Grains – to eat or not to eat?! I love grains but they did not always love me back. Bloating, gas, indigestion and cramping are just a few side effects of eating grains. Despite trying most grains available in the store, I actually did not know how to prepare them to ensure an easy digestion.
The best way to ensure a happy GI track is to soak you grains prior to cooking, as most grains have high levels of phytic acid, a substance that reduces our absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Soaking mimics the natural germination process that takes place in nature, it makes these grains more viable for consumption by unlocking the nutrients and enzymes, neutralizing anti-nutrients, and therefore reducing level of phytic acid. In my opinion, even if grain is not particularly high in phytic acid, soaking still aids in digestion and in my case I will take all the help I can get 🙂
I personally switched to gluten free grains three years ago when doctors suspected Celiac. In the end it turned out I do not have Celiac but am sensitive to wheat. However going gluten free made me feel so good that I and my family have stayed gluten free. So while I am addressing gluten free grains, the preparation process applies to any grain.
Whole grains are an excellent source of nutrition, as they contain essential enzymes, iron, dietary fiber, vitamin E and B-complex vitamins. Because the body absorbs grains slowly, they provide sustained and high-quality energy.
Now the soaking! I soak the way Kimi Harris describes in her post Nourishing Practices: Soaking Grains:
“How do you do it?
It’s quite simple. You can soak grains like rice, millet, quinoa, wheat, 12 to 24 hours at room temperature in some water with 1-2 tablespoons of whey, lemon juice, vinegar, buttermilk, yogurt, or kefir (this gives it an acidic medium which helps neutralize anti-nutrients). You can then rinse the grains to remove any acidic taste to them, and then cook in fresh water.”
Kimi recommends 1 tablespoon of acidic liquid for each cup of soaking water.
Now cooking them. One cup of dry grain yields enough for 2 to 4 people.
Here are basic directions:1. Measure the grain and rinse in cold water using a fine mesh strainer. 2. Soak grains to soften, increase digestibility and eliminate phytic acid. Drain grains and discard the soaking water. 3. Add grains to recommended amount of water and bring to a boil. 4. A pinch of sea salt may be added to grains to help the cooking process, with the exception of kamut, amaranth and spelt (salt interferes with their cooking time). 5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for the suggested amount of time, without stirring during the cooking process.
|1 cup of Grain||Water||Cooking time||Notes|
|Amaranth||3 cups||30 minutes|
|Brown Rice||2 cups||45-60 min.|
|Buckwheat (aka kasha)*||2 cups||20-30 min.||*The texture of grains can be changed by boiling the water before adding the grains. This will keep the grains separated and prevent a mushy consistency. Do not add kasha to cold water, as it will not cook properly. For a softer, more porridge-like consistency, boil the grain and liquid together.|
|Cornmeal (aka polenta)||3 cups||20 minutes|
|Millet||2 cups||30 minutes|
|Oats (whole groats)||3 cups||75-90 min.|
|Oatmeal (rolled oats)||2 cups||20-30 min.|
|Quinoa||2 cups||15-20 min.|
|Wild rice||4 cups||60 minutes|
To your health,