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Book Review: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Updated on February 8, 2017
You can see my copy is well worn from use, reading, and lending out.
You can see my copy is well worn from use, reading, and lending out.

I have found this book to be indispensible for solving my mild digestive problems. It is very informative and has many fine recipes. It is considered the authoritative source for all things cultured. Nourishing Traditions contains articles on a variety of topics including fats, carbohydrates, proteins, milk, vitamins, spices & additives, sweeteners, feeding babies, and limited-budget guidelines. It also has stories and excerpts on every page that are both interesting and informative.

The most useful parts of this book are the parts about culturing foods. This topic is unknown to many in our culture and Sally Fallon has produced an almost exhaustive collection of cultured foods.

What I have found difficult about many of the other recipes is the number of costly ingredients. I have heard others complain that the recipes must not have been tested because they don’t work. In general, I have not found that to be true; however, you will see in my other hubs that I have altered many of the recipes. I think many of these difficulties are simply part of the variable nature of natural products and of any culture.


How to use the book

1. If you are having digestive troubles, it is worth reading the book through once to see ways that you can change your diet for the better. If you feel fine, you may not be motivated enough to read this wordy book straight through, so skip to the parts you are interested in.

2. Put tabs in each section you think you will use. In this large book sections and individual recipes can be hard to locate. I have tabs in the first fifteen or so sections (and then I ran out of tabs). I wish I also had a tab for South of the Boarder, but the Catalog of Vegetables is so long that it is quite easy to find, and it is alphabetized.

3. Try culturing some things. Milk is probably the easiest, then veggies.

4. Write in the book or on stickies in the book what works and what you like. These recipes have strong flavors and you either like them or you don’t. If you are like me, you will find yourself changing recipes to fit your budget or what you have on hand. Write what you did.

A little beet in your sauerkraut makes it a favorite with kids and a great addition of color to almost any meal.
A little beet in your sauerkraut makes it a favorite with kids and a great addition of color to almost any meal.

The staples

I keep many of the recipes in Nourishing Traditions on hand at all times and use them almost every day. Because many of them take days to culture it is helpful to plan ahead and have them available.

1. Sauerkraut p. 92: This recipe and the variations that follow it in the book are excellent for stimulating the production of digestive enzymes and providing beneficial probiotics for stomach and gut. Varieties such as kimchi, p. 94 and Latin American Sauerkraut, p. 93 can add a lot of flavor to meals.

2. Yoghurt p. 85: Yogurt is an easy way to get started culturing milk. Cultured milk is easier on the digestive system and lower in carbohydrates (lactose) than fresh milk. As with sauerkraut, it is a source of probiotics.

3. Stock (particularly Chicken Stock p.124): Stock, or bone broth, is a mineral-rich source of gelatin and other nutrients that your intestines need for repairs. It makes a wonder base for soups. I enjoy egg-drop soup made with chicken stock almost every morning for breakfast.

4. Mayonnaise p. 137: Because the eggs are used raw, the eggs must come from a source you trust. Cultured in this way, many who do not tolerate eggs well (but are not allergic) are able to take advantage of this nourishing food.

5. Sourdough Starter p.489: I use this to make bread, tortillas, pancakes, pizza, and muffins. It is an easy way to fill out meals inexpensively.

Sourdough rolls are a frequent snack or meal base in our home.
Sourdough rolls are a frequent snack or meal base in our home.

This book is central to my dietary choices and I refer to it frequently. I would highly recommend it. Read my other hubs to find out how to make many of the things in this book and how I modify the recipes.

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