Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nourishing Traditions

I have been reading about this book, Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon for a while now on a number of blogs such as Down to Earth, and Heart of Home, and was really interested in the concept of returning to real, whole foods, and eating in a way more like the way traditional indigenous peoples ate. After searching for a copy at my library and local bookshops, with no luck, I finally went and ordered it from Fishpond (like an Australian version of Amazon). All I can say is "WOW". Go and get this book and it will change your life. I feel like a groupie or a cult member saying that, but that is how much of an impact this book had on me.

Basically, the author lays the blame for many modern illnesses (often called illnesses of civilisation) such as heart disease and diabetes at the feet of our modern highly processed, low fat, high refined carb diet. She relies heavily on the research of Weston Price, a mid-century dentist who extensively researched traditional peoples isolated from modern diets, and found that despite living long lives, they had virtually no incidences of heart disease, diabetes etc.

The book is huge, more like a textbook than a cookbook, and is very dense with text. Having said that, once I started reading it, I couldn't stop, and pretty much read it in the course of a couple of days, which is no mean feat with two young toddlers. There is a lot of content in there and a lot to take in; it seems overwhelming, what with fermenting, soaking grains, culturing your own dairy products etc. However, I decided to start small with easily achieved baby steps.

My first step was to make a big batch of my own slow simmered chicken stock that I simmered for 24 hours. I used a whole free-range chicken, some onions, carrots and celery. When the stock was finished and the fat skimmed off, it was delicious, rich and unctuous. I hadn't added any salt, but it honestly didn't need any. I use a lot of chicken stock in my cooking, so making this switch was easy and practical.

My next step was to culture some of my own dairy products. I already make my own yoghurt and yoghurt cream cheese, but I always threw away the whey, not knowing how useful it is. I also made up a batch of homemade creme fraiche (sour cream) which is in the pic above. This is absolutely delicious - it is thick and silky and can be used anywhere regular sour cream can be used, but is just perfect dolloped on stewed fruit.

Stay tuned for more things we have started incorporating.

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Rebecca said...

Just getting caught up on blog posts and was thrilled to see this! I'm all about the NT. Just wanted to say hooray!

Cindy Rowland said...

I own a copy of this as well and use it occasionally. Everything I've tried has been delicious.

I do need to add though that I have a friend who's 2 year old feel ill a couple years ago as a part of a raw milk e.coli outbreak. People can get sick from raw milk when farmers mess up. And when it's a kid it is really really scary.

Chic Mummy said...

Cindy, you've raised a really good point. this is why a lot of raw milk advocates want the process regulated in some way - ie testing of hygiene practices etc - just not the ridiculous way it is at the moment which does nothing for public safety. to put it into perspective, though, there has only been 1 outbreak of e coli due to raw milk in the last decade affecting 38 people (according to the CDC, which they make a big deal about) and yet, 1000's were affected with the spinach outbreak, but there is no call for a blanket ban on packaged spinach!

Bottom line, govts should be focusing on improving food safety of all products and encouraging best practice, since any outbreak is a bad one, and in this day and age, shouldn't be happening with any products.

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