On a recent evening over a cup of tea with Sharon Juraszek, creator of Fermentlicious, it had been two weeks since she started to sell her fermented products at both the Downtown Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch Farmers Markets. When I asked how everything was going, she answered, “insanely well.” With a radiating glow, she’s one of those people who can be described as “electric,” exuding positive energy.
Although, Sharon was not always in tune with wellness. She used to consider candy as a food group, seriously. Her lifestyle changed in 1999 after her father died from chemotherapy, in Sharon’s words. This was her biggest shift. Then in 2002, she had some health challenges of her own: failing thyroid, candida, and brain fog. The more she researched these conditions, the more she realized that she could address them with food. Fermented foods led the way with their beneficial bacteria and ability to kill yeast and zap sugar cravings.
With a piqued interest in the benefits of fermented foods, she says, “I wanted the ferments to taste good, so I decided to try to make my own. Curry Love was my first blend. I never planned on developing a company, it all happened naturally.”
Her reason to make these medicinal foods was to not only heal herself, but to also help others. She’d serve it to her students at a donation-based meditation class she hosted in her home on Monday evenings. Her thinking is to heal the mind, body, and belly. Soon, her students started to crave it because it was changing their internal terrain for the better.
“When we slow down enough to listen to our bodies, our intuition tells us everything we need to know.”
Fermented foods change the gut flora, or microbiota, which is imperative to good health. The healthy strains of bacteria contained in these foods balance the production of stomach acid and destroy or inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
There is a firm philosophy that food is medicine. As Sharon explains things, the fiber from the fermented food pulls down the healthy bacteria into the intestines and colon where they are needed.
There are a bevy of positive attributes of these foods including improved immunity and digestion, increase in mood and energy levels, increased nutrient absorption, a source of powerful probiotics, etc.
“My calling is to provide healing food to the community and keep it within this special place we are lucky to call home.”
Sharon studied at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and received formal training by Summer Bock, a Fermentationist. She continued her education by attending the California College of Ayurveda and is studying for her doctorate in Ayurvedic medicine.
What makes Fermentlicious products different from any others you can find, other than being delicious, is Sharon’s distinct healing preparation. Before she gets into the kitchen she meditates to release any negative energy. She chants the Gayartri Mantra, a prayer of gratitude and to seek wisdom and enlightenment. High vibration music fills the air. She packages each food item with an intention and during the four-week fermentation process, she talks and chants to the food inducing light and healing properties. The vibrations from the sounds gives the food higher energy healing powers, she believes.
All the jars are made in the USA and are marked “Made with Love.” Products include the most popular, The Healer; Curry Love; Ginger Bliss; Sacred Seed; Golden Goddess; and Black Gold. Notable healing and energetic ingredients include raw organic cabbage, ginger, turmeric, Himalayan sea salt, black pepper, and cumin and fennel seeds. There are also seasonal blends like ones made with local organic beets and jalapeños from Worden Farm. Each treats a specific ailment that may be affecting the body and she can help you choose which to select based on what is going on inside the body.
Green Zebra was the first local establishment to carry Fermentlicious products and you can also find them at Crop Juice, Super Value Nutrition, Morton’s Gourmet Market, Artisan Cheese Company, Lucky’s Market, and Rollin’ Oats in St. Pete and Tampa. Local restaurants that incorporate them into their yummy dishes include Lila, Café in the Park, and again Artisan Cheese Company.
Sharon wishes to keep the products available in the Sarasota, St. Pete, and nearby areas—being conscious of the carbon footprint involved in transporting to distant markets. She intentionally wants to do good for the body and for the planet.