Category Archives: Blog

Homesteading, Food Preservation, Frugality, and Simple Living.  At Pantry Paratus, we mix it up with good old-fashioned “how-to”, food science, and recipes.

Task Oriented

Produce, Prepare, & Preserve Your Harvest

Somewhere along the way, I’ve become task-oriented.  I have always appreciated hard work and the ability to crash asleep from a day’s accomplishments.  I’ve always enjoyed pushing myself beyond even my own boundary of capabilities; to know that I did something I didn’t know was possible.

In spite of these qualities, I was not always task-oriented.  I love people by nature and could easily pine away an afternoon at a coffee shop or bookstore with a dear friend.  And I’d ask if they’d like to meet there again tomorrow.

friends over coffee

Goodness, I could pine away that same afternoon quite contentedly by myself, enjoying my own solitude with my calligraphy pen or banjo.  Even at the bookstore, I enjoy the alone-time. Perhaps it would be an adventure; a conversation with a stranger or perhaps I’d witness an event in the peripheral that I’d otherwise miss—like that young couple falling in love but not admitting it yet, or that creative little girl trying to win her mother over to her brilliant idea of giving her what she wants.  Yes, I people watch. Even more than these, a rainy afternoon calls my name; the book and tea await my arrival.

tea and a book

I still love every one of these things.  But along with these things, I now find that my “To Accomplish” list (doesn’t that sound better than “to-do”?) grows longer with every checked item.  I think chores breed chores.  The list within itself can contain a certain drudgery—as the rainy afternoons mount this time of year and the Book List grows with every radio program interview I overhear.

But yet the items on the list itself…these give me great joy.  After all, would they find their way to my list if there was not some merit to be gained?  My list today is no shorter than usual—zucchini must be processed, and so must the pears and apples.

Produce, Prepare, & Preserve Your Harvest

Apples to process

A dear friend gave me a precious bag of elderberries yesterday—I must start the tincture so it will be ready before the flu season comes! The mending in the corner is nearly toppling.  What of my son’s homeschooling curriculum—school is approaching and I haven’t yet decided our year!

Do they bring stress?  The stress is found within the urgency and the notion of prioritizing them, yes.  But knowing that I’m working for my family, that I’m modeling self sufficiency for my children, that I’m teaching basic life skills, that I’m encouraging an emphasis on family life and charity—these are my big picture.  Above all of this,

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

(Colossians 3:23-24 NIV)

I just wanted to pop this quick reminder your way…remember the big picture today!

–Chaya

 

Photos:

friends over coffee

tea and a book

Northwest Montana Veterans Stand Down 2011

Stand Down . . . I had to ask the term to be defined to me the first time I heard it.  It was my first deployment in Kosovo. After a few weeks of falling asleep to the sound of mortars under the stars at our firebase along the border, I was beginning to shed my naïveté about the world we live in.  Our Platoon Sergeant asked the Commander for a “stand down” day so that we could refit, refuel and take care of administrative duties.

Local VFW Post 1548 Libby, MT

 

My initial acquaintance to the term “stand down” was under drastically different circumstances compared to my first Stand Down event here in Libby, MT.  Stand Down is an annual event put on every year by the Northwest Montana Veterans Stand Down & Food Pantry.  The event drew veterans from Montana, Idaho and points beyond to the Libby, MT local VFW Post 1548.  They formed a line that stretched out the door, across the parking lot and down half of a block.  The event featured its signature give away of semi-truck loads (yes, plural) of surplus military personal equipment (boots, uniform items, cold weather gear, sleeping bags, socks, undergarments, ruck sacks, etc.), free influenza shots, free hair cuts, dental exams, VA personnel of all kinds passing out information about services and points of contact and a hot meal—enough to feed, well, an army.  The volunteer group was enormous, cheerful and very eager to be helping any way they could.

 

Allen Erickson and Wilson

Mr. Allen W. Erickson is a veteran himself who unintentionally founded the effort back in 2000 after participating in other such events associated with the VA Hospital in Spokane, WA.  The surplus from other Stand Down events was housed in a semi trailer in Allen Erickson’s yard, so he started calling other veterans and giving the items away locally in Kalispell.  The funny thing about free-born Americans is that they are largely at heart very patriotic and manifestly benevolent to their beloved veterans.  Through divine providence a farmer from Polson had heard of Allen Erickson’s effort to give away the surplus to veterans, so the farmer decided to drop off two 4’ cube pallets of potatoes with the instructions, “Now call the veterans, we will feed them and we will clothe them.”   From there it was a short jump to doing Stand Down events locally, and in his first year of doing a Stand Down event, Allen Erickson had the largest such event in the nation.  Twelve years later, the rest of the story is a history of not just annual events, but of an active year round food pantry, clothing outlet, an employment opportunities board, service center all housed in a large building plus robust connections with the VA.

 

“Veterans  helping veterans” is not a cliché bumper sticker.  A private organization that gives away 224,000 pounds of food in a year is obviously doing something right.  Allen Erickson may not have set out to do something this large, but that is exactly what happened when he set out to do the right thing because he wondered who else would take care of these veterans.

fork lift

 

My favorite president of all time spoke of something called, “American Exceptionalism.”  Anyone lucky enough to be born an American is special, but a veteran is an unique brand of American—one who at one time wrote a blank check to his/her country up to and including his/her life if need be for this great nation.  Efforts like the Northwest Montana Veterans Stand Down & Food Pantry are exceptional and 100% American.

Truck Load

 

I am proud to welcome home my cousin back to Ft Riley in the near future after he concludes a long tour in Iraq.  There are things that only he and I will be able to talk about because of the extraordinary conditions and experiences that only someone deployed to Iraq to take care of their nation’s business can understand.  Yet it does not take a combat veteran to understand what it was like for someone like me coming back from Iraq (after an honorable discharge) and not being able to find a job.  Anyone can be a volunteer, make a difference in the life of a veteran and reach out a “helping hand up.”

 

North West Montana Veteran’s Stand Down & Food Pantry Mission Statement:

North West Montana Veteran’s Stand Down & Food Pantry is dedicated to providing a “helping hand up” to homeless, low income, and at-risk veterans, their families, and dependent children.

 

You may reach them at:

1349 Hwy 2 East Kalispell, MT 59901 (406) 756-7304

http://veteransfoodpantry.org/

 

Pro Deo et Patria,

Wilson

What Did $1.00 Buy?

Meatballs Frying

This was one of our most popular articles from 2011. 

Food Inflation

 Food inflation over time

 

We were too young, did not listen and we were blissfully happy.  Everyone told us to wait until we were out of college to get married, that it would be better to land good jobs first and do not be in a rush to start a family, “But we really want grandchildren by the way.”  We were 21 years old, headstrong, and in love.  Is that not how the story is told, over and over again?  So Wilson and I were students during the day (I took 21 credit hours to graduate earlier), and he changed tires at an auto store in the evening while I sold clothes.  Both ($6/hr) jobs were at the mall, so I would literally run from my side of the mall to his so that we could see each other on our dinner breaks.  But we made it through the progressive food inflation somehow.

 Life is not much different now—we are still very frugal.  My memory of that first year is so clear—the difficulty of balancing the checkbook and the contents of the cupboard shelves, both were usually simultaneously on empty.  So I will engage in that “yes, I’m old” game of “I remember when…” as we take a look at an inflation marker. We were married in 1998 and one pound ground beef was only $.99 a pound!

Ground Beef

What year did you get married or move out on your own?  Do you remember any of the cost of living prices?  Here’s a reality check: http://www.dollartimes.com/calculators/inflation.htm  You can measure the value of a dollar from one year to the next and see the average rate of inflation. 

 How far did your dollar go then?  For me in 1998, my dollar then requires $1.36 to wield the same purchasing power as I had in my newlywed bliss.  Sigh. 

 What is food inflation?  It depends who you ask.  The number magicians tend to omit the cost of fuel and food when it comes to calculating inflation.  Hmmmmmm, here in reality town the grocery store does not pay much attention to that fuzzy math. 

 

Broken Piggy Bank

So, it is clear to me that when I look at ground beef or green peppers, a dollar does not buy what it used to—that is the inflation of food prices for you.  Food inflation is real, kind of like I cannot find my keys and I am late to get somewhere—not just perceived as in, “Is it me or has that comic strip has not been funny since Kennedy was president?” 

 Let’s just say that you work a job that allows for an annual raise of 3% yearly to compensate for the rate of inflation, as mine did (prior to becoming a stay-at-home mother).  Many jobs are better than that rate, some are worse, but work with me.  12 x .03 = 36.  That is 36% in 13 years. 

So there you have it: if you have received a consistent 3% raise for every year for the last 13 years, you have kept up with inflation, almost neck to neck.  If your raises do not average that, you have fallen behind the decreasing value of the dollar. 

 To me food inflation is just one more reason to make your kitchen self sufficient.  A bucket of wheat purchased in 2011 will still be good in 2021, 2031 or 2041.  Today it cost $28.00 for 26 pounds—anyone want to take a guess at what it will cost in 2041?  Food inflation is real, but if you are smart with your food shopping you can stock your pantry, grind your own flour (which is much better for you) and come out ahead.  Use coupons, grow your own, buy in bulk—all of these can help you stay ahead of the inflation of food.  Can those green beans in the summer, eat them in the winter and enjoy the savings—you know Grandma used to.   Have a tip on saving at the grocery store?  Please leave a comment!

 

Chaya


 

Photo Credits:

Bag of Beans by Pantry Paratus

Ground Beef by chidseyc  http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/mtLNWJW/sizzle

Piggy Bank by chidseyc  http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/mAbSBWW/Bankcrupt

 

My Less than Altruistic Motives for Kitchen Self-Sufficiency

Top ten list

 

Self Sufficiency, it is a goal.  To that end, we started Pantry Paratus to help other people produce, prepare and preserve their own food surplus.

So how do you know when you have gotten there?  What is the definition of self sufficiency?  Do you get there when you reach food self sufficiency?  How about economic self sufficiency? 

It is my goal, so I may never reach complete self sufficiency (as in autonomy), but here are the top ten  reasons why I make the pursuit: 

10.  If I take some time when I might have it then I have worked ahead on my kitchen prep for dinner on those days when I just do not have it in me to get it all done.

Rolling Pin

9.  I am cheap.  Frugal.  Economically inclined.  However you wanna say it. 

8.  If my house smells like fresh bread straight from the oven, it does NOT smell like poopy diaper or sweaty boy. 

Challah Bread with Frontier Sesame Seeds

Challah Bread with Frontier Sesame Seeds in Bulk

7.  A garden fresh tomato is not to be compared to the hormonally-ripened red replicas you buy in the grocery store.  And since I ca not grow them all year around, dehydrating or canning them gives me that instant mental vacation back to summer days. 

 

bowl of tomatoes

6.  Most of my daily tasks do not result in immediate gratification; a row of cooling jars on the counter from an hour in the canner, now THAT is something I can see!

canning_basket.jpg

5. Most of my daily tasks do not require a great deal of skill (diapers, dishes, laundry), and I enjoy trying a new recipe or developing new skills to stretch myself.

soft_cheese_1635-228x228.jpg

4. I want my sons to marry girls who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and who know how to work hard.  I figure I probably ought to model that for them. 

carrots potatoes from garden

3. I want my daughter to be feminine, yet rugged in her ability to work from sun-up to sundown (and in a Northwest Montanan summer, that’s saying something) and I figure I probably ought to model that for her. 

Chaya building the goat shed

Chaya building the goat shed

2.  I still love to wiggle my naked toes in cool dirt.  I still love to eat produce straight out of the garden, unwashed.  My kids do too; these are the memories of summer.


1. I get better and faster at these skills as I go, and I can whip something up to wow last-minute dinner guests with very little effort! 

Gluten-Free Nacho Pizza

Gluten-Free Nacho Pizza

Self Sufficiency, it is a worthy goal.  What are your reasons?  Leave a comment below!

Chaya

 

Photos Credits:

Rolling Pin by scottchan http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1701″

Tomato by Simon Howden http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=404

Carrots by Simon Howden http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=404

Whole Wheat vs. Hole Wheat

Bread Making Supplies at Pantry Paratus

Whole Wheat vs. Hole Wheat

 Ingredients found in fresh ground whole wheat flour and why they matter

 

Wheat structure

Wheat Kernel Diagram

The wheat kernel (or wheat berry) has three components: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.  White flour that you purchase in the store is simply the endosperm.  Actually, it would simplify so much if they called it “wheat starch” instead of “flour” so that you would know it was a kissing cousin to corn starch.  The bran and germ sections have been sifted out, and are sold to you again as health supplements (or additives in healthy cereal, granola bars, salad toppings, etc.) or other value added products like animal feed.  It is quite a racket: to sell the same thing to you three separate times. 

 

 

 

The bran is the outer shell or wrapper consisting of 3 fibrous layers that protect the dormant nascent plant inside. These layers are rich in fiber and in minerals. One of these layers, the Aleurone layer, contains protein as well as high levels of vitamins and Phytic acid.

 

The germ is the embryo (remember, the grain is a seed of a plant), therefore it is high in both protein and fat, as well as containing the highest level of B vitamins.  This is the engine inside the seed of the wheat kernel that will propel the new plant upwards.  When the seed receives moisture and the plant starts to germinate, it is the germ that forms the new plant shoot. 

 

The endosperm is all starch and protein.  If the bran were to represent the fuselage and the germ the engine, the endosperm would be fuel for the new plant to start growing until it can metabolize sunlight on its own.  When you buy enriched flour in the store, this what you are actually eating.  It is the starch in the endosperm that contains gluten, giving baked products the composition to hold together.

 

 

A quick history of flour

 

The history of how white, deconstructed flour became “all the rage” is really quite fascinating.  Basically, sifted flour was the European Royalty treat (think “corsets and fainting women”) and the robust peasants milled their own, hearty flours. Sifting (or boulting) has been a method employed since Roman times (they had seven grades of sifted flour).  Sifting into “white” flour is nothing new, but it was never industrialized because the labor involved to go from raw wheat flour to refined sifted flour was so intensive. 

 

                                                                  Boulting at the Bakehouse

 

Enter the Industrial age—then an American figured out how to sift it commercially, and it became the thing in 1928.  At about the same time, scientists discovered the causes of Pellagra, Scurvy and Rickets were deficiencies in niacin, vitamin C and D along with phosphorus respectively.  The population at large was simply malnourished, and viola—“enrichment” became the Band-Aid® commonly practiced by 1938, and eventually the law in 1941.  Flour enrichment was intended to bring ordinary flour back closer to whole wheat bread.  This process is also credited with lowering the Pellagra rate from 10.5% in 1933 to only .5% by the year 1949.  Even in recent history (the 2000’s), enrichment of folic acid became law and the number of babies born with neural tube defects decreased by 26%.  Short version of the story, when you need to get some trace element out to the people, write a law and put it in the flour.

 

The Stripping and Enrichment Processes

So is whole wheat whole grain?  No.  It is very important understand that the greatest nutritional content of wheat is in the bran and germ, and that the endosperm—the stuff modern white bread is made of—does not contain the vitamins and minerals necessary for our daily diets.  Modern day flour mills strip far more vitamins and minerals from the flour then they add back into it, and the enrichment is not sufficient to meet your body’s full dietary needs.  Please do not misunderstand—adding some nutrition into dead flour has saved lives.  But how many more could it save if the flour was served whole?

What is whole wheat?  To answer that, please contrast the following two nutritional charts: the one on the left is for 1 serving of plain wheat berries (or kernels) and the one on the right is for a serving (1 slice) of store-bought white bread.  When you compare them, understand that the 1 cup of wheat is simply 1 cup of the berries; your homemade bread, with honey, salt, liquid (potato water is full of nutritional benefits), and oil will have even higher levels.

 

Pure Wheat Berries:                                                                  1 serving of White Bread:

Nutritional Chart, 1 cup of wheat berries1 Serving of White Bread

 

It is interesting to note that in the early 2000’s the law required the enrichment of flour with folate (folic acid).  Although the quantities are different, look at the nutritional values again.  Raw wheat berries and enriched bread are virtually the same amount of folic acid.  There is no comparison between the fiber, iron, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, vitamin B6, phosphorus, and zinc!  

 

There is something unique about the iron level differences between the raw and the processed.   Anemia is the most widespread vitamin deficiency in the world, irrespective of the financial health of the countries.  The white bread has been enriched with iron and cannot compare to the natural iron levels found within the wheat.  Since there is more than one type of iron, and because the type naturally found within wheat oxidizes quickly, the enrichment process will insert a form less easily digestible than the one that comes integral to your wheat kernel.  Actually, the iron in enriched flour “usually begins not only in iron ore mines in Minnesota, which is no surprise, but also in oil wells, which is” (Ettlinger, 2007).  Ettlinger goes on to point out in hilarious detail that the ferrous sulphate (iron substitute) in enriched flour actually is derived from crude oil (sulphur) and the rust residue in acid pickling tanks from steel mills  production lines (ferrous). 

nfAVg1Y

 

If flour mills take far more out than they put back in through enrichment—so why take it out at all?  The reason is shelf stability.  True whole wheat flour (flour made from all three parts of the wheat kernel) will quickly oxidize and go rancid.  Actually, the nutritive value of the fresh ground whole wheat flour plummets in mere hours after it is ground (although the process can be stalled significantly if the whole wheat flour is immediately put into the freezer).

 

When flour mills strip the whole wheat grain of its bran and germ, they are taking more than the vitamins that you see on the label; they are stripping phytonutrients. Also called “phytochemicals,” these are plant nutrients that are not considered essential.  That just means that they enhance your life but might not be essential to it.  For instance, studies suggest that one such phytonutrient, Lignans, can guard against breast and prostate cancers (Mathis, 2005).  These may not make a label, but they are crucial for quality of life. 

 

“Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food” -Hippocrates. 

 

To get quantity, there must be a bulk filler (typically starch) that is used to add nutrients back into the flour for enrichment.  Remember that starch consists of high levels of glucose, and this turns quickly into a “sugar” in your body.  So the enrichment process is not without the unfortunate side effect of making bread products “starchy” and a poor choice for diabetics.  True living bread is not this way.  The natural starches contained within the wheat are counterbalanced by the naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. 
 

Vitamin E—The original miracle drug  

 

Vitamin E is a fat soluble antioxidant. That means that they protect cells from harm done by damaging free radicals, which are molecules that contain an unshared electron (Office of Dietary Supplements, 2011).  The Ohio State University measured the amount of vitamin E in various foods, to include oils.  The highest item on the list was 1 tablespoon of wheat germ oil, just the oil!  That one tablespoon provides 20.3 milligrams of vitamin E—that’s 135.3% of your RDA! There is no greater known source of Vitamin E in the world than in whole wheat (Mosure, 2004).

 

Phosphorus

 

Phosphorus along with Vitamin D are needed in healthy diets to fight Rickets (a disease where the bones degenerate and soften).  Phosphorus is represented in adequate quantities in enough unprocessed foods so that deficiencies are only a concern in people who routinely consume antacids or who have a disease in the kidneys.  Whole wheat is perhaps the second best common source for phosphorus you can find—the highest value going to the yeast used in bread baking.   With the advent of enriched flour, the tracer bullet manufacturing sector has had to share its primary ingredient (Phosphorus) with bakers.  Hmmmm, I think I will just stick to whole wheat home ground flour.

 

Conclusion

 

Let’s consider eating God’s bounty as He designed.  We could discuss the various vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients of whole wheat for many pages more; this is not an exhaustive list of the health benefits to this fundamental grain.  Rather, it is a brief highlight of the value of this often underated food staple.  Please consider replacing the deconstructed flour in your diet with true whole grain.  Flour milling is as simple in modern times as flipping the switch on any kitchen appliance.  The lingering scent of freshly baked bread, the indulgence of a warm slice from the oven, the improvement in skin, digestion, and overall health—this is a wonderful gift to yourself and to your family. 

 

Chaya

 

Photo Credits:

Wheat kernel cutaway from the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee: http://wbc.agr.mt.gov/wbc/Consumer/Diagram_kernel/  

 Boulting Flour in the Bakehouse by Kentwell Hall Great Re-Creation, June 2010 (Depicting 1538) http://www.flickriver.com/photos/nigesphotobox/4741585459/

Bread by Viererie http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/nfAVg1Y/BreadBread

 

Works Cited:

Ettlinger, S. (2007). Twinkie, deconstructed, my journey to discover how the ingredients found in processed foods are grown, mined (yes, mined), and manipulated into what America eats. (First printing, March 2007 ed., Vol. 1, p. 32). London: Hudson st Pr.

 Mathis MD, C. (2005, April 01). Web md. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/phytonutrients-faq

 Mosure, J. (2004, November). The Ohio State University Extension Office Online. Retrieved from http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5554.pdf

 Office of dietary supplements. (2011, October 11). Retrieved from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/

 For further study:

http://www.drcranton.com/nutrition/bread.htm (highly recommended reading)

www.americanbakers.org, “Celebrating 70 years of Enrichment”

http://cuny.edu/archive/cc/health-in-america/nutrition.html

www.wolframalpha.com  for the nutritional charts

http://www.mostproject.org/PDF/2.pdf   US Aid, “Manual for Wheat Flour Fortification with Iron”

http://www.webmd.com/diet/phytonutrients-faq

http://www.lesliebeck.com/ingredient_index.php?featured_food=120  Leslie Beck, RD; “Wheat berries – March 2010’s Featured Food”

http://www.sph.emory.edu/wheatflour/KEYDOCS/MI_Fort_handbook.pdf  Wesley and Ranum, eds. “The Fortification Handbook” (2004).

http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/5554.html  Vitamin E: Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamine/  Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin E

Proviso:

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 current USDA or FDA guidance. 


6 Comments

Becky

posted on Saturday, June 14, 2014 10:07:40 PM America/Denver

Very interesting. Thank you for sharing this!

Marci

posted on Monday, October 6, 2014 9:49:08 AM America/Denver

I loved this Chaya!! You are singing my song. 🙂

Sharon

posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 1:11:34 AM America/Denver

Thank you, thank you, thank you. The best article so far that I’ve read that explains this whole-wheat (berry) flour concept vs the supermarket white flour. Thank you.

Megan Stevens

posted on Monday, October 13, 2014 10:09:19 PM America/Denver

Hi Chaya, thank you so much for a wonderfully researched and insightful article!!! Two small things, you have “viola” up by/underneath the women sifting flour which is meant to be “voila.” I have done this myself and am always glad someone lets me know; so I hope you will not mind. Secondly, I think it would be helpful if you mention sourdough or sprouting, since the nutrients are much more accessible and historically-based as far as procedures and nutrition when the grain is predigested. Thanks, kindly, Megan 🙂

 

Thank you for catching that! I’ll change it right away; I want to get attribution correctly. You would enjoy this blog about Phytic Acid, in which I talk about there very thing! It would have made a good addition to this blog, agreed. It’s hard to fit so much science into a readable blog! Glad you liked the article.

JessMN

posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 7:11:47 PM America/Denver

While I agree with most of what you have posted, I have to wonder if you have even read “Wheat Belly”? A huge amount of the problem with wheat – whole grain as well as supermarket white flour – is the fact that what we eat today is genetically modified to be nothing like what our ancestors ate (14 chromosomes in Einkorn vs 42 chromosomes in modern dwarf wheat) “The Bible says, “Give us this day our daily bread”. Eating bread is nearly a religious commandment. But the Einkorn, heirloom, Biblical wheat of our ancestors is something modern humans never eat. Instead, we eat dwarf wheat, the product of genetic manipulation and hybridization that created short, stubby, hardy, high yielding wheat plants with much higher amounts of starch and gluten and many more chromosomes coding for all sorts of new odd proteins.” (Credit: Dr Mark Hyman) Just some food for thought.JessMN, Thank you for the comment (I love it when people write thoughtful comments). I had set out to read Wheat Belly, but I never actually got to it. Good intentions aside, I did watch an hour-something long lecture by the author on the topic via Youtube almost two years ago. I found what he said interesting, but as someone who has come to faith through via the lonely journey of skeptism, I think that both my scientific thinking and my faith are better in practice and both are more epistemologically sound.

Why do I even mention that? Because the author seems to have an axe to grind with faith and the Bible/Christianity in particular–which is altogether fine by me. My problem is that if I was anti-vegetarianism, I would not go take a shot at Seventh Day Adventists straw-man to gain traction on my argument. If following the evidence where ever it leads gets him to be upset with the nativity scene, then I think that my bias detector is correct when I see that as irrelevant to the topic at hand.

Back to wheat, yes, if he is correct, we eat a lesser form of wheat. By way of comparison, Chaya and I used to own a Boxer named Dallas. She was a GREAT dog, very affectionate, loyal, athletic and quite the clown. She was a Boxer; she was not a wolf. All dogs descended from wolves, she was a wolf-minus if you will, but we got all of the canine we needed in that lovable package. The point is to show a diminished modern product does not mean that what we have is somehow needs to be discarded because it is not pure. Sure, I would love to eat 42 chromosome wheat, and hopefully the author can bring the strain back to vogue and we can compare the data. But for now, the wheat we eat is very good, high in protein in Vitamin E.

To be clear, when I say “wheat” (as in what we eat at our house), we start out with a wheat berry/kernel and then grind that into flour. That wheat is superior to the bagels stacked as cover art of dead white flour that had to be enriched by law to avoid vitamin deficiencies like beriberi and rickets. In that the author and I are in agreement, that is not wheat, that is wheat starch-minus.

Thanks for the comment!

Wilson

Darryl C.

posted on Thursday, October 16, 2014 4:39:50 PM America/Denver

Thank you for UR article… I buy ‘Wheat Berries” Non-GMO, grind them when I want to make my flour. AND then make whatever bread version I want>>> Store bought, I try not to read their ingredient lists CUZ I can’t pronounce 90% of their ingredients! So I don’t buy it!!

Prudence, Wisdom Applied

apple tree in bloom

Prudence

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. 

Prudence

 

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. 

 

Chaya

 

Photo Credits:

Prudence Sign http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1701

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.  

Chaya

 

Photo Credits:

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

http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/summary/summary.cgi?sid=841469&loc=es_rss

 

 

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

 

 

Proviso:

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.