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Phytates . . . part III

When making baked goods, get in the habit of putting the flour in the blender or bowl with the liquids (with a bit of a fermented dairy product like kefir), and just leaving it all day (or night) before completing the recipe.   You’ll also find that your baked goods are lighter, with a lovely texture, as you take this additional step that creates natural leavening.   You can often cut by half or even leave the baking powder out when you have presoaked flour with kefir/yogurt added.

This extra step of soaking grains or flour, while requiring you to think ahead, doesn’t add time to your preparation, since the dish is then ready, or nearly ready, when breakfast or dinner is served.

You don’t always have to make soaked-grain breads and grain products from scratch.   At your health food store, you can buy sprouted-grain tortillas, English muffins, and manna bread with several varieties like sunflower seed, carrot-raisin, and more.

Don’t be frustrated if you just learned about phytates for the first time and now wonder if whole grains are good for you!   If you’re stumped about whether eating whole grains (even unsoaked) is better than white flour, the answer is a definitive yes!

First of all, white flour robs your body of minerals, too, at a faster rate–and is virtually devoid of fiber and nutrition.   Second, remember that literally hundreds of studies document the link between whole grains and blood sugar control, among many other health benefits.   That one benefit alone–that fiber dramatically slows the release of sugars into your bloodstream–is critically important to your future.

Third, the phytate issue, while worth discussing here, is by no means settled science.   In fact, Reddy and Sathe published a book in 2001 called Food Phytates that surveys the growing body of research on phytates.   They claim that phytates are free-radical scavenging antioxidants that may reduce blood glucose as well as risk for high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, kidney stones, and some forms of cancer.

So, the jury is still out on the precise role of phytates.   Whether or not they are friend or foe remains a hotly debated controversy, so perhaps the best strategy is to soak, sprout, or ferment wherever possible, and enjoy eating unsoaked grains sometimes, too

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