How We Eat
My sweetie and I have converted to Nourishing Traditions-style eating. If the choice is “Pay the farmer, or pay the doctor,” we’d much rather pay the farmer.
The foundation is my chicken stock, simmered for 24 hours from organic chicken necks or backs and carcasses from roast chickens past, plus onion and carrot ends. I strain, cool and freeze most of it in quart Mason jars. I use the stock to simmer beans, as a base for vegetable soups, and to moisten leftovers while reheating. It’s also great for poaching breakfast eggs (pastured, from a neighbor).
Crispy nuts are a great snack. I soak raw nuts in water with plenty of sea salt for at least 24 hours, then drain them for a few minutes so they’re not dripping. Then I add more sea salt plus good nutritional yeast (Frontier brand) and stir to coat, then dry them on the lowest dehydrator setting for 24 hours or so until crispy.
I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free, low-carb crackers using coconut flour, garbanzo flour and nut meals.
Crackers are primarily a butter-delivery device, but also good with full-fat cheeses and bean dip, a snack that gives me lots of satiating fat, a bit of protein and soluble fiber (no nasty wheat bran) without many carbs. My sweetie’s asking for a bland “water cracker,” so next up is a trial with almond flour, coconut flour, and rice protein.
Most meals revolve around pastured beef or pork, with occasional fish, chicken, or lamb, plus lots of veggies, little starch. We like a big salad at least every couple of days. We enjoy our own tomatoes, cucumbers, and greens from the garden, with add-ins from the farmer’s market or a great local food co-op (Corners of the Mouth, in Mendocino). We love broccoli, bitter greens, artichoke (from the garden), green beans, fresh corn, etc. Sweetie loves to caramelize a bunch of onions and keep them in the fridge to use in various dishes. We use a simple steam/saute method on the broccoli and most everything (put cut-up veggies, water or stock, olive oil or ghee, and salt and seasonings in the pot together, bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for 5-6 minutes, then lift the lid and cook off remaining liquid; from How to Cook Without a Book).
While we adore potatoes, to slim our middles (especially Sweetie, who picked up 20 pounds around the waist) we make a cauliflower-potato mash to cut the carbs and still give us the taste and texture we love. (Steam halved potatoes in their jackets, adding cauliflower florets a few minutes in, so they’re done at the same time. Drain when tender, mash with butter and sea salt, and add cream, creme fraiche, cream cheese or grated cheese as desired.) I occasionally soak and cook brown rice or quinoa (using the Joy of Cooking basic recipe, after soaking overnight — fabulous), but that’s about it for grains. Legumes are soaked, sprouted and souped.
I keep full-fat Strauss yogurt around and usually drain it off to have whey for soaking stuff or making lacto-fermented drinks. The yogurt goes into salad dressings or is topped with fruit (usually low-sugar, high-antioxidant berries) or raw honey.
Drinks are homemade kombucha or water kefir sodas of various experimental flavors. Salads are dressed with either Bragg’s olive oil vinaigrette (the only bottled dressing I’ve found with no canola or soy oils etc.) or my own concoction with miso, mayonnaise and/or yogurt, olive oil, maybe flax oil, raw cider vinegar or Japanese ume vinegar, etc. Sweetie swears he’s never tasted better salad dressing than one I whipped up the other day (and didn’t write down, of course!).
We take fermented cod liver oil and are using up various supplements I’ve amassed over time. It’s use it or lose it time, as I plan to toss whatever we don’t use before we move. Now that we eat the way we do, we figure we can get by just fine without most supplements. We do take betaine hydrochloride and digestive enzymes.
We make liberal use of Celtic sea salt and the highest quality butter we can find. I make ghee, combining it with coconut oil for “coconut ghee.” We just finished using a batch that I’d combined with a bit of red palm oil. That was lovely: a rich, orangey color with better taste and smell than red palm oil, while gaining extra beta carotene (NOT primarily as a source of Vitamin A but as a powerful antioxidant).
I make lacto-fermented sauerkraut, supplemented with Cultured brand krauts, a local product from Berkeley. I make refreshing lassi-type drinks with milk kefir and bubbly water, a little stevia and lemon. Mmmm.
Most of our meals take just 30-40 minutes to put together. Sometimes we work together in the kitchen, or one or the other of us takes the lead. Sweetie’s in charge of fish and steaks. He likes my salads. We take turns on veggies. Usually the one who didn’t cook cleans up. Usually <g>.
Sometimes we just make do with homemade crackers, fruit, and Mt. Tam triple-cream cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, a somewhat local treat. Or that might be dessert if we had a light supper.
We look at each other and say, we may be broke and don’t know what we’ll do for work, but we eat like kings!