I’ve found myself in conversations about adrenal fatigue with a number of friends lately. It seems that everywhere you go, folks are having trouble with their hormones. It doesn’t seem to matter if the person is male or female; although women do seem to voice their challenges more readily than men! Men are certainly having their share of issues as well even if they don’t talk about it .. just note the number of Erectile Dysfunction (ED) pharmaceutical ads on the TV! I realize that ED indicates cardiovascular problems, but the fact is that hormones going haywire (like insulin which is a hormone) is the likely precursor to the circulatory problems. Men with a normal fasting blood glucose simply do not suffer from ED like men who have Metabolic Syndrome.
Monthly Archives: June 2009
As a woman who is approaching her 45th birthday, I should have had 3-5 mammograms already according to the recommendations of conventional medicine. Well, guess what? I’ve never had one and I don’t intend to ever have one (thank you for your wisdom, Mom). The dirty little secret is that a single screening mammogram exposes you to 1,000 times the radiation of a single chest xray! If you find this shocking and hard to believe as I did, then research the facts for yourself. Beware, though. Your doctor will most likely deny this vehemently. They will swear to you that a mammogram exposes you to trivial amounts of radiation. Don’t take their word for it. Research both sides of the issue and come to your own conclusions.
A primary goal for any Healthy Home Economist is to produce nutritious, home cooked meals for her family. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, “nutritious” is a word that is bandied about with such abandon these days in the media that the public is almost completely fooled about what “nutritious” truly means.
Investigation of traditional cultures from around the world reveals that all of them utilized various types of fermented foods to assist digestion and keep immunity strong. Of course, these cultures did not understand the science behind the benefits of fermented foods; they only observed that by eating these foods regularly they weren’t as likely to die from infectious disease!
We now know that traditionally prepared fermented foods contain an abundance of beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and nutritional co-factors not present in the unfermented version of the food. Regular consumption of these foods makes it far more likely that you and your family will sail through flu season with nothing more than a mild sniffle for a few days if even that!
Traditional ethnic beverages are a fun way to begin the process of incorporating fermented foods into your home. Kombucha was the first traditionally fermented beverage I started with over 8 years ago and it is still a regular fixture in our refrigerator.
Another favorite fermented beverage in our home is homemade root beer. This root beer is nothing like store bought root beer (other than the taste). For one, it does not contain any high fructose corn syrup that is a sure recipe for ill health, crumbling bones and teeth, and muffin top (high fructose corn syrup encourages fat storage in your middle)!
Root beer is a wonderful, traditional North American beverage brewed with sassafras root (sources). If you like hiking in the North Carolina/Tennessee mountains, you will find this plant growing wild nearly everywhere you go.
Another item you will need before you get going is a “starter”. The starter is the beneficial bacterial culture used to inoculate the fermentation and cause the brewing process to begin. You only have to make a starter culture one time, then all you have to do is save a bit of each root beer batch which serves as the starter for the following batch. To make your root beer starter, follow these instructions from Nourishing Traditions Cookbook by Sally Fallon.
Homemade Starter for Root Beer or Ginger Beer
Place 1 1/2 cups water, 2 tsp ground organic ginger and 2 tsp organic white sugar in a glass mason jar. Cover, shake well and leave at room temperature for 24 hours. “Feed” the cutlure with 2 tsp each of white sugar and ground ginger every day for 7 days, always leaving the culture at room temperature. On day 7, the mixture should produce bubbles. If you have some bubbles, your starter is ready to use. If not, you must start again. One tip: use organic ground ginger as many nonorganic herbs are irradiated. Irradiated herbs will not ferment into a starter bug.
Click here for a video to learn how to make.
How to Make Homemade Root Beer
Once you have your sassafras root bark (sources) and your starter, you are ready to brew your own, healthy root beer! To get started, bring one gallon of filtered water to a boil with 2 oz of sassafras root bark. Once boiling, add 1 1/2 cups of sucanat or rapadura (sources) and stir. Add a tsp of allspice as well. Once dissolved, remove from heat and strain with a strainer and a white cotton dishtowel.
Pour the mixture into a 2 gallon glass jar (sources) and add 1 more gallon of filtered water and stir. Wait for the mixture to cool a bit and then stir in some lemon juice (2 lemons per batch). Wait for the mixture to cool a bit more and then add 1 1/2 cups of starter (if the mixture is too hot, the heat will kill the starter culture so wait until it is only warm to the touch).
Cover your container with a cloth attached with a large rubber band. Leave on the counter for 5-7 days depending on the weather (the warmer the weather, the shorter the brew time).
When fermentation is complete, fill your soda bottles (sources) and cap them. Leave some room at the top of each bottle to allow for carbonation.
Leave at room temperature for a day or two to carbonate. Then refrigerate and enjoy! This root beer is particularly hydrating and is very refreshing after hot, summer yard work.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
The second part of my blog about Mexican food concerns proper preparation of corn. Corn is a grain (sorry kids, corn on the cob doesn’t count as a veggie!) and as such, requires careful preparation so as to maximize nutrition and neutralize antinutrients. Traditional peoples who relied heavily on corn were careful to soak the cornmeal or corn kernals in limewater before cooking. This particular soaking process releases vitamin B3 which is otherwise nearly impossible for the digestive process to extract from the grain. Relying heavily on corn in the diet without soaking first is a primary cause of the disease pellagra. Symptoms of pellagra include fatigue, sore skin, and mental problems.
It is incredibly easy to make limewater! Simply put 1/2 inch of dolomite powder (calcium carbonate) in the bottom of a quart glass mason jar and fill with filtered water. Shake well, cover and then let settle overnight. The clear liquid that becomes available after the settling process is complete is limewater. Store in a cool place or in the refrigerator. I use KAL brand dolomite powder and it is available at many health food stores or by ordering online from Radiant Life.
Sprouting corn will also release vitamin B3 and neutralize phytic acid and other antinutrients that decrease enzymatic activity in the digestive tract. So, if corn tortillas are your cup of tea, try The Food of Life brand of Sprouted Corn Tortillas (ingredients: organic sprouted corn, filtered water, sea salt, lime). I use these in our home to make fajitas and other Mexican dishes that call for tortillas.
Another use of the sprouted corn tortilla is for delicious, healthy corndogs! Simply grill or bake nitrate free, antibiotic free hot dogs and wrap tightly in a warmed sprouted corn tortilla. Attach the tortilla firmly with a toothpick. This makes a great school lunch for the kids as well!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist