In Search of a Miracle – The Seed We Eat!
Seeds – Plants in Waiting
So here is what we know. Plants are designed to protect themselves so they can reproduce. Animals are designed to protect themselves so they can reproduce. Reproducing requires being alive, the minimum requirement.
Both plants and animals need nutrition to stay alive. Plants extract their nutrition from the soil. There are only two source of nutrition for animals, plants and other animals. It’s a competition.
Let’s make sure we understand this. If plants as a source of nutrition did not exist, life would not exist. 32% of animals eat nothing but plants. 65% of animals are eating only other animals, animals that exist only because they eat plants. Only 3% of animals eat both. That’s us.
As omnivores in a competition, we humans have to know how to play the game. The plant’s interest is in protecting itself. How the heck are we the people supposed to meet our own nutritional needs and stay well when the dang plants might interfere?
Last week we talked about the grown plants, those where the result of germination are seen above the ground. Each plant grows from one seed. We learned how these germinated/growing plants contain different toxins to discourage animals from eating them. A protection thing.
Humans can handle that plant interference by including a diversity of vegetables and fruits in their diet, minimizing the chances that a particular plant’s toxin level exceeds our inborn genetic ability to handle them. Remain alert to symptoms that you might be the unlucky person with a limited ability to detoxify. Don’t eat that anymore.
This is actually the easy part. Seeds you actually eat are the hard part.
Seeds We Eat
Seeds are potential plants waiting for the right time to germinate and grow. Seeds are really hard to digest, which seems very reasonable given that they aren’t designed to be eaten. They are designed to germinate and grow.
The seeds not only contain toxins but store the nutrients and energy required to make the plant grow. When we eat the seeds most of those nutrients, particularly the minerals, are not available for our personal nutrition. On the other hand the energy. the stuff that calorie are made of, is readily available to whomever eats them.
Grain and legumes (beans) are the primary important seeds that fall into this category. In order to make these useful to our health, we have to trick the seed into believing the time is right to germinate.
Trick the Seed
Remember, the primary environmental factors seeds are looking for are temperature, moisture, and time. Our goal is to replicate that process as well as possible. In other words, soaking, cooking, and fermenting. Moisture, temperature, and time.
Humans have been fermenting for many thousands of year, primarily for food preservation. Of course they had no clue about nutrients and nutrient absorption back then. But they knew about spoilage and when food made them sick.
Current common and favorite fermentation is dairy (cheese, yogurt, kefir), vegetables like sauerkraut, beer/wine. On the whole, however, we have largely missed the mark with grain and beans, a problem particularly attached to volume.
One seed of any kind – be that wheat, oats. rice, corn, beans (etal) – is unlikely to create a toxin problem for anyone. Nor would the missing nutrients in one seed create much of a nutritional shortfall for a human But I have news. No one eats one seed.
Nobody eats one bean; beans come in bowls. 1 cup of wheat berries (which look a bit like corn kernels) is equal to 1 ½ cups of flour. Flours are turned into bread or mixed with sugar (no nutritional value but lots of calories) for sundry sweet treats. Beyond those, flours are turned into hamburger/hot dog buns, rolls, biscuits, pizza crust, pasta, taco shells, pancakes, gravy, batter for meat, tortilla chips, crackers, Doritos, on and on.
How much of the above list is in your family’s meals every day? We eat our seeds in volume, creating potential problems. Food diversity goes out the window.
The more seeds in volume make up a human’s diet, the more nutritional deficiency, very high toxin exposure, and calories. Persistent high toxin exposure can cause significant damage to the gut. Grain is very often associated with autoimmune diseases.
Beans are easier to deal with. For one thing most people don’t eat that many beans. Not counting the guy I met a couple years ago who said he only ate peanut butter. Peanuts are actually beans. I wonder if he is still alive.
The treatment for beans is easier and not particularly time consuming. Chapter 13, What the Heck is Phytic Acid. in my book (see below) provides direction and is worth a read.
Beans can be soaked at the right temperature for the right amount of time (usually overnight) and then cooked. This process activates the phytate enzyme that releases the minerals and makes beans more easily digested.
Grain is the bigger issue because we eat so much of it.
Soaking, sprouting, and fermenting (which I call treating) are the keys with grains. Just as happens with cheese, fermentation introduces bacteria that consume part of the sugar in the grain, releasing the nutrients, reducing toxins, and creating a new texture. Sourdough bread requires a living sourdough starter that must be fed regularly to stay alive. And it all takes a lot of time.
Most of the products on your grocery shelves could be made with treated grain but they aren’t. Clearly treating grain is going to take a lot more time and money than commercial manufacturers are willing to invest. Willingness to invest is important.
Perhaps you are unwilling or unable to invest the time and attention to making sourdough yourself, not to speak of all those other products. Me too! An easier idea is simply to eat lots less grain.
Still you could get lucky. I have found one restaurant that serves sourdough toast, biscuits, and pancakes. There is one vendor at my favorite farmers market who sells excellent sourdough bread. And you might be lucky enough to have a good friend who makes their own.
My advice to anyone who has diabetes, heart trouble, or is unhappily overweight is to cut out flour and sugar entirely. A high volume of seeds mixed up with sugar contains extraordinary amounts of energy calories destined to be body fat. A remarkable reduction in calories, body fat, and blood sugar will result. At least I haven’t yet seen it fail.
Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All about the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. Her books are available on Amazon, at Bob’s Food City in Mount Ida, and at the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds from her book benefit the Montgomery County Food Pantry. Her website is http://www.allaboutthefood.org/ She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, 501-605-3902. Her Facebook page is www.facebook.com/patsmithbooks.