No Mud, No Flower


Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist Monk. Founder of Plum Village Centre of Meditation

We don’t need much of a reminder that 2020 has been a rough enough year. The news can do that every hour without relief. Turn it off and find comfort elsewhere.  At The Cultured Club we will always find a way to weather the storm guided and aided by our many microbial invisible helpers.  Unless, of course we are pouring from an empty cup, and the ability to look after oneself presents a challenge. We have certainly had our fair share of mud to wade through in recent times.  The death of my parents in a relatively short space, pierced by the passing of my sister-in-law to cancer, all framed by a global pause to life as we knew it could understandly create a potent cocktail to inebriate me into nervous collapse. Lucky I picked a good year to give up the drink!

In recent years, as some of you many know, I have travelled to the Zen Buddhist monastery of Plum Village in France, after an initial invitation there to establish the practice of Fermentation within the community.  This year was to be blessed with not one but two visits, one in Spring and one in Late Summer to preserve the bounty.  I was beyond delighted and  2020 was looking good at the outset of the year and well, you can guess how that has unfolded.  Despite these disappointments, the community reached out to offer their continued support and so it unfolded that I was offered full counsel and therapy during the most challenging of times. A muddy mess of grief, emotional exhaustion and the general uncertainty that shrouds us all.

And so the healing begins.

The idea of therapy or ‘help’ would not come easy to me.  Especially therapy offered with such kindness and comapssion.  In fact I resist most kinds of help, it’s an awkward streak in me, but i fell so deeply into feeling fully supported, not only by my team of invisible helpers ( my microbes) who have been constantly reminding me that moving as close as possible to healing is the only direction, but also by the skilful compassionate therapy practice of Br. Phap Lai, monk and senior dharma teacher at Plum Village.  Clearly a hilarious human being too.  Or maybe I was being funnny?  Touching joy in that very moment.


You cannot heal parts of yourself in isolation.  Once you heal your body, your mind wants the same respect.  My mind has felt for some time that my gut has been sending direct messages to alert my mental health that some work was underway.  More like coded messages than anything clear amidst the daily grind. When the world went quiet, it became loud and clear.


Gut- Brain Axis

Luckily I am not making this stuff up.  There is much scientific evidence to support the brain–gut axis and it is becoming increasingly important as a therapeutic tool for both digestive and psychiatric disorders.  

There is a super highway of communication constantly at work. This gut-brain axis, via the vagus nerve, carries an extensive range of signals from our digestive system and organs to our brain and it works the other way too, as beautfully illustrated in this image.  A netwrok of nerves all chatting away.  Is it any wonder when something stresses our body or our mind we may express it somewhere else?

Keeping our gut bacteria happy have a beneficial effect on mood and anxiety levels and I am convinced that they carried me through, body to mind.  The therapeutic practice offered a Polyvagal approach, framing this work in a meditative, mindful and effective way, skilling me up mind to body.  

This vagal communication and its ability to regulate stress responses, be they digestive or mental can be easily strengthened or weakened. Eating a diet which soothes the gut, increases our gut diversity and decreases inflammation combined with a practice of mindful breathing and meditation increases resilience and the mitigation of mood and anxiety symptoms.

It is all Interconnected. 

It is all a wonder.  It is all achievable and hugely supportive in these bonkers times.  When the whole world could do with being in therapy, my enthusiasm has only increased to share these simple ideas.

  • Breathe, fill your lungs, be in the present moment.
  • Look after your Micorbiome and it will look out for your mind

After nurturing my gut health with fermented foods and a whole foods diet for ten years, These recent years have shown me how stressful situations can call for comfort. Hello sweetness, hello sugar cravings, hello felling rubbish, caught in a vicious circle of self soothe. To keep our microbiome in check and make our meals satiating I have finally compiled the culinary secrets of how to create the most tastebud tickling vibrant sauces from probiotic, highly nutritious, living foods in a special course

  • Six FERMENTED pantry staples.
  • Twenty six SAUCES.

It is an Introductory Course to Fermentation & Flavour making your microbiome happy, your immune system invigorated AND dinners that offer peace of mind ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️



LEARN MORE ABOUT the secret of sauce

I hope you feel moved to engage in something to generate a sense of resilience for all that life throws our way and a joy of being in the present moment.  No mud, no flower.

If you would like to explore our favourite  TOP THREE SAUCES we have prepared a FREE downloadbale book for you using fermented foods which are widely available to purchase.  Just sign up.


Small acts make a BIG difference.

After continued communication with some of the worlds most contented minds, I have become hugely intrigued with this gut-brain axis.  The mind to body and vice versa. 

How much do we effect the other?

In gratitude for all that has been offered to me from the Plum Village community, I wish to explore giving back as we all face uncertain times. Plum Village doors are currently closed to all retreatees to guarantee the well-being and safety of its monastic community.  Entirely dependant on retreat fees, there is a financial struggle to meet their needs.  It is for this reason that I shall be sharing the revenue from THE SECRET OF SAUCE course as a supportive donation to the continued work of the monastic community at Plum Village. 

Small acts of kindness can make a big difference.


If this speaks to you, you can also independantly donate HERE 

Give me a happy gut & a happy mind