In the End…

I had a ton of ideas for what to write about this week. Time ran away from me and I didn’t have time to really sit down and write something that wasn’t rushed. Recipe posts are pretty easy, but I don’t have any pictures to accompany them yet, so that’s out. I was going to write about Hamlette’s birth, but that’s going to take a little bit of time.

I was productive though. I made an art for a good friend of mine, who is also Hamlette’s god-mother, to celebrate her birthday and the book she just published:

I learned that those La Croix sparkling waters make excellent mixers for kombucha. It works really well if your kombucha has fermented a bit too long: you can’t taste the sourness at all!

I also learned that going on a picnic is an excellent way to spend an afternoon thanks to my best friend. I will be going on more picnics this summer for sure!

My awesome mother-in-law took measurements of our front lawn in preparation for terracing. I’ll be happy to have a front-yard garden. I’m busy researching landscaping ideas for edibles as well as what kind of bricks to use and ideas for where the yard meets the driveway. Our driveway is sloped with the yard right now, so it will be an interesting problem to fix. I’ll figure something out, though.

It’s supposed to snow a lot this weekend, so I guess I’ll get time to work on it while I’m stuck inside.

Do you have anything big planned for the summer?

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How Can it be Gluten Free?

GFreeToday I’m writing about the America’s test Kitchen book How Can it be Gluten Free?. If you’re thinking about going gluten free, or you already are, this book is a must. There are bread recipes, biscuits, cake, all kinds of cookies and sweetbreads, different cereals and tips on how to cook the best pilaf, quinoa or otherwise.

I find a lot of the content online for free, but I still recommend grabbing a physical copy because it’s super handy to have it in your kitchen for reference.

I do have a few bones to pick with it though.

First, many of the recipes call for vegetable oil. I’m not 100% but I think some of them call for canola oil specifically. Vegetable oil is terrible. I’ll write a more comprehensive post explaining why in the future. I actually have a bottle of canola oil in my pantry that I only use for polishing wood furniture and oiling my oven door hinges. I do not consider it food. This is only a minor setback though, because it’s pretty easy to substitute coconut oil or olive oil depending on whether what you’re making is savory or sweet. Sometimes I even just use butter. Because butter is better.

Second, these recipes do not take proper grain preparation (soaking/sprouting) into account. I have had some success in soaking the cakes and the chocolate chip cookies, but some of the recipes, like bread, don’t lend themselves to soaking. You could get around this by sprouting your own brown rice and then grinding it into flour, but you can’t sprout white rice and the majority of the flour mix is white rice.

Otherwise the recipes in this book are fantastic. I was making bread for a while using the basic bread recipe and even hubby liked it. I even had success making a sourdough starter with the flour blend and I got a good number of sourdough loaves out of it that were good by gluten free standards, but hubby asked me to just make regular bread after a while so I stopped that. But know it is possible.

One of my favorite things about this book is that there is an explanation of all the things they tried before landing on a really successful recipe. They explain why certain things didn’t work and why others did. You could use this book to help create your own gluten free recipes for this reason. There are also really helpful tips and tricks that would never have occurred to me otherwise. Like using psyllium husk powder – something found in the supplement section of your health food store – for structure.

Be forewarned: if you have a nut allergy there are a handful of recipes that call for almond flour (the pizza crust being one of them) for texture reasons. However, you might be able to get away with oat flour or some other flour that has more protein than rice flour.

Overall this book is amazing. My husband, who loves bread and cookies, approves of the majority of the things I make from this book. The chocolate chip cookies are my new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, and the sugar cookie recipe is to die for. Not to mention the chocolate cake recipe. The book is worth the money just for the desserts alone. That being said, I never knew I could like quinoa as much as I do until I followed the pilaf and porridge directions in this book. The main point I’m trying to make here is that I highly recommend it despite my misgivings. If you’re determined you can get around the two things I listed, and most of the stuff in this book is meant to be a treat anyway, so indulge yourself!

Book Review: Cure Tooth Decay – Ramiel Nagel

I recently finished reading Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel. It was an amazingly interesting read to say the least.

I purchased the book after playing an upside-down game with our toddler and realizing that one of his molars has a sizable brown spot on it. I had seen the book a lot around the web and decided it would be worth reading to help me decide what to do about the cavity. I’m a minimalist when it comes to any sort of intervention but I don’t always know what to do myself. This book is a good guide for helping teeth.

The first chapter covers modern dentistry and how it has failed. I tend to agree with the author on many of his points regarding the failure of modern dentistry, and the points he makes in the section about orthodontists (I had braces). The section on orthodontics – which is later in the book – really resonated with me because my orthodontist fixed my bite alignment and then promptly undid any progress by giving me invisalign braces for a “retainer”. So my bite is still messed up and I now feel obligated to fix it because there is mention of a misaligned jaw being a factor in several health issues in the same chapter about orthodontists.

I digress.

Back to dentistry: the author puts forward a new theory about what causes tooth decay. He states that poor nutrition, specifically a lack of certain vitamins and minerals, is the root (pun intended) cause of tooth decay. Modern dentistry is “waging a war on bacteria” and failing miserably, because any war on bacteria is pretty much doomed to fail at the outset. To illustrate his points he uses the research of Dr. Weston Price among other dentists. The thing that surprised me about modern dentistry’s push against bacteria, sugar and starch is that Dr. Weston Price was a well respected dentist. He published an article reviewing his extensive research and the conclusion that strong teeth are a direct result of a strong diet. Modern dentistry pretty much ignored his and other dentists research stating similar things.

This book is full of intriguing facts. Like the fact that feeding rats a diet of un-fermented oats causes rickets. There are lots of little trivia facts like that throughout that I found to be really interesting.

The book seems very well researched. There’s a good balance between scientific studies and personal experience the author uses to bring home his points. He offers feasible solutions for fixing the nutritional holes in your diet. There’s a plan for vegetarians –  if you’re vegan you are missing essential nutrients for healing your teeth by the nature of your diet alone and so you’re stuck with dentistry – that relies heavily on fish and fish products, which was nice of him to include. He does mention that he suspects the cause of his daughters severe tooth decay (which is what started his journey and writing this book) was his and his wife’s vegetarian diet during conception and pregnancy.

The author includes resources for finding good dentists, orthodontists, and (I think) orthopedists for fixing jaw problems. He also includes links to videos about specific teeth cleaning methods. Of course there is also the section citing all of the research studies he mentions in the book, and I think there’s a recommended reading section at the end (I lent my book to a friend and I don’t remember for sure, I’ll update when I have it back).

I disliked two things about this book. The first being that the author sneaks his personal opinions in. It’s not like he beats you over the head with them; he just adds them at the end of sentences sometimes. His opinions are stated as if everyone else feels the same and even though I agree with them, I found it a little off-putting. Doing that is sure to alienate a good portion of potential readers (like people who sympathize with industry, and there’s a little bit about vaccinations which is a good way to have a pitch-fork bearing mob show up at your door these days). The second thing I disliked is he made me a little uncomfortable when he started talking about having conversations with your tooth in order to see what was the best next step in terms of getting a filling or taking some other course of action. There’s also a section where he talks about healing dental trauma in a similar way. He talks about owning the feelings of the trauma and then realizing that it wasn’t the dentist doing it on purpose. It was a little bit shrink-y.

Otherwise this was a very pleasant read, which is saying a lot coming from me, because I usually have a really hard time reading non-fiction. The author presents the scientific findings and historical evidence in a way that is easy to understand and interesting to read. I hesitate to call it a page-turner, but I was really eager to finish it so that I might learn something new.

My verdict:
I very highly recommend this book. Even if you’re not struggling with tooth decay the information in here is very interesting and useful. Even though the author got a little weird at times it never lasted more than a few paragraphs before returning to scientific studies and general nutrition information. It’s totally worth spending money on.