When I began to upgrade my food choices, one of the first things I did was remove all of the “white stuff” from my kitchen cabinets. Out went the white flour, white sugar, refined pasta and processed cookies, crackers and snack foods. Boy, were my husband and son going to be in for a big surprise when they got home from school and work! But I wasn’t worried. I knew enough about food and nutrition to know that we would still be able to enjoy our favorite breads and baked goods, but in much healthier way, by switching to foods made with sprouted grains.
The reason white flour is so bad for you is because it lacks the most nutritious parts of the whole wheat kernel, the bran and the germ. To make white flour, the bran and the germ are stripped away leaving a product lacking in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Eating refined grains has negative health effects, and they can directly contribute to diet-related illnesses such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. And while whole grains provide more nutrition because they contain both the bran and the germ, they are also a source of antinutrients, substances that prevent you from absorbing the nutrients contained in the whole grain. Alternatively, sprouting grains, a process that essentially turns the whole grain into a tiny plant so your body digests it as a vegetable rather than a starch, reduces the antinutrients, helps release minerals, and improves the vitamin and protein content of the grain.
As the holidays approach and I begin my baking, I always think to myself how simple a switch it was to baking with flour made from sprouted grains. Sprouted flours are easy to work with because they can be substituted one for one with other flours. Therefore, you can use sprouted flours the same as you would other flours in your baked goods. More importantly, there are many health benefits you will get from eating sprouted grains:
- Sprouting releases many of the vital nutrients stored in the whole grain.
- Sprouting helps neutralize antinutrients such as phytic acid, a substance present in grains which inhibits absorption of nutrients.
- Sprouting sweetens grains naturally.
- Sprouted grains are easier to digest. Sprouting breaks down starches in grains into simple sugars so your body can digest them easily.
- Sprouting releases more antioxidants that are naturally stored in the grains.
- Sprouting produces vitamin C.
- Sprouting increases the vitamin B content.
- Sprouted grains contain less gluten. While not gluten free, sprouted grains can be easier for gluten-sensitive individuals to eat. (However, sprouted wheat is not recommended for someone with Celiac disease or with a true gluten allergy.)
Now, I know that it can be fairly easy to sprout your own grains and even make your own sprouted flour! And if you are interested in doing that, then I suggest you check out this post. But I have to be honest with you, I am not there yet. Perhaps I will be someday but for now, I am a busy mom and prefer to purchase my sprouted grains and flour. My favorite source for sprouted spring wheat flour and sprouted spelt flour is Shiloh Farms. If you are interested in purchasing spouted grain breads and tortillas already made and ready to eat, I highly recommend Food for Life, which you can find at Whole Foods and most health food stores. Just remember, because sprouted grain products are considered “alive”, you will find them in the refrigerator or freezer section, not in the bread aisle!
I hope I have convinced you to make the switch to sprouted grains. If you are ready to give baking with sprouted flours a try, here are some of my favorite recipes that you will find on this site:
And for a savory dish made with sprouted lentils, I highly recommend trying this soup.
Have you tried baking with sprouted flour? What do you like best about it? Have you encountered any difficulties? What is your favorite recipe? Please comment and share your thoughts.