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!


Prepped vegetables ready to be pickled


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


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 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













Superfoods Symposium

The Purple Chakra, which represents our spiritual connection and cosmic awareness, was vibrating high last Wednesday afternoon at Life Alive in Cambridge. Bruce and Andrea from Organic Living Superfoods in Walpole joined me in hosting a symposium to explore the bounty of medicinal and therapeutic superfood offerings on our beverage menu. Just as diverse as the algae, oils, roots and fruits we discussed were the sixteen or so guests who brought their personal experiences and curiosities to the roundtable.

Superfoods are recognized as nutrient-rich and contain extremely high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Some superfoods, such as raw cacao, can even have positive effects on your mood and can promote a positive, harmonious outlook and vibe. Cacao powder is simply the cacao bean that, through a cold-pressed process, has had the fat (cacao butter) removed. It is a natural stimulant known to regulate blood sugar and promote weight loss, and also contains PEAs—the chemicals our bodies produce when we fall in love. Add that to my smoothie please!

We then tasted raw cacao in our very own Coco Loco Alive, which is a frosty, chocolatey blend that also contains coconut oil. Very well regarded for its topical uses, coconut oil’s medium-chain fatty acids lock in moisture for soft, supple, glowing skin while giving blended drinks a satisfying, rich texture. Along with anti-microbial properties that support the immune system, this unique ‘good’ fat is converted directly to energy by your liver and is not easily stored in the the body as unwanted fat. We also use it in the restaurant to sauté the onions and garlic for our Coconut Curry and Carrot, Sweet Potato and Ginger Soups. It smells so yummy!

Then we started talking Activated Waters. These are enhanced water-based offerings that make drinking water even more fun. At Life Alive we offer Simply Alive, a swirling mashup of spirulina, lemon, honey and pure water. Spirulina is a blue-green alga that grows in fresh water lakes and rivers. Spirulina is packed with protein, helps to lower cholesterol, inhibits the production of anti-inflammatory molecules and helps produce radiant skin and hair. Lemon and honey perfectly balance the slightly salty nuance in this drink. We love it.

After an hour of sipping, snacking and chatting about all of the organic superfoods offered at Life Alive, we were buzzing. I want to extend my gratitude to Organic Living Superfoods for taking the time to share their expertise and tasty superfood snacks. I am also deeply thankful to the guests who brought this event to life and made it fun with much energy and enthusiasm. I hope to see you at the juice bar soon.



An Awakened Life at Life Alive

unspecified-1 What does it mean to live an awakened life? One which is purpose driven. Where self accountability, personal responsibility and discipline drive self expression, creativity, and experimentation. Where we know that we are not solitary creatures but a part of a larger collective. Where we share a fate both during good times and not. And where we create wealth through a joyful voluntary exchange with our guests, knowing that financial success is necessary for job growth, and for our mission to be actualized.

Next month, May 2016 is the start of our month 6 at Life Alive. I cannot tell you how incredibly fortunate we feel every single day working side by side with each one of you, and living an awakened life, here at Life Alive.

Life Alive is a social enterprise with a reason for being that lives and breathes in each one of us.

Each of us can make it possible to eat healthy, even as we live in a very busy world.

We each have the ability to positively awaken and feed people’s senses, thoughts, and spirits.

We each can and must help people  we come in contact with discover their own natural vitality, and take responsibility for their own well being.

We each are empowered to contribute to and promote holistic sustainability.

We are individually and collectively responsible to inspire connection, and to spread love, and vibrancy.

Our commitment to all Life Alive team members and guests, is that we will continue to foster an environment where we will uphold the mission of Life Alive always, and measure our success by:

♥♥Your happiness and excellence.

♥♥Your vibrancy that is measured by how enthusiastically you embrace us, and come back to Life Alive with your family, friends, and colleagues.

♥♥Improvements we help make in the community by supporting the communities we do business in.

♥♥Reducing environmental degradation.

♥♥Raising the awareness of the community to our mission of sustainable creativity, and vitality.

Life Alive is a calling. It’s a journey. The journey is more pleasurable because of each of you, our fellow travelers. Thank you for traveling with us.

Namaste, (I honor the divine spirit in you and me that connects us all)

Hema (617.894.5797) and Leah