Fresh start

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

WELL­NESS is one of those words that seemed to en­ter mod­ern par­lance be­fore it made the dic­tionary. But well­ness is sim­ply a holis­tic ap­proach to phys­i­cal and men­tal health and well­be­ing, says Ho­bart chef and food and well­ness coach Penni Lam­prey.

And it’s an ap­proach in stark con­trast to the sin­gle- fo­cus and of­ten con­tra­dic­tory di­etary, men­tal self- help and fi tness ad­vice we are bom­barded with to­day.

Well­ness through food is what Lam­prey is about with her A Method of Cook­ery busi­ness.

“Food is a lot more than just fuel,” Lam­prey, an award- win­ning chef with 15 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence, says.

“Its prove­nance and the way it is pre­pared and pre­sented have as pro­found an ef­fect on your mood and men­tal state, as they do on your phys­i­cal well­be­ing, health and en­ergy lev­els.

“Hip­pocrates said, ‘ let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’.

“Yet to­day, while eat­ing more, we’re nu­tri­tion­ally defi cient.

“It’s about life­style choices. Of course you can get by on chips, pota­toes and white bread but the over- con­sump­tion of refi ned, pro­cessed and pack­aged con­ve­nience food even­tu­ally catches up and re­sults in the dra­matic in­crease in obe­sity and chronic disease we see to­day.”

This is prob­a­bly not news to any rea­son­ably in­formed per­son th­ese days.

But what Lam­prey is do­ing about it in her own small way is quite ex­cit­ing.

At home, she’s pre­par­ing for this week’s class on dif­fer­ent lac­tic acid- fer­mented prod­ucts and their health benefi ts.

Her kitchen ta­ble looks like an alchemist’s work­bench.

And, as fast as she works, the mother of three young chil­dren talks even faster.

“Lac­tic acid fer­men­ta­tion is one of the old­est and eas­i­est ways to nat­u­rally pre­serve food and to sup­port healthy hu­man im­mu­nity and di­ges­tion,” Lam­prey says. “It’s what turns milk into yo­ghurt, makes your sour­dough breads rise, and makes pick­led veg­eta­bles and a whole pile of spe­cialty foods in dif­fer­ent cul­tures around the globe.”

“Here, try this fer­mented may­on­naise,” she says as she of­fers an un­usual but OK may­on­naise – no doubt bet­ter on a salad than by it­self.

Then there’s a de­li­cious fer­mented beetroot and ap­ple “di­ges­tif”, great as a rel­ish with ham.

And her fer­mented apri­cot jam, again de­li­cious on her fi nely tex­tured sour­dough bread. “Why do Ger­mans eat sauer­kraut with their sausages?” she asks. “Be­cause the bacil­lus in the cul­tured sauer­kraut starts the di­ges­tion process be­fore your own stom­ach acids kick in, mak­ing the heavy sausages so much more di­gestible.”

She talks pas­sion­ately about kefi r fer­men­ta­tion, sim­i­lar to that used to pro­duce yo­ghurt, but a process in­volv­ing both bac­te­ria and yeasts with re­sults that are nu­tri­ent dense, thin­ner than yo­ghurt – “what you might imag­ine if yo­ghurt and tofu were to have a baby” – and per­fect for her fam­ily’s break­fast smooth­ies and her may­on­naise.

“And its pro­bi­otic prop­er­ties al­low the body to more eas­ily and quickly take up min­er­als and vi­ta­mins,” she adds.

Which is about where I get lost and re­treat to another slice of her bread and apri­cot jam.

In ad­di­tion to her own small- group cook­ing classes – which ex­tend well be­yond such spe­cial­ties as fer­mented foods – Lam­prey pro­vides per­son­alised menu plan­ning and di­etary ad­vice for peo­ple or groups want­ing to change to healthier life­styles.

She also runs cor­po­rate work­place well­ness pro­grams for clients such as RBF Su­per­an­nu­a­tion and the Glenorchy and Ho­bart city coun­cils.

As well as run­ning A Method of Cook­ery, Lam­prey works as a project offi cer in the pub­lic sec­tor. She has a Ca­dence Health-ac­cred­ited cer­tifi cate in nu­tri­tion, as well as cer­tifi cates in food psy­chol­ogy, childhood nu­tri­tion and food and well­ness. For more in­for­ma­tion on Lam­prey’s cook­ing classes, go to amethod­of­cook­ery.com

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