It’s no secret that there is a wellness movement happening among us and that the time is now to take charge of your own health. Never has there been a time with so much access to information at our fingertips so easily accessible via the internet, books, e-books, webinars, e-courses, universities, TAFE’s… The options for educating yourself are endless right now and we are so fortunate to have this easy access if we choose.

It goes without saying that with this ridiculously easy access to information, there will be mistakes made and misinformation shared, sometimes merely in the name of passion for a cause. I got into this blogging arena to share my adventures in making a transition from eating and living from a place of stress and for survival, to forging a life that is more mindful of what I put into my body and how I nourish myself for a better and more rewarding way of being.

As a responsible party involved in this movement, it has been a sad and disheartening few months which have had me questioning everything that I think, thought I knew or wanted to share. This is all due to the seemingly endless media spotlight on the power struggle between those who are qualified in areas to consult those who are in a dis-ease state and those who want to capture the people who are not unwell, but simply want to make their journey and happier and healthier one to prevent dis-ease for themselves and their families.

Health coaching for me, is all about helping to guide people to live the best life they can through living positively, following their dreams and nourishing their bodies so that they can live full lives and help themselves to avoid the merry-go-round that is the overburdened healthcare system of our present time. Never before has there been a pill or potion to fix just about anything that happens to us or that we do to ourselves. We’ve collectively lost the ability to follow what our grandparents did in their kitchens and in their homes to support health of each other and their young and using this instinct as a way of preventative health care. I think there is a multitude of reasons why this has happened including the need for both parents to work, increasing ‘screen time’, media and advertising influence, easy access to eating out and taking food away… just to name a few.

We are time poor and overwhelmed by choices in the supermarket aisles and on our TV’s and in our magazines, newspapers and Facebook pages!

As a way of making a change for the better for yourself, aim to change one thing that you do each day into something more positive for yourself and for your future. Personally, over the last few years I’ve made more changes than I can remember that have made such a difference to the way I live and eat. When you do this bit by bit, you are creating a better future for yourself and for your health.

One thing that I have become passionate about is fermenting. We are hearing more and more now about how our gut is our second brain and how the microbiome governs so much more in our body than what was ever realised. Cultures before us and still in present time use small amounts of fermented foods as part of their daily diet. Yet with the invention of packaging, preservatives and refrigerators, this practice has somewhat gone by the wayside in our modern life. But it is coming back, its not only the Hipsters fermenting their Kombucha Tea and getting all ironic about it, but regular people too… Just like me!

Fermenting foods opens up the nutrient density and adds beneficial bacteria back to our gut that is killed of by things like chlorine, antibiotics and chemicals that we are exposed to over and over in our modern lifestyles. You can buy fermented foods in the shops, but if they are pasteurised then you are missing out of most of the benefits that these wonder foods offer when made at home. Health food shops are more commonly stocking products such as Kombucha, Sauerkraut and Kim Chi that are made in small batches and keep their beneficial qualities intact.

Here’s a little picture gallery of my current ferments, minus the Young Coconut Kefir that is keeping warm, all wrapped up in a towel in my oven due to the chilly autumn weather we’ve been delivered.

Kombucha Tea - the pink bottles are flavouring themselves with the fresh raspberries that I added for a second ferment

Kombucha Tea – the pink bottles are flavouring themselves with the fresh raspberries that I added for a second ferment

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The fresh raspberries hanging about and flavouring my gorgeous pink Kombucha

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The little bits of raspberry hanging out on the bottom of the bottle

My home made Sauerkraut, made from green cabbage, fennel seeds, whey and salt

My home made Sauerkraut, made from green cabbage, fennel seeds, whey and salt

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SarahWilson’s blog was my first introduction to making your own Sauerkraut. I didn’t even know that it was a thing real people actually made, I thought it was just that limp cabbage that American’s ate on their hot dogs! Amazing…

While slowly building myself a little community of like minded people who’s adventures I follow and some of them also following me, I have found many wonderful blogs and websites about fermentation. Its a bit of an art form with a science base really, but is a way to sustainably keep your produce for out of season months and also add in beneficial vitamins, minerals and bacteria into your diet. Fun fact, Captain Cook had barrels of Sauerkraut on board his ship as they’d thought even back then that Scurvy may have been attributed to lack of access to fresh fruit and vegetables. By fermenting the cabbage, it increases its shelf life as well as retaining and even increasing the bioavailability of nutrients as they are no longer trapped in the cellulose walls once they’re broken down and fermented.

Like anything, there is more than one way to skin a cat. There are a variety of different ways to make fermented vegetables. It can be achieved by using a small amount of salt – this prevents putrefaction while the fermentation takes place before the Lactic Acid is formed; you can use a mixture of salt and some whey; or you can use a culture starter which can be purchased. At present, I use the salt and whey mixture but I’ve just purchased some culture starter to see what the difference is.

So, why do I love fermenting?

1. I love the fact that it is a bit of a science experiment that I can undertake in my kitchen to increase the health benefits of my food

2. I love the taste of some freshly home made Sauerkraut or Kombucha, they’re both things I’d never had before and just add an extra dimension of flavour to the meals I make

3. Its doing something positive for my health, just one change for the better

4. Its a great talking point, I was 29 before I realised that you could make these things yourself so it doesn’t surprise me that other people don’t know about them either

5. Its a bit of a project and a waiting game that teaches patience, they don’t always work out. I opened a horrible batch of Sauerkraut a few weeks ago that was made from purple cabbage and had an inch of  what had become brown cabbage on top where it must have floated above the liquid, every failure gives you the chance to learn something new

6. Fermenting uses up most of the sugar in your fruits and veg so theorectically, the glycaemic load should be less, from your fruit in particular – but I haven’t researched that one, that just seems like a logical conclusion to me but feel free to debunk and let me know!

I have a lot of go-to resources, books and online so to start you off on your own fermenting journey here they are so you can have as much fun in the kitchen as I do!

Donna Gates – Body Ecology Diet – you can buy her supplies in Australia though, see the Heal yourself website details below

Cultures for health – these guys have a heap of downloadable PDF’s for all things fermentation which are wonderful resources if you sign up for their newsletter

Wild Fermentation – Sandor Katz

Fermented food lab – a new resource of mine that I am loving to bits, so many new ideas!

Heal Yourself website – for consumables

OZ Farmer Direct – for glass jars and fermentation equipment supplies

A bit of a long winded post, but thanks for making it to the bottom!

Happy Fermenting x