A message from Paul Pitchford on seasonal attunement…
The modern person is greatly deficient in quality essential fatty acids, especially the omega-3 variety. So the three omega-3 rich seeds—flax seed, hemp seed, and chia seed—can benefit most people. Almonds also are beneficial sources of nutrition, and a unique nut because they—similar to the omega-3 seeds but unlike the vast majority of other nuts and seeds—do not greatly contribute to ”damp-heat” [damp-heat, a term from Chinese medicine, can indicate a moist infected area with signs of inflammation; this is how the overgrowth of yeast and fungi infection—-that displaces beneficial bacteria—-manifests in 95% of people in the developed world. This overwhelming marjority of people in advanced societies have devastated their microbiomes with antibiotics, birth control pills, overconsumption of sweets, and with the use of certain drugs].
Another unique seed that most folks do well with is roasted pumpkin seeds. And finally, coconut that is whole, shredded or in the form of flour is often a healthful addition to the diet. Coconut oil can help overcome yeast/fungi overgrowth and is richly supplied in every form of coconut except coconut water. From my studies in areas where coconut oil has been used for centuries, the isolated oil functions best in conjunction with another form of the unrefined coconut (e.g., shredded coconut or chunks of coconut meat) in the same meal.
→ Roots and tubers
We are learning by means of the newest carbon dating technologies that ancient cave people and hunter gatherers had diets composed of 50% or more carbohydrate. Wild meat consumption averaged between 5 and 17% of the diet. Berries also occupied approximately 17% of the diet, about the same as the upper level of meat consumption. And most of the remainder of foods were roots and tubers or other carbohydrate sources such as wild honey directly from the hive. Roots and tubers seem to aggravate the yeast/fungi syndrome less than grains and legumes but contain far less amino acids, fatty acids, minerals, and polysaccharides. Examples include:
*Ideal varieties to use in springtime.
→ Meats such as fowl, buffalo, beef, lamb, and certain fish
Note that meats and dairy products, though basically sweet, also manifest a Yin component (heavy, rich, and cloying) and if overdone in the diet, can work against our emphasis on Yang, upward surging foods. Thus, to navigate the warmer Yang seasons, we limit animal product intake at least somewhat, especially when intent on a spring or summer cleansing protocol.
Virtually all vegetables, particularly when raw, juiced, fermented, or lightly cooked, tend to cleanse the effects of excessive animal product consumption. Fish are among the healthiest animal foods because of their rich omega-3 fatty acid content. Low-mercury types include wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel, sardine, and herring.
In addition, other than berries, lemon, and lime, modern, highly hybridized fruits can be overly sweet for some individuals and may act in the body like the ultra-sweet flavors.
Thus most people would be wise to notice how they do with fruits and curtail their use if consumption causes low blood sugar (shakiness, weakness, tiredness, nervousness, ungroundedness) or bloating.
So to attune to the upsurges of spring with the sweet flavors that stabilize the Yang experience, one may complement any of the traditional sweet foods on the list with foods that represent springtime, such as sprouts, fresh green shoots, and the micro-greens that are becoming popular rejuvenative foods. Traditional springtime plants include morel mushrooms, asparagus, strawberries, fiddleheads, scallions, and artichokes. And there are a number of other food dimensions to consider, which are emphasized in the “Spring Awakening” article that follows.
The seed spices fennel, dill, anise, caraway, black pepper, oregano, and fenugreek plus turmeric and rosemary are all moderately pungent. Examples of common pungent foods include horseradish, radish and its sprout, mustard and mustard greens, and all allium family members (chive, leek, onion, garlic, scallion, shallot).
As spring transits into summer the hottest spices such as cayenne, jalapeno, and habanero can be used in conjunction with the less extreme pungents listed above. This suggestion for using fiery spice is only for those who can tolerate and even thrive with them in the diet. Proceed carefully if you’re not a hot pepper aficionado.
The pungent and hot flavors directly improve nutrient absorption and distribution as well as enhance the entire metabolic process. The European Renaissance was fueled in part as a result of the burgeoning spice trade with Asia. Pungents, by improving our ability to utilize nutrients, catalyze the bio- and neurochemicals that expand our awareness, encouraging us to reach outward and overcome our resistance to change.
In spring and summer, we not only eat lighter and more expansive foods, but ideally increase time spent outdoors, and initiate an overall more active lifestyle. Attempting to attune to the warm seasons only with food may not succeed. Exercise is a Yang force that greatly assists the pungent flavor in the transformation and utilization of nutrients. Outdoor work becomes a healing gift for the many people who spend most of their lives sitting—often in front of digital screens. The bright, colorful seasons are the time to grow food and flowers and in general, cherish nature.
1 head of cabbage, red or green. Reserve two leaves and set them aside.
Shred the cabbage head into ribbons with a knife or mandolin into 1/4” strips. Note that you can cut the cabbage into large chunks or finely chopped, it is your preference, and in any case it will still ferment. Larger pieces may take longer to ferment than finely chopped cabbage. Using a food processor is another way to chop the cabbage finely.
Celtic sea salt, 3 teaspoons
Dulse seaweed flakes, 1/4 of a cup. Dulse is an edible seaweed that has a reddish hue to it; it can be found at health food stores or online.
Water, preferably filtered, start with a 1/2 cup
→Place shredded cabbage, sea salt and dulse seaweed in a large bowl Let the mixture set for 30 minutes to allow the salt to break down the cell walls of the cabbage, and then you will start to see the cabbage release its juices. With your hands, mix and squeeze the cabbage to further release the cabbage juice; this will take you the better part of 15 to 20 minutes. Invite your friends over to help you squeeze or you can also do this by pounding with a tamper such as a wooden pestle (use an unbreakable bowl). When you start to see plenty of juice collecting at the bottom of the bowl and the cabbage looks a little translucent, proceed to the next step.
Option: If you are using a food processor: cut up the cabbage head to fit into your processor. Pulse the cabbage until it is broken down and finely chopped. Remove the chopped cabbage from the food processor bowl, place in a clean bowl, and add salt and the dulse. Combining ingredients, you will see that the breaking down of the cabbage into finer pieces in the food processor, releases the juices.
→Pack a glass jar or ceramic crock with the cabbage mix. Press the cabbage down to minimize air bubbles and to release the juice from the cabbage to cover the contents. Pack the jar until it is about a half inch from the mouth of the jar.
→Place reserved cabbage leaves on top to help press down the mixture. The cabbage should be fully submerged in its own juices; if not then top with water until contents are fully covered.
→Screw the cap back on the jar and keep it on a shelf at room temperature, preferably away from direct light, until you start seeing bubbles. Some of the juice may escape, and that is okay. If the kraut starts to look a little “dry”, you can add a bit more water to cover and screw the lid back on tightly.
Burp the jar every 2 to 3 days depending on the weather. If you are fermenting in a warmer climate, you will need to keep an eye on it and check it once a day. Warmer weather allows for faster fermentation. If you are fermenting at cooler temperatures, fermentation will take longer and you can burp your jar every 2 to 3 days by twisting the cap open and then retightening it. Taste the escaping liquid; if it is to your liking, it is ready. If you like a stronger ferment, keep going and burp the jar every few days until it tastes the way you like it.
Your kraut should smell ripe not rotten and the liquid should have a pleasing sour flavor to it. Keep your delicious new friend in the fridge and enjoy over the weeks and months ahead.
NOTE If you are not accustomed to eating raw sauerkraut, start with eating just 1 teaspoon a day. Otherwise you could have a reaction with upset digestion as a result of purification that is too quick for your system to adapt. Over a few weeks, you can increase gradually to larger amounts. However, even one teaspoon has therapeutic benefits.
OPTIONS There are many fun and endless varieties you can experiment with. Try enhancing the recipe with seed spices such as mustard, fennel, celery, and caraway and different vegetables, including carrots, turnips, jicama, radishes, garlic, parsnips and fennel. By adding hot pepper, the sauerkraut exhibits the energetics of summer and even takes on some characteristics of the fiery Korean “kim chee” sauerkraut.
The possibilities are endless, just go with flavors you like and most of all have fun doing it!