There are many people who are sensitive to grains, nuts and seeds. But when these foods are prepared correctly, our bodies can reap the deep, nutritional benefits without the sensitivities. Soaking and sprouting allow this to happen.
What is soaking and sprouting?
Soaking and sprouting is a process used to mimic the natural germination of grains, nuts and seeds. It changes their structure to allow our bodies to digest them easier and absorb more of their nutrients. It is a traditional method that is unfortunately not practiced much anymore.
What is the basic History and Science?
Long ago our ancestors ate their grains partially germinated. By the time their grains were harvested they had already began to sprout in the field. Today, farmers are able to harvest their grain before germination takes place. This should be a good thing right?
Well maybe not. Grains, seeds and nuts have a protective layer around them called phytic acid. It exists in nature to protect them and ensure their survival. But without germination this acid limits the amount of nutrients our bodies are able to digest from them.
The phytic acid inhibits the enzymes needed to digest the beneficial minerals. Sprouting neutralizes these enzyme inhibitors, increasing the mineral and vitamin content drastically. Some of these vitamins include vitamin C, numerous B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, and iron.
Here is a very detailed real life example. I’m about to go TMI for a minute. But have you ever seen whole food chunks in you or your children’s stool? It happens because our bodies were not able to break down the food on their own. This is where soaking and sprouting comes in. It’s a practice that may sound intimidating and time consuming, but the end result of better digestion and absorption is worth the effort.
How do you soak and sprout?
Seeds: All you need is a mason jar and a screened sprouting lid. Add the seeds or nuts to the bottom of the jar. Fill the jar with filtered water, making sure there is at least an inch or two of water over the top of the seeds. Screw on the screen lid and soak the seeds overnight. In the morning, pour off the water. Rinse the seeds with the screen on. Empty water again. Lay the jar in a bowl so that it is slightly angled downwards. This allows air to circulate. Rinse and drain the seeds twice a day, leaving them back in the bowl between rinses. You will notice the seeds start to open and germinate. After 1-3 days you will have sprouts. Rinse the sprouts well and store in the refrigerator. Add sprouts to your sandwich, salads and eggs, or even as a side with dinner.
Beans and oats: Rinse them first then add the amount you want to a glass bowl. Cover the beans or oats with about an inch of filtered water over the top. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar or whey, and let sit at room temperature overnight. Drain them in the morning and they’re ready to cook with.
Grains: See my sourdough post here to learn about proper grain preparation.
My health journey has been a very gradual change. I am still growing and will keep educating myself how to make the best food choices for my own family.
Friends and family always ask me “why” I choose to do and eat certain things. It’s actually why I started this blog.
I want to bring up topics you may have never thought of before. To open your mind into questioning the narrative of our Standard American Diet. To consider the traditional ways of cooking and the essential benefits from how our ancestors used to live and eat.
I have a better understanding of the food I feed my family now because of the research I have done. I am always learning and growing and I encourage you to as well.
Ask questions. Don’t take my posts as facts. Please research for yourself and make your own decisions on how best to feed you and your family.
Fallon, Sally. Nourishing Traditions. Brandywine, MD. New Trends Publishing, Inc. 2001