Everyone always asks, "Why do you make this stuff?" 

 After teaching and researching nutrition for more than 12 years, it has become obvious to me that the health benefits of fermented foods are unparalleled. 

 For over 7,000 years, people have been using the best of nature to protect us from the worst of nature. By harnessing the beneficial powers of bacteria, we can protect, preserve and store food for times when 'fresh' is not available. 

 What was not known in the past is that the microorganisms, in addition to preserving food, have incredible health benefits for people. They support the environment inside you. Sandor Katzcalls this ecoimmunonutrition.  The need to support and constantly replenish this ecosystem has been neglected by the Standard American Diet (SAD) for so long that it has far reaching health effects. You can read more here from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

 For the past 100 years or so, our society has demonized all bacteria and made the mission of sterilization paramount as part of a flawed vision of a healthy lifestyle.  We are outnumbered by bacteria and it is impossible and dangerous to try to create sterility. 

 The best defense against harmful microbes is beneficial microbes. We now know that the practice of fermentation that we have enjoyed for thousands of years actually helps us, our digestive system and our immune system. By creating and encouraging an environment where good microorganisms can thrive not only will help food safety and our digestion, but also makes for tasty eating.


Making a difference in the world begins at the local level with bad asses like Marian Flaxman.  It may look like a normal café on the outside, but Marian’s Culture Shock café in Ithaca NY is much more than that.  Using the nutritious benefits of fermented food and drink, Marian is educating people on the importance of a good diet and taking a stance against the industrial food system that has put the health of our entire country in jeopardy.  She spends everyday experimenting with ways to make people feel better, using good food, cool atmosphere and friendly people, and that makes her a true BAO Bad Ass Legend.

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New York's Own Kombucha