The art of soaking nuts, seeds & beans

 

Why should I soak?

Short answer: it’s more nutritious, easier to digest and a better investment! Soaking and sprouting are simple processes that require minimal equipment and a bit of forethought so you can get the most enjoyment and nutritional impact from your food purchases. It also reduces your exposure to antinutrients. What!?!

 

 Our love/hate relationship with antinutrients 

 

Soaked almonds and cashews in large glass in domestic kitchen. They are used to prepaire raw vegan cheese and other raw recepies.Antinutrients are natural compounds in whole foods that prevent us from absorbing nutrients. So basically they’re the reason why you can’t access the protein in nuts, seeds and other foods! But don’t worry, soaking and sprouting will help deactivate the antinutrients and negative attributes that nuts, seeds, grains and beans have in their dormant/hibernated state. These attributes are also what makes them harder to digest and less nutritious. >:(

 

Why do antinutrients exist?

These compounds help nuts, seeds, grains and beans repel pests, bugs and other predators when they are in their dormant/hibernated raw state. This is a natural evolutionary trait that ensures a greater chance at survival so the little guys can go on and reproduce when the conditions are right. So without antinutrients, survival rates of almonds would plummet, which means less almond butter for everyone :O hence the love/hate relationship!

Examples:

Oligosaccharide, is a type of carbohydrate (sugar) that is hard to break down and is found in either larger or smaller amounts depending on the legume or bean. There is a bacterium in our gut that helps break down these carbohydrates but the byproduct is flatulence (gas – Eek!). Soaking legumes and beans in hot water with baking soda overnight will help leach out the Oligosaccharides making them easier to digest and less gassy, phew.

Phytic Acid, is the storage form of phosphorus in plants. It’s considered an antinutrient because it binds to vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in our food making them hard to absorb as well binds to nutrients in our body and removes them in our waste. Contradicting why we eat these foods in the first place. Food is meant to fuel our bodies via providing us with key nutrients to support our health, not remove them. Right?

Enzyme Inhibitors, all nuts, seeds, grains and beans have enzyme inhibitors. Soaking with warm water and Himalayan salt will help neutralize the enzyme inhibitors so we can properly digest these foods and gain their nutrients.

Mycotoxins (Mold/Fungus), most raw nuts have a level of mycotoxins, especially peanuts, walnuts and cashews. Some seeds, and majority of grains have mycotoxins as well. Soaking will help deactivate the mycotoxins.

 

Soaking

Means you are hydrating the dehydrated nut, seed, grain or bean so they are easier to digest. This process also helps support absorption, so you will gain the most nutritional benefit. Soaking also improves texture, reduces cooking time and deactivates the antinutrients.

 

Sprouting

Means that you have activated a nut, seed, grain or bean from its dormant/hibernated state via the germination process to enliven it into becoming a new plant. Sprouting amplifies the nutritional profile (vitamins, minerals, protein, etc.) in some cases up to 15+ times because it’s trying to become a full-sized plant.

 

Sprouting & Soaking game plan

 

Nuts & Seeds

Chai seed, super food soaked in clear glass of water

  1. Submerge and soak in filtered water with 1-2 tbsp Himalayan salt (unrefined salt).
  2. Cover bowl and let sit on counter overnight or minimum 2 hours.
  3. Rinse well with filtered water.
  4. Enjoy on their own or make a nut/seed mylk or dehydrate on a baking sheet in the oven on the lowest setting until they are lightly crisp or in a dehydrator.

 

Special note: Peanuts, cashews and walnuts should be soaked with Food-Grade Hydrogen Peroxide which will help you avoid the potential minor health problems associated with ingesting them. Rinse well with filtered water before enjoying or dehydrating.

 

Grains & Pseudo Grains 

(Quinoa, Amaranth, Buckwheat – which are actually seeds)

  1. Submerge and soak in filtered water with 1-2 tbsp lemon or apple cider vinegar.
  2. Cover bowl and let sit on counter overnight.
  3. Rinse well with filtered water.
  4. Cook (time will be reduced and less filtered water will be required because they are hydrated)
  5. Enjoy!

 

Soaked and scattered beans on white background

Beans, Legumes & Pulses

  1. Submerge and soak in warm filtered water with baking soda (a base is required to neutralize the antinutrients)
  2. Most beans, legumes and pulses should be soaked for a minimum of 6-8 hours
  3. The Key is to change the water frequently (at least a few times) and rinse the beans. Legumes and pulses well before adding new filtered water and baking soda to help leach out and deactivate the antinutrients.
  4. Cook (time will be reduced and less filtered water will be required because they are hydrated)
  5. Enjoy immediately or store in fridge and use as preferred.

 

Life Hack: You don’t need to just enjoy nuts, seeds, grains or beans on their own or with a culinary dish, you can add them into your smoothies to add some additional nutrients like protein, texture and flavour. Try a small amount to see how you like it and add more for desired taste and texture.

Practice your sprouting and soaking skills with these recipes: 

Sunflower Pesto

Hazelnut Mylk With Pulp

Tempeh Black Bean and Rice Skillet 

Original Almond Mylk 

 

 

 

References

http://beforewisdom.com/blog/cooking/legumes/

http://www.spinachandyoga.com/beans-and-lentils-should-you-exclude-them-from-your-diet-to-stop-bloating/

 

https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/food-features/putting-the-polish-on-those-humble-beans/