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Properly Prepared Grains (see online videos!)
A forgotten skill of self-sufficiency is how to make bread in a manner that best sustains human vitality. Traditional bread-making served the health of our forefathers until about 1930 (advent of commercial bread making). Unfortunately, it was not known until recently, that the natural and friendly bacteria used in traditional leavening neutralized many of today’s known harmful affects of gluten-containing grains. The commercial processes today do not employ the use of these friendly bacteria. Grain is a rich source of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, iron, B vitamins, and other nutrients. The bran of grain induces peristalsis—the contracting of the intestines—to facilitate movement of food through the digestive tract. It is one of the best fecal-bulking agents we can consume, leading to smooth bowel movements and a good stool. Bran also increases the surface area of starch, facilitating a longer digestive pace that leads to more stable blood sugars, thorough digestion, and to a feeling of satiety and wellness. Unfortunately, even with so much good, at least one in five Americans suffer from grain related disorders today because of commercial bread-making processes that are unnatural.
Symptoms include gastrointestinal complaints such as stomach ache, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohns disease, and ulcerative colitis; they also include skin complaints such as itching, eczema, hives, and acne; joint and muscle complaints range from atypical pains to rheumatoid arthritis; headaches and migraines; chronic fatigue; asthma, chronic rhinitis or sinusitis; premenstrual syndrome; hypoglycemia; depression and anxiety; and sleeping disorders. Celiac disease is a grain-related autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. Eating grain can be life threatening to celiac victims.
The ADA (American Diabetes Association), AHA (American Heart Association) and other government agencies, recommend 6-8 daily servings of whole grains is necessary for optimal health. Yet, many health specialists today experience little success with their diabetic and other patients who follow standard grain recommendations. Consider what practitioners have found regarding wheat as you determine its best uses for you:
Each of these problems paint a dismal picture of the staff of life. Yet, when wheat is naturally leavened, the gliadin is predigested during leavening, which neutralizes the opioid addictive effect of exorphin-- without using drugs. The sugar in wheat is pre-digested into a form that overcomes the yo-yo effect or glycation that causes aging. And the lectins are also pre-digested and do not lead to leaky-gut syndrome. Finally, hydrolysis occurs during natural leavening, which leads to the healthy absorption of minerals found in grain. What is the natural leavening of bread that does so much more to wheat than we realized when we cease leavening bread in this manner?
A study published in February 2004, in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, describes the results of a research team who sought to overcome the toxic effects of grain for celiac victims. By preparing breads using Old-World leavening techniques, the scientists fed 17 celiac victims bread without their experiencing ill effects. The natural leavening employed known strains of beneficial bacteria to leaven the bread. Researchers suggest the bacteria feed upon certain elements in the grain which cannot be digested by human digestive enzymes, such as gliadin, lectin, and the carbohydrates found in gluten-containing grains, thus neutralizing the various harmful effects associated with grain and better enabling the known benefits of grain. By employing traditional leavening techniques, they overcame each of the four known issues discussed above.
Further work with gluten-intolerant individuals, using naturally leavened bread, has been equally encouraging when it comes to the benefits of using naturally leavened breads. Without the use of pharmaceutical drugs to block opioid receptor sites in the brain, superior weight-loss results have been achieved among those who have switched from commercial whole-grain breads to naturally leavened breads. Also, many celiac victims have responded well to naturally leavened bread, and many others who suffer from various grain-intolerances.
Steps to Overcoming Grain Intolerances
Grain Choices – Foods not believed to be harmful to those suffering from grain-related disorders include amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, popcorn, cornmeal, millet, corn, rice, oats, potato, soy, arrowroot, tapioca, sago, flax, and hominy.
Glycemic Research – When whole grains are enjoyed with leafy green vegetables, and other low glycemic vegetables, blood sugar levels remain stable—leading to stable dietary patterns and to great satisfaction at mealtime.
Dietary Lifestyle – A predominantly plant-based diet supports populations of friendly bacteria within the gut that aid in the digestion of grains; this benefit is mostly lost through diets that include high intakes of meat, sugar, fat, and alcohol.
Problem Foods – Avoid refined and processed grains; they are linked to disorders such as type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, appendicitis, arthritis, allergies, unstable blood sugars, irregular eating patterns, and so forth.
Naturally Leavened Bread Recipes – Buy or learn to make naturally leavened bread and avoid eating commercial breads. See naturally leavened bread recipes below and begin by making or obtaining an active starter.
Making NL Starter - Obtain a dry NL Starter Packet from us. See right column of this website just below the book Original Fast Foods and learn how to make Naturally Leavened Starter according to the following steps:
It is important to grow your first starter in the stages described above. However, after each future use of the starter (see recipes that follow), reserve at least 1 cup of NL starter to grow more starter in just one step. After reserving 1 cup of fresh starter, add enough flour and water to refill container while maintaining a pancake-batter consistency. This requires adding about one cup of water to every cup of whole-wheat flour.
Preserve the freshness of your starter by making pancakes at least once a week and bread, as desired (see pancake-making instructions below). Refill container after each use, always maintaining 6 to 8 cups of starter. If you do not use your starter for long periods of time, simply refresh it twice before next use by adding another cup of flour and water to your starter. Wait an hour or so for it to bubble, then refresh it again by adding yet another cup of flour and a cup of water.
After refreshing your starter, a nice fresh aroma should replace a fairly sour aroma. Always seek for a pleasant, fresh aroma before using it to make bread. If the aroma is sour, then your bread will turn out to be sour also. Using the starter at least once a week tends to keep sufficiently fresh that it doesn't need the extra steps of refreshing, as described above.
Making Naturally Leavened Dough (see online video here) – Place the following ingredients into a bread mixer:
5¼ cups lukewarm water
1 cup sourdough starter – see instructions above.
12-14 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour
4 tsp sea salt
Add the starter, water, and salt to bread mixer and slowly add flour until the sides of the bowl become clean from all dough remnants. Then knead the dough for 10 additional minutes. Spray a large bread bowl with olive oil and transfer dough from mixer to the bowl; place a damp towel over the dough and allow dough to leaven for eight to twelve hours. Empty dough onto counter top and cut into four equal parts. The dough may now be used for making bread loaves, flat bread, braided pizza or braided fruit desserts, as per instructions below.
NL Bread Loaves (see video here) – To make a loaf of bread, add a little water to working area on the countertop and “pat” out 2 lbs of dough into a large rectangle, taking care not to stretch and break the gluten. Fold the rectangular dough along the long edge of the rectangle into thirds as you would a letter, from top to bottom. Then fold again from side to side and place dough into a sprayed loaf tin with seam side down. Cover dough with damp cloth. Allow dough to rise for 1 - 2 hours (depends upon room temperature; the warmer the room the less time it will take to rise). Place a panfull of water on the bottom shelf of oven and preheat oven to 450°F. After the bread loaves have risen to your satisfaction, they are ready to be baked. Bake bread at 450° F for 35 minutes.
NL French Toast – After making bread, as per the instructions above, cut it to desired thickness and use it as the bread in the French Toast Recipe found on page 126 of Original Fast Foods.
NL Flat Bread (see video here) – Roll out two pounds of NL dough evenly onto a jelly-roll pan that has been sprayed with olive oil or no-stick spray. Cut it into desired shapes and sizes and then allow it to sit for one hour before baking it. Bake it in preheated oven at 500° F for 12 minutes and enjoy. Enjoy plain, with jam, or sliced open and stuffed with veggies.
NL Braided Pizza (see video here) – Roll out one pound of NL dough evenly onto a jelly-roll pan that has been sprayed with olive oil or no-stick spray. Perpendicular to both long edges of the pan, cut 4”long slits in the dough every 1.5 inches, leaving an uncut strip of dough down the center of the jelly-roll pan where you will add tomato sauce, veggies of choice, pineapple, seasonings of choice, and Mozzarella cheese. After adding filling, weave 1.5 inch slits into a braid over the top of the filling. First take the top right slit and pull it across the filling and press end into second left slit; then braid top left slit to right slit number three; then braid right slit number two to left slit number four. Continue this pattern until you reach the bottom row. Pull the left slit across the bottom to prevent sauce from leaking out. Break off the slit from the right side and use it across the top of braid to prevent sauce from leaking out (see video clip linked above for complete braiding technique.) Let rise for about 20 to 30 minutes. Bake at 425 degrees for 18 minutes or until cheese melts and dough is done. Place a bowl or pan of water in the bottom of the oven during baking.
NL Braided Dessert (see video here) – Follow instructions for making braided pizza, only change the filling used inside the braid accordingly: to make the filling combine one cup ricotta cheese with ¼ cup honey. Stir until smooth. Spread cheese mixture down center of bread dough. Next spread a thin layer of simply fruit jam on top ofcheese mixture,(we like marionberry jam-seedless). Sprinkle coconut flakes on the jam and then put fresh fruit on top of the coconut, (we like to put fresh blueberries and raspberries on top). Weave the dough over the filling. See directions for braided pizza. Brushthe top of the braid with a little bit of agave or another sweetener. Let rise for 20 to 30 minutes and then bake at 425 degrees for 18 minutes.
NLCinnamon Rolls – Flatten 2 lbs of dough into rectangle shape. Brush melted butter on dough; sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon and add nuts and/or raisins if desired. Roll dough on the long side into a log. Cut 1 ½ inch thick pieces and place on an oiled baking sheet. Let rise for 30 to 60 minutes and bake at 425 degrees for 18 minutes. Place a bowl or pan of water in the bottom of oven while baking.
NL Sourdough Pancakes – We keep 5 to 6 cups of fresh NL starter in our refrigerator at all times. To make naturally leavened pancakes, combine 3 cups NL starter with 2 tbsp applesauce, ½ tsp salt, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 2 tsp vanilla, and 2 tbsp maple syrup. Other ingredients may also be added at this time, such as nuts or berries. Let your imagination help you to use this batter as you would any other pancake batter. Mix above ingredients well and just before cooking pancakes mix in ¼ - ½ tsp baking soda and 2½ tsp baking powder to batter. This will cause the pancakes to bubble up and rise on the griddle. Baking soda neutralizes the acidity that is caused during the leavening process of the NL starter and sweetens the batter. Adjust amount of baking soda to create the sweetness you desire.
Live Pulse Mix – In addition to the preceding bread-making, learn to make and enjoy live pulse mixes. Live pulse mixes of legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds are brought to life through sprouting and may be eaten alone, over vegetable or fruit dishes, can be made into breads, added to soups, and so forth. Making pulse isn’t complicated. Any combination of whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds may be sprouted together by soaking them in water for 24 hours followed by draining and rinsing them thoroughly. Soak some dates for a couple of hours, until soft; cut them into pieces and add them to the pulse mix to add a nice sweetness. Entire mixture maybe enjoyed whole or chopped to desired consistency with a knife or the s-blade of a food processor. By adding mix to apple sauce, it will stay fresh much longer.
Muesli (see video here) – see recipe on page 131 of Original Fast Foods. When making muesli use a combination of raisins, any other fruits you desire, fresh squeezed apple juice, favorite nuts and seeds, and your choice of gluten-free grains such as amaranth, quinoa, oatmeal or oatgroats. You can mix up enough muesli to last a week. Begin by soaking your grains, nuts & seeds in water for 12 hours and then rinse them well. Be sure to maintain a ratio by volume of at least four to six times more grain than the combination of nuts and seeds. After rinsing the soaked grains, nuts and seeds, raisins, and choice of diced fruits (adjust amount to quantity of grains, nuts & seeds), add fresh squeezed apple juice and/or almond milk and cover mix. If you like cinnamon and/or nutmeg, you can also add to taste. A little goes a long ways in this mix. The mix is now ready to be placed into the refrigerator where it can remain for about a week or be eaten much sooner! Enjoy this delightful and energizing mix as a breakfast dish or at other times as a quick pick-me-up.
Wheat Berry Supreme (see page 132 of Original FastFoods)
Oatmeal Delight (see page 131 of Original Fast Foods)
Fruited Quinoa - (follow oatmeal delight instructions above;except substitute quinoa for oatmeal)
Corn Meal Cereal (see page 133 of Original Fast Foods)
Super Granola Mix (see page 131 of Original Fast Foods)
Banana Spice Muffins (see page 133 of Original Fast Foods) You can also make by substituting whole-wheat starter (see first recipe in this section) for the plain whole-wheat flour called for in the recipe.
Most all the bread-making and some of the other grain related dishes are included in the recipe videos under Properly Prepared Grains. Just click there and you can watch what we've described here in the instructions. Best!
Don't forget to ask questions and share your own favorite healthful grains below. Also, remember the place of grains in a diet; they are to compliment and to meet caloric needs that are not met by the intake of fruits and vegetables. Lean on them only as you would a staff. The overuse of grains in people and in animals includes the many grain-related disorders discussed at the beginning of this article.
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