Grains, seeds, + nuts contain a natural enzyme that prevents us from being able to absorb all the nutrients in them. Unless prepared fully, you might be missing out on some of the wonderful nutrients available in grains, while also putting ourselves at risk for other health issues. Luckily, there is a method of preparing grains to reap their full benefits! Take it back to our ancestors’ meal-prep methods + try soaking your grains —
Whole wheat // whole grains in their natural form are actually fairly difficult for our bodies to digest. Soaking is a way of culturing, or preparing, grains in a way that makes them healthier + easier to digest. You can do this at home by letting grains sit in a warm water // acid medium mixture for 12-48 hours before cooking them.
It is important to reduce // remove consumption of phytic acid because it results in mineral deficiencies, lowers your metabolism, + contributes to anemia, among other things.
Phytase is a natural enzyme found in grains, seeds, + nuts that prevent digestion. Phytic acid is found in the bran of the grain + combines with key minerals, preventing their absorption. Unfortunately, cooking isn’t enough to fully release phytase to remove phytic acid in grains. When properly activated [by sprouting, soaking, or souring] phytase breaks down the phytic acid to help release beneficial nutrients in the grain + make it more easily digested. Soaking grains before cooking // baking them will neutralize the phytic acid, releasing the nutrients for easier absorption.
This process also breaks down complex starches + other difficult-to-digest proteins like gluten. So for all our GF CHAARGies, soaking your grains might help reduce gluten sensitivity + allergic reactions to other grains! Everyone wins with higher nutrient absorption + easier digestion. : )
It’s not necessary to completely eliminate all phytic acid from your diet, but rather limit it to reasonable levels. Most problems with phytic acid tend to rise only when whole grains, nuts, + beans become the major part of a diet. It’s recommended to limit consumption of foods rich in phytic acid to 2-3 servings per day + to maintain a balanced diet rich in nutrient-dense foods.
To soak grains at home, you’ll first need warm water + an acid medium. Soak the grains // flour in an acid medium over a warm temperature, typically over a 12-48 hour time period [or overnight]. You can choose between a dairy-based acid medium [whey, whole milk, kefir] or a non-dairy based acid medium [lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, coconut milk kefir]. You’ll incorporate 1 tsp of an acid medium for every 1 cup of warm water for the soaking mixture.
Each type of grain has a slightly different recipe for soaking. Typically, brown rice, buckwheat, + millet have lower phytate content, so they only need to soak for about 7 hours. All other grains should be soaked for 12-24 hours. Leave your grains soaking at room temperature + make sure to cover them tightly with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out!
Soaking your grains just to make bread, oatmeal, or a quinoa bowl might seem unnecessarily time-consuming. Keep in mind that good food is worth the extra time put into making it. : ) Let us know if you try this at home, by tagging #CHAARGeats on Insta.
++ Cassie [@cassiem_inchaarg] // Belmont University