Location: United Kingdom
Profession: Charity Worker
I use my sourdough mainly as an integral part of a meal rather than as just bread and jam or toast and marmalade once a day.
I mainly bake for my husband (Trevor) and myself but anyone (family / friends / tradesmen...) visiting usually get sent away with some too!!
I will email you a picture of my next loaf. I have never photographed any loaves. Inly photo I have is some sourdough doughnuts!
I am based in a pretty rural village in Berkshire and good healthy food is a huge part of our life. I have given up paid work now but continue to work (just on a voluntary basis). I have three main charities I work with. The first is the ambulance service as a first responder and mental health first aider. I volunteer for about 60 hours every other week. The second and a huge interest is a very small charity Trevor and I set up in The Gambia called BE REEL (www.bereel.org) where we are trying to help people, many illiterate and innumerate to set up businesses so they have something other than subsistence farming to give them a reason to stay there rather than trying to illegally enter Europe/UK. The third charity I work with is a local village charity which offers support to adults who are struggling. This might be financially, or mental health issues, other health issues, ageing / loneliness not being able to navigate the many services available, or not knowing what services are out there.
Passionate about Baking as Lifestyle Medicine
Two main reasons. I have always been interested in how food affects health and like to explore what else I can do to improve our dietary health. I like to learn from what I would call "oracles" who have an evidence base as I have a hatred of the abundance of mis-information that is available these days. But the main reason is our work in Gambia. They are about the 5th poorest nation in the world. When times are tough here they are so much worst there. Their main diet is rice and bread. Whilst they can grow some rice themselves there is not sufficient for the population so the import rice and it is white rice! The bread makers tend to be Senegalese who follow the french tradition of baguette style white bread. We work with another charity in Gambia called the Gunjur Project Association who do a lot of training with women. I would love to be able to teach some of these women how to cook their own sourdough bread and to ferment some of their veggies so they can have them 'out of season'. The nutrition in the country is awful and not only could the women (unfortunately men do not see food cookery as their role) could improve the nutrition of their kids if nothing else. Actually I am going to add a third reason and that is I am sure there could be something I could do with our local charity with BALM in my role as a mental health first aider as our GP surgery is open to social prescribing.
I could talk endlessly about the malnutrition in The Gambia and there are obvious steps that can be made to improve health there through nutrition and teaching women could also help them set up their own small businesses which has massive impacts on self-esteem as well as poverty levels. But that for me is the obvious part. For me there is something more transformative and that is in mindsets and adapting mindsets. I can only describe this through my own experience. I have always been someone who is a perfectionist and wound up like a clockwork toy... I just keep on going and going and then suddenly stop! Two things, baking sourdough and doing yoga, have both helped me spend more time (without wasting it) and to enjoy the journey more and become more accepting of imperfection. I am convinced this has helped my mental state immensely. It has helped me to enjoy life more.
How I use BALM Protocol
I would like to have the ability to teach from a background of knowledge that I believe in and don't feel I have to justify. However, I am not wanting to set up a business (I am 60 and fortunate enough to have been able to stop doing things for financial return). I want to be able to share my knowledge in The Gambia and even to teach them to share the knowledge with each other. As an individual I can only make small changes for example with our charity which we are in the process of now handing on to Gambians to run. However, I believe strongly that if everyone did make these small contributions in their own area of passion, the ripple effect of each action would spread exponentially and that in time would make big change. I think I have registered for the certificate but actually would like to take it further than that (to diploma or advanced diploma) so hopefully I have signed up to the right thing as a starting point!! I also am really keen to attend at the school in person.