by Rosemary Hansen
Why soak grains?
You can soak grains before cooking or baking them. Soaking grains (and nuts, seeds, and legumes) helps to neutralize phytic acid, an anti-nutrient, present in them. Phytic acid blocks the absorption of critical vitamins and minerals (phosphorus, calcium, iron, zinc) from being assimilated into the body. Phytic acid also inhibits enzymes from assisting our digestion. Breakfast cereals and other packaged foods have had all of the vitamins and enzymes stripped away, leaving the phytic acid to do damage to your gut.
Phytic acid = Locks Up Vital Vitamins, Enzymes & Minerals
Grains to soak:
- Wheat flour
- Spelt flour
- All gluten-free flours
Polenta & cornmeal need a different process (soaking in dolomite powder + water)
Other foods that need soaking:
- Dried Peas
Does soaking help with weight loss?
There is evidence that an unhealthy gut (with low levels of bacterial diversity), can hinder diabetics and obese patients from losing weight. This is because bad gut bacteria will take more carbohydrates from a food and turn it into body fat. Probiotics alone will not solve the problem, but likely a myriad of solutions are needed. Eating a diet of highly processed foods makes gut bacteria diversity plummet. The bran in whole grains (touted to be healthier), actually has more phytic acid than refined flours. So, if you want to eat whole grains soak them! Anything that we can do to strengthen the gut bacteria and help digestion is going to help with weight loss.
Grain/Nut Foods Not Soaked = Hard on Our Gut Bacteria = Tougher to Lose Weight
How soaking works
When you soak grains in warm water with fresh whey from yogurt (or lemon juice), it activates the phytase enzyme that unlocks the minerals and vitamins. Also, it unlocks more B Vitamins and helps digestion. Nuts have the highest amount of phytic acid of any food (other than cocoa), so it is especially important to soak nuts before eating them.
Grains, beans, seeds and nuts are all a seed of a plant, and that plant wants to ensure that it’s “baby” will germinate in optimal conditions for producing another plant and more babies. So the seeds are designed to wait for moisture, warmth, and rain (which has a small amount of acid in it, just like our lemon juice or yogurt). Therefore, all of the nutrients that we can be absorbing from the life-giving seeds of a plant are being blocked unless we prepare them properly.
Store-bought packaged granola, granola bars, quick oats, cookies, store-bought breat, breakfast cereals, and other packaged grain foods will have high amounts of phytic acid in them and should be avoided altogether. Try making sourdough bread at home, it is very healthful.
Side Note: Vitamin D and Calcium in fermented dairy products (kefir, yogurt, cultured butter, buttermilk, cream cheese) will help counteract the phytic acid present in bread products if you eat them together.
What is whey?
Fresh whey from yogurt is simply the watery stuff that pools in a container of yogurt after taking a few scoops out. Furthermore, it is not powdered whey protein. Whey protein powder is highly processed with no good bacteria or acid in it to bring out the enzyme phytase. You can get fresh whey from store-bought yogurt or homemade yogurt. Just scoop some yogurt out of the container. Then wait for the whey “water” to pool in the yogurt. You can use that to soak your grains, beans, and seeds.
If you are allergic to dairy products or you are vegan, you can use lemon juice instead.
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