BALM Protocol - Creating Bread to Nourish The Gut Microbiome
" Vanessa is the first baker to recognise the significance of the sourdough process as a way of increasing the bioavailability of prebiotics & and developing sourdough formulas specifically to support the gut microbiome." Dan Lepard, Baker & author of The Handmade Loaf. September 2017
Creating Healthier Bread to Support Optimal Gut Health - a unique perspective
This library includes the main gut studies that underpin BALM. This library is continually updated with emerging evidence on the effects of food additives and compounds in breadmaking on gut microbiome health. This is the evidence that supported the development of BALM formulas used in our social prescriptions, empowering clinical practitioners to prescribe precision nutrition through bread to their patients. Furthermore, it enables bakers to learn how to modify and create formulas that support gut health within their communities and manufacturing processes.
The BALM (Baking as Lifestyle Medicine) protocol is an evidence-based approach grounded in nutritional psychiatry that aligns with much of the research from Dan Buettner's Blue Zone studies. Rooted in Lifestyle Medicine, the protocol has been developed using a constructionist approach over three decades to support gut health optimally. The Protocol was developed initially specifically to nourish the gut microbiome but officially incorporated the Lifestyle Medicine in 2018
Vanessa Kimbell, the award-winning founder of The Sourdough School, has spent over two decades committed to teaching and developing the Baking As Lifestyle Medicine (BALM) protocol. This protocol focuses on gut microbiome-based baking and ingredient strategies for breadmaking, intending to reduce disease risk. Her dedicated work began after training as a baker in Southwest France, which was cut short due to a significant dose of Metronidazole in 1992, resulting in a diagnosis of gut dysbiosis. This sparked her exploration of the intricate relationship between grain, its cultivation, and the fermentation processes. Since then, Kimbell has instructed thousands of bakers on how to harness fermentation mechanisms to create delicious, healthful bread that supports both gut microbial health and regenerative farming practices.
In 2015/16, Professor Tim Spector identified the full extent of the damage to Vanessa's microbiome, which was key in supporting Vanessa in rebuilding her gut and the subsequent work.