Thursday, August 30, 2018

The alchemy of ferments

Hi everyone,

Just a reminder that Culture Club is on this Saturday at the usual time of 9.30am to 12.30pm at the Senior Citizen's Hall behind the Daylesford Town Hall. As usual, this is a free event.

Our very special guest this month is Nicole Azzopardi, author of the Alchemy Cookbook.

Most recipes in The Alchemy Cookbook are GAPS diet friendly. For those not familiar with it, GAPS  stands for Gut And Psychology Syndrome. The GAPS diet focuses on removing foods that are difficult to digest and damaging to gut flora and replacing them with nutrient-dense food.

Here is a little of Nicole's story:

“Our little girl Stevie Rose was diagnosed anaphylactic to egg, nut and sesame at 11 months old. As time went on we discovered that the hives she kept presenting with were also intolerances to a whole range of foods. Stevie began to display what I can only describe as autistic-like tendencies – banging her head on the ground, terrified of noises, melt downs all day and night - but at the same time she would have these hives everywhere. I knew that it had to be food related for her.”

Stevie Rose began the GAPS Diet without egg, nuts or sesame at age two. Her family were astonished to see Stevie improve steadily as time went on.

“I can’t explain this phenomenon and indeed I think there are a lot of scientists doing their best to get to the bottom of this immune system related disorder,” Nicole says.

“However, as a journalist, research came naturally to me and we tried to educate ourselves as much as possible. I watched numerous lectures and read peer reviewed paper after peer reviewed paper on how our gut microbiome could possibly influence a number of functions within the body. I also learned that 80 per cent of the immune system was found in the gut wall. So I asked myself, if the gut wall was under less stress, could that benefit then flow on to the immune system?”

Fast forward two years and Stevie Rose is a happy, healthy 4.5-year-old. She displays no autistic tendencies, no longer requires epipens, has no known food intolerances and on last check with her paediatric allergist in 2014, had only a 2mm peanut allergy.

“What happened to Stevie was frightening but her gift to us was that we discovered cooking from scratch, the joy of getting into our garden, the creativity of making our own veggie ferment combos and the soothing qualities of a good home made chicken stock,” Nicole says.

“We went back to the age-old tradition of lacto-fermenting our vegetables, we enjoyed the Sunday roast and meat and three veg. Desserts were simplified, fruit-based and delicious.

“I was amazed to see our daughter begin to thrive by eating this way and I could not in good conscious not begin to chronicle the experience for anyone who might need to see it in pictures. I hope this book offers hope and courage and inspires all people to get back into their kitchens and really enjoy making beautiful, home cooked food for their families.”

Nicole will be talking about her experience on Saturday at Culture Club and will also be showing us how to make some of the ferments from her book. She will also have some books for sale.

See you then!

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