There are just a few more miscellaneous pantry items I want to discuss in this healthy eating series.
Baking Powder: While some use baking powder alternatives, I chose to use it because I think it is very convenient. However, I make sure to buy an aluminum-free baking powder.
Arrowroot Powder: Instead of using corn starch which is usually made from genetically modified corn and is difficult to metabolize which can cause weight-gain, I use arrowroot powder instead to thicken things (sometimes I simply use whole wheat pastry flour as a thickener, too). Arrowroot flour (or powder) is the only starch that has calcium ash in it. It is easily digested and even found in many baby formulas (not that I'm a formula fan). When added to liquid and heated, it forms a jelly. You may need a little more when substituting a recipe for cornstarch.It also contains trace minerals. I love using it in my raw ice cream recipe for a smoother texture.
About beans, from "Nourishing Traditions":
"Beans cause digestive problems not because they contain protein and starches together, but because they contain two complex sugars, farrinose and stachyose, which are not easily broken down by enzymes normally found in the intestines. Beans and other legumes will be more digestible if soaked for a long period before cooking as this process begins the breakdown of these starches. Beans prepared properly have provided nourishment to human beings all over the globe and can be easily digest by most people. Actually, there is no food on earth that is pure starch or a pure protein. Even meat contains some sugar, and all acidic fruits contain starch".
Most grains and legumes you find in the supermarket have been sprayed with pesticides or fungicides. Many times they are genetically modified which contain foreign proteins making it harder to digest. Therefore, I find eating organic beans is important. Soaking beans and rinsing is essential when you're buying organic because it is hard to prevent vermin from getting into them. When you soak them, they come out and wash away as you rinse. Sorry to gross you out, but that is just a reality.
What about potatoes?
According to "Nourishing Traditions", "potatoes are the most digestible carbohydrate food. They provide Vitamin C and B complex as well as potassium, calcium and iron. Most of the nutrients are just under the skin, so don't peel them. The skin itself is full of fiber..." I haven't peeled a potato in years, which makes preparing potatoes a snap!
I find it very important to buy organic potatoes as commercially grown potatoes are sprayed with sprout-inhibitors, which can cause cellular changes in test animals. They do the same thing with onions.
I tend to stay away from Russet potatoes and instead exclusively use Yukon Gold or red potatoes. They are higher in vitamins and minerals and more digestible.
Next post in this series will be about the benefits of knowing where your meat comes from.