Legumes, also known as pulses, are a family of plants that include beans, lentils and peas, and are generally considered healthy. They provide the body with an inexpensive protein replacement for animal meat. Legumes are lauded by nutritionists for their high fiber content, low glycemic index and richness in protein, complex carbohydrates, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.
No doubt you avoid legumes, however, if you experience miserable bloating, gas, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea after consuming, but there is a simple solution. A vital step you may not have been aware of when it comes to preparing beans, lentils, peas, grains, nuts, seeds, and flours is to give them a long careful soaking, preferably in warm acidulated pure water.
All traditional cultures soaked their legumes, seeds, nuts, grains, and flours before cooking. It seems like an unnecessary waste of time nowadays as we hit the floor running when the alarm goes off at 4:00 a.m., and run full speed ahead to accomplish a list of requirements by the end of the day. But, there is a good reason for this seemingly time-consuming practice, and your divinely engineered body will appreciate it from head to toe! Rather than picking up fast food on the way home, or nuking some factory-frozen package to serve your family, try soaking legumes ahead of time to easily cook and serve instead. It really is not labor-intensive to “purify” these tasty dishes to benefit everyone that you nourish with delicious, nutritious food.
All legumes, seeds and, especially, grains contain phytic acid, saponins and goitrogens, all which can make one sick. Phytic acid interferes with the bioavailability and absorption of minerals such as zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, chromium, and manganese in the digestive tract. There are also tannins, enzyme inhibitors, gluten and other nasty substances in unhydrated seeds. When phytic acid is bound to an enzyme, minerals cannot be properly absorbed in the body and can lead to mineral deficiencies which cause a long list of compromised health realities. Beans also contain oligosaccharides which, unless you soak them, cause carbon dioxide and methane gases that can torture your gut until painfully and totally eliminated from the body. Soaking mimics the germination process which breaks down and neutralizes these toxins.
So, place the washed pulses in a stainless steel pot or glass bowl and add pure acidified water. Acidify pure water by adding yogurt whey, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar. Cover the pot or bowl with a breathable cloth (if you have just made Greek-style yogurt, use the whey soaked draining cloth for both acidifying and covering). Soaking for 7 or 8 hours is usually long enough, but increasing the soak time eliminates even more of the bad stuff. This can be applied to cracked or rolled grains as well. Oddly, flours require longer soaking. Even better, consider fermenting your seeds after soaking. How long should seeds be soaked is different for every species.
Lentils and peas: less than 8 hours
Beans and other legumes: 12 hours
Wheat berries: 8 to 24 hours
Bean or nut flours: 12 to 24 hours
It’s always best to discard the water bath once or twice during the soaking process. When the water is clear it is time to cook. Drain and rinse the beans, return to the pot and cover with water again. Bring to a boil and be sure to discard any foam that floats to the surface. Supper will be ready soon in only 1 to 1 ½ hours.
So try to eat/drink like the Hebrew children Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. I pray that your health will be ten times better! Your body will appreciate it!
by: Lora Wilson