Spring week 6 is upon us! I have to say, mid-spring is always a sweet spot for me. The flavors are invigorating, I still feel relieved by the new variety of veggies available, and I know it's only going to get warmer, brighter, and more flavorful from here - hello summer around the corner!
This week's meal plan contains two of my favorites - pot pies and pasta. Both recipes are easy, veggie packed, comforting, and forkin' delicious. But that's not all they have in common: they both use ingredients that need to be activated.
Yes, there are certain foods - nuts, seeds, grain, beans, and legumes - that are better for our bodies once they've been activated, or soaked.
I hear you groaning. You don't think you have time for that bizniz and it doesn't feel important. As with virtually every topic of nutrition, soaking has its avid believers and naysayers, and of course those who follow a Paleo diet avoid grains altogether.
But maybe grains are just misunderstood. And the only way to know if they should be in your diet is to try them (soaked - because that does make a difference), and see how you feel.
3 Reasons Why you Should Get Soaking
- To remove the phytic acid. Phytic acid is a substance in grains that reduces our body’s ability to absorb the minerals in the grain. Soaking grains (like the wild rice used for the pot pie topping) and nuts (cashews used in the pasta), removes or reduces the phytic acid and opens the door of that little nutty gem so our bodies can access the wildly amazing nutrients.
Easier to Digest. This one you have to experience to believe; canned beans vs beans you've soaked and then cooked - huge difference in how your stomach will feel (and how the room will smell), after you eat them. :) Same for grains. Eating un-soaked grains can really irritate the stomach - not so with soaked.
- Enzyme inhibitors. An enzyme inhibitor is a molecule that attaches to an enzyme and stops it from doing its awesome work in the body like breaking down our food so we can digest it properly. Soaking grains/nuts/seeds/beans neutralizes these inhibiting little buggers.
One simple way to make it happen every time
Repeat after me, FREEZE IT. Just soak your grains, then store them in mason jars in the freezer. When you want to make brown rice, millet, or quinoa, dump the frozen grains into your pot with water, cook as you normally would, and voila. Same goes for nuts - soak them, freeze them, pop them out of the freezer when you want to eat them. I mean, silly easy, right?
Creamy Cashew Sauce
The dressing/sauce used in this pasta dish is so good that you can drizzle and smother it on just about anything: salads, pasta, earth bowls, sprouted bread, dip your veggies in it - so many options.
1.5 c. - raw cashews, soaked overnight then rinsed
2 t. - tamari
2 cloves - garlic, minced
1/2 c. - water (or more if desired)
1/4 t. - sea salt
Blend, and drizzle on all the things.