The Natural Products Expo East 2018 in Baltimore was a great conference. Expo East highlights information on the latest trends in the natural products industry and offers opportunities to talk with experts. My Top Ten Trends at Expo East post, identified cultured cuisine, fermented foods, and probiotics as a hot category with many products to check out. Many booths at Expo East promoted products based on the benefits of cultured and fermented foods which contain powerful probiotics.
As more people do their homework looking for natural products for their beauty, health, and immune support many are embracing the health trends of cultured, fermented and sprouted foods and probiotics. I spoke with several representatives at Expo East about cultured foods and probiotics to learn more insider tips. Some of the most popular fermented products at the expo were kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut. Several companies and products deserve honorable mention for their education and support at the conference and warrant further review. Some of my show favorites were:
- Apple cider vinegar is a cultured and fermented product with many health benefits. Flora even makes apple cider vinegar that has been herbified with medicinal botanicals.
- Cacao is best when it has been properly cultured for several days. Cacao is actually a fruit and the fruit pulp is allowed to ferment to enhance the cacao flavors fully. Then the cacao seeds can be used raw or roasted to make chocolate. HU Kitchen had some great organic chocolate and coffee.
- Coffee is another fruit with a seed inside that is best when it has been cultured first. Several companies are selling the coffee fruit pulp to make Cascara coffee that looks more like a tea which has a unique flavor and caffeine kick.
- Kavass is a cultured drink normally made from beets.
- Kefir is a probiotic drink made with organic raw milk.
- Kimchi is a popular fermented food made in many Asian countries. It can be made with dozens of different vegetables and many spices. Korean kimchi is well known for its great flavor and fiery taste due to the use of hot peppers and spices.
- Kombucha is a fermented drink that many refer to as Kombucha tea. Often the kombucha is made with a starting culture called “mother” that is placed in a container of sugar and tea so it can consume the sugar by the process of fermentation. Brew Dr. Kombucha had several varieties to sample at Expo East and they were very tangy and tasty.
- Probiotics are the living organisms that cause foods to be cultured and fermented and which naturally preserve the food from spoilage. They also allow the foods to be easily digested and release the nutrients for us to absorb.
- Sauerkraut is a popular fermented food made in many countries of Europe and elsewhere. The main ingredients are cabbage that is then naturally fermented in salt water with spices added for flavoring. Jacob’s Raw had some amazing raw organic krauts. Also found some great kimchi, kombucha, and krauts at Hex Ferments
- Soy (GMO-free of course) is best when properly cultured. Organic Miso, Natto, and Tempeh are examples of properly fermented soy products. Tofu is another healthy choice if organic and properly fermented. Unfortunately, most of the tofu in the US is not GMO-free and properly fermented. Most tofu in the US is GMO soy treated with herbicides and is highly processed and refined and not fermented.
- Yogurt is a cultured dairy product. Unfortunately, most of the yogurt in the US comes from milk that comes from cows treated with antibiotics and hormones. They are also fed GMO crops. For these reasons I avoid dairy and did not try any yogurt at Expo East.
At #expoeast the focus was on natural products and cultured and fermented foods plus probiotics were definitely in the spotlight. Not all products are created equal so it is up to you to read and research the label of ingredients before buying. It can be a bit tricky to read the labels and determine how healthy, natural and organic the ingredients are so be sure to do your homework. Most of the marketers, suppliers, and vendors promoting the benefits of their products appear to have high standards and quality sources but remember … it is up to us to make informed decisions and determine what products are best for our families.
Cultured and Fermented
Naturally cultured and fermented beans, beverages, dairy, eggs, fish, fruits, meat, and plants have been used for food, and health for many thousands of years. Even though fermented foods have been regularly consumed for many centuries many US government agencies and businesses seem determined to undermine their use and promote cooked, pasteurized and preserved foods instead. Modern food production methods have changed our food culture and customs for the worse and the result could be an epidemic of chronic disease and health issues.
Remember most properly cultured and fermented foods are primarily planted products that offer unique nutrition options. They have been used for many centuries to maintain vibrant energy, health and well being. Modern food industries use cooking, canning, pasteurizing, preservatives and synthetic chemical compounds to package their foods.
When you research information on the internet about cultured and fermented foods you will be fascinated by the knowledge our ancestors knew in regards to naturally preparing and preserving foods for health and survival. As you do further research on the internet about processed and refined foods it will soon be apparent that the majority of these foods on the market can harm our health. Therefore it seems obvious that buying natural cultured and fermented products is a smart choice. Remember … the natural cultured and fermented foods are loaded with natural probiotics that can enhance our health and well being.
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Vast Vegetarian Venue at Expo East