At Olive Retreat we soak and germinate grains, rice, beans, nuts and seeds as much as possible and we always do so if we have a guest that has a food intolerance or digestive health issues (i.e. most of the retreats!) We are often asked how to soak and why, so I thought I would share some information on this topic. Basically you can soak any seed, and germinate (sprout) most of them. This basic chart will help you navigate the many options of sprouting and soaking.
Seeds of all forms (grains, nuts, rice) are meant to be plants one day. Most of them have a strategy in nature to stop them from growing a new plant until the circumstances are perfect for the little plant to survive. Just like us. If the mother’s womb is under constant inflammation attacks (PCOS, endometriosis, severe PMS, etc), the risk is high that there will be a miscarriage, so she has to detox. What seeds need most of all to grow is water. They can stay a long time in a dark and dry place, like a very dry soil, and wait for the right moment for it to germinate and become a little plant. Water is what makes these dormant seeds to wake up.
The seeds have an outer layer of what is called enzyme inhibitors, to keep them “sleeping” and to stop them from germinating until it comes in contact with water. These enzymes are a bit bitter, and can be hard to digest for some sensitive people and some animals. They also inhibit us from absorbing some nutrients, making it better for all tummies to soak them before cooking them like rice and beans. When these inhibitors are dissolved in water, a whole rage of new enzymes “wake up” and the little seed activates dormant nutrients. It becomes a super compact little nutrient storage, enough to feed a new plant. It is a very complex process, a small miracle of nature, developed during billions of years to serve nature (us) with new plants and food.
Most of us just cook these plant seeds and the inhibitors are then destroyed but also the good enzymes that wake the nutrients up, which are destroyed above 40 degrees. So it is much better to soak them first, rinse them, and then cook them lightly or preferably eat them raw. Even better, if you can let them germinate so that you see small sprouts and then eat them, or just stir fry them lightly. Tomorrow more on how to sprout and eat. Mix with clean water, maybe ad a drop of honey or agave or vanilla and you have the best “mylk” (non-dairy milk).