Raison d’être - Tradition
In order to unearth the true essentials of the grand enigma known as correct diet’, the path best followed is certainly, and almost exclusively, the artful ways of traditional foods and practices. There you will find time-tested, health enhancing, experience-rich, life-embracing processes and recipes that will nourish, heal and protect the human species.
- Why do Indians, for example, leave their rice/urad dhal dough stand overnight before making their delicious idli and dosa breakfasts the next morning?
- Why do Mexicans do the same with their corn flour gruels?
- Why do the Scots soak their oat porridge for a day then cook it long and slow, before storing it in wooden drawers?
- Why do (old-school) Italians prepare their pasta/bread/pizza wheat doughs the night before?
- Why do the Chinese soak their soya beans for days, and then introduce rare, cultural, bacterial, fermenting processes?
- Why are cacao and coffee beans fermented before roasting?
- Why even did our own grandmothers peel, then soak, potatoes and other root vegetables in water for some hours before cooking?
- And why today do increasing numbers of health-conscious people long-soak their almonds and other nuts overnight in water, prior to consumption?
The answers to these questions will become apparent in the following text, but firstly, despite the wide diversity of these foods – of grains, beans, pulses, nuts or root veggies - what is it that they all have in common?
They are seeds – all seeds of new growth.
Even the potato.
Now, one doubts the Scot, the Italian, the Mexican or our grandmothers were aware that by long-soaking their seeds, or by long-standing their seed-grain doughs and porridges, etc., they were actually neutralizing the presence of harmful, digestion-disturbing elements, which a more friendly science nowadays has identified as anti-nutrients, and which are found in all seeds, whatever type they may be.
No, granny didn’t have the science, but what she did have was magical, and that is tradition, which came first, which was passed down through generations, and the essence of which is now being proven to be soundly based.
It was after World War II that we began to rapidly lose touch with aeons of food tradition, especially in English-speaking cultures.
All seeds aspire to self-preserve as long as is necessary for the fulfillment of their life mission – that is, to sprout and grow into the same tree or shrub from which they arose.
Just like a mother protects her children, seeds are both earnest and robust in accommodating this similar task, as they manifest a potpourri of naturally occurring chemicals within their structure as protection. Seeds have immune systems too, comprising various enzyme inhibitors and acids, such as:-
- salicylic and phytic acids
- protein lectins
- several other elements
many of which have specific jobs in the maintenance of both the shelf-life and guaranteed germination of each seed. Phytates (phytic acid) are particularly prevalent in most food plants.
And just as the presence of phytates deters bacteria and insects from biting into a seed, a nut, a grain, a bean, they also have a similar effect when consumed by humans, in that they :-
- interfere in, disturb, sometimes seriously, the human digestion
- bind with a whole range of minerals, rendering these essential nutrients inactive, unavailable to human health, hence the soubriquet “anti-nutrients”.
Humans are meant to get the same “taboo” message as bacteria and insects, but we have moved away from such sensitivity. Birds and ruminant animals have totally different digestion systems that do the conversion work for them.
Humans don’t have that luxury.
What we do have is the kitchen, time and co-operation.
We are intended to remove these natural seed sentinels before ingestion.
And what’s the best way to do that?
Either 1) long-soaking seeds, nuts, beans, grains, pulses in water, or
2) long-standing of pre-mixed (wet) doughs, porridges or gruels.
Like we at 2die4 Live Foods do with raw nuts and seeds in order to create our range of Activated Nuts.
Long-soaking of the raw materials, then dehydrating at low temperatures.
Activated Nuts are not cooked, simply arrested at an optimum stage of growth, leaving very clean nuts, in which the hefty mineral swag, the primo proteins, and the broad range of exquisite essential oils are not only intact, available, but enhanced – and, with the significant malevolent factors negated.
When a seed is soaked or a wet dough is created, prodigious enzyme activity is generated, which goes to work, not only at neutralizing the anti-nutrients but also initiating the important pre-digestion work of beginning the breakdown of any difficult nutrients, like proteins, carbohydrates, malts, etc. In the ferment process, this aspect of long-soaking is crucial to the enhancement of enzyme activity and the removal of anti-nutrients.
When a soaked seed swells and moves towards sprouting, it senses it has ‘done its job’, and so its natural chemical defence systems are relinquished – to water.
Similarly, when a wet wheat dough is left longer than 6 hours (the longer the better), most phytates are neutralized, but most importantly, the complex protein, gluten, is broken down sufficiently so as not to cause allergic reactions. Fast bread = gluten intolerance. It’s also a new disease, mirroring the speedy, convenient culture that began in the 1950’s.
Back to the original questions in the first paragraph, the Indians, whilst they might not know it scientifically, ferment their idli doughs for the removal of natural toxins, greater taste, digestibility and nutrient access. Ditto with the Mexicans and their corn; the Scots and their oats; the Italians and their wheat doughs.
The Chinese knew centuries ago that the soya bean was toxic to humans, and only to be used as a brilliant crop-rotation, nitrogen-fixing plant, but eventually they developed the complex fermentation techniques necessary to quell the imposing anti-nutrient/toxin presence in the soya bean, leading to the creation of wonderful foods such as tempeh, miso, nattoh and tamari.
Raw coffee and cacao beans also contain natural toxins, bitter principles that are removed by soaking, by fermentation procedures.
I always thought it was a little weird seeing grandma soak her peeled root veges before cooking, but now I understand more, even if she never did. It was simply a proven tradition, for better taste and digestion, and tradition works for humanity, big-time.
And as for all those smart, informed, or simply sensitive people who soak their nuts overnight, they are creating for themselves optimum food value, minus the disturbing anti-nutrients, something I recognized in 2003 when I set about creating the first commercial Activated Nuts.
2die4 Live Foods does all the work for you - long-soaking of premium quality walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans and pepitas - then long, sloooow drying at low temperatures to preserve the life that has been activated.
We have clients; people who could not eat even one walnut, now wolfing down activated walnuts to their hearts’ content. That’s a good result for all involved.
We also know that 2die4 nuts, via the brilliant ferment work upon the proteins, and in particular the glutamates, have the distinct flavour of the new, universally accredited fifth taste known as UMAMI, a Japanese word meaning ‘delicious’, or just plain “yummy”.
And it’s no coincidence that the Greek word for fermentation means alchemy.
Buy 2die4 activated nuts online