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Why Dehydrate? During the year that I ate an 80% raw foods diet I learned some great ways to prepare fresh foods, including the use of a dehydrator. Previous to that time I just knew of dehydration as a food preservation method for large harvests of fruit, herbs or veggies or as a lightweight food method for backpacking. My hunter friends also used their dehydrators to make jerky. I had no idea that there were nutritional reasons to for incorporating dehydration into my culinary skills. Dehydrating not only dry foods, it preserves live enzymes through low, slow temperatures, (below 115 degrees) thus the label “live food.” Why Preserve Enzymes? Dr. Gabriel Cousins MD writes in Rainbow Green Cuisine “Cooking at a boiling point for more than three minutes kills all enzymes and enzymes contain life itself. Enzymes are not only simply catalysts that make digestion and all other metabolic processes work; they are living proteins that direct the life force into our basic biochemical and metabolic processes. Enzymes even help repair DNA and RNA. Enzymes help transform and store energy; they activate hormones; participate in their own production cycle; dissolve fiber and prevent clotting; they have anti-inflammatory, anti-edema, and even analgesic effects. With age, under stress, and after illness, the amount of enzymes in our bodies decreases. The enzymes in live food help with digestion, and therefore minimize the use of our own enzymes and thus preserve and build the enzyme pool.” Why Soak? Phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that are common in seeds, grains and nuts can bond with minerals in our digestive tract and cause malabsorption. They are a natural part of the seeds protection to keep it from sprouting in unfavorable conditions. Soaking and fermenting can neutralize phytates and enzyme inhibitors and start the process of digestion thus increasing B vitamins and helping break down other hard to digest substances such as complex sugars, gluten and tannins. Common Raw Dehydrator Foods Nuts and Seeds that are flavored or salted Crackers made from nuts and seeds, herbs and veggies. Essene breads from soaked and sprouted grains Casseroles cooked at a slow low heat from layers of veggies and nut pates Soaking and Dehydration Time Guidelines 115 temperature Almond- soak 12 hours/ dehydrate 36 hours Pecans, Walnuts- soak 1-2 hours/dehydrate 8 hours Hulled pumpkin, sunflower, sesame seeds- soak 4 hours dehydrate 8 hours Flax seeds-soak 8 hours/ dehydrate 8 hours
Macadamia, Pine, Pistachio nuts, Hemp Seeds-do not soak /no need to dehydrate