Not everyone can eat grains, or very much of them. I’m one of those people. Although most grains don’t cause me inflammation, they do cause me digestive distress – and really, who wants that? But, I have learned to help my system by partially breaking down the grains. And, in the process, making the nutrients even more bio-available. Plus, this is truly “instant oatmeal”! Yeah, a win-win-win.
Grains: Healthy or Not? Depends.
Realize that the information to switch to whole grains from refined flours and polished rice is well meaning but negates that our ancestors ate those whole grains not in the way they are presented to us today. Virtually all pre industrialized people soaked or fermented their grains before using them. In fact, the original instructions on Quaker Oatmeal boxes included soaking overnight.
Grains = Phytic Acid
The reason for soaking is that all grains contain phytic acid (an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound) in the outer layer or bran. This, in and of itself, is not a bad thing because it helps protect the grain until bacteria in the earth remove the phytic acid – very helpful for reproduction but not good for human consumption. Untreated phytic acid from the grains can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block the absorption of these very important nutrients.
Soaking grains allows enzymes, lactobacilli, and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid. As little as seven hours soaking grains in warm acidulated water will neutralize a large portion of phytic acid. Soaking also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and encourages the production of numerous beneficial enzymes. The action of these enzymes also increases the amounts of many vitamins, especially B vitamins. This all equals better absorption and digestive.
The easiest meal . . . soak your grains before you go to bed. When you wake in the morning cook them up – real oatmeal takes 1-2 minutes. Check it out – a quick, easy breakfast that is now, even more nutritious. You may even find that you’ll eat less grains this way because your body is so happy receiving a full array of nutrients that it doesn’t need as much grains to get the same benefit.
Directions for Healthier Grains
- Mix one cup grains with two cups warm filtered water plus 2 tablespoons whey, live yogurt, kefir or buttermilk. For those with milk allergies or intolerances, lemon juice or vinegar may be substituted.
- Cover grains mixture and leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours and as long as 24 hours.
- Bring grains to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer (usually about 2 minutes but to desired texture).
- Remove from heat.
- Serve with butter, cream, a natural sweetener (maple syrup, raw honey, date sugar, stevia, coconut sugar), soaked chopped nuts, dried coconut, etc.
Even better is sprouting grains, but I’ll leave that topic for another post. Start with soaking grains as another first step toward optimal health.