• Published: Jun 13th, 2010
  • Category: Reviews
  • Comments: 4

Eat Fat, Lose Fat

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Eat Fat, Lose Fat

I bought this book about a year ago and I love it.  This is a book written by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig.  The premise is similar to Nourishing Traditions which they also wrote together.  Using the work of Weston A. Price as a starting point, Mary Enig applies the science of exactly why traditional foods (butter, raw milk, coconut oil, etc) are good for you, while Sally Fallon puts the foods together into delicious recipes and menus.

The book starts out explaining what traditional foods are and why they are better.  It goes on to address specific issues people may want to resolve with diet, such as weight loss, asthma, and many more, providing specific menu plans geared towards those issues (and one menu plan called “Everyday Gourmet” which addresses no specific issues, but will help people maintain excellent health).  Finally, the last third of the book is devoted to the recipes.

Coconut oil is a big focus of the book (hence the title, Eat Fat, Lose Fat), and about half of the recipes are made with coconut oil, coconut milk or shredded coconut.

I’ve gone on the menu plans a few times.  I did the “Health Recovery” plan when I switched to eating mostly Weston A. Price/Paleo style from standard American diet (even if it did include a lot of organic foods, they were still pretty processed).  This was more than a year ago – before I started this blog.  I really felt the difference.  I lost a few pounds, gained a lot more energy – and this was the most impressive to me: I went from needing to use 10 sick days per year before the diet to using zero sick days after going on the diet.  My immune system was so much improved.  I no longer fear getting sick.

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Asthma no more

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I'll be riding my bike this summer!

I'll be riding my bike this summer!

I went to my asthma doctor today.  I have a mild asthma that wasn’t diagnosed until I was an adult, though my parents and I sometimes thought I might have it as a child.  It mostly manifests itself as a dry cough in cold weather or after physical exertion.

I finally got it “under control” with the use of a rescue inhaler as needed (rare, maybe once a month or so in the winter) and a puff of Advair on mornings when recovering from a cold or flu or an hour or two before doing exercise or heading out into the cold in winter.

That seemed ok, but I was not thrilled with the idea of taking medicine, especially asthma medicine which has a host of side effects.  I’d been interested in natural foods for a while, and believed that the right diet could improve health, but when I started getting involved with Weston A. Price’s research and raw milk and such, it sounded like really applying these principles could help me with my asthma (in addition to other health issues, but that is a topic for another day!).

See what changes I made and why I think that made me symptom free 6 months later, after the jump.*

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The Revolution Will Not be Microwaved

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The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved

The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved

I just read a great book called The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved. It is by Sandor Katz – the author of Wild Fermentation. This post is part of Fight Back Fridays.  How appropriate!

This book is about food activism.  Some of it more radical than others, but virtually all of it taking place away from grocery stores stocked with cans and boxes full of food.  This book is about real food – whole ingredients, unadulterated ingredients, grown in a way that is traditional and sustainable.  Increasingly, eating outside of the industrialized food chain is becoming an act of defiance.

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Link catch up

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A field in Gettysburg

A field in Gettysburg

Yesterday morning, I got up a little late.  I considered not going to the farmer’s market since I still had some vegetables left over from the previous weekend.  But as I thought about it, I realized I could not go a week without quark, the creamy fresh cheese made from cultured buttermilk.  And so, I made the journey to the farmer’s market after all.  I ended up getting some sheep milk cheese, heavy cream, and berries in addition to the quark, so it was productive.   I’m preparing a post on quark.  It is something you can make at home, if you are so inclined.  In the meantime, here are a few links that I found interesting:  some local farms I love,  a coconut milk cooking contest, misconclusions drawn from studies, nutrient deficiencies,  supplies for preserving food, and why local food is awesome.  See below for all the links.

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Black Raspberry Breakfast

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Berry Breakfast

Berry Breakfast

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday.  This breakfast just has 3 ingredients, all natural!

At the farmer’s market on July 4th, I purchased black raspberries and heavy cream.  Put them together and you have a wonderful breakfast!  It is also quite suitable for dessert.

It really couldn’t be more simple.  Take the organic, in season black raspberries, or any berry variety (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries), pick through them and discard any ones that have gone bad, and put them in a bowl.  Pour heavy cream over the top and serve.  No sugar needed.  I rounded out the breakfast with 2 pieces of humanely raised, pastured pig bacon.  No nitrates.  (I also do variations with 2 pastured eggs instead of bacon, but that is a topic for another day!)

What makes this breakfast so good?  Let’s break it down.

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  • Published: Jul 7th, 2009
  • Category: Recipes
  • Comments: 1

Beet Root and Feta Salad

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Beet Root and Feta Salad

Beet Root and Feta Salad

Salads are such great summer foods.  I don’t want to be chained to a stove on hot days, and all of that fresh produce really fits the bill when you just need something light on the hot days.  Granted, it hasn’t been that hot so far this summer.  Not at least at my house!  But the heat will come.  Eventually.  And I’ll be glad for this salad then!

Nothing beats beets in a salad.  Yes, I said it.  They add a different kind of texture and a lot of color.  I love putting cheese in a salad too.  It helps fill it up a bit and gives it more body.  It also turns a salad from a first course into a meal.  A strong, flavorful cheese goes best with beets, I’ve found, so when I saw some goat cheese feta at the farmer’s market recently, I knew what I had to get.  I also really like sprinkling nuts or seeds on my salad, so in went sunflower seeds.  To top it all off, a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  A simple salad dressing to let the flavors of the beets, cheese, oil and vinegar play off each other.

While I didn’t put it in this salad, tomatoes, dried cranberries, cucumbers and carrots would all work well.  And if you don’t have feta, switch up the cheese for maybe a bleu, or go the other way with a hard cheese like Parmesan.  Use my recipe as inspiration – use what you have in your fridge and pantry.  Use what is available at your farmer’s markets and CSAs.  Use what you like!  What are your favorite variations?

See below for my ingredients and instructions. Read the rest of this entry »

Farmer’s Market Independence Day

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Farmer's Market Haul, July 4th

Farmer's Market Haul, July 4th

The July 4th holiday is a big one. And like most holidays, it has its own food associations and traditions.  Strawberries, certainly, and cherries are two.  Both are patriotic colors and come into season around early July.  Pies, cakes and other pastries made with these red fruits or in combination with blue ones like blueberries are on the dessert menu.  Grills are fired up as summer is perfect grill season.  The problem is when these fruits come from conventional farms that use a lot of pesticides, when the meat on the grills comes from factory farms where the animals are fed an improper diet and kept in inhumane conditions.  The problem also manifests itself in the white bread hamburger and hot dog buns, the potato chips fried in vegetable oils, and all the rest of the processed foods that help fill out the picnic.

I celebrated my independence from the industrial food system by going to the farmer’s market bright and early and purchasing the bounty that you see in the photo above.  Going shopping is a pleasure rather than a chore if you have a farmer’s market or a farm that you can buy directly from.  I love talking with the people running the stalls – often times it is the very farmer him/herself!  And just seeing all of the wonderful food and thinking of all the possibilities with the ingredients fills me with optimism.  Cooking food isn’t so bad either.  In the summer you can rely heavily on salads which don’t require a hot stove or hours in the kitchen.  And even in the winter, roasts and soups provide delicious meals and many leftovers with very little effort involved.  And when I do rely on packaged foods or convenience foods, they can be purchased from ethical companies that source good ingredients and create the food in a way as to keep the nutrition in.

Want some examples?  Look no further than the rest of the posts on this blog, or read many of the food blogs linked on the right.  Or stay tuned as I blog over the next few weeks about some of these foods in more detail.  Below the jump you’ll see what I purchased on July 4th and a description based on what I know so far of these foods.

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Zucchini Bread

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zucchini bread

zucchini bread

This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays.

Today I picked up a CSA share for someone on vacation.  I was not prepared for the bounty of berries I was to receive!  2 pints of raspberries and 2 quarts of strawberries, plus other assorted vegetables and herbs.  I had been prepared to make a currant quick bread, and had prepped some wheat the night before (soaked it in yogurt and left it out 24 hours), but when I realized I could now make a raspberry currant pie, I had to switch gears and figure out something else to do with my soaked wheat.  I froze the raspberries and currants  so I could make a pie with them later this week.  The raspberries would not have lasted more than a day in the fridge, which is always the pity with raspberries.  So delicate that they must be used or frozen right away.

Since I’m getting a delivery of meat in 2 days, I figured I should use something from my freezer to help free up space.  Well, I did happen to have a little less than a cup of grated zucchini so I thought I’d make zucchini bread.  Besides, here in the northeast, the zucchini have arrived at the farmer’s markets, and soon we will be up to our ears in it!

Now, this isn’t a recipe that uses heaps of zucchinis.  It only uses about a cup of grated raw zucchini, or about 1/2 – 2/3 cups grated, blanched zucchini.   So this is a good recipe for when you have an odd zucchini.  Not enough for a meal, but you don’t want it to go to waste.  Of course, you could make multiple loaves and freeze them for later…

Soaking the flour overnight in yogurt is an essential step.  This neutralized the phytic acid present in the wheat.  Phytic acid is an anti nutrient found in nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains that can cheleate minerals from your body.  It can be neutralized by properly preparing these foods, such as soaking flour in yogurt.  The other reason the yogurt step is important for this zucchini bread is that it really helped to leaven the bread.  I would have used all soaked wheat in the recipe, but it would have thrown off the liquid to dry ingredient ratio.  Since I couldn’t soak all of the flour without making the batter too runny, I used sprouted wheat.  Sprouting will also destroy phytic acid.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, fresh out of the oven.  Recipe below.

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  • Published: Jun 29th, 2009
  • Category: Basics
  • Comments: 2

Common Substitutions

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Cobble Hill CSA Haul

Cobble Hill CSA Haul

I want the recipes I create and post to be recipes that can be made by anyone.  However, I realize that a lot of the ingredients I use might not be readily available.  I would recommend that you purchase them if you can.  I put them in the recipe because they are nutritionally superior or important to the taste/texture of the dish.   Many are available mail order (such as sprouted wheat flour and coconut oil).   Others can be found at organic specialty shops if you have one in your town.  But if your shipment hasn’t come in yet or you can’t get to an organic grocery store, here are some substitutions.

Ramps – Ramps are small bulbs and leaves of a plant in the onion family.  To me the taste is somewhere between a garlic and a leek.  Depending on if you want your food to be more garlic-y or more onion-y, you could substitute with a clove of garlic, a green onion, or a leek at about a 1:1 ratio.

Rapadura/Sucanat/Evaporated Cane Juice – These are just types of unrefined sugars.  Any one of them can be substituted for another.  You could also use “Sugar in the raw” or even regular white sugar.  I prefer not to use regular white sugar because of the extra refining that takes place.  The unrefined versions will have a slight molasses flavor, but other than that, there is really no difference for the recipe.  You can replace at a 1:1 ratio.

Fiddleheads - Fiidlehead ferms are highly seasonal and not available everywhere in the country, so don’t fret if you can’t find them.  Just replace with an equal amount of chopped asparagus.  The flavor and color is similar.  They even have a similar texture.

Stinging Nettles – Any green leafy vegetable such as kale, chard or spinach will achieve much of the same flavor and texture.

Sour Milk – You can only use sour milk if you buy raw milk and let it sour.  If you cannot or do not buy raw milk, you can substitute with an equal amount of buttermilk, plain yogurt, plain kefir (they sell it in some stores now – it is similar to a drinkable yogurt), or 1 cup of regular milk + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar.

Sprouted Flour – I purchase this from the internet, so don’t worry if you can’t find it locally.  You can order it.  If you don’t have it, you can substitute for an equal amount of regular whole wheat flour.  You will not be receiving the superior nutrition of the sprouted grain, however.

Masa Harina - This is a traditional corn meal made by soaking the corn in an alkaline solution before grinding into flour.  This helps release more of the nutrients in corn to be bioavailable to you.  If you don’t have this, you can substitute for an equal amount of corn meal or corn flour.

Coconut Oil - This is an ingredient I would recommend you purchase, even if you don’t get anything else.  It has such wonderful health benefits and is so good to cook with since it can work even in high heat.  If you don’t have it, you can replace with butter.  However, you cannot cook butter on high heat like you can coconut oil.  You will either need to lower the heat or cook with ghee.

Ghee – many Asian grocery stores or organic/gourmet grocery stores will carry this.  It is clarified butter, so it can withstand higher temperatures.  If you know how to clarify your own butter (I do not) you can use that.  Otherwise, use butter (and keep the heat on medium) or use coconut oil.

Are there any other ingredients that I use that you don’t have? Let me know what other substitutions you need to know!

  • Published: Jun 26th, 2009
  • Category: Recipes
  • Comments: 5

Homemade Hummus

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hummus on a sourdough cracker

hummus on a sourdough cracker

This post is part of Fight Back Fridays.

I love hummus.  Whether it is a dip for crackers or crudites, a spread on a sandwich, or an accompaniment to falafel, it tastes so good.  One day I came home from work and announced I was going to make some.  I’d never made it before, but I’d become disenchanted with the store bought brands as they had a lot of highly processed ingredients in them.

I figured it couldn’t be hard to make hummus, and I was right.  You just put the ingredients in a Cuisinart and let it do all of the work!  The best thing about making it yourself is you can make any style or flavor of hummus you like.  Add lemon juice, extra tahini, pine nuts, peppers, different spices, different kinds of beans – it is all up to you.

I served it on a sourdough cracker, but it would be a great dip for carrots or celery, or a spread on a sandwich, or a sauce for chicken.  There are so many possibilities with this one.

This is what I did for the basic hummus recipe that you can use as a jumping off point for your favorite flavors.

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