When is the last time you heard someone recommend that you eat either no grains (Paleo), or gluten free or no refined grains or no bread at all? Probably not too long ago. In today's American culture, grains, especially wheat, have been vilified. In this article, I will give you an historical, cultural and modern perspective on the on-going trial prosecuting grains and wheat.
Points made by the prosecution on eating grains:
Points made by the prosecution regarding wheat:
And now, the prosecution rests and its case and the defense may speak.
Based on the facts, who should and shouldn't eat wheat?
Anyone with leaky gut, inflammatory conditions in the gut (IBS, IBD), allergy or sensitivity to wheat, auto immune disease (especially celiac), inflammatory conditions, obesity and/or diabetes and those with other serious health conditions would do well to avoid wheat until their condition improves or resolves. The fact is that wheat is inflammatory for some people at certain times.
Wheat in general has not been proven to be bad for all people at all times. However, according to historical and cultural practices, all grains have traditionally been prepared by soaking, sprouting, fermenting or by a long sourdough process. This kind of preparation is likely a key to better digestion of grains, and it especially important when eating the whole grain since these processes help to break down the proteins that may cause inflammation in the guts of some people. Additionally, these processes improve digestion of grains, making them less likely to cause intestinal irritation or end up partially undigested, which contributes to more inflammation.
If you choose to eat grains, and particularly wheat, buy organic when possible, prepared by one or more traditional methods. Eat the whole grain and if you find that you are gaining weight, eat less. A properly prepared whole grain bread made from grains that have not been overly milled, eaten by a person without the above conditions may be a nutritious and delicious addition to a healthy diet.
For recipes that include “proper preparation” see Sally Fallon's cookbook, Nourishing Traditions. Look for breads in the frozen section of the grocery store that say “100% whole grain and sprouted”. Local bakeries may offer a long fermented sourdough bread as well.
ADHD, Autism and Alzheimer's are three confounding conditions that all begin with "A". Just the names of these elicit confusion. Conventional medicine knows no cause and has no remedy. However, looking at what these have in common leads us to a deeper understanding of the causes and ultimately, the remedies.
The first and most obvious commonality of these diseases or syndromes is that they affect the brain. They affect behavior, cognition and memory. Obviously, we need to look to progressive understanding of brain health in order to get our clues. Although I am far from an expert on the brain, I have studied enough to see some facts that are beginning to come together. I will discuss three things in this article: 1) The new understanding of the microbiomes of the body. 2) How they affect health, 3) How they impact the three "A's".
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD was one of the first to clearly establish a viable theory about the connection between ADHD, Autism and the microbiomes of the body. Daily, new research confirms her theory and reveals that many regions of our body have their own unique microbiome, where certain bacteria, yeast and fungus tend to dwell in symbiosis. Scientists have identified a unique biome in each of these areas- the gut, sinuses, brain, skin, vagina, stomach, mouth, eyes, ears- I'm sure there are some I haven't listed, but you get the point! Each area has it's own community of species, and each person's microbiome is unique.
The first area to be explored was the gut, where we harbor more bacteria in number than the very cells of our body. Scientists have recognized that certain bacteria live in the gut (several hundred species), that they contribute to the healthy function of the body, including digestion and assimilation, and that when these bacteria/yeast/fungi are out of balance, we can exhibit a variety of symptoms including diarrhea, constipation, cramping, bloating, sugar cravings, depression, brain fog, skin rashes... I could list many more symptoms, but you can see that we started with the gut and moved to the brain and skin.
Also of interest, is the way these bacteria "talk" to other parts of the body. For example, yeast in the gut talk to the brain and elicit cravings for sugar through the vagus nerve (a nerve that connects the brain and gut and provides a communication highway). Gut bacteria also secrete toxins that can cause symptoms in other parts of the body. Indirectly, a lack of gut microbes can cause reactions: Too few bacteria or bad bacteria lead to leaky gut which lead to gluteomorphins and casomorphins (incompletely digested protein parts of wheat and dairy) that pass through a porous gut barrier and cause symptoms such as brain fog and lack of focus. So you see, what we eat can affect how we feel! How we feel can affect what we eat!
In view of this, I will make an observation: People with ADHD, autism and Alzheimer's tend to crave sugar and starchy foods. They tend to have digestive problems, and they struggle with some degree of brain fog. I am going to propose that these three conditions involve leaky gut and compromised digestion (and thus nutrient deficiency), a leaky brain barrier (toxins getting into the brain), and a toxic assault on the body, which could involve molds, heavy metals and pesticides such as glyphosate (Round Up ingredient). Often compromised liver function adds to the difficulty with poor detoxification.
In view of all this, here are a few steps you can take right now to prevent further assault and protect you and your children from these "A" syndromes.
1) Buy organic food, especially for the Dirty Dozen (www.ewg.org)
2) Consume only 100% grass fed, pastured and wild caught meats and fish.
3) Avoid conventional wheat, and if consuming grain, go for organic and properly prepared
4) Avoid conventional dairy; if not dairy sensitive, choose raw, pastured and fermented (raw milk is sold legally in 43 states. See www.realmilk.com.) Organic yogurt and cheese are better if raw is not available.
5) Avoid all GMO foods; Check out this website:
6) Forgo all processed foods- refined sugar, grains, oils, food coloring, preservatives and chemicals
7) Get outside in the sunshine midday for vitamin D (about 1/2 hour and expose as much skin as possible). It's important to have your vitamin D levels tested by your doctor.
8) Sweat, either through exercise or infrared sauna
9) Seek the help of a functional doctor or holistic practitioner for digestive problems and sugar addiction
10) Watch the documentary series, The Truth about Vaccines and make an informed decision before vaccinating your children or getting a flu shot.
Finally, if you or someone you love are already dealing with one of the "A's", then again, seek the help of a functional practitioner (www.ifm.org), or a holistic health coach who can walk you through the process of healing. Dr. Campbell-McBride reversed autism in her own child and developed a diet to reverse it in others. See her book below. Also I am a GAPS Certified Practitioner.
For further reference:
The End of Alzheimer's by Dale Bredesen, MD
Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride
This post is written with the idea of helping parents to understand their extremely finicky eater and give them courage to help their children move toward a healthier lifestyle. As a certified GAPS practitioner, a parent of four adult children, grandparent of seven, three of which are ADD and as a consultant who talks to parents of children with ADD, I am familiar with this syndrome. Because children are autonomous and do choose to eat what they will, and because sugar and white starchy foods are addictive, this creates a situation that seems insurmountable to say the least. Using the recommendations of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride (author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome) plus some research and published literature, and my personal experience, and interviews with others, I have written this article with the idea of helping parents understand that change IS possible. It's my hope that you will have the courage to move forward.
First, I would like to address the WHY issue. Why would it be important to go through possible hell for parents and kids to make changes? Here are my reasons why:
“Second is a craving for sweet and starchy foods that is typical for all people with abnormal bodily flora, particularly with Candida Albanians overgrowth.” There has never been a GAPS child who chooses to eat nothing but meat, healthy fat and vegetables, but instead the foods of choice are sugary and starchy. That is simply because sugar and starch are the preferred food of yeast and unfavorable bacteria. So the vicious cycle continues.
The third cause is “the state of the mouth itself.” The GAPS mouth is home to many toxic bacteria and yeast. “As a result of microbial activity and inflammation, many GAPS patients have bad breath, very red lips and mouth, various spots and ulcers on the mucosa of the cheeks, and a coated furry tongue.” Consequently, many GAPS people experience stinging, itching and burning with certain raw foods. (Quotes are from Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD.)
Some children are so toxic that they have difficulty with chewing and swallowing, and may gag or vomit easily. All of these eating “disorders” are a result of the abnormal flora in the gut, brain and mouth.
So the big question that follows is, “Can this be changed?” The answer is YES! But not usually without a battle, because obviously, the child or person must go through a time of withdrawal and enduring the offensive textures and tastes in order to be freed from the toxic yeast and bacteria. Nutritious food must replace poor nutrient sweet and starchy foods. For a more complete discussion of what foods work to heal this sensory disorder, see Gut and Psychology Syndrome.
So now that we have established the why and what, I will move on to the how. It's important to know that it has been done; no two situations are exactly alike; there are techniques and methods to assist the parents; help and support is available; with determination and persistence, you and your child too can be successful.
I will first explain what Dr. Campbell-McBride describes as the ABA method. I will talk about alternatives and then summarize some of the general research on this topic. Finally, I will describe some of the personal experiences of parents in my family.
I will briefly explain the ABA method, but I encourage my readers to read the chapter in Gut and Psychology Syndrome titled, “It's Feeding Time! Oh, No!” for the full explanation. (ABA stands for Applied Behavioral Analysis or behavioral modification.) Essentially, the parents require the child to eat a very small amount of a particular food initially to earn a reward, which can be different depending on the age and verbal understanding of the child. For example, with a non-verbal autistic child, the reward might be a non GAPS approved food initially; for a verbal child, the reward might be a GAPS approved dessert food or a non food reward such as a video or favorite toy. (It needs to be something highly desirable in order to motivate the child.) The parent begins by introducing one bite of one thing. The child doesn't get the reward food or video or toy until he or she is compliant. There after, the amount is increased and new foods are added to earn the desired reward until the child is eating a full meal to obtain his reward. (The foods that are introduced are GAPS foods such as meats, bone broth soups, fermented dairy (if tolerated), vegetables and other nourishing foods.)
The hard part of all this revolves around the fight for control. The child usually has been dictating to the parent what he or she will eat up to this point. Now the parents are attempting to take this authority back into their hands, and yet, by this time the child has learned that he has autonomy- he has the ability to eat or refuse to eat- and this is a VERY powerful tool to get his way. What parent can stand by and watch their child go hungry for even a day? This battle comes down to who is more determined, the parents or the child? In order to be successful, the parents MUST win the battle, even if they use a different technique than behavioral modification. Ultimately, the parents must convince the child to eat the food of his free will. (By the way, this kind of battle is commonly fought in three areas- food, sleep and potty training.)
At this point, it is good to remember the phrase, “Who's the parent here?” Who has the wisdom and education to decide what is best for the child in the area of food? Or should a child be allowed to eat anything and everything he or she desires? This is a question the parent must answer, and thereafter remind themselves of their answer.
Now, for the studies. One article from the Washington Post is titled, Researchers-have-found-a-simple-way-to-get-kids-to-eat-more-veggies. In studies at both Texas A&M University and the University of Minnesota, researchers discovered a simple truth: Kids will eat more vegetables when they are not in competition with other more desirable foods. To put it simply, don't serve the kid favorites until the vegetables are eaten. When broccoli is served along side French fries, the fries will be eaten and the broccoli left. However, if the competition isn't so stiff, the choice to eat broccoli is easier. Learn more from the complete article:
The next article is from Quartz Media and titled, “The Pickiest of Kids Ate Dozens of New Foods After a Two Week Training Devised by a Psychologist”. The essence of this method is similar to ABA. It is to expose the child to several foods repeatedly and to reward the behavior of trying new foods. The author worked with several extremely finicky eaters who were only eating a few foods at the onset of the trial, and who by the end were eating over 50 foods. They also continued to eat these after the training period. So YES, your child too can learn to eat what you eat at the dinner table (and hopefully those foods are a variety of healthy proteins, fats and vegetables.) Here is the complete article:
Now, if you are a reader and need more explanation or understanding of different methods, consider purchasing the book, Broccoli Boot Camp: A Guide for Improving Your Child's Selective Eating by Keith Williams and Laura Slivering.
Finally, I decided it would be interesting to interview different family members about their experiences in this area. I'll begin with my own experience.
I have four grown children. I usually served a typical American type meal at dinner: a meat, a starch and a vegetable. I remember my oldest who at the age of two wanted to eat only two foods- French fries and cheese. At this age I tried to “fool” him by cutting sweet potatoes into French fry shapes, and it worked. He grew up to eat a decent variety of foods with a preference for meat and starches. My second born was the most finicky. At two, she wanted only bread and potatoes at dinner. I remember once when she ate a little bread, then went outside and ate dirt out of a pot. Her appetite for real foods started around the age of four when she spent the whole summer outside playing with the neighborhood kids and came in genuinely hungry. She also grew up to eat a variety of foods, but prefers still the starchy and sweet. My last two I would say are very normal eaters, and didn't have strong finicky preferences, but ate a variety of foods even as toddlers. My main method of influence was always to require them to eat a few bites of a not-so-favorite food (usually a vegetable) unless I knew it was a food that they strongly disliked, and then they were allowed some preferences.
Growing up in a rural Midwestern town in the 60's, I remember family meal time at dinner very well. My favorite meal as a child was great northern beans fixed with a ham hock and eaten with corn bread. There were 6 of us, and usually, we were all there at dinner and ate whatever my mom prepared. (Admittedly, there were just a few things I didn't like as a child, and more than once was required to “sit there until you eat it.”
My husband and I upheld the tradition of the Family Table, especially at dinner time throughout the raising of our four children. We can all look back fondly at some of the fun dinnertime moments, and even some of the meals...like the time we had just moved to Fort Devens, Massachusetts. We had $80 to our names to spend on groceries for two weeks and we had to buy even the basics like salt and flour. I bought a bag of pinto beans and some flour and we ate a lot of bean burritos (with homemade tortillas). Instead of a hardship, our kids, especially our son, who loved bean burritos, was in hog's heaven.
Then there were the “Special Nights”. This was a tradition I started when the kids were very young, and we kept it up until they were mostly all moved out. Every family member had his or her own special night in sequence from youngest to oldest. They got to choose the meal (usually Friday night) and an activity (usually a game, since we were often stationed overseas and there wasn't anything else to do). In addition to the relationship building we had at dinnertime, this provided wonderful fun, memories and connection. (I'm pleased to say that my youngest daughter has continued the tradition with her husband and two young children. Her activities are a little more varied than ours were.)
If I haven't inspired you yet with my reminiscing and rambling, then allow me to share some thoughts with you about why the Family Table is so important. Studies show that the benefits of eating together as a family include better relationships, better grades for kids in schools, and kids being less likely to get involved with drugs and alcohol. Wow! With results like that, why is it that the majority of Americans eat fewer than five meals a week together? It seems to me that most young Americans have been seduced into the current trend of eating out, buying prepackaged foods and eating individualistically instead of in unity. The trend follows the current mantra: Instead of “Out of many, one”, it's “Out of one, many”. We find ourselves busy, separate and alone; being swept along by the tide and not even realizing the consequences of our actions.
The solution? A return to the Family Table. That means that we must make it important in our lives and a priority. That also means that some meal planning, shopping and preparation will support the Family Table habit. It may even mean working less overtime, taking time to plan ahead, and letting go of some of those after school activities. But it's worth it!
Here are some other benefits of the Family Table: Better relationships (given that you take the time to talk); Learning social skills (things like don't speak out of turn and chew with your mouth closed); Social graces (don't complain about the food and eat what is served); Developing a varied palate (children will learn to eat a variety of foods when served a variety of foods); Better digestion for all (especially if you take plenty of time for your meal and enjoy a relaxed environment).
As mentioned before, supportive measures for the Family Table include meal planning, shopping and meal preparation. These activities also lend themselves to corporate activity. Allow children to be involved in these activities as soon as they are able. This also generates more skill and relationship building.
One other benefit that we can extrapolate from the Family Table is better health. Fast food and prepackaged meals are notoriously fraught with chemicals. When you plan and execute your own meals, you can greatly reduce this threat. In addition, with some careful planning and consideration you can also greatly reduce your exposure to pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics in food by choosing organic and avoiding plastic packaging when possible. This will equate to better health, fewer doctor's visits, better behavior in school and possibly a drastically different outcome in health down the road.
I encourage you reverse the trend toward separateness and build your family. Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Resist the trends of the day to go in separate directions, eat different things, eat out frequently and avoid family meal planning, preparation and sharing. Build a “together” family, one meal at a time.
You might also enjoy this online article titled, “The Importance of Eating Together”:
One of the biggest challenges for families who decide to adopt a healthier lifestyle is how to convince the kids to give up their favorite foods. After all, the kids weren’t in on this decision, and now they suddenly have to eat oatmeal instead of Coco Puffs. The following are some considerations for helping kids of different ages adapt to your new lifestyle.
First and foremost, is to establish your goals and reasons for your own lifestyle change. In a marriage, this should be a joint decision. Mom and Dad must be in agreement on this. Kids will fight tooth and nail to undermine the authority of mom or dad, but they recognize and respond better to united authority.
Secondly, be careful to have a positive attitude about the changes you are implementing. If your kids hear one of you complain about what you are eating and lamenting the loss of old eating habits, children will immediately see your own uncertainty and “play that card.”
Third, is to realize that children have used food as an area of power struggle since the advent of choice. You can expect some battles based on this alone. If you are really convinced that you are doing what is best for you and your family, then don’t waver from that decision, but show sympathy and consideration for the child who is required to adapt to it.
Now, with these things in mind, let’s talk a little more practical. I like the slogan, “Educate before you legislate.” Any child who can talk can understand your reasons for making changes if you can speak on their level. A family council might be in order for families with kids of school age and up. Share with your children (with mom and dad present) why you have made the decision to modify your eating habits. Then invite your kids to participate in planning for healthier eating. This process will likely take some time and several meetings. You didn’t learn about healthy eating in a few minutes and neither will they. You would be responsible to set the parameters; then they can choose foods that are within your allowances. If kids have choice, they will feel more empowered and less resentful about changes. Weekly menu planning is an excellent way to include the whole family in decisions.
As a suggested parameter, I like making healthy eating your habitual diet. Foods outside the definition of healthy (refined sugars, flours and oils) can be for special occasions. Your kids (and you) will have tons of opportunities to eat outside the boundaries of “healthy” as they and you participate in real life (school, birthday parties, holidays, eating out, etc.) So the meals planned for home, and the groceries brought into the house should mostly fit within your goals. You could take this a step further by inviting your kids to make a grocery list, and then participate in the shopping afterwards. (I remember giving my complaining middle school daughter the responsibility of planning the meals for the week. I then gave her the job of making a grocery list and shopping for the groceries. I gave her a set amount of money that she could spend. I still recall the intense look on her face as she walked through the store with the calculator in one hand and her list in the other. This real life experience helped her realize the weight of responsibility of weekly food shopping and preparation.)
Another way to include kids in decision making is to let them look through cookbooks, pick out a recipe and join you in the preparation, or if they are old enough, they can fix dinner for mom and dad. My son and I had many wonderful conversations together in the kitchen from about fifth grade through his junior year. (Then he got too busy with sports and girls.) He liked to cook more than any of my three daughters, so he was a great helper and friend. I encourage you to invite your kids, males and females, into the kitchen with you as soon as they can safely cut up cucumbers. (My son makes homemade bread, holiday pies and Saturday morning pancakes for his family now.)
For very young children, I like the idea of making food fun. If you arrange fresh strawberries and bananas into a face on a whole wheat pancake, and add a dollop of unsweetened yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup, your kids won’t rebel at the idea of “healthy” eating. If you are trying to convert them from Jiffy peanut butter and jelly on white bread to organic natural peanut butter and whole fruit spread or honey on whole wheat, then take the edge off by cutting the sandwiches into fun shapes. (Remember also that you have included them at least somewhat in the decision making within your parameters.) Make a list of healthy foods and let them choose from that.
Healthy snack ideas for kids include organic peanut butter or almond butter on bananas, whole grain crackers with organic cheese, dried fruit, (Make sure your raisins are organic since they rank at the top of the list along with peanuts as the most highly pesticide-laden foods,) fresh fruit, pears and cheese or apple and cheese, raw vegetables with peanut butter or a yogurt or hummus based dip. In times past, a typical after school snack might be a sweet potato with butter. A piece of Ezekiel bread with butter or nut butter would be very sustaining. Stay away from salted and roasted nuts. The best way to prepare nuts is soaked and raw or lightly roasted in the oven with no salt (275 degrees for about 15 minutes.) Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds can be prepared by stirring in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and roasting in a skillet on low heat until lightly brown and fragrant, or roasting dry in the oven or skillet, and may be lightly salted with sea salt. (These are usually available through co-ops or buying clubs.) For those who tolerate dairy, unsweetened organic yogurt with flax seed, fresh fruit such as blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup or raw honey is delicious, (or add ¼ teaspoon vanilla instead of fruit.)
Finally, for kids who are old enough to understand, they should know that your decision comes from your conviction to honor God with your body. Invite them to do the same.
Eating healthy means different things to different people, but in this article, I will give you many helpful tips for eating quality foods that provide protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates. You will find money saving tips and delicious recipes that will stretch your food budget. Use the same principles and create your own money saving recipes!
General Money Saving Tips
Meal Planning Tips
You can save money by planning meals ahead. You will be less likely to feel the need to eat out and less likely to spend impulsively at the store. Begin by planning around food you already have in your freezer or panty. Another way to plan is by considering what is in season since those fruits and vegetables will be cheaper than when out of season. Thirdly, use cookbooks or the internet for recipes, make a list, shop and prepare meals ahead if time if time is too short to cook during the week. This can really cut down on impulse buying, eating out and feeling the need to purchase prepackaged foods. One book that is a great resource for meal planning and preparing ahead is The Stash Plan (Your 21-Day Guide to Shed Weight, Feel Great, and Take Charge of Your Health) by Laura Prepon & Elizabeth Troy.
Tips for Getting Quality Protein in Your Diet
Quality protein is one of the most expensive foods in our culture, but worth buying to avoid pesticides, toxins, hormones and antibiotics. Animal source proteins contain the most complete profile of amino acids (building blocks) for maintaining your body’s strength and health. However, you can also be healthy by eating a little animal protein with other plant protein sources, which tends to cost less. Buy 100% grass-fed and pastured or wild-caught meats and fish and combine these with grains, beans, nuts, seeds and dairy to “stretch” your budget. The following recipes are some of my favorites that combine these foods for economical and healthy protein. The possibilities are endless.
Country Style Soup
½ cup dried green split peas, soaked overnight
½ cup dried navy or great northern beans, presoaked overnight, or for 8 hours
½ cup dried lentils, soaked overnight
¼ pound nitrate-free turkey, chicken or beef sausage or hot links (spicy tastes great!)
2 quarts water
3 medium potatoes, sliced (may omit for low carb or substitute turnips)
3 carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon pepper
1 small green cabbage, chopped
1 pound nitrate-free turkey or beef hot dogs (opt.)
Soak beans for 12-24 hours before cooking. Drain and cover with fresh water 2-3 times during this soaking period. Cut sausage into ¼ inch pieces and brown. Add fresh water, rinsed beans, onion, garlic, salt and pepper, thyme and sage. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to the lowest setting, and simmer covered for 1 ½ hours. Check white beans for doneness, and continue cooking if not tender. When beans are tender, add potatoes, carrots, and cabbage to soup along with hot dogs, if desired. Return to a boil and cook 15-20 minutes longer. Delicious served with whole grain sourdough bread.
Notes: A soup bone is a good flavor alternative in place of the sausage. Also, this soup can be frozen.
Tips to Stretch Your Food Budget
Traditional cultures used the whole animal. Here is a very economical way that you can use a whole chicken to feed a family of four, for at least 3 main meals:
Cut up a whole chicken. Use ½ of the breast for stir fry. With the other half breast, thighs and legs make chicken and rice. Then with the back, wings and bones from the legs, thighs and breast, make a bone broth, and then a soup. (Recipes follow)
Note: A whole chicken can cost anywhere from $3.00 for a conventional chicken on sale, to $20.00 for a pastured, locally raised one. Buy the best that you can afford, with conventional being at the bottom, then hormone, antibiotic free, then organic store bought, then local, pastured the best. A real pasture-raised chicken has higher levels of the fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2, has a better balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and if fed ideally, will have no genetically modified residues or pesticides. Even organic store-bought chickens may contain chemicals such as chlorine used to wash them.
Chicken Cashew Stir Fry
1 chicken breast, deboned and sliced into small pieces
1 bunch broccoli, peel stalk, and slice into very small florets or pieces of stem
1 medium onion, sliced
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced (optional)
½ cup cashews (whole or pieces)
2 tablespoons arrowroot or organic cornstarch
Tamari (wheat free) soy sauce to taste
1 tablespoon grated ginger (optional)
Oil for stir frying, coconut, macadamia or avocado
Stir fry chicken breast in oil on high heat until chicken turns white instead of pink (takes a few minutes). Remove from pan and set aside. Add two tablespoons of oil to the pan and add the broccoli pieces. Stir fry for about two minutes (broccoli will start to turn bright green), then add the onion slices and stir fry another two minutes. Finally, add the mushrooms if using and stir fry another 2 minutes. (Times are approximate. The goal is to have the veggies be tender crisp.) Stir in the cashews and grated ginger; add the arrowroot mixed with 1 cup of water and stir until boiling and hot. (Add more water if desired.) Stir in about 1 tablespoon Tamari and serve over brown rice or quinoa. Pass the Tamari.
Chicken and Rice (Serves 4-6)
1 ½ cup brown rice, washed
2 cups water
1 tablespoon whey, yogurt, kefir or lemon juice
1 additional cup water or chicken stock
Assorted chicken pieces (suggested ½ breast, 2 thighs and 2 legs)
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 large carrots cut in 2 inch pieces, optional
EITHER 1-3 teaspoons curry powder OR 2 sprigs fresh rosemary and 2 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme and ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt and pepper to taste
Soak rice in water and whey overnight. When ready to cook, pour off soaking water into a large cooking pot with a tight fitting lid. Add the extra cup of water or stock and bring to boil. Stir in rice, chicken, onion, celery, garlic, carrots and seasonings, and return to boil. Stir once again; then reduce to a simmer and put the lid on the pot. Cook about 1 hour, or until the rice is done. (You may also cook this in the oven (covered) on 350 for 1 ½ hours.
Chicken Bone Broth
1 whole chicken back, 2 wings plus any additional leftover bones
Water to cover
2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 small onion
1-2 stalks celery
4-5 peppercorns (optional)
Bring water and chicken to boil over high heat in large pot. Skim off any foam for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients; bring to boil, and then reduce to simmer. After 2 hours, remove chicken with a slotted spoon, cool and take meat off the bones. Refrigerate the meat for later use.
Return all the bones to the pot. Either transfer to a crock pot or simmer on top of the stove for 12-24 hours. Strain the liquid from the bones and vegetables, cool and refrigerate. You may freeze this broth or use in recipes. (You may discard the bones or use a second time for broth.)
1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil or butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 can (28 ounces) stewed tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried
2 teaspoons dried basil or 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt and pepper to taste
1 can kidney beans drained (or cook your own to save money)
Reserved chicken from making broth, chopped
1 medium zucchini
1 cup macaroni pasta, whole grain or gluten-free (optional)
Parmesan cheese for garnish
In a large pot, put the oil, onion, garlic, carrots and celery and cook about 5 minutes over medium low heat, stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes, broth, seasonings, beans, and zucchini. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the pasta and reserved chicken, and cook for 10 more minutes, until pasta is done. Serve with cheese for garnish. As with many tomatoes dishes, this is great leftover!
In this post, I will share a little of my story, and why I chose the Weston A. Price diet as foundational to my nutritional philosophy.
About 1995, I was exposed to veganism. I was becoming increasingly health conscious. I had heard several guru's speak on the benefits of veganism and vegetarianism, and I bought into it. For the next ten years, I served my family a lot of beans, whole grains and vegetables and a little bit of dairy and meats on occasion. Over all, we were fairly healthy, although I developed lower back problems.
Around 2009 I came into contact with Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions. Immediately, I felt at home. What I read ringed true to me, and she had thousands of years of history, and cultural evidence from all over the world to testify to the validity of the Weston A. Price philosophy of healthy diets. I will share briefly the essence of Dr. Price's discoveries.
Dr. Price was a dentist practicing in Ohio in the 1920's when he observed many children in his practice with cavities. Dr. Price had heard of cultures around the world who ate their native diets and who had excellent dental health and immunity. He and his wife set off to discover if this was true by visiting cultures around the world who still ate their native diets- no refined foods such as white flour or sugar.
To follow Dr. Price through his wonderful adventures and discoveries, please read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. I will give you the highlights.
Dr. and Mrs. Price visited cultures from Switzerland to Scotland, from Africa to the Pacific Islands, from Alaska to Florida's Seminoles and from South America. He found little to no cavities, excellent dental formation and physical health, great immunity and resistance to the diseases of the day. Conversely, when these same people groups moved into the city and began to eat the "foods of commerce", they experienced rampant cavities, lower immunity and as the first generation was born to them, overbites, under bites and crowded teeth. All this is well documented with photographs and descriptions in Dr. Price's book.
Dr. and Mrs Price had found the answer to their question. Nutrition does indeed affect dental health! And immunity and overall physical and mental health as well. I will give you an overview of the Nine Commonalities of Healthy Diets. These are the observations that Dr. Price made about all the healthy cultures he visited. But first, his greatest disappointment...
Dr. Price's greatest disappointment was that he found no truly healthy vegan people group. Healthy diets had a lot of variation, from almost all animal food to very little. One African tribe ate mostly milk, meat and blood, while another ate all plant sourced foods except for the insects that they collected and dried to eat throughout the year. From the diet of the Swiss, eating rye bread, butter and cheese to the diets of many coastal peoples who ate mostly fish and shellfish, they were all healthy and shared certain commonalities. I will list them here for you to ponder, and in the future will go into more detail about each one.
First a few of Dr. Price's observations:
1) A great variety of diets are healthy.
2) Certain dietary laws are inflexible: We must get our fat soluble factors from animal sources and in order to
healthy, foods must be properly prepared and in their whole forms.
1) Traditional diets contained no refined or denatured food.
2) They all used some kind of animal foods, with some raw (examples- meat, dairy, blood).
3) Their diets were four times as high in calcium and other minerals, with ten times the amount of fat-soluble
vitamins as the modern diet.
4) Their diets included foods with high enzyme content.
5) Seeds, grains and nuts were sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened.
6) Fat content varied from 30%-80% of total calories and only 4% was polyunsaturated.
7) Traditional diets contained nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fats.
8) All traditional cultures used some salt.
9) All traditional cultures made use of bones, usually as bone broth.
When I learned all of this, I immediately saw the sense that it all made. What is true is based on what is. These observations were documented and recorded, and they leave very heavy evidence for us to weigh. I have found no dietary philosophy that makes more sense and that rings more true than that described by what cultures have done in common for thousands of years all around the world.
In light of this, when I evaluate a modern dietary philosophy, I weigh its validity in light of certain truths.
1) Biblical truth
2) Cultural and historical truth
3) Common sense
4) Modern science
And in that order!
By the way, a little post log to the Weston A. Price story. He returned to his clinic in Ohio and set up a feeding program for disadvantaged children. He fed them one lunch time meal per day, and through that one meal, he began to reverse cavities in those children. He simply applied the principles he had observed in those healthy cultures that he visited. After all, the Truth is in the Word and the proof is in the eating of the pudding.