Thank you all for a wonderful discussion on this post and through emails about whether or not soaking our grains is necessary.
Talk about confusing. :)
After reading all of the comments, did any of you reach any conclusions?
I’m not sure if I’ve reached any definite conclusions, but I’ve been researching it more and talking with my husband about it.
I also decided to try emailing Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions. Guess what? She wrote me back!
Here’s the main part of my email to her:
Recently on my blog I posted about whether or not it is necessary to soak grains in order to break down the phytic acid and aid in digestion. There are differing ideas out there and I’d love to help my readers be well informed.
This is the post I wrote. Because of reading Nourishing Traditions, I’ve believe that it is important to soak my whole grain before cooking. However, I’ve never found any other
information that recommends soaking grains (aside from Dr. Mercola who simply recommends not eating them at all!). I even found an article suggesting that soaking is completely unnecessary.
And here is Sally’s reply:
Before yeast became available, the only way to make bread was by fermentation–sourdough fermentation. Also, if you look at Handbook of Indigenous Fermented Foods, you will see that the practice of fermenting grains–for breads, porridges and beverages–is practically universal.
Fermentation/Soaking not only neutralizes phytates (which DO block mineral uptake), but also tannins, enzyme inhibitors, etc, all things very irritating to the digestion. Also, there is recent research on gluten intolerance, showing that sourdough fermentation makes bread tolerable to those with celiac disease.
Personally, I get very sick if I consume unsoaked/unfermented whole grains, but do fine when they are properly prepared.
I felt it interesting to note that some of you mentioned that healthier or not, soaking whole grains can help breads to have a nicer texture.
Here’s where I think I’ve landed on this issue:
As much as I can, I will soak my grains. I truly can tell a difference in the way my stomach responds. I love my soaked pancakes and waffles and biscuits. Soaking homemade tortillas is easy. Soaking my breakfast cookies and breakfast cake adds great flavor and isn’t any trouble. I’m working on perfecting my sourdough bread which is the most traditional way of baking bread.
But, if I don’t get around to soaking every single muffin or cookie, I’m not going to sweat it. It’s still whole grain (since I use freshly ground whole wheat flour) and it’s still better than white flour.
One thing I’m going to work on is simply not eating as many grains in the first place. Fruits, vegetables, grass fed meats and raw dairy give us more nutrition and should be more of a focus than grains in our diets.
I’d love to hear where you landed on this issue. What do you think will be best for your family?
Now, regarding all of this talk about grains, I’ve received TONS of emails asking me to recommend a grain mill. That post…coming up soon.