Suddenly Sauer: Preserving Food and Tradition in a Modern World

just what the doctor ordered, sort of…
April 20, 2009, 2:24 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I suppose the best place to start is the beginning.

5 years ago, I was diagnosed with chronic heartburn, also known as GERD (gastro esophagul reflux disease). Despite its playful somewhat grotesque name, GERD was anything but fun. I was given medication and a list of six foods to avoid. The six foods, a relatively short list to follow to the promised land of everlasting comfort, rung like a knell. “Excuse me,” I thought, “You want me to give up onions, tomatoes, and citrus?” Chocolate, spices, and the vague yet premonitory “fatty foods” rounded out the list as I triumphantly proclaimed “a hell no.”

So, I started popping the pills and continued to eat whatever my heart desired. In those days, I called myself a food lover. I scorned the notion of a restricted diet because I thought it would be just that– restrictive. And I must have thought to myself, at least a dozen times, “go ahead and eat it, you only live once!”

But 5 years later, I was still experiencing heartburn with a vengence on the days I forgot to take my regimented proton pump inhibitors, and while living on an organic farm where sustainability was the order of the day, I finally allowed what I had been keeping at bay to seep in… medicating my health would never be a sustainable solution. I decided to return to the proverbial elephant in the room, in this case a list of six items I, supposedly, must never have again. Only this time, I was going to be smart… this time, I would do my research.

And was I ever happy I decided to look beyond the so-called “doctor’s orders”

I assumed, early in my research, however right or wrong, that my diet must be rich in acidifying foods and I would try to detox by eating only alkalizing foods. At this phase, I learned a plethora of useful information.

1) a healthy diet balances alkaline and acid foods at a ratio of 60:40. the typical American diet averages a ration of 20:80. Just to be exceedingly clear, this translates to HEALTHY DIET: 60% alkalinizing foods, 40% acidifying foods AMERICAN DIET 20% alkalinzing foods, 80% acidifying foods.

2) certain foods that are acidic still have an alkalizing effect on our systems. (forgive me for I am not a chemist nor have I been trained in food science. I may be butchering the science behind the facts, I do, however, trust the facts based on my experience.) This means that, for example, while a citrus fruit is obviously acidic, it still has an alkalizing effect on our bodies.

3) foods that were not on my short list were seemingly far more culpable for my pain than, say, the humble onion. After looking over various lists of alkalinizing and acidifying foods, I began to realize that my doctors had led me far afield. the seemingly innocuous number six on the list of no-no’s (so vague it had been beyond reporach) the term “fatty foods” it dawned on me, must be western medicine’s somewhat unctuous effort to discretely red flag, well, the entire American diet. Wheat, dairy, refined sugars, and oils were all on the black list… So essentially my list of no-no’s grew suddenly much, much bigger.

I decided organization was a must, and a list of CAN EAT’s seemed like it might be infinitely more helpful than a laundry list of NO CAN DO’s.

here is what my first shopping list looked like (keep in mind I started with an EXCLUSIVELY alkalizing diet and eventually incorporated some acidifying things back into my diet).



Raw Almonds





Greens and other non starchy vegetables



Apple Cider vinegar

After one week of eating millet and tofu I was about ready to call it quits, but encouragement from friends and a lover who cared about me enough to surprise me with a seemingly endless supply of specialty groceries I could eat urged me down a path to realizing that this restricted diet had the potential to become anything but.

SO, the rest is history. Or, rather, the rest is recorded in the bursting seems of the red grid-lined journal I’ve had with me since the start. I’ve been recording my “daily (gluten-free, sugar-free, raw, vegan) bread” for 159 days and it is finally time to commit some of those recipes and musings to, errm, computer.

**oh, and I’m not a gluten-free, sugar-free, raw, or vegan foodist. In fact, the only category I absolutely fall into is vegetarian (and even that is sometimes subject to circumstance). I have found, however, that when it comes to invention, those with restricted diets take the cake in the world of inventive recipes, so I more often than not consult alternative diets to figure out how to make food that suits my needs. The internet (Elana’s pantry and other alternative blogs) and cookbooks such as Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, Edward Espe Brown’s Tassajara Cooking, and Laurel’s Kitchen are all great places to start, but don’t be discouraged when a recipe isn’t perfect, substitutions are the fabric of sustainability (how else would we use our leftovers!?!) and the properties of food are so diverse… anything is possible!

So, without further ado, welcome to Sweet and Sauer.


1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

It’s amazing how loved ones helped you get to the point you needed to be at. Besides no more heartburn, how did the diet affect your body?

Comment by Yosenberg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: