We've had a few exciting things happening over at Boundless HQ, and one of these things is our wonderful new nutritionist Phoebe (@_naturalnourishment) joining the team! To celebrate #WorldDigestiveHealthDay, here's a little blog post from Phoebe on the power of activation...
Life is beautiful.
It is also exceedingly clever.
And nothing more excellently displays this intense intelligence than the adaptations plants have made to continue their survival on our planet. Actually plants don’t just survive, they consistently evolve to thrive, a lesson probably quite a few of us humans could do with listening to just a little more….
FROM SEED TO SUNFLOWER
Popping my existential musings on pause for a moment here let’s get a little more factual. For those of you who remember a Biology lesson somewhere in your more youthful years you will have been immersed in the life cycle of a plant. Originally it would have taken the shape of leaving a piece of bread to go mouldy in a warm spot somewhere (you’re welcome parents!), then perhaps you & your classmates competed as to who could grow the tallest sunflower, & finally this would've been transferred to a classroom where you were taught how seed/bulb meets soil, water & sunlight to create new green shoots.
The reason that this process is taught from such a young age & reinforced in so many different guises is that it underpins the existence of all living things, without plants we literally couldn’t be here. So that’s fantastic, we adore you flora of the world, but we can also harness this natural process from a nutritional stance as the sneaky, superiorly smart organisms we are.
PLANT BASED POWER
There are very few instances where I will be drawn into discussing food & numbers together, everyone is searching for a label when it comes to eating habits & honestly that just makes me sad. It’s also wholly unhelpful & has no longevity behind it as a way of interacting with what we’re eating but that’s another tale for another day.
1 key figure I do buy into however is that consuming 30 different plant based foods per week is associated with more diverse gut bacteria, lower cardiovascular disease risk, & more robust immunity. This would include all fruit, vegetables, beans, pulses, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds, herbs & spices.
Great stuff. And those benefits will be achieved just through varying the plant foods you consume over time, this in itself can be slightly problematic for some however. But don’t worry, there is a way to not just overcome said turbulent troubles but also increase the amount of nutrition you gain from those foods as you eat them. Intrigued? I do hope so.
When people come to see me & I say the word lentil or chickpea there will often be a slightly awkward smile because I think we can all surmise that these foods get a bad wrap for causing bloating & wind. As a general point there is literally no situation related to bowel habits at this stage that could phase me but I do understand the reluctance people have with discussing such details. The reason for this digestive dysfunction is actually very quickly explained though - think about that life cycle of a plant above. Once a plant produces its seeds to spread far & wide to grow new plants it has to find a vessel to carry them. This could be an animal, or an environmental element (wind or water usually), but it’s not going to be a smooth ride either way. So the plants protect their lineage & make those seeds with armour to protect them from damage on their journey. And I don’t know about you but I can 100% assure you my piddly human digestive tract has nothing on that of a cow/sheep/bird, or a river in fact, so no wonder when I consume a ½ cup sized serving of chickpeas a couple of days in a row I can feel them fighting back!
SO WHAT DO WE DO?
Well we use our superior intelligence & a bit of skullduggery & trick those poor unsuspecting things into believing they’ve arrived at their new growing destination so they let down their guard. Hey presto, no digestive upset.
This is what activating plant foods does in essence, which is great, but the other side to this coin is that fact that another exceptionally cool thing about plants is that they come pre-packaged with all the elements they need to support that initial phase of new life within their seeds. So when we soak, sprout & then pause that process by gently drying out the nut/seed etc (below 42 degrees celsius as this is key for preserving enzyme/antioxidant activity) we have not only got rid of the armour that could cause us issue, we have also triggered the release of that innate nutrition, 30% more bioavailable nutrients in fact than an unactivated form.
A very simple swap therefore from raw plant based foods to activated forms is what the enthusiastic amongst us would refer to as a double whammy of a win. Perhaps even a triple threat gold medal if you include the fact that all of a sudden you find yourself enthusiastic about school level science too…..!
WRITTEN BY PHOEBE LIEBLING
BSc(Hons) DipNT mBANT mNNA CNHC registered GNC registered