Over a century ago (Pasteur developed the Germ Theory of disease in 1861, but it took a while to catch on) we have done everything we could to find and destroy microorganisms. By doing so we have unleashed an unholy deluge of toxic chemicals on our planet. His contemporaries, Antoine Bechamp and Claude Bernard, posited another theory of Biological Terrain, but until only a few decades ago scientists and healthcare professionals ignored the beneficial microbiome. Now we are learning its essential role in health and resistance to disease.
We are all children of this notion that we need to maintain sterile, or nearly sterile (i.e. germ-free) conditions to maintain health. This belief has not helped us. It turns out that most of the microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, fungi) in our bodies keep us healthy and disease free. Trying to stay germ free seems to have a relationship to chronic diseases, especially autoimmune disease.
We’ve been led to believe that all of this “work” in farming is essential when in fact the opposite is true. We ruminate about fears – lack of food and disease. We hold tight to anger about the same issues. We need to “let go” and relax into the abundance of the earth.
Most of us have become aware that pausing for Covid-19 has been immensely beneficial to nature. We hear birds, and breathe easier without massive amounts of transportation driven air pollution. Imagine what would happen if we did that on a grander scale?
Try it yourself in your own kitchen by making some yogurt – fermented milk. Back before Moses was a baby – or even a light in his mother’s eye – some 5,500 years ago fruit flies landed in milk. We might imagine this happened quite often. It turns out those fruit flies had yeasts that intermingled their genes with yeasts living in the milk (a microbial romance). Together they produced a fermented milk that tasted so good people began saving those batches of fermented milk to make new ones – essentially domesticating these yeasts, and today we all benefit from that ancient good fortune and wisdom.
Keeping that love story in mind, make some yogurt at home. You can do it with special yogurt cultures (or store bought plain yogurt with “live active cultures”) in a crock-pot. You even make it without heat using some special heirloom Scandinavian cultures (bacteria & yeast). Talk to your friends and family, someone you know has a culture to share. Kefir is popular and prolific. If you know someone who makes it at home they’ll be happy to give you some to start your own “drinkable yogurt” that requires nothing more than putting in on the counter overnight (or a bit longer) and then letting it thicken in the refrigerator. When it’s just right, drain out the kefir clumps of bacteria and yeast (called “grains”), and start over.
Bacteria and yeast have been culturing (preserving) our foods for years. They give us beer, wine, kombucha, tofu, tamari, tempeh, cheese, yogurt, and pickles of all varieties. Get to know these friendly microorganisms and learn to trust the abundance of our natural world, our conscious universe. Get some culture!