Oatmeal

Oatmeal has become my breakfast staple. I used to really like oatmeal, but then I found out I wasn’t eating it right. “What do you mean, not eating it right?” you might ask. Oats are a grain, and thus need to be prepared as such. Oats are an extremely nutritious food, but only if prepared properly. Well, how does one do that?

1. Soak your flat or steel cut rolled oats in a whey solution overnight (at least 8 hours).

2. Cook your oats with some more added water on the stove.

3. Serve with plenty of grassfed butter.

Why the butter? It was mentioned in my Folklore Foods class (see–> MamaMuse) that the nutrients in oats cannot be absorbed without being eaten with plenty of fat (this goes along with needing fats to break down carbohydrates I believe), even if the oats were pre-soaked before cooking.  

Here’s how I make my oatmeal (based off of the recipe from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions cookbook):

1 cup of oats (regular or rolled)

1 cup of warm water with 2 Tbsp of whey (homemade from raw milk)

Some extra water for stove-top cooking

Butter

Maple syrup, honey, cinnamon to taste

Applesauce or raw milk

— Take the oats and add to a bowl. Add the whey to the water then pour over the oats stirring slightly to mke sure everything gets wet. Leave on the counter covered overnight (or at least 8 hours). Pour bowl contents into a pot, add a bit of water (1/2 C- 1 C), stir. Cook on low-medium heat being careful to keep stirring to prevent oats burning to the bottom. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5-10 minutes depending. Add in butter (a Tbsp or more, be generous!). Add any additional ingredients (maple syrup and/or honey, cinnamon, fruit pieces, applesauce, milk, yogurt, etc.). Enjoy!

This proper preparation of oatmeal makes it very filling!

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/video-how-to-cook-oatmeal-the-right-way/

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/video-how-to-quickly-adjust-to-the-taste-of-soaked-grains/

Proper Grain & Legume Preparation

I’ve gotten to the part now in my Folklore Foods salon (see–> MamaMuse) on proper preparation of grains and legumes, and have also seen a few things over at the HealthyHomeEconomist on it.

Grains and legumes (and seeds and nuts) contain anti-nutrients: gluten and phytates are some examples. These anti-nutrients adhere to the intestinal wall and prevent the body from absorbing vital nutrients/vitamins/minerals from food as it passes through the gut and is digested. Also, such as with gluten, these particles actually are absorbed into the body through the intestinal wall and are seen as a foreign object requiring the body’s immune system to fend off. Unfortunately, not only does this cause inflammation (which leads to disease) but it also causes the body to start attacking itself because these foreign particles look similar to the body’s own in certain parts of the body.

This is the part where Paleo Diet followers have it right, but this is where they stop. They claim that our ancestors went millions of years without eating grains and that our bodies are just not adapted yet to properly digesting them since we’ve ben eating them for a shorter time frame than we’ve been not-eating them. However, this view and approach to grains/legumes is arguable.

First argument: evolution/time-frames and digestability. This is both right and wrong. Anthropologists and archeologists are now hypothesizing and discovering that stone age man (prior to the onset of agriculture) utilized wild grains and legumes. So this makes the time frame of when “man ate grains” to longer than previously suspected.

Second Argument: branching from the first, man has been eating refined grains (and sugar) and not properly preparing grains/legumes/seeds/nuts for a much shorter time frame (roughly 200 years give or take) compared to thousands of years of properly preparing these food items, and even millions of years of “supposed” non-consumption of these food items by early man.

From pre-agricultural revolution up until the introduction of refined grains and sugar (over 10,000 years), people were properly preparing their grains and legumes and had no known digestion issues pertaining therein. It was when man began to not prepare their foods properly/traditionally, was when these issues arose (along with an increase in degenerative diseases, cancer, poor dental health, etc.).

Well, then how do you properly prepare them?

1. Soaking

2. Sprouting

3. Fermenting

4. Extended cooking

These pertain to seeds, nuts, legumes, and grains. Some require all three processes, some only require one or two (such as nuts). Some foods require an acidic environment, others require a basic one.

Grains: Over at the HealthyHomeEconomist she has a blog and a few videos on grain and legume preparation. Here is a general overview for grains:

1. Take your whole grain and sprout them in a jar (just until the first white flecks appear).

2. Spread the sprouted whole grains on a cookie sheet and dry in the oven, or use a dehydrator.

3. Run your dried grains through the grinder to make flour. *Immediately store in the freezer if you don’t plan on using it all immediately! This is to retain nutritional content which begins to deteriorate around 2 weeks post-grinding if left to the elements*.

If you don’t make your own flour, you can purchase whole grain flour. Try to find sprouted whole grain if you can. Whether you make your own flour or purchase it, you should soak/culture the flour before cooking. This ferments the flour some and further breaks down the anti-nutrients and releases absorbable nutrients. You can use yogurt, kefir, whey (from raw milk), or soured raw milk *never pasteurized! (Pasteurized milk won’t sour, it will only spoil. Soured raw milk= edible)*.  This process is similar to what happens during traditional sourdough preparation. This can be done for bread, pancakes, cake, crepes, etc.

Legumes: Legumes (ie. beans) need to be pre-soaked then cooked for an extended period of time. They should be soaked in an acidic solution (some require a basic solution) such as water+whey for a minimum of 8 hours. Then they need to be cooked on low for a minimum of 8 hours (give or take on both times), but some cook their beans for as long as 24 hours or as little as 3 hours. The benefits of soaking and cooking don’t really improve after 24 hours.

**I did my first bean preparation the other day, using black beans soaked in a whey solution. I soaked them for a little over 8 hours, then cooked them. I only cooked them for about an hour and a half, however, and found it difficult to keep them cooking and then they began to fall apart. I think I should have cooked them on a lower setting with more water and definitely for longer– I was wanting to take them to work hence the short cook time.**

They can also be soaked and sprouted, instead of cooked.

Seeds & Nuts: seeds really only need to be soaked. Some people may try sprouting them. Soak time depends on each nut or seed as some need longer or shorter soak times. Almonds can be soaked for 4-6 hours, others need 8 or longer, and some like cashews need shorter. Usually they are soaked in a slightly salty water solution then dried in the oven or in a dehydrator.

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/video-proper-preparation-of-grains-and-legumes/

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/why-you-should-be-eating-grains/

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/video-grain-grinding-101/

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/video-thursday-sprouting-flour/

Of Souls & Food

My body starves. My mind is chaotic, my heart is weak. My soul is heavy, malnourished.

So eat!

Eat of that which will nourish your body and your soul, for they are one and the same. They are interconnected and interwoven within each the other. Your soul chose your body as its house in this lifetime. And as such, it creates a temple. Your body becomes a place of worship, a place of honor. It is a place to honor itself as a holy place, and to honor that which is housed within it.

My soul breathes through every pore, and integrates every cell. And so I must eat that which serves the dual purpose of vitalizing my body and my soul.

Light the sacred butter upon the altar. Stare into the flames, and lose yourself in the shadows cast upon the stone walls. Pour the sacred honey upon your brow, the sacred milk upon your breast. Shake the sacred wheat across your loins and dust the flour upon your thighs. Let the calf’s blood trickle in rivulets along your skin, mingling all together. Take the rendered tallow mixed with pigments from the earth, take the henna paste, and mark upon your flesh those symbols of our past, of our lives, of the gods and of ourselves.

Kneel before the altar that is your self. Kneel before the altar that is your lover. Worship there. Bring offerings and give them unto the gods there, unto the soul. Feed and be fed. Drink and share libations. Dance and sing, cry and scream as beasts in heat or in the throes of labor. Nourish and be nourished.

(C) 2013 to Butter on the Altar

Kefir Attempt #1 and #2

So I was informed that Kefir is one of the more simple cultures to work with. However I am finding it to be quite difficult. I was gifted a tiny jar of barely a tablespoon’s worth of kefir grains and set about making my first batch. I think I put it in the fridge too soon (to stop the culturing process). I was afrad of not being able to catch it at the right time. Now that I’ve tasted (plain) kefir from the store I think I may have been close (the taste was coming on but was not yet the right consistency– still too much like milk and not enough like yogurt). A couple days alter I strained out the kefir grains and tried again, this time waiting a bit longer. Again the taste seemd to be coming on, but not the right consistency and the milk was separating on the counter. Then my room mate cleaned kitchen and put the jar in the cupboard, where I forgot about it. So now I need to get another batch of grains and try it again. Has anyone else had luck culturing kefir at home, with raw milk? Ay tips or advice or resources?

Fermented Cucumbers & Salsa Update

I finally was brave enough to try my pickles and salsa the other day. After opening the jar of pickles, I gingerly removed one sliver of cucumber and gently bit into it. I was met by a fizzing that surprised me. The flavor was mild, they probably could have gone another day before being refrigerated to stop the fermenting process. I took some to work and had two of my coworkers try them, the reviews were positive with agreement on the mild flavor.

The salsa I was a bit more hesitant to try but I finally did the other day. I had some on store-bought tortillas since I lacked having made my own (but is on my lsit of things to try). It was a mild-medium heat (which I’m sure would have been more potent had I not picked out the red chili pepper bits before eating). I’m not big on hot so that was ok with me. It over-all had a pleasant flavor, and an even more pleasant aroma, however next go-round I will use a bit less onion and more cilantro and tomatoes.