Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Cooking Classes

Today was session 1 of 7 in this great new class I found hosted by Monica Corrado titled
"Cooking for Well-Being, Nourishing Traditional Foods".

Monica is a holistic nutrition counselor and whole food chef, and ran her own catering company that specialized in local, organic sustainable farming for the past 10 years. I was looking forward to meeting the woman who played a huge role in the CSA (community supported agriculture) movement, and has so much to teach me about real food, in particular, the craziness that fills the pages of my "Nourishing Traditions" cookbook, regarding, lacto-fermenting, culturing, sprouting... Nothing in this cook book is 'open a can of this' and 'use a packet of that', and quite frankly, it overwhelms me.

I pulled up to a small house, greeted and introduced to 6 other women, and was offered a cup of raw-organic, unpasteurized apple cider. Monica, in a white chefs coat, introduced herself to me with a cheerful smile, her salt and pepper hair didn't match her bright and youthful complexion. "its all the coconut oil I put on my face" she later told us. Today's class was going to be all about fat, and on the counter top were bowls full of different colored butter, a tray with olive oil, sesame oil and some sourdough bread, and a huge container of cream.
Oh dear, and I showed up hungry.

I already know that saturated fat such as butter (organic, cultured or raw) and coconut oil are the best types of fat for our bodies, and should be eaten with no reservation. As a trainer, when I tell my clients this, they look at me as if I just asked them to run a mile outside naked.

Here are a few facts about saturated fat we went over today:
*Saturated fat is required for the absorption of calcium and minerals. Throw away the skim people (and the USDA food guide pyramid for that matter), the daily allowance in order to actually use all those minerals, including vitamins A, D, E and K is actually 40%. Yes, 40% of our total daily calories should be coming from saturated fat

*Saturated fat actually builds immunity by fighting microbes in the gut: Extra Virgin, cold pressed coconut oil is anti microbial (great for the skin too!)

*fat in the arteries is only 26% saturated fat! (74% is unsaturated, while half of that is poly-unsaturated

*60% of the brain is composed of fat, therefore when you don't eat it, your brain chemistry feels like it just ran a mile outside naked! (paraphrased)

*50%, that is half, of our cells membranes are made up of saturated fat, and need fat to function

*Saturated fats protect the liver from toxins including alcohol (may be why wine and cheese are so perfect for eachother!)

*When your body eats too much saturated fat, the body converts it to mono-unsaturated fat (amazing) which lowers LDL and does not affect HDL

*Provides energy to the heart in times of stress (and as it turns out, heart disease is just as frequent in people with low cholesterol as in those with high cholesterol, and only 10% of your body's total cholesterol comes from diet anyway!

Oh, and I liked this one, for all my "egg white only" eating clients:
*In order to assimilate the protein in the egg white, you need the vitamin A in the yolk.

Okay, so eat butter right? Yes, but there is a scale from the worst to the best: As follows
Store bought, conventional butter: Think cheaply produced from factory farms, sucked cows that are wading in fecal matter, eating corn and enduring massive tummy aches, juiced up on anti-biotics and under a lot of stress, storing all sorts of toxins in the places we all store our toxins: fat...which is milked out of them, Ultra High Temperature pasteurized (which in this case, is why pasteurization was invented), churned into a block and trucked across the nation to your grocery store. Ick.
Organic butter: least the cows are fed organic grains (even though they really crave the green stuff) and not given anti-biotics. The milk is still pasteurized, destroying enzymes, which, like all pasteurized food, is bad news for your exhausted pancreas that has to work extra hard to digest the stuff.
Organic cultured butter: Much better. Now the organic living cow gets to make milk, that is pasteurized, and then re-introduced to healthy bacteria so your gut doesn't need to pay the pancreas overtime! Enzymatic active, hooray!
Organic Pastured RAW butter! Oh baby, scoop it up! Happy cow, eating grass roaming on a blissful pasture, making healthy milk, churning rich cream into something clean and unadulterated, full of enzymes (because enzymes are killed off at temperatures as low as 118degrees!) and nutrition.

And for our cooking lesson, we actually made butter.
I was shocked how simple it is. And embarrassed that I never knew what buttermilk really was.
It is in fact, for those of you who will admit with me that they are clueless here, milk from butter, literally, hence the label "butter-milk". The less moisture left in the butter, the longer it stays fresh, as the buttermilk in the butter is what turns sour first.
Pouring Monica's tub of cream into a food processor, we watched the cream turn into white whipping cream, then into something yellow and thick. We then poured the chunk out into a stainless steel bowl, squeezed the liquid out with a wooden spoon, and vuala, fresh, home made butter!
And to think I left my bonnet at home!
Here is Monica, holding our bowl of butta.

My take-away lessons for today:
*Throw out the Organic valley half and half, enzymaticly dead, homogenized (meaning fat particles are spun around and made so small that fat doesn't separate, which can create digestive issues) and stick to farmer John creamer. The real stuff.
*Pray that the Holy Spirit talks to Howard Schultz and convinces him that Starbucks needs to start supporting CSA's and incorporate real milk into the menu...or, face the fact, that when I go to S-Bucks, I may just need to drink my
*Stay away from the "Made with sunflower/cottonseed/safflower/canola oil" bad fats, cheaply produced, chemically extracted, highly heated, totally rancid and bleached to cover it combo when I buy processed foods.
*Use one of my billion Bed bath and beyond 20% off coupons to get a food processor (Christian, you reading this? :) and impress my family one day by running out of butter in the middle of some great meal preparation, and exclaiming "no problem! I have some cream, I will make it!" How cool will I be?!


JBLMR said...

Nina... can I just say I am so insanely jealous that you get to take cooking classes that involve "real food!" I am just now starting to get bitten by the "real food" bug and I don't know where to start! I'm attempting to buy organic but drawn back to conventional due to the CO$T!! It is EXPENSIVE to buy food for a family of 4... anyway... I'm going to buy a share from a local organic farm for this summer. I'm super excited about that. Anyway... I should really write this in an email, but I just wanted to post a comment to your blog first! Love you!

Leah said...

I don't know how you are able to absorb all this information! I am in awe.