Yesterday was a whole lot of stuff, with just a little actual content. Today starts the way things are. Techniques on how to get rid of the unwanted stuff and make what you eat better. To that end, let's start with numero uno, soaking. Soaking legumes, nuts, seeds and grains does have a quality enhancing effect that really and truly does remove many, repeat, MANY of the harmful phytates and some lectins from them. But then this is in fact standard advice for most people when they cook, soak your beans first. Right? Of course it is, it's standard. Well, for most people. Pinto beans, red beans, pretty much any beans. It helps to remove the lectins within that outer layer and of course, allows for the beans to cook more evenly and more rapidly. And as many people will tell you, it will help to remove that which causeth the unwanted gasses. Old wives tales, nope, there is actual scientific proof that this happens. Weird, but true. And it works for most of the plant world, any seeds, nuts, grains as well as the legumes. I suppose that if we looked at it, all four are all the same thing. They are the part of a plant in which the future generations lie dormant waiting proper conditions before springing forth and growing into a new plant that will itself reproduce and begin the process all over again. Those seeds, nuts, grains and legumes all hold the future existence of their species within their structures. It makes sense that nature has developed various methods to try to preserve the keepers of the genetic line safe. Many of the preservation techniques used are simple, hard shells, impervious skins, dry textures, and poisons.
Remember from yesterday, lectins and phytates are in fact, for the most part, toxic. Not just to humans, but to bugs, molds, rabbits, squirrels, and most everything else. It is the plant world's last defense. Some plants make a lot of lectins, like soy and castor. Both are poisonous. (Yes, soy is very very bad for you) But when you soak it, or any of the seed family, they let some of the lectins and phytates go out into the soak water. Many of the paleo diet websites out there recommend that we soak any of the nuts you want to eat for at least 12 hours first, and then spread them out to dry before eating them. Good advice. It helps, it makes them more digestible and, healthier.
This is just one thing that we see with processed food, and how it is bad for us. Think about it, do you in anyway think it is possible that Taco Bell or for that matter, any of the Burrito Palaces around soak their pinto beans before they cook them and make refried beans. Or the cans of refries on the store shelf, think they were made using previously soaked beans. Or the three bean salad on the salad bar? Or any legume, from the garbanzos in the humus at the store to the kidney beans in the chili con carne you eat with crackers on nights home alone. Nope, never. Soaking takes time, and time is money. And in today's world, processed food is all about making money. And of course the big issue is how to make it so cheap that you as a consumer will spend money on it instead of taking time to make your own.
This is how we as consumers in America have been hoodwinked into living a lifestyle that has the appearance of being healthy, yet it is not. This simple technique, soaking seeds, grains, legumes and nuts before cooking or consuming them was devised from hundreds and hundreds of generations of trial and error of our ancestors working to make their food healthier. And we as modern American consumers have just dismissed it all as unimportant, and we believe the giant agribusinesses and the federal government when they tell us that we are eating healthy when we eat the foods of our ancestors. The fact is that those foods are not what our ancestors ate, but they can be.
Simple rule number one. Make your own food. Beans, soak overnight, drain, rinse, cook. Grains, soak overnight, drain, rinse, cook. Seeds and nuts, soak overnight, drain, rinse, dry and then eat.
It isn't hard. It does take time. It does make a difference.
Tomorrow, numero dos.