Traditional cultures were smart, very smart, and understood their bodies a lot better than we do. They did not consume grains unless they were properly prepared by soaking, sprouting or fermenting. They knew that without properly preparing their grains they would get sick, similar to how many of us feel bloated and suffer from stomach aches after eating breads and other grains. There is no need to look far back to caveman days to learn wise nutrition, just 100 years ago is enough. There is plenty of debate as to whether we should consume grains or not. Well, that comes down to individualization, quality and preparation. Some people do great with grain free diets and most people eat varying amounts of grains. What is important to understand, is that a long term way of eating should not necessarily completely cut out a major food group (i.e.grains). For certain healing protocols it may be helpful to cut out grains for an amount of time, but no one should need to cut out grains forever. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies and takes more careful planning to ensure adequate carbohydrate, fiber and other essential nutrients. Plus, it’s enjoyable to eat bread and muffins (as long as you eat quality ones!)
Soaking, sprouting and fermenting grains neutralizes phytic acid, an organic compound present in grains and legumes that blocks nutrient absorption in the intestinal tract. Phytic acid also binds to minerals and pulls them out of the body. Consuming all of your grains without proper preparation causes stress to out digestive system and can lead us to nutrient deficiencies since we are not able to absorb all of the beneficial vitamins and minerals in these grains and legumes.
Proper preparation of grains also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors that are in the hulls of all seeds, as well as adds beneficial enzymes that increase the amount of nutrients present (especially B vitamins). The hard to digest protein in gluten and wheat products is broken down enough so that those who are sensitive to gluten are able to eat these products with no complaints.
Soaking your grains and legumes is easy and requires only a bit of preparation. Below is a guide on soaking your grains and legumes:
Nuts and Seeds:
4 cups raw nuts or seeds
2 TBSP whey or lemon juice or vinegar
1 TBSP sea salt
Soak at room temperature for 24 hours. Drain and rinse and dry in oven or dehydrator for 12 to 24 hours. Most nuts take only 12 to 15 hours but almonds and hazelnuts can take 24 hours or more.
Beans and Lentils:
1 cup dry beans
2 TBSP whey, lemon juice, or vinegar
7 cups water
Put beans in glass container and cover with warm water by 2 inches. Stir in activator, cover and let sit at room temperature for 12 to 36 hours. Longer soaking removes additional phytic acid, but the water should be changed every 24 hours.
Drain and rinse. Add beans to a pot along with 7 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce, skim off any foam and simmer covered for 1 ½ to 4 hours. Cooking time will depend on the type of bean and age (older beans take longer to cook). If cooking beans for a salad, stop cooking once tender but not mushy.
Grains (millet, quinoa, rice, bulgar, barley, wheat berries, faro, oats):
1 cup millet or quinoa
6 ¾ cups water, divided
4 TBSP whey, lemon juice, or vinegar
¼ tsp salt
Combine grain, 3 cups of ware and 2 TBSP activator. Cover and set aside for 12. Drain and rinse and repeat for another 12 hours. Drain, rinse and add ¾ cup water to pot with grain. Cover and bring to a boil, simmer covered for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes check for liquid. If water appears, return the lid and cook in 2 minute increments.