The Ten Week Challenge Syllabus

I walked people through a ten week challenge, using the following syllabus.

Week 1 - Sugar-free
Week 2 - Whole grains
Week 3 - Wild-caught fish and grass-fed meats
Week 4 - Raw dairy
Week 5 - The microwave
Week 6 - Fats and oils
Week 7 - Cultured and fermented foods
Week 8 - Local and organic produce
Week 9 - Processed foods
Week 10 - Implementing lifestyle changes

Visit my Recipe Index over at Going Green in a Pink World.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Eleven Staples of a Real Food Kitchen

1. Butter. Surprised to find this at the top of the list? Raw butter is the best, but organic or cultured butter, especially from cows eating rapidly green grasses, is good too. I just had to steal the following information directly from Sally Fallon's article on the Weston A. Price website, "Why Butter is Better."

"Butter contains lecithin, a substance that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents.

Butter also contains a number of anti-oxidants that protect against the kind of free radical damage that weakens the arteries. Vitamin A and vitamin E found in butter both play a strong anti-oxidant role. Butter is a very rich source of selenium, a vital anti-oxidant--containing more per gram than herring or wheat germ.

Butter is also a good dietary source cholesterol. What?? Cholesterol an anti-oxidant?? Yes indeed, cholesterol is a potent anti-oxidant that is flooded into the blood when we take in too many harmful free-radicals--usually from damaged and rancid fats in margarine and highly processed vegetable oils. A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine."

If you're interested in raw butter, let me know. It's not sold in Massachusetts, but I do know of some suppliers in NH. It's about $5 a pound. Or, you could buy Kerrygold, which is sold at Stop and Shop, Big Y, Shaw's, Costco, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's! Their butter is entirely grass-fed!!

2. Eggs. They're not just for breakfast. Eggs, especially from free running chickens, have enormous health benefits, including a good supply of vitamin D, fat, protein, and amino acids.

3. Coconut Oil - This versatile oil can be used for cooking, skin care (I use it as a moisturizer and leave-in hair conditioner), and it has great healing properties! It's a stable oil, so you can cook with it at high temperatures without concern for it going rancid. It's good for frying leftover oatmeal mixed with an egg! Coconut oil is prized in traditional cultures for its anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-microbial properties. Whew! Try to buy unrefined, cold pressed oil.

4. Garlic and onions - Can you ever get enough garlic? The health benefits are similar to coconut oil in that they are a power house for the immune system and fighting off disease and illness. Crush your garlic and let it rest for ten minutes before heating, in order to activate these beneficial compounds. Onions are high in vitamin C, and have been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, fight cancer, and repair intestinal damage.

5. Olive Oil - There is much debate about olive oil, but I think it's great for gentle sauteing, salad dressings, and dipping. Be aware though, olive oil contains monounsaturated fat and it's longer chain fatty acids promote fat storage. Also - olive oil should never be used to fry at high temperatures! Some of the beneficial properties will be lost and converted into free radicals, which we know wreak havoc on our body and can lead to cancers.

6. Sea salt - A naturally harvested sea salt, like Celtic salt, will supply your body with trace minerals and aid in digestion. And of course, it will make your food taste better too!

7. Wheat-free Tamari - This fermented soy sauce is great for cooking and free of additives!

8. Canned fish - Canned salmon and sardines are one of the only canned products I recommend. They contain Omega-3s, protein, and calcium! They can be made into salads, thrown over salads, or you can make salmon cakes for a quick lunch or breakfast. Dolphin safe tuna is also great for a easy lunch.

9. Nuts - We'll talk more about how to properly prepare your nuts and seeds, but I can't live without a decent stash. I prefer walnuts, almonds, cashews, and sunflower seeds. I soak them in a saline solution to let them germinate, and then dry slowly in a low temperate oven (our ancestors used the sun!) to preserve them. What a great snack!

10. Fresh or frozen greens - Yes, we use frozen vegetables sometimes in our house. Especially in the winter. Sometimes you just don't feel like chopping or shelling or whatever! Greens are nutrient powerhouses, so incorporating them into your weekly menu is a must!

11. Rice or lentils - Both of these are filling, and provide you with protein, B vitamins, and other benefits. They're filling, and easy to make.

Runners Up:
Frozen stock, Grass fed meats, natural or homemade yogurt (more on that later!), raw milk, bananas, and fermented veggies.

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