Whole grains are part of a healthy balanced diet. Or are they? We have heard much conflicting information on whether or not grains are part of a healthy diet.
There are many reasons why grains are triggers for people today.
One of the reasons is that farmers are using herbicides as a drying agent in order to get the grains from field to market faster. The grains soak in the poison and dry down making for an easier and larger harvest for the farmer.
For the consumer, however, they get a food product laden with dangerous chemicals. It is important to choose organic whole grains to ensure they are free from toxic chemicals.
Another reason is that we have adopted fast harvesting methods. The ancient methods of harvesting grains involved stacking the grain to dry in the fields. This allows for the fermentation of the grain in the chaff and increases the nutritional content and digestibility of the grain.
Fermentation is the key. Today our bread is raised with brewers yeast and not the natural, slow yeast of our ancestors. Grains are high in phytic acid. Phytic acid is know as an anti-nutrient that blocks the absorption of essential minerals.
Soaking and fermenting grains reduces the phytic acid and they become more digestible. This is a simple method that just involves a little planning ahead. I like to soak my grains overnight for the following day. Once you get into the habit of it, it requires little more thought than brushing your teeth before bed.
To soak whole grains all you need is clean water for soaking, and an acidic medium like yogurt, buttermilk, whey, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Simply put the grains in a bowl, and add 1 tablespoon acidic medium for each cup of water. Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature. In the morning you can continue the recipe, cooking the grains as needed.
When I bake I use a similar method, soaking the flour overnight. For example, if I am making muffins, I soak the flour overnight substituting yogurt or buttermilk for the milk in the recipe. The next day I continue adding the ingredients and finish baking the recipe as directed.
Since I have adopted soaking and fermenting into my grain routine, I have noticed improved digestion and mineral absorption personally.
My favorite resource for getting the most out of your whole foods is the book, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. I highly recommend you get a copy for yourself. It is a staple of my kitchen and is a guidebook for anyone who is interested in connecting with time tested food preparation methods that are nearly lost.
I believe it is the ancient wisdom that will bring solutions for the modern problems we face today.
Jessica Mutunga is passionate about good simple living that focuses on relationships, food and creating a supportive healthy environment. She is The Light Way Coach.