more pantry basics
Because it's Edible does not mean it helps our bodies THRIVE
STARCHES...Taking the lead from Dr. William Davis, who wrote the best seller Wheat Belly, when I looked in the mirror after experimenting with gluten free 'flours'... I saw a Starch Belly! When I threw out my tapioca, arrowroot, corn and potato starch and rice flour, it was no time before I was back to my normal self. Some of these may be known as 'resistant' starches once they are cooled, however, because they are refined and extracted from their 'whole' food most starches turn directly to sugar in our bodies. Many whole vegetables, fruits, seeds and their dried and ground 'flours' easily substitute for these starches. Whole cassava flour (tapioca is the starch derived from this root) is the ground, whole root of the plant, however, in its natural state it is toxic (it's a cyanide producer) for humans and must be specially refined or modified to be eaten. So, again, I choose other delicious options to replace the properties of gluten and starch and I'll never get a Starch Belly again!
GRAINS...Wheat, the vastly predominate grain of modern history, in the past 60 or so years, has been bred and crossbred and genetically modified to increase its protein and gluten content. It has also been bred and GMO'd to withstand such things as weather conditions, pathogens, insecticides and herbicides, and to increase the yield production per acre by more than tenfold. These drastic, unnatural changes to wheat's genetic code has produced a grain far removed from the wild grasses once harvested and eaten in small amounts by our early ancestors. Wheat has been used to feed the world, to stave off hunger and to line the pockets of big agri-business, just like other crops such as soy and cotton(seeds). Our ancestors didn't have fancy laboratory tests to show them these things, however, they innately knew many grains bothered them. Eating grains made their lives easier than relying solely on hunting and gathering and filled their bellies well. So, they learned to soak or sprout grains to help their tummies digest them. Truly, in our fast-paced world these techniques are all but lost wisdom. Even so, we still must wonder why these difficult-to-digest 'foods' would become the staples of our modern diet. It seems it would be enough to reconsider our relationship with wheat if gluten/gliaden and celiac disease were the only problem, but by far, this is not the case, as stored grains are also highly susceptible to extremely dangerous aflatoxin contamination. 'Seed' grains such as amaranth, buckwheat, millet and quinoa are the grain-like seeds of herb-type plants. Although I believe the true grain-eaters are birds, these seed grains and rice, prepared properly, are my occassional side dishes. I choose quinoa for its high protein content and enjoyable taste as my seed-grain of choice. If you absolutely must have wheat for some reason, choose spelt, wheat's cousin, which has been far less tampered with over the years.
SWEETENERS... Coconut sugar or maple syrup have become popular sweetening choices, however, refined or not, they both raise blood sugar, so I choose different sweeteners for my treats, using others only on ocassion. My choices are delicious, natural, safe and easy to use. I prefer to use pure Monk Fruit (sometimes blended with erythritol), whole leaf Stevia, or Date Sugar combined with the natural sweetness of whole fruits and veggies in baked goods. Most of us know by now that when there's too much sugar in our bloodstream, it causes the body to become overly acidic and prone to disease by creating an environment comfortable for pathogens. If cancer or other disease is caused or exacerbated by a microbe, sugar is its preferred food. A body in an acid state will leech minerals from our bones in order to alkalize the blood, another of the amazing ways our body is programmed to naturally maintain its balance. Dozens of health advocates throughout history have equated the addictive properties of refined sugar to that of heroin. Plain and simple: too much sugar coursing through our bloodstreams causes a boatload of problems. Double those problems when all-purpose flour or starches are added, which all turn straight to sugar.
FATS & OILS...First of all, eating fat does NOT make you fat! Did you know that human breast milk contains more cholesterol than almost any other food? More than 50% of its calories are fat, mostly saturated, and are essential for brain health development and growth. Fats carry our fat soluble vitamins and minerals into our tissues, organs, and bones. We NEED fats to survive. Saturated fatty acids make up 50% of our cell membranes. Fats allow the body to make hormones, protect our digestive tract and liver from toxins, and surround our heart muscle. Saturated fats also allow better utilization and retention of the essential fatty acids. So, why would we want to consume 'low-fat' anything? Saturated fats are the most stable fats and are resistant to oxidation once eaten, as it ages, or is heated. High-heat, refined oils don't interest me either. I seldom heat my oils and prefer to bake, poach or simmer my food and finish a dish with a drizzle of virgin oil or butter. When I heat oil, it's always butter, ghee, coconut, palm or lard. I buy only cold-pressed and virgin oils and enjoy them often!
DAIRY PRODUCTS...I'm not a fan of dairy products, per se, unless it happens to be heavy cream, homemade or high-quality raw cheese, yoghurt & kefir, real sour cream or real ice cream (made with the cream of cows that are free to roam and eat grass). When I say 'real', I mean it's made with real cream and not milk, low-fat, no-fat or fake. I also love a blend of coconut/almond milk which can easily be combined with or substitute for both milk and cream in basically any recipe. The whey protein in milk contains lactoferrin which has proven health benefits, ranging from weight loss to bone strength to anti-viral effects and even better sleep. It's well known that many people lack the gut flora and enzymes needed to break down the sugar in milk and are considered 'lactose intolerant'. Other than the lovely gassiness it causes, lactose is fairly harmless. Ancient cultures knew to culture their milk products before consuming them so the good bacteria in the milk could gobble up the sugar and transform the milk into things like yogurt or kefir or clabbered milk, making it easier to digest. However, these products will still contain the casein protein. While the whey protein appears to be harmless to human health, casein protein shares structural similarities to the gluten/gliaden protein in wheat. Research also shows the casein protein to be most harmful when it's separated from the natural fat in the milk, so never buy 'low fat'! Happily, butter, ghee and heavy cream contain very little lactose sugar or casein protein and are usually very easily digested. They also make Butyrate, a fatty acid that nourishes and balances the pH in the colon.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ORGANIC FRUIT
Every time I hear someone say we should cut back on fruit I cringe! Many fruits and vegetables, especially berries, have substances called salvestrols that are the fruits' natural defense against fungal attacks. Incredibly, in 2008 two Russian scientists discovered that plant salvestrols were able to kill cancer cells without harming other cells. Once inside the cancer cell they are triggered by a particular enzyme that causes the cancer cell to self destruct. Unfortunately, modern farming methods with the use of fungicides and other chemicals have greatly depleted plant salvestrols. When a plant has no threat of fungal attack, it stops producing salvestrols. Since we stopped eating organic and instead began to consume plants sprayed with fungicides our cancer rates have steadily risen. Salvestrols are much higher in organic, unprocessed whole foods. I’m not sure why this is not treated like bigger news.
In 2010, during his TED talk, Dr. William Li told us that cancer grows through angiogenesis (a process the body uses to make blood vessels). So, when cancer cells get fed lots of sugar, they grow into tumors because they are thriving enough to grow blood vessels to provide them with the oxygen and nutrients needed to sustain them as they grow. Apparently fat cells use this same process to grow. Dr. Li also reports there are numerous fruits, vegetables and herbs which are able to effectively inhibit this process by boosting our own defenses. These plant compounds have been shown to work synergistically, compounding the defense, proving the potency of whole foods rather than individual supplements. He lists green and white tea, berries, tomatoes, red grapes, cherries, kale, turmeric, garlic and nutmeg as having high anti-angiogenesis abilities, but there are dozens of others as well.
Remember, without a doubt, research shows that organically grown plant foods and animals raised in natural conditions that consume the foods they're meant to eat, pass on to us all the nutrients and co-factors our bodies need to utilize for our well-being. Would you prefer to ingest pesticides, herbacides, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics, hormones, chemically and laboratory-altered, grown in depleted soils, watered with chemical dirty water, crammed for space and abused, forced to eat what is not natural to them, diseased and picked-before-ripe 'foods'? And this is all before it even makes it in for the 'processing' part. Of course not! So, buy organic, local and free-range as much as you possibly can! Read your labels before you buy and learn to recognize BIG Business' tricks used in labeling and even 'non' labeling (ie: what is hidden under 'natural' ingredients) .
PLEASE NOTE: If you have allergies or are ill with an auto-immune disorder or disease, please consult your physician and/or consider following a healing program such as the Body Ecology Diet, an Auto-immune Protocol, SCD, GAPS or a Ketogenic protocol.