Cultured Food – Donna Schwenk
Feed your body with cultured food and have a healthy lifestyle. We have been taught that bacteria is bad. However, we don’t realize that everyone of us is actually made of bacteria. It is what keeping us well each day.
Donna Schwenk is a cultured food expert and author of the two best-selling books, Cultured Food for Life and Cultured Food for Health. On this episode, she shares her story of how cultured food changed everything for her and her family. She educates us how important it is to integrate cultured food to our meals. She shares how cultured food will not only change our body, but your entire life.
Cultured foods were a way for people to preserve their food and keep it safe when they didn’t have refrigeration for many years ago.
Cultured foods are not heated. They preserve the probiotics in them.
Cultured foods have billions and billions of microorganisms that enhance the vitamins that are in the food.
We are all made of a hundred trillion bacteria that is mostly keeping us well. Ninety-nine percent of the bacteria inside of us is healthy or harmless and without it, we wouldn’t even be able to breathe.
Eating cultured foods enhances these bacteria and allows your body to do the many things it’s supposed to do.
Cultured foods have so much good bacteria that keeps put pathogens and keeps the environment safe.
Botulism is a scientific impossibility when you’re culturing vegetables.
Cultured foods are epic foods. They go beyond superfoods because they have these living organisms.
Different strains of bacteria set up these little camps and they need large numbers to grow and multiply and do their job.
50% of your detoxification is happening in your gut with your hormones. Your body is detoxing itself through the gut.
Bacteria is actually an intelligence that communicates with the brain to tell you how to respond to things.
You don’t need to eat massive amounts of cultured food.
You have to feed the strains of bacteria prebiotic foods and prebiotic foods are fruits and vegetables. Not seeds and grains, oaks, legumes.
Bacteria feeds on that fiber that we can’t digest and grows and multiplies.
The prebiotic foods are just as important as the probiotic foods.
Probiotic foods give you the strains that many of us have killed through antibiotic use or even diet can kill like high-processed foods.
Prebiotics to make bacteria strains grow:
- A cup or two of Kefir a day
- Few spoonful or half a cup of krauts
- 8-16 oz of Kombucha fermented tea
It’s not true that you need to drink Kombucha or Kefir with food.
Kombucha has a special bacteria called Saccharomyces boulardii, and it’s one of the most researched and strongest probiotics in the world today.
Kombucha works so well because coats the intestinal lining and keeps out pathogens. It acts like a pathogen and attracts pathogens to it. When the pathogen gets to it, it kills it.
Kombucha is cannot be killed by antibiotics.
Kombucha only lasts in the body for 2-3 days.
Kefir is also known as the champagne of yogurt. It takes 5 minutes to make it.
To make cultured vegetables:
- First, you need to chop vegetables.
- Then, put them in a jar.
- Next, cover it with water.
- Put it in a culture.
- Let it ferment.
- Lastly, stick them in the fridge where they’ll last up to 9 months.
Cultured foods last a long, long time in your fridge because they’re preserved and when you eat them, they preserve you.
When you have a baby and you’re nursing, you should eat cultured foods and your baby will get it.
This not just about you getting healthy, this is about affecting the world around you because as you ingest this foods and you get healthier, you literally take it with you and you give it to the people surrounding you.
The immune system destroys these viruses and pathogens that come into your body but only if you feed and take care of it.
Some benefits from eating cultured foods:
- Can cure food allergies and asthma
- Normalize blood sugar
- Improve kidney functions
- Boosts immunity
The bacteria are here in us for a reason. They’re here to help us live a healthy life as long as we take care of them.
When bacteria eat fiber, they grow and multiply, and reduce your blood sugar and inflammation which makes you less hungry.
Changing what you eat will not just change your body. It will change your entire life because you feel good. When you feel good, you do good and change everybody around you.
What Is Cultured Food
Can one little tablespoon change your life? We’re going to talk about cultured food and how adding a little bit of cultured food to you daily meals can boost your immune system. We will also talk about how it strengthens your mind, and set you on track for emotional stability.
Today, we’ll be speaking with Donna Schwenk, Cultured Food expert. She’s the author of the two best-selling books, Cultured Food for Life and Cultured Food for Health. She helped her daughter overcome illness and sickness using cultured food. She’s been helping people around the globe utilize cultured food in a way that most of us would be astounded by.
All of us really need to listen to today’s episode so we can have more health and vitality with Donna Schwenk of Cultured Food Life.
Hey, Donna, are you ready to launch?
I am. Thank you for having me.
It’s so great to have you here. It’s a different kind of interview for us and one that’s really near and dear to my heart having a background in nutrition. I would love for you to just lay the foundation. What are cultured foods?
Cultured foods, they’ve been around for millenniums. They were a way for people to preserve their food and keep it safe when they didn’t have refrigeration for many years ago. There are things like yogurts, cheeses, and things like that.
However, today, many of these foods like pickles and sauerkrauts are all cans and heated. But these preventive foods that I talk about are cultured foods are not heated. They preserve the probiotics in them. They’re not made with vinegars, and they have billions and billions of microorganisms that enhance the vitamins that are in the food.
Cultured Food For Life
For instance, in sauerkrauts, naturally cabbage has about 50 milligrams of vitamin C. When you ferment it and put probiotics in it and it cultures, you get 700 milligrams of vitamin C. That’s through the alchemy of fermentation and what that does when you eat it inside the body is extraordinary. Because you and I are a hundred trillion bacteria and eating these foods enhances that. It also allows your body to do the many things that it’s supposed to do.
When I think about foods that have been sitting around for a while and they’re fermenting. Then I’m supposed to eat them, there’s a natural repulsion that I have. I know it took me a while to get brave enough or courageous enough to eat cultured foods and they’re not so bad. But at first, it was hard for me to eat them.
You see this glass jar that you can buy. Or you can do it yourself and these foods, they’re actually living, yeah?
Yeah. We have been trained to think that.
Here’s what’s happened. Everybody thinks that bacteria is bad. We’ve just been trained that way. There’s antibiotics. There’s antibacterial soaps.
What we don’t realize is that you and I are hundred trillion bacteria that is mostly keeping us well. Ninety-nine percent of the bacteria inside of you is healthy or harmless and without it, you wouldn’t even be able to breathe. It’s keeping you well each and every day.
It’s just such unbelievable amount of extraordinary things that it does inside the body. We just don’t know or understand what it’s doing.
Cultured Food Contains Good Bacteria
In cultured foods, let’s say for instance it got vegetables. There’s so much good bacteria in there that it dominates. It keeps out pathogens and keeps the environment safe so harmful things can’t happen.
Botulism is a scientific impossibility when you’re culturing vegetables. And that’s what so cool about it, is that it really makes the food safer than even raw food. This is because of the large amount of good bacteria that’s contained within them.
I’d love to hear a little bit more from you about the effects of cultured foods on the mind.
How does that affect mental focus?
I just wanted to say, as you talked about these foods. I got this image of a cabbage with a cape and it’s like super food. It’s a superhero food. Is it okay to refer to cultured foods as superfoods?
Oh yeah. I call them epic foods. They go beyond superfoods because they have these living organisms.
There’s more bacteria inside of you than in the Milky Way galaxy. And what it does is that they set up this little camps. Different strains of bacteria set up these little camps and they need numbers. They need large numbers to grow and multiply and do their job. They reduce inflammation. They keep your blood sugar stable. They help to make these chemicals in your gut that go to the brain that keep you calm.
Effects Of Cultured Food
As you said before, how does it affect your emotions? It hugely affects your emotions. It’s so important that they are starting in psychology. And all kinds of things to try to get probiotics that help calm you down. Because 50% of your detoxification is happening in your gut with your hormones. Your body is detoxing itself through the gut and we don’t realize it. We think it’s just the liver.
However, when those things get out of whack and you don’t have the right neurotransmitters. Your brain can’t calm you down because your gut’s upset. That’s why they call it the second brain. There’s a thing called a Vagus nerve and it goes from the gut all the way up to the brain.
Bacteria is actually an intelligence that communicates with the brain to tell you how to respond to things. And we’re not aware of that. We’re not aware of all the things the bacteria does. But if you and I are a hundred trillion bacteria, and we’re more that than anything else, we’re 10x more bacteria than cells in the body.
There’s a reason that we’re that way. We just haven’t connected all the dots to understand all the things that it does. Now, science is just exploding with research as to what all bacteria does within the body.
So Donna, do you eat more cultured foods than you eat other kinds of foods?
As I’m hearing you talk about this, I’m starting to lead into this idea that we should be eating massive amounts of cultured foods.
Cultured Food Gives You Good Bacteria
That’s a really good question and no. I do not do that.
Here’s the deal. You don’t need to eat massive amounts of cultured food.
For instance, one spoonful of cultured vegetables which could be a fermented or cultured pickle. Or one spoonful of vegetables like sauerkraut has more supplement, has more probiotics. That gives you the strains of bacteria.
Then, you have to feed the strains of bacteria prebiotic foods and prebiotic foods are fruits and vegetables. Not seeds and grains, oaks, legumes.
There’s a bunch of prebiotics and that bacteria feeds on that fiber that we can’t digest and grows and multiplies.
So, the prebiotic foods are just as important as the probiotic foods. The probiotic foods give you the strains that many of us have killed through antibiotic use or even diet can kill. High-processed foods can kill those bacteria so we put those back in with the cultured foods.
We’re talking maybe like a cup or two of Kefir a day, few spoonful of kraut, maybe half a cup. I like the Kombucha fermented tea like 8 to 16 ounces, that’s plenty. You can have more if you want. It doesn’t matter. Then, lots of prebiotics to make those strains grow.
I love the way you laid it out so clear for everyone. One thing that I’ve noticed when drinking Kombucha or Kefir to always drink it with food. I’ve heard that it helps to actually keep them alive when you drink it with food instead of the stomach acid killing the bacteria.
Is that true?
No. That’s not true at all.
Cultured Food Strengthens Your Immune System
Now, that’s true with the supplements but it’s not true with the food. Because food has a protected halo around it so it goes through the body faster and it’s also protected.
For instance, Kombucha has a special bacteria called Saccharomyces boulardii. It’s one of the most researched and strongest probiotics in the world today. They’re using it a lot at hospitals. Not necessarily in The United States but in a lot of European countries. They use it quite profoundly with all kinds of problems and it works so well. The reason it works so well is that it coats the intestinal lining and keeps out pathogens. It acts like a pathogen and attracts pathogens to it. When the pathogen gets to it, it kills it.
The really cool thing about this bacteria is that it cannot be killed by antibiotics. Because it’s a probiotic yeast and this yeast is so powerful that it can survive antibiotics. The only thing that you need to know about this is that it doesn’t last in the body very long. It only lasts two to three days.
So you need to have some more tea and you don’t to have it with food. You can have it by itself. It still works just as well because it’s a food substance. Things go through the body faster when you eat them than they do. For instance, a pill has to be digested so it’s sits in the stomach acids and they usually get killed by the stomach acids. Whereas the food doesn’t do that because straight to the parts of the body that’s needed. It works so profoundly that you can have it with or without food.
Cultured Food Is Fantastic
Okay. So you got me convinced that cultured foods are fantastic. You’ve got me into the idea that I’m okay with trying some of these foods. They look a little weird, smell a little funny, are different than what other people are eating. However, at the same time they’re foods.
You go to a baseball game and you’re eating things that look, smell, and taste like the real cultured foods. So you’ve really been also great with us in making a distinction about what most people are buying. And what most people are tasting are not the exact same thing that you’re talking about.
So where would I go and get the real thing?
You can get them at almost any healthy good store. They’re in the refrigerated sections. They’re not in the can sections. They’re living cultures so they usually need to be refrigerated. If they’re not refrigerated, they’re going to be usually not alive.
It’s Easy To Make Your Own Cultured Food
Bacteria has to stay alive by having some food in there. So putting in a cooler section slows that bacteria down so that it stays alive longer.
The krauts are in there. You can find things like Kefir, which is like a fermented drink that’s similar to yogurt. It can be done dairy. It can be regular. They both work fantastic and also, the Kombucha tea would be in the refrigerated section. Usually, it’s got its own section.
It’s growing so fast that most stores are giving its own little section now and you also could make them. It’s what I teach people to do because it’s a lot less expensive, but it’s also a lot of fun. It’s super easy. It’s new to everybody. People think this is hard. They’re going to mess it up like you were. You’re scared about it. It’s not hard. It’s just new. It’s one of the easiest things you can do.
It’s easier than if you want to make your own Kefir, which they call the champagne of yogurt. It takes you 24 hours and it takes literally 5 minutes to make it. It’s super fun. You can have gallons and gallons of this stuff in your fridge and same with the vegetables. They’re just chopping vegetables, putting them in a jar, covering with water and putting it in a culture, letting to ferment, do their thing. And then, stick them in the fridge where they’ll last like 9 months.
It’s the same with the vegetables that you can buy at the store.
Cultured foods last a long, long time in your fridge because they’re preserved and when you eat them, they preserve you.
We used to have these big parties where everybody would bring organic vegetables. We chop them all up and then in one time, we made up until 11 gallons of cultured vegetables. It was a really great way to do it and then we had cultured vegetables all winter long.
I’m curious, is this healthy to give like young babies, young children, our kids? Is this a healthy thing for kids to be consuming as well?
Is Cultured Food Healthy For Young Kids?
This is really where I started, with my daughter.
She was born prematurely, 8 weeks and I was sick and she was sick. It was really my effort to help her. I would give her spoonfuls every day and I watched her transform in a month. I just couldn’t believe she went from A to Z and in just a month, and that was a real wake up call for me.
So I began to eat them and then, I changed and it just went from there because all of us are bacteria. If you have a baby and you’re nursing, you should eat them and they’ll get them. It’s the greatest thing in the world. More healthy bacteria that you said is a foundation for your child, it just changes everything.
It changed everything for our family. It changed everything for my little girl and it made such a difference and kids love them. It works really well and effective. Follow your own instincts. As you have the bacteria inside of you as a mom or as a parent, when you’re in a room with somebody, you’re giving people your bacteria.
They took seven families and moved them into different homes with their cats and dogs. And literally within minutes, they transform the room with their bacteria.
So, if you’re healthy, your children and people around you are getting that.
This is not just about you getting healthy. This is about affecting the world around you because as you ingest these cultured foods and you get healthier, you literally take it with you and you give it to the people surrounding you.
Feed Your Body With Cultured Food
I was on a plane not too long ago. There was a baby that was throwing up on the mom and she was crying. The mom was upset because she didn’t have anybody to help her. So I offered to hold the baby while the mom would clean up all the stuff that the baby had thrown up on her.
When I got off the plane, the stewardess talked to me and said, “Thank you so much for doing that. We so appreciate that. I just hope that you don’t get the flu” and I said, “I’m not afraid of the flu. The flu should be afraid of me.” I’m serious. I feel that way.
I don’t get the flu anymore. I don’t get sick anymore. Bacteria is responsible for building up your immune system so you don’t get these viruses.
The immune system destroys viruses and pathogens, but only if you feed and take care of it.
It’s not just about being healthy yourself. You’re going to affect that baby you’re holding in your arms just by being have a healthier microbiome in yourself.
I love to hear a little bit more about the benefits that you’ve seen people experience from eating cultured foods or that you know of.
It’s ridiculous. I’ve never seen anything like it. It just goes on and on and there are stuff I learn everyday.
Somebody told me the other day and I had no idea that these foods would help that.
Benefits Of Cultured Food
In the beginning, I decided I wasn’t going to tell everybody. Because they’d thought I was crazy like having living things fermented on my counter. However, I couldn’t stand it because my daughter who had food allergies and she healed them by having a cultured food in every meal.
So I told my friends because I couldn’t stand to see their kids suffer and they got better. Then my other friend’s little boy has asthma, he got rid of his asthma inhaler. And then her husband got rid of his acid reflux. Also, somebody’s cholesterol normalized, and then everybody stopped getting colds and flus and sick all summer and they go through the whole winter and not get anything.
I saw people with kidney functions improved. When you have enough good bacteria, it eats the toxins in the urea that clean up the kidney problems. So she didn’t have to go on dialysis. I had one guy that had hepatitis that was so bad. He thought he was going to die and he brought his whole life back.
These are all in my Lives Touched page on my website. You can read the stories yourself. It’s astounding and I had a new one that I had never heard of. A lady had venereal disease for 13 years and it was awkward. She had flare ups every month and they were awful. She had been molested, I guess. It’s what happened. It’s a very sad story.
The Power Of Cultured Food
I think it was 13 or 20 years she’s had it. I can’t remember now. But after having this Kefir every month, she wasn’t having flare ups anymore and she said it was such a miracle. It changed her whole life. It changed her marriage. Because she wasn’t living in fear of these terrible side effects that she was getting from having this disease. It’s so amazing, all the things that it does.
I’m just learning about all of them. I’ve been doing it for 15 years, but every week, I’m getting the emails. I’ve often told people they wouldn’t believe me if they got all this stuff. They heard all of the stories and all the wonderful things that it’s helped. But it makes sense because
You and I are bacteria, and we’re a hundred trillion bacteria and they’re in us for a reason. They’re here to help us live a healthy life as long as we take care of them.
It’s really incredible to hear that.
Something that we believe here at Thriving Launch is that, if you take care of the body and the mind. You don’t have to go and do these crazy things. Like go see traditional doctors and be completely medicated, and you don’t have to suffer. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve created this show, and it’s one of the reasons why we brought you on.
We know the power of cultured foods. We’ve been experimenting with them for several years now. At first, I was a little reluctant because these things looked kind of weird. They smell weird. Nobody’s eating them or if they’re so great, why aren’t they really being used by other people, but I can attest to how awesome they are.
Does Cultured Food Help With Weight Loss
One last question here before we wrap up. I think this is something that’s already been answered. However, at the same time, I know that it’s a question that maybe will help convince. Or push people over the edge a little bit.
A lot of people are really interested in fitness, losing weight, and having the ideal physique. Do cultured foods help with weight loss? Or stopping those hunger pangs or help us reduce how much we need some of those bad, unhealthy foods? Can they help with weight loss in the body that way too as well?
Yeah they do. If you can think about feeding your microbes, they take care of that for you.
They eat fiber, which we can’t really digest. That’s what they love and they love soluble fiber because there’s different types of fiber. They eat that and that grows. What happens is that they grow and multiply and they reduce your blood sugar. They reduce inflammation. You’re less hungry.
If you feed them, you’re not as hungry. You’re nourished because they’re nourished and they control your cravings. If you have cravings for sugars, fats, and processed foods. It’s because you have a microbiome that you have fed like that and that’s what they’re craving.
You’ve noticed that as you feed them healthy fruits and vegetables. You change and get more of those microbes and you have less of the other. It’s so amazing to watch and you could play around with this. But when I go to the grocery store, I think, “Okay, my microbe’s like that and they’re like that.” Because they take care of me if I take care of them. And the interesting thing about all this is that, in the very beginning, I was really sick.
Cultured Food Cures Diseases
I had diabetes. I had high blood pressure. My daughter’s had irritable bowel. We had all these problems, and I didn’t know the answers for it. My doctors were saying, “Well, you got diabetes. It runs in your family and I had both kinds diabetes in my family. I had all these things and this is just genetics. It made me really mad, because I thought, “I don’t want to get treatments just because of this.” I decided I was going to find an answer.
The most wonderful thing is I never expected the answer that would come to me in food. But it’s something that I love that would make me pay attention. These microbes that sit on my counter inside my jars, changed my food, I ate them. Then, they changed me and they changed me in such a miraculous way that it made me so loved. It made me feel cared for. It started to affect every area of my life. I went from lying on the couch being so sad to feeling like I didn’t even recognize my life.
Now, I have a business and I teach classes and I never wanted to be an author. I didn’t know how to write a book and now, I have two best-sellers and I just blew my mind.
Changing what you eat will not just change your body. It will change your entire life because you feel good. When you feel good, you do good and change happens to everybody around you. It’s contagious.
Cultured Food Helps You Change Your Entire Life
I really can feel that energy. It’s so powerful to hear you talk about it. You clearly know your subject matter very well. You know it so deeply. It’s not just in the head but it’s in your heart and in your gut.
I was really appreciative of you sharing your story and how amazing it is to watch this energy and this knowledge pour out of you.
Well, when something changes you so dramatically, you pay attention. I never want to go back to that life. I wasn’t living. I was just existing and I wanted so badly to feel good. I just am so surprised that it would came in the form of this little tiny invisible microbes. The tiny creatures that live inside of me that I can’t even see, but they’re there and they care about us.
All they care about is you. They’re living inside of you, and when you take of them, you connect with them. It’s the greatest secret ever. It’s a gift that we all have that nobody really knows about, and that’s my job. Nobody loves microbes like I do. It’s crazy but that’s my little piece of the world. Where I can help share what has made me well with others and hopefully change them too.
Such a deep gratitude to Donna of Cultured Food Life for coming on and blessing us all with this information about cultured foods. We are thankful for educating us with how we can all add a little bit of culture to our meals. This will help us to experience more health, mental clarity, and emotional stability.