Tag Archives: nourishing food
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend this year’s Fourfold Path to Healing conference in Baltimore this past weekend. It was my second year; last year I flew to San Francisco to attend and exhibit. This year, I was asked to teach a day of pre-conference cooking classes and make pate’ for 200 or so people for the opening reception Friday night. I also exhibited and helped to be sure the food functions went smoothly, that is, WAPF style.
Here and there I was able to catch bits of Dr. Tom Cowan’s lectures, 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there, and those bits made the conference worth it for me. Here’s why, and why I love this conference.
The Fourfold conference is based on the book of the same title, which Dr Cowan is the primary author. The other two authors are Sally Fallon (now Morell) and Jaimen McMillan. The book talks about just what the title says: what Dr Cowan believes are the four paths to healing-nutrition, therapeutics, movement and meditation, and the conference is built on the same. Participants have the opportunity to go deep in three of the paths with one of the authors…you guessed it: Sally talks about nutrition, Jaimen does Spatial Dynamics, and Tom therapeutics. To me, meditation, aka spirituality infuses the whole thing. That’s the point here, folks. The one that just thrills me to my core… Here is a medical doctor, looking at and talking about health, healing, wellness and dis-ease in the body through the lens of spirit. The lens he uses is called “anthroposophy“, which was brought forward by Rudolf Steiner in the early 1900s.
How cool is it that a MD is looking at the human body and what goes wrong with it and what goes right with it through the lens of spirit? Very cool. The only thing that is cooler is that 200 or so people came to hear him. And I was one of them.
Dr Cowan looks at patterns as he endeavors to discern what is going on with each patient. He encourages us to use “macroscopes”, not microscopes. He has no use for minutiae. Dr Cowan knows that the clues and the answers will be found in the big picture. This is why he asks his patients to tell him their story. In the story lies the clues to why particular symptoms are showing up in the body. When was the last time your MD asked you to tell your story?!
The lens or metaphor that Dr Cowan used was the Threefold plant. He likened the human to a plant, divided onto 3 sections-head or flowers, middle or stem and bottom or roots. (Here’s where I encourage you to read the book and get more information for yourself; remember, I was running in and out and coordinating food and caught bits and pieces. May this interpretation pique your interest and lead you to seek more. I do not claim that I “got it all” folks. This is my best rendering. :)) By looking at the characteristics of the symptoms and where they showed up, one could determine which plant remedies (often homeopathics) would help guide the person through the symptoms to relief. One thing that struck a truth chord for me was Dr Cowan’s statement that if acute symptoms are allowed to run their course, they will not turn into chronic symptoms. When was the last time you let a fever or pneumonia (the body’s cure for asthma) run its course?
Dr Cowan also talked about the Fourfold human. Unfortunately for me, I missed the beginning of the session but what I did hear was fascinating, and made so much sense. I am eager to learn more. I look forward to finding my Fourfold book and reading it cover to cover. If you are looking for a new (though based on an old-anthroposophy) way of looking at the human body, the human being, and well-being, I encourage you get a copy and do the same!
FYI, Dr Cowan is available for phone consultations if you are not in the San Francisco area. He also offers his own Community Supported Healthcare program. Check it out!!
So I received a call last Monday that I needed to make pate’ for about 200 people on Thursday for the Fourfold Path to Healing conference in Baltimore. I thought, “Fun! Fun! Fun!” and so it was.
After a flurry of calculations and number crunching, I extended the recipes I had. (Most people don’t know that chefs need to be mathematicians too!) Ordered 20 pounds of beef liver and 17 pounds of pork liver and everything needed, and I was off to Baltimore.
Here are some of the photos from growing those recipes. And yes, it was so much fun. AND delicious!! (“Delightful” one woman said, “best pate’ I have ever had” said another…and from Sally Fallon Morell, “really good”. Thanks, all! ) and special thanks to dear friend and “right arm”, Susan Lucas, who was with me through it all!)
Yum yum yum.
I was craving liver again today. Don’t know if it was all the talk about my Liver Pate: Nutrient-Dense Nirvana class in Baltimore on February 3, or if it is just because my body needs those nutrients that liver provides. Luckily, I had frozen some of the chicken liver pate I made last. (Yes, frozen. We’ll talk more about freezing pate later.)
So I went off to the kitchen and sliced off a paper thin slice of traditional Baltic Rye, spread a hearty helping of chicken liver pate on it, topped it with a slab of grass-fed butter and sprinkled on some good Celtic salt. Mmm mmm. Ate a little homemade sauerkraut on the side. Think I found my new favorite snack. Nutrient-packed, easy to assemble and delicious. 🙂
So about freezing pate– often a batch of pate yields several servings, and unless you have a family of 6 or 8, you won’t go through it in one sitting, or even a week. Storage options: first, I love to top my pate with a half inch or more layer of melted butter. As it cools, the butter will seal air out and preserve the pate. Sealed in this way, pate will last weeks in your refrigerator. Another option is to make up your pate in the usual way, in ramekins or mason jars or BPA-free plastic containers that have been lined with parchment. Then freeze for as long as you need to (although I don’t recommend freezing anything longer than six months. I feel more comfortable at three.) I also like to freeze my pate in one person portions… That is, the amount one person will consume within a week.
Now, how about some bread options? Don’t have Baltic Rye (which is rye, yeast, caraway seeds, sugar, water and salt)? Sourdough is best- what I call a “true sourdough”-no gluten added; made in the traditional way. Next, a sprouted bread, but check the ingredients… More and more commercial bakeries are adding in “vital wheat gluten”!!! I also love to make little pate sandwiches on soaked buckwheat-oat pancakes. Pop ’em right in your mouth. So how about those of you who don’t eat bread or grains, even fermented or sprouted? I have spread my pate on coconut flour pancakes and coconut flour bread, almond flour pancakes and heck, even eaten it with a spoon right out of the jar! …Another taste treat: add some of your homemade, fermented mustard! Yes, culinary nirvana…a taste treat that’s good for you!!
We are traveling by car across the US yet again, and once a day we stop for lunch to stretch our legs and get some grub. The options are few out here on the highways of our great land for those of us who wish to eat sustainably-raised food, or care about where our food comes from as well as how it is raised and even slaughtered.
Oh yes, be sure, I always pack a cooler and a sack of REAL FOOD, snacks and stuff for breakfast and dinner when we stop to camp and I can cook. I even bring homemade soup we can sip cold. But the car ride gets old after a few hundred miles and we need to stop and stretch. So when we do, we always try to find a local diner or restaurant, a “mom and pop” stop among the plethora of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Hardee’s. Sometimes we find one, sometimes we don’t.
Today we thought we found one, “The Friendly Grille” just inside the IL border. Too bad road construction blocked the road it was on and kept us from finding it.
So it was back onto the interstate, and we traveled on down the road another 15-20 miles or so, as far as we could go before we needed to fill up the tank again. This time, a Country Kitchen. My honey was happy to see one; it had been a while. I have never seen one, so off we went. And then it was obvious: another chain restaurant. A small chain, but a chain again. Oy.
This prompted an interesting conversation about where food comes from. Another “aha” moment. I have not really seen the breadth of this prior to now. There seem to be three groups: 1. McDonald’s and Wendy’s and the big chains, 2. the small chains and 3. the Moms and Pops. To my knowledge, the big chains AND the small chains get their food from central suppliers, for the most part. I am guessing that MickeyD’s et al have their own main suppliers, and the small chain restaurants also get their food from suppliers such as Sysco, etc. These may vary by area, but there are still companies whose main business is to get groceries/staples to restaurants. So both the large chains and the small chains are purchasing the same brands, the same foods, full of salt and preservatives and lots of long ingredient labels. Yuck. Not sure about where the mom and pop restaurants get their food stuffs; probably depends upon their size and location. They, too, may use the same food distributors…so it’s all the same dead food, (enzymatically dead) the same processed food to varying degrees, the same pasteurized food, the same GMO-laden food, conventional food, pesticide-laden food…out here on the road. Ugh.
Another observation: once we were in this “small chain restaurant”, there were no good choices. Here’s what’s on the menu: a burger or steak from a cow raised on a feedlot, eating food it is not meant to eat while standing in its own fecal matter, and slaughtered assembly line fashion, pulled pork bbq from a pig raised in a cage, chicken from hens raised in cages with what Joel Salatin has pointed out “fecal particulate” in their lungs, salmon-no doubt farm-raised and fed GMO feed at the least. Hmmm. Hard to be a sustainably-eating carnivore out on the road. Very difficult choices. What one does when faced with these bad options is, of course, a personal decision. It may come down to just how hungry you are. And as I always say, a blessing does a lot to make whatever you eat more palatable…as well as a request for forgiveness for what I call the Food Industrial Complex and some actions to help remedy the situation. Join the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund…join a CSA…volunteer on a farm…purchase your food at a farmer’s market, vote with your pocketbook…and when you are on the road, bring your own food with you. Try to research sustainable food options on your route beforehand! And if the only options you have are gas station convenience stores every 60 or 70 miles out here on the road, well, just do your best. 😉
I have been meeting many people along the way on our trip across the country from Maryland to Wyoming and Colorado and back again. We have passed through Maryland, PA, WV, OH, IN, IL, IO, NE, WY, CO, SD, MN, WI, and now we are on our way to IN and MI. In addition to everyone I met and had the privilege of teaching at my Cooking for Well-Being conference in Colorado, I am having wonderful conversations with folks about real food and good health. All sorts of people are being introduced to Nourishing Traditions and the Weston A. Price Foundation, realmilk.com, the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund and the Nourishing Our Children Campaign. Makes me so happy to be spreading the good word about all this good food!
My husband Franklin Taggart calls me an “inspirer”: someone who calls people to realize what they are capable of…and shows them that they “have the goods to do what they need to do”. I must say I love to inspire people to good health, good food, and help to provide them with the tools, techniques and resources to “take their power back”: their power to eat well and be well…to decide where they purchase their food and from whom (from the Food Industrial Complex with all of its implications for the health of the people and the Earth or from farmers, farmers markets, CSAs, etc etc) …(Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm has been reminding us that we “vote with our pocketbooks” when we choose our food. Who are you/we voting for today?!)
So along the way I have had questions from friends, family and acquaintances which are really the same question: “what can I do that would be easy *and* high impact?” So I have come up with the top 5 things anyone can do that are simply a “switcheroo”, involve no training or classes, or menu changes. Just swap what you are using now with the following, and the nutrient density of your food will go up. In my private practice with clients of all ages and in my own life, I have seen hunger decrease, thought become less foggy, children become more focused, weight drop off, and cholesterol levels beautify. (For information on the cholesterol myth, see Uffe Ravnskov, The Cholesterol Myth as well as Dr. Mercola’s Huffington Post article on the same.)
And so, the top five:
1. Use real salt. Throw out that Morton’s salt and purchase some salt that is high in trace minerals. Celtic Sea Salt from the Grain and Salt Society is highest in trace minerals, so I use that. Just check out the label…all “sea salt” is not the same. If they can tell you about the trace mineral content on the label, you’ve got a good one.
2. Use pastured eggs. Swap out supermarket eggs, free range eggs, organic eggs, or eggs fed “vegetarian feed” for eggs from hens *on pasture*. Buy them from a farmer or the farmer’s market, or from your CSA. Chickens are omnivores; the most nutritious eggs will be those from hens that eat a good amount of bugs! (Just check the color of the yolks…eggs from chickens that eat bugs are bright, deep orange…if your yolks are light yellow or the whites runny, they *are not* nutrient dense eggs!)
3. Use pastured butter, aka, butter from cows that eat grass. Don’t rest on your laurels and think the term “organic butter” is enough. “Organic” says nothing about whether the cows ate grass. Look for “pasture butter” from Organic Valley, or Trickling Springs Farm in the DC metro area. Look for butter at the farmers market , or get some *real cream* and make your own. (Butter has the perfect fatty acid profile. Stop slurping that fish oil and pile on the good old fashioned grass-fed butter!)
4. (If you eat bread at all) Eat sprouted bread or a true sourdough bread. There are several brands on the market that make sprouted bread, sprouted bagels, sprouted English muffins. Find a baker that makes real sourdough, or make it yourself! (Be sure you slather on the pastured butter, as it will help to neutralize the rest of the phytic acid that has not been neutralized by sprouting. For more on phytic acid, see Living with Phytic Acid)
5.Eat grass-fed meat and poultry. The nutrient profile is very different for meat and poultry that is raised on pasture. Far more nutritious for you, better for the animal and for the planet. (All meat is not the same–comparing meat from animals raised in the Food Industrial Complex with meat from animals raised on pasture is like comparing apples and oranges–)
Okay, that’s the beginning. We’ll call it “real food for dummies” or, “real food 101”. I am not going to go into fresh, raw milk at this time, as so many people in our country do not have access to it. (To find out about the state of raw milk in your state, check out the map on the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund’s website or check out www.realmilk.com) I am not going to go into fermentation or soaking your beans and grains, or making your own stock. That’s for level 2. Take it easy. Go slowly. One step at a time.