CLEAN FOOD | Terry's Blog

Oct 29

At the end of the rainbow…

My drive through the Berkshires at peak foliage was even more beautiful than a rainbow. And at the end of the journey, rather than a pot of gold, I found crocks…and they were bubbling…and popping…and fizzing. They were fermenting! It may come as a surprise, but there’s a pot that offers more wealth than the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and it’s a crock of home-fermented foods.

Despite bone-chilling cold and wind, the fermenting community bubbled over at the Berkshire Fermentation Festival last week. Workshops, book signings, concessions and an ever-growing community of fellow fermenters (say that 10 times fast) were featured at this first annual one-day festival. Sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh, miso, sourdough, kefir, kvass, kimchi…all bursting with taste, probiotics and beneficial bacteria guaranteed to make us rich with good health – body, mind and soul.

What is the difference between fermented foods and pickled? This is the question I hear more than almost any other, and the answer lies in the process. Pickled foods are “cooked” using vinegar. Fermented foods, on the other hand, are alive. Fermentation uses the bacteria that naturally exists on foods, and sometimes a natural starter, to cultivate and transform food, bring out taste, increase nutritional value, and preserve foods in a cost effective and health-providing way. The health benefits of fermented foods include a bounty of probiotics and beneficial bacteria for gut health, bioavailable vitamins and nutrients, support for a strong immune system and improved mental and physical health.

If you’ve never tried fermenting foods before, there’s no better time than the present, and this Beet Kvass is an easy place to start.

2 medium red beets
1/2 inch piece of ginger root
2 teaspoons sea salt
1-quart mason jar

Wash beets but do not peel skins (as you will peel away essential bacteria necessary for fermentation). Chop beets into large pieces (about 1-inch cubes) and place in mason jar. Peel ginger, slice into 3-4 pieces and add to jar with beets. Add salt to jar and fill with water to 1-inch below rim of jar. Stir to dissolve salt and seal jar with lid. Set aside on a counter out of direct sunlight to ferment for 3 days or until liquid is deep red and starting to bubble or fizz (this will take longer the cooler your home temperature is). Strain to remove solids, return liquid to mason jar, seal and refrigerate for 2 days, then use as vinegar in dressings, add to soups, grains or vegetables (instead of salt), or drink daily as a digestive and immune-supporting tonic.


Fermentation offers incredible tastes and health benefits, and with this festival as my proof, now I can say that it also offers community.

Fermentation festival

You never know what and who you’ll bump into at a Fermentation Festival! (Terry with Institute of Integrative Nutrition Founder, Joshua Rosenthal)

I owe thanks to my dear friend, Mariana, for suggesting we make this festival our weekend excursion. I went out of curiosity, and came home with even more knowledge, inspiration and nourishment from this fun and educational day. Always looking to ferment what’s in season, I’ve now got my crocks ready for these new projects: hard cider, cider vinegar and kraut with curry and turmeric, inspired by the delicious Gochu Curry Kraut I sampled (and bought) from Hosta Hill.

I hope you’ll share your favorite fermented foods and recipes here so we can keep this conversation bubbling!

Eat clean live well!

Terry Walters




Oct 20

And the medal goes to…


I have no medals or trophies to display from my childhood years, but my children have hardware from every team and every meet they participated in as kids – for accomplishments great and small, and often just for showing up. When the first medal was presented, I cheered. But as their collections grew, I couldn’t help but ask, isn’t participating reward enough?

While my children have outgrown that stage, I found myself in that exact same situation just this past week after my own race. Let’s face it, the best part of running a road race is crossing the finish line. Even though thoughts of walking tortured me for miles, and I gratefully stopped running to hug my husband halfway through, somehow when I crossed that finish line, the roar of the crowd magically transformed all self-doubt into pride. Nothing else mattered…I finished.

Then, as if I had won the entire event, a medal was draped around my neck. I stood tall and proud in the sea of runners, feeling on top of the world. But when I looked down to examine the colorful, large medal hanging around my neck, I wondered what on earth was I going to do with yet another medal?!

Hours later, I filed away my race bib and draped my medal on the shelf in my office along with all of the others.

Photo Oct 16, 1 52 13 PM

This is my medal burial ground, wedged in the corner where nobody can see it, except me. There they hang, collecting dust like the trophies in my children’s rooms. There are a few in the collection that I truly cherish, but plenty I could do without.

I would have never suggested to my children that they not take a medal, but now that I contemplate the same situation for myself, I wonder if I should graciously say “no thank you” to the medal the next time I cross the finish line. Imagine if others follow suit! In time, would there be an option when you register to say no to the medal and reallocate the money saved to a cause, perhaps a local organizations that supports health and fitness for those less advantaged?

I am not against medals, but I do favor making conscious choices. If given the option, I’m sure there would be times I would take the medal, and other times that I would not. I cherish the memories of all of my races – the successes, the failures and all of the lessons I’ve learned about myself from each. That is why I run, and it’s my hope that my children feel similarly about the activities they participate in – medal or not. How about you?

As always, eat clean live well!

Terry Walters




Sep 17

And away she goes.

I woke up June 1st and it hit me. Soon she’d be gone. Our time together was limited. It would never be the same. I stopped everything (as you may have noticed by the large gap between blog posts) and spent as much time with her as possible. And then it happened. College.

Okay, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but the weeks between the end of high school and the beginning of college I found myself questioning the past 18 years of parenting. Had I done all the right things, done enough, prepared her well? Would our relationship change? When the calls from college started pouring in, my questions were answered.

“The food here is just food. I’m eating, but I’m just going through the motions. There’s no love in this food.” She was full and empty at the same time. Desperate for nourishment, she walked to the grocery store in search of organic eggs. There were none. “They’re all the same size, the same color and are packaged in Styrofoam – they’re produced, not laid.” She couldn’t bring herself to buy them. Soon thereafter, she discovered the omelet bar, where she could have eggs with as many vegetables added as she wanted. But yesterday’s sign was the final straw, “No egg whites. Avian Bird Flu.” “Are they kidding? Why don’t they just say there are no real eggs?”

I couldn’t help but wonder, had my focus on clean food ruined my daughter? Would she be unable to make it in the real world? Then I realized, just the opposite is true. In the opening essay in CLEAN FOOD I conclude, “The cleaner we eat, the clearer we think, and the better we are able to embrace good health and nutrition.” Turns out, my daughter is not only clean, but she’s an educated consumer. She is clear, she is connected and she is empowered to negotiate the landscape to find and to make healthy choices. While there is barely enough room for her belongings in her tiny room, she has found a way to eat the foods that she knows work for her. She has stocked her fridge with kale, made green smoothies with bananas from the dining hall, and even spent a few hours in a borrowed kitchen making healthy treats and vegetable paninis to stock her fridge for the coming week.

Sarah's smoothie Sep 09, 5 53 54 PM

Blueberry, banana and kale smoothie – dorm room style. Thank you, Nutribullet!


My home has always overflowed with conversation around healthy food choices, whole meals and the healing power of food. Forcing my children to eat a particular way never worked. And yet, every child (like every adult) is different. I’m grateful my approach has worked with #1, and just hope it works as well with #2! If I’ve learned nothing else, it’s that the journey is never as expected. Change is inevitable, community invaluable, and our children perhaps the greatest teachers of all.

How have you taught your children about nutrition? What has worked, and what has not? If we all share, each one of us will end up with a larger tool box to draw from the next time the journey takes an unexpected turn. Until that time,

Eat Clean Live Well!

Terry Walters