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Fermentation 101 Workshop + the Idea of Kindness

Fermentation 101
The inaugural JFC fermentation class. If you look closely, you'll see Bella in the background!
A look at my very first Fermentation 101 class and a few thoughts on the importance of kindness, Too…

Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world. – Annie Lennox

Life here at JFC central has been very health-focused for some time now. You could say that I’m eating, breathing and even sleeping health. I’m reading about health. I’m watching health-oriented programmes on the goggle-box. I’m learning about the politics of the food pyramid (pretty damning stuff). I’m even studying it.

And, during the course of all this ‘health questing’, there are two things I now know to be true.

1. We are all individuals. What is healthy for me, may not be healthy for you.
2. What we eat is a hugely contentious subject. Everybody has an opinion, and, more often than not, these opinions conflict.

I choose to follow an Autoimmune Protocol way of life which kicked off with a very strict Paleo-esque regime which eliminates all potentially inflammatory foods, in an effort to heal my gut. This is a personal choice made after much searching for answers to my health questions. There is no doubt that it is helping me.

I won’t be on eating this way forever. While there may be foods that I find cannot be introduced back into my diet (wheat!), I’m looking forward to being able to enjoy many, many food, not to mention beverage options (pinot noir, anyone?) in the not-too-distant-future.

And, I am convinced that by consuming the standard diet offered to us here in Australia, as in much of the Western world – overly processed, carbohydrate-heavy, convenience-based – was a key reason I got sick. There is increasing evidence that what we eat affects our health in much more dramatic ways than we ever imagined.

But here’s the kicker: It’s my choice to do this.

If you choose to eat differently, that’s your choice. I won’t judge you. I promise.

Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind. – Henry James

Here in Australia, there has been a recent war of words between certain higher profile members of the Dietitians Association of Australia and a certain celebrity Paleo proponent.  It’s an emotionally charged subject. Clearly, I have an opinion, and it’s not too difficult to work out which side of the fence I sit on, but – here’s the thing – It’s been getting kind of personal.

And, I just don’t think that’s cricket!

Call me naïve – it wouldn’t be the first time – but, why can’t we just be a little kinder to each other and remember that everyone is entitled to their own view? Is it really that hard to respect individual differences? Or, better yet – be open to differences in opinion?

We, every single one of us, owe it to ourselves to work out what works for us. Nobody will ever care about my health more than me – not the Dieticians Association, not any high-profile nutritionist, and not any celebrity chef, either. And, the same can be said of you.

Always try to be a little kinder than is necessary.- J.M. Barrie

And, now that I have all of that off my chest, one thing that does seem to be universally accepted is the health benefits of eating lacto-fermented vegetables. Everyone agrees that they are seriously good for you and should be included in a healthy diet.

I’ve written before about the benefits of including fermented foods in your diet, but in a nutshell, fermentation preserves nutrients and beneficial bacteria, and assists your body in digesting carbohydrates.

According to the incredibly knowledgeable Sally Fallon“The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.” (from Nourishing Traditions, page 89)

I’ve been making my own fermented vegetables for some time now. I love them (and so does David). I have a spoonful or two with most meals.

Making your own fermented vegetables is easy, quick (in terms of preparation) and much, much cheaper than buying them from your local health food store. And, you get to ensure your vegetables are organic.
Fermentation 101
Preparing for Fermentation 101 Workshop at JFC central

For some reason though, people can be a little hesitant to just dive in and make their own. Something about the fact that this is a ‘live process’. There’s bacteria involved!

So this weekend, I held the inaugural Fermented Vegetables 101 workshop at JFC central. I had three lovely guinea pigs students and we spent a couple of hours learning the rudiments of fermentation. Everyone went away with their own 1.5 kilo jar of my special Haus Kraut along with notes on the process, and I reckon it was a success!

Fermentation 101
Let the massaging commence!
Fermentation 101
On the left – my special Haus Kraut two days into the fermentation process. On the right – the finished kraut ready for eating!
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Comments (14)

Congratulations on your workshop. Great idea (!)

It was much fun, K. And SO much cheaper than buying ready-made fermented vegetables.

Love the post & the action shots, TSL. Well done on the workshop! And I am very glad to hear that you will still like me, even if I continue to eat nightshades. 😉

How could I not like you, lovely Sparks! 🙂

PS, what exactly are you studying, TSL? (Apologies if I missed it in a previous post…)

It hasn’t been widely broadcasted! I’m half way through my integrative nutrition year. Still working on exactly where it’s taking me!

A sauerkraut workshop is such a good idea! I still buy my sauerkraut because I make everything else, and I’m delighted when I can get something decent in a jar, already made for me. But (once again) you’ve inspired me. On the subject of kindness, I agree with you, and I also think we need to just get over the idea that there is one truth. If we accepted that there are multiple truths, particularly when it comes to food, then we could redirect the energy we currently spend arguing into having friendly TSL Special House Kraut parties!

Lovely Petra – I met a fan of yours yesterday here in Syders. She asked if I followed your blog. She loves your fudge! You’re famous!

I think you should plan a trip down here for a special kraut session! We could create some real mischief together, I reckon! 🙂

PS – my ox tongue is brining away as I write. Watch this space for a Petra-dedicated post, my friend

Okay, I’m waiting for the brined ox-tongue post. Still working (psychologically) on my tongue issues. I’m thinking pate is the way to go. And I’d love to fly down for a kraut session one day!

Ooooh – I may try ‘potted tongue’ next – bit like a pate. Will keep you posted.

Love the blog! Are you sharing your recipe? Miss chatting with you!

Jen’ – let’s have another Skype hook up, my friend… 🙂

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