I read a wonderful article on curing tooth decay on a great blog called Cheeseslave. The author interviewed Rami Nagel, author of the book "Cure Tooth Decay", which is the book I've been using to help us heal Kiernen's teeth.
The Single Most Important Thing To Prevent Tooth DecayI asked Rami what he thinks is the most important thing to do to prevent tooth decay. He said we must limit anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients such as phytic acid or oxalic acid are found in raw seeds, beans, nuts, grains and vegetables.
Foods With the Most Phytates: Nuts and SeedsHe told me that the people Dr. Weston Price studied in the Swiss Alps Recipe from Swiss/French Alps also ate 50% of their diet as grains. These people in Switzerland ate rye bread. They went to elaborate lengths lessen the anti-nutrients. They first germinated the rye, then they sifted it to remove about 20-25% of the bran. Then they would ferment it using sourdough. Rami said rye is the most easily fermentable grain.
He also told me that wheat and rye are high-phosphorous foods and for this reason it is important to eat them with calcium-rich foods. This is why the Swiss always ate their rye bread with dairy. He stressed that in particular, fermented dairy is especially good — like cheese or yogurt.
I’ve always wondered why Sally Fallon Morell advises against chocolate. Rami told me that chocolate is very high in phytic acid. Chocolate is made from the cocoa bean — it’s a
beanseed! (We call it a bean but it is a seed.) Again, seeds are the worst. Raw chocolate is very high in oxalic acid and leaches calcium from the body.
Coffee, too, is a
beanseed. It is also rich in oxalic acid, as is tea.
Vitamin CRami said that vitamin C blocks the effects of phytic acid. He said that there are only in trace amounts of vitamin C in liver. Vitamin C is one of the only vitamins not in liver.
He said that in many traditional cultures they go to great lengths to eat foods that are rich in vitamin C. In Australia they eat a certain kind of plum which is very high in vitamin C. Native Americans ate rose hips. In India and Latin America, they eat tamarind which is very high in vitamin C. Sauerkraut is also an excellent source of vitamin C.
Apparently, though, I managed to forget the bit about the fact that phytates are in nuts and seeds as well as grains, because I've been letting us have nuts and seeds way more often than I'd like to admit. GAPS (which we are following) is based on SCD, which is fairly nut-based. Yes, the nuts and seeds are all soaked and sprouted, which does reduce the phytates, but doesn't disappear them altogether, and so we still need to be very careful.
There is so much to pay attention to, so much to keep on top of. I have lots of reading to do, but I do appreciate the heads-up from the Universe to be paying attention to this. Still, getting rid of nuts after everything else we've already let go of - sometimes it just feels overwhelming.
Later in the comments, Rami Nagel added this:
Data on nuts and seeds is unclear at this time. Other than that they have equal to or more phytates than grains. And shouldn’t be consumed if someone has digestive problems, or any bone loss or tooth decay.
So the fermenting, soaking, sprouting is the way to go. an example from Rami (in the comments again):
Here is some Quinoa info just for more fun.
Quinoa Phytate Reductions (Source: Food Phytates)
Cooked 25 minutes @ 100 degrees Celsius 15-20% reduction
Soaked 12-14hours @ 20 degrees Celsius + cooked 60-77% reduction
Fermented with whey 16-18hrs @ 30 degrees C and cooked 82-88% reduction
Soaked, germinated 30 hours, lacto-fermented (with whey added I think) 16-18 hours then cooked 97-98% reduction
Rami says ideally (remember, IDEALLY) you want to first germinate or sprout the whole grain, then dry it at a low temperature (unlike the way they heat-treat oatmeal), then grind it and yes, THEN ferment it (like using sourdough).
And from this article:
Oxalic acid or oxalate is found mostly in foods from plants. Calcium combines with oxalate in the intestines. This reduces calcium’s ability to be absorbed.
Although there are many foods that contain large amounts of oxalate, eight foods have been shown to be most at fault for raising urine oxalate levels. They are rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, chocolate, wheat bran, nuts, beets, and tea.
Now we are not saying that you should never eat spinach or chocolate or nuts or beets. But these foods need to be carefully and properly prepared.
And then oxalic acid? Sheesh - do you know the list of things that DON'T have oxalic acid? It's a short list, so I'll share it with you:
green (not red) grapes
cauliflower (only if well-boiled)
peas (only if well-boiled)
meats, including fish
In the comments, a quote from Sally Fallon, author of "Nourishing Traditions":
So I wondering if in parts of the world like ours, it becomes more difficult to get rid of phytates in the gut because of the lack of Vitamin D (sunshine)? So do we need to be even more careful? And how often could someone with severe decay safely eat something like sprouted sourdough rye bread (slathered in butter)?