Modern trends for dietary approaches to health are finally becoming wholesome. We consider our relationships with food, behaviour patterns, the nutrient density of each ingredient and so much more. Furthermore our ability to reach out and grasp more information, across communities and across countries has been enhanced not only by the internet but by the number of books, blogs, manuals and articles on health advice and recipes. Truly, for anyone with food allergies or intolerance’s, and also those who want a holistic approach to their health the world is our oyster. Yippee!
For me, cooking and meal preparation has become a hobby that’s important not only to me but also our household. And while some times a quick stop to the health food store or last years purchase of a Thermomix have definitely become game changers, old fashioned recipes and methods still have an essential role to play. I am not yet ready to distil my own coconut amino’s by any means, and the gum tree leaves where I live have made my veggie patch plans ever so unsavoury when harvest time came. But fear not, a fun and healthy approach is readily available to all of us. I also love my grass fed liver pate and BBQ plum sauce, but those are more recipes in general than a wholefood so I have focused on my favourite 4 of those. Which of the following are you going to try?
A trick used in science classes from Primary school days, pop some seeds onto cotton and learn how it grows. Simple, inexpensive, and fresh – a benefit to every household, they are ready to eat in about a week. Live foods are rich in macro and micro nutrients, and in many cases sprouting may actually decrease the amounts of Phytic or Oxalic acids. These components can be the cause of gut irritation or reduce nutritional absorption, hence why so many people feel well on a Paleo diet which removes all grains and legumes. Broccoli sprouts are a great source of sulphoraphane, a potent antioxidant for liver and hormonal health!
The term Micro greens are used for sprouts once they start to develop a true leaf. They are larger and resemble a little seedling, and may take up to several weeks. At this stage, they are not quite so nutrient rich, but instead are a good source of chlorophyll and fibre. We have haemoglobin in our blood to carry oxygen, plants have chlorophyll. While you can certainly purchase your alfalfa sprouts and microgreens at your nearest Woolies, home sprouting in jars or trays, special kits or homemade DIY version are vastly more cost effective and create a variety that is much needed in most diets. They do require a little light at some stages though, so I tend not to sprout as much over winter when our blinds are closed all the time to keep the heat in.
Add them to smoothies, salads, stir fries or simply garnish each meal. While there are many excellent websites, and my sprouts, sprouting jar and kits had instructions with them, I did in the end purchase a book on this topic which I highly recommend. Specific advice on hygiene and bug management not to mention sprouting very gelatinous seeds like Chia made this book a must have for me. I am much more adventurous now that I have it. This weekend I plan to make some homemade sprouted Hummus, last time I used some roasted pumpkin to make caramelized roast pumpkin hummus from a Pinterest recipe, so scrumptious!
I actually never used to like sauerkraut, which seems so strange to me now. We work a lot with patients who need to avoid all packet processed foods and increase their natural electrolytes like Himalayan salt. I have also once made a big batch of home cured olives with Himalayan salt, very tasty though the process is more intensive. Healthy sauerkraut is not pickled by adding sugar and vinegar like some commercial ones you can buy, just salt and cabbage (or any other vegetables, such as making kimchi!) and perhaps a small amount of water. It’s based on lactofermentation, the vinegary tang comes from the probiotics that naturally occur on fruits and vegetables rather than being added. These good bugs that bring the full taste don’t grow so well in oxygen rich environments so they need to be sealed and tucked away somewhere dark. My favourite brand to purchase is the Raw Green Super Kraut. It’s hand made in Byron Bay, and has extra seaweed in it for dietary iodine. I used the recipes and info from Phoenix Helix website to make my own kraut as her methods were advertised as “no fail” and it certainly hasn’t yet.
Everyone loves a good cuppa tea (hot or iced), and we all adore sparkling soda water too. Add in some probiotics and digestive acids, and you’ve got some kombucha. A very traditional fermented drink, now also available to be purchased commercially for up to $5 for a smaller bottle! I will not try to extol every health benefit of kombucha like this article does for you about the nutrition and probiotics it can provide, but my own interest was piqued twice this year. Firstly in February we had a Paleo chef Danielle for The Lucy Rose Clinic staff when Dr David Brownstein a notable Thyroid specialist came to Australia. She provided the BEST and freshest food from her farm and many bottles of kombucha. The second time this year I became interested again was recently after being somewhat unwell myself, and running out
Previous efforts of kombucha after first studying Naturopathy were too time consuming for me, washing and cleaning and scrubbing containers each week and I’d get slack which resulted in bad bugs or mould growths. I had the same problem with other healthy probiotics drinks to make from home like milk or water kefir, which required daily maintenance.
So now after taking probiotics capsules on-and-off for about 4 years with some periodic pre-bottled kombucha purchases, I have started this batch of continuous kombucha. These drinks containers are so very fashionable right now, and I was able to get a metal-free one (these probiotics don’t like the metal very much) from Kmart. The symbiotic bacterial and yeasts mass that floats at the top is called a scoby, I purchased mine online. Much like the best apple cider vinegar which should have some “mother tincture” in the bottom of the bottle for the health benefits that it’s famous for, kombucha will also have these little scrappy bits at the bottom too. And the best bit is once a week I can syphon off most of the kombucha, then only have to boil some teabags, add some sugar to make a fresh mix which I add into the top of the fermenting container once cooled. Hence the continuous version: no scrubbing required! So for a bit more reading and the breakdown of how to make or maintain kombucha go here or here.
You can also see on my bench top I am getting prepared for Christmas gifts: homemade lemoncello and limecello, and that big jar with the fermentation lock is a first attempt at some apple cherry cider, made from home juiced apples and brewers yeast. I am using saccromyaces cerviasae which is also part of nutritional yeast, and is purchasable in naturopathic formula’s to address gut dysbiosis. Read about our most recommended probiotic here. My winter time attempt at rose petal wine didn’t work out (it’s pretty darn cold in the Adelaide Hills!) so I am trying something else as the weather warms up. The left overs from the apples I juiced to make the homebrew hard cider are in the smaller jar on the right with some paper towel on top. I’ve always purchased either Braggs or an organic apple cider vinegar from the shops. Since I didn’t want to be wasteful, I decided to give an online DIY recipe a go. I preferred to use honey instead of white sugar.
It amazes me that people will pay for powdered versions of this from the health food store. I have a blog about how to make it yourself with all my tips and tricks here but this is the wholefood I have never, ever purchased at all. I have a very wonderful patient who eats a vegan diet, and she found this lovely vegan seaweed based broth as a meat free alternative by Organic authority. It was a game changer for her, so if you or someone in your house is avoiding animal related produce this alternative may be helpful.
In both traditional and vegan versions we are trying to concentrate natural collagen, an essential ingredient for healing and body maintenance. Not to mention all the other concentrated antioxidants and vitamins. I use bone broth instead of stock, water or wine in any recipe. You can also drink it for breakfast!
So while 1) removing aggravating or inflammatory foods can go a long way to better health 2) learning about healthy eating behaviour and healing our relationship with food can break negative behaviours and 3) increasing our nutrients intake can certainly boost recovery, try some home made whole food sources as well. It’s not just about the taste, or the savings you get by not having to buy said ingredients. It’s very soothing and uplifting to have these things around the home. It may also increase your level of commitment to good health, as poor eating habits have a way of rearing their ugly head again over time. I do recommend speaking to your health practitioner about any symptoms you have and your own personal nutritional requirements: do you need to detox before starting probiotics? Are sprouted grains ok for you, or should you go Paleo, or even Autoimmune Paleo? Functional pathology and thorough investigation may also help guide your decisions. Let us know which of the above you want to try!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Adv Dip Naturopathy, Adv Dip Western Herbal Medicine
Head Naturopath Kimberly Orbons is passionate about encouraging and empowering each person to facilitate their own good health with Nutrition, Herbal Medicine and preventative lifestyle management. Using a combination of diagnostics and symptomatology to identify the different metabolic processes contributing to disease allows her to treat the root or cause of poor health, providing relief of symptoms and long term recovery.
Kimberly believes it is extremely important to build a personalized healing plan, taking all the complexities of a patient’s health and illness into consideration. Her consults have a strong focus on client care and treating each patient as an individual, and may therefore co-ordinate with other medical treatments. The goal is to establish each patient’s ability to live in the best possible state of health, naturally. Her mentors in clinical practice include Founder Lucy Herron, Dr. David Brownstein, Naturopath Angela Hywood and Dr. Sarah Wine. Since achieving her qualifications in 2007 she has extensive clinical experience, and also 3 years managing the natural health sections and seminar within pharmacy.
Kimberly works closely with our CEO Lizzy Herron, our naturopathic consultants and all The Lucy Rose clinical staff to ensure our patients are provided with the best and most up to date health services and quality health advice. She has actively contributed to our online media, patient guidelines, patient support and informational services for the past 3 years and enjoys providing excellent free to access health data to patients across Australia daily.
Recommended Book: ” Home Grown Sprouts: a fresh, healthy and delicious step-byt-step guide to sprouting year round” by Rita Galchus, 2013 ISBN 978-1-59253-870-6 www.quarrybooks.com