Frequently Asked Questions
What are Genki Foods?
Genki Foods are raw, whole, organic foods, alive with enzymes and friendly bacteria as a result of our proprietary fermentation process.
What does "Traditionally Lacto-Fermented" mean?
Traditional lacto-fermentation involves food (usually raw), the proper conditions and time. Some foods will spontaneously ferment, in other cases, active cultures can be added to launch or accelerate the process.
Genki Foods are prepared in a way that has been practiced for thousands of years by cultures all over the world. It is a very simple process, and it has been effective in creating a food that provides an adequate variety and number of friendly bacteria when consumed on a regular basis, as many cultures still do today. In North America we have neglected this daily addition to our diet and the incidence of digestive disorders and immune conditions suggests we return to it.
If you have ever tried to maintain either a yogurt or sourdough culture, you will have found it takes time and dedication to keep it going. The traditional method of lacto-fermentation is one that allows plenty of time for the bacteria to thrive and grow, producing large amounts of lactic acid which is what we notice as the sour taste in sourdough, plain yogurt or sauerkraut.
After fermentation, the foods prepared at Genki Foods are then either bottled, or dried, ground up and packaged, so you are provided with a whole product - the food the bacteria have been breaking down as well as the friendly microbes themselves and all the valuable by-products of fermentation. Nothing is added and nothing is removed - even all the fibre from the whole grains is intact after milling. There is no need for preservatives or stabilizers because the lactic acid created by the bacteria performs that function. The pH is low enough (it is acidic) that it prevents other microbes like mold from growing. Fermentation was used as a natural method of food presevation long before refrigerators were invented!
A product that contains probiotic cultures is not necessarily a fermented food. The Genki Foods philosophy is that whole foods provide a rich environment for the growth of the friendly microbes and eating fermented whole foods are the natural way to supply the body with a regular amount of friendly microbes. Fermented foods also include byproducts of fermentation which help the bacteria on their journey through the digestive tract as well as provide nutritional benefits to us.
What will lacto-fermented whole foods do for me?
They will provide the body with a large variety of nutrients in a state that is 99.9% bioavailable. It provides a quick and easy source of high quality, organic nutrition. Evidence suggests that after taking lacto-fermented products for a few weeks, days or even hours, many people experience increased energy levels, improved digestion and an improved sense of well being. Faster recovery, healing and boosted immune functioning are just a few of the benefits associated with the use of lacto-fermented foods.
What are the benefits of fermented foods?
What conditions may improve by consuming fermented foods?
What is the philosophy of Genki Foods?
At Genki Foods, we believe that the best source of nutrition is whole foods. They contain all the elements needed to build and maintain our bodies. Additionally, when these foods are:
Where are Genki Foods made?
Genki Foods are made in the kitchen of our shop located in a small shopping square in a quiet neighbourhood in Calgary, Alberta. Our process allows the friendly bacteria plenty of time to work their magic on the whole foods.
Are the source ingredients organic?
Genki Foods obtains the Certified Organic grains, seeds and legumes from GrainWorks, an organic distribution company in Southern Alberta. Their primary supplier is Farmer Direct in Saskatchewan, which represents Canadian farmers. The liquid malt, molasses, grasses and spirulina are Certified Organic. The whey protein concentrate and ground malt is conventional.
Which nutrients can be found in Genki Foods?
The liquid and powder products contain free form amino acids, vitamins, minerals, live enzymes, friendly bacteria, essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants.
How does Genki Foods improve the nutritional value of the source raw foods?
Soaking and sprouting the whole grains, seeds and legumes neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors, making more nutrients bio-available. Further, the fermentation process adds even more nutritive value as a result of the action of the friendly bacteria and enzymes which break down the foods and create lactic acid, as well as other organic acids which have been found to have numerous health benefits.
When introducing these types of products to your diet, many people find the liquid forms should be used for the first week or two. Basically, it is the liquids that get the Gastro-intestinal (GI) tract functioning. The powder is more nutritionally dense and as such, feeds the cells of the body. It is important to get the GI tract functioning first before feeding the body. This will help to reduce any cleansing symptoms that may occur. If you feel your digestion is fairly good to begin with, you could go straight to the powder for general GI maintenance.
Living bodies need living foods. Genki Foods are ALIVE. When you put high quality living foods into a living body.... life follows! With that life, comes the elimination of what could be termed "dead to our body" and the detoxification related to it.
How do Genki Foods compare to probiotics?
In the general sense of the word, Genki Foods are probiotics, since probiotic means "for life". The term "probiotic", however, is more and more becoming a term relating to specific strains of micbrobes that have been formally studied in an effort to determine their benefits to humans and/or animals. Some products on the market are designed to deliver high concentrations of specific strains of microbes and the term probiotics seems to be shifting to this connotation.
How many and what kinds of bacteria are in Genki Foods products?
Genki Foods has not tested for specific strains of lactobacillus. We trust that using a variety of foods will supply and support enough of a variety of microbes to realize the same benefits of the friendly bacteria that our ancestors have had over the last few thousand years using similar methods.
Genki Foods has tested for an aggregate count of lactobacillus bacteria in the products. The liquid was reported to have a count of 19,600,000 CFU/ml (CFU = Colony Forming Units) and the powder was reported to have a count of 12,000 CFU/gram. Some sources indicate that a live cell count can be 1,000 times or more the CFU value.
As you can see from these numbers, the liquid is best if large amounts of friendly bacteria are desired to help restore the gut flora quickly. The numbers in the powder, while much smaller, are sufficient for a regular maintenance program.
One other significant difference between the liquid and the powder is that the powder is stable over time, while the liquid, once opened, will decrease in microbial counts in a short time. You will notice that it will go flat or lose the fizz that was present when first opened.
In accordance with our wholistic approach, we suggest that numbers alone do not indicate the efficacy of a fermented food or product containing probiotics. "More" does not always mean "better". The most significant test of a product is what it does in your body.
How do Genki Foods compare to taking supplements or vitamins?
Genki Foods provide whole food nutrition. In addition to vitamins and minerals, they are a source of nutrition complete with all the co-factors necessary for optimal absorption. In addition to the nutrition, you also benefit from the broad-spectrum of friendly bacteria, enzymes and pre-biotics that are essential for optimal digestive health.
What is the role of enzymes?
Fermented foods are rich in enzymes. Enzymes are small organic molecules that are made up of amino acids. They are highly sensitive and are essential for all biological life. Enzymes act as 'switchers' or catalysts to allow certain food chemical units (Glucose, Calcium, Vitamin C etc.) to move across cell membranes. Enzymes are also used for breaking things down such as the digestion of food. Here they "unlock" or switch the bonds off on larger molecules and reduce them to smaller molecules. (i.e. Protein chains into amino acids, complex carbohydrates into simple sugars, whole fats into fatty acids).
Basically, enzymes make everything happen in your body. EVERYTHING! As you read this your eyes shift and blink, each time there is a muscle movement enzymes are used up. Because of this constant "using up" of enzymes, they are essential for optimal and even basic bodily function. Minerals are considered co-enzymes as their presence is essential for enzymes to function. Every biological activity in your body is regulated by enzymes and minerals.
What is the role of minerals?
Minerals play several roles in the body. 1) They make up the "frame work" of our body. 2) They are catalysts for enzyme function. 3) They make up the "electrical conductivity" of our nervous system including the cerebral spinal fluid and the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath insulates our nerves from the rest of our body and act as a path for the feedback of our nervous system. Minerals also give food flavour. The brix test is a measurement of minerals and sweetness of foods. Hence, food coming from healthy, mineralized living soil, tastes much more intense than commercially produced products.
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