As I mentioned a few days ago, I've been reading up on health and wellness topics. Overall, I try to steer clear from as many preservatives, dyes, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, etc. as possible, but I think there is always room for improvement in what I buy and prepare for our family to eat. (Especially, when it seems like every grocery store in America is chock-full of enticing processed food!) I haven't always been overly health conscious, but over the past three years I've read enough to convince me that some of our eating habits needed revamped. In general, I enjoy learning new things, and for some peculiar reason, health topics constantly pique my interest. And, to be honest with you, one of my goals is to eventually stop taking maintenance therapy drugs for Crohn's disease. I'm not quite ready to make such a drastic jump, but I have high hopes that sometime in the future I might be able to control this disease through diet alone. I hope so!
The week I read that 70 percent of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. Crohn's is considered an auto-immune disease, which in a nutshell means that my body's immunity overreacts and works against itself. Although I'm almost certain genetics plays some part in Crohn's (my brother and I both have it and were diagnosed only three months apart), it's interesting to know that I can make small changes in my diet to gain more nutritional benefits and absorb vital nutrients. I think my digestive tract might be happier with me if I change a few things!
So, this week I'm focusing my attention on whole grains. Whole grains naturally contain an anti-nutrient called phytic acid, found in the hull or bran of grains. Phytic acid blocks the absorption of minerals including zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper. Soaking or sprouting grains helps reduce the amount of phytic acid, therefore enabling the body to absorb and easily digest the grains we consume. This is a wonderful site where you can learn more about traditional cooking and why soaking grains is beneficial. Not only is it beneficial, it's simple, too!
My first experience with soaking grains proved successful! I soaked oats and pecans (it's also good to soak nuts - here's why) in water with a little lemon juice for this tasty oatmeal. We all enjoyed it, and I'm making more this evening. If you and your family enjoy oatmeal, give this recipe a shot. Play around with it, and feel free to share your modifications with me. I'm always up for a new, tasty, and healthy recipe!