ProBiol

Pursing a pro-biological lifestyle

Butter Coffee April 27, 2014

Filed under: Biological Lifestyle,Recipes — Krystyna @ 2:31 pm

Coffee consumption is on the rise and this is not necessarily a bad thing.   Coffee  has a great deal of  health boosting properties – from its antioxidants chlorogenic acid and vitamin E, to to a high  magnesium, potassium, and niacin content.  Caffeine boosts neurotransmission by having caffeine block adenosine in the brain,  to improving  metabolism , fatty acid mobilization ( aka fat burning)  and even physical endurance are improved by caffeine consumption.   Regular coffee consumption has also been shown to decrease the risk of Type II Diabetes as well as the risk of Alzheimer’s disease quite  possibly due to the antioxidant content and increased insulin sensitivity caffeine produces.   Higher coffee concumption is even linked to  decreased risk of liver cirrhosis (liver death), suggesting a role of coffee in  detoxification.

The downside of this all – the coffee itself may be full of pesticides,  rancid,  or even worse  full of mycotoxins (fungal toxins).   Roasting decreases some of the risk, but having a source of  good quality preferably organic coffee is a good start.  Drinking real coffee, and not all the frappy sugary artificial coffee based drinks (or instant coffee, which is chocked  full of artificial ingredients and highest in acrylamide,  a known cancer causing substance).

Having such a wonderful drink,  how could it  be improved… by adding butter.   butter coffeeYes, you  heard me.  When I first read about this I was very hesitant – butter is great on toast, on boiled broccoli,  but in  coffee?   One needs to look no further for a butter lover – I  am  on the top ten list,  from my previous posts ( University of Cambridge’s rehabilitation of butter  as well as Dr. Aseem Malhorta’s defense of saturated fat, even the metanalysis done in California showing saturated fat does not contribute to heart disease) I  am adamant in restoring its place in our kitchen and digestive tract.   High in short chain fatty acids, vitamin K2, a high smoking point (clarified butter),  a high Conjugated Linoleic Acid content and full ofomega 3 fatty acids(in grass fed cow butter), not to mention the great flavor, so many benefits are available both healthwise and culinary.

So today, after whipping up a fresh batch of butter, and only having goat milk,  the decision to  put butter in the morning coffee was set.  To say the least, it was a great decision.

The procedure

The coffee (4 tablespoons) was freshly ground with a cardamon pod,  a  few  cloves,  and a pinch of grated nutmeg.  After boiling the coffee (3 tablespoons for 3 cups of water),  I  added 2  tablespoons of fresh  raw butter and  used the hand blender – gave it a whirl for about 30 seconds.  To my surprise, the butter formed a beautiful frothy cap on top.   So that’s it-  so easy, and a double punch of  health benefits.  No heart palpitations,  since it seems the caffeine would be more slowly absorbed due to the higher fat content.  There was also a greater feeling of fullness than after a regular cup of black or  even milked coffee.   This is going to be a morning staple.  Cheers and good health!


butter coffee 2

 

 

 

 

Slaskie kluski aka Silesian Dumplings April 23, 2014

Filed under: Recipes — Krystyna @ 11:22 am

Potatoes are  a (not only)  Polish staple food.  High in vitamin B6, potassium, copper and vitamin C, they are a brain and heart nourishing food.  One of my favorite ways  to  take in this delicious nightshade (which also grows quite easily in  the ground or in a container) is to make Slaskie kluski,  also known as kluski nylonowe, or nylon noodles.  This is because their texture is unlike any other dumpling – they’re chewy and gummy.  They are great  served  with a sweet side (like plum jam) or savory ( meat or mushroom).   The recipe is quite simple,  and  can be brought up a notch for festive occassion like Easter – which I did by adding freshly chopped dill and chives  for a great color effect.  Served with a mushroom onion garlic sauce,  they were  a favorite at the Easter dinner.

 

Recipe:

2 pounds (or about a kilo) of freshly bolied potates

2 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 cup potato flour or starch ( give or take)

2 tablespoons cream

optional:

1/2 cup  chopped chives and/or dill

Peel the boiled potatoes once they cool off a bit.   Mash with cream in a very large bowl or on a pastry board.   Add in the eggs and salt and mix.  Keep mixing the mashed potates and  flour  until the mixture is a rubbery consistency.  If you want the green effect,  add the chives and/or dill at the end.

Kluski

Boil a  pot of water with a little bit of oil or butter (so the dumplings don’t stick).  Pull 1.5- 2 inch (golfball sized pieces) of dough, roll and thumbprint the middle of each dumpling. After making  10-12 noodles,  put them in the pot of  water.  After these rise  put in the next batch.   Each set of  dumplings should boil for  about 5 minutes after rising to the top.   They can be served with bacon bits, with sweet jams (if  made plain), or with our house favorite  sos pieczarkowo-cebulowy (mushroom onion sauce).

Kluski cooked

Mushroom onion sauce:

1 pound mushrooms

3 medium yellow onions

2 cloves or garlic

1/2 teaspoon majoram

1/4 teaspoon oregano

pinch of rosemary

1/2 teaspoon salt

pinch of pepper

boiling water

1 teaspoon potato or buckwheat flour

Chop  mushrooms,  saute on a skillet until  slightly  browned, add finely chopped onions  and  garlic.   Add spices,  pour  water over well sauted veggies,  then add flour  to  thicken,  add salt to  adjust.  Top  the kluski while  hot.  Smacznego!

 

 

 

Which fat is heart healthy fat? April 10, 2014

Filed under: Books and Sources — Krystyna @ 7:37 pm

A new study from the University of Cambridge reviewed saturated fat restricted high polyunsaturated fat diets and came to the conclusion that lowering saturated fat does not correlate with a lower risk of heart disease.  The researchers  also didn’t find  evidence for a high polyunsaturated ( omega 3, omega -6) fat consumption.  Even  different  types of omega 3 fatty acids had different rates of heart disease risk factors.  In the 72 studies analyzed, the group found that long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids were differently linked to heart disease.  Palmitic (palm)  and stearic (saturated animal fat) acid were linked to slightly higher increases, while margaric (dairy)  fat  reduces  heart disease risk.

 

Additionally, the study shows that the cardiovascular risks posed by red meat originate in the substance L-carnitine, and not in the saturated fat content.

 

The food download

Fatty aged cheese (like Gouda, Brie, Jarslberg) are high not only in dairy saturated fatty acids,  but also have a high  Vitamin K2 content.  Liver, eggs, butterfat, and  natto as well as sauerkraut (the last two the exceptions here)  are all good sources of Vitamin K2.  Vitamin K2 is necessary in the utilization of Vitamin D and ultimately calcium.  Low levels of Vitamin K2 are a  huge reason why so many people taking their calcium and Vitamin  D  have osteoporosis,  vascular calcification, i.e. linked to heart disease.  Vitamin K2 has other functions such as proper fetal bone development, decreased inflammmation in diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, possibly treat leukemia and even prevent wrinkles.

Short chain fatty acids  butyrate (found in milkfat) are a quick  energy source for colon cells, acetate  is a direct energy source for the  cells of our body,  and many of the short chain fatty acids have cancer preventing activity.

Medium chain fatty acids like lauric acid and  capric acid ( in coconut oil) have documented antimicrobial and antifungal effects effects, regulate metabolism  and weight management, are used to prevent and treat  neurological diseases like Alzhimer’s, ALS, epilepsy, as well as for parenteral nutrition.  The list goes on about the activity of these fatty acids.

 

End choice

Well for me personally, I’m going to continue to eat generous amounts of butter, coconut oil, leaf lard (great for baking), and goose szmalec.  Like this offshoot article states, I will  eat like my granny  and my ancestors did before that.  My poor mother didn’t – she avoided eggs, ate low fat dairy,  cooked with vegetable oil and  had  two heart  attacks and coronary bypass surgery before age 55.  Now with diet (plenty of butter,  goat milk,  broth and veggies)  actually has reversal of  her post-MI ECG changes – a visible sign of heart function improvement – the doctor couldn’t believe it!

There is a growing number of doctors and researchers that are digging up the data  and questioning the low fat, “modern” diet,  since it’s just not bringing in the results.   Saying that saturated fat currently overtaking our food is a fallacy.  Most restaurants, most processed food producers make food like substances or cook with polyunsaturated vegetable oils and trans fats, which are causing our modern day problems of cancer, obesityheart disease, even infertility, and not the maligned lard and tallow that Julia Child reminisced about, remembering fries back in the day.

 

Many types of saturated fats are out there, and  they  have been  used for millenia.   In any case,  I’d like to live as close to 90  as possible, like my maternal dziadek (grandpa) did, eating his bacon and eggs,  sourdough bread with  szmalec.  That, and I love to eat my freshly made raw butter – yum!

 

 

butter

 

 

 

 

 

Vanilla extract April 8, 2014

Filed under: Recipes — Krystyna @ 2:11 pm

I love vanilla – the flavor, aroma, the aura it gives cakes, cookies,  and even coffee.  Vanilla is not cheap, though.  It’s the second most expensive spice after saffron.

Of course there is vanillin – the synthetic extract  found  in most processed foods with “natural flavors”  or something of the kind.  These flavors, along with  artificial strawberry flavors, come from the castor sacs of beavers,  which is something  most people don’t want to ingest, or wouldn’t if they knew.

Real vanilla contains vanilloids, which act like capsaicin,  reducing pain  and inflammation in the body, just like many hot pepper cultivars.  It also has antimicrobial activity.  So  using is not only  tasty and pleasant, but healthful too.

The best way to get real vanilla is to buy the beans  yourself.  The  beans come in pods from vine like plants.  If  you  have a local  grower  or  have the plant, that’s great.  If you’re like me,  and buy the pods dried, the best way to make them last is  to make  vanilla extract.

Basically you put vanilla pods in vodka.  My baseline (completely not scientific) is adding a minimum  of 4 pods per 500 ml, putting in a  cool dark place  for at least 3  months,  and them  having an endless supply  of vanilla extract.   Adding  more  pods will intensify the flavor, as will a longer wait period.

This makes for a great gift,  the  whole bottle (if you’re feeling rather generous) or  dividing it up into smaller bottles.

The “Recipe”

1 bottle of 500 ml vodka ( I  choose Polish potato  vodka because it’s gluten free and I’m Polish)

4 or more vanilla pods

Just stick them in there and  wait for the vanilla to overtake the ethanol. Glorious.

Cheers and good health!

S0010515

 

 

 

 

Plátanos maduros – fried plantains April 3, 2014

Filed under: Recipes — Krystyna @ 11:06 pm

Just returning  from  Republica Dominicana,  I  have  eaten  my  weight in platanos.  Plantains  are a staple in  African, Latin  American and Caribbean  cuisine –  I even  saw a  mashed potato  version with onions and butter.  Delicious.

Plantains are a food that is meant to processed  by heat – whether by cooking, baking, or frying.  They are considered very nutricious,  with their high percentages of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, as well as a high potassium and magnesium content.  They are a staple food in many places around the globe and commonly used for weening infants in many countries.

My favorite version are the tostones, twice fried plantains.  The process is simple – cut up a plantain in generous slices, fry once,  then  cool,  mash to  flatten  into  a  pancake like form,  then  fry again.  I find that the version made with coconut oil  is my favorite, although it can be made with lard, clarified butter, tallow or any other healthy saturated fat – and, yes,  saturated fats are heat stable and good for the occasional frying.   I try to avoid frying with regular vegetable oil like corn or canola oil (because of  a high  omega 6 content) or  trans fats like Crisco,  which are trans hydrogentated  and have  so many  negative health effects.   An execeptin is sesame oil, which  has  a high  amount of lignans  and tocopherols (Vitamin E), preventing oxidation.  It can  be mixed with coconut oil  or clarified butter to  make  a great  frying oil.  Although olive oil is a  healthful frying oil, I personally wouldn’t use it here for flavor  reasons.

 

Tostones

1 plantain cut in  1/2 inch slices

tablespoon of coconut oil or cooking fat of preference ( may need a second for refrying)

skillet or pan

Recipe:

Cut the plantain, best  in  slight diagnal fashion.   Heat  the fat until  a  drop of  water bounces and  sizzles.  But the on the pan,  frying  until  both  sides  are  lightly  browned (1-2  minutes each).  Afterwards  place on  plate or top,  slighly  mash  to flatten, and reheat pan  with fat.  Refry  until nicely  medium brown.  Either place in towel to soak  up fat or  just put on a plate to cool.  Eat when slighly cooled (so not to burn your tongue).  Buen provecho!

Image

 

Twice FriedImage

 

 
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