This winter salad with sourdough bread is for those whose tums demand plenty of fibre all year round; that's most of us, with a tangy kefir-dressing.
We look to foods that don't just taste pretty good but will make sure that we also have happy tums. Gone are the days when we ate "tasty" meals and then sat up half the night groaning with indigestion; and next morning with a compacted, grumpy colon.
One of the joys of sourdough bread is that it keeps so much longer and is perfect for a pan-fry; it also deals with the gluten issues that some of us may have. Yes, you can have your cake and eat it but you may have to learn how to bake a decent loaf; it's not rocket science.
Since we are gardeners every recipe is adapted to whatever is in season. In summer you could use a cucumber and instead of peas we often enjoy young podded fava-beans, simmered gently for about five minutes. Never remove their skins; without the fibre they become highly glycemic.
But in our mild winters it is kale, spinach and rocket most often. These are the greens that eaten daily keep us regular.
Did you know that a tablespoon of olive oil reduces heart disease by 18%; it's a medicine.
Ever since kefir fixed my severe 15 year belly-ache from a helicobacter infection that was threatening to give me an ulcer, we use it daily with our food. Antibiotic-resistant bugs are a serious issue in these times. The probiotic might be in a dressing like this winter salad with sourdough bread; more often than not in a smoothie.
This all raises a central issue. Do we eat food for function or for pleasure? Obviously one aims for both but if I had to choose, wellness would always come first. A moment on the lips but I have no desire to be saddled with poor health from a sweet tooth; or a longing for refined bread.
Kale is one of those dark-green leafy vegetables that many find abhorrent. Fresh young leaves are very delicious; but those that are old and after sitting on the grocer's shelves for several days they become simply awful. Plants are not difficult to grow.
Nutritionists blithely admonish us for not eating whole grains, failing to mention just how difficult they are to acquire. The bread industry is founded on a big fat lie; millers are allowed to remove up to 51% of the goodies and still describe their product as complete and unrefined.
Eventually we realised that if we wanted to enjoy old age without medication, pain and disability then our own mill was a non-negotiable; the 100% wholemeal at the top.
In the centre is a commercial "wholemeal" and below all-purpose flour. Millers extract much of the bran, all of the important fatty acids and most of the vitamins; the minerals too.
Bake your own sourdough loaf; it takes only five minutes if you have a bread-machine.
At the centre of this way of living is a belief that we either spend time growing and preparing wholesome food, or far more consulting doctors and swallowing pills. Plenty of fresh air and exercise come into the equation too, obviously.
So far it's been a success; in our eighth decade neither of us take any drugs nor have consulted medical doctors for over a year; and then only for benign skin lesions. In our early days we, like mad dogs and Englishmen, spent too much time in the midday sun without hats; plenty of vitamin D but lucky to have escaped the dreaded melanoma.
Perhaps that was because of the capsaicin in peppers that we consume daily.
All of this is central to the longevity diet proposed by two eminent gerontologists after profound and long research.
The research is unequivocal; almonds are extremely healthy, lowering blood pressure; and providing essential fibre for the alimentary canal and microbiome.
There is a caveat however; how many should you enjoy? Research shows that obese people eating 50 almonds per day put on more weight, overall worsening insulin-sensitivity and raising blood glucose.
50 almonds per day is simply over the top. Of course they put on weight; just too much of a good thing. It's one of the reasons we like to crack our own nuts; you cannot eat so many.
Winter salad with sourdough bread supplies whole grains and greens, both absolutely essential if we desire to enjoy good years in our dotage.
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