FERMENTED FOODS & Paleo
I've been getting a lot of inquiries recently about my position on eating fermented foods and whether or not they're paleo.
This sometimes leads to an email exchange in which readers ask why or how I can be opposed to fermented foods when other Paleo experts promote them, and when certain cultures and civilizations have used them for their touted health benefits for ages.
To clarify, when I respond to the question "Is X food Paleo?", I'm responding to that question, NOT whether millions of ancient peoples who may have been eating Kim Chi or drinking Kombucha for their purported health benefits were "wrong"!
Most fermented foods contain active yeast. (Wine does not, as even though yeast is used in production, the final product typically has too high an alcohol content for yeast cells to thrive in).
The body naturally has a healthy balance of yeast and good bacteria living in the gut which serves to protect us from the 'bad' bacteria that we may encounter.
Eating a healthy diet (PALEO) supports intestinal health, the health of the entire GI tract and that of the whole body, for that matter.
Just as one wouldn't want to throw the balance of anything off in their body, so, too, would they not intentionally want to cause the delicate balance of naturally ocurring bacteria in their body to be 'off'.
I do not see a need for a healthy Paleo person with a healthy GI tract and proper digestion to include fermented products as a 'must have' on a daily basis.
At the same time, I can see why their use could be indicated in homeopathic treatment of certain maladies and would support that before going straight to a Western Med based 'pill' as step # 1.
As a rule of thumb:
JUST EAT FRESH PALEO FOOD
if, on occasion, a treatment or remedy of some sort is needed, then entertain 'extras' to support your body's natural ability to fight off whatever it may need to.