“It can be argued that the cultivation of grains made civilization possible and opened the door for mankind to live long and comfortable lives. Problems occur when we are cruel to our grains—when we fractionate them into bran, germ and naked starch; when we mill them at high temperatures; when we extrude them to make crunchy breakfast cereals; and when we consume them without careful preparation.” cry Sally Fallon and Mary Enig in: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/be-kind-to-your-grains-and-your-grains-will-be-kind-to-you/
Whole Grains require careful preparation because they contain a number of anti-nutrients that can cause serious health problems:
- Phytic acid an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound, found mostly in the bran or outer hull of seeds.
- Untreated Phytic acid binds up Calcium, Magnesium, Copper, Iron and Zinc in the intestinal tract and blocks mineral absorption. A diet high in improperly prepared whole grains leads to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
- Consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome in the long term.
- Enzyme inhibitors inhibit digestion and put stress on the pancreas.
- Irritating tannins and complex sugars which the body cannot break down, gluten and hard-to-digest proteins may cause allergies, digestive disorders and mental illness.
- Most of these antinutrients are part of the seed’s system of preservation—they prevent sprouting until the conditions are right. Plants need moisture, warmth, time and slight acidity in order to sprout.
- Proper preparation of grains is a kind and gentle process that imitates the process that occurs in nature. It involves soaking for a period in warm, acidulated water in the preparation of porridge, or long, slow sour dough fermentation in the making of bread.
- Such processes neutralize phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors.
- Vitamin content increases, particularly B vitamins.
- Tannins, complex sugars, gluten and other difficult-to-digest substances are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.
- When grains are properly prepared through soaking, sprouting or sour leavening, the friendly bacteria of the microscopic world do some of our digesting for us.
- Our ancestors ate whole grains, not as quick-rise breads, granolas, bran preparations or hastily prepared casseroles. Our ancestors and all pre-industrialized peoples, soaked or fermented their grains before making them into porridge, breads, casseroles and cakes.
- Grain recipes from around the world:
- In India they ferment rice and lentils for at least 2 days to prepare as idli and dosas
- In Africa natives soak course ground corn overnight and then add to soup or stew; or they ferment corn and millet for several days to make sour porridge called ogi
- Welsh make Oatmeal from Oat groats
- Rice is fermented in rice vinegar in Latin America and Asia
- Ethiopians make injera bread by fermenting Teff for several days
- Mexican corn cakes called pozol are fermented several days to 2 weeks inside banana leaves
- In Europe they slow rise bread from fermented starter dough
- In America we call bread made with fermented dough sourdough and it can be used to make pancakes, cookies or bread
Processed quick rise breads, made from milled flour with added sugar, salt, synthetic vitamins, and GMO oils like soybean and canola, are the kind of grains both Paleo people and Vegans alike want to avoid.
In this video: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/great-grain-robbery/ Dr Michael Greger MD documents how our grains have been stripped of their nutrients.
In this video: https://youtu.be/nkFJZUIUeEA Brenda Davis RD explains the Whole Grain Hierarchy:
- Sprouted Intact Whole Grains sprouting causes an explosion of phytochemicals increasing antioxident content and increasing minerals magnesium and zinc
- Cut Whole Grains like Bulgar and Steel Cut Oats
- Rolled Oats and Grains have an increased glycemic impact
- Shredded Wheat and Grains have an even increased rate of absorption and will increase blood sugar sooner and much higher than less processed whole grains
- Flours ground grains can be made into bread or pastas; pastas made from whole grain flours are very dense and have a lower glycemic index than bread
- Flaked grains are processed cereals with nutrient reductions so they supplement these foods
- Puffed grains like rice cakes digest really fast and have the least nutrients
In this video http://nutritionfacts.org/video/getting-starch-to-take-the-path-of-most-resistance/ Dr Michael Greger explains Resistant Starch resists being digested in the small intestine and is digested in the large intestine in the colon where it feeds good bacteria. Whole Intact grains as well as beans and legumes prepared correctly are a source of beneficial resistant starch.