First, are you a pasta LOVER? Yeah, me too.
Do you always feel a little guilty over it, though?
I know what that voice is saying in your head, though. It’s probably my voice, because it’s what I’ve been saying here on the blog for years…
We really shouldn’t be eating pasta since we didn’t make it ourselves with soaked grains (like that’s ever gonna happen). Because there’s phytic acid in grains that aren’t soured, soaked, or sprouted, and dude, that stuff binds with the minerals in our food so we can’t absorb them!
All that nastiness is enough to almost ruin a perfectly tasty plate of pasta for us isn’t it?
A while ago, I saw that some Spelt pasta I like was on sale, so I got a great deal on that whole box of goodies that you see in the picture above. Why did I do that knowing what I know? Because I love pasta, like I said, and so do Kent and the kids. And I don’t love the sprouted grain pasta OR the rice pasta, none that I’ve tried so far anyway.
But also because I found out some stuff…
About the phytic acid…
What I’ve always said, since I’ve known better anyway, still stands: we do need to minimize the phytic acid in our diets by minimizing the grains we eat, or at least eating them mostly sprouted, soured, or soaked (I’ll add links below to explain those terms better in case I lost you there). But if you’re not sensitive to grains and if you’re not eating pasta every day, and if it’s all part of an overall nutrient-dense diet with plenty of healthy pastured animal fats, a little bit really is just fine! (And I don’t know about you, but a pasta dish just isn’t any good without a lot of butter anyway. That’s what makes it. Right?)
“Research published in 2000 indicates that both vitamin A and beta-carotene form a complex with iron, keeping it soluble and preventing the inhibitory effect of phytates on iron absorption.25 Here we have another reason to consume phytate-rich foods in the context of a diet containing organ meat and animal fats rich in vitamin A, and fruits and vegetables rich in carotenes.”
“The purpose of this article is not to make you afraid of foods containing phytic acid, only to urge caution in including grains, nuts and legumes into your diet. It is not necessary to completely eliminate phytic acid from the diet, only to keep it to acceptable levels.”
“In the context of a diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin C, good fats and lacto-fermented foods, most people will do fine on an estimated 400-800 mg per day. For those suffering from tooth decay, bone loss or mineral deficiencies, total estimated phytate content of 150-400 mg would be advised. For children under age six, pregnant women or those with serious illnesses, it is best to consume a diet as low in phytic acid as possible.”
“In practical terms, this means properly preparing phytate-rich foods to reduce at least a portion of the phytate content, and restricting their consumption to two or three servings per day. Daily consumption of one or two slices of genuine sourdough bread, a handful of nuts, and one serving of properly prepared oatmeal, pancakes, brown rice or beans should not pose any problems in the context of a nutrient-dense diet. Problems arise when whole grains and beans become the major dietary sources of calories— when every meal contains more than one whole grain product or when over-reliance is placed on nuts or legumes.”
“Phytates become a problem when grains make up a large portion of the diet and calcium, vitamin C and fat-soluble vitamins, specifically fat-soluble vitamin D, are low. In the diet advocated by WAPF, occasional higher phytate meals will not cause any noticeable health effects for people in good health. Significantly more care is needed with whole grains when the diet is low in fat-soluble vitamins and in diets where two or more meals per day rely significantly on grains as a food source.”
“For example, “Cooking does not significantly remove phytates in potatoes, but consumption of potatoes with plenty of butter or other animal fat in the context of a nutrient dense diet should be enough to mitigate the effects of phytate.” (Source)
Interesting, huh? Next, what makes spelt (a type of wheat) a better choice vs. conventional wheat?
“The DNA of spelt has remained unchanged for thousands of years. There are many differences between spelt and the engineered wheat of today. For instance in the late 1940′s, Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution began hybridizing wheat to increase farmer’s yields. It was thought to be necessary in anticipation of a projected 7.5 billion people inhabiting the planet. At first it was reducing the stem height of the grain so that it would not blow down in storms, sprout and not be harvestable. Borlaug is credited with 6000 varieties of hybrid, high yielding varieties himself.”
“The customer of the wheat breeder is the farmer. The farmer wants more yield. The variety that gives him more yield is the one he will buy. Recognizing this; private industry and land grant universities made it a business to develop more high yielding wheat varieties. Scientists, then, began using X-rays, gamma rays and chemicals to induce random genetic mutations in wheat. Between the late 1940’s and the year 2000 there are 34,000 hybrid varieties of wheat.” (Source)
Those who are gluten-sensitive may even be able to introduce Spelt pasta into their diet:
“Over time, we’ve hybridized common wheat – often to increase its gluten content to make it more appealing. Through that process – and other modern processing activities – we’ve introduced new nutrients into the grain. It’s how those nutrients interact with each other and the gluten that could be causing problems – not the gluten itself.”
“In some cases, genetic modifications have increased the gluten content of wheat and other grains,” Dr. Katz says. “It may be that genetic modifications are also introducing new nutrients into the diet, and some reactions to gluten may be primed by the company it is keeping.”
“The increase in processed foods also leads to ‘novel nutrient pairings” as Dr. Katz calls them. It could be that our bodies just don’t know what to do with this stuff once it gets all mixed together and thrown at us in combinations Mother Nature never intended. So our immune systems go haywire.”
“We’ve heard from many who consider themselves gluten-sensitive – that they can eat spelt without experiencing any of the symptoms they experience when they eat common wheat and other processed foods containing gluten. Why? Possibly because the gluten in spelt is very fragile, so it breaks down in the baking and cooking process, making it easier to digest. Or maybe just because spelt hasn’t changed since ancient times – no hybridization or genetic modification, no added or modified gluten content.” (Source)
How does Spelt pasta taste?
I love it because it has a lighter taste than most whole grain pasta, and it cooks up quickly, too.
Here are some of my favorite pasta dishes:
- Parmesan pesto pasta with seasoned chicken
- Organic pasta salad - this one needs a picture, so if you make it, snap me one, will you?
- Pasta & Veggie Stir Fry
- My Mom’s Famous Baked Mac & Cheese
- Lyn’s Organic Fettuccine Alfredo
- Cashew Chicken
- Kitchen Kop’s Beef Stroganoff
I also got this stuff in my order, in case you’re wondering…
Organic Spelt kernels so I can freshly grind whole spelt for recipes that I am soaking overnight – grinding fresh is easy and has many more nutrients than the stuff you buy at the store that was likely ground months ago. (Here’s my soaked bread recipe with more about ‘soaking’, and here’s my grain mill I love!)
Below is the Spelt white flour that I use half and half in the bread recipe above or also in cookies, etc., when 100% whole grains would be too heavy or if I know it won’t fly with the family.