Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rethinking Legumes

For no other reason than to revisit my current way of eating and add some variety I have decided to reintroduce additional legumes back into my diet. I have always eaten green peas(yes they are a legume) and in season fresh yellow/green beans. I have not adhered to strict Paleo for some time as I now use it more as a guideline for eating a simple traditional diet. I find the foods that work for me and eliminate/ limit those that do not. Its time to revisit the bean and see if other legumes have a place in my diet.

Over the last couple months I have essentially stopped consuming potatoes. I can tolerate the tuber occasionally but do much better without them. As a result I have been eating a little more rice as compensation but I do tire of that grain.

It then occurred to me to re-evaluate legumes. Not only do they compliment rice (the classic rice and beans combo) but they offer fiber, some proteins and nutrients. Add to that fact they are relatively cheap to procure and possess long shelf lives. Little did I know that even within the nutritional world that some advocates of ancestral diets were softening their anti- legume stances. It does remain a bone of contention. Do the nutritional qualities of legumes trump the problematic anti-nutrient issues?

What is a legume?

"The legume family consists of plants that produce a pod with seeds inside...."

The paleo view of legumes and the inherent issues.

 Chris Kresser has published a pretty decent rebuttal article here...

"To be clear, I would eat beans and lentils even if they weren't part of ancestral hunter-gatherer diets, because they're inexpensive, nutritious, I like the taste, and they were safely consumed by many traditional agricultural populations probably including my own ancestors."

For the record I enjoy beans, especially the traditional East coast Canadian baked bean variety. My issue with them was they often caused me some digestive issues; bloating and gas. Probably the result of poorly absorbed carbohydrates known as Fodmaps. The severity of the symptoms often depended upon the type of legume and how it was prepared.

Sidebar - I consume unpasteurized sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar on a  daily basis to help support good gut health. Optimal gut flora levels are gained through the beneficial qualities of traditionally fermented foods

  Begs a question - will a healthy belly help mitigate/ limit the usual Fodmap digestion issues associated with the consumption of legumes? I am going to test that assumption.

Canned beans are generally precooked so they are an easy option. It`s still a good idea to rinse in a strainer before preparation to help limit the amount of residual anti-nutrients. Canned baked beans will obviously contain added sugars(molasses/maple sugar) and tomato sauces so are less healthy. Dried legumes will need to be properly soaked and cooked prior to ingestion.

The intent is not to make legumes a dietary staple but rather a supplement to my current diet that allows some variety but still limits wheat(gluten) and potatoes.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Heritage Day on the Snowshoes - in Pictures

Winter finally arrived to the East coast with a couple heavy snowfalls last week. Due to the high winds its hard to determine the amount of snowfall due to drifting but 40-60 centimeters is a good estimate depending where you are in the province. Heading into the February long weekend it meant I finally would have a chance to get outside on my snowshoes. Not only is it a full body workout but a chance to appreciate the beauty of winter.

Saturday`s attempt was a hard slog. The snow was fresh powder and the drifts were substantial in the area I choose to hike within. Even with shoes matched to my weight I was knee deep for most of the outing. By Monday the temperatures had risen and with a melt the snow cover became wet and firmer and afforded far better snowshoeing opportunities.

I  love the woods in winter, especially with a fresh cover of snow. A white blanket of winter snow over the landscape makes for some great scenery and, subsequently,  nice pictures.

Previously Broken Trail

Snow covered stream

Critter Prints

Massive solitary boulder

The venerable Birch

More critters

Through the deadfall

It was a good day!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Archer's Gambeson

Purchased a replica of a medieval archer's gambeson on Ebay on the spur of the moment. It was the style I was looking for but white was not my preferred color. The discount code Ebay had sent me for $15USD was due to expire that evening so I made the buy....color be damned. It was a good deal with free shipping on an item right at the minimum price point to qualify for the discount.

Manufactured in India of heavy cotton(historically it was of linen and wools) the gambeson made it to Canada surprisingly quickly via UPS and in my possession this week. Well constructed it fit me very well but it was very white.....not off white nor natural cotton but bright white. The DIY project was born.

Research gave me two options; dye or fabric paint. I opted for the dye simply because it was cheaper and fabric paint wasn't available in the color I required. Picked up a bottle of Rit beige dye as it was close to the camel color I preferred and headed to the drop sink in the laundry room.

Simple instructions to complete the dyeing process but rather time consuming. The constant hand agitation for thirty minutes and the final rinse was laborious especially considering the weight of the soaked gambeson. Hung it over the sink to drip while I mopped the floor impressed by the first look of the new color. A final hand wringing and in the sunshine to dry.

Stage Two-St. George's Cross

Now that the gambeson was dyed an appropriate color I decided I would hand sew a English cross and place upon the sleeve. Used by English armies as early as Edward I's reign the red cross was used on banners by Edward III in France and by 1385 English men at arms and archers had identified themselves on the battlefield onwards after Richard II made it mandatory during his Scottish campaigns. There seems to be some variation on placement Often it was placed upon the left breast and back or as a separate garment such as a livery jacket or surcoat. I'm considering another placed upon the chest as generally it was sewed in two locations.