Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Spelt Desillusion

My sister's test results for gluten intolerance (I suppose they only tested for coeliac) were negative. Yet she told me that she's seen and felt some improvements with her health problems with a gluten free diet, therefore she plans to continue with it.

I thought I would give spelt a try again. I haven't had any for the past 6 months at least and I have always liked its nutty taste (besides the fact that it's an ancient grain). Unfortunately after 2-3 days of reintroducing it in my diet, I've been starting to experience bloating, stomach aches and other benign digestive disorders...Therefore I think Spelt is something I can only have in small amount and once in a Blue Moon.

Oh well...

Yet I wonder if I would have more luck with sprouted spelt flour. Sprouted flours are highly digestible. According to Shiloh Farms' website : "When grains are sprouted they are converted into a living food with more vital nutrients that are more easily absorbed by the body. Sprouted flour digests as a vegetable not as a starch."

That might be worth trying, especially since I have found myself to be increasingly interested in sprouting and raw foods lately.

Monday, December 22, 2008

About Tincturing

Herbal teas and infusions have always been my favorite type of herbal medicine whether in a preventative or in a curative manner.
But since I've been experimenting (and having fun) with making scented tinctures for my incenses, I thought it was time for me to start making medicinal herbal tinctures as well. After all, life doesn't always allow you time for making tea or having the right herbs handy, especially when traveling.
I don't need large amounts and prefer using dried herbs. After consulting "Herbal Teas - 101 Nourishing Blends for Daily Health & Vitality" by Kathleen Brown (in which they also mention other forms of herbal medicine), I have calculated that for making 2oz of tincture, I needed about 1 tbsp of dried herbs. I'm well aware that these homemade tinctures won't probably have the same potency than commercial tinctures or ones made with fresh herb material...But I'm sure that they'll be just fine for my personal use (as well as family & friends) ;).
I already bottled an Elderberry & blossom tincture and just prepared a carminative/digestive blend of fennel & anise seeds.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Yule!

"Standing in the circle,
Beneath the web of light
Dancing in the moonlight
On a cold new year's night
And it seemed we were lifted
Flown across the years
Power-circle shifted
By power-circle seers

And the Goddess and John Barleycorn
Will put flesh upon bones
Fly ribbons round the barrows
Plant footprints round the stones
The Goddess and John Barleycorn
Will keep the spirit strong
For those who remember
For those who sing the song

So stand in the circle
Weave the web of light
Dance in the moonlight
Bring fire to the night
Release the past that made us
Release the fire within
Revel in the mystery
And embrace your sacred kin."

Brian Boothby
Tomorrows Ancestor

Monday, December 08, 2008

Go Paleo!

"Our Ancestral Diet - A Way to Wellness"

"Guts and Grease: The Diet of Native Americans"

Food Article "I'm a Natural Born Killer"

Late Season Harvest

Yesterday, my husband and I went hiking for a very specific harvest: red colored blackberry leaves. This coloration naturally occurs late in the Fall and in the Winter when the plant goes into its dormant state.
We have lots of Himalayan Blackberries around here (a non native species that some consider to be an invasive weed). They are easy to recognize with their purplish stems. The back of the leaves is white with purple thorns. When they're fruiting, the fruits can get pretty big, sweet and juicy...They're also very productive!
So not only did we find the red leaves but we also found a few last juicy fruits, right under a cluster of Elder Trees (I call them the Three Sisters). Brambles and Elders seem to like each other's company ;).
So why harvest red blackberry leaves?
In "Drink in the Wild" by Hilary Stewart, it is said:
"...Leaves for tea are at their best when they are old and turning red. Dried leaves remaining on the plant in winter are also good for tea."
I don't know yet how the change in color is going to affect the taste of the tea. I also wonder if the red pigmentation implies a beneficial effect on blood circulation and strengthening the capillaries. It's supposed to be one of Blackberry's healing gifts...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Perfect Diet is...The One that Works for you!

There's no such a thing as a perfect diet. The reason is simple: we all are different and we all have different needs. Therefore the best diet is your own custom diet (I don't like that word, it sounds so negative...I should say your own custom "Nourishing Routine").

It's important to notice and know which foods:
  1. Energize you
  2. Drain you, deplete your energy and/or make you feel tired
  3. Make you feel good, comfortable, nourished and/or make you smile
  4. Make you feel sad, depressed or angry
  5. Make you sick, are hard to digest, make you feel uncomfortable and/or trigger aches in your body
  6. Prevent you from having a restful sleep

I always had what I thought to be a pretty healthy diet (by common standards): I ate whole grain foods, lots of vegetable, dairy products and was mostly vegetarian (I never really liked meat too much). In my family, we grew up with pasta and good bread (not hard to find in France). Yet since my childhood I've suffered from a mild lactose intolerance (I started to day with a hot chocolate and went to school with a stomach ache...Everybody said that I was probably a nervous child) and hypoglycemia. During my adolescence, I started showing signs of tachycardia (that I always and only treated with hawthorn tincture and tea). It took me a long time and other symptoms (apparently unlinked) to realize that I was also gluten sensitive/intolerant though I have never been officially diagnosed (your body knows what's right for you, right? As long as you're ready to listen).

Today my diet is a blend of gluten free, SCD, paleo with a touch of macrobiotic and raw foods. Besides a little yogurt and a little cheese, I don't eat dairy based products. I make my own nut milks and am starting to experiment with non-dairy yogurts. I eat lots of greens (some of which I grow) and drink nourishing herbal infusions. I'm trying to eat less GF grains though I'm not yet ready to give them up completely. I'm eating more meat which to my surprise, my body is craving and enjoying. I plan on (re)introducing sprouted seeds (just bought a sprouter) and smoothies and also plan on making my own nut butters and would love to make my own fermented foods (I forgot to mention that I cook everyday. I think it's essential when you follow a specific diet).

I feel much better eating nutritious foods: I seem to eat less and have less cravings. I also have more energy (and am starting to look forward to power walks and working out). My hypoglycemia is virtually gone: even when I'm getting hungry, I don't feel the urge to pop a piece of sugar in my mouth. I haven't had hawthorn tea or tincture for a couple months at least, even though I have a naturally fast beating heart (a nervous heart, the doctors said). I feel more positive, I have a nicer complexion and I've lost a little bit of weight too.

My experience has only been positive so far, I don't see any reason for me to stop. My little sister, who's been having different symptoms than mine but who's been suffering with various digestive problems for several years, is going to be tested for gluten intolerance next week. She's already made the first steps to a radical dietary change and knows that not only she'll have to take it seriously but that she will have to start cooking!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wild Rice Mimetic Bread / Pain de Mime au Riz Sauvage

Another good "bread" recipe that I'd like to share ;).
As usual the recipe is for a small loaf; if you wish to make a regular size loaf of bread, just double the quantities (same thing for the previous recipes).

Comme d'habitude cette recette est pour un petit pain; si vous souhaitez faire un pain de taille normale (dans un moule à cake), il vous suffit juste de doubler les quantités (même chose pour les recettes précédentes).

Ingredients (1 cup/tasse = 250 ml; 1 tsp/cac = 5 ml):
  • 1 cup almond or hazelnut meal (you can easily make your own in an electric coffee grinder) / 1 tasse de poudre d'amandes ou de noisettes (vous pouvez facilement faire la vôtre avec un moulin à cafe électrique)

  • 1 cup cooked and cooled wild rice (leftovers work fine) / 1 tasse de riz sauvage cuit et refroidi (les restes d'un repas feront également l'affaire)

  • 1/4 cup chestnut flour / 65 ml de farine de chataîgne

  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour / 65 ml de farine de riz brun

  • 2 eggs / 2 oeufs

  • 1 tsp maple or agave syrup / 1 càc de sirop d'érable ou d'agave

  • 1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder / 1/2 càc de levure sans gluten

  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar / 1/2 càc de vinaigre de cidre

  • 1/8 tsp salt / 1/8 càc de sel

  • Water or nut milk if necessary / Eau de source ou lait végétal si nécessaire

Preheat the oven at 375F/160C. In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients: wild rice, almond or hazelnut meal, chestnut flour, rice flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Then add the maple or agave syrup and the vinegar. Mix well. Incorporate the wet mix into the dry mix and stir well. If the batter is to dry, add a little bit of water or nut milk. The batter should be thick but not runny. Pour into an oiled baking pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Wait for the bread to cool down before removal from the pan and slicing the bread. Enjoy ;)!

Préchauffez le four à 160C/375F. Dans un récipient, mélangez tous les ingredients secs: riz sauvage, poudre d'amandes ou de noisettes, farine de chataîgne, farine de riz, levure chimique et sel. Dans un autre récipient, battez les oeufs. Ajoutez le sirop d'érable ou d'agave et le vinaigre aux oeufs battus. Incorporez le mélange liquide au mélange sec et remuez bien. Si la pâte est trop sèche, ajoutez un petit peu d'eau ou de lait végétal. La pâte doit être épaisse mais pas liquide. Versez-la dans un moule huilé et mettez à cuire au four pendant 45-50 minutes. Attendez que le pain refroidisse avant de le démouler et de le couper en tranches. Regalez-vous ;)!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Celebrate the Goddess through Joy

"The days grow shorter and the darkness encroaches. Deep within the sacred temple of your own heart, light the altar flames of joy and let them burn bright all the winter long.
Find the source of your Goddess-self, the spark of divine inspiration that led to your creation in this lifetime, with your own purpose and your own path.
Surrender to the brilliance that is you, unique and precious daughter of the universe.
Move from the core of your authentic being, and celebrate the Goddess within you - and every woman!"

From SageWoman 2008 Calendar


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