The Crucial Importance of Soaking your nuts, seeds, legumes and grains
This ain’t a joke, read this article for the sake of your long-term health. Not just vegans, anyone who consumes them.
If you wanna use food as medicine, heal the natural way, and maintain long-lasting health, you gotta get to know your ingredients and how they pass through your body, how to consume them, how to combine them and listen to your body to feel the effect. It’s not just about making recipes that are vegan or whole. When you know your body and your ingredients, health becomes effortless.
There are so many recipes out there using these ingredients and it always says ‘1 tbsp of almond’ for example, and rarely ‘1 tbsp of soaked or activated almonds’. So all of us hopeful cheerful folks follow recipes and may end up with the health consequences of this seemingly small insignificant difference which is actually SO IMPORTANT for our health!
I’ve seen way too many famous vegan bloggers and people I personally know get negatively affected by consuming this food category in high amounts without the proper soaking process, influence millions, and freak out and go back to animal products when it is not necessary, and when they don’t even want to but do so out of panic, and also continue consuming this food category without the proper soaking process. And all those million followers left absolutely confused.
First, it will demand effort to unlearn and relearn by listening to your body and establish new habits that you KNOW work for you specifically, and when that period of transition is over, you will be cruising like a healthy jolly human being.
I don’t claim to be an expert but I am an expert at knowing myself and my body better than anyone else and what I share here is from pure experience of healing myself, thriving healthy and loving my lifestyle. So take this article using your common sense, experiment and get knowledge from your body. Otherwise, you can end up freaked-out and lost with all the info out there.
Go at your pace and listen to your body, avoid copying and believing celebrities. Study and experiment with nature’s food and your body. Your body will tell you what’s best for you. Nobody else knows better than you.
And learn recipes for your gut health. Learn recipes that you actually find tasty and not that just look fancy and have 1 million vitamins. Get real. Keep it simple. Nature doesn’t give you 50 fruits and veggies in a powder form to take in one go. Chill. You can be healthy in a simple way. Nature knows best.
And remember, health is not just about food! Take care of yourself in all areas, mentally, emotionally, energetically.
So let’s begin.
What is a seed?
A seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering. The formation of a seed is part of the process of reproduction in seed plants. It encloses information designed to grow a new life. It is designed to survive for a long time through harsh conditions to ensure the survival and reproduction of the species until it finds the right environment to open up and grow a new life. So its protection properties are quite resilient. And this is why eating them when they are in this state of protection does not benefit the body but can actually cause some damage to the gut, but there is a way to change their protection state into opening up so that you can actually benefit and absorb their nutrients. Find out how this happens, how to consume them instead in this article.
Below are examples of the most common seeds consumed in our society:
Wheat, Barley, Spelt, Oat, Rye, Buckwheat, Quinoa, Amaranth, Rice, Millet
Chickpeas, Lentils, Beans, Mung beans, Adzuki, Soya, Fava
Hemp, Sunflower, Pumpkin, Sesame, Black Sesame, Poppy, Brown Flax, Golden Flax, Chia
Macadamia, Pistachio, Pine nut, Brazil nut, Hazelnut, Pecan, Almond, Walnut, Cashew, Peanut
Consume organic as much as possible! You don’t want pesticides in your digestive tract killing the living organisms of your intestinal flora and damaging your precious digestive system. Your gut is the heart of your health when it comes to food.
The Crucial Importance of Soaking
A seed is designed to protect itself until it finds itself in the right conditions to start growing a new life, a new plant. These right conditions are a dark, warm and humid place (soil). Until then it is in a dormant protective state. It will then start absorbing minerals and nutrients from the soil to open up, start growing and give birth to a new plant.
So when we consume seeds directly in their dormant protective state, the seed finds itself in our digestive tract that resembles the soil environment (dark, warm, humid with available nutrients from any food still in the digestive tract). What happens then is that it kick-starts ‘taking’ from our body nutrients and water. Our body is unable to extract much nourishment from them as they are in a ‘taking’ state and not a ‘giving’-you-nutrients state.
Dormant seeds contain Phytic Acids and Lectins that are a natural substance that helps the seed to protect itself. Phytic acids are enzyme inhibitors; that means they will prevent your stomach enzymes from breaking down the seed and that impairs our body’s ability to absorb minerals so that the seed can absorb from you instead.
Phytates and Lectins are what we call anti-nutrients, or plant toxins that bind to vitamins and minerals, making those nutrients bio-unavailable. Read more about them and the potential damage of these if interested.
So consuming regular high amounts of seeds over a long period of time in their dormant state can turn out to be harmful and give one things like mineral deficiencies, indigestion, food intolerances, auto-immune reactions, digestive issues, skin conditions, absorption issues, weight issues, aggravate symptoms etc. I know what I’m talking about, I have been through all this! And it can all be reversed and healed. I am the proof and so are many others.
Hence why soaking them in a particular method to transform their ‘taking’ state into a ‘giving’ state is so important to be able to digest them and actually benefit from them.
You can still enjoy their delicious flavours safely. And actually they taste WAY BETTER when you do this process. And your body will tell you how much quantity it enjoys.
Don’t worry about small amounts of un-soaked seeds when it happens, it won’t kill you, this article is aimed mainly at those that consume high amounts and that are experiencing health issues. But overall, this category of food is not to be the main ingredient to consume. And it is best to consume them in small quantities and in moderation. When you learn to listen to your body, you will know best how it works best for you.
Even for those of you who still cook, soak your grains and legumes and even sprout them before cooking them and experience the world of difference in your tummy and health.
How to soak and preserve?
The best way to soak them is in natural water with Himalayan salt or Sea salt and Bicarbonate of sodium. For about 1 cup of seeds, soak in 3-4 cups of natural water with 1tsp of salt and 1tsp of bicarbonate of sodium. Soak for a minimum of 8 hours and a maximum of 24 hours. Rinse very well and proceed to consume or store for later (see below how to store).
Bicarbonate of sodium* reduces significantly the phytic acids and Himalayan salt packs them up with their needed dose of minerals so that they no longer need to take minerals from your body.
*Note that Bicarbonate of Sodium will turn the colour of sunflower seeds into greenish, this effect happens only with sunflower seeds. So if you would like to keep the natural colour of sunflower seeds, use salt only.
This fun home chemistry process makes a world of difference in digestion, in your health, in your energy levels and in the taste when consuming nuts, seeds, legumes and grains. And it needs to become an important habit for your gut health. At first it may sound like a lot to do because of this long article, but it actually takes not even a minute of your time and gives back your gut a lifetime of prosperity.
Storing and preserving after soaking
There are a few ways one can preserve the seeds after the soaking process:
- Dehydrating them and storing them in sealed jars. These are called ‘activated nuts/seeds’ and you will come across the term ‘activated nuts or seeds’ in raw plant-based recipes. It means that their chemistry has been altered from a dormant state to an alive state (the life force and nutritional benefits have been ‘activated’)
- Freezing them. This is best those nuts and seeds you know you will blend. You can blend them straight out of the freezer.
- Storing them soaked in the fridge for a few days (rinse once day)
After soaking, you can carry on sprouting them which is an even better way to consume them, as they have given a new baby plant and are further in their ‘giving’ state.
How to sprout
You can watch videos on YouTube on how to do this. Sprouting can be done in soil, or in a box, or in seive, or in a sprouter.
Notes on Sprouts and Micro Greens
Sprouting your seeds does necessarily mean you will let them grow a proper mini sprout plant. It just means you let it start to sprout. Note that the more you sprout, the more the taste of the seed will change. So experiment and see for yourself what taste you prefer.
So when you hear the terms ‘Sprouts’ or ‘Micro Greens’ which means the same, it means that it’s the little new born plants. Google it to see what it looks like if you don’t know. And that can also be things like Broccoli, Rocket, Basil, Mung Beans etc…
Sprouts will not last long, they will either continue slightly growing if they are still attached to the seed or go off.
Note on Fruits that contain little seeds
Some really sensitive people are not able to eat these fruits without a reaction, so until you heal, it is maybe best to remove the seeds or stay away from what you know gives you a reaction. For example, you can remove the seeds from tomatoes, from pineapple, grapes, watermelon etc…you know best, experiment, observe and do what’s best for you.
For some very sensitive people, such as I was, cacao can give reactions. That is because cacao bean is a seed, so if you want to consume chocolate, try soaking your cacao beans and making chocolate from scratch and see how that goes. Otherwise, stick to carob until your body can process cacao again.
- Mimicking nature’s germination process to turn the seed from a dormant ‘taking’ state to an alive ‘giving’ state (ready to give a new life, and give you nutrients). So what you are doing is altering its chemistry.
- Hydrating the seed makes it softer and easier to break down for our stomach
- Hydrating the seed so that it does not need to absorb water from us and dehydrate our body
- The body can absorb its nutrients
- The phytic acids and lectins are drastically reduced
- Tastes way better!
- Watch what comes out in the water* after soaking, you will be happy that is not going in your body, especially with walnuts, pecans, almonds and hazelnuts.
*Soaking just with water will not be as effective, you can see the difference in the colour of the water when using just water or adding salt and bicarbonate of sodium.
Recommended amount of seeds per day
A handful is enough. Listen to your body, it will tell you how much it likes. And that can be different everyday. Some days, your body might not even want any. Some days a little, some days a bit more. No rules here, listen to your body. In general, the body doesn’t need a high amount of fats.
Things to be careful about
Restaurants do not do this process, call me if you find one! So be careful when eating out; especially in vegan, vegetarian and raw vegan restaurants where high amounts of seeds are part of the dishes. Ask the restaurant staff and if this process is not undertaken, it is recommended that you stay away from seeds, especially if you have digestive health issues.
Also when you are invited, you can share with your hosts this knowledge or article and that you need this process to be done for your health, and they will be happy to learn something new and important for the benefit of their health too. Don’t be shy, you will do everyone a service 🙂
Now you can forget about this article and keep in mind just 1 most important thing to remember:
The best way to consume seeds, nuts, grains and legumes is soaked or activated or sprouted (either in their whole form or home-ground or blended).
You do not need to remember the science behind it, you just need to apply this process and experience the obvious difference and benefits yourself, and watch your health get better with time. Experimenting and experiencing the benefits is the only way you will stick to doing this process.
Note on Oils
Oils are a very heavy fat to digest; the only symptom I personally experience with oils is super low energy afterwards. Nature doesn’t give olive oil, it gives olives, it doesn’t give coconut oil, and it gives coconut. So oils are just a lot of fat at once for our little tummy. Be kind to your tummy 🙂
So I very rarely consume oils and if I do, I consume very little!
For example, when I make raw vegan chocolate, I use cacao butter and coconut oil, I do my best not to eat the whole thing, but… you know those emotional times… What happens when I eat the whole thing is just that I feel super sleepy because I gave my tummy a lot of work to spend energy on. But I don’t feel sick as I used to with conventional unhealthy chocolate. And I do not beat myself up as I know the low energy will pass. When it was super yummy but heavy, I just tell myself it was worth it. I do not fight my cravings, I make friends with them, when I make friends with them, I eliminate internal conflict and those cravings disappear.
Also for those still cooking, exposing oil to high heat makes the oil become toxic, so choose steaming, boiling or cooking on water over frying. And if you reaaaaaally want to fry, the least toxic heated oil is coconut oil, and when it comes to animal fats – ghee.
The best fats
The best fats that nature gives us and that our body prefers and are easiest to digest are fatty fruits such as Ripe Avocado, Young Coconut, Organic Olives, Durian etc. They are lighter and easier to digest. So for those healing from serious illness, this is best until you get healthy again. Feel the difference with nuts and seeds in your body.
Note on Emotions and Fat
Note that emotions are a physical sensation in the organs so consuming heavy things such as fats when we feel overwhelmed with emotions is normal as we distract our organs from feeling emotions and give ourselves the feeling of digestion instead. It’s just a clever way to numb ourselves but the actual healing from those emotions we avoid is to sit with them, let them be, let yourself feel and let the body process them and liberate them out of you. Trust. Your body knows what to do, maybe you need to cry or something else…let your body do what it needs, do it in a safe space. Do not judge yourself, be gentle and loving with yourself. Emotions are normal, it is part of our human system. Unfortunately we live an emotionally immature society and were taught that being vulnerable is weakness or is not acceptable so we do not feel safe to open up and let those things out.
When you learn to process your emotions, you will liberate yourself from all addictions, all binge-eating, all emotional eating, over-eating and unhealthy relationship with yourself. So those of you nut-binge-eaters, it’s okay but just soak them! So that you can minimise the digestive troubles until you address your emotions. And when you feel ready to address them, feel! Feel fully, all the way. Yes. Your healing and liberation is there. Listen to your body! It has A LOT to tell ya and teach ya 🙂 It knows how to heal ya. Not me, not books, not articles, not doctors, YOUR BODY.
Get intimate with your body, get to know each ingredient and how it feels inside your body. It takes some time but that is what will give you real knowledge and health. The answers to all your questions are there. It’s a world of wonders and a re-connection with Mother Nature. It simplifies your life and liberates you from over-thinking and controlling how to eat and heal. Sit back, relax and let your body guide you.
One last wise word
Be careful who you learn from about your health. Do they seem healthy to you? Do you feel they are neutral? Do you feel they are talking theory and information or experience and knowledge? Do they inspire you trust? Do they wanna teach you to listen and trust yourself or be above you as if they knew better than you? Are they making it easier and simpler or confusing you further? Are they listening to you and your specific unique needs or just wanna give general advice? Are they pretending they are perfect or do you feel authenticity, vulnerability, and they know to tell you when they do not know about something? Did they get the results you are after? Are they helping you to get breakthroughs or sinking you deeper?
Eventually, what you want to aspire to is becoming independent and know your health and how it works for you.
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