By Amy Drew Thompson
2019’s knocking. And it’s wondering how many of your 2018 resolutions disappeared before Valentine’s Day. Even if your goal — lose weight, eat healthier, de-stress — is typical, creative methodology could be the secret ingredient to seeing it through. Connection figures big in our unique roundup of suggestions…. And speaking of valentines: If your New Year goals include romance, Orlando Meats’ resident fermenter might suggest forgoing the singles scene for sauerkraut.
Here’s a quickie roster of stuff you might want to try in 2019.
You can make it in two days, says Chef Eliot Hillis, whose foray into fermenting—projected to be one of 2019’s hottest food trends—began some five years ago and whose fermentation collective, the Salt Forge, now operates out of
“Before, we’d take leftover vegetables from the farms we worked with—anything that didn’t sell or was ugly—and we’d ferment it and give most back to the farmers to keep or sell at the market and take some for ourselves,” Hillis explains.
These days, the take goes into the case or onto the plates at Orlando Meats—cucumbers, radishes, turnips and more. The nice part is that there’s no timeclock.
“That’s the beauty of fermentation,” he explains. “It’s preserving things for a later date. We’re building a larder so we always have things available to use.”
Hillis, like most fans, got into it for the flavor, “but I’ve been enjoying the positive health benefits without knowing I was getting them for the longest time.”
Indeed, the bacteria-laden brine necessary to create all kinds of deliciousness—sauerkraut to kimchi, kefir to kombucha—is rife with probiotics experts say improve digestion and overall gut health and boost immunity. They can even help with weight maintenance.
“For me, connection is the biggest thing,” he says. “You can go to the Farmer’s Market and meet the person who grew the vegetables, then you’re taking them back to your home and become a caregiver to these microscopic animals that are living all over everything and creating an environment in which they can thrive. If you’re doing it right, you’re creating a civilization in a jar and at the end — you get to reap the benefits of what you’ve done.”
Hillis and members of the Salt Forge Collective are happy to become fermenter mentors to those looking to imbue “the romance” of the process to newcomers (you can contact him on Instagram @saltforge to find out more).
“You’re always in a negotiation with the bacteria. You’re trying to give it exactly what it wants so that it can give you what you want.”
Eggs, that is. You locavores want to know where your food comes from? In 2019, make it your own clucking backyard.
Earlier this year, Seminole County made permanent a pilot program that allows homeowners in residential areas to have chicken coops. Orlando, Maitland and a host of other Central Florida counties and cities have programs, as well. In Seminole, permits cost $75 and allow homeowners to keep up to four yardbirds, hens only, upon completion of a class about chicken care.
Your reward for coop cultivation: Studies show that fresh eggs from free-range chickens have less cholesterol and saturated fat than the commercial variety, along with increased vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and beta carotene. Plus, they taste better.
“Your typical supermarket eggs are anemic by comparison,” says Sandra Trussell, owner of A Fowl Business in Apopka. She’s been helping locals with their backyard startups for 10 years, and recommends noobs max out with four, even if they end up with too many to eat during peak laying season. “Eggs make one of the nicest hostess gifts you can give someone; everyone loves getting farm-fresh eggs!”
You’re probably not getting enough. In fact, somewhere around a third of American adults fall short of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s seven-hour minimum recommendation. Sure, you could quit coffee (unlikely!), or you could try something new: meditation.
“We’ve known for a long time that meditation helps you sleep better,” says Kim Zamoff, owner of Warrior One Power Yoga in Audubon Park. “Finally, scientific studies are backing up all the great effects of meditation, so a lot more people are open to trying it.
Oh, and by the way, meditation has also been known to reduce anxiety and depression and improve digestion, memory, blood pressure—even intimate connection in relationships.
Zamoff says people can be put off, worried that they’re doing it wrong.
“But really, it’s just about sitting and doing it…. Even a terrible mediation, where your mind is wandering all over the place, is beneficial. It’s a practice, not perfection!”
Warrior One’s 21-day Meditation Boot Camp kicks off Jan. 2, just in time for you to get Zen. It offers free in-studio and guided/online meditations (you’ll receive a daily email) and lots of free goodies.
There are innumerable ways to make new friends while doing something fun and new, but, says College Park resident Lee Wright, few offer the depth of connection that kizomba affords.
Wright discovered this slinky, stylish dance, which originates from Angola, while learning salsa and bachata in the Philippines.
“It’s got this sophisticated look, like Argentine tango, but it’s sensual like bachata, and when people see it—nearly everyone has the same ‘wow!’ reaction,” says Wright. “It’s very much like a conversation between the leader and the follower. And when you find someone with whom you dance well, it’s just amazing how it’s completely nonverbal, yet you are talking to one another.”
Kizomba, she also notes, operates outside of gender norms; women can lead as easily as men.
“Learning kizomba is a great resolution because the people in the Orlando Kizomba social dance community are really warm and friendly. It’s a fun outlet where you get to move your body and connect to music and other people —and it’s wonderful exercise, one you’ll be able to do for the rest of your life.”
Don’t forget disconnection.
What would you do with an extra three hours a day? Because according to a recent survey by comScore, that’s what you’d get back if you put down your phone. You’d also decrease digital eye strain, see more butterflies and notice that your kids have grown.
A nice soft entry into digital detox (and better sleep) would have you setting that phone aside at least an hour before bed and leaving it elsewhere during the night. Get an old-school alarm clock, so your eyes won’t get phone-blasted before your feet hit the floor in the morning.
Use special sound effects for the most important people, so you won’t miss your mom’s emergency text, but won’t have to dive for your phone at every ping.
And if you can manage it, try fasting. Start with a day of no phones or computers and you’ll realize you’ll enjoy that ice cream even more when you can just eat it without finding the perfect light for that Instagram pic.
In fact, reducing your overall screen time will allow more for all these resolutions (or any other 2019 goals) to take root and grow.