Eating for better health – The Sprouted Truth (part 2)
Before I begin, let me just say that there are many foods out there that can cause or contribute to bad health; refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils to name a few. But you already know about the common culprits. Let’s talk wheat.
How many items of food do you eat each day that contain wheat (of any kind)? Chances are you eat wheat with all 3 meals plus a few snacks. We eat a lot more of it than we think we do, and over time, it can really cause some problems. But don’t take my word for it, I’m providing links to all of the articles that write about this stuff in great detail. (at the bottom) There are also links to some great sprouted wheat and healthier wheat products.
The One-Two Punch
Unsprouted wheat, along with many beans and other grains contain two evils that are at the root of the issue. Lectin and Phytase. Both of these are in the grain to protect it from disease. God made it that way. Once sprouted, both of them get reduced to almost zero.
The lectin in wheat is essentially a long chain protein that loves to bind to the cells that line the stomach and intestines and cause inflammation and destruction of the lining. It even gets past the intestine wall and enters the blood stream and creates havoc with your immune response. Your ability to properly digest food is essential to your health. Lectin also is usually able to bind to the insulin receptor, telling your body to store fat. This response along with the fact that wheat’s complex carb get’s converted to sugars in your stomach real fast means that your blood sugar is freaking out, and your body is mistakenly telling itself to “store fat”. Lectins, in general, are in us all, and in animals and plants, and many have a good role to play, but the lectins in unsprouted grains are not good for us.
Phytase, or phytic acid, is equally menacing. Here’s a quote from Sue Gregg’s blog.
“Just because you’ve switched from white flour to whole grains does not mean that you are getting all the nutritional value. In fact you may also experience new problems with digestion and assimilation. That is because whole grains contain phytic acid in the bran of the grain. Phytic acid combines with key minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc and prevents their absorption in the intestinal tract.”
Phytase basically blocks your bodies ability to absorb the things it needs, even if you ate a healthy meal. This isn’t an immediate concern, but over time your body will begin to notice, and systems will start to falter.
So to summarize, wheat basically spikes your blood sugar, allows destructive lectins in, and blocks the absorption of many nutrients your body needs. This process over time can lead to many health problems including inflammation disorders, diabetes, allergy, fatigue, osteoporosis, and even cancer..
Going Old School
Our ancestors had it all figured out. The 3 ways to make grains and beans healthy for us are sprouting, soaking or fermenting. Again, Sue Gregg says it best.
“Soaking, fermenting, or sprouting the grain before cooking or baking will neutralize a large portion of the phytic acid, releasing these nutrients for absorption. This process allows enzymes, lactobacilli, and other helpful organisms to not only neutralize the phytic acid, but also to break down complex starches, irritating tannins, and difficult-to-digest proteins including gluten. For many, this may lessen their sensitivity or allergic reactions to particular grains. Everyone will benefit, nevertheless, from the release of nutrients and greater ease of digestion.”
Sprouting converts the grain into a vegetable. It totally enhances it’s nutrition value, and makes it super easy to digest without the “high glycemic” factor. And soaking – now we know why Grandma always had a big pot of beans soaking for a day in cold water.
Ideally, all breads everywhere would be made sprouted or at least “sour dough” which uses cultures to ferment it, but we are left to fend for ourselves. So what to do? I have decided to do two things. One is to reduce the amount of grain products that I eat everyday, focusing on lean proteins, vegetables and good fruits. The second is to use sprouted or old world grains when I do eat “grain products”.
What the heck is an old world grain? We now know that modern wheat has been genetically engineered to get a more robust, and high gluten (more lectin) product. But back when the earth was younger, we ate Kamut and Spelt, and Quinoa. Kamut and Spelt are both wheat, but they are some of the earliest varieties of wheat on the earth. These grains are more nutrient rich and have lower natural levels of lectin and phytase.
So I eat sprouted for all my breads, and old world for all my pastas, since pastas are going to be soaking a bit in boiling water, and the phytase will be mostly removed since it is water soluble. It just drains off in the pasta water. Eden Organic has some amazing pastas made with Kamut, Spelt and Quinoa.
You can sprout your own wheat, but I prefer to buy sprouted wheat and spelt flour online. Bre and I buy Ezekial bread for most standard bread products, and I make the rest from scratch. We make pizza crusts, cookies, pie crusts, biscuits and pancakes all from sprouted wheat or sprouted spelt.
Here’s a sprouted wheat crust for our Bacon, Swiss and Spinach Quiche.
If you decide to ditch the unsprouted grains, you’ll also want to try to buy chicken and beef that are organic and grass fed, since grain feed animals end up with lectin and phytase in their meat. And do your self a favor and get organic eggs if you can afford them.
It’s a tragedy that eating health has to cost so much and be a pain in the butt while eating poorly seems so cheap and easy. But if eating poorly leads you to major health crisis in the future, you’ll be paying for it in other ways. Think of eating well as insurance for your future health.
If you want to read up on the dangers of modern, unsprouted wheat (this includes whole wheat… pretty much everything at the grocery store in the bread isle), then check out these references.
Here are the links to our favorite products or brands for sprouted grain products. :)
Ezekial Bread (Food for Life)
Alvarado Street Bread Co. (sprouted sourdough)
– they also have a sprouted hot dog bun.
Sprouted Flours (unsifted and/or sifted for finer baking)
You can use sprouted flour just like the usual unsprouted kind in any recipe in the same quantities.
I hope you find this info useful.