A good gut feeling
Just like the Earth, our body is a super ecosystem and science is developing a better understanding of the universe inside of us. I am referring to the microbiome: the microbes living inside our gut and body. The main reason we need to care for our friendly gut bacteria and microbes is that they seem to have plenty of influence over our health, mood, immunity and more. Research tells us that consuming foods rich with probiotics, and consuming vegetables and foods to feed these probiotics, is one of the ways to stay healthy.
It amazes me but doesn’t surprise me that so many different cultures have their own versions of fermented foods, which offer ways to minimize waste and utilize every part of the edible resources that nourish us and help sustainability. Have you ever thrown out milk because it was sour? Sour or stale milk has plenty of good uses. We can use it to make yogurt (rich in probiotics), paneer (a simple cheese) or kadhi (a yogurt-based curry thickened with chickpea flour, tempered with turmeric, mustard seeds, chilies and spices; usually chickpea flour vegetable pakoras(fried dumplings) are added to it and all served over rice). The sour yogurt is a must for a delicious kadhi, and nothing needs to go to waste.
When I was growing up, yogurt was “prepared” almost daily at home. We did not get readymade yogurt from the store and I don’t remember it even being sold until I was much older. Making yogurt at home is very simple. However, times have changed and now it is much easier to buy yogurt. The harder task today in making homemade yogurt is procuring what I call “good” milk. In my book “good” milk is fresh, comes from grass-fed free-roaming cows getting their share of sunshine and exercise and has not been processed to be shelf stable for weeks or months. After all, Michael Pollan has point: “We are what we eat eats,” right?
Making an effort to know where our food comes from can help us value the food and the hard work that went into producing it, thus making us less likely to waste it. The thing we need to evaluate is how much do we want to change for the sake of convenience?