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Nourishing Inspiration

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nourishing Traditions author Sally Fallon for an article I’m working on for Living Without magazine. Having read her entire book—a weighty tome of 680 pages, packed with more than 700 recipes and a wealth of nutrition knowledge—earlier this year, I was eager (and a bit intimidated, I might add!) to speak to her specifically about how traditional methods of food preparation (including sprouting, soaking, culturing and fermenting) might help those with food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities to overcome their symptoms. As you might imagine, it was incredibly inspiring to speak with her. Not only did she provide what I pray will be a fresh perspective for the readers who will eventually read the article, but she also graciously answered many questions I couldn’t help asking about my son Kellen’s specific situation. What’s more, she offered hope that he might actually be able to eliminate some of his food-allergy symptoms, and she suggested several things to try to help him eventually get to that point.

Nourishing Traditions isn’t a new book. The second edition was published 10 years ago. But the information and ideas it contains are new to me, and I’m so grateful to the community of bloggers I stumbled onto (especially Wardeh Harmon of www.gnowfglins.com) who first introduced them to me and who continue to inspire me with their own innovations based on the principles and techniques outlined in the book. They, too, have patiently answered questions and shared recipes as I’ve worked to convert my kitchen to meet real-food ideals.

With renewed zeal, I tackled a few tasks this week that were foremost on my mind:
• Homemade chicken stock. Sally Fallon writes extensively in Nourishing Traditions about the healing properties of homemade meat stocks—in particular, the natural gelatin they contain, which aids digestion and allows proteins to be more fully utilized. (Store-bought stocks are not a good substitute, as they don’t contain the beneficial gelatin, and often do contain undesirable preservatives). She suggested that I give Kellen lots of meat stocks and broths to help heal his gut. I’d like to have enough on hand that he (and the rest of us, too!) can eat a little with each meal.

Sprouting Beans

• Sprouted pinto beans. Living in the Southwest, we tend to eat a lot of beans. But although I’d heard about the added benefits of sprouting beans before cooking them (especially that sprouting increases enzymes that help aid digestion), I’d never tried it before. I started sprouting several quart-size jars’ worth on Sunday, and they should be ready to cook today. I’ve been told that sprouted beans cook in about half the time that it usually takes for regular dried beans, so I’m looking forward to keeping the stovetop heated for just an hour or two instead of half a day.

Stuffed Zucchini

• Salvaging our squash. We came home from a trip to my in-laws’ home in northern Arizona a couple of weeks ago loaded with produce from their garden—especially the ever-prolific zucchini and yellow squash. Not wanting to waste one bit, I’ve been working it into as many meals as possible. After last night’s feast of stuffed zucchini (a Nourishing Traditions recipe that calls for a filling of whole-grain breadcrumbs, eggs, Parmesan cheese, onions and, of course, the scooped out flesh of several large zucchinis—to which I added ground beef), I have just enough left to make a soaked version of zucchini spice bread (another NT recipe). The yellow squash will go into the roasting pan with some other veggies as a side dish later this week.

This post is part of the Tuesday Twister blog carnival hosted by www.gnowfglins.com. To link to today’s Tuesday Twister on that site, click here.

Please note: It is my goal to provide a top-quality, content-driven, ad-free blog. That said, I do occasionally include affiliate links in some of my posts. For example, if you click on the book cover above, you will link to Amazon.com, where you will have an opportunity to purchase the book—and if you do buy it after clicking through from my site, I will receive a small commission to support my work here, as well as my own book-buying habit. :-) Seriously, though, I’d be just as happy if my recommendation inspired you to check out the title from your local library or borrow it from a friend.

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1 Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS { 09.22.09 at 10:54 am }

I’m happy that your interview gave you hope for the future for Kellen and his allergies. I’m just tickled that you interviewed Sally Fallon! Sonya, that’s incredible. Thanks for sharing about the interview here. Your zucchini dish looks excellent. I’ve been similarly struck by the “broth” bug – we’ve done broths before but not like I’m planning this fall and winter. Thanks for sharing in the Twister, Sonya! Have a great week.

2 Millie { 09.22.09 at 11:06 am }

How wonderful to interview Sally Fallon! And I can only imagine your excitement over the hope she offered you.
How long does it take the pintos to start sprouting? Will you use them in regular pinto recipes (chili, burritos, etc)?

3 Tiffany { 09.22.09 at 1:47 pm }

How long did it take you to sprout your beans. I’ve had mine going since sunday, no sprout in sight.

4 Sonya Hemmings { 09.22.09 at 3:15 pm }

Tiffany—I started mine on Sunday, too. I was a little discouraged yesterday when I noticed that several beans had quite long sprouts (maybe a half-inch or so), but none of the others had sprouted. Then today I noticed that almost all of the beans had at least teeny sprouts (about an eighth- to a quarter-inch). I had read online that it could take two to four days, but not to wait too long—even if some beans never sprout—or they would be unpleasant to eat. So I decided to go ahead an cook them today. They cooked in an hour and tasted great! Keep checking your beans—they might surprise you. How old are your beans, and are they organic? I think those things can also be factors. Good luck!

5 Sonya Hemmings { 09.22.09 at 3:19 pm }

Millie—I started the sprouts on Sunday, and they were ready by this morning. But see my comment to Tiffany for the range you might expect. I plan to use some of the pintos to make refried beans for tacos. I made quite a few, so I was thinking of freezing them for later use (chili is a great idea!), but I wondered whether it would diminish their nutrition in any way to freeze, thaw and reheat them. Anybody know?

6 Ren { 09.22.09 at 6:26 pm }

Good for you on the chicken stock! I’ve found that a big bag of wings makes a great stock with so much gelatin that the stock solidifies in the fridge. Chicken feet (if you can get them) do the same.

Please let us know how your son gets on. Thanks!

7 Sonya Hemmings { 09.22.09 at 11:25 pm }

Ren—Thanks for the tip on the wings! I actually just used the leftover bones, skin and liquid from two small chickens I had roasted in the oven, plus water, vinegar, carrots, onion, celery and sea salt. It gelled perfectly—and tasted great, too! Next time, I’m going to throw a whole chicken into the stock pot with the other stuff. I’ll debone the cooked meat and save it for another dish and see how that stock comes out.

8 Jen { 09.23.09 at 11:43 pm }

Hi Sonya. I found you through Tuesday Twister, and just wanted to wish you well on your real food journey.

I made broth with a whole chicken last Sunday, and it turned out beautifully! I used carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaf, sea salt, peppercorns, and I always have to throw in some herbs from my garden. I threw in a few sprigs of oregano, tarragon, marjoram, rosemary, basil and thyme. I was out of celery.

I removed the chicken after about 1 1/2 to 2 hours because it gets yucky if you cook it for 24 hours. Once it cooled, I removed the meat for other dishes, then put the skin and bones back in the broth with vinegar. The broth had cooled by this time, and I let it sit for about 30 minutes before continuing to simmer for 24 hours. It gelled perfectly!

Sorry this is so long, but I thought I’d share the tip to remove the meat within a few hours (if you want to use it for something else), before continuing to simmer the bones/skin with the vinegar. Good luck! 🙂

9 Sonya Hemmings { 09.24.09 at 6:37 am }

Hi, Jen! Thanks for the well wishes! And for the stock recipe (and the hint about removing the chicken after 1 1/2 hours!—glad I didn’t have to learn that one the hard way!). The real-food journey is challenging, but so worth it! It’s great to know there are so many of us out there. 🙂

10 Wendy { 10.02.09 at 1:23 pm }

Hi, Sonya! That’s just awesome that you interviewed Sally Fallon. We just picked up her book from the library last weekend, and the girls and I have to take turns with it, as they’re finding useful information for their science research papers, and I keep wanting to steal it back for the recipes! Had I known there was one in there for chicken broth, I would’ve used it instead of Ina Garten’s recipe. Maybe Fallon’s would’ve been even more “nourishing.” I’m loving your blog, although I’m still at a loss as to how you do all this. I happened to check in today to make sure you were OK, since I hadn’t heard back from you yet! 🙂 That’s OK, my household has been quite sick all week long (thus, the earlier-mentioned emergency batch of broth). We’ll catch up soon! Keep up the fascinating work here! When are you going to interview Michael Pollan? Now would be a great time, with his version of “Omnivore’s Dilemma” for kids coming out!
P.S. We had dinner this past weekend with a food scientist/author from Holland, and just happened to have “Nourishing Traditions” with us. I showed it to him and he looked at it for a very long time. I understand he’s a successful author in the Netherlands, and is looking for someone to translate his book into an American version. Wish I spoke Dutch!

11 Sonya Hemmings { 10.02.09 at 7:40 pm }

Hi, Wendy! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! It was a little intimidating to interview Sally Fallon, but she was very kind. Did you read the part of her book about how stock made from pastured chickens gels when cooled? The gelatin is an important characteristic, you’ll read, and one I never achieved (or even knew I was supposed to achieve) when making stock from regular grocery-store chickens. The pastured chickens I’ve been buying from A Bar H produce a nice, thick gelatin! You’ll have to try it! Gotta look for Pollan’s book for kids—very cool! (Except I get so annoyed with his—and every other author’s—assumption that the THEORY of evolution is correct, and I definitely don’t want my kids to assimilate as the truth that we evolved from apes. There’s a reason that the “missing link” is missing! So I will read the book with them and help them see that when you substitute “creation” everywhere that he uses “evolution” the basic food science still makes sense. Amazing how that works.) 🙂

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