Sacred Cows: Can fermented foods make you sick?


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Kombucha. It's a magical fermented health drink that cures everything because it was developed by wise ancient Chinese monks or something. It's fairly tasty once you get used to it, perhaps even delicious and refreshing. It doesn't have much sugar either.

Recently I had been drinking it habitually after finding out the 711 right around the corner carried my favorite flavors. Since I can't have beer anymore (*cries*) except the gluten free kind that tastes awful and a tablespoon of wine makes me blind drunk, Kombucha became my flavorful and refreshing drink of choice.

The problem was that around that same time I started feeling kind of sick in the afternoon. I just couldn't believe my beloved kombucha was the problem, so I initially blamed seasonal allergies.

At some point I looked at my spending habits and figured I shouldn't buy a $4 bottle of kombucha every day. I planned on buying a kombucha starter kit eventually. Miraculously, not only did my pocketbook get heavier, but the afternoon sickness went away.

Lots of people ascribe fairly magical powers to fermented foods and many sick people down barrels of sauerkraut and kefir believing they will provide them health. But we have to remember that people with food sensitivities also often have cross reactions to pretty much EVERYTHING. Yeast is a fairly common sensitivities for those sensitive to gluten, but fermented foods also contain other potentially irritating ingredients like amines and histamine. In the end, while paleolithic people would have probably consumed lots of bacteria and yeasts, modern fermented foods have them in very high amounts. 

So if you are having a problem, don't blame it on "detox." Take a good look at your diet, even at foods you think are healthy. Fermented foods can help heal, but they can also cause reactions.