(Photo by Frederic Lewis/Getty Images)
But from the beginning, we have hoped I might get the opportunity to teach large groups about the benefits of traditional food preparation. Although it's all good, there are some areas of it that we adhere to more tightly than others due to convenience/ease in making, cost effectiveness, health benefits, and ease of consumption. Probiotic/detoxifying beverages fit this bill beautifully and more than any other form of traditional cooking, they will be found used in our home daily.
As yet, those opportunities have only availed themselves to small groups of around twenty or so at a time, which turned out to be a very good thing, because I was less prepared than I realized and tried to pump in too much information in too little time.So, when the chance to share my information to a larger audience came, I knew I had to have a narrowed subject, and our fizzy beverages were just the ticket.
It was a fluke, actually...The event organizer asked if we had anything additional -anything at all- that we might teach in addition to the CPR/AED and OSHA classes at the Virginia Podiatry Convention. One of their instructors had to cancel and they had an empty spot needing filling. We said no at first, but then my mind started whirling...Diabetes and arthritis are known to affect the feet. They are also known to be immune system diseases. Probiotics are known to beef up the immune system. Probiotics are so effective that they are now recommended by most physicians, whether conventional or traditional, for a variety of reason, but mainly for the purpose of strengthening immunity. Traditional medicine has used cultured or fermented beverages to fill this need for centuries. (You can read more about Beet Kvass, Kombucha, Water Kefir/Tibicos, and Dairy Kefir here at The Nourished Nana...just type the one you're interested in into the search bar, or check out the Index.)
And since I have the know-how of making them inexpensively, right in the kitchen, it seemed a decent idea to at least offer to teach that knowledge.
So, we offered. The powers that be pow-wowed and came back with an acceptance accompanied by a thank you.
After I landed from the thrill of having landed the opportunity, I had to wrestle back panic. I had one week to pull it all together in nice, orderly fashion...half of which was filled with child and toddler care, leaving me basically bushed come evening. But I pushed through, with God's hand and the help of Sr. Chief, and although I didn't have a Power Point presentation, as I would have liked, I did have five front and back pages of notes complete with recipes and a full page of references, including medical journals and university studies.
And I had my 'stuff'. Bottles and strainers and funnels. Samples of kvass, kombucha and tibicos. Drawing prizes of SCOBYs nestled nicely in their own 'juice' within the smallest possible canning jars. And of course, I took along my Nourishing Traditions book and displayed it on a back table along with the samples.
And humor. Whenever we teach and whatever we teach, we ALWAYS pack humor!...The best 'bonding' moments can come through shared laughter. This gives students, regardless of age, that 'warm-fuzzy' feeling and they leave having enjoyed themselves and glad they invested their time with you. One such bonding moment came in the class when I was speaking of the living organisms that make up probiotics. One lady raised her hand and began the question, "What kind of orgasms are in them?"
The class of nearly 70 students, mostly women, erupted into laughter. This only intensified as Sr. Chief, who was readying the room for a later class, jumped up, covered his ears and ran behind the projection screen, saying something like, "I can't hear this! I can't hear this!"
I laughed right along with them...hard. Then, I completely forgot where I was and admitted it to gales of more laughter. Back on track, I invited the lighthearted atmosphere to stay by answering that there are lots of OR-GA-NI-SMS and spring-boarded off into the more serious side of things like beneficial bacteria and yeasts, acids, and in the case of kombucha, that glorious glucouronic acid!
The class was a big hit, I got wonderful feedback and an inroad to teach more groups in the future.
So, when I said yesterday that I haven't been on vacation, I meant it. Prepping for that class was hard, over-time work for a solid week. Packing, unpacking and repacking all the materials was a challenge. Having all the necessary tools on hand, the paperwork done, my brain sharpened to the possible questions that may be asked...it was the kind of stuff that kept my mind awake when it should have been asleep a few nights before the event.
But it was worth it to see people excited about making probiotic/detoxifying beverages in their own kitchens. It is my hope that learning these easier things will whet their appetites for more understanding and fun, safe kitchen experimenting in the near future.