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Soaking oats are essential to making them more digestible and nutritious. If I haven't mentioned this before, we currently eat pretty close (like 80%) to the Weston A. Price diet. I first discovered this organization and the importance of soaking certain plant foods like oatmeal when I came across the book, Nourishing Traditions. If you haven't already read this book, I highly recommend you do because it is really eye opening, and it teaches you the basics of how to eat a healthy diet (beyond basic nutrition).
One of the basic principles is that grains should be soaked, sprouted, or fermented. This is because grains contain anti-nutrients such as phytic acid. Phytic acid makes it difficult for your body to absorb the nutrients that you want in grains, nuts, and legumes. For oats, this means you need to soak them overnight in something sour to break down the phytic acid.
I'm not going to lie, when I first started doing this, the flavor was different from what I used to. It is a more sour, fermented taste. I have tried different mediums and the one I like the best is apple cider vinegar, but you can also soak your oats overnight in yogurt, lemon juice, or whey. Overtime, you do get used to it and enjoy it, but there is a slight adjustment period (just a forewarning).
You can balance out the flavor with cream and honey. It is a good idea to have cream or butter with grains, including oats, because the fat helps you digest the grains easier.
What are Anti-Nutrients?
As mentioned above, anti-nutrients are substances that block nutrient absorption and are primarily found in plant foods. Like how animals use claws to protect themselves, plants have anti-nutrients as a form of self defense.
Some examples include: glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables that block iodine absorption, oxalates in leafy green vegetables that block calcium absorption, tannins in coffee and tea that block iron absorption, and lectins in legumes that block the absorption of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc. Oats contain phytic acid (phytates) that block the absorption of iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium.
Most of these anti-nutrients are reduced when plant foods are cooked or properly prepared.
What you will need:
A non-reactive bowl or jar (like glass) that can hold at least 6 cups
A small pan
Clean cloth or lid
4 cups of rolled oats (avoid quick oats)
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, whey, yogurt, or lemon juice
Enough filtered water to cover the oats
1 pinch of salt
How to Soak Oats Overnight:
The night before you plan to make oatmeal, pour your oats into your jar or bowl and cover with filtered water.
Then pour in the apple cider vinegar, whey, yogurt, or lemon juice. Give it a good stir. Make sure it is evenly spread throughout the oatmeal so it can ferment properly.
Cover your bowl or jar loosely with a lid or cover with a clean cloth and let it sit overnight.
The next morning, drain the liquid out. You can rinse the oats if you would like to reduce the sour flavor, but I usually eat them as is and they taste just fine. It's a matter of personal preference.
Next, turn your stovetop onto medium low heat. put your oats into a pan and cover with water. Add in the salt and stir regularly until the oats are cooked. This may take about 15-20 minutes to get soft, creamy oats.
Make sure to serve your oatmeal with plenty of butter and/or cream. We typically like to add in honey or maple syrup, and fresh fruit or dried fruit.
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Some of our other breakfast favorites:
Overnight Soaked Oats
- 4 cups oatmeal organic is best
- 2 tbsps whey, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice
- water to cover oats and for cooking filtered is best
- 1 pinch salt
- The night before you intend to eat it, pour your oats into a nonreactive bowl or jar (like glass or ceramic)
- Cover with water (see notes)
- Add in your souring medium and stir
- Cover and let it sit overnight
- The next morning, drain your soaked oats (see notes)
- Put the oats into a pan and cook on low to medium low heat until soft and cooked (typically 15-20 minutes). Add salt and make sure to stir every so often.
- Your oatmeal is now ready for its breakfast debut!
- Cover with enough water so that you have an extra centimeter of water on top.
- You can rinse the oats to reduce the sourness