I have often seen patients who become sensitive to high quality foods. One of the reasons for this is that the foods are improperly prepared. Food preparation is one of the keys to eating healthy.
GRAINS, NUTS & SEEDS The two easiest ways to increase the nutritional value of grains, nuts and seeds is through sprouting or soaking. There are enzymes within these foods that prevent them from sprouting. They also prevent the release of important nutrients. Usually all that is required to deactivate the enzymes is water. After learning the very simple techniques below, try the nuts and seeds in salads, sandwiches, vegetable dishes, as a breakfast cereal, and as additions to breads and baked goods. Sprouted grains should be eaten lightly steamed or added to soups or casseroles.
SPROUTING GRAINS & SEEDS Use a mason jar with a screen insert. Fill the jar one third of the way with seeds or grains. Fill the remainder of the jar with filtered water and let stand overnight. The next morning, rinse the seeds well. Invert the jar and let it sit at an angle so that it can drain, and allow air to circulate. The seeds should be rinsed every few hours, or at least twice per day. In one to four days the sprouts will be ready. Rinse well. Remove excess moisture and place the now sealed jar in the refrigerator.
Almost any grain or seed can be sprouted. Flax and oat seeds however, are difficult. Also, it has been discovered that sprouted alfalfa can lead to chronic inflammatory conditions. One should avoid this sprout. Sprouts may be eaten regularly but not daily. They contain certain irritating substances that prevent animals from eating their roots. The old adage applies, “too much of anything can be bad”.
SOAKING GRAINS & NUTS Place the grains or nuts (beans should be soaked as well) in a large bowl. Add water and either a teaspoon of whey or a tablespoon of lemon juice. Make sure that the water level is 1/3 higher than the level of the grains. Place a clean towel or cheesecloth over the top of the bowl. Soak for 12-24 hours. This solution will soon become acidic. The acidic medium neutralizes phytates (mineral blocking agents) and begins the breakdown of carbohydrates, which allows you to obtain optimum nourishment from grains. It also provides lactic acid to the intestinal tract to facilitate mineral uptake. After 12-24 hours, drain the water, rinse thoroughly and prepare according to any recipe. You will notice a pleasant difference the next time you decide to make black bean soup – no socially unacceptable side effects.
GRAIN MILLS Since our daughter Alyssa began eating solid foods my wife and I have been searching for the best foods we could find. As all parents know, kids love bread. However, we were displeased with the quality of bread sold in the stores. The few nutritionally acceptable breads we found cost between $3 and $5 per loaf. This adds up with a growing family. We were willing to purchase the more expensive breads, but even they are somewhat processed. This means that certain ingredients are either added (preservatives) or removed (oils and fiber). Our solution was to invest in a grain mill. This small, yet powerful devise crushes any hard grain into fine flour in just a few seconds. Since buying our mill we no longer buy bread in the store – we don’t even want it. What a difference fresh ingredients make!
There are many machines on the market. We chose one called the Whisper Mill, which comes with a lifetime guarantee. It gets its name from the fact that it is several times quieter than its competitors. The good ones cost around $230. The investment may sound like a lot, but when you do the math, it pays for itself rather quickly. Additionally, you will find that the health and taste benefits far outweigh the cost.
The decision to purchase a grain mill comes with a few other requirements. Namely, you must buy and store grains. The grains themselves are very inexpensive. It is the shipping charges that can add up. Thankfully, there are distributors or co-ops in nearly every state. They put together a network of grain buyers, make a large order and then divide it up. As for storing grain, most types can sit in a sealed container for many years.
From start to finish, a loaf of the healthiest fresh bread can be made for about $0.50. There are many different ways to prepare bread. You can make a loaf in about 80 minutes with a simple bread machine, or make large batches of dough at one time. Dough can be tightly wrapped and frozen for future use. For those who are interested, I have put some numbers and websites in the resources section.
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