Good, better, best, is a motto Dr. Pete Hilgartner uses and one I have put into practice as I travel the road of improving our family’s healthy habits for daily living. I know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging life can get when trying to change how you eat especially when trying to implement the diets and foods from books like Nourishing Traditions, GAPS, The Paleo Approach or The Paleo Solution. Each of those books and their relative authors are just oozing with knowledge and real-life solutions to implement; but where to start? Follow along to hear our journey and some tips on beginning one for yourself.
Positive attitudes in turning over a new lease on life can make all the difference in the difficult world of chasing away the bad habits and convenience of the drive-thru burger joint or the sweet driven coffee shops. How can a positive attitude transform our eating habits? The better our attitude, the more likely good will come out of difficult challenges. By taking the bull by the horns and saying, “I’ve got this. I can do this.”, you make the commitment to change a little each day in what you allow or don’t allow into your diet.
My family’s first huge commitment was a 6 week challenge of no dairy, no bread, no gluten, no grains in any way, shape or form. We did it, all of us together. Then as our health started transforming we made more changes, conquered more challenges and BAM!, we haven’t looked back because it feels good to feel so good!
As we work through the good, better, best approach some things in food prep came easier than others to me. After 13 years of working on Nourishing Traditions, GAPS and Paleo style cooking, I recognized there was so much for me to learn. Two areas I really needed help with was fermentation and culturing dairy. It was high time for me to invest in my knowledge base so I signed up to take Monica Corrado’s Cooking for Well – Being Teacher Training, Level 1. I flew out to Colorado in early 2014.
It was a power packed mind blowing learning experience and I loved it! I felt a little more confident in those areas that gave me trouble. I not only learned the techniques Monica teaches but I had a better understanding of the why. In my enthusiasm I invited Monica to teach a course here at Fields of Athenry Farm. She agreed!
From June 24th thru June 30th, 2015, I had the honor and privilege of working side by side with Monica, 18 amazing students from all over the country, and my daughter Bernadette. Bernadette was Monica’s side kick and she did a tremendous job in having all of Monica’s needed groceries and utensils ready, preliminary food prep, and so much more.
Monica has an approach to life that definitely embraces the attitude that what you put out to others and into your food, circles back to each and every one of us either positively or negatively.
Monica goes for the positive and is addicting. Food is holy, food is sacred and so are we. We are what we eat and we can either become negative, sick, worn out, wrinkled, OR healthy, more vibrant, glowing, fun loving, energized, full of life. It is up to us. Personally, I choose Monica’s positive way. I spent the week embracing her teaching again and continued to learn more.
Good, Better, Best and still growing, still transforming!
She taught us about saturated fats and why they are good for us. She went into explaining cooking with oils, culturing dairy, making Creme Fraiche (yum, yum, yum!!!!), butter, yogurts, whey. The class involves learning an in-depth knowledge behind nutrient dense foods, differences between meat stocks and bone broths, the science behind marinating meat, lacto-fermentation, preparing deep green leafy vegetables, soaking and preparing flours, whole grains, nuts, seeds. She teaches the why, when, and how all in an interactive way that keeps you craving more knowledge! Knowledge we hope to share with you here at the blog and over at the farm.
Let’s start with Liver Shots.
Yup, you heard me, liver shots! I know, I know, for many the thought of eating liver may seem unappealing, undesirable, and just down right icky. And yes, I could have started with something seemingly easier to incorporate into your daily life. But I’m here to tell you LIVER SHOTS are both GOOD FOR YOU and EASY to incorporate into your daily life. Hear me out.
Beef Liver, Lamb Liver, Pork Liver, Chicken Liver in that order are nutritional powerhouses, chalk full of amino acids, minerals, vitamins and more just waiting to pump your body full of vitality and nutrient goodness. (Just ask the coyotes that go after my livestock why they plunge into the organ meat first when they feed their young! Even they know how rich and beneficial organ meat really is.)
As the fun saying goes this is the OFFAL Truth! Organ meats rock, offering B complex, including B12 and folate (folic acid), trace minerals such as copper, zinc and chromium, Vitamin D, CoQ10 (essential for energy production and cardiac function; pre-formed vitamin A (retinol), vitamin K2 and so much more.
Somehow we have gotten so far away from the good stuff that muscle meat has become the American food of choice. While muscle meat is yummy, it is organ meat that rocks as the true KING in nutritional value. Silly us. We are missing out on what native cultures who have maintained traditional diets have known forever – that is: eat real whole foods from plants and animals. Take note these cultures were free from disease that plague our societies today in record numbers (think cancer, infertility, diabetes, depression, heart disease, the list goes on).
Feeling fatigued – take a liver shot today!
Here is how: Slightly freeze your liver for ease in cutting. Lay the slightly frozen liver on your cutting board and begin to make small, literally pill size, easy to swallow pieces. Place the “shots” onto parchment paper on flat plate or cookie sheet and place in freezer. Once fully frozen, transfer the liver shots to a tightly sealed bag or container.
Now the fun part. Each morning or before you go to bed pop one in and swallow with a big swig of water or if you’re really feeling adventurous send it down with hearty beet kvass! And when you do – comment below or send us a message and let us know how you feel. Keep in mind this is an extremely rich meat so don’t go overboard. As my grandmother would say, “moderation in everything keeps us in balance.”
So Beet Kvass, you now ask, what is that? Beet Kvass, as explained in Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions (in my opinion a must have book to fast track to your optimal health) is a drink known for both it’s medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Think about it, beets are LOADED with nutrients making it an excellent blood tonic. A simple 4-oz glass morning and night enhances regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood and cleanses the liver. Just like the Liver pills above, it’s an easy recipe to implement into your daily life.
BEET KVASS (recipe adapted from page 610 in Nourishing Traditions)
- 3 Medium or 2 Large organic beets, pealed and chopped in quarters/big chunks
- 1/4 cup whey (use the link to check out a great video from our friend Sarah at the Healthy Home Economist)
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- Filtered water (no chlorine)
Directions: Place beets, whey and salt into a 2-quart glass container. Fill the container with filtered water. Stir well before covering tightly and securely. Keep the container at room temperature for 2 days before moving to the refrigerator.
The key to this recipe is to make sure you do not cut your beets too small, and certainly do not shred them! Small pieces will cause the beets to create too much juice and therefore ferment too rapidly. You’ll be left with an alcohol similar to “Poitin” – an illegal Irish moonshine! (P.S. that is not the goal here!).
Once your Kvass is ready, enjoy a 4 oz glass twice a day and continue on your path to…
Good, Better, Best.
Monica has challenged me to be the very best version of myself. And I pass that challenge to you. Positive attitude! It can make all the difference in the world when properly nourishing from the inside out.
Monica Corrado’s cookbook – With Love From Grandmother’s Kitchen
Dr Natasha Campbell-McBrided developed concept of GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) – http://www.doctor-natasha.com/dr-natasha.php
Additional Info and Resources on GAPS – http://www.gapsdiet.com/
The Paleo Mom Dr. Sarah Ballantyne PhD – http://www.thepaleomom.com/
Rob Wolf – Author of The Paleo Solution – http://robbwolf.com/
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