Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wisdom in the Kitchen!

To eat this, or not to eat this...? That is the question. That is the question that we all ask ourselves, albeit ever-so-fleetingly, many times a day. A desire for and understanding of good nutrition does not come naturally. I believe a weakness for for the “bad” stuff is about as innate as sin itself. Thus, endeavoring to change that tendency is much like a spiritual journey. Study, prayer and application are about the only way things will ever change. 
And then... you are a freak. 
Seriously, you start eating really healthy and you’ll get all sorts of flack. You may receive some crazy looks or sarcastic comments, similar to those that non-Christians might give us Evangelicals. You may be called a hippie or a tree hugger or all manner of things! 
I have a friend who’s wife died from stomach cancer; he has researched nutrition incessantly, hoping to arm his four children with healthy bodies that will fight against any genetic tendencies. His view of eating healthy is this: If you look at how American’s eat as if it were a face on a could put the Standard American Diet (aka S.A.D.) at 12:00. If you want to eat right, it isn’t as if you need to tweak things just a bit...say towards 11:55 or 12:10...One must go in the absolute other direction. Good nutrition is at the 6, or the 30 minute mark, in total opposition from mainstream America.
I hope that visual made sense. 
So, where am I going with this? Well, as part of the TOS Crew I received a Sue Gregg cookbook, Introducing Whole Foods Cooking for Health and Hospitality, by Rich and Sue Gregg. This is like a cliff-notes version of a nutritional Encyclopedia.
Actually, I have the full-size version of the “nutritional encyclopedia” already: Sally
Nourishing Traditions. It is a wonderful resource/cookbook but it is almost overwhelming in the amount of information it contains. I have vacillated with what I have learned and the actual application for several years. I was certain that there was probably some simplification that could be done, but hadn’t the time to experiment and figure it out. When Sue Gregg’s book arrived I was thrilled to see that she and her husband Rich have incorporated and UNCOMPLICATED the very things that are taught in Nourishing Traditions!
I have had some previous exposure to Sue Gregg’s cookbooks. When I bought my flour mill, years ago, a friend shared one of her Sue Gregg cookbooks with me. I still have many of the recipes. Although they were nutritionally “current” (low fat, whole grain, and using yogurt instead of sour cream etc.) they were nothing like the fundamental nutritional facts found in Sally Fallon’s tome.
When I started reading the Introducing Whole Foods book, I was so happy to see that Sue and Rich Gregg had found and incorporated the truth’s in Fallon’s book as well. This was not the Sue Gregg cookbook of years past. The Gregg’s have learned and evolved in their nutritional expertise and are now passing on their secrets to eating truly healthy (way down there at the “30 minute” mark) to the rest of us.
Introducing Whole Foods for Health and Hospitality is a perfect introduction to taking steps towards solid nutrition. The fact is, healthy eating has been going on since creation; it has only been in the last 100 years or so that things have gone haywire, causing all those nasty “Western” diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. What nutritional knowledge have we lost? 
The answers begin in books that teach how foods should be prepared, how they have been prepared in generations past. Thankfully, truly healthful food prep is not a completely lost art, but it isn’t something you’ll find in the latest issue of “Eating Light” or “Healthy Living”. Yet the ways of our ancestors have been preserved by a few and are slowly being practiced by more people.
It is a process of re-educating ourselves. And, as I said, Introducing Whole Foods is a great place to start. Sue and Rich Gregg do an excellent job discussing what true nutrition looks like and how to incorporate that into real life. They take the “scary” out of the process of using grains properly, and they give you recipes that really do taste delicious! Furthermore, through their genius idea of using your blender for a mill, you can enjoy hard-core nutrition in very doable ways. In fact, the “Blender Batter Pancakes” are the best pancakes we’ve ever eaten (and we have had stacks and stacks...). Tip: if you ever make these, cook on lower heat for a longer period, these babies are thick and will stay gooey in the middle if you aren’t careful!
Where does wisdom for right relationship to our food ultimately come from? The Word of God, of course. Recognizing this fact, the Greggs have also included Bible studies on the use of food, the way food brings us all together and how we can glorify God through what we eat, as well as how we eat it. They take spiritual food and natural food and show how closely the two are related.
Introducing Whole Foods for Health and Hospitality is a terrific way to take the first step towards truly eating right. It is also a wonderful little home-ec/Bible study course that you can do on your own, with your children or even in a co-op setting. What could be better than getting together and baking bread with a bunch of friends? (Yes, ok, coffee at Starbucks is right up there).
Once you get comfortable with the easy recipes in Introducing Whole Foods, there are many more cookbooks that the Greggs have written that delve further into the nutritional realm. One feature with this cookbook that is just fabulous is the inclusion of a CD that takes you step by step, using photos, through the recipes, removing all the mystery out of preparing food and eating right!
Sue Gregg has a tremendous website, with some recipes you can try before you buy, allowing you to anticipate the great things to come in the cookbooks you order. You can visit the Gregg’s website by clicking here. Introducing Whole Foods for Health and Hospitality sells for $23. In this day and age, it can be hard to decipher the latest nutritional craze and buzz-words...turn your back on all that and get back to basics with the sound nutritional guidance in this cookbook! The money you'll save in the long run by eating healthy now is well worth your time and money.
Below is a picture of a healthy coffee cake recipe that I made several times, much to the delight of my family! I doubled it to make a 9 x 13 pan to feed 12. It did!

1 comment:

Cozy in Texas said...

I stopped by your interesting blog today. My family and I have been researching places to buy meat that is not pumped full of junk on our quest for healthier living.
Ann Summerville
Cozy In Texas

At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.