Getting With The Fermented Fuss

Fermented foods are highly beneficial for health as they are rich in good (live) bacteria’s and enzymes. The process of this happens through lactic acid fermentation where natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch creating lactic acid. This means that our bodies don’t have to do as much work to digests and absorb the food as it is "pre-digested". This process preserves the food and created beneficial enzymes and bacterias. 

Humans from all parts of the world have consumed fermented foods in their diets since the ancient times. Foods like cheese, sauerkraut, pickles, wine, kvas and breads were consumed to sustain long voyages and keep those warm in cold winters were fresh produce wasn’t available. 

Fermented foods appears to be a far less commonly consumed part of the diet in the modern world. We all manage to eat some yogurt that may still contain some live bacteria, or eat at Korean restaurants enjoying Kimchi. Apart from the occasional consumption of these foods, we have forgotten how to feed ourselves fermented food daily.

The lack of fermented food in the diet leads to an increase in bad bacteria throughout the digestive tract. If we are low in good bacteria, then the bad bacteria have a chance to flourish. This can lead to symptoms such as bloating, constipation, itchiness (Candida), and parasites have a chance to invade the digestive environment. 

Benefits of Fermented Food


The lactic acid in fermented foods decreases Phytic acid absorption. Phytic acid binds to minerals preventing the full absorption and can leave you feeling bloated. For instance non-fermented soy products are high in Phytic acid. Nutrients such as Iron are inhibited form their absorption. Fermented soy has a decreased level of Phytic acid, aiding nutrient absorption to increase. The availability of Isoflavones (protective nutrients) is higher in fermented soy, which is great for menopausal women. 

Fermented (pre-digesting) Milk into Yogurt or Kefir helps break down the lactose, making it more easily digestible. This means those with slight lactose sensitivities can often still consume yogurt.

Consuming fermented foods increases beneficial bacteria to the digestive system. Probiotics benefits are recognized in many clinical trials for digestive disorder, atopic conditions, immunological conditions and even mental health (Shah, Cruz, & Faria, 2011)

Fermented foods last longer naturally. Fermentation is a great natural preserver as lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria.

Fermented Drinks


Water Kefir, Coconut Kefir, Milk Kefir and Kombucha are easy to make and delicious. Wine also contains beneficial enzymes (how exciting!), this is why a glass or two of red, goes so nicely with a heavy meal. Beer is also fermented, but if you can make your own with rice instead of wheat its even better! There is a few beers on the market that fermented with rice so read the labels and ask around. Homemade Root beer is also fermented.

Fermented Foods


Yogurt, can be made at home from cows milk, coconut milk, goats milk, almond or rice milk. All you need is a live bacteria to start the process and you’re on your way. When buying yogurt, purchase yogurts containing Live & Active Cultures on containers.

True Sour Pickles, Cheese, Sauerkraut, Sourdough Bread, Pickles, Kimchi, Fish sauce, Soy sauce, Miso, Vinegar, Tempeh, Sprouts and almost all vegetables can be fermented.

The vast benefits of fermented food are clearly becoming evident and a requirement for optimal health. Why not make your own basic fermented foods such as yogurt, sprouts or Kefir. Here is a easy recipe to get you started below.
I hope this information has given you an insight to some almost forgotten traditional health benefits. Make it part of your wellness path to include an abundance of fermented foods in your diet.

Coconut Kefir


Kefir grains

100% Coconut milk


1. Stir with wooden spoon Kefir grains in coconut milk and cover with a tea towel. Leave out for 12 -24 hours. 2. Check the coconut Kefir after the 1st 12 hours every few hours. 3. Remove the Kefir grains once reached the desired consistency and refrigerate. 

Writen by Sandi Louise Ross
Naturopath, Nutrition and Acupuncture
Niraamaya Centre Thailand


The Left and the Right Brain...

Food for Thought

“I am a scientist. A mathematician. I love the familiar. I categorise. I am accurate. Linear. Analytical. Strategic. I am practical. Always in control. A master of words and language. Realistic. I calculate equations and play with numbers. I am order. I am logic. I know exactly who I am. I am the left brain”

“I am creative. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feet. I am movement. Vivid colours. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be. I am the right brain”

Just as the brain represents two sides of control, we can interrelates this to Yin and Yang. Thinking from both a scientific and intuitive manner can offer a more holistic perception to health, relationships and life. If you are dominated by one side of the brain, then today try something new! Bring balance into your life. If you are left side dominated search for something unfamiliar to yourself. If you are right side dominated perhaps bring some more clarity and structure that can make you progress in your dreams and aspirations. 

It will offer you personal growth, excitement, you will learn new values and see things in different and clearer perspective. It doesn't have to be a big shift, but you could introduce a new food you have not eaten before, try that Tai Chi or yoga class you have wanted for so long, buy a blank canvas to paint, sign up to the gym, quit smoking, eat 1 piece of fruit per day, start writing a journal, take your partner for a random date....you get the idea. Make a positive influence to your surroundings that you will benefit from. 

Written by Sandi Louise Ross N.D

Naturopath, Nutrition, Acupuncture at the Niraamaya Centre Thailand

Quinoa Sushi

Quinoa Sushi in under 30 minutes

This South American superfood has had the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) officially declare that 2013 be recognized as "The International Year of the Quinoa". So why not join all the fuss and enjoy your favorite "carb" filled meals by replacing the refined sugar content with Quinoa. 

The benefits of Quinoa are only just starting to be discovered by research. Quinoa is one of the few complete protein grains rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, polysaccharides, flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol and small amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. Quinoa also contains the amino acid Tryptophan that is a precursor to the "happy" neurotransmitter Serotonin.

This grain is suitable for diabetics, PCOS women, insulin resistance (pre-diabetic), weight loss and wellness as it wont impact your blood sugar levels the same as white rice sushi will.

Quinoa Sushi


1 cup of organic Quinoa
1 large cucumber
1 packet of Nori sheets
50 grams of smoked tuna/salmon or boiled egg


Step 1. Cooking Quinoa. Add one cup Quinoa to two cups water in a saucepan. After the mixture is brought to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover (around 15 minutes). If Quinoa looks dry, you can add 1/2 more water, so it sticks nicely. Let cool for 20 minutes.

Step 2. While Quinoa is cooking prepare your fillings. Slice Cucumber into strips. Slice Tuna/salmon into small pieces. If using eggs, boil and mash. 

Step 3. Place a sheet of Nori onto a bread board or sushi mat if you have one. Add Quinoa evenly over the Nori leaving 1 inch free at the top of the sheet uncovered (as the quinoa will spread when you roll it).

Step 4. Place fillings 2 inches from the bottom of the sheet in a straight line. I put the Tuna first sitting the Cucumber on-top.

Step 5. Roll. Starting from the bottom, roll the nori up. When it is rolled to the top, leave it on the bread bored to set (other wise it breaks when you move or cut it). 

Step 6. After 10 minutes of the rolls sitting, slice into desired sizes with a serrated knife. Serve with tamari, vinegar or side with a salad or miso soup. Enjoy!!!

Written by Sandi Louise Ross. 
Naturopath, Nutritionist, Acupuncturist at The Niraamaya Centre, Thailand

Acupuncture and IVF Treatment

Where East Meets West

Infertility has increased significantly in the past decade due to modern day living. Many couples are now conceiving in later years, after they have established a comfortable home to bring a family into. Constant stresses from work, finances, poor lifestyle choices, lack of sleep, enhancement of stimulants and lack of self nourishment has led us to compromise our health.

The increase of female condition such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibroids, an-ovulation and poor egg quality has seen a rise in the last decade. Its not only the females, males are experiencing having low sperm count and poor motility. This has lead more couples to seek assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to help achieve conception. Often with such conditions, natural conception is still possible but can come with a much-needed time and patients.  Many years can pass without any success.  Acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutritional medicine have all been shown to help for natural conception in those wanting to conceive without Western interventions.
ART increases chances of conception where there are impediments to this happening naturally. For couples that are infertile, ART offers couples their only chance for achieving a family (Huang, Huang et al. 2011).

Research has now shown the impact that acupuncture can have when assisting couples for ART. Combining Western and Chinese medicine either in the preparing months of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) cycles, or combining therapies during IVF has been shown successful and is commonly used in the West (Cheong, Nardo et al. 2010).

In Chinese medicine, your kidney energy is strongly associated with your reproduction.  Kidney Yin and Kidney Yang both need to be in a harmonious balance to achieve conception. A deficiency in kidney energy can lead to fertility disorders. Other conditions such as a blood deficiency, cold uterus, shen (spirit) disharmonies and qi stagnation can all cause fertility disorders. Herbal medicine can provide nutrients, have an emphasis on the menstrual cycle, balancing hormones and providing nourishment to the organs. Acupuncture works by unblocking stagnation, balancing hormones, increasing blood flow and sedating an overactive nervous system. With these modalities the body has a chance to enter a Western medical treatment with evidence to support a greater chance of success.

Written by Sandi Louise Ross 
Naturopath, Nutrition, Acupuncture
Niraamaya Centre Thailand



Cheong, Y., L. G. Nardo, et al. (2010). "Acupuncture and herbal medicine in in vitro fertilisation: a review of the evidence for clinical practice." Human fertility (Cambridge, England)

Huang, D.-m., G.-y. Huang, et al. (2011). "Acupuncture for infertility: is it an effective therapy?" Chinese journal of integrative medicine 17(5): 386-395.

Lyttleton, J. (2004). Treatment of infertility: (First Edition). Churchill Livingstone