Why I Don’t Soak Grains

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I’ve needed to write on this topic for a while.  Back in August, I wrote a post about soaking grains. It was basically an overview of why to do it and how to do it.

In the Beginning

When I first started out on this whole foods journey, I felt like I needed to do everything…everything. So, soaking grains just fit right in that category. I just started doing it because “everyone else was doing it.” And I guess you know how that saying goes. But, something you’ve probably figured out about me already is that I like to swim upstream. I’m not going to swim downstream just because everyone else is doing it.

All of a sudden, I felt this burden about soaking grains. It took extra time…sometimes I would forget and then I’d feel bad. I felt like I was all alone – everyone else in the entire whole-foods world was soaking…except Stacy. So, I hid in the closet. I didn’t really tell anyone unless they asked. And some of you DID ask.

Aside from the extra burden of soaking grains, I felt somewhat of a spiritual burden…I actually felt like God wanted me to research this topic and see what there really was to say so that I could tell people about it. You know what?  I told God no. I told him I wouldn’t tell people that I didn’t soak grains…and I wouldn’t tell them that for me it was somewhat of a spiritual issue.

You know why I said no? I was afraid. I told Barry that people would burn me at the stake…I’d get lots of nasty comments and people would shun me.  I was scared to go against the flow. I’ve done tons and tons of reading on the subject – hours and hours of time. I’ve found that while I have no issue with people that want to soak, if you ever mention that you don’t do it, the comments are not so nice – it’s almost like people-bashing.

Stacy Comes Clean

But then Laura from Heavenly Homemaker posted her same thoughts on the matter and I felt the biggest relief I’ve felt in a long time…a BIG blogger was voicing her same confusion. I felt the push from God again, and this time I’m not saying no.

Am I saying soaking grains is wrong? Nope. Am I saying that not soaking grains is the only way to go? Nope. I’m saying that there is TOO MUCH CONFLICTING INFORMATION for anyone to say that soaking grains is a must-do.

At first, the only information I could find about soaking grains led back to one source…one. Sure, lots of different people would say it, but if you followed it back to the source it was always from a certain book and author (whom I won’t name here to avoid being strung up by the closest tree).

My thoughts and feelings about how I eat is tied to how I think God wants me to live. He created good foods for me to eat – and I think His Word gives us a pretty clear path as to how we should eat. Because I do have a Biblical stance about food, I really like to read what Sue Becker  has to say in the matter.

Information To Cover My Butt

Sue has lots of information to back up the fact that she thinks soaking grains is un-necessary. You might want to read up on it yourself and really make your own decision…instead of just jumping on a band-wagon. Sue states (with backup research) that phytic acid is actually good for you. And through other research, I’ve found that soaking doesn’t reduce phytic acid enough to even bother with the process…if you wanted to rid yourself of the phyic acid in the first place. Some even say that the body, through digestion, reverses the process of soaking anyway. See my reason for conflict?

Phytic Acid: Friend or Foe by Sue Becker

Whole Grain Goodness by Sue Becker

Phytic Acid in Grains by Nutrition Diva

Where We Stand Now

I realize I’m one of the few people in the entire world that’s bucking this method. But, I’ve done my research for my family. We saw absolutely no difference in how we felt when I soaked versus when I didn’t soak grains. It only added an extra step for me…and in fact, we didn’t even care for the texture of the bread after it was soaked. The only difference we saw was when we switched to fresh ground flour –period.

Some people say they can’t eat grains without soaking them – their body can’t handle it. That has not been the case for us. For them, if soaking makes them feel better then I think it’s great they do it! But, I don’t think it’s for everyone.

For us, it makes sense to feed our family whole grains. Whole grains are better than white flour. God made wheat for us to eat, and he even mentions it in His word…and guess what? No soaking was involved that I can find:

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.” Matthew 12:1

*It should be noted that I used this verse to show that Jesus did indeed eat grain, but my reference here is to show that even Jesus went against what “everyone” else said he should do.

Later I want to write more about why we still eat bread when almost everyone else in the entire world will say that you should avoid it.

*This post is linked at Pennywise Platter on The Nourishing Gourmet, at Homestead Barn Hop at Homestead Revival, at Healthy 2Day Wednesday on Quick Easy Cheap and Healthy, at Frugal Days Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable, at Fat Tuesday on Real Food Forager, at Make Your Own Monday at Nourishing Treasures, and at Full Plate Thursday on Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen.


Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her two children, Annie (June 2009) and Andy (August 2012). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.

  • http://michellethomas.com Michelle Thomas

    Hi Stacy -

    I myself have been looking into this “whole foods” thing a lot lately and changing a lot about how I think and prepare food for my husband and I. I’ve been quite disturbed about the whole “no grains”/”no bread” movement and feel it is wrong, but don’t have the resources to back it up.

    You mentioned that your search for the “soaking grains” idea always comes back to one source, would you mind sharing with me what that is? You can just email me if you don’t want to post it publicly (seeing as how you didn’t want to put it in your original blog post I totally understand).

    p.s. I too am a believer and after getting a little too wrapped up in this whole food thing, I started to turn to God to help settle my mind and heart and to understand what is truly important in all of this (what sometimes seems like) “mess” of information on the internet. Thanks so much!

  • Holly

    This is interesting. I’m one of those who soaks when I remember, which is not very often-ha! I was definitely convinced that it is necessary, and we like the texture fine. We don’t really see a difference either way, though. I think it is one of those things that works for some and not others. Everyone’s system is different, right? Probably some folks don’t have what is needed to handle wheat very well and soaking helps them some way.
    I’ll be reading those articles you linked.

    • Stacy

      Right – and for those people, soaking makes sense…however, you’re right – everyone’s system is different. :-)

  • Kathryn

    Thank you so much for this post. I also felt like I had to soak, but would forget more often then not and feel guilty. When I first started to research soaking grains I googled pros and cons of soaking and didn’t come up with any cons, so I figured it had to be the way to go. I am going to check out those links.

    • Stacy

      I hope you find those links informative and comforting. :-)

  • Sarah Katz

    Thank you for posting this. I mean really.
    Aside from me squealing and pointing that some other housewife is listening to Papa about what food to feed her family based on what He created, you so expressed everything that I have been in my own little Real Food panic-closet about regarding grains.
    And totally, maybe we would feel a little better if I soaked the grain or cut out gluten from our diet! But right now, I just can’t… And your post helped me rise above the real-foodie guilt. Maybe I’ll have more energy to inquire of the Lord myself and do some research to find what’s best for us now that I’m not stressing. =)
    Thank you!!

    • Stacy

      :-) Doing the research is a lot more fun when I don’t stress out about what I find. Good luck!! :-)

  • http://www.alphadeltamama.blogspot.com Alyssa

    Wha’d’ya think about sprouting grains for flour and such? I’m looking into it, it seems to be the best way to go but again it’s up to time, preference, and thorough research.

    • Stacy

      I don’t sprout either – the whole process is daunting to me. :-) However, my friend Nikki from Christian Mommy Blogger is a hard core sprouter. I think it’s just personal preference.

  • Cathy Walker

    Hi Stacy,
    I just read your article from August 12, 2012. I just wrote almost the same thing on facebook today. I have been reading articles and listening to videos of Sue Becker’s. I came to two conclusions-I am not so sure we need to sprout or soak. I am going to try freshly grinding them. My grain came yesterday. My grain mill comes tomorrow. If we have trouble for some reason, I am not against trying to soak or sprout. The other decision I made was though Sue Becker uses agave; I am not at peace using it. The explanations about agave in articles I read on Weston A. Price didn’t assure me of the safety of agave. I will us honey and rapadura. I haven’t ordered Maple Syrup Grade B yet. I might use the honey granules (sucanat w/ honey) occasionally. I have used sucanat. I decided yesterday everyone has their own opinions and somethings we just don’t know for positive. We just have to trust God to lead us.

    • Stacy

      Exactly right – and some of us will be led in different directions based on health and convictions. I think you’ll really enjoy your mill! :-)

  • Bethany

    First…I would like to say THANK YOU as I have had the same vein of thought for some time now and was having a hard time finding anything that agreed with me. Also, I read you why I eat bread post and again, AMEN! In my family I have one group that has celiacs and can’t eat gluten (totally get that), one family that has done the Adkins and doesn’t eat bread at all and it is the epic evil, and then my mom, who eats gluten but has switched over to buckwheat, spelt…ones that are “better” for you. Basically, she is on a whole food diet but doesn’t eat sugar at all. I am one of the few hanging in with the idea that bread is not bad for you and in fact, I have a slice of bread every morning for breakfast. I think my new goal is to start grinding my own flour. I’ve wanted to do it for a while but am hesitant at the undertaking of it. Did just start using spelt though and really enjoy it. Thanks again!

    • Stacy

      I have 50 pounds of spelt berries in the basement. :-) They’re very tasty!

  • Patty C.

    Thanks for posting on this! We also get our wheat berries from Bread Beckers and grind our own wheat for bread. I’ve wondered if I should soak or not soak but after reading Sue’s posts in my own little research a while back I just came to the realization that soaking wasn’t an end-all be-all for eating “real food”. I can’t justify soaking my fresh ground wheat because I would loose the benefit of the fresh grinding! I think in the next year I will delve into sourdough which is seeming to me like a happy medium (the starter doesn’t feed well off of fresh ground, but the rest of the flour in the bread can be!). That said…my lil man (12 mos) is grain free and I will probably avoid introducing it to him until I can do so gently (aka sourdough or soaked oats but not necessarily soaked bread). Again…I appreciate your honesty! I love bread and I thank God for sending us the Bread of Life!

    • Stacy

      Mmmmmmmm. I LOVE sourdough pancakes!

  • Nina

    Stacy: Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this article. You said just what I had been thinking all along about the mysterious phytic acid/grain soaking situation, and you said it in a very nice way. I had felt like I was the only one questioning this particular nutritional information. Like you, most of what I read about it was credited the same single source, a book that I read a long time ago and wasn’t actually too impressed with (rhymes with Flourishing Renditions.) I have never been a fan of believing anything that has only one source. I think it’s sad that so many people have given up eating grains because of this one theory. So, again, thank you for your bravery. Keep up the great work, and God bless!

    • Stacy

      :-) Thanks, Nina! I don’t think I was brave – I think I was being a big ole chicken.

  • http://Teelaskitchen Teresa

    Every since I was convinced of soaking,y bread turns out horrible. Something always goes wrong. I’m not doing it anymore. It’s too expensive to waste and I’m tired of eating bad bread

    • Stacy

      I think soaking is one of those things that’s personal preference…

  • Erika

    I found this article very thought provoking. I do soak, sprout, and ferment. I also have the book which you were referring to. I can see how she can come across. It was intimidating and almost seemed like you must do it her way or the high way. Some of the information felt too extreme. She’s very famous in the real food movement and so it’s true that a lot of information may come back to her work ..but she’s not the main one. Dr. Weston A. Price’s work is the one she’s trying to honor. He’s the only one who took the time to see why tribal people who ate traditionally soaked and fermented food had better dental hygiene and had much less health problems. Each tribe was different. The fact that he took the time to see the difference that diet can make on a person’s health was what convinced me. I know you mentioned that, in the Bible, you couldn’t find where they had prepared grains like this. Don’t forget the grains from that time was very different than the grains today. You can’t compare the two scenarios because modern wheat is a hybrid. The genes are different. It’s now been modified to suit the agricultural business. It’s no wonder why there are more gluten sensitive people today. A basic generalization, although incomplete, would be that WAPF traditional way of eating puts emphasis on bone broth and other natural nutrient dense rich foods that aren’t man-made in a lab. Here’s a very good article in regards to religion and real food: http://wellnessmama.com/2359/does-the-bible-say-we-should-eat-grains/ Some people might consider phyctic acid beneficial because it binds toxins. The fact that it binds minerals should not be overlooked because our soil has a lot less nutrition due to irresponsible farming and pesticides in the water contaminating the land. Our fruits and veggies have a lower level of nutrients because there wasn’t as much that the roots of the plants and trees could get from the land. The food that a lot of people eat in the U.S. is heavily processed and even those who try to eat healthier may be deficient in those essential minerals. That’s a big reason in favor of soaking, sprouting and fermenting. Have you looked into different cultures diet and food prep during your own research? I didn’t just rely on a book or person.. I checked out studies, ancient civilizations, and felt that this made sense to me. You are right in implying that nobody is the same and so there’s no perfect diet for everyone. My husband who has had not only food allergies but is allergic to dust and pollen has since made a huge improvement when we decided to give WAPF way of eating a try. He can drink whole raw milk with no problem. Eating too many grains growing up (me not him) led to me having way too many cavities. I didn’t even have that much of a sweet tooth compared to other kids. I preferred bread over any candy. I love bread and rice. I’ve heard that it could contribute to cavities and that may be because this modern wheat we’re eating hasn’t been properly prepared to be easier to digest. (Modern whole wheat and modern white rice).. I’m not saying I’m right and that you should do what I do. I’m just saying that it’s a tough call but since you mentioned the Bible, that way of eating was much more pure. They didn’t use the vegetable oils we use today or the ingredients that are in boxed foods. It’s safe to assume they used the pure grains that came from nature, they didn’t use white sugar, kosher salt, or eat food that was sprayed with man-made chemicals and pesticides that ruined the earth that was created for us and the water and our health. I think if a person would eat as they did in the Bible, in honor of God, then they would choose organic unprocessed foods and drinks, and not eat or support food created in labs heavily processed for supermarkets and eat fast food which not found in nature and does not honor all that he has created. I am not trying to attack anyone. This is what I think of the situation and only did mention it because you referenced the Bible in your post. I sincerely do not mean any disrespect. I just think that It’s hard to compare the Bible to modern day food. some of the grains from that time are still available today: http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/einkorn-ancient-grains.htm so it is an option, still. The Bible isn’t very specific in general.

    • Stacy

      You know, about a year later I’d agree with a lot of what you say. :-) I do know that food preparation is different…but I also know that the Bible does not say we HAVE to prepare bread by soaking or sprouting. I actually have learned to love sprouted bread, but I don’t think it’s necessary. And I don’t do it often. I think it is really based on your health and how your body handles grains. I just wanted to point out that it was okay if you didn’t do it. :-) Thanks for the comment!

      • Erika

        Thank you for taking it so well !! Sometimes I worry how things can come across when having a conversation that’s not in person. You can’t really get anything by a person’s tone online. It could definitely be taken the wrong way. I personally am still trying to eat healthy like everyone else and I think it’s a constant struggle with all the information out there. I know that you’re trying to do what’s best in the interest of your family and that’s all any of us can do. You are a great blogger and are pretty inspirational. I love your posts! I think there are too many questions and not enough answers that people can agree on .. so I’m not trying to say that everyone should eat how I eat. just that there are so many pros and cons for just about everything. Honestly? I would love to know for sure how exactly they prepped their food back then just because of how they appreciated and valued it. I’ve been interested in that kind of stuff for ages! I still eat bread and I don’t always soak, ferment and sprout everything. Store bought sprouted bread is good but I’ve had trouble with the flavor and texture of some of soaked bread recipes and do cringe when it doesn’t turn out which is a waste of ingredients and money but the ones that do are a keeper for me. It’s tough trying to find the balance in food prep and actually in life (in general) .. If I have trouble, I do what I can realistically accomplish.. if I remember! I’m not very strict about that because I can totally understand how you felt. Sometimes it can seem like an extra chore and if you and your family don’t feel any different in regards to consuming soaked, fermented, or sprouted items.. then at least you’re listening to what your body tells you and you gave it a shot. A part of what I had mentioned previously wasn’t directed at anyone in particular.. it’s more of the same questions I have asked myself and think about from time to time. Thank you very much for your reply to my previous (maybe too long, sorry!!! lol) comment !

        • Stacy

          Even today I still question things – soaking and whatnot. When I wrote that post, it was to give myself and my friends some grace and mercy about food. We can’t be expected to do it ALL and do it all RIGHT. Since there is so much conflicting information, it’s hard to know what is the right thing to cook or eat – so we can only do our best, right? :-)
          And for the record, I love sprouted bread. ;-)

  • Sarah

    Stacy…what a relief! I hate soaked granola & soaked bread is just a pure pain….I enjoyed Sue’s post about grains and its comforting to know that God doesn’t judge me on whether I soak grains or not. He’s more concerned if I make a hog of myself at the dinner table..ahem..SO, Love this post & thanks~

    • Stacy

      :-) That made me giggle!

  • Brandy

    Thank you so much for your honesty. I too feel conflicted about soaking grains and I have only the ‘it doesn’t feel right’ explanation. Not to mention the fact that it takes too much time and preparation ahead of time for me. I make most of our snacks/foods to avoid gmo’s and processed foods and it just seemed like one more thing to do. Glad someone else feels this way!

    • Stacy

      :-) I’m a honest one.