Some trendy diets restrict the intake of grains. It’s no wonder why! Many people seem to be gluten-intolerant or have sensitivities to wheat. Others are simply trying to eat low-carb for weight loss. But we may be unnecessarily depriving ourselves of foods that can benefit our health and have been enjoyed world-wide for thousands of years.
Looking to the traditions of the past, we discover the secret for including grains, seeds, and nuts in our diet today. In this episode, Sally Fallon Morell, the President of the Weston A. Price Foundation, explains principle #6 of the Wise Traditions diet: how to ferment, soak, and sprout grains, seeds, and nuts for optimal nutrition and ease of digestion. She goes into detail about the benefits of the preparation processes, and of the risks that result when we do not take care to prepare these foods in this way.
Best of all, she gives clear tips for what steps we can take to begin eating seeds, nuts, and grains prepared in the traditional manner. In a nutshell, she answers the question “Should we eat grains?” with a resounding “Yes!”
Many trendy diets restrict the intake of grains. Sally Fallon Morell addresses this issue by doing what she does best—looking back at the traditions of the past to see how they prepared and enjoyed grains, nuts, and seeds. In today’s show, she discusses the benefits of grains, as long as they are properly prepared for ease of digestion and to unlock their valuable nutrient content.
Sally touches on:
- why grains are difficult to digest. The coating protects the grain so that it can be stored for a long time, but that “preservative” makes it for our stomachs to handle.
- how to break down the coating. The grain can be made to sprout or pre-digested, in effect, through moisture, acidity, and time. These three are nature’s system for neutralizing the preservatives/anti-nutrients in these foods.
- how fermentation/preparation is a type of pre-digestion
- how this process also makes the nutrients more available, and removes toxins
- how animals that eat seeds and grass and such have multiple stomachs and one of the stomachs serves as a holding tank, full of bacteria, and so it has moisture, acidity, and time to essentially “ferment” or prepare the grains so that they can be digested
- how human beings are more like dogs or wolves with only one stomach which is why we need to find a way to prepare the grains for digestion
- how all traditional cultures ferment their grains
- the ill effects Sally experienced when eating grains that were not soaked
- the best grain to begin soaking and how to do it
- why it’s a good idea to eat sourdough bread (and how even some people w/ grain intolerances or celiac disease can sometimes tolerate it)
- the importance of not having certain food groups off limits for children
- grains around the world: quinoa – South America, wheat – North Africa, oats – outer Hebrides, rye – Switzerland, Cherokee bread, tamales, flatbread – Iran, grains – Australian Aborigines
- why nuts need special preparation, too. There are enzyme-inhibitors in the nuts.
- how roasting is one way to prepare nuts, but it’s better to make “crispy nuts” (soaking them in salt water 6-8 hours and then dehydrating them).
- how nuts are not soaked in an acidic medium, but a salty one. E.g., the Aztecs soaked their nuts in salt water. Pistachios in the Middle East are soaked in salt water.
- how properly preparing nuts makes them easier to digest and changes the taste slightly
People around the world prepare their nuts and grains this way.
- In Ireland, Sally found people would prepare their oats by soaking them and cooking them but then they would set them aside and let them ferment.
- the difference yeast made in the bread-making process
- the prevalence of gluten sensitivity. Gluten is the protein that is in some grains, mainly wheat.
- the enzyme in our guts that is supposed to break down gluten is impaired or lacking
- how wheat has 10 applications of chemicals from seed to storage \
- why grains are not a good choice for baby’s first food
“Nourishing Traditions” cookbook by Sally Fallon Morell that includes recipes for oatmeal, pancakes, and recipes for preparing nuts
“The Narrative of Cabeza de Vaca” by Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca
WAPF shopping guide (available for a donation, free to members)
Nourishingtraditions.com – Sally’s blog