Tag Archives: nutrient dense

Gut Matters – my new ebook!

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Well, I may not have posted as often as I’d hoped, but I’ve been squirreling away, working on my ebook!  This is a concise guide to soaking grains and pulses so that you get the most from them.  It’s called “Gut Matters:  Soaking Grains for Improved Digestion and Enhanced Nutrition”  and it’ll be launched towards the end of this month.

It explains why we should be soaking our grains and the benefits of doing so, and has some handy tables and recipes so you know exactly what to do.

All seeds contain phytic acid that protects them whilst they wait for the optimum time for germination – the seed contains alot of nutrition to nourish the seedling as it grows, and this is the nutrition we want to access too.  But it remains locked in if we don’t pre-treat the seed before cooking and eating.  Of course this doesn’t just apply to grains – pulses, nuts and seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds also need to be soaked.

So how do we know all this?  Well, there isn’t a host of scientific evidence, although there is a little, but for the most part, the evidence is in the health of the traditional groups from around the world who have practised soaking and fermenting grains and other seeds for millenia.  And for me, there is the story of improved digestion for me and my family, literally, overnight.

My family and I now really enjoy fermented grains more than soaked grains, and much more than those that haven’t been soaked at all.  Fermented grains are much easier to digest, and presumably that also means more of their nutrients are bioavailable.  With baking, the results, in my opinion, are superior to baking with unsoaked flour, as the end product is deliciously moist!  In “Gut Matters” as well as some sweet treat recipes, there are instructions for adapting recipes, so you don’t have to give up old favourites.

Remembering to soak your grains requires a bit of a mindshift, and for that reason I offer support in the form of coaching calls  just to get you started.  But either way, it just requires a bit more planning than you might be accustomed to.  And although it takes hours or even days to soak or ferment grains, these are not labour-intensive!  It takes just a minute or so to prepare the grains and leave them aside to soak, then once the required time has passed, cooking or baking takes no longer than usual.

You can pre-buy “Gut Matters” by contacting me in the comments below.

Deptford Kimchi

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Deptford Kimchi

This recipe is my interpretation of Sandor Elix Katz’s Fruit Kimchi, in Wild Fermentation (p 50). I call it Deptford Kimchi because I bought the exotic fruit on Deptford High Street, where there are many shops that reflect the ethnic diversity of the area. The ingredients are a list of possibilities, with a few must-haves: the basis of the recipe is cabbage, and as long as there is some spice it will be kimchi, and including fruit will make it fruit kimchi.

As for quantities, the balance of fruit and veg is about 50:50.  This ferment needs to be consumed much faster than all-vegetable ferments – because of the fruit, the sugar begins to turn to alcohol, which is a stage on from what we want.  Therefore, I use 1/2 a cabbage and eat it within a week after fermenting.  If you have more to share it with, by all means double the quantities.

Here goes:

1/2 white cabbage

1/2 an onion and/or 1/2 a leek – for variety, take some from the top and some from the bottom

1/2 a pepper (optional)

A selection of fruit, for example, mango, papaya, grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, ugli fruit, dragon fruit, physalis, grapes, pineapple, fresh or dried figs, fresh or dried dates, pomegranite, sharon fruit, you get the idea!

Note – I haven’t tried banana in this recipe but it hasn’t done well in water kefir.  And I’m wondering what melon would be like, so will try it and let you know.

A few cloves of garlic and/or a chunk of ginger, sliced or grated and/or 1 chilli, chopped

Other spices such as peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, star anise, cinnamon sticks – all optional

Unsalted cashew or other nuts (optional)

2-3 tbsp sea salt

 

Shred or grate the cabbage in a food processor.

Slice the remaining vegetables.

Chop the fruit – this enables you to have a selection of fruit in a serving, but you might prefer to have wedges or slices of fruit – experiment!

Put the fruit and veg into a large mixing bowl, add the nuts, garlic cloves/ginger/chilli, any other spices you’re using and the salt.

Mix gently, taking care with the fruit.

Transfer to a 1-1.5 litre kilner jar or other fermenting vessel.

Press the kimchi down to eliminate pockets of air, top up with filtered water, ensuring the water is about 2.5 cm/1″ above the level of the fruit and veg.

There are several options for keeping the kimchi beneath the top of the water.

1.  Press it down every day.

2.  Fill a food-grade plastic bag with water, tie a knot in the top and place on top of the kimchi.

3.  As 2.  above, but replace the water with clean stones, or a combination of water and stones.

4.  If your vessel has a wide enough mouth, insert a plate and hold it down with clean stones.

Leave the kimchi at room temperature for 1 week, I usually place my ferments on a tray initially just in case there is leakage.

Consume within one week – which really isn’t difficult!!!

 

 

Corn Cakes and Oat Cakes

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I used to love the convenience of ricecakes, corncakes and other crisp bread products – until I discovered that the baking method, called extrusion (cooking quickly at extremely high temperatures), denatures them, that is, they are stripped of their nutrients (1, 2, 3)

However, my children say these corn cakes taste better than the packaged crispy varieties!

Here’s the recipe:

2 cups organic maize meal

1 cup yogurt

1 pastured egg

sea salt

Mix the maize meal and yogurt together and leave covered in a warm place overnight or longer.*

Beat the egg and mix it with the soaked corn and salt to taste.

Form into balls and press onto a greased baking tray.

Bake at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-20 minutes, until just starting to go brown – if left longer they become too hard.  They should bend like a cake and break rather than snap like a biscuit.

To make oatcakes is even simpler.  Substitute rolled oats for maize meal and leave out the egg.  Soak for 7 hours or longer.

*I haven’t managed to find out how long corn should be soaked – some South American tribes used to soak corn for several weeks!  Sally Fallon recommends soaking it in lime water for 7 hours, after which she adds yogurt or another acid and soaks for a further 12-24 hours.  Traditionally corn is soaked in lime.  At first I thought this was lime juice, but it’s actually a pickling lime that isn’t readily available in the UK.  I have found it on ebay and amazon, but haven’t tried it yet as I’d like to research more about the source first.  The main benefit of soaking corn in lime water is that it releases vitamin B3.  But this only becomes an issue if corn is a staple in the diet (Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, p 454)

References

(1) Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions                                                                                                                           (2)http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/dirty-secrets-of-the-food-processing-industry/           (3)http://www.answers.com/topic/rice-cake-1 (I tried to check the references for this article but none of the links work.  I’ll update this information if I get any further)

Dairy-free, sugar-free ‘Chocolate’ Mousse

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It’s about time I added a dessert recipe to this blog, don’t you think!  I used to make a delicious mousse that included double cream, but one of my daughters finds the cream difficult to tolerate, so I have replaced it with avocado… The rest of us sometimes add a dollop of raw cream. Pictured above are the two versions of this that I serve – one with and one without egg white. This is a great way to get children eating raw eggs and avocado.

Ingredients (serves a family of 4)

1 avocado

2-3 (truly) free-range, organic eggs

1 banana (optional)

1-2 tsp raw honey, as local as you can get

half a vanilla pod

1-2 tsp carob powder (some brands have a more bitter taste, so the honey may need to be adjusted too)

A little sea salt  (this is purely for added minerals

Method

Separate the eggs – whites into a glass bowl, yolks into something tall.  Sometimes I use more yolks for added yellow goodness, for example 3 or 4 yolks and 2 whites, and save the remaining whites for making meringues or macaroons.  Scoop the avocado in with the yolks, add the carob powder, honey, optional banana, vanilla seeds (or replace with vanilla essence) and salt.

Using a hand blender (immersion blender for US readers!) whizz up the egg yolk and avo mixture till it’s really smooth.  I start it off on the lowest setting and then use the Turbo button. Taste and adjust the flavours if necessary.  Next whisk the egg whites till they stand in stiff peaks.  Finally fold the two mixtures together.  One of my daughters dislikes the airy texture of the mousse when it’s mixed with the egg whites, so I dish her mousse from the avocado mixture before combining the two.

Last Few Reviews of Books in the Spring E-Book Bundle Offer

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Good Morning!

In case you didn’t read yesterday’s very short post – the sale of  the 30 E-Book Bundle from Village Green Network has been extended, but only till midnight tonight, Wednesday, 24th April.  So here is the rest of what I have to say about it.  I’ve now glanced through or skim read all of the books in the Spring E-Book Bundle Offer from Village Green Network.  Overall, I think there are some good reads – obviously, with 30 books, not everything will be relevant to everyone, but on the whole the information, in my opinion, is sound, but I also have my criticisms, so read on for my summary.

Altogether there are 3 books about metabolism which I will definitely be going back to so I can find out more.  I’m sure I will use some of the recipes, though not all as some, for example, the egg-free are definitely not for us, and if I did have to prepare food for my family without eggs, I would avoid heating seeds as a substitute, and perhaps go for some of the raw treats that can be delicious and wholesome without using eggs (my next recipe can be adapted to be egg-free).  The recipes are useful to people seeking ideas for grain-free meals and especially treats, there are dairy-free options, and also some giving details of the proper preparation of grains for baking and other uses.  If you have an interest in the Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF), Paleo, Primal diets then these recipes could be useful.

Other highlights include ‘Nourished Baby’ by Helen Dessinger which details how to eat before, during and after pregnancy and how to wean your baby using WAPF principles;  ‘Get Your Fats Straight’ by Sarah Pope lived up to my expectations and explains all the whys and wherefores of healthy fats, including a history of how we got to where we are;  ‘Nourishing Our Children is an educational initiative of the San Francisco Chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation’ begins the e-book entitled ‘Nourishing our Children’ and again has WAPF advice for feeding children along with information about choices and things to avoid – this includes a section on soy, which I was pleased to see;  ‘Toxic-Free’ by Robin Konie gives more recipes for household cleaners and personal care.  ‘Real Food 101’ by Kendahl gives lots of recipes for the basics like buttermilk, not exciting but very useful if you’re just starting out, or want the basics all in one place.  ‘Real Food for Real Life: How to Eat Real Food Without Going Completely Crazy’ by Emily Benfit looks like (I haven’t read this one) a guide to switching from your current diet to one which incorporates Real Foods.  She seems to have an appealing style, I liked her photo in the introduction taken of a recipe in Sally Fallon’s ‘Nourishing Traditions’ which she found seriously off-putting – I too was rather overwhelmed when I first opened the pages of that book!  I like the look of ‘Your Custom Homestead’ by Jill Winger – I would probably refer to it as a Smallholding if I had one, but whatever you call it, Jill says Homesteading is a frame of mind rather than a place, so even if you live in a high-rise building, you can put some Homesteading principles into action.  ‘Skintervention’ is an in-depth look at skin health from what you eat to some product recommendations.  It includes the use of cheap, non-toxic products that you can find around your home, one I quickly looked at was a shampoo replacement which I can vouch for as I’ve been using it myself for about 2 years now.

I was disappointed to see in one of the books that soy milk is listed as a substitute for milk, even though a mild warning appeared below.  It seems slightly odd that all the authors aren’t singing from the same hymn sheet.  Despite the second half of the bundle having fewer recipe books, there do appear to be alot, and many of them are for treats which I for one wouldn’t be using as frequently.  There is one book which I really didn’t like.  It is aimed at educating children in real food, but assumes a particular method of education which I as a home-educator don’t subscribe to!  The information appears good, and so I might use it as a reference, but it’s not something I would give to my children for study.  In my opinion, children learn about real food from the examples around them, the food they’re presented with and from being a part of the process – shopping at the local farmers’ market, growing plants, caring for animals, visiting farms and preparing food, rather than completing exercises in a book.

Now it’s up to you!  Click below or on the photos above to see the offer.  I hope my posts have been useful in helping you decide if this offer is for you.  I wanted to be clear and not hype it up – obviously I would be very happy for you to buy as I would benefit financially, but I would not be happy if you were disappointed in what you got, especially as there is no refund on this one.  So please use the information I’ve worked hard to provide before committing to anything.

http://villagegreennetwork.com/spring-e-book-bundle/?AFFID=115896

As I indicated above, these are affiliate links, so if you purchase, I benefit.  Thanks for reading and I hope it’s useful.

More Reviews of books in the Spring E-Book Bundle

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Matt Stone Diet Recovery 2 cover

Diet Recovery 2 by Matt Stone!  I didn’t look at this at first because I assumed it was something to do with weight-loss diets which have not interested me for a very long time, but when I realised it was by the same author as ‘Eat for Heat’ (which I reviewed yesterday), I was suddenly more interested.  For me, both books have new information, which I’m now beginning to get my head around – this book is for people who are confused or disappointed with diets, be they weight-loss or health.  In Matt’s words,

‘“Man I used to know everything about health and nutrition. But then I learned so much I hardly
know anything anymore.” [and]… “If you aren’t confused about health and nutrition then you haven’t
studied it long enough, or deeply enough.”’ (p 24)

Well, I recognise the feeling in both those statements!  Matt maintains that the important factor is raising metabolic rate and he describes what that looks like, how to tell if your rate is low and how to remedy that without medication or outside help.  Just like his other book, he calls for us to listen to our own bodies’ response.  For a long time I have wondered how, on the diet I was on, did I recover from ME/Chronic Fatigue about 10 years ago?  Perhaps the answer is that, without knowing it, I raised my metabolic rate – after years of freezing hands and feet and dry skin, these are no longer a problem.

This book is for perfectionists who realise being a perfectionist isn’t healthy!  What a relief to read:

“Even the act of flip-flopping the consumption of questionably healthy food from an anxiety-inducing
event filled with fear into one of sensory enjoyment is enough to completely reverse the health
outcome of that meal.” (p 30)

I haven’t read any further than there, but am looking forward to reading the rest at a more leisurely pace.  The remainder is the ‘how-to’ of raising metabolism, including sections on food, fluid intake, exercise and rest.

I’ve also glanced at a couple more recipe books: ‘Almond Flour Sweet Treats Cookbook’ by Stacey Duncan – more lovely looking recipes with summaries of the Paleo and WAPF diets and information about some of the ingredients used – those which are not commonly used in baking.  It was good to see information about baking powder and aluminium content.  ‘Awaken:  30+ egg-free and grain-free breakfasts’ by Karen Sorenson – well, I wouldn’t advise anyone to eat an eggless diet unless they had an allergy to eggs.  In my experience general baking is very troublesome without eggs, or else limited.  Karen mostly uses chia seeds or flax (linseed) to replace eggs – currently for me, the jury’s out as to whether or not to use these, but I definitely wouldn’t heat them on a regular basis because of the oxidation of the oils.

To view more information and to purchase the bundle, please click on this link:  http://villagegreennetwork.com/spring-e-book-bundle/?AFFID=115896

Please note, this is an affiliate link, so if you purchased, I would receive a commission.

Dairy-free and grain-free Moussaka

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This is a Greek-style Moussaka, with a creamy sauce that has a cheese-like taste (well, we haven’t eaten cheese in a while, so you might think differently!)  The sauce is made without the addition of flour of any type, being thickened with eggs and optional arrowroot.  This should serve 3 adults with side dishes of vegetables, or more if serving with rice or potatoes.

Ingredients

500g  minced lamb

3 cups homemade lamb stock or broth

1 onion (I used red this time, just because that’s what I had)

4-6 tomatoes, depending on size and preference

2-3 aubergines

3-4 cloves garlic

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp allspice

3 cups homemade chicken stock/broth

2 eggs

1-2 tsp arrowroot (optional)

A few splashes of tamari soya sauce

About a tsp miso

sea salt and pepper

Method

In a frying pan, cook the mince till browned, stirring occasionally.  Drain off the fat.  Place the meat in a casserole dish or slow cooker with chopped onion, stock/broth, garlic, salt and pepper, herbs and spices.  Cook in the oven for 6-8 hours at 120°C/250°F/Gas Mark 2, or equivalent slow cooker setting.

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About an hour before serving, prepare the aubergine and sauce.  Although traditionally olive oil is used to sauté the aubergine, I use coconut oil because it’s much healthier to cook with.  Slice the aubergine and sauté in batches.  Set aside and use the same pan to heat the chicken stock.  Meanwhile, beat the eggs and mix with the arrowroot if using.  Gradually add some of the warmed chicken stock until the egg mixture has thinned out and off the heat pour this into the pan whilst whisking – now this is the tricky part:  turn on the heat again, keep it low and keep whisking – really, don’t stop or the egg cooks separately and so the sauce won’t be as smooth.  It still tastes good, but doesn’t look that great!  Once the sauce has thickened – about 5 minutes – remove from heat and add the tamari and miso, pepper and maybe a little salt – keep tasting it till you like it, and think about cheese if that helps!

Now remove the mince from the oven, slice the tomatoes and layer everything, starting with the meat, then the tomatoes, the aubergines and finally the sauce.  Sometimes I do one layer of each, and sometimes I make two layers.  It depends on the dish, the size of the tomatoes and aubergines and how much time you want to spend layering!

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Finally, put it back in the oven for about 20-25 minutes at 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.  The dish above is quite shallow, if your dish is deep, it may take a little longer to heat through and so it might be necessary to cover the moussaka towards the end.  The top should be nicely browned.

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