Saturday, June 23, 2007

Soak Your Grains!

I've been exploring and researching new cooking and nutritional information lately. My favourite book has been Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It is a really fascinating read. Sally is expounding the view that a lot of our modern diet and lifestyle has robbed our bodies of lots of nutrients and goodness. She covers many topics but the interesting one that I have been trying to incorporate into my baking is the practice of soaking wholegrains before baking. As we all know we should be eating wholegrain/meal foods over the highly processed practically nutrientless white floured foods. However, when we do that switch people often find that their digestive system just can't handle the grains. Apparently this is because of the phytic acid which is present in all wholegrains! Some grians contain less and some contain more. But a way of neutralising the phytic acid is to soak the grains in an acid medium such as buttermilk, yogurt, or other cultured milk, or in water with whey, lemon juice or vinegar added.

This is a practice that many traditional cultures practiced years ago and some cultures today still practice. It is a cooking practice we have forgotten and/or conveniently left out of our busy lifestyles but it really is an easy practice. It just requires some foreplanning.

So how's this working in my kitchen? Well, now when I have a meal that needs brown rice served with it I just mix 1 cup of brown rice with 2 cups of warm water and whey (thin watery liquid you see on the top of natural yoghurt--VERY good for you!) and then leave it on the stove top in the saucepan until I cook it at dinner time. Rice is a low phytic acid grain and only requires 7 hours of soaking to neutralise. However, with my baked porridge recipe I really should be super prepared and make that recipe 24 hours in advance because oats are the highest phytic acid grain and whilst extremely good for us can be very hard on our digestive system.

So, there you have it! Soak your wholegrains before using!

More information and easy recipes utilising wholegrains can be found at Sue Gregg's website. As a bonus I've also added a yummy wholegrain pancake recipe to my Rachel's Recipes blogpage if you want to try a definitely yummy wholegrain recipe.

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