I attended the annual conference of The Institute for Functional Medicine at the beginning of June, and what I learned blew my mind! Many well-known doctors and researchers presented their studies on brain health, including the link between environment factors, diet, and lifestyle choices that can positively or negatively affect our brains.
As we approach Mother's Day, it makes me think about the unconditional love and tireless care that my Mom gave me. This in turn, caused me to reflect on the bounty that Mother Earth provides us humans, even though we thoughtlessly pollute and deplete her resources and take for granted that she will always be there to support us.
One of the most important things you can do to maintain good health and happiness is to sleep well.
The good news for fermented food lovers is that eating our beloved krauts and pickles can actually help to alleviate anxiety, which indirectly leads to restful slumber.
For the majority of people who have a regular 9 to 5 work day, lunch is the most important meal and also the most neglected as it's often eaten at the work station or on the run. Or you rush to the fast-food joint and gobble down your lunch in 5 minutes or less. Hardly enjoyable, and definitely not conducive to good health! It's important to make your lunch visually attractive, nutritious, and delicious.
The last few months of the year usher in my favorite season. Time for the soft descend of autumn leaves coloring our paths with crimson and gold. Anticipation for the warm glow of a fireplace as the chill sets in. And Nature readies Herself for the long sleep of winter, while we earthlings fill our calendars with holiday parties, family gatherings, and any excuse to drink, eat, then drink and eat some more.
We all say that we shouldn't indulge so recklessly, but ultimately succumb to party-spirit peer pressure and gorge on one last slice of pumpkin meringue chocolate gooey fudge caramel frosted cupcake too many. And how about all that left over candy from Halloween?
For a fermentation fanatic (your's truly), meeting Sandor Katz in-person is a dream come true.
And for two weeks, at the beginning of August, I had the incredible opportunity, not only to meet him, but to learn from the Fermentation Master in a course given by Sterling College in Vermont.
Before I launch into my two-week live culture experience, I want to start right off by sharing with you what Sandor inspired us with on the last day; "Fermentation is a metaphor for social change, and we are the starters!"
Barbecue, the great American cooking craft that we all adore and celebrate may also, unfortunately, cause cancer. Multiple studies have shown that carcinogenic compounds, such as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are produced when meats are grilled at high temperatures.
Summer is here, and sitting in the hot sun seems like the perfect time to reach for that fizzy soda. But, I'm sure that many of you already know that carbonated soft drinks are the villains robbing us of good health, but just in case you or your kids are still sneaking in a soda here and there, the following list will serve as a reminder to ditch soft drinks once and for all.
Summer is here, and so are cucumbers! They are one of the most healthy and versatile fruits (yup, it's botanically a fruit, not a vegetable) that we can enjoy during the long hot days of the sunny season.
Cucumbers are scientifically known as Cucumis sativus and belong to the same family as melons, and squashes. In general, there are two types: "slicing cucumbers", and "pickling cucumbers". Although both types can be eaten fresh, or used to make Real Pickles (lacto-fermented pickles), or pickled pickles (using vinegar).
I suck at math and budgeting, but I can ferment like a rock star. It's a beautiful, sunny weekend in California and although it's very very tempting to be outdoors right now, I am crafting this blog to compare the value of homemade sauerkraut against buying it ready-made. Basically, the tangible factor is, of course, cost and savings. But there's also the intangible essence of creativity, satisfaction, and quality when you make your own lacto-fermented vegetables at home.
"The best time to do a detox is in the spring. During the dark and chilly days of winter, the tendency is to be less active and many of us also tend to eat more in order to deal with the harsher climate. So by the time the first green shoots start to sprout and reach towards the sun, we are also ready to shake off the lethargy of the wintry months and prime ourselves for renewal." - excerpt from Happy Foods
The Secret World Inside You is an exhibit at the American Natural History Museum in New York that explores the infinite world of the microbiome on and inside the human body. Chief Fermentation Officer Karen was there and she was blown away by the bugs!
Are you trying to jump into the New Year with a New You, but the Old You is weighing you down with extra pounds gained from the holidays? Many people embark on starvation diets or detoxes after the holidays hoping to shed the pudge and push out some toxins, however, this type of desperate regime always back fires. We offer a healthier and sustainable alternative that won't leave you feeling deflated.
For thousand of years, figs have not only nourished us, but has intertwined with the sacred, mythological, and even philosophical traditions of humanity. While fresh figs are absolutely delicious, fermenting them provides a complex gamut of flavors and is a great way to preserve them without using sugar.
The treasured find of my visit to the farmer's market yesterday are these beautiful garlic chive (allium tuberosum) flowers. They come into their delightful blossoming during late summer to early fall. Not only are they little white jewels that please the eyes and palate, but garlic chive blossoms also attractive pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
I must confess. It took me a while to really appreciate the flavors of lacto-fermented foods. Now, almost 15 years since my first batch of sauerkraut, I'm a devotee of lacto-fermented foods, and can’t imagine a meal without a little mound of sauerkraut or other tangy fermented vegetables on the side to perk things up. We offer you Ten Healthy Reasons for Eating Lacto-Fermented Foods.