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73. Healing Your Microbiome: The Power of Fermentation for Health and Happiness with Donna Schwenk of Cultured Food Life
Episode 737th January 2022 • The Good Dirt: Sustainable Living Explained • Lady Farmer
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Transform your microbiome and your life with cultured foods, and learn how the simple practice of food fermentation can promote mind and body healing. On today’s episode of The Good Dirt, Mary & Emma sit down with the founder of Cultured Food Life, Donna Schwenk. Many years ago, Donna found herself pregnant with her third child and in need of a lifestyle change. At 40 with a brand new baby she realized she wanted to live a vibrant life for her newborn and for herself. Enter “kefir'' and the beginning of Donna’s journey towards healing her body, mind and spirit. Cultured food was her pathway towards nurturing for herself and her family. Now Donna devotes her life to sharing the power that cultured food holds to transform your microbiome. Throughout the episode, Donna introduces us to the sacred trilogy that is fermented foods, kombucha and kefir while explaining how to rebuild your gut and reframe your mindset around bacteria. With over 350 free recipes on her site, Donna generously shares her abundant wisdom on cultured foods and on life. She knows when people feel good, they do good.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podchaser, Podtail, or on your favorite podcast platform.

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Original music by John Kingsley @jkingsley1026

Statements in this podcast have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not to be considered as medical or nutritional advice. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and should not be considered above the advice of your physician. Consult a medical professional when making dietary or lifestyle decisions that could affect your health and well being.

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Transcripts

Donna:

I

Donna:

have a theory that if you love something, you believe in it and

Donna:

you live it, the people who are looking for that will find you.

Donna:

And when you feel good, you do good.

Donna:

You give out of a place in your heart.

Donna:

That is from a place of healing.

Donna:

So you want to give, when you feel good and it's just a natural byproduct of joy.

Emma:

you're listening to the good dirt podcast.

Emma:

This is a place where we dig into the nitty gritty of sustainable living

Emma:

through food, fashion, and lifestyle,

Mary:

and we're your hosts, Mary and Emma Kingsley, the mother and

Mary:

daughter, founder team of lady farmer.

Mary:

We are sowing seeds of slow living through our community platform

Mary:

events and online marketplace.

Emma:

We started this podcast as a means to share the wealth of

Emma:

information and quality conversations that we're having in our world.

Emma:

As we dream up and deliver ways for each of us to live into the new paradigm.

Emma:

One that is regenerative balanced and whole.

Mary:

We want to put the microphone in front of the voices that need to be heard

Mary:

the most right now, the farmers, the dreamers, the designers, and the doers.

Emma:

So come cultivate a better world with us.

Emma:

We're so glad you're here.

Emma:

Now, let's dig in.

Emma:

hello everyone.

Emma:

Welcome back to the good dirt podcast and welcome to 2022 happy new year.

Emma:

We're so excited to be back after taking a couple of weeks off,

Emma:

and we're really excited about sharing today's interview with you.

Mary:

So now we're a couple of weeks past the winter solstice, and we're

Mary:

already seeing a few more minutes of light at the end of the day.

Emma:

It's really amazing how quickly it happens and how, when you are

Emma:

really tuned into it, you can feel it.

Mary:

I think the animal world is especially connected to it.

Mary:

Those of you that have chickens will know that when the days are the

Mary:

shortest, the hens really slow down and the egg supply dwindles, but

Mary:

they'll pick up as the days get longer.

Emma:

I wonder how many humans notice that extra two minutes of light

Emma:

or however long it is every day.

Mary:

Another note, did you see old Bafana streaking across the

Mary:

sky on her broom the other night?

Emma:

Well, I wish I had, but I didn't, I can't say that I did, but I

Emma:

do remember you telling her story on the new year's day podcast last year,

Emma:

for anyone who missed that awesome episode, we will link it in the show

Emma:

notes and you should definitely give it a listen old befana's story is

Emma:

so fun and it's all about epiphany and epiphany just began yesterday.

Mary:

Yes.

Mary:

And epiphany is the season of the liturgical year, which is the church

Mary:

year, that begins on January 6th.

Mary:

And it lasts until lent in some areas of the world.

Mary:

These weeks are celebrated as carnival.

Mary:

For instance, this is the season of Mardi Gras in new Orleans, all the parties and

Mary:

parades and all of that leading up to fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash

Mary:

Wednesday, which is the first day lent.

Mary:

Anyway, the word epiphany comes from a Greek word, which means appearance

Mary:

or to show forth or manifest.

Mary:

And as the well-known story goes, three Kings from distant lands

Mary:

followed a bright star to the lowly birthplace of Jesus, because these

Mary:

wise men had read the signs that foretold the coming of the holy child.

Mary:

So the epiphany in this story is not only that the magi recognize

Mary:

the humble birth as the coming of the promised Messiah, but also their

Mary:

appearance before the holy child.

Mary:

In other words, they showed up.

Emma:

Yeah.

Emma:

And that relates to the story of old Befana, who didn't show up when she did

Emma:

have the chance and she later regretted it, but you want to hear the whole story.

Emma:

Definitely go listen to that episode.

Mary:

Yeah.

Mary:

And you can decide whether or not you're old befana and that

Mary:

idea of an epiphany I think, is really fitting to our show today.

Emma:

Yes, that's a great segue.

Emma:

So on this episode, we're talking to Donna Schwenk of cultured food life,

Emma:

which is an information packed website and resource all about the benefits

Emma:

of fermented foods and how they reconnect us to our bodies and help

Emma:

us understand how they're designed.

Emma:

When we harness the power of those 100 trillion microbes that our bodies call

Emma:

home, they can heal us in mind, body and spirit Donna's website is a wealth of

Emma:

information on the overall benefits of cultured food the life and how you can

Emma:

feed and nurture your own microbiome.

Mary:

I really love that this episode is coming up as we move into the season of

Mary:

epiphany because Donna's journey began with her own epiphany, which you'll

Mary:

hear about like the wise men, this wise woman, showed up to the wisdom that

Mary:

was presented to her and she made it her life's work to share her discovery

Mary:

with so many others, including me, leading me to my own revelation about

Mary:

the gift of these foods in my life.

Mary:

So thank you, Donna, for joining us on the good dirt.

Mary:

And here she is.

Mary:

We are here with Donna Schwenk.

Mary:

Is that how you say it before we get started with interviewing you?

Mary:

I just want to tell you that I'm starstruck here because...

Emma:

yeah.

Emma:

You're like our celebrity guests.

Emma:

We love you.

Mary:

Yeah.

Mary:

I have to tell you, like, you have really, really influenced my life and I'm sure

Mary:

people probably tell you this all the time because of what you do, but I'm

Mary:

going to start out with a little story and then you can go into your story.

Mary:

So we moved out this little farm about 10 years ago, and we ended

Mary:

up with this calf, sick calf.

Mary:

It had been separated from its mom.

Mary:

And I had no idea what to do with it being a newbie at all this.

Mary:

So I got on the phone and I was calling all around and got ahold of somebody

Mary:

said, the only way that calf is going to survive is for you to get raw milk.

Mary:

And I'm like raw milk.

Mary:

You know, what is that?

Mary:

And I'm calling around long story short is I, you know, did a deep dive

Mary:

into the world of raw milk and found out how difficult it is to get it.

Mary:

It's illegal many places.

Mary:

And you know, the reason why it is and all of this.

Mary:

So long story short, somewhere along the line, I ran across your

Mary:

website, culturedfoodlife.com, talking about kefir culture.

Mary:

And I thought, I bet if that raw milk is cultured, then it would be safer for me.

Mary:

I'll back up.

Mary:

Got the raw milk for the calf.

Mary:

I thought I'm going to drink this.

Mary:

You know, it looks so good.

Mary:

It sounds so good.

Mary:

And I wrote you and I said, is it, does it make it safer if it's cultured and

Mary:

you wrote back and really helped me in your website is wealth of information.

Mary:

So just fast forward, I started getting raw milk for us and I started making

Mary:

kefir and I make kefir constantly now.

Mary:

This has been several years, you know, eight years, I guess.

Mary:

And I love it.

Mary:

It's a daily part of my life.

Mary:

I think it's made a huge difference in my health.

Mary:

My husband loves it.

Mary:

The calf did not make it, but the calf's gift to me was the kefir.

Mary:

And obviously you don't have to have raw milk, but that was sort of my entree

Mary:

into, it was like, I thought it was a way to make the raw milk safer for us.

Donna:

You know, I did have a lady that had a cow.

Donna:

This was really very early in the beginning when I was to keep her.

Donna:

And she got calf a big calf like you did.

Donna:

She gave it kefir.

Donna:

Yeah.

Donna:

And one of their healthiest cows, but it was really struggling.

Donna:

And I would surprised by that cause I didn't know, you know, you could do

Donna:

that or it would help it, but I never thought of that, but that was, that was

Donna:

something that was really, I have a lot of animals stories on my website too.

Donna:

I have a lot of this type of thing.

Donna:

I have a lot of animals stories, especially dogs about when they,

Donna:

them, they give them kefir.

Donna:

So many things that turned around, especially with kidneys and animals

Donna:

that are really suffering kefir seems to just turn them around.

Donna:

It's pretty, it's pretty amazing.

Donna:

It's on my website that people send in testimonies and animals are one

Donna:

of the biggest ones that they send in on how well it helps with kefir so.

Mary:

I've been doing kefir for years and years, and also have followed your lead

Mary:

with many, many other fermented things.

Mary:

And I refer to your website so often and I am one of your members.

Mary:

I forget what you call it.

Mary:

And your recipes are seemingly endless.

Mary:

Oh my gosh.

Donna:

I give out like so many recipes every month, but i think one

Donna:

month was 47 in one of the books.

Donna:

And I add to them all the time.

Donna:

Do you know what I'm saying?

Donna:

But I do this.

Donna:

I mean, I, I live this way, so I have these recipes actually doing it.

Donna:

Cause a lot of people will say, oh, you should do this, but they

Donna:

don't really live the lifestyle.

Donna:

But we do.

Donna:

That's why I have so many recipes because I've been doing it for 20 years.

Donna:

And so it's, um, it's just how we live.

Donna:

So, and they're fine.

Donna:

And they're easy.

Donna:

They're, you know, I try to make it easy so that people find it accessible.

Mary:

So accessible, so approachable.

Mary:

And, but we'll back up a little bit and let you, I want you to tell your story.

Mary:

I know your story because I've followed you for so long, but for you to tell

Mary:

your story to our listeners and, and how you kinda came into this whole

Mary:

world, it's a really good story.

Mary:

And I think a lot of people can relate to it.

Mary:

So introduce yourself and what you do and go for it.

Donna:

I'm Donna Schwenk and I'm the founder of culturefoodlife.com

Donna:

if you're interested.

Donna:

But, um, many years ago, Let's see how long ago was this?

Donna:

21 years ago, I found myself pregnant.

Donna:

I was 40 at the time.

Donna:

I found myself pregnant with my third child, much to my surprise.

Donna:

Uh, I blame my husband for that, by the way.

Donna:

So anyway, um, he said it better be my fault.

Donna:

We had our third child, but, um, I got really sick with her.

Donna:

They delivered her like eight weeks early, saved my life because my liver

Donna:

was shutting down and I had this brand new baby and I'm like, I am 40 right now.

Donna:

And when she's 18 or 19, I'm going to deal with 60, which I am.

Donna:

Right.

Donna:

I'm 61 right now.

Donna:

And I thought, I feel horrible and I want to live and help

Donna:

raise this baby and be healthy.

Donna:

And, um, I had diabetes, I have high blood pressure.

Donna:

They had gone away.

Donna:

I got them when I was pregnant and then it went away.

Donna:

But then it came back after I had her.

Donna:

And I was just miserable laying on the couch and I can remember feeling

Donna:

really desperate and I can remember every day I would walk around the

Donna:

house and go help is on the way, I'm not meant to live this way.

Donna:

Something will change.

Donna:

I just started praying everyday, all day long, constantly reaching out.

Donna:

I wasn't meant to live this way.

Donna:

This is not the norm.

Donna:

And about two weeks later, I was in a health food store and I

Donna:

grabbed two books off the shelf.

Donna:

One was Body Ecology by Donna Gates.

Donna:

The other was Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Donna:

And I sat down in a chair to read it.

Donna:

And when I sat down, one of the books opened and open to this page

Donna:

on kefir and I had never heard of.

Donna:

I didn't know what it was.

Donna:

I thought.

Donna:

Okay, that's interesting.

Donna:

And then I opened the second book and it too opened to a page at

Donna:

the top of the page it said kefir.

Donna:

And I was kind of startled first of all, I'd never heard of this.

Donna:

Right at that moment, a store employee was walking by and he, he looked

Donna:

over at me and he saw me and he came over and he stood in front of me and

Donna:

he said, you know what, that's one of the most important books you'll

Donna:

ever read, really pay attention.

Donna:

And I was, I was like, okay.

Donna:

And so I bought both of those books and I went to an employee and asked

Donna:

him where this kefir drink stuff was bottling, started drinking.

Donna:

It started giving a teaspoon to my daughter who was like 10 months old

Donna:

at the time started putting in her milk and in three weeks my husband

Donna:

came into the living room, holding my daughter and he said, Donna, Holly's

Donna:

gained six pounds in three weeks.

Donna:

And that's really a lot for a preemie, a lot.

Donna:

And there was color in her cheeks.

Donna:

She had been sleeping through the night.

Donna:

She wasn't throwing up anymore.

Donna:

She just transformed.

Donna:

And then about a week later, I was in the kitchen and I had been drinking it too.

Donna:

And I was in the kitchen.

Donna:

I was doing dishes and all of a sudden I looked out the window and

Donna:

I found myself in my front yard, filling up all my bird feeders.

Donna:

Now it may not seem like a big deal to most people, but to me it was huge.

Donna:

I felt so good.

Donna:

And weeks before I didn't give a rip about those birds,

Donna:

they could get their own food.

Donna:

I didn't care about it, but I felt so good.

Donna:

I wanted to care for them.

Donna:

And I remember that the grass was greener and I heard birds singing and it literally

Donna:

felt like the whole universe had shifted.

Donna:

And I felt like this sense of wellbeing that I had never known.

Donna:

And I didn't know what happened to me and my blood pressure had normalized.

Donna:

My diabetes went away and I didn't know what happened, but I knew it was

Donna:

because of this thing I was drinking.

Donna:

There wasn't a lot of research.

Donna:

So I had to feed my daughter a lot cause she's a preemie.

Donna:

So I was up in the middle of the night, a lot feeding her and I would

Donna:

feed her with one arm and research with the other because I wanted

Donna:

to know what was in this drink.

Donna:

What had it done to me and how had this happened to both of us

Donna:

and it just snowballed from there.

Donna:

And now research has caught up with some of the things that I've learned.

Donna:

There's a lot more research now than there was back in those days.

Donna:

But this drink that has 50 plus probiotics in it.

Donna:

Um, yogurt usually has three to seven.

Donna:

Yeah, Kefir has 50 plus had transformed my entire microbiome

Donna:

in a way that allowed enzymes in my stomach to work, to help neutralize

Donna:

my blood sugar, to normalize that.

Donna:

And I see that a lot in my work, a lot of people with type two diabetes

Donna:

and things like that, it really helps balance out your blood sugar.

Donna:

My CPA was one of my first example and she had such a dramatic change in her

Donna:

blood sugar numbers that our doctor said, I don't know what that drink

Donna:

does to keep drinking because when she would go off it it would change.

Donna:

And with the blood pressure.

Donna:

Oh one out of three people, it works like an ACE inhibitor drug,

Donna:

uh, an enzyme in the stomach to naturally lower blood pressure.

Donna:

It doesn't do it on everybody, but for me it worked and I didn't understand why.

Donna:

So, you know, 20 years later I am still learning.

Donna:

I am still loving it.

Donna:

And I lived this lifestyle, my family and I, I just, I just had

Donna:

kefir like I'm on the west coast.

Donna:

So, um, I had kefir a couple hours go for breakfast.

Donna:

I do it every single morning because I really, really do love it.

Donna:

But I also, when something makes you, well, you pay

Donna:

attention and you keep doing it.

Donna:

And I've done experiments where I stopped it and I wound up getting off.

Donna:

I get a lot of pattern problems.

Donna:

Like I got the cold, I got a flu for the first time in a long time.

Donna:

And things like that when I went back on it all went away and, you know,

Donna:

it's such an amazing journey because I never expected this to be for the

Donna:

answer to come in the form of food.

Donna:

I just didn't expect it.

Donna:

You know, I been praying for answers to the problems and the struggles that I

Donna:

was having in my daughter, but it was the perfect thing for me because I'm a foodie.

Donna:

I love it.

Donna:

But it came with billions of probiotics in my jar fermenting this, you know, whether

Donna:

it's dairy or non-dairy milk, making billions of probiotics industry, that is

Donna:

the easiest thing in the world to make.

Donna:

And it's one of those things that it's, you know, you can give these

Donna:

grains to your friends and they'll last your lifetime, and they'll go to

Donna:

your children's children's children.

Donna:

If you take care of them, it's sustainable.

Donna:

It's something that is, has been so life changing.

Donna:

And I sit from this place because I'm so glad I got sick.

Donna:

So what if I hadn't?

Donna:

Do you know what I mean?

Donna:

Because not only did it change my health, it changed my entire life.

Donna:

I didn't want to write a book or have a website.

Donna:

Are you kidding?

Donna:

I was like, you were out of your mind.

Donna:

I wouldn't want to do that, but because I felt so good if people kept

Donna:

asking me, I got to the point where I couldn't tell them no, I couldn't

Donna:

tell cause they wanted my help.

Donna:

And I was so grateful that I was well, that it just spilled out for me.

Donna:

And I have a theory that if you love something, you believe in

Donna:

it and you live it people who are looking for that will find you.

Donna:

And when you feel.

Donna:

You do good.

Donna:

You give out of a place in your heart that is from a place of healing.

Donna:

So you want to give, when you feel good and it's just a natural by-product of joy.

Donna:

And so that's how I'm here.

Mary:

Oh, goodness.

Mary:

So many things I want to comment on a little bit about the chronology of

Mary:

your getting into this whole thing.

Mary:

So you, you were in the bookstore and you it's all the books about kefir

Mary:

and you bought them and you said then you went and bought some kefir.

Mary:

At what point did you start making it?

Mary:

Okay.

Mary:

And then where did you get your grains?

Mary:

See, I got my grains from you.

Donna:

Think from a guy in Australia named doc years ago.

Donna:

And he was one of the only ones that had a really big website on kefir.

Donna:

And he knew a lot about kefir.

Donna:

I don't think he's with us anymore.

Donna:

I think he's passed on, but he had a supplier, I think in Texas or something.

Donna:

Cause it was hard to find them

Mary:

Yes!

Mary:

20 years ago.

Mary:

wow..

Donna:

I still have those.

Donna:

Those are the original grains that I had.

Donna:

I've never had, they've never died.

Donna:

Just they've reaped.

Donna:

They double in size every week.

Donna:

And your grades do so.

Donna:

I, you know, I sell them on my site now.

Donna:

I've given away thousands of kefir grains and, uh, they are

Donna:

the gift that keeps on giving.

Donna:

So they, and you just put them in your milk, but a little, I let it sit for

Donna:

24 hours and next day you have kefir.

Donna:

So

Mary:

same with me.

Mary:

I've given away many, many grains.

Mary:

I got my grains originally from you, you were the only person who ever I

Mary:

learned about kefir grains from you.

Mary:

You're the only source I knew about probably some others now.

Mary:

And since then, I have been able to locate them at some of the

Mary:

Amish farms around in the area.

Mary:

Oh yeah.

Mary:

I've supplemented those original grains.

Mary:

Their babies are all still there.

Mary:

I'm sure.

Mary:

So anyway, more about kefir later, because I have a lot to say about kefir but you

Mary:

got into other kinds of fermentation too.

Mary:

So how did you segue into the kombucha and the fermented foods?

Mary:

And then now it all comes together into this cultured food life operation.

Donna:

I made my preemie, she was my, I had two older kids and

Donna:

a 16 year old or 14 year old.

Donna:

And around that time, my 16 years kind of got IBS syndrome and talked

Donna:

to the doctor and they said, well, we could take your gallbladder out.

Donna:

And I'm like, what, what do you mean?

Donna:

You could just see if that helps.

Donna:

That's like major surgery.

Donna:

What are you talking about?

Donna:

Cause she had all these symptoms and all these food allergies

Donna:

and all these problems.

Donna:

I'm like, I can figure out something better than this.

Donna:

I mean, cause she was having a lot of stomach distress every time she ate.

Donna:

And um, there was this one lady that I talked to that knew

Donna:

a lot about fermented foods.

Donna:

I'm trying to remember who that was.

Donna:

Can't remember who it was, but it was a long time.

Donna:

Cause she, you know what I would do, I would give her cultured

Donna:

food and see how she does.

Donna:

And I had just started making culture vegetables and kombucha

Donna:

and just started to try making those cause they were permitted.

Donna:

So I had him, I gave her one at every meal.

Donna:

She had kombucha for lunch and then a tablespoon of a cultured

Donna:

vegetables for lunch and dinner.

Donna:

Just as spoonful to keep her for breakfast, uh, sometimes in

Donna:

between meal, but she had one.

Donna:

So every time she ate something, she had a culture food that

Donna:

helped her digest her food.

Donna:

And within three weeks of stomach stopped hurting and within two months

Donna:

her a food allergy started going away and in a year she can eat anything

Donna:

and all of her symptoms were gone.

Donna:

And I didn't know why that happened.

Donna:

I do.

Donna:

Now, now I understand what happened, but she had been on a lot of

Donna:

antibiotics for sinus infections.

Donna:

And she also had been doing a lot of low carb foods that basically was stripping

Donna:

her of fiber, which feeds your microbiome.

Donna:

So you've got to eat a lot of vegetables.

Donna:

If you're going to do low carb, cause your microbiome, your microbes start to starve.

Donna:

And so then the pH in your gut changes and then they start to eat

Donna:

the lining of your stomach too.

Donna:

And it causes leaky gut syndrome and IBS long story short.

Donna:

When you have cultured foods, it helps you digest the food you eat with it,

Donna:

but it also puts that probiotic back in.

Donna:

Are those strings of bacteria that you are missing, that the antibiotics killed

Donna:

that are causing the food allergies.

Donna:

Because now I have research after research, after research that a

Donna:

lot of food allergies are caused by overuse of antibiotics or a bad diet.

Donna:

And you're missing certain strains of bacteria.

Donna:

I'm actually doing a whole article about that this week.

Donna:

Another one, I was like my fourth one, but this is a new, some new insight

Donna:

into and research, but I have helped thousands of people come overcome

Donna:

the food allergies just by replacing that bacteria that they're missing.

Donna:

So, I mean, we demonize the food say the wheat or the dairy or whatever

Donna:

food is, but I really think it's the strains of bacteria that we've

Donna:

killed in our guts that are allowing us to develop these food allergies.

Donna:

So the kombucha the kefir and the cultured vegetables, I really developed

Donna:

start doing that to help my older daughter and everybody loved them.

Donna:

And it was life-changing and they were so much, I could say about those two foods.

Donna:

Cause each one of them has different strains of probiotics that the others

Donna:

don't have, and they do different things.

Donna:

And they're so important.

Donna:

In kombucha there's Saccharomyces boulardii which is one of the most

Donna:

used probiotic yeast in all the world, even in doctors, it's the

Donna:

most researched of all probiotics.

Donna:

It is so powerful for so many ailments and then cultured

Donna:

vegetables, lactobacillus plantarum.

Donna:

It's just one of the most powerful culture.

Donna:

I mean, species of bacteria that you can have, but it doesn't last very long in the

Donna:

body and only the last three or four days.

Donna:

But when it does stay in there, if you have it every few days, it basically

Donna:

takes pathogens and takes them out of the body that it's accumulated in.

Donna:

It it's very good, powerful.

Donna:

Anyway, each one does something different.

Donna:

Each one I'd love for different reasons, but each one has healed somebody in my

Donna:

family and I just did it to help somebody.

Donna:

And that's what happened.

Mary:

I'll add here that you call it the trilogy, the fermented

Mary:

foods, the kombucha, and the kefir.

Mary:

And you have implemented these things into your own life, and you have created

Mary:

this really information packed website to help anybody do this easily without much

Mary:

money and just something people can do.

Donna:

It's very sustainable too.

Donna:

It doesn't, you don't even have to use organic vegetables to

Donna:

make cultured vegetables because the pesticides and chemicals are

Donna:

eaten out by the fermentation.

Donna:

So it's so easy to do, but people are very, very afraid of it because

Donna:

they're afraid they're going to make themselves sick act sick.

Donna:

And actually fermented foods are safer than raw foods because the good bacteria

Donna:

dominates and keeps up pathogens.

Donna:

Botulism is a scientific impossibility because you're not eating your foods

Donna:

so that can't happen, but because there's so much good bacteria in these

Donna:

foods, it's not just me saying this.

Donna:

I have articles on my website, stating from the government, that there's some

Donna:

of the safest foods you could eat, you just need to know how to do it.

Donna:

Cause it's very easy.

Mary:

I've heard that there is a lot of fear.

Mary:

And sort of a reeducation about it is necessary.

Emma:

I have a question.

Emma:

Speaking of reeducation, I know at least in my experience in watching my mom go

Emma:

down a similar path to you, thanks to you.

Emma:

It's actually surprisingly, hasn't been as easy as I think to convince others.

Emma:

Like sometimes it's like, I call it the kefir talk.

Emma:

Mom does it a lot.

Emma:

There's people at the house like, I feel like here's the PowerPoints that,

Emma:

you know, it's just like this thing.

Emma:

And some people really catch onto it, maybe a small handful of the, most

Emma:

of the stories and this isn't not to like call my mom out or anything.

Emma:

You're wonderful teacher, but a lot of people don't take care of their grains

Emma:

and they say, oh, they don't get to it.

Emma:

And I mean, I imagine having with the site and everything, the people that are

Emma:

finding you and the people that you're interacting with on the internet are

Emma:

they're bought in, they're doing it, but I wonder what your experience is with

Emma:

friends and maybe not immediate family.

Donna:

Yeah.

Donna:

I gave the grains to my friends and I watched my kids' friends

Donna:

and their kids get well.

Donna:

Yeah, that's thrilling too.

Donna:

Cause they was doing things that I didn't know it could do.

Donna:

The first person I gave it to you, I wasn't gonna tell anybody

Donna:

because people were kind of giving me a hard time about it.

Donna:

Cause they were like, what do you mean fermented food on the counter you out

Donna:

of your mind and such a foreign concept.

Donna:

But there was no way anybody could convince me that these foods weren't

Donna:

powerful cause they made me well.

Donna:

So I'm like, I don't care what you say.

Donna:

So I thought, okay, I'm not gonna tell anybody that didn't work out for long.

Donna:

So one day I was sitting at a, I think it was a dance class or

Donna:

a drama class with my daughter.

Donna:

I homeschool my kids.

Donna:

I also did that when nobody was doing it.

Donna:

So I was kind of a, I had a lot of friends who were into things that

Donna:

were unconventional a little bit.

Donna:

Cause we homeschooled.

Donna:

We run a drama class and when this little boy was coughing so bad, I

Donna:

thought he was going to lose his lung.

Donna:

I mean, it was just, he had asthma and a cold and I couldn't take it anymore.

Donna:

And I said, you know what?

Donna:

I said, I've found this thing that's really helping me and my

Donna:

family and would you like to try it?

Donna:

And she course was like thrilled.

Donna:

I said, It's kind of like yogurt, but stronger.

Donna:

And I said, I started getting to her well within a week, his asthma

Donna:

calmed down and she started making it and drinking it every day.

Donna:

And they had been doing it for seven months and she kind of stopped her

Donna:

little seven year old boy who had the asthma, he came into the kitchen

Donna:

and he stood by the refrigerator, his hand on the door and has big

Donna:

crocodile tears rolling down his cheeks.

Donna:

He said, mom, I feel my asthma coming back because you haven't made me my kefir.

Donna:

I need that kefir, it's coming back.

Emma:

Oh my God.

Donna:

He was just sobbing because he could feel that

Donna:

pressure in his chest and stuff.

Donna:

And he knew that that had made him well and she had quit making

Donna:

it for a while and it started to come back and that convinced her.

Donna:

And then my other friend that I told her daughter had severe, severe

Donna:

food allergies and she got better.

Donna:

And then another friend who had a little boy, he wasn't even talking, he

Donna:

was three years old and he had kind of autistic symptoms, but he really wasn't,

Donna:

but he just wasn't developing properly.

Donna:

He had a really big belly.

Donna:

Large head.

Donna:

He just looks like he wasn't getting, he wasn't getting any nutrition.

Donna:

So she started giving him and he was allergic to just about

Donna:

everything on the planet.

Donna:

So she started giving him, I told her to try, she tried, I think, five different

Donna:

specialists, doctors trying to help him and nobody could really help him.

Donna:

And so she said, okay, I'm ready to listen.

Donna:

And so she started making coconut kefir and within nine months,

Donna:

all of his allergies went away.

Donna:

He gained weight.

Donna:

He started talking, he wasn't making sentences.

Donna:

And by the end of the year he was reading and he was young.

Donna:

He was four.

Donna:

He wasn't even talking the year before.

Donna:

So I knew I was onto something because things were happening

Donna:

that I didn't understand.

Donna:

And I didn't know, but I didn't tell a lot of people.

Donna:

And to this day, here's the thing, the people who are ready

Donna:

for this will come to you.

Donna:

But if they're not ready, it will just slide over their heads.

Donna:

They'll think you're a weirdo.

Donna:

They'll criticize you.

Donna:

And that happened to me a lot, but I was, well, they were not.

Donna:

And eventually all of them caved and came to all of them, everyone, especially

Donna:

the ones who were the hardest on me.

Donna:

They all eventually came.

Donna:

We can start doing it.

Donna:

And I didn't have to say thing.

Donna:

It's kind of like being a lighthouse.

Donna:

Yeah, you can't reach that anybody, unless they're ready, but you can fix yourself.

Donna:

And once they're ready for it.

Donna:

And then life was the best teacher in the all.

Donna:

I didn't have to convince anybody.

Donna:

The food did that.

Donna:

You know, my friend's little boy saw it.

Donna:

And my, you know, they all saw in different ways in their life.

Donna:

Including my husband and my kids kefir did things for them.

Donna:

That didn't necessarily happen to me because I didn't have those problems.

Donna:

But my husband was like, okay, this gets rid of acid reflux.

Donna:

And I don't ever get constipated if I have this.

Donna:

So he started doing it because of those things.

Donna:

So one by one, whatever ailment they were having, a lot of times it fixed it.

Donna:

And so I didn't have to convince them the food did that.

Donna:

I always say, I'm just the messenger.

Donna:

You know what I'm saying?

Donna:

The people who are ready for this are looking for it will come to

Donna:

you and find, but if you try to convince a man against his will.

Donna:

I think Ben Franklin said he'll be of the same opinion still.

Donna:

They won't hear you it'll go.

Donna:

But I kind of got a lot of pleasure through the years to watch all of

Donna:

them one by one coming to me, it was pretty, especially the hard ones.

Emma:

Yeah.

Emma:

And that reminded me too.

Emma:

I had a question from earlier, back in the very beginning, when you first

Emma:

started, like taking a little yourself and giving it to your baby, at what

Emma:

point did your husband start drinking like way early on or was it at first?

Emma:

Was it like, this is just the thing for the baby.

Donna:

I started making a smoothie and he started course.

Donna:

I had to make him the smoothie.

Donna:

If I made him the smoothie, he drank it.

Donna:

Okay.

Donna:

So it was pretty early on that he did that because I would just make a double one.

Donna:

Now this morning, like this morning, I said, do you want some of this smoothie?

Donna:

I made too much?

Donna:

No, I already had it.

Donna:

This is crazy.

Donna:

Now I can't act like that's a big deal, but he's been doing that for years

Donna:

where he just he'll drink it plain.

Donna:

Yeah, I don't even do

Donna:

that.

Emma:

My dad's the same way my dad loves the plain one.

Donna:

My son likes the plain one, but he likes the plain one.

Donna:

Now I have a whole concoction I make.

Donna:

You guys, I make about the same thing every single day cause I like it.

Donna:

And I have pomegranate trees here.

Donna:

I have so many pomegranates and if you've ever tried to get seeds out

Donna:

of a pomegranate it is a lot of work.

Donna:

So I've been doing a lot of pomegranates and putting them

Donna:

in my kefir that's really good.

Donna:

I have a little ritual that's why I have different types that I do.

Donna:

One of my favorites is frozen cherries.

Donna:

I love that in kefir.

Donna:

No, I just put a blender, just the highest one tech.

Emma:

How do you sweeten it?

Donna:

You want to know what I do?

Donna:

I'm a big fan of collagen and I get vanilla collagen which I love.

Donna:

And I put a scoop of that in there.

Donna:

And then you'll be hearing about it.

Donna:

I have a new podcast and blog coming out this week is really important.

Donna:

It's how to build up bifidobacterium, which is very difficult to do.

Donna:

It's your first bacteria.

Donna:

You get as a baby and it's the young bacteria and diminishes as

Donna:

you get older, but it's one of the most important ones you'll have

Donna:

because it feeds everything else.

Donna:

Well kefir feeds it.

Donna:

But if you don't have the strains, you can't really make it grow very well.

Donna:

So I figured out a way to make it grow.

Donna:

And one of the things that it loves is phenol powders, which is just

Donna:

berries that are ground up into powder.

Donna:

And they're very popular.

Donna:

You can get them everywhere.

Donna:

And I put some of that in my kefir smoothie with the collagen and I don't

Donna:

have to sleep in it, those two things.

Donna:

And I'll tell you what, you talked about energy, it's phenomenal.

Donna:

And there's a lot of conversation about those things because it's

Donna:

basically fruits and vegetables just condensed to this little powder.

Donna:

I've put it in there, but it sweetens the kefir, such a powerful way.

Donna:

But it makes me feel so good.

Donna:

And I can tell you have to stay tuned to that podcast into that article.

Donna:

Yeah.

Donna:

I have had huge dramatic change in my energy level.

Donna:

Since I started building up that bifidobacterium again,

Mary:

What's the name of that powder you said?

Donna:

Red phenolpowder it's you could get it anywhere.

Donna:

You can get it on Amazon.

Donna:

You can get it at your grocery store.

Donna:

There's so many brands because it's, it's really, uh, popular

Donna:

and it's basically just every kind of berry you could imagine.

Donna:

And so a few vegetables, some of them put prebiotics in it, but it's just, you just

Donna:

need a tiny little scoop, but it sweetens that kefir it makes it tastes delicious.

Donna:

So I've been doing that for about seven months.

Donna:

My hair, I have to grab my daughter.

Donna:

My hair's grown seven inches.

Emma:

I know.

Emma:

I was going to say you look, you're so beautiful.

Emma:

You're just like radiant.

Emma:

Like

Donna:

that's the kefir, i think it keeps me young, um, I have so much energy.

Donna:

I run circles around my kids who are younger.

Donna:

I just, but I do believe it's because of my gut microbiome.

Donna:

I'm very consistent in what I do because I want to feel good guys.

Donna:

I can't do what I do if I don't.

Donna:

Do you know what I mean, everybody my age wants to retire.

Donna:

I'm like, what are you talking about?

Donna:

I feel like a newborn just got started.

Donna:

You know, once I started into this stuff, I felt so good that I wanted to do

Donna:

things before I just laid on the couch.

Donna:

I didn't want to do anything, I was exhausted.

Donna:

And the next thing I knew, I had three books out in the website

Donna:

and I didn't plan on any of that.

Donna:

I was fighting against it because I didn't want to do it, but I really

Donna:

wanted people to feel good because I want wellness to be the norm.

Donna:

Not the exception, definitely not happening anymore.

Donna:

Everybody's scared once you understand the power of your own body, what it

Donna:

does and how it works and the more good bacteria you have, the more

Donna:

you build up your immune system, because you get more teacups cells

Donna:

because you have more T-cells that fight diseases, pathogens, viruses.

Donna:

More good bacteria you have.

Donna:

And once you know that those chains fall off, you're not afraid of things.

Donna:

If you understand the power of your body, it's absolutely amazing.

Donna:

It's unbelievable.

Donna:

You age better, you feel better.

Donna:

This thing that we feel bad as we get older, that's that's not true.

Donna:

It doesn't have to be, but people don't believe it.

Donna:

So they don't try.

Emma:

You just mentioned that you run circles around your younger kids.

Emma:

Do they drink kefir?

Donna:

Yes.

Emma:

Okay.

Emma:

But you drink the most more.

Emma:

You drink more than everyone.

Donna:

Like my daughter will do it.

Donna:

Like it keeps her skin clear so she'll do it every couple of days

Donna:

and then she'll get breakouts.

Donna:

So she doesn't do it.

Donna:

So that's why she does it.

Donna:

She's 20.

Donna:

And my Macy does my oldest daughter.

Donna:

She's 30, 35.

Donna:

She drinks it.

Donna:

I should ask her.

Donna:

No, she drinks it, but I think she's not as consistent as me.

Donna:

She does a lot of kombucha, a lot of cultured vegetables, but I think

Donna:

the kefir's the most powerful.

Donna:

So I don't know that she does it every day, but I'm sure she does it

Donna:

at least three or four times a week.

Donna:

My husband does it every day.

Donna:

I know that.

Donna:

My son does it just about everyday.

Emma:

That's kind of like us.

Emma:

I definitely don't drink as much because my mom makes it and has on

Emma:

hand and I'm at her house quite a bit.

Emma:

So I drink it when I'm there, but she's like, when are you going to make kefir?

Emma:

It's so easy.

Emma:

There's no excuses.

Donna:

Here's the thing too.

Donna:

Like I do it as a dessert, like frozen and I just put a little bit of kefir in there.

Donna:

Just to get it blended.

Donna:

And it turns into like ice cream, because I did, I did mangoes and

Donna:

strawberries last night because I wasn't very hungry and everybody wanted to

Donna:

make paninis and I was working and I said, I've got to get this article done

Donna:

cause I got to get it to my editor.

Donna:

So I said, you guys just take care of yourselves.

Donna:

So they were in there making paninis and I just came in and I took strawberries

Donna:

and mangoes I had frozen and I just stuck a little bit of kefir in there to give it

Donna:

some liquid as it turns into ice cream.

Donna:

And I think you can do it with chocolate bananas, you know, put cocoa

Donna:

powder, but I'd actually, I got my tasting so good that it tastes like.

Donna:

And your taste buds change by the way that they shift from meal to meal, depending

Donna:

on what you're eating and so I crave it.

Donna:

It is very filling and it also helps you sleep by the way, kefir is a

Donna:

very, there's a lot of magnesium in it and it helps you to relax you.

Donna:

So it's a great thing.

Donna:

If you're struggling with sleep to have one, have a little

Donna:

bit of dinner or something

Mary:

I crave it too, I really crave it.

Mary:

And when I drink it, this is sort of hard to explain that it's

Mary:

more than, oh, this is delicious.

Mary:

It's almost like my whole body kind of responds to it.

Mary:

Like, it's, it just feels like it feels buzzy an elixir or something, you know,

Donna:

They call kefir the champagne of yogurt, because it is more bubbly.

Donna:

Here's the thing, it has a lot of good yeast in it too.

Donna:

And we don't talk a lot about that.

Donna:

Most people think yeasts are bad, but it has a lot of good use in it.

Donna:

So it gets more bubbly but it's really important because with 50 plus probiotics,

Donna:

and that includes the good yeasts.

Donna:

It does so much more than yogurt that it's.

Donna:

It's so much more powerful that you do feel the difference.

Donna:

Now you can also clean house in the beginning if you're not used

Donna:

to it, because your body's like, oh, bacteria works in numbers.

Donna:

So the more numbers they have, the more they decide who's going to dominate.

Donna:

So when kefir gets inside of you and it gives you all these billions

Donna:

of probiotics, it's like, okay, well, let's get rid of this guy.

Donna:

Let's get rid of this pathogen.

Donna:

And so it cleans house.

Donna:

You know what I'm saying, so it will flush out some of those non

Donna:

essential or the ones that aren't as good for you that are harmful.

Donna:

And cause he wants to dominate.

Donna:

I mean, if we could understand what's going on, I mean, we're

Donna:

a hundred trillion bacteria.

Donna:

We're more than cells in our body.

Donna:

We're bacteria.

Donna:

We're just like a sack of bacteria walking around.

Donna:

That's what we are.

Donna:

People think we're a bunch of cells, but we have 10 times the amount

Donna:

of bacteria that we do, cells.

Emma:

Hopefully if we're healthy, right.

Emma:

A lot of us are missing onto that.

Donna:

Yeah.

Donna:

Well, I mean a hundred trillion.

Donna:

I mean, that's like if you stacked canning jars on top of each other.

Donna:

A hundred trillion is to the sun and back, but to get that's 10 trillion to

Donna:

get a hundred trillion you've got to go to Saturn and back 5 times, that's how much

Donna:

bacteria you are, but here's the deal.

Donna:

I mean, they were placed in you and around you for a reason, they keep you well, I

Donna:

mean, you know, they, it was interesting.

Donna:

They took some homemade probiotic type vinegar dressing, and they put

Donna:

salmonella on a salad and they put this probiotic dressing on the head was

Donna:

a homemade like apple cider vinegar, probiotic, and it killed the salmonella.

Donna:

So the people didn't get it.

Donna:

And that happens to you on a regular basis.

Donna:

There's bacteria all around you, but if you have enough

Donna:

good bacteria, you don't get.

Mary:

Yeah.

Mary:

So Donna, you, you know, you started all this 20 years ago.

Mary:

You're really, really ahead of your time in terms of all this microbiome

Mary:

stuff, because even the, the science, the microbiome science is really only

Mary:

goes back like 10 or 15 years when they really started making headway on it.

Mary:

You were before all that.

Mary:

And did you find a lot of stuff written on it then?

Donna:

There was some but there wasn't very much, because most people

Donna:

didn't like talking about bacteria.

Donna:

Cause they thought when you, they think bacteria, they think bad bacteria.

Donna:

That's what they think.

Donna:

That's where their mind goes.

Donna:

You are more good bacteria.

Donna:

You're 99% more good bacteria then you are bad and you couldn't

Donna:

breathe without bacteria.

Donna:

So there's so much going on with that.

Donna:

They just didn't know.

Donna:

But they were kind of like, well, all you really heard about was antibacteria

Donna:

killing every it all the time because everybody's so worried, but it can

Donna:

build up the good bacteria, the bad bacteria can't get a foothold.

Donna:

Do you know what I'm saying?

Donna:

It can't do a damage to you because, and that's true of anything,

Donna:

you know, I believe there's more good people in the world.

Donna:

And there are people that want to do harm, and I believe in the power of

Donna:

your own bacteria to keep you healthy.

Donna:

But I also know how our bodies are designed and it's not an accident that

Donna:

we're made this way and it's everywhere.

Donna:

And only when you lower your resistance to things and you take a lot of antibiotics.

Donna:

I'm not against antibiotics.

Donna:

I think they've got their purpose.

Donna:

But I do think that you need to always try to rebuild your gut and, you know, there's

Donna:

bacteria and dirt and nature and soil.

Donna:

That's so important to, you know, when our soil is fertile and alive, we're

Donna:

alive because our food comes from that.

Donna:

And that's one of the most important things that we connect with is that not

Donna:

only are we bacteria but so is our food..

Mary:

Yeah.

Mary:

And we said this whole science of the microbiome and, and the good bacteria

Mary:

and all the proliferation of bacteria and everything, and every aspect

Mary:

of life is really, we're just, it's really sort of a new thing that's

Mary:

growing more and more all the time.

Mary:

And it's especially, or in addition to our understanding of the soil, like you

Mary:

were just saying, and living soil produces living food, which is what contributes to

Mary:

our health, which is what helps us thrive in our microbiome grow and all that.

Mary:

So my daughter's 30 and she's my youngest.

Mary:

You go back to the nineties.

Mary:

That was when the use of the glyphosate.

Mary:

The Roundup on our crops begin to really accelerate, like particularly grains.

Mary:

And that was also the same time they were telling us that we needed to have

Mary:

like, you know, five to eight servings of grains a day and all that kind of things.

Mary:

So the advice, the conventional advice was to really eat a lot of

Mary:

these things that had this chemical on it, this chemical that the use

Mary:

of it was growing all the time.

Mary:

And since that time, I think in, I'm not sure exactly what year, maybe 2010, 2011

Mary:

glyphosate was patented as an antibiotic.

Mary:

So by that time for around, you know, somewhere in the neighborhood of 20

Mary:

years, we had been advised to be eating.

Mary:

These things, a lot of these things that had been grown with the use of what

Mary:

was essentially a patented antibiotic.

Mary:

So, and then we start seeing all these health problems.

Mary:

So what I'm curious about is that you never, you really don't hear too many

Mary:

people connecting those dots say, oh wow.

Mary:

We've been told to be eating basically antibiotics.

Donna:

Yeah.

Donna:

But it was the wheat that was doing it, but it was what we had done to the wheat.

Mary:

Exactly.

Mary:

I know this is why people say, you know, that they have, you know,

Mary:

an allergy to gluten or, you know, they can't tolerate this or that.

Mary:

And I'm always telling people, I can't say, cause I'm not an expert.

Mary:

I'm not a scientist.

Mary:

I'm not a doctor.

Mary:

But I say, think about the fact that it might not be the food, but just what

Mary:

you said, it's about, what's been done to the food and back in the nineties

Mary:

when my children were little and I saw things happening with their health, I

Mary:

sorta got a glimmer of the idea that.

Mary:

You know, I don't think these grains and wheats and everything that there's

Mary:

telling us to eat so much of it.

Mary:

I don't think it's what it used to be.

Mary:

I just had this little glimmer of an idea and I was a busy mom.

Mary:

I didn't know where to go with it.

Mary:

And I didn't, and there was no information on it.

Mary:

There was, you know, we didn't have Google.

Mary:

It wasn't where you could just look up like what the heck's

Mary:

going on with the wheat.

Mary:

You know, it just, I didn't know how to get that information.

Mary:

It was just an idea I had.

Mary:

And now here we are, you know, going on 30 years later, I feel really

Mary:

affirmed in my suspicions and it's really played out and you know, probably

Mary:

what I'm doing today, the podcast is, was probably born way back then

Mary:

when, you know, you're just observing.

Mary:

These things and you see these problems arise and all these

Mary:

children, your children's friends that have this or that allergy, or

Mary:

they're sick this way and that way.

Mary:

And so I really am an admirer of you that kind of got a grip on this in

Mary:

the early 2000s and just went with it even, even though it wasn't really

Mary:

out there very much, it has really played out that this is a real thing.

Donna:

Well my daughter was one of those people that got gluten allergies.

Donna:

So then that clued me in to the way that we make our bread very different from

Donna:

the way we did it many, many years ago.

Donna:

There used to be two workers to make bread because they would let the breads rise.

Donna:

Basically they used a culture like a sourdough culture to rise the bread

Donna:

instead of these instant yeast, because they didn't have them back

Donna:

then, which is kind of hard on us.

Donna:

The instant yeasts are very hard on the gut because they kind of explode

Donna:

in the body because they're not natural or they're that a hybridized

Donna:

and they're made differently.

Donna:

Years ago, they use cultures to rise the bread.

Donna:

So they would have two shifts for bread workers, and it would take seven

Donna:

hours for the bread to rise at least.

Donna:

And so then the next shift would come on the next day and

Donna:

then they would make the bread.

Donna:

The first shift would rise the bread and put it together.

Donna:

The next one's would bake it, wheat didn't have all the chemicals

Donna:

on it and things like that.

Donna:

But the process of fermentation, which is takes about when you have sourdough

Donna:

culture, which is basically flour, water, and salt, and you let it rise.

Donna:

And the magic time is at least seven hours.

Donna:

I do my bread for 10 to 15 hours.

Donna:

So I let it rise overnight.

Donna:

And my kitchen and I use a little bit of sourdough, it breaks down

Donna:

all of those chemicals, just like it does in cultured vegetables.

Donna:

The fermentation process itself breaks down all those enzyme inhibitors

Donna:

that wreak havoc on our gut.

Donna:

It really changes the way that it works in our body.

Donna:

So that was something I found my daughter could eat.

Donna:

She could not eat gluten , but she could eat sourdough bread or she

Donna:

could eat sprouted bread, which is kind of the similar process.

Donna:

Cause you sprout the grains, which breaks down all those enzyme inhibitors, because

Donna:

most wheat that has not been sprouted or has not had a culture, you can't access

Donna:

the minerals and the vitamins in it because they're locked up in the graining.

Donna:

You need bacteria to break it down.

Donna:

And um, so when you're eating regular bread, that's not been used with either

Donna:

sprouted, grains or sourdough bread.

Donna:

You're not going to get all the vitamins and minerals from it because it's locked

Donna:

into the grain and the pilots and the enzyme inhibitors, won't let you have it.

Donna:

So then that's hard on your gut then that makes things go awry.

Donna:

And so we just, the breads that we.

Donna:

In this day and age are instant yeast spreads that haven't been broken down.

Donna:

So you don't get the nutrients from the grains.

Donna:

So what's the purpose of eating them if you don't do that?

Donna:

Well, the secret is to either get sourdough bread that's been aged for

Donna:

at least seven hours in a lot of them.

Donna:

I've seen some really good ones in the store now that

Donna:

have been aged for 30 hours.

Donna:

They're delicious.

Donna:

And I've seen that at health food stores too.

Donna:

Um, that's the secret to allow, and it's so much easier on your gut.

Donna:

Einkorn which I teach people how to make.

Donna:

it's fantastic because Einkorn is the most ancient grain where all

Donna:

wheat came from buddy it's doesn't have the allergy problems because

Donna:

it's got different proteins in it.

Donna:

The reason that they changed, Einkorn cause that was the first original wheat.

Donna:

The reason that they changed it was because they didn't get very

Donna:

big yields or harvest from it.

Donna:

They only got a fifth of the harvest, so they crossed that meat with goat grasses.

Donna:

And then you started getting food allergies from those

Donna:

because people couldn't handle some of the proteins in it.

Donna:

And it really depends on fixing your gut and finding out what works for you.

Donna:

But.

Donna:

I've helped thousands of people and seen such dramatic results with, you know,

Donna:

making sourdough for sourdough cause seems to be the best or using einkorn flour.

Donna:

But I use both.

Donna:

So

Mary:

I bake with Einkorn, you know, you kind of have to learn.

Mary:

It's a little different that I've experimented with a lot.

Emma:

And there's a really cool bakery here in DC for anyone listening who's

Emma:

local SeyLou, if you haven't tried it and they source all like local

Emma:

grains from right around this area and they do, they have einkorn sourdough,

Emma:

and they make everything, they make einkorn croissants, but they have

Emma:

a whole wheat chocolate croissant.

Emma:

Yeah.

Emma:

You have to come next time.

Emma:

You're in town.

Mary:

And of course all organic and no, no Roundup or anything

Mary:

in any of their wheats.

Mary:

And it's just, yeah.

Mary:

And you know, there's very few places where you can purchase bread with

Mary:

confidence that it's not going to be literally destructive to your gut.

Donna:

It's not as hard to make either as a culture.

Donna:

Okay.

Donna:

So at night, what I do, the only thing that you've got to really do is make

Donna:

sure your sourdough cultures bubbling.

Donna:

So at night, before I go to bed, it takes me seven minutes.

Donna:

I take flour, water, salt, and mix it all together, put it in

Donna:

a bowl, cover it and let it sit overnight in the morning I bake it.

Donna:

That's how long it takes me to make my bread.

Donna:

And I do it once a week.

Donna:

Sometimes twice, if everybody in the house eats it, but sometimes I'll have

Donna:

company and they'll eat the whole loaf, like within five minutes because it

Donna:

comes fresh out of the oven and they'll freak out and I'm like, okay, but it

Donna:

takes seven minutes at night for me to put it together, to get a bowl.

Donna:

And I let it ferment overnight for a long time and bake it in the morning.

Donna:

It doesn't take very much time and there is nothing in the whole wide

Donna:

world, I've got a really, really good method on how to make sourdough

Donna:

bread because it rises high.

Donna:

I do it in a Dutch oven.

Donna:

It is just so satisfying to take that out of them.

Donna:

You think you're the master baker.

Donna:

It's awesome.

Donna:

You think you're so cool.

Donna:

So I really encourage people to, you know, at least try it because here's the deal.

Donna:

It isn't just that the bread is good for you as you're going to

Donna:

get all the good benefits from it.

Donna:

But you're putting a piece of you in that bread.

Donna:

You're putting your heart and your love because you're trying to make

Donna:

something good for yourself and your family or whatever, and that counts.

Donna:

There's something about it's nurturing.

Donna:

It's, it's love made visible in your bread.

Donna:

Do you know what I'm saying?

Donna:

Because you're doing.

Donna:

Because you care about your health or your families health and

Donna:

there, it's just such a satisfying thing we've gotten away from it.

Donna:

If you could just once in a while, make your own luck will change your life

Donna:

because you'll start to see that nothing is more important than really staying

Donna:

healthy because you can't do anything.

Donna:

if you're sick.

Donna:

These little things.

Donna:

I mean, you think it's expensive to eat healthy.

Donna:

You should see how expensive doctor bills are.

Donna:

You know what I mean?

Donna:

You just, you don't understand those little things that

Donna:

you do can be life changing.

Donna:

And they have been for me and I've been doing it for 20 years, but

Donna:

I found a way to do it that isn't super time consuming cause I'm busy.

Emma:

Yeah.

Emma:

Speaking of that, I'm curious what you think about slow living.

Mary:

Yeah.

Mary:

Because what you're talking about is slow living actually.

Emma:

So what does slow living mean to you?

Donna:

Honestly, I think that's one of the biggest things that have hurt

Donna:

people's health because 90% of the time when you're eating unhealthy

Donna:

it's cause you're busy and tired.

Donna:

You don't have time to go do something, but you don't realize that you're

Donna:

tired because you're eating bad.

Donna:

So when you break it down and when you fall in love with taking

Donna:

care of yourself a little bit and you find simple and easy way.

Donna:

To make it cause you're not going to cook magnificent meals every single day.

Donna:

You're just not going to cause we're all busy, but there's something

Donna:

about nurturing your family.

Donna:

There's something very meditative about making dinner . Sometimes I tired, I

Donna:

don't do it, but when I get into it, it is such a, you know, you've got your hands

Donna:

in the food that came from the dirt that you're making for your family to enjoy.

Donna:

And they may not appreciate it as much as of the work that you went into because

Donna:

they're not doing it honest to goodness.

Donna:

It changes you.

Donna:

You know, connecting with your food, learning to take care of

Donna:

yourself and keeping your promise to yourself is so lifechanging.

Donna:

And you guys wouldn't be here if I hadn't done that, if I had, I was so tired, I

Donna:

thought that making kefir was a lot of work and here's what you do to make kefir.

Donna:

You take some milk, whether it's dairy or non-dairy, you put it in a

Donna:

jar, you put kefir grains in it,you put a lid on it, you know, let it

Donna:

sit on your counter for 24 hours.

Donna:

That's what you do.

Donna:

I thought that was a lot of work.

Donna:

Okay.

Donna:

Because it was just one more thing.

Donna:

But that one thing that I did and I made a smoothie, it was life-changing.

Donna:

It was life-changing.

Donna:

And I, I just, because I started making smoothies and smoothies are fast foods.

Donna:

Yeah.

Donna:

You know what I'm saying?

Donna:

I mean, they are.

Donna:

And once you start connecting to, you know, might have some really cool

Donna:

grandparents and my background, they lived in Nova Scotia on an island and I had this

Donna:

great grandma and she was this great cook.

Donna:

And they did all these things that just used to, I used to sit and watch

Donna:

them be fascinated by their lifestyle.

Donna:

They would go down the street to Betsy, the cow, get milk.

Donna:

And I'm like, who does that?

Donna:

I was like, this is so my grandma would make the best friends, but she

Donna:

lived on an island in Nova Scotia where there was less than a hundred people.

Donna:

I would watch her.

Donna:

And I would just, nobody else would notice.

Donna:

I had three sisters and none of them connected, but I would just sit and

Donna:

think, why is this so cool to me?

Donna:

Do you know what I'm saying?

Donna:

Because there was something about it that was nurturing to me.

Donna:

Cause grandma filled the cookie jar.

Donna:

Grandma made homemade bread and the bread to Nova Scotia was better than

Donna:

the bread in virginia and Maryland where I grew up because grandma

Donna:

made it the old fashioned way.

Donna:

You know, everybody was like, oh, that's too much work, but it was just

Donna:

ground into me that that was important.

Donna:

And I don't know why it was important to me and not everybody

Donna:

else, but it was bread stones that were paving the way for this.

Donna:

Why did I collect cookbooks my whole life?

Donna:

And why did I collect dishes?

Donna:

I do that.

Donna:

I didn't know why, why did I read cookbooks in the bathtub?

Donna:

You know what I mean?

Donna:

And I loved the ones where the people were like, really like, grew their own food.

Donna:

I loved that, you know, had their own chickens.

Donna:

And I was going to have my own chickens till I found out the coyotes, like the

Donna:

chickens do, but you know what I'm saying?

Donna:

I loved that.

Donna:

And I live in a very rural part.

Donna:

It's called valley center, California.

Donna:

It's very, very rural.

Donna:

Everybody has animals.

Mary:

Oh, really?

Donna:

We had like 10 acres up on a mountain.

Donna:

Every morning I hear goats and cows and horses.

Donna:

And I hear them and I think oh, I just makes me feel connected to that part

Donna:

of life that I think is so important.

Mary:

Do you have animals?

Mary:

And do you

Donna:

I have dogs?

Donna:

I have a beautiful barn that all my neighbors are mad at, that

Donna:

we have this beautiful barn and we don't have animals in it, but

Donna:

it's a lot of work to have horses.

Donna:

Plus we have a lot of coyotes.

Donna:

We have a lot of guys, so the first time they eat my chickens,

Donna:

I would have a meltdown.

Donna:

So, I mean, I know there's ways to work around it, but.

Donna:

We have snakes.

Donna:

So I would like to someday but I'm just too busy.

Donna:

And my husband's too busy,

Mary:

Y'all moved not too long ago.

Mary:

Right?

Mary:

Weren't you in the Midwest somewhere?

Donna:

I was in Kansas city.

Donna:

We moved here in 2017 to be near our kids.

Donna:

Our two older kids moved out here and they started whining and we could do, we were

Donna:

both my husband and I were entrepreneurs.

Donna:

We could do it, do it anywhere.

Donna:

We're like our family, my family's on the east coast now.

Donna:

They think I've lost my mind moving to the west coast.

Donna:

Okay.

Donna:

They think I've moved, you know, halfway across the world?

Mary:

Do you garden?

Mary:

Do you grow food?

Donna:

My daughter does a huge garden.

Donna:

We have a lot of compost and it's kind of cool.

Donna:

Now they've done this thing where there are the people that pick up our trash

Donna:

from now, have we have compact bins?

Donna:

So everybody in the neighborhood, everybody here in this area now

Donna:

gets their compost in the thing and they take it and use it.

Donna:

So exciting to me.

Donna:

it's so wonderful.

Donna:

Like I did all these pomegranates the other day.

Donna:

They had all these things.

Donna:

Sometimes I have to be careful with my gardens cause I have to raise them.

Donna:

Cause I have, I have so many creatures here.

Donna:

I had never seen a road runner until I moved up here, but

Donna:

I have a lot of squirrels.

Donna:

We have an orchard, so I have a lot of fruit trees along it.

Donna:

So they take a lot of time, but I have a lot of excess.

Donna:

So being able to compost a lot of that and I have some compost, but this

Donna:

is just, I think that's one of the coolest things that California;s done.

Donna:

Yeah.

Donna:

Put it back into the earth.

Emma:

Yeah.

Emma:

That's a great segue into our next question, which you've referenced

Emma:

many times, but I'd love to hear what the good dirt means to you.

Donna:

Oh, I think that's so important guys.

Donna:

I think that's so much where our, I mean, the cells of our body

Donna:

are made from the foods we eat.

Donna:

Right.

Donna:

So whatever we're eating, if that soil is rich in nutrients and minerals, and we've

Donna:

lost a lot of that through the years, it changes everything in your gut microbiome.

Donna:

I really watched my daughter got a garden about a year ago.

Donna:

She just brought me over some lettuce and she's brought peppers and every

Donna:

week I get something new and she has a big swap meet where I have so

Donna:

much fruit that we can't eat it all.

Donna:

And though, I really do try, but she'll take some of my lemons

Donna:

or my grapefruits and my orange.

Donna:

We got tons of them and swap them for other things.

Donna:

It brings me them.

Donna:

Oh, I love that.

Donna:

Cause I get all kinds of stuff from their gardens and then I give them

Donna:

stuff for my orchard and my daughter's been growing stuff like crazy.

Donna:

I actually just got my sister who is in Pottstown,

Donna:

Pennsylvania, a gardeners basket.

Donna:

It's one of these long baskets where you can fill up vegetables in.

Donna:

And she just got a whole bunch of butternut squash from her compost pile

Donna:

that automatically grew out of it.

Donna:

She had like five of them in this basket.

Donna:

I got her, but I think that having good soil guys it's everything.

Donna:

I believe that disease starts when the soil starts to get bad and we start

Donna:

to miss the nutrients we need and then pathogenic things can take over because

Donna:

the soil is not healthy and we need it.

Donna:

We don't get the things we need and then we get sick and it just starts from there.

Donna:

Do you know what I mean?

Donna:

I think we're all in this together with the soil and our bodies in our food,

Donna:

and we're gonna stop paying attention because we're just used to go into the

Donna:

grocery store and nurturing the soil.

Donna:

Yeah.

Donna:

So important because that's where our lives and our bodies are made

Donna:

from, from the foods that we eat and the animals and that they consumed

Donna:

what they're consuming out there.

Donna:

It's just so important that we take care of our soil.

Donna:

Well, I'm so excited that they gave me a compost bin.

Donna:

You can, it's just so stupid, you know, and the answer

Donna:

will get in it sometimes too.

Donna:

But I thought it was special place.

Donna:

We're going to have a mess because our compost, we have the ants love

Donna:

it, but I'm like I said, well, we've got a special place for it,

Donna:

but I think I hope this spreads.

Mary:

that's what the good dirt is all about what you just said.

Mary:

Good dirt in the ground, in our bodies and taking care of our

Mary:

food waste and just making this cycle complete and all of that.

Donna:

You're just throwing away your leftover eggshells.

Mary:

It's a huge problem.

Mary:

I mean, food waste is a tremendous problem.

Mary:

People aren't really aware of how big of a problem it is.

Mary:

They talk about, you know, methane gas uh, contributing to climate change

Emma:

yea methane gas from our food that's in landfills.

Mary:

That's that biggest producer of methane gas, more

Mary:

than cows or whatever it is.

Mary:

I want you to speak to fermented foods as a way of preservation.

Mary:

Do you can foods as well?

Mary:

And what do you see are the advantages or disadvantages

Mary:

of fermentation over canning?

Mary:

Cause I think most people when they think of preservation they think of canning

Mary:

these days, the ball jars and all that.

Mary:

So what would you say about that?

Donna:

Well I used to can when I was younger, but you lose your

Donna:

enzymes when you can, because you're heating it to such a high degree

Donna:

and fermentation for instance.

Donna:

Okay.

Donna:

So I just.

Donna:

This recipe called wisdom kraut and it's sweet potatoes and zucchini

Donna:

and onions and an apple, and you shred it all up and put it in a jar

Donna:

and put a culture in it and salt.

Donna:

And you let it sit for a few days to ferment, and then you stick it in your

Donna:

fridge and guys it lasts nine months in your fridge, perfectly preserved because

Donna:

there's so many probiotics and that's the case with most culture vegetables.

Donna:

There are nine months in your fridge.

Donna:

Now you can have a cold cellar that's great.

Donna:

The only problem with fermentation is that you need room in your

Donna:

fridgeor a cold cellar or someplace.

Donna:

But the other thing is, is that I think that fermentation is safer than canning

Donna:

because you can't get botulism from it because you never keep them, but

Donna:

you get those valuable enzymes that we all need to help us digest our foods.

Donna:

And my, I used to can with my mom, but I couldn't stand to it in the summer.

Donna:

It's too hot, especially here.

Donna:

I really, I haven't done it in years just because I just ferment everything,

Donna:

but I have like five refrigerators.

Donna:

Okay.

Donna:

And I do do a lot and we eat em pretty fast.

Donna:

So, but I do think that the living probiotics and enzymes that you

Donna:

get in them is so important.

Donna:

And I love the fact that it doesn't just preserve the food.

Donna:

It preserves you.

Mary:

It's such a good way to put it.

Mary:

And I just think it's just, you know, spread the word that

Mary:

fermentation is perfectly safe.

Mary:

You're not going to poison your family.

Donna:

I can give you a link to that for sure.

Mary:

And then if you have room to store it, it still last nine

Mary:

months and yeah, you might not have the canned goods in the pantry for

Mary:

five years or whatever, but it's a wonderful way of preserving your food.

Mary:

And if you're like us, we pretty much eat, you know, like we preserve something.

Mary:

It doesn't last a year, you know it, yeah.

Mary:

We're going, gonna taste it.

Mary:

You're going to eat it before.

Mary:

It's time's up.

Mary:

In other words, especially like, you know, I make a version, which of

Mary:

the, what you call your wisdom kraut.

Mary:

I call it fermented slaw.

Mary:

It's just a bunch of, you know, cabbage and carrots and stuff.

Mary:

And, um, it doesn't last.

Mary:

I mean, we eat, you know, think, oh, this is going to last like, you know, months.

Mary:

And you know, it's gone in two weeks, but that's what it's for.

Mary:

So it's okay.

Donna:

I have this one cherry tomato recipe that I cut cherries

Donna:

and have a garlic and basil.

Donna:

And salts and just cover it with water and a little culture.

Donna:

And in two days you have the most delicious bruschetta topping.

Donna:

Oh, it's so good.

Donna:

And it literally takes, my husband makes it, which is like a miracle of God.

Donna:

Cause he wouldn't use a blender, but he'll cut.

Donna:

He likes it so much.

Donna:

He'll cut up those tomatoes into bruschetta because he likes them.

Donna:

And then we'll put on sourdough toast with like goat cheese or something.

Donna:

Oh my God.

Donna:

Oh my gosh.

Donna:

So good.

Donna:

Especially with cherry tomatoes are in season, so,

Mary:

Is that on your website?.

Mary:

Is that in the biotic- pro section?

Donna:

Nope it's for everybody.

Donna:

Got a little video of it.

Donna:

So that's for you guys.

Donna:

I have like 350, 60 recipes that are free.

Donna:

Yeah, probably that much probiotic pro plus I give a me books every month.

Donna:

I pretty much given everything free that you need to know how to do it.

Donna:

And then it just the extras I give to my bioticpro, but I have

Donna:

a lot of information on there.

Emma:

So that is culturedfoodlife.com.

Donna:

Yes.

Emma:

Donna, this has been so much fun.

Emma:

I feel like we could talk all day.

Emma:

Is there anything else before we sign off here that you want to leave with

Emma:

our audience, that you want people to understand about the work that you do or

Emma:

anything else you'd like to leave with us?

Donna:

Oh, one thing I would want to say is just, don't go through your

Donna:

life not feeling good, cause you just don't know what you're missing.

Donna:

When you feel good, everything in your life will dramatically change.

Donna:

And if you wind up having a website, writing books not my

Donna:

fault, that's just what happens.

Donna:

You know what I'm saying?

Donna:

It does.

Donna:

You saying side effects that when you feel good, it opens up your

Donna:

heart and all you want to do is give.

Donna:

So because you want other people to feel like you feel, yeah, they feel that way.

Donna:

They change the world.

Donna:

That's how you change the world.

Donna:

You change, you don't worry about what everybody else is doing.

Donna:

You change you.

Emma:

I've never thought about it, but that really reminds me of sort of

Emma:

what happened with lady farmer is my mom started, my parents had this, that

Emma:

we're going to go get a little bit of land and do things a little differently.

Emma:

And then we were like, we want to talk about this and share it with everyone

Donna:

Right because it made you happy.

Donna:

And that's where we all have special gifts.

Donna:

Oh, you have a gift that I don't have.

Donna:

And I have one you don't.

Donna:

And so reach contribute the things that we love and do it makes everything better.

Donna:

And when you feel good, you do good.

Donna:

And that's the most important thing because when you don't feel good,

Donna:

You just go on fast food and, but the soil and good food and learning how

Donna:

to take care of yourself is everything makes you love your brother more.

Donna:

Love your brothers and sisters more than you would if you didn't feel good,

Mary:

that's true.

Mary:

The way you're sitting in the thing, that's over your head in the

Mary:

background, it looks like a halo.

Mary:

I've been sitting here speaking to an angel for the last hour.

Emma:

Well, thank you so much for coming on today, Donna.

Emma:

This is so wonderful.

Emma:

I can't wait to share this with the world.

Mary:

Yes.

Mary:

And as always, you're so full of information and have so much to teach.

Mary:

All of us have taught me personally so much.

Emma:

So I think we might need to have you back sometime.

Mary:

Yeah.

Mary:

There's so much to talk about.

Mary:

So thank you so much for your time today and we will be in touch.

Donna:

Okay.

Donna:

Thanks a bunch of guys.

Mary:

Thanks.

Mary:

Bye-bye

Emma:

Have a good day.

Emma:

Thank you so much for joining us today on the good dirt.

Emma:

We hope that you enjoy this episode and that you learned something from it.

Emma:

If you did, we really hope that you will share it with a friend who might

Emma:

also appreciate it and learn from it.

Emma:

And we're just so grateful to you for being here.

Emma:

If you want more things, Lady Farmer and good dirt, you know where to

Emma:

find us in the Almanac, which is our private membership community.

Emma:

All of the information on that as on our website, lady- farmer.com

Emma:

and yeah, we'll see you next week.

Emma:

We can't wait to spread more good dirt with you.

Mary:

All right, everybody.

Mary:

Thanks for coming.

Mary:

We'll see you next week.

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