My herbal and healing journey also lead me to the fascinating world of fermented foods and drinks. Over the years, I discovered the importance of addressing diet, nutrition, and microbiome health along with integrating herbal support. When we do this the healing experience can become more exponential and profound. The herbs can only do so much if the body can not utilize the medicine because it lacks a healthy microbiome, nutrition, and the building blocks for cellular metabolism.
Among the healing and nutrition communities, there are experts emphasizing the importance of embracing 4 different kingdoms to support our health: plants, animals, bacteria, and mushrooms/fungi. We as humans have relied on all 4 kingdoms for evolution and survival; however, more recently, we have strayed from bacteria, fungi, and whole plants. Especially in the Standard American Diet. We need more balance and for envornmental reasons, it is extremely important to rely less and less on animal sources and ensure they are sustainable when you do.
To have thriving health in our modern world and continue our survival, we need to go back to our traditional roots and integrate these vital foods into our life again. Every traditional culture incorporated fermented foods in their diet. It has been a primary source of food preservation and allowed humans to sustain themselves during winter months and times when food was scarce.
I am personally fascinated by the science behind fermented foods and drinks and using them to heal the body. More and more scientific studies and research support that our health and vitality are directly influenced by the health of our microbiome. When the beneficial bacteria and yeast in our body are balanced, healthy, and happy, we are also balanced, healthy, and happy. Fermented foods and herbal therapies complement and support each other for healing and I always encourage folks who are using herbs for healing to also use them along with ferments to support the microbiome.
Note: All images and content are the rights of Candice Brunlinger. Please contact for permission to use images or recipes in other publications or educational resources. Some of the recipes are from or influenced by Summer Bock and her Certified Fermentationist Program or various fermenting cookbooks and Candice’s herbal and culinary background.
What benefits do I and my family experience from fermented foods?
When I consistently eat fermented foods, I have more energy levels overall which are sustained throughout the day. I feel more vital and resilient against my environment and have a stronger immune r
After being diagnosed with Hashimotos after the birth of my son, I gained a bunch of weight, felt very sick, and had extreme imbalances in my hormones and cycle. I tried elimination diets but did not see any shifts until I incorporated fermented veggies, Juice Plus+ (a wonderful blend of whole foods known to feed and support healthy flora), and vitamin D supplements and mushroom sources consistently into my diet which helped with balancing my hormones, healing my leaky gut, and aiding with mineral deficiency.
My son has been reacting to all his food since he first started eating solid food and his face turns a pink, red, or purplish color every time he eats. It does not seem to matter what food it is but having him on a clean, organic whole food diet helps to reduce the severity of the reactions. He also gets puffy eyes, edema in his face, distended belly and he occasionally complains of his tummy hurting after meals. After he turned 4, he started having more severe reactions resulting in us having Benadryl and an epi-pen on hand for emergency situations. It does not seem to matter what I eliminate, and I have had him on probiotics, yogurt, kefir, and goat milk (when I could) since he was 6 months old.
I started to see a reduction in his symptoms when I started to make our own fermented foods and drinks at home and when I introduced him to Juice Plus+.
How I incorporate fermented foods into my life:
I eat a small amount of kimchi or an herbal-based kraut 1-2 times a day and find as many ways of incorporating other fermented veggies, condiments, dressings, spiced pastes, yogurt, and kefir into our meals. I drink 4-8 ounces of a fermented beverage like kombucha, kefir, kvass, or herbal fermented soda on most days. I take a break from sugar-fed fermented drinks when I am doing cleanses or detoxing. I am sometimes able to keep a sourdough starter going and will bake bread from scratch, but I have a few local artisan bakeries who sell delicious fresh sourdough and gluten-free breads. I enjoy sprouting and even fermenting other grains for our meals. We have all noticed our digestive and food sensitivities are reducing as we have been finding more creative ways of consistently eating or drinking beneficial microbes.