Just like humans, plants have the ability to go into fight or flight mode. Except not because plants can’t run away. Their best defense in “fight” mode is their strongest protection and quite possibly what is wreaking havoc on your gut, causing unwanted digestive issues.
Their most powerful defense is a chemical weapon system known as anti-nutrients.
- Phytic Acid
- Lectins + other enzyme inhibitors
These chemical defenses are in place to protect plants from predators and premature germination, but if they’re not gotten rid of before human consumption they can absolutely cause problems since humans were not meant to digest these chemicals.
Phytic Acid binds to minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc which prevents the body from absorbing them and can contribute to mineral deficiency, bone loss, IBS, and more. It also acts as an enzyme blocker, inhibiting the necessary nutrients we need from breaking down starch and protein. This can be hard on the GI tract by causing damage to the intestinal lining and contributing to bacteria overgrowth. (yeesh!)
Lectins bind to carbs and penetrate the lining of the GI tract contributing to leaky gut, nutrient malabsorption, GI distress, auto-immune conditions, and gut flora imbalance.
The solution is not to necessarily eliminate nuts + seeds from your diet, but to clean them up and get these anti-nutrient chemicals out of the picture. You can do this by soaking, sprouting, and fermenting them. These processes generally help to neutralize anti-nutrients, improve the body’s ability to digest them, and increases the number of available nutrients that are beneficial to us.
Here’s everything you need to know about soaking your nuts, seeds, beans, grains, and legumes:
SOAKING NUTS AND SEEDS:
- Place raw nuts and/or seeds into a large mixing bowl
- Cover with water and stir in 1 TBSP of pink sea salt
- Brazil nut–Do not soak
- Almonds– 8-12 hours
- Cashews– 2-2.5 hours
- Macadamia– Do not soak
- Pine nut– Do not soak
- Walnut– 4 hours
- Pistachio– Do not soak
- Pecan– 4-6 hours
- Flaxseed– 8 hours
- Hemp– Do Not soak
- Sesame– 8 hours
- Sunflower– 2 hours
- Place grain into a large mixing bowl and cover with warm water. The ratio is 1 cup of warm water for every 1 cup of grains.
- Stir in 1 TBSP of fresh lemon juice or ACV (per cup of grains).
- Leave the bowl at room temp for the time mentioned below.
- Drain, rinse and cook as usual. If you want to use them later, dry them out immediately in a dehydrator before storing them.
- Barley– 6-8 hours
- Oats– 6 hours
- Alfalfa– 8 hours
- Spelt + Rye– 8 hours
- Rice– 9 hours
- Millet– 8 hours
SOAKING KIDNEY, PINTO, NAVY, WHITE, AND BEANS:
- Place beans into a large mixing blow and cover with warm water.
- Stir in a pinch of baking soda (a pinch for each cup of beans).
- Leave at room temperature for at least 18-24 hours.
- Drain the beans every 7 hours and add new water + baking soda.
- Drain, rinse and cook.
SOAKING GARBANZO, BLACK, FAVA BEANS, AND SPLIT PEAS:
- Place beans into a large mixing bowl and cover them with warm water
- Stir in 1 TBSP of fresh lemon juice for every cup of beans.
- Soak at room temperature for at least 24 hours. (draining and adding new water at least 2 times throughout the process.
- Drain, rinse, cook.
- Place lentils into a large mixing bowl + cover them with warm water.
- Stir in 1 TBSP (per cup of lentils) of ACV.
- Leave at room temperature and soak for at least 7 hours.
- Drain, rinse and cook.