You can do a quick online search and find hundreds of reasons to avoid gluten and grains all together. One of my passions is grains. I can understand the benefits of both sides of the argument, and I still prefer to ride the fence leaning towards grains.
Grains in their natural state are seeds with an outer shell ( hull) that is usually removed before processing. Depending on the use they are stripped of most nutrients and minerals and then “enriched” later. Some are left as “whole” grains and are ground, pressed or cut. In any form most of the “goodness” isn’t absorbed by the body as one would think. Most proteins pass through without nourishing us to their fullest potential. They also are actually rather difficult for use to digest even when an allergy or intolerance isn’t present.
A few easy steps can be taken to remedy this and help you get the most out of them as well as making them easier to digest.
Corn, for example is virtually indigestible. Yes, you may get a little nutrients from it but not nearly what is possible. Corn or some form is added to almost everything it seems now days and not to our benefit. Mainly thanks to the government subsidies making corn seemingly a profitable crop when realistically it’s no more profitable than any other. This has caused an over abundance of corn that needs to go somewhere. But we’ll save that soap box for later.
When corn is soaked in mineral lime or lime water (not the citrus) it begins to break down. It’s nutritional and mineral value increase by reducing the mycotixins and adds niacin. It also becomes more digestible. Many cultures have been doing this for hundreds of years. The Maya is one culture that found the benefits and continues to use this method to date. Turning maze into masa, masa harina and then into tortillas, tamales and more.
On the corn subject another interesting tradition that is still used today originates from the Andes and is still used in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador is communal chewing of corn into gobs called muko. The muko is then turned into Chicha a corn beer. Yes, beer made from spit out corn.
When cereal grains are soaked, fermented or sprouted the grains are broken down and the nutrition is gained. Soaking grains over night is a good start and just that. Soaking allows the hard to digest fibers to soften and neutralizes the phytic acid. Grains soaked for 2-4 days with water changed regularly will begin the sprouting process. These grains can then be used soaked or dried and ground into flour. Fermentation is the ultimate goal though.
Fermentation increase the vitamin and mineral content naturally. It Decreases the starch because of the acid produced and neutralizes the anti-nutrients. Probiotics have been around forever but are now getting more recognition and turning into the next “big thing”. Fermentation is the natural process to them. Though the probiotic properties are lost once baked the breakdown of the fibers, neutralization of anti-nutrients and added nutrition is pretty good. Thus making the dreaded grain actually not to bad.