Cooking Demonstration at Catawba College’s Center for the Environment

12/08/15 by Guest Writer

By Hannah Davis

“There’s no way you can be a foodie and not love mason jars,” Dr. Chris Nagy said.

Dr. Chris Magryta, Nicole Magryta and Dr. Chris Nagy’s second forum this month at the Center for the Environment at Catawba College focused on simplistic health food “life hacks” that the audience could easily implement into their daily lives for a healthier gut.

Nagy started off the event by showing the audience how to make kefir. Kefir is basically a form of fermented milk – created by mixing kefir grains with regular whole milk. According to Nagy, “fermentation is the traditional way of preserving food” and fermented foods are necessary for a good gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms in the human body. He then began cutting up some cabbage and other fresh vegetables for homemade sauerkraut.  

Ghee – or clarified butter – was the next food item demonstrated at the talk. Chris Magryta showed the audience live footage of the butter melting in a pot on the stage from a Go-Pro projecting on a screen behind the speakers. The audience watched as the casein (the main protein in milk) began to rise to the top and the butter started to bubble and crack like popcorn. Magryta said that ghee “takes the bad protein out of butter” and leaves a vitamin- and nutrient-rich substitute. He also said that removing the casein from the butter helps those with sensitivity to dairy that still crave the taste of butter. 

Next, Nicole Magryta discussed and demonstrated the wonders of bone broths. Nicole said that a bone broth is “taking everything good from the animal and condensing it down” into a form that our bodies can easily process. One of the big benefits in making a bone broth from all parts of an animal is that the broth will be high in collagen – a main component of human tissues and skin cells. Nicole also said that an animal bone is “about 50 percent minerals” such as calcium, magnesium and sodium. However, Nicole Magryta’s disclaimer about bone broths was that the most important thing is to know you are using a “good animal” from a good source – usually organic and free of hormones and antibiotic usage.

The event ended with two different types of drinks. First Nicole Magryta made the audience what she calls her “alternative to coffee.” This drink consists mostly of matcha – a type of powered green tea grown mostly in Japan. In her matcha-coffee substitute she likes to add coconut milk, cinnamon, vanilla and raw honey to taste and then about ¼ teaspoon of turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Then, Nagy ended the night showing off his final fermented product – kombucha. Kombucha is a type of fermented sweet tea using a SCOBY – a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Although a Scoby looks a bit like a jellyfish floating atop the brackish tea, it actually takes most of the sugar out of the tea and transforms it into a slightly sour liquid full of probiotics, live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. 

Go back