Here in Colorado it’s been quite cold, and I’ve turned to the wisdom of St. Hildegard again and again to nourish my body and my soul this winter in this midst of the pandemic. In the mid 12th century, she shared about the many health benefits of plants that were supportive for natural healing and healthy living. Many of the seeds that she planted back then have flourished today in the field of holistic health and wellness.
Today, we know that spelt is one of the super grains, an ancient cereal grain. It has been grown and eaten around the world for at least 5,000 years. It has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor and is typically easier to digest than wheat given it contains low gluten content. It’s also higher in protein than wheat and rich with many nutrients such as B vitamins, copper, iron, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus. It’s even beneficial for lowering blood cholesterol and regulating blood sugar levels.
St. Hildegard shared about the benefits of spelt long ago and often used it in recipes. She said, “Spelt is the very best grain. It creates a healthy body, good blood and a cheerful disposition.”
What a perfect food to use to warm my kitchen and my body on a cold winter’s day!
In the past, I’ve made St. Hildegard’s Joy Cookies with spelt flour often, but recently I wanted to make a nourishing bread to accompany some soup for dinner so, I decided to venture into baking spelt bread.
Oh, so many choices of recipes there are! But, given the limited time I had that day, I decided on a quick and easy spelt bread without yeast. I adapted the recipe I found to my liking and was very pleased with the results! Delicious!
This bread is a no-rise bread made with baking soda, not yeast. It has a crunchy crust and a soft inside with that slight nutty flavor of spelt, perfect as an accompaniment to soup. Any left-overs can also be toasted for breakfast the next day.
Here’s the recipe I used:
Quick Rustic Spelt Bread
3 cups organic light spelt flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons honey
2 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
2. In a large bowl, combine the honey, oil, and water.
3. Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl and add to the wet ingredients in the large bowl.
4. Mix just until a smooth dough forms.
5. On a lightly floured work surface, gently knead the bread about 3 minutes.
6. Form the dough into a round loaf about 6 inches in diameter.
7. Place it on the baking sheet covered with parchment paper. With a sharp knife, score the top creating a straight line or X shape.
8. Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, about 50 minutes.
9. Let the bread cool for approximately 45 minutes before cutting.
Adapted from a recipe found here.
I hope you have a chance to warm your kitchen and your body one day this winter by baking some nutritious, spelt bread! Enjoy!
If you’re interested in discovering more about the wisdom of St. Hildegard for our modern times, I’ll be offering a course online, Master Your Creativity. I’d love to have you join me. It begins in May and includes 5 modules, one each month. Find out more here.
What a joy it was to see Kamala Harris sworn in as the vice president of the USA! Truly a historic moment.
The little girl in me was singing with joy. I think of how inspiring it is to have other girls in the United States see that their dreams could become a reality in the future too. As Kamala Harris said after the election results were announced, “I may be the first woman to hold this office, but I won’t be the last.”
Oh, how I would have loved to have been witness to such a moment when I was a little girl!
I remember dreaming of being on a stage one day and singing, allowing the power of my voice to reach and inspire others. This idea terrified me, but I still would dream about it!
As I grew older, I held on to my dreams, and I looked out into the world, searching for ways that a young woman could enter, with the strength and power as a woman, and realize her dreams.
I soon discovered that there weren’t very many avenues for women to pursue their dreams. Door after door seemed to be shut. As a young woman in my 20’s, I remember my passion for life and how disappointed I was at this realization.
One particular moment was very dark. So dark that I even wondered if I should go on living.
I’d just returned to New York City after a year of living with the Otomi Indians in Mexico where I had been an active part of a Catholic community. I was completely horrified at what I experienced in the nuns’ attitudes toward the Otomi beliefs. I was enraged at the Catholic Church. How could they be so destructive in the world??
I longed for a place where the role of women and even the divine feminine could be expressed fully in the world. I couldn’t find this or even support for it in the Catholic church. My heart was broken.
It happened to be that just a short time after my return from Mexico, I attended a workshop led by Matthew Fox at the Marble Collegiate Church on 5th Avenue in New York City. He was a Catholic priest and had just written the bestseller book, Original Blessing.
I approached him with demanding questions, fueled with the passion and anger of being a young woman in the world, “What is the deal with the Catholic Church? Why do they teach us to shut down our bodies? To shut down indigenous people? To shut down women? And men also, for that matter? To shut down our creativity?”
Surprisingly, Matthew asked me a question: How do you connect with the Divine?"
“Well,” I said very timidly, “I sing.”
He replied, “Jeannine, you should check out Hildegard of Bingen.”
And so that was the day that my journey with St. Hildegard began. I never would’ve dreamed at that moment in time how important she, as a 12th century woman, would become in my life! My connection to her and all that she manifested in the world has brought such strength and joy in my life over the years. It truly has transformed my life!
I soon learned that St. Hildegard, as a woman in the 12th century, was incredibly courageous as she persevered in sharing her visions with the world. This was unheard of at the time! Women weren’t part of the clergy. Women didn’t preach, speak publicly, or write. Certainly not on topics such as visions from God! And yet, she persevered, mustering her courage, guided by the Divine.
In the following years of my life, inspired by what I learned of St. Hildegard, there was a title wave of creativity that flowed, bringing strength, healing, and joy into my life.
Today, I’m not shy about the fact that I’m a singer. And yes, I have even sung on stage many times! I also have expressed my creativity in many other ways – tap dancing, writing, painting and teaching. All of this has been a vital and beautiful part of my spiritual path and life.
That’s why I’m passionate about sharing with others about the life of St. Hildegard and her teachings of wisdom that can bring inspiration and direction into our lives today.
I’ve gathered some of her most brilliant golden nuggets of wisdom that can help us today and created a course that I’ll be offering in May online, Master Your Creativity. In this 5-module course, inspired by the work of St. Hildegard, we’ll explore the following:
I’d love to have you join me in this course. It begins in May and includes 5 modules, one each month.
I was born in London, England, educated in Switzerland, and am fluent in English, German, Spanish, and French. I hold a Doctorate in Ministry Degree and Masters Degrees in Counseling Psychology and Education. Also, I am an accomplished artist and educator. I use all of this and much more when helping others heal their souls.