Why I Don’t Have Fermented Foods on My Blog – Part One

Fermented Foods like kombucha, kerif, sauerkraut, and kimchi are supposed to be great for leaky gut, but they have been a problem for me. Come find out why. Think you have a yeast allergy? You'll be interested in this post too!

Seeing as Whole New Mom is a blog that mainly talks about health and related topics, you may be wondering why I’ve never done a post about fermented foods.

I’ve got posts about going sugar-free, about the dangers of gluten, and about heavy metal toxicity and the burden of toxins on our health.

But no posts about:

  • homemade sauerkraut
  • kombucha
  • water kefir

and all that cultured stuff.

Read on to find out why–and hang with me. This is one of those longish posts with lots of info.

Remember my series on Candida and Gut Health from a while ago? If you didn’t read it, hop on over there. You’ll get to see up close and personal the way that candida wreaked havoc on my body and my life.

Candida is essentially a term to describe an overgrowth of yeast that causes many problems in the affected person.

And I had it bad.

If you look around the internet, many people say that kombucha and fermented foods are one of the key ways to rid oneself of candida.

But they didn’t work for me.

Here’s what happened instead.

The Candida Diet and Fermented Foods

About 4 years ago (I think that’s when this all started), I went on a pretty strict dietary regimen that excluded all sugary foods, and limited starches. The program included fermented foods in the “restricted” category, stating that often when folks were dealing with systemic candida, their bodies were sensitized to yeast products and fermented foods.  Instead of the body responding positively to the introduction of such “beneficial foods,” their bodies might react negatively instead.

So I followed that prescription.

No–

  • kombucha
  • kefir
  • vinegars
  • mustard
  • yeast
  • nutritional yeast

Etcetera.

The whole thing was pretty complex (more on the story later), but overall I was getting better. Sort of. Actually, there is a reason why the Candida Diet didn’t “do it” for me, but I will touch on that in a future post.  So make sure you subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already. You’ll for sure not want to miss that.

Anyway, I always wondered about the exclusion of fermented foods from the list of allowed foods, because there are many who tout cultured foods as being key to overcoming candidiasis (systemic candida).

Trial #1 – Super Fermented Drink

After a while of “doing the Candida Diet,” I was hitting a wall. So I talked with a man who had a lot of experience in candida, heavy metals, and the like, and he recommended my doing a “flush the bad guys out” protocol.

The Plan? Buy a boatload (about 5 2 liter bottles) of heavy-duty probiotic drink, and drink a bunch of it over the course of a few weeks.

It was expensive, but I was desperate to get better.

So I bought it and started to drink.

What followed was very unpleasant.

My symptoms worsened. A lot.

Itching everywhere. Intense and uncomfortable. And frightening.

I really didn’t think I could go on and see where this might lead. I felt like my body was rebelling against me and I was ready to surrender.

I packed up the unused portion of the boatload and paid to ship it back.

No more fermented foods for me for a long time.

Trial #2 – Kombucha

Fast forward a few years. I’d made a lot of changes–tightened up my diet and worked on adrenal healing, heavy metal toxicity, and more. It was a hard, hard time for me but I was starting to have more energy and wanted to start making kombucha for my family (and maybe for me—I hoped).

So I did. And I drank.

Not good.

More itching. Lots of it. Skin, scalp, ears, and the dreaded feminine itching thing. (Sorry if that’s TMI.)

I talked with my practitioner and she said that maybe I was reacting to the fermentation, or perhaps I should just go with fermented veggies since they have no sugar that can remain in them. She also said that I could try again some time down the road.

Now, to be clear, I fermented my kombucha ’til it tasted like a strong vinegar, so I think there was little to no sugar in that stuff, but I still wasn’t tolerating it.

I ended up trying to ferment some carrots, but they didn’t work well. Sigh.

So since I couldn’t tolerate it, and I was still pretty low on energy, the SCOBY died and I left the dream of fermented foods alone for awhile.

Trial #3 – Fermented Superfood Probiotic

This next part is a little murky, but here’s basically what happened.

I started taking a new fermented superfood probiotic back in July of 2012.

I went right into a full serving, but I ended up having some ear itching again and thought I needed to back off. The symptoms went away immediately, so I thought I was having a reaction to fermentation. Again.

I decided to back off. But tried again around October.

Same thing.  Ear itching and sinus stuff.

I figured fermented foods and I just didn’t get along.

Trial #4 – Fermented Superfood Probiotic

In March of 2013, I decided to try one more time to see if I could handle the fermented food probiotic.

I really really wanted to add this stuff to my diet and felt like the probiotic was really great for my gut.

There are sooo many probiotics out there and I have tried A LOT of them. With most of them, you just know that they aren’t working, but with this one, I could tell for sure that it was.

So I tried.

I started with 1/8 of a teaspoon and progressed to 1/4 and was tolerating it pretty well.

March 22 – I upped my dose of the probiotic to 1/2 teaspoon and my eyes started itching again.  I backed off again.

Trial #5 – Lots of Fermented Foods

By mid-April, I was trying again. I was determined to get this stuff into my system.

I ramped my dosage up to 1 tsp per day and felt great (tons of energy and great digestion), but I ate some other foods with yeast in them on April 15 and woke up with INTENSE itching in my ears.  Like “I’m going to go nuts” itching.

Well, I know this is kind of gross, but my ears were peeling inside a little and I smelled some of the discharge / skin.

The discharge from one of my ears smelled like yeast.

Was this my body trying to get rid of it?

Or was this a reaction to the fermented foods?

Regardless, it seemed I was doomed. Big sigh.

Trial #6 –  The Big Guns

Just 3 days later, April 15, I was given the chance of a lifetime.

The chance to talk with someone who really knows his stuff about probiotics.

Not just a health food store employee, but an expert in the field of probiotics and superfoods.

I’ll fill you in in the next post about what he said and what happened.

Click here for Part Two of Why I Don’t Have Fermented Foods on My Blog.
Click here for Part ThreeWhy I WILL Have Fermented Foods on My Blog.

Sorry to keep you hanging, but I’ve got a lot to say on this topic :-).

Have you had reactions to fermented foods or been told you are sensitive to them?

By the way, the photo up there was done by Michaela of Vicariously Vintage. Nice shot, eh?

Comments

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  1. sophia tsanos says:

    hey there.. regarding candida and digestive issues/ fermented foods.. i had a serious problem also with hives, edema and eczema and like everything else..too much of anything is a bad thing including fermented foods.. especially if you’re healing.. i had a few years of trial and error and figured out at the end of the day.. it wasn’t allergic reaction to anything..or fermented foods or dairy foods per se like everyone wants to tell you.. it was all leaky gut.. so for me it was trying to find a strategy to heal the leaky gut (takes a long time) and deal with some fermented food- some probiotics- cool it with the sugar and some l-glutamine, digestive enzymes and intestinal healing products..that’s what helped me.. maybe you have the same problem? hope it helps.

    • Interesting. I think leaky gut is huge. huge. huge. I’ve been told to take L-glutamine in the past but forget the dosage and how it helps. Maybe you can help :).

      • sophia tsanos says:

        i’m not a doctor (more of a researcher as i had a BIG problem with the hives/eczema/edema)..doctor’s said it was autoimmune and probably allergies but it didn’t make sense hence my research. if you are going for a healing gut strategy :
        i was told to try (empty stomach in morning) take buffered vit C and l-glutamine 500mg and wait before eating- then no acidic foods- no grains- avoid dairy and sugar complex carbs. take enzymes with food and probiotics before sleeping. also be sure to take omegas and drink a lot of water..ALSO if you can find out if you are absorbing b vitamins (i wasn’t – i needed methyl b vitamins.. a deficiency apparently may cause weakness in your intestinal tract and as you get older it’s more and more necessary to compensate or you can get leaky gut that way too).. for me it had more to do with b vitamins than anything above- it changed my life. i hope that helps you..

      • L-glutamine is also very good as a brain food, stopping carbohydrate cravings, and boosting thyroid hormones. Best taken on an empty stomach.

  2. Erica Spears says:

    I think this might have happened to me while I was pregnant. I’m really interested to see what your next post says. They (my midwife and her attending physician) diagnosed me with cholestasis, I was itching all over and my liver enzymes were up, but I was trying to pound myself with good bacteria to make sure group b strep was under control (I was positive with our second child) . But my symptoms were really unlike Cholestasis. It started with the itching, I had headaches, and then went to urgent care with bleeding. They said that high liver enzymes could lend to preterm labor. Well, the labor slowed but the induced at 37 ish weeks. The thing is they say if you have Cholestasis that you have it with EVERY pregnancy. So it left my midwife baffled b/c this was my 3rd… hmmm Food for thought. now I still eat fermented foods and don’t notice a reaction. But maybe with the pregnancy hormones and stuff. I don’t know. If any one else has some info, please pass it along.

  3. I am SSSOOO glad I am not the only one with this problem!!! The itchy ears, nose and everywhere else that just gets worse with fermented stuff!

  4. Itchiness can be a sign of detox, all the built up toxins from over the years expunging from your tissues.

  5. Interesting! I’m currently doing a candida diet where fermented foods are encouraged. Milk kefir especially. Water kefir has more sugar but is an option for vegetarians. Kombucha is not recommended (can’t remember why). Homemade yogurt, sauerkraut & kimchi are encouraged.
    Were you taking anything to counteract the die off? Also, I have read on the site that the yeast does fight back & when you increase your probiotics, you sometimes have an increase in symptoms. What dose of probiotics are you taking at the moment?

    • I wasn’t taking anything to counteract the die off b/c I didn’t know if it was or if it was a reaction. I will be talking more about probiotics in the next post :). Hopefully tomorrow or Thursday.

  6. Jessica T says:

    I haven’t had problems with fermented foods. The first was kombucha, early on in my conversion to real food. I loved it because it was similar to soda and I was trying to get off soda (A&W Root beer and 7up.) I had read to start consuming fermented foods slowly, which I did, and I don’t really think I experienced too much detox stuff like I’d read warnings about. I think all I had was some slight headaches.

    Sorry to hear you’ve had a rough time with them. Our bodies are personal and react differently and have different symptoms. What works for some will not necessarily work for another.

  7. Hi I also dealt with a lot of these issues/ symptoms. After a couple years of hives , acne, headaches and fatigue, I finally went to a Doctor my cousin interned under in Montana, named Dr. Harris. We live in Oregon so it was a costly trip but I suspected parasites (I had them in the past) and candida. I have to say I am SO glad I made the trip! I saw him about 4 months ago and I have had no rashes in 3 months and I have even had gluten since I saw him! I had leaky gut syndrome, candida, parasites, adrenal issues and thyroid issues. He explained that only doing a candida diet isn’t enough, especially when candida has progressed to leaky gut. That following a strict candida diet alone would take at least 18 months with NO cheating! He gave me supplements and I am feeling SO much better. I didn’t realize what a brain fog I was in or how tired I felt until I was feeling better! Now that the candida and parasites are gone I am in the process of repairing my gut! I have an appointment with him the beginning of June again to do a follow up because I am determined to get healthy before I have baby number 2! My first child had such bad colic! I thought she was allergic to dairy but it was actually my leaky cut allowing casein and toxins into my blood stream and breast milk! I look forward to your future posts! I don’t think people realize how serious Candida can be it leads to SO many other health issues! It is a pain to get rid of and can be scary when it “fights” back!

  8. Kristie says:

    I am very interested to hear what comes next. I have noticed more bloating, heartburn, nausea, and just feeling unwell with fermented foods. Someone told me recently that my symptoms sound like candida and that the vinegaryness (not a real word) of some fermented foods could be causing the problem. And I also heard that water kefir becomes to vinegary after a bit. And I have been on multiple probiotics for at least a couple years ( right now it is a 100 billion strength). I also want to add in fermented foods, but don’t feel healthier with them. I also have talked to you before, and I am the one who has had my mercury fillings removed, and have seen improvement in many areas, but would love to conquer the digestion thing. I can’t wait to see what you have next!

    • Water kefir will become like vinegar if it sits and ferments. Stay tuned. I hope there will be helpful things for you. I have so much more to talk about….I just need to have the time. Part 2 should be later this week or even tomorrow. :) Hang in there.

  9. Annette says:

    Hello, Adrienne,

    Back last year, I had started doing homemade Kombucha, and no initial reaction, but after 3 months, and taking about a 2 week hiatus from ingesting any, I suffered terrible hives on my extremities–upper/lower legs and arms!!!! It was awful! Continued for a good month, and went through several courses of oral steroids and injection, AND a yucky skin biopsy that showed NOTHING (but now a couple of scars :( ). Since, then, my gut has definitely CHANGED—-very gassy, very crampy, almost always a dull pain/ache in the central lower gut, and hypoasthesia in the lower groin area. Since I’m with stress incontinence, I HAVE to wear a pad, and that just irritates my lower groin/anal area even more! Could this be LEAKY GUT???? This last year has been awful…..

    • Wow. I have no idea. Stay tuned and maybe there will be help for you. I am going to be bringing some sharp people on my blog so let’s see where it goes. Please be patient with me. Remember the gut health course? Did you consider signing up for that? It will be offered again.

      • Annette Astuto says:

        I DID sign up for the course, but have not gotten through all the material—but VERY GOOD INFO!!!!!!!! :) I am thinking of adding some Bromelain Plus Biotics and now possibly to L-glutamine? So much info, and I do not currently take enzymes, but I’m on Garden of Life Raw Probiotics for Colon/gut health. I had considered looking into the probiotics that you suggest on your blogs, but just haven’t researched enough. Going for a colonscopy in June :(, as my symptoms have really increase in the past 2-3 months unfortunately, and just want to be sure. I have been diagnosed with IBS in the past, but it was NEVER this bad!

        • I know. I have to go and get through it all as well. At least you can access all of it later…not sure about the Facebook group though….

          I am taking an enzyme that’s very reasonable that I am happy with. There will be more on the probiotics coming up. Again, I can’t advise but you might want to call my practitioner. I am finding so many øf my issues have been adrenal and metal related. And more…..

  10. Hi I just wanted to post and share something. I have been doing a lot of reading on what is in our foods and all the bad stuff that is in it all. I also have been reading on juicing and the power it has in your body. Check it out on the Juice Lady’s web site. You can detox liver, lungs, & every organ so it can start to work properly. If your organs are not working properly like your liver then you get sick. So check her out the Juice Lady you’ll be surprised what juicing can do. Me and my Husband are going to start our detox as soon as we get a juicer, so we can get a jump start on our health. There is so many benefits in Juicing.

    • Thanks for sharing. I am not a big fan of juicing due to the high amounts of sugars it can put in your body especially if you are not taking in the pulp, etc. What do you think about that?

      • My family just started juicing, and we feel a ton better. I think the sugar part gets a little over exaggerated. We juice mostly vegetables, with one or two pieces of fruit thrown in. We have been having trouble getting our veggies in, and juicing has really been an answer for us. I would say we get less sugar from the one or two apples we throw in than a normal kid gets with a glass of apple juice… Plus its fresh, not processed.

        • Me and my family are in the process of doing the same thing. I got a lot info @ the juice lady’s web site. Was the investment expensive at first. cause Iv’e heard it was but it all balances out and you eat less cause your not eating all those empty calories in all the bad stuff that is in on our store shelves. Cause I’m really trying to stay or cut back on processed foods.

          • Buying the juicer was the worst part, but I had a 20% off coupon, and we didn’t get the worst model but got the next one up. It’s been super beneficial. If we have veggies about to go bad that we haven’t eaten… We throw them in… it’s been great. Plus the slight sweetness has changed our taste buds, I don’t even crave chocolate anymore… It’s been awesome! Not to mention my 16 mo old chugs it like any other kid would if it was apple juice!

      • You don’t have to put a lot of fruit in your juicing, green apples have less sugar then red apples or use carrots. you also can use liquid stevia and it is better for you. you can sweeten
        things up without a lot of sugars.

  11. I suffer from itchiness too. It can be pretty bad. My doctors do not seem to give a hoot and tell me to use T-Gel shampoo. I want to find the cause not just cover symptoms. I am at a loss. I do not eat gluten in hopes that it would help but it ultimately did not. I look forward to your next post :)

  12. I love kombucha, but stopped drinking it after I recently heard in an interview (I think the maker of Miessence InLiven?) that since it is a wild ferment, it’s not good for Candida overgrowth. Another one said the commercial ones have too much sugar left in them….very bummed. Have you learned anything about the difference with wild ferments? I’d like to try the Miessence InLiven probiotics to see if it will help. I do like coconut kefir and it doesn’t cause symptoms. I can’t wait to read your next post with the expert!

    • I have read about kombucha being a problem for 2 reasons. The wild ferment thing and the sugar content. Stay tuned. The next post should be tomorrow or Thursday.

  13. As you know, I’m fascinated by this because I, too, have been dealing with candida for ages and for the most part have managed to get it under control. I did also follow a VERY strict diet for the first year or so, but I’ve now returned some of the “forbidden” foods (gluten-free flour, coconut sugar) and manage fine as long as I don’t overdo it.

    I wonder if there needs to be a distinction made between types of fermented foods? Naturally fermented veggies, like sauerkraut, contain scores of probiotics–and you take probiotics, right? I can see how kombucha could be problematic since it’s got sugar in it, and yeast, but other foods like kimchi don’t. . . I find that the more naturally fermented veggies I eat, the better I feel. And I can even have a kombucha once in a while, too.

    I tend to agree with Raven up there. . . could it be your body detoxifying? Sometimes the symptoms get worse before they get better.

    • Hi Ricki. The whole thing is very confusing and it seems that it is one of those things that is going to require a lot of study. Which I have a love-hate relationship with.

      There are distinctions based on the type of ferment but it might not be what you think. And again, I am just learning.

      It could be detox….hopefully the next post will be up tomorrow. And if not, Thurs at the latest. :).

  14. Wow! This is extremely timely for me! I can’t wait for your next post- I’m itching to know what you have discovered! :). Just recently I was given the cookbook/encyclopedia “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon who is the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation. There’s a whole section in regards to lacto-fermentation which, for me being a newbie to all of this, kind of had my stomach all tied up in knots just from reading about it, but I’m willing to give it a try someday. It does say in the book that “Lactic acid fermented vegetables and fruit chutneys are not meant to be eaten in large quantities but as condiments.” It mentions a lot of helpful hints which many of you may already be familiar with such as “if the vegetables are deficient then the process of fermentation will not proceed. Likewise if your salt or water contains impurities, the quality of the final product will be jeopardized.”. I don’t think any of their recipes have vinegar in them, as it’s makes things “more acidic, is not beneficial in large quantities, and subjects the final product to pasteurization which kills all the beneficial lactic- acid- producing bacteria.”. On a side note, in regards to metal in the body- what is the influence of braces and retainers? And jewelry, piercings, etc.?

    • Funny pun! I am with you on the “tied in knots” thing. Hang with me. This should be an interesting ride. RE: the metals, I don’t know. I have earring and wear sterling only. I suspect it has to do w/ the type of metal and what you do with it but I have no idea. No one has ever mentioned those things being an issue but I would suspect tongue piercing b/c of knocking against teeth above the others.

  15. I was reading your post, and am wondering if you juice? I have been juicing for more than four years now, and it has made a huge difference in my life. If you juice greens (like Kale or wheat grass, chard, etc., and a LOT of GINGER… it really cleans your gut up. ( I also add lemon, apple, carrot and other stuff if I have it on hand) But I am convinced that using a BIG hunk of ginger in my juice everyday has really cut out so much inflammation in my life (think fixing leaky gut by stopping inflammation that causes microscopic tears in your gut). I am type 1 diabetic for 30 years and am in great shape. Juicing has allowed me to start running again after 10 years of not running due to a serious running injury ten years ago, I severed a peroneal tendon in my ankle, and frankly, thought I would not ever run again. I have been running 3 miles, 5 days a week, for a year now. No swelling at all. and I had frozen shoulder (non-movable shoulder joint) for about a year when I started juicing, and three months into juicing, I realized, “Hey, I can lift my arm above my head!!!” (I had tried PT etc but no real change in a year, until juicing. It is totally worth the trouble. I get up about 45 minutes earlier than everyone else so I can get it done. Now I have my husband and 10year old daughter drinking it every day. :)

    • No, I don’t. For a long time I have thought it wasn’t good due to the amount of sugars and waste. Do you mainly juice veggies? I am convinced greens are crucial and we have our kale in the ground now.

      • Hi again,

        You can juice just veggies, carrots are pretty sweet and help the “grassiness” of the greens, but always add a lemon if you can (the rind and all if its organic) because that cuts through the grassiness too. I usually always add an organic apple. But you dont have to. Honestly, I am so used to it, I can drink ANY kind of juice, I put in about 6-8 inches of raw ginger… and a jalepeno pepper. But I worked up to that. I put in anything I have a lot of in my garden… thats where the peppers came in. lol. But remember, its really not about the taste, its about “mainlining” bazillions of antioxidants directly into your bloodstream and having them clean you up on a cellular level daily. (always juice first thing in the morning, and as soon as you are done jucing it… then wait to eat until at least a half hour. and ALWAYS add a few tablespoons of GOOD fat- coconut oil, flax oil, even olive oil is fine– your body NEEDS fat to absorb the antioxidants! When I started juicing, a friend gave me a great book, its about raw foods diet (which I don’t do– but the book has great info about juicing) Natalia Rose’s “The Raw Foods Detox Diet”. Also Johnny Bowden’s “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth” has a lot of very interesting facts about food in it. One more great recommendation… have you seen the movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”? It is a true life story and a wonderful movie (contrary to the bad title!) about a fellow who had a horrible auto-immune system disease and changes his life by juicing. Its on netflix streaming. Sorry to go on and on. I am definitely a juicing evangelist. (Oh, one more tip– get the “auger” type juicer– I have an Omega 1000, it allows you to do greens and grasses etc and you can put the pulp through the juicer numerous times (get every drop of that expensive organic produce) its worth every penny. about $300. Give it a serious try… it will change you. :)

        • Thanks for the info. Why do you wait the 30 minutes? I have heard about the video but haven’t seen it yet.

          • I read that waiting 30 minutes to eat other types of food allows the juice to move from the stomach completely and into the intestines, without being impeded by other (non-fruit/vegetable) food in the stomach. Therefore, it can enter your bloodstream quickly, and without a lot of the acids in the stomach destroying it. Different types of foods (meat, grains, etc) will introduce the heavy duty acids into the stomach, that would not be great for the juice, plus, they STAY in the stomach for 3+ hours, so your juice gets stuck there too. Oh, my juice is pretty thick with pulp… that is okay.

  16. Melissa says:

    Very interested in this, as I have suspected that when I have eaten fermented veggies it weakens me. Haven’t tried them in awhile. I also have tried Garden of Life’s probiotic and felt great for a few days only to then feel like I am going downhill, and not to come back up until I get off of it. This has happened at least twice.

    Juicing doesn’t work well for everyone. My husband just felt worse and worse when he juiced and he did it for quite awhile. We were told that it makes your body dump lots of toxins and that can be too much to deal with for some.

    • That is how you know it is working… I did not feel great the first three months of juicing. Not bad, but I did feel kind of nauseus for an hour or so after drinking it. It gradually stopped, and now I just feel great after drinking it. BUT, I do NOT juice beets. They DO make me feel sick. I hear they have a ton of niacin and it can make you feel nauseus.

  17. All of these symptoms don’t sound like a yeast problem. It describes “Histamine Intolerance”.
    Most doctors are not familiar with it yet. But myself and many other people around the world suffer with it. I belong to a few groups on Facebook dealing with HIT (histamine intolerance), and we share with each other some things that can help as there isn’t a cure yet. In fact that’s how I found this blog. Someone in our group posted this link. BTW – we can’t have anything that’s fermented. Hope this info can help.

    • Sandy

      i would love to join those groups.. I have been researching Histamine Intolerance.. would you leave the links?

    • Histamine intolerance and methylation issues have got me reading a lot these days. I never had problems with foods much but I took some Niacin which gave me a terrible histamine reaction with terrible itching and hives. Drives you crazy!

      Also have you looked at Fodmaps? Foods like: garlic, onions, coconut, legumes, wheat, some fruits…They can cause people to have IBS symptoms. I found out about them following a Paleo diet. I gave up wheat and felt great, but they want you to eat a lot of coconut which brought it all back again. Sigh… fermented foods don’t bother me that I know of.

  18. This happened to me. I have a gaba/glutamate imbalance caused by my h .pylori infection. I get the “drunk” feeling- so i know its a reaction. I get it :)

  19. Hello.
    Fermented foods contain a massive amount of histamine. If your histamine tolerance is low they can really set you off. Other histamine foods that make me very itchy include cocoa and soy, wine or beer, etc. There are a lot of lists online about foods containing histamine (some surprising vegetables) but I am working out my own tolerances. No cocoa and soy on the same day, etc.
    Hope this helps. X

  20. Hi,
    You don’t want to hit a body that was not ever used to fermented foods with high doses of that stuff, that is irresponsible to your body. Fermented foods are wonderful and very healthy but give your body time to adjust to them. too much to soon will sent a body into shock and overdrive… its like you trying to run a marathon without any prior running experiences.
    Start slow, your body is not used to that kind of foods on a regular basis give it time to adjust and then you can hit higher doses. I grew up eating fermented foods every day,I was skinny and very healthy. After I grew up I fell into the “easy mode” trap and rather bought my sauerkraut or pickles at the store and “cooked” processed foods over time my health deteriorated.I never knew what it was, why I was constantly graving food until at the age of 57 started to make my own sauerkraut and ferment my own veggies again. I have lost weight, my health has improved, my cholesterol is normal my appetite went from being constantly hungry to being satisfied after a simple meal… I did my research into the manufacturing of pickled vegetables one buys at stores, its nothing but vegetables with a salt/water/vinegar brine together with some chemicals… nothing to do with fermentation at all the pickles “cook” (cure)cold in the mix. I make my own cheese now and cook every meal from scratch using vegetables from the garden, from my stack I have fermented in the cellar or buy them from our farmers market that by rule is purely organic.
    So I guess what I am trying to say is, do NOT give up on fermented foods, they have too many benefits to be swept aside. Start slow, give your body time to get used to them, your body will respond with vigor and health.

  21. Have you ever looked at oxalates? I was reading a blog last year and there was a paragraph that described symptoms like yours and like mine. Look at http://www.lowoxalate.info/ and this group, http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Trying_Low_Oxalates/ and see if this may be one of your problems. I am a kombucha lover and now I can’t drink it. It is very high in oxalates, as is carrots and many other plants that we eat and make into juice. From the yahoo group I was also able to read about “dumping” the oxalates and the reactions it has to your body as it rids itself of an over abundance of these oxalates that you are not able to process properly because of digestive issues. I hope this helps you.

  22. Hi! Looking forward to the next post…. this sounds to me like a normal cleansing crisis… much of your reactions sound yeasty/candida like…. the rest (especially the itching) sound like what happens when the liver is detoxing really quickly…. not allergies, my opinion…. usually these symptoms are quickly alleviated by slowing down (and then SLOWLY building back up) whatever things you are doing to detox your body – in this situation the fermented foods and drinks…. AND it is super important to be doing enemas on a regular (read daily) basis when beginning these types of regimens) to assist the body in moving all of it’s newly released toxins from the body…. you have absolutely GOT to keep the passage ways moving… the “stuff” is gonna have to move out some kind of way, and if it’s not through the bowels, it will pick the skin, the ears, the nose, or any other orifice that it can… if not moved out quickly then the reactions can build up… lastly, ask the body what it wants, listen to your own intuition, and tap in to the emotional/spiritual aspect of what may be taking place…. of course, these are all just my thoughts… I’m sure you have it under control! lol… I wish you much luck, your determination is inspiring…

  23. I don’t know much about gut issues and I know it can be complex, but I know I have used homeopathic Candida albicans for yeast infections in the past with amazing results. The first time I used it was on my daughter after a round of antibiotics had left her a nasty rash on her little bottom. I gave it to her after she had fallen asleep (cuz I arrived home late) and the next morning, it had reduced by at least half. I was blown away!

  24. Christine says:

    I don’t personally suffer from this, but I read somewhere about someone needing
    to have anaerobic ferments. They were getting hives etc from the wild ferments due to the natural yeasts and molds involved in the natural/wild fermentation process. Something to do with histamines. Hope this helps!
    Thanks for your wonderful blog!

    • I’ve heard about that and hope to share more. Thanks for the comment and your kind words!

    • I use only anaerobic ferments period, that’s what I grew up with and I still believe its best for you. I remember going into the root cellar and hearing the many cocks burping happy, I remember my mother and grandmother going into the cellar with a carafe of spring water to fill the airlocks. I use stone cocks with an airlock at the top. They are a bid pricey (cheapest ones I found was on Amazon) but well worth the investment. My family never used open fermentation it was frowned upon people got sick to easy. I grew up in Europe after WW-II in a farm community and I remember my parents getting their first refrigerator in the late 60s. Until then, storing foods in the root cellars or smoking the meat was common place. Turning excess cream into butter and cheese and fermenting / canning vegetables and fruits for the winter season was very common.

  25. Suzanne says:

    Kombucha was NOT good for my family. We have worse issues ever since consuming it. I wish more people would know that it is not for everyone. It fed the yeast in my body, it was not die-off. Look forward to hearing more about your take on it!

  26. This is very interesting! I just wondered, what kind of fermented foods did you take, except for kombucha? It seems like you’ve been taking some probiotic supplement (super brobiotic drink?) Or did I misunderstand you? My point is that as far as I know, taking a lot of good bacteria through supplements without having the right pH in your gut can cause the good bacteria to change into bad bacteria that tolerate the ‘wrong’ pH (because they are pleomorph). Good bacteria as you know, must have a slightly acidic environment to thrive. In addition to that, too alcalic pH may cause candida overgrowth. One of the good things about fermented foods (not probiotic supplements) is that it hjelps getting the pH balance in your gut normal (because of the acids) produced. Just a thought…:)

    • I tried the fermented superfood probiotic powder, kombucha, water kefir, organic apple cider vinegar. That’s mostly it but occasionally I had some high quality fermented foods in my freezer that I tried. Still a lot to learn, eh?

      • Personally, I would stay away from the stuff they sell in the stores. Real sauerkraut or fermented pickles are easy to make and have many more benefits then pro biotic super whatever stuff they sell you in the stores, I like to have control over what I put into my body. Fermenting is an art and takes TIME. I see people that make sauerkraut and eat it after 2-4 weeks and then wonder why they don’t get any benefits. Real ferments need a lot of time. My sauerkraut ferments a minimum of 12-15 weeks before I consider it ready to be filled into glasses and stored in the fridge at ~50F for future use. One needs to give bacteria time to do their work. Give it a try one doesn’t have to go all out and buy fermenting crocks, simple fido jars with airlocks will do fine for small batches. I even made small batches in simple canning jars, drilled a hole into the center of the lid, cut a disk of cork put it inside the lid, stuck a rubber casket into the hole and inserted a wine or beer making airlock. I works great.

        • I have heard that you need to be really careful about the DIY airlocks. I am working on getting myself some solid ones to make sure I am doing this the right way.

  27. Read Matt Stone

    He has a great book – Diet Recovery 2

    I have been where all of you are. I am not cured. But, I am well on my way back
    to vibrant health.

    • I’ve heard some not great things about Stone if this is the guy I’ve been hearing about…….Doesn’t he think sugar is OK?

      • Yes, he does. Now, I do too.

        It would take a book to write my 20 year health history. I have had
        every dx thrown my way. Lupus, sjogren’s, auto-immune, hypothyroid,
        candida, Lyme’s, CFS, trigeminal neuralgia, chemical sensitivity, toxic
        metals, multiple food intolerance’s, IBS etc…..

        I have read many diet books on health. I have done the diets,
        the cleanses, the supplements, every type of medical/holistic practitioner I
        could find. I ended up after 20 years of trying desperately to heal myself
        through all of the above, worse. I was house/couch bound. Barely able to
        do activities of daily living…..brushing my teeth, combing my hair etc….
        I was in such pain and, head pressure with no energy. I wanted to die.
        I thought I was dying.

        Then, by God’s mercy I found Matt Stone. I didn’t get well over-night. But, each
        day brought a small ray of hope. Today, I am so much better. I have energy again!
        I can eat many different foods that use to make me very sick. I sleep well again.
        I am able to tolerate more chemical smells too. Hairspray, lotions and cologne on
        other people etc…

        I hope the improvements will continue until I no longer have any issues. But, even
        if I stay right here, it is leaps and bounds better than I have been.

        • Interesting. Well, I hope it continues for you. I am very concerned about folks who are saying sugar is great for us. But I try to keep an open mind. I think it is possible to feel good for awhile but then the problems catch up with you. As with many diets and ideas, etc. But I am so glad to hear you are doing better.

          • Here’s a sobering thought taken from the book “Nourishing Traditions “. “In 1821, the average sugar intake in America was 10pounds per person per year; today it is 170 pounds per person.” Not that I’m 100% backing this book, it just happens to be what I’m reading right now and it is very informative. I would certainly recommend it. One other point brought up is that our diets, in general, are very limited as far as the variety of food we eat and it may well be that some of us lack the necessary enzymes in order to digest some foods because we have eaten such exclusive diets for so long and thus we end up with allergies and food sensitivities and a whole host of other degenerative issues.

            • The sugar part is awful. The limited diet is something I am not sure what to think about. There are some very healthy cultures where they are very selective / limited in the breadth of their diet so it is a puzzle to me.

              • Sorry about that- I should clarify the exclusive, limited diet part-we (in general in the USA) have made our diet rather exclusive with so much sugar and bleached white flour.

  28. Hmmm.. what about kimchi? Definitely femented, but I’ve heard tons of great stuff about it. Would love to hear your take on kimchi. I personally love the food, eat it all the time ever since my trip to Korea about 3 years ago and I haven’t had any problems so far. Actually, I find it really helpful when I have a cold.

  29. Sorry, but this is ridiculous. Try making your own and limiting yourself to products that don’t specifically undergo yeast fermentation. (Pickles, kraut, kimchi, rejuvelac, just as a start) Shocker, some crazy store bought products don’t end up being good for your health? Who could’ve known.

    I am never a rude blog commenter, but this is just so absurd and ill-informed, I had to offer a contrasting perspective.

    • I am pretty confused about your comment.
      – First of all, to my knowledge, all ferments will contain yeast. It is just a question of what kind and how much.
      – Secondly, the products I am talking about were a mix of homemade and store bought. If you read the next post you will see that the fermented food probiotic is basically top of the line. I basically challenge anyone to find fault with it.
      – Thirdly, your comment is rude so please take care how you say things. It is fine to disagree, but to use words such as “absurd” and “ill-informed” and “ridiculous” is over the top language.

      You are welcome to come back and try again if you have more to share as I do appreciate others and try to keep an open mind and am for sure willing to admit I am wrong when I find out that I am.
      Thanks.

  30. Fermented foods are ultra high in histamines….. I am histamine intolerant and have similar reactions to fermented and other foods that are high in histamine. Some people have the enzymes to digest histamine….others do not. You might have the same thing…

  31. Hi Adrienne,
    I was going back and forth between posts, so sorry if this is out of place here, but I read that for heavy metals you took a product called zeolite? Do you know what brand you took or do you have a link for more info on it? Thanks so much!

  32. Mary P. says:

    Thanks for addressing this issue. I too cannot tolerate fermented food and am dealing with a yeast overgrowth. I am on a restricted diet and it is frustrating that what I considered healthy foods with the good bacteria, I cannot seem to tolerate. Please continue this topic and any info you have learned.

  33. The Provision Room says:

    You are a fascinating case study! :-) So sorry that you are not tolerating fermented foods well. I bet it’s more common that people think because our culture is so lacking in good bacteria and the diversity of our gut is not what it should be thanks to anti-biotics, anit-bacterial soaps, poor diet, interference in childbirth, bottle feeding instead of breastfeeding, etc.

    Interested to see what comes next!

  34. all things in moderation … no excesses of anything and the body is happy therefore do not deride one thing against another.. :)

  35. When you experienced fermented food overload, did you start a yeast free diet?

    I started a yeast free diet 10 days ago. The symptoms are improving…slowly.

  36. Did you experience the yeast infection on your face?

    I need something to help the yeast infection on my face. So far, the symtoms on my face are not improving.

    I tried tea tree oil, Yeast Aid and Psorzema Creme with neem, burdock, bearberry and Vitamins A and E.

    U

  37. I’m so glad I found your site. You are initially describing my story. I have stopped kombucha and all other fermente foods, time and time again for the same reactions, and have been trying to figure out if those things are feeding the candida or creating a healing crisis….either way flare ups are so bad, I actually become disfunctional as a mom, so I end up stopping. I am wanting to here updates on your health…..are you still convinced it’s a die off reaction? All ears. : )

    • Yes, I am convinced. I am taking the InLiven daily now in addition to raw kefir and sometimes other fermented foods. I have more things I am working on but at least this appears to be sorted out :).

      • I recently found your site and have been reading many of your past blogs – trying to sort through it all and find what works and what doesn’t…. I feel like my head will explode! I have a ton of questions for you but right now, could not even begin to ask them in a rational way!

        I think, but I am not sure, that improperly fermenting your sauerkraut (and many other foods) is the cause of a lot of people’s problems with the histimines…. Leah Harrie of Nourshing Treasures (I believe) has done a lot of research about the process ferments go through and if the product isn’t fermented long enough, the histimines cause problems. The ferment time has to be longer than what a lot of sites are saying. Ferment vessels have to be anaerobic but that includes many that some are saying are not good.

        I do not have a lot of widom or insite and have not studied these issues nearly as much as many others have. It has been quite a journey that God is bringing me on with my autoimmune disorder and I am still learning.

        I am fascinated with all the information regarding the good bacteria in our guts and the importance they play in our health. I agree, time will catch up with us all!

        Have you ever talked with Kathleen at the Pickl-It site. I believe she has practically cured her son of autism?

        I noticed that someone else asked if you had read “Autoimmune, The Cause And The Cure”. I am also interested to know if you have as of yet.

        After reading some of your post and treatments, I have to ask if you have ever heard of fecal transplants and would you evern consider that option? I read that they are doing them at Mayo Clinic for a certain ailment. I think (providing you could find a good donor) that there is much that could be accomplished through this.

        Do you feel that the powerful probiotics are curing you? I have spent entirely too much time and money on snake oil and people trying to get rich off of the misery of others. We are a very unhealthy society and if people are not aware of that, they soon will be…. Like you said, “time”. So there are sites out there selling just about everything.

        I take fermented cod liver oil, make my own sauerkraut, raw milk kefir, beet kvass, and try to get raw liver in my diet most days of the week. After 56 years of doing all the wrong things, I wonder if I can give my body enough of the things it needs to heal now? We are fearfully and wonderfully made and I believe God created our bodies to revert to health IF we give them the tools they need to do so. I would love to know what you believe them to be and what other recommendations you think are working for you and your family.

        Thank you for the time and attention you put into trying to keep us informed along the way!

        • Hello there. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

          First of all, regarding Lea Harris, I am familiar with her statements about fermenting to some degree. I think it is possible that you have confused her with someone else. Here is what I do know:

          1. Ferment time for kraut needs to be longer…for several reasons.. Can you be more specific about what you would like to know?
          2. Here is the info on histamines that I think you are referring to. It isn’t on Lea’s site, but on Loving Our Guts. http://www.lovingourguts.com/anaerobic-fermentation-our-gaps-missing-piece/
          3. I have talked w/ Kathleen but it has been near impossible to get in touch with her in recent days.
          4. I have that book – it’s very interesting. I am not sure I completely concur but it has very good points. I personally think that supplementation might have its place and that the data in there about the problems with supplementing might be a little incorrectly interpreted. I have to look at it more.
          5. I have heard of the implants but I think it’s a drastic measure – and likely a fortune. I am trying something else starting this coming week so we’ll see what happens next :).
          6. I do feel that they have improved my gut but I am still working on things. I think they are a great product. For sure not “snake oil.” Anything but. They are powerful superfoods fermented for easy assimilation. I think it’s possible others might work great for others as well.

          Thanks and take care! I am still learning and trying to sort this all out–while accepting where I am now and knowing it might not change…but believing it very well might. Thanks!

        • Georgina,

          I too was interested in fecal implants, as I have c. diff. I spoke with an expert in the field of gut health and she convinced me other wise to do fecal implants. She said that who ever the doner, you would receive their DNA (good or bad), and I am not willing to take on that challenge.

          Susie

  38. Wow. Wow. Wow. My daught-in-law has had a problem with intense itching for months. She uses lots of fermented foods. She has been to several docs and is really struggling. Wonder if this could be it.

  39. Your story sounds just like mine. I, too, had the same reaction to kombucha and probiotics. I discovered that it’s not an allergy but a die off effect. You need to start out slowly and work your way up to higher doses. You need to give your body a chance to get rid of the bad stuff. Start out with one ounce of kombucha per day for a week… then two ounces in divided doses…and so on. Use your body and how you feel as a guide. I am now drinking almost eight ounces per day and my food allergies have greatly improved. I have very little reaction to foods that would kill me before. I now believe some food allergies are simply our body reacting to food our intestines can not digest simply because we lack the good bacteria to do the job.
    Don’t give up on fermented foods and probiotics….just go slowly and give your body time to heal.

  40. Hi, I have been a vegetarian for 20 + years, please study some of the literature on the web site above. We (the Adventists) have been health conscious for over 100 years. If anything, this site is very informative about health. Please take a look on this site, it may help you. God Bless and good health for you and your family.

    Norman Terrell
    Vegan Vegetarian.

    • Thank you for caring. I used to be vegan but felt I needed to add animal proteins to my diet. I am still open, but not sure. I am in contact w/ an adventist group locally. You might know them. Country Life Natural Foods. Blessings to you as well.

  41. I’m glad that I found this post and your blog. I realized I also react badly to fermented foods. I love almost all the fermented foods so it’s very sad, but I’m staying away from them for now. Have you tried Bragg Liquid Aminos? I wonder if I should try it since I don’t want to use soy sauce.

  42. I just started drinking Kombucha and my ear itching has come back. I never even made the connection. I used to have the horrible ear itching to the point where I itched so bad, I developed an infection and couldn’t hear properly. I have Kefir and Kimchi in the fridge and I’ll have to try those separately to see how my ears react.

  43. I have been working on my diet for years. After being gluten free for a couple of years finding offending foods has become so much easier as I am not just an autoimmune mess anymore. I get terrible histamine reactions from fermented foods. I thought it was a yeast problem for so long but after researching I am pretty sure it is a mast cell/histamine reaction. I was pretty focused on leaky gut/yeast etc. that I didn’t look beyond that. Looking into high histamine foods has helped me a lot. I think I tried everything – elimination diet, candida, fructose malabsorption, paleo, etc. Itchy skin is indicative of a some sort of histamine reaction. I finally gave up on fermented foods – just not my friend and I doubt they ever will be.

    • I know–I wonder abt that as well. We’ll see how things go moving forward for me. I was doing great on them for awhile and now not again so I am doing more gut work.

    • I’m in the same boat, am very sensitive to histamines and have been gluten free for about a year and a half. I’ve had much improvement since going GF but still had pain in the joints, major pains. I made a batch of sauerkraut in a Pickle it jar and let it go for 2 1/2 months which is supposed to bring down the histamine levels. The recipe I used mixed in caraway seeds and thin slices of apple along with a few juniper berries. This morning when I opened it and tried a bit (gotta start slow, just a little a day to start) I could barely open the jar the stabbing knife pains in my hands were so intense.

      Now, this afternoon the pains in my joints are completely gone. My knuckles aren’t even red? Wow, but I gotta say I’ve been taking Benedryl liquid gel caps due to all the stuff in the air in Austin. I’m sure this helped me overcome the histamine reaction but also allowed me the benefits of the ferment. At least I hope so. Its only day one but my knuckles are not red and my ankle has absolutely no pain, ditto for shoulders, elbows..etc. I’m hopeful…

  44. I am a male but went through 10 years of very bad health, nothing and I mean nothing would work helping me feel better. I had thrush so bad and was rushed to the hospital many times for very low o2 saturation. It felt like I was going to die but the doctors had nothing to direct them to help me other than calm down and take these pills. I’m not even going to go into what the pills were but none helped. I finally begged them to admit me and test me until they found out what was wrong. I received an eye roll from the doctor but he went a head and admitted me. They diagnosed me with a mycobacteria infection. This is so very rare for people without aids or advanced cancer. I was directed to an infectious disease specialist and he was absolutely no help what so ever. Said there was a rotation of 4 different antibiotics I could take for 18 months but he told me it probably would not work and would make me very sick. He also told me he could not tell me why I was dying from the inside out. Mycobacteria is what breaks down carbs and protein then turns them into soil. Anything that’s dying or dead attracts natures way of recycling and I was infected with it. This scared me to death and I was feeling just awful. I felt wired all the time with teeth grinding too. I guess the best way to explain it was I felt like I was being electrocuted day and night. I finally sent my blood work to a holistic MD and he took 5 minutes and told me I had some kind of poisoning, probably heavy metal. This was in 2011 and ordered some EDTA suppositories. I had HUGE reactions with boils on body and in mouth so I knew he was right. I did 6 months worth and felt better but not great and still had that bad infection. I then did 7 liver flushes and BOY did I have a butt load of gull and liver stones. I mean hundreds to maybe thousands. That made me feel so much better BUT I still did not feel right so I opened my mouth and said to myself, I have to get rid of these metal filings. I could even taste metal sometimes but I guess I got used to it. Well those suckers came out and that’s when the real healing and chelating started. I used DMSA and Zeolite powder to focus on the mercury. I still use zeolite everyday and will until I die. NOW on the subject of fermented foods. If your body is toxic especially with metals nothing will work so even doing the right thing was like a dog chasing it’s tail. Now that I have been chelating for 3 years I decided to attack this infection. I went with a very strict eating grasses and all raw alkaline diet. The first week was all blended to with NO SWEET stuff. NO FRUIT what so ever other than lemon. LET me tell ya,, If I would have guided or judged my healing for the way I felt, I would not be feeling so much better today. I literally felt like bugs were crawling all over my body and that was just one side affect. I had so much die off going on it was scary and I felt ten times worse than I did before I started. I also introduced Kefir and I can tell that bad bacteria does not like having a flood of the good stuff coming into my body. It makes me feel a little sick but I have learned that that’s actually a goo thing happening. Die off sucks but you have to power through it. There should no reason what so ever that your body should be having issues with fermented food other than it’s killing off the bad guys to quick. Summery,, Gotta make sure there is no toxic issues first by chelating and I don’t mean eating cilantro, I mean real chelation with DMSA, EDTA and zeolite. Then attack those bad boys with goo probiotic foods!!

    • Wow. What a story! I’m about to try a liver flush. I wonder how it’s going to be.

      • Sounds like your problem is quite a bit more serious than what can be dealt with simply. Test for Ulcerative Colitis, if positive try a two week regimen of Butyric Acid enemas, a diet high in soluable fibre and leafy greens (and generally veggies that cause flatulence) along with the probiotics. Butyric Acid is the closest thing you’ll find for miracle drug for you colon. Its normally produced by microbial action on soluable fiber in your colon (side effect is flatulence). Leafy greens have soluable fiber, plus there is additional benefit on innate lymphoid cells in your digestive tract.