Menu Planning and Food Preparation - Part 1


Quote from the book ‘EDUCATIONS’ by Ellen G. White “Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables, in proper combination, contains all the elements of nutrition; and when properly prepared, they constitute the diet that best promotes both physical and mental strength” pg. 204-205

Genesis 1:29: “And God said, “see, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.”

MARCH 26TH, 2013




All grains start life as whole grains. In their natural state growing in the fields, whole grains are the entire seed of a plant. This seed (which industry calls a "kernel") is made up of three key edible parts – the bran, the germ, and the endosperm – protected by an inedible husk that protects the kernel from assaults by sunlight, pests, water, and disease.


The bran is the multi-layered outer skin of the edible kernel. It contains important antioxidants, B vitamins and fiber.


The germ is the embryo which has the potential to sprout into a new plant. It contains many B vitamins, some protein, minerals, and healthy fats.


The endosperm is the germ’s food supply, which provides essential energy to the young plant so it can send roots down for water and nutrients, and send sprouts up for sunlight’s photosynthesizing power. The endosperm is by far the largest portion of the kernel. It contains starchy carbohydrates, proteins and small amounts of vitamins and minerals.


Whole grains contain all three parts of the kernel. Refining normally removes the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm. Without the bran and germ, about 25% of a grain’s protein is lost, along with at least seventeen key nutrients.  Whole grains provide protein, fiber and many important vitamins and minerals.
Whole grains may be eaten whole, cracked, split or ground. They can be milled into flour or used to make breads, cereals and other processed foods. If a food label states that the package contains whole grain, the "whole grain" part of the food inside the package is required to have the same proportions of bran, germ, and endosperm as the harvested kernel does before it is processed.


Cooking Chart for Whole Grain Cereals

Grain (1 cup

Water (in cups)

Time for cooking

Any rolled or flaked cereal: i.e. oats, barley, brown rice, rye, triticale, millet, wheat

2       ½

3  hours


Quick oats

2 ½

3 hours


2 ½

3 hours

Hulled: i.e. millet, brown rice, barley, grits, steel cut oats


3 – 3 ½ hours

Stove Top Cooking Directions - Bring water with salt in a covered saucepan to a boil. Stir in grain, cover and return to a boil. Turn heat down to a light boil and cook for recommended length of time. Do not stir grain after mixing with boiling water, as this may cause them to burn in the bottom of the pan.

Salt – For each cup of water use ¼ tsp. of salt

Ways to shorten cooking time:

  1. Soaking grains overnight will save 10 min. for each hour of cooking.
  2. Dextrinizing or toasting grains before adding them to water helps to break down raw starch grains. Large quantities of grains may be dextrinized ahead of time and stored the same as those not yet toasted. Dextrinizing may be done in the oven or on top of the stove. No water is involved, only dry heat. When doing grains on top of the stove use a large, flat stainless steel pan. Grains will need constant stirring on very low heat. If baking, bake at 200 degrees or lower for 1 hour.

Phytic acid (known as inositol hexaphosphate (IP6), or phytate) is the principal storage form of phosphorus in many plant tissues, especially in the grass family (wheat, rice, rye, barley etc) and beans. Phosphorus in this form is generally not bioavailable to humans because humans lack the digestive enzyme, phytase, required to separate phosphorus from the phytate molecule.

In addition to blocking phosphorus availability, the “arms” of the phytic acid molecule readily bind with other minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, making them unavailable as well. In this form, the compound is referred to as phytate. Phytic acid not only grabs on to or chelates important minerals, but also inhibits enzymes that we need to digest our food, including pepsin, needed for the breakdown of proteins in the stomach, and amylase, needed for the breakdown of starch into sugar. Trypsin, needed for protein digestion in the small intestine, is also inhibited by phytates. High levels of phytic acid in your diet can lead to many health problems, including tooth decay, nutrient deficiencies, lack of appetite and digestive problems.

Beans are a healthy source of protein and fiber, but the phytic acid, or phytates, in them can also bind to minerals such as zinc, copper, calcium, magnesium and iron and lead to a deficiency. You cannot remove the phytic acid in beans entirely, but you can reduce the amount of this mineral-binding substance by soaking, sprouting or slow cooking your beans (for 3 hours) at very low heat.



Use only untreated beans when sprouting, not beans that are treated for planting purposes. Wash the beans thoroughly. Use any container that is rustproof, easy to sanitize and provides drainage and aeration. Soak your beans in 90 to 95 degree Fahrenheit water for two to four hours to begin the germination process. Drain them and rinse them before putting them in your sprouting containers. This lasts about five days. Sprinkle your beans thoroughly with water every four to six hours for the first three days, then every six to eight hours on the fourth and fifth days. You do not need light for the germination process.


Another option for reducing phytic acid in beans is the simple quick soak method. Place your beans in a pot. Put twice as much water as beans in the pot then bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot and continue to boil the beans for two minutes. Remove the pot from heat and let it stand for one to four hours. Then drain your beans and cook them for 3 to 3/12 hours.


Use the traditional overnight method of soaking beans as an alternative. As with the quick-soak method, cover your beans with water, using twice as much water as beans in the pot. Soak your beans for eight to 18 hours in your refrigerator. Discard the soaking water before cooking your beans. Do not put salt in the soaking liquid, as this will toughen your beans. Drain your beans the following day and then cook for 3 hours.

The presence of phytic acid in so many enjoyable foods we regularly consume makes it imperative that we know how to prepare these foods to neutralize phytic acid content as much as possible, and also to consume them in the context of a diet containing factors that mitigate the harmful effects of phytic acid.
Note however that Phytic acid recently has been studied for its potential anti-carcinogenic properties. Recent studies have indicated that phytic acid may have some preventive effect in prostate, breast, pancreatic and colon cancer (studies are still on-going).

So these are some of the reasons, ladies and gentlemen, why it is recommended that we slow cook our whole grains, beans and peas for several hours before consuming them!!

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The information given here is for educational purposes only. It is meant to be used as a guide towards health and does not replace the evaluation by and advice of a qualified licensed health care professional. For detailed interpretation of your health and specific conditions, consult with your physician.

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