Simplifying nutrition and using food as medicine - one bite at a time.

My goal with this blog is to set folks straight about what good nutrition really is! Starting by discarding the info we get every day from 'sponsors' that do not really have our best interests at heart, I want to inspire you to eat better AND realize it is much easier than you thought it would be!

Just about any health issues can be addressed with nutrition (and meditation), from mild to chronic to acute. We truly have the ability to heal ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually...

And you can use your daily routine as your vehicle to drive that change :)


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Quote of the Month

"When food, in the minds of eaters, is no longer associated with farming and with the land, then the eaters are suffering a kind of cultural amnesia that is misleading and dangerous"
~Wendell Berry

Monday, December 28, 2009

To Soak or Not To Soak

Have you ever noticed anyone soaking their beans for several hours before cooking them? Or perhaps fermenting their flour into sourdough?


Phytic Acid and other ‘anti-nutrients’ present in grains, beans and nuts…

Looking back in history, traditional peoples from all around the world were fermenting, soaking, or sprouting their grains, legumes and nuts/seeds. They somehow inherently knew that these foods required these techniques to break down ‘anti-nutrients’, such as phytic acid, creating better mineral absorption and other nutrient content as well increasing enzymes. It also creates a more alkaline product (we all seem to need more alkalinity these days!)

It’s amazing how traditional wisdom can be so easily overlooked! And our modern fast-paced diets, without these principles, are taking a toll on our health with a huge increase in food allergies, digestive/intestinal problems, immune deficiencies, etc.

Science now shows:

• Phytic acid present in most grain and beans and nuts and seeds binds with calcium, zinc, magnesium and iron (rendering these nutrients almost impossible to absorb). Soaking them will neutralise the phytic acid and allow for optimal absorption of these critical nutrients.

• ‘Enzyme inhibitors’ are also neutralised with soaking, not only increasing vitamin content, but dramatically increasing enzyme content.

• Gluten and other hard to digest proteins are broken down, making for easy digestion. *Rye, Barley, Wheat, Kamut and Spelt and most oat products contain gluten.

Using this technique:

• Soak grains at least 7 hours before use, ideally in an acidic medium (e.g. a dash of apple cider vinegar, a squeeze of lemon or tsp. of yogourt) or just water.

• Buy or make whole grain sourdough breads, as they have undergone full fermentation of the dough. *Yeast fermentation does not do the same.

• Ingesting sprouted grains and legumes:

o Immerse in grain/legume in jar about 1/3 full

o Fill with water to top overnight

o Pour off water, store away from direct light

o Rinse out with water twice a day until ¼ inch sprouts appear (1 to 4 days depending on type)

> Can be used in soups, eaten raw or mashed into dough to make bread.

• Soak nuts overnight, drain and then place in oven on lowest possible setting (pilot light for gas or 150 F electric) or, even better, a dehydrator to dry out (up to 12+ hours) for longer storage, better crunch and taste.

Oxalic Acid

This is found primarily in leafy green vegetables such as chard, spinach, beet greens, mustard greens. It binds with calcium and iron and inhibits their absorption. Lightly steaming is enough to neutralize the oxalic acid found within.

Summary

So, please do your best to get into the habit of at least soaking to ensure better absorption for you and your loved ones. Eventually almost everyone will have problems over time without this vital step in the kitchen.
Don’t rely on commercial kitchens/restaurants/delis to 'prepare' their grains/legumes/nuts & seeds. Some do it, but most don’t, as it takes more planning and many are just plain unaware of the importance of it (just as many of us were). Unfortunately, it seems to no longer be a piece of wisdom we naturally inherit from our parents. Times have changed, and we are undoubtedly evolving, but we cannot evolve as fast as our food has been in the past century. We need to take a step back, for the sake of our health and that of our children’s, and realize that some customs are not meant to be ‘lost in translation’.

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