Jasmine’s Life Alive journey

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Jasmine nourishing a guest with soulful service

Before I started my journey working for Life Alive, I lacked knowledge of what it meant to properly nourish my body, or what that nourishment could do for me mentally or physically. I had visited the cafe in Salem sparingly, using my time there to read poetry, write, or draw. These visits were always therapeutic for me, and left me feeling relaxed and energized. The cafe’s warm colors and personalities, along with the delicious food, seemed to relax my mind. At the time, this was hard for me to do as I lived a pretty stressful life, working in a job which required a lot of my energy and time, while not really giving me any positive feedback or recognition.
Leaving that work environment to join the colorful team of Life Alive has proven to be a very beneficial choice. Prior to my first day, I did not have any real restaurant background as I came previously from a retail position, and feared I would not be able to perform well enough. My task my first day was to run the meals to the guests and interact with them and the staff to get a feeling of the atmosphere of the business. I quickly realized that the entire staff was understanding and kind when training me, and the guests seemed to mirror these feelings. I never felt I was not being supported, even when I would make mistakes. Guests who dine at Life Alive connect with the staff, and take with them the sense of being relaxed and calm as I did when I was a guest. It was a great experience to hear their stories and why they love Life Alive.

From that point on, I have learned each component of how the food is prepared, and am taking in as much information as I can on the benefits of certain foods for our bodies. While I have obviously not mastered everything there is to know of the food industry, I find myself learning and trying new ideas every day. I also have taken it upon myself to bring attention to how I eat outside of work, using my new knowledge to apply at home. I believe one of Life Alive’s many goals is to have guests leave with a better understanding of what they are eating, and to help bring a consciousness to maintaining a healthier lifestyle. With this new perspective, I feel more energy during the day, when I used to feel sluggish. I have lost some weight. I feel more creative. I feel stronger. There has never been a job or a task in my life that has left me feeling stronger, which is something I am thankful for.

I also have had the opportunity of working with some amazing people, as the teach me not only the fundamentals of running a beautiful cafe, but also what it means to be calm, kind and passionate about what we are doing. Each individual working at Life Alive has a story so unique, which allows everyone to bring a new set of ideas and experiences to the table. I believe the reason Life Alive is so successful and enjoyable for the guests is simply because the staff is passionate about what they are creating. For me, I have not really even felt that I have had a job. The stress of the stereotypical idea of a job, seemingly does not exist.

I have now been with the company for about two months. I am still making mistakes I am still asking questions every day. I am still growing. I can only hope that my career and opportunities with Life Alive grow, and that I can give back to the cafe by helping it grow a little as well.

 

Jasmine is a Life Alive team member. Jasmine is spirited, adaptive, and joyful. Thankful to Jasmine and all team members at Life Alive for your commitment to our shared purpose of serving luscious meals to a busy world to help enhance vitality and creativity!

Life Alive Pickling Symposium, Recipes and Tips – with Rachel and Leah

Ever wonder why it’s important to eat “live” foods? Curious about what it takes to pickle at home?

Life Alive Cambridge joyfully hosted a Pickling Symposium on Tuesday August 9th which was free and open to all. As pickling devotees snacked on mason jars full of pickled carrots and cauliflower in the purple chakra lounge at the Cambridge urban oasis, we learned just how important and easy it is to ferment!

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Prepped vegetables ready to be pickled

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Rachel hosting the pickling symposium

Fermentation unlocks the transformative powers of micro-organisms and dates in practice as far back as 6000 B.C. Did you know that fermented foods preserve more nutrients than canning? Fermented foods include everyday favorites such as sourdough bread, yogurt, wine, chocolate, and cheese as well as more curious foods like kimchi, pickles, fish sauce, and even miso and kombucha.

“Gut health is really important,” explains Life Alive’s Chief Culinary Genius Leah Dubois. “You make gut decisions. The brain has two hemispheres for decisions, but gut decisions are innate and designed to pull you forward. Therefore, it’s important to have a healthy gut. The belly button pulls you where you need to go!”

At Life Alive cafes, we use Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar which has live cultures and something called a “mother” which is an unpasteurized living organism in the fermenting liquid similar to kombucha. Bragg Organic Vinegar includes active probiotics that keeps your body humming and can break down other dense nutrition found in raw foods, assimilating with other nutrients that your body consumes and helping you to absorb and digest them. Explains host Rachel Liberatore, “Enzymes in the vinegar make the nutrients more available. Symptoms from chronic diseases, allergies, asthma, and yeast infections, all can be lessened.”

Ready to improve your gut flora? Here are four easy steps to a delicious, homemade pickle:

1.Cut up vegetables such as cauliflower, carrots, and onions. Chef Leah recommends using whatever is fresh from your garden or CSA. For carrots, Leah recommends peeling them to reveal a bright orange color in fermentation. Presentation matters when cutting up the vegetables, so be sure to slice them with spirit! We prefer not to cook the veggies so that they retain their nutrients. Put the veggies into a mason jar that has a lid.

2.Create a brine using a mixture of 60% water and 40% Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. Add spices such as cardamom, mustard seeds, turmeric, Portuguese sea salt, and pepper. Whisk.

3.Submerge pickled veggies with the brine liquid, to cover. Remember, the brine is a living liquid which you can enhance over time by adding in garlic or sweetener such as maple syrup for taste. Vinegar and salt will draw moisture out of the veggies while flavor goes in!

4.Close the jar lid and allow the veggies to marinate in the brine, in the refrigerator, for as little as a few hours to four or five days. If you feel a cold coming on, take a sip of the brine! At Life Alive, we offer a fire tonic for sale that is extremely invigorating but also fermented and probiotic.

Most of all, be creative! Other recipe ideas include:
•Beets and red onion
•Sliced jalapeno peppers, a bit of salt, and pinch of maple syrup or natural figs for sweetness
•Ginger sliced thin with pink peppercorns
•Rhubarb or grapes (cut in half) to take a salad to the next level

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Pickled vegetables in mason jars ready to be enjoyed!

The Life Alive team is hard at work in the kitchen cooking up new recipes that include more pickles! What kinds of fermented foods would you like to see us use? Email hello@lifealive.com to share your thoughts and ideas.

Care to learn more? Recommended future reading:
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harrod Buhner
Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz

By Lizzie Bell, Communications Guru at Life Alive Urban Oasis and Organic Cafes