Welcoming Winter

Today was one of those days: information overload a la the internet, paralyzing indecision, and lack of acceptance of the present moment. I gave myself a headache.

I fed all this for a while, but when the headache started, I realized it was time to bring myself out of self-induced paralysis.

Here are some of my favorite ways:
do the dishes
fold the laundry, put it away
write in my journal
listen to the wind
take a shower
make myself pretty
make chocolate “ice cream”


Journal: Welcoming Winter


The angle of the sun is softer now; less harsh.
With the leaves dropped from the trees, 
the sun’s rays reach me and its warmth more gentle.

I wish for more longevity in my patterns: 
work, living situations, relationships.
I must struggle to find comfort …
in the consistency inherent in my own repeated patterns. 

Pondering that, I realize that my peace comes not through other people but through the solitude of myself.

I remember to look to winter. 
It is through this season that I embrace my solitude.
Where others hide, I venture. 
Free at last, with only myself to see, feel, 
I feel my strength.
I feel my peace.

I meet you with comfort, Winter, as I remember that 
you are quiet,
and I am warm and strong.

Time spent walking, skating, reading,
with few words spoken.

Give time to be silent. To listen to what the wind has to say
as the last leaves fall. 



Chocolate “ice cream” recipe:

2 frozen bananas, peeled and chopped 
(Freezing bananas: I freeze them with the skins on, but that’s just me. I get some sort of strange pleasure in peeling frozen bananas! Also, you don’t have to worry about storing in plastic, can throw them in the freezer at the latest desirable ripeness, and it’s easy.)

1/2 cup refrigerated canned coconut milk 
(I use canned coconut milk free of added thickening agents and sugars)

1 1/2 Tablespoons organic cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 Tablespoons water

Blend.
I used a cheap stick blender that was left behind at the art center where I live. Luckily, its motor is still going strong enough to do the little job. 

The result of the “ice cream” is still quite frozen, but liquidy enough to feel like ice cream that you have let sit for a couple minutes and mashed up to get soft. That’s how I like it!

"Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are." – Chinese Proverb

Onward! Through the …. frozen tundra? It’s amazing what life brings you when you live with an open heart. After spending most of 2012 in West Virginia, I am now living in Manitoba, Canada, spending time between Buffalo Point First Nation and Winnipeg.

With so much to piece together, sort out, a new way to navigate, it’s nice to find an activity where I can let it all go, and just be in the complete present moment with what I’m doing, my sense of “aliveness” not originating from my head, but going into my body, into that interface where my physical body is in contact with nature.

The Forks, Winnipeg, Manitoba. The confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. 

This winter time activity has been ice-skating, even though it’s been ten years since I’ve had on skates.

You know that feeling when you start something, and you just want to be good? And fast? And maybe do a triple lutz like an olympic figure skater? And then feeling like, I am no good at this. Why? Why are you no good at this? The mind answers: I have scoliosis. One of my legs is longer than the other, due to a sideways-S curve in my back. Is that true? Aren’t there all sorts of olympic athletes that have some sort of slight limitation then learn how to work with it, and overcome it as a limitation?

And so I slow down, realizing that the only person I am competing with is myself, which guarantees success, as I only need to improve upon a previous version of me. And as long as I love the stillness of the cold, the silence of the morning, the awareness of skating on a frozen river, and being absorbed into the landscape, being alone, challenging myself, I realize I am happy, no matter if I am “good” or “bad” on skates.

And so I begin. Slowing down, grounding myself into the blades of steel atop a frozen river. Becoming aware that I lead with my left leg, and that in actuality, I am dragging my (longer) right leg along. With this awareness, the left is still leading, but the right is not so much dragging, but swiveling along. I can try for speed, but without the leg strength, skill, and confidence, speed does not come fast enough to feel satisfaction. And so, I settle in to the feeling of the skates. Where should I be resting my weight inside these skates?  I am aware that I am putting my weight on my arch and tension exists on the sides of my feet. When I am more tense and having a feeling of not being able to settle into the experience, my arches ache with tension.

Gradually, I settle in and just see if I can put some weight into the balls of my feet. And if I can put some pressure into the ball of my foot. How about my right foot? Yes. There it is! I’m on the ball of my right foot! Let’s see if I can apply pressure there and get some resistance, to push myself along. Yes. My right foot is beginning to participate, and not merely keeping up. And, so I have settled in. And it becomes not about speed, or turns, but about how comfortable I feel in my own skates.

Does this sound familiar? How comfortable do you feel in your own skin? Are you down on yourself for not having done enough in the past, or for not having made the right decision? When you get going in a direction you are excited about, do you start to anticipate the prestige of achieving your destination?  It’s the game of the ego, the mind, and it steals the present moment from us. The ego starts to again dream of the new possibilities with the attainment of the present skill at hand. Any physical activity that you can do will help you put your attention out of the mind, and into the body. Simply putting your attention into the body takes the power away from the mind. We learn how to control our mind, we begin to be able to use it as a tool when we need it, rather than it running the show at all times. If this does not sound logical to you, remember that there is vast intelligence that exists in the universe, in the functioning of nature itself, and all of this came before the development of the human mind.

The river trails have now closed for the season, and I was at first saddened, but use it as a reminder to never become too attached to one thing for happiness, or too reliant on one activity alone to achieve awareness. Instead, I must delve into other things, and use the experience of being present in one activity to bring presence into more experiences in my life.

Happier Human, Healthier Planet

Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and  nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.

 Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food


2012 has been a year where I’ve been fortunate to have an active outdoor life. It’s funny how it is so easy to get out of the habit of physical activity when you have a desk job. Once you get active again, you realize what you had been missing – and the importance of exercise to your health and positive mental outlook.

Much of my activity has been pure joy, mixed with adrenalin, some fear, and discipline. White water rafting, kayaking, skiing, and farming. Being in the throws of Mother Earth is exhilarating. Ventilating my lungs in the fresh air, vitamin D from the sun, experiencing the elements of the season. With the farming participation, my energy output is put back into the economic system.

Instead of going to the gym, what if we used our human energy (labor) as an energy input into our economic system? 

Wouldn’t we all be healthier and happier if we were physically moving for at least part of our work week? Getting sunshine, strengthening our bones and muscles, working with Mother Nature? Might you sacrifice part of your professional wage for a lower pay where your working labor participated in the production sector of our economy, decreasing the amount of energy needed to run tractors and and haul cheap goods in from other places?

Ideally, such a way of life would be voluntary, not mandatory. I think it would allow for happier humans and a healthier planet. Days could be lived in the sunshine, working with nature – where the day itself was something to look forward to, instead of endless days pushing paper, in front of computer screens, sitting in meetings.

The good news is, sustainable living is not a spectator sport – isn’t it wonderful?

Keep Culture Alive!

We have evidence that we are at our planet’s ecological tipping point.  Our consumer-based society has largely led us to this crisis.  The fossil fuel consumption that powers our consumer-based, mono-culture dominated, Monsanto-bullied agricultural system is clearly unsustainable, and each day we are becoming more uncertain as to how long we will have cheap fuel.  If environmental costs aren’t enough to change our ways, what about human costs?  Do we participate in a system that engages in foreign conflict based on a desire to secure that country’s energy resources?

What would a modern society that used much, much less fossil fuels look like?  Of course, it would be based on a local agricultural system.  We would end our reliance on our large-scale food system where our food travels, on average 1500 miles before it reaches us by way of refrigerated trucks.  We would return to subsisting off of the goods that can be produced in our local region.  To take this concept further, we would move away from our current unsustainable modes of food preservation.

Some may have given up hope on the establishment of a more sustainable way of life that can prevent the ecological collapse that looms around us.  But others, out of passion for sustainable-living principles, or out of a propensity toward survival, will be interested in learning the techniques that are necessary for not only short-term survival without fossil fuels, but methods of food cultivation and preservation that adequately nourish and sustain the body over time–a way of living and eating that provides for healthy peoples over generations.  

What would a food system look like that persists despite the decline of the fossil fuel supply?

It may not include the household refrigerator and freezer.  Energy intensive canning that drastically reduces the vitamin content of  foods may be replaced by drying food in low-tech solar dehydrators, or preservation by lactic-acid fermentation, a process where food is transformed by the action of beneficial microorganisms. This is not new technology, but ancient technology used by all of the cultures of humanity that maintained healthy populations over many generations.  Milk is preserved by transforming it to more stable products such as kefir, yogurt, cheese, and butter.  Meat from large animals is preserved by drying into jerky, allowing to age by hanging, or curing by way of sausage in its various forms.  Each home or small community would have small animals such as chickens, quail, or guinea fowl that would be harvested as needed.  Food would be fresh, systems would be small, and each person in society would have some food specialty to contribute to the household, or offer foods for sale or barter.

All cultures that have stood the test of time have had a way of preserving food that harnessed the ability of lactic acid bacteria to ferment food.  For Germans it was sauerkraut – sour greens or sauerruben – sour roots.  Koreans have kimchi.  Italians have prosciutto and salami, preserved meats with the help of lactic acid bacteria.

Not only do these preservation methods preserve food, but they provide increased nutrition, enzymes, beneficial bacteria, easier digestion, and enhanced flavor.

I have not gotten rid of my refrigerator yet, but enjoy making simple fermented foods like kombucha and lacto-fermented vegetables.  I have also made sourdough, kefir and yogurt.  Recently, I have been holding tele seminars for family, friends, and clients in order to share and exchange information and cooking techniques related to the incorporation of traditional foods in the diet.  

Beet Soup for Any Season

It’s a chilly June 3rd here in the mountains of Pocahontas County, West Virginia.  I just finished planting tomatoes and peppers in time for them to “enjoy” some cold drizzly weather.  You never know what the weather is going to be like lately, so when planning your weekly menu, a great idea is to include soups that can be enjoyed hot or cold.

I’ve been wanting to make a cold soup with a chicken bone broth base ever since my teleseminar on Bone Broth.  After hearing me go on about the wonders of gelatin and bone broth, a client asked me if it could be used in cold soups.  I actually had not been in the habit of making cold soups, but I didn’t see why not. After a little research, I found that most any soup you enjoy hot can be enjoyed cold, but this works particularly well for pureed soups.

Enjoy the health benefits of bone broth year round.  Many soups you enjoy hot can be enjoyed cold.  Cream of carrot, beet, sweet potato, vichyssoise (potato and leek), and zucchini all work particularly well.

You can use any simple recipe, just make sure you avoid the refined vegetable oils (like canola) and opt for butter.  Use homemade chicken stock when it calls for bouillion or canned stock.  

Today I made beet soup or Borsht as it is commonly known.  It was absolutely delicious!  It was not a sweet soup, but more savory – especially with well-made, rich chicken stock and the addition of sourdough bread to garnish.  

Beet Soup or (Borsht)

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, sliced
4 medium-large beets
2 tablespoons butter
6 cups homemade chicken stock
Celtic sea salt to taste
Sourdough bread croutons to garnish (optional)
sour cream, yogurt, or creme fraiche to garnish (optional)

In a 4 quart pot, saute onion in butter on medium-low until tender.  Sprinkle with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Add in chopped beets and chicken stock.  Simmer until beets are very tender.  Use a handheld immersion blender to blend, or blend in small batches in the blender.  Salt to taste.  Garnish with sourdough bread croutons and sour cream, yogurt, or creme fraiche (for enzymes).

The Bone Broth tele seminar will be held again on July 16 @ 8pm.  We’ll be discussing the healing properties of gelatin and properly made stock to help with digestive and autoimmune issues, cooking techniques, and recipes.

Tips for Using Nourishing Traditions

My well-loved copy

I’m going to let you in on some of my health secrets today.  Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon is my nutrition bible.  It has been for about 10 years.  It is what inspired me to teach people about nutrition and to go to school to get my health coaching certification.  I have attended several of Sally Fallon’s workshops and lectures, and met her a couple of times.  In person, she is lovely, sweet and mild mannered.  I draw most of my inspiration for the Traditional Foods Tele seminar Series from Nourishing Traditions.

I want to share some tips for using this phenomenally popular text:

  1. 1f you have it but have merely skimmed it and kept it on the shelf, I encourage you to study it – especially the first 50 pages.  
  2. Sally Fallon is the founding president of the Weston A. Price Organization.  A major goal of the organization is universal access to clean raw milk.  I agree that all people should have access to clean raw milk.  I also think people should have a right to grow and process their own food, right to clean air, and right to clean water. (I’m sure Sally Fallon would agree, especially since her other project is the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.)
  3. That being said, you don’t need to have access to raw milk to be able to follow the principles of a Traditional Foods diet, described by Weston A. Price, and Sally Fallon.
  4. You do not need whey in order to soak grains or in order to prepare lacto-fermented vegetables.  This is a great thing to do if you are a cheese maker and have an abundance of whey to use up, but you do not need to obtain raw milk to carry out the principles of a traditional foods diet.  
  5. This way of eating does not advocate eating huge amounts of animal protein.  It advocates using all parts of the animal, including the fat, bones, cartilage, organ meats, and some muscle meat, as traditional peoples did.  
  6. If you have pre-existing health problems, you may not get well following a hodgepodge of the many recipes or principles outlined in Nourishing Traditions.  For example, if you have an abundance of Candida albicans, you may gravitate toward a lot of properly prepared dairy and grains, which may exacerbate your condition by feeding this yeast.  Most likely, one single food (even raw milk) is not the silver bullet to solving complex health conditions.  You will need to choose foods that help your specific condition, and most likely seek the help of a holistic health practitioner.   
  7. You do not have to cook elaborate meals each day to stay on a traditional foods diet.  Just follow the main dietary guidelines.  Use saturated fats, buy the best quality free-range eggs you can afford, use Celtic sea salt, avoid commercially processed grains, soak grains overnight (in water with a splash of vinegar or lemon) before cooking, save your bones for bone broth, eat several types of fermented foods, eat organ meats, source grass-fed meat, eat plenty of vegetables, especially green ones.  You’re going to need a source of vitamin K2 so incorporate raw egg yolks, raw organ meat,  raw grass-fed butter, natto or high-quality cod liver oil into your diet.  Or eat insects 🙂 
  8. My Traditional Foods Teleseminar series is like a study group/support group for this way of eating. 

TF Breakfast Cookies: When Life Hands You Unsoaked Grains, Soak Them!

I’ve started a little side-activity of selling baked goods at the local farmer’s market.  It works out great for me because it fuels my creativity for coming up with new healthy foods, or healthier versions of standard foods.  I start with a recipe that sounds like a good idea in terms of taste and nutrition, and then see if I can make it healthier.  Of course, I don’t mean, how to make it low-fat or low calorie.  By healthier, I mean nutrient-dense and along the lines of “non-irriitating to the human body.”  Non-irritating to the human body would mean – low in refined sugar, free of refined vegetable oils, and grains that are properly prepared.  Improperly prepared grains can lead to interference with your mineral absorption and gastrointestinal distress.  Essentially, the “healthiest” foods are those that would be included in a Traditional Foods (TF) Diet.  A traditional foods diet takes just a little more “ahead of time” prep work in the kitchen, but it pays off for your body in terms of how accessible nutrients are for your body.  You’re not just what you eat, but what you absorb!  

Sweetened with Bananas and Traditional Foods-Friendly!
(13 large cookies if you double the recipe.)

No Time to Cook Breakfast?  Grab a Breakfast Cookie.  (These Babies are Gluten-Free.)

I’ve been looking for a crunchy way to enjoy oats for a while.  Granola and conventional oatmeal cookies are not the best for your digestion as the mostly raw grains have not been soaked first.  Soaking grains in something acidic helps to reduce enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid.  A quick internet search for pH of bananas puts them at about a 5 (acidic).  This recipe has no refined sugars, only sweetened with bananas and the added raisins and cranberries.  These cookies are crunchy on the outside but soft and oat-cake-like in the middle.  

Recipe: TF GF Breakfast Cookies

(adapted from recipe at Find Your Balance Health)

Makes:  12-15 small cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
 (gluten-free)
1/4 cup of oat flour (pulverize rolled oats in the food processor, does not have to be finely ground)

3 bananas (mashed)
1/8 cup chia seeds (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
 (extra points for crispy nuts)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
 (or butter)

Mix together rolled oats, oat flour, mashed bananas, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and chia seeds in a medium-sized glass or stainless steel mixing bowl. Cover with a towel and allow to sit overnight or for 8 hours at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Add salt, coconut flakes, walnuts, coconut oil, raisins, and cranberries. Mix with your hands to combine well.

Using your hands form into cookies. Batch makes about 12-15 depending on size. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown on top.

Walnuts and chia seeds pack omega-3 fatty acids!

I may experiment with adding more fat to this recipe, as that would make it more suitable to my metabolic type that does better with a diet emphasizing protein, fat, non-starchy vegetables, and minimal grains and fruit. Contact me if you would like to eat according to your metabolic type.

Food Review: Will the Non-Rancid Almond Butter Please Stand Up?

Lately I’ve been on an anti-candida diet to lower the amount of yeast and mold in my intestinal tract.  Yuck, right?  Well, I’m not alone.  At the wellness center I worked at, I estimated that about 75% of people who came in also had too much yeast (Candida albicans) in their body.  Systemic overgrowth of Candida can cause headaches, allergies, food allergies, fatigue, and much, much more.

My anti-candida diet generally consists of fresh meat and vegetables, fats, coconut milk, nuts, lemons, a few berries, and green apples.  Sugars and starches feed yeast.  Since milk has a considerable amount of sugar in the form of lactose, most dairy is out.  Peanuts are also out as they are often found to be contaminated with mold.

Obviously, peanut butter is out as well.  So what to eat with my snack of Granny Smith apples?  Almond butter.  If you read my previous post on “Enzymes” ideally, I should be making own almond butter from almonds that are soaked in salt water (for increased digestibility) and then dried at a very low temperature to preserve the enzyme content.  You then process the dried almonds in a food processor until they form a powder and then process with enough coconut oil to make it into a “butter.”  But, hey, we all need short-cuts from time to time.

Not a fan of the rancid taste…

So, I have tried a couple different nut butters.  The latest disappointment was with MaraNatha All Natural No-Stir Creamy Almond Butter.  I admit that I picked it for the $5.99 price tag, with many of the organic 100% almond butters being in the $10 (and up) neighborhood.  I tasted it with my sliced green apples.  Creamy…rancid.  Another bite to confirm.  Yep, still rancid.  I don’t know if it was the added palm oil to make this product “no-stir” or if it was old, or made with rancid almonds, but I do not recommend MaraNatha products.  Nevermind that I went to the Natural Food Expo in D.C. with an ACRES U.S.A. press pass and visited their table and they were unfriendly, at best.  (I was probably asking questions about how much of their nuts were grown in the U.S., or something).

Mmmm…..decent!

Next time, at the grocery store, I decided to go with Kettle brand roasted almond butter.  Again, I was interested in a lower price tag – $5.89.  This came in a smaller quantity (11 oz.) and a plastic jar, unfortunately, but I was willing to overlook some things if it meant I could have an almond butter that didn’t taste like it had rotten oils in it.

To my surprise, the Kettle Almond Butter tasted great!  It has a roasted and salty flavor (I chose the salted variety).  You do have to stir it, but I now find that to be a small inconvenience to have edible almond butter.

Enzymes! Nutrition Workhorses

Breakfast tacos with an enzyme-rich creamy chili-lime dressing
Last Monday I had the pleasure of holding my first tele seminar on Enzymes, as part of my new nutrition series on Traditional Foods.


A major difference in most modern diets versus those of our ancestors relates to enzyme content.

Why should we care that the standard American diet of canned, pasteurized, microwaved, or irradiated food contains few enzymes?

Enzymes are the nutrition workhorses responsible for carrying out every single one of our body processes and it turns out we are only given so many enzymes at birth. We do fine for a while, but after years of a diet low in enzymes – and subjecting our body to things like toxins, alcohol and stress – we run out. If we do not get enough enzymes from our food, our pancreas has to rob them from other glands, muscles, nerves, and blood to carry out digestion. This can lead to fatigue, premature aging and early death.

Advice from traditional foodists of the Weston A. Price Foundation suggest that 50% of our diet be raw or enzyme enhanced. Surprisingly, raw vegetables and fruits contain few enzymes.

Enzyme rich foods include:

EGGS: raw egg yolks (raw egg whites contain enzyme inhibitors)
FATS: extra-virgin olive oil (cloudy and with a grassy smell), raw butter
RAW FRUITS: Avocados, bananas, dates, figs, grapes, kiwi, mangos, papayas, and pineapple
SWEETENERS: Raw honey
DAIRY: Raw milk and raw cream
CULTURED DAIRY: Cultured butter, raw cheese, cultured cream, yogurt, kefir
SOY FOODS: Miso (unheated), natto
MEAT AND FISH: Rare and raw well-aged meat; lacto-fermented fish, such as gravlax
LACTO-FERMENTED CONDIMENTS: Sauerkraut, pickles, chutneys
LACTO-FERMENTED BEVERAGES: Old-fashioned ginger ale and root beer, kombucha, kvass, water kefir
GRAINS: Grains, nuts, legumes, and seeds are rich in enzymes, but contain enzyme inhibitors that put great strain on the digestive system unless acted upon by sprouting, soaking in warm acidic water, sour leavening, culturing and fermenting.
SPICES: Papaya pepper

Many of these foods are not readily available in our cafeterias, convenience stores, restaurants and common grocery stores. With a bit of work around our buying patterns and food preparation habits, we are able to supply our family with a diet rich in enzymes. Meals featuring traditional foods need not be elaborate, but can be made up of ready-made foods that we have cultured and prepared by setting aside a few minutes a day for enzyme-enhancing food preparation techniques. 


Join in for the Traditional Foods Tele Seminar Series to learn simple recipes and techniques to increase the enzyme content of your family’s meals.

Polenta Pizza

It was brought to my attention that I couldn’t discuss dude food without properly addressing the issue of pizza.  I am a pizza lover myself, but the whole issue of pizza crust somewhat kills the potential for pizza being health food, especially if you are gluten intolerant, like me.  Of course, you can purchase gluten-free mixes at the store, but I have done so before and gotten mediocre results.  Namaste’s gluten-free pizza mix often results in a rock-hard crust, and Bob’s Red Mill crust is chewy, and the bean flour it is made from goes rancid quickly – giving it a bitter unpleasant taste.   Since most gluten-free doughs usually result in one just desiring the real thing, how about just changing the whole idea entirely – and making a crust of polenta?  Polenta is just an Italian term for corn grits when they are prepared with a thick consistency and allowed to gel slightly so that the result can be cut with a knife. 

In the south, grits were traditionally a by-product of the corn oil industry.  Grits were made up of the starch that was leftover after the germ – the nutritious portion of the corn – was removed.  Eating white grits is like eating white flour – because there is no nutritional value, eating refined carbohydrates leaves your body at a nutritional deficit.  Your body uses up minerals in order to digest these foods, but receives no extra minerals in return.  For that reason, it is important that you purchase whole grain grits.  Bob’s Red Mill Organic Corn Grits-Polenta are available in many grocery stores with a large selection of natural foods.

My inspiration for this polenta pizza came from Cynthia Lair’s cookbook:  Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents. It’s an excellent book for the person who is looking to incorporate whole foods into their family’s diet.

Make sure you consume grits/polenta with plenty of healthy organic butter.  Even better if the butter is a natural golden yellow color, evidence of the cows grazing on freshly growing green grass.  Over-consumption of maize has historically led to the disease pellagra – a vitamin B3 deficiency.  That is why in Mexico, corn was always soaked with lime (a.k.a. quicklime or calcium oxide) water.  This process releases vitamin B3 (nicotinamide), which otherwise remains bound up in the germ.  If you eat corn products often, the step of soaking corn flour in lime water will avoid the vitamin B3 deficiency disease pellagra with symptoms of sore skin, fatigue, and mental disorders (think William Faukner’s characters of the south eastern United States in the 1930’s).  It was discovered that less vitamin B3 was needed if there was plenty of protein in the diet (something that was scarce due to the dire economic circumstances of the rural south in the 1930’s).  … You needn’t worry about pellagra if you eat grits with butter, cheese, milk, sausage, or bacon. 

Recipe for Polenta Pizza:

Ingredients:
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill organic corn grits-polenta
1 can of Muir glen pizza sauce
2 cloves minced garlic 
pink or gray sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried
1 tablespoon fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried
1/4 pound or less of free-range MSG-free local pork sausage
1/4 of a medium onion, minced
1/4 pound of Organic Valley raw mild cheddar, shredded
cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon organic unsalted butter
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil.  Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tablespoon of butter.  Slowly add 1 cup of polenta, stirring continuously with a whisk.  Lower heat and continue stirring for 10 to 15 minutes until mixture thickens.  Stir in parmesan cheese.  Lightly oil a 10 inch pie plate or iron skillet.  Pour polenta into pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until firm. 

While the polenta is cooking, you can embellish the pizza sauce.  If you are short on time or energy, you can just skip this step and just add jarred pasta sauce instead.

To embellish pizza sauce:  Saute onion in 1 tsp. butter, 1 tsp. olive oil.  Add oregano and basil (reserve basil for garnish if fresh).  Add pizza sauce and minced garlic.

Saute sausage in pan, breaking into medium size pieces, cooking until no longer pink in the middle.

Remove polenta from oven.  Add sauce in a layer that resembles your liking.  Sprinkle cheese.  Top with sausage and sliced cherry tomatoes.  Bake in 350 degree oven until cheese is sufficiently melted.

Top with fresh basil, if available.

Serve with a simple arugula salad or sauteed kale or collard greens.