What are “soaked grains” and why does it matter?
So far I've written not only about the importance of getting alternative grains into your diet, and about why you might want to limit your grains, but I've also touched on the fact that we should try to eat properly prepared grains, so today I'm sharing more about “soaked grains”.
Many of you are probably like I was, and have no idea what I'm even talking about, or have never heard of this traditional and more nutritious way to include grains into your diet. Traditional cultures have used proper preparation techniques for their grain, nuts and seeds for centuries. In Nourishing Traditions it says that some grains were sprouted just from the way it was weathered in the field before threshing.
I've explained the “HOW” in various recipes here at my blog, like my homemade soaked bread recipe (more recipes are linked below), but I haven't yet gone into detail yet about WHY this is important.
Here is some more info for you:
- Read a quote from this site: “Grains and beans all contain an acid, myoinositol-hexa, or phytic acid. Phytic acid blocks the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. A diet high in unfermented whole grains can lead to mineral deficiencies and bone loss. Although this appears to contradict all that we have learned about whole grains, it really only means that it has taken decades of research for us to get back to eating the way our great-great grandparents knew how to eat. We now understand that their process of fermenting grains and beans before eating them neutralized phytic acid. It also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and breaks down gluten, sugars, and other difficult to digest elements in grains and beans. And these nutritional benefits don’t apply exclusively to humans. Herbivores often have as many as four stomachs, as well as an extremely long intestinal tract, allowing fermentation to take place within their bodies after they have eaten.”
- Jordan Rubin says: “Soaking and sprouting your grains, beans, or seeds prior to use is simple and the nutritional benefits are worth it.”
- Here's more about healthier grains from Sue Gregg, including how long various grains should soak (oats take up to 24 hours — here's more on oats), and also info here on the benefit of some phytates in our diets. An important note: “Just because you've switched from white flour to whole grains, doesn't mean you are getting all the nutritional value.”
- Another one: Do we really need to soak our grains? Is physic acid ever beneficial?
- One more, a more detailed article on properly preparing grains.
A few more random notes:
- When it comes to using flour in recipes, soaking grains is only necessary when using whole grains, as the phytates are found in the bran, which is taken out of white flour. (This also takes out the other most nutritious parts of whole grains, too, though.) Because of this I'll sometimes use all-purpose einkorn flour in my baked goods instead of whole grains, or at least half all-purpose and half whole wheat, because soaking grains for baked goods is tricky.
- I've read many reports about people with gluten or wheat allergies who have no problems digesting soaked grains or alternative grains besides wheat, interesting huh? Also, some who have trouble digesting grain have been able to eat Einkorn with no problem, read what einkorn is and why it's better: Could THIS be the answer to the gluten sensitivity epidemic?
If all this seems to you like one more thing to add to an already busy life, or an already busy kitchen where you make plenty of homemade foods, then just take a deep breath and implement more when you can. (Check out these Rookie Tips, too, and remember, you're not the only one who feels overwhelmed at times!)
If you have begun using soaked grains in your recipes, let us know how it's going, and how difficult was it for you to start implementing this? For me it has been a very slow process, because early on it seemed like everything I tried tasted too sour or it flopped all together. With practice, and some trial and error, it has gotten easier, check out my recipes below and I'll keep sharing as I learn more.
Let me know how it goes as you get started with this concept!
Here are recipes using “soaked grains” or “properly prepared grains”:
- Do we really need to soak our grains?
- My original Pancake/waffle recipe using properly prepared grains
- Blender batter waffles/pancakes using 100% soaked whole grains, they're so good!
- Organic soaked oatmeal
- Homemade oatmeal bars/granola recipe
- Healthy Bread Choices – Rookie Tip