Sourcing Nutrient Dense Whole Foods
The number one most important element in creating a preventative and healing diet is the source of one’s food. My parents largely shop at Trader Joe’s and they do their best to buy ‘organic’ vegetables and meats, but this is simply not enough, especially if 1: you eat meat, 2: you are actively healing from a health condition.
Straight away I sought out fully pasture-raised eggs (an essential food to regulating cholesterol), fully pasture-raised meats (beyond ‘organic’, these are animals that live on pasture, in humane conditions), local & seasonal produce from the Farmer’s Market (to ensure nutrient value, dependent on farming practices and travel time), raw dairy products (butter can be essential for healthy cardiac function), healthy oils from trusted producers, homemade lacto-fermented vegetables or from local artisans (one of few food sources for Vitamin K2 essential to balancing cholesterol and for bone health) and a variety of whole organic grains.
My parents live in the Bay Area, so naturally I did most of my shopping this week at Rainbow in San Francisco and the Farmer’s Market in Berkeley. More on these resources and others here.
Proper Food Preparation
Soaking Grains, Nuts and Seeds
Soaking or sprouting is a tradition that all cultures have followed until the advent of industrialized food. This one lost culinary tradition may be the cause for many of today’s health problems. The Phytic acid found on the surface of all nuts, seeds and grains (a natural bug repellant) blocks the absorption of calcium and chelates (binds with) zinc, calcium, and iron, which leads to poor absorption of these minerals. People often find that grains which usually make them bloated are easily digested after soaking. This is an easy and effortless task! Just add water, a splash of vinegar or lemon juice and let stand covered over night in a warm place. Details on soaking grains are outlined in each Basics Recipe.
One of the great things about soaking grains is that it greatly reduces cooking time! I especially appreciate this side benefit with steel cut oats, which soaking cuts cooking time down from 45 minutes to about 25.
Nuts simply taste better! If you soak almonds they become plump and juicey, like just picked off the tree. And walnuts soaked and dehydrated become crispy, full of flavor and almost have the quality of a chip. So delicious!
This is something that I don’t have to school my mother on. In fact this is my mother’s own chicken broth recipe, but made with a local pasture-raised hen. Traditional bone broths coming from healthy animals are essential to healing and good health. Chicken soup really is good for you! Learn more about and how to make your broth.
Here you can see that our sacrificial hen was lean and healthy. My mother eats quite a bit of chicken and noticed not only the richer flavor, but that the muscles of the chicken had a different texture. A meatier sort of fiber, indicating the amount of activity a truly free roaming hen enjoys.
Tasty Sauces, Dips and Condiments
In most cultures, traditionally condiments were essential to every meal. For both flavor and health reasons. Most condiments we know today such as ketchup, mustard, mayo and pickles were all lacto-fermented products at one time.
These fermented foods help brake down other foods such as meat and grains and build a strong immune system by increasing the good bacteria in the gut. For this reason my diet plan includes fermented veggies with every meal. They’re tasty too!
In addition we’ll be making a variety of lip-smacking dips and sauces, packed with nutrients too boot!
Balanced Meals Food Pairing
Finally we’ll be working on putting it all together and creating absolutely delicious and nutrient dense meal compositions that are easy to follow and even easier to eat! Similar to the ratios of the Zone diet, much aligned with the food philosophy of the Weston A. Price foundation and Donna Gates’ adaptations.
Look out world. My dad is going to be one healthy guy by the end of this month!