I have been doing some reading on and off about the importance of soaking grains. Apparently whole grains have something called phytic acid that block absorption of vital nutrients and minerals. Whole grains also have enzyme inhibitors and without soaking whole grains, they can be much harder for your body to digest and extract the nutrients. Therefore its debatable how much better whole grains are for you than “white” refined versions if you don’t soak them first. Traditionally grains used to always be soaked but the practice has stopped since it adds a little bit of time and effort and we all know packaged processed foods are all about more yield, not more health. So pretty much just soak all beans and grains in water with 1 Tbs acid (yogurt, lemon juice, etc) overnight or up to 24 hours before eating. It is actually pretty easy and it makes the cooking time less, so it doesn’t actually add any time to the cooking process, just a little forethought.
From what I read, if you don’t have the time or efforts to soak first, then whole grains are still better, but you just aren’t getting as much out of it as you could. So I do it when I can and when it works well with a recipe. I usually do it with oatmeal, especially because it’s a huge time saver in the morning. Here is my go to recipe or “formula” for oatmeal. It’s a formula rather than a recipe so I have endless combinations to avoid boredom.
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbs yogurt or kefir (IF soaking grain overnight)
1 Tbs ground flax seed
1/2 cup milk
1/2 mashed banana or chopped apple, or 1/2 cup berries or pumpkin depending on season
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbs nut butter or 2 Tbs whole chopped nuts/seeds
Place oats, flax, water, and yogurt in a non-metal bowl, cover, set in a warm place, and let soak overnight.
Add rest of ingredients (If not soaking overnight, just add oats, flax, and water in the pot now as well), besides nut butter, in a pot and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Stir/whip vigorously and frequently with a fork.
If you are short on time, place it all in a microwave safe bowl, cover with a paper towel and cook for 2-3 minutes, checking every minute to stir and ensure it doesn’t overflow!
Add nut butter or nuts on top.
Fat: 14 g
Sodium: 134 mg (6%)
Carbohydrates: 54 g
Dietary Fiber: 10 g
Sugars: 15 g
Protein: 16 g
Don’t fear the fat. Its all healthy fats. It comes from the peanut butter, oats, and flax seeds. I almost hate to put the fat content since people are so focused on low fat but I have found the more healthy fats I eat, the better I feel and more full I feel for longer. It also helps your body process carbohydrates and stabilize blood sugar, something I learned from eating while having gestational diabetes.
I had this oatmeal for breakfast this morning as part of my What I Ate Wednesday…
Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon oatmeal with peanut butter and ground flax seeds (warning, ugliest picture ever)
Snack 1: decaf skim milk latte with 1/2 pump pumpkin spice
Lunch: Crackers, goat cheese, smoked salmon. Big salad. Lots of homemade wheat thins
Snack 2: almonds and an apple
Dinner: Leftover Lentil Quinoa Stir Fry topped with mozzarella
Snack 3: 1/2 orange, slice of colby jack cheese, 2 herseys kisses
Does anyone else soak their grains? There is so much information to weed through and I feel like every food or preparation technique has its pros and cons, its just all about weighing them.