Cultured Lifestyle – for health and wellbeing

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Trish Mitchell, from Cultured Lifestyle embraces healthy living and runs workshops teaching people how to make kombucha, milk kefir and cultured vegetables. focus caught up with Trish to find out a bit more about her products and business.

Tell us a bit about Kombucha, cultured vegetables and milk kefir

Kombucha is a bit like ginger beer, and is a great replacement for sugar-laden fizzy drinks. It’s been around for thousands of years and has recently had a resurgence in popularity.

It’s a bubbly, fermented tea made by combining tea and sugar with a kombucha starter culture of yeast and bacteria (called a SCOBY). The SCOBY eats the sugar leaving you with a drink that can resemble anything from apple cider to champagne.

Kombucha contains lots of beneficial bacteria as well as probiotic yeasts that can’t be killed off by antibiotics.

Cultured vegetables have been submerged under water and left to ferment. This allows them to make lactic acid, which preserves them. It also increases the vitamin C content and floods the vegetables with good bacteria. Again, this process is not new; it was the way people preserved their vegetables before refrigeration.

Cultured vegetables are treated as condiments and you need only a small spoonful to get billions of probiotics. They also allow you to absorb many more nutrients from your food.

Milk kefir is a thinner, drinkable cousin of yoghurt but, whereas yoghurt has only seven strains of probiotics, kefir has between 30-56 different strains.

Why fermented foods?

I first became interested in fermented foods because I was disillusioned with the treatments that the medical profession kept prescribing me for recurring candida infections. I felt like they were treating the symptoms but ignoring the cause. It took me about two years of consistently including fermented foods in my diet – and eliminating sugar and processed foods – until I felt better. Today I have heaps more energy, am no longer plagued with candida, sleep better and no longer crave sweet foods and, if I do get a cold, it lasts only one day.

The study and research of our gut microbiome – our individual community of bacteria and yeasts –  is a relatively new area, with more and more studies emerging that link the health of our digestive systems with mental, immune, cardiovascular and gastro intestinal health.

Fermented foods themselves don’t cure anything, but they bring our body back into balance so it may heal itself naturally.

Homemade versus shop-bought?

Making your own cultured foods is so easy and it’s so much cheaper than buying them. They may also be stronger and provide more benefits.

It’s also great fun experimenting with different flavour combinations and it’s very satisfying seeing them all fermenting on your bench. Not only are you preserving all this produce, you are also adding so many health benefits to them.

Tell us a bit about your workshops

In my workshops we talk about the importance of a healthy gut and then I teach everyone how to make kombucha, milk kefir (dairy and non-dairy) and cultured vegetables. I supply lots of samples for the class participants to try and everyone leaves with a jar of cultured vegetables that they have made, a folder of instructions and recipes, and a SCOBY to start their own batch of kombucha.

I hold the workshops at my home in Hamilton with a maximum of five people per class. Generally, they’re held on a Saturday afternoon, but I’m fairly flexible regarding the day and time.

Trish’s contact details can be found on her Facebook page  facebook.com/trishculturedlifestyle