Discovery Center

Love Your Gut

Understanding the Microbiome and Fermented Foods

Tuesday, June 4, 2024 | 4 - 7 pm PDT
Three images of gut-friendly foods, kombucha, kimchee, and sauerkraut.

Love Your Gut: Understanding the Microbiome and Fermented Foods

Our gut is often called our second brain. In this program, guests learned how the gut microbiome impacts our health, the benefits of fermented foods, and the Gates Foundation’s initiatives supporting gut health and fermented foods. Speakers Vanessa Ridaura Senior Program Officer, Microbiome Products, Maternal, Newborn, Child Nutrition and Health at the Gates Foundation and Anne-Marie Gloster, PhD, RDN, Associate Teaching Professor, Food Systems, Nutrition, at the Health Program School of Public Health, University of Washington were in conversation and touched upon the fascinating world of the gut microbiome, fermented foods, and the impactful work happening in the field. Guests discovered the interconnectedness of these topics and gained valuable insights into improving health outcomes through microbiome research and sustainable food practices.

Guests also had the opportunity to taste some of the fermented foods they discuss as well as learn more about the work of our event partners including: Gold Coast Ghal Kitchen, InFerment, OHSUN Banchan Deli & Cafe, OlyKraut, Seeking Ferments, and
UW Microbial Interactions & Microbiome Center

Watch the event now

Read our video transcript.

Meet our speakers

Vanessa Ridaura, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Vanessa received her PhD in Molecular Genetics and Genomics at Washington University, pursued her post-doctoral training at NIAID, and led initiatives at Verily Life Sciences and Novome Biotechnologies. At the Gates Foundation, she leads strategic efforts to develop maternal microbiome- and food-based interventions to improve pregnancy outcomes and optimize neonatal microbiome and gastrointestinal health.

Dr. Anne-Marie Gloster is a food and nutrition expert. She is a faculty member at the University of Washington in the Food Systems, Nutrition, and Health Program. She specializes in teaching courses in Culinary Nutrition Science, which is a blend of culinary arts, food science, and nutrition. Her unique background, including work in clinical dietetics, recipe testing, menu development, and food systems management consulting, enrich her teaching and makes her classes engaging and practical. Dr. Gloster’s has taught a seminar course called Fermentation Sciences numerous times at UW and this makes her an ideal speaker for discussions on the gut microbiome and the health benefits of fermented foods. 

Missed the event? Dr. Gloster’s recommended forms referenced in the event can be found below

Meet our tasting partners

Gold Coast Ghal Kitchen is a Ghanaian-Liberian restaurant in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood. They source most ingredients locally and the rest from home, Ghana and Liberia, to keep to their authentic roots. 

Event Tasting Description: Gold Coast serves banku, a starch made from fermented maize and cassava flour. Pepper sauces, soups, or stews can accompany Banku. Gold Coast will serve banku with their house Liberian pepper sauce and shito, a chili and shrimp sauce.

Check out Gold Coast Ghal Kitchen’s banku recipe.

InFerment Studio, founded in 2013 by Hadar Iron, specializes in functional and sculptural kitchenware and tableware and is known for creating water-sealed fermentation vessels. Pieces are formed from stoneware clay and glazed with natural wood-ash glazes created in the studio using many materials sourced locally from the Pacific Northwest.

InFerment connects to the community through fermentation workshops that educate on the importance and cultural context of fermented foods, and how to make them.

Event Tasting Description: The studio will be providing a taste of light and refreshing kefir, an ancient naturally fermented beverage.

Check out Inferment’s kefir recipe.

OHSUN Banchan Deli & Cafe is a Korean-American restaurant located in the historic Seattle neighborhood of Pioneer Square. They specialize in banchan and have a curated cafe menu that showcases traditional and new flavors of Korean home cooking.

Event Tasting Description: The banchan-featured food will be a spread of vegan fermented vegetables ranging from medium-spice cabbage kimchi to a savory jangajji pickle brine.

Check out OHSUN’s kimchi recipe.

Since 2008, OlyKraut has been crafting raw, organic sauerkrauts, pickles, and sipping brines in Olympia, Washington. We believe in growing a healthy regional food system and thriving, happy gut microbes and to do this, we use locally-sourced, nutritionally powerful ingredients and traditional preservation techniques and we never ferment in plastic. Our products are prepared by hand, naturally fermented, and kept alive and full of healthy probiotics. We build connections with local farmers by buying more local produce each year and love seeing these farms grow alongside our company. We also offer a line of kits for home fermenters under the brand name, OlyCultures by OlyKraut.  We hope to expand the accessibility of ferments and the joy of fermentation to a broader community.

Seeking Ferments is not your average beverage company! We’re all about creating delicious, gut-friendly fermented drinks with a twist—each bottle is brimming with farm-fresh fruits sourced straight from local farmers. At the heart of our mission is a deep commitment to sustainability, community empowerment, and sparking social change. We champion the growers, the environment, and your health, ensuring that every refreshing sip you take supports a vibrant, thriving community. Dive into a world of bold flavors and feel-good ethics with Seeking Ferments, where every drink is a toast to a better tomorrow!

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