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TSL Fermentation Workshop

If you look really carefully, you’ll even see Bella sneaking into the shot (top left!)

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

Life here at Casa TSL 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 currently choose to follow the Autoimmune Protocol, 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 (here) 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 LM). 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.

TSL Fermentation 101

Preparing for Fermentation 101 Workshop at Casa TSL
(Image by TSL)

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 Casa TSL. 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 ‘TSL Special House Kraut’ just waiting to ferment along with notes on the process, and I reckon it was a success!

TSL Fermentation 101

N & A prepping their veggies for massaging…
(Image by TSL)

TSL Fermentation 101

Let the massaging commence!
(Image by TSL)

TSL House Kraut

On the left – TSL’s Special House Kraut two days into the fermentation process. On the right – the finished kraut ready for eating!
(Image by TSL)

I may just look at holding more workshops in the future. Do let me know if you have any interest?