Be Not Afraid Of Humble Grains!

Guest Post By Holly Davis

Some lesser known facts about Holly:

  • She was one of the co-founders of Iku, Australia’s first ever truly wholefood eating establishment; her share in which she has since sold.
  • On her way to live in Australia in 1982, she stopped in Japan to study at the school of macrobiotic philosophy and cooking – they taught only in Japanese, a language that Holly didn’t speak a word of, but she stayed nonetheless.
  • She is the author of ‘Nourish’ and is working on her next book.

In 2006 I ate my very first Iku meal (in Neutral Bay, NSW) and commented to my husband that I would love to meet the person who created the concept. It was one of those serendipitous events, when in 2010, whilst completing my Chef training in Perth, that I learnt Holly was going to be our teacher on the lacto-fermentation and sourdough baking modules.

She was there to witness the making of my first ever sourdough loaf, something that had been on my foodie bucket list! (And I have the photo to prove it.)

Besides being an extremely talented teacher and chef, Holly’s knowledge is extensive and she inspired me to look at food differently. Kim Chi, kombucha and kefir had never been sexier and little did I know what gems lay within the treasure chest that is sourdough baking.

For information on Holly’s classes go to

 holly davis

When it comes to ‘food’ I am an advocate for everything!

Everything that is, that is ‘food’, everything that is appropriate to ones current state of health, and everything prepared for optimum nourishment, enjoyment and digestibility.

‘No grain’ diets are on the rise, thousands of people now follow gluten free or grain free diets. In certain circumstances this way of eating can be incredibly therapeutic and definitely just as delicious, but for the discerning well folk, eliminating grains altogether forever, is not I think, the answer to continued overall great health and happiness.

We are designed to eat a wide range of food groups and foods but we now need to discern which foods on offer are actually food and which are highly refined products that can be eaten but that contain substances our bodies do not recognize and cannot utilize as food.

Traditional whole grains are food. There are currently many people suffering intolerances to grains and for those folk there is a need to reduce or eliminate grain altogether; while they heal and restore their digestive health.

As I sit and write this I am eating breakfast (I know and teach that eating is best done on its own but then I too am a member of the busy human race team). I am typing and chewing on the world’s most delicious bread, a handmade, sourdough wheat roll, dense and chewy. It is slathered in herb and garlic labne with smoky eggplant and extra virgin olive oil dip; I am still chewing. This bread is made from ancient strains of wheat organically grown, stopping for a refill of labne and eggplant, still chewing, just!

I teach wholefood cooking classes, that is, whole ‘food’ and I am passionate about the restorative power and value of making and eating lacto fermented foods.

When whole grains are properly prepared and well chewed, they are delicious, nourishing and digestible. Digestion of carbohydrates begins in the mouth; the more you chew the easier it is for your body to digest and utilize these foods.

The labne on my roll provides a range of valuable live enzymes and beneficial bacteria; to further aid digestion of the roll. The eggplant is there for delectability. The fats slow the absorption of the sugars down so that I should not feel hungry until lunchtime. Fats also trigger the body’s satiety response. I have had a fabulously enjoyable breakfast that leaves me well nourished and satisfied and it was based on wheaten bread.

Whole grains can be a delight to eat or an abomination. Which, depends entirely on the quality of the grain and how it has been prepared. Ancient wisdom teaches us that soaking grains in an acidic medium transforms them into more digestible nourishing foods. The acidic medium may vary but the best for wheat and its relatives is the addition of a naturally fermented (lacto fermented) culture, aka a leaven or sourdough starter.)

I discuss the best preparation methods and the ‘what why and how’ in all my classes but my baking courses provide an in depth look at leaven. Come and learn how to make your own leaven and how to use it to create irresistible, nutrient rich, pancakes, porridges, breads, cakes, pastries, biscuits and more. Naturally leavened cakes, made with all food ingredients look and taste divine, no one need ever know, they do not have the taste of sourdough.

Beautifully active rye leaven

For information on Holly’s classes go to

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