Do any of you paleo hacks ferment foods? It is a big part of WAPF and is one of the 4 pillars of Deep Nutrition, but it seems to not be part of paleo discussions. Am I missing out on nutritional benefits and a boost to the immune system? What if you heat sauerkraut...does that destroy the benefit of fermentation?
While not paleo per se, one could argue that we evolved under conditions where we ate significantly more beneficial bacteria with our food and that this is a good substitute for our modern, hygenic world.
Fermentation was discovered because it happens. I suspect it's especially beneficial for people who don't eat much raw food and miss out on the beneficial bacteria and enzymes. And, yes, heating the saurkraut kills the beneficial bacteria. I make pickles, kim chi, beets, and sometimes coconut yogurt.
I make kefir daily (from the 'grains' - the living culture kept over from a previous batch, not powder) and also fermented sauerkraut. I really like both but eat the sauerkraut less regularly because of the goitergenic issue.
Homemade kefir, btw, is vastly superior to both powdered and store-bought, in the quantity, variety and 'aliveness' of the bacteria, and it has less lactose. It's amazing stuff!
Also, home fermentation is fun! I feel like of sort a farmer in my own kitchen, daily straining out the grains and/or chopping the cabbage and feeding the 'animals' (bacteria), and making sure that 'everybody' is 'happy' :-)
Edited to Add: I don't heat it, because it kills the bacteria. That said, heat minimizes the goitergenic problem...
I definitely think a case can be made for fermentation being paleo. It's a natural process as Sara noted. I also think that when you look at the focus on gut health that is a cornerstone of the paleo philosophy eating fermented foods makes complete sense. Even if you don't happen to see it as paleo per se it's hard to argue that it isn't at least a strong compliment to a paleo diet.
Never in my life did I think I would say "I ferment" yet that is what this lifestyle has done to me. My name is Shari and I am a fermenter. I have to say I do feel better since adding fermented foods into the diet. Plus they are kind of tasty.
I ferment and I love it! Have two big gallon jars of kombucha going and a half gallon of kimchi in my pantry right now. You are definitely missing out on beneficial bacteria if you don't eat some fermented food. I read somewhere (and I of course forget where) that the stomach and entrails of slain animals were prized by hunter gatherers because they contained partially digested (read: fermented!) plant matter. Yum! Although I'd rather have kimchi.