Sunday, July 24, 2011

Vacation Reading

I used to mock my mother for reading cookbooks, but, apparently, I am my mother's son, because on my recent vacation to Maine, I read a cookbook.

Not just any cookbook, but Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. This cookbook follows the philosophy of Weston A. Price, whose book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (which I partially reviewed) inspired her cookbook and led to the creation of the Weston A. Price foundation. In brief, Price traveled around the world in the 1930's and studied traditional cultures to see what gave them their perfect health. (The photos in the book are amazing).  He came up with a number of recommendations, and this cookbook puts those recommendations into action.

The "cookbook" is actually much more than a cookbook. The first seventy-five or so pages review nutritional science and challenge many existing ideas, such as the lipid hypothesis. It is a book on how to cook in the traditional, healthy manner as much as a list of recipes and the book is loaded with a lot of information in the sidebars on each page.

The authors go into a great amount of detail on how to prepare ingredients for each recipe. For example, how to soak grains, such as wheat, to remove the problematic phytates; how to prepare bone broth; why you should consume raw milk and cream; how to (and why it is necessary) produce whey and homemade cream cheese; and how to cook with organ meats, among many other topics. There is a source of supplies in the back and while not strictly low carb, it is an overall healthy philosophy of eating. The cookbook shuns processed foods of all types (e.g., refined flour and processed sugar) and in all things seeks to emulate how traditional societies prepared foods for perfect health. While not completely low carb, most of what is in the cookbook aligns quite nicely with the low carb philosophy because the authors' philosophy on eating is very similar.

Personally, I found the cookbook very exciting to read and cannot wait to try out many of the recipes. But I do think it will be time consuming and require a lot of advanced planning. For example, to make biscuits, I would need to spend a week preparing a sour dough starter, plus soak the wheat for a few days until it starts to sprout; then dry the sprouted wheat, before grinding it. That might also take the better part of a week. I can see that this method of cooking will require a lot of advanced planning.

Jimmy Moore demonstrated that raw milk had almost no effect on his blood sugar levels, so I am very curious to see how sprouted or soaked wheat will effect my blood sugars. I suspect I will be pleasantly surprised.

All in all, this was a very worthwhile reading experience. I wish I had known what I know now when we were raising children, as I am sure I would have had a bigger influence on what was prepared for family meals. (For purposes of clarity, my wife did most of the cooking when the kids were at home and tried to cook in as healthy a manner as she knew how, based on the available information. There is no criticism of her cooking leveled or implied in this blog entry).

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