Studying Health and Nutrition the Fun Way, and Swedish Välling

We are on a bit of a ‘health-kick’ here right now – we’ve invested in a juicer, a manual grain-mill, and we are sprouting seeds, making coconut yoghurt and kefir, brewing kombucha, and having all sorts of fun! My 12yos is even growing wheatgrass to juice (they love the whole process! Though I am the only one who is willing to drink the stuff!)

I discovered that grain is easier to store for longer than flour, and there are advantages to milling your own grain in that the nutrients present in the flour begin to dissipate following the first 48 hours after milling. I’m reading a book called “Nourishing Traditions” which talks about the necessity of soaking grains the old-fashioned way, so we’ll try that some time too.

nourishing

This got me to thinking about Välling – the staple drink for babies in Sweden. I assumed it was something you had to buy ready-made, like rusks (does anybody remember having Farley’s rusks for breakfast?!) But then I found a really simple recipe:

Skrädmjölsvälling 1port

Ingredienser

Skrädmjöl 2-4 tsk
Vatten 2 dl
Salt

Gör så här

Koka upp tillsammans under omrörning och söta gärna med honung eller fruktsaft. Önskad mängd vatten kan naturligtvis bytas ut mot mjölk.

Basically, what you do is boil 2-4 teaspoons of flour, it can be wheat, whole wheat, rye, or oats, with 2dl water or milk. Stir constantly. Add salt and sugar (honey) if you want to and think the taste requires it.

Basically, I don’t recommend it – paediatricians in the UK and the US (and, I suspect, the World Health Organisation) don’t recommend wheat for babies under 8 months old, and don’t recommend putting any cereal, no matter how thin, in a baby’s bottle due to the risk of choking. Not to mention, don’t ever give babies salt! (And no honey before 8 months either.)

Another interesting fact that I discovered when my brother was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease is that it is a disease commonly found in Swedish people among others, and the suggestion at least on the Swedish side is too early introduction of wheat – before a baby’s digestive system is mature enough to stop the wheat particles from entering into the bloodstream.

Nevertheless, Välling is something so homely and comforting I can’t imagine Swedish people giving it up any time soon!

If you’re in the US, you can try and buy Välling at http://www.scandiafood.com/ (Just don’t give it to your kids) 😉

 

[Originally posted on the Svengelska Hemskolan blog]

p.s. Although I do love the book Nourishing Traditions, and I’m completely sold on the idea of the necessity of raw fermented foods in our diets, NT also advocates the ‘old fashioned’ eating of meat. I accept that there’s a valid health argument in the book for questioning our modern diets (the chapter on fats makes really interesting reading), but I reject its conclusions on ethical grounds.  So if you’re vegan/ vegetarian, you might want to be aware of that before thinking about purchasing the book.

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Hook Was an Old Eton Man

peterpanI could hardly believe when I checked how much of the year has gone by since I last posted! Time flies by when you’re having fun!

We’ve had lots of adventures and shenanigans and, when I get a minute, I’ll come back and tell some stories around the camp-fire, but I just wanted to mention our latest very popular read-aloud. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie and abridged by er… well actually I can’t check because I think Pony-rider has gone to sleep with it under her pillow. I suspect that any version will do – the adventure is so much fun whichever way it’s expressed, but the original is a bit wordy and difficult to read, so although I don’t generally like abridged version, this is a story that I recommend you find a good abridged version (the same is true of Moby Dick and a lot of classic books written during that era).

The funniest (or is it disturbing) thing is the way I’ve noticed the story coming out in their play-times: Dragon-tamer isn’t too affected – he views the whole story quite philosophically (“it is quite an odd tale”, he told me before I read it – I can’t keep up with him, he has taken to pre-reading everything now!), Pony-rider has been spotted rooting through sock drawers for shadows, and generally loitering around windows in the vain hope that Peter will visit, but Motor-biker has been caught curling his forefinger into a hook on several occasions! If he had a pipe, I’m sure he’d smoke it…

I did worry that J. M. Barrie’s axe-grinding over growing up was affecting Dragon-tamer when he remarked “I hope I won’t get to 12 too soon”, but it became clear that this was prompted by a big sign at the play-ground which read “No children over 12 may go on the equipment, by order of the Management”.

 

Originally posted on the Svengelska Hemskolan blog (and given that Dragon-tamer will turn 21 this year, probably almost 10 years ago!).

The Avion My Uncle Flew

avion

‘The Avion My Uncle Flew’ by Cyrus Fisher, 1946

I have been meaning to review this book for ages, as it was definitely a family favourite, and probably our top literature choice of 2015.

The book was recommended to us by a friend as a super way to introduce the French language at the same time as studying the post-war period through children’s historical fiction.

The story is written in such a clever way – the main character is sent to his uncle’s village in France to convalesce and recover after breaking his leg back home in America, and strikes a deal with his parents that, if he manages to be walking again and if he has learned to speak French by the end of the summer, they will get him a fancy new bicycle.

Johnny stays with his uncle in a boarding house in the village because their home had been destroyed in the war, but the uncle is working on making an aeroplane of his own design, to reverse their fortunes, and so he does what he can to help as his leg improves.

So as we follow the story of his recovery, we also follow his learning the language. We start off by learning the odd single word in a sentence, and by the end of the book there are whole pages in French.

In addition, the story is interwoven with a spy mystery and adventure as Johnny discovers that not all is as it seems in the sleepy French village in the mountains.

“Seldom do we find so happy a combination of charm of
Style, local color, humor and thumping good adventure as is set forth in this tale.” – School Library Journal

Lots of fun! Highly recommended as a read-aloud.