Get a FREE copy of my report The 7 Most Shocking Things the Health Food Industry
Will Never Tell You
+ my newsletter AND special health deals!

How To Eat Grains

You’d think it’d be simple. Eating grains is as old as… well, agriculture. But within the last century the industrialized grains we eat have become quite perverted. Refined flours have weaseled their way into just about every baked good: breads, cereals, crackers, desserts, you name it. But even whole grains — the so-called “healthy” alternative — are dangerously devoid of nutrients thanks to our modern methods of grain preparation.

In tight economic times, you want to squeeze every bit of nutrition out of your food as you possibly can. So, if you eat grains, consider this your guide to preparing them in the most nutritious way.


We all know that refined grains are bad for us. In the refining process, the bran and germ are removed from the whole grain, hence removing the fiber and most of the vitamins and minerals. Then the grains are further processed via mixing, bleaching, and brominating. Then, because poor people who switched to eating refined grain products started suffering from severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies, we now “enrich” the refined flour with synthetic vitamins and minerals. These synthetic nutrients can be hard on your liver. Even if they were substantially equivalent to naturally occurring vitamins and minerals (which I don’t believe!), the vitamin and mineral content artificially added back into enriched flours still does not measure up to the amount inherent in whole grains.

Without question, whole grains are nutritionally superior to refined grains. But, they can be even more nutrient dense if your prepare them according to traditional grain preparation techniques.

What Are Traditional Grain Preparation Techniques?

  1. Sprouting — This is when the whole grain kernel is sprouted. You can eat it as is, or you can dry it again before grinding it into flour.
  2. Soaking — This is when the already milled whole grain flour is soaked in an acidic medium like buttermilk, whey, yogurt, lemon juice, or vinegar before being cooked.
  3. Fermenting — This is when the grain is naturally fermented with wild yeast, as is the case with all sourdough breads.

Why Should You Care?

We can’t blame our parents or our grand parent’s generation for falling in love with convenience. Modern science promised to revolutionize our lives, reduce the amount of time and energy it took us to perform tasks, and give us more time to do the things we really enjoy. It also revolutionized our food, dramatically reducing the time we spent in the kitchen preparing wholesome meals.

But this convenience came at a cost. We lost many wonderful food traditions as Grandmas raved about frozen pizzas and stopped cooking from scratch. We stopped eating meals together around a table, instead opting for fast food on the go. And the traditional food preparation techniques that had nourished us for thousands of years fell victim to the efficiency of industrialization.

Now, instead of capturing wild yeast from the air through the long process of sourdough fermentation, we had quick rising baker’s yeast. And instead of soaking our whole grain flour in buttermilk overnight to produce wonderfully light and fluffy buttermilk pancakes in the morning, we could use a baking mix containing white flour and chemical leavening agents to achieve the same effect.

So what? How does this affect the food’s nutrition?

Grains are essentially the seeds of domesticated grasses. Seeds are meant to do one thing: propagate their species. They are built with multiple layers of protection in order to pass through the digestive systems of animals unharmed so that they can grow in a new place where the animals deposited them. Granted, we have a fairly acidic digestive tract when compared to your average chicken, so we do a better job at breaking down the grains.

But grains are still hard on our digestive systems, and we don’t digest any grain completely. Undigested particles of grain get stuck in the microvilli of our intestinal walls, building up with time, and ultimately undermining our ability to properly digest other foods because of this interference. If the interference becomes extreme, a host of intestinal and auto-immune disorders can result including leaky gut syndrome, gluten intolerance, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

On top of all this, we have to battle phytic acid — the enzyme inhibitor present in grains that locks up all the minerals and vitamins until the seed is ready to germinate. When that phytic acid gets loose in our own guts, it binds with the vitamins and minerals present and keeps us from absorbing them. This can lead to a host of systemic problems, most notably dental decay.

It turns out that traditional grain preparation techniques solved these problems!

Soaking whole grain flour in an acidic medium overnight neutralizes the phytic acid by activating phytase — an enzyme present in the grain which breaks down the phytic acid, rendering the grain easier for us to digest.

Fermenting whole grain flour also neutralizes the phytic acid and does an even more thorough job breaking the grain down — to the point that many who suffer from gluten intolerance have no trouble eating traditionally prepared sourdough bread!

And sprouting grains not only neutralizes the phytic acid, but also radically increases the nutrients present. This is because the grain has essentially been turned into a vegetable. When comparing sprouted wheat to unsprouted wheat on a calorie-per-calorie basis, the sprouted wheat contains:

  1. four times the amount of niacin
  2. nearly twice the amount of vitamin B6 and folate
  3. five times the amount of vitamin C
  4. significantly more protein and fewer starches and sugars

How to Eat Grains

If you’re going to eat grains, you should really make sure they are traditionally prepared.

For many recipes, this consists of making a few minor and easy adaptations. For example, you can soak your rolled oats overnight in yogurt before adding water and cooking in the morning. This is how traditional cultures have always prepared their porridge, and it only takes a few extra minutes in addition to a little planning to eat this instead of quick cooking instant oatmeal. You can also do this with your breakfast quick breads like pancakes and biscuits simply by soaking the whole wheat flour in buttermilk overnight before adding the rest of the recipe’s ingredients and cooking in the morning.

Making traditional sourdough is something I have not ever attempted, although I’d love to try. I typically buy my sourdough from a local bakery that cooks it up the old-fashioned way. (Note: Most sourdough bread available at your grocery store is not traditionally prepared. It is your typical commercial yeast bread that includes something sour tasting. If “yeast” is listed as an ingredient, it’s not a real sourdough.) If you’d like to try making your own sourdough bread, you can find listings for sourdough starters on my Resources Page.

Perhaps the easiest way to adapt to eating healthier grains is to simply substitute sprouted grain flour for your typical whole grain flour. If you have a grain grinder, you can sprout the grain yourself, dry it, and grind it into fresh flour. (This is what I do whenever I occasionally eat grains.) Or, if you don’t have a grinder, you can buy sprouted grain flour online. Again, you can find listings for sprouted grain flour on my Resources Page.

(photo by aricee)

Print Friendly
Sharing Is Rebellious! ENJOY.


The following two tabs change content below.
I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.

Latest posts by Kristen Michaelis (see all)

STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note that I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with Food Renegade's ideals and that I believe would be of value to my readers. You may read my full disclosure statements here.







68 Responses to How To Eat Grains
  1. silverbeet
    July 27, 2009 | 4:44 pm

    @FoodRenegade re: http://bit.ly/11lMAy intrigued abt yr phytic acid comments. An acid can’t neutralize another acid – a base/alkaline does

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

    • Kirk
      July 7, 2010 | 1:08 pm

      As mentioned above, phytic acid is broken down by the enzyme phytase. It’s not an acid-base reaction.

    • John-Marc
      August 23, 2011 | 2:11 pm

      Yes, it is saying that the acidic medium does not directly neutralize the phytic acid, but rather activates the phytase in the grain, an enzyme whose sole purpose is to break down said phytic acid.

  2. Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen
    July 27, 2009 | 5:03 pm

    We love soaked,sprouted and soured goodies! They’re much easier to digest. There’s a fantastic bakery nearby that does traditional, whole grain sourdough breads that are fantastic. They use a variety of grains too – which is good for those with food sensitivities.
    .-= Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen

  3. Leesie
    July 27, 2009 | 6:57 pm

    I just ventured into sourdough bread making and made my first sourdough bread over a week ago. I followed Clotilde’s tutorial and method over at Chocolate & Zucchini with great success. She makes it seem so simple and easy – and it really is! Here is the link: http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2009/07/natural_starter_bread.php. I also loved Joy the Baker’s sourdough pancake recipe and Emeril’s recipe as well, which I tried just this morning.

    Thanks Kristen for always giving us great information and resources so we can be healthy and stay that way.

  4. NewRes
    July 27, 2009 | 7:19 pm

    How to eat grains, from @FoodRenegade: http://bit.ly/1fgRz

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  5. Kitty
    July 27, 2009 | 8:16 pm

    Hey Kristen!

    I noticed this is the second time you’ve mentioned soaking flour in buttermilk for biscuits. I am wondering if you have a recipe for that or know where I can find one? A quick google search showed nothing.

    Thanks
    Kitty

  6. KristenM
    July 27, 2009 | 8:28 pm

    Kitty — We don’t really eat grains anymore, but I do occasionally make a loaf of sprouted grain bread. When I made biscuits, I used to substitute buttermilk in for the liquid in my old recipe. Then, I’d let that soak overnight before adding the salt, baking soda, and butter in the morning. So, I’d recommend finding your favorite biscuit recipe and adapting it like I did.

    • Laura
      September 1, 2010 | 7:16 pm

      Just wondering, what is your reason for not eating grains anymore?

      • KristenM
        September 1, 2010 | 7:47 pm

        I’m lazy. Sprouting, soaking, and/or fermenting all require planning ahead. I’m a homeschooling mother of 3 with a newborn, AND I do nutrition coaching, AND I write ad copy, AND I blog here and teach nutrition courses. I’m a busy person! I just don’t want to take the time to properly prepare grains on a regular basis.

        • Laura
          September 2, 2010 | 7:58 pm

          I understand completely! I was just making sure there was not some other reason I should be aware of that would make me want to limit grains too. I also have 3 kids and just started the slow transition to real foods this past March. I thought I was doing pretty well until I read your articles on soy and grains! I looked through my pantry and was sad to see how much of my “healthy, all natural” foods were full of soy! And I just started buying fresh farm eggs and milk, so the grain soaking and sprouting thing sounds a little overwhelming at the moment! I am so thankful for your website, I have learned so much I did not know!

  7. Daily Diner
    July 27, 2009 | 8:52 pm

    Great post. we soak/sprout almost all grains–about 70%. I love the Nourishing Traditions Cookbook by Sally Fallon.

    Another major benefit for soaking your grains is CONVIENENCE! That’s right (I know that’s an evil word sometimes) but by soaking your grains you cut back on the time it takes to cook. A heart grain like spelt normally takes 45 minutes or so, but if it soaked cooking time is reduced to 25.
    .-= Daily Diner

  8. BrendaSkidmore
    July 27, 2009 | 9:00 pm

    How To Eat Grains | Food Renegade: But even whole grains — the so-called healthy alternative — are dangerously.. http://bit.ly/xbs0A

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  9. Nanci Garon
    July 27, 2009 | 9:22 pm

    We don’t eat any grains – love the recipes without them!!!!!!!

  10. africacafe
    July 27, 2009 | 11:30 pm

    How To Eat Grains | Food Renegade: They’re much easier to digest. There’s a fantastic bakery nearby that.. http://bit.ly/JrxBm

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  11. ZenOfHealth
    July 28, 2009 | 1:48 am

    How To Eat Grains | Food Renegade http://bit.ly/AN7mV

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  12. DosPapasFritas
    July 28, 2009 | 2:12 am

    How To Eat Grains | Food Renegade http://u.mavrev.com/v0v7

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  13. Winkyboy
    July 28, 2009 | 8:09 am

    If you’re going to eat grains, this is how to eat them: http://bit.ly/11lMAy
    (RT @FoodRenegade)

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  14. cinderyella
    July 28, 2009 | 8:54 am

    How to Eat Grains: http://bit.ly/11lMAy

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  15. AndRam
    July 28, 2009 | 9:13 am

    Reading @foodrenegade’s How To Eat Grains http://tinyurl.com/mywds5

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  16. b kinch
    July 28, 2009 | 9:43 am

    I stopped eating grains about six months ago, as part of my quest to treat diabetes without medication. It has worked very well, and I have been able to stop taking insulin shots and oral medications. However, I have been curious as to how my body would handle sprouted grains. My intuition tells me that I best avoid flours, sprouted or otherwise, because I digest them too quickly and will get a nasty blood sugar spike. But I wonder how I would handle whole sprouted wheat, oats, etc. hmmm. Must experiment. Do you know if quinoa can be sprouted? Is it a whole seed? Quinoa seems to be the only grain I can eat without a blood sugar reaction.
    .-= b kinch

  17. balibones
    July 28, 2009 | 11:23 am

    Reading @foodrenegade How To Eat Grains http://tinyurl.com/mywds5 – Who knew it was so complicated…

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  18. Kyle
    July 28, 2009 | 3:14 pm

    What do you sprout the grains in? I definitely am going to try that. I thought I read somewhere that freshly ground whole wheat flour contains more phytase, have you heard that?

    Really good post, by the way!

  19. KristenM
    July 28, 2009 | 8:54 pm

    Kyle — You can soak your grains overnight in a bowl, covered with water. Then, in the morning, transfer them to a colander covered with a wet towel. Every 8 hours rinse the grain to keep it wet. Usually it sprouts within a day. If you want to make flour from it, you will now dry the grain using a dehydrator or by spreading it very thin on cookie sheets and leaving it in a warm oven or out in the sun. When they’re fully dry again, you can grind it into good flour using a grain mill. And yes, freshly ground flour contains more phytase, which is why it is best to make soaked bread recipes using freshly milled flour.

  20. yellowinkling
    July 28, 2009 | 9:07 pm

    Sprouting, soaking, fermenting. Good article on how to eat grains over at Food Renegade. http://bit.ly/11lMAy

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  21. pamelaknits53
    July 28, 2009 | 9:09 pm

    @ Food Renegade – How to eat grains -http://bit.ly/p3UhS

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  22. The JoyfulHomemaker
    July 29, 2009 | 1:20 am

    what about pasta??? how should that be prepared?
    .-= The JoyfulHomemaker

  23. Kyle
    July 29, 2009 | 10:25 am

    Thank you!

  24. KristenM
    July 29, 2009 | 10:56 am

    Kyle — You’re welcome.

    The Joyful Homemaker — You can buy sprouted grain pasta, make it yourself, or buy noodles not made from grains. Many asian stores sell a mushroom noodle. You can also use vegetables cut into noodle shapes (zucchini noodles are quite popular in the summer, and spaghetti squash noodles in the fall/winter.) If you can’t find sprouted grain pasta, you can try preparing brown rice pasta. Of all the grains, rice is the gentlest on our digestive system and the lowest in phytic acid.

  25. Ganga108
    August 2, 2009 | 4:58 am

    How to eat #grains, and why you should care, from @FoodRenegade. Soaking, fermenting, sprouting, … http://tinyurl.com/mywds5 #fd

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  26. Lisa
    August 3, 2009 | 6:04 pm

    This is a great post with some terrific information. We continue to strive to get away from industrialized food by growing our own. The grain nut is the next one for me to crack, but my family thinks that if it isn’t white and tasteless it can’t be good! I’ve won the fresh produce game so with ideas and information like this, I’m certain I’ll be able to make progress with the grains as well. I’m looking forward to trying the zucchini bread with the over abundance of zucchini coming from our garden.
    Thanks!

  27. Marg
    September 6, 2009 | 9:05 am

    I eat bread very seldom, I’m just not into it. ;) But hubby and my son take sandwiches to work everyday. I’m trying to find a way to make my own bread that would be the healthiest for them, until I can figure out how to wean them off. ;) Thanks for the post.
    Taking another baby step…

  28. stampmonkey
    September 17, 2009 | 9:36 pm

    I began reading your posts a short time ago and am so appreciative of the information you provide here for us — thank you! My question is likely a rather stupid one, but I was wondering if you need to refrigerate the grains that you’re soaking.

    I’ve been grinding our own whole wheat flour since February, and next month is when another grain buy-in is anticipated. Now after reading your post, I’m re-thinking this whole thing and not sure just what to do for our ‘daily bread.’ My family typically has sandwiches for lunch most days, and my kids love pancakes a time or two each week.

    I’m trying to help us be the healthiest we can be by changing our diet, but there’s SO much info out there I think I’m on overload at the moment.
    .-= stampmonkey´s last blog ..hey, hey {for the} monkeys =-.

  29. KristenM
    September 17, 2009 | 10:23 pm

    Stampmonkey — No, leave them at room temperature while they’re soaking. If I eat grains and prepare them by soaking, I typically cover the bowl in which the grains are soaking with a plate. Then I leave the whole setup on my counter top until they’re done soaking (usually overnight, or at most 24 hours).

  30. stampmonkey
    September 18, 2009 | 9:38 am

    Thanks so much!

    One other question: Legumes are listed among the other grains in your article here, but I didn’t notice anything in regard to how to eat them. Are there any tricks to preparing them, or is there anything specific we need to know to make sure we’re getting their full benefit when eating them? Or are we not really supposed to eat a lot in the way of legumes either??? Thanks!
    .-= stampmonkey´s last blog ..hey, hey {for the} monkeys =-.

  31. KristenM
    September 18, 2009 | 9:41 am

    Stampmonkey — Most legumes do quite well being soaked overnight in warm water before being cooked the next day. Black beans are a little higher in phytic acid than other legumes and require a slightly acidic medium to do the trick, so you can add a little lemon juice or whey to the water in which you’re soaking them. Hope that helps!

  32. stampmonkey
    September 18, 2009 | 10:32 am

    Got it! Again, thanks so much!
    .-= stampmonkey´s last blog ..hey, hey {for the} monkeys =-.

  33. Bronwyn
    September 20, 2009 | 1:27 am

    Thanks for this post! Why, just the other day I was looking at the Nutrition Facts on some Ezekial 4:9 tortillas I had randomly bought (and loved) and was kind of blown away by how much good stuff they contain — your post some light on why that is.

    A question for you: I love making pancakes from grains like quinoa, buckwheat, garbanzo, spelt, millet, etc. (and sometimes whole wheat as well). Some of these are gluten-free — should I also soak them overnight? Actually, hmm, it occurs to me that the liquid in my pancake recipe is simply a mixture of water, egg, and … yogurt, which you say is one thing that’s good to soak grains in. Perhaps I should just make the batter (sans egg?) the night before, leave it on my countertop (right, as opposed to the fridge?), and add the egg in the a.m. Thoughts?
    .-= Bronwyn´s last blog post …Government publishes list of child- and slave-made goods =-.

  34. Naz
    September 23, 2009 | 11:54 am

    Hi Kristin, just discovered your wonderful site – it is an amazing resource, thank you for all the information. I’ve been thinking a lot about grains and food choices lately and this article is very helpful, although I am still quite confused about sprouts and sprouting grains. You hear all the time that sprouted grains are so healthful, yet I’ve also been told by some wise women that it is not prudent to eat sprouts. As you say, “Seeds are meant to do one thing: propagate their species.,”…and so baby sprouts, in the most vulnerable stage of a plant’s life, must also be equipped with something to keep predators at bay. I have been told that you must not eat sproutlets until they have developed their first set of leaves, for until this stage they are producing a host of (carcinogenic) chemicals to ward off munching predators. One does not really see birds or other creatures eating baby sprouts…Anyway, I haven’t researched this more, but was wondering what your take is on this? Also, you say that sprouting is a ‘traditional’ food preparation method – can you tell me what indigenous cultures sprout grains? I can only think of some Asian cultures that use bean sprouts, but these are always cooked and not raw. Thank you very much for any enlightenment you can provide!

  35. Hargreaves
    November 8, 2010 | 10:10 am

    Stampmonkey — No, leave them at room temperature while they’re soaking. If I eat grains and prepare them by soaking, I typically cover the bowl in which the grains are soaking with a plate. Then I leave the whole setup on my counter top until they’re done soaking (usually overnight, or at most 24 hours).

  36. Shawn
    January 31, 2011 | 10:55 am

    Hey Kristen,
    I’ve been writing about bowel problems caused by grains and ended up here. An excellent post. I wanted to let you know something about grains and leaky gut. A 2006 study showed that gliadin which is a component of gluten, acts on a chemical called zonulin. Zonulin decides how big the holes in the intestinal wall are. If these pathways get too big, then larger molecules can pass through, and is thought cause immune responses that lead to food sensitivities, IBS, and all kinds of issues.

    Thanks for the info.

  37. Angie
    February 25, 2011 | 7:31 am

    I have found it difficult to get the right consistency in my bread products when I’ve used sprouted flour. Can you tell me if it is a one-to-one substitution, or if I need to alter the amount of flour and/or add any other ingredients?

    Thank you!

    • KristenM
      February 25, 2011 | 9:26 am

      If you’re subbing for another whole grain flour, than it should come out the same and be 1:1. You can’t, however, expect the same results from switching from a refined, white flour to a sprouted flour.

      • Angie
        February 25, 2011 | 2:51 pm

        Thank you! I’ve been using it in place of whole wheat, but only in recipes with sourdough starter instead of baker’s yeast. I’m wondering if sprouted flour works with sourdough. My husband seems to have problems with gluten-containing grains unless they are sprouted (even sourdough doesn’t totally agree with him). I seem to have problems with breads leavened with baker’s yeast instead of sourdough. However, the lower gluten in the sprouted flour seems to affect the texture and rise of the sourdough breads.

  38. Rita
    October 12, 2011 | 3:15 pm

    I am dairy intolerant, what is the best to soak grains like oatmeal for porridge in? Does lemon juice or vinegar make it “sour”?

  39. Kara
    January 10, 2012 | 10:28 am

    I learned to make sourdough bread using the resources at sourdoughhome.com. It is a very helpful website with detailed instructions, and I even learned to make my own sourdough starter!

  40. Bruce
    March 9, 2012 | 6:36 pm

    It just seems to me that to eat safely and nutritionally correct, one needs a degree in Chemistry. I prefer to EAT as opposed to dissecting everything before I prepare it. If good sense is used and just being aware of the good OR the bad, we can eat safely and nutritionally.

  41. Leah
    March 17, 2012 | 7:10 am

    Do steel cut oats need to be soaked as well?

    • michelle drake
      March 27, 2013 | 9:33 pm

      i soak mine in water, works great!

  42. Rocco
    March 25, 2012 | 10:07 pm

    Thank you so much for this important information! I tried soaked pancakes and they are so much better than the quick method ones and I am also making my own sourdough bread which is delicious. You said you have not tried to make your own sourdough yet. I think you should try: it is fun and it makes you feel very proud of yourself when you get to eat it :) I suggest two books that have really great sourdough recipes: “Whole Grain Breads” by Peter Reinhart with amazing whole grain recipes and “Local Breads” by Daniel Leader (both available at libraries or new & used on Amazon.com)
    Thanks again!

  43. rebecca
    May 9, 2012 | 6:15 pm

    i have oat bran that I like to use instead of wheat flour for pancakes ( wheat flour seems to irritate my stomach) and also I am going to try sorghum. What is the recommended process for fermenting either of these over night for pancakes? Just soak the flour in some yogurt or vinegar and then cook the next day?

  44. Kristen
    June 21, 2012 | 9:22 pm

    Whoa, you lost me at “Undigested particles of grain get stuck in the microvilli of our intestinal walls, building up with time, and ultimately undermining our ability to properly digest other foods because of this interference…” Where does this information come from? You state it like it is fact.

    Basically this is the rhetoric you get from people pushing colonics. The idea is that our systems cannot detoxify themselves, that somehow our colons are incapable of clearing themselves (even though the colon sheds old cells about every three days and microvilli do renew as well) so we need to avoid certain foods and/or flush out our colons every so often. There is absolutely no evidence to support this. So while you may believe it, I think you should preface your statement with, “some maintain” or “some believe” so it is stated as a hypothesis rather than a fact.

    • KristenM
      June 25, 2012 | 12:29 pm

      Well, it is a fact. I didn’t go into the science in this post, but besides the fiber (which is indigestable plant cellulose) the real danger comes from lectins. Lectins are present in a lot of foods, but especially concentrated in grains. A lot of studies have been done on how lectins interact with our intestinal walls. Just Google it. Here’s one of the first results, among hundreds.

      • Josefina
        July 14, 2012 | 10:21 am

        Maybe this is the reason why traditional people sifted their flour to remove both germ and bran?

  45. Alexi
    October 29, 2012 | 3:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I am a college student who has an interest in eating healthy with clean and raw foods. This past summer I found out that I had a small gluten allergy along with dairy products. A lot of people think I am nuts to not eat any grain but I have found that to be the easiest thing for me. I do not have the time or patience to prepare my own grains right now in my life but I will certainly re-visit this issue later on. Thank you again for going through the process and sharing your knowledge about this topic.

  46. Abbs
    January 28, 2013 | 1:36 pm

    Very informative post, thanks. Explains a lot about my digestion… I always cook from fresh ingredients, but would miss flour, I confess, even though I don’t use that much, and always wholemeal.

    I’ve soaked nuts and seeds for ages because I prefer them that way, all crunchy and crisp. (Walnuts lose their bitterness when soaked, e.g.) I’m very glad to see there are far more benefits – bonus!

    For the SAD and SUD (UK) eaters, giving up grains would be a big shift. I’ve been really shocked to see how much Californians eat out of packets and plastic – no-one seems to cook any more other than mixing or microwaving.

    I’ll be delighted to share this, and try a low-grain way of eating. Cheers.

  47. Megan
    January 30, 2013 | 2:19 pm

    I just made the switch to whole wheat flour and plan to use this going forward anytime I would have used all-purpose flour in the past. After reading your post, I’m wondering if it will be very hard on the stomach if I use it without soaking first. Is this necessary before every recipe including whole wheat flour?

  48. malita
    February 2, 2013 | 7:27 pm

    what bakery do you go to – i want to try that sourdough!

    I think it would be easier to stick with almond flour etc than all this soaking and sprouting – but this is great info!

  49. Jeff
    March 8, 2013 | 2:30 am

    I can’t ever seem to find good buttermilk anywhere. I see a lot of low-fat buttermilk – WTH is that? Like decaf espresso? Even at my gourmet groceries or food co-op I find good quality milk but the buttermilk is always low-fat, which seems an oxymoron. At our local farmers markets, they say that they cannot sell *real* buttermilk without the risk of being shut down by the county health department. Any ideas?

    • EEDR
      December 28, 2013 | 9:47 pm

      You can make real buttermilk or easy substitutes at home:

      real buttermilk: 1. whip heavy cream that is at room temp. It becomes whip cream and go a little more and it separates into buttermilk + butter. Yield is approx 3:1 heavy cream:buttermilk. If you want to keep the butter, strain w cheesecloth to separate and immediately plunge into ice water to solidify.

      Alternative, quick sub: 1 c milk + 1 Tbs white vinegar OR lemon juice. Add vinegar or lemon juice to cup then add milk and let stand 10+ minutes at room temp.

  50. Yvonne
    March 8, 2013 | 9:51 am

    Can one take the enzyme phytase when traveling or in a hurry and not able to soak or sprout?

  51. Dana
    March 8, 2013 | 11:20 pm

    This is…well, BRILLIANT! Such an interesting article! I have celiac disease almost 5 years now and I am well managed by diet and lifestyle. I was already a soy-free, organic-loving vegetarian but my diagnosis opened my eyes to a whole new world of healthy eating. I tolerated gluten free whole grains well until this year – I stepped up my clean eating by incorporating even more raw (or steamed) veggies and fruit, and cutting out dairy. Now i notice even gluten free grains are causing less than ideal gastro symptoms for me and making me feel sluggish. Malabsorption is a concern for me as an “underweight” celiac so I am fascinated to learn about phytic acid. You mention soaking flour overnight but should I be soaking the grain itself before preparation like for brown rice, millet, quinoa, etc? And if so what can I soak them in that’s acidic and vegan? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated! And many thanks for sharing your knowledge and passion for healthy eating!

  52. Kandi
    March 23, 2013 | 10:43 am

    Wow. I am horrified by this post. Your statement claiming this can cure Celiac and GI is irresponsible and unfounded? Where did you find your facts? Gluten is found in so much more then wheat! As someone who lives with Gluten Intolerance and has family with Celiac I highly recommend you educate yourself better on these disease before spouting off false hope. Please site your sources.

  53. Debbi Rice
    March 27, 2013 | 9:13 pm

    I just started making sourdough bread about 2 months ago. I love the simplicity of making sourdough pancakes, sourdough blueberry muffins, baguettes and traditional sourdough bread. Living, learning and loving life!

  54. jess
    April 14, 2013 | 10:16 pm

    how do you soak flour for baking cookies, or pies??

    Thanks!!!!!!

  55. Vic
    February 14, 2014 | 10:07 pm

    Rather than a comment, I have a question, please. I’m only a month into eating more wholesome but one of, what I presume, my best ways to keep off the bad stuff and have something ready to eat is to prepare a pot of bean soup (lentil, lima) from dried beans and include sometimes a little vegies or curry powder. Though high in protein, I’m sure there’s lots of carbs, too. I’m not eating much meat, some fish, nuts, soup, salad, and limited fruits. I’ve lost about 22 lbs. in less than 1 month and started at almost 270lbs. Non-diabetic (probably pre-) Blood pressure is good, even better since swimming and walking on the eliptical since my knees are very painful. Only 55 yrs. old. Please comment on the legume intake and make suggestions. Thanks so much. Enjoying your site for the first time visit. Keep up the good work!

  56. Stephanie
    April 5, 2014 | 10:52 pm

    Great information, I’m so glad more people are talking about the need to soak or sprout grains! I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions for me. I have been soaking my whole grain spelt flour in an acid medium (lemon juice and water b/c I am allergic to dairy)for a number of years and have not had a problem consuming it. However, I recently bought whole grain spelt and ground it into flour myself. I soaked it and baked it as usual, but this final product caused noticeable stomach discomfort. Any thoughts on why? Or how to fix this? Unfortunately I ground the whole 25 lb bag into flour so I don’t have the option of sprouting the rest. Thanks.

  57. Frederica Huxley via Facebook
    June 28, 2014 | 7:10 am

    Sourdough breads and overnight soaking of oats for porridge.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
Food Renegade June Giveaway