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Fun With Fermentation

Cultivating Friendly Bacteria for Healing Our Guts Naturally

by Sylva Sheridan, CNP RSS

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kombucha contain healthy bacteria to recolonize the gut

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kombucha contain healthy bacteria to recolonize the gut

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"The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food."  ~ Hippocrates

Over 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates, known as the ‘Father of Western Medicine’, laid the foundation for nutritional medicine when he affirmed its key role in both wellness and disease. Today, the role of healing foods is widely acknowledged as fundamental in both preventing and even treating disease. To professional nutritionists, the therapeutic use of whole foods is an art. It is power. It is knowledge.

Modern research by medical and naturopathic doctors such as Joel Fuhrman, Mark Hyman, Josh Axe, and others is being published regularly to ensure that the most current information is being transmitted to the public. Dr. Michael Murray, ND, co-author of The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods and The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, recommends seven key principles for an optimal healthy diet:
1) Eat a rainbow assortment of fruits and vegetables;
2) Reduce your exposure to pesticides;
3) Eat to regulate your blood sugar;
4) Do not overconsume meat and other animal foods;
5) Eat the right types of fats;
6) Keep your salt intake low and potassium intake high;
7) Drink significant amounts of water each day.

Nutritional Approach to Digestive Disorders

Digestive disorders are common issues that not only cause discomfort, but can lead to a multitude of health concerns. As practitioners using holistic nutrition strategies, we believe that symptoms such as gas, bloating, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and nausea may be wreaking havoc in the gut, yet the effects are systemic and can affect the whole body. For example, irritable bowel syndrome is a functional disorder of digestion that arises from the interplay of digestive secretions, bacterial flora, and dietary factors.
Holistic nutrition works to turn the clock backward with a mindset based on prevention. We look for a nutritional approach when it comes to alleviating digestive problems, by using strategies such as:
– increasing consumption of fresh water with lemon squeezed in;
– consuming a teaspoon of unpasteurized, organic, apple cider vinegar in water before meals to aid digestion;
– avoiding red meat and dairy which create mucus and clog up digestive organs;
– combining foods properly so that digestive juices are optimized (i.e. do not combine protein and carbohydrates at the same meal);
– consuming probiotic-rich foods and supplements to increase the population of healthy bacteria in the intestines.

In order for change to occur, holistic nutritionists take an approach known as the 4Rs:
• REMOVE (poor food, allergens, and pathogens);

• REPLACE (balancing the pH of the stomach through hydrochloric acid, bile, digestive enzymes, fibre, and water);

• RE-INOCULATE (the introduction of nutritional and supplemental probiotics to re-colonize the intestinal lining with friendly bacteria);

• REPAIR (the introduction of specific supplements that are used based on biochemical individuality. Biochemical individuality is a term coined by David Rowland, one of the foremost experts in holistic nutrition, and is indicative of the unique biochemistry and physiological differences of each of us.)

When looking at the stages of a digestive healing protocol, re-inoculation stands apart. Re-colonizing the intestinal lining is an integral part of digestive healing. The 100 trillion microorganisms that are commonly present in and on our bodies comprise our normal floral or microbiota. Normal flora do not harm us; in some cases they help us by preventing the overgrowth of harmful microorganisms and by producing vitamins.

Nutritionally, there are numerous foods that can support a healthy gut. For example, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha contain probiotics and other bacterial cultures to recolonize the intestinal lining. Raw cultured dairy such as kefir also contains natural probiotics to promote a healthy gut lining.


This is a snapshot of various elements relating to digestive healing. The hope is that this article will serve to encourage you to explore the wonders of a natural and nutritional approach to health and wellness. We live in challenging, stressful, but exciting times. Taking control of your health is empowering. It is exhilarating. Knowledge is power. We are honoured to join you in your continued journey.

The Institute of Holistic Nutrition has four campuses:
• Head office in Toronto, located at 18 Wynford Dr., Suite #514, North York, Telephone: (416) 386-0940;
• In Mississauga, 55 City Centre Drive, Suite 701, Telephone: (905) 615-9090;
• In Ottawa, Emerald Plaza, 1547 Merivale Rd. Suite 430, Nepean, Telephone: (613) 680-9330;
• In Vancouver, 604 West Broadway, Suite 300, Telephone: (604) 558-4000.
For information on their upcoming Open Houses, see ad on page 19 of this issue. And to get more information visit their website at:

Visit the Institute of Holistic Nutrition at Whole Life Expo 2016, where they will be answering questions and explaining their programs at booth #241 on October 21, 22, 23. As well, IHN will be sponsoring a speaker named Paul Demeda, Holistic Nutritionist and CNP, who will give a talk entitled: “How to Improve Your Life by Reducing the Toxins in Your Home and Body”, on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 11:30 am to 12:15 pm.  (Admission included with $15 Weekend Lecture – Pass admits one to over 80 lectures on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). For more information visit: or see Showguide in October issue of Vitality.

Homemade sauerkraut needs a minimum of five days to properly ferment

View the full printable recipe

Nutritionally, there are numerous foods that can support a healthy gut. For example, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha contain probiotics and other bacterial cultures to recolonize the intestinal lining. Raw cultured dairy such as kefir also contains natural probiotics to promote a healthy gut lining.


  • 1 head of cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup organic, unpasteurized, apple cider vinegar
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp sea salt
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups water
Fermented Kombucha’s enzyme-rich properties are wonderfully restorative to the digestive system

View the full printable recipe

(Recipe by Dr. Joel Villeneuve, ND)
Kombucha (pronounced kom-BOO-cha) is a modern power food which has its origins in China where it was originally made from Chinese tea. This tea was prepared and left to ferment for 30 days, during which time a type of magic happened. Essential nutrients, including active enzymes, probiotics, amino acids, antioxidants, and polyphenols appeared as a result of the fermentation process.


  • 16 cups water, filtered
  • 8 tea bags or 2 Tbsp of loose tea
  • 1 cup sugar, organic (I know, not to worry, as most of this is used up during the fermentation process) or raw honey; or even stevia
  • 1 scoby disc per fermentation jar or make your own
  • Infusions of choice: 1 – 2 cups fruit, chopped;
  • 2 – 3 cups fruit juice, unsweetened;
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp flavoured tea (like Earl Grey);
  • 1/4 cup honey, raw;
  • 2 – 4 Tbsp fresh herbs or spices (ginger works well)

View the full printable recipe

(Recipe by Joy McCarthy CNP, RNCP, Copyright: Joyous Health)
While not fermented foods per se, sprouted hemp and chia seeds do contain protein to help repair the digestive tract. Joy McCarthy’s Chia Pudding is simple, delicious, nutritious.


  • 1 banana
  • 2-1/2 cups fresh or frozen berries
  • 1 cup coconut milk or almond milk
  • 3/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


Article Tags: probiotics, microbiota, sauerkraut, sylva sheridan, chia berry pudding, healthy bacteria, institute of holistic nutrition, kombucha recipe, bacteria in the gut, sauerkraut recipe

About the Author

More Articles by Sylva Sheridan, CNP

Sylva Sheridan, CNP

Sylva Sheridan, CNP, is a graduate of the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, the Industry Leader in Training Nutrition Professionals. He is currently employed by IHN as the Administrative Coordinator, Program Advisor, & Student Clinic Coordinator of the Ottawa Campus. As a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, he hopes to build a practice specializing in pediatric respiratory management. For questions about IHN, or to gain further information regarding the content of this article, contact him at (613) 680-9330 or email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).