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!

9 Nov
2016

 

Moringa is the Superfood of Superfoods

There are many superfoods available for you to add to your smoothies, but one in particular that I would highlight would be moringa.  It is one of the most powerful superfoods in nature, containing high levels of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, including all 9 essential amino acids that must be obtained in the diet.  It also has significant levels of vitamins A, C and E, calcium and potassium.  Moringa provides significant levels of anti-oxidants that help to reduce inflammation and pain.  You will have difficulty finding any other superfood that meets the nutrient density of this plant.  In fact, if your budget is constrained, this is one green superfood that I would add above all other because its’ nutrient profile is so complete.kalamunggay_moringa_oleifera

Moringa was a power food for the ancient Greeks and Romans. cultures that were known for their great fighting men.  The tree is native to parts of Africa and Asia, and its leaves have been used medicinally and as a food source for over 4,000 years.

The moringa tree is easy to grow and grows rapidly is varying conditions, which has made it an economic booster for many impoverished countries that have difficulty cultivating other crops.  The leaves can be eaten fresh to add a radish-like flavor to salads or greens.  Most commonly they are dried to preserve them and make them more available to the public.

You can find Organic India Moringa Leaf Powder  and a capsulated Moringa supplement on Amazon if you are not a regular smoothie consumer.  Grab this while you are shopping for your Tulsi tea and feel good about what you are giving your body!

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Visit Organic Merchants and see what they have!

If you are looking to shop for Moringa and your other superfoods, grains and baking needs, you get Free Shipping over $50 at Organic Merchants.  Make a one-stop-shop!

Thrive Market is a great place to find Organic India Moringa capsules and other products.  They are also a one-stop-shop for a larger variety of foods that are Non-GMO Project Verified.

 

And don’t forget to leave a comment with your moringa success story!

29 Oct
2016

Why make kelp a part of your diet?

csiro_scienceimage_905_undaria_pinnatifida_japanese_kelpKelp is a brown or green algae that grows in the shallow reefs of warm ocean waters.  It is a great natural source of iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, vitamins A, B-12, B-6, and C, enzymes and fiber.  Most notably, it contains good levels of iodine to support thyroid function and maintain a healthy basal metabolism.  Kelp can be eaten raw or cooked, prepared in many different ways.

If the idea of consuming kelp is not appetizing, Vital Choice has created kelp cubes that can be added to soups and other foods to minimize the potential taste factor.  Along with kelp, you will also find on Vital Choice Wakami Seaweed Salad, designed to compliment your seafood dishes or eat it plain.  Click on the “Shop” tab and find them under “Organic Food and Seasonings.”

Both products will give your health a boost, and both products receive 5-starsreviews from customers!

19 Oct
2016

What is a superfood?

Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods that are highly beneficial for your health.  You have probably heard of acai, matcha and wheatgrass?  Those along with many others fall under the category of superfood.  The thing that I find fascinating about superfoods is that they are all unique in the specific nutrients they provide.  So you can add more than one superfood to your diet and reap many different benefits.

The best place I have found to buy superfoods is Organic Merchants.  I contacted the company directly to confirm their non-GMO status and they hold non-GMO certificates for all of their products so they can be trusted to indeed provide non-GMO foods.

The list of superfoods is LONG and very impressive, and includes the following:
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  • Acia Juice Powder
  • Alfalfa Grass Powder
  • Amla Fruit Powder
  • Apple Juice Powder
  • Ashwaganda Powder
  • Banana Juice Powder
  • Barley Grass Juice Powder
  • Beet Root Juice Powder
  • Blackberry Juice Powder
  • Black Currant Juice Powder
  • Blueberry Juice Powder
  • Brown Rice Protein Powder
  • Camu Camu Powder
  • Carob Powder
  • Cha De Bugre Powder
  • Chlorella Powder
  • Coconut Juice Powder
  • Plus 28 more!!

I really love the fact that you can get so much variety from their superfood list.  It is important to eat a variety of foods and this makes that possible, and it prevents boredom with the “same old smoothie” routine.  I have no doubt these products will help anyone achieve better health.

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