This is the first installment of a new series that we plan to run occasionally here on the Pure Jeevan blog. The series is called "Raw Foods 101" (the same name as our free eBook that has now been read by more than 5,000 people around the world!). Raw Foods 101 will become the latest addition to our category list (available along the right side of our sidebar). In time, clicking on Raw Foods 101 will deliver a plethora of raw food tidbits.
So, where should we start? ... How about the topic of soaking nuts and seeds ! This is a question that comes up repeatedly in emails sent to Pure Jeevan.
Why Should You Soak Nuts Before Eating Them?
The popular answer to this question used to be:? Enzyme inhibitors. Most raw food sites still claim that the sole reason for soaking nuts and seeds is to remove the enzyme inhibitors, which interfere (once ingested) with absorption in the body.
Within the past few years, this belief about enzyme inhibitors interfering in digestion has been brought under scientific scrutiny. Many scientists believe that the environment within the stomach is such that the enzyme inhibitors do not matter when it comes to digestion.
Whichever is the case, enzyme inhibitors either interfering or not interfering with digestion, there is still a very good reason to soak nuts and seeds before consuming them.
Nuts and seeds do in fact contain naturally occurring enzyme inhibotors. These inhibitors are there to preserve the life force of the nut or seed until it is in an ideal growing environment. In the spring, nuts and seeds become moist with the spring rain, the inhibitors are released, and they're able to sprout and grow into plants.
At this point, when the inhibitors have been removed and the nuts and seeds have begun to sprout, their nutritional profile drastically changes. They have gone from dormant to living foods. As such, many nutrients increase, as does their digesability. Most sprouting nuts and seeds double in protein content and increase in the available vitamins and minreals available to the human body.
In a future installment of Raw Foods 101, we'll share guidelines for soaking and sprouting nuts and seeds. Also, we will include a separate Raw Foods 101 discussion on enzymes in general.
As a sidenote, we've received many questions asking if it is imperative to soak nuts and seeds before comsuming them in a raw food diet. Our standard answer has always been:
We regained our health and released excess weight without ever soaking nuts and seeds. However, had we soaked the nuts and seeds, perhaps our healing would have happened even sooner. After a few years of consuming 100% raw foods, Wendi's body no longer easily digests unsoaked nuts and seeds. Jim still does fine with unsoaked nuts and seeds, although given the choice he will opt for the soaked ones for their increased nutrient value.
Short answer:? Follow your body's messages when it comes to consuming nuts and seeds in their soaked or nonsoaked form.
Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.
On September 30, 2009, wrote:
I am looking forward to hearing more of your advice on soaking nuts. Should you soak them in the refrigerator or at room temperature? Also, should you soak them in small batches because they won't last as long, or can you soak a lot and they keep a long time that way in the fridge?