So the consensuses seem to think that a diet rich in whole grains is somehow debilitating to one’s health to the point of near fatality? Okay, while some of the population agrees with this statement, there are still those of us that harbor different viewpoints and just love our grains once in a really great while and cannot fathom the notion of giving up those oh-so-yummy blueberry muffins, straight- out –of- the- oven rye bread topped with honey butter or the occasional bowl of oatmeal raisin porridge topped with nuts and jelly on a cold winter’s day. So what is one to do? For the once- in- a- while whole grain treat, consider fermenting, soaking and sprouting your grains before baking and/or cooking and go to town with your favourite healthy whole grain snacks while knowing that you’ve done all the best to keep your grainys healthy and well -preserved before entering your body. Eating grains is something you don’t have to give up, and unless you have been diagnosed with Calic or some other anti-grain illness, removing grains as part of a healthy diet seems absurdly unnecessary; if not downright cruel unless of course one were to absolutely detest the existence and sight of such a food. So if grain free isn’t your cup of tea, remember everything in moderation and the methods you can use to make grains “healthier” and more “consumable” for overall optimal health. In addition, these methods when executed properly can actually promote good health, promoting further opportunity for best body healthy results in a grain inclusive diet.
Method #1: Soaking (Oats, Barely and Millet Porridge and Oatmeal)……
When thinking back to ancient times, many of us human species have come to depend on grains for profit, sustenance, energy and abundance. Many farmers who worked the fields in pre-modern grocery store eras have fared well by tending to crops full of wheat, barely, oat and other grains as well as seeds and livestock for healthy living. How they did it was to allow a soak for days at a time, which softens the grain immensely resulting in enzyme inhibition. The result, according to Mark Scisson, when followed up with cooking weakens the enzyme structure improving overall digestion. In ancient and pre-industrial times it is estimated the average family soaked their grains an average of 4-7 days but in modern times a minimum of 1 and total of 2 seems reasonable. In addition to enzyme breakdown soaking grains allows you opportunity to slowly remove a vast percentage of nasty lecithins from the grain and enhancing opportunities for more nutritional and mineral benefit. However, select grains such as Oat, Barely and Millet (grains known to have a lower gluten content) are optimal for this method. For heartier grains like wheat and brown rice, it may be wise to consider using methods of fermentation to get the job done. Once the process of soaking has been completed, the next step of the grain prep process is to sprout the grain so as to ensure the detoxifying continues.
Method 2: Sprouting……
After a period of several days immersed in liquid, you will start to see your grains bud or sprout. This is normal, and should be seen as a regular part of the grain prep routine. By sprouting your grains, you are further hindering the toxicity of whole grains by removing most or if you’re lucky, all of the gluten and anti-nutrients that harmful when consumed in their pre-soak state. This method is most recommended for grains other than wheat, as Mark Scisson cautions, there is always some residual lectins that may need further processing in order to be considered consumable. This is where fermentation helps as we see as the third and final step to the grain prep process.
Method #3: Fermenting (Wheat and other high gluten grains)
Generally the wheatier the grain, the more opportunity needed to ferment beyond the sprouting stage. This is because grains containing a high amount of Gluten are extremely hard to get rid of and next to Lecithin, is the most blamed anti-nutrient in the whole food grain chain for such health issues as Celic Diseases and Autoimmune Disorders. Despite this, research has been shown in the past to scientifically prove that these foods can and do provide some significant health benefits if prepared right, as demonstrated by other countries and areas in the US (Flight and Clifton, 2006, Hardin 2011, and Cheng, Witte and Richardson, 2000) through research and study. Plus, a healthy tuna sandwich made with whole wheat bread just tastes good over a salad any day of the week. So, with that said, be sure to ferment your whole wheat flour by soaking and sitting it for longer periods just before baking the bread from good old American scratch. Not only will you notice a difference in the taste from store bought brands, but the time you take in preparing this dish is well worth the effort because you are preserving your own health and well- being in the long run. In addition, no preservatives, stabilizers or additives added to your homemade wheat bread which is a definite plus in reference to health and nutrition!
A grain free diet, while proven to be healthy, is not a complete requirement unless there is no desire to consume in the first place. With that being said, in order to reap the benefits of a grain inclusive diet one must ensure the proper steps are taken with grains in order to ensure optimal condition for consumption by way of soaking, sprouting and if needed, fermenting. By practicing these 3 steps, you are ensuring you are following proper procedures for detoxification of grains while encouraging optimal health and wellness while eating all your favourite grains. And that is something we grain eaters can feel good about.
Go grains, go!!!
Flight, I., and Clifton, P. 2006. Cereal Grains and Legumes in the prevention of coronary heart disease and stroke. A review of the literature. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 60:1145-1159.
Hardin, Jill, Cheng, Iona, and Witte, John S. 2011. Impact of consumption of vegetable, fruit, grain and high glycemic index foods on aggressive prostate cancer risk. Nutrition and Cancer. (63) 6: 860-872.
Richardson, David P. The grain, the wholegrain and nothing but the grain: the science behind wholegrain and the reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. 2000. British Nutrition Foundation Nutrition Bulletin. 25:253-360.
Mark’s Daily Apple:
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