In this edition of Our Health Community, we hear from Sarah Underberg, Founder and Owner of Agri-Cultured Foods. Their products — including fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha — are not only made in Central Iowa, but they’re delicious and wonderful for promoting gut health. Learn more about this local business and why they love fermented foods.
Tell us a bit about Agri-Cultured. Why did you start the company?
Agri-Cultured Foods was born out of necessity for the health of myself and my husband, Eric. As we were getting older, we found that we weren’t feeling as good as we used to. We had sore joints and muscles, started to have food allergies, mood swings, and hormone imbalances (me). We refused to believe that that is what happens when you “get older.” Eric did a lot of research and he found a trend — that good health is linked to the gut. And that our health and well-being were being destroyed by our bad gut health.
About three years ago, I started to take my health seriously. I was suffering with hormone imbalances, PCOS, depression, and severe PMS/endometriosis. Being overweight and unhappy, I decided that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I started a whole food diet and cut out all refined foods, sugar, carbs. Then I started eating a lot of fermented foods and drinking a half gallon of kombucha a day. I fixed my gut health and many of my symptoms disappeared.
I’m still on the road to recovery. It’s taken me 44 years to destroy my body, so I understand this will not be an overnight transformation. However, the results to-date have been life changing. I’ve lost 90 pounds, my attitude has changed for the better and now I’m able to help other people heal themselves through sharing my experience.
How has it evolved?
In the beginning, we had to educate, educate, educate! Most people believed that fermented foods were rotten. They didn’t understand the magnitude of what fermented foods could do for a person’s health. Today, we have people seeking us out, which is a huge turnaround from when we started.
What is it today?
We are humbled on a daily basis. It really amazes me how different our business is now compared to the day of our first Farmers’ Market debut. We really had no idea how to sell something that people really needed but they didn’t understand that they needed it. Take our #worldfamouskombucha for example. We knew, through extensive research, that adaptogenic herbs would be key ingredients in our blend. We use 11 different adaptogens, which help our body deal with stress. And who doesn’t have stress? Customers come up to me and tell me how this kombucha is the best they have ever had. They tell me how much better they feel. That is what makes all the hard work and sacrifices worth it.
What makes your approach to different?
My personal approach has always been from the heart. I’ve suffered and merely survived most of my life, so I have a personal connection with people who are suffering. When people hear my story, they can relate. When they see that I overcame, they know they can too. A little bit of hope goes a long way.
How does your business help people?
Our products help people by healing their guts, but our heart is for people. I think people really can see that our focus isn’t becoming millionaires, but to help people heal. We all want similar things: to be loved and accepted right where we’re at. I’d like to think that we do that for anyone who comes to our doors. There is no shame, guilt or condemnation for anyone we meet. We’ve all fallen short of perfection, but it’s the way we choose to react that sets us apart. We love our people. We love helping our people. When I say “our people,” I mean ALL people.
What gets you up in the morning?
It’s the knowledge that my purpose in life is to “plant seeds.” I get to help people thrive every single day. I get to be their cheerleader, their coach, and most importantly, their friend. I may not get to see all the changes that they make, but it is so humbling to know that I helped plant a seed of knowledge and understanding. It’s an honor, really. Every day is a new adventure in this amazing journey, and I don’t intend on wasting one moment of it. Every opportunity I get to plant seeds, I’m there!
What do you love about the Greater Des Moines community?
Des Moines is such a neat and eclectic place. There is so much to do and see it just amazes me. I really love that there are so many passionate people in one area. It’s so much fun to go to events and mingle with like-minded people, bounce ideas off of each other, support each other — this town has something for everyone.
World Fermentation Domination! Seriously though, we are figuring that out every day. Hopefully we get the honor of fermenting food, educating people, and changing lives for many, many years to come. Every new adventure is welcomed here. I look forward to the challenges and surprises every day holds for us.
About Our Health Community
“Our Health Community” is a blog series by Capital Chiropractic & Rehabilitation Center designed to celebrate health-centered causes, services, and businesses in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Explore “Our Health Community.”
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