Monday, December 24, 2012

I'm wrong, and I'm learning.

Yup, it's true, I, a man, am admitting that I am wrong about something.  I would still be married if my ex would admit to such a thing.  But let's move on.  What I am wrong about is whole grains and the role that they play in human physiology.  WHAT!!!!!  Yes, it is true, I am amending my stand about whole grains and how a diet in whole grains is both healthful and beneficial for virtually every known health problem out there.

I'm not saying whole grains are bad, I am saying that I have learned a lot these past few days and have done a lot of research into how to improve the already healthy diet of whole grains even more by doing some simple steps in the preparation of the grains themselves.  These simple procedures GREATLY increase the available nutrient absorption and allow for the grains to rise to the top of the food pyramid as the transporters of nature's bounty of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats.  Did I leave anything out, not really, I think that grains deserve to be at the top of the nutrient dense food list.  The problem is that most grains contain something called phytic acid in the bran layer of the grain.  This phytic acid is what actually is there blocking the absorption of a lot of the minerals and vitamins.  It actually binds up with many of them and thus reduces the nutritional content.  Heat breaks down much of the phytic acid, and that is why baked bread has a lot of nutritive value.  But, during all of my research into Celiac for my previous article, I learned how to get rid of most of the phytic acid not just in wheat for making bread, but also for my other favorite grain, brown rice.

I have heard of Ezekial bread before, but the stuff that I had someone bring to me from Whole Foods was coarse, dense, and rather nasty in texture.  It is a sprouted grain bread.  When grains are sprouted, then the phytic acid breaks down and allows the nutrients in the grain to be more readily absorbed.  The same thing happens when grains are soaked in water for a day, or in the case of corn. for a couple weeks.  So from what I have learned, if I soak my brown rice overnight, it becomes even more of the super food than it is without soaking.  We all know that soaking helps out legumes, I honestly had no idea it also worked for grains.  Hey, live and learn.  I do learn things everyday and I do, admit when I am wrong.  Back to wheat, if you soak wheat in water overnight, then put it into a jar used to sprout it, in a couple days, you have sprouted wheat.  Here is where things vary and recipes as to what to do with the grain differ depending on who you talk to.  I think that the heavy bread I tasted was made with this soft sprouted wheat and other grains that are then just put into a blender and ground up into a paste.  Then bread is made with that.  There are a lot of recipes on the "net" using Vitamix, blenders of all sorts and different grains.  Then there is also the other method, where the grains are then put into a dehydrator and dried.  Then the dry grain is ground in a grain mill just as usual and you get a much finer grain texture and therefore a finer crumb in the final bread product as well.  This of course is my chosen method as I have all the equipment to do that.

If any of you have any knowledge of brewing, then the process might be pretty familiar to you.  It is called malting.  What happens is that the starches in the grains begin to convert into malt sugars in a natural process that allows the germ to have at the ready, all the energy available for it to grow.  When we do the same thing, sprouting the grains, we are mechanically doing a process that nature has perfected.  And son of a gun, if it doesn't make it taste better as well.

There is another method of making bread that I have in fact used before, and have even wrote about here on this blog in the past.  It is a technique that works to make a better, lighter, fluffier textured bread, and now I have found out that it also allows the natural phytase enzymes to activate and to breakdown the phytic acid and thus frees up the nutrients locked within.  This technique is long term rising.  It basically is like soaking, the grains are ground, then mixed with liquid and left to sit and soak overnight.  A sponge can be made with some yeast, water and flour; then allowed to grow overnight.  The phytic acid is reduced, and the bread feels better, tastes better, and is better for you.  Sheesh, all this time I was just being lazy and letting it sit overnight and yet I was making the bread healthier than I ever thought.

I do learn.  I do make errors, and learn from them.  And I admit when I am wrong.  But not today, whole grain products are good for you.  And now I learned how to make them better.

Good eating to you.  

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