The phytate issue is fiercely contested in the nutrition world, with some believing that soaking grains is critical, and others believing it’s unnecessary. I have studied compelling evidence on both sides, leading me to the following recommendations.
Regardless of whether phytates in whole grains lead to mineral deficiencies, soaking and slightly fermenting your grain clearly aids in digestion. It costs nothing and doesn’t really add time to a recipe’s preparation, although you do a portion of the work in advance.
Most adults in the Western world need to be kind to their digestive systems. That’s because before most of us get serious about treating our bodies right (which you’re doing if you’re reading this), we have abused our bodies with the modern lifestyle. In particular, we’ve damaged our digestive systems. Some of us have developed chronic digestive problems, and many of us have decades of damage to undo. Part of a whole-grain habit, then, is to as often as possible soak your flour or grain for up to 24 hours, and add a bit of whey, kefir, or yogurt. Even 8 hours of soaking is very helpful. Many 12 Step recipes (in Ch. 9) call for soaking the flour or grain.
The grain with the highest phytate content is oats, so if you like oatmeal, put the boiling water in the rolled oats right after eating breakfast, add a Tbsp. or two of yogurt or kefir, cover with a lid, and just reheat it for breakfast the next morning. It can sit for 24 hours and will be just fine, so don’t worry. If you like sourdough, you’ll probably like the slightly fermented taste. If it’s too much for you, soak it only 8 hours and use a very small amount of yogurt. This habit requires thinking ahead but is worth developing.
Unlike oats and wheat, brown rice, millet, and buckwheat have low phytate content, so you can soak them just overnight, for shorter periods of time. When I am serving brown rice for dinner, I put boiling water in it in the morning. I cover it and leave it to steam all day in the oven preheated to 350 degrees (and then turned OFF). The rice is perfectly cooked at dinnertime. When making kasha (buckwheat cereal), I put the boiling water in the night before, letting it steam overnight. All of this is in Step 9.
Part III (the end of this topic) tomorrow.