So far in this series, we’ve discussed whether soaking, fermenting and sprouting was a traditional practice, phytic acid in grains and legumes, phytic acid in nuts, seeds, coconut and cocoa, reducing phytic acid in grains and legumes (which showed that many of the traditional methods reduced phytic acid and other anti-nutrients), and the digestibility of soaked grains and legumes. This project turned into a much larger project than I originally anticipated!
While there are still many things that I would love to learn, more studies I would like to delve into and more to discuss, I think it’s time to return to the joy of sharing recipes, which I will be doing next week! I will definitely revisit this topic as I get new information or have new soaking methods in practice that I want to share, but I will bring this blog back to it’s normal function again. Meanwhile, I wanted to make a few “concluding” remarks about what has been shared so far in this series.
Who should be most concerned with this research?
I’ve thought of a few groups of people who should care the most (in my mind) about this series. It’s not that this series wasn’t important for all of us, but these are the people who would be most affected by it.
Those Who Eat a High Grain and Legume Diet
Whether you eat a lot of grains and legumes because of a tight budget, or are a vegan or vegetarian, it’s most important for you to properly prepare your grains and legumes since they play such a large part of your diet. If you only eat grains and legumes once in a while, obviously this series isn’t as vital to you and your health. In fact, the majority of the studies I looked at were aimed at helping the poor in other countries who no longer have access to much animal foods or other higher nutrient foods, or, ironically, animal feed (since animals are fed such a high grain diet in our country now). This is a most important topic for those who depend a lot on grains and legumes in their daily diet.
Those who have signs of mineral deficiencies
If you have signs of mineral deficiencies (including teeth issues), then you might want to consider very carefully preparing any of the grains and legumes that you eat so that you get the highest amount of minerals from them as you can. My understanding is that phytates only affect the mineral absorption of the food they are contained in, so read below how to better improve your mineral content regardless of phytates.
Those with a Delicate Digestion
Even if you don’t eat a high legume or grain diet, you may find that improperly prepared grains and legume bother you. If this is you, then obviously you should listen to your body and carefully prepare them. Also keep in mind that many young children have delicate digestions and so will benefit from proper preparation. Elderly people also come to mind as those who generally would need more care. If you, like me, have had multiple doses of antibiotics which upset your gut, then you may also find yourself more sensitive.
Don’t let all of the information and gaps of information confuse or frustrate you
I know that the mass amount of information as well as the gaps of information can both frustrate and overwhelm. Don’t let it. Sure, there is some information gaps and I can’t wait to get more of my questions answered and to hone up my soaking techniques, but even soaking imperfectly (not always at a very warm temperature, for example) has had good results for my family. I am not going to worry myself into a frenzy about whether or not I am doing everything 100% the best of the best way. And that’s partly because I try to……
Remember the most important thing: Nutrient Dense Foods
For a healthy diet, the most important thing to do is eat high quality, nutrient dense foods such as foods high in natural vitamin A and D and K2 and minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. If you concentrate on nutrient dense foods, then you will help make up for any minerals phytates are keeping from you. Foods such as high quality milk, homemade chicken broth, grass fed butter, high quality seafood, dark greens, nutritious eggs etc. When Dr. Price helped children with teeth decay improve, his method was adding in as many nutrient dense foods as he could to their diet. It wasn’t centered on soaking grains (though he strongly emphasized freshly ground whole wheat flour which he didn’t realize at the time was high in phytase), it was centered on teeth and body building nutrient dense foods.
I also thought that this update on phytic acid by Rami Nagel was helpful in the Wise Traditions Journal Summer 2010.
“The article on phytic acid (Spring, 2010) was written in response to reports of dental decay, especially in children, even though the family was following the principles of traditional diets. Phytates become a problem when grains make up a large portion of the diet and calcium, vitamin C and fat-soluable vitamins, specifically fat-soluable vitamin D, are low. In the diet advocated by WAPF, occasional higher phytate meals will not cause any noticeable health effects for people in good health. Significantly more care is needed with whole grains when the diet is low in fat-soluable vitamins and in diets were two or more meals per day rely significantly on grains as a food source. Vitamin C reduce the iron and perhaps other mineral losses from phytic acid. Vitamin D can mitigate the harmful effects on phytates. Calcium (think raw milk, raw cheese, yogurt and kefir) balances out the negative effects on phytates. The best indicator of whether dietary phytic acid is causing problems can be seen in the dental health of the family. If dental decay is a recurrent problem, then more care with grain preparation and higher levels of animal foods will be needed.”
I thought that very helpful and encouraging. If we eat a diet high in calcium and other important minerals and vitamins, we don’t have to be paranoid about whether we’ve soaked our grains perfectly. Just two notes about the quote. One, if you or your child have teeth issue, it’s a complex and sometimes very hard to fix issue. I don’t want to simplify the solution. Secondly, I grew up with very good teeth (no cavities until mid-twenties) despite an imperfect diet growing up. But as mothers and fathers we want to keep our stores up high so that we have a lot to give our children (especially as pregnant and nursing mothers), so even if you don’t have teeth problems, don’t let your lack of issues give you a free ride in nutrition! Instead keep up your excellent health through good food!
A Few Ways to Decrease Phytic Acid’s Effects
Cook grains and legumes in homemade chicken broth. They will taste wonderful, and have a much higher mineral content.
Make soups with homemade broth! I LOVE soups in the fall and winter time. My favorite comfort food. If you make them with homemade broth you will also be getting a lot of good for you minerals.I would love to have soup every single day for at least one meal. This is especially important if you don’t tolerate dairy.
Serve your hot rice and other whole grains with a nice pat of pastured butter for vitamin A, D and K2 and then take a dose of cod liver oil after the meal (for more vitamin content).
If you tolerate cheese, eat high mineral, pastured dairy products throughout the day for a great source of both calcium and phosphorus.
Liver and fish eggs are both super high in nutrients as well. Try to incorporate them into your diet, even if only once a month.
I would also say that not eating refined sugar and many natural sugars is also vital to your health and important for proper mineral absorption.
Those are a few of my ideas (and I would love to hear yours as well). In the end, I think that yes, soaking, fermenting and sprouting grains is important. But even more important is concentrating on eating high quality, nutrient dense foods. I will personally continue to experiment with soaking and fermenting in my own kitchen, while at the same time, not make it a stress issue. I have a new baby coming soon (I am 33 weeks pregnant today!) and after she comes, I want to concentrate on eating highly nutritious food and not worrying about whether I should sprout for 6 days, then ferment and then cook a certain grain. So that’s where I am at.
I would love to hear your comments too! Especially in regard to how to better your own personal nutrient dense food levels.