Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"B" Good to Yourself

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.

18 comments:

ValleyGirl said...

Thanks for sharing this great information with us, Kate! I need to get more serious about health, too. I want to be a good example of 'living well' for my girls so that hopefully they'll want to live well too, once they're more in control of how they eat and how active they are.

I have an old, old cookbook from the Mennonite Central Committee called "More with Less" and it's all about eating simpler and healthier, even when entertaining. I need to read it again.

The Small Scribbler said...

VG,

We have More With Less, too. It's a good one.

Kate

lori said...

Hey you..
GREAT post!
I am a huge B vitamin gal...THAT Nourishing Traditions is really great...I LOVE the part about the study done with the "fake" butter and how the BUGS would not even go to it...
we need to go back to REAL food and get off of our derrières and we could get rid of LOTS of pill bottles...
I am with you...I NEED to make more bread...
living well with you!!
lori

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

Kate,
Thanks for the encouragement, as always. I, too, own Nourishing Traditions, but have had trouble getting my family's palate to accept most of the recipes. (We didn't start out being so healthy in this family ... hard to adjust the taste buds!) I'll have to try the Sue Gregg books and see if we can find some there.

The Small Scribbler said...

Jennifer,

We didn't start out eating healthy either. I don't cook much out of Nourishing Traditions. The recipes are a bit of a stretch for a macaroni and cheese family. Sue Gregg presents a much more realistic approach. That said, Nourishing Traditions is a GREAT read aloud. I pull it out and read bits and pieces to the kids almost every day. Knowledge is power and the kids are learning to say no to the candy and white flour junk food that is offered to them every where we go because they know the results of eating nutritionally deficient food.

Kate

The Small Scribbler said...

Lori,

I love the part about mice living longer on the packaging than they did on puffed wheat. Good stuff all around. Oh, if I could only find a raw milk source here in Smallville.

Kate

Alana said...

Very interesting. I especially appreciate the info about B vitamins. Thanks, Kate!

Love Bears All Things said...

Thank you for this advice. We are both already taking extra C with our Multi and J takes E and Lutien. I'll add the B Complex and the B12 as we both suffer from energy depletion in the afternoon.
Mama Bear

Darlene said...

This is so good, and, well written. I love the info on B vitamins.

Denise said...

Thanks for the great advice, bless you.

Alyson said...

thank you for the post. I can't wait to finally get my grain mill.

Alyson said...

A yes....raw milk. sooooo good and fattening :)
I have to admit that since switching, we tend to get a little more ummm....diarhea around here.
But it is worth it!!

Heather C said...

Someone told me recently that Vitamin B was a good stress reducer too... any truth to that? Thanks for an informative and interesting post! :)

Heather

Kathy at Sumballo said...

I didn't know that Vitamin B had so many applications. Thanks for sharing that great information - and the links.

Jennifer said...

I have that cookbook on my kitchen bar. Several years ago, I was asked to lead a handbell group. I was blessed to find a whole new group of friends there,and these gals are serious about their health! Slowly, I got pulled in, too, and now we're buying raw milk, grassfed beef, free range chickens, farm eggs, and just all kinds of stuff. It's cool to learn about all of that, and it does take a while to learn it all!
Like you, I have learned more than I ever even wanted to know in the last few years - why don't they teach this stuff? Why don't the doctors EVER mention nutrition? It's so weird, when you think about it, isn't it?

My friend who kind of heads up our group always has jars of things fermenting on her counter - she is one serious student of nutrition! She has taught me a lot. I got really into it for awhile and was making kefir, grinding flour, soaking the grain, making buttermilk and butter, all that stuff that she talks about in the book. But, somewhere along the way I got... tired. It was so much work. I've really backed off, and I'm trying to find my balance again, but in the meantime we're all taking Juice Plus vitamins and I'm taking B's, too, and endocrine support supplements. They help TREMENDOUSLY. I cannot survive without my Adaptocrine!

Still, I could always use more energy... maybe SLEEP would help...
ya think? ;)

(I don't know where "Smallville" is, but I'll bet you're not TOO far from us... I'd be glad to pass along sources if you're interested.)

Faith @ The Great Adventure said...

Thanks so much for this info! DH and I have been eating healthier but we have a ways to go. ;) I've been taking JuicePlus supplements and a multivitamin, but i keep meaning to also start taking B, D, and omega-3 supplements, all of which are recommended for MS as well. So this is a good reminder to get around to buying those!

Heather said...

I found you through "A Cup of Coffee...or Two" and I am so excited that I did! I just bought my first grain mill and am currently waiting for it to arrive. My daughter has terrible allergy issues also and I have never heard about the Vitamin B for that but I'm definately going to try it. I'm very interested in finding more about mixing the flour with vinegar and water. I hadn't heard that either. I'll check out the book you recommended!

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Kate, I was wondering if the information you learned about the B vitamins is from that cookbook. My daughter (#2) has issues much like the ones you described for your daughter. We are meeting with an allergist in Jan because we suspect some sort of food allergies, but I am also doing some other research.

People have suggested probiotics and then I read this. I am interested in the B vitimin group for energy for myself...and curious about the effects of B5 for her.

Was this book your main source? I'd love to know because I'd grab it!