Please catch up on all the soaking grains research for the scoop on phytates, phytic acid, phytase and more!
I’ve been looking for another “real scientist” to balance the Great Debate between Sally Fallon and my Australian PhD contact. Imagine my joy when I stumbled across Stephan Guyenet, Ph.D. a Senior fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle, in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition. He blogs about his studies of “time-tested strategies for achieving and maintaining health and well-being” at Whole Health Source.
Be still my beating heart! Not only does Stephan know what phytates, phytic acid and phytase are, but he was willing to share his research with me so I could dig through the journal articles myself. In his post A New Way to Soak Brown Rice, he details the 96% effective method that I’ll share with you today.
New research from China in 2008 explored various methods of reducing phytic acid in brown rice. The trouble with brown rice is that although it is lower in phytic acid than other grains, it has a dismally low level of phytase, so soaking, even in an acidic medium, isn’t going to do much to impact the phytic acid. The authors of the study were able to reproduce some of the effects of sourdough fermentation on phytic acid in wheat by using a unique method for soaking their brown rice.
Termed accelerated fermentation, the process increases both natural phytase activity in the grain, and a sort of lactic acid fermentation, which also creates further phytase activity. I now have a little jar of soaked rice water in my refrigerator as a “starter” for my rice.
SWN is soaking in water, and SWA is a soak in an acidic medium like Nourishing Traditions often recommends. Both are for a whole day. You can see in the chart above that phytic acid is reduced by less than half with both soaking methods, but almost down to nothing with the accelarated fermentation.
Here’s how it works:
- Soak brown rice in dechlorinated water for 24 hours at room temperature without changing the water. Reserve 10% of the soaking liquid (should keep for a long time in the fridge). Discard the rest of the soaking liquid; cook the rice in fresh water. UPDATE: I reduce the amount of water added at this point. For example, if I have 1 cup rice and 2 cups water to soak, I pour off the water (reserving some) and add about 1 1/2 or 1 3/4 cup fresh water. You could be really precise and measure what you pour off, then add the same amount fresh to make up for what the rice has already absorbed. This makes a big difference in cooking nice rice! Don’t forget the rule of rice cooking – no peeking under the lid once you reduce to a simmer!
- The next time you make brown rice, use the same procedure as above, but add the soaking liquid you reserved from the last batch to the rest of the soaking water.
- Repeat the cycle. After three times, 96% or more of the phytic acid should be degraded at 24 hours.
Neutralizing and reducing that percentage of phytic acid is unheard of with other methods and grains. Even sourdough only decreases phytates by 64%. The modified fermentation acidifies the water and continues to keep the pH stable and even lowers it, whereas soaking in slightly acidic water ends up moving closer to a neutral (7) pH as time passes.
RELATED: Rice in the Instant Pot
The goal of all this soaking and fermenting is supposed to be to reduce the levels of phytic acid in your grains so that minerals are more bioavailable and easy to assimilate into your system. After taking care to soak brown rice the third time with a bit of old starter water, the phytic acid is almost gone completely.
The sad news is that at the end of this research journal entry, the researchers found that zinc, the mineral in question for their study, was almost no more well-absorbed after the accelerated fermentation than it was before. They concluded that more study is needed; I concur and am left wondering if the work involved in soaking is worth it. There are other positive impacts beyond just phytic acid reduction, luckily.
Another way to reduce phytic acid in rice: germinated brown rice.
Source: Effects of soaking, germination and fermentation on phytic acid, total
and in vitro soluble zinc in brown rice by Jianfen Liang, Bei-Zhong Han, M.J. Robert Nout, Robert J. Hamer. a College of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, PR China
Posted at:Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.
113 thoughts on “Phytic Acid in Rice Reduced 96% with Accelerated Fermentation”
Ashley Rozenberg California brown rice doesn’t have that problem with arsenic, so I don’t worry about it. I bought 50 pounds of brown rice before that “alarm” came out, so I don’t really have a choice but to finish it! I always choose a whole grain over a refined grain, although white rice is the most preferable of all refined grains. Tiffany Guge
Soaking the rice makes it easier to cook – comes out with the right texture, etc.
I soak my rice in broth (6-12 hours brown, 30 min white), then refrigerate it all until I’m ready to cook it, up to a week. Put all on the stove, bring to boil, turn off stove, and the rice will be cooked perfectly in about 20 min! Cooking in the broth gives it more nutrition!
The brown rice thing just ticks me off. Every time you think you’re making a good choice, something like that is discovered/reported. Makes me crazy!!!
I know RIGHT!! It feels like this for many “healthy” foods. We make best choices for what we know at the time. 🙂
I’m one if those whose easily overwhelmed by the idea of soaking, it’s a mental thing 😉
I buy sprouted brown rice in bulk from Azure standard making it easier if I don’t have time to soak.
I use a similar method for oatmeal, though, and I think it works quite well.
What’s your opinion about the much higher levels of arsenic in brown rice? I just use white rice now since the negligiable mineral levels in brown rice seem to negate the fuss of preparing it the night before.
Hmm, my questions may have been too obvious to ask. But does one soak with a lid on the pot to prevent the wrong kinds of things falling into the soaking rice? Would soaking in light make a difference to fermentation rather than soaking in a dark space? Would a lid on the soaking pot encourage anaerobic bacteria? Thanks!
Not obvious at all! I do cover it, usually, for the falling objects reason. I have no idea about light vs. darkness, although darkness is typical for some ferments (yogurt), and about the bacteria…I hope not! ??? Sorry I don’t know more of your answers! 🙂 Katie
I think maybe we can follow our noses with regard to this. Literally! Our noses are very sensitive, and are able to detect the scantest amount of molecules. Many bacteria emit their own special smells. I’ve come to recognize the smell of fermented rice–slightly sweet, not offensive. If this odor were to change, I would know something was amiss and perhaps another substances was present. Thanks for your concern, Kate!
This method would work very well with the Saveur Perfect Brown Rice technique. This is the only fool-proof method I’ve found for cooking brown rice, and it would eliminate the need to measure out the water you pour off and all that, since the water for the first step doesn’t need to be exact at all. Great post!
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I’ve learned from my mom to always soak and wash rice well. And my Mexican neighbor has showed me to do the same with beans. It looks like the habit of soaking and washing your grains and beans has been around for a long, long time. Maybe people hundreds of years ago didn’t know about phytic acid, but they knew their food was better when they soaked and washed it. In our fast world, this great habit just went by the wayside.
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Thank you for your reply, Katie. I think from now on I will cook the rice after a day’s soaking, so even if we don’t get to eat it, it’s safe cooked and refrigerated! Just to be safe! 🙂
Can I have a question please? I recently started soaking brown rice in water with a bit of lemon juice. Normally I just soak it for a day (or two at max) but once in a while because of unexpected changes in plans my rice soaks as long as 3 days. I noticed there’s some white stuff floating on top of the soaking water. Is this rice still fit for consumption (in the course of those 3 days I do rinse thoroughly once every day). Thanks!
Trust your nose – smell the rice and water and see if it smells wrong or not. That’s the first step to determining safety.
Most likely, your answer is yes, especially with the rinsing. I’d skim off the white if possible. If you do run into a need to soak for 3 days because your schedule gets crazy, I’d just put the whole pot in the refrigerator after 24-36 hours; then that will slow/stop any fermentation that is happening.
I think of the little red hen and all the steps involved in making bread. Soaking is just another step. If someone asks why so complex, do the whole thing from scratch rather than just do the soaking at the end. There is nothing about it at all that is simple before the invention of relatively modern processing equipment. I like it better soaked, and that is completely subjective. Rice dropped in water usually smells dusty, but after 6-10 hours, it smells different. The nose knows. Fermenting it after it’s cooked with a little milk, vinegar and yogurt to start makes a weird tasting rice that is great with the right stir fry, broccoli, carrots, and peppers fried in a little butter, vinegar, and salt. Sprouting looks like it’s next on the list. Complexity or lack thereof seems to prove nothing. Vegetables seem like green fiber until similarly prepared. Soaked almonds take a on a nice soft feel too. In answer to some previous posts, I don’t like it soaked longer than 12 hours in the same water without changing the water, 20 it goes funky without a change, so I just cook after 8-12. This sprouting/fermented stuff will be tried soon.
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Can you soak this too long? Mine went two days, and had a really strong smell when I poured out and the water and rinsed. It didn’t taste bad though.
Sure, too long would just keep fermenting, which eventually would get gross, but I doubt 2 days is too long. Trust your nose/taste! 🙂 Katie
My kids really noticed the odor when I cooked it, but it truly tastes fine. I am probably more sensitive to this as someone who never partakes of fermented drink 😉
I started looking into soaking a little over a year ago, read your first interview in the debate, but then lost interest. Now I am going back and enjoying the various “new information” though I think some was on at the time and I never got to it.
I have switched to soaked brown rice and soaked steel cut oats almost exclusively for breakfasts, and using rice every other day in something. I do not add the acid all the time, but even so, they cook up so much easier, I think it just makes sense.
When I heard a news spot about black rice and bought it, it did not cook well the first time. then I found that the traditional method was to soak it at lest seven hours before cooking. This is before I hade considered soaking, and always messed me up in my non-meal-planning ways. That was the traditional way to cook the black rice, which has a very tough outer hull. But it was not good for savory dishes, I did not think. Just super yummy with coconut milk!
I have soaked brown rice for two or three days, and did not think it had a detrimental effect. Soaked a bunch so I would have it but not really having a plan for it, it just sat. Cooks up really soft and mushy, but I am not a rice elitist. So it worked for me.
God also made poisonous plants.
So, maybe God wants us to look for the plants hat are best for us.
Maybe God told the people in the bible to eat a certain thing because: it was what was available, was what was needed to survive and/or had a special metaphorical significance to those people. I don’t believe the bible said anywhere to eat any particular foods for optimal wellness. If it did, I’d love to know more!
sorry to mention it but the Bible is just a compilation of “found” written pieces by MEN commenting about Judeo-Christian oral mythology (without ton of other pieces btw that have been kept out of it (too bad they are the funniest ones: for example a married Christ with brats !! not kidding, would have change many things if the Catholic church would have kept this one …) and like any mythology (check the Greek one !!) you will laugh at the amount of ridiculously stupid superstitions … that’s what ALSO tradition are bringing from the past not only pieces of wisdom (like ALL traditions) and a greater amount of absurd fantasies (as if the old where always wiser ??) that are fun to read but CAN NOT be used as a “proof” of anything … so out of the subject at hand here …
… I’m scared to even look at the comments section, I waste time arguing with people who don’t care or won’t read what I have to say! Isn’t that the one where someone was saying God didn’t intend us to soak, because he we should consume the grains the way he made them or some such nonsense? I agree with you- soaking rice is no burden, and besides improving the digestibility (which I got, ahem, solid proof of when my son was still in diapers- without being too graphic, I could definitely tell when he ate unsoaked brown rice vs. soaked…) I think soaked rice tastes better. And I meal plan anyway, so remembering to soak the rice the day before is *usually* not a big deal.
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Great article! Question – do you think it would be just as effective, if not more effective, to save and reuse the entire entire batch of “soak water” instead of just using the 10% starter?
So sorry it took me so long to respond…I got absolutely behind on comments when I released the second edition of the snacks book and truly have never caught up.
But you know, I’ve always wondered why the “10%”. I just go with what Stephan Guyenet says because he is the scientist. Personally, I go a little heavy-handed on my pours and probably get about 25% going. You might ask over at http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2010/05/traditional-preparation-methods-improve.html
I’ve read this long line of comments and was looking for information about soaking NOT oatmeal, but OAT GROATS. I have an oatmeal press. Would I soak the groats the same way rice is soaked? Then let them dry out a bit before pressing them into “oatmeal”? Thanks so much!
I don’t know what an oatmeal press is, but I soak rolled oats this way: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/11/30/monday-mission-soak-your-oatmeal/ which is totally different from the rice as the oats soak up much more liquid. I’ve use groats once or twice, and the directions (from Nourishing Traditions) said to toast the groats, briefly chop them in a food processor, then soak the same way as r0lled oats overnight. It was too much work for me! Good luck! 🙂 Katie
soaking the raw rice reduces the phytic acid?is it good to eat raw soaked rice(i.e raw rice soaking in water)is eatingraw soaked rice(i.e raw rice soaking in water)is beneficial to our health?please tell me explain
No, you need to also cook the soaked rice – that step is imperative.
“The sad news is that at the end of this research journal entry, the researchers found that zinc, the mineral in question for their study, was almost no more well-absorbed after the accelerated fermentation than it was before. They concluded that more study is needed; I concur and am left wondering if the work involved in soaking is worth it. There are other positive impacts beyond just phytic acid reduction, luckily.” –
What IS the point then? – What are the other benefits and where is the scientific evidence for it? As a concerned mom, I am willing to do almost anything within reason to provide healthy food for my family – but I hate to think of spending precious time doing something that is really not proven.
Thanks for addressing this, I really enjoy your articles/blog and am looking forward to reaching a final conclusion on the soaking issue!
I still wonder whenever I soak, to be honest…but I lean, for now, on anecdotal evidence on digestion from soaked vs. unsoaked experiences and some research (noted in other soaking posts) that points to the health benefits of soaking. For rice, it takes no more time to soak than not to soak, so I usually do it but don’t freak out if I don’t plan ahead on accident. ???
There is a LOT of research demonstrating the health benefits of sourdough, so you may want to look into that method of preparation – one I can really stand behind with citations. 🙂 Katie
Do share your concerns! I still soaked my brown (red) rice “in case” it does something to the phytic acid and makes nutrients more available … (?) but above all it reduces the time of cooking greatly (therefore 2 +: time and energy saver) … I do soak with sourdough my morning oats for instant (or with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar: no after taste at all !!) (same “hope” as before about nutrients availability) but mostly because they get deliciously fluffy and I don’t have to cook them (save time and energy too + increase % of raw food in my daily diet). In short, I always have something soaking (almonds, rice, oats, sesame, buckwheat, quinoa (soaking got rid of it’s bitter taste that I don’t care for), etc.) and therefore I always have something immediately available to eat or to cook in a quick way … and if as a + science manages to prove that it makes them better for health … I will be lucky… anyway, you would agree, nothing “for the moment” seems to even come close to find these procedures unhealthy for one reason or another … so I persist… since they make my life (cooking in this case) easier …
Well, shoot… part of the reason I have been looking into soaking and sprouting with renewed vigor is that my 3-year old, who is on the autism spectrum, turns out to be deficient in zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium, and since he is such a little carb fiend, I was hoping that the extra step would help his absorption of those nutrients without making him choke down supplements and foods he refuses to try. Too bad they weren’t testing more than zinc levels!
This is interesting but I think I’m confused. Are you saying that you soak one batch of rice a total of three times – soaking each time for 24 hours and saving 10% of each soaking liquid – before the rice is ready to be cooked?
Sorry my reply was so delayed! Not quite on your interpretation – it just means that you soak the rice one time, but by your third batch of rice, you’ve got really good soaking liquid that gets 96% of the phytic acid out. Your first 2 batches will have less phytic acid than unsoaked rice, but not quite the “almost all of it” as the third batch. Make sense now?
First of all, thank you for your blog, I am very happy, that I’ve found it. Can I have a question for you?
What about puffed rice? How can we make it more digestible? Is a short soaking enough?
If by puffed rice you mean like a rice krispie cereal, I think it’s beyond repair! Puffed rice cereal has already been subjected to great heat and pressure, so it’s oxidized like mad. Best to start with your own real, whole grains and soak from there. Is there another kind of puffed rice I don’t know about? Thanks! 🙂 Katie
Thx for your answer! I think it is the same as the rice krispies, but no sugar, no salt, only the rice… For example: http://elj.hu/files/product_pictures/136307_0.jpg
Is very unhealthy to eat this type of rice? I do not eat gluten at the moment, and when i haven’t got time for soak or cook, I eat this or puffed millet. Is it very bad for me? 🙁 Thx in advance 🙂
Puffed grains are supposed to be pretty bad for you…they’re called extruded grains and aren’t very natural. 🙁 Sorry to be the bearer of bad news! I have a little more information on the science, or at least the process, behind puffed grains here: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/02/11/food-for-thought-nutritional-value-of-whole-grains/
For a quick cold cereal, you might try making granola with GF oats. Good luck! 🙂 Katie
Just adding my 2 cents to Katie’s “spot on” comments. I have been on a special diet now for quite awhile and am limiting my starch intake, among other things. One week I got a bunch of organic puffed brown rice on sale to indulge myself as we almost never eat processed foods in our home. Well, I ate some and even on the days when I kept to my limit, my conditions really flared up. It was awful. Since this stuff is processed the way Katie mentions, its glycemic index is through the roof. I looked it up and it is awful. Even the brown rice kind. Basically, all processed cereal is junk, unfortunately. It’s hard to get away from our boxed food mentality, but those cute little shapes in cereal boxes just aren’t doing your body any favors. (Sorry to be the bearer of bad news here as well :-))
Katie, Adrienne, thank you very much for your comments! I am not sad, because I know something new about this, and that’s great! 🙂 Thank you again, very helpful informations!
So granola… Sorry, but I have a question about it. 🙂 Should I use 1/3 tbsp acidic medium if I use 1/3 cup water for the soaking of 1 cup oatmeal?
I also can’t help wondering if this (issues with food, nutrients, digestion, etc.) is part of the extra “toiling” that came with “the fall”! I do believe all creation suffered from the fall- our food as well.
I have a few questions: do you rinse the rice after soaking it? And can you continue this process indefinitely, or do you need to eventually start all over again? Also, do you think you could do this with oats and very coarse corn meal, or use this liquid to soak oats or corn?
I LOVE that theory.
I don’t rinse the rice, just drain it. I’m not sure what the “official” word is on that though. As long as your “rice water” doesn’t get stinky, you can keep it up forever. My rice now absolutely bubbles when left overnight. So cool! Oats soak up so much water, so I don’t know about that one. But you could use sourdough to soak oats, and corn is a different beast anyway and is supposed to be nixtimalized with lime. It’s a deep well to jump into here! 🙂 Katie
I am sure you are thoroughly enjoying Blissdom!
I am wondering if, when you have time, you could expand on the other benefits here to soaking and send me a good link. I am trying my oat bran muffins http://wholenewmom.com/recipes/oat-bran-muffins/ today w/ some buckwheat flour added to the soaking medium. We can’t use whey here due to older son’s life threatening dairy allergy.
As I have time, I look forward to digging into this with you.
I will get you my great bread recipe soon. I sure hope you like it!
Everything I know about soaking is right here: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/seriescarnivals/soaking-grains-an-exploration/
Btw, you can make yr recipes look prettier by pushing “shift+enter” between ingredients, which will take out the space in between. 🙂 Katie
I was wondering how to store the brown rice after soaking it if I do not want to use it in a recipe immediately? Is it possible to do this? Do I need to dry it or should I just store it, as is, in the fridge after soaking? Thanks for the help!
I would just cook the rice up after soaking, then store it if you’re not ready for it right away. Seems like a big hassle to dry it out and store, then cook later! 🙂 Katie
I agree:) I soaked about 7 cups dry!! it was a lot! so what i did was cook it in 2 batches in my rice cooker and wait until it cooled to store in containers that i put in the freezer. i guess i’ve got rice for quite a while and for any type of rice recipe now 😉 thank you!
I don’t know if I asked this before… but do you adujst the amount of water you cook with after having soaked the rice? I’ve been approximating about 1/4 C less liquid per cup of rice after soaking (I think), but just wondering what others do.
Thank you for reminding me that I should update this post. I didn’t use to reduce the amount, but I do think it makes a big (good) difference if you do leave out 1/4 – 1/2 cup to make up for what the rice has already absorbed. You could be more precise if you wanted and measure what you pour off, then add that amount back in with fresh water.
Thanks! 🙂 Katie
That would work… if I measured the amount of soaking liquid! 🙂
I find that the soaked rice cooks a bit faster than unsoaked rice (or faster than the package says it will take). Do you find this too?
So many others say it does, but I always have not found that. ??? I’m still a rice novice, I feel, like sometimes we’re eating crunchy rice and I can’t figure out why. Keeps me humble! 🙂 Katie
Do you cover the reserved soaking water in the fridge or do you leave it in an open container?
Covered! I would spill it otherwise, for sure. 😉 Katie
Since lacto-fermentation can be achieved with whey or with salt would it be possible to soak oats overnight in salt instead of whey and have it help to break down things? My daughter is allergic to wheat and dairy (also eggs and nuts) so I am trying to find some ways to try soaked grains for her and hopefully make granola bars for her.
The soaking theory uses an acidic medium rather than lacto-fermentation, even though it’s my theory that LF works even better for oats, for example. You’ll want to just use vinegar or lemon juice for soaking (lemon juice is better with oatmeal, just don’t overdo it), or something like water kefir or kombucha for LFing it. The phytic acid is a salt itself, so lots of salt not only would probably taste nasty, but wouldn’t do the trick. Great dairy-free question, though!
Interesting article! In Iran basmati rice is soaked overnight in very salty water, then rinsed and cooked. I’ve often wondered if the salt helps break down the grain. It tends to make it fluffier. Perhaps in your quest to find the answer to rice you might want to ponder this tradition.
Thank you so much for sharing! Since we’re talking fermentation, that would make sense – lacto-fermentation can be achieved by using whey or a very salty brine. Is there a salty taste to the rice at all, or is it all washed away?
It gets washed away, so the cooking water is also salted the way pasta is cooked. The rice kernals are drained when they are al dente and then returned to the pot and steamed with a lid that has many layers of fabric over a wicker frame.
No, thank YOU!! 😀
And yes, I’m excited to, to find another person who’s into this stuff…I won’t admit it most of the time, but sometimes it gets lonely over here!
Anyway, I wanted to stop in one more time to mention this: I’m aware that oats are also very low in the phytase enzyme, and I just thought this morning, why wouldn’t this accelerated fermentation technique work for the oats?
So now I’m doing an oat yogurt starter, i.e., I am having my oat yogurt right now, but I saved some of it as a ‘starter,’ and am now fermenting a new batch of oat yogurt with that starter, fresh water, and freshly ground oats.
It’s just amazing to me how easy it is, and how much sense it makes. Now I feel like nothing could be more natural: I have to only cook things minimally — I don’t even cook the oat yogurt, I just eat it as is — if I use the accelerated fermentation technique (similar to continuous fermentation traditionally used to make kefir), I can have phytic-acid reduced and pre-digested oats and brown rice every day. Maybe, at last, I won’t have to worry about what I’m going to have for breakfast :p
By the way, it’s pretty rustic, but oat yogurt / brown rice / honey / virgin coconut oil make a great breakfast.
I just wanted to say thanks again. I’m probably getting inappropriately excited about this, but it’s just AMAZING! Thank you so much for sharing this — and please, please, keep learning more, and keep sharing more. You’re helping more people than you know, just by getting the word out about these things. Keep it up 😀
I love this post, and the comments too! I soaked my rice for the first time and kept some of the soaking water, now will be doing my first soak with it. I was really excited to see this post come out and will link to it from my soaked brown rice entry on my blog.
.-= Kim @ The Nourishing Cook´s last blog ..Cheddar Cheese Dip =-.
Wanted to tell you that I am a professional in this baking ‘healthy’ area and I never felt comfortable with this accelerated fermentation process. Here’s why: even though we know soaking/dehydrating etc is doing well for some things . . . retaining the liquid that is ‘thrown out’ with every other method just didn’t make sense. But I and several others went ahead tried it because of the info posted on this site. We all had horrible gastric/digestive issues. I’m back to my only using germinated rice and I even rinse off the ‘slippery’ end product when it’s done cooking. All is fine this way.
If other people are feeling ok after this new method – I am wondering if they had any issues before hand. Or maybe it depends on the rice. The people I worked with all used different rices to have some variables – again, we all had bad times – 🙂
Hope this helps.
That is fascinating…and disturbing. Hmmmm… Do you not soak flour, then, since the liquid obviously stays with it? Just use sprouted flour? I never drain my oats, either, they pretty much absorb all the liquid. How do you do oats?
This is fantastic!
I have been making “oat yogurt” (basically, it’s the same thing as making a sourdough starter, just using oats — I grind up oat flakes in a blender first, then add water and let it culture for a day or two), kefir, and am generally using culturing/fermentation all the time for the foods I eat.
It helps me a LOT because I’m such an absent-minded person — psychological stress and isolation really got to me over the years, and after all this time, my memory is starting to get pretty bad. So this is a double benefit: friendly bacteria AND a cooking method that allows for a lot of leeway!
I accidentally left the brown rice soaking for 2 days. The water’s a bit bubbly now. I wonder, instead of discarding it, shouldn’t it be good to drink? This seems to be the same thing as “rejuvelac,” which is commonly made using wheat berries. I’ve seen recipes for “oat yogurt,” actually (as well as raw nut/seed yogurt) that use “rejuvelac” instead of water, as a kind of starter culture.
I love it. This doesn’t seem unnatural to me at all — actually, it seems so appropriate and so stupidly simple, and I’m thrilled to see studies now showing how effective these really obvious methods are for removing phytic acid.
Phytic acid is supposed to have health benefits; people also traditionally abstained from fermented foods for periods of time. The main point? I wouldn’t obsess about it! But this is probably the easiest way to prepare food I know of — what can be easier than just letting it sit in a bowl and have friendly bacteria pre-digest it for you? Sounds like a gift from God to me.
I think I’ll try drinking the bubbly liquid from the brown rice. Sounds like legitimate “rejuvelac” to me…and so the ongoing “accelerated fermentation” process seems to be using rejuvelac from the previous batch to kickstart it. This is very much like leaving the curds clinging to the kefir grains when you start a new batch — it speeds it up — and also the same thing with “oat yogurt” — save a bit from the last batch, and it speeds up the next one. And of course, it’s the same thing with sourdough starter.
It works out perfectly. I couldn’t see anything more natural than preparing brown rice this way, and a lot of other foods — we have blenders now, thank God, but when you just had a mortar and pestle, you could grind up all these grains and ferment them, and you could eat them as is, no cooking required, after a good period of bacterial pre-digestion.
My grandma never had an ice box growing up. Her aunt would keep the fresh milk in a big crock on the dirt floor in the cellar, and it was fine. Of course, raw milk will sour and pasteurized milk will just spoil, but we have kefir grains to fix that problem — I’m positive that they’re the solution to the “pasteurized milk” problem. They also pre-digest the fats, apparently, and I’m wondering if that takes care of the xanthine oxidase problem in whole milk. I bet it does at least something.
Anyway, yeah! This is AMAZING! I was really happy to find this — thrilled, actually — and it’s just amazing how it makes so much sense. Kefir, yogurt, sourdough, rejuvelac — we have access to all these great foods, and they’re free. God gave us these little friends everywhere, and if we treat our food well, they can help us have better health, and also make our lives easier. Ha! Little bacterias are putting on their chef hats and aprons and saying “Leave it to us!” And they prepare our food for us — how nice of them 🙂
Maybe I’m a nut for drinking rejuvelac from brown rice (you know, you could probably add some of that raw Bragg apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice, to the soaking water, which might be of use *if you plan on drinking the ‘rejuvelac’ like me*…maybe I shouldn’t drink it, but hey, if you do drink it, now you have a recipe for fresh rejuvelac you can either 1) drink 2) use as a starter culture for nut/seed/oat yogurt — on TOP of having phytic acid-reduced brown rice, ready to cook).
Maybe I’ll try adding this bubbly soak water to my next batch of oat yogurt and see what happens. Hm! Well, the possibilities are endless. But it sounds very natural to me not to waste anything we use, and if this is really how we’re meant to be, maybe God intended for rejuvelac and all these things to be used! *dies of strange disease after ingesting pathogens from soak water*
Well let’s hope for the best. If all goes well, it’s safe to drink, and now we have a way to make nut/seed/oat yogurts faster. I really don’t think I’m obsessed with this (okay, I do have obsessive compulsive tendencies, but that just means I’m much more easily amused than most people, which is a blessing 😀 even if I have no friends! – remember, the bacteria are our friends!) LMAO
OKAY! Well I think I’ve said quite enough. Thank you for sharing this wonderful information, though; and I definitely think science is a good thing, and we should keep analyzing things and learning more about the world we live in. This is hardly a problem in a world where torture, rape, and all these horrible things are happening all around the world.
Maybe someday we’ll be primarily focused on making food and medicine as good as we can. I sure would love to see science go in that direction; less money for bombs/nuclear arms/guns/violence, more money for helping people/nourishing people and helping them grow and develop and learn how to be happy and have love instead of so much suffering and resentment and hatred.
Yes, this is definitely a step in a positive direction, without a doubt. Once we get more knowledge, we can start applying this stuff on a global scale, and I think that’ll help a lot with reducing nutritional starvation in the world. There are so many horrible things in this world that make me so sad — but this is one of the good things that makes me feel happy 🙂
And remember, it’s nutrition research that’s allowed us to understand how to rehabilitate people who’ve been starved/are starving, and have severely impaired digestion. Check it out:
I say keep it up, and thanks again for sharing this. I’m *beyond* thrilled 😀 Thank you!
Wow! I’ve finally found someone more excited about food science and whole grains than me! 😉 Thanks for all your valuable insight – Katie
Hey. I always thought soaking grains and legumes caused phytic acid to be released into the water. Is that not true? If it’s true, wouldn’t you want to avoid drinking it?
That’s the bugger – no one really knows for sure if the water collects the bad stuff, or if it’s simply neutralized. This whole issue is one gray area after another… But good question! 🙂 Katie
Linked this one, too. :>)
.-= Lenetta @ Nettacow´s last blog ..No More Plastic Food Storage Containers? =-.
Christina, I’m not talking about soaking it being unnatural. I’m talking about the whole mindset: let’s analyze this, break it down, decide which components are actually anti-nutrients, do all kinds of studies, and finally determine that even soaking isn’t good enough. We have to make sure we save some of something and soak the rice only in that, or it isn’t good enough. And in the meantime, it still isn’t good enough.
I find it very interesting that all of the comments that completely contradict me are from folks who don’t believe the Bible. According to the Bible (which, even if you aren’t a Christian, should be understood by any reasonable person as a better-preserved record of history than any of the other highly-regarded historical records), people have been cultivating crops since at least Cain and Abel; we did not “evolve” to the point of eating grains. So we (those who believe in the God of the Bible and those who don’t) can’t really even ask the same question.
That phytic acid is something to be avoided as much as possible is an assumption that has not ever been absolutely confirmed. Yes, it reduces our ability to absorb certain nutrients from certain foods. It also protects against colon cancer. So…good or bad? Nobody seems to solidly know, so why jump through hoops to eliminate it?
A LOT of other really healthy foods include “anti-nutrients,” too. If we were to avoid all of these things, we would really just have to stop eating about half of our plant foods – including greens. A more basic, common-sense approach makes more sense to me: eat only real foods (that is, not chemical cocktails) in as whole a state as possible/practical, eat a variety of foods, and eat some of it cooked and some of it raw. Since different foods contain different nutrients, and we tend to get different ones from the cooked version of a food than from the uncooked, this should ensure a broad spectrum of nutrients in our diets.
I think that a similar approach to our grains is probably the “right” one – eat some of them soaked and some of them unsoaked.
.-= Rachel R.´s last blog ..Ideas for Overheating Computer? =-.
While everything that God created is good, not everything is compatible with being ingested by humans (e.g. lead) and the sicker our society becomes the more problems we have with things that are, for healthy humans, normal. Gluten, pollen, and peanuts all have practical purposes, were created by God, and yet some people react against them.
While the scientific approach is not for everybody, I find it fascinating. A table like the above may not be necessary to healthy eating, but it creates in me wonder, wonder that the nature God created is so amazing. After all, He made it that germination increases nutrients. Maybe he meant us to soak grains in clay pots until we had the knowledge to break it all apart, and then we would see how great the process is and soak even without clay pots because the reason He gave us allows us to figure it out.
Not that I am accelerating fermenting my rice yet, but just another Christian viewpoint…
You said exactly what I wanted to say while reading through the comments. Great truthful information! Thank you for posting.
I cannot agree on NOT soaking. It does take extra work. But, Look what happened in countries, Europe (Italy) where they brought in corn from the ancients who had been soaking it for years, centuries. The people got pellagra which is a vitamin deficiency becuase the proper nutrition was not released by soaking. In this case it was lime ( not the citrus) that it was soaked in. God has given us His wisdom, yes it does take some effort, but we shouldn’t (in my opinion) be eating so much grain, anyway. Look at some of the action that phytic acid causes. Anybody ever try to make soy milk? I did it ONCE in my beginning of our family’s health journey ( we don’t eat ANY soy, now), but I was expecting and I got diarreah so bad I got dehydrated and went to the hospital for some extra fluids. Embarassing…
There is wisdom in soaking grains. It used to be the only way to make bread, to get yeast.
Just my two cents.
Happy Resurrection Day!
UW – sweet!
There is some great discussion on this post! I didn’t respond to each person because…well…I have no idea what I think. Research and prayer! And eating rice without worrying too much…
Hi Katie I have a question that’s been nagging me a lot. Nobody seems to specify whether the rice should be soaked covered or uncovered. Pls help!
It doesn’t really matter, but covered is smart for bug-and-debris-control. 🙂 Katie
This is interesting & I’m willing to give it a try. I hope people don’t let the science trip them up on this one. I really can’t see this as complex or artificial- you’re just keeping off part of the water from soaking for 24 hours- that’s less steps than you would have to take to prepare butter from milk, and not much different than keeping a sourdough starter (less work even).
How has rice been eaten in ethnic groups that have been eating it for millennia? Not just how was it pre-prepared, and prepared, but how was it eaten and what with? I think that’s more important than inventing how to eat it now. That would have not been tested by generations upon generations of healthy people. That is the biggest test. Not some test tube or fermentation chart.
.-= Isaac Rivera´s last blog ..L’Ermita =-.
I agree. I’m from Somalia where rice has always been soaked before cooking. My family was nomadic as recent as 50 years ago. We soak rice, lentils, and sorghum. I’m not sure about other grains as these are the main 3 eaten in the countryside.
Rachel, what’s unnatural about soaking grain in water for 24 hours? How is that “vastly unnatural”?
Did we read the same article?
And God did not create the grains you see today. The grains you see today have been vastly manipulated by humans for several thousand years.
I wonder if God intended us to be so scientific about our food…maybe there is a reason for phytic acid and who are we to say it doesn’t have a purpose. I’m siding with Rachel R on this! Good info though!
.-= Luanne´s last blog ..Breakfast Blight… =-.
A very good point. I have haemochromatosis (absorb too much iron) which is a life threatening illness if not diagnosed in time . So I will be eating plenty of phytic acid in such natural forms from now on, especially in nuts, which I love. I have been undergoing venesection (phlebotomy) – having a pint of blood removed every 2 weeks – for over a year now to reduce my iron to a safe level.
Phytic acid should help speed this up and help maintain safe levels with less venesection
Sure, s/he knew what s/he was doing when s/he created grains. “God” (the universe, evolution, whatever) put the phytates in the grains and beans and seeds to deter herbivores and other animals (like primates/humans) from eating them. Soaking grains is an ancient tradition practiced by all of the peoples of the world. I think, if anything, we are probably just not soaking our grains long enough or with the right influences in the soaking pot. The ancients would have used porous clay vessels that held the bacteria from many previous soakings. They were not fools. 🙂
This just strikes me as really artificial. If we have to use such vastly unnatural food preparations to make our natural foods wholesome, can we really call them wholesome in the first place? I have a very hard time believing that phytic acid can really be the all-around “enemy” that NT makes it out to be. Did God know what He was doing when He created grains, or did He not? Such culinary gymnastics make me all the more confident that trying to eliminate this component that God has placed in so many foods is probably not the right track.
.-= Rachel R.´s last blog ..Do You Know Your Best Colors? =-.
I agree Rachel. For years we have been trying to outsmart God in the unnatural ways of raising animals for food and in our crops. Let’s not continue this arrogance in the opposite direction.
Rice is a seed. Its primary purpose is to reproduce more rice-grass plants. Birds and mice and other predators to seeds reduce the number of opportunities for the plant to make more of itself, so it needs a defense. Thus, many seeds and sprouts contain antinutrients (prunus species–apples, cherries, peaches, plums, etc–actually contain a form of cyanide in their seeds). Animals who still eat intuitively/instinctively know not to eat too much. Actually, birds have quite a complex mechanical/multistep digestion process for all the seeds that they eat.
Humans didn’t start eating grains, or directing their growth via monocrop agriculture, until very recently in the scope of human existence. As civilization and sedentary lifestyles began to require food storage, grains became a staple rather than the more varied hunter/gatherer/nomad diet. Traditional people weren’t in such a hurry, didn’t need or expect instant food like we do today, and found ways to make inedible seeds more edible.
I don’t believe any plant exists just for us to eat.
I agree Jana. When I work in my yard seeds try to catch a ride on my socks. These seeds are out for their own interests!
I am studying for a horticulture major. This makes perfect sense to me. I agree that God made food the way it is, and I think altering it by hybridizing it is wrong. However, seeds do have a chemical component that protects them. It’s not so much about being an anti-nutrient, it’s about keeping the nutrients intact until the seed has received the signal to germinate. Then, it can release it’s nutrients to be used up by the new plant. If we just eat the seed, then it hasn’t entered that process yet, and the nutrients are still locked up. It’s a survival mechanism. Unless the seed gets the signal that all the right conditions are there to release nutrients (moisture, temperature, etc.), then it will just stay dormant.
I agree with your point: we do seem to be going to a lot of trouble to eat grains, and it does seem a bit odd.
One possibility that you fail to mention is that perhaps humans were never meant to eat grains at all…
After the rise of grain agriculture 10,000 or so years ago, the size of the human brain shrank, and some of the early diseases of civilization were seen for the first time. There is a line of thinking that says it’s all been downhill since then, nutritionally speaking at least. Also that grain agriculture is fundamentally an unsustainable practice, from an environmental point of view.
Lierre Keith makes these arguments in her controversial, thought-provoking book _The Vegetarian Myth_. I summarize her arguments (very superficially) in my review, here: http://feedmelikeyoumeanit.blogspot.com/2010/03/book-review-vegetarian-myth-by-lierre.html
I haven’t decided yet how much I agree with her, and I certainly have mixed feelings about the conclusions she reaches. But it’s certainly an interesting line of reasoning.
.-= Alex´s last blog ..Greater Boston Kimchi Festival 2010 Wrap-Up =-.
I’m with you but still wondering…
Maybe historically the fact that people kept using the same pot to soak their rice ended up with this “culture” passing on from batch to batch on accident.
Good questions, though!
You have a right to your opinion in reference to God and what you think he intended. Doesn’t matter – there is still science, there are still people suffering horribly when eating grains unproperly prepared. I’m sure you believe in some history and our ancestors were smart enough to know they weren’t cows or birds – cows have 4 stomachs to digest plants and birds have gizzards to eat seeds/grains.
I have worked in an atmosphere where the main issue is changing the diet and the first thing to go is grains. I am a baker in ‘everything’ free and I have a sensitive digestive and I test all on myself and SO many others – everyone does better on sprouted flours – some still have to also go grain free, soaked/dehydrated nuts, and soaked/pressure cooked legumes – that is not opinion or have anything to do with God – it’s factual.
The simple fact is that years ago, we got lazy and turned to gmo wheat, cane sugar, then high fructose . . . instead of relying on a diet of protein, fat and some plants, wild fruits. Now we are paying for it, but it is slowing turning around for those who are willing to take the time to cook to feed their body the correct fuel.
We have now trained our bodies to be sugar burners instead of fat burners – that’s a whole area of leptin and insulin resistance – it’s going to take a couple generations to change starting with us.
A very small amount of people do not have any troubles and some ‘don’t’ think they do as so many are used to how they feel and they think it’s normal. Sooner or later those who continue to eat the current harmful items will suffer. That is so sad. There will always be the ‘few’ who can digest a T of Vaseline! But 99% of us cannot.
Hope this helps.
The problem with this reasoning is that there is science to back up the idea that phytic acid is harmful – AND there is science to back up the idea that phytic acid is helpful. So which do we believe?
It is my suspicion that it’s BOTH, and we’re intended to eat grains prepared in a variety of ways. It is historically inaccurate to say that ALL ancient peoples ate ALL of their grains soaked or fermented. The Bible alone – as historical record, even if you choose to ignore it as God-reference – offers numerous examples of bread prepared “quickly” or “without yeast.” Traditional Irish soda bread is a quick bread. There are others. The point is, the whole argument that people have always prepared ALL of their grains in one of these ways doesn’t hold water.
I don’t have the answers. I don’t understand why so many people have digestive issues with grains nowadays. (I’m gluten intolerant, myself, so this is more than a mental exercise for me!) I am confident it has something to do with what we humans have done to our food – probably genetic modification or something along those lines. But I have a hard time seeing phytic acid as the enemy, because if we follow that logic to its natural conclusion, we have to eliminate a LOT of healthy, natural, whole foods from our diet completely.
Matzo! Not even fermented at all. Talk about a phytic-acid-fest.
Bread of affliction. Even the GF version.
Genesis CHapter 3
17 And unto Adam he said,
Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife,
and hast eaten of the tree,
of which I commanded thee, saying,
Thou shalt not eat of it:
cursed is the ground for thy sake;
in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; Heb. 6.8
and thou shalt eat the herb of the field:
19 in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,
till thou return unto the ground;
You get your answer. We have our special food made by GOD but our ancestors SIN and forbid their kind to enjoy what would have been life if WE OBEY WHAT GOD COMMAND. Anyway, this chapter is very interesting, because with science and applying fermentation with certain kind of bactery you can get an enormous increase in nutrient density and antinutrient removal. Man think himself smart but is nothing but a moron, if we have seen this before and follow it´s advice we can create a super bread. Just grind seeds than have all nutrient, such as omegas, calcium, etc etc, with some grains and some legume, in an b12 rich enviroment like we create nutritional yeast and wuala XD you have your perfect meal and it was mention in the bible thousands years ago.
DO NOT TAKE THE LORD NAME IN VAIN, there is a commandment for that.
We are talking “FACTS” related to science or experience not about “superstitions” nor “beliefs”… what the “hell” (you should like this one) are you talking about … Lets keep your superstitions out of this, it’s simply not the point … go and preach to whom ever want to hear it: not here!
You don’t have to be rude about it. Please don’t call people’s faith, “superstitions.” It’s belittling…. You could of kindly asked for Nicolás to keep it scientific if the Bible offended you that badly.
Go and spread your rudeness to whom ever wants to hear it: not here!
Hi. When i was doing was pointing facts writting on a book thousand years ago. You go and check mercola´s website they will tell you the same. That you should do the natural fermentation of seeds (specially grains) and they will release almost all nutritional value. If you fermentated milk you get cheese wich can be tolerated by anyone because it has no lactose on it. Well on bible there are tons of good advices that our moderns nutritionist are following, specially butter. Whathever jp, if your mind is that small that can not see knowdledge where it is so be it. I check on the scientific community and was very happy to see how it match with the bible.
Thanks Nicholas, I find what you wrote very intriguing and informative. Thanks for sharing and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, hehe…just kidding.
Jana is right. Seeds are protected by these anti-nutrients so the plant can reproduce. I am a FIRM believer in God due to some very powerful spiritual experiences. I’ve come to realize the Lord gives us word of knowledge to clue us in about the necessary ways to prepare these things. Indigenous peoples instinctively know to soak rice, beans, seeds and nuts. We want the easy way these days, the quick fix the the truth is that is not the way. We need to truly understand how to prepare foods if we intend to honor our bodies and live a prosperous life. Please don’t take short cuts.
I am Asian so speaking as someone who eats a lot of rice but has since switched to a high raw vegan diet I still indulge in cooked rice once in a while. I don’t think the phytic acid in rice is going to make or break a person’s health. Japanese people in general live well into their 90’s because they eat smaller portions and eat these main food groups: rice, vegetables, fruits, and fish. Asians eat rice 3x a day and for the most part only rinse their rice once or twice before it goes into the cooker and there may or may not be pesticides in the vegetables/fruits, and don’t forget the mercury in fish. There’s no perfect food devoid of some toxicity. I doubt our Creator purposely put phytic acid in our grain so we don’t eat grain..otherwise as someone who eats high raw– i would have no protein source. All grain/nuts need to be sprouted to reduce phytic acid but the majority of people who eat cooked food will never know that. I don’t think the phytic acid is the culprit when it comes to poor health since plenty of people will continue to eat some roasted nuts everyday in their diet for better health. At the end of the day, as long as people aren’t eating processed food, our body detoxes everything else out and assimilates what it needs to keep us healthy…the way our bodies were intended to work.
Asians eat primarily white rice which is very low in phytic acid since bran has been removed. Even the Perfect Health Diet which does not allow for any grain consumption makes an exception for white rice, which while not high in nutrients, has minimal toxins.
I think God new, but remember sin entered the world, not God’s fault and corruption of grains ever since and other factors – not God’s fault are to blame for many food and health problems, the bible mentions properly prepared food which required fermentation, during unleavened bread God said not to eat risen – foods during unleavened bread, which presumably were normally fermented as the bible mentions leaving bread out at night to prepare for the next day. Although this direction of not eating leavened food once a year was in rememberance I suspect God also wanted us – his people cleaned out physically as well as spirtually and I wonder if the phytic acid acted as a spring clean for built up minerals in the body once per year.
Maybe G-d did not intended grains for human consumption. It is pretty good for horses and other animals, though.
Now science and Millennial knowledge of our human ancestors presents us with ways in which we can consume them safely and in a way that they can be beneficial to us.
I believe it says something to this effect in the Bible, even.
Check out the Weston Price foundation . See what they say about grains. We hsve the right to choose.