Welcome back to our series on Traditional Foods- the foods which our forefather enjoyed, back when modern diseases like obesity and diabetes were a rarity. (1) Having read part one and two in this series you’re now aware of the importance of good quality fats in your diet along with the powerful healing capacity of organically produced, fresh, heirloom vegetables and fruit. Today we will look at nuts, seeds, grains and legumes, a group of foods which are similarly nutrient-dense and at the same time the source of much confusion and discussion around the health blogosphere.
The main issues that I find in my clinical practice with these foods is that they are….
You will have noticed in the articles referenced above that all grains have similarly been ousted by the paleo movement. Granted, there is a time and place for their removal, such as in the case of the ever-growing incidence of digestive inflammation and irritability. (6.) This is where the SCD and GAPS (Gut & Physiology Syndrome) diets play an invaluable role in restoring digestive function such that most grains can then be restored to the diet for most people. (8) Those with a genetic susceptibility or history of allergy or intolerance to gluten-containing foods however will likely do better avoiding these for the long haul. (7) These healing protocols involve restoring the gut microbiome (healthy gut bugs) as well as slowly returning fibre to the diet from vegetable sources including legumes to bring about intestinal healing via short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like butyrate. (9)
Now I think we agree that soaking beans and lentils before slow cooking them (with some juicy organic chicken or lamb sausages please) is simple enough- grains however require a more thoughtful approach if we are to avoid damaging our health. (10)
Without due care and consideration we soon find our bodies confronted by-
Last but by no means least- nuts and seeds. Have you tried going ‘Raw’ or ‘Vegan’ to date? Do you know of anyone who has adopted a raw food regime? Chances are that if they’re not unwell already- its only a matter of time. That is if they are not observing these basic food prep rules. (12) That same phytate mentioned above which will bring you undone with raw cereal grains also exists in nuts and seeds as natures protective mechanism against being digested by little critters. ‘Activated’ nuts to the rescue. Activating your nuts is simple! A good soak in salty water, rinse and dehydrate until crispy. My dehydrator is humming away in the background as I write. (12)
Perhaps you’ve given Paleo or GAPS a go already- now here is a common trap as well. These diet require that you take out all of the grains and legumes to facilitate healing, so the inventive muffin and cake lovers amongst us came with the idea of using nut or seed meal to replace flour. Very tasty and tantalising I have to admit, however- nutritionally this is a big problem! Nuts and seeds are not only high in calories, they are also very high in polyunsaturated omega 6 oils- and as such
What to take away when you ‘take away’ is not the way?
The information in this article is not intended to take the place of a professional health care practitioner. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. Discuss this information with your own healthcare provider to determine what is right for you. Readers are urged to conduct their own reading and research to find what is appropriate for them together with a registered healthcare provider.
Jillaine is passionate about Traditional FOOD AS MEDICINE. She lives on an organic farm in Cygnet Tasmania.