Kathy Hester, Deirdre Rawlings


Part I – Kathy Hester, Great Vegan Bean Book
Kathy Hester lives in Durham, NC with her two cats who would rather not live together, a cute dog with a belly rub addiction, her very own picky eater, a kitchen garden, and more slow cookers than one person should own. She writes HealthySlowCooking.com, is the vegan blogger for Key Ingredient and writes for various publications like Chickpea Magazine. She also teaches vegan cooking classes, has put together a social media class for writers and has more classes in the works.

Part II – Deirdre Rawlings, Fermented Foods for Health
Deirdre Rawlings holds a Ph.D. in holistic nutrition, a master’s in herbal medicine, and is a naturopathic doctor. She is the founder of Nutri-Living and a healthy cooking coach. Her specialties are allergies, digestive disorders, and immunity issues. She is the author of Foods that Fight Fibromyalgia and co-author of Beat Sugar Addiction Now! Cookbook. She lives in Atlanta, GA.

Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody, I’m Caryn Hartglass. Hey, how you doing. It is August 20th, 2013 and it’s time for It’s All About Food. So what’s going on with you, you got some good food stories? Why don’t you share them with me at . You know I love talking about food, I love hearing about food and so let’s just keep talking about it. Now today is very important because we are going to be talking about a kind of food that I don’t think gets the press it deserves. So let’s bring on my first guest Kathy Hester who has come out with the book The Great Vegan Bean book and we are going to talk about the wonderful properties of beans and I’ve learned a few things from this book so Kathy Hester thank you for joining me on It’s All About Food.

Kathy Hester – I’m happy to be here, especially talking about beans.

Caryn Hartglass: Especially talking about beans! You know, there’s a lot of things people have to say about beans but I don’t think we are focusing on all the right things but we are going to do that in the next half hour because beans, well, I’m reading in your PR information that they just may be nature’s perfect food!

Kathy Hester: I think they’re kind of magical, so I think they might even be beyond perfect.

Caryn Hartglass: Beyond perfect! You know, we’ve heard for too long that the egg is the perfect food or milk is the perfect food and we are really off the mark there, there are so many issues with those foods.

Kathy Hester: Absolutely.

Caryn Hartglass: The bean, but the bean! So, people may be shaking their heads like what are you talking about but we are now going to talk about why beans are so magical. So where do we begin, why did you write this book?

Kathy Hester: Well, why I wrote it, actually the publisher was looking for a bean book and I love to learn about things so I was like sure, I’ll do a bean book I can find out all kinds of cool things. And obviously I’ve been vegan for a few years but I’d been vegetarian before that for about 35 years so I’ve been eating a lot of beans. And at first people tend to thing that they’re kind of boring, and that was one thing I really wanted to take off the table because beans are only as boring as the person cooking them.

Caryn Hartglass: I might steal that from you. Your cooking is only as boring as you are!

Kathy Hester: Even to me even just like crowder peas and rice with a little bit of hot peppers and some sauce, that’s pretty exciting to me. It’s not a boring flavor.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, let’s just start. One of the great things about beans, not only are there like a gazillion different kinds and we’ll get into that but they are cheap. They are affordable and they are super nutritious.

Kathy Hester: It’s true, and they are so affordable of all the things you can start buying organic usually common beans are the cheapest ones to start with and they are easy to find. You can even find them in a regular grocery store, organic lentils, and organic pinto beans things like that.

Caryn Hartglass: Now, there are different ways to start with beans and you talk about them in your book. You can get them dried and there are different ways to prepare them when they’re dried and you go into pretty good detail about soaking or not soaking, inspecting and rinsing and all the issues. If people want to know more about them, they should get this book and find out of course. And then you know occasionally I’ll grab a can of beans because it’s so quick.

Kathy Hester: I think it’s really important to have a few things stashed away in your pantry that you can make spur of the moment because beans, once you are cooking lentils or are using a pressure cooker you kind of have to think dried beans a little bit ahead of time. They can be just as easy as throwing dried beans in a slow cooker while you are sleeping so it’s not hard work but if you just come home and you realize, oops, I didn’t plan anything for dinner you can grab a can of chickpeas and what you can make is pretty endless. You can make hummus, you can make a salad with chickpeas, you can make a chickpea stew, you can make all these things really in less than 20, 30 minutes.

Caryn Hartglass: Now just like a lot of foods that we find in the store, in the United States, the big agribusiness has kind of limited what is available and most people do not even realize all of the different varieties of foods that are out there because they don’t see them in the supermarket unless you go into an ethnic market where a specific community is bringing in from their country something that’s familiar to them and that applies to beans because people may be familiar with a brown lentil, a navy bean, a kidney bean but there are so many different beans out there.

Kathy Hester: It’s amazing, one of my favorite places to go is the Indian market so if you have an Indian market near you, just to walk down the spices and the beans is an education all in itself. They are so clever with beans, and they have every kind. There’s whole beans with skin, whole beans without skin, split beans with skin, split beans without skin that all get used in a little bit of different functions. For heirlooms, which are really cool but they are more expensive, if you have never seen any heirloom beans maybe at your farmers market, to take a look at ranchogordo.com and just kind of peruse them it’s kind of mind:blowing.

Caryn Hartglass: They all can be prepared very similarly but just like anything they have their own unique characteristics, some are chewier, some are mushier, some have a stronger flavor, some have a mellower flavor and they are all worth experiencing.

Kathy Hester: Right and garbanzo beans are kind of like almost the most special of all beans because they hold together well under any circumstances so it’s interesting that there are so many different kinds of lentils and so many different kinds of regular beans but chick peas kind of stand alone.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay now one of the things that surprised me, I made a big duh when I was looking at it in your book saying of course but you bake with beans and they are sweet and savory baked goods.

Kathy Hester: Well it’s also because a lot of my readers are looking for low fat to no fat baked goods so I try to make recipes for everybody. When you are doing something with a baked good, you want to make sure that you are not using five or six dollar beans because you are not going to taste them so using just some plain white beans if they are navy or great northern just really any white beans you get your hands on, the flavor is really very mild. A waffle or a pancake, you don’t really taste the beans at all. Actually, I had a bean hater over because we kind of had the year of beans at my house so everyone who came over knew there were beans in something and so I finally, the bean hater was half way through the waffle so I said you know I have to tell you there are beans in there. She had no idea, and she immediately stopped eating it. It was so sad.

Caryn Hartglass: How sad, how childish.

Kathy Hester: We all have our thing, so that was her thing.

Caryn Hartglass: Well you know, I guess if I was eating a waffle a waffle and somebody said there was dog milk in there I would stop eating it too.

Kathy Hester: Yeah, I have trouble seeing beans as that gross because most of the time people who are anti bean they don’t like the texture or they don’t like the flavor or how something had been prepare. When I grew up, I wasn’t a bean lover because I grew up in the south so we had pintos cooked with fatback and raw onions on top, which is not real kid friendly food.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. The thing that surprised me is I got into gluten free baking a few years ago, now I’m not gluten intolerant I just wanted to provide more recipes that were vegan and gluten free. I love to bake, and I didn’t want anyone that couldn’t have gluten not be able to bake and bake vegan. And I’ve learned a great deal and I’m having a lot of fun with it but I started to discover these bean flowers and I bake a lot with garbanzo bean flour and fava bean flour and why not use the original bean! Why do you have to even go to the flour? That’s when I went wow, I got to start putting beans in my baked goods.

Kathy Hester: Now, here’s the trick though if you are making something sweet don’t taste what’s in the food processor before you add sugar because I always do and I tell everybody else not to do this and I’m like oh is this going to work? And I’m like this is disgusting because it doesn’t taste like a sweet yet. As soon as you put some vanilla in there and whatever your sweetener is it’s perfect.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, when I cook with garbanzo bean flower even if you sweeten it it’s disgusting until it’s baked. You just have to know that when you’re doing some gluten free baking and you’re using bean flowers. There’s just a beany flavor, I don’t know how to describe it.

Kathy Hester: Well that’s the beauty of it.

Caryn Hartglass: When you’re doing a batter, it’s not what you expect.

Kathy Hester: It’s true, I guess whenever I think of chick pee flower I always think back to pakoras, which is the first way I was introduced to it and it’s flavor is just so delicious when it surrounds a nice fried veggie.

Caryn Hartglass: So to just quickly review, get people’s mouths peoples mouth water there are black bean tamale muffins and lemon coconut chick pea muffins and waffles and somehow you have magically put beans in all these recipes. Savory pancakes, I can’t wait to try some of these. And then, let’s just move onto the purees, the dips and things now fortunately over the last maybe twenty years but humus has really gained some stature in the American diet.

Kathy Hester: It’s true, it’s the one saving grace. Whenever you go out anywhere and you are vegan or vegetarian there is always humus now.

Caryn Hartglass: The funny thing about humus is humus means chickpea, it means garbanzo bean. That’s how they say it in Hebrew and some other languages. Humus. Now where we started to make humus with other beans, it really isn’t humus anymore it’s bean dip but people need to know that there’s more variation on bean dip than humus. Humus can be wonderful but widen your horizons.

Kathy Hester: Well, it’s always easier too if someone like your eye is willing to experiment and see if it works out or not at first.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, have you ever made a bad bean dip?

Kathy Hester: Not anything that couldn’t be saved.

Caryn Hartglass: There you go. Everything can always be saved.

Kathy Hester: It’s true, sometimes the best thing is a stew that doesn’t taste quite right and then you put six more things in it and it’s perfect and you never would have done it. I guess I’m an optimist cook.

Caryn Hartglass: Well you know, that’s really an important message because there are a lot of people that are afraid of cooking, they don’t know where the kitchen is and then they have to find it and start cooking an the thing is we make mistakes and that’s the only way we learn and many times with food mistakes can be saved and turned into your most favorite dish.

Kathy Hester: I always tell people if I can do it you can do it.

Caryn Hartglass: Now, why is that?

Kathy Hester: Well I taught myself how to cook so I kind of went through all the mistakes and then if someone tells me not to do something I don’t have a clear understanding of why I do it to see why so I kind of make everybody’s mistakes so you don’t have to you know. Like the slow cookers, I’m like oh it can’t be possible to make that in a slow cooker let me try. Most of the time it comes out great and so I guess I’m kind of a rebel or something. Two of my favorite dips that I really think are slightly unique, I don’t know how unique they are in all the world but I have a white bean pecan pate and so the smoky quality of the pecans and a little bit of nutritional yeast pureed with the white beans that has got a little bit of basil, garlic, oregano. It makes a really nice darker color spread from the pecans

Caryn Hartglass: So that’s a little southern touch we are getting there with the pecans in it?

Kathy Hester: Yes, I am definitely a southern girl, it comes out often like in my chickpea patties and cornbread waffles that are in the book too.

Caryn Hartglass: Well the wonderful thing about bean pâtés is for people that want to get away from cheese and don’t know what to do I think these different varieties are a great substitute. They are going to taste like cheese, some made with nuts you have an almond cheese spread here a goat cheese, some of them are going to get a little closer, have a little higher fat content but just to have some kind of different flavorful spreads to dip in or to spread on something I think really can take care of a lot of cheese addictions.

Kathy Hester: I completely agree. When people are transitioning from one kind of diet to another or eliminating something, I think it becomes a little easier if they have something familiar even if it’s not exactly the same thing. These are things that you can spread on crackers when you have some grapes and wine. If that’s something you’re used to doing every one in a while.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. And it’s a lot cheaper than cheese.

Kathy Hester: Yes it is. Even though there are some nuts in these spreads they are really like a quarter cup to a half a cup of nuts which aren’t hat expensive.

Caryn Hartglass: Right and the wonderful thing about nuts is they are loaded with great nutrients and no cholesterol. Okay so let’s move to the soup section. I think most people are familiar with beans in soups but if you’re not making any there’s a lot of different opinions in here to get your soup thing going.

Kathy Hester: One of my favorites is the Meyers Soup with black-eyed peas but the Indian split pea and mung bean soup was really a tester favorite too.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m just turning the pages here and I’m looking for Indian split pea and mung bean soup. Oh New Years Soup. Now, it’s New Years because?

Kathy Hester: It’s Southern. Black-eyed peas, greens, those are two things that you are suppose to eat on New Years day. I was surprised because I guess I grew up that way and everybody I know that isn’t from here knew that already, my editor didn’t know that.

Caryn Hartglass: We don’t know everything, do we. Okay and the back to the baking department you’ve got a lot of the different savory items with baking different waffles that are savory, chick pea and cornbread and don’t be crabby cakes, I like that one. The bean is great. I remember, there was a recipe that went around in a magazine or something somewhere that people got very excited about it was a Fettuccine Alfredo low fat version without using cream, they used the white bean and there was a big spin on this for a while but the thing is that white bean can be used in so many different recipes as a white creamy sauce.

Kathy Hester: Right, I actually have a vodka sauce that I do with white beans that’s in the book and another spread that I have is a white bean basil spread that I usually use lemon basil with and I actually layer eggplant lasagna with that instead of cheese.

Caryn Hartglass: Very, very good. Anyway, there are a lot of wonderful different things in here. Chili of course people know about chili but there are still a gazillion ways to make chili and many other great beans, casseroles you can put it in pasta. But, I want to talk about some other things about beans. Now, people have some problems with beans, can you talk about some of them. I’m not afraid to talk about some things that come out of us from different ends. When people think about beans, a lot of people think about gas, is there a solution for eating beans and not having gas from either end?

Kathy Hester: I think the number one problem is that a lot of people aren’t used to digesting that much fiber and it just causes them gastric distress. If they eat a little bit more, that helps. Now, once you have moved out of that category, people who do have more troubles with it and it’s obviously a worldwide thing, because each country and area seems to have its own special thing that it puts with beans. Like Kombu, Baileys, cumin some are savory, hing is also used a lot in Indian cooking. They are all found to make the beans more digestible.

Caryn Hartglass: Ah, very good to know that. So we just need to add a little bit about that but I think some people are just always going to have a little gas.

Kathy Hester: I think some people, if you have a lot of problems typically because I’m a slow cooker fiend so I tend to slow cook my beans so I don’t soak them because I want them to take a longer time to cook. If you’re having serious problems, I would soak the beans overnight, pour out the soaking water, cook them, and pour out the cooking water. You will use some vitamins that way, but if you can’t digest beans very well you are still getting more than you would get anyhow.

Caryn: I’m going to be talking in the next part of this program with Deirdre Rawlings about her fermented food books and I’m going to bring this subject up again because she’s probably going to talk about how people that don’t have healthy guts probably have a harder time digesting beans.

Kathy Hester: Interesting, she may have some great fermented food that’s perfect to eat with beans, too.

Caryn: Right, so stay tuned for that part. Now the other thing that I find is when I eat beans, they have a lot of fiber in them and I find everything moves quite easily all the way through my large intestine, small intestine, colon, all the way out, I mean I don’t have any problem moving everything through from beginning to end when I eat my beans.

Kathy Hester: It’s true, and with some of the sweat treats I’m actually using flax seed eggs, so it’s important that you don’t eat the whole batch of double chocolate devil’s food cookies. I tested out a few cookies in a row one day and I kind of messed up my partner really bad for a few days.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, you think it’s because there was too much flax seed?

Kathy Hester: Yeah, too much flax and too much fiber in the bean. She has some trouble with beans, but I felt horrible.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh well, you know, that’s the thing. Too much of anything, I think if people ate too many white flour muffins they’d be quite constipated.

Kathy Hester: Right, it’s the opposite problem.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, now I had one more question about beans. Oh, I wanted to mention the resistance starch. Are you aware of all the conversations now about resistance starch and beans?

Kathy Hester: No, I know about the indigestible sugar and it starts with a p.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, well the resistance starch is something that’s getting some attention and it’s just one more wonderful thing about beans because we know that beans come with a certain amount of calories and some people may be counting calories, I don’t recommend it but the resistance starch doesn’t digest until way, way down the end of the intestines and you don’t get the full calorie count of the beans as they are presented on a nutritional label. You get full, but you’re not even getting the calories that you think you’re getting. You’re getting less!

Kathy Hester: That’s pretty interesting; I’m going to definitely look more into that because that’s an interesting concept.

Caryn Hartglass: Well that’s why a lot of the vegan doctors today are saying you can eat pretty much as many beans as you want. A bean is an unlimited food because you’ll get filled up before you consume too many calories. We love beans, love beans. Alright, now I want to get to the best part of the book. Saving the best for last, I’m looking at some of your frozen treats which are amazing, black bean fudgsicle
. How did you come up with that?

Kathy Hester: I was trying to think of something to do and I realized I love black bean brownies and if black beans taste good in a brownie, they should taste just as good in a chocolate fudgsicle and they did.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s crazy; there are just black beans, coconut milk, coco powder, agave, and a little vanilla.

Kathy: Right, and you can switch out that agave to any sweetener that you like and I recommend with all the dessert to switch it to whatever you like and just kind of taste the batter to make sure it tastes sweet enough for your taste.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, you don’t add very much. 3 tablespoons for six pops, that’s not a lot of sweetener.

Kathy Hester: No, I tend to be on the lower side of that the same way I’m usually on the lower side of salt. Even though I have nutritional information, I don’t in this book give any sodium information because probably ninety percent of the recipes say salt to taste.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I’m all for that. I barely add any salt to my food. Salt is a no, no in my book, but people feel differently about it and yes you give them the opinion, if they need a little more salt go for it.

Kathy Hester: And kind of the same thing with desserts. Some things I like to have sweeter than others but for some reason the black bean fudgsicle tasted really chocolaty and rich to me without very much agave.

Caryn Hartglass: And then there’s the ginger red bean popsicles.

Kathy Hester: Yes because I do have a recipe for red bean paste, which is a traditional Asian dessert, which is really interesting, and I’d had it in different pastries before but I’d never made it. I thought, oh it’s going to be complicated and have a lot of ingredients: water beans and sugar.

Caryn Hartglass: And a little ginger.

Kathy Hester: Yeah, then the pops have a little bit of coconut milk and ginger in them as well to kind of add to that. There’s also a red bean filled muffin too that’s pretty interesting so if you make a whole batch you can do the muffins and the popsicles.

Caryn Hartglass: Very, very good. You see, beans are quite exciting from baked goods to popsicles you can do everything with beans and I just wanted to mention the soy bean for a moment. I believe soy beans are a great food, there’s a bit of a hysteria around soy beans these days because unfortunately we have manufactured it into so many different foods and people have issues with it but you do not have to eat soy beans. Even though they are just a lovely simple bean, you don’t have to have them. There are all these other wonderful beans out there and you can do so many great things with them. So Kathy, thank you for The Great Vegan Bean Book!

Kathy Hester: Thank you for inviting me on. I really appreciate it.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, and we can find you at healthyslowcooking.com. where you blog and you also blog at keyingredient.com.

Kathy Hester: I do, I’m a vegan blogger every Wednesday.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay great thank you so much for joining me on It’s All About Food.

Kathy Hester: Great, thank you so much.

Caryn Hartglass: That was Kathy Hester, the author of The Great Vegan Bean Book. I love beans and I hope you learn to love them too because they’re going to love you and make you look wonderful. Shall we take a little break and then we are going to be back with Deidre Rawlings talking about fermented foods.

Transcribed on 1/2/2014 by Carina Maysenhalder


Caryn Hartglass: Hi Everybody, I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’re listening to It’s All About Food, and here we are in part II on August 20th 2013. Moving on to talk about: we’re going to get small here and talk about some very special microorganism that can do wonders, and learn a lot. So I’m going to bring on Deirdre Rawlings. She hold a PhD in Holistic Nutrition and Masters in Herbal Medicine, and is a Naturopathic Doctor. She’s the founder of NutriLiving and a Healthy Cooking Coach. Her specialties are allergies, Digestive Disorders, and immunity issues. She’s also the author of Foods that Fight Fibromyalgia, and co-author of Beat Sugar Addiction Now! Cookbook . She lives in Atlanta, Georgia and we are talking about her new book: Fermented Foods for Health. Welcome to It’s All About Food, Deirdre.

Deirdre Rawlings: Hello Caryn .

Caryn Hartglass: Hello and How are you today?

Dierdre Rawlings: I am doing great, Thank you very much for the lovely introduction

Caryn Hartglass: You’re very very welcome. So we are going to talk about fermented foods, and I imagine you must be pretty busy these days because it seems like everyone today has allergies, digestive disorders, and immunity issues.

Dierdre Rawlings: That’s so true, and I tell you the top five issues that people present with, to most physicians these days are probably: digestive issues, overweight, depressed, hormonal imbalances, and insomnia. A lot of people are having sleep disorders.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, well there are so many symptoms today that people have, that could be just about anything.

Dierdre Rawlings: And they are so related.

Caryn Hartglass: So many different illnesses have similar symptoms. It can be really difficult to diagnose.

Dierdre Rawlings: It really can, and a lot of them have these roots in the digestive systems, because this is where we are nourishing our entire organisms, the human body. I think one of the problems is that the allopathic medical system tend to isolate the systems of the body, we got 10 in total, and you are sent to various different specialists for these different systems: an internist or cardiologist or whatever the case may be, and they don’t talk to each other. So, they’re only treating that special area that that’s all they really know about, and they’re not really integrating the whole body as a whole, and looking at it from that perspective, a holistic perspective.

Caryn Hartglass: I like in Chapter 2, you have a section “Your body is a social network”. And that is something; I think people can relate to these days.

Dierdre Rawlings: Exactly, and that’s what these probiotics are. They’re like friends with benefits I call them, because they just have so many uses throughout the body, and particularly in the digestive system, which as you know I’m sure, is where 70% of your immune system resides. So these little probiotics, these amazing little microorganisms, they just do such a tremendous job of ensuring that we’re healthy from the digestive systems upward.

Caryn Hartglass: We can get into a lot of different things, but what I find interesting is, you go back in history and there are a lot of different cultures have special traditional foods that are fermented, and how they knew they were healthy. Then we fast-forward to the last 50 years, where we’re doing all of this industrial manufacture of foods, and we’re killing everything. Now, we have all of this health issues, and we’re starting to almost re-discover what we need in our guts. We’re just starting to learn about prebiotics, probiotics, and bacteria. It’s opening a whole new world of health and healing.

Dierdre Rawlings: The thing about fermented foods, the lack of fermented foods is that you’re right; they have been around for eons. Ever since the first piece of fruit fell on the ground and the bacteria started to ferment the product, and of course during the winter month, we you can’t get some of the same fruits and berries, and foods that you can get during the summer month, the fermentation was such a wonderful way to preserve that food, so that you can eat it throughout the various seasons. People are rediscovering it. That’s a very good reason.

Caryn Hartglass: Alright, just some basics: So what is fermentation?

Dierdre Rawlings: What is fermentation? That is a good question. Basically it occurs when the bacteria converts sugars present in the food into cellular energy and lactate or lactic acid. This lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits the putrefying bacteria. The process is one of the most significant forms of fermentation in the food industry. Example is: vegetable lactic acid fermentation includes sauerkraut, cucumber pickles, kimchee, kefir, yogurt, buttermilk, cheese, tofu, and even wine and chocolate are fermented to some degree or another too.

Caryn Hartglass: We see lactic acid a lot as a listed ingredients in manufactured foods. I guess it works as a preservative to some extent.

Dierdre Rawlings: That’s correct. Yes it does.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, so that’s what’s fermentation is. Now, we’ve been very socialized in the last 100 years or so, to be very concerned about germs and wanting everything to be clean and wanting everything to be sterile. To some extent it’s been beneficial, and to other extent we are starting to learn that it’s to our detriment. How do we know, the difference between fermented food and rotting food.

Dierdre Rawlings: If you get to be buying in the store, you certainly are not going to find the rotting food under the category of fermentation. Basically it has a really nice taste to it. It’s very palatable; it is very distinct sort of taste. Fermented food got that sour, pungent sort of flavor to it that might take the palate a bit of getting used to because we’re so used to that sweet taste. Once you get your palate accustomed to it, it’s very addictive almost, you start to crave it. Right from you take the first mouthful, you’re helping the mouth to become freshened up, and as it goes down into your gut and it starts to do its job, it starts to feel so good. The benefit is pretty rapid once you start eating it. You won’t have that same putrifying smell that you would experience when you were to smell some food that was rotting. The look and the smell of it is very palatable.

Caryn Hartglass: I’ve been reading quite a bit about bacteria, because we’re learning a lot more about it. There has been some study showing that some bacteria can play a dual role! It can be good bacteria in some cases, bad bacteria in other cases. I just find it really fascinating, or that some bacteria that we need when we’re really young, then can wreak havoc when we’re older. Truly fascinating. But the thing is, when we treat our body nicely, it knows what to do

Dierdre Rawlings: It totally does. The thing is, you cant really avoid bacteria because it’s what we live with here on planet earth. It’s in all and everything. Even just a little pin dot has hundreds of thousands of bacteria living on Them. Of course some of it harmful, some of it friendly, and in a human gut for example, there’s about 3 punds worth of bacteria that live in your body. You want more of the friendly and less of the harmful. When you have more harmful overruling the friendly, that’s when you’re going to get sick, and your immune system is going to get compromised as a result of that. So you really can’t avoid bacteria. It’s just something natural and when you have a good supply of these friendly bacteria in your gut, you’re gong to be able to, say you have to eat a lot of pathogenic bacteria – it’s natural that you are going to have some of these pathogenic kind of bacteria that will pass through you. Like E.coli or some of these other bacteria that are on the food that you eat, whether it’s meat product, or even a produce: fresh fruits or vegetables are going to have some bacteria on it. But depending on the composition of your own gut bacteria, whether you got more friendly than harmful residing there, you’re going to have a much stronger immune system and be able to be not so affected adversely and get sick by any kind of harmful bacteria that passes through your body as a natural process of your eating and living

Caryn Hartglass: Reading your book, and when I’m reading other articles and books on this issue about the life going on inside of us. It’s pretty amazing there’s a whole universe of all kinds of characters that are living within us. You even have these discussions where, it sounds like there are wars going on and we need to have a good army of healthy bacteria, otherwise the bad guys can take over.

Dierdre Rawlings: Totally, and that’s the difference between, two people can be exposed to the same set of environmental hazard or germs, or whatever you want to call them, and one person can come down with a horrific flu virus, and the other person, not at all. And why is that? Well it’s probably because they have a healthy supply of these friendly bacteria. The gut is in much better condition, in better shape, because it’s probably got more friendly bacteria residing there. The thing is with our western diet as well; this is one of the things that wreak havoc on our immune system, and our digestive systems, of course. Especially with all the high sugars, and High Fructose Corn Syrup, which according to some studies, the sugar can, not only render your immune system or suppress it for up to six hours, it could also alter the composition of micro flora for up to 24 hours later, do a lot of harm there and probably suppress the immune systems. The one thing is: not only what you eat, it’s what you avoid, such as sugar; because the sugar is what feeds the pathogenic bacteria. It feeds the Candida, for example, the yeast. It feeds a lot of these other pathogenic bacteria; they love carbohydrates and sugary kind of food.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s like the good guys get drunk on sugar, white flour, and processed foods, and the bad guys take over.

Dierdre Rawlings: Totally, yeah. That’s just the way to put it. They go to town and they make you feel lousy. A lot of the symptoms that people are walking around with, for example, Candida; you have so many symptoms with it: fatigue, brain fog, aches and pains, you can’t sleep, you’re hungry all the time, you gained weight. The Candida mimics so many things, and once you restore that balance of the friendly micro flora, that can all be alleviated. Benefits of probiotics are so immense: nutritionally they help manufacture vitamins in our food and our bodies. All the B vitamin, which is your stress vitamins, Vitamin A and Vitamin K, they help to digest lactose, they ‘re so beneficial for your digestive system. Some people who are lactose intolerant, they can eat yogurt and cultured dairy products. They help to regulate the peristalsis in the colon and regulate your bowel movement. They also help to digest protein as well, which is really important to break it down into those free form of amino acids; and of course they boost your immune system. They produce natural antibiotics and anti-fungal, which prevent the colonization of these harmful bacteria and fungus. They also help to manufacture essential fatty acids. They even help to break down and rebuild hormones, and just generally promote health.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s just amazing and I think we don’t even know about so many of the function that they do. We’re just at the tip of the iceberg, learning. But I think what’s very clear, and this is just one more way to look at it: processed foods are not healthy for us, we need to get back to whole minimally processed foods, foods that are alive, and there are a lot of microorganisms in there that we don’t want to kill. We want to consume them, because they are good for us.

Dierdre Rawlings: That’s right. A lot of these fresh whole foods that you mentioned, they contained a lot of vitamins and minerals obviously, but they also contained fiber. Fiber is what’s called a prebiotics that these friendly probiotics need, in order to thrive. So, you want to have your fiber and create that really fabulous environment to nourish the friendly bacteria, and keep everything moving and healthy bowel movement.

Caryn Hartglass: So many people are sick today: Diabetes and obesities are on the rise, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s disease, lots of allergies. You probably seen this, I know I have: When people start to change their diet, and probiotics are very important piece, especially with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s disease, they can be cured.

Dierdre Rawlings: They truly can. If I had to recommend one supplement over and above everything else, it would be probiotics. The thing about probiotics is, that you can take them therapeutically or just prophylactically and I recommend, if you have any kind of digestive system disorders, like, IBS, Chron’s, Colitis, Celiac, and any of these kinds of things, you should be on probiotics. You should be taking them probably three times a day. Good thing about them is that you can’t overdose on them. Not like vitamins, minerals, or drugs, which you can overdose on, you simply can’t. So, just take them everyday. It will save you so much time and energy. It will give you so much life and vitality. It will restore your digestive system, which is really where the action is at; when you are properly absorbing and assimilating nutrients. This is what these probiotics are going to help you to do. And not only that, they also help to balance the body’s overall PH by creating a more alkaline blood, as well as an acidic environment in your stomach which is what you want, because you want that Hydrochloric Acid in your stomach, which kills the pathogenic ones when they hit your stomach. Your stomach is like your first line of defense, and you want to have a good supply of Hydrochloric Acid in there. The Probiotics will help to maintain that, and they are so conducive for a healthy digestive system.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m glad you brought that up because I know most of us don’t know anything about diet and how the body works, and there’s been these buzz about eating foods that make the body alkaline. I don’t think most people remember their chemistry and understand what PH and alkaline and acid is to begin with, but when we talk about alkaline, as you mentioned, we are talking about the blood and the urine.

Dierdre Rawlings: We are talking more about the blood, because the blood is the true barometer of the PH level of your body. It’s really the blood. It’s very delicate because you can’t have your blood test everyday to check. One of the ways that we can check, getting an idea is through testing our urine. The blood PH is very delicate. It likes to maintain a balance of between about 7.2 to about 7.4. For those of you who aren’t familiar with PH, it’s basically the level of the hydrion PH in your body and it’s starts from 0 to 14 with 7 being in the middle. Anything from 7 and above is considered alkaline, and below 7 is acidic. Of course, there are different PH levels throughout the body: essentially, the stomach is a very high acid area, which you want it to be because you want that acid to kill off the pathogenic bacteria once it hits your stomach. The rest of the colon is pretty much PH alkaline and of course the blood is definitely between 7.2 to 7.4. So, if you deviate from that, if you’re eating too many chemical foods, sugary foods, devitalized food, these are very acidic, and they are going to throw that PH balance out of whack. Your body is so intelligent that it’s going to just take out certain minerals, like calcium and magnesium for example that can help to buffer that PH and help restore it back to the PH level that it’s meant to be.

However in the process of doing that, it’s going to rob the calcium out of storage places like bones and teeth and of course, you’ve seen a lot of people having osteoporosis, especially once women going through menopause for example, we’ve seen a lot of hip replacement. All kinds of disorders are coming about because PH balance of the body is out of balance.

Caryn Hartglass: You’ve got a lot of recipes in your book and people can go to the store and they can buy probiotics. But one of the great ways to get a lot of the great benefits of probiotics is to eat fermented foods. About half of your books is recipes that people can make, which is great. Here on It’s All About Food, I promote a plant-based diet so I’d like to focus on some of the wonderful fruit and vegetables recipes that you have in here. And just to mention, you do talk about yogurt and kefir, which is dairy based, but you can also make those things from non-dairy milk.

Dierdre Rawlings: Coconut and nut-milk, absolutely.

Caryn Hartglass: I’ve made a bunch of yogurt from almond milk, and it’s just fabulous

Dierdre Rawlings: It’s wonderful and you can make cashew cheese and fermented. Even the jams and preserves and things like that, I like to ferment my jam and preserves and talk about a taste sensation. It just feels so good. You know you’re doing good for you body and it just start to move you away from that sugary kind of addictive, it is kind of sickening after a while once you changed your palette around that taste. I always say to people; even if you just have a mouthful a day of something that is fermented, and I’d say, go with sauerkraut, because it’s got about 300-400 times of Vitamin C than any other food. And that is all you need, and it taste wonderful. Just that alone is like packing a good dose of probiotics. Of course you want to have a lot of different sort of food because it has different strength of bacteria. We need to have a range of different bacteria. They only have a short life span these bacteria, about 10 days, which is like the course of a dose of antibiotics when they put you on those. That’s why they’re only a short dose because they’re going to kill them; they’re going to naturally die anyway within about 10 days to 14 days. So, even just having a mouthful of sauerkraut , put it on your salad everyday, you will be giving yourself a medicinal treat.

Caryn Hartglass: A lot of people just like to buy stuff in the store; they’re not very good at home. I think there are some pluses and minuses about doing fermented foods at home. The thing is you have to plan in advanced. You can’t just say, I think I want to have fermented foods today, what is in the cupboard, unless you go to the store and get something, because it takes about a week with some of these things. You can probably make a rejuvelac in a few days. These things take planning, but once you’re in the mode of doing it, then it’s there waiting for you.

Dierdre Rawlings: Exactly, and it’s such a treat. Like I said, you can get all the nice summer fruits and berries and stone fruits and what have you. Before they go out of season, you can just ferment them.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, lets just get like a quick little idea of what fermenting requires

Dierdre Rawlings: Basically, it is not a lot. All you need is like fermentation starter, which could be whey or sometimes with cabbage you don’t need anything to start. All you need is salt and water and that’s it. The little microorganisms will do the job for you. As long as you got the Mason jar, you need a screw top lid, some people use these airlock lids, which are a bit fancier but you don’t need to use those. You just need a Mason jar, some water and salt, and if you were going to use a whey starter, then you’d get your starter ahead of time. But that’s really all you need because Mother Nature does the rest for you.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m always concern about salt in my food, and a lot of these fermentation processes requires salt.

Dierdre Rawlings: You want to make sure that you’re using a good quality like a Celtic or Himalayan salt. You’re absolutely right; you don’t want any of these table salts that are iodized or anything like that, anything that has been devitalized in any way. You just want to have the good, healthy salt. I recommend a Celtic or Himalayan crystal salt, which I recommended throughout the book and throughout the recipes.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, and if I make a sauerkraut and then I rinse it afterwards. Does that have a negative effect if I want to try and get whatever salt is leftover in it to make it less salty?

Dierdre Rawlings: You don’t have to use a whole lot of salt. You don’t really want to rinse it; certainly not using tap water, because it might diminish the probiotics there as well.

Caryn Hartglass: I don’t salt my food, so when I get a little salt on something I’m really sensitive.

Dierdre Rawlings: You need a little bit of that. But I think you’re going to find that with the sauerkraut it’s going to be outweighed any salt flavor by the nice pungent sourly taste. It’s also going to have the high Vitamin C to bring out the flavor of the cabbage a lot more. It’s not going to taste very salty actually.

Caryn Hartglass: I had Kathy Hester on the first part of the show. I said I was going to ask you a question, and I’m going to do it right now. We were talking about beans, because her book is The Great Vegan Bean. A lot of people complain about gas and other things when they’re eating beans. Is this something that probiotics can help?

Dierdre Rawlings: The thing about beans is they have phytic acid in them. In order to release the enzyme in the beans to make them more digestible, it is better to soak them over night. I always recommend that you soak them for 12 hours or overnight and you will release those enzyme inhibitors. If you’re going to ferment the beans, the probiotics will have a much better time, and bring out all those the nutrients.

Caryn Hartglass: I have to ferment my beans!

Dierdre Rawlings: I like to ferment beans as well. I recommend organic beans, especially the soybeans, but definitely baked beans is wonderful, in fact I have fabulous recipes in there, it’s one my favorite as well.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay Deirdre thanks so much for joining me at It’s All about Food, and I’m going to start growing things here in my kitchen.

Dierdre Rawlings: Wonderful, Nice talking to you. Thank you so much Caryn.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, all the best. You’ve been listening to another episode of It’s All About Food. Thank you so much for joining you and me can find me at responsibleeatingandliving.com. Send me messages or info at realmeals.org, always love to hear from you. Have a very delicious week

Transcribed by Jessica Heidi Anggiansah, 11/1/2013

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