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FAQ-Grains, Seeds, Nuts, Beans PDF Print E-mail
  • Sprouted soybeans/beans
  • Toasting/heating sprouted grain products
  • Commercially available sprouted grain products vs. Homemade
  • Wheat germ
  • Sprouted wheat flour
  • Quick oats
  • Wheat berries
  • Irritating substances found in sprouts
  • Are beans in the canned considered soaked?
  • Making fermented bean paste
  • Phytic acid
  • Soaking whole grains
  • Oat groats
  • Muesli

Grains, Nuts, Seeds, Beans

Q. Please tell me if I should consume sprouted soybeans and other beans?

A. We don't recommend soybean sprouts as the toxins are still there and soybean sprouts were not consumed in Asia. They used mung beans for sprouting. Sprouting increases some nutrients but also some toxins (which protect the sprouts from animals eating them). Also remember that in traditional societies, the grains and legumes that were sprouted were then cooked.

Q. Does it harm sprouted wheat breads, tortillas, etc. to heat/toast them?

A. No, they should be cooked.

Q. Are the nutritional benefits from sprouted wheat breads that you buy different than the benefits from soaking grains at home?

A. It is hard to say, we are suspicious of some of the additives and techniques used in commercial sprouted breads. The healthiest breads are those prepared by genuine sourdough techniques.

Q. I am having some digestive problems. I recently started consuming a kefir smoothie to which I add wheat germ. Any suggestions?

A. I do not recommend wheat germ. For one thing, it is rancid. Furthermore, it is difficult to digest.

Q. How is sprouted wheat ground into flour when it is wet and mushy?

A. When you sprout the wheat, you then have to dry it--either in an oven or a dehydrator.

Q: Do you recommend quick oats?

A: We do not recommend quick oats--they have been altered in some way, probably not good. If you soaks regular oats, they will cook as quickly as quick oats. However, even quick oats are better than extruded cereal!

Q: Where do I find wheat berries? Can you buy sprouted ones?

A: Most health food stores carry wheat berries--Whole Foods carries them. I don't think that the bulgur sold is stores will be sprouted--you will have to enquire about this. But you can purchase sprouted wheat flour on the internet and make bread with it. I don't think all the elements will be broken down as much as if you do sourdough but it is better than using plain whole wheat flour.

Q; Can a grain such as rolled oats or other flaked or steel-cut grain soaked overnight be eaten raw as muesli or should it always be cooked?

A: I do not recommend this.  These grains should be soaked and then cooked.  Otherwise you put a strain on the digestion.  In all cultures, grains are cooked.

Q: Should we eat grains raw, since heat damages them?

A: The extrusion process is very high temperature (above the boiling point) and at the same time high pressure.  This combination is what destroys the proteins in the grains but the temperatures of regular cooking are fine for grains.

Q: What oats should I eat?  Are the phytases destroyed in the processing of oats?

A: We recommend rolled oats soaked overnight in an acidic medium and then cooked.  Use rolled oats--they hydrate better than steel cut oats. I am not sure what processing does but my guess is that it diminishes phytases and leaves the phytic acid in tact.  So soaking is really necessary to activiate the remaining phytases.  Personally, if I don't soak my oats, I get a horrible reaction from them.

Q: Does dry-roasting make the nuts and seeds more digestible than raw and used as a short-cut to soaking and dehydrating or is it always best to soak them first then dehydrate them?    I’m questioning the dry-roasting method as to digestibility.

A: Yes, dry roasting gets rid of some of the inhibitors, but not as well as the soaking and dehydrating.

Q.  What are the irritating substances found in sprouts?  Do micro-greens contain any problems?

A.  The worst one is canavanine, in alfalfa sprouts--you will find disagreement about this on the internet, but it really is not a good thing.  Most sprouts should be cooked or steamed before being eaten--that will get rid of a lot of problematic components.

Q.  Are beans in a can considered soaked because they are in the water in the can?

A.  Beans should be soaked--that is the problem with canned beans, they are softened without the soaking so all the inhibitors are there.

Q.  Can I make the fermented bean paste recipe out of Nourishing Traditions without whey?  Many of the other fermented recipes say you can use extra salt if allergic to dairy products, but this recipe does not give that option so I'm not sure.

A.  I don't think I would risk it--the beans might not get acidic enough, and then they it would not be safe.

Q.  Some say that phytic acid is not a problem and that sprouting is not necessary.

A.  We do think phytic acid is a problem in grains and legumes because they block mineral uptake. Some people have enough phytases (enzymes that break down phytic acid) in their gut so that this is not the problem but there are many other antinutrients in grains and legumes, such as gluten, enzyme inhibitors, tanins, and lectins. Proper preparation gets rid of these along with the phytates.

Q. Whey, yogurt, cultured milk, buttermilk, lemon juice & vinegar are all suggested for soaking whole grain flours.  Is one, any better than the others?  And how much should be used?

A. In my experience, kefir works the best.  Equal amounts of flour and soaking liquid gives a very thick batter.  Start like this and then the next morning you can thin with water if you want something thinner.

Q. After the allotted soaking time what do you do with the soaked flour?  Is it just added into the mix or does the soaked flour need to be baked and dried before using in a recipe?

A. Follow the recipes in Nourishing Traditions.  After overnight soaking, you add the rest of the ingredients and make pancakes, muffins, etc.

Q. Your recipes don't say to pour off your soaking water for rice and other grains.  Should you pour it off and use new water?  Can you do it either way?

A. For whole grains (not rolled or cracked) you would pour off the water and rinse.  But you can't really do this for things like oatmeal as the soaking water is absorbed.

Q. I was wondering what WAPF thought of oat groats and their nutritional value compared to rolled oats.

A. To really hydrate oat groats and reduce the anti-nutrients, you would have to soak them several days and I think you would find them too sour for your taste.  With rolled oats, you don't have to soak as long—overnight will do.

Q. I recently started grinding oats the night before, and soaking them in water until the next morning.  The result has been less than satisfying:  the muesli now tastes very bitter!  What did the Swiss and the people on the Hebrides do?  They did eat lots of oats!

A. I do not know why they are turning bitter. They should be soaked in acidulated water--water with a little whey, vinegar, lemon juice or yoghurt added.  Then they should be cooked very well the next morning.  The taste should be sour rather than bitter.

I do not know how the people of the Outer Hebrides prepared their oats--this would be a very interesting subject to pursue.  The Swiss consumed rye (made into sourdough bread), not oats.

Comments (33)Add Comment
written by Patty, Feb 27 2014
Last week I purchased some whole walnuts from whole foods. The looked great, but I didn,t munch pre-soaking. Soaked them in the recommended salt/warm water proportions for about 8 hours,then lightly rinsed,but didn,t get them on the dehydrating trays for maybe two hours. The next day they were nicely dry and crisp, but OH, SO BITTER. Any ideas as to why, or suggestions to make them palatable. Soak again? And rinse better? Or are they a lost cause.
Philippine pili nuts
written by Philippines Food, Feb 15 2014
Philippine pili nuts from the Bicol region in the Philippines is a great Filipino or Philippines food or snack. Pili nuts are very healthy and nutritious indeed, being a source of energy, potassium and iron. They also have protein, dietary fiber / fibre, and calcium as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. I know they have no cholesterol, no trans fat, and the unsalted ones have no sodium. What is great about the pili nut snack or treat is that they are so crisp, rich, and delicious.
written by david gaus, Jan 31 2014
I would like to know what the best seed to sprout would be with the highest nutrition value, and when I say value I mean protein fat carbs antioxidants fatty acids amino acids vitamins minerals and finally will they produce any human growth hormones or nerve growth factor or even polysaccharide activity. thank you for any help you might shine on my curiosity
How about plain water for soaking?
written by Kathy, Jan 11 2014
I know it may sound cheap, but if someone either can't afford or doesn't want the extra expense of the "acid mediums", can plain water be used for soaking? Maybe if soaked longer? Please, no lectures about how vinegar is cheap... Some people are really doing all they can to afford a canister of oats & that small bottle of vinegar is an extra $2-$3. And dairy is out of pricing too. Just want to know, can water alone be used??
written by Ole, Sep 28 2013
To Milla, or someone who knows more about tolokno-flour.

You say that these oat-groats were finely or coarsely ground in your comment here. What I wonder is if they were also sifted?

Were the bran, from the oats, sifted and discarded after the oats had been ground?

I have heard some sources say that the bran was discarded. Maybe you could bring some clarity to this question.

I also wonder at what degree(celsius) the oats were roasted, after they had been dried during the night?
written by Ole, Sep 27 2013
Hi Milla!

Did you sift the tolokno flour after grinding it into flour?

I've heard some confusing thing about this.

So, did you sift it into sifted flour after roasting?

Or is the bran present in tolokno-flour?
Nuts shelled or in shells?
written by Sarah Lewis, May 11 2013
Is it ok to buy nuts to soak that have been shelled? I have heard that they can have mould on them. If so, would the soaking and dehydrating deal with this?

written by Michelle, Feb 25 2013
Is it ok to just soak my nuts overnight with only a very small dehyration or is the dehydration particularly important.
How we prepare whole oats in Russia
written by Milla, Dec 03 2012
In Russia, historically, we always made 'tolokno' from oats - my grandmother passed the recipe on to me.

You sprout the oat groats for about 2 days, then steam them overnight. After that, you lay them on a tray and dehydrate overnight in a very low oven (about 40 Celcius); when dry, you turn up the heat and roast them until they colour and smell nutty. We stored them like this.

To make porridge, we ground (finely, or coarsely, depending on what consistency we want the porridge) these oats in a mortar and pestle (a grinder works too of course); then soak in kefir or sour milk overnight. Cook with milk into a porridge (very quick if the oats were finely ground); if using coarser oats, we usually cooked them overnight in a very low oven with milk in a cast iron pot.

written by J, Apr 21 2012
Asians do too eat sprouted soybeans!! They're delicious. At least in Korea they do. I'm sure in other Asian countries too.
written by Pat Merkel, Apr 09 2012
Is Ryvita Rye Crisp Breads good for you? Are the phytates inhibited in this form of Crisp Bread?


Pat Merkel
what about taking phytase as a supplement?
written by jenny, Dec 07 2011
It seems like there are a few companies with a phytase supplement. If one took that, would eating without sprouting/soaking-dehydrating be reasonable?
written by Keshia, Nov 27 2011
Is baking an effective form of cooking grains once they have been soaked overnight with an acid? For example, my favourite grain recipe is apple crisp. Does it work to use rolled or flaked grains that have been soaked overnight and use these as the topping?
"Mana Bread"
written by Keshia, Nov 27 2011
There is a product found at most health food stores called Mana Bread. It is a sprouted bread, which I think is partially raw - or cooked on very low heat. It is kept in the freezer.
Are you familiar with this product? Is it a good way to eat sprouted grains?


written by Mila, Jul 06 2011
I kind of think with all the preparation necessary to eat grains (so that they're less harmful) indicates that grains are a waste of time. (For me anyway). You must really want your grains that badly if you're willing to go through such trouble.

I think root vegetables are the best option if one wants some nice filler carbs. The thing I always remember is that the minimum carbohydrate required for optimum health is 0! I eat vegetables because they taste good, but I don't rely on them for my nutritional needs. :-)

Sprouted flour need to be soaked?
written by Lisa, May 28 2011
Do I need to soak my sprouted spelt flour before using? If not, is it okay to use this flour for waffles and pancakes? (Since it's a shorter cook time??)

Also, what is the history of peoples using sprouted flours?

Getting fin ealmond flour from soaked and dried nuts?
written by Kathy, Feb 17 2011
I have tried coffee grinders, my blendtec, and a vitamix dry blade to try and grind a find almond flour. it either turns to meal or butter. any recomendations on a good almond flour grinder?
written by Urbanfarmer, Jan 19 2011
Is it necessary to soak whole wheat flour in kefir if I am making a traditionally leavened sourdough bread that proofs for 12 -24 hours. Does the sourdough starter get rid of the phytic acid?
Canned Beans
written by Peter Protopapa-Jones, Jan 18 2011
Hello, I read the part about canned beans not being soaked but mereley softened but I am a little confused as to why the brine they are in for a long period of time is not considered soaking them? Do the softeners stop the antinutients from being removed?

Thanks if you can eleborate smilies/smiley.gif
written by Cornelia Vellenga, Nov 20 2010
Hello, my husband was just diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Would raw milk be appropriate for him to drink? To help the reversal process?
Thanks, cv
Oils and digestion
written by Jack Fischer, Nov 08 2010
How are coconut oil and ghee in terms of digestion and overall healthfulness?
Coconut meat
written by Bel, Sep 27 2010
Question: Does coconut meat benefit from soaking? If so, what are the guidelines for soaking It?
written by Charlotte, Sep 10 2010
If I consume raw milk and eat sprouted bread, is it okay to pass on soaking and sprouting nuts? I have extremely limited refrigerator space and have read that nuts go rancid very quickly.
written by Seth, Aug 04 2010
Can i replace whey in fermented food recipies with leftover material from another fermentation (like my leftover sauerkraut juice)? It seems like it would have the dual effect of preserving with acidity and also provide a good starter culture but I worry that the bacteria are different from the ones I want and might mess with the outcome.
Soaking oats makes my kids sick
written by Carisa, Jun 16 2010
Both of my sons complain of severe stomach pains when they eat oatmeal that has been soaked. I've tried soaking it in different acids (buttermilk, yogurt, vinegar,ect.) but they still complain. Sometimes they even throw up. My oldest son has multiple food allergies and my youngest is lactose intolerant. They can both tolerate oats in other forms: granola bars, instant oatmeal, cold cereal, etc. Is there something about soaking oats that could make them more allerginic?
Spouted wheat
written by Tony, Jun 10 2010
How would you rate the sprouted wheat that is sold in health food stores?

I have purchased some sprouted winter wheat flour ( Shiloh farms ) at whole foods. Is this stuff worth it?
written by Tamara, Mar 21 2010
I didn't see an answer to the question regarding issues with microgreens. Are any of the issues with sprouts relevant to microgreens?
What about grains?
written by Nic, Mar 14 2010
What about wholegrain brown rice? Must you sprout.. can it even sprout! I'm confused, also because traditional Asian diets don't do that to their grains.

Also, what is your take on noodles/pasta made from wholewheat or brown rice or kamut or spelt etc. Are they still beneficial, or should we only stick to the WHOLEgrains?

And what about quinoa? I know they are seeds, not technically grains,does that mean they have to be sprouted?
Sprouting, Soaking, Nuts
written by MC, Mar 11 2010
Libby- It is an either/or thing. You can sprout your seeds or soak the ground flour in an acid medium. You don't have to soak your sprouted wheatberry flour.

Elizabeth- To neutralize the anti-nutrients in nuts, it is my understanding that you just soak them. I think it would be fairly difficult to sprout some types of nuts.

Kristie- Sprouting is not the only option for seeds- you can also soak your split chia seeds in filtered water w/ whey. Chia seeds are a little more difficult to sprout- you have to mist with water rather than pour water over them.

This is based on research I've done on my quest to follow the WAPF Nourishing Traditions way of life. I am not a doctor, a nutritionist, or the like. Good luck!
written by Libby, Mar 07 2010
If I am sprouting my wheatberries, do I still need to soak the flour from them?
sprouting nuts
written by Elizabeth, Feb 15 2010
Should I be soaking the nuts until they sprout or is it ok just to soak overnight and then dehydrate?
Chia Seeds
written by Kristie, Jan 25 2010
I have recently started eating a chia seed product that is minimally processed (without heat) by slicing the seeds into a powdered form. Would you recommend soaking to improve digestibility and inactivate enzyme inhibitors or is this not beneficial since the seeds are not in their whole state? I know in NT it is recommended to sprout seeds but what is your opinion on eating some non-sprouted seeds in addition to a WAPF diet/CLO/etc.?
Sprouting v Flour(in acid meduim)
written by SA, Jan 04 2010
Hi - Can you clarify which process has a greater impact in reducing phytic acid/inhibitors thus releasing the vitmains/minerals

a) Soaking and then sprouting the seed or
b) Adding an acid meduim to wholemeal flour and lettting it soak for 24hrs

Also which acid meduim has the greatest impact in reducing phytic acid/inhibitors buttermilk, kefir, yoghourt, lemon juice or vinegar

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Last Updated on Thursday, 02 September 2010 16:19