How to properly prepare grains and legumes

With the Western diet being so focused on grain-based foods in the modern era, the increase in diseases has also increased exponentially. Chronic diseases such as eczema, allergies, diabetes and other autoimmune diseases are included. While well-intentioned, the emphasis on whole grains over refined grains is simply not enough. Traditionally, as a species, we have never eaten these foods in the quantities consumed today, nor have they been prepared as they are today.

In the past, when we consumed far fewer grains and legumes, we took appropriate steps to prepare them, including soaking or fermenting. Sourdough was the common bread before the introduction of commercial yeast. Even corn was fermented to make tortillas in ancient times. Some Asian cultures also fermented rice in their ethnic dishes.

Science has shown us that if we soak our grains or legumes for a minimum of 7 hours in water, with a small amount of cider vinegar, or lemon juice, we neutralize the phytic acid. Phytic acid is an organic acid that blocks the absorption of minerals in the intestinal tract. Soaking also neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors present in all seeds and also adds beneficial enzymes that increase the nutrients present, especially the B vitamins. Even those with gluten intolerance, or even celiac disease, can eat breads like sourdough! Here are some ways to start soaking your grains and legumes;

  • Oats - mix 1 cup of rolled oats with 1 cup of filtered water and 2 tablespoons of yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice or cider vinegar. Cover and let sit on the counter for at least 7 hours. Then add another cup of water, bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. You are ready to serve hot, adding butter, cream, fruit, nuts or other ingredients as desired.


  • Brown Rice - Mix 2 cups of short grain brown rice with 4 cups of filtered water and 4 tablespoons of yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice or cider vinegar. Cover and let sit on the counter for at least 7 hours. Then bring to a boil, skim off the foam, reduce the heat while stirring in the butter to your liking. Cover and cook over low heat for 45 minutes.

  • Beans - For kidney beans, simply cover the beans with enough water to cover them, add a pinch of baking soda and soak for 12 to 24 hours. For non-kidney beans, soak them in water and 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar or lemon juice for each cup of dried legumes. The best practice is to rinse and refresh the water and baking soda (or cider/lemon vinegar) 1-2 times during the soaking process. Once soaking is complete, drain, rinse and add fresh water and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 4-8 hours until tender.


  • Breads - While you can certainly make your own, we are fortunate today to find good quality sourdough or sprouted breads made from organic flour without additives fairly easily. If a sourdough loaf has yeast in the ingredient list, just know that it is not a true sourdough loaf.


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