Monday, March 6, 2017

Dear Mark: Egg Replacements, Bruxism, Fermenting Frozen Veggies, and Ferments While Breastfeeding

raw chicken eggs on the kitchen table,For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering four questions. First, I give a few options for recreating, or at least approximating the emulsification power of the mighty egg yolk for a reader who’s allergic (and give a quick preview of an upcoming Primal Kitchen product). Next, I explain why people with sleep apnea often grind their teeth, and mention an nutritional factor that might also cause grinding. Third, can you ferment frozen vegetables? Should you ferment frozen vegetables? And fourth, is fermented food safe while breastfeeding?

Let’s go:

I just took the plunge at New Year’s after following your blog for a while now. My question is that I’m allergic to eggs. I work around that for breakfast, but I’m wondering what to do about actual recipe substitutes when eggs are called for. What’s a good Primal option?

The most important part of the egg is the yolk, and the most important   culinary application of the yolk is emulsification. Egg yolks contain lecithin, an amphiphilic substance that attracts both water and fat, which allows emulsions to form. Luckily, there are others.

Lecithin from soy or sunflower oil works. And, like egg yolk, lecithin provides choline—that crucial vitamin we need for good liver health.

Mustard. A great salad dressing emulsifier is a teaspoon of dijon mustard whisked into the mix.

Garlic. Smash garlic into a paste, add some olive oil, and whisk it all together until it emulsifies. Unfortunately, the emulsion doesn’t last very long.

Black garlic. Black garlic is one my newest discoveries. The product of several weeks of slow and low heating, black garlic is exactly that: garlic with so thorough a Maillard reaction that it’s turned black as coal. Only instead of tasting like burnt garlic, black garlic tastes sweet, mild, and almost balsamic vinegar-esque. It’s also smooth and creamy, which makes it perfect for emulsions.

Except for the lecithin, none of those really work for mayo, though. You can make some delicious stuff, but mayo eludes. Luckily, in the coming weeks I’ll be releasing a brand-new Primal mayonnaise with a twist: It’s egg-free. It’s totally free of allergens, in fact. Stay tuned for that.

Curious to know Mark’s thoughts on bruxism, or teeth clenching / grinding. The newish school of thought is that it is a sign of sleep apnea. I can’t quite get my head around why clenching or grinding one’s teeth at night, especially to such an extent, would be a way to open up the airways.

Try it for yourself. Breathing normally with relaxed jaws, tilt your head back until your airway starts closing and your breath begins resembling a snore. Now clench. Bite down hard. Notice how much easier the breathing gets? You’ve just opened your airway back up.

Clenching may also indicate magnesium deficiency. As far back as the 1970s, clinicians have been reporting connections between magnesium levels and bruxism. One French doctor even found that magnesium supplementation “nearly always” resolved bruxism.

Hey there. I’d really like to try fermenting, but many vegetables I can’t buy fresh. Is it possible to ferment flash-frozen veggies (green beans for example). Will they still be as nutritive?

Also, I’m breastfeeding a newborn. Are ferments possibly dangerous in any way for my newborn?

Thanks!

Frozen vegetables don’t ferment really well for a couple reasons.

First, freezing bursts the cell walls of many vegetables. The water expands, rupturing the stability and integrity. I suppose the resultant mush could be fermented, but it wouldn’t be very appetizing.

Second, freezing kills or deactivates a lot of surface bacteria, which you need for proper ferments. Making sauerkraut out of cabbage, for example, utilizes the native bacteria present on the fresh leaves. Freezing cabbage would hamper the viability of the bacteria.

It’s probably possible to use a fermentation starter, like kraut juice, to ferment frozen veggies, but, again, it might get a little weird texture- and taste-wise.

The majority of probiotic/baby research focuses on probiotics in formula. We don’t have a ton of research on breastfeeding’s interaction with sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, pickles, or kombucha, but we do have a fair amount of research on supplemental probiotic usage—which is basically a more extreme, concentrated version of fermented food. If probiotics are safe and helpful, fermented food shouldn’t be a problem For the most part, fermented food is a safe addition to a nursing diet that could even be helpful.

When mothers supplement with probiotics while pregnant and breastfeeding, their breastfeeding babies have a lower risk of eczema. The effective combos include L. rhamnosus with B. longum and L. paracasei with B. longum. L. paracasei is found in most yogurts and L. rhamnosus and B. longum are found in most kefirs.

When mothers drink milk fermented with L casei (a strain found in most kefirs) while pregnant and breastfeeding, their nursing babies experience fewer GI disturbances.

It’s not only good for the baby drinking the milk. Probiotics may even help prevent mastitis, or infection of the milk ducts. Left untreated, mastitis can lead to terrible outcomes, like abscesses, impaired milk production, and even breast surgery. You don’t want to get it. In one study, taking probiotic bacteria isolated from breast milk actually outperformed antibiotics in the treatment of infectious mastitis. It also prevented the reoccurrence of mastitis, which is quite common. A later study using the same strain derived from breast milk—L. fermentum—found that it reduced breast pain during nursing (a potential harbinger of mastitis).

Any dangers? Maybe.

In a study of the diets of Japanese mothers and their effects on the women’s breastfeeding babies, researchers determined that yogurt, cheese, miso, bread, soy sauce, fermented soybeans, and tree nuts were common aggravators of atopic dermatitis in the kids. I’m not sure you can pin this on fermentation, however. It could be a dairy, soy, wheat, and nut protein issue, too.

Kombucha could be problematic. A kombucha SCOBY is by its very nature an unwieldy, diverse motley crew of competing interests maintaining a tenuous coalition just so long as there’s plenty of sugar for everyone. Don’t go drinking moldy kombucha. If you’re brewing it at home, be sure you know what you’re doing, how to distinguish between mold and normal growth. The longer it’s active on the same batch of tea, the higher the alcohol content. And black tea kombucha will contain some residual caffeine, which most people don’t want their babies consuming.

Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope these answers help, and if you have anything to add, do so down below!

Take care.

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Be Our Guest

Happy Monday!! It’s Irish Soda Bread season, and I got a loaf from Great Harvest. THE BEST bread of the year! I love it toasted with melted butter.

On Friday night, Thomas and I went out on a date. First to Whiskey Jar for dinner.

I had the cornmeal-crusted catfish, which was A-mazing, and a beer, and he had the whole trout, plus mac and cheese.

We walked across the mall to Violet Crown to see Fifty Shades Darker. I remember when they announced they were building a super modern theater on the mall I was a little against it for some reason, but this theater is the best in the world! First off they serve food and drinks, which you can take into the shows. Double glass of zin? Yes please! They also have nice coffees and traditional movie snacks if you want those too. You buy your tickets by the seat, so you can choose where you sit and it’s reserved like an airplane. But best of all, if you see a movie in one of the smaller theaters, all of the seats recline!!!!! There are also nice little swivel tables and cup holders. It’s just the most comfortable movie experience there is. Fifty Shades was awesome! The rumors are true – the second movie is better than the first! The soundtrack is also really great – especially this song.

Saturday morning breakfast when I was out of fruit: ISB, breakfast sausage, fried egg, coffee.

Mazen and I went to the gym mid-morning, and I did a quick elliptical and lifting workout. Didn’t want to do too much before my first spring season soccer game!

I had a salad with some leftovers on top for lunch – pork, asparagus, dressing, pepper jack cheese.

Mazen and I put together a gift for our good friend’s birthday party.

He wrote the card himself!

The party was Disney themed, and guests were encouraged to dress in costume. Mazen went as Pirates of the Caribbean. The grown ups shared bubbly and cheese plates while the kids watched Beauty and the Beast and ate Pirate’s Booty. It was fun to watch the old version of B and the B in anticipation of the new film coming out soon! We are excited.

I also got to hang out with this little man. What a snuggle bug! His sweater!

Instead of cake we had birthday ice cream cones. Love this tradition!

After the party I took the Sayas out to the Struckmann house where I was parent in charge for the evening so Sarah and John could have a night away. I love that we always have each other’s backs for these kind of trades. Keeping an eye on all three of them at once proved to be a bit challenging (especially since Sawyer is at that into-everything stage) but we had a great time and miraculously all of the kids were asleep by 8:30.

This photo sums up my evening:

We were up bright and early for breakfast. I had a peanut butter waffle with a mini smoothie and fruit.

And we played outside in the cold weather because: PowerWheels!!

I ran by Wegman’s for groceries and then came home for a sandwich to fuel me up for soccer.

Our spring season started at Western Albemarle, and we headed to Pro Re Nata afterwards for a team beer. We couldn’t celebrate because we didn’t win – we tied! It was a hard game.

Sampler! The Scarlet Letter was my favorite.


#soccerhairdon’tcare

How was your weekend?!

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