Welcome Lent with our “Life changing bread”
Were you still partying like a maniac last night? Celebrating with never ending drinks and crazy costumes and stuffing your face with doughnuts and other naughty foods like there's no tomorrow? Enough! At least for me and many other health-conscious people out there. Because today is the start of Lent and that means fasting for 40 days.
The term Ash Wednesday comes from an old religious tradition, whereby faithful members of the congregation get a cross painted on their foreheads with the ash of palm branches. Religious fasts lean on the story of Jesus spending 40 days in the desert, praying and fasting, in preparation for Easter. The classic Lent period lasts from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, but can also be observed for a shorter period of time, with or without a religious impetus.
I'm notorious for going through phases renouncing whole piles of foods and Lent is a fitting occasion. I think most of us could benefit from abstaining from a whole lot of things on occasion. It teaches mental strength and perseverance. Plus, the deliberate omission of certain foods (mostly those that are bad for us anyway) as well as things like alcohol and nicotine cleanses our bodies and at the same time gets rid of that bit of extra weight, physical and otherwise.
Me, I leave out alcohol, chocolate and other sugary foods for a few weeks. I've majorly reduced my red meat consumption for a while now, seeing myself as a so-called flexitarian, meaning a person who is semi-vegetarian and eats a mostly but not entirely plant-based diet. I also like to keep to an alkaline diet, which makes my skin glow, gives me more energy and promotes well-being. A sustained overly acidic diet on the other hand can lead to constant discomfort, a weak immune system and premature ageing.
Alkaline foods provide us with easily absorbable alkaline minerals as well as all nutrients and vital substances our body needs to remain in homeostasis. They also protect our body from foods that leave acidic residue in our system. An alkaline diet harmonises our acid-base balance and keeps our bodies' ph-levels within a healthy range. Fruit and vegetables are mainly alkaline. Grains, meat, sausages, alcohol, dairy as well as fish and seafood are all acidic. Whenever I want to try to get my acid-base balance under control, I don't eat any of the acidic foods for 1-2 weeks. That doesn't leave a whole lot of ingredients to work with, but it makes me feel fit and healthy and it really doesn't take long for the body to adjust to the change in diet. You also lose weight. After those couple of weeks, I'm quite happy to reintroduce multigrain buns, fish and dairy like organic yoghurt, cottage cheese and the like, all generally healthy foods. But the highlight of all that trouble: after a while, you stop craving sugar.
More about acid-base nutrition will follow in another blog entry.
But still. After all that talk, I've picked an acidic recipe for the beginning of Lent, albeit a healthy, vegan one: a type of bread with the promising moniker „The life-changing loaf of bread“: I do have a tendency to exaggerate in my little culinary universe, so this comes with the caveat that this bread that I love so much might not actually change my or anyone else's life completely. However, I can promise you it'll do your body good! I found it on Sarah Britton's amazing blog My new roots. It's practically gluten-free (and entirely so if you use gluten-free oats like I do), meaning wheat-free, vegan and full of fibre. The one thing that changed over the years in my execution of this recipe is the introduction of coconut oil. Coconut oil is everywhere these days and everyone knows how great it is for you, but I've only just discovered it for my own kitchen. It'll certainly be popping up in my recipes frequently in the future.
Life changing bread
- 145g (gluten-free) oats
- 135g sunflower seeds
- 90g whole flaxseeds
- 65g organic hazelnuts
- 2 tsp chia seeds - more about these miracle seeds can be read hier
- 4 tsp psyllium seed husks
- 1 tsp finely ground salt
- 1-2 TBSP maple syrup
- 3 tsp melted coconut oil
- 350ml water
The night before..
- Chop the hazelnuts. Put them in a bowl and mix in the oats, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, psyllium seed husks and salt.
- Melt the coconut oil and mix under the seed-oat-nut concoction together with the water and the maple syrup.
- Smooth out the surface, cover and let rest overnight in a cool place.
The morning after...
- Preheat oven to 175°C (upper/lower heat) and line a loaf tin with parchment. Check the dough, which should be fairly solid by now. Fill it into the loaf tin, press down and smooth out the surface. There shouldn't be any air pockets anywhere.
- The bread is baked in two stages. Initially, bake it for 20 minutes on the middle shelf. Then remove the bread with the parchment from the tin and put it on the oven shelf without it. Bake for a further 35-40 minutes until it is deliciously fragrant and the corners look golden.
- Let cool before cutting into it. The bread won't be very stable until then.
Tastes heavenly with cottage cheese and berry jam or honey. The healthy option would of course be to leave the topping entirely. Enjoy it no matter what!