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  • In need of ideas

    Iím completely new at this PB and scout as many of your recipes as possible, but Iím in dying need of a couple of specific recipes to get started for good. So I hope you guys will share your experiences with me (and others) on a couple of subjects.

    I was wondering about alternatives to white flower and sugars. Iím from Denmark and I have had a great interest in my heritage as in Vikings. Here I found some alternatives to grain flower and honey, but I havenít tried them Ö yet. I just wanted to know if any of you have any knowledge of this or other substitutes that are ĎGrokí, since Vikings werenít the only ones to use the nature for food and Iím pretty sure they learned form someone down the line.

    Flower made from dried and grounded up birch bark
    Birch syrup

    If these two products are broken down in nutrients: good or bad?

    Birch syrup is made by leaking a Birch tree in April, early May (since the water hasnít fully climbed back up into the stem it wonít leak so much that the tree will ďbleedĒ to much and be harmed). This water can be drunk as is or one can boil it over light heat until the remaining mass is a thick syrupy mass. 5 liters of birch water will give about a small cup of syrup.

    Whatís your opinion on these?
    Any other ideas for other substitutes?
    Any ideas for other bread-like food? (Have to cheat my husband into eating this too since Iím the one doing all the baking and we never buy finished bread)

    I donít know how else to help easy my 7 year olds diet more into the PB. Heís halfway there and very conscious about what he eats and drinks (without me pushing!). He loves gathering herbs, plants, flowers and such for food and even talks about living ĎGrokí permanently. As in questions like: ďMom, canít we just move out here into the forest permanently. I like sleeping in a tent. You can make me a blanket from the rabbits we skin and eat.Ē But if I stop giving him bread in his lunch Iíll never hear the end of it from his teachers Ė (NO FIBER! You know the tone, right?) Itís bad enough (from their point of view) that he doesnít want milk or milk products.


  • #2
    Hi Autumn, I'm afraid that really, going primal means giving up bread. Imitations are rarely as good and usually involve some kind of grain or seed. Mostly the advice is to just get used to eating more meat and vegetables! But, I know that when you have kids (and husbands!) that sometimes you do need a substitute at least for a while. That's what I'm looking for too, to get my kids off gluten at least.

    The closest thing I've found to bread that is actually nice, is a Pumpkin and Pepita Seed Bread from a bakery called Deeks in Australia. If you write to them maybe they'd send you a recipe? (you can't buy the product after all!) It's a lovely bread and low carb.

    A lot of savoury muffin recipes use flax seed, which isn't all that good for your thyroid I think. Mark has posted about it. Other baked goods, coconut flour and almond meal is a good substitute.

    I'd love to learn more about Viking traditional food. Being made from bark the Birch flour might be ok, but the sap-sweetener I'm not sure - it's less processed than sugar, so that's better, but it probably still has the same insulin response. It sounds similar to Canadian Maple Syrup.

    Could you convince your son's teachers that he gets plenty of fiber from all the vegetables and fruit that he eats? He sounds like a wonderful adventurous kid.


    • #3
      Helen in Oz - yeah I kinda thought the syrup would be a no-no because it is kinda like maple syrup. I’ll give the birch bark flower a go and tell about it in here.

      Handing out Viking recipes could be fun – unfortunately they used a lot of potatoes and grains! And honey. In everything, even beer (MjÝd)! They had no cavities though, just ground down teeth because of the way they ground the grains (stones and they gave off particles that sanded down the teeth).
      There is a winter recipe (more fat on the body to help the people keep warm) written down in 1220 AD called “asa food” (the gods’ food)

      At first it’s a soup:

      Cook pork until tender
      add a lot of onion cubes
      add several cloves of garlic
      add cabbage
      season with what ever you like – herbs and the likes

      Depending on the pork it can be pretty fatty but if cooled you can skim some of it off and use as a nice bouillon for something else or add later with water to make more soup. There can be food for several days or a lot of people and with more seasoning or more cabbage, onions and whatever, you can even end up with a stew that doesn’t taste like the original soup. Poor mans food, but it tastes great and you can use every meat, not just pork. The fresh top of stinging nettle (very rich on iron) and goutweed can be added.

      Most of the recipes I use are over an open fire. We don’t use the oven or stove on a daily basis so I reconstructed a stove and oven from the Viking age in the yard: Stove (‘arne’ I Viking term) is 7 feet by 3 feet and about 3Ĺ feet high made of brick – working height. One line of brick all around in the last layer and filled with sand to prevent overheating of the stones beneath. Put a discarded tabletop in one end and you have a small worktop. I use bricks to control the heat through elevating/lowering the grill over the flames. The length of the stove also enables me to cook several dishes at the same time or an entire piggy.

      It takes no more than 10 minutes from you place a pot with a chicken in water until it’s boiling. And from there you can make about 100 different dishes with chicken. Or with whatever meat you stuff in the pot, which is what the Vikings did. One base food, the rest is a question of seasoning, vegetables, and imagination.

      Two good recipes made on that stove:

      1. Water, chicken, lots of garlic, seasoning of choice and bay leaf.

      Good for any soup or sauce. And the meat isn’t dry and therefore good for any recipe with chicken, especially in a salad. Put the seasoning in a tee bag so the bouillon is clear and clean for easy use in other dishes and you don’t have to try and fish the little bitty pieces out. Plus it doesn’t stick to the skin and meat as it cools enough to be taken apart by hand.

      All one needs is a pot that can withstand open fire. Cast iron pots can be placed directly in the hot embers or placed on sand with embers all around but not touching. This way one can control the heat.
      Can be made on a normal stove, of course.

      2. Broccoli, cauliflower, onion, garlic, (and whatever takes as long to steam as broccoli), fresh herbs and for a natural bitterness - add dandelion (fresh leaves and unopened flowers without the green stuff) and fresh birch leaves (soft, bright green in early spring). Put trout fillets on top, sprinkle with olive oil and add water (or white wine/lemon/fish bullion). Bitter experience will have me warn you against using diced peppers – they get all mushy and loose a lot of flavor and pretty color.

      One needs a good size aluminum dish and tin foil to cover with. Poke the broccoli once in a while to see if it’s done. Be careful with the direct heat, it tends to burn the lowest layer of veggies to the bottom of the dish.
      You can also just pop it in a normal oven until the fish is done.

      We always cook primitively. Wood burning stove in the wintertime and open fire in the summer. It seems so much more rewarding than just turning on an oven. I guess that was the first step towards this diet.



      • #4
        For a GREAT wheat or white flour substitute use COCONUT FLOUR. I love this stuff to death. Of course, I really only use it for coconut pancakes. But, a lot of people enjoy it in cookies, cakes, or whatever. I may add it to smoothies soon too.

        A lot of people enjoy almond meal as well. I haven't ever tried it because I love coconut flour so much.

        Instead of using bread for a sandwich try a big ass salad with meat, lots of veggies, greens, maybe some fruit, and an olive oil based dressing... I eat one of these daily!
        Find me at Cheers!


        • #5
          Wow what an interesting post, Autumn, thank you! I love the idea of the continuously-developing soup-stews. I often make dishes I call 'stoup' because it's a soup that is more like a stew, thick with veggies and lentils. I'm going to try the pork and cabbage.

          I love the idea of the open fire. Here in Australia, because of bushfires, open fires are a bit of a problem, but I'm interested in the idea of cooking outdoors; we do have a barbeque (there are even days in summer when that is forbidden). I've seen some Mexican clay pot cookers which are somewhat enclosed. It certainly does seem like a more natural way to live.


          • #6
            Dosenberry can I bully you into handing over that recipe on coconut pancakes? I bet my son would love those.

            Helen of Oz. I have friends in Australia (Brisbane) and we visited them last summer for their wedding. So I know (and understand) how open fire can be a problem. Especially small embers flying.

            I have an ingenious device called a Hekla 30 (Hekla 7’s big brother). It airs the fire from beneath and ensures 30 % better use of the fire and a lot less smoke! This means that I can cook a chicken on just 6 – 8 pieces of small fire wood without having to close all windows and doors to the house and don’t fill my enclosed yard with smoke. The fire can’t get out of control as it is contained, but the flying embers could still cause trouble on a windy day in a dry environment. They are developed to be used inside a Teepee. Or Tentipi as the new version is called. You can see a Hekla here. The link is in Danish but the picture speaks for it self. It’s about 80 AU$.


            The alternative is to build a small wood stove in the old gold digger stile. Good for one pot at the time and no open fire.

            If your interested I could send you a picture of my homemade ‘fire table’ which I find a pretty accurate description.



            • #7
              Originally posted by Autumn View Post
              The fresh top of stinging nettle (very rich on iron)
              How I love nettles! (Excellent in a curry with paneer.)


              • #8
                Hi Autumn! I am of Viking decent as well! I am mostly Swede and Dane--my dad was half Swede and my Mom was half Dane, and my husband is of Norweigian decent--his great grandfather emigrated in the late 1800's. I do re-enactments, and I have a 9th century Viking persona. I have done research on Viking foods, since in my encampments we only eat period correct foods and potatoes didn't grow in Scandinavia from what I have read--potatoes are a new world food, and weren't introduced to Europe until the mid 1500's. I do know that they ate lots of turnips and rutabegas--as well as oats and barley, but that isn't exactly primal.

                I was working on switching my daughter over to primal at the end of the school year, and for lunches she typically got hard boiled eggs, ham or other sliced meats, 'trail mix' which was a mix of lightly home roasted almonds, a couple dried apricots, cut into small pieces to make it look like more, and about 5-6 dark chocolate chips. She also took veggies--her favorite combination was sliced cucumbers and grape tomatoes. Would something like that work for your son for his lunches? This summer, I am planning on making her cloth lunch sacks with waxed fabric "baggies" to put her food in. She has 3 friends who are vegan and I am (evil me) trying to convert them to primal by her example!

                Interesting about your ovens! I wish we were able to do something like that here!
                Every day is another stitch in the quilt of life.
                Re-Start date 6/23/2011
                me--Post pregnancy --mama to a beautiful baby boy--


                • #9
                  Great, almost family! And you’re just one big Scandinavian mix LOL that’s good. No, the Vikings didn’t have potatoes in that sense but I think they had skokker and trÝfler which is kinda like a potato? Easier to just say potato as skokker and trÝfler are expensive but very delicate!

                  I’ll try and talk to my son and make him different kinds of lunch ideas. But I know he’ll love the egg idea! And nuts and raisins … you know what, my mind is racing with ideas now, I’m gonna go make him a test lunch. Thanks!



                  • #10
                    I'll second the request for the coconut pancakes...


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Autumn View Post
                      Dosenberry can I bully you into handing over that recipe on coconut pancakes? I bet my son would love those.
                      Click here and scroll down near the bottom. These are wonderful... the one in The Primal Blueprint Cookbook are better though
                      Find me at Cheers!


                      • #12
                        I posted in' Recipes' yesterday for Primal Pancakes using coconut flour. Have a look at that one also.


                        • #13
                          Thanks guys!



                          • #14
                            I just wanted to pipe in about the kids lunches....first of all just tell the teachers that your son can't handle the gluten in bread, they will shut up

                            My 7 yr old takes a very similar lunch to the one already mentioned; meat & cheese or hardboiled egg, apples or berries, carrots, & nuts. Very easy.
                            Good luck!


                            • #15
                              Have you tried the flax foccacia type bread?

                              2 cups flax meal (ground flax seeds)
                              1 Tbsp baking powder
                              1 tsp sea salt
                              1-2 Tbsp sweetner (I use xylitol made from birch)
                              5 eggs
                              1/2 cup water
                              1/3 cup oil

                              Mix dry ingredients then add wet and stir, let it sit while you prepare pan so it thickens a bit. Cover large cookie sheet in parchment paper or wax paper, spread the mixture to the edges evenly and bake for 25-30 minutes or until it starts to brown. I get 12 pieces out of it. Great for sandwiches.

                              Add any seasonings you like. I like minced onion flakes, garlic, and caraway seeds for lunch sandwiches. Tastes like rye bread. I made it with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little more sweetner to make a breakfast bread. You can add whatever you like to the mix it is very easy to make.