(NaturalNews) Millions of people today suffer from gluten intolerance, or Celiac disease, which prevents them from eating foods that contain wheat, barley, rye, and some varieties of oats, as well as a host of other ingredients made from these grains. But did you know that, when prepared properly, breads, cereals, and other gluten-containing foods can actually be eaten safely and nutritiously by many gluten-intolerant individuals?
Similar to how lactose intolerant individuals are able to drink raw milk because the lactase and other digestive enzymes have not been destroyed by pasteurization, properly-prepared gluten-containing foods can also be eaten by many gluten intolerant and Celiac disease individuals. It all has to do with how the grains are fermented before being eaten, a lost art in the modern food system, but one that could change the gluten-free mindset of many people as it becomes more widely known.
"Traditional cuisines and pre-industrialized peoples from around the world took great care to soak or ferment their grains before consuming them, as porridges, breads, and casseroles," says Sarah Pope, Weston A. Price Chapter Leader and author of the blog The Healthy Home Economist. In a recent video blog, Pope explains the fascinating truth about how soaking grains in an acid-based medium like apple cider vinegar or whey prior to eating them can make all the difference in how the body digests them.
Traditional breads and grain-based foods were fermented prior to consumption, which made them more digestible
Long before commercial bread producers began using yeast to quickly rise breads, for instance, traditional cultures would make slow-rise breads using fermented dough starters. The human body is much more able to digest this fermented bread, more commonly known as sourdough bread, than it is the common white and wheat breads available today.
The reason for this is that all grains and legumes naturally contain phytic acid, an organic acid which blocks mineral absorption in the digestive tract. Because most commercial-scale breads and grains are not soaked or fermented prior to consumption, this phytic acid is not properly broken down, which can cause inflammation in the digestive system. This inflammation can damage the intestinal villi responsible for absorbing needed nutrients, which is believed to be the cause of gluten intolerance.
"For those with gluten intolerance, soaking or fermenting gluten-based grains breaks down this difficult-to-digest plant protein," adds Pope. "Studies carried out in Italy have found that people with Celiac disease can consume genuine sourdough bread without digestive distress or autoimmune symptoms."
Soaking beans and even gluten-free grains makes them more digestible as well
The same is true for beans and gluten-free grains like rice, which become more digestible when soaked prior to consumption. Because the soaking process neutralizes the phytic acid and other enzyme inhibitors present in these foods, many people that would otherwise become bloated or develop an upset stomach after eating them as they are prepared today have a much better experience digesting them in this traditional manner.
Be sure to check out Sarah Pope's helpful video for more information about how to properly prepare grains and legumes at home, which includes specific recipes you can try at home: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX3RcU5Hhqg
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