Soaked or overnight oats are the darling of many an Instagram post or blog article. Yet most of us are preparing this morning dish incorrectly and if you are one of them, you could be making matters worse for your gut, your brain, in short, for your health.
In fact it is trendy today to give up grains entirely in an effort to go “gluten free.” Yet we have been consuming grains for 100,000 years. It wasn’t until recently however that we stopped preparing grains in the traditional way. And today’s GMO grains can be challenging to absorb and process.
Consider the oat. Oats are a type of grain grown for its’ seeds and like any seed and nut, must be properly prepared in order to extract the greatest amount of nutrition. Soaking nuts, seeds and grains is a step that traditional peoples took in order to better access and digest the nutrients in these foods.
Here’s why. Nuts, seeds and our friend the oat, contain phytic acid and phytates. These antioxidants occur naturally in these foods, but they come with a price. The main concern with phytates is that they interfere with the body’s ability to absorb minerals properly, especially zinc, iron, manganese and calcium. Phytic acid bound to these minerals may cause mineral deficiencies.
The best way to offset the problem with phytic acid is to soak grains (and nuts, seeds and legumes) first. Let’s focus on oats for the moment. Here’s the recipe:
HOW TO MAKE PROPERLY PREPARED SOAKED OATS
Measure the quantity of oats you wish to prepare. I always make a double batch so for me that’s 1 cup of large flake or Irish oat groats.
Cover the oats with twice as much warm water and add ⅛ tsp of unrefined sea salt.
Add 1 tablespoon of souring liquid* for every cup of liquid. I use about 2-3 tablespoons for best results. *Souring liquids can be any of the following: kefir, whey, apple cider vinegar, buttermilk, yogurt or lemon juice.
Let the mixture sit on the counter, covered lightly with a clean towel.
DO NOT place in the refrigerator. Give the mixture 12-24 hours of soaking time, IN THE SUN. Just like a plant, soaking grains need sun and warmth.
When ready to use, simply measure the amount you wish to prepare and use as usual.
Note that soaked grains cook faster than non-soaked grains.
But here is my lazy woman’s tip. I let the grains soak for another few days and by that time the oats are so nicely pre-digested by friendly bacteria that they don’t require cooking. My favorite soaking liquid is kefir. I make my own and the taste is wonderful.
The health benefits of properly prepared soaked oats extend to improved digestion, enhanced access to minerals and nutrients in the food, less digestive discomfort and a sense of well being.
As with all clean foods, and the Eat Clean® lifestyle that is my life’s work, I recommend traditional food preparation techniques and the consumption of whole, nutrient dense, minimally processed foods. The thousands of recipes I have created do not call for refined sugars, as sugar is an antinutrient and an inhibitor of health.
To learn more about going sugar free to boost your own health, participate in my current 4 week Strike Sugar Challenge. Four weeks of sugar free eating will have you feeling like you’ve never felt before – INCREDIBLE!
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Much love and best wishes for optimal wellness!
Remember, I am always listening,
Do you drain off the liquid that you soak the oats in?
If there is any left, yes. Otherwise, no.
If you use Kefir do you still allow it to soak on the counter for 12-24 hours?
Hi Tosca, thank you for the article; it has given me something new to consider. We live in the same area and it’s cold and not-so-sunny these days. Could I follow the same process by putting the oats in a small slow cooker on very low for the required period of time?