With so many people interested in soaking grains from my last post, I thought I would post a few more helpful quotes and thoughts.
First of all, check out Sally Fallon’s article, Be Kind to Your Grains . It is very helpful in understanding why this is such an important process to do. But here is a quote that contains the most helpful part.
Why We Soak Grains
Grains require careful preparation because they contain a number of antinutrients that can cause serious health problems. Phytic acid, for example, is an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound. It is mostly found in the bran or outer hull of seeds. 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 improperly prepared 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. Other antinutrients in whole grains include enzyme inhibitors which can inhibit digestion and put stress on the pancreas; irritating tannins; complex sugars which the body cannot break down; and gluten and related hard-to-digest proteins which may cause allergies, digestive disorders and even mental illness. Most of these antinutrients are part of the seed’s system of preservation—they prevent sprouting until the conditions are right. Plants need moisture, warmth, time and slight acidity in order to sprout. Proper preparation of grains is a kind and gentle process that imitates the process that occurs in nature. It involves soaking for a period in warm, acidulated water in the preparation of porridge, or long, slow sour dough fermentation in the making of bread. Such processes neutralize phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Vitamin content increases, particularly B vitamins. Tannins, complex sugars, gluten and other difficult-to-digest substances are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption. “
And from Nourishing Traditions…..
“Traditional methods for preparing grains and legumes supply those factors that nature uses for neutralizing phytic acid in seeds so that they an then sprout and grow: warmth, moisture, time and slightly acidity. Soaking whole grains and flour overnight in a medium like cultured milk or warm acidulated water activates the enzyme phytase, which then neutralizes phytic acid. Studies show that salt added to the soaking medium inhibits this process, so the time to add salt to porridges and batters is just before cooking, not during the soaking period. ” Nourishing Traditions
Soaking and sprouting reduces anti-nutrients and helps you absorb the full benefit from grains. It’s so sad that many of us may be faithfully using whole grains, but not really reaping the benefits because phytic acid is blocking our absorption of it.
Soak baked goods in buttermilk, thinned down yogurt, or kefir. For dairy free alternatives, use coconut milk (or water) with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Search my recipe index for ideas.
Whole grains should also be soaked, generally 12-24 hours, with about one tablespoon of an acidic addition per cup of liquid. I use raw apple cider vinegar a lot for this use., but whey, buttermilk, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and vinegar are all options as well.