This is a follow up to my previous post about the dangers of whole grains.
There are several popular grain-free diets that have gained footing in the past few years, and even though I’m aware of their benefits for many people with digestive problems, for now, I still feed my family grains.
For me, the important thing with whole grains is to prepare them properly. When soaked, sprouted or soured, whole grains are transformed into easily digested nutritional powerhouses.
The most important staple in my house is sourdough bread. Bread baking intimidated me for a long time, but I finally got over my fear last year and haven’t looked back. Even though my bread doesn’t turn out perfectly every time, we manage to make it work. My family is pretty understanding of my kitchen misadventures. (Let’s just say homemade bread is much better when it’s fresh. I’ve always wondered how store bought bread keeps for so long..it’s a little creepy, actually.)
I recommend Nourished Kitchen’s recipe for no-knead sourdough bread. Jenny really understands all things fermented. She also has a great tutorial on sourdough starter that I found really helpful, and is a MUCH better photographer than I am.
When I first began soaking and fermenting, though, I started with brown rice and steel cut oats. This process is so easy. Once you get in the habit of doing some things a little bit ahead of time you might think so, too.
Steel cut oats (you can also use rolled oats)
Raw apple cider vinegar
The night before, measure out your oats for the morning into a non-reactive pot or sauce pan. I like to use glass, but stainless steel works well, too.
Cover with filtered water at least an inch above oats, and add a splash of apple cider vinegar. I use about a tablespoon per 2 cups of dried oats. Stir, cover, and place in a warm place overnight.
When you are ready to cook the oats, strain out the soaking water and rinse with fresh filtered water. Add water to cover and a dash of salt, and cook until desired texture is achieved.
The oats will cook much more quickly this way, and be easier to digest as well. We like to serve our oatmeal with butter or coconut oil and a drizzle of maple syrup. (Added healthy fat slows down digestion, lessening the chance of a blood sugar crash later in the day and also helps your body absorb nutrients.)
Soaked Brown Rice
Organic brown rice
Raw apple cider vinegar
Measure rice into a non-reactive pan. Cover with filtered water by about a half inch and stir in a splash of apple cider vinegar. Place in a warm location.
The longer you let it soak, the more nutritious the grains become. I have let brown rice go for as long as 3 days with no problem.
When ready to cook, rinse rice in a strainer and proceed with package directions. You might need slightly less water, but I find all brands of rice are different. I usually start with less than called for and add more part way through cooking if needed.
For an added nutritional boost, cook your rice with broth instead of water. This same process can be used with any whole grain, such as quinoa, buckwheat, millet or amaranth. It is not necessary to soak white rice, as the bran and germ have already been removed.
Whole Grains For Quick Recipes
To make quick breads or cookies (when soaking the flour isn’t possible) I use the sprouted flours from To Your Health Sprouted Flour Company. You can find sprouted flour in some health food stores, but because it is a perishable product, I won’t buy it unless it’s in the frozen section. To Your Health grinds each order immediately before shipping, and it is really good quality. I store it in the freezer.
Buttermilk is my secret weapon for healthy baking. I’ve found many recipes that call for buttermilk (like pancakes or banana bread) do just fine if I stir the flour and buttermilk together the night before and let them sit, covered, in a warm place. The texture is different and they take longer to cook, but it’s different, not bad. Sourdough starter works in much the same way, and makes delicious pancakes and waffles.
If all this soaking and souring business has you feeling overwhelmed, let me recommend my favorite shortcut. For weeks when I just don’t have time to bake bread, Food For Life has a great range of organic products made from sprouted grains. The Ezekiel bread shown here is my favorite, but my kids LOVE their cinnamon raisin english muffins. You’ll usually find it in the frozen section of your supermarket.
I hope you’ve found this information useful. If you have any questions or observations, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Check back soon: I usually respond within 24 hours. (Facebook is great for some things, but discussions tend to fall into the abyss after a week or two. Here, I can keep track of the “love” forever.)
For further reading, here is a link to an article on the Weston A. Price Foundation website.
And here is another from Natural News.