Grains and legumes (beans) are full of beneficial nutrients for our body. Together they are a complete protein, which means they provide all the essential amino acids our body needs. They’re good sources of fiber. Fiber adds bulk to our food making us feel full, and also helps our body to eliminate waste and toxins. Grains and beans are magnesium rich. Magnesium is a one of the most important minerals for our body. It is critical for digestion, energy (nerves), movement (muscles), and cellular growth. Calcium and iron are part of the nutrient profile of grains and beans also. Calcium is used for hundreds of functions including alkalinizing blood and building strong teeth and bones. Iron is critical for transporting oxygen from the lungs to muscles and tissue, and carbon dioxide from tissue to the lungs to be exhaled. Another important mineral we can acquire from grains and legumes is Zinc. Zinc promotes immune function and offers oxidative protection helping to keep cells balanced and regulated reducing free-radical activity in tissues and blood.

A critical component hindering the body’s ability to absorb the beneficial nutrients in grains and legumes are anti-nutrients that bind minerals and proteins preventing chemical digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients. Phytic acid, tannins and complex sugars in grains and legumes slow down digestion and decrease absorption and assimilation of nutrients, and may contribute to stress on the pancreas, digestive disorders, malnutrition and immune and allergic reactions.

The number of people suffering from digestive disturbances is staggering. It begs the question to be asked: “Are modern day cooking practices such as high heat, refined, manufactured and processed food highly associated with the increase in digestive distress, allergies and autoimmune conditions that so many people are dealing with today?” The science and empirical evidence from thousands of people says, “Yes, the association between modern day “cooking” and consuming practices and health conditions is highly probable”.

Looking back on tradition methods of cooking and lifestyle practices can be a beacon of light showing us how to prepare food in a way that provides nourishment, energy and protection. The Weston A. Price Foundation ( is an excellent source of information and recipes that can be very healing for people. Traditional preparation for many foods by soaking, sprouting or fermenting is based on converting nutrients into a form that allows and better equips our body to digest them. Digestion happens in several stages: mechanical and chemical breakdown of nutrients, absorption, assimilation and then elimination.

We talked about the stages of digestion and about food combining rules in the Winter* Cleansing-Diet-Direction class at Elevate Wellness and Acupuncture Center this week. For a snack I prepared gluten free sunflower seed butter and chocolate bites. I soaked raw buckwheat grouts in apple cider vinegar over night to break down anti-nutrients.

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Energy Bites

For the recipe:
1. Soak 1 ½ cup raw buckwheat grouts in 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar on low heat for 10 hours.
2. Rinse buckwheat and pat dry
3. Spread buckwheat on a parchment lined baking sheet and toast at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
4. While buckwheat is toasting pulse 5 tablespoons dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa) in a food processor until crumbled
5. Remove buckwheat from the oven and run through a food processor for 1 minute with 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
6. In a bowl combine buckwheat, 1 cup sunflower seed butter and pureed dark chocolate and mix with a spoon.
7. Using a 1 inch scooper or your hands make bite size balls and put on lined baking sheet.
8. Put balls into the freezer for at least 2 hours.
9. Recipe makes approximately 50 balls.
10. Store in airtight container in the freezer for 3-4 weeks.

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