My Current Thoughts About Soaking or Not Soaking Grains

Since we started the week here talking about what healthy eating really means, I thought this might be a good time to discuss the many questions I receive about the idea of soaking grains. There is definitely conflicting information on this subject. If you’re wondering what I’m even talking about when I say “soaking grains“, you may want to read this post.

If you’ve been reading here long, you know that I’ve done quite a bit of struggling with the idea of soaking grains for better digestion. I learned so much several years ago from reading Nourishing Traditions about eating real, whole foods and the importance of healthy fats and well balanced nutrition. Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, feels very strongly after much research that it is important to soak oats, wheat flour, and most other grains in something like whey, yogurt, kefir, cultured buttermilk, lemon juice, or vinegar for at least seven hours to allow the enzymes to break down and neutralize the phytic acid so that our bodies can digest the grain.

My initial reaction after reading Nourishing Traditions was to feel that I absolutely had to soak all of our grains before I made any breads, muffins, pancakes – everything! – otherwise I was being a horrible mother. The book wasn’t condemning, I just took everything I read in it straight to the heart, and had a huge desire to do everything right as I transitioned our family into healthy eating. I never really came up with a soaked bread we liked and many of the soaked muffins and such just had a funky flavor, but I kept trying anway. I had to soak – I had to soak – I had to soak. And if I didn’t soak, I felt guilty – like I was feeding my kids junk food. Sounds extreme, but that’s how I felt about it.

As time went on, I began to feel very overwhelmed by the need to soak all of our grains. Was anything really wrong with me simply stirring up and baking some muffins without first soaking the grains? Why did healthy cooking have to be so difficult?  On top of that, my family didn’t really love the taste of my soaked grain baked goods. Truthfully, neither did I. Keeping up with soaking became a tedious chore for me, especially as my life became more full with my family and with keeping up with the work on this site.

Somewhere in there, I read this article from Bread Beckers, detailing why soaking grains is not necessary. It is a well researched, well written article. And it made me question so many things I’d learned about soaking grains.

As I’ve wrestled with this through the years, I received many questions about soaking grains from you, my readers. Here I am wavering on my conviction on this subject and you are wanting my thoughts and opinion on the matter. I don’t want to steer anyone wrong! I don’t want to be the authority on this subject! I’m not saying soaking grains is right. I’m not saying soaking grains is wrong. Shucks, I don’t even really know what I’m saying.

I’m saying I’m tired. I’m saying I’m a little overwhelmed by all the conflicting information out there about what it truly means to eat a healthy diet where grains are involved. I’m saying that I give up on trying to have all the answers about grains. Soaked grains, sprouted grains, no grains at all? I don’t want to cop out, I just want simplicity and balance. I wish I could provide you with something more solid.

For our family, at this point I have landed on eating whole grains, mainly freshly ground grains, and trying to work in a nice variety of them. For the most part, I am not soaking my grains right now. And I don’t feel guilt over it. Mostly. ;)

I’m doing the best I can for my family and I feel peace with this decision.

So what are your thoughts about soaking and sprouting grains? I’d love to hear where you have landed on this subject.

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Comments

  1. Alexis says

    Oh my, I am so right there with you. I also got to the point of being just tired and have am soaking when I chose to, but not feeling like I must. Well said.

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  2. says

    It just mostly doesn’t get done around here. I fee really good when it does, though.

    I wish I was more organized, but I kind of have a few other things to do.

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  3. Sami says

    How did you know I’m in the middle of this myself? I read that article from Bread Beckers and it is good. I have scoured the internet for anything intelligent on the subject and have only come up with confusion and conflict! I have come to a similar place as you: whole grains and variety. We happen to love sourdough waffles and crepes right now, and my girls are more likely to eat them with just butter instead of toast. But I don’t sour everything, and don’t soak my muffins anymore. I’ve also started making almond flour and for some reason my girls love that. I like that it helps with the variety.

    I think you’re so right that it comes down to balance. Healthy eating is PART of our lifestyle–NOT our whole life! I do it as much as we enjoy it and can fit it in around our really #1 priorities. I think it’s way to easy to over prioritize healthy eating. And I’m very opposed to guilt when you’ve made a choice for what’s good for your family. :) Keep up the good work and keep inspiring us! :)

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  4. says

    I have never soaked anything in my life…. Well except beans and my feet! Though not at the same time! We don’t gave a mill so our flour Isnt even freshly ground, but it is whole wheat. I’m not going to beat myself up about it! We don’t have the money for a grain mill right now and if we did I’m not even sure it would get top priority. My point, like you said, I’m doing the best I can for my family. Tonight we even had heart shaped whole wheat brownies (sweetened with sucanat) and raspberry buttercream frosting! It was the prettiest pink, naturally! And I did use powdered sugar but it was a treat and I’m ok with that too. Balance and simplicity!

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  5. says

    Oh, Laura, I wish I could give you a big hug right now!! I so totally understand where you’re coming from. I first read Nourishing Traditions about 7 years ago, and so much of it made perfect sense to me. I soaked all of our grains as much as possible and felt like a failure when I couldn’t get it done. If something in my life prevented me from getting freshly ground, soaked, whole grain bread made for my family and we had to eat whole grain bread that wasn’t soaked, I felt like we were eating something really bad for us.

    All the Kombucha, Beet Kvass, chicken stock made with chicken feet, homemade yogurt, soaked grains, etc. can take a lot of time. With 5 kids to love on and homeschool, sometimes I just don’t have the time. Around November I just started to feel really burned out from it all. I finally gave myself permission to just do what I can and leave it at that. I make chicken stock in the slow cooker once a week because that’s easy. I started buying Nancy’s Organic yogurt from Azure. We’ve also been buying sprouted bread and tortillas from Azure. And it’s okay. :)

    Thanks for the link to the Bread Beckers article–can’t wait to read it. And thanks so much for this article–I feel so much better knowing I’m not the only one who feels this way! :)

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  6. Kristi W. says

    I’m so glad you found the article from the Bread Beckers! I got to know them at a home school convention in Atlanta and learned about grinding wheat from them and have since learned sooo much more from them. I am so blessed to live 20 minutes away from their store and have gotten to talk to Sue Becker who wrote that article about many other things as well. They are a wealth of knowledge. You can watch videos online of classes they teach too. Warning though: they may keep you up later than you want unless you are much more disciplined than me. :) Anyway, I’m with you on keeping it simple!

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  7. says

    Holy Moly. You literally READ MY MIND. I could have written this post word for word.

    I’ve been through the exact same stages as you, and have recently come to the same conclusions.

    After reading about 20 different sources that all said something DIFFERENT, I had a complete grain meltdown. (Just ask my hubby…)

    I currently am not soaking any of our grain products. I also have started using some unbleached white flour in certain recipes *dodges flying objects* because my daughter and hubby get upset tummies from straight whole wheat stuff- yes, even the soaked versions.

    And just between you and me, most (not all, but most) of the soaked recipes I’ve tried were nearly inedible, at least for my family’s tastes.

    There, I’ve said it. I feel better now.

    So, I think this is something I will continue to research, (when I feel like it), but no longer will I feel like a horrible mother for giving my daughter homemade muffins that are *gasp* unsoaked.

    Thank you Laura. :)

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  8. says

    did they soak their grains in the bible?

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    birthrightrose Reply:

    Grains are better soaked in bowls or buckets. I would not recommend soaking grains in a book.

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    Keri Reply:

    :)

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  9. Tracie says

    I have tried soaking grains a few times, and I found that soaking grains has a laxative effect for the people in my house that have issues with dairy. I did not use a dairy product in the soaking process, either. So, I stopped, and have been a little timid about giving it another try.

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  10. says

    I’ve been reading about this on a few blogs lately. I’ve decided I’m in the sourdough camp. :) Just soaking doesn’t seem to have huge traditional precedence, but sourdough does. It also sounds like there are more scientific studies to support the effectiveness of sourdough making grains more digestible/nutritious–although I’m pretty skeptical of nutrition science even when I agree with its conclusions.

    I’m trying to get better at using sourdough preparations. I’m also trying to increase the vegetables in our diet and nudge the grains out a bit.

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    Alison Reply:

    Me too. I LIKE sourdough products, so that makes it easier. Finding good recipes helps too. :) I don’t soak any other grains – too much trouble…

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  11. Katie says

    I am totally there with you! My balance has been to soak recipes that already have ingredients in them that lend to soaking. For example, I usually soak your applesauce bread recipe by using the applesauce to soak the flour. It has ascorbic acid in it do I figure that will do the job. I have also been loving your chocolate swirl muffin recipe that calls for buttermilk. I soak the flour in the buttermilk and then use the recipe in a variety of ways. I have done it with blueberries instead of chocolate swirl and we live it. I have also made it into bread or cake instead of muffins and we love it. I find if I use recipes that already have cultured or acidic ingredients in them, the finished product is still wonderful. I have chosen to not even try to find a soaked sandwich bread recipe since I have a wonderful bread recipe that we eat about 4-6 loaves of a week and I don’t want to mess with it!:) Thank you so much for your honesty and humbleness!

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    Katie Reply:

    Also, if anyone is interested in soaking some foods but just can’t find recipes that are tasty, Sue Gregg’s cookbooks (breakfasts is my favorite) offer a lot of really good two stage recipes. I like the breakfast ones because it makes it faster to make breakfast in the morning since I have do a bunch of it the day or night before.

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  12. Tracy says

    I had put soaking grains on my “to do” list for 2012. It looks like there is one less thing I have to fret over! Having just read the Bread Beckers article, I feel confident that Sue is right! There is no scripture backing up soaked grains. THAT’S the proof that I need! THANK YOU SO MUCH, Laura!!

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    Anonymous Reply:

    Yeah!!! Freedom!!!

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  13. Summer says

    Like everyone else, I second your thoughts, and energy level, re soaking. One historical point I recently read that was interesting (as people have asked about biblical/traditional methods) is that before harvesting machines the grains would sprout in the fields since it took longer to harvest them. These sprouted grains would naturally have lower phytic acid content if I’m right, and I guess they wouldn’t have needed to soak their grains right? Correct me if I’m wrong somebody. But maybe this is only a problem of modernity?

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    Summer Reply:

    Oh, and I meant also to say that I enjoy grinding sprouted wheat flour at home, but it is extremely expensive!

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    Julie Reply:

    I have recently been sprouting my own grain. it is super easy and Kitchen Stewardship has a great tutorial on how to do it. I have been doing it for about a week and it is great! Now I just have to find a good bread recipe to use it in because I think it does bake differently than fresh ground regular flour.

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    Anonymous Reply:

    According to Sue Becker’s article (you really should read it!) sprouting grain would be impossible to store long term – it doesn’t make sense why anyone would want it to sprout first. Think of Joseph storing grain for seven years. It would be rotten! There is no scriptural evidence that this is necessary or that it was even done. There is, however, plenty of other guidance in scripture for choosing which foods to eat. I would rather follow what the Bible says about healthy eating than what modern science says!

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    Summer Reply:

    I agree. Modern science stinks. Just as an aside, I think it’s laughable how lots of Christians are hung up about Ezekiel bread being so great. If they read the text properly, they would see that Ezekiel bread was a great sign of desperation, poverty, and it was essentially a curse.

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  14. Darlene Bryan says

    Thank you so much for this article and your honesty. I, too, read the Bread Becker’s article about soaking and have never soaked anything! I have been feeling very frustrated about all the “rules” about “healthy eating,” according to Nourishing Traditions. I have almost cried out in frustration and shouted “let them eat Twinkies!” Somehow, I don’t think healthy eating is supposed to be as complicated as it’s been made out to be. I will keep on doing the best I can for my family, within the budget, accessibility to products, time constraints and energy level that I have. Thank you again for your fine article.

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  15. says

    First off, congrats on sharing your heart and struggle! It’s not easy when so many are looking to you with answers that you’re not even sure of yourself. I have enjoyed your site for several years now and I can see where this post will be helpful to take away some “guilt” that others face about this same issue and eating healthy in general.

    I, too, read Nourishing Traditions {about 3-4 yrs ago} and felt compelled to prepare and cook our foods the way they suggest. After several attempts with soaking grains and other misc. methods of food prep, I was quickly overwhelmed. I was in school all day with 2 littles at home with a hubby that worked 2 jobs {and we homeschooled}. Needless to say, soaking grains in our house didn’t last long. I also felt guilty that I couldn’t feed our family the “healthiest” way possible {and I was a Nutrition major}. I let it go along with some other things I couldn’t keep up with and the guilt is gone too.
    One thing you’ve mentioned on this blog at different times in regards to eating healthy {mainly to do with your food budget} is you’re family doesn’t really have a budget but for others to not feel condemned if they don’t do things the way you do. That really helped me when we were scrimping by just to buy groceries. I couldn’t afford to buy the things I “thought” were necessary for my family and was feeling bad about it. The same principle can be applied to our “time budget”. If we don’t have enough time {or energy} in the “bank” and only do what we can do…it’s okay. Cooking food at home is a time commitment but I have made that a top priority in my time budget and it works for us {and I’ve added in freezer cooking to help even more}. We have an 80/20 whole foods rule…so I can have some breathing room.

    We order from Bread Beckers as part of a co-op…love them!

    Thanks, Laura!

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  16. Heather T. says

    Great post, and heartfelt knowing that being all one way or the other is not needed is a great feeling, but just finding balance somewhere along the way is what’s important.

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  17. Amber Rogers says

    Oh, Laura, I know exactly what you mean! For me, I like black or white. No gray areas. I do not soak our grains except for every once in a rare while. You Are a good Mama!! You are a Good Wife! Ultimately, I really don’t believe God wants us micromanaging such things until our thoughts are consumed!! Every thought captive to Him instead!! Thank God for your abundant pantry of food, and cook your heart out to His Glory!!

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  18. says

    Thank you! I started grinding my own wheat berries after following your blog for a while. I could never get myself to soak it. Felt like I should, but it made me feel overwhelmed. Thanks so much for your honesty about it. We all need to give ourselves more credit for what we do to make our families diets better, not for what we don’t do…You sure put a smile on my face today :)

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  19. Heather in Michigan says

    I’ve been reading books lately on going Grain-Free. (How perfectly timed is your entry!?) Son and I have digestion troubles- possible Celiac, leaky gut and gluten intolerance. We’re transitioning from toast and muffins to fruit and, well, fruit for breakfast. It’s hard. I’m wondering if, with all the inflammatory diseases eating grains can exacerbate, if it’s even worth eating them at all.

    I’m glad to hear you made your peace (sort of) with soaking.

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  20. Gidget says

    I too have been debating this issue lately. I’ve tried making bread with soaked grains before, and just couldn’t get it to work properly. I did, however, make some soaked oatmeal the other day, and that was so creamy and yummy. Maybe, I’ll just stick with that. I am also trying to figure out sourdough, but haven’t mastered that yet.

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  21. Heather says

    I feel you on this. We’re actually grain free right now. Not sure if it will be permanent or not. I have no idea how I will find the time to grind, soak, and bake. I only have one child right now, but I work full time as well. I think we just have to do the best we can. Heck, we’re all going to die of something. Let’s just pray it’s when we are old, and eat the best we can with what we’re given.

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  22. trisha says

    Soaking has taken a backseat in my house. I haven’t had much luck in the “taste” pleasing department in regards to soaking. It always taste off to me. I’ve tried quite a few sourdough recipes but just not fond of them either. I don’t mind sprouting/dehydrating the wheat berries and so that’s what I’m opting for in lieu of soaking. However, sometimes I forget that’s what I’m doing and oops run out of sprouted/dehydrated berries. I only fuss at myself just a little bit ;) I only have a few recipes that we like whole wheat, so the rest I do half/half of fresh whole wheat and organic unbleached flour.

    We’ve switched our fats over to the healthy ones (with positive health changes) and switched our sugars over to sucanat and/or honey 95% of the time. I don’t sweat the 5% but do need to cut down the sugar intake.

    Trying to get a “balanced” meal on the table is hard enough and right now THAT is what I’m focusing on.

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  23. says

    I am just starting to soak somethings, as I now have an active sourdough starter. I have been getting some truly GREAT recipes from this site http://www.gnowfglins.com . I believe you have talked about this site in the past. I doubt I will ever soak/sour all of our grains, but I can honestly say that from a digestive stand point, I am feeling better when I eat them. But, this post is well timed. I had been feeling a bit guilty too, after reading nourishing traditions, that I was “just” using store bought whole grain flours. I think it is important to keep the big picture in mind, and not fret over every detail. Thank you for sharing you honest feelings on the subject!

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  24. Chelsea Seibert says

    Thankyou!!!! For your honesty and for sharing your heart! I am a bit of an exteme-ist and struggled for a long time (and revisit from time to time) with soaking grains. I haven’t found a soaked bread or muffin or breakfast food that we like either. I just recently threw away my sourdough starter again… it doesn’t do my family any good if it doesn’t taste good! We’ve been refined food free for about 7 years, maybe I’ll try soaking again sometime, but for now I will serve my family good food that tastes good (even if it isn’t soaked)!

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  25. says

    Well, I am not an authority, and I admit I haven’t researched soaking vs. not soaking. (I am too busy to get lost in that sort of minutia right now.)

    But here’s what my heart says: “Ideal” nutrition is an unattainable goal this side of heaven. There’s no way for us to go into each and every cell of our body and know exactly what amounts of which nutrients we need at any given moment in time. So, we just do the best we can with what we’ve got. I believe we need to take good care of the bodies the Lord has given us, but does He want us to get so fretful about such details?

    Do you feel ill if you eat unsoaked grains? If so, then soak them whenever possible. If you feel okay after eating unsoaked grains, then why give yourself a guilt trip over it?

    Okay, getting off the soapbox now. :)

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  26. Tiffani says

    Welcome to our camp ;)
    I’d read BB’s article years ago before I’d heard of NT. I finally bought NT and stuck a copy of BB’s article in the back. I try to be balanced :)
    Is soaking different from sour dough? I’ve been looking into doing that.

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  27. Tara says

    Although I don’t want to admit this myself, because I LOVE grains (oatmeal, muffins, pancakes, etc.), I don’t think our bodies were designed to eat many (if any) grains. Think about our most primitive ancestors…..they hunted for their meats and ate it along side of some plant-based “vegetable” and maybe a piece of fruit somewhere during the week that they stumbled upon while hunting a bison. Anytime there is a lot of conflict around a topic, no definitive answer, even after extensive research, I must question whether or not it’s necessary for our overall health. My daughter is sensitive to gluten, so we naturally don’t eat as many grains and when I eat less grains, I actually have more energy. Hmmmm, just more “food” for thought (I think I’m full!).

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    Katie Reply:

    I have wondered this before, but I am continually struck by how many times grain and bread is mentioned in the Bible. As a result of the sinful world we live in, I know for some people their bodies can not tolerate grains any longer, but I truly do not believe that is how God designed us originally.

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    Lauren Reply:

    I agree with looking at the Bible and how much God references grains and bread and how good it is for us. And if you look at our most “primitive” ancestors it is Adam and Eve and they worked the land and God gave them the seeds and fruit. Genesis 1:29 “See I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the land and every tree with seed in its fruit, you shall have them for food.”

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    Tara Reply:

    Since whether or not we eat grains is not a soul-saving issue, I’m just suggesting that we eat whatever makes us feel energized to live out God’s will for our lives. Just so happens that dor me, I feel more energized with less grains. We should all do what works best for us as individuals.

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  28. says

    Right there with ya! I’ve decided at this point that most things won’t get soaked, and I’ll just soak the things that we actually LIKE soaked (oatmeal and pancakes). I would like to work with sourdough bread some more, but mainly because I think it’s interesting and a new baking challenge. I like that Sue talks about doing both soaked and unsoaked grains in that article, since both ways have nutritional benefits.
    Since I read that article I feel like I have so much more freedom in the kitchen! Bring on the unsoaked muffins!

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  29. Tabitha says

    I am so with you!!!! I have been reading and studying and there is just so much info. out there that my head is spinning. I haven’t bothered to try soaking or sprouting.(I have wanted to…thinking that it must be the best from all I have read) I have been trying to stick with the whole grain thing for years(but my hubby doesn’t like the whole grains….so most the time we eat split top wheat(which let’s face it….it’s just colored white bread)Which I have felt bad about cause it’s not whole grain. But then I read a few articles on how whole grains aren’t really healthy for you and that white breads are better. Geez…..I mean what is true and what isn’t for crying out loud???
    These sort of things use to drive me mad with guilt and worry. But then I just let it go. I try to do the best with what I have…and that’s it….I give the rest to God. I can’t keep beating myself up cause I am not soaking and sprouting, or cause I don’t have the money to buy organic or go to the natural food store like I want to. I can’t keep beating myself up because my kids sometimes eat Ramen noodles or a t.v. dinner. For the most part I cook from scratch, I use butter, and we drink raw milk. I grow my own garden and can things from it.We also make our own maple syrup. I try to shop at the farmers markets when I can.
    You know what else makes me feel bad; when other real foodies say that it’s a cop out saying you can’t afford real foods. Well I guess I just haven’t had that epiphany yet or something….cause let me tell ya….it’s pretty hard to keep a float on one income….we barely manage to get by and feed our family.So I guess till I learn to better manage our money or something I can only do the best I can.
    *Sighs*

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  30. Rachel says

    I read the article too, and was strangely relieved. I had always wondered about why Christ would call Himself the Bread of Life if it is such a “dangerous” food and has to be prepared with caution and a long drawn out process. I have been making sourdough and actually I love it, but I am the only one in my family who does. What a relief to just bake up normal bread and still know my family is eating healthy.

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  31. Amanda says

    Hi! This IS a great post and I think mostly for the point that each family has to make the decision that is best for the family…whole, real foods are the way to go, but from there we should give it all to God! I do soak and sprout and make Kombucha and milk kefir because they make my tummy feel good. But I gave away my water kefir grains to reduce just ANOTHER distraction from my family time and I remind myself daily that it’s never gonna be perfect and ultimately my health is in God’s hands :-)
    Thanks for the post!

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  32. Kathleen K says

    It is so refreshing to find out I am not the only one overwhelmed with all the time “properly” prepared food takes. We just moved into a new (to us) house a month ago. Most days, I am doing well to get food on the table. Hopefully there are vegetables too. I don’t always “properly” soak the grains. Usually I grind the wheat and mix the dough on one day, let it rise in the fridge overnight, then bake it the next day. I doubt Sally would approve since there is no acid in the grain (I just haven’t gotten around to it), but it works for us. We do pancakes and quick breads the same way, leaving the baking soda/powder out until we are ready to bake. It works for us and right now is the best I can do.

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  33. Natasha says

    Well – I do believe you should soak raw nuts and seeds – here is a link to my fave blog – http://mynewroots.blogspot.com/2008/03/soak-your-nuts.html
    Sarah is a Certified Holistic Practitioner, and has her BFA. This will provide some insight.
    Also – if you refer to Ezekiel bread the grains are soaked, sprouted, and then baked…
    Some food for thought! Enjoy!

    [Reply]

    Vickilynn / Real Food Living Reply:

    Shalom Natasha,

    In the article Laura mentions above (that’s REALLY a great article!) the author brings out that there is NO Scriptural mention of Ezekiel bread being sprouted. Please refer to Sue Beckers article for further info.

    “9 “And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and emmer, and put them into a single vessel and make your bread from them. During the number of days that you lie on your side, days, you shall eat it. ”

    ~~Vickilynn

    [Reply]

    Natasha Reply:

    Ok…I’m not refering to the Bible Vickilynn – I’m refering to the bread made by the company “Food for Life”. Cheers for the Bible lesson.

    [Reply]

    Natasha Reply:

    And Vickilynn – some of us who appreciate this site are not religious. peace out.

    Vickilynn / Real Food Living Reply:

    Shalom Natasha,

    In your post, you said “Ezekiel Bread”, you did not specify you were
    talking about the store-bought bread. I was just clarifying that
    true Ezekiel Bread is based on the Scriptures in Ezekiel 4:9 and
    there is no mention of sprouting in those Scriptures.

    You clarified that you were talking about what a company does,
    thank you, for your original post did not state that, thus my reply.

    Some of us here do use the Bible as guidance on how to eat and how
    to live. The article Laura mentioned comes from a Biblical foundation so
    my response is in line with the discussion.

    We each are sharing our own perspective and this is mine, however, I never
    stated it was the only perspective represented.

    Shalom (Hebrew for peace)

    ~~In Messiah Yeshua,
    Vickilynn
    Micah 6:8

  34. birthrightrose says

    “It is a wise man who can entertain an idea without embracing it.”

    I also have Nourishing Traditions cookbook, and though it all sounds great on paper, in reality it is just too much to adopt all of the ideas about traditional diets in it. I also love the idea of soaked grains but they taste nasty to us as well! The gist of this is to say don’t beat yourself up for not being Sally Fallon in the kitchen, take from the book what you want, and leave the rest.

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  35. Coby says

    You echoed my thoughts exactly. I bought Nourishing Traditions last year and, like you, took it straight to heart and felt like a horrible mother if I didn’t soak every. single. grain. I was walking in fear of food. But when it comes down to it, some of the soaked grains are gross, and soaking everything was just too overwhelming. So, sometimes I soak, usually I don’t.

    I finally figured out that, when it comes down to it, I have to obey the Lord and follow the convictions He’s put on my heart, and go where He’s taking my husband and our family. My family is unique and individual, and I have to remember that what works for Sally Fallon may not work for me. I do my best to feed my family healthy, whole foods…but about once a year I just need some Cheetos! ;-)

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  36. says

    Luara,
    I am so glad your shared your thoughts on soaking. Ever since reading NT I have be grappling with the soaking issue. I am currently not for or against it but I do know that it doesn’t fully make sense to me. I am not one of those people who just like to jump on the bandwagon and not give things intense thought. I don’t want to just mimic what others are saying, I want to understand it myself.
    When I first started doubting the soaking thing, I found that article you mentioned and felt a little better about not soaking my flour. At least I felt like there was someone else out there that had a different view on the subject.
    I get most of what NT has to say about traditional diets but the soaking things just doesn’t sync. I do think westerners eat too many grain products. I also think as a society we have lost the ability to listen to our bodies. If we eat something and then don’t feel good after, that is our bodies telling us something is wrong. I don’t have any scientific research to back this up but I think our ancestors were much more sensitive to how their bodies “talked” to them. If this were not so, how did we end up with such a variety of food to eat. Someone had to try it first and see how it made them feel.
    Also, if phytic acid is such an issue are there other things that can help reduce it? Raw honey has natural enzymes that break down and predigest. Many bread recipes include honey. Could that be enough to break down phytic acid if it is an issue? I don’t have answers, just questions.
    Lastly, we can’t forget to include the God factor. God knows we don’t have it all figured out. He knows many of us are truly doing the best we can so He gives us GRACE. We can live life worried about what we should eat or not eat which causes stress. If we really research stress and toxic thoughts (Who Switched of My Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf) and how much it can break down our health, we would probably focus on that more than to soak or not to soak.
    For me it is better to eat foods that are as close to how God created them, with the exception of the things our ancestors and our bodies have taught us are harmful. And to not stress about the things I don’t understand and to recognize God’s grace in my life :).
    Thanks again for sharing Laura :)

    [Reply]

  37. Meredith says

    One of the things I’ve always loved about your blog (and why it is one of a very few that I follow) is that you are always guilt free. Thank you for another burden-removing, guilt free post.

    [Reply]

  38. Crystal says

    I feel soaking is important for my family, b/c of family history with depression, digestion, etc. And I can tell a difference if we do not soak, sprout, or sourdough. The only thing that comes out ok is our pizza dough, brown rice, oats, and a few recipes, like this one http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2008/02/monthly-baking-routine.html I also buy sprouted wheat, which is very expensive, but it is just another thing I feel is important and it is simpler. I do a little gluten-free baking. I will start my sourdough starter soon, as well. I believe every family is different, so do not feel bad if your family does not need this. No matter what, whole foods cooking is a challenge for me.

    [Reply]

  39. says

    Thank you so much for this post. I also enjoyed reading the comments and feel so much better knowing that I am not alone in this. Before I got a copy of Nourishing Traditions, I had read so much about what a wonderful book it was and how great the recipes and advice were. While I agree it is a great book with some wonderful advice, it totally overwhelms me to think that I need to cook like that to be healthy. I have soaked grains but my family has not enjoyed anything I have made that way. I too have felt guilty for not soaking my grains or fermenting my foods, but I just have to remember to find a balance. I believe that as long as I cook as healthy as possible for us right now (no processed foods, from scratch as much as possible and no white sugar, etc.)it will be okay. God knows my heart and what I am capable of doing or not.
    Thank you so much for your honesty.
    Rashel

    [Reply]

  40. Faith says

    I’ve been wrestling with this so much, too! The other morning when my daughter asked for oatmeal for breakfast and I nearly said “no” because I hadn’t any soaked I realized it was time to reconsider my convictions on soaking. I hate the fact I feel restrained from whipping up a batch of bread or muffins because I don’t have time to soak. Thanks for the post!

    [Reply]

  41. says

    Shalom Laura,

    I SO appreciate your post and it speaks to so many where they are.

    We’ve seen the Nourishing Traditions recommendations for many years, but lately they’ve become more popular. But popularity does not mean it is the right thing for each family to embrace. I k now for some people, soaking has helped them tremendously and their whole family enjoys it. For others, it has not been so. We each need to find what works for US, not someone else. It is am option, not a requirement.

    We believe for people who are not intolerant of grains in our family, to consume whole grains and whole grain breads and other products, freshly ground, and good, nutrient-dense foods (most times). We do not religiously soak or ferment our foods, although we do like some of them and believe that they can be a *part* of a health-supporting diet if someone chooses.

    I actually refer to Sue Becker’s article all the time when writing or teaching about this topic.

    So many people tell me they feel *guilt* and *in bondage* to the Nourishing Traditions way of preparing foods and like a *failure* if they don’t follow it 100% all the time. And when they read Sue’s article, they see the balance, wisdom and Biblical foundation of it, and it’s FREEING! LOL!

    In addition, there is conflicting information about phytic acid which Sue brings out, so we must remember there is no one right way for everyone. We each need to seek the L-rd and find the right way for *our* family and someone else may choose another way, which is right for them.

    These words from Scripture bring me great peace in this area:

    Romans 14:17

    For the kingdom of G-d is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

    In fact ALL of Romans 14 deals with this and judging / being judged for what we eat! And our responsibility is to build up and being peace, not tear down over food issues or other non-salvation issues.

    ~In Messiah Yeshua,
    Vickilynn
    Micah 6:8

    [Reply]

  42. heather stinson says

    I woke up this morning and knew that we were going to make sausage and biscuits tonight (not our usual but its my birthday so…) so without a thought I took out spelt flour and added yougurt (Kefir was already used up in a smoothie) to soak. I have read through all these comments and can identify with many of the thoughts and points that others have made.I can remember a time when it wouldnt have come across my mind to soak any flour, much less use whole grains or even make it myself. We change, we learn and progress. Thank goodness I am still not buying everything already made in white form nor am I playing the guilt card at the end of everyday as I survey the nutritional landscape of my home for the day. I think as with everything, we go through stages as we change how we eat (either for health, $, or because we realize we cant tolerate what we are feeding ourselves). We mourn certain foods, certain convieniences…then we don’t like the new, it doesnt taste right or look right and we are not ever ‘satisfied’ after eating it. Something is missing in our minds. But we know too much to return back, so now we feel the guilt when we do turn back to old food or old convieniences. Eventually we get acclamated to the new way and dont miss the old and all this happens just in time for the next change and the cycle starts all over again. I think we are supposed to be always working towards a better way to feed ourselves and our families. We don’t have to tackle everything at once as long as we are working on something. We will all know for ourselves what should change next and can I add…we were never meant to find the ‘one’ way of eating that will always work for us our whole life. We have different needs throughout our body. You may be in a need of healing and there are some great diets that could help, or maybe you are in a need to growth so eat accordingly for that time period…a season for everything and moderation in all things (as long as we can actually be moderate) is a way to escape the guilt trap sooner…

    [Reply]

  43. Janine says

    My best bread ever was soaked. My next few batches, not so good. Soaked banana bread…disaster. But do you know what works perfectly every time?? Sprouted wheat flour! I love it. I feel good about it. Couse you still have to be organized and think ahead, but i just almost always have some wheat soaking and sprouting and grinding. Part of my daily grind so to speak. It is my preferred way and the way i feel the lord has directed me to do what is most healthy for my family. Plus it is a little lighter and creates lest dust while grinding. Loved the article in bread beckers. Not because i found it to be scientifically compelling…far from it,, but because it reminds me of the bread of life! What is healthy? What is not? Our Heavenly Father knows and if I think to ask, he will tell me, and you too.

    [Reply]

  44. Hannah VW says

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have “Nourishing Traditions” on request at the library and plan to read it. My son (age 2.5) has a lot of dental problems even though we eat healthy and brush, and I would like to know more about the possible nutritional causes of this (I suspect my low vitamin D levels during pregnancy/nursing were somewhat “to blame” but I’m interested in learning about other factors too).

    [Reply]

  45. Jen says

    Great post, Laura! Like many others, I have gone back and forth about soaking grains. I admit that it has mostly gone by the wayside in our home. It is overwhelming to me so I gave it up. I felt a LOT better about this decision when I read this article by Amanda Rose (at least as far as freshly ground wheat is concerned):

    http://www.rebuild-from-depression.com/resources/book/Chapter13.pdf

    Freshly ground wheat is full of phytase, the enzyme required to break down phytic acid. If you look at the chart in the article, phytic acid is basically gone after about 2 hours of soaking. I am a scientist, so I also looked at actual research articles, and although I can’t find it now, I read an article that found phytic acid in freshly ground wheat is gone after 2 hours of wetting the flour.

    So what I try to do now is mix any dough or recipes a little in advance and let it sit a while before baking or cooking. That’s it! For recipes like bread, the rising time is enough. I do try to soak oats and barley I use for soups, but I don’t stress if it doesn’t happen anymore. I too am now guilt free about grains!

    [Reply]

    Tracy Louise Reply:

    Jen–Since you are a scientist and have looked at the research critically, if you can find the article that you mentioned above–I would love to see it or better yet encourage you to write a post for the rest of us to help us navigate through these issues!

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    I just spent about 2 hours trying to find that article on Pubmed with no luck. Sorry, Tracy! Now I remember why researching this topic makes my head want to explode though. :) My take is from all the research I’ve done is that Nourishing Traditions is correct. Soaking grains in an acidic medium, sprouting grains, or using a sourdough method does reduce phytic acid. And reducing phytic acid does free up more nutrients in the grains. The article by Amanda Rose is a good resource. Also, there IS evidence that phytic acid prevents cancer. See this abstract:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12594974

    As the saying goes, I think moderation is good. Soaking/sprouting/sourdough is good for nutrient availability, and not soaking/sprouting/sourdough can prevent cancer. We do follow NT mostly, so we eat lots of grassfed butter, pastured meats, wild fish, etc. In other words, our diet is pretty nutrient dense, so I don’t worry so much about making every last nutrient available from grains by soaking.

    I really think everyone needs to do what works for them. If you or your family doesn’t digest grains well unless their soaked, then definitely soak them. However, if your family doesn’t have trouble eating unsoaked grains, and has a pretty nutrient dense diet outside of grains, then I think there is absolutely no problem with not soaking… guilt free! Hope this helps.

    [Reply]

  46. Tracy Louise says

    Thanks,Laura, for having the courage and humility to publish this post! About three weeks ago I came across the Bread Beckers’ article and after reading it, I felt relieved to learn that there was a different, well-researched opinion to soaking grains. My approach now is to use whole foods as much as possible and eliminate refined, processed foods (which everyone agrees is problematic) from our diet.

    The most important thing is for us to seek the Lord for wisdom for where He wants to lead us and our families nutritionally. One scripture that the Lord gave me as an encouragement on my journey is found in Psalm 103: Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name…who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. God does ultimately give us the wisdom to know how we should walk and please Him. He knows our desires, budgets, energy levels, etc. He will help us!

    Thanks again for a great post.

    [Reply]

  47. Kelly says

    Has anyone ever researched or theorized yourselves as to why so many people have food allergies and intolerances?? Ten years ago we never heard of celiac hardly, or gluten intolerance. And now everyone is catering to it because it’s so prevalent?? Why is this? What changed that is making so many people so unable to eat a very natural food?

    Could it be a side effect of certain meds? Side effects to GMO food? Were they all forumula fed as babies? I don’t really have a theory yet since I haven’t looked into it much, but I DO believe this is not normal.

    I have the same thoughts on ADD/ADHD children. They didn’t used to be such a problem in school way back when… and now it seems every other person, even adult, is labeled with something. (However, I DO have a theory on ADD/ADHD, but this is not the time or thread, lol)

    Just wondering what other people’s thoughts are. If we know the absolute cause, you then know how to fix it… or at least avoid others ending up with the same intolerances perhaps.

    [Reply]

    Brooke Reply:

    LOL – love your comments ;)
    Yeah, I’ve got some “theories” on ADD/ADHD too – LOL but not time place I suppose ;)

    [Reply]

    mml Reply:

    Celiac is an auto- immune disease, food allergies are the immune system
    labeling natural things like wheat or milk as invaders….if you look around
    America is OVERLOADED with immune system disorders- the source is oxidative
    stress that goes hand in hand with chronic inflammation at the cellular level.
    What causes this??? 1.Diet- sugar, refined, proccessed, chemical, designer
    taste bud stimulants, slop. 2.Chemical overload- detergents, lawn sprays, new carpet,
    bug spray, whatever- it’s everywhere! 3. Lifestyle- lots of stress on body from improper
    eating and sleep habits, lack of prayer and meditation, lack of good ole sunshine and
    running around barefoot in the DIRT.

    [Reply]

    Kelly Reply:

    We go barefoot as much as we can. DH hikes barefoot even! He has his SUnday best flip flops, thoug, lol. People on the trail freaked because our toddler was barefoot. We had just taken his shoes off, btw, he wasn’t hiking the whole thing barefoot, but he didn’t even wear shoes until after he was 1. His older stepbrother hates that the baby’s feet are tougher than his! LOL

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    Hi! I’m reading a very interesting book right now about this very subject. It’s called Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis. Very, very enlightening.

    [Reply]

    Lana Reply:

    My duaghters and I all had food allergies. We have been cured through a kinesiologist in our area. Our oldest daughter was gluten intolerant and her problem was heavy metals. She and her husband were missionaries and she had had alot of immunizations for living overseas. This resulted in her being over loaded with the metals that cause immunizations to stay in the tissues of the body. Our youngest daughter had every virus and bacteria family that could be tested for. After clearing her body of all of those infections she is food allergiy free. My primary problem was parasites and fungal infections. After clearing those up I am food allergy free. The cause of food intolerance is anything that is overloading the immune system.

    [Reply]

    lyss Reply:

    Very interesting, Lana. My question is, how do you determine what the
    problem is? How did your daughter find that she needed to detox metal?
    How did you know how to clear up your problems? My mother has been
    tested for food sensitivites and the results were that she’s “sensitive”
    to literally every food except for a few things. So she eats those few
    things to avoid problems. I just keep thinking, there has to be a root
    cause that’s causing sensitivites. But how could she find out what
    that root cause is? I know this doesn’t really have anything to do
    with soaking grains…but any thoughts would be appreciated! :)

    [Reply]

    Lana Reply:

    We went to a practitioner trained by Dr Rueben DeHaan. His website is http://www.hcmionline.com. There is a listing of practitioners on the site. They are very few of them right now and we are fortunate to be only 30 minutes from one. I was sensitive to every food I was ever tested for and for many years only ate 14 foods. It is absolutely wonderful to be able to eat anything without being ill!

    Kim Reply:

    Kelly – Interesting questions! My 2 year old daughter was recently tested for Celiac because she only gained a pound in the last year. She doesn’t have the genes that allow for the disease so she will never have it. But one of the doctors that I was working with said something that you might find interesting. She said that people who can’t tolerate gluten here in the US can tolerate it when they travel to Eastern Europe! Why is that? What are we doing to our food (and our bodies!) that other countries are not? Scary stuff if you ask me.

    [Reply]

    Lana Reply:

    Try organic! Our foods are genetically modified and the body does not know what to do with GMO foods.

    [Reply]

    Kelly Reply:

    So, there’s lots of reasons, but basically it all comes down to… Monsanto.

    [Reply]

    Leah Reply:

    wow…can i just say that it really hurt to read that part about ‘were they all formula fed as babies?’ maybe you weren’t trying to be judgemental, but wow…ouch. you know, some people are grateful to God that formula exists when they CAN”T feed their child their own milk. i am perhaps over-sensitive to comments like this but it seemed very judgemental.

    [Reply]

    Kim S. Reply:

    Maybe I read Kelly’s original statement differently than you, but I d on’t think she was judging or making assumptions of formula feeding or anything. I think her point was that there is not a lot of research out there as to why there is so many problems with the recent generations with food allergies and intolerances and if any of it is a result of certain things that our society does now that we didn’t do 100 years ago (like all the meds, processed foods, gmo’s, etc) But I don’t see her comments in any way judging people for any of those things at all. I don’ tknow Kelly personally, but it seems like you may have focused on what little phrase of her whole statement and when I read it, I don’t see where she is putting anyone down. I for one used formula for both my children, yet I also believe that giving them formula is not the best choice and I would much rather breast feed my children, but for my own personal reasons, I didn’t. And I think it prevented my kids from being the healthiest during the first year plus of their life and by saying that, I’m not putting myself or anyone else down for using formula. And I don’t see where Kelly put anyone down either.

    [Reply]

    Kelly Reply:

    Thank you, Kim. No, I’m not looking down on anyone who feeds formula. What I’m getting at is that people are putting JUNK — poisons, even — in our food, in our meds, in our drinks, in our air, and yes, in our baby formula. I’m simply wondering WHAT the cause of increased health problems is, specifically celiac/gluten intolerance in this case. Do you know if I breast or formula fedd? Do you know if I even have kids? Do you know what my mom gave me? There’s no judgement, only questions. That’s all.

    There are many health problems today that sure didn’t seem to exist 10 years ogo and certainly not 100 years ago like they do today, if they even did at all. There IS a reason… I am curious as to what it is and am wondering if anyone else is, too, or if anyone else knows what linkds exist between health issues and …. food, drink, air, meds, etc.

    Kelly Reply:

    Sorry, I wrote that quickly while multi-tasking. I’m responding to Kim andLeah together in the one post. Should have waited till I had more time. Leah, I KNOW some moms have to fomula feed. If that causes health issues, it’s not the mom’s fault. Formula was just one of many possible causes for all these things that rob our health. Could be fluoride in the water. Could be living next to a cell tower. Could be all the cell phone transmissions in the air. I was certainly not accusing anyone who feeds formula.

    Dara Reply:

    re: celiac/gluten intolerance… have not researched it for myself, but my mother in law has been checking out a lot of stuff and did read about wheat- since these days wheat is GMO, (they want to make bigger wheat to get the most bang for their buck I assume), our bodies cannot properly digest/absorb this new, “big” wheat. so with many people, it builds up…and builds up….and can develop an intolerance for wheat. she suggested that organic was really the best way to go. again, havent checked it out for myself yet but wanted to throw it out there. As if we don’t have enough conflicting info! :)

    [Reply]

    Kimberly S. Reply:

    Kelly, I completely agree with you. I truly think a lot of our health problems these days are linked to a lot of our food, drink, air, meds, etc. We know certain types of cancer have direct links with things like cigarettes, alcohol, asbestos, etc. And we know high blood pressure and diabetes and other health problems are a result of poor diet and lack of exercise. And we know healthy diet and exercise help with a lot of health issues. From all that, I think it’s obivous that most of our diseases and food intolerances are a result of what is in our food, meds, etc. I hate taking meds when I’m sick as I think I’m doing more harm to my body than good. Not saying I never take something, because I sometimes do. I struggle with being a working mom and trying to maintain the healthiest home for my family, which I know I’m not even close, but I do the best that I can. It just floors me how our society has gone so much in the opposite direction of how we used to live and how many people just don’t see how it connects to their healthy. One thing that I and my husband often here is during the summertime, we walk to and from our house to the Y for our sons’ swim lessons. We walk on fairly flat ground through a residential area and it’s one mile to the Y and 1 mile home. And when we tell people that, we often hear “Wou actually walk that far?!?!? Wow!!!” I can’t believe that walking 2 miles total is seen as “so far” anymore. Just a couple generations ago, people walked everywhere all the time. Our society is so focused on convenience in foods, our health, etc., that we’re making ourselves more and more unhealthy.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly S. Reply:

    Kelly, I completely agree with you. I truly think a lot of our health problems these days are linked to a lot of our food, drink, air, meds, etc. We know certain types of cancer have direct links with things like cigarettes, alcohol, asbestos, etc. And we know high blood pressure and diabetes and other health problems are a result of poor diet and lack of exercise. And we know healthy diet and exercise help with a lot of health issues. From all that, I think it’s obivous that most of our diseases and food intolerances are a result of what is in our food, meds, etc. I hate taking meds when I’m sick as I think I’m doing more harm to my body than good. Not saying I never take something, because I sometimes do. I struggle with being a working mom and trying to maintain the healthiest home for my family, which I know I’m not even close, but I do the best that I can. It just floors me how our society has gone so much in the opposite direction of how we used to live and how many people just don’t see how it connects to their healthy. One thing that I and my husband often here is during the summertime, we walk to and from our house to the Y for our sons’ swim lessons. We walk on fairly flat ground through a residential area and it’s one mile to the Y and 1 mile home. And when we tell people that, we often hear “Wou actually walk that far?!?!? Wow!!!” I can’t believe that walking 2 miles total is seen as “so far” anymore. Just a couple generations ago, people walked everywhere all the time. Our society is so focused on convenience in foods, our health, etc., that we’re making ourselves more and more unhealthy.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly S. Reply:

    Ooops, my computer was giving me issues and apparently it posted my response twice. Sorry!

  48. says

    Thank you for sharing this post. This is exactly how I feel right now, and it is comforting to know that others do too. Eating healthy is a lot of work, unless your rich, and after all the effort there is always someone writing a well researched article that says what I’m doing is wrong or at the very least not enough. So I just try to be balanced and try to feed my family as the Holy Spirit leads me and pray the Lord will fill in where I gap. It’s nice to know I’m not alone with this struggle. :)

    [Reply]

    Diniorah Reply:

    Janelle,
    You hit the nail on the head and it is something that I like about the basis of what Laura does through Heavenly Homemaker and that’s to feed your family as the Holy Spirit leads. As a follower of Christ, I try to live my life in such a way that care for my family, others, and the environment in such a way that shows others that God must be woven into all parts of our lives.

    [Reply]

  49. Shannon says

    wow, this is a popular topic and one I’m not completely sure of myself now after having read NT 2 years ago; I waver a lot though am glad to have found some sourdough recipes I actually like. After reading Rami Nagel’s summary at WAP re: benefits of soaking, I had already quit soaking oats because his research showed soaking oats for like 12 hours didn’t even help.

    [Reply]

  50. Cyndy says

    I have followed the same path as you. I read NT and started soaking everything. I was discouraged because none of us really liked the results. And I felt overwhelmed because I didn’t always remember to mix things up in time. I’d quit trying to soak everything but felt guilty about it. Then I read the BB article and finally felt like I wouldn’t be harming my family if I didn’t soak our grains. To me, it just made a lot of sense.

    [Reply]

  51. Valerie says

    I’m glad you’ve found the peace to relax and enjoy eating whole foods as you are able to produce them. I love doing grain products that I make in a sourdough fashion but I will absolutely make things without fermentation. Frankly, I just can’t serve that master ;-) There are SO many facets to the eating healthy paradigm and we do what we can! No guilt, no shame!

    [Reply]

  52. Rhoda says

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, the Becker article, and allowing all of us to comment. When I first started following your blog you were soaking at that time and encouraging us to check out NT. I haven’t been able to get a copy, but have watched as other blogs started on the soaking bandwagon and wondered when I would join. My biggest problem with soaking was the sourdough effect it gives. I have suffered from eczema for almost all of my adult life. One thing that drives my eczema crazy is anything sourdough. I love sourdough bread, but each time I eat some, I am miserable–for days as it works out of my system. God knows what is best for each of us. I’m thankful that His grace and provision are sufficient for each and every one of us. The Becker article referring to the correlation between Jesus the Living Bread of Life and the worlds’ weakening the connection of our need for bread is revealing. The enemy is sneaky–what better way to again slam the truth of our Lord than to deny the very thing we need for life. Blessings on you and your family in your journey to follow the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and body.

    [Reply]

    Teresa Reply:

    Very interesting! I suffer from psoriasis on the scalp and have been making a lot of sourdough lately. Within the last 3 months it has flared up with a vengence. I wonder if there is any relationship.

    [Reply]

    Carolyn Reply:

    Oh my word! my daughter’s scalp psoriasis has worked itself down her neck and there are patches on her arms. I make all our bread and anything related (pizza, pretzels, bagels, etc.) but no sourdough. Hers flared up “with a vengeance”! about a month ago, but we attributed it to stress at school, etc. We’ve recently decided to try a wheat (gluten?) free diet for her as a nutritionist suggested it may be allergy related. I’m desperate (for her) to find answers. She’s 17 and is mortified to have anyone see the splotches on her neck or the flakes in her hair.
    On the soaking aspect…. I am SSOOOOOO glad to hear that others don’t like the taste. I’ve tried soaking several times and just about gagged each time.
    Thank you, Laura, for your honesty!

    [Reply]

    Debbi Reply:

    Sorry if this is hard to read, the format when you get a few replies going gets kinda weird. I had almost the exact same thing. My scalp liiked like a bad form of cradle cap and it came down my neck as horrible scaley patches. I could peel layers of skin off in places like I were shedding. It was horrible. I had quite a bit of hair loss with it as well. After MUCH research and lots of trial and error I realized I was dealing with a chronic candida infection. I tried many MANY natural products, but the one that finally made a difference was a product called ThreeLac. I found it at http://www.stopyeast.com. I don’t make a dime from their product but I tell everyone I know hwho might have yeast issues about it. I’m happy to report that my scalp is pretty much as normal as the next persons. I occasionally get a little mild dandruff, but nothing like what I had before. If it looks like I’m starting to have any issues/symptoms again I take ThreeLac again for a couple weeks and I’m good again. I should mention that I cut sweets and white starchy foods from my diet. Temporarily I even cut some of the “good” whole grains until it was under control. Now I always keep ThreeLac on hand in case any of my children have any symptoms that are candida related. I’m a firm believer that candida effects a great majority of people today and most don’t even know it. Worth looking into for your daughter. Hope it helps.

    KimH Reply:

    I would imagine so. My daughters & I are gluten sensitive and they break out horribly all over including the scalp when they eat bread & any wheat products.

    [Reply]

    Carolyn Reply:

    Debbi, I did get your reply and I can’t thank you enough! If I could reach through the computer and hug your neck, you’d be begging for air right now! You have described my daughter to a “T” – right down to the hair loss! you’ve confirmed something I stumbled on in my own research — that candida may play into this awful skin condition.
    My mind is just whirling with thoughts. I keep deleting sentences trying to stay as concise as possible. I’m definitely looking into ThreeLac and may very well be ordering today:)
    “Thank you” seems inadequate, but… Thank You!!
    I finally feel some hope. And my daughter will be forever grateful!

    Kimberly Reply:

    I also have my own “theories” on ADD/ADHD and agree, not the time or place to get into it. Anyway, my mom went on a Gluten-Free diet as it was recommended to her from a family member who was dianosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, which my mom also has. Going GF has helped a great deal and she no longer takes meds for her RA, but if she digests any gluten products, her RA flares up. I think part of the reason Celiac’s is on the rise is because of the number of processed foods that use forms of gluten and I think our bodies are over-loaded with gluten. It’s not just in bread, it’s in everything from salad dressing to spice mixes. My mom has also found that eating organic has helped as well. I’ve been noticing lately that when I eat meals for a few days that are organic, non-processed, and whole and then eat any processed food, I feel horrible forseveral hours after. I’m attributing this feeling to all the GMO and processing these foods go through. Even it it’s something supposedly “healthy”, if it’s processed, I can tell.

    [Reply]

  53. Theresa says

    I despise having to remember to soak my grains the night before. I’m tired after bedtime routines w/my young children. That being said…I don’t digest unsoaked grains AT ALL. They feel like a rock in my belly!! And sorry for TMI, but constipation usually follows and we know how BAD that is. SO, my solution: buy whole wheat berries (or spelt etc.) and soak those overnight, rinse well and allow to sprout on my counter top for a few days. When little “tails” form I dry the sprouts in my dehydrater (you can also use your oven) and grind when completely dry. I try to do large batches and store in my fridge :) Since I don’t tolerate grains well anyway, we don’t use them a lot. If I consumed all the breads/goodies etc I’d be fat!! LOL My husband and I do better w/a protein/veggie based diet. Just thought I’d add my two cents :)

    [Reply]

  54. Naomi says

    I don’t soak my grains but I do love love love the sprouted wheat bread loaves that I’ve tried from health food stores! Yep, I’ve cheated by buying a loaf here & there :)

    [Reply]

  55. Meghan V. says

    I used to feel like I couldn’t use whole wheat flour b/c I didn’t have time to soak it (I’m a mom of littles). So we just kept eating white flour (and white sugar). Then I read somewhere about how you are supposed to soak nuts and everything else under the sun and figured we wouldn’t be able to eat anything anymore. So I decided not soaking stuff would not kill us. So I have slowly been transitioning to using WW flour and sucanat. I feel better giving my family healthy ingredients even if it does mean it takes a little longer to digest. :D

    [Reply]

  56. kelly says

    thankyou for being honest and transparent, we women feel quilty about everything and constantly strive to be the best and do our best and never feel like we can. So good of you to arrive in a ‘healthy’ place and feel comfortable with it. I am relieved to know that there are others who want the best for their family, that have tried soaking their grains and are not doing it now! We dont like the taste either, and for me its too much work, too stressful to have the mess on my counter all the time! I do however soak my oats, simply because it takes less time to cook it! And I also do let the flour sit in the water for 1/2 hour before making bread! So keep giving your family the best that you can and pray that God fills in the gaps. We dont want ‘real food’ to become our God!

    [Reply]

    Brianna Reply:

    Amen, good point!

    [Reply]

  57. says

    Laura,
    Thank you so much for your honesty. Our family has gone down the same path as you…Sue Becker gave me the freedom to decide for myself. I actually did a side-by-side test of soaked and unsoaked bread. We saw NO difference in how we felt…and we liked the unsoaked version best.
    I love that Sue Becker takes a BIBLICAL approach to her healthy eating, which isn’t something you normally find at other places.
    I feel good if I feed my family whole grains. The whole soaking and remembering stuff is just an un-needed stress that I don’t need.
    Bless you. I love your honesty.

    [Reply]

  58. Trudi says

    Thank you for this post. What perfect timing! And what great responses — you’re definitely not alone, girl!

    I’ve been grinding my grains for over a dozen years now and know about the nutritional benefits . . . and also about the drastic nutritional loss when that freshly ground flour is allowed to sit at room temperature for a day or two. When I started reading your posts, not only had I not heard of soaking before, I couldn’t reconcile in my mind how it could be more beneficial if you were losing most of the nutrients in the process. But what if soaking was really something I should be doing?

    It had been on my mind so much these last few weeks, and I finally asked our naturopath a couple days ago about his opinion on soaking, not telling him my concerns. (He knows I grind my own grains.) He said it is probably good for people who have true celiac disease, but as a norm he wouldn’t suggest it. There is way too much nutritional loss, and because of the protein loss it makes for more difficult baking; leavening amounts(including eggs) more often than not need to be adjusted. He felt the digestion benefit was negligible,certainly not proven,and not worth the lost nutrition.

    Bottom line, people have to do what they feel is right for THEM. But between this and the great article by the Beckers (thank you for the link to their website!), my doubts are laid to rest and I am perfectly content not soaking.

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    I’ve never heard or read that there is nutritionall loss with soaking. Everything I’ve read says that it increases the nutrients available.

    [Reply]

    Trudi Reply:

    Hi Jen–I probably didn’t word my post quite right. From what I’ve read and from what our Dr. felt, the trade-off didn’t seem worth it. Nutrient loss starts immediately once the bran and germ are broken and exposed to air (however freezing will stop it). Since the soak is done at room temperature, it would seem there is more nutrient loss during the 12-24 hour soak (due to that oxidation) than what you can get back from the soaking process. From what I can tell soaking only breaks down about 10-12% of the phytic acid in a 12-hour soak. It just doesn’t seem like a whole lot to me. I’ve heard that the oxidation is slowed down during the soaking process, but I can’t find anywhere that it is actually halted. So, (right or wrong) I’m going on the assumption that the oxidation continues during the soak, and therefore some nutrient loss. (And you know what happens when you assume!) :)

    [Reply]

  59. says

    I too have been grinding my own grains for several years and making our daily bread. A couple years ago I started soaking my grains and tried it for about a year. I have now reverted back to unsoaked because we like the texture and flavor better….without the extra work. Not sure how much less nutritive is is… but we are still getting a very healthy and satisfying wheat bread without soaking and there is no guilt attached to that for sure!

    [Reply]

  60. says

    I don’t soak… why? Because we don’t eat grain!!!!! ;) I’ve contemplated soaking our nuts and seeds and I do feel it’s a good idea, but I feel like my whole day is in the kitchen and I don’t really want to add any more! ;o) Maybe in the future, but for now, it isn’t something I can add. It has also helped me make the decision on the grains, too! Thanks for your post!

    [Reply]

    Priscilla Frazier Reply:

    Soaking is certainly an extra step, and one I don’t usually take unless it’s oatmeal, however we really like our soaked (and then dehydrated) walnuts. They are unbelievably tastier this way, and do not sit on the stomach with that “I ate too many nuts” feeling. I do lots at a time, throw them all in a bowl with water and some salt, let them soak till I remember “oh yeah, I need to get those nuts in the dehydrator, then dry them for about 24 hours at 105 or so.

    [Reply]

    Bethanie Reply:

    Hmmm… I think you are inspiring me… and yes we do soak our
    steel cut oats now that you mention it! ;) However… where do
    you get your raw nuts from? I just end up buying from here and
    there. I may have to try the soaking soon though!

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    We buy raw nuts from Trader Joe’s. The prices are decent. Azure Standard also sells bulk nuts if that is available in your area. Otherwise, you could look online or at any local co-ops. It’s really not too hard to find raw nuts.

    Priscilla Frazier Reply:

    Honestly I haven’t yet had a very good source for finding “true raw nuts” yet, and have been buying my walnuts from Aldi. Azure Standard just became available in my area, and so I’ll have to look into them, but til then, like this article is all about… I do my best with what we can afford, and leave it in God’s hands. :) Oh, and sometimes I soak my brown rice too – it’s good, cooks a little faster, just remember to use a little less liquid then the recipe calls for.

    Amy Reply:

    Just a note that not all of Trader Joe’s “raw” nuts are actually raw. Unless you buy from the farmer, almonds (not sure about other nuts) must be pasturized – either by chemical, steam or heat. Trader Joes pasturizes their raw almonds with steam (I emailed & asked them). I have read on other blogs that Costco’s raw almonds are pasturized with chemicals. However, I know we all do the best
    we can with what is available!

  61. Christi says

    My feeling is that God did not make us or the natural food that He gave us broken. Foods that we can grow in our backyards (like flour and oats) do not need to be fixed so that we can eat them, unless we have some sort of disorder in our bodies. And I believe you would do better correcting the disorder first in that case, instead of trying to mess with Nature.

    [Reply]

    Lana Reply:

    Well said! I so agree!

    [Reply]

    Margaret Reply:

    I’m not trying to start an argument, but I have to disagree a little bit with this statement “Foods that we can grow in our backyards (like flour and oats) do not need to be fixed so that we can eat them”. I understand where you are coming from, but if we followed this logic to the end, we would not be cooking that flour or oats either. It would be perfect for us to consume coming right off the plant. In which case, we wouldn’t be making bread, but instead eating the wheat berries right off the plant since it isn’t flour that grows on the plant. Properly preparing a food does not necessarily imply that that food was “broken” until we fixed it. There are, obviously, foods that we can eat straight off the plant. Strawberries for example (and my favorite!). Wheat berries need to be prepared in such a way to make them edible. I’m not sure why soaking it would make it “broken” any more than grinding it into flour would. It also sounds like, from what I gather in the article, that sprouting the berries before grinding them into flour greatly increases the nutritional content. I see that as just another way that God, in His great wisdom, provides. Wheat could be stored until famine, then sprouted and made into bread. There was probably not much fresh produce during famine times, meaning a lack of vitamin c, which happens to increase greatly in the sprouting process. So perhaps, instead of soaking the flour we purchase from the store or even that we grind ourselves, the best thing would be to sprout and then grind our own wheat berries.

    [Reply]

    Naomi Reply:

    I just found another instance in scripture about eating wheat, where the disciples were picking heads of grain and eating it right there in the field. (Matthew 12:1, Mark 2:23, Luke 6:1) Granted, they probably didn’t make a practice of eating raw grain on a regular basis, but apparently they didn’t have any qualms about eating it in that form, as if they HAD done it before.

    [Reply]

  62. May says

    After trying to cook with soaked grain, I decided not to do it for the same reasons – lots of work with little liking. I am cooking with whole grain and am happy and at peace with my decision. Thanks for your article, it helps to know that what i am doing is Ok too!

    [Reply]

  63. Brooke says

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve hardly done any soaking myself b/c I don’t have the time and sometimes I want to and feel guilty but mostly I just am happy when I know my family is eating healthy foods. :) I”ll be reading the article. Thanks Laura!

    [Reply]

  64. lyss says

    Very interesting! Thank you for the link to that
    article. It’s very freeing knowing that whole (unsoaked) grains are still highly nutritious! Makes me want to make some bread. :)

    And the whole “don’t eat grains” thing boggles me. I understand that some are turning to that due to intolerances. But for most of us, bread has always been a staple. I’ve felt guilty about feeding my family so much grains (because they are a cheap, whole food), but then when I think of how they ate it in Biblical times, grains must be good for us. They should not be limited, but should be our daily food.

    [Reply]

  65. says

    Laura, I love your balance and simplicity. Girl, I’m tired, too!

    After early 18 months of being gluten and dairy free, and feeling GUILTY that our family even eats grains (according to most “experts”, our family should be on the GAPS diet), I’m ready for simplicity myself.

    I will say, I found soaking grains (such as oatmeal) helpful when I was first bringing our boys back onto oats. Both our little guys have “bad” guts, and the soaking (with raw goat’s milk whey) seemed to help ease them back into the world of heavier grains.

    As their tummies have continued to improved (through homeoapthy), I spend less and less time soaking grains. I love to soak brown rice, but that’s about it. Occassionally, I’ll still soak pancakes or oatmeal for breakfast.

    My reasoning is that it’s very unhealthy to stress out over healthy eating! Kind of misses the point.

    Thanks for this post, Laura!

    [Reply]

  66. Tiffany says

    Thank you so much for your post. I too read the Bread Beckers article and felt so relieved! I’m just not a really organized/planning type of person and the whole soaking thing was almost bondage-lol! We do fresh milled, whole wheat flour and whole foods and honestly, that’s enough for this mama. Thank you so much for being real about this! Blessings : )

    [Reply]

  67. Angie says

    I live and Georgia and have had the great pleasure of taking the Becker’s bread making class. At the end of the class I asked about this soaking journey everyone was on at the time and Ashley (Sue’s daughter) pointed out that it is not biblical so that answered my questions. I am glad everyone has been able to read her article.

    [Reply]

    Margaret Reply:

    Did Ashley have any reference in the Bible where it says that we shouldn’t soak? Or, how did she come to the conclusion that soaking grains is not biblical? Generally when people refer to something as not being biblical that means that the Bible specifically says not to do something (or at least that is how I interpret it). I’m not saying we should soak, I just get a little leery when someone’s justification for not doing something is “it’s not biblical” but there is no reference to back it up. I’ve also heard in several places that if you sprout the berries and then freshly grind them there is no need to soak them.

    I would also caution on using Ezekiel 4:9 as your reference for how grains were prepared (as is used in the article) and following that example. If you read the whole chapter you will see that these were God’s special instructions to Ezekiel who was acting out the coming fall and siege of Jerusalem. If we say that the instructions in verse 9 are how we should make bread we also have to follow verse 10 which says to only eat 8 oz of it each day, verse 10 where the LORD says to bake it over human dung, or verse 15 where the LORD relents and lets him cook it over cow dung instead so the he wasn’t defiling himself with human feces. This whole exercise of Ezekiel and the bread was to show Jerusalem what was coming because of their disobedience. I’m not saying you must soak your grains, or feel guilty of you don’t, or saying how it should be done at all. Just cautioning that we can’t take one verse out of reference and use it to teach how something should be done.

    [Reply]

  68. Jennifer M. says

    Thinking about how people in the Bible prepared their bread/grain they did not have these high tech mills like we are blessed with to make super-fine flour. They used grinding stones rubbed together most likely or some other method that probably resulted in a coarser grain. So “leavened” bread or bread made with yeast probably “soaked” overnight or at least a few hours to rise and make it a more palatable texture. Also the typical practice was to eat “leavened” bread and only rarely did the Jews deviate from this hence the Festival of Unleavened bread. This natural leavening aka sourdough does reduce the phytates in the grains. So yes….they in a sense were “soaked” via sourdough. Soaking is kinda cheating for us moderners like myself who have never gotten the hang of sourdough bread making. I wish I could find a good gluten free sourdough recipe…that would be amazing. I have struggled with this and have read many different views on grains are they good, bad, soak or not, etc. So having troubles with gluten myself and with my children I definatly do believe in soaking or something equivalent. When I cook oatmeal I soak overnight in a water mixed with a little yogurt or splash of vinegar. I really have had good results with vinegar and prefer the taste of it to buttermilk if I have no yogurt. Alot cheaper too! We are all looking to find what works best for us and that will be different for each person. But I do think given evidence and research that soaking when you can is better for you. But should we let it remove our focus from serving our Lord and families? Nope! Planning and getting into a routine with preparing meals is helpful though in any context :). Thanks for the post!! I love your blog and the encouragement it gives me. God Bless!

    [Reply]

  69. says

    Thank you so much for your honesty. I read your blog faithfully and a few others. I find wisdom every time.

    I also found myself going down the guilt trip lane and really had to pray about it. I came to the conclusion that every one of us have a different family situation and therefore, every one of us may need to do it a little differently.

    It’s all in the baby steps for me. If I can choose a whole grain over a processed food, great. If I can grind my wheat over buying my flour, great. If I can soak my grains on occasion, great.

    But if I cannot do everything every time, that’s ok. I shouldn’t feel guilty if what I’m doing that day, is my best, for that day.

    All I know is, I try my best each day, and in what I do, I try to glorify God and show Him my gratefulness for what He has given us.

    Thanks again, great post!

    [Reply]

  70. Colleena Stark says

    I’m glad you are a ‘real’ person, Laura. And I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned the word SIMPLE. If I make ‘healthy’ living hard; the less apt I am to live healthy. I like your approach to cooking, etc. and really appreciate what I am learning from you.

    [Reply]

  71. says

    I love how you are just yourself when answering questions, blogging, etc… :) My mom has us soak rice, millit, quenua (sp?), oatmeal, etc… but not for wheat or when we are mixing it into a bread. That’s just way too complicated, and doesn’t taste that great. We do use freshly ground whole wheat flour, and I think that’s good enough. :)

    [Reply]

  72. Laurie Swanson says

    I recently read NT also, and it is a bit overwhelming. I have kids that seem to be sensitive to gluten, so I thought soaking it was a good alternative to making bread without wheat. I took a couple of theories and put them together for my bread–I just mix everything, using less yeast (1t) and let it sit on the counter overnight. The whey makes the dough SO nice. I do this with anything that doesn’t contain eggs, because mixing additional stuff in the next day was just too hard. I think things with eggs could just be put in the fridge. I’m still learning–maybe this messes it all up! :)

    [Reply]

  73. says

    I didn’t care to do the soaking of the flour, but have found it easy enough to soak my grain, sprout it, dehydrate and then ground it for cooking. I can tell a difference if I sprout my grain or not in whether I bloat or not. For me it makes sense. It is more like the way ancients used their grains.

    [Reply]

  74. Jen says

    Thanks so much for posting this, Laura, and for being so honest about where you are on your healthy eating journey! I can relate to the feelings you had when you first read “Nourishing Traditions”. I too just wanted to do what was best for my family, and when soaking wasn’t really working out for us, I started to feel guilty about it, although I was and still am unconvinced by the research on grain-soaking alluded to in that book. Like others have mentioned, I felt a great deal of relief when I read the linked Bread Beckers article. At this point in my healthy eating journey, I believe whole foods are best, and that includes whole grains, either soaked or unsoaked, or both! Saying “you must soak” or “you must not soak” seems to me to go against what Paul teaches in Colossians and elsewhere about not submitting again to legalism… I think God wants us to enjoy his creation through food, and that in a variety of ways. No one way is best, and even what I feed my family for their good will probably look a little different 20 years from now. We’re all entitled to change our minds about things, and that includes you! I’m just so grateful for how you’ve shared your thoughts, choices and changes through this blog. You’ve been an encouragement to me :)
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  75. Naomi says

    I’m another who’s gone the same path as you have. Maybe soaking/sprouting is a good idea, I don’t know. I just haven’t seen enough evidence to prove it to me.

    It’s too bad that Moses didn’t write down their recipe for bread; the scriptures are pretty silent regarding cooking methods. Furthermore, as I understand it, the grains we have today are not the same critter eaten in Biblical times. The proponents of soaking/sprouting keep alluding to the “fact” that this was the way they did it traditionally, yet I’ve never found any evidence of this, nor has anyone else shown us this evidence. They just tell us “that’s the way it was done” so we should do it too.

    Sourdough was probably the method of leavening bread but again, there are no records that I know of. Regarding the issue of whether to eat grain or not, I was just reading today in Psalm 147:14: “He makes peace in your borders; He satisfies you with the finest of the wheat.” And the Hebrew word that is translated “wheat” is “chittim”, which means … “wheat”. Does that give a hint that one shouldn’t be eating wheat? Not to me, it doesn’t! Sounds like a blessing to me.

    My prayer continues to be for revelation about how we can care for these bodies God gave us. He provided good food, herbs to heal and keep us healthy, and even though I’m certain much of what we grow today is not the same thing they grew back then, all we can do is the best we can do, prayerfully and trusting Him to guide us.

    [Reply]

  76. says

    Hi Laura,
    I love your blog. I feel I am walking a similar path. Most times I see the little caption as to what you are writing about, and I get right to it, and can’t believe how we are literally doing the same things at the same time…for instance, with canning tomatoes…I was slaving away and here comes your practical advice to just roast them in the oven and whiz in the food processor. Wallah! That was a time saver, and therefore a lifesaver! Then the whole storing your food in glass jars…love that and that post came right as I found myself doing that…well anyway, I found your post on soaking grains to be liberating. I have found myself feeling the same way. Why do we do this to ourselves, with he guilt and all that? Now, a friend is calling me every day encouraging me to do this and that, and only do organic and all these great herbs and supplements, and it’s all a little overwhelming. I believe as wives, it’s part of our role to protect our family’s health through what we consume. But, I feel like I am losing sight of my family lately, and only seeing the food. Maybe this is what happens during that time of critical mass, and once I have learned what I need to for this phase, I won’t feel so overwhelmed.

    [Reply]

  77. Grains are the debil says

    Why feed your family something (like grains) that can’t be digested naturally by the body? We have, as a nation, been brainwashed by our own government to think that grains are healthy and this just isn’t the case. They want you to think they’re healthy for the financial aspect. Grains (processed and “whole”) are the causes to most ailments. I urge you to read Wheat Belly. It will make you think and rethink what our government is trying to push on us.

    [Reply]

    Katherine Reply:

    Grains were a main staple in the Bible. I just follow the Lord’s leading and eat them!

    [Reply]

  78. says

    Another great article, Laura – thanks for putting yourself out there!

    I have never soaked. When I first heard about it a couple years ago I looked into it and couldn’t find enough research (that didn’t lead back to NT) to cause me to add that much to my plate. Also, no one in our family has problems with grains. And I was VERY bothered by the worry, stress, and time I saw women putting into food when the Bible specifically says not to worry about what we put in our mouths! There is a balance and trust in the whole foods God has provided – good, healthy nutrition is one thing; not letting one thing into your mouth not prepared “your” way is quite another.

    You’re right on, Laura- each of us has to do what we feel is best (even if it involves soaking!) for our families and situations.:-)

    [Reply]

  79. Heather says

    I actually just tried the soaked version (double batch) of your Giant Breakfast Cookies. Man were those hard to mix up in the morning – but the kids loved them. There doesn’t seem to be enough solid evidence for soaking, and really I think most of us have enough NATURAL stress and guilt in our lives – there is no need to do things that CREATE more of it.

    [Reply]

  80. Aimee says

    I’ve heard that the lady who wrote that article is actually suffering from Colon Cancer at the moment…

    [Reply]

    Anonymous Reply:

    Actually, that’s not the truth. Blog post from 2007

    http://breadbeckers.blogspot.com/2007/08/final-praise-and-update-august-13th.html

    [Reply]

    Kimberly S. Reply:

    That was over 5 years ago. And Marathon runners have died of heart attacks, people who’ve never smoked or been around harmful products have dies of lung cancer…..

    [Reply]

    Aimee Reply:

    Yes, bad things happen to all sorts of people- got it.

    [Reply]

    Joy Reply:

    Yes, Sue Becker had surgery to have a cancerous tumor removed. I have not heard any recent reports that the cancer has recurred, but the report after the surgery was that it was contained, and that all the cancer had been removed. I think it is important to understand that embarking on a journey to eat healthier does not guarantee we will not have health issues. It has been proven to greatly reduce the possiblity of things like cancer and diabetes striking our bodies, but remember that often some damage may have already been done that can not be completely reversed with a change in diet. Also, God is ultimately in control of EVERYTHING that happens to our bodies and His will will be done. You may be interested in this portion of a testimony by Sue Becker from her blog shortly after the surgery: My first speaking event was just 3 weeks after surgery at the Richmond Virginia Home school Convention. I struggled with discouragement as I tried to prepare to speak. Would anyone still want to listen to me after all I had gone through? Would stressing the importance of eating healthy diminish my faith in the supernatural healing that God had done in my life? As I sought the Lord for His wisdom and peace He so graciously answered my prayers. He spoke so clearly to my spirit that His hand was in it all. He said to me “Don’t you see that it was I who led you to this way of eating 17 years ago” Then I was reminded of one of the doctor’s comments to me as I questioned him on how this could happen to me.

    He speculated to me that, probably ,had I not changed the way I was eating so many years before, that I would have been in this place 10 years sooner. Wow, I remembered how God had healed me then, as I had struggled with bowel issues for most of my life until changing to REAL BREAD. God then reminded me that it was Him that had shown me, so very lovingly, the spiritual roots of my physical infirmity. He also reminded me that it was Him that had lead me every step of the way through my pathway of healing.

    [Reply]

    Joy Reply:

    Sorry … I didn’t mean for the quote to get mixed in with my comment, but it’s hard to see the text in these comment boxes … I do think it is intersting, however, that in a case where I believe the enemy wanted to try to undermine the work Sue is doing in sharing her passion for eating “real bread” and real foods, God has worked it for His good. I think she has an even more powerful testimony now after what she has gone through!

    [Reply]

    Joy Reply:

    I mean “interesting”! (-:

    Aimee Reply:

    Yes, I do find that interesting, thanks! I know from personal experience that
    Heavenly Father works with all sorts of issues to make them for our own
    personal good- as long as we are willing to let him. I also know that everyone is
    different. Everyone’s body reacts to different things in all different kinds of ways.
    However, I do have to say that I stick to my convictions in pretty much all things.
    Once I made the decision, sought and got confirmation that it was
    indeed right for me and my family- there was no looking back. So we soak
    or we don’t eat wheat products. Nice and simple. But, again, there are different
    seasons in everyone’s lives…

  81. Jennifer Irish says

    I have soaked on and off for quite a while. Just got back into it. I find I actually don’t like granola, when not soaked, just doesn’t taste cooked to me. But I have been coming up with some better tasting oatmeal recipes my family will eat- oatmeal (soaked with lemmon juice tastes better to us), baked oatmeal soaked with kefir, and granola soaked with kefir (kefir seems less sour than yogurt or buttermilk.) It is hard to find soaked foods that we actually like though, without the sour taste. I just got back to making sourdough bread with my homemade starter, but still rotate between that and regular whole wheat for variety. But muffins, desserts, etc, just don’t bother with soaking. I find soaking breakfasts and breads helps spread out the work, and for me makes it easier to have breakfast planned and partly prepared.
    Bottom line, we just have to do what works for our own unique dietary needs, and preferences. If your kids, and (husband)dread that bowl of soaked/soured oatmeal, then it defeats the purpose – I guess of trying to eat healthier. But the overall concept of soaking just makes sense to me, personally. Who knows, one day I may find out for sure soaking makes no difference. That is why praying over our food before we eat is is so important.

    [Reply]

  82. Katherine says

    I think it is important to remember that if anything gives you too much stress, then the point of eating healthy is lost. We can eat all the “right” food perfectly, yet still die an early death because of stress. Stress is a toxin, let us not forget!!! God is a God of peace, so we just do our best, and let God’s grace cover the rest! It’s so freeing and liberating to trust and rest in Him. Thank you Lord.

    [Reply]

  83. Sassafras says

    I read recently (I believe it was at Mike Geary’s website) that 67% of America’s food is now coming from only 3 sources, corn, soy and wheat. It also stated that there are something like 3,000 different foods that could be eaten. That we are gobbling down such a high percentage of these three which are probably GM? Scary stuff indeed!! Not sure if the scientist who did the calculating included these grains also being fed to our cattle, hogs and chickens as well. If he didn’t include them in his calculations? Our number could be way higher than just 67%!!!

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  84. Naomi says

    I just found another instance in scripture about eating wheat, where the disciples were picking heads of grain and eating it right there in the field. (Matthew 12:1, Mark 2:23, Luke 6:1) Granted, they probably didn’t make a practice of eating raw grain on a regular basis, but apparently they didn’t have any qualms about eating it in that form, as if they HAD done it before. And it was unprocessed in any way!

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  85. Donna English says

    Thank you so much for this post. I have the Nourishing Traditions book and recently read someone’s blog about soaking grains and I knew I had read another opinion about not soaking and could not remember where I read it. It was on The Bread Beckers! I really appreciate you sharing this link. I think we should eat fresh, unprocessed as much as possible and always give thanks to God for the food he provides. I also believe “All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life.”

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  86. says

    I’m with you, Laura. I struggle with this issue myself. I’ve taken classes with the Bread Beckers and Sue Becker is very knowledgeable. I try to soak but, if it doesn’t happen, I don’t stress it.

    That said, my body tells me that soaking is best. I tend to get joint inflammation when eating grains (even freshly milled grains) though soaked or sprouted grains leave me feeling perfectly fine. That tells me that I should be soaking (at least for me).

    It’s important to try to make good choices and pray over our food. It can all be so overwhelming sometimes.

    Thanks for all you do. You’re a gem.

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  87. Kristin says

    Thanks for the link to the beckers article. I too was feeling a lot of guilt over not soaking grains, but simply couldn’t find the time. With 3 kids 5 and under, any time not devoted to them is spent cooking from scratch, cleaning, driving to multiple grocery stores to pick up non-gmo, organic, humanely raised, foods, etc. I also appreciated the multiple comments about not stressing over healthy food. I always feel like I am never doing enough to help my family eat healthier. I too think Monsanto is evil. And after reading Marion Nestle’s book “Food Politics”, no longer trust our governments suggestions on what is best to eat.

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  88. Aimee says

    Everything in moderation is my approach. If I plan ahead and actually remember to soak my grains, then great! If not, then at least we are still eating freshly ground grains which is much better than the white option. Win, win either way. :0)

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  89. Heather says

    Just now seeing this…wish I had sooner! Saw the reference to it over at Stacy makes Cents. I have been struggling with whether or not to soak, as well, and I’m glad to read this. Thanks so much for your wonderful blog!

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  90. Stephanie says

    I am glad to see someone is as confused as I am! I have come across so much information about what is healthy and what is not, it’s all conflicting and everyone “knows” that their way is best, even claiming that one will surely suffer some terrible consequence if she doesn’t follow this way of eating. People seem to have a need to think this way so that all the work they have put into eating healthy was not in vain… Or maybe they have alterior motives like making money off of this deception. I am going to continue avoiding overly processed foods and start taking a “everything in moderation” approach. We don’t give our bodies enough credit that they can take care of themselves, people have lived into their hundreds without knowing anything about soaking grains I’m sure. What is our motivation to eat PERFECTLY anyways? Nobody is going to live forever and even if we eat perfectly something totally out of our control can happen. Maybe this extreme control we feel we need to have over our food is rooted more in our innate fear of death. Surviving has become so easy that this is our idea of a threat to life, a slice of unsoaked bread?
    Food, the ability to taste and enjoy is a gift, I will do my best to accept this God given gift and not worry so much about it.
    Maybe it will help to remember Luke 12:22-26 when we get overwhelmed with all of this information.

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  91. Amanda says

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve been trying to do some research and have been very confused and frustrated. It seems all info sources back to one person, and I’m skeptical when I see that approach to anything in life. I’m much more balanced in how I look at things and I don’t like to see one person put in the role of all-knowing. That being said, I haven’t jumped on the soaking or sprouting wagon because I know my family won’t eat it. And I fully believe it’s better to eat food made from scratch (but not soaked) than either processed or nothing. If that’s what my options are, I’ll take the middle ground. And thank you, because now I can do that without feeling guilty! I’ve for a while lived with the belief that I will do the best I can with my time, budget, energy and family’s cooperation and trust God to provide. I accomplish nothing by stressing myself or my family over having to prepare and eat something that no one likes.

    Thank you for being honest and fair.

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  92. Valerie says

    I’ve been wondering if you were a Bread Becker person. :-D I am very grateful to you for sharing this. I have the nourishing traditions book but by God’s grace have also recently discovered the Bread Beckers. I’ve been very blessed by their information but I hadn’t come across this article about the soaking grains. It was very good and I too feel better now that I haven’t been soaking my grains since I started using their recipes. Thank you so much!

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  93. Beth says

    Thanks so much for your thoughts on this! I felt overwhelmed after reading Nourishing Traditions. I began to take things one step at a time, but like your family, we didn’t like the first soaked grain food I made, so I stopped right there to see if I would keep soaking. One day I was reading my Bible and read this verse…Matthew 12:1…”At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.” I kind of laughed on the inside and thought, “Jesus didn’t soak those grains.” :) Here’s another Scripture that relates (in my opinion)…Matthew 15:11…”What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean.” Sometimes I’m amazed about how many people take what Sally Fallon says as the law. I know there must be truth in what she says, but sometimes I think we are wise to find our own way. My opinion…for what it’s worth (probably not worth much.:)

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  94. marcy says

    well, it’s certainly nice to know there is someone else out there facing the same struggles as me!!!
    i did check out the link from bread beckers. i found it to be very interesting although i am still unsure. i think perhaps i will alternate, because she kept speaking of oats, and oat flour reference to baking breads etc, rather than oatmeal.
    additionally, it still has me wondering about the ‘nut soaking’ dilema…
    any thoughts??????????

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  95. Lynda says

    We have been on a sister journey. :) I still soak when I can b/c in our case the whole grains turn out lighter and more enjoyable. HOWEVER, after feeling so overwhelmed, it got me to thinking about how the enemy likes to work. I was not living in Christ’s peace. Then I came across a passage in the OT, can’t remember where, that said something close to this… Follow the Lord and your food and drink will be blessed. So I do what I can joyfully, otherwise I don’t. I pray over our food A LOT, buying it, making it, eating it… :) Thanks so much for sharing.

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    Melissa Reply:

    I know this comment is over a year old, but THANK YOU so much for this line: “I do what I can joyfully, otherwise I don’t.”

    That is exactly what I needed to hear about preparing our family’s meals, even beyond soaking. Thank you, thank you.

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  96. Jaclyn says

    So what about soaking nuts?

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    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Laura doesn’t soak those either at this point. :)

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  97. Charlotte says

    Thanks for this viewpoint! I got Nourishing Traditions 3 years ago, and immediately felt just like you — horrified that my young children had been eating awful unsoaked grains. It bothers me SO much when someone offers them a homemade cookie or muffin that’s unsoaked, and I realized recently that I react to that nice, homemade food like I would to a candy bar. Even if it’s whole wheat and low sugar! Many of our holiday baked goods aren’t soaked, but now I see that I shouldn’t feel so guilty about all of them.

    My big question, though: have you read “Curing Tooth Decay” by Ramiel Nigel? He writes specifically about soaking and phytic acid for healing cavities, and there are many testimonies of it working for people. Ramiel healed his teeth and his daughters’ teeth. I’m trying it on my son now. He goes by the Weston Price ideas, and says that soaking is a huge part of the regimen.

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    Laura Reply:

    I haven’t read that – sounds very interesting!

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  98. Tiffany says

    THANK YOU so much for this post!! I just started our family on a real food journey in April, so it’s been less than a year. We have made huge strides in so many areas!! But it truly amazes me how overwhelming it can be, just when you think you have understood what real good & healthy cooking is, then 3 articles pop up that challenge that. I have a 2 year old who has eaten very little processed food, & we rarely eat out, but like you I was feeling like a horrible mom because I have been too overwhelmed @ the idea of soaking grains & nuts. Just yesterday I read a response to a real food bloggers granola recipe siting an article that all granola is bad because there is no way to truly soak the grains to prepare this (or something like that). Made me want to throw up my hands for a minute & say “I quit!” Ok, I feel better now I got that off my chest :). Thanks for your honest post, I’m sure so many can relate!!

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  99. Barbara Stone says

    Hi thanks for your post.
    I started soaking 10 years ago when I could not eat the fresh bread I was baking. Just soaking the first 1/2 of the dough in water. Never heard the acid addition info. I was able to eat the bread so I know it did something. Then I read nourishing traditions and started adding lemon juice or yogurt. We did not like the taste. I am back to just water.

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  100. Barbara Stone says

    Hi thanks for your post.
    I started soaking 10 years ago when I could not eat the fresh bread I was baking. Just soaking the first 1/2 of the dough in water. Never heard the acid addition info. I was able to eat the bread so I know it did something. Then I read nourishing traditions and started adding lemon juice or yogurt. We did not like the taste. I am back to just water.
    BTW I grind the wheat in the evening put in the water and leave it. I bake in the morning or when ever I get to it. Or if I forget, I grind in the morning and bake when I get to it. I have been known to put the wet dough in the fridge because I ran out of time. This avoids the sour taste.
    All really easy. No time limits.

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    Lynda Reply:

    Barbara, thanks for relating your experience.
    This is very helpful to me as I do like to soak certain things
    to make them lighter. I’m encouraged that you noticed a change
    just from soaking in water. Because I did notice a good digestive change
    but have had my questions about the whole thing. Your note prompted me
    to finally make a point to read the article above from Laura.

    Which leads me to say, Laura, Thank you! I’m even more grateful to you
    now that I’ve finally read the article. It answered the questions and
    concerns I’ve been having! More people need to hear about this. Thank
    you for speaking up amidst a revolution of grain soaking.

    [Reply]

    Kathy Reply:

    Barbara, do you just add the flour and water at night and then finish with the other ingredients in the morning? What about the yeast? It needs warmth, doesn’t it?

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  101. Amber says

    Hi,
    I have to br honest I have just started baking my own bread. It feels so great for me to give my family something fresh. Now I have just got my feet wet this week will be my 2 week baking, Now a few days ago I learned about soaking. I thought wow I am overwhelmed just thinking of all the soaking.
    Thank you for being honest. I think I will stick with grinding my grain fresh for now. And maybe take on soaking later;-)

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    Laura Reply:

    Good idea! I’ve stopped soaking altogether and feel very good about that decision! :)

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  102. says

    I just came across someone who makes sourdough starter for their bread. They use the fresh whole wheat. It sounded alot like soaking, are you familiar with this or have you ever done your own sourdough starter?

    I am very new at this making bread and fresh whole wheat thing. Don’t want to overwhelm myself or my family. :)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes I have, and I’ve tried my hand at making sourdough: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/category/sourdough-starter

    Now though, I’ve gotten to a place where I feel peace about not soaking my grains, so I stick with making this bread recipe: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/how-to-make-whole-wheat-bread-tutorial

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  103. jean says

    Wonderfully written. We all must pick our battles. I’m now “splitting the difference”, and making as many beer breads, etc., as possible, but not soaking. Somehow, i sense that drinking raw apple cider vinegar in water, baking with beer or watered down juice can help. Maybe not…? At any rate – nutrition has MUCH to do with thankfulness, so that’s a great place to start. Using nutritious oils and salts are also basics we can do without feeling overwhelmed.

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  104. Cori says

    AMEN! Thank you for this post! I am trying to eat more healthfully and am so overwhelmed by all the information out there, not just about soaking grains, but with anything and everything to do with food. It is enough to make me crawl into bed and hide from the kitchen!

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  105. Laura :) says

    Great post Laura! Thankyou for creating a place where we can talk about this!

    I SO get your anxiety about this. I’ve been battling adrenal burnout the last few years so I’ve needed a major overhaul of my diet and lifestyle, and I am left paralysed at times with indecision about doing things the ‘proper’ way etc.

    That was until I really started using my gut – trying to look at worldwide food trends from more of a philosophical viewpoint, that maybe there is some destined reason we went from soaking to dry grains? – I’m still uncertain whether to really CUT grains altogether, but maybe there’s a reason why it is so damn IMPRACTICAL, so difficult? Because if it should play a part, maybe just not as the ‘staple’ it has gained the reputation of.

    The only thing I’m convinced of is limiting carbs, especialy if unsoaked is less good for you, put more emphasis on other food groups I’m lacking and see how I go.

    If you look into Ayurvedic Medicine, they discuss the three different body types and how carbs are naturally more suited to some people than others etc so there must be some kind of spiritual need behind the food groups.

    Good luck with your journey Laura :) x

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  106. says

    “I had to soak – I had to soak – I had to soak. And if I didn’t soak, I felt guilty – like I was feeding my kids junk food.”

    Oh man, that sounds familiar. Thank you for this post!

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  107. Kimberley says

    Thank you for such an honest post that included a link to a well researched post (breadbeckers). I recently finished You Can Do This and in my follow-up googling came across this topic. I was so torn and felt it was not right for my family, yet felt guilty that I was not soaking. I re-googled and came across a post from Stacy Makes Cents with a link to this post. I literally laughed out loud at myself as I remembered you talking about going overboard during You Can Do This. Oh my! Yep, I went there. But thanks to you and Stacy, I remembered all the great steps our family is making. Oh, For Real is next up on my reading list and I am so excited to learn more! Thank you so much to you and all the other great bloggers out there who keep it real and so generously share what y’all have learned!

    [Reply]

    Kathy Reply:

    What is For Real?

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  108. Corrine Engelgau says

    I read the article on BreadBeckers and I guess I’m not really sure how anyone finds this thoroughly researched? It mentions nothing about the reason people steer clear of manufactured yeast: http://ranprieur.com/readings/natleavbread.html

    As a candida sufferer, I’m going to tell you that pH is everything. The key to good health is in alkalizing and in my experience the great majority of manufactured products don’t fall into an alkalizing category. Manufactured yeast is no different.

    I’m also going to say that I really think a LOT of people suffer from candida. Especially people on WAPF diets. It’s incredibly easy to acidify your body if you’re not careful, especially with meat. So I think the answer to the grains debate is more about moderation than anything else unless the grain is particularly alkalizing (like millet or quinoa).

    Souring your grains is the best way to go, and if you don’t have the energy for it or the drive, don’t do it. The thing I do like about traditional food preparation is that it helps keeps thing in moderation. When something takes you four days to make, you’re not going to eat it all at once or want to make it every single day. And preparing things so far in advance teaches us patience, gives us anticipation in a society that wallows in instant gratification.

    I’m sorry, I know this is probably sounding rant-y, but I’ve just made my way through 50 sites all decrying phytic acid as a farce. Maybe it has nothing to do with phytic acid, but I know that sprouting/souring/soaking have all helped me be healthier. I know eating is intensely personal and if you’re willing to make those compromises, I guess go for it. But I think the reduction of acids isn’t really the whole point in the traditional method. It keeps us honest in moderation to know the time involved in a process.

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  109. Angela says

    I am on the fence about soaking as well. I don’t think we need to do it all the time. I think that food pairing is a factor in eating as well. I think pairing grains with something fermented aids in digestion as well as drinking lemon in water. I also drink apple cider vinegar with water and stevia on a regular basis. I can’t do it all. As a mother who is slowly getting into the workforce again, this whole soaking business is just not going to happen very often. We limit our grains and focus on fruits and veggies most of the time with meats of course and lots of fish. We do what we can. I think all the trends out there and legitimate emerging old-food wisdom is great but it can deal out a huge amount of stress.

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  110. Bethany W says

    Every so often I have to go back and re-read articles like these to re-affirm my courage and reasons for not soaking. Thank you. This was one of those mornings. I’m blessed because of you.

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  111. Molly Malone says

    This is a good article that will touch the hearts of many. Soaking is so much better for you and so much easier than you have all been led to believe.

    I love Nourishing Traditions for the excellent information in it, but I can’t stand a single recipe! If that were my only cookbook, I’d have died of starvation years ago. :o) I’m not kidding. [Please don’t tell Sally…]

    If you don’t have Celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you don’t need to cut out grains unless you want to. Even Celiacs can eat certain grains, and some can even eat the ancient grain einkorn. You just need to eat the grains that work for you, that agree with your digestion. You also need to prepare them according to traditional methods. There’s a reason for those methods, and sadly we are not taught them in our ‘modern’ American society.

    By the way, the traditional prep methods don’t overlap, you can either:
    Sourdough, or
    soak the whole grain, dry it, and then use it, or
    sprout the grain, then dry it and grind it, or
    soak the flour.

    Soaking the flour is by far the easiest!

    Most importantly, have fun! After you make 3 batches, you will be very adept. That’s all it takes, 6 little loaves of bread will make you a soaked bread master. You will learn exactly how much liquid your particular type of flour requires simply by using it and looking at it and noticing how it reacts after the 24 hour soak. It really isn’t rocket science. It’s food science! (LOL) And everyone can learn it.

    By the way, Jovial’s 2lb. bag of 80% extraction einkorn flour makes 4.5 loaves, or 1.5 batches. That means 2 bags of their flour will turn you into an expert. Not nearly as expensive as taking a class at the local community college! If you can get bulk einkorn flour at your local market like whole Foods, it’s even cheaper. Learn and experiment on this before you invest in a grain mill – I did.
    Blessings to you all, I hope and pray this helps ~
    Molly

    I know recipes abound on the internet, but here is my two-and-a-half cents for what it’s worth: (I hope I am allowed space to do this.)

    Here’s how it’s done; you don’t need to fuss with sourdough starter, and you can make bread without yeast or kneading just fine. You can soak the flour rather than the grain, and last but not least you break up the steps so all it takes is about 5-10 minutes for 2 mornings in a row. I will tell you how to do it, and I will give you my recipes for bread and for muffins.

    I will write many small steps, but it’s really easy and only takes minutes to make. No kneading, just stirring! [This is my husband’s, my boys’ and my daughter’s favorite bread, by the way, so it’s really good. And easy. And did I mention simple?]

    By the way, everything you know about baking does not apply here, so keep calm and keep going, it’s all good and it’s actually hard to mess up.

    I don’t use modern wheat, I use einkorn, the oldest wheat on the planet. [Jovial at Amazon or Tropical Traditions online if you can’t find it to try.] This method works for all wheat’s, but modern wheat needs 20-25% more liquid so increase my recipes accordingly.

    The good ancient wheat’s are: einkorn, emmer, kamut. Other good grains to use in a flour mix are barley, rye, buckwheat (a seed that acts like a grain). I use organic everything. I don’t use spelt because it about killed me, and a friend of mine, so no thanks – the bran is too harsh.

    The best of all possible worlds is fresh ground flour no matter what grain you use. For fresh ground you can freeze the flour and use straight out of the freezer – no thawing. It’s also best to use immediately or freeze for later.

    1 – I measure out my flour into my mixing bowl and rub in the butter the night before, then I cover it with plastic wrap (that doesn’t touch the food) to keep it fresh. Ideally I should do this the day I mix in the liquid, but I keep forgetting the butter so this is my brain trick because I can’t seem to remember until after I mix! If you’re smarter than I am, do this and warm your liquid as you do it in order to do both steps at the same time. Don’t simmer milk, just warm; even a little above room temperature is fine. If you fresh grind your wheat, use it as soon as possible – maybe I’ll eventually remember…

    2 – The next morning, after I’ve had my tea, I warm the liquid (water or coconut milk or raw milk) up to hot tap water temperature and add the acid (fresh squeezed lemon juice or organic raw apple cider vinegar) and dump into the flour-butter mix. The milk will clabber so dump into the flour and stir fast! Stir to mix well. Don’t worry if it’s a sticky glutinous mass, it’s supposed to be that way.

    3 – Cover with plastic wrap and seal so it doesn’t dry out. Set it in the warmest place in your house for 24 hours, give or take 4 hours. I set mine upstairs on a shelf, and cover with a tea towel to prevent light from getting to it. Why? Because einkorn is full of carotenes, which will oxidize in light and heat. The towel also holds in the initial warmth from the warm liquid to get it started. This doughy batter will rise a bit in the 24 hour soaking period. This soak will also make it lighter in texture, more like a cross between a cake and a bread rather than just a dense bread.

    4 – This is the easiest part: ignore this now for around 24 hours. 20-28 hours is the best range. Why? Because the phytic acid is reduced in very warm acidic liquid in 2 hours, but longer activates other enzymes and increases the nutrient availability and makes the gluten more digestible. This is only true for wheat’s, rye, barley, and buckwheat. Other grains and seeds are not as generous. Their phytic acid can be reduced by about 25% in a 12-24 hour soak; including corn, oats, and millet.

    5 – About 24 hours later, Preheat your oven to the recipe temperature and grease and flour your pans. Einkorn will stick to anything not greased and floured, so leave no spot undone!

    6 – Now get your doughy batter (it’s a cross between the two for bread) and add your salt and leavening and any flavor ingredients such as raisins, spices, shredded coconut, rapadura sugar, etc. Add in 2-3 batches, mixing and folding well after each addition to fully incorporate. Again, don’t panic when it is a glutinous bubbly mass. You can’t easily over-mix – unlike ‘regular’ recipes. Here, more gluten = more structure. It will be tender, I promise. Even my undercooked flops were nice and tender!

    7 – Now divide up your dough-batter between your greased and floured pans: bread pans, muffin pans, cute round souffle pans… whatever you like to use. I tend to be traditional so I use loaf pans for bread and quick bread, muffin pans for muffins. I do sometimes use my individual souffles for a nice round ‘bun.’

    8 – Bake those babies! Set your timer for less time than you think you need, depending on the recipe, and check so you don’t overbake (read: burn) your hard work.

    Here are 2 recipes to get you started:

    Molly’s Soaked Irish Soda Bread
    Makes 2 loaves
    4 1/2 Cups organic einkorn flour (or emmer or kamut or a mix of these. Organic whole wheat is the next best.)
    3 Tablespoons pasture butter
    2 Cups raw milk plus 2T fresh organic lemon juice added just before adding to flour (organic raw apple cider vinegar works too, it just clabbers the milk really fast!) (add 20-25% more for regular whole wheat or a wheat mix, that would be 6.5-8T more of milk and 1-1.5t more of lemon juice.)

    ———————
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

    [If using Bob’s Red Mill soda, use 3/4t salt as it is very salty tasting.]

    The night before, put the flour into a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with fingers until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of a pea. Seal with plastic wrap to finish in the morning. You can do this step in the morning if you like.

    Warm the milk slightly in a pan on the stove but do not simmer – that’s too warm. About the temperature of warm to hot tap water is fine. Less heat is fine, just above room temperature is fine too; more heat – not so much. The acid will sour the milk, but it will also clabber the milk proteins and the warmer the faster, so dump it into the warmed milk and mix quick! Then pour it into the flour-butter mixture and fold in fast. Make sure all the flour is incorporated and moist.

    This will be a cross between a dough and a batter if you use ancient grains or a mix of them, as long as all the flour is moistened it’s all good. Just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let it sit in a warm place for 12-36 hours, 24 hours +/- 4hrs is ideal.

    Depending on the flour used, it may form an actual dough (regular whole wheat flour); knead carefully with your hands in the bowl until it just comes together to form a moist, slightly sticky dough Again, let sit in a warm place for 12-36 hours, 24 hours is ideal.

    Leave in a warm place overnight, covered with plastic wrap so it won’t dry out and a towel to prevent light from affecting it.
    About 24 hours later, when you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put your oven rack on the rungs just below center. This is to keep from burning the top since it will be higher than center and uncovered. Mix together the baking soda and salt in a small separate bowl. Butter and flour 2 glass or ceramic loaf pans. I mix the salt and baking soda in a small dish when I rub in the butter – the night before – so all I have to do is mix it in.

    The doughy batter should be light and fluffy now. If it’s still a cross between a dough and a batter, sprinkle 1/3 of the soda-salt mixture on top and fold in thoroughly. I cut and fold, and occasionally stir vigorously. Sounds like heresy, but it’s not. Repeat two more times.
    You may add spices or dried fruit with the soda-salt mix for either dough. Additions should be added with the soda-salt and then worked in with it.
    Divide between the loaf pans and bake at 350?F for about 30 minutes. The tops will be dark golden brown and they will be solid but hollow sounding if tapped on top. They will also spring back slowly if pressed in a bit.
    Take them out of the oven and turn out onto a wire cooling rack, set pright and let cool a bit before cutting so they will hold together. I always wait about 30 minutes, but they are still a bit warm and so tasty! Like any bread, this is good spread with pasture butter, or better yet homemade butter! I make lemon curd, so that goes on, too.

    ***********
    If this is a genuine dough because you use regular wheat flour, take it out of the bowl and press into a thick circle on a breadboard (use flour to prevent sticking). Pour about half of the soda-salt mixture on the dough And then fold in half, Flatten out a bit again and fold and flatten again, and then pour the rest on it and fold again. You are now going to be gently folding and kneading the dough about 8 to 12 times. It may feel like it won’t come together and then all of a sudden it will. As easy as it is to overwork regular bread dough, this one can take more of a beating. Or kneading.

    You may add spices or dried fruit with the soda-salt mix for either dough. Additions should be added with the soda-salt and then worked in with it.

    If you have a dough, you can cut the dough in half, and gently form into 6 inch domed circle loaves, just like regular Irish soda bread. Now place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, and cut an X on the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. Use parchment, fresh soaked breads will oxidize an aluminum baking sheet, and who needs Al in their bread? If you prefer loaf pans, use them instead, I do, it’s all good.

    Shove the loaves in the middle of a 350?F oven for about 35-50 minutes, depending on the oven, until golden brown on top and bottom, and they sound hollow when tapped on top. Cool on cooling racks and enjoy with lots of pasture butter or clotted cream, and jam, honey, or lemon curd!
    Just so you know, we use this recipe for sandwiches, toast, and hamburgers. Really.

    Molly’s soaked Quick Bread/Muffins
    Makes 2 loaves of quick bread or 12-16 muffins or 24-32 mini muffins.
    Put oven rack on a lower level, not centered. Bake 350?F.

    Based off of my Irish Soda Bread, this is a very similar version but more like a batter. Usually quick breads and muffins have no liquid, so they are difficult to revise for soaked flour batters, however, since this is almost a batter anyway, it works just fine!

    4 1/2 Cups organic einkorn flour (or emmer or kamut or a mix of these. Organic whole wheat is the next best.)
    4 Tablespoons pasture butter
    1 ¾ C raw milk + ¼ C water – warm to room temp. or above.
    2T fresh organic lemon juice (or organic raw apple cider vinegar) added to warmed milk-water mixture just before adding to flour. Lemon juice clabbers milk slower so it works better.
    ———————
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
    ———————
    4t ground spices (cinnamon or a mixture, see below)
    4T organic rapadura or sucanat or raw evaporated cane juice (You can omit sugar altogether if you like.)

    If using Bob’s Red Mill soda, use 3/4t salt as it is very salty.

    The day or the night before, put the flour into a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with fingers until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of a pea. Let set until you are ready to do the next step, I do this the evening before to save this step and make it easier the next day.

    Warm the milk-water slightly in a pan on the stove but do not simmer – that’s too warm. About the temperature of hot tap water is fine, less is also good, too warm is not good. The lemon juice or vinegar will sour the milk, but it will also clabber the milk proteins, so dump it into the warmed milk and stir quick! Then pour it into the flour-butter mixture and stir in fast, and let sit to soak.

    This will be a thick batter or a cross between a dough and a batter if you use ancient grains or a mix of them. Just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 12-36 hours, 24 hours +/- 4hrs is ideal.

    *** If you use regular whole wheat flour, it may form an actual dough; use 1/3 – 1/2 C more liquid to make your batter. If you use ½ C and find it is too runny, add more flour 1T at a time and stir in – it is very forgiving and it will be just fine – the soaking is the important part. Again, let sit in a warm place for 12-36 hours, 24 +/- 4hrs is ideal.

    Leave out on the counter top or in a warm place overnight, covered tightly with plastic wrap so it won’t dry out. I put my dough’s and batters upstairs – heat rises and our upstairs is the warmest place in the house. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the baking soda and salt in a small separate bowl. You can also mix together the sugar and spices in another separate bowl. If you use molasses, drizzle it in separately as you mix in the dry ingredients. Butter and flour 2 glass or ceramic loaf pans, or whatever muffin pans you choose. The butter and flour must coat all the inside, corners and up the sides or it won’t remove properly; it’s a very sticky batter.

    After 24-ish hours, the batter should be light and fluffy. If it’s a cross between a dough and a batter, or more like a true batter, sprinkle ½ of the soda-salt mixture on top, then ½ of the spices and sugar and fold in several times. Repeat. Make sure it is all well mixed.

    You may add spices or dried fruit with the soda-salt mix. All additions must be added with the soda-salt and then stirred in.

    Use parchment to line aluminum pans, fresh soaked breads will oxidize aluminum bakeware, and who needs Al in their bread? Whether aluminum causes or results from Alzheimer’s, it is linked in some way so let’s outsmart the disease as much as we are able.

    Divide between the loaf pans and bake at 350?F for about 35 minutes, the tops will be dark golden brown and they will be solid but hollow sounding if tapped on top. For muffins reduce the time and check: regular muffins check after 20 min. and for mini-muffins check after 15 min.

    English Mixed Spice
    This is the spice used in hot cross buns for Easter – it’s wonderful!
    The range is variable so you can adjust to your own taste/smell. Make it the way you like it! This is from the ingredient list on Millstone Mixed Spice from England, in the same order as listed. These are the proportions I use, and I smell it until I am satisfied with the mix.

    1t Cinnamon
    ½ – 1t Coriander
    ½ t Caraway
    ¼ – ½ t Fennel
    ½-1t Allspice (or ¼ – ½ t Clove)
    ¼ – ½ t Ginger
    ¼ t Nutmeg
    1/8 – 1/4 t Turmeric

    [Reply]

  112. Molly Malone says

    My Little Story ~

    For those who question the issues of phytic acid, I am the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine’ for the darn stuff. I cannot eat any nuts, seeds, grains or legumes without a reaction. My reaction is muscle twitching in my feet and legs, leading to muscle cramps which can be quite severe, and finally resulting in a migraine which can last for as little as 24 hours or as long as 3 weeks. This is due to severe magnesium deficiency, and perhaps other deficiencies as well. Anything that binds magnesium will affect me, and I can physically tell if something binds minerals or not by this effect. I can also often prevent a migraine and eliminate muscle cramps by taking magnesium capsules or liquid. It works most of the time, but not always, so I still suffer from the occasional migraine but at least they are not constant like they used to be.

    Because of this magnesium deficiency that I have, I do not eat anything that I know will bind minerals. I cannot safely eat soaked nuts, seeds, legumes or most grains, and due to the oxalic acid in leafy greens that also binds minerals, they are out as well. I miss them. What I can safely eat is soaked einkorn, soaked emmer, soaked kamut, soaked brown rice, soaked rye, soaked barley, soaked buckwheat, and to a lesser extent sprouted brown rice, soaked pistachios, and sprouted pumpkin seeds. The sprouting doesn’t seem to work as well as the soaking. No others. I have tried them all and paid dearly, these are safe for me.

    Just because you do not have my problem, it does not mean that unsoaked grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes are not affecting you. I did not have this problem for many years, and then it came on so slowly that I didn’t know what was happening. By the time I figured it out, I was in pretty bad shape. I don’t even know if it can be totally fixed, I just deal with it day to day. Do not allow yourself to become like me, it isn’t fun and it steals your entire life to live with chronic migraines, which are at epidemic levels in the USA now. Just ask anyone that has them how “fun” it is.

    The only other answer to the phytic acid issue that I am aware of is to actually add phytase to the soaking liquid for the foods that don’t have enough in them to reduce it to zero. It can be done, but I have never done it; I just do without.
    Eat well!
    Molly Malone

    [Reply]

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