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To Soak, or Not to Soak

Most traditional cultures knew the importance of soaking, sprouting and fermenting nuts, seeds and grains in order to improve their digestibility. Somewhere between then and now we lost the reason behind this process. Although it may fall low on your priority list, I’d like to shed some light on the health benefits of getting your soaks on.

Nuts, seeds and grains are important sources of vitamins, minerals, protein and complex carbohydrates – particularly if you follow a plant based diet.

But lurking in these foods is a pesky substance called phytic acid. Phytic acid binds to minerals, acting almost like an anti-nutrient. Preventing the absorption of many minerals and causing them to be leave the body as waste.

In low levels, phytates are not dangerous to your health. But if you fall into one of the categories below you may want to consider soaking

  • Nuts, legumes and grains make up a major portion of your diet

  • You are already in a depleted state caused by iron deficiency, absorption disorders such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis

  • You have small children who are yet to develop enzymes allowing them to fully break down plant foods

Luckily for us, breaking down these phytates is a relatively easy process and by soaking these foods for 7-24 hours in water with a squeeze of lemon most of these enzyme inhibitors can be destroyed.

Here is a recipe for our bircher muesli which that takes advantage of the soaking process and saves precious minutes in the morning. It contains oats, which are a rich source of nutrients, help to stabilise blood sugars, are nourishing to the nervous system and also contain beta-glucan which helps lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and enhances the immune system- pretty much a super food I reckon!


Serves 1

  • 2/3 cup of jumbo oats

  • 1 tablespoon of chia

  • 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds

  • 1 tablespoon of goji berries

  • 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds

  • 1 tsp of cinnamon

  • 1 cup of water, almond mylk or apple juice

1. Fold all ingredients together in a jar or bowl, place in the fridge overnight.
2. In the morning, remove muesli from the fridge and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes if desired. Top with yoghurt , fresh fruit or anything your heart desires!


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