Until you soak grains, any grains, they stay dormant. It’s life encapsulated and protected with a fiber shell and enzyme inhibitors. These enzymes, a bit bitter in taste, stops the grain from activating this life force, Prana, that it contains. Prana is the force that we call life or being alive, the force or energy that internal and external environments can enhance or inhibit. In Ayurveda we learn how to enhance Prana while living. Basically it’s the teaching of how to be alive while living. We have a lot to learn from the plants and also need some soaking sometimes 🙂
For those who are brave, beans can be eaten soaked, not cooked. Try it, a bit crunchy, slightly bitter. Or even nicer, fresh like peas straight from the pod. I love soaked chickpeas and I can drop a handful into my veggie sauce or stir fry to lightly heat them up but not cook them. If legumes or beans give you flatulence you can try this as it is when the fiber is dissolved after cooking that the sulfites (creating gases) are more prominent than when only soaked. Rice and grains like our 4 cereals, and herbs like quinoa, millet, buckwheat, amaranth and teff (normally classified in the group of grains) become more nutritious if you soak them before cooking, even to the point of germinating.
To think about when you soak seeds like sunflower, pumpkin, chia, sesame, linseeds, etc:
1) After soaking, the grains become alive and need to be treated like fresh food. Therefore it has to be kept in the fridge once soaked, which will stop the process and keep them fresh for at least a week, longer if you rinse and change the water now and then. If you can’t boil the soaked beans, rice, grains, or what ever you soaked on time, you can just put it in the fridge and do it when you have time.
2) If you heat up the grains, by cooking or frying, you will get less enzymes to help in digestion but at the same time you will make it easier to break down in the gut, and therefore get more nutrients out. A good way to get both is to mix the soaked grains in a mixer and eat as a paste, spiced as you like. This is also great as the shell can be a bit hard to break down on some grains like a linseed or sesame seed. Otherwise they pass the digestive system intact without allowing you to get the super nutrients like the Omega lipids out.
3) Always keep soaked grains in the fridge, and use in any recipe as you like. The belly is a prebiotic – a pure medicine. Don’t rinse. I often keep soaked sesame, pumpkin, sunflower and linseeds in the fridge and we mix it or eat it as it is on any dishes. If you make a stir fry you can add a few grains when cold or heated up shortly before serving. You can mix some grains in you cereals or porridge in the morning. Soaked and mixed or half mixed grains in a mixer, make a great creamy sauce to make creamy dishes. Also mixed with cooked rice, beans or other they stick together to make a nice burger patty which is easily baked in the oven. Add any spices, vegetables or fruit as you like.
4) Soaked nuts, rices and grains have to be rinsed after soaking. You will see that the water gets brownish as the bitter enzymes are dissolved. If you tummy is strong you don’t need to soak but you will get more nutrients from it.
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