For the record, I am not a “health nut”. My personal food pyramid is a solid block of grain products, topped off with pizza and ice cream. Leafy greens and vegetables are slipped into my diet by my wife, but I never give them much thought.
Give me bagels and doughnuts and pancakes and soda bread and biscuits and cookies…and a jar of peanut butter, and I am set!
But lately, being more holed-up during the winter and not able to exercise much, my diet of grains has been making some unwelcome changes. I guess I could blame it on my changing metabolism that comes with advancing age, but I am disappointed to find that I have gone beyond the age-old threshold test of healthy weight, “Can you Pinch an Inch?”
Yeah. I can probably even “pinch a handful” if I try.
When a rancher wants to fatten up his stock, he does what? Yep, he feeds ’em grain.
It is finally time for me to re-think my diet. But, never in my life having to resort to being “diet-disciplined”, I am not sure how well I will like having to do that!
So I have decided to try something new while staying on the same bad diet.
I am going to substitute sourdough and whole wheat flour for white flour and baking powder/yeast. I will start making my own sourdough bread products full time, and stop buying store breads.
I have always heard that sourdough produced healthy enzymes that were good for your body, but I never cared much. I was healthy anyway. I liked making hotcakes and bread out of sourdough…just for the taste and fun!
Now I read a lot of articles that talk about the harmful effects of gluten in the diet. Shoot, I used to add gluten to whole-wheat flour to make it stick together better. But now I see that it is starting to stick to my middle!
This article talks about sourdough and whole grain flour as a solution to gluten-sensitivity: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/aug/12/rise-sourdough-bread-slow-fermented-health-benefits
And this sounds significant: “ Adequate selenium intake from sources like sourdough bread may decrease the risk of heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, recurrent infections and cancer.” See this article for more health benefits: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-sourdough-bread-7206.html
The early immigrants from Europe and elsewhere brought their sourdough starters to the New World, and the pioneers brought it west. It was a staple food for the “Sourdoughs” of the North Country. And it can be used as a staple (and healthy) food during hard times to come here in Baker County.
I am fortunate to have a sourdough “starter” that has been in continuous use since the 1800s when the early settlers came on the Oregon Trail to Muddy Creek in Baker County. It comes from the Love/Long/Colton families. I have been using my starter for about 15 years, and, if properly cared-for, it should live on for eternity.
I will bring a supply of this starter to our social get-together on Saturday, so that any of you who want to get your own piece of local history can have a supply. We will provide baggies for transport home.
I am shocked to read that the commercially-made “San Francisco Sourdough” bread is made from artificial ingredients simulating the natural fermentation process which takes too long for commercial production. It is NOT the “real thing”!
You will easily find information on the internet about how to keep the starter, and all the recipes. I use the slower, cooler method of starter storage which produces a stronger-flavored “sour” taste and smell. Also, I like my pancakes thin and rubbery, not fat and doughy. So I make the batter pretty runny. The more soda added to the batter just before pouring on the griddle, the faster it bubbles. But excess soda diminishes the “sour” taste, so it is necessary to experiment! Count on making the batter or the bread dough the night before, to allow time for the natural fermentation and rising.
And for those unable to attend on Saturday, I will be bringing more to our regular meetings. Or just send a note on our email site.
Please give this some serious thought. It may well be a great benefit under some scenarios, and give you some yummy food in the meanwhile!