Thursday, February 13, 2014

Kefir Recipes: Buttermilk Dressing for Salads and Marinades

Once you have made living food part of your everyday life, you will be looking for ways to use your homemade kefir.  Once such way is as a delicious dressing.  We all know that commercially-prepared dressings are made with many undesirable and health-robbing ingredients.  This recipe I will share below is an excellent alternative to the bottled versions available in the store and far tastier as well.

Buttermilk Dressing for Life

  • 1T. Fresh Lemon Juice, not bottled
  • 2T. Chives, chopped
  • 1T.  Italian Parsley, chopped
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • Sea Salt
  • 2T. Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove, Minced
  • 1/4C. Plain Non-fat Greek Yogurt or homemade
  • 1/4C. Mayonnaise
  • 1C. Kefir
Method: In a blender combine all the ingredients except the olive oil.   A Ninja or food processor would also work great for this.  In a slow, steady stream drizzle in the olive oil as you continue the blending process.  Once the olive oil is incorporated continue blending another 30 seconds.  Pour into your desired container and refrigerate.  You can add a little cayenne pepper for some extra zip.  This also makes a great marinade for chicken breasts and is a great dip for the veggies you didn't ferment.  Let me know what you think.

Living Life for Him,
The Cultured Mom

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How To Make Healthy Ketchup That is Delicious

I don't know about your house, but here in mine Ketchup is the King of condiments.  When looking for a tasty, healthy alternative to the HFCS-laden store varieties it has been an adventure.  I also considered this condiment as another opportunity to get health-boosting living enzymes into those sharing my table.  Here is my kid-friendly Living Ketchup Recipe.  Let me know what you think!
Living Life for Him,
The Cultured Mom

Living Ketchup

  • 3C. Tomato Paste, home-canned or Organic preferred in BPA-free container
  • 1/4C. Liquid Whey, THMers use what you've strained off when making Greek style yogurt
  • 1T. Pink Himalayan or Sea Salt, the kind with the minerals, not iodized
  • 1/2C. Organic, Grade B Maple Syrup or Sucanat
  • 1/4tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 3tsp. Peeled, crushed Raw Garlic
  • 1/2C. Fish Sauce, additive-free sold in Asian markets
Be sure not to substitute honey in this recipe as it's natural antibiotic properties will serve to inhibit proper fermentation.  Place all ingredients in a wide mouth Mason jar or other glass container leaving at least 1" at the top for expansion.  Here's the hard part...screw on the lid, shake to combine, and place on the counter, covered for 2 days.  Refrigerate. Will last for several months refrigerated.

More recipes and sauces

**Turn this into your new favorite Sweet and Sour Sauce by mixing 1C. Living Ketchup with 1/4C. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar and 1/4C. Maple Syrup. Voila!
For Cocktail Sauce combine 3/4C. Living Ketchup with 1/4C. Fresh Horseradish.  Does it get any simpler?
Mix 1/2C. Living Ketchup, 1/2C. Homemade Mayonnaise, and 1/4C. Rocking Relish for Thousand Island Dressing in a snap!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fermentation: the Key to Health and Fighting Antibiotic Resistance - Part Five

Fermentation History

  • Humans all over the world have been fermenting food since ancient times.  Milk was the most predominant.  This is probably what the Bible refers to when Abraham served the angels that came to tell him he was to have a son.
  • Winemaking dates back to 8,000 years ago in the Caucasus region of Georgia.
  • 7,000 year old jars which once contained wine were excavated in the Zagros Mountains of Iran.
  • Water kefir was probably part of the beverage that Jesus turned into wine at the wedding of Cana.
  • Fermenting beverages in Babylon around 5,000 BC
  • In ancient Egypt approximately 3150 BC
  • Pre-Hispanic Mexico about 2000 BC, and Sudan 1500 BC
  • Milk fermentation in Babylon about 3000 BC

Fermentation (or Culturing) Process

  • Fermented food and drinks are alive with nutrients and flavor
  • Stinky aged cheeses, tangy sauerkraut, rich earthy miso, smooth wines, tempeh, and tamari
  • It preserves food
  • Preserves nutrients
  • Also creates new nutrients - microbial cultures create B vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and biotin
  • Have been shown to function as antioxidants, scavenging cancer precursors known as "free radicals" from the cells of your body
The vegetables already have many beneficial bacteria on them so be careful when washing.  You will see that fermenting vegetables is literally as simple as washing cutting and packing with no weird probiotics to sprinkle on or anything like that!
Living Life for Him,

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Fermentation: the Key to Health and Fighting Antibiotic Resistance - Part Four

Chlorination and CBP's

  • The most widely used method of killing bacteria in water
  • Powerful carcinogenic residues, including Dioxin
  • Destroys Vitamin E in the body = heart problems
  • Has been linked to clogged arteries
  • Risk of bladder cancer is doubled if you drink chlorine treated water
  • Chlorination byproducts (CBP's) in drinking water showing that more than 100,000 women are at elevated risk of miscarriage, or of having children with birth defects because of CBP's in tap water.
CBP's are formed when chlorine reacts with organic matter, including sewage, animal waste, and soil and plant material. - Farm Runoff, Chlorination Byproducts and Human Health; January 8, 2002.
Some have asked about using colloidal silver and/or hydrogen peroxide as alternatives for destroying bacteria.  We will explore these alternatives in future posts.    What about swimming or showering in chlorinated water, thus exposing our skin (our largest organ) to the harmful effects of chlorine?  Due to the need for many of us to hydrate safely we have been conditioned to drink tap water and consider its chlorine additive as safe.  We are so conditioned to consider ingesting chlorine as safe, in fact, that scientists have bound it to a sugar molecule and now call it Splenda!
The Imperial College of London found that chlorine used to disinfect tap water can contribute to an increased risk of having a stillborn baby:
  • up to 21% greater when drinking and washing in water laced with the CBP's
  • unusually small babies
  • UK water companies to restrict their use of chlorine to the minimum levels possible
  • sillbirths or birth defects such as spina bifida
I have been challenged to protect my children's health all the more, including the as of yet unborn children.
Note: Colorado Springs Utilities (which treats 30 million gallons/day) has been using UV light since 2007 to treat their water, killing far more e.Coli and pathogens than the other ever did.  Additionally, it's faster and safer for the employees.
Again, we are destroying our immune system when ingesting chlorinated water.  How much of our immune system does the gut comprise?  Right.  80%

Living Life for Him,
The Cultured Mom

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fermentation: the Key to Health and Fighting Antibiotic Resistance - Part Three

Pass or Pass On the burger and fries?

When we run through the drive-thru "just this once" are our children consuming any healthy enzymes?  Is this meal doing anything to promote health via healthy bacteria.  I think we all know the answer to this.  In fact, the fries contain a neurotoxin and the hamburger contains antibiotics (a poisonous mold) which are going to kill the normal flora inside your child's gut.  Just protect him by giving him a diet Coke, right?  JOKING!  Seriously though, the diet Coke breaks down into aspartame which is a neurotoxin which also serves to destroy the normal bacteria in his gut.  In essence, his only protection has been wiped out, his brain is not going to work correctly, his immune system won't be able to break down nutrients - so his body is going to store it, which may lead to an obesity problem.  Sadly, this is the fate of 14% of our kids who end up in special needs schools.

70% of all antibiotics use is in agriculture.  Say what?

  • bacterial adaptation and resistance were reported soon after antibiotics were first used
  • Correcting the overuse of antibiotics in human medicine has gradually become a priority, with slow but heartening progress being gained in this race.
  • The rise of multidrug resistance and the ready transfer of resistant traits among pathogens require heightened action if we are to prevent increasing outbreaks of infections that become more difficult, or even impossible, to treat. - Western Journal of Medicine.  January 2002
Does this mean that every time I ingest commercially produced meat I am ingesting antibiotics? Yes.
Does this mean that every time I ingest commercially produced animal products it is poisonous to my gut flora? Yes.  Remember 80% of your immune system is your gut flora!!
Poll time again, what do I do for a bacterial infection?  Kill the bad. No. NO. NOOO!  You add the good.

Living Life for Him,
The Cultured Mom

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fermentation: the Key to Health and Fighting Antibiotic Resistance - Part Two

The real cause of disease is a weakened immune system

E. Coli is responsible for most hospital infections, but it is also responsible for keeping you alive.  When it's in your colon it breaks down nutrients and vitamins and actually helps protect you.  So why is it responsible for most infections in hospitals?  Let's consider what happens when you are in the hospital.  Do they do a lot to help promote your immune system?  No, they weaken the immune system (your resistance to disease, cancer, etc).

Risk vs. Benefit

Tetanus is a disease of sick farm animals that is naturally killed almost instantly upon exposure the the air.  Consider how weak it is since it can be killed by simply pouring a little hydrogen peroxide on the wound.  It is a very fragile bug that is also destroyed by washing with warm, soapy water.  Why then would one get a tetanus shot when studies have shown the vaccine to be associated with Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, autoimmune disorders, as well as the fact that it contains neurotoxins.
We need to develop a relationship with bacteria in our bodies to establish wellness.

EIGHTY Percent (80%) of your immune system is in your gut! 

  • Being able to maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in your intestines is vital to your health as well as the health of those entrusted to your care.
  • Your good bacteria are constantly being assaulted by antibiotics, chlorinated water, birth control pills, stress, sugar, and a host of other factors. 
  • This has made digestive issues extremely common as well as diseases.
  • Your healthy gut ratio should be 85% beneficial bacteria to 15% non-beneficial.
  • Some deadly factors  have caused this ratio to be reversed in many people leaving them clearly deficient in beneficial bacteria and thus predisposed to illness!

It also bears repeating for you moms struggling with depression: 90% of the body's serotonin is manufactured in the gut.  I hope by now you are beginning to see the picture and shift your thinking.  Let's take a quick poll:  Do you want to kill the bad or feed the good?  Right, feed the good.  This is similar to other aspects of parenting where we endeavor to reward and praise good behaviors in our children in order to propagate more.  What have you done to promote health in your home today?

Living Life for Him,

The Cultured Mom

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fermentation: the Key to Health and Fighting Antibiotic Resistance - Part One


Doesn't that mean something is rotten?  Well, let's back up a little first to get a clearer picture.  Has your child had an illness, perhaps an ear infection for which the first antibiotic prescription was not effective at curing?  Maybe you have even hear of Multibiotic Resistant Staph.  What do we do when MRSA is found?  The usual protocol is to dump on disinfectant.  We are fighting a losing battle with these tools.  Here is why.
God created both good bacteria (beneficial) and bad bacteria (pathogenic).  In a perfect world disease and illness would not exist but the reality is that they due since the Fall.  It would be helpful for us to keep this in mind as we shift our thinking into a mode of seeing things as fighting sick infections by adding good bacteria, don't fight disease, instead promote health, don't fight the bad, rather aid the good.  Haven't you heard that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?  Here is the science (literally) behind that common saying.

How we use bacteria today:

  • for preservation by pickling, for fermentation - as in the manufacturing of alcoholic beverages, and certain cheeses.
  • for decomposition of organic wastes in septic tanks, some sewage disposal plants, and in agriculture for soil enrichment and toxic wastes.
  • for curing tobacco
With that in mind, be on the lookout for ways to use the products God gave us in nature in order to prevent creating a competitive environment for the good and the bad bacteria.  Avoid antibacterial soaps, antibiotic creams on the skin for cuts, etc. which kill both the beneficial bacteria as well as the pathogenic bacteria.  It's a little like trying to change "flat earth" thinking as we come to a realization that we can understand the balance in our world.  Some alternatives are aloe vera and coconut oil - a marvelous antimicrobial!  Normal bacteria exist on the skin, in the eye, in the stomach, et cetera.  Why are these normal in some people while not in others?  The answer is the immune system.  Our goal as mothers should be to promote the health of the immune system rather than to kill the bacteria.  For too long (almost 70 years) we have been fighting the bacteria and they have adapted to "outsmart" our medications almost to the point of complete ineffectiveness.  Let's do our best to try an alternative approach in order to ensure good health for our families.

Living Life for Him,

The Cultured Mom