Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Importance of Soaking Grains, Nuts and Seeds

There's a lot of talk lately about eating whole grains and that's good...a step in the right direction away from super refined flour and grains the "white stuff" but along with that admonition should be careful instructions about how to prepare those whole grains and soaking should be the number one priority.  Why?   Well it has to do with a chemical that is on most all plant "embryos"  in other words, seeds, nuts and grains.  It is phytic acid which is strong enough to taste on some seeds and not so obvious on others.  Phytic acid is a plant defense mechanism.  The plant wants it's seeds to become more plants and so this is a protection.  If the animal doesn't like the taste and won't come back for more it is in the plant's best interest.  Phytic acid will bind the minerals and vitamins in the seeds and grains so that the animal gets very little nutrition out of it especially if it goes through the digestive system of the animal quickly and that is also in the plant's interest especially  if the seed is eliminated whole in the feces  it has a good chance of sprouting into the intended plant.  For humans, phytic acid is a nutrition blocker in other words when ingested, it binds or blocks the calcium, magnesium potassium selenium and other nutrients so they do not get absorbed into the intestinal wall and into blood stream.   To get around phytic acid's nutrition blocking ability, the grains, nuts and seeds must be soaked; soaked  in just plain water for at least 8 hours. Water and other liquids neutralize phytic acid with enough time and it is not necessary to change the water after soaking.

Pictured above is a sample of my morning breakfast cereal of amaranth, quinoa, chia and whole flax seeds.  I take a cup of this dry mixture and soak it in a quart jar with 3 cups water overnight.   I cook all of it up the next morning and use only a portion of it for that mornings breakfast and put the rest of the cereal away in a container in the fridge.  I heat it up other mornings.
My husband likes a combination of rolled oats, spelt, flaxseed meal and chia seeds.  I use 1/3 cup of this dry mixture and soak it with a cup of water the night before.   He cooks it up the next morning and flavors it how he likes it.
I soak all my grain before cooking, even brown rice which has low levels of phytic acid.  There are other benefits of soaking grains the primary one is that the starches in the grains start changing, softening so to speak and turning into sugars which are easier to digest than straight starch.
I soak my raw almonds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.  Many people find that eating raw walnuts is distasteful for them.  This is because the phytic acid on walnuts is strong and some people are affected by it.  So, soaking for a couple days then draining off the water and drying the nuts on paper towels neutralized the offending chemical and they can eat and get the many benefits of walnuts.

Bread can be very toxic to people.  Which is a shame because bread should be nutritious and comforting.   Commercial bread even those with combination of whole grains are probably not nourishing people as much as they could be if the bakers took the time to soak the grain and the flour made from grain.  But time is money and producing a tasty loaf of bread quickly means more profits.  Ignorance of the importance of soaking is also a factor.  Another injury to bread is the use of quick-rise yeasts.   They were invented in 1984 to boost the industry.  Quick rise yeasts do exactly that.....make the bread rise faster without allowing the necessary time for the dough to slowly rise as with old fashioned or natural or sourdough yeasts.  The old way with natural yeasts require a good 6-9 hours to rise and that is enough time to neutralized the phytic acid in the flour and grain and allow the natural yeasts to begin the process of breaking down the starches and deconstructing the proteins ( like gluten) that are giving so many people problems now. If the bread baker wants to continue using  quick-rise yeasts, at least combine all the flour to be used with all the liquid in the recipe and the salt and other ingredients and allow that dough to set for 8 hours or more and then add yeast last.   Bread can be nutritious again if the flour is allowed to soak at least 8 hours first in a starter with natural yeasts.

Grains and bread can be more nutritious and not so toxic if the homemaker will think ahead and allow enough time for the flour and grains to soak in water or milk or other nutritious liquids.  Using a natural yeast starter for bread instead of quick-rise yeasts will greatly enhance the digestibility and nutrition of this universal comfort food.
Just found out that cocoa powder has lots of phytic acid and needs to be soaked for at least 8 hours before baking.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Flu; Without Drugs or Antibiotics

I'm 67 yrs old and it took me 5 weeks to heal from the flu.  It's been a nasty winter season for humans but a good one for the flu virus.  I was determined to face this enemy without vaccine, over-the-counter drugs or antibiotics.  The result?   I was miserable.  I thought my immune system was better than that and I thought I could do effective battle with the "beast"  with only my essential oils, MMS, vit. C,  lots of rest, good supplements, warm teas with lemon juice and honey, gargling with Thieves mouthwash and saline water nasal rinsing and silver solution nasal spray.   I look back on it now and I really didn't know what I was doing most of the time because I was so "out-of-it".
Fortunate for me, I am recently retired and did not "have " to go to work....teaching school (like the last time I was this sick with flu, winter of '09) so I did have the time to doctor myself.   My husband worked everyday otherwise he could have helped me more, but I was so sick that I just forgot to do things for myself and I didn't get as much rest as I probably needed.  It's tough being both patient and nurse.

I caught this virus the end of November 2012 when it peaked, according to the newspaper and I still don't know who or how I caught it.  I'm not around young adults anymore, so I just don't know how.  I didn't get the vaccine, never will get it as I don't believe in vaccines anymore.  My adventure started with slight headache, when I bent over, and slight heaviness in the back of my sinuses.  Once I felt that, I knew I was in-for-it.  I started to put drops of essential oils (the Young Living ones) under my tongue and on the tip of my thumb and at the back of my throat.  I don't gag easily so this was easy to do.  I gargled with salt water first then switched to Theives Mouthwash.  I also used oregano oil but it is very strong or "hot" and it took a few days to realize that I should dilute it with olive oil before putting it on the back of my throat.  I changed my diet by reducing the amount of good food I was eating and upped my liquid content.  I did not stop making and drinking my homemade raw milk kefir smoothies with pineapple juice and fresh pineapple, blueberries, spinach and green powders.  Had it had been pasteurized milk I would have cause it is the pasteurized milk that causes excess mucus. I cut out all the fun carbs that come with Thanksgiving and the Christmas season and ate as much fresh and cooked vegetables as I could and fruit and eggs and meat and salads, but as the sinus infection increased, I just lost my appetite all together.  I really tried to keep lots of liquids in me.

I hate sinus infections and over my lifetime I've had a few....not as many lately as I used to before I seriously started to eat healthy to the Blood Type diet first then morphed into the WAPF lifestyle (the two are compatible for an O).  About 3 weeks into this, my sinuses hurt awfully just breathing dry air so I finally purchased a steam humidifier for the bedroom which really helped and I got a diffuser for oils which also helped.   I just learned that the flu virus likes dry conditions!  With moist, oiled air at night, I was finally able to sleep especially with my head up higher than my chest with a stack of pillows. I took oils by capsule.  I bought a bag of 00 clear capsules and dropped oregano, Theives, purification and others into the capsules and swallowed with water.  I think that helped.   In the mornings, a good saline solution  rinse out of my nasal passages, really helped clear the gunk out so I could spray some silver solution up in there.  There was lots of gunk....I filled garbage bags and went through at least 2 big boxes of Kleenex.

 When I am sick with the flu, I get very sensitive to the cold..... going out is a real challenge and I bundled up whenever I had to go out and I warmed the water before I mixed the salt into it for the nasal rinse.  I wanted all my liquids to be warm.   I got out of my stored  camping gear, an Aladdin 36 oz Thermos bottle in the form of a coffee picture and put my lemon tea in that.  All day I could pour warm tea from that without having to heat it up every time. (We do not use microwave oven).  I have since bought another thermos because it was so useful.  I took hot baths with Epsom salts and essential oils every other day which warmed me up all over  and opened my sinuses and bronchial tubes.  

The infection did go into my bronchial tubes and I coughed and coughed.  At this point I was concerned about pneumonia and was prepared to go to a doctor and get antibiotics if that developed.  It didn't!   I was very fortunate that I didn't get pneumonia, so I never did visit a doctor or get drugs or antibiotics.  So, maybe I didn't do so badly.   5 weeks of being sick is not fun and I wanted it to be over and done by week 3 or 4 but it dragged on.  And then the herpes viruses came out on my upper lip!  I used lavender and frankincense on that area of my lip where I felt the "tickling"  and the oils  kept it from really "flowering" like it usually does.

I did use my MMS but I used the wrong water and it made me sick so I did not use it effectively.  With MMS, you mix two solutions ( citric acid solution  and sodium chloride solution in ratio of 5:1 ) and wait 3 minutes and then mix with water to stabilize it then swallow and then drink apple juice to lessen the nasty taste.  I just found out that you are not supposed to use regular tap water to stabilize it but use distilled water otherwise it makes you sick.  Ha!  that was what I was doing, so I don't think the way I was using it was effective.   Next time....distilled water!   Distilled water for the humidifier too and the diffuser.
I think I  could have done better with the oils.... I could have done much better with everything, but, bottom line.... I did get well on my own ( not really my own, as I did  pray frequently) and my immune system did "kick in" so maybe  my experience didn't turn out so badly.....I believe I now have my own antibodies for this particular virus that could help me with the next bout.

Any suggestions out there?    any questions?     I'm still learning all this.