Soaking nuts, grains, seeds, and legumes
Nature has set it up so that the nut, grain and seed may survive until proper growing conditions are present. Nature’s defense mechanism includes nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances that can be removed naturally when there is enough precipitation to sustain a new plant after the nut, grain or seed germinates. When it rains the nut, grain or seed gets wet and can then germinate to produce a plant. So we are mimicking nature when we soak our nuts, grains and seeds.

Nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances found in nuts grains and seed can be minimized or eliminated by soaking. These inhibitors and toxic substances are enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens.

What are Enzyme inhibitors?
There are digestive enzymes and metabolic enzymes. Digestive enzymes help break down food. Metabolic enzymes help every biological process the body does. Enzyme inhibitors will clog, warp or denature an active site of an enzyme. They may also bind to the enzyme, which will prevent the intended molecule from binding. “Once again, the habits of traditional peoples should serve as a guide. They understood instinctively that nuts are best soaked or partially sprouted before eaten. This is because nuts contain numerous enzyme inhibitors that can put a real strain on the digestive mechanism if consumed in excess.”

What are Phytates?
“All grains contain phytic acid in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term, many other adverse effects.”

Why soak nuts, grains and seeds?

1. To remove or reduce phytic acid.
2. To remove or reduce tannins.
3. To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.
4. To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.
5. To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
6. To break down gluten and make digestion easier.
7. To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.
8. To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
9. To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.
10. To prevent many health diseases and conditions.

“Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. Soaking in warm water also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, present in all seeds, and encourages the production of numerous beneficial enzymes. The action of these enzymes also increases the amount of many vitamins, especially B vitamins. During the process of soaking and fermenting, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.”

What can be used to soak nuts, grains and seeds?
I have found many references to soaking nuts, grains, and seeds in water, salt water, or a warm water mixture with something acidic like yogurt, whey or lemon juice. It seems within 7 to 24 hours the enzyme inhibitors are neutralized and the anti-nutrients are broken down regardless of the method you choose. There is evidence that the process works when you see sprouting begin.

How long does the soaking process take?
“As little as seven hours of soaking in warm acidulated water will neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. The simple practice of soaking cracked or rolled cereal grains overnight will vastly improve their nutritional benefits.” “Flour products should be soaked at room temperature for at least twelve hours but better results may be obtained with a twenty-four hour soaking.”

Are the nuts, grains and seeds used wet?
I have enjoyed almonds wet. If you choose to try consuming anything in the soaked state, make little batches and store them in the refrigerator. Usually everything that is soaked is dried in a dehydrator or oven on the lowest possible setting for 24 – 48 hours to remove all moisture.

Wheat berries can be soaked whole for 8 to 22 hours, then drained and rinsed. Some recipes use the whole berries while they are wet, such as cracker dough ground right in the food processor. You can also dry sprouted wheat berries in a low-temperature oven or dehydrator, and then grind them in your grain mill and use the flour in a variety of recipes. Nuts, grains, seeds and legumes can be ground up to use as flour in many recipes after they have been dried.

Any advice on what to do with legumes?
Maureen Diaz recommends soaking any beans or legumes in water and vinegar for at least twelve hours before cooking. Soaked and dried beans may be ground up and used as flour for thickening and baking. This is helpful for those on a gluten free diet.

One recommendation includes placing soaked kombu or kelp seaweed in the bottom of the pot when soaking legumes. Add one part seaweed to six or more parts legumes. This is for improved flavor and digestion, more nutrients, and faster cooking. “Soak legumes for twelve hours or overnight in four parts water to one part legume. For best results, change the water once or twice. Lentils and whole dried peas require shorter soaking, while soybeans and garbanzos need to soak longer. Soaking softens skins and begins the sprouting process, which eliminates phytic acid, thereby making more minerals available. Soaking also promotes faster cooking and improved digestibility, because the gas-causing enzymes and trisaccharides in legumes are released into the soak water. Be sure to discard the soak water. After bringing legumes to a boil, scoop off and discard foam. Continue to boil for twenty minutes without lid at beginning of cooking to let steam rise (breaks up and disperses indigestible enzymes).”

While most people know that physical activity is healthy, it’s estimated that about 30% of people worldwide don’t get enough

Unless you have a physically demanding job, a dedicated fitness routine is likely your best bet for getting active.

Unfortunately, many people feel that they don’t have enough time to exercise

If this sounds like you, maybe it’s time to try high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

HIIT is a broad term for workouts that involve short periods of intense exercise alternated with recovery periods.

One of the biggest advantages of HIIT is that you can get maximal health benefits in minimal time.

This article explains what HIIT is and examines 7 of its top health benefits.

What Is High-Intensity Interval Training?

HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise alternated with low-intensity recovery periods. Interestingly, it is perhaps the most time-efficient way to exercise

Typically, a HIIT workout will range from 10 to 30 minutes in duration.

Despite how short the workout is, it can produce health benefits similar to twice as much moderate-intensity exercise

The actual activity being performed varies but can include sprinting, biking, jump rope or other body weight exercises.

For example, a HIIT workout using a stationary exercise bike could consist of 30 seconds of cycling as fast as possible against high resistance, followed by several minutes of slow, easy cycling with low resistance.

This would be considered one “round” or “repetition” of HIIT, and you would typically complete 4 to 6 repetitions in one workout.

The specific amount of time you exercise and recover will vary based on the activity you choose and how intensely you are exercising.

Regardless of how it is implemented, high-intensity intervals should involve short periods of vigorous exercise that make your heart rate speed up (8Trusted Source).

Not only does HIIT provide the benefits of longer-duration exercise in a much shorter amount of time — it may also provide some unique health benefits (4Trusted Source).

1. HIIT Can Burn a Lot of Calories in a Short Amount of Time

You can burn calories quickly using HIIT

One study compared the calories burned during 30 minutes each of HIIT, weight training, running and biking.

The researchers found that HIIT burned 25–30% more calories than the other forms of exercise

In this study, a HIIT repetition consisted of 20 seconds of maximal effort, followed by 40 seconds of rest.

This means that the participants were actually only exercising for 1/3 of the time that the running and biking groups were.

Although each workout session was 30 minutes long in this study, it is common for HIIT workouts to be much shorter than traditional exercise sessions.

This is because HIIT allows you to burn about the same amount of calories, but spend less time exercising.

Summary: HIIT may help you burn more calories than traditional exercise, or burn the same amount of calories in a shorter amount of time.

2. Your Metabolic Rate Is Higher for Hours After Exercise

One of the ways HIIT helps you burn calories actually comes after you are done exercising.

Several studies have demonstrated HIIT’s impressive ability to increase your metabolic rate for hours after exercise (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).

Some researchers have even found that HIIT increases your metabolism after exercise more so than jogging and weight training.

In the same study, HIIT was also found to shift the body’s metabolism toward using fat for energy rather than carbs.

Another study showed that just two minutes of HIIT in the form of sprints increased metabolism over 24 hours as much as 30 minutes of running .

Summary: Due to the intensity of the workout, HIIT can elevate your metabolism for hours after exercise. This results in additional calories being burned even after you have finished exercising.

3. It Can Help You Lose Fat

Studies have shown that HIIT can help you lose fat.

One review looked at 13 experiments and 424 overweight and obese adults.

Interestingly, it found that both HIIT and traditional moderate-intensity exercise can reduce body fat and waist circumference

Additionally, one study found that people performing HIIT three times per week for 20 minutes per session lost 4.4 pounds, or 2 kgs, of body fat in 12 weeks — without any dietary changes ().

Perhaps more important was the 17% reduction in visceral fat, or the disease-promoting fat surrounding your internal organs.

Several other studies also indicate that body fat can be reduced with HIIT, despite the relatively low time commitment

However, like other forms of exercise, HIIT may be most effective for fat loss in those who are overweight or obese

Summary: High-intensity intervals can produce similar fat loss to traditional endurance exercise, even with a much smaller time commitment. They can also reduce unhealthy visceral fat.

4. You Might Gain Muscle Using HIIT

In addition to helping with fat loss, HIIT could help increase muscle mass in certain individuals

However, the gain in muscle mass is primarily in the muscles being used the most, often the trunk and legs

Additionally, it’s important to note that increases in muscle mass are more likely to occur in individuals who were less active to begin with

Some research in active individuals has failed to show higher muscle mass after HIIT programs

Weight training continues to be the “gold standard” form of exercise to increase muscle mass, but high-intensity intervals could support a small amount of muscle growth

Summary: If you are not very active, you may gain some muscle by starting HIIT but not as much as if you performed weight training.

5. HIIT Can Improve Oxygen Consumption

Oxygen consumption refers to your muscles’ ability to use oxygen, and endurance training is typically used to improve your oxygen consumption.

Traditionally, this consists of long sessions of continuous running or cycling at a steady rate.

However, it appears that HIIT can produce the same benefits in a shorter amount of time

One study found that five weeks of HIIT workouts performed four days per week for 20 minutes each session improved oxygen consumption by 9%

This was almost identical to the improvement in oxygen consumption in the other group in the study, who cycled continuously for 40 minutes per day, four days per week.

Another study found that eight weeks of exercising on the stationary bike using traditional exercise or HIIT increased oxygen consumption by about 25%

Once again, the total time exercising was much different between groups: 120 minutes per week for the traditional exercise versus only 60 minutes per week of HIIT.

Additional studies also demonstrate that HIIT can improve oxygen consumption

Summary: High-intensity interval training can improve oxygen consumption as much as traditional endurance training, even if you only exercise about half as long.

6. It Can Reduce Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

HIIT may have important health benefits, as well.

A large amount of research indicates that it can reduce heart rate and blood pressure in overweight and obese individuals, who often have high blood pressure (20).

One study found that eight weeks of HIIT on a stationary bike decreased blood pressure as much as traditional continuous endurance training in adults with high blood pressure

In this study, the endurance training group exercised four days per week for 30 minutes per day, but the HIIT group only exercised three times per week for 20 minutes per day.

Some researchers have found that HIIT may even reduce blood pressure more than the frequently recommended moderate-intensity exercise

However, it appears that high-intensity exercise does not typically change blood pressure in normal-weight individuals with normal blood pressure (20).

Summary: HIIT can reduce blood pressure and heart rate, primarily in overweight or obese individuals with high blood pressure.

7. Blood Sugar Can Be Reduced by HIIT

Blood sugar can be reduced by HIIT programs lasting less than 12 weeks (20, 30Trusted Source).

A summary of 50 different studies found that not only does HIIT reduce blood sugar, but it also improves insulin resistance more than traditional continuous exercise

Based on this information, it is possible that high-intensity exercise is particularly beneficial for those at risk for type 2 diabetes.

In fact, some experiments specifically in individuals with type 2 diabetes have demonstrated the effectiveness of HIIT for improving blood sugar

However, research in healthy individuals indicates that HIIT may be able to improve insulin resistance even more than traditional continuous exercise

Summary: High-intensity interval training may be especially beneficial for those needing to reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance. These improvements have been seen in both healthy and diabetic individuals.

How to Get Started With HIIT

There are many ways to add high-intensity intervals to your exercise routine, so it isn’t hard to get started.

To begin, you just need to choose your activity (running, biking, jumping, etc.).

Then, you can experiment with different durations of exercise and recovery, or how long you are performing intense exercise and how long you are recovering.

Here are a few simple examples of HIIT workouts:

  • Using a stationary bike, pedal as hard and fast as possible for 30 seconds. Then, pedal at a slow, easy pace for two to four minutes. Repeat this pattern for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • After jogging to warm up, sprint as fast as you can for 15 seconds. Then, walk or jog at a slow pace for one to two minutes. Repeat this pattern for 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Perform squat jumps (video) as quickly as possible for 30 to 90 seconds. Then, stand or walk for 30 to 90 seconds. Repeat this pattern for 10 to 20 minutes.

While these examples can get you started, you should modify your own routine based on your own preferences.

Summary: There are many ways to implement HIIT into your exercise routine. Experiment to find which routine is best for you.

The Bottom Line

High-intensity interval training is a very efficient way to exercise, and may help you burn more calories than you would with other forms of exercise.

Some of the calories burned from high-intensity intervals come from a higher metabolism, which lasts for hours after exercise.

Overall, HIIT produces many of the same health benefits as other forms of exercise in a shorter amount of time.

These benefits include lower body fat, heart rate and blood pressure. HIIT may also help lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.

So, if you are short on time and want to get active, consider trying high-intensity interval training. Written by Grant Tinsley, PhD

Cacao is known as the food (or drink) of the Gods!  It has been traced back to the Maya people who were thought to be the first to cultivate the cacao plant around 400AD.  The plant that is recognised today is actually a result of cross selection that started over 35,000 years ago and the scientific name is Theobroma cacao.

100% cacao has a rich, chocolate flavour but is also very bitter.  The taste of cacao can actually vary depending on the variety of plant, soil, temperate, sunlight and rain that is received during the growing process.

Once the cacao bean has been processed (cold pressed, unroasted beans) – you can end up with raw cacao powder, cacao nibs and cacao butter (the oils of the beans).

Cocoa vs cacao powder

Cocoa is the term used for cacao that has been roasted at high temperature, which changes the chemical nature of the bean.  This exposure to high temperature lowers the antioxidant capacity and reduces the nutrient density that is found in the raw, cold pressed cacao. Otherwise, cocoa powder and cacao powder are interchangeable.

Cocoa butter vs cacao butter

Cacao butter is the pure, cold-pressed oil of the cacao bean. Raw cacao butter production doesn’t exceed 46 degrees celcius, whilst cocoa butter might undergo some heating during the pressing process. Raw cacao butter  is more nutrient dense but otherwise they are totally interchangeable. Both are edible, stable vegetable fats that can be used in cooking and in preparations of skin and beauty products. You might also come across refined and unrefined cocoa and coconut butter, where in the refined version the colour and aroma are stripped. Unrefined is more supreme in our opinion.

cacao-vs-cocoa

Raw cacao health benefits

Be sure to note here – the benefits we are going to talk about all relate to raw cacao and cacao dark chocolate.  We are not talking about sugar and dairy laden milk chocolate!!!

One of the greatest health benefits of cacao comes from the flavonols (a class of flavonoids – antioxidants) that are found in cacao.  Schardt notes that “Flavonols are bitter tasting, so to make cocoa more palatable, chocolate manufacturers roast, ferment, pulverise and sometimes alkalinize the beans or cocoa…unfortunately, this processing can destroy a lot of the flavanols”.(2013)

Antioxidant – Heart and Renal Health

  • Cacao is a powerhouse FULL of antioxidants! The flavanols found in cacao can increase nitric oxide bioavailability, activate nitric oxide synthase and exert anti-inflammatory and anti-platelet activity – all of which may improve vascular function and reduce blood pressure.
  • Cacao has been studied for its ability to reduce blood pressure and has been shown to produce “a small but statistically significant effect in lowering blood pressure by 2-3mm Hg in the short term” (Schardt, 2013)
  • It has also been shown that the consumption of dark chocolate can increase renal medullary oxygenation and therefore may be a renal (kidney) protective agent.

Happy, Happy, Happy + Energy

  • Eating cacao makes you happy!  It contains phenylethylamine which is responsible for our state of mood and pleasure and the same feelings you get when you are in love.  It also acts as a stimulant and can improve mental alertness.
  • Cacao also contains serotonin and dopamine – which also stimulate good mood and ‘pleasure’ feelings.
  • Anandomide is also in cacao which is present in the brain as an endogenous substance and interacts with cannabinoid receptors.

Nutrients in cacao

  • As we mentioned above, cacao is a powerhouse antioxidant and rates in the top 20 on the Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) scale.  The ORAC scale is used to rate the antioxidant capacity of foods.
  • Cacao also contains great levels of magnesium, which is an essential mineral during times of stress and helps you to feel more relaxed.  It also contains manganese, zinc, calcium and potassium.
  • Raw cacao even contains good levels vitamin C!

Cacao/cocoa butter skin benefits

  • Cocoa butter has been widely used to reduce or prevent stretch marks. There is no substantial clinical evidence that it really works but the butter provides deep hydration and antioxidants to fight free radicals so we’d definitely use it to keep our skin supple and moist, which in turn can prevent or reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
  • It has been noted to help with sensitive skin problems such as irritations, eczema and dermatitis.

Be aware

  • Raw cacao is a stimulant so it is advised not to consume it after about 2-3pm as to not interfere with a good night’s sleep!
  • Researchers at the Agricultural Research Service found that the higher cacao content of chocolate the higher the benefits of the antioxidant properties found.  So the darker – the better J
  • It has been reported that dairy in chocolate reduces the bioavailability of the flavonoids found in cacao.  It should be noted that the jury is out on this one!  There are studies for and against – so I’m not convinced either way just yet.  At Rejuvenated for Life we acknowledge that there are many people who benefit from following a dairy free diet, as it can cause an inflammatory response in a lot of people and so for now would hedge our bets that you would be receiving more benefit from consuming chocolate and cacao that is dairy free.
  • There is such a thing as ‘chocolate poisoning’ or ‘theobromine poisoning’, which is an overdose reaction to the alkaloid found in cacao.  Theobromine has an effect primarily on the central nervous system and cardiovascular system, as well as on respiratory system and acting as a diuretic.
  • Although the risk is very small and it would be very hard to consume enough theobromine to make yourself sick – it is just a reminder that anything eaten in extreme quantities is not good for you!  This is why pets such as dogs can’t eat chocolate; it is the throbromine that makes them so sick.

Where to get raw cacao

You can find raw cacao powder and cacao butter in most health food stores these days and even at some major supermarkets.

You can find raw chocolate at good health food stores, variety stores or online.  Just be aware of the sugar content and still look out for the highest percentage of cacao.

Dark chocolate can be hard to get used to if you try to switch straight from milk chocolate to 90% cacao.  The best tip is to gradually start buying chocolate that has a higher percentage of cacao, say by about 10-20% every month. Dark chocolate is very palatable once you get used to it. It takes 21 days to change your tastebuds, so before you know it, you will be eating 95% dark chocolate.

How to use it

Cacao powder can be added to smoothies, to make chocolate desserts or to make a yummy hot chocolate.

Cacao butter can be used in conjunction with cacao powder and natural sweetener to make your own chocolate (see some recipes below). It is also great to add to bliss balls or nut bases to hold them together and can be used in the place of coconut oil.  It will add a lovely velvety, chocolate flavour. Cacao butter is edible but it is also used in skin care products.

Cacao nibs add a lovely crunch to muffins, ice-cream or as a topping on your favourite dessert.  They are also great to add to your favourite granola mix for breakfast or on top of a smoothie.

Fasting Induces Stem Cell Regeneration, Restores Immune System

In the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system, a study in the June 5 issue of the Cell Press journal Cell Stem Cell shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage – a major side effect of chemotherapy – but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.

In both mice and a Phase 1 human clinical trial, long periods of not eating significantly lowered white blood cell counts. In mice, fasting cycles then “flipped a regenerative switch”: changing the signaling pathways for hematopoietic stem cells, which are responsible for the generation of blood and immune systems, the research showed.

The study has major implications for healthier aging, in which immune system decline contributes to increased susceptibility to disease as we age. By outlining how prolonged fasting cycles – periods of no food for two to four days at a time over the course of six months – kill older and damaged immune cells and generate new ones, the research also has implications for chemotherapy tolerance and for those with a wide range of immune system deficiencies, including autoimmunity disorders.

“We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system,” said corresponding author Valter Longo, the Edna M. Jones Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the USC Davis School of Gerontology, and director of the USC Longevity Institute.

“When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged,” Longo said. “What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. So we started thinking, well, where does it come from?”

Prolonged fasting forces the body to use stores of glucose, fat and ketones, but also breaks down a significant portion of white blood cells. Longo likens the effect to lightening a plane of excess cargo.

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During each cycle of fasting, this depletion of white blood cells induces changes that trigger stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells. In particular, prolonged fasting reduced the enzyme PKA, an effect previously discovered by the Longo team to extend longevity in simple organisms and which has been linked in other research to the regulation of stem cell self-renewal and pluripotency — that is, the potential for one cell to develop into many different cell types. Prolonged fasting also lowered levels of IGF-1, a growth-factor hormone that Longo and others have linked to aging, tumor progression and cancer risk.

“PKA is the key gene that needs to shut down in order for these stem cells to switch into regenerative mode. It gives the ‘okay’ for stem cells to go ahead and begin proliferating and rebuild the entire system,” explained Longo, noting the potential of clinical applications that mimic the effects of prolonged fasting to rejuvenate the immune system. “And the good news is that the body got rid of the parts of the system that might be damaged or old, the inefficient parts, during the fasting. Now, if you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system.”

Prolonged fasting also protected against toxicity in a pilot clinical trial in which a small group of patients fasted for a 72-hour period prior to chemotherapy, extending Longo’s influential past research: “While chemotherapy saves lives, it causes significant collateral damage to the immune system. The results of this study suggest that fasting may mitigate some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy,” said co-author Tanya Dorff, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital. “More clinical studies are needed, and any such dietary intervention should be undertaken only under the guidance of a physician.”

“We are investigating the possibility that these effects are applicable to many different systems and organs, not just the immune system,” said Longo, whose lab is in the process of conducting further research on controlled dietary interventions and stem cell regeneration in both animal and clinical studies.

Source: Chia-Wei Cheng, Gregor B. Adams, Laura Perin, Min Wei, Xiaoying Zhou, Ben S. Lam, Stefano Da Sacco, Mario Mirisola, David I. Quinn, Tanya B. Dorff, John J. Kopchick, Valter D. Longo. Prolonged Fasting Reduces IGF-1/PKA to Promote Hematopoietic-Stem-Cell-Based Regeneration and Reverse Immunosuppression.