it exactly that makes fermented foods/drinks so good for the gut? Micro-organisms like beneficial bacteria that live in the digestive tract are the most celebrated reason as research continues to support the benefits of probiotics. However, it is important to ensure that what you're consuming is truly "naturally fermented" if you want to get the value. Most pickles, for example, are fermented using vinegar, which means they don't contain probiotics. The best way to get the most out of fermented foods is to do the fermenting yourself. I'll say it again :) Kim's class is a must.


In November, I'll be leading a GF sourdough bread class as well for those curious about making fermented bread. This is something I just started back up after taking a 5+ year break since we eliminated gluten from our home. I used to love making bread boules with organic spelt that I had ground into flour myself. Breadmaking was like therapy for me. I loved it. So, when we had to transition to a gluten free house I bitterly sold my wheat grain mill, threw away all my bread making utensils and assumed that phase of life was over. Fastforward to this summer. After eating a few times at Cafe Mir and eyeing their organic sourdough bread with envy, I decided to begin researching how to make gluten free sourdough starter. After finding a no-added-starch flour blend, I began fermenting. It took about 10 days for me to get an active starter and an additional 3-4 days before I made a decent loaf of sourdough. But, it worked! Of course it was not exactly like the wheat sourdough I had made in the past, but it was good. I'm continuing to perfect it so that I can share more tips and tricks on November 8th for the class.


Perhaps DIY is not your thing. I'll admit it, it often isn't for me. There are things that I've just decided are better to buy already made. Sometimes time is just not available. So, for those of you who fall into that category, you're in luck. At Simply Nourished we carry already made water kefir, kombucha teas, kimchi and sauerkraut. And (although the probiotic value is not the reason why I'm suggesting this) we will also be carrying natural wine beginning in November. I will never suggest wine as a health food. However, I do feel very strongly that if you enjoy drinking wine you should take some time to evaluate what you're ingesting. Here are 5 things you probably did not know about wine (meaning wine that does not meet Natural Wine standards):


5. Mega Purple additive is likely being added to over 25 million bottles of wine annually


4. Sugar is often added prior to fermentation to increase the alcohol content


3. Inexpensive wines are flavored with oak chips or staves to avoid aging the wine naturally


2. Grapes used to make wine are often heavily sprayed with pesticides and fungicides


1. Synthetic yeasts and (in conventional wines) sulfites up to 350ppm are used in the wine making process


We are very excited to be bringing Natural Wine to North Iowa at our Simply Nourished Wine Loft, which will feature only 100% organic and natural wines. The Loft will open just before Thanksgiving. We are also facilitating a Wine of the Month Club, which will launch this month. In fact, the deadline to sign up is this Saturday. The Annual Wine of the Month Club includes:

  • 1 bottle of natural wine each month for 1 year

  • A producer profile, tasting notes and a recipe pairing with each bottle

  • 2 complimentary tickets to Tasting Events (events will be held monthly)

  • 5% OFF every retail wine purchase made for the subscription year

  • Priority sign up for every Tasting Event

We currently have 12 spots remaining. If you're interested in signing up, send us an email or stop in during Simply Nourished business hours. We are open Monday through Friday 10-6 and Saturday 10-4. And, don't forget to let us know if you plan to attend the Kefir & Kombucha class this Thursday.

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