How to eliminate phytic acid in foods - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 12-06-2011, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I am just starting to learn about phytic acid, I've been reading on about it.  My family loves beans, rice, oatmeal and grits, as well as pasta, and I am trying to figure out how I can still cook with these things at least occasionally and eliminate most of their phytic acid content so it is not harmful.  So, how do you do it?   How I have always prepared beans is boil them for 3 minutes, put a lid on the pan and let them sit overnight, rinse them in the morning, then boil them in fresh water til soft.  Does this eliminate most of the phytic acid?  Someone who knows more about this stuff, please teach me!!

I also am interested in knowing more about how to make bone broths and fermenting foods.  I would really appreciate a lesson in all of this!


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#2 of 5 Old 12-06-2011, 04:10 PM
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This blog has a ton of info on traditional food prep as well as classes you can sign up for.


You can also just Google soaking grains and it will take you to some good traditional, nourishing foods sites.

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#3 of 5 Old 12-07-2011, 07:04 AM
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Hi! I've recently started doing this religiously and spent a lot of time figuring it out, so I'm excited to be able to share the information. I use this chart for preparing grains and legumes, it's a lifesaver (you are supposed to purchase it so it has a trademark across the middle, but you can still see the content easily):

I can attest to the fact that it works, as the last time that I cooked kidney beans, which usually release huge amounts of scum/foam when cooked, after soaking with water and a pinch of baking soda for about 72 hours (changing the water at least once a day,) there was only a tiny bit of foam! 


To add to the chart's recommendations, for Oats, I would recommend mixing a bit of whole wheat flour in before soaking. Oats do not contain very much phytase, which is necessary for neutralizing phytic acid, wheat is rich in it. 

Also, with beans, I've found the longer I soak them, the more digestible they are, be careful though as they start to ferment after a day in the same water. 


I'm not sure if you were also interested in soaking nuts and seeds, but here's a comprehensive source of information on that:


Happy soaking! 

Feel free to ask if you have any more questions, for a while I couldn't find any definitive answers on how to soak/prepare things properly, so I just did nothing. I have to say that my well-being has greatly improved since I've begun the practice. As far as fermenting goes, an easy place to start is Beet Kvass, look for a recipe from Nourishing Traditions or Wild Fermentation online. Both books have tons of great recipes for ferments. Fermented foods take a bit of experimentation to get right, but are very fun. Certain things that you may already eat on a regular basis (pickles, sauerkraut, ginger ale, ketchup, garlic) can be lacto-fermented at home. Google is your friend. I'm currently growing a Kombucha SCOBY/Mother from a bottle of Kombucha and love checking on it everyday.  

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#4 of 5 Old 12-07-2011, 08:03 AM
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Great advice eleonoreh! Thanks!

I use baking soda for beans too, but have only soaked them over night. I find they still foam. Maybe I should soak them for 72 hours.

As for Pasta I cannot imagine how one could reduce the acid; however the company Food for Life has a sprouted grain pasta and it actually tasty. We used to be pasta addicts here, but since switching to TF notice how eating it makes us feel. Until now, we did not like any of the substitutes until this.

Eleonoreh, I tried making muffins with soaked flour, but they took forever to bake and were burned on the outside. Any tips you have would be greatly appreciated!

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#5 of 5 Old 12-07-2011, 07:27 PM
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Ughh--I just wrote you a super-long reply but my computer refreshed for some reason unbeknownst to me and it was deleted. However, I am excited to share my knowledge so I decided to attempt a rewrite...

For muffins, I have two recommendations:

1. A lot of traditional foods bloggers have good recipes that are specifically for soaked flour (including GNOWFGLINS which is mentioned above), try googling and let me know if you can't find anything.

2. Try decreasing the baking powder and adding up to 1 tsp baking soda to make up for the sour soaking medium. That solves the density problem. I learned this from the Kitchen Stewardship blog.

I'm actually considering purchasing some sprouted flour online because sucanat for sugar and butter for oil are easy substitutions in basically any recipe, but certain baked goods don't lend themselves to soaking (cookies for example, although I have made sourdough cookies!). We don't have treats very often, no more than once a week, and it's so frustrating to make the effort with no yield. I actually just made a delicious pumpkin bread from this morning, in case you're interested, I'll share my recipe with adaptations below as an example of how I adapt things...

As for pasta, we used to eat it very often as well (we actually lived in Italy until quite recently,) and haven't had it at all since adopting TF cause we haven't decided what to do. I personally think that regular semolina pasta (not fortified) would be a better choice every once in a while than whole wheat/spelt etc pasta despite its lack of nutrition due to the lack of phytic acid. If you're up for it, you could make sprouted wheat pasta or sourdough pasta yourself, I've found recipes for both online. Although, it sounds like you've already found a good source for it. 

Here's the original recipe, I kind of just guess along and hope it turns out alright on the adaptation front. I think it takes experimentation.


Yields 2 9x5 Loaves

Ingredients (spices and sugar to taste, I'm Austrian, so I love lots of spice )

1 3/4 cup sucanat/rapadura

1 cup melted butter OR coconut oil (I used butter)

4 eggs

2/3 cup Water

1 Tbsp Whey/other soaking medium

1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree OR 1 15 oz Can of Pumpkin (I used homemade, we have a million pumpkins around here)

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses 

3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

3 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder


1. The night before, mix together flour, pumpkin puree, water, whey and melted butter or coconut oil, cover and leave in a warm place to soak

2. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325F and lightly grease baking pans.

3. Add sucanat, eggs, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder to soaked mixture. Transfer to baking pan.

4. Bake for 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until tester comes out clean, it may be moister than you're used to.


As you can tell, I'm very enthusiastic about sharing the limited information I have, so let me know if you have any more questions!

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