My love of farms and farmers markets led me to ask good friends Zach + Bethany if I could "shadow" them at the market they visit every Saturday morning. They frequent the Shaker Square Farmers Market, which in my opinion is the best outdoor market in the Cleveland area.
Zach + Beth are the real thing—all about real food and traditional food preparation methods. They source their fresh food from vendors they are on a first name basis is with. I'm simply inspired by them. Some of their simple tips from the shoot: 1// use the more easily digested milk from jersey cows to made homemade yogurt (and don't be afraid to try—I use this recipe). 2// keep fresh parsley and cilantro in a bit of water in a jar in the fridge to last weeks longer (this works so well!). 3// organize your fridge with more perishable items like lettuce towards the front to ensure timely use of fresh ingredients.
I first watched Michael Pollan making sauerkraut on the video at the bottom. I have been meaning to make it ever since. I even bought a cabbage a couple times and never did anything with it! I finally got around to using this super simple recipe and now I wonder why I haven't been doing this forever!
I went really basic and used only cabbage, salt, a mason jar, and 5 days. The result is delicious and I'm thrilled to be adding more probiotics to my family's diet without the usual price tag, pasteurization, or additives.
A probiotic rich diet can protect from colon cancer, relieve inflammatory bowel disease and lactose intolerance, improve oral health, increase bioavailability of vitamins, nutrients and minerals in food, and perhaps most significantly, increase the efficiency of the immune system, which is primarily located in your gut.
1 | So Cheap + Easy, What's Not To Love
Being the biohacker-wannabe that I am, I'm a little lazy, so I need to find healthy solutions that are simple to implement to be sure I stick to them. I usually find remnant chicken back bones or beef bone marrow in the frozen meat area of Whole Foods for no more than around $3 for a few pounds. I also have access to local farms who will sell or give me extra bones. I have also ordered from US Wellness Meats where I can find extra good stuff for my broth like chicken feet for extra collagen. I have taken tips from the best, having used recipes from Nom Nom Paleo and Balanced Bites. Now I've gotten it down to the simplest, fastest execution I use most often: Cover bones with filtered water in a stock pot / Add a halved onion, fresh thyme + salt / Bring to a boil / Simmer for hours or until bones are falling apart / Strain out the cooled broth into Mason Jars for drinking, soups, + other dishes / I skim the fat that cools on top for roasting veggies.
2 | Because Bad Teeth Need Help
Because of the vital minerals in bone broth, it has been proven to aid in oral health – an area I need a lot of help in. I didn't used to care what I ate and believed eating tons of sugar was perfectly fine, as long as I moved a little, thinking it burned off so easily I could eat all I wanted – thanks a lot Twizzlers, "a low fat snack"! Thankfully, I'm not alone in this way of thinking about and getting hooked on low fat "foods." Hopefully, I am combatting the damage already done.
3 | Keeping My Family's Insides Intact
Bone broth was one of the first foods I introduced into Braxton's diet. When he was weaning I would give him broth to drink out of his sippy cup, or he loved eating it cold when it was the consistency of jello. I read a lot about first foods and felt compelled to arm Braxton with a healthy gut as early as possible; new research is developing all the time about how crucial our guts are to our overall health.
4 | Because It Has To Be Better Than Store-Bought
I used to pay around $4 for a carton of chicken broth with ingredients that sounded something like this: Organic chicken broth, Organic chicken flavor, Natural chicken flavor, Organic evaporated cane juice, Autolyzed yeast extract, Organic onion powder, Turmeric, Organic flavor. It's really made to sound pretty good, isn't it? But for one thing, what's with all the flavoring (The Dorito Effect is a must-must-read on this)? When I can make more quantity for less money and more nutrients in a small amount of time, I'm all about it. More importantly, store-bought broth is the consistency of water, which is a bad sign in itself. Homemade broth congeals when it cools because of all the awesome gelatin from the animal bones. We drink this to improve our own joints and bones. Incredible!
I was checking out at the grocery store and placed my colorful assortment of root vegetables on the belt. For each one my cashier picked up she said, "beets?" and "these are beets, right?" and "now these are beets." Each time she was wrong.
Even though I already know this reality, it struck me again how sad/crazy it is that people have moved so far from real food!
Shortly after that I came across this book called Eating The Alphabet by Lois Ehlert at the library and ended up buying it because I love it so much. It is an ABC book with just fruits and veggies for each letter, but there is a wide variety, some of which I have never tried. Braxton is obsessed with his ABCs right now, so I can't wait to take this book to the grocery store to pick out the different varieties and even try some new ones together.
Every parent (maybe just everybody) needs this book!
Mark's Daily Apple is a highly acclaimed primal living website that I refer to frequently as I aspire to create a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle for me and my family. Mark Sisson, the creator of The Primal Blueprint (or what he explains as "primal living in a modern world"), has created an unmatched resource for beginners and experts alike who are looking to live a healthier and more productive lifestyle. This week he paired up with US Wellness Meats to throw out an Instagram challenge: create a 15 second primal recipe video for the chance to win a whole cow! US Wellness Meats is considered a trustworthy source of pastured beef and other sustainable meat products and is who I order from when I don't have local sources available.
Find the recipe below!
Land Of Nuts + Honey Bars // adapted from the Trail Mix Granola Bars recipe in the cookbook Against All Grain by Danielle Walker of AgainstAllGrain.com
prep time: 20 minutes
chilling time: 2 hours
cooking time: 10 minutes
yield: 4 dozen
1/2 cup honey (local + raw is ideal)
1/2 cup almond butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup raw pecan halves
3/4 cup raw cashews or walnuts
1/2 cup raw almonds
5 large pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes
1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces
Egg Drop Soup // adapted from the Egg Drop Soup recipe on Gimme Some Oven
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 10 minutes
yield: 12 cups or 8-10 servings
While this soup is nourishing by itself, it is also versatile if you want to add things to it. Shredded chicken and/or swiss chard are great add-in options.
Why make your own bone broth (aka. stock)?
There are numerous benefits to bone broth, many of which you can look into at Weston A. Price Foundation's website or in Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions. When this broth is made correctly, you will actually see that gelatin affect it takes on from the extraction of collagen from the animal bones. It is really such an easy addition to your week and makes use of a chicken in so many ways. You will find your kids are sick less, your gut feels better, and your soups are all the more rich and nourishing.
We seem to have finally recovered from cough and cold season in my household. However, the winter months in Ohio always seem to guarantee more runny noses in our future.
My husband swears by the Emergen-C Vitamin C Drink Mix when he is coming down with a cold. Even purchasing the CVS brand to save money is close to $14 for 30 packets. But what bothers me even more is the first two ingredients: Fructose and Cane Sugar.
I have known about Elderberries for a while now and have been intrigued by their immune-boosting potential. I finally ordered some dried ones on Amazon and made this Elderberry Syrup for flu prevention. While the whole house smelled like cloves that left my stomach a little uneasy, I think it was well worth it. Braxton loves have his daily teaspoon-full and usually wants more -- It's pretty tasty stuff! I have made real fruit gummy snacks for Braxton in the past so to switch things up I may make these Flu Boosting Gummy Bears for him as well.
Here's to a flu-free winter!
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Hi. I'm Suzanna.
I like running outside, eating real food and crafting beautiful images. I am captivated by authenticity, adventurers and life-lovers. I call myself a biohacker-wannabe pursuing the unconventional.
Society6 by Suzanna West
Fine Art America by Suzanna West