Dr. Kousmine Was Definitely Onto Something

Have you heard of Doctor Kousmine?

Let me tell you all about her.

Dr. Catherine Kousmine was born in Russia in 1904. She was one of the first doctors to be utterly intrigued by the role food plays in human health. Budwig cream, which is her take on muesli cereal and a hearty and refreshing breakfast is one of her claims to fame. Budwig cream is typically composed of fresh lemon juice, a grain/nut/seed blend (millet, flax seeds, sesame seeds, almonds), a ripe banana, vegetable oil, yoghurt and any other fruit.

This breakfast came to be during the war, as Dre. Kousmine observed that the price of most all foods had gone up – except that of oil. Intrigued, she tried to find out why. During her visit to the oileries, she discovered that the extraction methods employed for making oil had been modified. To increase yield from a same amount of grain, industries were allowed to carry out extraction after a heating process. Upon comparing it with the oil extraction processes she had observed at the beginning of the century, Dr. Cousmine saw this system as an epic fail. She therefore chose to study the impact of this heating process and discovered that heating the oil decreased presence of essential fats within it and that consumption thereof negatively altered the seal of intestinal cell membranes, leading to increased permeability. When intestines let infectious agents cross into the body, the liver must receive these and destroy them.

As a solution, Dr. Cousmine proposed that resistance of intestinal cell membranes be increased as these constitute the first line of defence in the human body. She then went on a quest to find oil producers who had stuck to traditional methods, and made it her personal mission to spread the word about how detrimental transformed vegetable oils (i.e. margarines) were for health, claiming they were artificial and even dangerous for health.

She then set out to tweak the famous Swiss breakfast “muesli” and adapted it as per her scientific findings in the field of nutrition. She called it the “Budwig” cream in honour of Johanna Budwig, a pharmacist who had also worked extensively on oils and margarines.

On the topic of heating and transforming oils, fried foods and margarine are known triggers for irritable bowel syndrome. They can cause your colon to contract violently and inefficiently, which can lead to abdominal pain and diarrhea. For example, margarine is obtained by heating and partially hydrogenating (adding hydrogen molecules to) canola and soybean oil and can lead to digestive upset. Moreover, oils that are used to make margarine are oft high in omega-6, which is a pro-inflammatory fat. A growing body of evidence is suggesting that overconsumption of omega-6 requires attention as it may be linked to heart disease, cancer, asthma, inflammation, depression and other ailments. If you have irritable bowel syndrome, and even if you don’t, I recommend avoiding margarine and avoid heating oils that do not tolerate heat well. Safflower, sunflower, canola, corn, grapeseed, peanut, almond, avocado and refined olive oils are best for cooking at high heat as they have higher smoke points (points at which the oil starts to break down and burn).

Without further ado, I give you this recipe for Budwig Cream in honour of Dr. Catherine Kousmine.

photo 4 (12)

Budwig Cream

Ingredients:

  • Budwig cream mix (millet, flaxseed, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 4 tsp. organic yoghurt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Honey, to taste
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 fruit of your choice (I used a peach)

Instructions:

  1. Grind 4 tsp. of Budwig cream mix.
  2. In a small bowl, mix ground Budwig cream mix, olive oil, yoghurt, lemon, banana and fruit (ex. 1 peach).
  3. Enjoy for breakfast or as a hearty snack.

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