Welcome to day twenty five of my 30 Days of Ayurveda series! Throughout these blogs and videos, I will be sharing some upbeat thoughts and wellness tips, as well as some Ayurvedic tricks and food recommendations to help you lead a balanced life.
At the beginning of lockdown, I embarked on creating a wonderful sourdough starter. This is where you cultivate yeast so it can be used for baking. To do this, simply feed the starter with fresh flour and water across several days until it becomes frothy and billowy, and therefore ready to be used. I have been enjoying baking regularly with it ever since!
My family affectionately named my sourdough starter Billy, but it certainly isn’t ‘Billy-No-Mates’! Millions of yeast and bacteria are constantly growing in there, digesting all of the different grains and flours that I keep feeding it. The starter keeps growing so we can keep producing all these wonderful baked goods.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, we really like sourdough.
This is because the grains (as well as the starches and proteins within the grains) are being broken down already by the bacteria and yeast. This means that when we come to eat sourdough bread, our digestive system has less work to do.
Sourdough from an Ayurvedic Perspective
According to Ayurveda, sourdough is heating (and obviously sour) in its nature because of the fermentation process it undergoes. Sour taste (also known as amla) is predominately composed of the Earth and Fire elements. It helps to promote stomach acid, while its foods are usually high in acids with strong antioxidant activity. Sour foods, such as sourdough, also boost cellular health and can cause the death of malignant cells and bacteria.
Sourdough is very different from bread that has been made with quick acting yeast.
Quite often when I am talking to clients, I recommend they cut back on the amount of bread that they eat with quick acting yeast. Often, they can be extremely hard to break down and digest, and rarely achieve a level of digestive comfort. Instead, there is digestive discomfort that goes along with eating breads with quick acting yeast.
Eating Sourdough in Moderation
Sourdough, on the other hand, is very different because of its fermentation process. However, if you are making your sourdough goodies with lots of wheat, remember that wheat is still wheat! While it is very nourishing and has lots of great properties, too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing, so it is all about enjoying wheat in moderation.
There are lots of wonderful sourdough bakeries that I can recommend.
Local Bakery Recommendations
Bread Source (@bread_source) make simple, honest produce using traditional techniques and high-quality ingredients. You can find them in Norwich and Aylsham, as well as at countless markets across Norfolk. I also recommend The Real Orange Bakery (@therealorangebakery) in Watlington and Two Magpies Bakery (@2magpiesbakery) in Norwich, Southwold, Darsham and Aldeburgh. The latter make delicious sourdough pizzas as well as the traditional bread!
Over the next 30 days, I will be sharing even more tips and tricks to help you build some great Ayurvedic routines. Hopefully, they will soon be imbedded in your life and you can progress with them. Be sure to let me know how you’re getting on, and why not if you have a name for your sourdough starter? Find me on Instagram @anneheigham and on YouTube.