Sunday, April 30, 2017

How to make Sprouted Grains

Sprouting grains is not a newfangled food trend, but a tried and true traditional preparation of grains dating as far back as biblical times and as modern as the industrial revolution. Until modern farm equipment was invented to gather grains out of the field quickly for shipment to cities and large storage facilities, grains were cut and stored in the fields until time to use or sell them. The dew and rain would naturally sprout the heads of grain.
Today, at home methods of sprouting your grains before baking them entail a few easy steps and not very much time; and the benefits are worth each step of the process.
  1. Sprouting neutralizes phytic acid, a substance present in the bran of all grains that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc.
  2. Sprouting neutralizes enzyme inhibitors present in all seeds.
  3. Sprouting produces numerous enzymes.
  4. Sprouting breaks down the starches in grains into simple sugars so your body can digest them like a vegetable (like a tomato, not a potato).
  5. Sprouting produces vitamin C.
  6. Sprouting increases the grains’ carotene and vitamin B content.
Things you will need to sprout:
  • 4 to 8 quart mason jars with large-mouth lids
  • 1 plastic needlepoint grid, 7-mesh size cut to fit as the lid for your jar
  • 1-2 large round bowls big enough to place 4 of your mason jars in at an upright angle
  • A large colander and small strainer
  • ¼ cup organic cider vinegar
  • 6-11 cups of organic grains
  • Filtered water

The first steps are to wash and sanitize your grains. Grit often adheres to your grains and you never know what kinds of “critters” walked through the field where your grains were harvested.
1. Clean and Sanitize your kitchen sink and drain stop before to begin.  (Bleach is an effective sanitizer)
2. Fill your kitchen sink with tap water (room temperature).
3. Pour your grains into the water. Agitate the grains thoroughly for a minute or two.
4. Using a colander scoop up all the grains you can. Using a small strainer and your free hand, scoop up the remaining grains into the colander. If you have a strainer that fits in your sink drain, this works great to get to the remaining grains and drain the water at the same time. Hold the grain-filled colander under the tap for a quick rinse.
5. Clean your sink thoroughly of all grit and fill with 2 gallons of tap water. Stir in ¼ cup of organic cider vinegar. Dump your washed grains in the vinegar solution. Let stand for 7-10 minutes. Repeat step #4.

Now your grains have been properly washed and sanitized. It’s time to begin the sprouting process.
1. Place about 1 1/3 cups of clean grains into each mason jar. (If you’re baking only 1 large loaf of bread you will only need 4 jars)
2. Fill each jar with filtered water. The grains will sit on the bottom of the jar.
3. Place mesh lids and screw-tops onto each jar and tighten well. Let jars sit on your counter for 4 hours.
4. The ideal temperature for fast, even sprouting is 69-72 degrees. You may need to place jars in your pantry or laundry room to maintain an even temperature.

To make meshed lids for your jars, remove a solid lid from a jar top. Place the lid on the needlepoint grid and using a pen or Sharpie, trace a circle. Repeat this step for each of the jars you will use. Cut the mesh lids out using scissors and place inside the jar’s screw-top to replace the solid lid.

5. After your grains have soaked for 4 hours (it won’t hurt if they soak for 5-6 hours, so don’t worry if you’re busy and can’t get back to them after 4 hours), hold each jar over your kitchen sink and turn upside down, letting all the water drain out.
6. Turn each jar right-side up and fill with tap water. Then turn them over again and let all the water drain out of the jar.
7. Once you’ve completed steps 5 and 6 for each jar of grains, place your jars in a large bowl at a slant with the meshed lid toward the bottom of the bowl. This will allow for more water to drain off of your grains as they sprout. Place the bowl on your counter and leave overnight.
8. If you are completing step 7 by early afternoon, then repeat steps 6 and 7 in evening and leave jars in bowl to sprout overnight.
9. By mid-morning your grains should be sprouted. You are looking for a distinct white tail on the end of the grains. Usually sprouts begin with a 2-pronged antenna protruding from the end of each grain.
NOTE: Do not let your sprouts grow beyond a ¼ inch in length or your grains will take on a “grassy” taste and will be hard to feed into your mill or grinder once dried. You get all the benefits of sprouting when the tiny antenna pops out of the end of a kernel of grain.

You’re almost finished! Now it is time to dry your sprouts.

10. Remove your sprouted grains from each jar and spread onto parchment-lined toast pans or place onto racks in your dehydrator (set at 105-110 degrees and let grains dry thoroughly).
11. If you are using your standard kitchen oven, place pans onto racks and set oven at its lowest temperature. If that temperature is above 110 degrees, prop your oven door open about 1 inch at the top using a wooden spoon or dowel. Let grains dry thoroughly. This will take several hours or overnight.
12. Store your dried grains in an airtight container in the pantry until you are ready to mill.

Sprouting is very easy to accomplish and you are not limited to just common flour grains. I find that sprouting beans before making soups, chili, and hummus eliminates bloating and gas. There are lots of foods you can sprout for better digestibility. Be creative and have fun!

Resource for this information:

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sprouting Grains adds Health Benefits

While looking for some information to add to my monthly newsletter, I ran across an article about health benefit of sprouted grains.  I have seen a few products made with sprouted grains, but really had not paid attention.  They are not readily available in our area.  My curiosity was peaked, so I looked up some additional information about sprouted grains from the Whole Grains Council.
Grains are the seeds of certain plants, largely cereal grasses. Like all seeds, grain kernels are a marvel of nature, containing the potential of a whole new plant, patiently waiting its turn in the sun.  All three edible parts of the whole grain – the germ, endosperm, and bran – are crucial to creating the new plant. The germ is the plant embryo, which, when it grows, will feed on the starchy endosperm. The bran layers provide some additional nutrients and — along with the inedible husk found on many grains – help protect the grain seed until it’s ready to start the growth cycle.  This is why whole grains are healthier than refine grains.  Refine only contain the endosperm.

Until then, the seed counts on certain built-in growth inhibitors to keep it from germinating until temperature and moisture conditions are just right. Then, once sprouting starts, enzyme activity wipes out these growth inhibitors and transforms the long-term-storage starch of the endosperm to simpler molecules that are easily digested by the growing plant embryo.

Just as the baby plant finds these enzyme-activated simple molecules easier to digest, so too may some people. Proponents of sprouted grains claim that grains that have just begun sprouting – those that are straddling the line between a seed and a new plant offer all the goodness of whole grains, while being more readily digested.

What’s more, the sprouting process apparently increases the amount and bio-availability of some vitamins (notably Vitamin C) and minerals, making sprouted grains a potential nutrition powerhouse.

Until about a hundred years ago, humans harvested their grains, tied them into sheaves, and left them in the field until they were ready to thresh the grain. Inevitably, with this exposure to the weather, at least some of the grain would begin to sprout.
Sprouting grains increases many of the grains’ key nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin C, folate, fiber, and essential amino acids often lacking in grains, such as lysine. Sprouted grains may also be less allergenic to those with grain protein sensitivities.

Consumers need to be cautious when purchasing sprouted grains as at this time no regulated definition of ‘sprouted grain.'

Watch for future posts on sprouting at home and using sprouted grains.

For a complete copy of the article from the Whole Grain Council

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Are You On A Yo-Yo Eating Pattern

During this time of year, we get motivated to lose some weight so we try a new diet with a twist like eat all of the spinach you want but don't eat pickles.  New fad diets come out every week.  I can remember trying one that had me eating only beets on one day and then tuna the next.  When we eat utilizing these types of diets, we are eating in a restrictive eating cycle.  It is very hard to stick with these types of diets over time, because we feel deprived.  So we start cheating and then eventually swing to an overeating cycle.  This is the yo-yo pattern. 

Here in an article by Michelle May, M.D. we learn terms to help us determine if our eating pattern is restrictive.

Nutrition information is a tool, not a weapon—and certainly not a religion!  As you learn to manage your weight in this abundant food environment, remember that your goal is a healthy lifestyle, not a lifelong restrictive diet. The distinction between healthy eating and restrictive dieting is important because restriction usually leads to feelings of deprivation, cravings, overeating, and guilt followed by another round of restriction. This is what I call the eat-repent-repeat cycle.
Work of Art or Paint-by-Number?
The difference between healthy eating and restrictive dieting is the difference between a work of art and paint-by-number. Either way, you end up with a nice picture… until you get up close to take a look.

Healthy Eating     vs.    
In Charge
All foods fit
Physical activity

Restrictive Dieting
In Control
Good or bad
By the clock
Portion sizes

Your Picture of Health
Is the “picture of health” you’re painting constrained by rigid lines and someone else’s choice of colors? Or does it express your individuality, your preferences, and your lifestyle? Choose now how you want to create your work of art. Here are specific steps:
  1. Filter everything you read, hear, and say by asking, “Is this restrictive in nature?”
  2. Begin to monitor your little voice. (It may be helpful to journal so you capture the real essence of your beliefs, thoughts, feelings and choices when it comes to food.)  When you notice restrictive dieting thoughts from the second column above, gently replace them with true healthy eating thoughts from the first column.
  3. Conventional wisdom may have you convinced that you are incapable of managing your weight without rigid rules. Look for role models, support, and resources to help you relearn to trust yourself.
  4. Use nutrition information as a tool not a weapon—and definitely not a religion!
  5. Make the healthiest choice you can without feeling deprived. All foods fit into a healthy diet using balance, variety, and moderation. (Click here for a guided audio lesson: Deciding What to Eat)
  6. Let go of the belief that you need to eat perfectly. Accept that you’ll sometimes regret certain choices you make—that is part of healthy eating. When you don’t get caught up in guilt and shame, you’re able to learn from your experiences.
  7. Repeat often: “It’s just food and I can learn to trust and nourish myself without restriction.”
  8. Discover joy in creating your own masterpiece!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Quick Meals Tip - Make It Easy To Find Your Go To Recipes

Tip #7:  When needing to prepare a speedy meal for your family you don't want to waste time looking for a recipe.  Here are a few tips for finding those recipes.

In today's electronic world, we pin recipes or share on Facebook so they stay on our page.  I even use my phone or ipad to take pictures of recipes that look good.  Before Pintrest, Facebook or Camera phones, I would clip or copy recipes I wanted to try.  I have folders of great sounding recipes waiting to be tried and another of ones we liked.  I also love cook books and have a small bookcase full of cook books.

Something that I find frustrating is deciding what you want to fix for dinner, but you can not remember the exact recipe and spend precious time looking for the recipe.  After several trips through the folder, there it just magically appears.  Here are a few solutions that I have come up with to help me without spending hours on a filing system.

My first is easy as I found a hit recipe that the family all agreed was good, I would add it to my list on the inside of my cabinet door.  The list included the cookbook the recipe was in and the page number.  I also often added a note about non-staple ingredients that I would need to have to make it.

Sometimes I create recipes.  I start with sticky notes and tweak on the recipe until we like it.  Then I write it in a recipe book that I was given when we got married. 

Recently I have begun using my computer to help me organized recipes.  I have a folder called My Family Favorites and it has sub-folders similar to the sections of a cookbook.  As we find recipes that everyone likes, I type them and store them in the folder.

On Pintrest I have recipes divided into categories, but as we decide a recipe is a winner, I move it to my family favorites folder. The pictures of recipes are a little harder to deal with, but I have created an album to store them in too.

To make this even more helpful.  Keep a list of ingredients you need to have on hand to make your favorites, so you can pick them up when they are on sale and be ready when the mood for that dish strikes you.

During slower times of the year, I made it a goal to try a new recipe each week.  This helped break up the monotony and helped me enjoy cooking more.

Here is my experiment from yesterday.  Everyone enjoyed it and said they would eat it again.  This doesn't happen often. 

I baked a whole spaghetti squash for about an hour at 350 degrees.  Let it cool for 30 minutes.  Then cut it in half, took out the seeds and center strands.  Using a fork and spoon shredded the rest into a large skillet.  Added a small amount of olive oil and 1/4 cup margarine.  I sauteed the squash with some dried basil and crush red chili pepper (the amount is based on how large a squash you use) for about 5 minutes.  Then I sprinkled on Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.   Actual prep time was minimal.  

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Important Program on Improving Your Credit

Recipes for Overeating Verses Mindful Eating

I love this article by Michelle May.  Its gives those who did not attend our class a clearer view of the overeating cycle and how it works verse a healthier eating cycle.

Recipe for Overeating
Whole pizza, batch, bag, box, or large plate of food
2 tablespoons of deprivation
1 heaping teaspoon of guilt
Sprinkle of shame
Optional: fatigue, stress, resentment, loneliness, boredom
  1. Run yourself down physically by not sleeping, exercising, eating when you’re hungry, or consuming nutritious foods. Alternatively, wear yourself out by working too hard, being all things to all people, and trying to make everything perfect.
  2. Place emotions on medium-high. Cover and simmer; do not allow steam to escape.
  3. When you crave something you love, remind yourself that it’s bad, fattening, or high in carbs.
  4. When your cravings grow stronger, tell yourself that you’re bad for wanting bad food.
  5. Wait until an influential person such as your grandmother or co-worker insists you eat that food anyway to please them. Alternatively, sneak the food when no one is watching.
  6. Sit down in front of the T.V. or choose another activity to distract yourself while you eat.
  7. Before eating, garnish the food with guilt. If it’s still enjoyable, stir in some shame to ensure that the food is completely ruined.
  8. Eat as quickly as possible to avoid tasting or enjoying the food.
  9. You’re done when you feel sick and uncomfortable.
  10. Repeat steps 1-9 until can’t stand it anymore. Try the Recipe for Mindful Eating.
Recipe for Mindful Eating
Slice of pizza
1 or 2 servings of food you love
2 tablespoons of intention
1 heaping teaspoon of attention
Sprinkle of trust
Optional: pleasure, enjoyment, celebration, tradition
  1. Care for yourself physically by getting adequate sleep, exercise, and nutrition.
  2. Create a self-care buffer zone by regularly nurturing your body, mind, heart, and spirit.
  3. When you’re hungry, consider what you want, what you need, and what you have to eat before choosing food.
  4. Decide how you want to feel when you’re finished eating; serve yourself accordingly (or adjust the portion if someone else served you).
  5. When the food you crave isn’t particularly healthful, omit all guilt and shame. Remind yourself that all foods fit when you practice balance, variety, and moderation.
  6. Sit down to eat and minimize distractions.
  7. Savor the appearance, aromas, textures, and flavors as you eat.
  8. Eat slowly and mindfully for maximal enjoyment from every bite.
  9. Stop when you feel content and energetic.
  10. Repeat steps 1-9 for the remainder of your life.
(To learn more about the differences between overeating and mindful eating, download chapter 1 of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle.)