Saturday, January 8, 2011

Step Two

It's hard to decide what step two should be... because there are so many steps in the journey to rediscovering simple food. Each step gets you closer to the wonderful end result, but no one can do all of the steps at once. Baby steps. That's the key. One step at a time, and in a few years from now, you and your family will be so much healthier. So just do what you can, and don't sweat the rest. Maybe even try a new step each month? Or maybe just eliminate one "fake" food a week, or month.

I know when we first eliminated store bought breads and pizza, it seemed like I was completely depriving us. So what I did, was I went back and just slowly stopped feeding everyone bread, and occasionally made the organic gluten free version... and now we really don't even miss it. I've learned to fill us up on other things that are much better for us, and they have become our staples. I still make these versions on special occasions, but I eventually want to make wild yeast sourdough bread which is a traditional, simple food that costs pennies to make and is packed with nutrients. Food is not the most important thing in life and we don't want to make it an idol, so again... just do what you can. I'm not ready for that step yet, but I'll get there one day!

OK, so Step Two: Serve the most nutrient dense food that you can.

Of all of the real food you are now serving ;), there are definitely some foods that are superior to others. The goal for me is to always choose the most nutrient dense foods that I can. The first step in this step would be things like this: choose steel cut oats over quick cooking oats, or choose long grain brown rice over white rice. The next step would be choosing organic foods over non organic foods, and the next choosing fresh picked local over store bought.

But to take it a bit further, let's talk about phytates. Basically, phytates are the outer layer of most grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes. In super simple terms, phytates were put there by The Designer to prevent them from germinating before they were supposed to. The problem that they cause for us, is that they block the absorption of vitamin and minerals in our bodies. That is why traditionally, when food was simple, people would soak or ferment their grains in order to break the phytates down. I think it's so neat that without modern science, they just listened to their bodies, and instinctively knew what was best for them. That was the practice for thousands of years, and only began to be lost in the 19th century - with the Industrial Revolution.

So for our purposes, soaking, sprouting or fermenting grains would yield much more nutrient dense meals. To go even ONE more step further - I hope this one doesn't push you over the edge ;) - we need to know that grains, as a whole, are much less nutrient dense than vegetables. A cup of rice has nothing on a cup of veggies! Or a slice of bread - even the best kind you can buy - has a tiny amount of fiber compared to the same quantity of most vegetables. It's just true. Sorry.

So, in a perfect world, we would replace any grains we were accustomed to eating with the same quantity of vegetables and fruit. I would love to do this for our family, but for our budget, it is not practical. As I've said before, I have some big eaters in this house, and we just need to fill bellies up. So for us, our grain of choice is rice. It's cheap, easy to make and freezes beautifully, has the least amount of phytates of any grain, and can be easily sprouted. If you'd like to look into phytates more, I've attached some links:

I buy organic brown rice at whole foods for $1.29 / lb. I bring it home, rinse it, and put it in a bowl to soak for 24 hours or so with a little apple cider vinegar. Rinse, Cook (you'll need 1/2 the water you'd usually use), and freeze what we won't use that week to thrown into soups or to use later. Sometimes I'm really ambitious and I sprout it, which increases the vitamins (some 10 x). For that, I just put it in a colandar, and rinse it every 4-6 hours and wait a few days until I see the little sprouts on the end. Whole foods also offers organic, brown, sprouted rice for $3.99/lb, which is a good price too if you don't have the time to do it yourself.

Fun stuff! :)

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