Enzyme inhibitors – Soak your seeds

The seed has to protect itself somehow! Here it is, this treasure chest of hard earned concentrated food all tucked away in a little seed just waiting for someone to come along and eat it. Yet, unlike fruit, if the seed is eaten, there is no chance for a plant to carry on.

Plants also have to protect themselves somehow. If Kale tasted so good, every living thing would want to eat it up! I mean, here it is a beautiful green leaf converting sunlight into sugar, so if there’s nothing to stop animals and insects from eating it, how could it ever live long enough to reproduce?

This is where natural toxins come in. For the plant, it could be some less than desirable acid that dries the mouth out or leaves a bitter – less than pleasant – taste. For seeds it’s similar for they have to keep things from eating them while they wait for the weather to change or the correct growing conditions to come along.

When we look at seeds in particular, they have to survive to the next growing season and do so under extreme conditions. Some of those conditions may involve freezing. Thus, they can’t have a high concentration of water. And, the seed needs to store not only energy (sugar – carbohydrates) but also building blocks (protein) and the means to use these resources – enzymes!

Yet, the enzymes need to be stored. This is where enzyme inhibitors come in. They are natural molecules that ‘mate’ with enzymes so they can sit dormant until it’s time to start working (growing). They basically prevent the enzyme from performing any work until the time is right.

As a side function, it turns out that the inhibitors also provide some means of protection from predictors. In some cases, the reaction that they can trigger can be quite severe. Thus, we’re going to look closer at enzymes and specifically their inhibitors.

What are Enzyme inhibitors? If you visit the Wikipedia, it states:

Enzyme inhibitors are molecules that bind to enzymes and decrease their activity. …

I love the simplest explanations! On the surface, this statement really does give you a good feeling – if you know a bit about enzymes and what they do. If you did deeper, you’ll find that the definition gets a bit more complex. In fact, the couple sentences that follow the first read:

… Since blocking an enzyme’s activity can kill a pathogen or correct a metabolic imbalance, many drugs are enzyme inhibitors. They are also used as herbicides and pesticides. Not all molecules that bind to enzymes are inhibitors; enzyme activators bind to enzymes and increase their enzymatic activity.

I’d highly recommend visiting the Wikipedia and reading through the Enzyme inhibitor description. Notice that there is a lot of information pertaining to drugs and poisons as if they are all really bad things. If taken out of context, you might think that inhibitors are really bad even in their natural state when you read:

Natural enzyme inhibitors can also be poisons and are used as defences against predators or as ways of killing prey.

Later in the same article it stays:

Enzyme inhibitors are found in nature and are also designed and produced as part of pharmacology and biochemistry. Natural poisons are often enzyme inhibitors that have evolved to defend a plant or animal against predators. These natural toxins include some of the most poisonous compounds known. Artificial inhibitors are often used as drugs, but can also be insecticides such as malathion, herbicides such as glyphosate, or disinfectants such as triclosan.

It’s not until you get to the bottom of the explanation where it talks about Natural Poisons that it gets into non-drug (synthetic) stuff.

Natural poisons

Animals and plants have evolved to synthesise a vast array of poisonous products including secondary metabolites, peptides and proteins that can act as inhibitors. Natural toxins are usually small organic molecules and are so diverse that there are probably natural inhibitors for most metabolic processes.[40] The metabolic processes targeted by natural poisons encompass more than enzymes in metabolic pathways and can also include the inhibition of receptor, channel and structural protein functions in a cell. For example, paclitaxel (taxol), an organic molecule found in the Pacific yew tree, binds tightly to tubulin dimers and inhibits their assembly into microtubules in the cytoskeleton.[41]

Many natural poisons act as neurotoxins that can cause paralysis leading to death and have functions for defence against predators or in hunting and capturing prey. Some of these natural inhibitors, despite their toxic attributes, are valuable for therapeutic uses at lower doses.[42] An example of a neurotoxin are the glycoalkaloids, from the plant species in the Solanaceae family (includes potato, tomato and eggplant), that are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Inhibition of this enzyme causes an uncontrolled increase in the acetylcholine neurotransmitter, muscular paralysis and then death. Neurotoxicity can also result from the inhibition of receptors; for example, atropine from deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) that functions as a competitive antagonist of the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors.[43]

Although many natural toxins are secondary metabolites, these poisons also include peptides and proteins. An example of a toxic peptide is alpha-amanitin, which is found in relatives of the death cap mushroom. This is a potent enzyme inhibitor, in this case preventing the RNA polymerase II enzyme from transcribing DNA.[44] The algal toxin microcystin is also a peptide and is an inhibitor of protein phosphatases.[45] This toxin can contaminate water supplies after algal blooms and is a known carcinogen that can also cause acute liver hemorrhage and death at higher doses.[46]

Proteins can also be natural poisons or antinutrients, such as the trypsin inhibitors (discussed above) that are found in some legumes, as shown in the figure above. A less common class of toxins are toxic enzymes: these act as irreversible inhibitors of their target enzymes and work by chemically modifying their substrate enzymes. An example is ricin, an extremely potent protein toxin found in castor oil beans. This enzyme is a glycosidase that inactivates ribosomes. Since ricin is a catalytic irreversible inhibitor, this allows just a single molecule of ricin to kill a cell.[47]

Yet the seed survives with this toxin just fine – as long as it’s in its dormant state waiting for the right conditions to come along so it can grow.

If we revisit the Germination page of Wikipedia, we’ll find that:

When the seed imbibes water, hydrolytic enzymes are activated which break down these stored food resources into metabolically useful chemicals.

And if you remember hydrolytic enzymes are enzymes that are water activated.

The question is, when the water activates the enzyme, where does the inhibitor go?

As it turns out, with many seeds it’s expelled. It doesn’t need the inhibitor any longer so it doesn’t want it getting in the way.

Thus, what if it’s the water in your mouth that activates the enzyme that’s been sitting in the dormant seed – because you eat the seed in its dormant state? It would be logical for it to be released into the mouth – thus it’s now inside your body.

This has to make you wonder about different food allergies. Could it be that the person is hyper-sensitive to the toxins that are given off by the food when it changes form?

Could it be that if people simply took advantage of the natural techniques by which seeds give up their toxins they wouldn’t have the same types of reactions to the foods?

That’s where sprouting comes in!

When you sprout a seed, the enzyme inhibitors that double as toxins are released from the seed so that the enzymes can go to work. When you sprout, you always want to rinse the seeds really well so that the ‘waste’ is removed from the outside of the seed. A large number of the toxins that your body would be sensitive too – and have to remove – are already removed by the germination process.

As it turns out, many people are surprised to learn that they are allergic to dry seeds by not sprouted ones!

If you can eat a seed raw and there is a sprout- able alternative, you should always choose the sprout-able alternative so as to not put your body in a passion where it has to expel all those toxins! It’s hard enough just getting rid of toxins that our bodies generate on their own – we don’t want to also have to get rid of other’s toxins!

Enzyme inhibitors are simply part of life. In order to improve life, we should take advantage of the natural techniques for removing toxins – soak the seeds.

Sesame Milk

There’s just something about sesame milk that keeps me coming back for more. It’s a little bitter, but it could be because of the mineral content, calcium in particular. Did a quick Google search for nutritional information and found this. The Acid Alkaline charts show the dry seeds as being slightly alkaline, but as we’ve all learned sprouting seeds tips them heavily into the alkaline category!

Now the trick is to make them something that you want to ingest. I don’t really like sesame seeds dry. It takes too much work to chew. Try placing a spoonful of dry seeds in your mouth and see how long it takes to chew them up to the point where you can swallow! Soaked and sprouted seeds are totally different. Soak them for four to six hours before draining and letting sprout. The sprout time is about 24 to 36 hours. Past that, the seeds get really bitter and hard to eat no matter what you do to disguise the taste.

The best part about this milk is that it’s really easy to make if you have a high speed blender – which I have.

I’ve got a collection of mason jars for sprouting. The little sprout lids can be purchased at just about any natural food shop. They come in three different sizes, yellow being the smallest. Yellow works great for holding these little seeds at bay.


  • 1 cup sprouted sesame seeds
  • About 1 cup ice cubes
  • About 3 cups water
  • 2 to 3 little dates
  • Little vanilla powder (doesn’t take much, like 1/8th teaspoon.)

If you look closely at this second picture, you’ll notice that I snapped the fist picture before I’d added all the ingredients to the mixture.  Notice sitting just above the sesame seeds are the dates. On the very surface (in the upper left hand corner) is the vanilla powder.

Ultimately, this will all blend together and look like milk.

The main reason for the ice is to keep the mixture colder longer so you can blend it longer without heating the ‘milk’. If you don’t add ice and just use cold water, you’ll end up with warm milk that just seems… wrong.

It’s pretty important to add a couple dates to the drink for the seeds are pretty bitter and it takes a something a little sweet to balance it out.

I like my sesame milk with all the fiber. Others like to run it through a nut milk bag to remove all the hulls. Either way you make it, the best way to consume it is as the base for a green smoothie! Peaches and Sesame ‘cream’ makes for unique taste sensation. I highly recommend giving it a try.

I figured I’d do a little search for a video to add to this post. Found a really nice demonstration by Karen Knowler that I’d recommend watching if you’ve never made nut milk. The only change I’d make to what she shows is that she should be using soaked almonds rather than dry almonds. But here you go anyway, I’m sure you can make that little modification yourself.

Mike Blongiewicz’s Raw Home-Made Hummus

I’m pretty impressed. Turns out it’s really easy to make this version of home-made Hummus and it tastes good enough to eat! In fact, I got a couple comfortable nods just like Mike did in his video. It’s smooth – flavor wise – yet comforting. I’m sure I’m going to enjoy this the next couple days for lunch.

And thanks Marie for the query (See comment here), for when I found this video I felt inspired to sprout some garbanzo beans.

Making your own raw home-made hummus by Mike Blongiewicz:

I like how easy he laid out the ingredients. I only added two cloves garlic for I like it a bit more mild. The lemon I went heavier with for I like that tang. For the veggies, I just added one medium tomato, almost all of one large carrot and three stocks of celery. I like to figure that it’s close enough.

To all that, I added 36 hour old sprouted garbanzo beans. I like to wait until the roots are about as long as the bean.

Sprouted Garbanzo beans

Just like Mike, I added the liquid first.

Everything ready to go

When I powered on the blender, a swear I saw the lights flicker! This mixture sure did bog down that vita-mix. I’m sure if you’ve got a light duty blender, you’ll want to use a food processor instead.

After about 60 seconds, it was rolling like a vanilla shake (just like the video) so I figured it was done.

Lunch for three days

This made about 6 cups – or three lunches. I love how the basil flakes shine through. That big dip in the center was the taster. I’m absolutely positive that this will go well with carrot sticks and celery.

Overall, I’m thinking this is a really good raw hummus base. I’ll really know in a couple days when it’s all gone!

Give it a try, I think you’ll like it too.