There has been a lot in the news about diets promoting or rejecting specialized food groups. The Paleo diet advises eliminating all grains. The Mediterranean diet advocates eating lots of olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables. However, cutting out grains, which provide important nutrients to the diet including fiber, minerals, and vitamins, or adding in more beans and nuts for fiber, can create its own set of problems. If you want to eat these foods safely, here are some useful directives to follow.
Start by buying the most naturally sourced foods you can, rejecting any genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), those treated with antibiotics, hormones, or pesticides. It is important to realize, though, that even organic grains, nuts, and beans contain naturally occurring substances, like phytic acid which blocks absorption of beneficial minerals, or enzyme inhibitors which interfere with the body’s ability to digest them.
People of ancient cultures often soaked and fermented their foods before they ate them. Research has shown that by doing so, those acids that interfere with digestion are broken down, and beneficial enzymes are made more accessible. If you want to try this technique, experiment by soaking a pot of breakfast oatmeal overnight. Some older people may remember that this recommendation used to be found on the back of the Quaker oats box. This was before the advent of quick oats and microwavable oatmeal packets, which caused people to forget this beneficial traditional practice.
Image of grains via Shutterstock