It’s time to maximize the nutrition and minimize the anti-nutrients in our beans, grains, seeds, and legumes. We can do this through the ancient process of soaking and sprouting them. Peggy Sutton, the founder and president of To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co., explains how to do this and why. She’s bringing the practice back after years of being overlooked.
Today, she tells us about how she came across this practice in the first place. She describes how sprouting works to strip away toxins. She discusses how to go about it at home. And she also reveals the dirty little secret about the “sprouted flour” industry (how not every product bearing the label “sprouted” actually has been sprouted).
Visit her website: healthyflour.com
Get her article, “How to Sprout at Home”
Find more resources on our website westonaprice.org
Listen to the podcast here
Within the below transcript the bolded text is Hilda
Sprouting: The Secret To Digestible Grains
Do you ever feel bloated or uncomfortable after eating beans? Do you feel like the anti-nutrients and grains may be contributing to your leaky gut? This is episode 390. Our guest is Peggy Sutton. Peggy is the Founder and President of the To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. She is a writer, baker, and research fanatic who has started a woman-owned and woman-operated small business that produces organic s sprouted grains and flours.
Peggy enlightens us about the best way to maximize nutrition and minimize the anti-nutrients found in beans, grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes. She recommends the ancient process of soaking and sprouting them. Peggy covers why this tradition went by the wayside and how she, along with others, is all about bringing it back. She tells us about how she came across this practice in the first place. She describes how sprouting works exactly to strip away toxins. She discusses how to get started sprouting at home. She also reveals the industry’s dirty little secret about the sprouted flour label.
Before we dive into the conversation, I want to give a quick shout-out to two of our sponsors, Bordeaux Kitchen Naturals. If you have been looking for affordable and natural chemical-free body care products, you have to check out Bordeaux Kitchen Naturals, created by Tania Teschke. Tania has created her own line of handcrafted lip balms, whipped body butter, bar soaps, night and day creams, and even dry shampoo. She uses only ingredients that she would want on her own skin and her children’s skin such as natural, organic, and grass-fed tallow and lard, natural beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, and other organic and essential oils.
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They’ve also got earth-paste toothpaste in a powder and paste form with no fluoride and only the best ingredients. There is also Redmond Clay. They sell bentonite clay and facial mud masks made from volcanic ash. Redmond makes amazing salt, but they’ve got other good stuff, too. Go to Redmond.life to place your order for any of the above. Use the code WISE at checkout to get 15% off your order. That’s Redmond.life and the code word WISE. You’re tuning in to the show.
Our guest was Peggy Sutton. Visit her website, HealthyFlour.com, and check out her blog there, too, under Baking Tips, How to Sprout at Home. You can find me at HolisticHilda.com. I’ve got resources to encourage you on your health journey. Here is a review from Apple Podcasts. Shinay Tredeau had this to say, “Thank you. I’m learning so much tuning in to the show. I really appreciate all the guests you have chosen to interview, especially this series on mental health. Muchas Gracias.” Denada. It is our pleasure. If you’d like to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts as Shinay did, go to Apple Podcasts, click on Ratings and Reviews, give us as many stars as you like, and tell us what you think of the show. Thank you so much for tuning in. Stay well. Hasta pronto.
Visit her website: HealthyFlour.com
Get her article: How to Sprout at Home
Find more resources on our website: WestonAPrice.org
Welcome to the show, Peggy.
Thank you for having me.
I’m super curious. How did you first come across the idea that grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and such need to be soaked or sprouted?
It was a personal endeavor. I was trying to take better care of myself and my husband. I took up running at the age of 41 and fell in love with moving my body. I decided that the rest of me needed to fall in line as well. I started researching using Sally’s Nourishing Traditions, looking at all the old traditional ways of preparing foods. I grew up in a family of farmers in Kettleman. They ate off the land. I dove in and discovered the traditional ways of preparing food. I loved it. One of those ways was sprouting grains before consuming them. I sprouted some grains in a couple of mason jars according to Sally’s little 1, 2, and 3 directions. I made a loaf of bread, and that was it.
You never looked back.
It digested so beautifully and tasted one.
Why do you think most of us have no idea about this process or about this idea anymore?
It goes back to when history began. Grains have always been part of humanity’s diet, but way back when, in those days, grains were so much more nutritious. We’re very technical and we’ve hybridized. f you’re not careful, you’re going to ingest genetically modified food. Scientists have gone crazy with things. Back in those days, everything was still in its original state. Everything was so much more nutritious.
Until the industrial revolution and the invention of the combine came around, it was traditional for farmers to leave their grain in the fields until they used or sold it. Precipitation would sprout that grain and make it so much more nutritious. We were getting a boatload more nutrition back in those days, eating grains than we do now. When people started flocking to the cities, you couldn’t allow the grain to sprout anymore. You had to get it out of the field and dry it before it sprouted. They want nutrition.
People have more digestive issues than ever before. Why wasn’t that happening to those people who flocked to the cities right after the industrial revolution or around that time and were eating grains? I don’t feel like they had IBS, SIBO, and all these other things.
The environment has a lot to do with some of our issues. Our food is so processed. If you’re eating bread and anything with grains in it, sprouting will break away the toxins. On a grain, there is a natural covering that protects that grain. It protects the nutrition that’s in it and keeps it dormant until it meets water. When you put it in the ground and apply water, that protection breaks down.
That protection, though, a lot of people refer to it as anti-nutrients. That protection, if it’s still intact, which would be any flour or any baked goods made with flour that has not been sprouted, then it’s going to affect how your body is able to digest what you’ve eaten. Let’s say you have a beautiful sandwich full of organic vegetables, herbs, and meats and then you’ve got this bread that’s full of phytates, phytic acid, and all those anti-nutrients. Your body is not going to be able to absorb so much of that wonderful nutritious food that you’re eating.
Do they even fight the absorption of nutrients in the other ingredients in the sandwich? Is that what you’re saying?
Yeah. I’ll give you an example. You see all these milk alternatives like almond milk or oat milk. Oats are so high in phytic acid. That’s why for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund fundraiser breakfast, you have sprouted rolled oats on the table. Oats are so full of phytic acid. Our process reduces that phytic acid by 80%. If you’ve got a wonderful, healthy bowl of cereal or granola that you’ve made and you know it doesn’t have any junk in it, but then you pour that milk on top of it, you’ve ruined it. Your body is not going to be able to digest all the goodness in the good food because you drowned it in liquid phytic acid.
This often crosses my mind, too, when I have friends who are like, “I’m avoiding gluten. I’m going to make some treats, some bread, or whatever out of almond flour.” I always think, “Was that properly prepared? If not, it’s the same kind of thing.”
Almonds, too. You can sprout an almond or at least activate it. I don’t think there is any sprouted almond flour on the market. I’ve had a miller make some for me personally because my husband wanted to experiment with fewer carbs for a little while, but he didn’t want to give up bread. We took some of our sprouted almonds and had a special miller mill it for us. Almonds have anti-nutrients as well. Any seed, nut, grain, or legume is going to have that special protection in its raw state unless it’s sprouted. You can soak and reduce some of the anti-nutrients.
What about cooking? Does that help reduce anti-nutrients, too?
I didn’t know that. I thought if I had spinach, for example, I wouldn’t want to eat a spinach salad because it has oxalates. I thought if I cooked the spinach, that would help break down those anti-nutrients.
Let me take that back because my brain’s always going grains. For certain vegetables, cooking may reduce some of the other anti-nutrients, like oxalates, for example, or lectins. I’m so familiar with phytic acid and the phytates that are so prevalent in some of the grains. We can’t cook and do away with them. You have to at least soak the grain in water with a little bit of acid like vinegar or a little bit of lemon juice for a while. Dry those grains and mill them, and you’ll get a nice result. Sourdough is another way to go because you’re fermenting.
I said I grew up in a farming family. My great-aunt had flour that they bought in bags and the flour had not sprouted. I remember that my aunt, every evening, would take her flour and raw buttermilk. They had dairy cows. She would mix the two together and make a simple biscuit dough with raw milk and flour. She would then cover it and let it ferment overnight.
The next morning, she would add rendered lard to it and make biscuits. She knew what she was doing. She knew that she was breaking down and making those biscuits a lot more digestible by doing that. It’s a great way. It’s the same process as sourdough. You’re mixing your sourdough starter with your flour. It’s a long process, so you’ve got that fermentation. Plus, it adds a beautiful taste.
I have fond memories of my nanny when I was growing up soaking beans overnight, but I didn’t know why she was doing it. I do sometimes wonder if she knew why she was doing it or if it was just tradition.
It could be tradition, but at some point, everyone knew why they were doing that. It was to make them more digestible. Most people that do it buy a dry bean and soak it in water to rehydrate it, not necessarily knowing that it’s going to help the digestion process when they cook the beans and consume them.
I want to pivot and ask you. How did you go from being a runner and deciding, “I’m going to do things this traditional way,” and starting a company to help people get pre-soaked and sprouted products?
I baked my first sprouted loaf of bread and my husband and I enjoyed it. The difference in how my body recognized it was phenomenal. It was one of these things that I was like, “People have to try this.” I had gotten my personal trainer certification. I was really into improving my health physically. I was talking with groups of folks. I would take a loaf of bread and say, “You’ve got to try this.”
I then educated them on why they would want to make bread and baked goods using sprouted flour and not regular flour, along with a lot of other stories. They were like, “The spread is wonderful, but I don’t bake bread. I’m busy. If you bake it for me, I’ll buy it from you.” That’s how it got started. I wanted everyone to know and have the opportunity to eat bread made from sprouted flour.
I started sprouting a lot more. I had a little mill. I’d mill it and make fresh bread. I got a food processing license. My husband had built a brand new bar and I said, “Can I have a 12×24 space so I can build it out and get a permit so I can sell this bread? Everybody needs to be eating s sprouted bread.” That’s how it started. I was going to 3 or 4 farmers’ markets a week. I started making crackers, bread, granolas, and a lot of healthy baked goods. People were buying them, and then stores started calling.
One day, I took a phone call and it was Whole Foods Market. I told my husband, “I’ve outgrown my 12×24. Can you build me a building? We can make a business out of my hobby.” The only way we’ve ever advertised our business is at trade shows and through education. My biggest thing is people need to understand what it takes, not just my product, but in any way that I can help them and provide them with resources on, “Here’s a good way to make positive changes in your diet that will make the biggest difference in your life.”
People need to understand what it takes to make positive changes in their diet that will make the most significant difference in their life.
The Weston A. Price Organization has been so instrumental in helping me out. I’ve been to so many of the annual conferences. We still sponsor them every year. We sponsor the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund’s breakfast with our sprouted oats. People need to understand that good whole food is the best way to go. Our company has been built on education. Finally, sprouted products went mainstream. Some of them are great and some of them still have processed ingredients. They’re getting the message that there is a lot more nutrition in sprouting that your body can uptake what you’re eating better, leading to better digestive health.
I hinted at that earlier. A lot of people have digestive issues that may have their roots in some of these anti-nutrients. They may be poking holes or causing discomfort at the very least and making them realize something needs to change. Is that why you think also the sprouting products are getting some more traction?
Yeah, I believe so. The last time I looked at analytics on our website to see who buys our sprouted flour, legumes, nuts, and seeds, most of them are the Boomer or the 60-something group. They’re at a point where they know to have a quality of life in their fall stage that they’ve got to pay attention to what they’re consuming. Environmentally, you can only go so far, but with your diet, you can make astronomical changes that are for the good.
Another thought that occurs to me is they have the money and maybe not the time. They are paying to buy these products. Whereas maybe the younger generation that is also getting interested in such things may have the time but not the money. They’re like, “This isn’t that hard. I can soak these oats,” or, “I can soak these beans.”
That is so because the next biggest group who’s buying from us is whom I call Millie the mom. This is a young woman who either has young children or planning to have them. She wants to make sure that she gives her children every opportunity to be healthy. One of the main things she does when she goes to the grocery store is she’ll pick up an item she’s interested in, flip it, and read the label. That’s Millie, the mom.
You don’t have to buy everything at the grocery store. You don’t have to buy from me. As a matter of fact, on our website or for anyone who would be interested in how I sprout at home, I have a How to Sprout at Home article on the website. This is not just grains. This is legumes and soaking nuts. It takes time, but it doesn’t take your time. You start, let time pass, and then finish. It’s really easy to do.
Having a sprout at home doesn’t take your time. You start, you let time pass, and then you finish. It’s just effortless to do.
I like that phrase. It takes time, but it doesn’t take your time. Since you’ve been in this for a while, can you tell me the story of someone who found that they couldn’t eat bread for a while or that they were like, “Beans don’t agree with me,” but find that they can because they’ve come across this idea that soaking, sprouting, and fermenting is beneficial?
Yes. The testimonials are what keep us going because we know. All that we do is organic. Your food needs to be clean and chemical-free. I got an email from a young mom who has an autistic child. She said one of the first things that the doctor did was take all grains away or out of the child’s diet as a protocol. She said her child wanted a cookie. It broke her heart that she couldn’t let her child consume grains.
She bought a small bag of our sprouted corn flour and made some cookies. She used healthy ingredients. She decided that she would give one to her child to see if he had a negative reaction. She said she cried because the child did not have any negative reaction to the sprouted cookie. That brings tears to my eyes. I even called the mom to talk with her about it.
I then had another lady call. She said, “I love you, but my husband loves you more. He has not eaten a piece of bread in fifteen years until yesterday. I made bread with your sprouted spelt flour and he didn’t have a reaction. We are still on cloud nine. I’m going to buy a 50-pound bag so he can have bread again.”
There is a pediatrician in California that is treating children’s allergies with our sprouted green pea flour. It’s like a peanut allergy. What they’re doing is they’re giving young children teeny-tiny bits of peanuts in their food and doing the same thing with sprouted green pea powder to overcome a lot of environmental allergies. That’s new to me, but if it works, it’s wonderful. There are so many benefits. Those are three of the testimonials.
How long have you been in operation?
2022 is our seventeenth year. We climbed up the mountain. We’ve seen sprouted products go mainstream. When COVID came along, we had to put on a second shift because we couldn’t get flour in the grocery store all of a sudden. You couldn’t get store-bought bread and then you couldn’t get flour. Everybody was going crazy and getting flour from us. That was a real blessing. We continue to educate. I was reading an article. It rated the top 25 breads on the market that you could get. Out of the top 5, 3 of them were sprouted.
You must feel so satisfied that you helped make that happen. It’s like Sally and I talk about ferments or kombucha, which was a foreign word to most people many years ago. We were like, “It’s a safe way. How did this happen?” You were a part of that educational movement. Doesn’t that feel good?
It does. It’s still all about education. We’re blessed to have made a business out of it to provide for ourselves, but it’s not about that. It’s making sure that whoever wants to improve their health and wants a good, clean, and nutritious product that I can make available to them.
There are people who are like, “I don’t need all that clean, nutritious sprouted stuff. I’m going to buy this flour off the grocery store shelf. I’m going to make as many cookies as I want and I’m fine.” Do you encounter people like that who look at you like you’re crazy?
Yeah. I’ve encountered a lot of people who said, “I had no idea I felt so bad,” when they clean up their diet, especially young kids. At one point, I was there. I ate what I wanted to and I thought I was fine. You may be for now, but not over the long haul. People need to be very mindful. I don’t care how young or old you are. Be mindful of what you’re eating. You’re right about what you said about fermentation. It goes so far, whether it’s kraut, kombucha, kefir, or water kefir. There are so many other things coming out. Be careful if you’re buying a product that. Make sure that it doesn’t have a lot of additives in it and that it’s good and clean.
That’s the only drawback about these things that are trending. Some companies will take shortcuts so that they can take advantage of the trend but do not necessarily deliver the quality ingredients that people’s bodies need most.
We have to be so careful about that. Back in 2015, I went to the Whole Grains Council director. I said, “I can’t do it because I’m a major sprouter. Would you please bring the sprouters and some of the big manufacturers of the sprouted products to the round table? Let’s come to the round table and discuss this.” Sprouted grains are wonderful to a degree, depending on what else you’re mixing with them. I want to make sure that the other sprouters are sprouting because there weren’t any industry standards. They may have been waving a magic wand over their grain and calling it sprouted.
Unfortunately, they could do that. For those small groups of us who knew that we were sprouting, one bad apple sometimes can spoil the whole barrel. If my customers and a couple of the other real sprouting companies’ customers went with this cheaper brand of sprouted flour over here because they weren’t sprouting and then they had a bad reaction, it’s not fair. I don’t mean fair to us. It’s not fair to the customer to call your product sprouted if it’s not.
She did a great job. We had 35 or 36 people come to the round table to talk about it. We did not set any specific standards by the end of it. What we did come up with were things that had to be considered if you were going to call your grains sprouted. We did not submit our determinations to the FDA because Cynthia thought that it was a little too soon. Since we’ve got this resurgence with sprouted grains, I touched base with her and she said, “It may be time now.” We’ll go back to the round table.
I’m wondering. Is there any way we can look at a package of sprouted flour and have any idea if it’s been sprouted properly or not at this juncture?
Not really. On our bags, on the front, it says, “True Sprouted Flour.” Someone who doesn’t sprout could do the same thing.
We know you, your mission, your heart, and your standards. That’s helpful when folks are going out there. In the Wise Traditions group, we have a shopping guide where we have listed companies that we recommend. We have different categories, whether they’re excellent or good. I’m sure we have your company in there. There are others that will let people know about it because they can trust them. You do have to be careful, for sure.
There’s only so far you can go. I have never bad-mouthed anybody. I can talk about ingredients in a finished product, things you shouldn’t consume, and things you should look for on a label, but I’ve never called a name on anyone who’s not doing what they say they’re doing. That’s not fair. I don’t think on my part to do that, but I will be glad to educate anyone on what is truly sprouted grain and legumes. For those customers of ours who we’ve been around for years, they understand. I’m sure they’ve tried a couple of other brands of sprouted flour. You can tell. The difference is that dramatic to me. You can tell if you’re eating something that’s called sprouted and it’s not.
Your body will tell you if you’re paying attention. You’re right. We can get too comfortable being uncomfortable and not even realize the difference until we start tasting it and trying it for ourselves. In my lunch bag, I have a little bag of sprouted popcorn that I got from you. I cooked it up with some coconut oil. I’m so excited to have that as a snack. I’m grateful that you have such a variety of products. I’m so thankful for you and your mission. I want to pose here at the end the question I like to pose. It is simple. If there’s one thing the readers could do to improve their health, what would you recommend that they do?
I would recommend that they eat clean whole foods. Let go of processed foods. By clean, I mean organic or chemical-free and no processed foods. If you eat dairy, make sure you try to find a raw dairy source. Nothing should ever enter your mouth that has been genetically modified.
Let go of processed foods; eat clean—organic, and chemical-free—whole foods.
Thank you so much for this time. I appreciated talking to you. You are fulfilling your mission of education. I’m so glad we’re aligned. Thank you once again.
Thank you so much. I enjoyed it.
- Bordeaux Kitchen Naturals
- BordeauxKitchen – Etsy
- The Bordeaux Kitchen
- Secrets from the French
- To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co.
- Redmond Salt
- Upgraded Formulas
- Optimal Carnivore
- How to Sprout at Home
- Apple Podcasts – Wise Traditions
About Peggy Sutton
Peggy Sutton is the founder and president of the To Your Health Sprouted Flour company. She is a writer, baker, and research fanatic who has started a woman-owned and woman-operated small business that produces organic sprouted grains and flours. To Your Health Sprouted Flour Company is now an industry leader in health foods.
Peggy is also a well-seasoned professional in the field of marketing, having served the profession for 43 years and counting. Peggy enjoys country life in the community where she grew up. She loves the outdoors, gardening, and most recently tends her new vineyard as she’s a winemaker as well.
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