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Soaking Grains/Beans/Nuts. . .and Why

Soaking: Traditional Foods 101

 

Skip to our soaking reference chart

 

Why soak?
Why soak your grains & seeds prior to cooking and consumption? Well, to answer that question we need to go back 50-80 decades. . .not centuries, but decades. {Side note: It’s interesting how quickly traditional knowledge has been lost in a culture steeped in convenience} For example, some grandparents may still remember reading “soak your oats the night before” on the instruction label for oats. What has changed? Is it the oats?  The people? Or our ideological paradigm?


The dilemma:
Soaking requires fore-thought. Fore-thought--definitely not an attribute of a culture craving immediate gratification. Soaking seeds is the way of the simple life. Not the convenient life. (I wrote about the tension between the convenience and simplicity here)

Local Pinto beans Soaking After 12 hours of soaking Cooked, digestable, nourishable, and ready to serve

Just follow your gut. . ."If only I could!"
We often say, just follow your gut. It infers a certain instinctual knowledge inherently connected with the core of one’s being.  You know when a choice feels right, or wrong--often by following your gut.  There’s something about our gut that is critical for holistic health and overall well-being. . . Yet, today many North Americans are plagued by gut issues (leaky gut, IBS, constipation, chronic diarrheic illness, etc) all which can lead to malnourishment and nutritional deficiencies linked to diminished growth and immunity--yes, nutritional deficiences occur even within North America.  You can eat the most nutrient-dense food on planet earth, and if you have gut issues, absorb minimal nutrients--linked to allergies, chronic fatigue, weakness, and other degenerative illnesses.

I've heard that 80% of your health is in the gut.  So is your gut healthy?
Building your gut-flora is essential. Think kefir, kombucha, yogourt, etc . . . Click here to learn more about these life-building cultures.

But while you are building your gut-flora with the aforementioned options, make sure you are preparing food in such a way that it improves the bioavailability of the minerals and vitamins in your food.

Phytate, what?
Soaking grains/bean/seeds removes the phytates (phytic acid) around the grains and seeds. Phytates are a type of membrane around the seed to prevent it from sprouting until it comes in contact with. . .water!  This membrane is really a self-protective mechanism for the seeds--the seed naturally only wants to sprout/grow when the conditions are optimal.

Here’s where it hits the gut:

  • 1) Indigestion: The phytates is what makes grains/seeds/beans so difficult to digest. This is why many people have gas, bloating, and indigestion after eating the above (obviously excluding diseases like celiac, etc).  Often pain is associated with grain and beans. . .however natural they be.

  • 2) Nutritional deficiency: Phytic acid is an enzyme inhibitor.  It prevents the very essence of the nutrients to be digested by your body.  Phytates are actually an anti-nutrient. They works against you! But, once the grain/bean/seed comes in contact with water, it releases enzymes to deactivate those anti-nutrients (the phytates), and then releases. . .wait for it. . .nutrients. Yeah, nutrients! If you’re eating healthy foods, you may as well ensure your body is absorbing the nutrients. {Makes sense, right?}

So what to do? Where's the hope? Especially if you love these foods!

Well, keep thinking about the relationship between phytic acid and water. . .

How can we turn these foods into friends? Naturally, soaking!

 
Sourdough granola soaking Expansion after 12 hours Dehydrated granola: Digestable, nourishable, and ready for enjoyment!


Advantages to soaking

  • Digestion: Your tummy will thank you for it!  Your body will have a pleasurable experience eating. . .just as it was intended.

  • Nutrients: Soaking eliminates the phytic acid thereby increasing the mineral and vitamin absorption. Don’t just eat healthy, ensure your body is absorbing the goodness!

  • It makes one think-ahead and get a kick-start on tomorrow. . .

  • Soaking time is flexible. . .it’s more about a window of time rather than an exact time frame

  • It lowers gluten! A  team of Italian scientists led by Luigi Greco at the University of Naples authored a 2010 study that showed significantly lower levels of gluten in sourdough (interested in a course on sourdough?) made according to old methods.

  • It decreases the cooking time by 20%

  • It’s a rhythm of life. . .holistic rhythms are life-giving in a day and age of haphazard instant gratification ploys. . .

  • It is following the ways of those who have gone before us. . . I feel inherently connected to my roots when I prepare food like my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, etc. Phytic acid was officially discovered in 1903 . . . but interestingly (or maybe not), people have been soaking grains/sees/nuts since the beginning of time simply by following their gut!  (Note: do some research on some biblical references in regards to soaking grains)

 Soaked seeds ready for dehydrating. . .they were soaked in salt water over night

 

Dehydrated seeds

 

Nourishing seeds. . .ready for digestion and enjoyment!

 

Below is a soaking reference chart of some of Canada's grains, beans, and seeds

.  .  . but by no means a comprehensive list

 

Canadian Grains Nutrition          Preparation Enjoying
    (generally using either traditional sourdough or ACV)  
Barley thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium Cover with 2” water and 2 TB of apple cider vinegar/cup. Soak 8-24 hours Cook
Oats maganese, phosphorous, iron, zinc, copper, thiamin, niacin, folate, riboflavin Cover with 2” water and 2 TB of apple cider vinegar/cup.
Oats also need a little extra boost to break down phytates. Add 1 TB rye flour/flakes per cup of oats. Soak 12-24 hours.
Eat raw, cook, or dehydrate to grind into flour
*Quinoa* (pseudo grain) vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese Cover with 2” water and 2 TB of apple cider vinegar/cup. Soak 12-24 hours Cook, or dehydrate to grind into flour
Rye niacin, manganese, selenium, iron 1) Sourdough, or 2) Water: Cover with 2” water and 2 TB of apple cider vinegar/cup. Soak 8-24 hours Dehydrate to grind into flour
Spelt thiamin, niacin, magnesium, maganese, copper, zinc 1) Sourdough, or 2) Water: Cover with 2” water and 2 TB of apple cider vinegar/cup. Soak 8-24 hours Dehydrate to grind into flour
Wheat thiamin, niacin, folate, B6, maganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesiuim, iron 1) Sourdough, or 2) Water: Cover with 2” water and 2 TB of apple cider vinegar/cup.   Soak 8-24 hours Dehydrate to grind into flour
Wild Rice magnesium, maganese, selenium, phosphorus, niacin, B6 Cover with 2” water and 2 TB of apple cider vinegar/cup. Soak 8-24 hours Rinse well. Cook (discard any scum that rises), or dehydrate to grind into flour

 

 

Canadian Legumes Nutrition Preparation Enjoying
    (generally using baking soda)  
Black Beans thiamin, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese Cover with 2” warm water and a pinch of baking soda. Soak preferably 18-24 hours. Change water every 8-12 hours. Rinse. 1) Cook (discarding any scum), or 2) or dehydrate to grind into flour
Chickpeas/ Garbanzo thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zin, copper, manganese  Cover with 2” warm water. Soak preferably 18-24 hours. Change water every 8-12 hours. Rinse. 1) Cook (discarding any scum), or 2) or dehydrate to grind into flour
 Lentils thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese  Cover with 2” warm water and a pinch of baking soda. Soak preferably 18-24 hours. Change water every 8-12 hours. Rinse. 1) Cook (discarding any scum), or 2) or dehydrate to grind into flour
 Navy Beans thiamin, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese  Cover with 2” warm water and a pinch of baking soda. Soak preferably 18-24 hours. Change water every 8-12 hours. Rinse. 1) Cook (discarding any scum), or 2) or dehydrate to grind into flour
 Pinto Beans vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, coper, manganese  Cover with 2” warm water and a pinch of baking soda. Soak preferably 18-24 hours. Change water every 8-12 hours. Rinse. 1) Cook (discarding any scum), or 2) or dehydrate to grind into flour
 Split Peas thiamin, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zin, copper, manganese  Cover with 2” warm water and a pinch of baking soda. Soak preferably 18-24 hours. Change water every 8-12 hours. Rinse. 1) Cook (discarding any scum), or 2) or dehydrate to grind into flour

 

Canadian Nuts & Seeds Nutrition Preparation Enjoying
    (generally using salt)  
Hazelnuts manganse, magnesium, flavoids, vit E Cover with 2” warm water and add a TB salt/ 2 cups. Soak 8-12 hours Dehydrate to eat, or use for baking
Pumpkin Seeds manganese, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, zinc, protein, iron Cover with 2” warm water and add a TB salt/ 2 cups. Soak 8-12 hours Dehydrate to eat, or use for baking
Sunflower Seeds copper, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, vit E, vit B1, B3, B6, Cover with 2” warm water and add a TB salt/ 2 cups. Soak 8-12 hours Dehydrate to eat, or use for baking
Walnuts omega 3-fats, copper, manganese, biotin Cover with 2” warm water and add a TB salt/ 2 cups. Soak 8-12 hours Dehydrate to eat, or use for baking