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Books/Recipes: NOURISHING BROTH, Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD

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Books/Recipes:  April 14, 2015

NOURISHING BROTH

 

The “nourishing” genre of food/cookbooks has been enriched by one:  Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD’s NOURISHING BROTH.

You may recall that Sally Fallon Morell wrote NOURISHING TRADITIONS with Dr. Mary Enig, who fought the good fight to show how dangerous trans fats and vegetable oils are and how good for you saturated fats from healthy animals are.  And you may recall that Jennifer McGruther recently published NOURISHING KITCHEN and has a great web site that is a constant resource–as is the Weston A. Price Foundation’s web site.

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So, you cannot read this blog for long without knowing I am a big fan of and great believer in real, homemade bone broths.  Of course I ordered this new book anyway–and it is chock full of the science of bone broths, of why they are so good for us.  And, of course, the book tells you all the ins and outs of making bone broths and how to use them in all sorts of soups, stews, sauces, gravies, and so forth.

After reading the book, I have been defrosting my stored bone broths and heating a cup full for breakfast–instead of drinking tea.  I add raw milk and salt if needed, and am thinking of adding a beaten raw egg, such as you might find in a Chinese or Greek egg soup.  I am finding I have no need for coffee/tea after this gorgeous drink–one that feels good right down to my toes.  And look, ma, no sugar/honey in the morning.  Many cultures drink a hot bone broth soup for breakfast–while we are eating and feeding our children a nutrient nightmare of sugared cereal.  It didn’t take me but one morning to realize what I had been missing.

One of the many things that Morell and Daniel point out is that with the advent of fake bouillon cubes (which have no meat in them and are the beginning of the dangerous excitotoxin MSG), we lost the nourishment we were getting from bone broths that were the base of much of the food we ate.  Bone broths build…bones.  Bone broths are full of gelatin (if made right) and lots of minerals and good fats–all mixed up in a hearty hot broth.

So, in a restaurant, if you encounter a “homemade soup,” ask if the soup is made from bones/meat in the kitchen or if a “base” is used.  Avoid the base soup as it is all made from fake products.

Here’s a little video of Kaayla T. Daniels talking about bone broths and bones:

“Bone Broth” Builds Bone Not Because of Calcium.

Turkey Tracks: Soaking Nuts

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Turkey Tracks:  July 23, 2014

Soaking Nuts

 

All nuts and seeds need to be soaked, sprouted, or fermented in order to get rid of the awesome chemical packages they carry to protect themselves from being eaten before they can sprout and grow.  Some of these chemicals are phytates, and phytates can seriously inhibit your body’s ability to keep or use the minerals it takes in.

When I mention “soaking nuts” before eating them, the listener’s eyes glaze over, and I get slotted into the category of “weird woman.”

But, you know, it isn’t hard to soak nuts.  And they are delicious afterwards.

Here’s a bowl of walnuts soaking in my kitchen the other day:

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Basically you just cover the nuts with water and add some salt.  I used two tablespoons for this lot

After soaking for from 12-24 hours, I scoop them out and dry them in the dehydrator–which does not take all that long.

I put them in a Mason jar and they keep for a long time.  Now I have an asset to use as my heart desires.  All for less than 10 minutes of real work.

These are WALNUTS, which need to be refrigerated, so into the frig they went.

Not all nuts need refrigeration.  And some nuts, like cashews, need only about 6 hours of soaking–or they get mooshy, would be my guess.

For more information on good-food practices, I cannot recommend highly enough getting a copy of NOURISHING TRADITIONS, by Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig, both of The Weston A. Price Foundation.

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July 23, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Turkey Tracks: Making and Eating Jennifer McGruther’s Vanilla Mint Ice Cream

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Turkey Tracks:  June 21, 2014

Making and Eating Jennifer McGruther’s Vanilla Mint Ice Cream

 

I am making Jennifer McGruther’s Vanilla Mint Ice Cream today.

If you have not heard about McGruther’s new book THE NOURISHED KITCHEN–or discovered her outstanding web site http://www.nourished kitchen.com–you are in for a treat.

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This homemade ice cream recipe uses real mint leaves, a vanilla bean, real cream, egg yolks, and so forth.  Here’s the url to Jennifer’s web site and this recipe.

Vanilla Mint Ice Cream — Nourished Kitchen.

I can’t wait to try the finished ice cream.  My cream mixture is upstairs cooling its heels in the refrigerator right now.

I’m not at all sure I had enough mint–when chopped it didn’t make a full cup.  I have had mint from my Georgia grandmother’s garden for over 40 years now–and brought the mint from Virginia to Maine when we moved ten years ago.  I almost lost it this winter, but have discovered a few sprigs coming along.  Thank heavens as this mint is unlike most I’ve seen–it’s really strong and full of flavor.  It used to be my job when I was little to run out to the garden to get sprigs of this mint for the iced sweet tea at dinner time–the main meal served at noon when we were at my grandmother’s.  For today, I supplemented with a package of mint from the store, and it was very disappointing as I think its “oomph” was long gone.   I also think I needed TWO packages…

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The long black strand is a vanilla bean cut in half and ready to go into the warmed cream.  You know, somehow I’ve never actually used a vanilla bean.  The smell in the kitchen after it steeped in the warm cream was…awesome!

I get local honey by the half-gallon, and it’s used as the sweetener.  There is no danger of using laundered, fake honey if you find your local bee keepers.  A recent story I ran across said that about 75 percent of the honey in grocery stores is laundered honey.  (See earlier blog posts on this subject.)  If you are buying honey in a store, look for these claims on the label:  raw, UNHEATED, and a geographical area that is inside the USA.  Be especially cautious if the honey comes from South America.

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Here’s my cream–after heating, it’s ready for the infusing ingredients, and after steeping, it will be strained and cooled.  Isn’t it the loveliest color?  It comes from local Jersey cows.  Wait until I add my egg yolks, which are soy free and a rich, deep color.

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I’m also adding a heaping Tablespoon of arrowroot powder as it’s good for you and helps make the ice cream even smoother.  That’s a trick I learned from Sally Fallon Morell, the recipe developer in the classic book NOURISHING TRADITIONS–a genre from which Jennifer McGruther draws, most likely, her title and nutrient-dense whole foods inspiration.

Hmmm.  Should I top this ice cream with a tiny bit of chocolate sauce???

YES!  And it was delicious!

So, see, making home made ice cream is not hard–especially when you have such a beautiful recipe.  Best of all, YOU control the ingredients and will be giving your family a nutrient-dense food that is beyond delicious as a special treat!!!

THANKS, JENNIFER McGRUTHER!

 

Books, Documentaries, Reviews: Jennifer McGruther’s THE NOURISHED KITCHEN

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Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  April 29, 2014

 

The Nourished Kitchen

Jennifer McGruther

 

WOW!

Here’s a terrific new cookbook that’s playing off of Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig’s book Nourishing Traditions.  Morell and Enig are part of The Weston A. Price Foundation organization.

 

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My friend Rose Thomas, aka “Chicken Rose” to my family as there are others named Rose in my life, dropped by the other day for a cup of tea.  I told her that I had just gotten a really nice new cookbook, and as soon as I picked it up to show her, she said “I just got it too.  On my Kindle.”  But she had a lot of fun actually holding the book in her hands and said so.

So, it’s a book that’s “in the wind” on a number of whole-foods sites.

The author is from Colorado–in the mountains–and seems to have a kind of rural setting.  So there are discussions of foraging for strawberries, wild greens, and cooking wild game.  We might not be able to get elk, but we can get deer and rabbit here in Maine. And our berry gardens are superb.

There’s a terrific chapter on cooking and fermenting ancient grains.  And a resource section that tells where to buy them.

There’s an exciting chapter on fermented foods–with some exciting combinations of ingredients.

Indeed, what’s piquing my interest the most are the different combinations this cook is using in her every day foods.

The section on desserts have some healthy, interesting, delicious looking combinations.

This one is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

PS:  Those are salt-preserved Meyer lemons on the cover–an “asset” I keep in my refrigerator all the time.  I cover with a film of olive oil that is delicious drizzled over any kind of baked fish.  A  tablespoon of the chopped lemon and oil put into smashed potatoes with butter adds a delicious sparkle to the mixture.

Books, Documentaries, Reviews: Sally Fallon Morell’s Thumbs Down Review of Robb Wolf’s THE PALEO SOLUTION

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Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  January 28, 2014

Sally Fallon Morell’s Thumbs Down Review

of

Robb Wolf’s THE PALEO SOLUTION:  THE ORIGINAL HUMAN DIET

 

In the fall 2013, in Wise Traditions, the journal of The Weston A. Price Foundation, Sally Fallon Morell gives Robb Wolf’s version of the Paleo diet a THUMBS DOWN.

Why?

Here’s Morel’s summation:

The fact is, while The Paleo Solution diet contains plenty of meat, it is just another version of food puritanism–a diet so lean, dry and deficient that it is impossible to follow and bound to lead to health problems.  No “paleolithic” or traditional culture ever ate this way, and we shouldn’t either.”

One problem Morell has is that Wolf, while saying that saturated fat has been demonized, stresses monounsaturated fats and LEAN meat–which can lead to something called “rabbit starvation“–characterized by, writes Morell, “muscle wasting, lethargy, diarrhea and eventually death if one relied too heavily on lean game animals such as rabbits”–which is what Morell claims Wolf’s diet does.  

Morell notes that Artic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, who described rabbit starvation, noted that “primative peoples never ate lean meat”:  “according to Stefansson, the diet of the Eskimo and North American Indian did not exceed 20 percent protein, with the remaining 80 percent of calories, as fat.”  (Wolf cites Stefansson’s work.)

Saturated fat is where the fat soluble vitamin A resides.  Morell writes:  “Our bodies need saturated fat in large amounts–to build cell membranes (which need to be at least 50 percent saturated to work properly) and to support hormone formation and the immune system.”

Morell notes that there are two major dangers with Wolf’s “Paleo” diet.  First, the  high protein content and the recommended 2,000 to 5,000 IU of Vitamin D daily can rapidly deplete vitamin A in the body–which sets in place a serious health situation.  Second, the deficiency of saturated fat combined with low consumption of carbohydrates means the body cannot use carbohydrates to compensate for the lack of saturated fats.

Morell claims that Wolf’s stance on grains and nuts/seeds is inconsistent.  Grains are not ok, but nuts/seeds are–based on Wolf’s understanding of the role of palmitic acid.  Yet both grains and nuts/seeds contain palmitic acid writes Morell.  And she undertakes a very nuanced discussion of palmitic acid that more or less refutes Wolf’s claims that it is dangerous.  (Recent research also refutes the connection of palmitic acid and heart disease.)

Nor can Morell find a problem with raw milk or dairy from raw milk–which Wolf forbids.  Morell sites a number of nomadic people who thrive on dairy–an argument I’ve always found persuasive.

Wolf claims lacto-fermented foods contain too much salt and are not worth the hassle–which I’m sure represents a misunderstanding of these super foods.

So….

I personally liked–as I wrote some time back–Wolf’s attempts at showing how nomadic paleo peoples fared better healthwise than settled agricultural peoples.  And, like Luise Light’s work, I think we are eating waaaayyyy too many grains every day.   And there may be a problem with modern wheat.  But there are a lot of other grains…  We do need to prepare them properly.

I like the focus Paleo Diets have put on eating traditionally–as many of the traditional foods have been demonized or lost.  Since moving to Maine and getting back in touch with traditional foods, I have held a place for saturated fats, raw dairy, fermented foods, and good meats in my diet.  I also eat a lot of vegetables, avoiding the starchier ones except as treats, and I have a genetic gluten intolerance gene, so do better avoiding gluten.  And when I eat too many gluten-free substitutes, my joints start hurting.

As I’ve written before, when a group starts to take a diet out of its context (macrobiotic, Mediterranean, Paleo), not all of the parts translate–and we just get an Americanized version that’s something new again.  What Wolf has done is to not really lose his fear of fat…

Morell takes on a client  Wolf describes:  Charlie, who is trying to follow Wolf’s diet, but is listless.  What does he need to eat?  Charlie is suffering from rabbit starvation on Wolf’s diet, writes Morell.  And,

The truth is, his diet is terrible.  Desperate for fats, his body craves sugar.  His paleo diet has depleted him of vitamin A, needed for mental function and the formation of stress and sex hormones.  Poor Charlie needs more than blackout curtains [for dark, to sleep]–he needs rich, nourishing foods including butter, cream, bone broths, properly prepared grains, organ meats and cod liver oil.  Raw whole milk before bedtime is a wonderful, soothing food to induce sleep.  Calcium and tryptophan in milk help the body manufacture sleep-inducing melatonin–but Wolf insists we can get all the calcium we need from vegetables and fruit.

There’s more, of course.  If you’re interested, you can read the review for yourself.

http://www.westonaprice.org/thumbs-down-reviews/the-paleo-solution-byrobb-wolf

Turkey Tracks: Lacto-Fermenting Project

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Turkey Tracks:  December 7, 2013

Lacto-Fermenting Project

 

I got it into my head that I needed to make a good bit of lacto-fermented foods right away.

Thursday saw me buying a huge bag full of cabbages (red and white), leeks, turnips, rutabegas, and parsnips.  I already had a big bag carrots.  And the garden is full of kale.

Veggies to Lactoferment

Here’s the spread:

Veggies on counter

And the kale from the garden.  I also brought in handfuls of the last of the sage, which is a bit more winter hardy than the other herbs:

Kale from garde

On Friday, I started food processing.  I had two projects:  to make a new batch of the root veggies I LOVED over the past few months.  The first batch was just turnips, carrots, garlic, and sage.  This batch would have also parsnips (very sweet) and rutabegas and red onion.

I don’t know how to describe the taste of this turnip mixture.  It does not taste like turnip.  It does have a bright, fresh taste that is delightful–much as Sandor Ellis Katz promised in his book WILD FERMENTATION.

The second project was some mixtures of cabbage (red and white), leeks, onions when I ran out of leeks, kale, carrot, one had a turnip, more garlic, and sage.  I decided to do at least two mixtures of just cabbage, carrot, and caraway seeds–the traditional mixture from NOURISHING TRADITIONS (Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig of The Weston A. Price Foundation) with which I started this journey.

The project went rather well:

Lactofermented veggies, 4 gallons

There is a gallon of fermented cabbage in the crock.  I transferred it to jars this morning.  So I have almost 4 gallons of delicious food.

The orange is the root veggie mixture.  The cabbage mixtures will turn bright rosy pink in a few days–from the red cabbage effect.

The kitchen was a mess when I was done.  (You should have seen the floor.)

veggies, kitchen wipeout

But it cleaned up quickly as no grease was involved:

Kitchen clean-up

Hint:  the jars will be so pretty with a red ribbon and a Christmas Card attached, don’t you think?

Shhhhhh…..

And I’m not giving away the big root veggie jar or the jar with the hinge.  They’re for ME!!

Interesting Information: Sugar and Inflammation

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Interesting Information:  November 22, 2013

Sugar and Inflammation

Ellen Davis promotes ketogenic diets, which is a diet where fats provide most of the calories.  She has an article in the July/August 2012 issue of Well Being Journal entitled “Ketogenic Diets:  A Key to Excellent Health” (20-23).  Davis supports the ketogenic diet because she used it to reverse her own metabolic syndrome and to regain her health.  In the process, she lost over 80 pounds.  Her web site is www.healthy-eating-politics.com.  (I’ve written about metabolic syndrome in the essays on this blog.)

I am drawn to more of a balanced diet approach–as long as there are not digestive issues.  If there are digestive issues, then one needs to eat in a healing way for some time.  This ketogenic diet is very like Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s GAPS protocol–which has a lot of good science and clinical practice results behind it.  (GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and there are essays on this blog about GAPS.)

I do think that most Americans are eating way, way too many carbs–that their eating so many carbs is out-of-balance and is causing chronic disease.  (This statement does not address, also, the toll that toxic poisons in and on American foods, takes.)

And I do think that eating a lot of carbs is causing inflammation in the body–which is one root cause of disease.  For instance, Davis points out that a bagel “breaks down into about sixteen teaspoons of sugar in the bloodstream” (21).  So if you are going to eat one, be sure to put a lot of cream cheese or butter on it to help cut the sugar load–just as you would with a baked potato.  And remember that the cream cheese or the butter is not going to make you fat, but that the bagel will because it turns to sugar in your system.

Davis writes that “oxidative stress is what causes metal to rust, and cooking oils to go rancid when exposed to the air.”  This oxidative stress “can create molecules called reactive oxygen species, or ROS.  These molecules, commonly called free radicals, are chemically reactive and can damage internal cellular structures” (21)

She writes that “if inflammation is present, excessive amounts of ROS are created and overwhelm the cell’s defenses, causing accelerated damage and eventually cell death.  This is why inflammation is linked with so many types of disease processes.”

So, food choices are very important, says Davis:  “…high-carbohydrate foods provide much more glucose than the human body can handle efficiently.  Blood glucose is basically liquid sugar, and if you have ever spilled fruit juice or syrup on your hands, you know how sticky it can be.  In the body, this stickiness’ is called glycation.”  The process of glycation starts a chain of events that increases inflammation and creates “substances called advanced glycation-end-products (AGEs)”–which “interfere with cellular function, and are linked to the progression of many disease processes, including Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and autism.”  The “higher the blood sugar, the more serious the damage” (21).  And I wonder if there is a connection between inflammation in the body and the start of cancer–which may get a toehold when the immune system is overloaded.

Davis quotes Ron Rosedale, MD, from his book Burn Fat, Not Sugar to Lose Weight:

“Health and lifespan are determined by the proportion of fat versus sugar people burn throughout their lifetime.  The more fat that one burns as fuel, the healthier the person will be, and the more likely they will live a long time.  The more sugar a person burns, the more disease ridden and the shorter a lifespan a person is likely to have.”

While I am always leery of MDs who are writing about nutrition–since most have had no nutritional training whatsoever–what Rosedale is saying about fat being healthy is a fit with Dr. Mary Enig’s stance on fat in Eat Fat, Lose Fat, written with Sally Fallon Morell, both of The Weston A. Price Foundation.  Dr. Enig is an internationally recognized expert on dietary fats, and I have written about her work in many places on this blog.

And Rosedale’s statement is a fit with Gary Taube’s work on the hormonal conditions caused by eating too many carbs, in Why We Get Fat.

So, there you have it…

Some interesting information…

Turkey Tracks: How to Feed Your Gut

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Turkey Tracks:  October 15, 2013

How to Feed Your Gut

 

More and more information is appearing daily about the importance of keeping your gut healthy.

You may recall from other postings on this blog that I compromised my gut health over the years–and have paid a pretty hefty price for doing so.  It turns out that I have a genetic sensitivity to gluten–tested by a reputable lab sanctioned by the government with a fecal test.  (Blood tests don’t often catch these kinds of food allergies.)  The hefty price is that when I harmed my gut by eating gluten and other foods that let the opportunistic gut flora and fauna we all carry get out of control–read sugars and too many carbs here–they perforated the walls of my gut and food particles began to escape into my bloodstream–which, in turn, created conditions where my body thinks it is being attacked and produces a classic histamine reaction.  My blood pressure drops, I lose all muscle control, and I pass out and have to be hauled off to the hospital where I recover in time.  It takes days to get my brain fully functioning again.

This falling domino sequence did not happen overnight.  It took years.  And I ignored all the warning signs:  reactions to red wine, allergic runny nose and sneezing after eating a food my body did not like, irritable bowel reactions that could strike without warning, the yo-yo effect of constipation followed by diarrhea, weight gain, and on and on.  I didn’t stop until I started passing out and my list of foods that would set off the reaction began to grow and grow until I was afraid to eat anything for fear of setting off an attack.

You can’t take a pill to “fix” this kind of thing.  The only way out is to heal your gut.  And to do that, you have to stop eating any kind of processed food and to start eating nutrient dense whole clean foods that nourish your body.

So, guess what is one of the very best things you can do?  Eat lots of lacto-fermented foods EVERY DAY at EVERY MEAL.  This food has more probiotics and enzymes than any probiotic product you can buy in a store.  Lacto-fermented foods are changed in ways that make them even better than they were when raw.  It’s how people used to store foods before canning and freezing came along.  And, note that canning kills foods and freezing is an energy drain.  I reserve freezing real estate for things like meat, local fruit, and roasted tomatoes, where it takes many tomatoes roasted down to fill a pint jar.

But, first, let me explain that “lacto” is from the wild ingredient that lives in the air, lactobacillus.  Cultured milk products also contain lactobacillus, so that’s where you might have first heard that term.  And I learned all that and how to make sauerkraut first from The Weston A. Price Foundation’s Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig’s book NOURISHING TRADITIONS (a must have in your library).  Then, I built on that knowledge after a few  years with Sandor Ellis Katz’s book WILD FERMENTATION.

Katz was the Maine Organic Farmers’ and Gardners’ Association keynote speaker at the Common Ground Fair this past September.  He has a new book out that is more comprehensive than WILD FERMENTATION.  The new book, I think it’s called THE ART OF FERMENTATION, includes fermenting meats–like corning beef, for instance–which is something I really want to try.

Thus, Katz was in our region, and that sparked other programs on lacto-fermentation.  One such was given by Ana M. Antaki at the Belfast Library–and Margaret Rauenhorst and I went.

Here’s Margaret outside the library–we got to the program a bit early.  Belfast had all sorts of clever benches done by various local artists and placed all over town.

lacto-ferm, Margaret, Belfast library

Margaret is important here because her recipes differ a little from mine–and it’s important to realize that there are different ways to lacto-ferment foods.  For instance, I first learned to lacto-ferment cabbage into something we call sauerkraut (which bears little resemblance to cooked cabbage that’s fermented) from NOURISHING TRADITIONS–the excellent book from Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig of The Weston A. Price Foundation.  That recipe uses some whey drained from yogurt along with a bit of salt, whereas Katz does not use whey.  And Margaret, who does not refrigerate her sauerkraut at all, says the whey makes it go softer quicker.

And Ana Antaki uses glass jars with a bailer and rubber seal (Fido jars) to lacto-ferment, whereas Katz uses mostly crocks.  Ana likes the bialers and seals as she says they let out gasses that form but do not let in outside air.  I use, in addition to jars with rubber seals and bailers (FIDO jars) and crocks, half-gallon Mason jars because that’s what I have on hand and because I have the refrigerator room to store them so they stay cool.  The crocks require a bit more attention to keeping liquid levels high enough.  The Mason jars maybe need to have the gases inside let out from time to time if the jars are in places that are not cool enough.   I do have questions about the glass Fido jars not letting in enough “wild” organisms not so much to help ferment the foods, but to let even more of the “wild” of nature do even more work.

Ana and her husband Roy put up ALL of their produce from their Weeping Duck Farm every year using methods like lacto-fermentation and dehydration.  They do not buy any fresh produce all winter.  And it’s important to realize that the food inside the jars/crocks stays as fresh and bright as the day you put it into the container.  Ana has kept lacto-fermented jars for as long as five years before eating the contents.

Lacto-fermentation takes only two ingredients:  salt (real sea salt please) and water (no added fluoride or chlorine).  How simple is that?

And there are two methods:  one for foods you want to cut or grate into small pieces and one for foods you can preserve in larger chunks.

Both methods could not be simpler to make and are delicious.

Sauerkraut and Sauerruben (a mixture of grated root veggies) put grated veggies into a bowl.  One then adds salt and whatever spices or herbs one wants.  (Ana adds less salt than Katz, but Katz says to use salt to your own taste.  Ana adds 3 tablespoons of sea salt to about 5 pounds of veggies.)  NOURISHING TRADITIONS adds 4 tablespoons of whey dripped out from yogurt and 1 tablespoon of salt.  (I don’t know if the whey from commercial, processed yogurt would work–it is a dead food.)

Here’s a bowl of grated cabbage with bits of carrot–you could also fine-cut the cabbage with a knife.

Lacto fermented cabbage started

I started using a pestle to bruise the cabbage enough until it started rendering its liquid–until I saw a 6-minute video Katz put on utube that showed him using his hands to squeeze the cabbage.  That seemed to work a bit better.

Once the cabbage renders enough liquid, one just packs it into a jar and lets it sit.  I turn mine upside down a few times a day and refrigerate it after a few days as that slows down the fermenting action.  I still use 4 tablespoons of whey and maybe only one tablespoon of salt, but I don’t stress about it.  I add things like some caraway seeds.  Garlic is good in anything.  You could add some herbs from the garden.  Use what sounds good to YOU.

You can start to eat any of these foods after a few days.  But the longer they ferment, the more they “develop” interesting flavors that are richer and deeper.  Refrigeration slows the reactions.

Here’s the sauerkraut packed into a jar:

Lacto fermented cabbage

After after a few days, I was able to put the contents of the half-filled jar into the full one…

If you use a crock, you need a plate you can push down over the top of the veggies  to make the liquid rise and cover them–and a weight to keep it pushed down–like a Mason jar filled with water–and a clean dish towel or cheesecloth over the top–tied around so fruit flies that are very present this time of year don’t get inside.  You want this food to be able to breathe.

The other method involves cutting up veggies, adding spices and or herbs (I put whole garlic cloves into everything as it is a great immune builder–and I eat them as I go along) and pouring some brine over the mixture until the jar is full.  Ana uses wooden popsicle sticks pushed down into the neck of her jars to keep the liquid covering the food–and that works really well.

The brine is simple–you can mix in 3 tablespoons of sea salt to one liter of water.  Katz uses about 6 tablespoons for about 8 cups and replenishes evaporated liquid with a mixture of 1 tablespoon salt to one cup of water.  You just put the salt into cold water, stir it around, and pour it over the veggies.

Here are my mixed veggies:

lacto-fermented mixed veggies 2

This batch has eggplant cut into chunks, carrots, beans, salad turnips, green peppers, red peppers, and so forth.  Green beans are delicious done this way.  And, of course, Katz has a recipe for New York garlicky pickles that is delicious!  I can’t get enough of them.

It’s wise to always put a fresh jar/crock into a pan or a container so that if there is overflow, it won’t ruin anything.  Especially with the crocks and especially if they are fullish.  With the jars, you will see bubbles rise to the neck of the jar and when you see a ring of bubbles–or bubbles rising if you pick up the jar and shake it–you know all is well.  Again, putting a jar into a cool place slows the reactions.

Remember that the veggies are in an acid environment–so will not go bad.  And remember if using a crock, it’s entirely normal for the top of the liquid to “bloom” with white bits and blue bits.  Just skim those off.  They don’t hurt anything any more than the white and blue bits in blue cheese.  It’s normal.  It’s WILD.

I just tasted a crock I did two weeks ago of grated turnips (about 4 pounds) and carrots (1 pound)–with added sage from the garden.  It is DELICIOUS!  It has no “turnipy” taste at all–is just clear and fresh and lovely.  I’m going to transfer it to a glass jar and think about doing it again and adding in some parsnips…  And, maybe, rutabega as I have some.  I might have grated in some Daikon radish and I did add garlic…   How healthy is that?

So, here’s a picture of the New York garlicky pickles this summer–lots of garlic, grape leaves to keep the pickles crisp, some peppercorns, and fresh dill:

Sour Pickes in crock

And a summer favorite–a bacon, lettuce, tomato (from your garden), slivered onion sandwich with homemade mayo and with a pickle on the side:

Sour Pickles

Interesting Information: A Horror Story

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Interesting Information:  September 24, 2014

A Horror Story

I can tell this story now that my niece (and namesake) has delivered her beautiful second son and is home safely.

To tell this story before this event would have scared my niece to death.  Though she had chosen to use a midwife and to have her son in a birthing center, the birth still took place in a hospital.  And hospitals are not places one wants to be in these days.

Heather Ann (Woodward) Nichols, 29, grew up in Owls Head and Rockland.  She met husband Matt in Portland, and they married int he spring of 2011.  Heather went to one of our best state hospitals to have her first baby in early August.

The baby’s room was all ready, the couple was so excited about the birth of their first child, and the birth apparently went well.  Heather had an episiotomy during the birth process.  Heather went home with her daughter, Ruby Ann, and in a matter of hours, starting experiencing a lot of pain.  She went back to the hospital and died a few days later.  She had picked up a flesh-eating bacteria through the episiotomy–A Streptococcus, or necrotizing fasciitis.  These bacterias LIKE living in hospitals.

NPR’s Diane Rehm has had many programs on the overuse of antibiotics over the many years I’ve listened to her radio show.  She had another one last week (September 2013).  But, the herbalist Stephen Harrod Buhner says that it’s way too late now to try to cut back on the heavy use of antibiotics–most of which are used on the animals in our food supply–to promote growth in overcrowded conditions.  The barn door is already open, and we can’t go back.  Worse, there are no magic drugs in the pipeline that can control the super pathogens that we now face.

Herbal Antibiotics

Here’s a quote from Buhner’s HERBAL ANTIBIOTICS (13-14):

The thing that so many people missed, including my ancestors, is that all life on Earth is highly intelligent and very, very adaptable.  Bacteria are the oldest forms of life on this planet and they have learned very, very well how to respond to threats to their well-being.  Among those threats are the thousands if not millions of antibacterial substances that have existed as long as life itself.

One of the crucial understandings that those early researchers ignored, though tremendously obvious now (only hubris could have hidden it so long), is that the world is filled with antibacterial substances, most produced by other bacteria, as well as fungi and plants.  Bacteria, to survive, learned how to respond to those substances a long time ago.  Or as Steven Projan of Wyeth Research puts it, bacteria “are the oldest of living organisms and thus have been the subject to three billion years of evolution in harsh environments and therefore have been selected to withstand chemical assault.”

What makes the problem even more egregious is that most of the antibiotics originally developed by human beings came from fungi, fungi that bacteria had encountered a very long time ago.  Given those circumstances, of course there were going to be problems with our antibiotics.  Perhaps, perhaps, if our antibiotic use had been restrained, the problems would have been minor.  But it hasn’t been; the amount of pure antibiotics being dumped into the environment is unprecedented in evolutionary history.  And that has had tremendous impacts on the bacterial communities of Earth, and the bacteria have set about solving the problem they face very methodically.  Just like us, they want to survive, and just like us, they are very adaptable.  In fact, they are much more adaptable than we ever will be.

What does the overuse of antibiotics look like?  Buhner quantifies the overuse in this way (7):

In 1942 the world’s entire supply of penicillin was a mere 32 liters (its weight? about 64 pounds).  By 1949, 156,000 pounds a year of penicillin and a new antibiotic, streptomycin (isolated from common soil fungi) were being produced.  By 1999–in the United States alone–this figure had grown to an incredible 40 million pounds a year of scores of antibiotics for people, livestock, research, and agricultural plants.  Ten years later some 60 million pounds per year of antibiotics were being used in the United States and scores of millions of pounds more by other countries around the world.  Nearly 30 million pounds were being used in the United States solely on animals raised for human consumption.  And those figures?  That is per year.  Year in, year out.

Buhner also notes that most of these antibiotics pass through animals and are excreted into the various waste stream systems where THEY NEVER GO AWAY.  And, “hospital-acquired resistant infections, by conservative estimates, are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.  And that doesn’t even include the death toll from infectious diseases in general, the same infectious diseases that were going to be eradicated by the year 2000 (11).

Buhner argues in HERBAL ANTIBIOTICS that our only solution is to return to plant-based medicinal strategies.  This book is daunting in its scope.  I feel like I did when I first started reading NOURISHING TRADITIONS with all its information and new ways of handling food.  But, by now I have waded deeply into traditional food ways and into sourcing local foods and into thinking about and researching alternative medical strategies.  So, I will begin with baby steps with finding ways to use herbal antibiotics–remembering that all the most powerful medicines are located in plants, which themselves organize through chemicals.  That would lead to Buhner’s THE LOST LANGUAGE OF PLANTS, which was an eye-opener for me and which I will write about in a separate post.

And, what can we do about this very serious problem of antibiotic resistant diseases–which are part and parcel of ALL the superbugs we have created with our greedy and stupid practices that have ignored the powerful interconnectedness of nature?

Stay out of hospitals if at all possible.  I, for instance, am done with getting blood tests unless I need one because I’m sick.

If you are pregnant, watch the excellent documentary THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN.  You will be shocked to discover how much of pregnancy and birth in the United States has been colonized by practices located in making money, rather than in practices grounded in science.  And, yes, I will write a separate posting on this documentary.  For the moment, note that something like 85 percent of births across the rest of the world are overseen by midwives–and the survival rates are much higher than those in the US.  Note, too, that most OB/GYNs have NEVER SEEN a natural live birth.  These doctors are highly trained surgeons, and we are so lucky to have them if trouble develops, but have them attend normal births is a super, and expensive, overkill.  So, do some research on your own.  Learn for yourself what the issues are.  And make your birth choices not out of fear, but out of knowledge–like my niece recently did.

Mainely Tipping Points 45: Part II: How Soy Got Into Our Food Chain

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Mainely Tipping Points 45:  December 13, 2012

Part II:  How Soy Got Into Our Food Chain

 

Part II of this series on Soy explores how soy got into the human food chain.  As established in Part I, the expert I rely on for soy information is Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN, the author of THE WHOLE SOY STORY:  THE DARK SIDE OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE HEALTH FOOD (2005).  Daniel’s credentials show her to be an outstanding nutritionist and her extensive research on soy makes her an expert.  All quotes are from this text. 

 

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Soy is a powerhouse in terms of the potent chemicals its beans contain.  For instance, soy is one of more than 300 plants that contain phytoestrogens, which stop reproduction.  Yet soy is the only one of these plants humans eat.  Besides phytoestrogens, soy contains many more powerful chemical components which are dangerous for humans unless they can be mediated in some way first.  Indeed, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists soy on its Poisonous Plant Database (31).    

 It is true, Daniel writes, that the ancient Chinese “valued the soybean as a national treasure” and honored it with the name “ `the yellow jewel.’ “The soybean, though it is not a grain, is one of the Five Sacred Grains, alongside rice, millet, barley, and wheat.  But, the ancient Chinese did not eat the soybean.  They used it as a green manure to fix nitrogen in the soil (9).

 The Chinese began to eat soybeans “no earlier than about 2500 years ago.”  They fermented soybeans as they “remain toxic after ordinary cooking….”  Fermentation tames the trypsin inhibitor that causes bloating and gas.  Miso paste, used to preserve meat and seafood, and soy sauce, the liquid produced in the production of miso, appeared first.  Natto appeared around 1000 AD, and tempeh appeared “no earlier than the 1600s.”  Thus, “claims that soybeans have been a major part of the Asian diet for more than 3000 years…are simply not true” (9-10). 

 Soy moved to Japan with the Chinese missionary priests “sometime between 540 and 552 AD.”  Japanese miso documentation first appears in 806 and 938 AD.  Tofu, which is a precipitated product, not a fermented one, appears about the same time and is called “the meat without the bone.”  Tofu “appeared regularly on monastery menus as an aid to spiritual development and sexual abstinence, a dietary strategy validated by recent studies showing that the plant-form of estrogens (called phytoestrogens) in soy can lower testosterone levels” (10-11).

 Tofu consumption spread “throughout China, Korea and Southeast Asia.”  By 700 AD tofu was “accepted as a meat or fish replacement, at least when pork, seafood and other preferred sources were unaffordable or unavailable.”  But, “except in areas of famine, tofu was served as a condiment, consumed in small amounts usually in fish broth, not as a main course.”  In truth, Asians, including the Japanese who eat the most soy, don’t eat more than 1.5 percent of their diets in soy.  And the Japanese, as has been shown in even recent studies, on average eat only about one tablespoon of soy a day (28).  Plus, the types of soy Asians eat are old-fashioned products like miso and tempeh, not commercial soy in products like “soy sausages, soy burgers, chicken-like soy patties, TVP chili, tofu cheesecake, packaged soymilk, or other of the ingenious new soy products that have infiltrated the American marketplace” (12-13).

 Soybeans probably came to Indonesia from trade with southern China trade around 1000 AD.  The Indonesians appear to have invented soy tempeh (fermented whole soy beans) as the “world’s earliest reference to tempeh manufacture occurs in the Serat Centini, a book published in 1815 on the orders of Sunan Sugih, Crown Prince of Central Java.  Indonesian tempeh became “known as food for the poor, even though people of all classes continued to consume it” (13).

 Asians “rarely—if ever—baked or boiled soybeans, ground them into flour, or roasted them to make nut-like snacks.”  Likely, these practices left diners with “a stomach ache or worse,” unlike the time-honored traditional techniques” for preparing soy.  Nor did Asians “press or crush great quantities of soybeans to extract soy oil,” so “they never faced the challenge of finding creative ways to use massive amounts of the leftover protein.”  What oil they did extract was used to light lamps, and the leftover protein “served as an excellent fertilizer” (14)

 Soy goes west as early as 17th century France, where soy sauce becomes a secret ingredient at court banquets.  Ben Franklin sent soybeans to America in 1770, but soy remained “a little-known commodity…for more than a century.”  It wasn’t until 1935 when soybeans were grown for food oil that its plantings “equaled those used for crop rotation”—to fix nitrogen in depleted soils (17).

 Early western soy proponents were John Harvey Kellogg, the breakfast cereal king; Artemy Alexis Horvath, PhD, who promoted soya flour in academic and popular fronts; Henry Ford, who thought soy plastics would be great in cars and who wore soybean-fiber ties to promote soy as a cloth; Adolf Hitler, who promoted whole-food vegetarianism; and Benito Mussolini, who wanted to make soy flour a “mandatory ingredient in the Italian staple polenta.”  By the 1950s and 1960s, the Communist Party in the Soviet Union” pushed soy protein and soy margarines as the solution to low-cost feeding of the masses…” (18-20).

 The U.S. soy industry has claimed that Asians, especially the Japanese, eat a lot of soy and have better heart health and fewer cancers that do North Americans.  But, as noted above, soy proponents in the west have had to admit that soy consumption in Asia is not as great as they advertised.  Further, the famous claims that Okinawans enjoy longevity due to soy-rich vegan diets have been debunked, and Daniel covers this issue thoroughly.  As with other Asians, Okinawans do eat small amounts of soy, but their diets include primarily meat, fish, and lard.  There seems also to be a genetic factor involved in Okinawan longevity (15-16).  And, as Sally Fallon Morell of The Weston A. Price Foundation notes in the introduction, the Japanese, who eat the most soy in Asia, and Asians in general, have higher rates of cancer of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, and liver than do North Americans (5). 

 What differs between how soy is viewed in the East and the West is that in the West soy “is a product of the industrial revolution—an opportunity for technologists to develop cheap meat substitutes, to find clever new ways to hide soy in familiar food products, to formulate soy-based pharmaceuticals, and to develop a plant-based, renewable resource that could replace petroleum-based plastics and fuels.”  Even today, “very few soybeans are sold for whole food products,” so that “the `good old soys’ of Asia—miso, tempeh and natto—thrive only in niche markets.”  The soy industry knows that “the big profits are not to be found in old-fashioned, funny-tasting foreign foods, but from splitting the `yellow jewel’ into two golden commodities—oil and protein” (21-22).

 Most soybean oil (97 percent in 1997), which is highly processed, goes into food products—salad and cooking oils, shortening, and margarine.  The protein was at first fed to “animals, poultry and, more recently, fish farms.”  But now, the soy industry “aggressively markets soy protein as a people feed as well”—so that “soy is now an ingredient in nearly every food sold at supermarkets and health food stores.”  And, the soy industry profits from soy waste products, like soy lecithin (used as an emulsifier), “protease inhibitors (digestive distressers sold as cancer preventatives), and isoflavones (plant estrogens promoted as `safe’ hormone therapy, cholesterol reducers, and cancer cures”) (21-23). 

 The soy industry has “Americanized soy around the globe”—running into trouble “only when Monsanto—the biotech bully boy”—pushed for acceptance of its genetically modified (GM) `Frankenstein’ soybeans” (27).  China is “now the world’s largest importer of U.S. soybeans” (30).  And, Asia is potentially a “huge market” for American-style imitation soy products (28).

 Next:  the difference between American industrial soy products and the old-fashioned “good old soys.”