ProBiol

Pursing a pro-biological lifestyle

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!

 

 

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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

 

Gluten-free Pierniczki December 24, 2013

Filed under: Recipes — Krystyna @ 11:03 am

pierniczki gryczane Christmas is coming, and some food ( in this case, desserts) are prepared in advance in order to mature for  the holidays. This is the case with Polish gingerbread (pierniczki) which, thanks to a beautiful blend of honey  and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg , ginger, and cloves bring out the flavor with time.

 Being on a gluten-free diet (tdue to my possible gluten intolerance and autoimmunity testing), I was  looking for different solutions to making pierniczki, which have always been  at home for the holidays –  whether  commercially made or home baked. Finally I found the solution – with buckwheat flour. Buckwheat  is not a  cereal like oats or a grass like wheat or spelt, but in the same family as sorrel and  rhubarb, and has  many  medicinal properties. The rutin in buckwheat strengthens the walls of blood  vessels,  and is  used to  treat  chronic venous insufficiency.  Buckwheat has  procyanidins – important anti-inflammatory agents that  eliminate  harmful free radicals and protect against cancer and  cardiovascular diseases. Buckwheat is also being studied as a medicine for lowering  blood glucose levels in diabetics, and also reduces high cholesterol levels and gallstone formation.

Buckwheat flour together with spices like cinnamon, which improves glucose levels and increases insulin sensitivity in diabetics, as well as cholesterol and triglycerides, also has a strong anti-inflammatory action, killing colon cancer cells. Cloves, the food with the highest antioxidant value, and are very anti-inflammatory. Nutmeg kills colon cancer cells and leukemic cells, with antibacterial properties against certain strains of Streptococcus. Adding real raw honey, these cookies are truly health, anti-cancer, and (according to many) delicious.

These pierniczki can also be made by replacing the the buckwheat and potato flours with wheat flour, spelt flour, or a mixture of these two flours.

Gluten-free Pierniczki

Supplies

Non-metallic bowl

Saucepan

Wooden spoon

Pastry board and roll

 

Ingredients

1 kg (2.2 lbs) flour – 700 g (1.5 lbs) buckwheat flour

300 g (0.7 lbs) potato flour

1 1/3 cup of milk

1 1/3 cup cane sugar

200 g (less than a 1/2 lb) of raw honey

4 teaspoons of baking soda

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 tablespoon of cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon star anise

1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger (optional)

Gingerbread jam for inside (optional)

fat (butter, goose/duck smalec, coconut oil, etc) to grease

flour to roll

1.Slightly heat 1/3 cup of sugar for about 20 seconds, then add the rest of the sugar, honey, milk and spices to the saucepan and heat while stirring well until everything is nicely mixed

2. Place the liquid potions into a bowl, slowly add the flour with baking soda and mix well.

3. Cover the dough with a clean cloth and put away to ferment for anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 hours ( if doing a longer ferment,  cover the bowl with a cloth or plate and mix evenly  every couple of days)

4. Roll out the dough on a pastry board, sprinkling flour on the board to prevent sticking. Roll out the gingerbread to 1-2 cm thick, and put on the greased pans. If you want to make gingerbread cookies with jam inside, make 2 slighly thinner equal sized molds, watering the cookie edges, putting 1/4 teaspoon of jam in between and sealing the cookies

5. Bake in the oven at 190 deg C for 20 minutes or until golden and grow . Depending on the molds, you can get 40-50 pierniczki, which can leave plain or put icing or chocolate frosting on top. Then place in an airtight container until ready to eat.

Enjoy – Have a Healthy and Merry Christmas!  Wesołych Świąt!

 

The truth about hot dogs December 11, 2013

Filed under: Anti-biological Activity — Krystyna @ 6:55 am

Image

As a child I remember eating a hot dog (read: more than one) at a party or special occasion. This was very rare for me, since my mom almost always cooked meals from scratch (i.e. fresh soup, meat, vegetables, cereals, noodles made from flour and eggs ), although she often lacked the extra time (and sometimes money). Unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced, harried world is not the quality that counts, but rather a quick, easy, cheap, and of course ” tasty ” ( most often made so by artificial ingredients and chemicals) food. This is usually not the parents of children’s fault, or consumers in general, that food contains these hazardous substances – they don’t know about it – the blame should go elsewhere. But unfortunately they are the ones who pay the cost of their health, as it turns out to be hot dogs.

Three different studies have determined that consumption of hot dogs increase the risk of cancer in children

study in Los Angeles showed that children who ate 12 or more hot dogs a month have nine times greater risk of leukemia . Strong risk for leukemia also occurs in children whose fathers consumed 12 or more hot dogs per month . Food fresh fruit reduced the risk of cancer in children.

Scientists Sarusua and Savitz studied childhood cancer cases in Denver, Colorado and found that children born to mothers who consumed one or more hot dog per week during pregnancy have about twice the risk of their child developing brain tumors. Children who ate one or more hot dogs per week were also at higher risk of brain cancer .

Bunin et al. also found that mothers who ate hot dogs during pregnancy resulted in an excessive increase of the risk of childhood brain tumors.

American Institute for Cancer Research and World Institute for Research on Cancer analized hundreds of studies from around the world and came to the conclusion that hot dogs and processed meats contribute to colon cancer.

How can sausages and processed meat can cause cancers ?

Sausages contain nitrites, which are used as preservatives, primarily to combat botulism . During cooking, nitrites combine with amines, compounds naturally present in meat to form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds . The combination of the nitrites with amines in the human stomach can also cause the formation of N- nitroso compounds. These compounds are highly carcinogenic and are linked to mouth, esophagus , bladder , stomach and brain cancers.

Some vegetables also contain nitrites, do they not cause cancer ?

Nitrites are commonly found in green vegetables, especially spinach, celery and green lettuce. However, the consumption of vegetables appears to be effective in reducing the risk of cancer. How? Nitrite in vegetables contain vitamins C and D , which are designed to prevent the formation of carcinogenic compounds N- nitroso compounds. Therefore vegetables are very healthy and safe, reducing the incidence of cancer.

Are all the hot dogs increasing the risk of cancer in children?

No, not all sausages contain nitrites . Because of modern cooling methods, nitrites are now used to keep the hot dogs red. Hot dogs without nitrites are brownish in color, therefore less popular. When cooked, nitrite free hot dogs are completely safe.

Are nitrites are present in other foods?

Most processed meats contain nitrites, also processed bacon and smoked fish.

What you can do in this situation:

1 Not buy sausages or cured meats containing nitrites. The best is to avoid processed meat as often as possible. This is especially important for children and future parents.

2 Request that stores began to sell nitrite-free hot dogs and processed meats (preferably without preservatives and flavor enhancers such as monosodium glutamate).

3 Check with local educational and dietary councils to find out if children are being served hot dogs with nitrites in the cafeteria. Insist that nitrite free hot dogs and meat be served instead.

Sources:

Cancer Prevention Coalition 

dukehealth.org, Myth or Fact: Hot Dogs Cause Cancer

 

Another take on saturated fat December 9, 2013

Filed under: Books and Sources — Krystyna @ 7:46 am

eggs-butter In the 22 October 2013 edition of the British Medical Journal , Dr. Aseem Malhotra ,  interventionist cardiology  specialist from Croydon University Hospital in London, wrote an  article entitled “Saturated fat is not the main issue – let’s bust the myth of  it’s role in heart disease.” He starts the article stating that scientists accept the fact that trans fats  found in  processed foods (such as sweets, cakes, cookies, chips, etc ) and margarine increase the  risk of heart disease by  inflammatory processes. He continues with denouncing the wrong  information about the saturated fat that have  misinformed the public for many decades.

 Dr. Malhotra states that saturated fats do not raise the portion of LDL cholesterol which contributes to heart disease. The fatty acids from animal fats lower triglycerides and CRP , an inflammatory marker , and the level of insulin resistance, therefore, the risk of type II diabetes. He cites new study that shows that the low- fat diet reduces the most energy resources, causing an unhealthy lipid profile, and insulin resistance (primary cause of type II diabetes), compared with a diet with a lower glycemic index ( the level of glucose in the blood 2-3 hours after eating, especially related to simple carbohydrates for example sugar, sweets, sugary drinks ). In recent decades in the U.S. the proportion of fat consupmtion in the diet decreased, but obesity has skyrocketed.

Dr. Malhotra also provides information that 75 % percent of patients admitted with acute myocardial infarction have normal cholesterol levels. The Framingham Study immortalized cholesterol as a risk factor for heart attack , helping to spread the use of statins, drugs that lower cholesterol, for hundreds of millions of patients. However, new research shows that lower cholesterol contributes to deaths from cardiac and non-cardiac reasons. Cholesterol levels do not contribute to the risk of death.

The newer credible study from 2013 shows that 20% of patients treated with statins reported unacceptable side effects – muscle pain, digestive problems, problems with sleep and memory, and sexual dysfunction – a much higher level than what the companies that manufacture these drugs showed.  Another cited study shows that the Mediterranean diet – a diet rich in fish, moderate amounts of dairy, and high fiber carbohydrates like cereals, whole grains and vegetables – a diet that permits the use of butter and lard – has a 30 % better outcome than a low-fat diet for cardiovascular disease.

 

 
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