Thursday, September 08, 2011

Cultured Eating

Hello, hello! How is your week going? Mine's been super productive. I decided that if I went to the effort of making a study schedule, then I'd might as well stick to it. What bought that on?  A B-minus. :-/  

To be fair, the marker did praise my writing style glowingly, then commented that I'd completely missed the point for half the essay and therefore, could be allocated no marks for that part. Again.. the grumpy face.. ;-/

Sometimes I realise that I  need to make more of an effort to discover the world outside my kitchen, photo-wise. Looking back through the last days pics reveals that The Programmer has enhanced our collection with fabulous images such as this:

and this:
My effort?


Yes, I do think that Sanaworld needs a dose of cabbages - cavolo in Italian, not to be confused with cavallo (horse). You can see how that could cause an embarrassing restaurant moment for a tourist (or so I've heard... *cough*).

Fermented food is something that, apart from yogurt and alcohol, seems to be quite absent from modern diets. Fermentation is an ancient food 'processing' technique in which the action of endemic or added bacterial cultures renders a food more nutritious. The most often cited benefits are the presence of pro-biotic organisms, such as various species of Lactobacillus, and enhanced digestibility of dairy and grain products.

Those of you that follow this blog (all four of you.. helloooo *waves*) will know that if I'm going to eat bread, it will be a properly fermented sourdough. You can add this: if I'm going to eat cabbage, it will be as sauerkraut - otherwise I'm not a cabbage fan. I'm not 100% sure that the canned sauerkraut in the pic is fermented. This one was more correctly pickled in white wine. Making sauerkraut (which I have done in my tie-dyed skirt past) is time consuming, but worth it. I found a very complete explanation of how to do it here, on the Marks Daily Apple blog.

I've got to say, I have a love-hate with that blog. Sometimes he writes brilliant stuff and sometimes comes out with random posts that seem to defy science and make me squint sideways at my monitor.

Dinner last night was something I first discovered in a local Dutch cafe, run by real people from Holland. It's an organic, lean beef sausage in sourdough with sauerkraut. The traditional sausage is something more spicy, but we work with what we have.

If you are interested in delving further into the benefits of fermented grains, this post, from the Whole Health Source blog is well worth a read. It's kind of wordy and health nerdy, but you will feel much brainier after reading it. I was particularly interested in two aspects of the article: The first part was that fermentation reduces levels of grain lectins, which I have a theory about as regards arthritis (and other auto-immune conditions*). The second interesting point was that fermentation increases the content of certain amino acids in grains, making them a more complete protein.

Of particular interest is the increase in lysine, an essential amino acid which is deficient in most grain products. As any nutrition student knows, lack of one amino acid tends to decrease absorption of the ones that are present, which is why vegetarians should eat legumes with their rice. Cooking further increases the availability of proteins in fermented grains. I found this statement (tenth paragraph) really interesting, and I think an important thing for my vegan readers to know:

"Fermentation followed by cooking increases the digestibility of grain protein, bringing it nearly to the same level as meat"Stephan Guyenet,
So, now I am mad keen to try making a soaked, sprouted, fermented, cooked rye sourdough. Has anyone tried this? Does anyone want to join me in giving it a go? I'll see if I can dig up a reliable method.


* In my case, I'm pretty convinced that my osteo-arthritis was an auto-immune problem. The reason is that it came on dramatically while I had Glandular Fever and went away completely after about six months on a very low-lectin diet.  I did a lot of research which led me to this conclusion, it's not just something I pulled out of my butt, but would take a lot of explaining and I'm not sure my biochemical knowledge is up to it yet. Anyway... that's why I say 'and other auto-immune conditions'.

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