So bad in fact, that it left a lasting impression on my perspective.
A few weeks ago, we bought some pineapples. As we were cutting into one of them, we thought that maybe it was not fully ripe; the flesh was lighter in color than we normally see.
But surprisingly, the first few chunks I ate were sweet and juicy.
But then I noticed that some pieces had a funny smell that reminded me of the smell of anatomy lab...Gross!
Others had a funny flavor - bitter and chemical tasting. Hmm...
Curious, I had a look online to find out what could be behind that unnatural smell and flavor.
What I read was enough to make even more changes in the way our family selects food for our table.
The main thing that left an impression on me was the condition of the workers who plant and harvest the fruit. Twelve hour shifts, six day work weeks, repetitive labor, high demands, low wages...
That would leave very little time for personal growth and development, wouldn't It?
Pineapples are on the "Clean 15" list so we were buying them non-organic to save money.
However, after eating that pineapple, I noticed that my thinking was a bit muddled and my memory was less sharp. That's a problem!
I was deeply impressed with the thought: If pesticides compromise my body in any way, it means my mind is being compromised also. There is an intimate connection between our bodies and minds. When one is affected, the other sympathises.
I'll pass on the $3.99 pineapple! When I consider the cost to my body and to the workers involved in the planting and harvesting of the fruit, they are not such a savings after all.
Let me do unto others as I would have them do unto me. If the situation were reversed, I would want someone to care and to do something.
I'm thankful for the experience because it is causing me to choose something much better.
What is better?
Homegrown and locally grown produce, in it's proper season, and grown without chemicals.
When food does come from a distance, my choice os for foods that have been grown and harvested in a fair and honest manner.
Fortunately our local grocery store carries fair trade bananas, so my little one will still be able to enjoy them.
Other than that, if I can't find it, I won't eat it. That's it.
I love all kinds of fresh produce, but I'm guessing that a lot of things are going to have to wait until heaven. But that is ok. Jesus Himself is waiting until we are at the great marriage supper with Him in heaven before He has grape juice again. I can hardly wait!
But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. Matthew 26: 29
In my last post on grains, I shared my conclusions that...
Let's take a look at the causes and some simple solutions.
Contributing Factor: Hybidized wheat.
Modern day wheat has been hybridized to make it easier to grow and harvest. It may be more convenient for the farmers but it's not convenient for our brains or digestive systems!
The protein content (gluten) is now very complex compared to ancient wheat berries. It is much harder to digest.
Another problem with wheat is thay it contains gliadins which are addictive!
According to Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly, gliadin breaks down into "exorphins." In an article on his website (The Gliadin Effect - content://com.sec.android.app.sbrowser/readinglist/0321053340769.mhtml)
Dr. Davis explains that "Exorphins cross the blood-brain barrier and bind to opiate-receptors to induce appetite, as well as behavioral changes, such as behavioral outbursts and inattention in children with ADHD and autism, hearing voices and social detachment in schizophrenics, and the mania of bipolar illness."
And that is just the beginning of the list of symptoms that exorphins are responsible for. What a sad tale of destruction to the human body, mind, and soul!
Solution - Choose and enjoy other grains that have been left unchanged by human hands. There are so many to choose from - emmer, einkhorn, spelt, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, teff, quinoa, amaranth, sorghum....
Problem: Eating food made from refined flour.
To make flour white and lighter, food manufacturers separate the bran and germ from the kernel. Guess what gets lost during this process? Valuable minerals, vitamins, and and fiber! Without these nutrients, there is less overall nutrition to feed our bodies. And, the remaining starch and protein is much more difficult for our bodies to digest.
Solution - Let's eat our grains whole! Whole, unrefined grains help supply the body with the nutrition it needs for optimal functioning. We like to buy organic whole grains and grind them ourselves in our high speed blender. One day, we hope to have a counter top grain mill.
Problem: Eating undercooked grains.
When wr don't cook or bake our grains for a long enough period of time, the starches do not get broken down into smaller components that can be easily digested.
According to Dr. Agatha Thrash who conducted research into this, "Grains should have a lomg, slow cooking period, preferably one to three hours. Phytic acid, which ties up certain minerals, is destroyed by long cooking. The physical units of the grain are softened and prepared for better digestion with the long cooking period. It is likely that much of the food sensitivity manifested in adults to grains could be avoided by attwntion to cooking time."(1)
Solution - We can improve the digestibility of the grains we eat by:
I am eating all raw right now, so I soak and then sprout my grains before I eat them. My favorites are buckwheat, rye, hulless oats, and barley. Kholorasan wheat and teff are ok, and I'm not a fan of quinoa or amaranth.
I chew the sprouted grains really well so that they are even more digestible (remember that we digest starches in our mouths) and they keep me nourished and satisfied. No food cravings for me!
I think that sprouted grains really are one of the keys to having success on an all raw diet.
Problem - Eating quick breads raised with baking soda or baking powder.
Baking soda and baking powder have been staples in many of our kitchens for years. Yet the truth of the matter is that both of these ingredients cause inflammation in our stomachs.
For proper digestion, our stomach environment is stongly acid. Baking soda is alkaline and therefore neutralises the acid. Without the acid, proteins cannot get broken down and they putrefy and release all kinds of harmful toxins into the system.
"...all baking sodas and baking powders either leave residues in the breads that injure the body, or they damage the grains during the cooking process, making them less nourishing." (2)
Solution - Save your digestive system and stop eating baked goods with baking soda and baking powder in the ingedients list. Learn how to bake quick breads without them. It is possible! Here is a simple 3 ingredient recipe for oat bread and a recipe for raw sprouted rye (or any other sprouted grain) bread.
Problem - Eating yeast bread before the yeast germs are killed.
It is standard practice to eat yeast breads hot out of the oven. Think submarine sandwiches pizza, hot rolls, and cinnamon buns....
What is all that yeast doing to our bodies?
"Yeast used for leavening does not damage the grain. There are some volatile substances left in the bread after the fermentation process that will completely evaporate after 1-3 days. Yeast bread is much more healthful a few days after baking. The conditiining of the crumb proceeds during the first three days, making the bread more digestible and easily cut." (3)
Solution - Wait a minimim of 24 hours, and up to 3 days before tasting that yeast bread!
Problem - Not chewing grains long enough.
We have a digestive enzyme (amylase) in our saliva that digests starches. When we chew too quickly and swallow before the saliva has had a chance to mix with the food, we are not giving the starch a chance to break down.
Solution - We really need to take the time to s-l-o-w down and chew our food well so that the salivary amylase has a chance to mix with the starch and digest it properly. Chew to a cream or better yet, a thin soup consistency before swallowing.
Problem - Not enough variety.
Every culture has it's favorite grain. For us North Americans it is wheat. Wheat is in practically everything! I have learned along the way that having the same thing every day can lead to allergies. It is important to eat a varied diet.
Solution - Get adventurous and go for different grains. Try whole grain buckwheat flour instead of regular flour next time you make pancakes. Or, try quinoa in your next tabouli salad. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Hopefully reading this will encourage you to dig a little deeper and do your own research before you dismiss grains altogether.
My research on this topic has led me to the conclusion that there is more to the issue than whether we should eat grains or not. There is a spiritual parallel that is unmistakeable. That, I'll share with you in an upcoming post.
Where do you stand on the great grain decision? If you do eat grains, which one is your favorite?
As I mentioned in a previous post about grains, many people are going grain-free these days.
However, the truth of the matter is that grains are part of the diet our loving Creator gave us in the beginning. Rest assured that He didn't make a mistake in giving them to us. His design is perfect!
One thing that made me realize the importance of grains is that anytime a famine is mentioned in the Bible, it's due to a lack of grains, bread, or the Word of God (which is likened unto bread!).
In one Biblical record, there were seven years of famine affecting multiple countries. Jacob hearing that there was grain for sale in Egypt, sent ten of his sons to purchase some for the family's needs.
When sending them for the second time, Jacob sent along a present to appease the govenor of Egypt (who unbeknownst to him was really Joseph, his long lost son).
He sent "the best fruits in the land...a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds (Genesis 43: 11).
In verse 8 of the same chapter, Judah, one of Jacobs sons says, "...we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones." Without grains, the fruit, nuts, almonds, and spices were not seen as sufficient to sustain life!
The Bible makes such a strong case for grains that it is clear to me now:
A complete life sustaining diet includes grains.
People all around the world eat grains. Whether it be rice, rye, oats, or millet - the diet of each culture centers around grains.
I came across a quote that says "eating grains will bring better disposition, greater ambition, increased ability for work production, and greater happiness."1
Grains are good for us, and good for our brains.
That being said, there is an undeniable fact that many people are have serious health issues that seem to be linked to grains.
But knowing that the curse causeless shall not come (Proverbs 26: 2), I searched for some answers. And a few answers I did find. May it be of benefit to others who like me have been one of those chronic sufferers.
What I have learned is that grains themselves are NOT usually the problem.
There are some very key factors that cause a problem. Fortunately, there are some simple solutions that may help.
Those, I will share with you in my next post.
The Country Life Natural Foods Nutrition Seminar Cookbook, Teach Services Inc., 1996
The first time I made sprouted fenugreek mylk, I thought I wasn't going to get any!
I had made a small amount, just to sample the flavor. It wasn't even sweetened, but my little one kept asking for more!
This has got to be the easiest jam recipe ever!
Last week, I made some sprouted rye bread in my dehydrator. While the bread tastes great all by itself, it's nice to have toppings too.
I've always loved jam, any flavor of jam, really. Raspberry, strawberry, orange marmalade, apricot, plum.... If it was packed full of fruit and sweet to my taste, I was happy.
The thought of it brings back fond memories of childhood. Jam and bread is definitely one of those "comfort foods."
These days I'm eating all raw (as part of the recovery program from all the junk I've eaten over the years) so no baked breads for me, and most definitely, no jams made with sugar. So, it's been a long, long while since I've enjoyed the simple pleasure of eating jam and bread.
Sigh....What to do?
Make something better!
A real fruit jam that is packed with flavor and requires neither sugar nor cooking. I call it my unpreserved preserves!
You simply cannot beat the flavor of fresh ripe fruit. This recipe is too simple, easy, and delicious not to share.
I hope you enjoy it too! Let me know what you think in the comments section.
Putting it all Together
This jam may keep in the fridge for a few days, but it's so easy to make, why mot make it fresh every time?
Yesterday, this easy blueberry jam was the ultimate topping on "slices" of sprouted rye bread with mashed bananas. Sooooo goooood!
Today, there are no ripe bananas left, the blueberry jam is standing alone. C'est bon!
By the way, if you're curious about the sprouted rye bread, the recipe is posted here.
What is your favorite jam? Apricot, blueberry, strawberry, plum, or something else?
A friend called the other day wanting to know what she should do with some fenugreek seeds she had sitting around. Well, as it turns out, my family and I happen to use fenugreek seeds pretty often.
Fenugreek is one of those really valuable herbs with multiple uses and benefits. It's too much to try to remember all at once, so I'm writing it all down. It's definitely worth the effort so that everyone can have a handy reference.
But before I get started on the things I have learned, here is what fenugreek seeds look like. You'd never guess from their appearance, but they are part of the legume family!
I've been keeping things pretty simple when it comes to my meals. For months I've been enjoying my sprouted grains whole as cereals mixed with fresh and dried fruit. Bananas and raisins, or pears and dates or dried apricots as shown below. The possibilities are endless!
My little one loves bread, but he is on a gluten-free diet for the time being.
How thankful to my loving Creator for this simple, economical recipe for oat bread!
It is super easy to make and tastes really good. The best part is, that it only has three ingredients!
My little one loves it just as much, if not better than the regular store bought wheat and spelt breads we were buying before. I am soooo happy about that!
We've had some really sweet carrots lately. Some for eating, and some for juicing - what a treat their fresh pressed juice makes!
When we juiced the carrots in our masticating juicer for the first time, it made such a pretty pulp, that we didn't want to throw it out.
For my last birthday, I got a very nice surprise - a masticating juicer!
Since then, I have been drinking freshly pressed juices, especially carrot juice and green juices more often. What a difference it makes.
Follow my journey as I return to the original plan for living and eating...