It is not just what we eat that is essential, but what our body is able to digest. We can eat good food, but without proper preparatory steps, unknowingly, we can invite an array of digestive issues.
When it comes to natural Energy food sources, there’s nothing more potent, more nutritionally dense than nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals, regardless of preparation methods. Nevertheless, substantial nutrients become more accessible just when the sprout is about to emerge out of the seed.
how's & WHY'S OF SOAKING
Awake the Power Within
I always looked at nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains, as mini-miracles of boundless creation. After all, they contain everything needed to become a vibrant life. They’re tiny sleeping beauties waiting to be awakened from the dormant state.
By immersing them in water, you can witness an unfolding miracle of life. Awakened by the water, they drink it with thirst while expanding their boundaries, and mini chemical factories within explode with nutrient production. That marks the beginning of the sprouting process.
Reorganization of the chemical structure from within manifests in changing of the nuts’ and seeds’ taste, while enriching them with ferments that are responsible for a sprout development. Simultaneously, remains of Phytic acids and other digestive inhibitors (like Tannins) vacate a seed.
What’s phytic acid?
All seeds, grains, and nuts contain phytic acids. Nature covers them with Phytates to ensure the survival of the species. Phytic acid plays an essential role in protecting the seed from premature consumption by wildlife. The amount of phytic acids in the nucleus decreases as seeds mature.
Concerning the effects on the human body, Phytic acid is a food inhibitor that chelates micronutrients and prevents them from being bioavailable.
In other words, enzyme inhibitors bind to specific vitamins and minerals within our body, impairing their digestion. Anti-nutrients bind with iron, magnesium, zinc, and copper in our colon, preventing their absorption. By soaking, we activate seeds and nuts and breaking the digestive inhibitors, making it easier for our body to digest and extract the necessary nutrients for proper function.
(if you want to get technical, see the science behind it here )
Soaking nuts, seeds, beans, and grains is an essential preparatory step. Digestion is an energy-intensive process. Soaking ignites germination, maximizes phytonutrients, and bioavailability, therefore, improves digestibility in the human system. So our cells have access to more ingredients critical to producing the energy we want.
Most of the nuts, seeds, and legumes can be eaten raw after soaking or sprouting, while some (almonds, black lentils) need to be blanched (deskinned) as they are hard to digest. But even if we are cooking them, soaking or sprouting will dramatically increase the amount and accessibility of nutrients.
The Benefits of Soaking:
- Promotes the production of essential enzymes for digestion;
- Increases nutrients available to cells to create vital energy;
- Dramatically decreases gas-causing components;
- Makes protein in a form that is better assimilated by the human body;
- Enriches flavor and taste;
- Decreases cooking time;
How to Soak
- Using a mesh strainer, rinse thoroughly under running water.
- Place nuts, seeds, grains, or legumes into a glass or ceramic bowl;
- Add lukewarm water. The water level should be slightly more than double the height of the ingredients in the bowl.
- Add a pinch of salt and a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice. (it will help to reduce the amount of enzyme inhibitors even further);
- Place a cotton or linen towel over the bowl;
- Soak for 6 to 12 hours, depending on the kind (see below);
- Drain off soaking liquid and rinse thoroughly with fresh water;
*nuts, seeds, grains, or legumes have to be raw;
* If you are soaking for more than 8 hours you have to drain and rinse every 8 hours; If impossible, soak them in the fridge.
Your seeds and nuts are ready for you. Here you have it, precious lives that are willing to become you. All you have to do is enjoy them consciously, with gratitude. I love to place the first one from the bunch in my mouth and hold it there for a little while… until it turns sweet. I love to feel the freshness and experience a bouquet of flavors as I slowly chew it. Then… I watch it dissolve into me.
You can enjoy your superpowered seeds and nuts (other than almonds) right away. Almonds have to be blanched (fancy word for soaking and removing the skin).
It is essential to soak almonds at least overnight. Almond skins have an acidic and astringent mild cyanide. Even though the amount of cyanide is minuscule, it is toxic to the liver. (1, 2). Soaking and blanching almonds remove cyanide along with other digestive inhibitors.
After soaking, almond’s skin easily slides off. You’ll be done in no time! I find the process of skinning almonds strangely satisfying and meditative.
Sometimes I have a batch of almonds that is hard to peel even after soaking them overnight with a pinch of salt and a splash of lemon. So, I use this trick to speed up the process.
If your almonds are too hard to peel after soaking:
- Transfer soaked and rinsed almonds into a little pot.
- Pour 1½ cups of boiling water over the almonds.
- Keep almonds under hot water for 7 seconds, then drain and rinse with cool water.
Peeling almonds after this process is a breeze; they’re literally popping out the skins; After blanching, almonds are still considered raw yet easy to skin.
4 hours at least – macadamia, brazil nuts, quinoa, amaranth;
6 hours at least -cashews, barley, buckwheat, lentils, millet;
8 hours at least – sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, wild rice, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pecans, pistachios, steel cut oats;
12 hours at least – almonds, black beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), peanuts, hazelnuts, mung beans, black lentils;
Soaking and sprouting daily grains, nuts, and legumes is really easy. Most of the things I soak overnight. Then – good rinse in the morning and nuts and seeds are ready to be used. Grains and legumes after rinsing I keep in the mesh strainer covered with a cotton towel for germination to set in. You can cook them at any time throughout the day.
What About You?
What is your experience with soaking and sprouting? Let me know in the comments below.
❤ Love, Julia