Hi, I’m Bronwyn Clee an Emotional Fitness Coach and recently qualified as a Health Coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I have lived in Darwin Northern Territory for 17 years. This hot and humid climate takes fermenting to a whole new level! The Dry Season is the coolest time of the year where average temperatures are around 22 degrees celsius!
My intention with Get Fermented! is to provide you with inspiration, tools, information and support to rediscover the lost art and alchemy of fermenting, and in doing so bring back the love and joy of owning your own health journey.
My own journey to fermenting food started way back in 1994 when I was first introduced to Kombucha through the complimentary healing fraternity I then belonged to in Yeppoon, Central Queensland. This was before www (world wide web) existed so information not for the general public was generally passed on by word of mouth.
There was very little documented research about kombucha let alone fermenting other than Gunther W Frank’s work. Living in a sub tropical climate back then it soon lost it’s appeal as the weather warmed up and life got busy raising three children, working full time and trying to life a self sufficient lifestyle.
Fast forward to 2009 when I was in the midst of a monumental healing crisis. We had been living in Darwin NT for 10 years, and for various reasons I had systematically neglected myself. In the midst of recovering from a kiss with death, a very dear girlfriend sent me a text message asking if I had heard of a weird mushroom tea called Kombucha. As it transpired, my immune system was severely compromised and my psychic girlfriend had received vital information for me to return to the ancient fermented healing tonic to aid my recovery. We ended up sourcing some locally produced commercially packaged kombucha from Marion at www.kombuchaaustralia.com. However with the amount I was needing it was obvious that I needed to start fermenting my own kombucha again.
On a very slow road to recovery, I’m sure in those first 6 months I nearly drove dear Marion insane with my panicked emails and phone calls. Having lost so much confidence in my own judgement during this healing crisis, I was terrified I would ‘kill’ my SCOBY and the intended fermented elixir. As my intuition slowly returned, my confidence in being able to produce healthy kombucha in tropical Darwin Australia was greatly challenged. I continued on for another 6 years to brew and consume kombucha regularly and while I had endless varieties I reached a point in 2013 where the taste no longer appealed.
In the meantime, I had been dabbling with dehydrated milk kefir grains to ferment coconut milk and had average success given the humid conditions etc. Not a fan of having to continually buy more dehydrated grains, I searched online for alternatives and finally sourced some fresh milk kefir and water kefir grains interstate. Alas my success wasn’t great and while I was grateful I still had some ageing kombucha, my body was intuitively craving more wild fermented probiotics to support my compromised immune system.
Blessed to be surrounded by so many vibrant friends and colleagues who mostly believe in healthy body, mind and spirit lifestyles I happened to have a casual conversation with a girlfriend who mentioned she had been making sauerkraut. And so began my love affair with fermented vegetables.
When I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in May 2014 it initially came as something of a surprise. Though on reflection and considering my belief that our thoughts, feelings, behaviours and environment affect our health, I wasn’t surprised. You see, I’d had a low opinion of myself for most of my life, and felt that this diagnosis related strongly to my having neglected my emotional health for decades. There are many silver linings in all of this. Firstly, I’m grateful that I have created enough space to explore my emotional health from a holistic perspective. I now the see the integration of layers of ‘food’ in relation to our emotional health – and not just about the food we eat/drink.
And so I have become a self motivated food medicine devotee, and as a healer have discovered the power of practising the art and the alchemy of fermenting in the tropics. I’m a firm believer that we teach what we most need to learn, so if you’d like to know more please ask me.
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