- 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
- Frontier’s Nutritional Yeast
- Is it possible to soak and then dehydrate flours?
- Is popcorn healthy to eat?
- crispy nuts
- Jupiter Mill & Nutrimill
- drying process
- Oxtail soup
- milk kefir and kombucha
- sprouts and sprouted flours
- soaking nuts and seeds with salt
- Africans threw away the bran in their grains
- fresh shelling beans – should they be soaked?
- Does soaking nuts and grains deplete the magnesium content?
- phytic acid isn’t actually bad?
- soaking corn meal
- whole wheat flour and whole grains, v. soaked and fermented
- Jim Lahey’s no knead bread
- sprouts and sprouted flours toxic?
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.
Q: I’m confused about Frontier’s Nutritional Yeast… Do you guys still recommend this product? I was reading that they added B vitamins and that it’s pasteurized…maybe it’s different than the milk being pasteurized.
A: All yeast is heated, to dry it. We still recommend Frontier, but someone just did an analysis of all the yeast products available, and came to the conclusion that Lewis Labs yeast was the best. Best, Sally
Q: Is it possible to soak and then dehydrate flours? Is that beneficial to health? Is it better to take a grain, make it into flour, and then soak the flour, or to soak the grain or legume and dehydrate, before making the flour? There seem to be conflicting opinions on this and it does not appear to be addressed on Nourishing Traditions – the implication in the recipes perhaps being that taking unsoaked grains/legumes, and grinding them, then soaking the flour – is the preferred method? Please advise as to the best method and why.
A: No one has done any testing so it is hard to advise. When you think of it, baking is really a process for dehydrating soaked flours.
Q: Is popcorn, whether air-popped or oil-popped, healthy to eat? Is there any way to remove or reduce phytic acid from popcorn?
A: Corn is fairly low in phytic acid so popcorn in moderation is probably fine. Also, when it is eaten with melted butter, the saturated fats help mitigate the effects of phycid acid.
Q: Question: this article touts raw nuts. We always used to eat our nuts raw, but are now making crispy nuts instead. We assume this negates some of the anti-cancer benefits described in this article. Does wapf take a position on this?
A: The process of making crispy nuts gets rid of all the antinutrients but leaves the many benefits. It leaves the enzymes intact.
Q: You are suggesting the Jupiter Mill – I was told it was bought by the Family Grain mills and since then the stone burr is not a natural but a manufactured “stone”. Not sure if that’s true. .Also – Would you recommend Nutrimill? I think I would like to purchase this mill and it seems the temperature is similar to a stone burr – like a Wolfgang mill.
Sorry, I am still using my old Jupiter and just not up on the new mills. The Nutrimill sounds fine to me.
Q: I am in the process of buying a grain mill and my question regards handling of the grain. I am interested in soaking my wheat grain in a lacto-fermentation manner in order to neutralize the phytic acid in the grain. My question regards the drying process then before grinding the grain. Do you know if drying the grain at the lowest heat of a conventional oven (170 degrees on mine) would reduce the nutritional value and health of the germ in the grain? I have a dehydrator which may be a better option, if that is advisable at all either, but I could process a larger quantity of grain by oven. Perhaps making a sour dough starter is the only nutritionally safe way to soak grains prior to making baked goods?
A: A conventional oven is fine, although I think a dehydrator works better. You don’t have to sprout the grains if you are doing a genuine sourdough bread.
Q: The Oxtail soup recipe p. 209 Nourishing Traditions, calls for barley “roasted and soaked at least 7 hours.” What is purpose of roasting the barley? Should it be roasted before soaking? How long should it be roasted? And should barley always be roasted before preparing?
A: Just put it on a cookie pan in the oven at about 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. That is the roasting. It will give a good flavor. Then soak. About always soaking, not sure it is necessary, but it was frequently done traditionally.
Q: I am interested in making my own milk kefir and kombucha, but I have questions about both. Milk Kefir: What is a Kefir grain? How is it made, and can I make my own kefir grains? Can I make kefir without kefir grains, without buying the powder culture? What is the difference between kefir and yogurt? Is there a difference between SCOBY grains and Kefir grains? Kombucha : I read an article written by fungus expert Paul Stamets about kombucha. Here is the link: http://www.fungi.com/info/articles/blob.html Stamets says two things in the article that concern me about kombucha: 1) it has antibiotic properties, and 2) the sugar water/tea medium is good for growing all kinds of bacteria, equally receptive to harmful bacteria and beneficial bacteria. Kombucha is promoted as a probiotic drink, but can kombucha be both antibiotic and probiotic? If it is antibiotic, would it not be harmful to drink regularly? If, unlike the salty brine of a vegetable ferment, the sugary liquid of kombucha is indeed receptive to harmful bacteria, is it a good idea to use an airlock fermenting jar and lid to prevent contamination with harmful bacteria while still allowing gases to escape?
A: Sorry, I am not an expert in the kefir grains. I don’t think you can “make” them, they need to be gotten from someone else. I don’t know about the powder. Kefir is easier to make than yogurt, it is not as temperature-sensitive. Normally kombucha is made by just putting a towel over the bowl or jar. We have not heard of anyone getting sick from kombucha they have made. But if you are nervous about it, you can always put a lid on the jar.
Q: notice that you recommend sprouts and sprouted flours, both of which I have been using. After reading an article on Dr. Mercola’s web site, I am now not sure about the toxicity of these products. His sources point out that benzoxazinoids and WGA are highest in sprouted grains. What is the foundation’s opinion?
A: Really the best thing is freshly ground flour (ground at home) that has been soaked. Sprouted flours have been used in beer making for centuries, so I am not sure how to interpret the alleged toxicity of the sprouted grains.
Q: In Nourishing Traditions, you recommend soaking nuts and seeds with salt. Why salt? Why not use acid medium that appears to be most useful with grains and legumes? Also, do you know whether phytates are removed permanently or is the phytic acid simply deactivated temporarily through soaking?
A: Soaking nuts with salt–this inactivates the enzyme inhibitors and is a method used by traditional peoples (such as pistachios). Phytates are inactivated permanently by soaking.
Q: Do apricot kernels need to be soaked?
A: If you are eating just 2-3 per day, I don’t think they need to be soaked.
Q: I am currently reading one of Weston Price’s studies of African tribes. It’s interesting to note that most of the Africans threw away the bran in their grains before consumption. They fermented their grains and then they discarded the bran. I was quite surprised by this. Most modern health advisers tell us to eat whole grains with the bran intact. Maybe they are wrong about this? Since I’ve read this I have found other sources saying that the human digestive system can’t absorb the nutrition in the bran anyway.
A: Yes, this really raises food for thought. I think one difference is that the bran in bread is ground very fine, so that the ferments can really get at the indigestible components. That is what they did and I think we need to pay attention. The grains in Africa are fermented a long time into a very sour drink. . .
lots of nutrients are formed and the remaining minerals are very easy to absorb. (These drinks are too sour for western tastes).
Q: I grow fresh shelling beans. We harvest them before they get hard and dry. They can’t be eaten raw, but the beans are still soft when we cook them. Should these beans be soaked before cooking, or are they too immature to contain enzyme inhibitors?
A: A guess (it’s only a guess) is that you are right, the immature beans are much lower in enzyme inhibitors and other anti-nutrients. Still, I would soak them first and then cook them.
Q: Does soaking nuts and grains deplete the magnesium content? Does soaking, then dehydrating nuts or then cooking grains deplete magnesium content?
A: Soaking nuts and grains makes the magnesium more available, it does not deplete it.
Q: I have been a paying member of the WAPF for three years now. The main reason I ended up at WAPF was to get away from DIETS and begin to eat REAL FOOD. When I found WAPF I thought I had found my home, no diets, just real food and then I learned properly prepared foods, like soaking grains, which were and are not evil, healthy fats, organ meats, cultured dairy, lacto-fermented foods, etc. Yes, I do understand there are folks out there who cannot eat even those, but why, oh, why is WAPF starting to become more a GAPS, PALEO diet site? I see little mentioned on the last conference and also in the last quarterlies about fermented grains, beans, not gluten free grains mind you, just properly prepared, etc. My goodness but didn’t some of these cultures, Northern European for instance, survive on fermented gluten containing grains? Anyway, would like to see “us” get back to WAPF principles and not be so swayed by the GAPS and PALEO folks. Yes, I understand, but please, more about us folks who eat grains, beans, dairy and do just fine!
A: I totally agree with you about Paleo–we are NOT Paleo and I am going to write something about this for the next journal. GAPS is for people who are having trouble with grains, with the object of healing the gut so they can eat grains again. It is meant to be a temporary healing diet.
Q: I wonder if the foundation has made any response to people who are now saying that phytic acid isn’t actually bad. There was one long article at: www.info.breadbeckers.com/phytic-acid/. That company has been selling grains for a long time and has a very different opinion from the Foundation, based on her many years in the business. I would be interested in what the foundation thinks of the article, if someone there has seen it, or if a response has been made to it.
One other question, if someone can answer it. I saw the review of Deep Nutrition in 2012 by Dr. Shanahan. She seems to be very popular. She says sugar makes your cells sticky, and that if you have jelly in your hand and try to throw it down, it sticks to you. That’s the sugar molecules binding to your proteins and making them sticky. Would the foundation agree with those statements? What about what I have read that your cells have a sugar-protein coating on the outside? How does that relate to what she says about sugar making your cells sticky?
A: There is much in the scientific literature about mineral deficiencies from phytic acid–although it is true that some people manage phytic acid better than others, this may have to do with gut flora. But for sure, in traditional cultures, grains were soaked, sprouted or sour leavened. She is absolutely wrong when she says that yeasted breads are the same as sourdough breads. The soaking, etc gets rid of more than phytic acid, but also enzyme inhibitors, tannins, lectins and many other irritants. New research
from Italy shows that sour leavening neutralizes glutin and sourdough bread can be consumed by celiacs.
People promoting whole grains not properly prepared really have a lot to answer for, because they really can cause IBS, Crohn’s and other gut problems. We often hear from people who got very sick eating a lot of improperly prepared whole grains. See Performance without Pain by Kathy Pirtle.
I don’t know about sugar making cells sticky–I think this is a very simplistic explanation, because, as you say, our cells do have sugars attached to them. But for sure, sugar caused nutrient depletion.
Q: I purchased the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, and have been learning a lot, but I still have a lot of questions. The one I have right now is about soaking corn meal. The grain mill that I have will not grind
soaked grains, so I have to grind my grains first and then soak my flour. If I understand it right, you soak the corn grains in limewater, and then rinse them. When you soak the cornmeal, do you rinse it afterwards? If so how? If you don’t rinse it, is it safe to leave the limewater in the food? Isn’t the lime toxic to the body if eaten? Please help me understand this, I purchased the lime, and made my first glass of limewater, but am a little afraid to try it. Lime water is just calcium carbonate, so it is not toxic. But yes, rinse the lime water first and then soak the grains in an acidic medium, which you do not need to rinse out. But to make things easier, you can start with Masa flour, which has already been soaked in limewater. Second, I do not have a 2 quart jar, only 1 quart jars. Would I make the lime water the same way, with 1 inch in the bottom, and then fill with filtered water and shake up and let sit for 7 hours, or should I put only 1/2 inch lime in the bottom. 1/2 inch is fine. Also, when the water is poured off the lime, do I use the same lime again and then add more water, or do I have to put new lime in each
time I make lime water. You don’t need to put in new lime. I would appreciate any help you could give me in this matter. I tried finding the answer online, but wound up more confused with more questions. So I thought I would find out the answer form the source.
A: The corn recipes in NT are difficult and I did not always get good results with the recipes. In my next book I am going to develop recipes using masa flour to start with.
Q: Isn’t it still better to eat whole wheat flour and whole grains, being soaked and fermented, rather than white flour and refined grains, even if there is a lot of phytic acid? My mother was trying
to use the phytic acid thing as a reason to feed my children things made with white flour, and I’ve read several things on blogs about this, too.
A: Yes, whole grains are in general better for most people.
Q: I just joined WAPF and have a question about bread. I have been making Jim Lahey’s no knead bread which has bread flour, yeast, salt and water as its only ingredients and rises for 18-24 hours. Does this make it a bread that qualifies since it ferments for such a long period of time?
A: This is not a true sourdough bread–it is not acidic enough to neutralize all the antinutrients.
Q: I notice that you recommend sprouts and sprouted flours, both of which I have been using. After reading an article on Dr. Mercola’s web site, I am now not sure about the toxicity of these products. His sources point out that benzoxazinoids and WGA are highest in sprouted grains. What is the foundation’s opinion? Also I am wondering whether soaking canned beans will make them more palatable?
A: Traditionally sprouted grains were also cooked–as in sprouted mung beans. So it should probably be OK to eat the sprouted grains in bread, which is cooked. And the flours would also be cooked. I can’t imagine soaking canned beans–not sure it would do any good after the canning process.