I became serious about health early this summer while on a quest for more energy. (Falling asleep in the middle of the day is a recipe for disaster with a houseful of kids!) I was excited to find out that Darlene is hosting Live Well Wednesdays. I will be sharing what I have been learning from time to time.
I was at the doctors last week for a physical and was shocked by the health of the people sitting in the waiting room with me. Men and women came in carrying LARGE ziplock bags FULL of prescription bottles. They shuffled in, their weight pressing down on canes and walkers. They squeezed in. I live in a state that boasts one of the highest rates of obesity in our nation. The size of the patients in the waiting room did not dispute this statistic. We are a nation weighed down by crippling, degenerative health problems brought on largely, I believe, by what we eat.
Coronary heart disease, allergies, exhaustion, anorexia, depression, anxiety…Do any of these sound familiar? They all have at their root a vitamin B deficiency. We look at the labels of our foods and ask ourselves, “How can this be? Vitamin B is in everything.”
Did you know that whole-wheat flour has 21 nutrients plus fiber? White flour has been stripped of between 30 and 98 percent of each of these nutrients and in their place only iron, thiamin (B-1), riboflavin (B-2),niacin (B-3) and folic acid are added back in. If you are a sugar consumer, you further complicate the B issue because you rapidly burn through B-1 and B-2.
The story gets more complicated. Even bread made from whole wheat can be fairly low in nutrition for several reasons. Whole wheat flour loses 90 percent of it’s nutrients within 72 hours from the time it is ground. Also, all grains and legumes contain phytic acid in their outer layer. Phytic acid binds with calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc in the intestinal tract and prevents their absorption. This leads to a whole host of different health issues beyond the scope of this post.
I have a bowl of six cups of fresh ground flour, mixed with two tablespoons of vinegar and two cups of water on my counter. This process of soaking the grain for twelve to twenty-four hours before baking with it neutralizes most of the phytic acid. It also makes the dough supple and easy to work with. My bread comes out lighter and more tender when I take the time to prepare the flour this way.
This is not always practical. So even though we prepare almost all of our grain products by first grinding our own flour and then soaking it, we also take vitamin B supplements. Lauren takes a time-released B-Complex. She also takes 500mg of Pantothenic Acid (B-5) several times a day. Pet dander and changes in the weather bring on vicious attacks of sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose. We have found that B-5 calms these attacks better than any antihistamine she has tried. (Even prescription strength.) Stuart takes B-Complex for heart health. He also takes sublingual B-12 under his tongue in the afternoon for extra energy and is able to work through the rest of the day without the afternoon sleepies. It works way better than coffee. I take a B-Complex for even energy levels all day. It feels good to have energy again.
For more information see Nourishing Traditons by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig. This is a cookbook that studies the whole food diets and methods of food preparation used by isolated people groups around the world. It is one of the most fascinating books that I own. I use a few of the recipes but love the book for the abundant commentary that surrounds the recipes.
Sue Gregg has a series of cookbooks that adapt well to the Nourishing Traditons way of preparing food. There are a few recipes available on her website to try. I especially like her Yeast Breads, Lunches and Snacks and More than Breakfast Cookbooks.
Living well is hard work but the rewards are great. God made us to live well on the whole foods that He created for us. I am having so much fun passing on good eating habits to my children. They will be blessed for a lifetime by what we are learning and practicing together today.