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For those who missed the intro to this new series on Baby Steps towards natural and healthy living, why don't you read it here?

As I mentioned last time, I sincerely believe that taking small but purposeful steps towards better nutrition and more natural living is the best way to really make the transition, and to allow the changes to "stick" and become long-term, lifestyle changes. This is the way that it has worked for me, and I am so excited to get started on this series and offer some suggestions for those of you who really want to move forward in this direction. Thanks for joining me!

Just before I get going with this week's step, let me quickly explain the way that the basic format for this will work.I am trying to keep these posts relatively short (most will be much shorter than this one) for the simple reason that I want this to be manageable for you. Quick to read, simple to implement, allowing you to achieve success easily!

Each time, I will briefly explain what the baby step is, and why it matters. I will offer some simple suggestions for how you might go about doing it, and sometimes I will offer both a beginner's level as well as a more advanced level for those who are ready for that. I will also provide any reading resources (both online as well as books to buy or check out of your local library), and any online resources (recipes, photos, etc.) that I feel would be valuable to you as well.

From time to time I will also let you know that a Mr. Linky carnival is coming up, because for certain challenges I want to allow you the chance to share with us the changes that you're making! I will try to let you know a week in advance whenever possible, so that you can plan to do the challenge and post it up to share with all of us– I hope that this will offer more encouragement, inspiration and ideas for the rest of us!

So let's get started…

This week's baby step is: Choose one grain recipe that incorporates the soaking (or the two-stage) method and make it sometime within the next week (if you're really eager, you can choose two recipes)!

Why this step is important: Whole grains (ie. those that still have the bran and germ intact, such as whole wheat) contain anti-nutrients, such as phytic acid, which can actually block the absorption of minerals, and can interfere with proper digestion of grains. However, properly prepared grains neutralize phytic acid and other enzyme inhibitors, making whole grains again digestible and a very good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein and other nutrients. In order to do this, grains and/or whole grain flour must be soaked for 12-24 hours in an acidic medium (yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice, whey, vinegar, etc.) before being used.

How to get started with it: I will provide more reading resources below, as I think that it is really important for you to grasp why this step is so necessary. It would be so helpful to you if you could read at least one or two of the links as a starting place, and ultimately, to purchase a book like Nourishing Traditions with much more in-depth teaching than I can provide you with.

However, in order to keep this simple, I have chosen a good selection of soaking recipes that are online, for you to pick and choose from. All you need to do is look through them, and pick the one that appeals to you the most. It may help to motivate you further by choosing the one that sounds the tastiest or would go over the best with your family (so, if your husband just adores pancakes, choose those; if you really love muffins, you might want to give those a try). Remember, you want this to be positive and successful!

Reading resources:

Books

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

Whole Grain Baking- Sue Gregg

Articles/Blog Posts

Be Kind to your Grains

Nourishing Practices- Soaking Grains

Soaking Grains Part 2

Online resources:

Here's the list of recipes to choose from- surely everyone can find something tasty sounding from this list!

Cornbread

Raspberry Poppyseed Muffins

Spiced Blueberry Coconut Muffins
 Homemade Pizza Crust

Homemade Crackers

Blender Batter Coffee Cake

Blender Batter Pancakes/Waffles

Whole Wheat Bread

Spelt Biscuits

Cinnamon Scones

Oatmeal

I'd love to hear what you choose, and how it goes! If you know of some other great soaking recipes online, please let me know!