Author Archives: Chaya Foedus

About Chaya Foedus

Flour on the ceiling. The ugliest vintage apron collection you've ever seen. And an affinity for old-fashioned kitchen skills that center on health, preparedness, and family meal-time. I am passionate about helping people find their kitchens and then teaching them what to do once they get there.

Prudence, Wisdom Applied

apple tree in bloom


Wisdom Applied


Many of us are trying to reclaim the lost things of the past.  Some of us have taken up a hobby like knitting or calligraphy.  Many are also beginning to incorporate old homemaking skills like entertaining guests, canning, gardening, and baking.  We are just now beginning to understand the values of such forgotten things, and many of us are finding great joy in reclaiming these slivers of the past; gluing them into the mosaic of our modern lives. I have one more shard to lift out of the rubble, to dust off and reapply into your daily life.  This one does not require a skill or some other time requirement.  This is simply a word: prudence. 

 Learn it, begin using it and embrace it as it is a key component to complete world view as well as to daily life.  It is so key, that it shares the stage with justice, restraint, and courage as one of the “four cardinal virtues”.  St. Augustine gave this definition of prudence: “love distinguishing with sagacity between what hinders it and what helps it.” 

Webster minces few words with this prudence definition, “wisdom applied to practice.”  Did you catch that?  Wisdom shows you the way that is right; prudence will keep you cautious and deliberate in attempting to complete your task at hand.  It is the practical implication of how something must be done, not just the wisdom that it does need to be done.  For instance, you may know that you are supposed to do something differently in regards to your children’s education, but how will you go about it?  So many of the other moral virtues reside in the heart; prudence requires intellect. 



Solomon listed prudence as one of his main reasons for writing the book of Proverbs; it was the reason for dispensing the wisdom in the first place (Proverbs 1:4).  He gives the meaning of prudence, calls his listeners to understand what prudence truly is, and then explains the symbiotic relationship between wisdom and prudence in Proverbs 8:5-12:

 O you simple ones, understand prudence, And you fools, be of an understanding heart.

Listen, for I will speak of excellent things, And from the opening of my lips will come right things;

For my mouth will speak truth; Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them.

They are all plain to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge.

Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold;

For wisdom is better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.

“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And find out knowledge and discretion.


We must pray for wisdom, and wisdom will often answer what is good.  Prudence is seeking knowledge and discretion to apply that wisdom.  Prudence will guide us to apply that wisdom so that we go about it the proper way.  Solomon personified wisdom here, saying “I (Wisdom) will find out knowledge and discretion by living with prudence.”  I think of my three-year old toddler on this one; the other day I heard screaming and saw him sitting on his baby sister.  When I questioned him, he was trying to strong-arm a marker out of her grip, because she is not allowed to have them.  He had the wisdom to know that a sixteen-month-old should not have markers.  He had no prudence to cautiously approach the situation to know how to go about it.  I think we always lumped this into the “wisdom” category, and they are truly inseparable virtues.  There are times, however, when we know what should be done, but are at a complete loss as to how.  You have a name for that which you seek—prudence.

 The apostle Paul says that God gives us prudence through the work of Jesus on the cross.  God does not leave us lacking, and thus we can now wrap our arms around what truly gives prudence meaning.  In Ephesians 1:3, Paul says that God the Father has given us every spiritual blessing through the work of Jesus Christ.  He continues to say that God chose to adopt us and so we should strive to live blamelessly.  He follows (v. 7-10):

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.


God uses both wisdom and prudence as the currency through which He bestows his blessings upon us, how wonderful!  He uses them to make the “mystery of His will” known to us so that we can give Him pleasure.  God implemented wisdom and prudence in the great plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.  God is truly a God of love.  And as St. Augustine so aptly reminded us (in my words), prudence is love’s use of wisdom to determine how to further the cause of love.  God has given us His love, and His plan was indeed prudent. 




Photo Credits:

Prudence Sign

Absorb This . . . Phytic Acid

Phytic Acid

Phytic Acid

Absorb This . . . Phytic Acid


Inositol Hexaphosphate—a little goes a long way



You may have heard the term “Phytic acid” before if you have read any food blogs out there at all, or if you have asked someone why they go to the trouble of sprouting their grains before preparing them.   Let’s explain what it is and its role in the grain first.

 Have you heard the new food science that all the experts are just so sure of?  We often demonize the next new term out there.  Cholesterol = bad!  Fats and Oils = bad!  Salt=bad!  Bad, bad, bad!  Grrrrrr!  And then we will pin wings onto other terms:  Omega 3 fatty acids are overdose-worthy!  Protein isgluttony-approved!

 It is just not that simple.  You have to learn about your family medical history and your own personal health first before you can know what you should eat or avoid eating.  This data set will look different for every individual person.  When foods are on the “bad list” we do not see the demand go down for that certain texture or taste, so we start seeing substitutes.  Saturated fat went out of vogue and (for awhile) transfats were in.  Sugar is worse than bad, how about aspartame instead—anyone? 

 Phytic acid is properly known as “inositol hexaphosphate” and “IP6” in the science world.  Foods with Phytic acid generally owe their existence to it.  The bad reputation it receives is largely because Phytic acid is the chemical within those foods that preserves that seed/nut until the time in which that seed or nut is brought back from its dormancy through the germination process.  


Inositol Hexaphosphate

Phytic acid grains (i.e. wheat, rice, barley, etc.) store their phosphorous (up to 50-80%) for future use within this chemical compound in the plant to slow the plant’s metabolism.  Furthermore, Phytic acid is an antioxidant naturally occurring in the plant, and it can make up 1-5% of the grain, seed, nut, and even the pollen. 

As you know, an antioxidant helps prevent cancers because they combat the damaging effect of oxidation within tissue.  Foods high in Phytic acid, such as beans, may trend towards the same effect.  There are numerous studies occurring at any given moment as to how Phytic acid might prevent (or even help cure) different forms of cancer; in fact, they have linked it definitively to preventing colon cancer.  Since colon cancer runs in my family the consumption of Phytic acid (for me) is a positive thing—within reasonable limits. 

We would not have the shelf life that we enjoy with such foods as beans, wheat, rice, etc. if it were not for the Phytic acid in food.   However, after it has done its job and the food is on the table, what other effect does it have on you?  And why the anti-phytic acid press if it is an antioxidant?  

As it turns out, we will still get all the Phytic acid even with preparing our grains/seeds/legumes in a way that minimizes Phytic acid.  A 2004 study (Onomi, Katayama) concluded that dietary intake of Phytic acid at a level of 0.035 percent may protect against a fatty liver, and that the anti-nutrient effect of Phytic acid on mineral absorption will only occur at 10 fold higher levels. The researchers even speculated that Phytic acid may be considered more like a vitamin than an anti-nutrient.   We easily reach that level of acid if we are eating whole grains, beans and nuts.  So we should not seek to eliminate it entirely, nor should we seek out Phytic acid as a supplement.

In that same study, mice overdosed on Phytic acid had severely reduced growth.  The acid attaches itself to minerals (namely iron) but it within itself is not absorbable. The entire complex passes through; this means that you will not get the full nutrition out of the food product.  The very fact that it suppresses iron is how it preserves the seed for future growth.  If you have a high grain diet, take note this is why grain based baby food is fortified with iron. 


In a conversation with Dr. Amanda Rose, I learned that you can soak your grains (or better yet sprout them first) to release the Phytates (or “Phytase”) which pull the Phytic acid from the food.  Dr. Amanda Rose covers this science in more detail along with cooking tips through her website

You need some Phytic acid in food, but you can easily get too much of a good thing.  Consider soaking your grains and seeds to keep your diet in balance.   Rinsing off rice and sprouting grains have been done for millenia now–nothing new there.  But we do want to make sure that we are keeping a proper balanced diet.   Phytic acid, a little goes a long way.  



Photo Credits:

Phytic acid checmical diagram is from the National Center for Biotechnology Information



Works Cited:

Onomi S, Okazaki Y and Katayama T. Effect of dietary level of phytic acid on hepatic and serum lipid status in rats fed a high-sucrose diet.. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2004 Jun;68(6):1379-81




Nothing in this blog constitutes medical advice.  You should consult your own physician before making any dietary changes.  Statements in this blog may or may not be congruent with USDA or FDA guidance.