Nourishing Traditions Book Review: Part XXIV – Grains & Legumes

Whole Grains
The information in this chapter is vast and very informative.  Even though we don’t really do many grains I still found it very interesting and helpful.  We do use[amazon_link id=”B004VLVO7W” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ] steel cut oat[/amazon_link]s and [amazon_link id=”B0036FB6FY” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]quinoa[/amazon_link] and some occasional rice.  We do often soak them, but not long enough according to Fallon.

Fallon recommends that the majority of grains be soaked overnight to help break down the phytic acid which is hard for the body to digest.  not only that, but it also binds to calcium, magnesium, copper iron and zinc in the intestinal tract and blocks their adsorption.  Hmmm… I wonder if that would contribute to the rise in osteoporosis????!!!

She also talks a bit about gluten and how it is so hard to digest.  She suggests that because of the over consumption of products containing gluten in the modern diet that it has contributed to the development of allergies, celiac disease, mental illness, chronic indigestion and candida albicans overgrowth.  She also states that rescent research has linking gluten intolerance with multiple sclerosis.

I particularly enjoyed her summery of the most commonly consumed grains.  I’ll attempt to abbreviate it here, but know there is A LOT more information in the chapter.

Oats, Rye, Barley and Wheat – all containe gluten and should never be used unless soaked or fermented.
Buckwheat, rice and millet – do not conaint gluten.  Are easier to digest.  No imperative to soak, but cooking for 2 hours or more in gelatinous broth is recommended.
Spelt – contains gluten, but gives excellent results in sourdough bread.  Some studies suggest that the gluten is easily broken down during the fermentation process.  Spelt can be substituted pretty easily in most wheat breads and pastries.
Kamut – similar to spelt in use and preparation
Teff – grain of northern Africa and is always fermented before use.  The injera of Ethiopia is made from teff that has been fermented for several days.
Quinoa – seed from South America which is always soaked and should be to nutrilize the anti-nutrients it contains.
Amaranth – Also from South America, but is a grain which also should be soaked.
Buckwheat – isn’t a grain, but a seed and does not contain gluten.  It contains cancer preventing nutrients called nitrolosides.

The recipe portion of this chapter has a lot of great ideas for soaked and cooked/warm cereals.  Many look delicious and we will certainly be trying them this summer.  Since we don’t have our AC on this summer, I try not to use the stove as much as possible!  We try to enjoy the cool of the morning and not heat up the house too quickly!

Breads & Flour Products
This chapter is fantastic for every type of bread with healthy and hearty whole grains.  Most if not all recipes call for grains containing gluten, but also have instructions for soaking.  The soaking will help to remove some of the gluten, but still not an option for the gluten intolerant or sensitive.  The recipes include pancakes, spiced breads, muffins, puddings, crepes, waffles, whole grain loaves and many others.  Unfortunately, we won’t be able to give any of these a try.  Fallon does mention there are grain alternatives, but doesn’t offer any recipes for these.

If you are interested in embarking on soaking grains for use in making breads and other baked products at home, this is a great chapter.  It contains detailed instructions and the reasons for considering soaking.

Because of our mostly paleo lifestyle and dear hubby’s need to steer clear of starches we’ve mostly removed beans from our diet. On occasion we do have them since they are cheaper than meat and are filling and provide the protein needed to keep my boys energized. The beans we do eat include black beans for tex-mex foods, chickpeas for hummus, lentils (my Ethiopian stew is a MUST) and fermented soy in [amazon_link id=”B001AYEUH4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]tamari[/amazon_link] or[amazon_link id=”B002MQMJ4K” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ] tempeh[/amazon_link].

We do try to stay away from soy as well, but that would be mostly the processed or non-fermented soy.  Baby girl Aisling is allergic to soy and breaks out in a rash all over if she has tofu or processed soy, but I have noticed she is fine with fermented soy.  We also use [amazon_link id=”B001AYEUH4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]tamari[/amazon_link] instead of soy sauce since it is fermented and doesn’t have wheat in it like regular soy sauce.  Also, traditionally soy sauce was fermented, but often times, that is not true today.

I always purchase beans dry and soak them overnight (in warm water and lemon juice, whey, vinegar or kombucha) to help break down the phytic acid before slow cooking them on the stove.  This is great in the winter months, but not so much in summer.  I usually let them simmer for a few hours which helps to heat the kitchen nicely as well!  I try hard to stay away from canned beans since most cans still have BPA in them and the canning process tends to denature the proteins in the beans as well.  Usually there is added salt and some sort of preservative as well.

This chapter has some great recipes for beans of which a few I’m tempted to try!  I am especially interested in the Indian-Style Dumplings (Idli) or Indian-Style Pancakes (Dosas).  We love Indian food, but I’ve never tried to make these and now I have recipes that look fantastic!

Do you eat a lot of grains and/or legumes?  What are some of your favorite recipes using fermentation or sprouting?  PLEASE share your ideas with me!

Read Part XXV


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