Ahh, good ol’ oatmeal.
A favorite of mine when I was little, now my love for oatmeal has spread to my children as well. We love it because it’s delicious, and what’s more, I love it because you can make all sorts of nutrient-dense additions to it as well.
Interestingly enough, when I began learning about “real food” as we “real foodies” call it, and the traditional methods of food preparation, I learned that grains like oatmeal needed to be soaked for several hours before cooking.
This was a surprise to me! I knew beans needed to be soaked, but I always just thought it was to soften them so they’d cook quicker. Turns out there is a more scientific reason.
Why Soak Your Oats?
You may have heard me mention phytic acid a time or two. Most people have never heard of it, like me when I first began making more foods from scratch. Turns out, it’s pretty important.
All grains contain phytic acid – it’s actually like a little line of defense for the grain, to protect it from predators. No joke! Phytic acid binds with minerals in your body and sweeps them out without your body getting a chance to enjoy their benefits. Important minerals, like phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron.
You want to hang on to those minerals, they are very important – many modern-day sicknesses and dental problems are actually acute forms of mineral deficiency, among other things. It’s an unfortunate fact that most of us in this modern world are not getting near enough of the minerals our bodies need. Here’s an article with more on the delicate balance of minerals in our bodies.
It turns out, though, that soaking your grains, nuts, and seeds in an acidic medium for at least 8 hours will neutralize a good deal of this phytic acid. That’s a great thing!
Aaaand there’s just one problem: you need phytase to neutralize this phytic acid, and oatmeal doesn’t contain enough phytase to effectively get rid of all the phytic acid.
Is your head spinning yet? Don’t fret: we can solve this problem easily and quickly. Wheat flour contains phytase, so when preparing our oatmeal to soak, we add a few tablespoons wheat flour to finish the job for us.
Does it Really Make a Difference?
The cookbook, Nourishing Traditions (where to find) is a fascinating wealth of information on all things real food as well. I highly recommend it!
Personally, though, I never noticed a difference until I fed my third son unsoaked oatmeal, just like I had fed my first two sons.
He could not handle it. Since this is a recipe post and all, I won’t get too graphic, but let’s just say it caused acute digestive issues when I fed it to him. When I learned about soaking my oats, and started giving them to my children that way, that digestive upset immediately disappeared. He can eat soaked oatmeal, and lots of it. But heaven forbid I forget to soak the oats – it’s not pretty. So I know without a doubt, from personal experience (the best kind 😉 ) that it does make a difference.
It’s easy to do, though, or I wouldn’t do it. 😀 All it takes is a minute of preparation the night before, and you’re ready to whip up some soaked oatmeal in a flash the next morning. Let’s get right down to business.
How to Make Soaked Oatmeal
- 2 cups rolled oats (where to buy rolled oats) – rolled oats contain less phytic acid, as part of the bran (which holds the most phytic acid) has already been removed
- 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar, or milk kefir, or water kefir, or kombucha, or lemon juice
- 2 – 3 tablespoons unbleached flour or whole wheat flour – it doesn’t have to be precise. If you have freshly ground that is the best. Note: If you are gluten-free, use buckwheat flour. It is gluten-free and high in phytase.
- filtered water (where to find water filters)
- 3 cups milk of your choice – can dilute 50/50 with water to stretch your milk further (learn how to make your own coconut milk here)
- 1/4 cup preferred sweetener. I love to use maple syrup (where to buy maple syrup) or 1/2 teaspoon of stevia (where to buy stevia), or both. You can also use raw honey! (where to buy raw honey)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (where to buy coconut oil)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (where to buy vanilla) – learn how to make your own vanilla extract
- add-ins: fresh fruit, dried fruit, fruit powder (learn how to make fruit powder here), frozen fruit, cinnamon . . . anything you want!! Make it your own and change it up often just for fun.
Place your oats in a large glass or ceramic mixing bowl.
Add 2 – 3 tablespoons wheat flour (can be white or whole wheat) to your oats, and stir them with a spoon or whisk to mix.
Add 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar (or other choices I mentioned above), and cover with filtered water by an inch.
Put in a warm place overnight. I just plop it in the oven and keep the light on. If you’re leaving it outside of the oven, cover it with a towel.
Good morning!! Here are your beautiful, soaked, de-phytic-acidified oats.
Since the addition of the vinegar (or whatever acid was added) will cause a bit of a sour taste, I always rinse my oats in a strainer under running water for a few seconds, although this is not necessary.
Add milk and turn on low heat, stirring constantly. All you have to do is heat it through – you don’t have to “cook” it, since the rolled oats are previously steamed.
Add up to 1/4 cup coconut oil (decrease this if you are not used to using coconut oil – it is super healthy and detoxifying and you should take it slowly at first).
Add your vanilla and preferred sweeteners.
Add any other combinations of flavors. We love adding mashed bananas to our oatmeal!
Enjoy your soaked oatmeal. Also, enjoy the way it sticks to your ribs for longer. Mmmm.
Make it a great day!
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