February 8th, 2012Grains, Nuts and Seeds
By: Yvonne L. Salcido MH
Growing up on the American diet most of us aren’t aware of the best way to prepare grains, nuts and seeds so our bodies can utilize the nutrients. We grew up thinking white flour bread was beautiful and delicious, nothing could be better, especially home baked bread. Today many have evolved to think whole wheat bread is the best option and who can deny that hot, homemade, whole wheat bread, fresh out of the oven tastes great? But this reminds me how Dr. Christopher taught that you can’t expect to grind wheat to face powder, cook it at high temperatures and think it will rebuild and nourish the body. “Dead food begets death.” Live foods give life! Proper preparation will nourish and rebuild our bodies.
Whole grains that have been processed at high temperatures are extremely toxic. Are there any puffed grains or flat flakes in your whole grain breakfast cereal? These are not only void of nutrients but hard to digest. These highly processed whole grains also affect the blood sugar and destroy the enzyme phytase that aids in the breaking down of phytic acid.
Nature has placed phytic acid in the bran of whole grains and also enzyme inhibitors to protect grains for long time storage. If the grains are not pre-soaked or fermented before consumption the phytic acid combines with other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc and inhibits their assimilation in the body, which can lead to mineral deficiencies and eventual bone loss.
Sprouting, overnight soaking and fermenting the grains helps to neutralize nature’s protection of phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. This in essence starts the digestive process giving us the ability to properly break down the grains, nuts, and seeds making it possible for our bodies to receive the minerals and nutrition within them. Soaking seeds in warm water also promotes growth of the beneficial enzymes which increase vitamin and mineral content, favorably B vitamins.
Gluten is a protein in grains that is hard to digest. It taxes the digestive system. Those grains containing gluten; barley, oats, rye, and wheat should especially be sprouted, soaked, or fermented. Currently numerous people have allergies to grains, nuts, and seeds but with the proper preparation of these foods many have tolerated them just fine.
Throughout history previous cultures sprouted, soaked, and fermented grains, nuts and seeds. An example of this is in the Old Testament when “pulse” was eaten by Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. This gave them amazing health benefits.
Some cultural examples of historic grain preparation include: Mexican pozol (corn cakes) which are fermented for a few days and can be for up to two weeks using banana leaves. When making injera (bread) Ethiopians fermented teff (grain) for several days. Oriental and Latin American countries fermented rice before using. In India idili (rice and lentils) fermented for two days or longer. African corn was soaked overnight before adding it to dishes. They also used millet or corn to make a sour porridge. In Europe, grains were soaked overnight or longer before serving as cereal or porridge and their bread was made from sourdough starters. American pioneers also made sourdough breads and the Welsh soured a porridge made from oats.
There are many books available on sprouting for the different grains, nuts and seeds. It is best to soak grains and the larger nuts and seeds for at least 24 hours or more. To ferment them use lemon juice or a good apple cider vinegar from the health food store that contains the friendly flora or “mother”. A little in the soaking water will suffice. (see recipe below)
I have witnessed in my own health and others how these simple changes in our food preparation will improve your health. Increased energy and vitality will be yours!
Yvonne Lunt Salcido is a Student Advisor for and a Master Herbalist Graduate of the School of Natural Healing. She is a current student at Utah Valley University majoring in Health and Wellness Education.