Houskeeping

I have had a few questions about our Tooth Healing Diet, so I decided to write a catch-up post clarifying some things and adding in some information that I sorta kinda… forgot.

A friend was concerned that we weren’t eating whole grains anymore. We are still eating grains, whole grains even. What we are doing is transitioning from whole grains processed by factories that give little or no thought to the importance of preparation in this particular food group. Instead, I will be making most breads and grains at home. We will also be avoiding whole grains that include the bran in most cases, like oats, since the bran contains the highest amount of phytates in the grain.

The problem with the whole grain bread in the stores is that, because they have not been prepared as nature intended them to be, they actually carry anti-nutrients which nullify all those other great nutrients you could be getting. Eating white bread is like eating empty calories, since the parts of the grain with the most nutrients have been removed, but in typical whole wheat selections all the extra nutrients are simply cancelled out anyway because of the lack of care that is taken with the grain in production.

Phytic acid isn’t limited to dental health; it’s a whole-body issue. Since phytic acid steals nutrients from your body, it affects all of your body’s functions, not just your teeth. I was aiming to create a tooth-friendly diet, and cutting out phytic acid is included because dental hygiene is just one of the victims of our American diet that is high in this acid.

Also, I was going to write a more detailed post on what our new lifestyle looks like after our oat-purge. I was waiting to include my granola recipe, but I haven’t perfected it yet, and it could be a while… so that will be for a later date. We have basically gotten rid of all the processed food products in our home that include oats or oat products. This is for the very reason that I stated before – the producers of these foods do not make their oat products in such a way that makes them safe or healthy to eat.

We don’t eat a whole lot of oats in our home, so it wasn’t a big transition for us. The only food I knew I would miss is granola, so I learned how to make it myself – in a healthy way, and that’s what I use for our granola snacks now. We also eat oatmeal for breakfast regularly. Whatever oats we eat, I make myself at home, and I have peace of mind knowing that what I’m feeding my family is good for them.

So how do I ensure that our oats are safe and free from phytic acid? There are two factors to consider: the kind of oats you buy and how you make them when you get them home.

The kind of oats you buy is extremely important. If your oats are already tampered with in inappropriate ways before you get them, nothing you can do will make them safer to eat. Most brands of oatmeal and oats are already prepared and processed before they come into your home; that’s why it only takes them five minutes to cook! You want to find an oat, first of all, does not include the bran. You want the entire rest of the oat, but the bran is higher in phytic acid than anything else. If you get rid of the bran, you’re already eating healthier.

You also want to look for an oat that has not been processed at high temperatures. Almost all brands of oats are heat-processed, which means that they have already been cooked before they come to you. After the oats are cooked, your opportunity to break down the phytic acid in the oat is gone. There are a couple of options here. The first is to go with raw oats, which would be the ideal. There is one place I found that sells completely raw oats; you can find them here. Unfortunately, for most people this is prohibitively expensive, our family included.

The second option, and the one we have gone with, is to find an oat that has been only minorly processed. The only oat I have found that meets this requirement is McCann’s steel-cut oats. They are whole oats, sans the bran, and they have been chopped into pieces instead of pressed. The texture is actually quite delightful; we like them much better than pressed oats, and you can do just about anything with them that you can do with a pressed oat. These oats are heated, but not to high temperatures. This keeps the integrity of the oat so that soaking before eating will still have positive benefits to their nutritional value. The best thing about McCann’s is that you can get them in almost any regular grocery store! And the price is competitive compared to other brands.

If ya’ll have any other ideas for raw or low-heated oats please leave a comment! I would love to pursue other options that are available.

The second thing we need to consider in making our oats healthy to eat is how we prepare them once we get them home. Oats, like all grains, require soaking to be digestible. If you don’t soak them, not only are they more difficult to digest, but they retain their phytic acid. The combination of these two factors means that your body will get few of the nutrients actually contained in the oat.

Whenever soaking grains, you should remember to add an acid to the mixture. The acid assists in breaking down not only the phytates, but also the rest of the grain, so that your stomach has less work to do. Usually warm water also helps in this process, so remember not to use cold. Every grain’s soaking times, temperatures and styles will be different; here is what we do for oats:

I use the hottest water I can get from tap and cover the oats.  I then add either rye starter or rye flour to assist in the breaking down process.  I leave it overnight for 8-12 hours (although it can soak longer).  There is obviously more than one way to do this, but this is what I have found is easiest and gets me the most benefit for the fuss.  If you soak your oats feel free to share how you like to prepare them.

I hope that clears up some of the vital information I’ve been missing! For those of you who are waiting, here is a sneak preview of my pantry clean-up.  I LOVE how much space we have!  You should have seen the before picture…

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So Much to Say…

So little time.

Isn’t that how it always is?

It’s very cold here… I don’t appreciate it too much.  I have been lethargic for two days; I could lay in bed all day long and still be tired.  I don’t appreciate that either.  But some weeks are just like that I suppose.  I have a lot I could talk about, there’s so much going on.  I am working on Evie’s basic homeschool outline for the next two years, and I’m reading lots of children’s books to preview them for her.  I realized last week that we have hardly any quality children’s books in our library… and I think that should be ammended.

I just finished reading J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan”.  And guess what?  I cried at the end!  Ugh!  My hormones are driving me insane… I don’t know if any of you have ever read the book, but the end isn’t really terribly sad.  Normally something that would make me go “Aww”, shrug my shoulders and move on with my day… but no.  I had to cry.  Evie looked at me like “What on earth is wrong with you?”  Oh well.

So my brain has been scattered; I could say so much, but I don’t know where to start.  I thought I’d write a post anyway… although I hope you’re not expecting too much :S

Evangeline was having some potty difficulties the last couple weeks.  I wouldn’t call it a “potty pause” necessarily, as she still wanted to sit on the potty.  In fact, I usually have the opposite problem where she just likes to sit there forever after she’s done and I have to bribe her with food before she’ll get up and put her pants back on.  I don’t get it… but anyway.  She was having trouble telling us exactly when she needed to go.  She kept letting me know after the fact, or while it was happening.  It was getting a little frustrating.

The worst part of it though was that this seeped over into her nighttime pottying too.  She stopped fussing when she had to go… she just went and then started nursing again, completely content to sleep in a wet bed.  Which meant that I had to get up and change the sheets 2-5 times a night, and I was not a happy momma!  After about a week of this we made the decision to start transitioning her to her own mattress.  We hadn’t yet because being right next to her was so helpful in knowing when she needed to go, but once she stopped communicating, it wasn’t really that helpful.

The move has been great for all of us.  I am so glad we decided to do it, and it was the perfect timing.  We had sort of tried a few months back, but she just wasn’t ready yet.  She always ended up crawling back in bed with us.  Now she’s comfortable being on her own, so she will fuss if she wants me, but she doesn’t seem to need me right there all night.   And the best part is, if her body wakes her up because of a full bladder I am not right there so she needs to fuss in order to get the milk she wants.  Therefore, I know when she needs to go, and she has been having very few nighttime accidents since.

Her mattress is right next to ours, so it’s easy for me to move from bed to bed during the night.  Last night she slept, I think at least 5 or 6 hours without needing to nurse at all, and Jake and I enjoyed having lots of space to ourselves.  Now we feel spoiled :)  She is also back to telling us that she needs to potty right beforehand, although her timing’s not perfect. I know it’s just a phase, and she’ll pick it right back up very soon.  No biggie.

In other news, our processed-oats-free house is doing great.  Not sure what else to call it?  We are only eating properly prepared oats now, as the first step in eradicating our house of foods that are dangerously high in phytic acid.  It wasn’t too difficult, but we’re going to ramp it up next week.  We’re getting rid of *drum roll please* corn.  Yup… corn.  So all those things at the grocery store that have corn in them?  We will be saying goodbye.  That is going to be a challenge.  And I will be sure to keep you updated.

In the meantime I am working on perfecting my homemade soaked granola recipe.  The batch this week was ok, Jake said it was delicious, but I’m not through experimenting yet.  When I’m satisfied I’ll post it for all of you to enjoy!

And last, but certainly not least, I have been asked by a friend to spread the word about this little darling who is desperately in need of a family:

Her name is Megan, and she has a grant fund large enough to cover almost her entire adoption!  She has been transferred to a mental institution and the word is that it is not a good one.  If you are unaware of what that means, take a look for yourself.  Most children die within the first year of being transferred.  Please pray and help us spread the word about Megan so that her forever family will find her and rescue her from such a dismal fate.  Remember, this is a very inexpensive adoption due to her grant fund, and single moms are welcome to apply!  Go here for more information.

Blessings!

Dalas

Why Whole Grains are Bad for You

A long… long time ago I posted about our new endeavor, the “tooth healing diet“.  Well, I don’t think I called it that, but that’s what it is.  We started, if you recall, with drinking lots of water.  Now that we have a system in place for that, which we are loosely following… hmm… anyway now we are going to start on our next phase – grains.

Grains have always been so confusing to me.  They were on the bottom of the food pyramid… so that means we’re supposed to eat a lot of them, right?  But then I got older and everyone told me that carbohydrates (cough… bread… cough) were bad and made you fat so… lay off the grains!  Then there are so many different kinds of grains, should I choose whole grains or white bread?  Obviously cake isn’t good… and the packaging isn’t always clear, does this just contain whole grains or is it actually whole grain?

Even doing research on the topic only brings up more questions than answers.  Some people say that whole grains are actually bad for you, that they’re too difficult to digest.   Many even recommend white rice over brown rice for this reason.  Others say grains aren’t people food anyway, so we shouldn’t be eating them at all.  But most of the main sources, doctors, etc. still claim that whole grains are the way to go.  After a while of this, my head was spinning….

I needed to pare down the competition.  Worldview check: Are grains inherently bad for you?  Scripture consistently talks highly of grains; we are even commanded to eat bread in the Lord’s Supper… obviously not inherently evil.  Ok, grains are good, so now we just need to figure out which kinds and, most importantly, how to eat them.

Even in disagreeing sources, everyone agrees on one thing.  If you’re going to eat grains, they need to go through a preparation process to be edible and digestible.  Ramiel Nagel has a thorough article on just this topic that you can read here.  I am not going into quite so much detail, but I will outline the basics.  He does not have a quite comprehensive step-by-step solution in his article, (I think you’d have to buy the book for that) so I had to do a little more hunting to find everything I was looking for.  All of which I will be sharing with you over the next several months as my family embarks on our own journey to cure tooth decay.

So, let’s get to the good part; why are whole grains bad for you?  One word Two words: phytic acid.  What is phytic acid?  According to Wikipedia: it “…is the principal storage form of phosphorus in many plant tissues, especially bran and seeds.”  Mr. Nagel explains that the problem with phytic acid is its snowflake-like molecule.  In the middle is phosphorus, which is more or less stuck inside the phytate since we humans only have one stomach and do not have the ability to fully process it.  This makes the phosphorus in the food unavailable to us.  Furthermore, the “arms” of the phytate molecule easily bind with other minerals in our body (such as calcium and iron) making those nutrients unavailable as well.  These are the anti-nutritive properties of phytic acid and the reason why it is dangerous to our health.

That’s all good and well but… what does it have to do with my teeth?  Quite a lot actually.  In my last post I clued you in on two of the main causes of tooth decay: a dry and/or overly acidic mouth.  There is one other extremely important element than cannot be overlooked, nutrition.  We all know that your body needs nutrients to function properly; it is the same with our teeth.  Just as with water, when your body is low in other nutrients, it will take those nutrients from less critical areas (like your teeth!!) and transfer them to your vital organs.  This can cause your teeth to be less protected, weakened and more likely to develop cavities.

Also, if you are already experiencing tooth decay it is imperative to have a nutrient-dense diet in order to give your teeth the extra nutritive boost they need to remineralize.  Teeth can and do remineralize, but that obviously takes quite a lot of extra minerals to do so.  How are your teeth going to get extra nutrition if there isn’t enough nutrition to go around in the first place?

So, we need to fix the dangerous anti-nutrient properties found in grains, so that they do not steal precious vitamins and minerals from our bodies and teeth.  If you remember from the definition of phytic acid, it is found concentrated mostly in bran and seeds.  Where do you find bran?  In whole grains.  But, the bran has so much fiber!  Don’t we need that?  Isn’t it good for us?  Well, yes and no.  There is some scientific research to show that actually too much fiber, specifically fiber from whole grains, can be dangerous.  Konstantin Monastrysky details the dangers of this particular kind of fiber in his book “Fiber Menace“.  If you go to the link you can read under the book description several of the institutions which have published studies on just this problem.

Obviously, and more well-known, is that white grains (wheat, rice, etc.) are not good for you.  In white grains the husk, bran and germ are all removed, leaving precious little nutritive benefit, as most of the nutrients are found in the germ.  In whole grains only the husk is removed, preserving the bran and the germ.  But remember, this is bad because the bran has anti-nutritive properties.  So… deciding between white and whole grain is almost like deciding between not good for you and bad for you food.  Where’s the happy medium?

This question is answered differently for all the different types of grains.  Besides choosing the best grain, we also must take into consideration how to prepare our grains in a way that minimizes phytate content and maximizes digestibility.  Each grain is unique and should be considered as such.  These are the basic considerations I have taken into account in developing our new diet.

As a family we are taking one grain at a time, two weeks per grain.  This week is week one in our home for oats, which is the first grain we are revamping in the kitchen.  Week one is spent identifying foods with unhealthy oats and purging them from our home, next week we will focus on learning the proper preparation methods for the oats that remain.

My next post in this series will deal with what you should look for in an oat product to make it both nutritional and digestible, and I will show you which products from our home that we are ditching for good.  Here is a sneak peak of what we won’t be eating any longer at the Mueller house:

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Living Healthier


Is it ironic that as I write this post I am snacking on the delicious Lindor Truffles my dearest husband got for me?  To die for… literally perhaps as I am certain that last bite took at least a few days off my life.  That is certainly the one thing I look forward to in Heaven – lots of wonderful guilt-free truffles :)  Or perhaps just enough as to not overindulge… ahem.

So back to what I wanted to talk about, creating a healthier lifestyle.  This is of huge concern for me now that I am a mother.  I have noticed that whatever we eat our daughter tends to eat so… that doesn’t bode very well for the poor girl at this time I’m afraid.  Knowing how difficult it is to break bad habits as an adult, I want to spare her the difficulty and kick her sugar addiction before it begins.

Before I blogged about Jake and I eliminating sugar from our diet… ha!

A couple months ago I tried to implement a gradual ridiculously difficult diet plan… ha!

So now I have (I hope) learned from my mistakes.  If we really want to change our lifestyle… I mean really really want to reverse our habits and create long lasting new ones – it needs to be slow.  At least for us it does, and I have been warned to take these things slowly before… perhaps now I’ll listen.

So I took the elements from the “gradual” new lifestyle program I tried to implement and wrote them all down on a chart.  I won’t tell you what they all are now, that would not give you any reason to come back!  But I will tell you that there are a total of 16 of them.  Jake and I talked about it and he decided which one he wanted to start working on first.

For the last five weeks we have been concentrating on just basically drinking more water.  You may remember this from my other post talking about Baby School.  It’s not only a good model for our daughter, but it is also a great idea for us.  Why water?  Well… I think for one drinking more water doesn’t necessitate cutting out any bad habits like… Lindor Truffles… so we figured it was an easy in.  More importantly though it is a small part of a greater quest to have a healthier life and *drum roll* healthier teeth.

Yes… I said teeth.  My original diet program (and the new modified version) was not directed toward weight loss or more energy, though those things certainly might be a nice plus.  But what I really had in mind in its creation was to protect and heal our teeth.  One thing I am petrified of is cavities, for me or my kiddos.  I am not petrified only of the cost but also of the long term consequences.  I knew that in reality God had created our teeth to work – not to deteriorate.  And I knew that before the high tech dentist’s office, He had given us ways to take care of our bodies naturally, so I started researching what those ways were.

I found some great resources namely Weston Price’s Research and the work of Ramiel Nagel.  I was convinced after this and some other reading that I could not only protect Evangeline’s pearly whites from decay, but I could also heal mine and my dear husband’s already damaged teeth.  Using the nutritionally based methods from these and others I created my own comprehensive tooth healing program thingy for my own family.

I would have liked to start the transition more quickly, but again, slowly but surely wins the race.  So we’re starting slow… with water.  Our goal is to drink 6-8 glasses a day, and we have been doing moderately well at it.  I have definitely been drinking A LOT more than I ever have and have been noticing some benefits.  For example, I haven’t used chapstick since we started!  Which is definitely saying something.

Obviously water is important – our bodies are over 70% water, but why is it vital for tooth health?  It’s pretty simple.  When your body is dehydrated (like most American’s bodies are oddly enough…) it begins taking fluid from your extremities and non-essential places and transferring it to your vital organs to keep them working properly.  This means that your lips and mouth will become too dry, causing dry mouth.  Why this is a problem is because your saliva is what protects your teeth from the decay-causing bacteria in your mouth.  Without enough of it, your mouth becomes dry and your teeth are vulnerable.  Dry mouth is one of the two main causes of tooth decay (the other is an overly acidic mouth which I will talk about later).

The solution?  Drinking enough water = no dry mouth = less cavities.  Yay!  Yes it’s an easy and simple step, but it’s in the right direction and every little bit helps.  Now if you’ll excuse me… I’m going to go get some water.

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