We’ve come to the last lesson. This week, instead of cooking, we’re going to step back and review.
You’ve seen me use the word “compromise” a few times throughout the course. Nourishing Traditions is a wonderful book, and to me, it’s the “gold standard” on whole food cooking. You could say it represents the ideal diet. But I would rather see you mostly eat a whole food diet and compromise sometimes, than be discouraged because it’s too hard to be perfect, and give up.
How much you compromise depends on your budget, your health, your metabolic type, your family situation and your lifestyle. Some of you might need to eat whole foods 100% of the time (especially if you have food intolerances), or you might eat well during the week and relax at the weekend. It’s up to you to find the point of balance, the point where you maintain your health, but also your social life and leisure time.
One area of compromise is when you have differing metabolic types in your household. This is not an easy one, especially if you have both Carbo and Protein types. Some ideas:
~Make each person responsible for their own breakfast and lunch, so that only the evening meal is shared
~Vary the protein portion of each meal between light and heavy proteins
~Cook a range of vegetables and let each person serve themselves, so they can get the right balance
~Have a range of whole food condiments available, so each person can choose an appropriate one
You may also have a household where some members have food intolerances. To me, this is not an area for compromise. If one person can’t eat a particular food, don’t keep it in the house. That support from family members will make it easier for the person to not feel deprived.
A quick overview on some of the good, the bad and the compromise (but see the shopping guide for more details):
- Locally grown
- Organic or eco-farmed
- Minimally processed
- Prepared in traditional ways to maximise nutrients
- Soaked, sprouted or fermented
- A wide variety of foods
- Good fats
- Awareness of your metabolic type
- Tinned tomatoes, fish and legumes
- Cold processed whey protein powder
- Ground nuts that haven’t been soaked
- Refined gluten free flours
- Cocoa & chocolate products
- Any foods you have an intolerance to
- Trans fats and/or too much vegetable oil
- Refined sugars and carbs
- Grains that haven’t been soaked (and for some, any gluten grains)
- Pasteurised, homogenised or low fat dairy
- Artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners
- Pesticides or other contaminants
- GE foods
You might groan to read this, but planning can be your best friend. Knowing what you’re going to make for dinner and being prepared seems to halve the effort of actually making the meal. If the plan gets changed later, it’s no big deal, but if you don’t have a plan, you’re likely to end up eating something less than ideal. Planning and preparing ahead of time (say, several hours at the weekend, and a few minutes night and morning) can make all the difference between eating well and not.
~Attached is a summary page showing all the recipes we’ve covered, to help with menu planning. You may want to draw up a sheet of your own with your favourite recipes, and any new recipes you start using.
~Plan a week’s menu at a time. If you do a big weekly shop, do your plan before you make out your shopping list. But be flexible; if you spot some great specials, you can always change the plan.
Include in your menu
Every meal or snack:
~A balance of protein, fat and carbs
~Something raw or fermented, if possible
~Some animal protein and fat
~Something raw, with at least one meal
~Something fermented, with at least one meal
~Some fish, preferably raw
~Some raw or organ meats
~At least one meal based on a meat broth
At the weekend, check what you need to prepare ahead for the week. You might need to:
~Make some stock
~Soak and dry some crispy nuts or seeds, or some jerky
~Do some baking
~Set some drinks to ferment
~Set up a batch of chutney or fermented veges
Each evening, check what you need to prepare for the next days meals. For example:
~Preparing the lunch boxes, if you won’t have time in the morning
~Taking things out of the freezer
~Setting some grains or legumes to soak
Each morning, before you go out, check if you need to pick up anything (eg. Fresh veges, salads or fruit) from the supermarket for dinner or the following day’s lunches.
Stocking the cupboards
It helps to keep the cupboards stocked. If you have some easy to grab healthy snacks in the fridge, you’re less likely to have to munch out on something “bad”. The shopping guide will also give you more ideas on what to keep on hand, but here’s a starting point. Choose what works for your family:
- Tinned salmon or sardines
- Free range eggs
- Cold sliced meat or some chicken legs
- Hard boiled or devilled eggs
- Cheese, preferably raw
- Kefir or yoghurt
- Raw milk
- Raw, organic meat and poultry
- Pre-cooked meat in one meal or single serving sizes
- Raw milk (if you have a source, but need to buy in bulk and freeze it)
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Crispy nuts
- Tinned coconut cream
- Cod liver oil
- Nut muesli
- Coconut & nut based snack bars
- Fresh fruit
- Homemade bread & baking
- Dried legumes
- Whole grains
- Tinned tomatoes
- Tinned beans
- Hummus or other dips
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Fermented vegetables
- Fresh herbs
- Soy-free “green” drinks
- Frozen blueberries
- Homemade breads, sliced ready for the toaster
- Homemade baking, in serving sizes (if you like to bake in bulk)
- Sea salt
- Herbs & spices
- Acceptable sweeteners
- Homemade or good shop-bought sauces, condiments and spreads
- Stocks in cup-sized containers
- Herb teas
- Fermented drinks
Not enough time and money?
The pace of life is fast these days, and we all have budgets. But what time and money we can invest in eating well will be repaid in improved health and energy. Even so, sometimes it seems like a lot of work. Let’s do some brainstorming on how we can make it easier. I’ll start and you can email me with your extra suggestions! These are in no particular order.
~In general, making your food from scratch will be cheaper than buying ready made (though more time consuming)
~Make use of cheaper foods and specials – a meal doesn’t come much cheaper than liver (even organic liver), onions and pumpkin
~Cook in bulk and either freeze the leftovers, or plan another meal that uses them
~Plant fruit trees
~Grow your own veggies or herbs
~Keep your own hens, for eggs
~Forage for edible weeds (but find out what you’re looking for first!)
~Buy in bulk
~Form a co-op with friends and neighbours to buy wholesale or direct from the supplier
~Arrange a support group and share the work. One of you might make sour dough bread, one Kombucha, one sauerkraut, one might drive out to a farm to get raw milk for you all.
~Ethnic stores often have cheaper supplies of legumes or coconut cream, for example, though they won’t be organic
~Decide on your priorities. For example, one of my compromises is that I don’t always buy organic red meat as all NZ meat is pasture fed, but I always buy organic, free range chicken, pork and organ meats.
Optional extra reading:
~Guidelines for limited time or budget: Nourishing Traditions P619-621
The diet eaten by most people contains a lot of foods that are low in nutrients or foods that are refined and actively strip their bodies of nutrients. We’ve been looking at foods that are will give us higher levels, but our land and sea can no longer produce foods with the nutrient density of even 100 years ago. Even if we eat the very best diet we can, that still may not be enough. So it’s tempting to take a few supplements to “make sure”.
There are problems, though, with taking supplemental vitamins and minerals:
~They come in forms different to that in nature, and have different effects on the body. It’s rare to overdose on vitamins in foods, but you can overdose on vitamin pills. Vitamin A is a good example. Studies have been done showing the dangers of taking large doses of supplemental Vit A. Because of this, pregnant woman are now warned to avoid large doses of it. But no problems occur from eating liver or taking cod liver oil during pregnancy, and as Price discovered, it’s very beneficial.
~These different forms may not even be absorbable
~They are likely to have additives that are less than desirable
~Pills are often lacking the co-factors that are present in foods. For example, you may be taking Vit C in the form of ascorbic acid. But in foods, it comes with lots of bioflavonoids and other nutrients.
~Nutrients, especially minerals, have complex interactions. So supplementing with one mineral, even if it appears to be needed, can affect the levels of other minerals, to your detriment.
~Different metabolic types, and different people, have different supplementation needs, so there’s another reason not to “doctor” yourself.
There are now a lot of supplements around that are labelled “whole food” supplements. But they are generally very expensive, and besides, how do you know which one to pick? Everybody says their brand is the best. Then there are herbs, amino acids, glyconutrients, transfer factor and more. It’s true that many of these are beneficial, but again, where do you start choosing?
For now, let’s look at just a few simple “superfoods” that you can incorporate into your diet, to lift your nutrient levels. (Later on, you may want to look further into further supplementation, but that’s beyond the scope of this course.) These foods are not the panaceas they’re sometimes made out to be, but they have concentrations of various nutrients, so are useful additions to your diet.
~Cod liver oil is a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin D and EPA (a fatty acid that the body makes from Omega 3’s). It’s especially important to have enough Vitamin A during pregnancy, though it has many benefits for everybody. During the winter months, most people don’t get enough Vitamin D from sunlight, so need other sources. Price found that the most benefit came from taking it with butter oil. If you’re in NZ, and eating plenty of good yellow butter, that may be enough. But if you’re in the US, and not able to always get good butter from grass-fed animals, it may be worth looking out for butter oil.
~Evening Primrose Oil, Borage Oil or Black Currant Oil – Good sources of gamma-linolenic acid or GLA. The body normally produces this, but as we get older the production becomes impaired, and it can help to supplement.
~Acerola Tablets – If you’re able to get it, acerola is a good natural form of Vitamin C and includes cofactors such as bioflavonoids and rutin
~Dried nutritional yeast is one of the best natural sources of B complex vitamins (except for B12) plus a variety of minerals. Look for yeast that has been processed at low temperatures.
~Bee Pollen: Bee pollen contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals, a full range of vitamins, hormones and fatty acids, and 5,000 enzymes and coenzymes. Avoid pollen that has been dried at temperatures higher than 130 degrees. Some people can react to bee pollen, so start with a tiny amount and build up.
~Azomite Mineral Powder – is an excellent source of silica, calcium, magnesium and trace minerals. Take a heaped teaspoon mixed with water daily.
Azomite isn’t available in NZ, but you can make your own mineral mix of calcium, magnesium and potassium. Take 5 parts dolomite and 2 parts cream of tartar. Mix together well and store in an airtight jar. Each morning mix a heaped teaspoon of the mixture in ½ a glass of boiling water. Mix well till it stops fizzing. Top up the glass with cold water and stir again. Leave for a couple of minutes for the sediment to settle on the bottom of the glass, and drink just the liquid.
Green drinks. It’s now possible to get a wide variety of green drinks that contain dried vegetables, sea vegetables and grasses. But you need to read labels carefully, because nearly all of them contain some soy. If you can’t find a soy-free one, you might be able to get the individual ingredients to make up one of your own. This is one possible combination. Include as many of these as you can find, mixing equal parts by volume (not weight), and drink 2 Tbs mixed with liquid (water, juice, kefir, etc) each morning:
~Spirulina powder – which is high in protein, carotenoids and minerals. It’s often claimed that this can provide B12 in a vegetarian diet, but this not true; it’s a different form that cannot be absorbed.
~Chlorella powder – it has good nutritional properties, and is also good for carrying heavy metals out of the body. It needs special processing to improve digestibility of a tough outer cell wall.
~Alfalfa grass powder – rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytochemicals, and chlorophyll.
~Barley grass powder – see Alfalfa grass
~Wheat grass powder– see Alfalfa grass
~Purple dulse seaweed powder – contains every one of the minerals and trace minerals found in the world’s oceans and the earth’s crust. If you can’t find it, replace with kelp or another sea vegetable
~Beet root powder – blood cleanser, and a good source of organic iron, calcium and vitamin K.
~Spinach leaf powder – see beetroot powder
~Rose Hips powder – good source of Vitamin C
~Orange peel powder – good source of Vitamin C and bioflavoniods
~Lemon peel powder – good source of Vitamin C and bioflavoniods
And to finish, a natural help for colds. Lemon Creamy – blend together and drink several times during the day:
~juice of half a lemon, freshly squeezed
~2 raw egg yolks, or 1 raw egg and an egg yolk
~2 Tbs of raw butter, cream or coconut cream
~1-2 tsp of unheated honey
Optional extra reading:
~Vitamins and minerals: Nourishing Traditions P36-45
~Superfoods: Nourishing Traditions P614-617
~Plan next week’s menu
~Check the cupboards and fridge and stock up on some basics and snacks
~Make a commitment to yourself and your family to keep up the good work
~If there’s anything you want to ask or tell me about the course, send me some feedback
~Try a new recipe of some kind every week
You’ve made it to the end of the course.
But it’s really only the beginning of a journey. There’s a lot more you can do. Hone your skills. Develop new recipes. Grow your own food. Share your ideas with other people. Support local farms and businesses. Feed yourself, your family and friends with delicious foods, rich in nutrients and prepared with love. Enjoy your food. Follow Weston Price’s exhortation to ‘Teach, teach, teach”. Be an example. Live to a healthy, vigorous, productive and happy old age.