by: Kim Roberts
As a child who grew up in a working, single-parent home, where convenience trumped all and processed foods were at the core of every meal, my knowledge of nutrition was very limited. I hadn’t developed a palate for vegetables or even attempted to eat them until the age of 32. Thirty-two years without vegetables?!? It didn’t help that the meal options served in the school lunch program were saturated with unhealthy, high-fat content, toxic chemicals, preservatives, sugars and GMOs. As I got older, my grades in school suffered. I couldn’t focus on any task. I experienced mood swings, easily got sick, I’d sleep a lot, or just sit and stare at a television screen for hours.
It wasn’t until I got married and started a family that I began to see value in knowing what was going into our bodies. I recognized the joy of learning as I researched holistic health and modern diseases that plague our communities. Slowly, as I learned more, I started introducing real foods into our family’s diet and eliminating fast food. I cooked for the first time. The kids were enjoying it and within a few months of fresh whole foods, my son’s eczema had completely disappeared, as well as my 4-year-old daughter’s acne. I felt a sense of empowerment knowing I was breaking the cycle and contributing to the well being of my children.
Flash-forward a few years later as I lay in a Dallas ER in the middle of the night, feeling ill with the bones in my legs feeling like they were going to shatter. It ended up culminating into a sixteen-month battle as I suffered from a virus, rare in adult women, called Parvo B19. This caused chronic inflammatory arthritis that looks very much like rheumatoid arthritis. Normally, the symptoms would dissipate after a few weeks, but mine stayed around. Some with this virus suffer up to seven years after and are able to find no cure. I couldn’t do simple things like kneel down, sit with my legs crossed, stand in the kitchen to cook, dance, go on walks or even play with my children without being in excruciating pain. I so vividly remember crying out to the Lord as I was in a great deal of pain. I was getting conflicting information on how to approach this disease. I begged God to educate me and lead me to the right information so that I could heal and share this with others. His response was immediate as I was led to information that brought my body to recovery. In less than a week, my leg pain was GONE. It didn’t involve a doctor or extra money - only simple foods and the key missing ingredient of time.
Since then, I’ve been blessed with an opportunity to work on a farm, educate children on how to grow healthy organic food, grown over 50 varieties of vegetables, fruit, and medicinal herbs in my own backyard, and have taken part on our farm’s educational program that provides informative seminars and hands-on workshops to the public. We’ve recently wrapped up seminars on traditional sourdough making, organic backyard gardening and in my opinion, the most fascinating seminar we offered: fermentation, (thanks to Nashville’s own “Fermented Farmer”, Todd Vincent!). Todd touched on traditional fermentation, the health benefits, history and importance of soaking and sprouting many foods such as nuts, legumes, grains, and a hands-on classic sauerkraut workshop. What was intended to be an 90 minute seminar became a party that no one wanted to leave!
“I intended to stay for 15 minutes to take photos of the workshop, but I couldn’t stop listening and stayed for 2.5 hours. I went away with so many thoughts and am now obsessed with fermenting.” –Aaron Montgomery
“I was so inspired by the end of the seminar that I went home and started fermenting everything I could find” –Hollie Benoit
“What is fermentation?” you may be asking. It’s an ancient practice that can still be found in most cultures around the world today (Korean kimchi, Latin curtido, African amasi for example). This practice is used to produce many of our own basic staples, such as bread, cheese and wine, to chocolate, coffee and yogurt. Fermentation has been used for various health purposes throughout human history. Studies show fermenting foods enhances the nutrients substantially, increasing the absorbability, making the nutrients more biologically available and/or reducing its natural anti-nutrients. Lacto-fermentation eliminates the negative bacteria, allowing the good guys to get to work. The end product is a living food, full of enzymes and food-borne probiotics that are capable of neutralizing toxins and viruses while regulating the immune system.
I’m so happy to have been able to help facilitate such a fantastic seminar for people to benefit from. There’s something very special about neighbors coming together to learn how to take better care of their bodies, as well as the bodies of those whom they’re responsible for.
As people who follow the Lord, we are given the responsibility to be good stewards of our bodies. We have to be educated in order to make informed decisions. As my body experienced the outcome of malnutrition for so much of my life, I was forced to cry out to the Lord when I could barely move. Through that, God responded. He heard my cry. I asked Him to educate and equip me on these things, and as I’ve learned, I’ve become responsible to share with other people what God had done for me. God was the foundational component of my body’s healing - He is our healer. It’s taken me years to overcome the struggle I had with the unhealthy eating habits of my past. These educational workshops are a response to God as we step in faith to better the health of our community and our world.