The book, “Cultured: Make Healthy Fermented Foods at Home” boasts recipes like watermelon kimchi, homemade miso, kombucha, and the healthiest of chocolates, kefirs and MORE. Plus, this stuff seriously tastes great.
But it’s not just about recipes. This is a very user-friendly compilation of history, how-to’s and what-for’s on fermented foods, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.
5 cups dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight (traditional soy is used, see side note*)
1 cup sea salt
3 tbsp unpasteurized miso
5 cups koji
1 cup cooking liquid
A one gallon glass jar or a crock of similar size
Plate, lid or wooden disk that fits snugly inside the jar
Heavy weight or clean rock
Thick cotton cloth to cover everything
Cook the beans until soft. Strain and save 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Allow beans to cool and dry in a strainer for an hour or two. Process beans in a food processor for desired texture.
Dissolve 3/4 cup sea salt into 1 cup cooking liquid to make a brine. Mash the 3 tbsp unpasteurized miso into 1 cup brine. Mix brine (containing salt and 3 tbsp miso) with the koji.
In a big bowl, add processed beans to this brine mixture. This is your miso.
Packing for Fermentation: (I often do this part first while the garbanzos are cooling.)
Wet the sides of the jar slightly with hands dipped in water. Place some salt inside the side of jar, put the lid on or cover, and shake it around, coating all sides and bottom of jar or crock with a salt layer. Pack the miso into the crock/jar with clean hands, press down firmly. Spread a generous layer of salt over the top. Place the flat object on top and put the weight on top of that. Cover with cloth and secure well with a tight rubber band, string or tape.
You have the option to continue the fermentation process, and like with fine wine, it only gets better with time. If you decide to continue fermentation for another year it is good to test it out and repack it again with salt.
Miso years are calculated by the number of summers it has aged. So, if you have gone through one summer of fermentation, then you have one year old miso. I like to start my miso projects in the spring time, so they are ripe and ready to experience the warmer temps of summer when they tend to be more active.
*You can make this recipe using soy beans as well. Just be sure to use organic soy, since there is less chance of genetically modified contamination.
What is koji and where can I find it?
Koji is a Japanese rice on which koji mold spores have been cultivated. This process allows for the fermentation of koji rice, which is the primary ingredient in sake. Although koji spores can be bought, they usually have to be bought from specialty importers. However, fermented koji rice that has already been inoculated with the spores can be found at your local Asian grocery.
It is important that your miso is packed tightly, free from oxidation and protected by the salt layer. The cloth will also help to keep out impurities and unwanted bacteria.
Label your crock/jar with the date. Store the jar in a cellar, basement or other cool, dark spot where it will remain undisturbed. Have patience and ferment for one year. (See “miso years” above.) Open, scrap off top layer and celebrate with family and friends… your very first batch of homemade miso!! It should smell rich and savory like tamari. Pack it in clean, glass jars with plastic lids and refrigerate or store in a cool place.
He got really bad diarrhea. Really bad sore throats and ear aches. He coughed a lot. He threw up a lot. He didn’t want to eat. He needed medicine so we got it for him. He fought us when giving him the medicine. While, we thought it was the best thing for him, the strength with which he fought was quite extraordinary. It made me think deeper.
Within the first five months of this illness (we don’t have any other word for this, but illness), I was on the phone with several doctors and nurses inquiring when this medicine would take effect… And why he would fight me so hard? Did they think that maybe he instinctively knew he was allergic to the meds? Nope. According to them, he was just sick…. Like all kids get, and this would end one day. But, he “needed that medicine.”
When I made the decision to fight his infections naturally, and took away the meds– he began getting healthier right away. We still had prescriptions left in the bottles, and I was using some of the first remedies I’d learned about: garlic, cayenne, raw honey, vitamin c and colloidal silver. We could tell he was healing because he got an appetite, and seemed less irritable. But we were a long way from Thriving.
I have to admit that I didn’t do any research on vaccines before deciding to get them. My doubts were merely gut feelings. I also couldn’t figure out why the nurse in my doctor’s office was telling me that I could choose… In not so many words, she was giving me the choice. Nonetheless, a few months off the regular vaccine schedule– my son went in to get his 18 month shots. And when I got home from work, he was sitting on the chair very lethargically. I called the doctor, and was told that this could be a reaction to the shot. I can’t remember if I gave him Tylenol that time. But,that was suggested to me.We used to give it to him before every shot to prevent fever, and it worked. Little did we know that Tylenol blocks glutathione — our bodies’ natural way of detoxing.
Before becoming sick, our angel loved to eat a variety of healthy foods. He loved zucchini, tomatoes, avocados and blueberries. He was only 2 years old when he first got sick, so he was mostly eating whole unprocessed foods. But, he’d had bread without a negative reaction. After getting sick, he only wanted carbs and sugary foods like pizza and French fries. His belly was very distended.
I set out to understand what was making him sick, because even after using my natural remedies, Dougie still had awful digestive and bowel problems. I felt I needed to get him to eat right. But, I was no longer sure what that meant. Most of his time by now was spent staring or crying. He wasn’t very mobile. I tried holding him, but at times he didn’t want me. So, I tried making him as comfortable as I could.
I was sad. I wanted to make sure he was happy, and he sure wasn’t. He often cried for spans of 12 hours at a time. Soon, I learned that there was a certain thing I could do with my hands that REALLY worked. All I had to do was touch him with a certain vibration running through me ( it was something I felt emotionally and physically but could not explain), and he would stop crying and seem very comforted.
The way Dougie was acting when he wasn’t in pain and sadness really resembled autism. I’d cared for and befriended many people with autism in my life before Dougie was born. I’d even had dreams and waking premonitions that I’d have a child with special needs. I’d seen him exactly as he was then in dreams years before he was born. These were dreams I discussed with my husband when I’d had them, but forgotten about until I took a breath and saw what was happening before my eyes.
So, on one hand I had a sick child who I knew was going to heal. I just wasn’t sure how. On the other hand, I had a child who was showing signs of autism. Sometimes these symptoms meant he would line things up, stare, hand flap or be obsessive over certain toys like Thomas the train. Signs that he has an amazing brain. Something I wanted to know more about. Other symptoms were toe walking, spinning and spreading poop on the walls. Some of these things could get dangerous, So, I made attempts to help him do them more safely. I spun with him in public to show him how cool he is. I took him to parks where he banged the monkey bars to hear the sound, and I joined him. I think he knew he was cool. He still does. He doesn’t care one bit about what people think about him and, he is my greatest inspiration.
So, in the spirit of doing what was right for him, I called my aunt who is a special ed teacher. I was first doing what I was trained to do, and then doing my own research, prayers and meditation in the background….trying to cover all bases and give Dougie the best life possible.
I set up evaluations for him so that we could get any kind of special services that he might need. I got lots of help from my aunt who taught me a little about Neuro-Diversity. Yes! That brilliant brain idea of different thinkers–that felt like my child. The idea that some people’s brains are simply wired differently. I knew that was part of our puzzle. I began to notice some signs that came before he got sick. Like how he rolled over early and talked early. He also really vibrated uniqueness. Not in the standard sense of genius..something more and different.
It’s a damn good thing that I had pneumonia for five months when this was happening, because– I too was craving yeasty/sugary foods, and having the worst digestive problems. My gut was so swollen that my mom thought I was hiding a pregnancy. So, I drank the kefir too. This was when BLISS started happening.
Within one week, Dougie had eye contact back. His tummy was going down. He was trying different food. Wow! I hadn’t asked for his eye contact. Yes, I wondered what happened to it. Yes, it was a symptom of autism. I started feeling better and noticing that my illness was going away. What’s more is that a major brain fog was lifting. I’d been having small seizures and passing out. We discovered that Dougie was too. The kefir was helping us think more clearly, and stop having seizures. Suddenly things in our family calmed down. Less crying… Still lots, but way less. More trying healthier foods without tantrums. Every day our strengths and physical health got better.
As Dougie healed physically, those classic autism symptoms came up. We were convinced he had it. And, we continued on with evaluations even though we absolutely hated the idea of having our kid labeled and evaluated by “experts.” I found that many children with autism have these painful gut issues and that Dougie was tantruming because he was in awful pain. The pain I experienced in my body was nothing compared to what he was feeling. I joined a support group of moms who are still the smartest people I have ever met. Together, we were helping our kids heal from food allergies, leaky gut, candida and more though diet.
By this time I discovered the deep connection between autism and gut health. I knew that some people had already lost their autism diagnosis after balancing out the body with dietary therapies. That was intriguing. And Hopeful.
Dougie was spinning, licking everything in sight, staring, lining things up –all classical symptoms of autism. And, we could see these symptoms coming out as he physically healed. He still wasn’t talking and we wondered if he every would. He was our angel and he was getting well, and we were all so happy that we were getting some sleep and even able to go out and have fun together again. It didn’t matter to us if Dougie ever talked. It didn’t matter to us if Dougie always had sensory issues. But, we were determined to give him everything in our power to teach him what we know, and introduce him to people who could teach him more. I’m patient, and I understand him on a vibrational level. Yes, there were times of mass confusion when I didn’t know what he had slipped into his mouth while I was in the bathroom (and most of the time he had to come with me to the bathroom).
If my child was going to grow up to be someone who spread poop on the walls, stared at walls and hand flapped–I would understand. I would do my best to teach him safe and healthy ways to treat his body and others. But, I would love and accept him no matter what he is or does. Incidentally, he stopped spreading poop on the walls after I engaged him in the clean-up process.
There is a beautiful mind, and there is sickness. A beautiful mind can also sometime get sick. Many of the people who I have met over the years with autism have taught me infinitudes about uniqueness, genius and of course, Neuro-Diversity. This is the beautiful mind part. Dougie healed each day, and less illness and more genius was making its way to the surface. His memory is amazing.
Dougie was detoxing out really gross things including parasites in his poop. One day while sitting on the toilet, he said, “my name is Dougie. I am 4 years old.” That was his first statement after getting sick. It had been years since he said anything that wasn’t just repetitive. I cried. He didn’t say much after that for a while. But, I noted that he said it after releasing a lot of frothy, foamy, gross stuff in his poop. Candida. Yuk!
He did get an evaluation and label of autism at age 3. He spent 2 years in speech and occupational therapies that were hard on him. We pulled him from the services because the people treated him like he was sick. Like he would never get better. We didn’t want any experts who knew nothing about us–working with our child.
That is, He was completely changing and becoming happier. He was talking clearly and wanting to socialize. He stopped all self injurious behavior (which flared up during times of detox, and we discovered was his body’s way of handling the inner stress of detoxing poisons).
He learns differently. He doesn’t understand “regular” ways of teaching math and science –which makes things much more fun for us. My husband and I get down on the floor with him and build puzzles. Dance. Drum. Sing kirtan. He “gets” so much on a much deeper level than most adults I know. There are concepts that Dougie understands far beyond the ability of his peers. Yet, there are things that kids his age say and do that he doesn’t vibe with. Each and every person in this world offers unique gifts. As adults, it’s socially easier to be different. We can specialize in one topic if we want, and make a great life out of it. Children are subject to so much judgement, and expected to be the same. Part of unscholling means changing this paradigm.
We really don’t like labels. We use them on this site to help people who want our help. But, we don’t define Dougie as anything but himself. We don’t mind if people say that he never had autism or that he still has it. That’s their prerogative and distraction. We love Dougie and know that his mind is very special. That’s why we helped him heal it.
Everything that happens on an inner level in our bodies and minds, is representative of what’s going on globally. We are all connected to one another and to our planet. I see autism as a symbol of what is going on on the planet. Our planet needs more special care and attention. Honoring our uniqueness and diversity honors our planet too. Things that harm the planet harm us on many levels. Our planet’s cry for help is representative of autism’s cry for help. I believe that the neuro-diverse mind has something very necessary to our survival. And that our planet is begging us to listen to them. My son Dougie can see Reiki when I do it for him. He wants it and loves the way it feels. Since cleaning up my life, I too am extremely psychic. I believe that it is the tapping into this psychic power…. The other side of our brains, that will help save us. Our planet will be fine. She’s just giving us clues about what we need to survive.
There are infinitudes of science to back up these beliefs, but then again you can find science to back up most claims these days. This is our story so far. And, it’s as true as my soul can muster. I had a beautiful child who got sick, and now he is thriving beyond belief. Label makers called it autism. I saw many layers underneath that could be cured. And, as we undid food allergies, metal poison and digestive issues– lo and behold the illness part went away. Some people glorify autism, and I don’t understand why. But, it’s okay with me if they want to use it to define themselves. We don’t. When Dougie’s older, he can decide if he wants to. To me, It’s just a label created by folks to put others in a box so they could understand them better. It cannot describe an individual. We are not proud of autism, as we are not proud democrats, republicans, Christians etc… These are labels that separate us. What we need is to come together and love one another… Or at least love ourselves enough to not have the need to judge others.
When I was a child, I used to hand flap, toe walk and line up soda bottles. I hated jeans for the way they felt on my skin. I was terrified to talk to many people I knew. I could see energy in the air. I knew things about people I didn’t want to know. I remembered being a nun in a past life, but none of it made sense to me when I tried to understand myself based on what my parents and religion taught me. I grew up just slightly different, I wrote a lot. I began writing a novel about a girl with these abilities. Is she Neuro-Diverse? Perhaps.
I got great grades in school without trying, but struggled with headaches, infections of all kinds, and as I got older — fainting spells. I was never really physically healthy until now. Because my son got sick, he inspired me to make the changes I also needed to balance my whole life. I do believe we all can thrive. And, that we get to choose what that means to us.
I believe my son chose me because I’m the perfect match for him on this lifetime’s adventure. I believe that there is so much beauty in being different and choosing different paths. I support you on yours no matter what you choose.
Just in time for Liver-Lovin’ season (spring/summer) — beets, artichokes and turmeric are in season now- and all have a wonderful healing effect on the liver. I love making snacks with healing power. My men will keep asking for more, and keep showing signs of better health.
Check your local farmer’s market for the ingredients in this recipe. Fresh and organic vegetables have far more nutritional energy, and make these crackers great for liver support.
These crackers are probiotic because they’re made with fermented beets. So, if you’ve got kids who won’t eat the sour-ish cultured veggie blends — take this inspiration and create a cracker for your fam. All of the healthy bacteria are still in-tact –just crispier.
I know tons of people who do extensive liver cleanses and love them. But, they can be rather tough on the body. My approach is more mommy-style gentle. I like to get my medicine through food. Since our livers must filter every single chemical, food, and emotion that we take in — you better believe that most of our livers are pretty taxed and can use some help.
Raising a child whose toxicity levels have affected his development has made me really conscious of how important it is to support all of our organ functions. Our livers need constant support. So, these crackers can be good any time of the year. I usually resurrect them around spring/summer, naturally and notice Dougie will sleep a bit longer, release more, sweat more and emerge more focussed and able to better express himself.
Our bodies require energy to help us detoxify poisons. So, many of my recipes were created to help build that strength. Of course, I love to add fermented foods (cultured/probiotic foods) too because they are my (not-so) secret weapon against all illness. Fermented foods build our health from the gut- up by filling our digestive systems with healthy bacteria. These bacteria (probiotics) create our immunity, influence our moods, keep our skin and minds clear, energize us, and even make vitamins for us. Not to mention — they help get rid of all toxins. So, you really want to incorporate them into any cleanse you are doing.
We’re taking our healing machine hearts on the road to talk, teach, learn and share with you. So, let me know if you are interested in having us come to your neck of the woods.
June 5 Cultured Foods Class with Sass
Gut Health Marries Gut Instinct
2 – 5:30 pm
Chicago, North Side private Res. email Gina@Blissedlife.com for details
I’m bored with the same-old fermenting classes where I shred some cabbage, and show you how to handle the precious probiotic bugs.
This class will teach you everything you need to know about making your own DELICIOUS fermented foods at home. But, I also have to show you why you’ll love them.
Discover how to use and improve upon your intuition, and create the most satisfying diet for yourself! Join me for an interactive workshop that will totally Bliss your socks off.
You’ll learn how to nourish and listen to your “gut feelings” in order to align with what foods are right for you.
We’ll ferment vegetables, coconut kefir, nuts, seeds, butter and even CHOCOLATE! Plus get the heaping scoop of fermenteds that will make animal products more digestible, and help turn toxic by-products of meat into useful amino acids.
For centuries, people have fermented foods for the sake of preservation. Now, we realize the importance and DELICIOUSNESS of adding them into our daily lives.
Fermented foods are full of healthy bacteria (probiotics) that make your gut happy. And, a happy gut means that you can digest your food better.
Fermented foods were a Major factor in my family’s healing from autism, candida, seizure disorder, fatigue, acne and more. I can’t wait to share them with you.
The Intuitive Side:
Intuition Building exercises
Gut Health and Gut Instincts
Asking and Receiving Intuitive Answers
Using Your Dreams to Guide You
Eating Clean (what does that mean for your body?)
Food Energy (yin/yang) and Healing Powers
Everyone leaves with
A jar of cultured veggies
A recipe book
Tons of info on how to easily incorporate fermented foods into your busy life.
Plus enjoy some of my fave fermented food treats
Can’t wait to see you!
The class is $44/person. Prepay through PayPal to secure your seat.
These things are so delish – I had to have another as a midnight snack while I worked. I don’t know if you eat mushrooms. I’ve always loved them but grew a distaste for them since Body Ecology kind of put the yuck stamp on them when I was all candida’d out. Now that I’ve gone and done the raw thing, my body can handle many more foods. And, I don’t have a problem (that I know of) with mushrooms. Especially when wrapped up in all of this goodness
Marinate 4 sliced portabella mushrooms and 2 small shaved onions in wheat-free tamari, red wine, garlic, marjoram, thyme, oregano, black pepper, cayenne, and a bit of basil and extra virgin olive oil.. for a good long time. Overnight would be good
Then, choose one of these nut cheese methods:
Quick Cashew Cheese:
1 bag raw cashews, 1/4 cup rejuvelac, juice of 1 lemon, 2 cloves garlic, 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill, chives, 1/4 of a red pepper, sea salt and blend in high power blender until creamy (add water if necessary)
Slow Cashew Cheese:
same as above, except skip the rejuvelac, and ferment with a controlled starter and let sit in a closed jar at room temp. for 24 hours. You can then use cheesecloth over a bowl to drain out liquid in the fridge. I do it this way to ensure I am getting some good probugs for digestion and to avoid contamination by bad bacteria. I also add digestive enzymes to my nut cheeses for extra help in the gut.
Wrap it up
When you’re ready to make wrap — use marinade to soften a raw sprouted tortilla, pile in mushrooms, cashew cheese, fancy gluten free mustard, romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red pepper slices, and nappa cabbage.
You can easily warm this up in oven or dehydrator before u add in mustard, cheese and toppings if you are serving people who are craving warm food.