Be good to your Grains.

In an earlier blog post we discussed the concept of Metabolic Typing and finding the unique balance between Carbs, Proteins and Fats to maximize your performance. Regardless of which ratio’s you perform better on, attention needs to be payed to the quality of carbs that you are eating to get the most bang for your buck.

The biggest issue with carbs and more specifically ‘grains’ is the body’s ability or inability as the case may be to actually use the calories and nutrients in the food. We all know that whole grains are better for us, but the key to getting the most out of your grains is careful preparation. ‘Grains contain a number of anti nutrients that can cause serious health problems. Phytic acid, for example, is an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound. It is mostly found in the bran or outer hull of seeds. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption’. All these nutrients are critical in maintaining optimal function within the body, which in turn will equal better results for you!

So how do I prepare my grains to maximize absorption you ask? With a bit of planning and adjustment it’s actually very easy to prepare your grains using the following methods.

  • Long soaking in slightly acidic water such as whey, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or baking soda; followed by slow cooking, not pressure cooked, which destroys vital nutrients.
  • Soaking grains in water, followed by slow cooking
  • Fermenting flour to make bread dough; sourdough bread

The grains I would recommend you start with are barley, corn, oats, quinoa, sprouted or soaked whole wheat bread, basmati rice, wheat bran, muesli, buckwheat, barley, brown rice, soaked oatmeal, beans and legumes. Most of these grains will only require an overnight soak but your beans and legumes will need more. It does take a bit of getting use to incorporating the changes in preparation but in the long run you’ll find it becomes a habit that doesn’t actually take up anymore time, but more importantly gives your body more nutrition to support the heavy demands of training and competition.

You can find more specific information on how to correctly prepare your grains here  and there are countless websites online where you can find recipes. So go on and get soaking!


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