You’re probably scratching your head about now and wondering if the writer has lost it! After all, what kind of title is that for a blog post? But hang in there and let me explain. By now many of you know that NT is short for the Sally Fallon cookbook Nourishing Traditions. But to many traditional cooks, NT also means nutrient dense.
Before I tell you how you can NT a recipe, let me first tell you a bit about Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, PhD. You’ll find a wealth of information that far exceeds what a typical cookbook offers. I recommend approaching it like a good novel. Forget about thumbing through the pages looking for recipes that sound good to you. This is no ordinary cookbook! That’s why it’s far better to curl up in your favorite chair and read it from start to finish. You’ll be drawn in by page after page of straightforward facts, rich history, and a passion for radiant health. And you’ll be amazed by comprehensive views on many subjects that exist in the food kingdom.
Nourishing Traditions introduces concepts that are new to most of us: lacto-fermented grains, vegetables, and beverages; a head-twisting re-education in healthy fats and cholesterol; and important information about raw dairy products. The book provides readers with an abundance of empowering nutritional nuggets. For most of my life, I’ve loved to study and cook. So it was quite a surprise to read Nourishing Traditions and a joy to add these missing components to my diet. Unfortunately, these are things that are probably missing from many other diets as well. Since I started consuming lacto-fermented foods and many other traditional foods from the book, I’ve noticed a dramatic improvement to my former lifeless (and so-called “healthy”) diet. This is truly a must have cookbook.
Here are just a few of the topics you’ll discover in the powerful beginning chapters:
- Politically Correct Nutrition
- Fats (the good and the bad)
- Milk and Milk Products
- Food Allergies and Special Diets
Now let’s get back to explaining how to NT a recipe. As we all know, the nuances of most endeavors tend to develop their own language of short cuts. The same is true of learning how to NT your meals by making them nutrient dense. The ancestral diet recommended by Sally Fallon has made its way into blogs, discussion groups, and other types of social media. People who are serious about these discussion groups and attend chapter meetings of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) have already learned the magic of how to NT a recipe. I hope that before you’re finished reading this particular post, you too will be well on your way to mastering the marvelous skill of transforming all recipes into NT recipes.
Let’s look at the examples below. You’ll find three ways of baking one of America’s favorites—banana nut bread. The first recipe is labeled Unhealthy. It’s straight from the Standard American Diet (SAD), which means more thought has been given to convenience than to nutrition. The second recipe is labeled Semi-Healthy: some ingredients are organic, but they aren’t all properly prepared whole foods. The third and final recipe below is NT/Nutrient Dense. The NT banana bread is made by using properly prepared, whole-food ingredients as outlined in Nourishing Traditions. When we NT a recipe, we maximize the nutrition in every bite, giving our bodies the ability to ward off the devil we call bad health.
Banana Nut Bread: Which One Will You Bake?
Note that in the first two recipes below, you will find the most egregious ingredients in italics.
Unhealthy Banana Nut Bread
- 1? cups mashed very ripe bananas
- ? cups sugar
- ¼ cup milk
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 2? cups Bisquick
- ½ cup chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom of 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
- Combine bananas, sugar, milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs in large bowl. Stir in Bisquick and nuts. Pour batter into pan. Bake 50–60 minutes. Cool completely before serving.
Semi-Healthy Whole-Wheat Banana Nut Bread
- ? cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup mashed bananas
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1¾ cups whole-wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup hot water
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, beat oil and honey together. Add eggs. Mix well. Stir in bananas and vanilla, then flour and salt. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and add to batter. Blend in chopped nuts.
- Spread batter into pan. Bake for 55–60 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes before serving.
NT/Nutrient Dense Banana Nut Bread
In the following NT recipe, use all organic ingredients.
- 3 cups freshly ground spelt, kamut, or whole-wheat flour
- 2 cups buttermilk, kefir, or yogurt (Nourishing Traditions, pp. 83–86) or 2 cups filtered water plus 2 tablespoons whey, lemon juice, or vinegar
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼–½ cup Grade B or C maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- ½ cup chopped crispy pecans (Nourishing Traditions, p. 513)
- Soak flour in the buttermilk, kefir, or yogurt. Alternatively, those with milk allergies may prefer to soak the flour in the substitute water mixture. Store in a warm place for 12–24 hours, keeping in mind that the bread will rise better if soaked for the full 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter and flour a loaf pan (preferably stoneware).
- Blend all of the remaining ingredients with the flour mixture. Pour batter into pan. Bake for at least 1½ hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
What makes the final banana nut bread recipe from Nourishing Traditions nutrient dense? It features organically grown, properly prepared soaked grains and nuts to release phytic acid, as well as a mineralized sweetener, good fats, and no vegetable oil.
The best ways to learn everything you need to know about nutrient-dense foods are offered in Nourishing Traditions and my Cook Your Way to Wellness DVD and Tell Me More booklet. This is such a great combo because the cookbook tells you what you need to know—and more!—while my DVD and booklet shows you some of the major techniques to NT your recipes and make them nutrient dense. These products will definitely get you started on your way to a vibrant, healthy diet.
Photo from iStock/1MoreCreative