I grew up in a very traditional Greek household where fermented foods were the order of the day. Nothing was wasted. Every food had a delicious recipe to prepare it, preserve it or store it in some way. My great grandmother, who was the royal midwife and master herbalist, ruled over her household staff with a rod of iron. I have vivid memories of crisp starched linen, gleaming crystal and silverware alongside a bewildering array of medical bottles, and racks of herbs drying suspended over an enormous glowing AGA. A dog-eared recipe notebook, crammed in her beautiful copperplate handwriting (how could she write SO neatly?!) and those vivid memories are all that's left.
I never thought I'd ever re-create my great grandmother's penchant for healing and cooking. I wandered through medical school, education, business, family and early parenthood without once giving thought to my rich heritage. I was unaware it was bubbling away in the background - until my children's health challenged me to find ways to help them that modern medicine did not offer. It was a sharp, urgent awakening that led me away from my conventional medical training. I retrained into homeopathy, naturopathy, herbal medicine, naturopathy, nutrition... piecing together nuggets of wisdom and Aha! moments. And one day, I dug out my great-grandmother's dog-eared notebook from a musty pile of books we had left languishing in the shed after our house move.
Both kids and adults love getting their hands on grated cabbage and squeezing all the juices out of it, then stuffing it in a jar to take home!
From yoghurt to kefir to sauerkraut (and a whole lot of other delicious fermented dishes and drinks) my fermentation workshops and masterclasses offer a rich, nutritious source of beneficial gut bacteria, so desperately needed by most of us.
In my workshops you learn how to put back the good guys where they belong: in your belly!
Book one of my fermentation workshops to learn how to make these wonderful foods in your own kitchen.
You could even book a fermentation workshop as a novel alternative birthday treat!
Her beautiful, elegant copperplate, stained and faded in places, offered a treasure of wisdom, tried and tested tips for healing ailments alongside recipes for hearty nourishing food (one recipe often achieving both aims).
I discovered "lahanakia toursi" (lacto-fermented brussels sprouts), "piperies xydates" (chilli peppers pickled in vinegar and spices), "kotosoupa" (chicken soup - my great grandmama's secret recipe is just amazing!), "zomos vodinou" (beef broth), jostling for space with healing poultices for chest colds, tinctures for warts and treatments for earache, sore throat and styes.
And those were just the start:
Someone gifted me a dollop of milk kefir grains; not long after that I met Sandor Katz, the one-man fermentation revivalist movement and was captivated by his gentle, unassuming, yet passionate love for the healing art of fermented foods. My transformation was complete!
Fermented foods became the centre of my kitchen and my practice all rolled into one. It soon became obvious to me that the traditional knowledge I had taken for granted was missing from most modern kitchens. I hadn't realised how the rich smorgasbord of fermented foods and drinks had disappeared, giving way to bland food-like but largely inedible, plastic substances which lack vibrancy, vitality and authentic taste.
When I came across Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride and her Gut And Psychology Syndrome (GAPS™) work for healing autism, ASD, depression and other conditions associated with gut dysbiosis, I knew I was totally on the right path for addressing both my family's and my patients' problems: and Bubbling Life was born.
What you say:
Dr R DS, Surrey
"Elle, thank you for another excellent workshop!!!
We learn so much from you... not only about fermentation but also about other health matters, and you are so knowledgeable about geopolitical issues, which you then kindly share with us!
I mentioned it before: you are an excellent teacher and I think part of that is because you are very patient as a teacher and you graciously go over things until the attendees understand it, because you understand that not everybody is on the same level and so sometimes some key information has to be repeated a number of times throughout the workshop and you seem to have an instinctual knowing when to do so... amazing!
Thanks once again!"