After I signed up for Andi Locke Mears’ class on nutrient-dense foods at Auburn Adult Ed, she told me it would be “a real eye opener!” She was right. Enough so that I immediately signed up for the instructional class on cultured, sprouted and fermented foods the following week.

Locke Mears, who was a vegan for six years and a vegetarian the previous 20, began following many of the food principles of Weston A. Price three or four years ago and says she has never been as healthy as she is now. Price lived with and studied isolated non-industrialized people eating their native diets who were free from illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. He found similarities between all of them despite vast differences in available food.

One Price premise is that “modern foods” have, over time, destroyed our collective health, and could be linked to an increase in chronic disease and ailments, along with mental and behavioral problems. His extensive research was originally conducted during the 1930s, and since then, some modern diseases have almost reached epidemic proportions.

At first Locke Mears sounds a bit like a science or chemistry teacher, but then she gets to her punch line: “Seventy percent of your immune system is in your gut!” She reminded us that 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates went so far as to say that “all disease starts in the gut.”

With that in mind, during her classes and private consultations, she urges people to concentrate on gut health. Incorporating Weston A. Price’s principles along with her own, she recommends avoiding low-fat or fat-free products, modern soy foods, pasteurized or homogenized dairy, processed vegetable oils, dry (commercially produced) breakfast cereals, fast food, soda, artificial sweeteners and additives, refined sugars, white flour products and factory-raised (or mass produced) meats and fish.

Price died in 1948. A foundation was created in his name in 1999 to further his work. While Price’s work gained widespread acceptance in the medical and research communities, Locke Mears agrees some still consider his work controversial.

Locke Mears teaches how to incorporate whole, raw dairy and eggs, properly prepared whole grains, traditional sourdough breads and pasture-fed meats into your diet. She said a “whole food” is one that is not processed. “Anything with more than one ingredient I consider processed.”

The amount of nutritional information she has to share could be a bit overwhelming, but she said most people come to her with an ailment or issue of some sort that they would like to address, and she takes it one step at a time. “This information empowers you to make different choices,” she said.

“We need to keep our intestines healthy,” she said, and to do that, she designates one entire workshop to teaching how to reap the benefits of cultured foods, helping some people overcome their fear of probiotics and lacto-fermented beverages. She considers most of the food we eat in the United States as “adulterated,” meaning no longer in its natural form and no longer a whole food. The changes she recommends for peoples’ diets “bring life energy into their cells”

Recipes and instruction in her nutrient-dense foods class include making veggie kraut (sauerkraut that contains other vegetables such as cauliflower, carrots, green beans or onion), a homemade lacto-fermented ginger ale, and beet kvass (a nourishing fermented beet juice, sometimes referred to as a digestive tonic). She recommends either eating approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup of a fermented food per dinner, or drinking a small amount of a fermented beverage instead.

She says she has witnessed improved symptoms for all types of gastro-intestinal issues, allergies, and emotional and behavioral challenges. She says she has seen it help people with low energy, sluggish memory or attention, difficulty sleeping, cravings and mood issues.

Two other highly curative foods she discussed were kefir — a type of cultured milk that resembles yogurt but in a thinner, more drinkable consistency — and fresh bone broth. She shared her recipe on how to make the broth the old-fashioned way —by simmering soup bones from pasture-fed beef overnight. She said the nutrients in this broth are easily broken down and absorbed by our bodies. She said the nutritional value of fresh broth “far surpasses a synthetic vitamin pill.” After you make your broth, test it out in her recipe for Hearty Carrot Cilantro Soup, which surprisingly incorporates a relatively uncommon, but very healthy, ingredient: the good ol’ lima bean.

I recently picked up some kefir grains from Locke Mears. I’ll say up front that it took a couple days of practice and a bit of blind faith, but I perfected how to make an excellent kefir smoothie, and now I mix one up almost every day! While I decided to go for the gusto and embrace the full nutritional benefits of raw milk for my kefir, Locke Mears made sure to point out it can be made with store-bought pasteurized milk.

Locke Mears operates CALM Health Works in Auburn. She offers numerous other nutrition and holistic wellness services, including support and advice for women of every age on how to balance hormones. Her plans for the upcoming year include offering a weight and fat-loss program, and a class on the GAPS diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) that addresses issues of autism, ADHD and depression.

To learn more about the Weston A. Price Foundation and wise, traditional foods, go to www.westonaprice.org

Recipes

Easy Recipe for Veggie Kraut

Use of organic vegetables is preferred

1 head green or red cabbage, shredded in food processor

1 bunch of one or two preferred vegetables: cauliflower, carrots, kelp, beets, green beans, onion, etc.

Shredded ginger or ground hot pepper to taste, if desired.

Mineral salt

You want a ratio of 60-80 percent cabbage to 20-40 percent other vegetables. It is important to be sure the glass container you use is very, very clean. Locke Mears recommends adding several tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to the last rinse water while cleaning. Set aside some of the larger, outer cabbage leaves.

Shred all vegetables, including ginger, if desired, in a food processor to the desired size — just don’t make them too small because they may ferment too quickly. Use an “S” blade in your food processor or chop finely by hand. Put in glass bowl.

Remove 1 cup of shredded veggies and put into blender.

Add enough filtered water to make a brine the consistency of thick juice. Blend well.

Add the brine back into the bowl of vegetables. Add salt to taste. Stir well.

Pack it down with your fist, a wooden dowel, or a potato masher. When you press down on it, there should be enough liquid so it pools slightly.

Leave 1 to 2 inches of room at the top for the veggies to expand.

Cover the top of the vegetables with a layer of cabbage, using the leaves you set aside earlier.

Put a plate on top of the leaves – be sure it can fit inside your bowl. Put something heavy on the plate to weight it down.

Let veggies sit at room temperature for at least three days. Taste it after three days. If it doesn’t have a good “bite” to it, allow it to ferment longer. Taste daily. Some people ferment for several weeks or months. Generally, these veggies are fine to eat after 3 to 5 days. Discard the cabbage leaves, put the veggies in a glass container and store in your refrigerator. Refrigeration slows down the fermentation.

Beef Stock

About 2-3 pounds of beef marrow and knuckle bones, available from local farms

2-3 pounds meaty rib or neck bones

6 or more quarts cold filtered water

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

3 onions, coarsely chopped

3 carrots, coarsely chopped

3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

Several sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together

1 teaspoon dried green peppercorns, crushed

1 bunch parsley

Place the knuckle and marrow bones in a very large pot with vinegar and cover with water. Let stand for one hour. Meanwhile, place the meaty bones in a roasting pan and brown at 350 degrees in the oven. When well browned, add to the pot along with the vegetables. Pour the fat out of the roasting pan, add cold water to the pan, set over a high flame and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen up coagulated juices. Add this liquid to the pot. Add additional water, if necessary, to cover the bones; but the liquid should come no higher than within one inch of the rim of the pot, as the volume expands slightly during cooking. Bring to a boil. A large amount of scum will come to the top, and it is important to remove this with a spoon. After you have skimmed, reduce heat and add the thyme and crushed peppercorns.

Simmer stock for 24 hours. Just before finishing, add the parsley and simmer another 10 minutes. You will now have a pot of rather ugly-looking brown liquid containing globs of gelatinous and fatty material. It doesn’t even smell particularly good. But don’t despair! After straining, you will have a delicious and nourishing clear broth that forms the basis for many other recipes.

Remove bones with tongs or a slotted spoon. Strain the stock into a large bowl. Let cool in the refrigerator and later remove the congealed fat (but not the gelatin) that rises to the top. Transfer to smaller containers and to the freezer for long-term storage.

Hearty Carrot Cilantro Soup

1 to 2 tablespoons organic, unrefined coconut oil, ghee or butter

Two 10-ounce packages of frozen lima beans (will be pureed)

2 large organic onions, minced

6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced

6 organic carrots, cut in half

2 cups organic green beans, whole (ends cut off)

 8 cups beef broth (or chicken broth if preferred)

2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste

Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped

Begin by sauting onion and garlic in oil for several minutes. Add broth, carrots, green beans, lima beans, and sea salt. Simmer until vegetables are tender.

Remove carrots and green beans and cool; slice into 1/4-inch pieces or thin rounds.

Puree the remaining soup and return to pot with carrots and beans

Adjust seasonings as desired.

Add cilantro and simmer for two minutes. If cilantro is unavailable try parsley, spinach, watercress or kale. Cook accordingly.

Andi Locke Mears’ upcoming courses through Auburn Adult Education:

Nutrient Dense Foods for Optimal Health

Covers the 10 types of food and eating principles created by Weston A. Price and discusses the 11 types of food to avoid. Tuesday, Feb. 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Edward Little High School.

Whole Cultured Foods for Health

Learn about the crucial role gut health plays in creating a hardy immune system. Wednesday, Feb. 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Edward Little High School.

German New Medicine

An overview of an entirely different medical model — different from Western medicine and different from alternative medicine as we now know it. Created by a German doctor, GNM offers a new understanding of what we commonly call “diseases” based on five biological laws, according to a class description. Thursday, Feb. 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Edward Little High School.

Hormone Rejuvenation for Women

An advanced method of endocrine (hormone) rebuilding based on traditional Chinese medicine and German homeopathy. Instead of replacing hormones that are low, your body can learn to produce all the hormones you need even if you’ve had a full hysterectomy, according to a class description. Safe, effective and no side effects. Gain a fuller understanding of your hormones and how to balance them, whether you are 16 or 75. Wednesday, March 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. Edward Little High School.

To register, call Auburn Adult Ed at 333-6661.

Contact Andi Locke Mears at:

CALM Health Works

229 Center St., Auburn, Maine 04210

784-7287


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