Friday, March 9, 2012

The Heart of a Prepper

Sir Knight was listening to a radio program the other day and was so taken aback by the content that he called to have me verify the information online.  He was listening to a heart surgeon (with over 5,000 open-heart surgeries to his credit) who unequivocally denied that heart disease was caused by a high fat diet or even high cholesterol.

Honest-to-goodness preppers realize that being prepared is a whole heck of a lot more than having a years supply of food in the basement.  Preppers are concerned with all aspects of survival including (but not limited to) homesteading, food preparation and storage, medical emergencies, physical fitness and preventative maintenance.  Our philosophy is that we need to keep up with the boring maintenance type things so that if everything implodes, we begin TEOTWAWKI without any major problems to contend with.  The reality is TEOTWAWKi will be enough of an adjustment without having to deal with a tooth ache.

Knowing that we are preparing for a potential future with limited or no medical care available, it would only make sense to take care of ourselves in such a way that we are less likely to encounter serious, health related problems.  And, realizing that heart disease is a major factor in sudden and unexpected death, Sir Knight found the heart surgeon's recommendations worthy of consideration.

Absolutely counter to conventional wisdom, Dr. Dwight Lundell claimed that elevated blood cholesterol did not cause heart disease, nor did high fat intake.  Quite to the contrary, he recommends adopting a diet that would have been the norm for your grandparents - in other words, real food.  Meat, vegetables, real butter and other animal fats, he contends, should replace a diet that is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates.  Basically, Dr. Lundell claims that we have been fed recommendations for the last 60 years that are killing us.  His findings are fascinating and deserve to be read in their entirety - here is the link - please take a look.

The bakery flour bins that I use for bulk foods in the house
200 pounds of hard white wheat
The long and short of it is that we need to replace white flour with whole wheat (duh!) and white sugar with honey (double duh!) and get away from oils like corn oil and replace them with animal fats.  And so, I did some baking today!  Now, I have to preface this by admitting to the fact that we are food snobs.  We LOVE good food.  We probably aren't going to eat something just because it is "good" for us, it has to taste wonderful.  The recipes I used, I have had for years, I just made some adjustments.  The results were wonderful and I just had to share them (I think I've posted both of these recipes before, but I will show them again just for fun).

Whole Wheat Cake Doughnuts
2 eggs
1 C buttermilk
1 C brown sugar
4 T butter, melted
2 C whole wheat flour (freshly ground)
2 C unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Beat the eggs with the buttermilk (I used sweet milk with a splash of lemon juice) until light.  Add and beat in the sugar and melted butter.  Mix the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices together.  Blend with the liquid ingredients, mixing as little as possible.

The dough will be sticky so turn it out onto a well-floured board.  With a rolling pin, also well floured, roll out the dough until it is between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.

Cut the doughnuts with a doughnut cutter and allow them to rest while you heat a frying pan of lard (I really used lard rather than Crisco or vegetable oil - it was great) to 365°.  It should be deep enough so the doughnuts will float.

Fry the doughnuts, giving them enough room to expand, until they're a golden brown on both sides.  Remove them to a paper towel to drain.  Roll them in cinnamon and sugar, if you are so inclined.

Bucket of lard that has been in storage since 2009
Lards stores very well
Doughnuts cut out and ready to fry
Rolling in cinnamon and sugar
Yep - these are whole wheat doughnuts fried in lard

Light Pizza Dough (Whole Wheat Version)
1 3/4 C warm water
1 T honey
1 T yeast
2 C whole wheat flour (freshly ground)
3 C unbleached white flour (or a little less)
1/4 C olive oil
1 T salt

Mix together the water, honey, oil, salt and yeast.  Add the whole wheat flour.  Allow to "sponge" for at least two hours.  Add white flour a little at a time, until the dough is soft yet no longer sticky.

Put dough in a bowl with a little bit of olive oil in the bottom.  Turn over to coat dough with oil.  Cover with a towel and set in a warm place to raise.  Raise till double.  Punch dough down and turn over in bowl.  Allow to rise until almost double.  Punch down and roll out on pizza pans.  Cover with your favorite toppings and allow to rise.  Bake to perfection!

Water, olive oil and honey
Sponging with the whole wheat flour (makes a tender, light crust)
Ready for the rest of the flour
Smothered in olive oil and ready to rise
Ready to punch down
See the flakes of wheat?
Dressed and ready for the oven
Oh yeah!
The crust isn't the least bit dense or heavy
Dinner time!
Oh my goodness, both of these dishes turned out wonderfully!  I used hard white wheat rather than hard red so there wasn't an overpoweringly nutty flavor.  The flavor was just enhanced.  The doughnuts and the pizza crust were light - not the least bit heavy.

No doubt about it - I will be adding more whole wheat into our daily bread.


  1. This is great! I. personally believe, thatwith a wholesome diet like our grandparents had and a more active life style, there will be many more happy and healthier people!
    I'm going to be passing this info on (I'll link back to your blog). Thanks!


    We eat butter!

  3. Check out the Weston Price Foundation! Completely changed how we eat.

  4. My family actually really likes the flavour the hard red wheat gives, but that is what we are used to. I've been baking with home-ground whole wheat flour since before my children were born, and they think it's the best bread and pizza dough out there! :-) You should take a look at the cook-book Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon. Subtitle: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. She would absolutely agree with the Dr. you heard, and provides a wealth of good recipes. I haven't tried many, but it's a very interesting read.

    1. I was going to recommend Nourishing Traditions as well!! It changed my views on so many different eating habits, and since we've adopted the lifestyle, I've never felt better about how we eat! I think you will love this book, m'dear!

    2. I was going to recommend Nourishing Traditions as well, but Elizabeth beat me to it! This was the first time I'd read so many contradictions to some of the medical advice out there; but now, you hear more and more that people are coming to the same conclusion as she did. Only Sally Fallon knew it leagues before the rest of us... :)

  5. Good post! Just remember hydrogenated lard is not the same thing as lard!

    1. I was hoping someone would mention this. I highly recommend rendering your own lard if at all possible, especially if you have access to pasture-raised pork. The best lard comes from the "leaf" fat tissue, or the flaps of fat tissue that reach into the abdomen. Decent lard can still be rendered from the side or back fat trimmings, but as it has more contact with the muscle tissue, you will get a slight 'roast pork' taste to the lard and it may not always work for pastry / desserts -- although the pie crust made with it is excellent for savory pies.

      Keeping it Real and Local in ND

  6. I always find it interesting when "science" catches up with what God has revealed Thanks for sharing!

  7. There is a genetic problem that a very small minority of people have that gives them exceptionally high cholesterol, something along the lines of 350 compared to a "normal" blood cholesterol of 200-210. Those people with the genetic problem do indeed die young from heart attacks, typically between the ages of 45-60. It is easy to understand then why some people have extrapolated that if blood cholesterol of 35 kills you at age 45 then blood cholesterol of 210 is probably the reaso you have a heart attack at 70. And the same kind of "logic" then dictates you should lower your cholesterol to under 200. Coincidently, of course, we have a medication that will do this for you. Never mind the medication will probably kill you. The bottom line is we have made some bad assumptions about cholesterol based on some facts that are only true for the very small minority with a genetic disease. Sadly I also disagree with those who believe that if we just eat like our grandparents did we would live forever. The sad fact is there is no magic food and no "bad" food. Unless you have some genetic illness (like diabetes) it pretty much does not matter what you eat as long as your diet provides you with necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Everything else is turned into energy to be burned.

    We will all die from something and if you avoid accidents and don't have a genetic illness you will dies from the big three: heart attacks, strokes and cancer. And it won't matter what you eat or don't eat.

  8. The documentary Fat Head was very interesting (and funny!). The documentary subject ate nothing but fast food for 30 days and LOST weight, and lowered cholesterol! It debunks the documentary Super-Size Me. Netflix has it on instant watch right now.

  9. We butcher and render lard here at our place - have used in in baking/cooking for years (as an asside, lard mixed with 'soot' from our wood stove makes a good mastic for horses injuries such as cuts as such). I keep telling people that cooking 'from scratch' is easy once the mindset is there and effort is applied. As a male and in charge of 'prepping', I have learned that the learning curve is not steep - all it takes is intent and effort.

  10. To Anonymous at 8:21-My Grandmother is 94 and has always had over 300 cholesterol and my Aunt (her daughter)also has this and is almost. As long as the HDL:LDL ratio is correct, the total number is not so important. My Grandfather died at 80 and his cholesterol was genetically low, around 140.

    To Enola,
    I quit using lard when I realized it was hydrogenated. Someday, I will render my own and use it again, but for now I only use extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter or bacon grease.
    I have not made this yet, but I found a recipe to make your own brown sugar. Some people said they just used all regular sugar and added the molasses to the recipe. That may take some experimentation to see how it affects the texture or the recipe.
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 Tbs molasses for light or 2 Tbs for dark
    In a medium bowl, mix molasses and sugar with a fork or mixer with a whisk attachment until no clumps remain.

    Also, some run sugar thru a food processor or blender to make their own powdered sugar. I was wondering if a flour mill or coffee grinder (hand crank types as I am thinking no electricity) might work as well.
    Thanks for the links and the recipes.

    1. I've been just using white sugar and adding the molasses to the recipe for years. Can't tell any difference in the texture or consistency of recipes. No need to combine sugar and molasses in advance, just toss it in.

    2. Thank you Susan. As I said above, I did not know if it would affect the texture or consistency. I am glad to know that it does not.

  11. I bake all of our bread with a combination of hard white wheat and a smaller percentage of soft white wheat. It comes out great! Our cupcakes and other foods are made with soft white wheat flour that I grind just before using.

  12. here at this preppers homestead, i stay away from all commercial processed foods....i read somewhere a few years ago that margarine is one molecule away from being plastic and this was based on testing and experimentation of a chemist. reading that alone put me on the alert.... everything that goes on our table for consumption is the real mccoy without hormones, chemicals, and stuff that even the best cannot pronounce much less know what it is. i use lard too! and i use real butter! and i use real sugar! and i use real honey! veggies from the garden and real meat-no pink slime here.

  13. "The long and short of it is that we need to replace white flour with whole wheat"

    Where did you get that out of the article (which is actually not new)?

    The problem extends to whole wheat as well. In fact, there are more anti-nutrients in whole wheat than there are in white flour. Whole wheat will casue the arterial infalmmation too.

    Wheat does not belong in the human diet in any form. It's not the same stuff that was grown 500 years ago.

    Better prep foods are:
    Canned salmon
    Canned coconut milk (lots of good fats)
    Home-made jerky
    Pemmican made from grassfed beef and tallow.
    Freeze dried vegitables and fruits
    Coconut oil

    I also don't understand the posting of the article then in the same post having recepies containing sugar.

    If you eliminate wheat, vegitable oils and sugar from your diet, you can avoid many of the "diseases of civilisation".

  14. Where is the baking time and temp??
    --K in OK <><

  15. To Anonymous at 1:49. I think you missed two important points about cholesterol. First the fact that your grandmother has high cholesterol and lived to an old age is meaningless. It is the statistical number that matters not the exception. Obviously not everyone dies on cue and that was in fact the point. Regarding the "HDL:LDL" ratio again you miss the point. Most heart disease is genetic. If you do not have a genetic predisposition to heart disease then a bad HDL:LDL ratio will not kill you and if you do have a genetic predisposition to heart disease then a good HDL:LDL ratio will not save you. In the case of cholesterol (good and bad) science is looking at the co-conditions and not the cause. Most people who die from heart attacks do not have high cholesterol and most people with high cholesterol do not die (prematurely) of heart attacks. Most heart attacks are the result of genetics and it is normal and expected that we humans would try to find some other cause. The human race being varied and the human environment being varied there are inevitable anomolies that show up and "seem" to indicate a cause. While I would agree everyone should get regular excercise, eat well, get enough sleep, avoid alcohol, drugs and tobacco these things do not guarantee you good health. Sadly some people who do everything right die young and some people who do everything wrong live long lives. There is an inevitable genetic component that we cannot avoid.

    1. I did not miss any points about cholesterol. I was just using my familial numbers to show that the whole cholesterol argument is stupid and there are other causes for heart attacks. I do not care about cholesterol levels and was using my family as an example. From what I have read, people with sub 200 levels are more likely to drop dead from a heart attack with no warning or prior history. You are correct that there is a genetic component that we cannot avoid. When our time comes, it comes. Each person should do what they can to be healthy, but it is no guarantee of a long life. I think we agree and are just stating the same thing in different ways.

    2. Indeed, we do pretty much agree. Sorry for the misunderstanding

  16. There was a recent FDA publication indicating that the use of statin drugs for high cholesterol blood levels causes Alzheimers.

    I am a elder medical professional and truly practice that basic whole foods, and pure clean water, all grown, prepared and consumed without any added chemicals and added "nutrients, is the healthiest and most natural fodder for our heart and tissues.


  17. I have high cholesterol. My doctor advises no treatment, as my good cholesterol is higher than any he's ever seen. Any statin I would take would lower my good cholesterol first, that is the basic problems with that medicine. He has also told me that he has lots of patients with low cholesterol who have terrible ratios, he wishes they had my high HDL. My triglycerides are very low. It's my diet. Lots of vegetables and fruits, meat, cheese, good butter, nuts.

    I can't eat grains. I get a huge inflammatory response. I can weigh five pounds more the morning after eating one piece of bread, and have terribly swollen joints, as well as a pounding headache and mental fog. Same thing if I eat something that has any corn, oats or barley. Something as simple as corn syrup and I blow up. I've tried the "organically" grown grains as well, but have the same results. I don't need to die young from eating animal food. I worked in a clinic where allergy testing was done, and almost without exception, people were testing allergic to most grains, as well as milk and eggs (animals that are fed these grains). Some even tested allergic to beef and pork. They must not be what they used to be a couple thousand years ago. Science and modern agriculture have created toxic plants. I would not be surprised if autoimmune diseases, autism, and ADHD and obesity were all traced back to those items.

    If you can eat them and tolerate them, good for you. I have stored plenty of grains for my family, friends, and for charity. My husband can eat garbage and function. Me, I cannot. I bake bread and cookies, and make pies and pizza. Sometimes, just handling these products makes me sick. I know I am not alone. I'm also not surprised about the study. Farm chemical companies have successfully lobbied congress and infiltrated the federal land grand university systems for a long time. They create plants that are resistant to pesticides, pour the pesticides all over the plants and then feed them to us, and they have paid the government to convince us that it's all safe. It's not. We are reaping the consequences right now.

    Lots of problems with the food supply in this country, and lots of lies have been and continue to be fed the American consumer.


    1. The next day:

      I apologize if it seemed I was chiding anyone for what they eat. I did not mean for my rant to read such as it did. Since I have problems logging in, I could not edit it, so please accept my apologies if anyone felt targeted. I meant to write about the lies we've all been fed, pun intended.

      Going to go make cinnamon rolls for husband...


  18. I am so glad that you included the doughnut recipe. I made doughnuts the other day and we really liked them (but it was unbleached flour only). They my husband heard Rush Limbaugh talking about this heart doctor and his discoveries. I was thinking that we wouldn't be able to enjoy doughnuts anymore, then I found your recipe. Thank you so much for sharing it. I can't wait to try it and the pizza dough recipe (which I will try tomorrow).

  19. Allergies are a "normal" problem humans and is not simply the result of "Science and modern agriculture". It is inaccurate to claim a plant is "toxic" because you or anyone is allergic to it. Allergies are individual specific and not the fault of the allergen. To conflate your allergy with "autoimmune diseases, autism, and ADHD and obesity". Each of these have different causes and symptoms and allergies don't even factor into them. Your allergy is like your blue eyes (or brown, green, etc.) it is uniquely yours and partly/mostly an inheirited trait and is not caused by outside factors. Let me point out that some allergies are "triggered" by environmental factors but the predisposition for that allergy is all your own. Also the existence of an allergy, such as an allergy to wheat, does not in anyway mean that humans should not eat wheat. This is not an uncommon conclusion that people jump to but it is simply incorrect.

  20. I read this article only 3 days ago Enola, talk about timing!

    I got from it that it was a combination of sugar and wheat - ie sweet rolls - and the fact that they are often cooked with omega6 enhanced oils that causes the inflamation.
    Sticking to whole (unprocessed), fresh foods - vegies, fruits, meats, animal fats, olive oil etc is best. It's similar to the caveman diet - foraged greens and roots, meat in all forms and few grains.
    But as a prepper we must have (and use) long term storage of energising, filling food. Most people have no idea of the energy it takes to work your farm. I think with the added extra exercise of living off grid or in a shtf situation the grains won't be a huge issue for most.


  21. I have to admit I am truely stumped by the whole "inflamation" thingy. It seems to be a buzz word that is used without regard to fact or honesty. Will someone be so kind as to explain in clear but simple terms WHERE you ge the inflamation and since it cannot be seen (at least I've never seen an inflamation from eating wheat) how you know you have it or that it is even an "inflamation"?? Don't just refer me to a site that shows the "inflamatory properties" of specific foods I have seen that and assumed it was more nut case food propaganda. I am aware that some people are allergic to certain foods but that hardly translates into some kind of "inflamation" for everyone. What, exactly, gets inflamed???

    1. In the article the doctor that does the heart surgeries said that the walls and arteries of the heart itself is inflamed, allowing cholesterol to stick to it (this is from memory). You wouldn't see this from the outside but for a doc with an open heart in front of him I guess he can. He also explained why this happens and gives you some similies to visualise.
      I'd go and read the whole article, it was quite interesting.


  22. All of the whole wheat pizza recipes (and many of the whole wheat bread recipes) that I have found use half white flour. It is very hard to find good recipes using all whole wheat. But in a TEOTWAWKI situation, I won't be able to run to the store for white flour. Is there a way to make white flour from wheat that I grind at home?

    1. We use hard white wheat and sometimes spelt as we do not have any soft white wheat. After we grind the wheat into flour, we sift off the bran and save it for other uses. When then use this sifted, fresh flour for the pizza dough and it is very good. Our recipe also does not use yeast which is great when you do not have time to let it rise.
      Pizza Dough
      2 cups flour
      1 tsp salt (we use sea salt)
      2 tsp baking powder
      2/3 cup water or milk (we usually use water and 1/3 cup dry milk)
      1/4 oil (we use EV olive oil)
      We prebake the crust about 10 min at 425 and then top it and bake at 425 for 20 minutes.

    2. Thank you Paintedmoose! I am also curious as to how you use the sifted bran. Do you have a recipe for whole (sifted) wheat bread?

      Enola, I am sensing more cookbook entries?!!
      When to use hard red, hard white, and soft white wheat.
      Cooking with 100% whole wheat when white flour isn’t available.
      No-yeast and sourdough breads…

  23. Food allergies can trigger an immune response flare when one has Lupus.
    Food allergies can trigger an flare of rheumatoid arthritis.
    Food allergies can trigger eczema.
    Food allergies can trigger sinus swelling.
    Inflammatory bowel diseases are exacerbated by consumption of foods one is allergic to.
    All of those are examples of inflammation.

    I've had to get epinephrine to counteract a reaction to a wheat ingestion. The allergy causes histamine to be released in the body, with various results, none pleasant. I can't name you one site, as I get my information first hand from bona fide MD's who have had to treat me for reactions, which came on suddenly beginning in 2000 and have grown in intensity. Ordering something as simple as "sweet potato fries" can end up with my finger joints twice their normal size, or an asthma attack, or intestinal bleeding.
    I'm sorry you think inflammation is a buzz word. It's true, it is not the same as inflammation caused by an muscular injury, for which ice, rest, and anti-inflammatories are called for. I am aware some foods are reported to cause inflammation, in and of themselves, but I have no idea what they would be. Probably my beloved bacon and beef, which I eat in great quantities (we get local grass fed animals).

    I might add that my father was in a rehab institute post knee surgery and they took him off carbohydrates and loaded him up with protein and fats, as they were trying to build muscle. He lost 10 lbs of fluid in two days. He was not overweight, but was right where the VA wanted his weight to be. Unfortunately, his weight was not muscle, but was fluid. He has been on a low cholesterol diet, which caused his weight to drop, but so did his muscle mass, and his fluids were dangerously high, for which he was put on a diuretic. When he left rehab, he was eating cheeseburgers with bacon (no bun), was in normal weight, and had more energy, and was off the Lasix. His rosacea was also cleared up. Rosacea is a type of skin inflammation, which I have as well. Dad is 82 and not only living independently, but still running a business. He's 6'4" and weights 200 lbs and he bowflexes every other day.
    I'm not anti-any food group for the general population, but if you have problems with it, you need to eliminate it. My dad did not know he was having problems with food until he was put on a different diet and his problem with excess fluid (which had also caused him to have heart problems) was resolved. It's been two years and his health is better than it was 10 years ago.
    A good friend with Crohn's ( In Crohn’s disease, inflammation extends deep into the lining of the affected part of the GI tract), went into remission after endeavoring to go on a low carb diet to lose weight. She had a double victory, lost the weight and was able to forego more corticosteroids.

    Hope you never experience any of the unpleasant side effect of inflammatory diseases. If you do though, you don't have to believe any "nut case propaganda", as you can go to the medical profession and ask the right questions. Here is one of many hits I found when looking at inflammation and diseases:
    Atherosclerosis, formerly considered a bland lipid storage disease, actually involves an ongoing inflammatory response. Recent advances in ...

  24. I just wanted to tell you that the last photo with the pizza and the fork is excellent - I could easily see it on the cover of a cookbook!

  25. Thanks for the info on inflamatory diseases

  26. Enola, please list oven temperature - I'm assuming close to 450/500 degrees?

    1. So sorry - baking in a wood cookstove, I forget that you need oven temps! The baking temp for pizza is 450°, having first preheated the oven to 475°.

  27. My dad has struggled with high cholesterol and high blood pressure all his life - he had 4 heart attacks, all between 50 and 65, but luckily, he was a doctor and already at the hospital when most of them occured. He also ate like a champion - whatever the doctors told him to eat, he ate. They changed his diet so many times, according to the latest research, and he followed it. Guess what? Didn't make one bit of difference. After his last heart attack, he decided he was just going to eat what he wanted, and if he died, so be it. That was about 9 years ago... :)

  28. Therein lies the problem. This year the doctors and scientists will contradict the uncontrovertible advice they gave us all last year. Next year a new "study" will determine that this years advice was incorrect and the new advice is uncontrovertible. I have no doubt that there are indeed things we can do concerning our food, habits and excercise/lifestyle that will mitigate specific and general risks for many diseases. The problem is for the most part that is where our knowledge ends. For every illness and every mitigation strategy there is a special interest group that swears they know the truth. Something like; if we all just ate a vegan diet, or if we all kept our weight so low we made Twiggy look fat we could live forever. There is some useful knowledge out there, such as was stated in the comments; "I've had to get epinephrine to counteract a reaction to a wheat ingestion". The problem with this usually comes into the equation when someone decides that since it helps one person with a specific illness to avoid a particular food or food group then it must be good for everyone!! And a new food mythology is born.

    Eat a varied/diverse diet. Avoid all fad diets and guru advice. Learn more about nutrition but be aware that even in textbooks and science based studies there is misinformation and bias. Understand there is no "bad" food and there is no "magic" food (or "Good calories, bad calories). There is only food. If a particular food causes you problems or has been identified as harmful to your particular illness then avoid it. If you have an illness then follow your doctors advice. But otherwise, eat, drin and be merry...

  29. I wholeheartedly recommend eating lard, but not the hydrogenated lard you have. It is as bad as Crisco. Go to a butcher and get leaf lard. Just get lard like your grandparents used, and that is not the lard in your picture. Animals have to be grassfed for the animal products to be healthy. Check out the Omega 3 in grassfed animal products. Great blog you have. This is my first time here.