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Black Bean Brownie Recipe – Why Add Black Beans to Dessert Brownie? The beans in the recipe add fiber, which can slow down the absorption of white sugar and white flour in the recipe box. Slower sugar absorption slows the body’s reaction to sugar, which causes the release of insulin. This yo-yo of raised and lowered blood sugar can lead over time to insulin resistance and diabetes. And it is now thought that the body deposits cholesterol in the arteries to protect it from insulin, NOT from the eating of cholesterol.

This recipe came from my friend Mary. It can be made with wheat or made into gluten-free brownies if you use a gluten-free brownie mix.


Ingredients:

  • 1 can 15 oz black beans
  • water
  • Brownie Mix (Mary suggests Trader Joe’s gluten free brownie mix- 18-20 oz)
  • 1 egg (optional)


Recipe:

Heat the oven to the temperature listed on the brownie box. Choose the right pan size and type (metal or glass). Grease pan if required, but only halfway up. You actually want the brownies to be able to cling to the sides about halfway up the pan.

Drain and rinse one 15 oz can of black beans. Return drained black beans to can and add new water to cover. Then blend to a puree.

Combine bean puree and one box of brownie mix in a mixing bowl. Add 1 large egg if you would like a softer spongier consistency. Mix well and bake according to box directions.

*Note: You may need to cook the brownies longer than usual, because of the increased water, from the beans. Cook until the edges start to pull away from the sides, and the middle is no longer liquid. You can test them by dipping a toothpick into the brownie, and pulling it out. Normally you want to see no crumbs on the toothpick. In this case, you want to pull them out a little before its all the way done, so it doesn’t end up overdry. The brownie will continue to cook after its removed from the oven.

Cool on a wire rack. Cut from the pan.

Taste The Results~
The resulting brownies tasted just like normal brownies, but with a nice moistness, and earthiness that was satisfying. You won’t get quite the blood sugar spike from eating them, either. The color looked just a little darker than normal chocolate brownies. Enjoy!



Great News! My Transform Health blog is now publishing through the Apple News app, which is available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers! This blog specializes in educating the public about functional nutrition, alternative & herbal medicine, common nutritional deficiencies, the Paleo Diet, special digestive diets like GAPS & SCD, and using holistic health knowledge to combat the spread  of common diseases, and incidence of chronic diseases.

Here’s the link to Transform Health on Apple News app– Please spread the word to your health-minded (health-obsessed?) friends: https://apple.news/TZ0cwfDt0SBK3XA8PZlsVDw

Here’s the link to Apple News app on the Apple.com website.

Why is this health education work important? Here’s a quote from Dr. Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain:

We spend nearly 20 percent of our gross domestic product on health care [in the US]… although we are presently ranked first in the world in health-care spending, we are ranked thirty-seventh in overall health-system performance, according to the World Health Organization. [bold added]

And another quote, from the same source:

We live in an exciting time in medicine…But we also live in a time when the number of people dying from chronic disease (including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria), maternal and perinatal  conditions, and nutritional deficiencies combined.

The Transform Health blog is written by me, Diana Sproul, a health coach based in northern Colorado, who helps clients nationally. Besides free health articles and recipes on the Paleo, GAPS and SCD diets; articles comparing the nutrition between wild and farmed salmon, and info about the importance of the Omega 3 to 6 balance (nutrition geeks – you know who you are!), I have these free resources:

  1. free videos on YouTube  (channel link) and Vimeo.com (channel link),
  2. a free monthly newsletter (subscribe here),
  3. an online course, “Raising Your Immunity Through Nutrition and Herbalism.” (Free course coupon here)  (read more about)
  4. a Transform Health Pinterest page with recipes, health videos (including her own), and a lot of nutrition, alternative medicine and holistic health info. Also includes recipes for these diets: Paleo, SCD, & GAPS.
  5. The Transform Health Facebook page (includes local events)
  6. The Transform Health Google+ page
  7. E-books on Amazon.com (link) (1 is about baby sign language)

I hope you’ll join me online, or through our newsletter, and that you benefit greatly from reading my health and nutrition articles on the Apple News app! Self-education is the best path to preventative health and a healthy lifestyle.


Can I help you on your journey toward better health?
 Just Contact me at this  link. I would be happy to talk with you further.

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Try this new concept in fast food casual restaurants from Las Vegas: fresh sushi! Who would’ve thought it?!  Dishes are served as bowls over rice, or as a Japanese-style burrito, wrapped in seaweed rolls.

Customers order at a counter, similar to Subway, Chipotle, and Garbanzos.

The menu is organized like this: first you choose whether you’d like a burrito (with a wrapper of soy paper, wheat tortilla, or seaweed) or a bowl with brown or white rice, or vegetables. Next you choose your raw sushi meat or cooked chicken, and vegetable toppings. There’s a variety of sauces as well like chipotle mayo, nacho cheese, poke sauce, kimchi aioli (hot cabbage & garlic mayo), sweet chili, ponzu (sweet), creamy cilantro and more.

You can make your own combination from scratch, which would be very helpful for anyone with food issues, or you can chew some of the pre-designed favorites. There are about 10 designed meals.

Look at the choices of sides just above– there’s guacamole, avocado, red onion, green onion, spinach, fresh or pickled jalapeños, cabbage, kimchi (Korean spicy cabbage), cucumber, corn and a lot more.

The food prices start around $7.50 for an adult bowl or burrito meal, with some of the pre-designed meals around $10.50.

The food was really good – fresh and healthy. It was really easy for me to eat, in spite of having multiple food allergies. People who eat Paleo can opt for the vegetable bowl, or a no-rice burrito. Vegetarians can do egg over brown rice or an all-vegetable option. People who can’t handle raw fish can do cooked chicken with nacho sauce over rice or vegetables.

Meat choices included yellow tail, salmon, spicy tuna (ground fine), crab, chicken, omelette or tofu.

This concept came from a professional chef, John Chien Lee, who worked his way up to executive chef at Social House in Las Vegas, but then decided open his own restaurant. This fast food sushi option is just the latest. He has three locations in Las Vegas, and I dined at the 2600 West Sahara Avenue location. The main website is www.SohoSushiBurrito.com.

So next time you’re doing a convention in Las Vegas or visiting for some sun, check out this delicious fast food restaurant.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends, using the buttons below.

Have you visited this fast food restaurant? Let me know in the comments below.

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Now that it’s Fall, I’m discovering smooth, brown acorns around the oak trees in the neighborhood. I think they’re so pretty! I wondered how to prepare and eat acorn as a wild-foraged food, even though I live in a city. One source said that acorns were eaten more commonly in the past than wheat and rice combined! Acorns were historically eaten on four continents: New England and dry California, Europe, Asia, and even northern Africa.(1) Isn’ that amazing? They are a nutritious food source, and work well as a cooking binder, similar to wheat products.

Plentiful Food:
One video producer estimated there was over 88 pounds’ harvest from one oak tree alone based on his gathering sampling of 8.8 pounds (250 grams) in 1 square meter. And because there were seventy-five large oak trees in one area, he was wondering why we weren’t utilizing this wild-foraged harvest as large as 3 tons!(4) (All video sources included at end of article, so you can watch them, too!) However, they are eaten by deer, squirrels, and other forest animals, so they’re not going to waste.

Acorn Nutrition Information- Vitamins and Minerals:
According to Arthur Haines, acorns are rich in nutrition: calcium, potassium, B vitamins, phosphorous. They have all eight essential amino acids (essential meaning that we need to eat these substances for fuel to build our own body proteins.)

One video producer, brawny03, said that a mere one ounce has 142 calories, 9 grams of fat and 2.3 grams protein. Historically, we needed a lot of fat to get through winter, even though our metabolism became slower during cold months. Today we still need fats for every cell wall in our bodies, brain function and more.

They are high in Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acid (EFA), which we can’t make in our bodies, but have to take in with food. This EFA is good, because its in a natural state, but most of us get too many Omega 6 EFA’s already from grains in our diets and our meat & dairy animals’ feeds. Omega 6 EFA’s are best if eaten with ample amounts of Omega 3 EFA, which is found in plants like flax seed and purslane herb, as well as wild and grass-fed (pastured) animal meats and dairy. But historically, food and fats were scarce, and most hunted animals were wild game anyway, and already high in Omega 3’s.

I found these beautiful acorns around several oak trees at our local mall, of all places! They were on a parking island. They’re really pretty. I found two kinds: long and thin, and wide and round.

Two acorns, 1 small and long and one large and round, sit on a wooden table. There is a bowl full of brown long acorns in a porcelain bowl. Wild food foraging in the city.
I found two acorn types in the neighborhood: long and narrow and round and wide with fuzzy cap.

Different Kinds of Oak Species:
According to Arthur Haines, there are two kinds of oak trees and acorns: black oaks and white oaks. Black oaks have a sharp end lobe on their leaf tip, the acorns have hairs inside the shell, and have a long collection season from Fall through Spring. I think he said that they ripen over a longer period, as well. This makes them super important historically, when food may have been scarce after October. Black oak acorns also dry more easily, and are less prone to spoilage than the White oak acorns.

White oaks have a blunt tip lobe on their leaf tip, no hairs inside the acorn shells. They have a shorter collection season because they drop all at once in Fall. And they are more prone to spoilage. There were other species differences on the leaf sides, too.

Different acorn and leaf types: narrow long acorns and round short acorns. Lobed oak leaf on left and on right, leaf is half narrow and half lobed.
On each side are the oak leaves matched with their different acorn types.

Within each of these two species there are many different kinds of oaks. They vary the world over as to the growing environment that they like, some preferring drier conditions, some liking having wet “feet.”

How to Harvest Acorns: Wild Foraging Instructions
Video producer Arthur Haines recommends avoiding collecting acorns with holes, caps still on (shows they are immature), and those with black streaks, which can show that fungus is present. Video producer Green Deane recommends avoiding eating green acorns, and waiting until they ripen (turn brown in color) before eating them.

Brown and yellow colored acorns are still in the oak tree, and have green caps attached. There are many green oak leaves and branches in the background.
Acorns that have fallen down to the ground with the caps still on shows that there is something wrong with them. The yellow acorns aren’t ripened yet. They will turn brown in time.

Tannins/ Tannic acid in Acorn Nuts:
Before being eaten, acorns need to be soaked in several changes of either hot or cold water to neutralize two things: 1) phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that becomes a phytate, binding to our vitamins and minerals and washing them out of the body, as well as 2) the bitter taste of tannins in the nuts. In the videos, people soaked (or leached) the acorns either whole in the shell or after grinding during their processing to remove the tannins. (Just FYI, phytic acid is found in all seeds and nuts, including our grains. We’ve just forgotten how to neutralize them through soaking, sprouting and sourdough processes. See cite 5 below to read more about this.)

According to Green Deane in his YouTube video channel “Eat the Weeds”, the larger the cap size to nut generally shows that they have more tannic acid. He collected or foraged acorns from a neighborhood Live Oak, explaining that hardly any leeching was needed as they were just not as bitter as other species. (I’m not sure where he filmed his video, but I know that Live Oaks grow in southern California with dark glossy leaves and great outstretched arms. They look cool and sinister in dusk light.)

How to Process Acorns to Eat as Food, According to Arthur Deane:
The most elaborate and traditional method was in the video by Arthur Deane, who used traditional preparation methods used by Native Americans with cold water leeching. Dried acorns store a very long time in the shell: two to three years! Important Tip: He said that acorns are much easier to shell after they’ve been dried, as the inner nut shrinks in a bit, and loosens from the outer shell. In fact, I saw another Youtube video (not cited), and the creator was trying to shell green acorns. It was a slow process with a lot of grousing.

Remove non-food bits from your acorn bag. Rinse them. Dry acorns in 1 layer in the sun for two weeks, bringing the acorns inside each night to avoid dew fall and on rainy days. (These instructions are for black oak acorns; white oak acorns take 2-3 times longer.)

If you’re going to store the acorns in the shell at this point, it’s recommended to store them in a cold dry place, as the high fat content can make them rancid.The video producer brawny03 said that you should eat them immediately if they start to germinate. However, she said that long sprouts (3/4″) were not good to eat.3

How to Shell Acorns for Food Eating:
Shell them like this: hold the acorn’s pointy end down into a wood board. Pound the blunt back end with a rock and the shell should break apart. Other people showed pliers or nut crackers in their videos, or hit them with a hammer on their side. Don’t worry about removing the red paper on the nut. Grind the acorns to a fine meal or flour size. Mr. Deane used a corn mill (grinder) that he ran the acorns through twice.1

How to Leach Tannins from Acorn Meal:
Then Mr. Deane put the meal into a large bowl (much larger than the meal), and added water to the rim. The meal sank to the bottom. Change the top water once or twice daily for 5 days to prevent spoilage. The acorn meal is done leaching when it stops tasting bitter or astringent (dry & tightening taste on the tongue). (Acceptable bowl materials include glass, porcelain and stainless steel.)1

Acorn Meal Preparation: Draining After Leaching
Pour off the top water only into a drain, well above the sunken acorn meal on the bottom. Strain the rest of the acorn meal through a cloth-lined strainer, into a bowl. Gather the cloth and squeeze the water out well. Use the prepared acorn meal immediately, or dry it to use later. Brief recipes are below.

Acorn Meal Drying Process: Spread 1/4″ layer onto a flat baking sheet in the sun for a few days, or use a dehydrator for several days.1 (I am wondering how we can avoid having squirrels eat them at this point.) Avoid high temps until the cooking time. A different video producer said that if you introduce heat before the actual cooking time that the meal would lose its ability to stick together. I do know that if you heat soaked nuts over 150 degree Fahrenheit, that their enzymes are destroyed.4

Craft idea using acorns in a jar
Craft idea using acorns

Acorn Drying, Shelling and Leaching According to ACampfireProduction:
The video by ACampfireProduction dried the acorns in the sun for 5 days. To shell them, he cut off the top and bottom ends crosswise while holding them sideways on a cutting board. Then he cut down into the acorn lengthwise and removed the shell. He put them into boiling water, and changed the top water for new water about 5 times or more. He didn’t really say how long he boiled them like that. From other videos, I learned that they are done boiling when they’ve lost the bitter tannin taste. This might come out as an “astringent” taste, drying to the tongue similar to black tea.

How to Dry Acorns:
Then this video host dried them in a small, dry pot. There was no duration given. (Alton Brown videos used to make fun of chefs who wrote, “Cook until done.” When was that?} The video producer then pounded the acorns into a flour using a wooden post and wooden metate. He made the acorn meal into a pancake, using these rough ingredients (no measures given): acorn meal, white flour, egg, milk, small amount honey. He fried the acorn meal pancakes for ten minutes in fat, presumably turning the pancake halfway through.  He said it held together OK until the end. (This makes me wonder if the sickness factor goes away with overcooking, like it does for arrowroot powder.) The taste was sweeter than he would have thought, because he only used a bit of honey.

Leach Tannins from Acorns in Cold or Hot Water:
Green Deane from EattheWeeds.com recommended leaching the acorns or acorn meal in your choice of either only cold water or only hot water. Mixing the two methods would make the meal bind to the tannins, and leave in the bitter taste, so avoid this! He wanted us to avoid cooling them in the middle of the heating process, for instance. Heating them probably makes the acorn meal lose its binding/stickiness factor. And different people leached the tannins from the acorns either when whole or after grinding.

Green Deane leeched his acorns whole, then dried them, shelled them, ground in the food processor, added water, and then strained the meal through a cloth and sieve into a bowl. He made the acorn meal into an Acorn Bannock, but didn’t give an actual recipe. (Bannock bread is an Irish baking soda-risen bread, with no yeast for the riser. It’s a “quick-bread.”) It looked like flour, baking soda, acorn meal, and water from the time in the food processor. He fried it in oil on both sides to make a flat bread. (Maybe you could get a bannock bread recipe and replace some flour with the acorn. It sounds like acorn has binding qualities, like its more flour-like in recipes. Nuts can only be used to replace a small amount in a recipe, because they don’t act the same as wheat gluten and other binders.)

Green Deane said that if you’re boiling the acorns, the fat will separate and rise to the top. It can then be taken off.

Next – Trying to Prepare Acorns Myself:
OK, the next step is trying this process myself. Wish me luck! If you want to join me, write in the comments section. I’ll write again to update you on what I discover from doing it hands-on.

If you enjoyed this recipe, please share it with your friends, using the social media buttons below.

Did you try it? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks! Happy Cooking!


Video Bibliography:

  1. Video by Arthur Haines – From Tree to Table: Gathering and Using Acornswww.ArthurHaines.com, a New England food forager
  2. Video by Green Deane, EattheWeeds YouTube channel, and website EattheWeeds.com: #50 – Acorns
  3. Video by brawny03 in Acorns as Survival Food
  4. Video by ACampfireProduction: Acorns – How to Prepare and Cook
  5. Book <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0967089735/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0967089735&linkCode=as2&tag=transform44-20&linkId=b7c778528e626706161369d89819d8d9″>Nourishing Traditions</a><img src=”//ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=transform44-20&l=am2&o=1&a=0967089735″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” /> by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig

 

This post contains a few affiliate links, which did not affect the content or information listed here. Diana Sproul of Transform Health is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This small affiliate payment helps me support this health education work, which a lot of information is offered for free to the public.


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There’s nothing like the fresh creaminess of homemade guacamole. It’s delicious, simple to make, and packed with nutrition and enzymes.

Although most people eat it as a condiment, it makes a nice Paleo salad or vegetarian side dish. This is especially true for people with digestive issues like those on the GAPS and SCD diets.

You can make your own guacamole at home, with no sugar, no added starches, and no weird additives. (I cringe when I read guacamole labels at stores.) For nutrition info, see the end of this article.

Homemade Guacamole Recipe:

  • 2-3 avocados – Ripe: feel slightly soft when pressed in on skin, not hard. Black skin variety called Haas is better than green skin ones from Florida (sorry, FL!)
  • Lime juice- from 1-2 limes (cider vinegar if you’re out of limes)
  • Garlic – 1 normal clove or little less, chopped fine
  • Red onion – skinned and chopped fine (or green onion)
  • Cilantro – 1/4 cup chopped fine
  • Sea salt – 1/3-1 tsp to taste
  • Tomato (Optional) – Cut 1 small one in half, discard gooey/seedy centers, remainder chopped fine (Omit for Autoimmune Paleo and food allergies to nightshades) (Roma tomatoes work best)
  • Jalapeno or Serrano Chili (Optional) – cut open, remove seeds and stem, chop fine 1/2 to 1.5 TB  (Could replace with cayenne, dry ground ancho chile powder)
    (Omit all chilies for Autoimmune Paleo and food allergies to nightshades)
    If omit due to dietary restrictions, use some ground black pepper.
  • Optional: olive oil 1-2 TB (This is not from CA, it might be a remnant from adding mayo to my guac (don’t remind me of those days!) or my own need for fat. Olive oil does provide some Omega 9 Essential Fatty Acids.

Cut open the avocados with a dinner knife. They should cut easily because they are ripe. Circle around the inside large pit. Pry open. Remove the pit like this: Hit the seed with a sharp knife edge on (left hand is behind back for this sketchy process!) It should stick in there. Now turn the knife and the seed will hopefully turn with it and pop out. Push the knife against a cutting board edge to pop the seed off (no hands in there, please! grease and sharp objects don’t mix!)

Using the dinner knife (not super sharp point), cut lines all across the avocado half. Cut lines in the opposite direction so you make cubes. Scoop out with a large dinner spoon into a bowl. Mash fine with fork or pastry butter blender. Add remaining ingredients. Add 1/2 lime’s juice at a time until you reach the right sourness. Lime juice also stops the guacamole from turning brown so quickly.

Eat immediately as salad or condiment. (A condiment – sure, if you can stop eating the goodness!!) Best the same day or next day.

Storage:
To store, move the remainder into a food storage container and push it down so it’s even. Any surface touching air will go brown (oxidize). Push wax paper down over surface or add more lime juice on top. Cover with a lid, and keep in fridge a few days.

But when you’re chowing down ‘guac’ at the next party, beware, avocados are supposed to be an aphrodisiac!! (cite 2)

Guacamole Nutrition (Yes, There Is Some!):
Avocados are a source of vitamins E and C, minerals like magnesium (often cited for sleep and cramp prevention), iron and manganese. They are rich in potassium, a “good source of vitamin A” and “fairly high in most of the B vitamins except B12”. They are “more like a nut than a fruit”; they contain 4-5 grams of protein per avocado. (cite 1)

They are also high in lysine, an amino acid that is associated with bone growth, collagen creation in skin, connective tissues and bone, and calcium absorption in the intestinal tract. Lysine can also help inhibit herpes virus outbreaks. (cite 1)

Raw avocados come with enzymes that help you unlock their nutrition. Cool, isn’t it? Garlic and onions help feed good bacteria in our digestive systems. (cite 3)

Apparently this is a fruit from a tree, not a vegetable, but all I know is that its delicious! Half an avocado provides about one quarter of a person’s daily needs of anti-aging and anti-oxidant vitamin E (but don’t feel limited to just half). They also provide fiber and magnesium.(cite 5) It’s monounsaturated fat, a good fat for heart health. Avocado also provides Omega 9’s, which are still great for us, but don’t figure in the Omega 3:6 ratio at all. They provide a little Omega-6 (1.7g per 100g.) (cite 4)

Eating avocados can help stop excess gas (called a carminative in the herb world). If used externally on unhappy skin, they have emollient (skin soothing) properties. But when you’re chowing down at the next party, beware, they are also supposed to be an aphrodisiac!! (cite 2).

I hope this recipe and nutrition info helps with your guacamole habit, and healthy one, to be sure!

Can I help you on your journey toward better health? Just Contact me here and sign up for my free monthly Newsletter (lower 1/2 of page) at this link.

Did you like this post? Please tell your friends about it! There are handy link buttons just below–

  1. Staying Healthy with Nutrition, by Dr. Elson Haas MD, p. 44 & 308, copyright 2006.
  2. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, by Andrew Chevalier, p. 122.
  3. Gut and Psychology Syndrome, by Dr. Natasha McBride, copyright 2010.
  4. http://chriskresser.com/how-much-omega-3-is-enough-that-depends-on-omega-6/
  5. Avocado Nutrition: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2157?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=35&offset=&sort=&qlookup=avocado

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As our sunny weather slides into changing leaves and warm apple recipes, I thought I’d share with you this super easy Braised Lamb Recipe. Homemade food rocks! Better nutrition, better digestibility! It’s delicious, and only takes a few minutes of prep time. It does need to simmer for several hours, but that’s no work for you!

“Braising” means simmering meat in a very tightly closed pot, with a very small amount of flavoring liquid, for several hours. The meat can sit slightly in the flavoring liquid or sitting on top of vegetables. Flavorings like onions and garlic and herbs are added.

The Flavors!
You almost can’t mess this up this lamb recipe, because all the flavors meld nicely, and the meat adds its juices, too, without becoming dry. Even tough meats come out of the pot soft and fork-pliable.

Easier to Digest & Use for Fuel!
Simmered meats and vegetables are really healthy to eat because they are highly digestible. The tough fibers are softened. Soup and simmered meats digest much easier than pan-fried burgers (as much as I love that crispy brown outside!) This fact make them desirable for anyone with digestion issues or the elderly, especially.

What is a “Shank”?
Lamb shanks are less costly than the leg of lamb (~$7-8), and usually found close by. This normally tough, stringy meat becomes lovely once cooked. I think lamb shank is the lower part of the animal’s leg, and less desirable for restaurants. It is one of those parts that people eat when they are eating “nose to tail”: using the whole animal for something good.

This braised lamb shank homemade recipe was simmered for about 3 hours in a heavy pot, and then reheated here. Contains carrots, garlic, white onions, bay leaf, red radish (bleached white here).
How to make homemade Braised Lamb Shank easily

Easy Braised Lamb Shank Recipe:
Find a heavy soup pot with a heavy lid. If you have one that is oven proof, you could start this recipe on the stove and finish it in the oven. Think about some other dish (like winter squash) that you could cook in the oven at the same time.

Add to the soup pot:

  • 4 carrots – peeled and cut in half crossways (leave in large chunks)
  • white onions – 2-3 small, peeled & chopped chunky
  • 1 large garlic clove – peels and cut in large chunks
  • lamb shank – unwrapped, dried, seasoned with sea salt, black pepper, dry mustard (or prepared), ground dry thyme (oregano would be good, too)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-4 TB cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/2+ jalapeno pepper – cut and seeds removed (1/2 large pepper = mild slow burn taste. Add more if you like it hot)
  • few whole red radishes – ends removed
  • some sea salt to water
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water or broth (really – this little! The other liquid will come from the vegetables and meat)
  • Optional Additions: new potatoes (large pieces or they will be mush, omit for GAPS and SCD diets), rutabagas (SCD & GAPS legal), turnips (GAPS legal), black or green olives, artichoke quarters, peas (add 5 minutes before serving), daikon radish, kimchee (hot Korean cabbage), lemon slices/quarters?, oregano, fresh roma tomatoes

Close lid and start cooking on stove on medium. When it sounds like it is up to temp, change heat to low. Simmer on the stove or in the oven at 250-275 degrees F for 2 to 3 hours. The finishing temps are listed below when using a meat thermometer: 

  • 145 degrees F: medium rare (with red inside)
  • 160 degrees F: medium
  • 170 degrees F: well done

I would suggest checking the temp a bit before you think it will be done. That way you won’t overcook it.

Many Greek lamb recipes use oregano and lemon juice. I would have used oregano, but I was out. Lemon juice could replace the cider vinegar.

How Much Protein Do We Need?
People need about .8 grams of protein based on their weight in kilograms. You can estimate your needs an easy way – Think of your weight in pounds. Divide it in half, and that’s about what you need per day.

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Did you try it? What did you think? Please leave a comment. Thanks! Happy Cooking!



Antibiotics can help us combat bacterial disease when truly needed. Unfortunately, their use also comes with a COST, as they lower ALL bacteria – both good and bad, indiscriminately.

If the illness is viral, taking antibiotics doesn’t help the illness, but can lower our immunity. This can set us up for future illnesses, unless we help rebuild our gut flora and restore our immunity.

Most of us were not passed down enough beneficial bacteria (good gut flora) from the babyhood because we are in our 3rd or 4th generation of antibiotic use. There was a generational lowering as each group used them. There was also a lack of nursing during the 1950’s-1960’s, which reduced the transfer of beneficial bacteria, too.*

Learn what bacterium and yeast tend to overgrow during antibiotic treatment. You can learn how to protect yourself from them taking over both during and after antibiotic treatment/course through the use of:

• Probiotics, how to take them during antibiotic use, how to choose a good mixture, don’t be scammed by health food companies
• Fermented Foods and where to find some good recipes, and more.

The video talks about the fermented food recipes that are found in these books:
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig
• Alex Lewin’s Real Food Fermentation: Preserving Whole Fresh Food with Live Cultures in Your Home Kitchen
• Dr. McBride’s Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS)

I hope this information will help educate you, and help you avoid health problems like dysbiosis (unbalanced gut flora), SIBO (Small Intestine Bowel Overgrowth), leaky gut (which can lead to food allergies), lowered immunity, and lack of beneficial bacteria.

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**Check out our other videos! – Green Tea Latté, Wheat Analogs (allergy info)
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*According to Dr. McBride, Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) book

  This post contains a few affiliate links, which did not affect the content or information listed here. Diana Sproul of Transform Health is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This small affiliate payment helps me support this health education work, which a lot of information is offered for free to the public.



Today I want to rescue these much maligned 1950’s dishes, Liver and Onions and Liver Paté! I know people make fun of eating liver, but it is a superfood to people with ill health or deficiencies.

This nutrient dense food was promoted by Dr. Weston Price in the 1930’s, when he found out that healthy cultures the world over included the whole animal on their menu, which is called “nose to tail eating.” This means eating the liver, tongue, heart, gizzard, bone marrow and broth from bones. Animal-based vitamins are ready to be used in the body,  without conversion, so liver is an easy to absorb form of vitamin A and many B vitamins.

Liver “is high in preformed vitamin A- 8 ounces…have 100,000 IU…The vitamin B12 level is also the highest of any food. The content of other B vitamins – such as riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), biotin, and folic acid- is also high. Many of the minerals are good, too, such as iron, zinc, copper, chromium, selenium, potassium, phosphorous, and sodium. Liver is often suggested as a medicinal food for anemia or fatigue because os it high iron and blood-building nutrients.
– Dr. Haas, Staying Healthy with Nutrition, p. 348

[I should note here that Dr. Haas recommends not eating red meat, and avoiding liver due to his concerns about its toxic load. I don’t agree with this, after reading Dr. McBride’s info below.]

On the other side, vegetable vitamins, while great, do need to be converted before they can be used. That conversion process is based upon (sound the horns here)…other vitamins. So if you are deficient in certain nutrients, you may not be converting vegetable vitamins well, which means the “food to energy” whole point of eating may have broken down.

A few years back I was quite weak from digestive issues, but after eating a lot of liver the day before, I was able to go to a fair at even higher elevation, walk around all day with energy, and at the end of the day, RUN up stairs & across a field (again at high elevation). My husband couldn’t believe it. I knew where to credit my new-found energy.

Here’s a chart from a 1990’s version of Better Homes and Gardens, showing the vitamin A in their Liver and Onions dish (link). It’s off the chart! And remember – it’s a powerhouse of B vitamins, iron, and protein, too. The B vitamin series help our liver work better (see thiamine, riboflavin, niacin below). And ready for some more mind blowing info? This chart is for just one quarter of the dish: 1/4 pound!

Liver and Onions recipe nutrition information, chart liver nutrition info, why eat liver, reasons to include liver in the menu, eat organ meats, Paleo diet, nose to tail eating, nutrient dense food, nutrient rich dish, for better health
Liver and Onions nutrition info – Not the super high vitamin A (999% of daily RDA(~1990)) and high vitamin B series and iron, too. **This is for only 1/4 pound – 1/4 of the dish!!! From the Better Homes and Gardens’ recipe ala 1990 or so.

These high vitamin levels are safe because they are in food, and your body has the option to use what it needs, and leave the rest. Your own liver and body choose what it needs from the menu.

“An absolute resuscitation for an anaemic person is eating liver. Liver is a true powerhouse of nutrition…Making sure that your GAPS patient eats some liver on a regular basis will do immeasurably more for his or her nutritional status than the best and the most expensive supplements in the world.” – Gut and Psychology Syndrome, p. 131 by Dr. McBride

Dr. McBride helps people with autism and digestive disorders through a diet called GAPS for short, or Gut and Psychology Syndrome for the long version. It starves out bad bacteria in the digestive system while continually adding good bacteria. She is spot on with this quote.

Isn’t Liver Toxic?
You may have heard that the liver stores toxins. Not true! The liver does filter toxins out. Toxins are stored in the fats of animals, or moved out of the body. This is why people who start a ketogenic diet (like the Paleo diet but high, high fat), they start to release their fat to burn as brain fuel, and their toxins, and feel terrible for a week or two. It’s like being hungover…really.

Improve the Flavor
The secret to not having your liver dish taste like skunk is to soak the liver beforehand in an acidic food like 2-4 TB cider vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, or whey (liquid part of yogurt) with a little water to dilute it. Soak for 2 hours to overnight. Then you drain off the liquid and cook normally. You might want to dry it if you want it to brown instead of steam.

Chicken liver is lighter in flavor than beef or lamb. Chicken, duck or pork is usually used for paté. Beef is usually used in Liver and Onions. But you can choose to do things your own way.

Recipes:
Here’s a video recipe for Italian Calf’s Liver from Martha Stewart.

Wy Eat liver and onions, organ meats, nutrient dense foods, B vitamins foods, nutritious foods, nourish yourself
Liver and Onions Dish – Includes lemon juice, worchester, onions, salt and pepper

I am sure you can find your own recipe for Liver with Onions, or use this Liver and Onions Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens website. The earthy beef flavor is offset by delicious lemon juice and sour vinegar in worchester sauce. Worchester sauce is a funny combination of garlic, anchovies, sugar, salt, and sour.

Most Liver and Onions recipes use worchester sauce, which does contain some sugar. This makes it illegal for people on the SCD and GAPS diets. So I have invented my own version using honey, which is legal. It’s listed just below. (You’re welcome!)


GAPS & SCD Diets Worchester Sauce Conversion

  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp anchovy paste (tube) (x16- 2 tsp)
  • 1.25 tsp cider vinegar (x16- 6.5 TB)
  • 1/3 tsp honey (x16- 5 tsp)
  • garlic – 1 small clove minced (x16- 15 small cloves)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cloves (about 4) (x16- 4 tsp / 64 whole cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (x16- 4 tsp)

Mix all together and use right away, or store in fridge (in glass preferably).


Liver Paté
The liver is usually made with chicken or duck livers that are simmered with onion, and then butter or other fat, and seasonings like curry powder, cognac, brandy, cream, cognac and warm spices like nutmeg. When it’s cooled, the fat solidifies the dish into creamy goodness. If the fat content is bothering you, just remember that you Dr. Weston Price talked about saturated fats being the source of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E). Fats also help bring water soluble vitamins (B series, K) into the body. (That’s why its good to eat salad with dressing!) And you know from above that the vitamin level for vitamins A, B and iron is really high.

You can choose to use healthier fats like pastured/grass-fed butter, pork or duck fat. (They are higher in desirable Omega 3’s. Grass-fed pork lard contains vitamin D.) I did try coconut oil, but it didn’t taste as good – no flavor!

Paté doesn’t freeze and thaw well (becomes grainy- yuck!). The usual container is a pound at a time. You could try to make 1/2 pound at a time maybe, and freeze the raw livers? Or just enjoy the full recipe with friends.

Recipes for Liver Paté
These recipes are from Epicurious.com, the online version of the Gourmet cookbook. This Chicken Liver Paté recipe has cognac and cream in it. This Curried Chicken Liver Paté recipe includes brandy, paprika and curry powder. This Chicken Liver Paté recipe is flavored with brandy, cayenne, anchovies (salt flavor), allspice and nutmeg. This last recipe, Chicken Liver Paté with Figs and Walnuts, drizzles fig-infused red wine over the finished dish. (Yumm! I’ll have to try that one!)

If you make it, cut the butter into tiny bits the size of a pea or two, and add a little at a time into the blender. You could pre-chill the butter int he freezer, too.

MTHFR – What is It?
There is a small, common genetic variant that can hinder people from detoxifying. Basically, we have recently found out that the forms of folic acid and B12 in most vitamins aren’t the right form to be useful to most humans. You can choose to buy ones with methylated folate and methylated B12. But luckily, the B vitamins in all foods (animal and plant) is the right form of B vitamins to be used.

Side Note – Healthy gut flora help convert our plant forms of B vitamins into something that we can use (like grains, greens). I mention this in case you are eating a lot of grains and dark greens, but still showing signs of B vitamin deficiency.

So, what do you think? Are you going to try out Liver and Onions or Paté? Are you ready to have a energy again? You might feel like a super hero if you do! If you liked this post, consider sharing it with your friends using the friendly links below.

If you would like to discuss your health with me, just send me a note here.

 

Copyright 2016 Transform Health LLC


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