Natural plants have unique ways of protecting their offspring and guaranteeing the future of their species. Grains, nuts, seeds and legumes all contain special agents protect the precious seeds and poison predators in order to ensure the continuation of their plant. The process of soaking, fermenting and sprouting these seeds removes the poisons and unlocks the dormant nutrient potential of the plant food.
Grains, seeds, nuts and legumes all contain enzyme inhibitors and phytic acids that deplete important nutrient stores when consumed. These anti-nutrients dwell in the outer fibers and protect the crop from being eaten by mammals including humans. If the mammal were to eat a large amount of these foods with anti-nutrients intact, it would be enough to cause disease and potentially death. This allows the crop to continue to survive.
Nature has a natural process to remove the enzyme inhibitors, phytates and other toxic anti-nutrients while maturing the naturally present enzymes. In the wild, these seeds would encounter rainfall that would completely soak them and initiate the fermentation and sprouting process.
Phytic acids are organic acids that are bound to phosphorus. These are found in the outer layer of bran. The phytates block the absorption of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper iron and zinc and sweep them out of your system. A diet high in un-soaked/sprouted nuts, seeds, grains and legumes can lead to very serious health challenges. This would include mineral deficiencies, food allergens and major digestive problems.
The soaking process neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and washes off phytic acids. This process also activates beneficial enzymes and microorganisms that break down other indigestible toxins. Most of the phytic acids are gone after soaking for a period of seven to ten hours. Lactic or acetic acid-based soaking methods work most effectively to remove phytates. This would include using liquid whey and apple cider vinegar mixed with water.
The practice of soaking, fermenting and sprouting also breaks down gluten and other challenging proteins into much simpler forms that are easily metabolized by the body. Sprouted legumes, seeds and nuts are basically a pre-digested food that has unlocked its full potential of enzymes and nutrients.
Sprouts are an incredibly rich, living food that is rich in enzymes and anti-oxidants. The fermentation process unlocks huge nutrient potential within the seed. Sprouted foods have five to ten times higher B vitamins, double the vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, calcium and iron content of its pre-soaked and sprouted counterpart. The enzymes will also make the protein much more bioavailable for consumption.
Always choose fresh and whenever possible, organic seeds, nuts, grains or legumes to sprout. Soaking time should be between four to twelve hours depending on the size and hardness of the seed. Large beans need 12 hours while small grains like quinoa need four hours.
After the soaking process, it is necessary to keep the seeds damp but not super wet. They can easily be placed in a glass jar with a non-chlorinated paper towel over the top harnessed in by a rubber band. This allows the seeds to breath as they ferment without any bugs from getting inside the jar.
Smaller seeds will begin to sprout in a matter of hours while large beans and nuts often take two to three days to sprout. Be sure to look out for mold. It will appear slightly gray, white or green and will typically smell bad. Using pink salts on the seeds helps prevent mold formation but can also slow the fermentation cycle.