Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Directions

In which our Lady espouses the Natural. 

To me, the most beloved of seasons are spring and autumn.  As the times of planting and harvesting, they have such potential.  Because of this potentiality, I believe that spring is the best time to make resolutions.  Not that I didn’t try back in January—but those resolutions have usually been forgotten by the time April and May roll around.  Besides, the real beginning of the year for me is spring.  Today proved to be one of those dreamy goal-making days, a time to gather ideas, buy strange items to put them into practice, and generally make my life just a little more complicated by branching out into a thousand new directions (I have a problem with this... it’s kind of an addiction with new ideas via book-perusal and list-making). 
You’ve already heard about my adventures in greenery.  Below you’ll find some photos of houseplants and seedlings.  Then there are a few examples of some excellent library books.  The Natural Alternatives text is one of those I-can’t quite-believe-I’m-reading-this books that you find strangely interesting, and wish you could feasibly do with a minimal investment of time.  Maybe someday…  Ahem.  The second book, Garden Anywhere is awesome.  It teaches the urban gardener all the basics about gardening, whether in containers or in the actual ground.  (If you live in the Anchorage area, please refrain from putting this on hold at the library.  I need it for a few more renewals, okay?  So, back away, Skippy.)  The third book, Nourishing Traditions, is borrowed from my friend.  It’s a gold mine of traditional cooking knowledge.  I love that it gives me information to help me understand a food’s characteristics so I can use it correctly. 
This brings us to the last photo, where you see that I’ve put beans and wheat berries in jars filled with water.  It turns out that all that fresh ground wheat flour I’ve been using actually has a natural substance called phytic acid still intact in the seed/berry that blocks enzymes from acting to my benefit in the body, gets rid of carcinogens, and inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc.  Phytic acid also makes it difficult to digest beans and whole grains (yes, I am talking about flatulence).  To counteract this phytic acid thing, I will soak my stuff in water for a couple of days before using it in hot cereals, soups, etc...  Soaking my beans and wheat berries in water will cause them to sprout.  Germination brings out the best in seedlings—they produce more vitamins (C and B’s, carotene), and get rid of that phytic acid, a protector of plants in nature, but a digestive nightmare in my kitchen.  Warning: do not eat alfalfa sprouts, because they are bad for you.
The other thing I will do to neutralize phytic acid in my already ground wheat is to use my friend Cari’s traditional bread recipe found at  It’s the established way to make bread by soaking.  It uses less yeast and involves no kneading of dough.  (Industrialized breads have done so much damage to the once well-known art of bread-baking.)  You can also stick your extra dough in the fridge and use it throughout the week for fresh homemade loaves of chow-down goodness.  How cool is that?


  1. Sorry guys, I don't know why my link didn't work Cari's blog. You'll have to click on the grains link on the right side of her page.

  2. Can't you link right to her recipe? It took me like 10 minutes to find it!

  3. Just wondering why alfalfa strouts are bad for you?

  4. Marel: I thought I had linked directly to the recipe. Imagine my surprise when I checked to see if it worked, and it didn't. Thanks for including the real link (I assume it works).
    To my Anonymous friend: According to Sally Fallon of "Nourishing Traditions," tests show that "alfalfa sprouts inhibt the immune system and can contritbute to infammatory arthritis and lups. Alfalfa seeds contain an amino acid called canavanine that can be toxic to man and animals when taken in quantity..." (page 113). Generally speaking, I have found that anything that increases an inflammatory response in the body is a bad thing. Cancer, for instance, uses the body's inflammatory abilities to grow more cancer cells. However, this is just one author of one book--I don't have any other information on alfalfa sprouts.