Excited about Black Garlic

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP – Living in Natures Love Lifestyles @insideawareness.com

I had never heard of black garlic until receiving a black garlic fermenter as a gift.  Researching more about it and how to use it I was excited to learn about it benefits for the brain and aging.  Apparently besides protecting the heart and preventing cancer, black garlic may also help  maintain memory. Its antioxidants can reduce inflammation in the brain and help block cognitive conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.   As a Feldenkrais®  Practitioner and someone who is aging this is great knowledge.

What is Black Garlic?  (Not to be mistaken for black garlic oil)

Garlic cloves turn black through an aging process using heat.  It was  first introduced through Asian cuisine. It is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic (Allium sativum) over the course of several weeks.  With a fermenter the cloves are contained at a set temperature and humidity for 9 to 14 days.  Once taken out of the chamber they are set aside to dry and rest for a number of weeks.

The results

The black cloves are soft and gummy with a sweetness replacing the abrupt hit to the taste-buds from a raw clove.  These cloves can be used in recipes for flavouring to sauces, eaten individually or spreadable for sandwiches and used as a pizza topping.  These coves do not leave an uncomfortable garlic smell like raw cloves do.

The experience of making black garlic

Naively I set the fermenter up in the kitchen for the first batch and discovered how overpowering the smell was after a few days.  This possibly attributed to none of us getting any viruses this winter!  The second batch I set it up in a sheltered placement outside.  The one mistake I made with the first batch was to cut off the tops of the cloves.  This dried out the cloves and left them hard and too dry.  Now I leave the cloves and outer casing intact fermenting them whole.  They come out of the fermenter soft and gummy like.

Even tho the first batch was dry and hard I began munching on them to learn more about the experience.  What I noticed is that the taste changes as the cloves age.  They become sweeter and more delicate in flavour.   It was instantly recognizable how these could enhance any recipe.

I discovered how easy it is to ferment garlic cloves with a fermenter.

The experience of eating black garlic

In my research I learned that for health benefits one could eat three to four cloves a day.  I set an intention to begin to do just this while checking in with myself to notice any differences.  As a Feldenkrais® Practitioner I am interested in the relationship between good food and function.   I have experienced increased gut health eating fermented foods that directly impact brain function so I was curious and excited to find out more about any changes I would feel eating black garlic.  One of the most notable differences was calming down my fear center of the brain.  I can only describe it as food empathy!  I had experienced this once before after seeing Doctor Abraham Hoffer in the mid nineties.

Background on noticing change in brain fear center

Doctor Hoffer was researching and designing water filters for living water that I wanted to investigate.  I was on a deep detox after having a serious medical diagnosis and was learning about living water.  Doctor Hoffer was the author of many books, one in particular was the Niacin Effect.  Doctor Hoffer suggested that I take high does of  vitamins to supplement my diet. His focus was on the lack of nutrition in foods available today that was no longer feeding the brain the nutrition it needed.   Following his instructions I noticed my responses calmed down while driving.  I was normally nervous to merge in high traffic areas and within a couple of weeks I recognized I had not been having any nervous reactions at all in these circumstances.  After eating black garlic for a few days I noticed that this happened again while being a passenger in a car with my son.  I hate to admit that I had been nervous riding with him.  He is a good driver however his stops and starts have been too fast for my nervous system.  This seems to be in the past now after eating black garlic.  Now, I have no reactions to it!

I coach students to expand beyond their set patterns physically, mentally and emotionally and recognize how adding black garlic could support them to begin to take action naturally with no hesitation.  In myself I recognize it as a source of nutrition for the brain center that can block one from fear and anxiety.

I have learned that black garlic can be expensive to buy already processed.  The mesh bag of cloves above was $5.00 at a local market.  The only added expense will be the electricity.  I do not use a dishwasher, or microwave or electric pans so I this is a minor philosophical  challenge. However, worth it.

I give black garlic and this fermenter my personal recommendation.

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Another book by Doctor Hoffer:

  • Feel Better, Live Longer With Vitamin B-3: Nutrient Deficiency and Dependency

    • Presents an unified theory of nutrient deficiency and dependency. The authors prove that large, controlled doses of vitamin B-3 or niacin, are effective in preventing, treating, and even reversing such niacin deficiency and dependency disorders as pellagra, schizophrenia, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Traditional uses and properties of herbs are for educational purposes only.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. Any serious health concerns or if you are pregnant, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering herbs.

Copyright 2014 – 2020  Living in Nature’s Love by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Communication & Empathy Coach since 2004, Art of Placement  since 2000

Simple & healthy fermented Berry Coulis

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP – Living in Natures Love Lifestyles @insideawareness.com

Blueberry Coulis – Fermented

This 750 ml jar was filled with two cups of blueberries.  Overnight they shrank to 1/4 of the jar!  Yet look at the juice.  I can’t wait to open the lid soon to blend into a coulis.  One can use blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or strawberries.  Berries are great sources of fiber, a nutrient important for a healthy digestive system.  I have just learned that in addition to being good for the heart, berries may be good for bone health!

I chose to try blueberries as they are packed with antioxidants and I have heard they support keeping one’s memory sharp in aging.

Generally I add berries to a smoothie, however finding this recipe is exciting as it will increase the berries nutrients through the fermentation process, and improve gut health and reduce inflammation.



  • Mason Jar
  • Fermenting lid or cheesecloth & an elastic
  • Weights


  • 2 cups mixed berries of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • ½ teaspoon packaged starter culture  or 2 tablespoons fresh whey
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt


Pack two cups of berries in mason jar and press down with weight.  Set aside.  Add remaining ingredients into bowl to mix.  Pour over berries ensuring they are covered.  Cover top of jar and set aside for 1 to 2 days in cool space out of direct light.

After a couple of days strain the juice from the berries keeping both ingredients.  Blend the berries and slowly add juice back in to reach the consistency you want.

Story coulis in your favourite container in the fridge.  Will last for up to two months.


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Here are the lids and weights I purchased to make fermentation easier.  It came with a pump to burp the jars that makes it easy and  efficient.

Copyright 2014 – 2020  Living in Nature’s Love by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Communication & Empathy Coach since 2004, Art of Placement  since 2000


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Ways of Enjoying Kefir

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP–Living in Natures Love Lifestyles insideawareness.com


This spring Kefir was added to the exploration of living foods.  This has been a beneficial pursuit and an enjoyable one as we become more familiar with it and find ways to use it.  This pro-biotic is proving to be a staple in a sustainable healthy lifestyle.

Second Ferment with Fresh Fruits

One way this Author refines the flavour of Kefir and makes it easier to digest is through a fresh fruit 2nd ferment.

Milk Replacement in Recipes

Another way to enjoy the increased benefits of Kefir is by using it as a milk replacement  in recipes.  This Author has enjoyed biscuits, pancakes, cottage cheese and more.

Fruit Leather

Exploring ways to make healthier snacks this Author has been experimenting with drying it with fruit into fruit leather.

Hair Conditioner

Creating a home-style hair conditioner with Kefir has had tremendous results.  It has increased the health of the scalp and shine and softness of this Authors hair and reduced the grey by restoring the natural colour. Those with lighter colours of hair will appreciate reading that Kefir also stripes the hair of any absorbed material so those with dyed hair may want to be cautious.  As a person with lighter coloured hair one becomes familiar with the fact that this hair absorbs small particles that can turn hair a greenish colour or make the appearance of grey yellowish.

  • Softens hair 
  • Restores natural colour reducing grey
  • Cleans pollutants out of hair
  • Cleans scalp (natural dandruff conditioner), increases hair regrowth

Facial and Neck Mask

Adding Kefir to home-made facial masks has had a nice result.  There is a noticeable tightening of the pores and skin with increased softness in this experience.

  • tightens skin & pores
  • softens skin to baby soft!
Phote by Renee Lindstrom

Kefir Bathing Treatment

Bathing Experience

Those who culture Kefir will know that there will be an abundance of it once started.  Having read the Cleopatra actually used Kefir (not milk) in her baths this author decided to be adventuresome and try it together with an English Daisy infused honey.  There was a noticeable difference in how the skin was  tightened and softened that took years off.  Especially important in the process of loosing weight!

  • Skin softener – shockingly baby soft!

To read how easy it is to start your own Kefir Culture go to Fermenting Kefir Grains @ Home.

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Copyright 2014 – 2019  Living in Nature’s Love by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Communication & Empathy Coach since 2004, Art of Placement  since 2000

Fermenting Kefir Grains @ Home

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP–Living in Natures Love Lifestyles insideawareness.com

Another exciting opportunity for exploring fermenting foods came my way when a  neighbour accidentally ordered two Kefir starter kits and passed one on to me instead of returning it.  This was the start of a journey to get acquainted with Kefir.   The process of culturing Kefir grains is similar to the symbiotic fermentation process of Kombucha.  The Kefir grain has live yeast that eats the sugar during fermenting making it 99% lactose free.  This makes it an alternative source of calcium for lactose intolerant people.  It is nutrient-dense, with plenty of protein, B vitamins, potassium, and calcium.

The kit came with dried kefir grains that are activated with fresh milk.  Much like a scobie used to ferment tea into kombucha, the milk kefir grains culture the milk. When  ready the kefir grains are strained out of the kefir and put into fresh milk to start a new ferment.  The process is easy and it is cheaper than buying Kefir off the grocery shelf.

Save time & money by making yogurt, cream cheese, cottage cheese & kefir & whey on 1-4 litres of milk

The process to activate the Kefir grains was simple. as adding them to a cup of milk.  This cup of milk was checked regularly for any changed to the texture.  When it was noticeably thicker the grains were strained out and placed into fresh milk increasing the amount of milk by 1/2 a cup.  This process continued until the milk was increased to 4 cups of milk with activated grains. The cycle between transferring  Kefir grains into fresh milk can be 24 hours.    The grains can take up to 7 days to be fully activated.

Picture by Renee Lindstrom

Kefir Grains

When activated they are white and in florets similar to cottage cheese or cauliflower florets.  Once activated future fermentation periods is usually 24 hours in a temperature of 64 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.  Summers heat can reduce  the time to 12 hours or in the cold of winter increase it to 36 hours.

Get traditional Kefir Grains to Culture


Kefir is a Yellow Food for balancing Solar Plexus Chakra

What I learned about the benefits of Kefir

I learned Kefir is a complex milk product that has high levels of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics.  Research suggest It is a power house for probiotics and may be a better choice than yogurt.  Kefir contains a higher number of probiotic strains than yogurt and they clean and feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut like yogurt.  Unlike yogurt, Kefir probiotic strains stay and colonize in ones gut andcan go out to attack pathogens and bad bacteria in the gut.  Yogurt strains are transient and flush out.

  • Antibacterial & Anti fungal

When tested against a series of pathogens it was found to have similarities to several antibiotics in hindering microbial growth.

  • Reduce Cholesterol Levels

Kefir grains reduce cholesterol levels in milk 41 to 84% during fermentation. 

  • Healthy Gut 

Lactobacillus found in Kefir is used for its ability to regulate the body’s immune system and inhibit the growth of bacteria and parasites pathogenic in nature.

  • Balancing Blood Sugars

My neighbour began using Kefir on a Doctors recommendation to support a diagnosis of  Diabetes

  • Contains Calcium & Vitamin K  

Vitamin K activates proteins that play a role in blood clotting, calcium metabolism and heart health.  Calcium helps to build strong bones, protein builds strong muscles, and potassium is essential for heart health.

  • Allergies & Asthma

Shown to suppress inflammatory responses related to allergies and asthma.

  • Cancer & Tumors

Believed to reduce tumor growth by stimulating your immune system and has been studied for liver and breast cancer.  

  • Healthy Skin & Scalp

Applied topically anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial has calming effect on inflammations such as acne, rosacea.

  • Anti-Aging

Lactic acid reduces appearance of wrinkles, tightens pores and improves dry and dull skin.  Contain nourishing properties that soothe sun-damaged skin.

Try replacing in Yogurt with Kefir in Dandelion Facial Mask recipe 

Get traditional Kefir Grains to Culture

Ways of using Kefir

Kefir can be used in smoothies, recipes and cosmetically!  It can be flavoured with herbs and fruits and used replace milk in pancakes, baking recipes and other dishes such as home-made cottage cheese.  Rather than add cream to the curds, I have begun to use Kefir.

Read more ways to enjoy integrating a  Kefir lifestyle

There may be an adjustment period the first couple of days while your colon integrates the healthy bacteria of Kefir.  Stools may become looser and some gas may be experienced.

Get traditional Kefir Grains to Culture

For those with Auto immune disorders check with you Doctor before integrating Kefir into a regular diet staple.

Children under one should not have Kefir

Breastfed Babies receive pro-biotics through breast milk

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Copyright 2014 – 2020  Living in Nature’s Love by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Communication & Empathy Coach since 2004, Art of Placement  since 2000

Pickled Eggs with Salt & Whey Brine

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP – Living in Natures Love Lifestyles @insideawareness.com                                                                                                                                 

Hard boiled eggs in salt and whey brine with beet juice for colour! Just in time for Christmas.

This egg was in fermenting jar for 4 – 1/2 days and has perfect flavour.  The next batch will be in Turmeric which has a different colour and taste.


  • Mason Jar
  • Fermenting Lid


  • Hard-boiled Eggs
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • 1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Cup of Liquid Whey (from Cream cheese recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons of Beet Juice
  • Optional:  Garlic, peppercorns, jalapeno & favorite herbs


  • Place hard-boiled eggs into mason jar to fit number of eggs you are pickling.  I used a 750 ml jar and 5 eggs.  I could have added 4 more eggs to jar.
  • Mix ingredients and pour over eggs.
  • Cover with fermenting lid and store in darkened space for 4 or more days.

Once you open the jar, place in the fridge.  Eat within two weeks.

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Recommended equipment to make fermenting fun and easy:

Making Cream Cheese from Home-made Yogurt!

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP – Living in Natures Love Lifestyles @insideawareness.com

Cream Cheese, Salt & Whey

I am feeling inspired by making cream cheese from our home-made yogurt.  It is rewarding as over the years I have not been able to justify spending so much money at the grocery store for these food items.  The additional concerns are the additives that are in these products for preserving their shelf-life while they get to the store and then sit before being purchased and consumed.

The joy of beginning to make home-made cream cheese is the potential of pairing ad blending in edibles from the backyard for increased fresh goodness and taste.

Making cream cheese is simple.  My only regret is not investigating this recipe sooner.


  • Cheesecloth
  • Bowl
  • Funnel or strainer
  • Recycled Jar


  • Yogurt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • herbs & spices for pairing

3 Simple Steps to making Cream Cheese



  1. Place yogurt in cheesecloth inside strainer or large funnel that is set over bowl.  Let sit for 3 to 4 hours to strain *whey as it separates from the yogurt.  Let it drip into jar and save.
  2. When firmer tie up the ends of the cheese cloth and hang it so the weight of the yogurt  will filter and separate more liquid whey. Let sit for 3 to 4 hours or leave overnight.
  3. Remove remaining ball from the cheesecloth and put into bowl.  Mix with salt to taste and add any herbs, spices or edibles that you may enjoy flavouring your cream cheese.


  • Liquid Whey can be used in other recipes:
    • culture for home-made yogurt
    • fermentation of other foods
    • add to soups & stews

Whey is considered a complete protein as it has all 9 essential amino acids and it is low in lactose content.

Whey has also become popular as a supplement to improve muscle protein synthesis and promote the growth of lean muscle mass.

5 reasons to make your own cream cheese

  1. Inexpensive (Free Even)
    • If you buy milk and make your own yogurt the only cost is for cheesecloth!
  2. It’s Fresh & you control the ingredients 
    • I use home-made yogurt to create cream cheese so I choose the type of milk!
  3. It connects you to the food you are eating and its source
    • There is pleasure in eating food that you have created from scratch that is easy and beneficial to your health and the health of the planet.  Once you begin to develop an interest you may go to the dairy farmers direct to get the freshest milk ingredients!
  4. It’s delicious
  5. A second healthy whole protein is obtained in the process without any additional expenses:  Whey!

Cream Cheese – Yellow Food

Make your own Yogurt

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Copyright 2014 – 2019  Living in Nature’s Love by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Communication & Empathy Coach since 2004, Art of Placement  since 2000

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

From scratch creating a mother scoby (just as in Kombucha)

The Supplies:

  • 1 gallon jar
  • Cheesecloth (Coffee filter)
  • Elastic band

Ingredients from cupboard,

garden or market:

  • 5 organic apples, unwaxed peels & cores
  • 1 cup sugar (fermented out)
  • Water to cover
  • Weight


  1. Cut apple, peels and cores into small cubes and add to jar, filling it ¾’s full
  2. Heat water to slow boil and dissolve sugar and letting it cool to room temperature
  3. Pour cooled sugar-water over apple in jar to cover and leave ¼ inch space at top.
  4. Add weight so liquid covers apples.
  5. Cover with cheesecloth and hold with elastic.
  6. Put in warm place in your kitchen for 3 weeks.
  7. The apples will ferment into a cider first and a brown fibrous material or a translucent film may form on top of ferment.  Keep this to speed up the fermentation process of future batches.
  8. If mold forms the apples are not submerged properly under the liquid.
  9. After 3 weeks strain apples, peels and cores and compost.
  10. Replace liquid into warm space for another 3 weeks, stirring every 2 to 3 days.
  11. After 3 weeks it is ready to use!
  12. Save a small batch of this liquid with the brown fiber can be used to speed up the process of the next batch.

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More on Fermented Living Foods:

Fermented SalsaFermented Kimchi,Fermented Sauerkraut

Recommended equipment to make fermenting fun and easy:



Making the Best Apple Cider: Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin A-47 by Author, by Annie Proulx

Apple Cider Vinegar Miracle Health System by Authors Paul & Patricia Bragg