18 October 2013

Slimy milk and other dirt cheap health supplements

As I wrote in my last post, I've been reading Lyn Webster's Pig Tits and Parsley Sauce book. When you're living on a budget as limited as hers, there's not an ounce of room to buy health supplements. It occurred to me that I make some so cheaply that they wouldn't even dint the budget. Here they are:

1. Probiotics. I eat fermented milk - in other words, yoghurt - every day. For about a year now I've been doing it in an unusual way.

Some people buy ready-made yoghurt. I rarely have - it's expensive and the packaging is never recyclable - but used to always use an easiyo yoghurt maker, and I'd make unsweetened yoghurt with whatever brand of yoghurt sachet was on special at the supermarket. I did this for a very long time - in fact, I have the same yoghurt maker I bought when I was 19 and first went flatting!

But now I have a cheaper and more environmentally friendly option. No more foil packets or electricity to dry the milk at the factory, or boil water for my yoghurt maker. And it costs exactly the same as milk, whereas the sachets, which are mixed with water, cost significantly more.

I make Caspian Sea yoghurt. I bought it from here. It is so wildly simple: you mix a bit of yoghurt with milk (about 1 part yoghurt to 10 parts milk) in a clean jar and sit it at room temperature for about 12-18 hours. Then you have a new batch of yoghurt! It apparently has more healthy microflora in it than other yoghurt, although I have no evidence for that.

The only trick is not to eat it all up without saving some to make the next batch. Also, I find it doesn't last as well as other yoghurt. The sachet yoghurt lasts about two weeks, but five days is long enough for the Caspian Sea stuff. You can make as much or as little as you like though, so it's wise to make only as much as you need.

It does have a slightly different taste - sharper, more fermented. You get used to it though.

(If anyone who knows me personally wants to try this, let me know and I'll drop you round a jam jar of yoghurt. It's a 'share the love' kind of thing, and the more people  it's shared with the better, because then you have someone to ask for more if you accidentally eat all of yours!)

2. Essential fatty acids. Some people buy ground LSA (linseed, sunflower and almonds) for the good essential fatty acids they contain. I buy whole linseed from the Bin Inn, where it's dirt cheap. I grind it with a $10 coffee grinder I bought on Trade Me, and keep it in glass jars in the fridge so its delicate oils don't oxidise. I grind two or three weeks' worth at one time, and we have it on our breakfast weetbix or porridge. It also goes well in smoothies.

Often I also grind up sunflower and pumpkin seeds and add them to the mix. I used to grind almonds, but broke several coffee grinders in the process. Now I just gobble a handful of them when I'm hungry. If you're going all pig-tits, just linseed would be the best option.

3. Raw greens/juices. I don't have a juicer and I don't buy spirulina. But silverbeet grows wild in the garden, and every two or three days I make myself a green smoothie by adding a couple of raw, well-washed silverbeet leaves to a jug with yoghurt, a banana and some vanilla paste. I whiz it up with my stick blender and it is totally delicious, not silverbeet-y at all. I have not had a cold all winter, despite some other family members oozing germs, and I do think the silverbeet might have had something to do with it.

Sometimes I add these things too when I'm feeling decadent: frozen berries, two teaspoons of cocoa and a teaspoon of raw virgin coconut oil. Then I get a coconut/berry/chocolate flavour and it is very, very good. I know, chocolate and silverbeet - who would have thought! Trust me, the silverbeet regresses.

Pig-tits sticklers would use just bananas (probably old and marked down in price accordingly), yoghurt and silverbeet, and perhaps cocoa.

Do you have any other ideas for real food supplements on the cheap? Possibly home made sprouts count.


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