Fermented Foods: The Brain/Gut Connection

With my recent obsession with all things fermented, I’ve been increasing my intake of naturally fermented foods in my diet and have been feeling the benefits. As a recovering sugar addict, its refreshing to have the balanced tanginess that fermented foods provide to my diet. In addition, its amazing what a few bites of sauerkraut can do at the start of the meal to get my digestion kick started, but also ensure that I’m craving less in the way of sweets as I continue into my meal.

And then…there’s my second obsession, Radiolab. I’m an avid listener and have mentioned shows I’ve listened to before. Imagine my delight at their most recent show, Guts (click here to listen), which unpacked the mysterious inner-workings of our digestive system. This isn’t necessarily a show to listen to right before or after a meal, but was vastly intriguing in its exploration of our most important human function outside of breathing and pumping blood…digesting food. The highlight for me was the second “act” Gut Feelings, that discussed the gut/brain connection and how the healthy fauna in our intestinal tracts can actually help us to experience less stress and anxiety. The study itself focused on the addition of probiotics in medicinal form, but fermented foods across the spectrum offer the same healthy doses of lactobacillus and other good bacteria (and they cost significantly less and are much tastier too). I highly encourage a listen, as the studies are fascinating and point to yet another reason why fermented foods are such a positive addition to our diets (as if the 8 reasons mentioned in CheeseSlave’s blog weren’t enough).

While I must admit that yoga and meditation play no small part in my low levels of stress, I can’t help but wonder what part the healthy bacteria in my intestines are playing…now if only I could get them to meditate!

'Be kind to your stomach'
Seymour Nydorf, 1914-2001 / National Archives and Records Administration



As we approached the Spring Equinox, my yoga classes had a focus on letting go, releasing what no longer served and surrendering into what is. This can be an easy process at times, and other times one of the most difficult things we’ve ever been asked to do.  Yet, even in these most difficult moments, we rarely are letting go of things that are that big–they just seem large at that time while our ego is wrapped up in dealing with its attachment to it.

Every once in a while those things are big. I listened to Radiolab Podcast last night (one of my favorite radio programs) that was a short offering prose by Mark Doty who chronicled the loss of his life partner. As I walked home, listening to the podcast, I found myself in tears…probably much to the surprise of passersby. Not only is his story truly moving, but his willingness to let go into the reality of the situation is so inspiring and his ability to love and share love is truly moving.

If you have ten minuets, I highly recommend a listen. I hope it inspires you to let the things in your life that are ready to die, be released with love, so that the things that are ready to live have space to live!

Happy Equinox!


The Haunting Melody: A Cello Playlist

About a year ago, I was introduced to the hauntingly beautiful cello music of local cellist, Gretchen Yanover. Every time I played her music in class, students always wanted to know who the artist was. To this day, her music brings similar responses in classes.

Recently, by way of a Radiolab podcoast, I found another cello player I absolutely adore, Zoe Keating. Her cello music is astoundingly different but with the same haunting beauty that caught be off guard when I first heard it. I have since introduced her music in classes as well and am enjoying sharing this new exploration with students. Below you will find my Cello x’s Deux playlist, perfect for everything from a gentle flow to a vinyasa class…not to mention an evening by the fire or in the company of a good book. Enjoy!

Cello x’s Deux Flow
Forest Zoe Keating
Greener Gretchen Yanover
Will Gretchen Yanover
Geometry Of Dreams Gretchen Yanover
Frozen Angels Zoe Keating
Don’t Worry Zoe Keating
Optimist Zoe Keating
Sun Will Set Zoe Keating
Cedar Gretchen Yanover
Sequoia Gretchen Yanover
Nocturne Gretchen Yanover