17 Apr
2017

I you have not yet, I suggest you read my blog on phytic acid to understand why these foods are worth your consideration.

If the preparation of soaking, and the potential necessity of drying of these foods sounds too overwhelming, there are foods to be bought that will fit what you need!

Sprouted Rice

Its open because we eat it!

While it sounds foreign, it tastes very similar to un-sprouted rice.  My favorite brand, Lundberg, has filled the need for this product with four varieties of rice: Brown Basmati, Tri-Color Blend, Short Brown and Red.  For a little spice and flavor, they have also created four sprouted rice blends: Chili Verde, Korean BBQ, Thai Red Curry and Vegetable Fried Rice

Find all of these varieties at Lucky Vitamin!

 

Soaked and Dried Nuts

With the recent craze in eating all raw foods, it may be hard for you to believe that soaking a drying nuts is not a big no-no.  I can understand your angst, but consider it rooted in incomplete information.  Soaking results in the inactivation of phytic acid, the drying is to make them more edible.  Being dried at low temperature, there is no concern about the nutrition in the nuts being destroyed.

One excellent source of soaked and dried nuts is Wilderness Family Naturals.  They offer a wide variety of nuts ready-to-eat, or buy them raw and prepare them yourself!

 

To Bean or not to Bean

We all know that beans have a reputation for causing gas, and the reason for this is because they are not soaked properly prior to eating.

Unfortunately, proper bean preparation has to occur at home.  Soaking them in an acid medium before cooking will inactivate the phytic acid.  Your digestion will thank you!

Visit my bean blog to find non-GMO beans!

 

Flour

Because we eat so many bread-based foods, replacing regular flour with sprouted flour for baking and cooking use is very important.

There are two brands of sprouted flour that I use regularly and have been very pleased with: King Arthur and One Degree.  They require no special treatment and are used exactly like the flour you are used to using, so there is no added stress!

 

 

I believe that you will find that, as you integrate more of these foods into your diet after being prepared properly, that you will feel more satisfied after eating.  I have also experienced that I eat a smaller quantity of food, and I believe this is because I am receiving more nutrients from the foods I do eat.  This likely plays a factor for those that struggle with constant hunger, over-eating, and excess weight.

11 Apr
2017

Another Ancient Remedy!

I am beginning to believe that the ancient people groups had some sort of wisdom that we need to somehow regain.  Many of the superfoods had their start with the ancient cultures, and wheatgrass is no exception.

Traced back with certainty to Ancient Egypt and possibly Mesopotamia, wheatgrass was used for positive health and vitality.  While they didn’t have the tools then to determine exactly how their choice in foods specifically benefited them like we do today, they certainly knew what to use!

Wheatgrass did not gain popularity in North America until the early-mid 1900’s.  As with all new and exciting health foods, it was a craze in the beginning that has now leveled off somewhat.  But there are still many that use it and extol its benefits.

Wheatgrass is what it is described to be, the grass of the wheat grain.  It is used primarily in the juiced form, but you can eat the grass if you so choose.  It is harvested before the formation of a wheat grain forms, which is where the gluten would be found, so there is no gluten in wheatgrass juice.  Unless you are allergic to wheat, this should not be a problem for gluten sensitivities.

The Benefits are Legit

Wheatgrass, similar to Moringa, is another superfood that provides a wide array of nutrients.  It is a great source of the minerals potassium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium, dietary fiber, the fat soluble vitamins A, C, E and K, and the B-vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and pantothenic acid, . Wheatgrass is also a source of protein in a moderate amount, but the protein content consists of almost all of the amino acids.

Wheatgrass juice

Up to three-quarters of the total amount of wheatgrass juice is chlorophyll.  Chlorophyll is excellent for the health of the blood by cleansing and detoxifying.  Because it provides fat-soluble vitamins and iron, it also improves the quantity of the blood and overall health of the blood cells.  You have probably seen chlorophyll tablets at your local natural foods store, but you will reap the highest benefit from fresh extract.

Anti-oxidant levels in wheatgrass are also high, improving inflammatory states.  With all of the nutrients and anti-oxidant capabilities, look to wheatgrass to help your body cleanse, detoxify and be healthier!

And while wheatgrass and other superfood/nutrient-dense foods do not “cure” diseases like cancer and auto-immune diseases, they do lower inflammation in the body and provide nutrition that we likely don’t get from the every day diet.  Inflammation is one of the leading contributors to these types of diseases, so adding these foods to your diet will improve your body’s capability to prevent disease.

GMO Watch

Wheat

Wheat grain is one of the crops that is over 90% genetically modified, and since wheatgrass is from wheat, your chances of it being GMO are high.  Be sure all of your wheat products of any kind are non-GMO!

So where do I find it?

Visit my blog on growing greens indoors to find non-GMO wheatgrass kits and supplies!

8 Apr
2017

What is phytic acid?

There are four types of foods that contain phytic acid: grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.  For ease of reference, I will refer to these four food groups together as GLNS through the rest of this article.

Adzuki Beans

Also known as phytate when in the form of a salt, it is an amazing mechanism developed by many GLNS’s to store phosphorus.  Phosphorus is important for the germination and growth of the GLNS’s and the continued growth of that sprout to a full-grown plant.

This is a particularly interesting protection mechanism for these little plant precursors.  These little guys are popular food choices for many wild animals, and when consumed, can survive the digestive process and germinate.  Phytic acid is the mechanism by which the GLNS’s protect their source of nutrients so that if they survive digestion, they can go on to grow and establish.

Why should I be concerned about it?

While phytic acid serves an excellent purpose for the GLNS’s that are trying to stay alive, it doesn’t benefit in the same ways.

Ruminant animals such as cows, goats and sheep are able to digest phytic acid because they have a rumen that functions to ferment the food and break it down before completing digestion.  We, however, are not ruminants.

Because we are not ruminants, the foods that we eat that contain phytic acid tend to sit in our stomach undigested.  This can lead to heartburn and acid reflux as the food begins to ferment and rot (lovely, right?).  Eventually it all passes through the system but we repeat the cycle every time we eat food with phytic acid.

Aside from the digestive discomfort, phytic acid is considered an anti-nutrient for three main reasons:

  1. It blocks the absorption of the minerals in the food we eat that contain it,
  2. It binds to other minerals that our bodies need and holds on to them so we cannot absorb them,
  3. It inhibits the digestive enzymes produced by our body to digest the food we eat. (Acid reflux happens here) [1]

Let me clarify here that I am NOT saying that these foods are inherently bad for you!  What I am saying is that they need to be used with intention.  We can glean great nutritional benefit from these foods.

How to eat foods with phytic acid

Phytic acid is neutralized by soaking other acidic foods or fermenting.

An excellent resource to learn how to implement this into your everyday cooking is a book called “With Love From Grandmother’s Kitchen” by Monica Corrado.  This book outlines specific soaking times and mediums for the variety of GLNS’s that you eat.

Fermenting these foods also yields the neutralization of phytic acid, but it takes longer than soaking.

You can also find pre-soaked foods if you feel like the process is too time-consuming.

Pre-packaged grains like noodles can be soaked but I have found that they become mushy when cooked.  The best solution I have found is to cook noodles with apple cider vinegar in a ratio of 1 tablespoon per cup of water, keeping the ratio to the quantity of water you need.

If these things are a part of your life…

If you can relate to any or some of these things, you may need to consider changing your routine with GLNS foods:

  • Take a prescription or over-the-counter antacid frequently or daily
  • Often have heartburn or digestive discomfort such as bloating, slow digestion, or constipation
  • You have allergies to grains, legumes or nuts
  • You have a chronic inflammatory disorder
  • You are constantly hungry, even after having a large meal
  • You eat a lot of carbohydrates
  • You strive to eat a raw food diet and have problems with fatigue, weight gain or tooth de-mineralization (these occur at times with the paleo diet)
  • You suffer from malnutrition-type symptoms but don’t know why
  • You suffer from mood swings or other emotional difficulties

Do these ring a bell?  Then consider purchasing the book I recommended above and integrating the suggestions into your diet.  You will be glad you did!

I have lived with what I thought was a gluten intolerance for many years, and cooked all gluten free.  After I began soaking these foods, I have found that I can eat foods containing gluten.  It has broadened my choices in food and I feel much better for it!

1. Weston A. Price.  Living With Phytic Acid. https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/vegetarianism-and-plant-foods/living-with-phytic-acid/
3 Apr
2017

Find the Plant to Find the Sprout

Sprout blend

Since plants come from sprouts, sprouts have been around for a very long time.  We will probably never know exactly when sprouts first became part of the human diet, but we do have record of sprouts being part of the healing diet of the Ancient Chinese.

Because of their vitamin C content, they were useful during the 1700-1800’s as a preventative for scurvy.  And being easy to grow with just a little water, they were an easy food to maintain on a ship in the vast ocean.

Western countries being a bit slow in adopting the healthy habits of other countries, took an interest in sprouts as a healthy food within the last 40 years or so.  Now sprouts can be found in almost any grocery store, making them accessible nutrition for everyone.

What is a sprout exactly, and why would I eat it?

Sprouts are the baby version of anything that grows from a seed, bean or grain.  These little greens would, if left to grow, become the plant that produces food products.  While the preservationist in us might cry “why kill that plant?”, the truth is that sprouts are little nutrient-packed bites of goodness and there are plenty to go around.

When a seed, bean or grain sprouts, that little green stores up a whole bunch of nutrients in preparation for its
growth into a plant, vitamin C and vitamin A being in the highest concentration.  Consuming sprouts at this stage gives us nutrients in a higher density than we would get from the mature plant or its products.  These sprouts also provide proteolytic enzymes that aid in digestion and, if consumed on an empty stomach, help to decrease inflammation.

Sprouts of just about any food source can be consumed.  You can easily grow sprouts from seeds such as alfalfa, clover, cabbage, chia and broccoli, and beans like adzuki, red, lentil and garbanzo.  This is just a small portion of the seeds and beans that can be sprouted and eaten.  The sky is literally the limit!

Grains can be sprouted as well, and in fact, provide more nutrients in sprouted form.  Read my blog here about why!  Sprouted grains can be used in cereals, salads and other cold preparations, or heated minimally for a hot breakfast cereal.  If dried and ground, they make excellent flour, or can be used whole in baked goods.

Does a Body Good

Sprouts provide vitamins C, A, K, B6, pantothenic acid, thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin; the minerals manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium; and protein and fiber.  The levels of each will vary between species of sprouts, but rest assured that no matter which kind you eat, you will be getting very beneficial nutrients.

GMO Watch

One of the dilemmas we are soon to encounter with the presence of GMO foods is the unplanned propagation of genetically modified genes.  As I talked about it my blog about GMO meat, it has been found that genetically modified genes can and do survive the digestive tract in both animals and humans.

This means that animal waste that is used as fertilizer may very well contain those undigested genes.  That waste is tilled into the ground as fertilizer for plant growth, and may be absorbed by the plants, creating an unintended GMO plant.  This opens up a whole new reality for the propagation of genetically modified foods.

Alfalfa seeds
As seeds go, there are many plants that have been genetically modified besides corn and soybeans: alfalfa, potato, wheat, rice and tomato have also been introduced to the market, probably without your knowledge.  This also begs the question of what else has been introduced that hasn’t been studied that we as consumers do not know about.

For these reasons I suggest purchasing seeds for sprouting that are certified non-GMO.

Find them!

Find my sprouting seeds review blog here to buy non-GMO sprouting seeds and supplies!