Claudia Molina: Journey to a healthier lifestyle

Earlier this year, I had the wonderful opportunity of being interviewed by Fran from the WILD KITCHEN. We discussed all things related to fermentation, my project called swisscultured, and a little bit more about who I am! I would like to share some specific things we discussed during my interview about the journey to a healthier lifestyle.

To begin with,  I’m sure many of you know that I’m originally from Mexico, but now I live close to Zurich, with my family. My first steps into the world of fermentation began when I started offering fermentation classes in English.

Where am I from? Where do I live now and who is important to me? 

I am from Veracruz, which is in the gulf of Mexico. I now live in a small town, near Zurich with my husband, 3 incredible kids, and a cheeky dog.

Did I grow up with the knowledge of fermented foods?

When I was a child, my mother, who is from the South of Mexico, a place called Tabasco made Tepache regularly. Tepache is a fermented drink made with pineapple and piloncillo, which is a typical sugar from Mexico. My mother also had pozol on a regular basis. Pozol is made from fermented corn and cocoa beans.

When did my interest in fermented foods begin? 


I have always had an interest in healthy eating. But about 2 years after I arrived to Switzerland, I started suffering from seasonal allergies.

The doctor prescribed me on antihistamine medication, however when I was about to have my children, I wanted to avoid all types of medication. We moved to the UK where we lived for a few years. I didn’t need to be on any medication when I lived there, but every time I came back to Switzerland, my allergies would act up again when spring time was upon us. Medication was bad for me! I even lost my hearing two consecutive years during my visit! When I found out that we would move back to Switzerland in 2013,  I did my research and looked for a natural method to deal with my allergies.  All my research pointed to healing the gut first, this led to my interest in fermented foods. I went back to the UK, to take a few fermentation courses there, as there were none available in Zurich at that time. That’s the beginning of the journey to a healthier lifestyle!

When I started eating fermented foods, I didn’t have to take antihistamines any longer and I could finally breathe!

Why did my allergies improve with fermented foods?

When I started paying more attention to what I ate and avoided all processed foods, it improved the overall functioning of my system. I began eating more naturally and I also incorporated fermented foods regularly. When I get a sore throat or I feel under the weather,  I take the brine of the sauerkraut and it helps! I don’t need to take any pain or anti-inflammatory medications.

Who did inspired me and how did I learn the art of fermentation? 

Books, books and online books! My experimentation at home also helped, eventually I was so excited about the art of fermentation that I took a course whilst at a Weston A. Price Conference in London a few years ago. Sandor Katz inspires me, I love his philosophy. The knowledge he shares is incredible and he loves teaching others how to get healthy. I have all his books and I follow all his interviews.

My favourite fermentation book? 

I really enjoy two books, which I recommend to anyone who is keen to learn about why food plays such an important role in our lives. One book is the Gut and Psychology Diet, or GAPS diet by Dr. Natascha Campbell-McBride. She writes about the gut and explains how it gets damaged. She also speaks on how we can repair it.  The second book is “Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain – for Life” by Dr. David Perlmutter. He digs deeper into bacteria and it’s quite fascinating.

What kinds of foods and drinks do I ferment regularly?

I drink milk kefir every day. I also have sauerkraut in my fridge. Sometimes I forget to eat it. We also have pickled jalapeƱos, which is a typical chilli from Mexico, they are delicious!

What was the weirdest thing you have experienced on your fermentation journey?

Fermentation surprised me, at one point, I didn’t enjoy eating cauliflower, but when I fermented it with garlic and onion, it was so delicious that I couldn’t stop eating it.

Have I ever made mistakes whilst fermenting?

Oh, Plenty! I once made water kefir for a workshop I was teaching, beforehand. Then, I added fresh, ripe fruit during the second fermentation, and when I opened the bottle, the whole thing shot up like a fountain. When I realized of it I spilled everything leaving my students with nothing to try!  I also smuggled jicama at one stage. This is a typical root vegetable from Mexico, that you can’t buy here. I prepared it in Mexico and it began fermenting in my nice jar, whilst in my suitcase. The suitcase fell down when we were back home, and the whole jar shattered into many, tiny little pieces.  I have many more interesting fermentation accidents. It is all part of the experience!

What is swisscultured all about? 

My aim is to share the love of fermented foods and promote a healthy lifestyle overall. I believe fermented foods can improve our general health and well-being. It’s a cheap process and very easy to make. If everyone ate fermented food regularly, I believe we would all be healthier! Start today the journey to a healthier lifestyle!

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