Do Whole Grains Cause Cavities?

by Sarah Healthy LivingComments: 142

whole grains not optimal

I realize the title of this post is rather shocking.   I was shocked too, when I first heard this information from Rami Nagel, author of Cure Tooth Decay, in a casual hallway conversation at the 2010 Wise Traditions Conference.

How could whole grains possibly cause cavities?  Isn’t white bread, after all, one of the common causes of tooth decay because it is devoid of nutrition and basically white sugar dressed up as food?  Isn’t white flour one of the “displacing foods of modern commerce” as written about by Dr. Weston A. Price in his groundbreaking work Nutrition and Physical Degeneration?

Dr. Price himself recommended consuming the entire grain (bran and germ) as have many health experts since his time.   Scientific analysis of whole grains indicates a much higher level of minerals and overall nutrition than that of refined grains.

Based on scientific analysis alone, it seems clear that white bread should be avoided in the diet of those seeking nutrient dense foods and vibrant health.   The health and condition of the teeth and mouth is a window to the body meaning that oral problems are the canary in the mine for problems brewing elsewhere.   Note the strong link between periodontal disease and heart disease and stroke.

But, could there be something else going on here – something that a blind recommendation in favor of whole grains is missing?

Fact is, I know a number of folks that eat a whole foods diet including cod liver oil, never eat white bread and even go so far as to make their own whole wheat bread with fresh flour and they are still having cavity problems in the family.

Let’s dig beyond the sterile walls of a lab and see what else might be in play ….

Traditional Societies Did Not Typically Use the Whole Grain

The argument against whole grains stems from Rami’s claim that traditional societies did not usually make use of the entire grain.    Rami has studied this issue in depth and has confirmed that the practice of removing the bran occurs traditionally in the French Alps with rye, in Africa with wheat and corn, and in Tibet with barley.

Why did these cultures remove the bran?   Apparently, the practice occurs because the bran is loaded with plant toxins such as lectins that cannot easily be removed by sprouting, sour leavening, soaking or even cooking.

In the second edition of Cure Tooth Decay, Rami therefore recommends removal of the bran from wheat, spelt, rye, kamut, barley, corn, millet and oats through sifting or sieving.

Quinoa, buckwheat, and aramanth appear to be exceptions to this rule.  Rice falls somewhere in between as traditional rice eating cultures typically removed some or all the rice bran before cooking.   This was accomplished by pounding the rice into what is referred to as partially milled rice.   I wrote about this in a past post titled What?  White Rice Better Than Brown?

Once the Bran is Removed, What’s Next?

Rami goes further suggesting that whole grains must be soured first to significantly reduce phytic acid.   Phytic acid is another big reason why grains cause cavities as this powerful anti-nutrient very effectively blocks mineral absorption in the gut.    Phytic acid causes severe rickets when given to dogs as discovered and studied by researcher Edward Mellanby.

Rami’s research also indicates that sprouting grains does not reduce phytic acid significantly enough to make them safe for consumption.

In addition, Rami told me that soaking whole or sprouted grains in buttermilk, clabbered milk, yogurt or kefir does not seem to reduce phytic acid content significantly.    However, he did say that soaking will reduce phytic acid content but that plain, filtered water plus liquid whey is the best method for accomplishing this (substitute fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar for dairy free soaking).

What Are You Going To Do about Whole Grains?

I greatly respect Rami Nagel’s work and I think what he is discovering regarding tooth decay and healing tooth and gum problems in general is truly ground breaking.   Therefore, I plan to adjust the preparation of grains in my own home based on our conversation that is summarized in this post.   Here’s what I plan to do:

  • Since I usually prepare my freshly ground grains by soaking in yogurt or kefir, I will immediately modify this approach to soaking in filtered water plus liquid whey instead.    The rule of thumb for soaking is one cup of filtered water plus 1 TBL liquid whey per cup of flour mixed well together, covered and left overnight on the counter.
  • I will begin sifting my flour to remove most of the bran before soaking.
  • I will be sifting and then soaking my sprouted flour before baking since sprouting alone does not seem to reduce phytic acid content significantly.
  • I had already switched years ago to white basmati rice from brown rice so no change needs to be made there.

What changes to your grain preparation techniques will you implement based on this information, if any?  Please share your ideas.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Sources and More Information

What?  White Rice Better than Brown?

Picture Credit

Comments (142)

  • Janine

    Dear Sarah,

    one question: What about bread? Do you still eat wholewheat sourdough bread? My husband eats whole spelt sourdough so is this still a healthy option? THANK YOU!

    December 13th, 2014 4:26 am Reply
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  • William Motley

    HI Sara,

    Rami also seemed to favor roasted nuts over raw “crispy nuts.” I know he said that more research needs to be done on nuts, but I was wonder if you have been thinking about roasting your nuts (and especially seeds) in the future,

    Will Motley

    July 31st, 2013 1:32 am Reply
  • Judy Lindberg

    The information you posted is quite interesting indeed. I must be the exception to the rule for cavities.

    I’m one of 5 children, and as an adolescent rarely brushed my teeth and ate copious amounts of white bread and home made sweets. I had one filling around age 12.

    Because I really never liked meat much, I became a vegetarian around age 20 and made my own home made bread – and lots of it.

    It wasn’t until I stopped making my own bread, and being a vegan that I had a second required filling – at age 52. I will admit that I personally believe my second filling was also due to poor judgment while at work – indulging in sweets that others brought from home.

    Had I not gone to work out of the home (I became lax with my home made everything), I think that I would still have only 1 filling in my mouth.

    Alas, I will never know for sure.

    June 16th, 2013 3:04 pm Reply
    • Judy Lindberg

      I forgot to mention, that I only used brown rice and whole grains for more than 30 years before the 2nd cavity (which was very shallow) occurred. The change in my diet was more processed food and sweets – that I believe had more to due with the cavity than the whole grains.

      My dentist commented for years that he couldn’t believe that I had no more cavities due to my molars having deep fissures. I would only visit every 4 to 5 years because of the condition of my teeth.

      Again, maybe I’m just an exception to the rule.

      June 16th, 2013 3:11 pm Reply
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  • Sara Gordon

    Hi Sarah,
    Do you also recommend switching from soaking your oats for porridge in yogurt or kefir to filtered water plus liquid whey?


    January 8th, 2013 11:52 am Reply
  • Lisa

    Also…ancient cultures have been known, on occasion, to do some seriously wacky Sh*t that i personally wouldn’t want to do. Drinking brewed Ayahuasca, projectile vomiting then tripping out all night, women plugging up their vaginas with animal dung, murdering their children because they think the sun is about to fall on them…need i continue? In short, lets not all start sifting our sodding bran because ONE person has suggested it might be a good idea. He has a MOUNTAIN of statistical and scientific evidence against him in favour of whole grains. Ditch the sugar, all of it, if you wan’t to prevent cavities.

    October 16th, 2012 3:32 pm Reply
  • Lisa

    Ok. so we have one author insisting that we don’t eat bran and we have another recommending that we do. Thomas L. Cleave’s book the Saccharine Disease describes how he managed to treat many problems by simply adding bran to the diet of malnourished people. I personally would investigate the work of Clyde Roggenkamp ‘Dentinal Fluid Transport’. The theory holds refined sugar as the major culprit in tooth decay as it actually disturbs normal hormone function and REVERSES the dentinal flow within the tooth and allows cavities to form. Apparently there is a flow of mineral rich fluid moving from within the structure of the tooth to the enamel where, i imagine, it repairs and strengthens the teeth and also, via the direction of the fluid, blocks various naughty things getting ‘at’ the teeth. So yes, if bran binds to minerals im sure that when combined with a high sugar diet it will only exacerbate the problem as not only is the dentinal fluid flow moving in the wrong direction, what does get through to heal the teeth MAY be mineral deficient. Personally i feel it would be a little neurotic to get so bogged down in the science of eating. Simple, general rules should be applied otherwise we end up as slaves to the next fad bit of info. All edible food stuffs will have a toxic element to them – our bodies are strong and adaptable. But the evidence mounts heavily AGAINST eating refined foods. Cleave also describes how the health of people in India can vary dramatically depending on whether they’re consuming refined rice or whole rice as a staple – those eating the refined rice he found to be a fragile, ailing community. whole grains smell fantastic -refined foods have no smell. that’s as scientific as i’m willing to go.

    October 16th, 2012 3:21 pm Reply
    • Theresa

      repy to lisa on 10-16-12

      Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, BSc., ND, is a great resource regarding your explanation about the back and forth transfer of minerals between the teeth and saliva. She is in agreement with Dr Price’s research: fat-soluable vitamins are the key to healthy bones and teeth! Glad that you posted. :)

      March 12th, 2014 3:29 pm Reply
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  • Susan

    Just found this post – sorry to be a late comer. I have been using purchased sprouted wheat flour. I just purchased a sifter and sifted it, but nothing was left, so obviously no bran was removed. Do you have any suggestions on how I can remove the bran from this flour? Thanks.

    September 5th, 2012 12:18 pm Reply
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  • Kate Collins

    As far as we know, there have been no academic studies showing that whole grains cause cavities.

    After reading your post today I consulted with 2 doctors from the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and they assured me that proper dental care, brushing and flossing and regular cleaning negates any need for sifting bran out of whole grain flours.

    Additionally, I would like to comment on two things in the article.
    Today’s news either the USA Today or WSJ, had an article dispelling the connection between periodontal disease and heart disease.

    “Dr. Price himself recommended consuming the entire grain (bran and germ) as have many health experts since his time.   Scientific analysis of whole grains indicates a much higher level of minerals and overall nutrition than that of refined grains.”
    Dr. Price was correct in that most of the nutrients are contained in the bran coat of the grain. Quite possibly indigenous cultures sifted out the bran as a form of modern day milling as they wouldn’t have been able to test for plant toxins.

    Many thousands of our customers have been using the Essential Eating Sprouted Flours for over a decade now without any decrease in oral healthy or increase in cavities due to comsumption. On the contrary, consuming the Essential Eating 100% Whole Grain Sprouted Flours can greatly improve ones overall health.

    Happy to answer any additional questions,

    April 30th, 2012 8:11 pm Reply
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  • Kristy

    Sarah, what about the white rice you eat – do you soak it the same way you would soak brown rice? I also started making a ground white rice cereal. Should I soak this overnight like I would soak oatmeal, and is that preferable to doing a brown rice cereal that I would sift and soak. Lots of new info…my head is spinning trying to figure out the best way to prepare things!

    February 7th, 2012 1:21 pm Reply
  • Diane

    For many years I made my own bread using Swany’s org. unbleached white flour w/ wheat germ added, and freshly ground org. wheat flour from my local mill 3:1 ratio. I have a Champion mill that I would like to use, but after reading these posts, I’m now confused? If I grind wheat berries and sift, am I left with an unbleached white flour? Is there a difference between wheat germ and wheat bran?

    Sarah..I love your blog! Thank you for sharing.

    December 13th, 2011 9:34 am Reply
  • michael

    So, if i am sprouting wheat, and then soak it for a while in a vinegar solution ( which will kill it,I imagine, as well as remove the offending chemicals) , this will be the best way?
    I am doing a project to promote sprouting as a way to feed people cheaply.
    You can make bread with it, without the need to get an expensive grinder. Bible bread is a good example.
    I can get organic wheat for $.20 a pound in pallet loads.
    I can hand a guy at a food shelter a 10 pound bag of wheat, with a list of recipes, methods of sprouting, and web links, that will cost $2, and feed him for a while.

    There are a lot of things you can do with sprouts, and I am still accumulating recipes.

    October 27th, 2011 3:41 am Reply
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  • Jung

    Like most of you, reading Rami’s book was a huge shock and made me freak out about eating grains. I thought that the information in Nourishing Traditions was all I needed to safely eat grains.

    While Rami’s book is great, I just want to point out that much of his “research” regarding grain preparation is not exactly 100% solid. If you actually look up the “references” he uses, they’re not necessarily academic sources; they’re mostly people just “passing” on information that hasn’t been confirmed.

    For example, his “reference” for his claim that traditional Asian cultures ate partially-refined rice is just a link to an Ayurvedic forum of people debating whether or not they should eat refined rice.

    So although Rami’s book is a great contribution, I would encourage readers to do their own research and reach their own conclsions. :)

    April 4th, 2011 10:56 pm Reply
    • Krista Arias

      This is a really good point. I tend to tow the middle ground and defend grains against the current Paleo fad (sorry, it seems like a fad to me) and as much simplicity and culinary pleasure as possible. Yes, there is a branch of epigenetics where nutrition can switch genes on and off. What we eat is important. But there is also a branch where our thoughts and dreams can do the same. Being stressed about eating too many grains, starches, sugar while pregnant (or any other time really) might be more harmful than just eating them.

      Just saying.

      June 16th, 2011 11:35 pm Reply
  • Lara

    Hi Sarah

    Re the cooking of the oatmeal what about something like Bircher Muesli . I soaked the oatmeal overnight and then add fruit yogurt etc and eat it with milk and cream. Should I cook it first? If so how would I make muesli?

    Also thought I would mention I would love to see you do some posts on Natural medicines/remedies. I saw your comment of collidail silver and I did not know that. I would love some advise on things like what to use for colds , ulcers, sore throats, upset tummies etc

    As always thank you

    March 21st, 2011 6:40 am Reply
  • Katie

    Hi I am totally and completely new to this. I don’t make my own bread or anything, hell i don’t even know what you are all talking about in some posts lol. But this post has me doing some serious thinking. My gums bleed every single time I brush them and I do eat a lot of cereal, oatmeal, and breads. All of them are organic, but apparently that means squat. I don’t have the know-how or funds to start making my own bread. I absolutely love cereal (I use almond milk fyi). I eat oatmeal because I am breastfeeding and it helps keep up my supply. So what is a total newbie to do? Should I immediately cut out the above? Are their alternatives? I really want to fix my teeth! Help!

    March 2nd, 2011 11:50 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      HI Katie, too many grains are really bad for the teeth and gums. You really should cut back and up your consumption of meat, veggies, and good fats like butter, coconut oil, ghee etc. A daily dose of fermented cod liver oil would be HUGE help as well. See my resources page for the only brand I recommend (Green Pasture Products):

      March 3rd, 2011 9:03 am Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Emily, that is certainly some wonderful bread you describe. It would be even more digestible if the flour was sifted before souring, but if you don’t eat an excessive amount, it is probably fine. If you do eat a lot of bread, a sourdough where a good portion of the bran is removed would be a better choice from what I understand from Rami’s research.

    January 17th, 2011 12:05 am Reply
  • Emily

    What about whole grain, real sourdough bread like that made by grindstone bakery in California, which sours it for 24 hours? Or is this still high in phytates since the bran isn’t removed?

    January 16th, 2011 11:01 pm Reply
  • Jennifer M

    Regarding the sifters – my vitamix grinds the flour up pretty fine. I don’t have a sifter, but will get one immediately if it will help – but I’m not sure how there would be anything left in the sifter when I am done. Has anyone used the sifters to good effect with a finely home-ground sprouted wheat berry?

    January 13th, 2011 11:50 am Reply
  • velcromom

    I noticed many readers were asking about sifters, I found a source for them and purchased one that I use. I have the 50 mesh, and will probably get a 30 mesh also since the 50 sifts out pretty much all the bran which makes it somewhat slow to use. (I’ve learned that rubbing the flour through the mesh with your hand is the fastest way to use these sifters.) Here’s the link:

    December 15th, 2010 8:10 pm Reply
  • jamie

    I homeschool my youngest children in a university coffee shop 45 miles from home while my older formerly homeschooled children (too young to drive) attend university classes . This schedule makes my food preparation kitchen time next to nothing. I say this to encourage women to choose their battles in the food wars. Today, I prepare one pot of rice, one crock pot of beans, and a half gallon jar of soaking tortillas dough as our carbs for the week. Many yummy meals come from this limited carb selection. This has created MUCH less time in the kitchen and peace of mind. Allow me to encourage you to bloom where you are planted and strive less to have all the answers and do all things perfectly. Nutritionally dense food is importaint but peace is valuable as well.

    December 13th, 2010 2:26 pm Reply
    • Sharon

      Hi,Jamie! When you have time I would be interested in some of the recipes that you use for your rice,beans and tortillas. Thank you! My email is (

      December 20th, 2012 3:48 am Reply
  • emm

    thanks, sarah. this is a big deal to me as i was raised on a macrobiotic diet and suffered very extensive early childhood dental caries, and still have cavities that developed in my teenaged years. nutritionally, i believe i just never got a goof start, so obtaining full dental health is an uphill battle for me.

    December 9th, 2010 1:37 pm Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Emm, please remember that the goal is not to eliminate phytates from the diet which would prove impossible, but to keep them at a manageable level via food preparation methods like traditional cultures practiced. Sifting your flour to remove much of the bran and soaking or sour leavening the dough before baking seems to be the best method for significant phytate reduction based on Rami’s research.

    December 9th, 2010 10:22 am Reply
  • emm

    for more info i found this article, by rami himself-
    its very confusing. i am concerned because i personally dont do well eating gluten grains and was hoping arrowroot was a safe alternative, but in the above referenced article, the author states that we can assume arrowroot also contins phytates! so is buckwheat pretty low in phytates? i didnt see the exact figure on any of his charts. thanks to anyone w/more info

    December 9th, 2010 9:35 am Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Emily, grains have antinutrients and there is still phytic acid present even with the bran removed that soaking can eliminate. I myself do not soak my white basmati rice, but we only eat it twice a month if that so I don’t consider it to be a problem. If we ate it even once a week, I would definitely soak it.

    December 8th, 2010 3:46 pm Reply
    • cindy

      Just finding this article now. I wanted to ask you about organic/natural toothpaste. And I found this somewhat shocking info! Bran not good for us? I thought it had the much needed fiber for our colons. Is that a wives’ tale? Ugh! So, what I think you’re saying is, sprout the grains (wheat, rice, whatever), then if wheat, sift out the bran, then soak it? How long to soak/sprout rice?

      I too, feel like Bobbi above. I spend a LOT of time in the kitchen to feed my family of 8 and have snacks and fresh foods available. Now it seems that what I’ve learned isn’t great either. It’s discouraging. :-( Don’t worry, I’m not shooting the messenger. I myself got greater bowel distress from eating my whole grain fresh ground homemade wheat bread. It’s amazing how sensitive you become when weeding out all the garbage. I can no longer enjoy eating in a restaurant, because I can immediately taste the MSG in the sauces and marinated meats, etc. Double :-( Anyway, I will follow what you say to the extent that it works for our family, but we will DEFINITELY NOT go back to the way we ate before. My husband is eating just about EVERYTHING I make now and he also wants to eat organic. He’s even drinking my Kefir smoothies WITHOUT extra sugar! So this has all been a blessing to us. Just shocking to read this info being not in line with what I’ve read in NT.

      July 3rd, 2011 5:31 pm Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes or beans (soaked first before cooking) could be considered.

    December 8th, 2010 3:36 pm Reply
  • emm

    what are some alternative carbs that we can safetly eat if dealing w/tooth decay? arrowroot and tapioca, are these good as far as not having phytates?

    December 8th, 2010 3:33 pm Reply
  • emily

    just curious- if eating white rice, basmati or otherwise, why would you soak/ferment at all, as all the bran, germ is gone? its essentially a pure starch, like a peeled potato, with no anti-nutrients, right?

    December 8th, 2010 3:15 pm Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Lara, sourdough is where the dough is fermented, not soaked. Sourdough is a completely different method of preparing grains than soaking but also highly effective at breaking down phytic acid according to Rami Nagel. Soaked breads are very cake like typically like banana bread etc. Sandwich breads are typically sourdough, not soaked. I don’t know about suppliers in Australia. Best to contact your WAPF Chapter Leader in your area to get the local producers list.

    December 7th, 2010 7:15 pm Reply
    • Lara

      Hi Sarah

      thank you again very much. Could you please tell me what I need to check with suppliers of organic sourdough as there are quite a few organic spelt sourdoughs breads at my local health food store. What makes a proper sourdough . The ingredients in these breads are organic spelt, sourdough, water, olive oil sea salt

      December 9th, 2010 12:24 am Reply
      • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

        Those ingredients look fine. A “fake” sourdough would have yeast in it.

        December 9th, 2010 8:32 am Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Lara, at the time I wrote that post, was not aware of Rami Nagel’s new research. Sprouted bread is certainly better than plain whole wheat bread, but a true sourdough bread would be better for eliminating phytic acid and other anti-nutrients of which there are many brands listed in the Shopping Guide published by the Weston A. Price Foundation (for $1 plus shipping …

    December 7th, 2010 8:33 am Reply
    • Lara

      Hi Sarah

      Is a true sourdough one that is soaked first overnight? Can you really buy breads that have been soaked and not just are sourdoughs -does that make sense? I live in Australia so does the weston price book talk about suppliers overseas

      Thanks so much again

      December 7th, 2010 6:26 pm Reply
  • Lara

    Hi Sarah

    I found your lunch box ideas thank you. you mention you buy sprouted bread for the kids sandwiches. I am alittle confused as this bread would not be soaked would it. Do you make your own bread and is it any good for sandwiches.

    December 7th, 2010 7:00 am Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Bobbie, I don’t do well at all on beans even if soaked. Just because a food is prepared properly doesn’t mean it will work for you. Beans are not a traditional food for my cultural heritage (Northern European) so that is probably why. Others do great on soaked beans. You should still use your oats. I use oats in my home, just not everyday. I have a blog on coconut flour and soaking it that you can find in the archives. I do not soak my basmati rice as we eat it only occasionally and it is not a staple in our diet (we eat it maybe twice a month). However, I plan to start sprouting my rice and am learning how to do this. What Rami is finding does contradict much of the grain preparation in NT for sure which is where I learned all my techniques. I am open to new preparation methods and the ultimate test is how you feel and respond when you eat a traditional food. There is no substitute for listening to your body and noticing/observing the effects of a food on your own personal biology.

    December 2nd, 2010 3:44 pm Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Bobbie, it used to be that traditional wisdom was passed down generation to generation. Much has been lost as our culture has gone down the rabbit hole of processed foods since WWII. Going back to Big Macs and canned foods is not the answer to being discouraged, however. Being flexible and open to change is the answer and doing the best you can WITH WHAT YOU KNOW AT THE TIME and yet being out of the box enough to make changes when necessary is the way to go. You obviously have the discernment to make changes, so stick with it and stay nimble in the kitchen with your cooking methods as more of our traditional heritage is rediscovered by researchers such as Rami Nagel.

    December 2nd, 2010 3:46 am Reply
    • Bobbie


      Thank you for responding so quickly to my comment but could you possibly answer any of my questions above? I am truly lost as to where to go from here as it seems that I am doing everything wrong. Thank you!

      December 2nd, 2010 5:19 am Reply
    • Ya

      Hi Sarah. What about the Amish? How do they prepare their grains? I’m just wondering if their wisdom was passed down and not lost.

      Hi Kate Collins. I have a question. If there are no academic studies showing that whole grains cause cavities how can the two doctors assure you.

      July 28th, 2012 12:18 am Reply
      • Kate

        Since all they have is 35+ yrs of anecdotal evidence, the dental professionals we contacted stated that the number of cavities they see in their patients is almost always directly related to the patient’s dental care, not diet. When asked, they gave this example. If their patients consume sugar (documented to cause more cavities) brush and floss as instructed, they do not incur more cavities than those that do not comsume sugar.

        I don’t remember Dr. Price mentioning anything about indigenous cultures sifting out the bran coat (which contains most of the nutrients) during their food preparation. I would be very interested to learn if that was the case.

        Plus, most of the whole grain consumed in previous cultures was sprouted, which converts the whole grain into a plant and therefore digests as a vegetable. So are we talking about two different foods here — sprouted and unsprouted whole grain? As they digest totally different.

        Hope this helps and thanks for the discussion.

        July 29th, 2012 11:32 am Reply
  • Bobbie

    Hi Sara,

    I have several questions for you after reading this post and another by Rami Nagel on WAPF website titled “Living with Phytic Acid”. I have always soaked pinto and black beans for 24 hours before cooking but now need to soak/sprout for several days and then they still aren’t very good for us, just not as bad? Also, I’ve read that he doesn’t recommend the use of coconut flour and that traditional cultures sour coconut milk to reduce the phytic acid. Is coconut oil still good for us if the rest of the coconut is not? Will you still be using coconut milk and flour ( I am currently well stocked on both!)? He says wheat must be stone ground ( I just bought a nutrimill!) and that oats are not safe to eat. I just bought a 25 lb bag of organic rolled oats! I make a raw granola with oats soaked for 24 hours with ACV, mixed with butter, virgin coconut oil, raw honey and organic maple syrup that is then dehydrated for 24 hrs at 110 degrees in my dehydrator so as not to lose the benefit of the raw ACV, raw honey and coconut oil. Should this instead be cooked, or is it unhealthy to eat at all? Also, do you prepare your basmati rice as he recommends ( long soaking/cooking) or as the package directs? I apologize for all the random questions! I guess I’m just wondering if you agree with everything he teaches (because much of it seems to go against what you have written) or just this in particular. I am beginning to feel like nothing is is safe to eat. I spend at least 4-5 hours in the kitchen every day .We eat local and/or organic produce , all grass fed meat, pastured eggs, raw dairy and no processed food. I am currently sprouting and grinding my wheat and baking all of our breads. I am trying to feed my 2 small children as healthy as possible but “Healthy” seems to change daily and I can’t keep up! I am so discouraged and my husband says we should just go back to canned food and Big Macs! How do you know when to follow something and when to say “ENOUGH”! Any advice would be so appreciated!

    December 2nd, 2010 2:54 am Reply
  • sarah

    HI Lara, the minimum is 6 months, the average is 18 months and some folks it takes 3 years or so to heal. I’ve already done a post on kids lunch boxes. Do a search and you should find it.

    November 30th, 2010 12:40 pm Reply
  • Lara

    thanks Sarah for your reply. Could you tell me what you think is a brief period as when I read the book it talks about a minumum of 18months. I love your site however I would love to see you do a post on kids lunch boxes as I really struggle in that area to try and avoid grains and keep things interesting and real for them. Thank you for your wonderful site it makes a real difference to mine and my families health

    November 30th, 2010 12:05 pm Reply
  • Diana@Spain in Iowa

    Sarah, I’ve been meaning to update you. For my traditional Spanish cookies, I sifted my flour using my oil splatter guard. I was quite in awe to see the bran separate. Not all of it but quite a bit! It made for a lighter cookie and it had some health benefits as well. Thanks for the post Sarah!

    November 30th, 2010 3:07 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Oh, and I don't know about a theromix. I am not familiar with that model.

    November 29th, 2010 12:54 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    My kids never went GAPS and didn't need to as they have very strong digestion and no autoimmune issues. My husband and I had lingering digestive issues to deal with despite years of eating traditionally, so a brief GAPS period took care of that quickly and easily. I would surmise that the vast majority of Westerners would benefit tremendously from at least a short period of time on GAPS as hardly anyone has escaped the processed food, antibiotics etc regime for their entire life.

    November 29th, 2010 12:52 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Hi Sarah

    I am just wondering if your family had always eaten so healthily why did you all go on the GAPS diet for 6 months. We eat traditionally however still seem to get more of our share of colds etc and some teeth issues and I am wondering whether we should to go on the GAPS diet, I was also wondering whether you had any thoughts on whether a theromix is a good grain mill.

    Thanks for your great great site

    November 29th, 2010 10:52 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Alina, you MUST cook the oatmeal after soaking it overnight. It only takes a few minutes on medium heat to cook it up until it is nice and soft.

    November 25th, 2010 2:39 pm Reply
  • Alina

    Hi Sarah,
    Just a quick question regarding oatmeal. After I soak it overnight do I need to cook it? If the answer is yes then my follow up questions are: why, how long and at what temperature. I eat it not cooked and I do not seem to have problems with that but maybe it is not healthy.
    It is just more convenient not to cook it. With the oatmeal I soak and thaw other things that I do not want to cook. Also there are fewer dishes if not cooking.
    Thank you.

    November 25th, 2010 6:36 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Rami's book describes the process of cavities healing as well and how to know when this is occurring.

    November 24th, 2010 7:21 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Martha, if you get a dental probe (from the pharmacy in the toothbrush section), you can test soft spots yourself and see how they harden up nicely as the cavities remineralize. No need for an xray.

    November 24th, 2010 7:20 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Anon, you really can't get the bran out when you make porridge. As long as you don't eat it everyday, it should be fine. I should note that when I was at the Wise Traditions Conference, I ate a big bowl of soaked oatmeal (soaked in yogurt). I LOVE soaked oatmeal and I should note that I do not have any issues eating grains. But, after that bowl of soaked oatmeal, I was so bloated and uncomfortable for a full 24 hours. I am sure it was all that grain fiber that I just don't normally eat. Won't be doing that again anytime soon!

    November 24th, 2010 7:19 pm Reply
  • Martha

    When people speak of healing cavities, how do they know? By use of x-rays? I understand that some would be visible, but a lot aren't. I know you are against frequent x-rays, so how does one know what progress, if any, is being made?

    November 24th, 2010 1:56 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Hi Sarah

    I wanted to ask how you get rid of the oat bran when you are using rolled oats to make your porridge or baked oatmeal

    Thank you for your great post

    November 24th, 2010 11:03 am Reply
  • Anonymous

    Calcium bentonite clay (Living Clay Co.)is great for healing cavities. I have used Spry and the calcium bentonite clay for my toddler. This has stopped any additonal cavites from forming and has healed the many existing cavities. I think his cavities were from a low vitamin D status during pregnancy and a couple rounds of antibiotics during the pregnancy.

    November 24th, 2010 8:01 am Reply
    • Dana

      Would you mind telling us how you used the clay? Was it taken internally- did you let it set on the teeth etc?

      June 8th, 2012 12:58 am Reply
  • Anonymous

    I second the comment on oil pulling. After many, many years of bleeding gums, the problem seems to be behind me. Last time I got my teeth cleaned, I didn't have one spot of blood even from the cleaning, when I used to have bleeding gums every time I brushed my teeth.
    Recently, while abroad, I took a few weeks break from oil pulling. Not only can I feel that my teeth have plaque, but a slight bit of bleeding started up again. Of course, I got back on track with the OP.

    November 24th, 2010 7:48 am Reply
  • Joyce Handy

    Hi Sarah, my family has very healthy teeth, but I think it is genetic. I only had one "pinpoint" cavity until my 20s, then got a few along the gum line from overly aggressive brushing–I wore my gum away, yikes! I don't believe my twin has ever had a cavity and we are now in our early fifties! My teeth are pretty yellow no matter what I do and my dentist said that yellow teeth are stronger than naturally white teeth. Did Rami mention this at all? Also, my 8 and 12 year old kids have never had a cavity either.

    I also grind my grain in a Vitamix; should I just grind it a little more coarsely than normal; otherwise as someone else mentioned there is really nothing left in the sifter?

    Also, along the lines of dentistry was "oil-pulling" discussed at all? It sounds like an extremely effective way to eradicate gum disease and cavities; just a little bit of a pain to do everyday.

    Thanks! Joyce

    November 24th, 2010 4:02 am Reply
  • Lizabeth

    Just when I start to think I am getting the hang of all of this, something new comes along! Actually I am happy to hear it because sprouting is just out of the question for me right now and the only sprouted wheat flour at the store locally is 6.99 for 2 lbs. SO I will stick with having my friend grind up my wheat for me and I'll try the sifter before soaking.
    I have looked at the paleo type diet as well.
    I have recently been finding on my weight loss journey, that when I eat a meal that is based on grains, such as pasta, or lots of yummy homemade bread, that the following morning I have gained about 2 lbs! then after avoiding grains for a couple of days the weight comes right off. I believe this is water weight combined with the fact that eating carbs without sufficient protein/fat counterparts causes an insulin spike leading to fat storage. So I am just trying to avoid grain based carbs for now. It's easier for me (I have twin one year old girls, 2 other children and a part time job). Besides, try as I may, I can't get my bread to rise and I am tired of baking little dense balls that we could play rugby with…
    p.s. Where do you get liquid whey from?

    November 24th, 2010 3:57 am Reply
  • Lizabeth

    Just when I start to think I am getting the hang of all of this, something new comes along! Actually I am happy to hear it because sprouting is just out of the question for me right now and the only sprouted wheat flour at the store locally is 6.99 for 2 lbs. SO I will stick with having my friend grind up my wheat for me and I'll try the sifter before soaking.
    I have looked at the paleo type diet as well.
    I have recently been finding on my weight loss journey, that when I eat a meal that is based on grains, such as pasta, or lots of yummy homemade bread, that the following morning I have gained about 2 lbs! then after avoiding grains for a couple of days the weight comes right off. I believe this is water weight combined with the fact that eating carbs without sufficient protein/fat counterparts causes an insulin spike leading to fat storage. So I am just trying to avoid grain based carbs for now. It's easier for me (I have twin one year old girls, 2 other children and a part time job). Besides, try as I may, I can't get my bread to rise and I am tired of baking little dense balls that we could play rugby with…
    p.s. Where do you get liquid whey from?

    November 24th, 2010 3:52 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    When sprouting, only just the nub of the sprout should show before drying them out in a warm oven or dehydrator. The longer you let the sprout grow, the more of the germ is used up and the less flour you will get when you grind them up. This is why it is so hard to grind them if you let the sprout go too long.

    November 24th, 2010 3:07 am Reply
  • malitaylor

    I have found quite a bit of conflicting information about sprouting flour. Essential Eating claims that most home sprouted flour is drowned. Which doesn't make sense if it sprouts, as a growing sprout is considered a living food. Also there is The Falling Number Test, which I am not sure how it applies to home sprouters. Is it implying that you would need as a home sprouter to let your sprouts grow longer than just a bud to ensure that there is sufficiet enzyme activity and that phytic acid is broken down? Does the number even matter with what Rami suggests? I have read all over the web that anywhere from buds to one inch sprouts are sufficient to reduce intolerance to grains & phytic acid. I have sprouted to buds and as long as one half of an inch(is this a correct statement then to call sprouts living? and does Rami then suggest just a minimum of sprouting because you are then going to soak? what about when you cannot soak?) The longer the sprout the harder it seems for my NutriMill to grind, even thought I am quite sure the sprouts are sufficiently dehydrated, longer sprouts also seems to behave differently in baking which as you know can be frustrating. I would like to provide my family with the most nutritious option possible and am a little uncertain on this. Thank You.

    November 24th, 2010 2:17 am Reply
  • Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen

    I typically ferment my grains, using sprouted grains for a double-whammy approach. Some people have commented that that method seems redundant or excessive; however, it's actually easier for me to just keep one type of flour around (sprouted) for whatever I'm using. After talking with you at the conference, I'll probably start sifting the flour too.

    November 24th, 2010 1:58 am Reply
    • Crystal

      Jenny, how do you ferment your grain?. Bread, grains, etc. is something I’ve looked for (unsuccessfully) on your site, as you one of my top go-to places when it comes to food. :)

      March 25th, 2011 2:42 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    I have healed three of my son's cavities, and significantly improved the structure of his permanent teeth coming in without going to such extremes. I am not saying that it's wrong to sift the bran, but we also have to be practical and not everyone can do this on a regular basis. It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the soaking, fermenting, grinding, sifting…. I'm homeschooling my three children and am barely able to keep up with the laundry, house, and cooking, so I have to draw the line somewhere. Back when I first started changing over to whole foods the first change I made was feeding my children eggs every morning for breakfast instead of cereal. At that time they weren't even eggs from the farm! I also made bread instead of buying it. These two changes alone made my son's teeth markedly better. I know, these are baby steps and most people reading this blog are way beyond that, but for someone just starting out in the real food movement, know that baby steps can make a difference! More recently, after coming off of the GAPS diet and accidentally overdoing the nuts, my son's teeth were showing signs of decay again and the teeth coming in weren't well developed. I gave him vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 (which happens to be the "X-factor" that Dr. Price discovered) supplements and I can see a line across two teeth that were half-way in when I started the supplements. Before the vitamins they show abnormal calcification, and after the vitamins they appear normal. Two cavities also healed during that time.

    So if you can't do it all, don't be afraid to supplement a little. It is very difficult to correct severe vitamin deficiencies from food alone, and it takes a long time. While my children are growing and developing, I've chosen to correct their deficiencies with quality supplements, and then maintain the levels with whole foods.

    Just my 2 cents.

    November 24th, 2010 12:54 am Reply
    • Kris

      Thank you Anon. I am one of those people starting out who is now completely overwhelmed. I have been soaking and sprouting my own flour to make my own bread, and am trying to take in this “new” information. I appreciate your encouraging words.

      Sarah, thank you for informing us. I appreciate your site! I am trying to soak everything in.

      Does anyone know where to buy a good quality vitamin K2 supplement?

      March 26th, 2011 5:01 pm Reply
  • Elliot

    I think I'm proof that whole grains cause cavities. I was a vegan for a number of years but not a junk food vegan. Whole grains, beans, veggies, etc. I assumed that this would protect me from most any kind of health problem. Unfortunately I seemed to have trouble with my teeth. In fact if I remember correctly, I had something like a half dozen cavities. Boy was I surprised. Again, unfortunately because part of my identity seemed to be connected to being a vegan (morally superior!) I couldn't or wouldn't make the necessary changes. It took many years (and a couple of lost teeth!) for this to happen.
    Thanks for the great article.

    November 24th, 2010 12:22 am Reply
  • Chloe

    I have an old flour sifter from my grandmother, and use it to sift my freshly milled flour (small batches using a Vitamix with frozen grain to minimize overheating). But I don't really catch much in the sifting other than a few wheat berries that were only partially ground. How fine of a mesh would one have to have to catch bran? Just seems to me that the grinding process is so thorough with most modern tools that it would be hard to sift bran out. Any ideas?

    November 24th, 2010 12:02 am Reply
    • Josefina

      A much too late response, but in case anyone else comes across this, I think the problem might be the grinder? Too fine? Perhaps back in the day when grinding was done by hand, the germ could not be broken down as finely as it can by using an electrical appliance.

      March 8th, 2012 1:09 pm Reply
      • Candelyn

        There is a way to remove the bran from whole wheat flour by making a dough first, kneading it until the gluten is highly developed, and then rinsing that dough under water. All the bran just washes away, but the dough stays together because the gluten has been so worked up. I haven’t done it in years, but it worked great. At the time, I even saved the bran to make bran muffins. Drained it through a sieve or something.

        May 23rd, 2012 12:37 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Shari, great testimonial. I think we are on the same page, actually. What I meant and I guess didn't come across so well is that going completely grain free is much more expensive that eating even some as you are doing. We eat far fewer grains than we did prior to going on GAPS for about 6 months and reintroducing some grains has reduced the food bill considerably than it was while on GAPS. But, I we have not experienced any cavity issues/high dental bills, so that definitely should be considered as well which I had not thought of.

    November 23rd, 2010 11:54 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    I have found this theory to be very TRUE for us.
    We ate freshly ground flour of many whole grains for years (mainly whole wheat) and then converted over to NT style eating about 15 years ago. Our children had many cavities and it was very frustrating! We decided to go on the GAPS diet and were very strict for about six months, than ever since, we have eaten drastically fewer grain products. We still get most of our starchy carbs from vegetables. We also limited fruit to one piece a day. We continued a high amount of the good fats, clo and lots of broth. It took about a year before we saw improvement at the dentist. It now has been a few years and they are consistently getting little to no cavities! So I know, without a doubt, it was the answer for us. We did not go to the extreme Rami prescribes in his book. I have a lot of teenagers and it just was not going to happen, though I did slip a lot more organ meats and raw eggs into the younger children's food.
    Shari Wagner
    SE MN WAP Chapter Leader
    P.S. I beg to differ with you Sarah. We were paying thousands of dollars at the dentist on tooth repair (we have eight children). I would much rather put that money into their health, hence, a healthier diet with drastically fewer grains.

    November 23rd, 2010 10:40 pm Reply
  • kitchenrecovery

    Personally, the points made in the letter Phytic Phobia from Wise Traditions resonated well with me.
    Good to know that whey works best, that is what I find makes the best tasting porridge.

    November 23rd, 2010 10:33 pm Reply
  • Lovelyn

    Interesting! I actually don't do much baking so I hardly ever use flour. My husband has a wheat intolerance. I lived in Asia you years and tend to cook a lot of Asian foods. We're big rice eaters, but I prefer white rice and my husband prefers brown. I always soak my rice in water and apple cider vinegar overnight. Sometimes I soak it for several nights.

    November 23rd, 2010 9:41 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Laura, my metal sieve is what I use as well. I don't know any way to do it faster but let me know if you find one!

    November 23rd, 2010 8:14 pm Reply
  • Laura

    What do you use to sift the flour? I'm new to all of this, and typically just use my metal sieve to sift as I go when a recipe calls for it. But is there a faster, easier way to sift?

    November 23rd, 2010 8:09 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    I would also add that sprouting the flour first before soaking/sour leavening still holds tremendous nutritional advantage as it increases carotenes, B vitamins and vitamin C among other nutrients tremendously.

    November 23rd, 2010 8:09 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Anon, sprouted flour would need to be soured either by soaking or sour leavening as Rami has discovered that sprouting does not reduce phytates nearly as much as souring the dough does.

    November 23rd, 2010 8:06 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    what about sprouted flour from to your health or the like?

    November 23rd, 2010 7:58 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Toni, that is a very good question. Rami did not specify this to me, but I would imagine coarser might be better. He did say that getting all the bran out is not necessary so if you are making a dish that requires a finer grain, that should be fine unless you are having tremendous cavity problems in which case you probably have already considered eliminating grains entirely for a time.

    November 23rd, 2010 7:37 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    This is a very interesting article! I too really like your site Sarah! One question I have is would it be helpful to grind my grains using the coarser grind so as to sift out more easily the bran? I can't imagine that traditional cultures in past had the type of milling we do today and I would think that their grain would be much more coarse than ours.

    November 23rd, 2010 7:32 pm Reply
  • LYM

    I've been wondering and wondering about this. Beriberi (and the discovery of vitamin B) devastated Asia in the late 1800s with the advent of rice polishers (but maybe they parboiled, sending bran nutrients into the endosperm before that?), and the same with pellagra & corn in the US … but it seems people did sift.

    Prior to, say, 1850, did Italians use whole or partially or fully sifted flour for their pasta? Did Native Americans use whole or sifted cornmeal for masa and their many other uses of corn? I just don't know. The answer will tell us what we need to know. Did Weston Price mean *really* whole grains, or just not industrially sifted? Does coarse grinding in traditional millstones (or even mortars/pilons/etc.) result in an easily siftable bran, or a flour that leaves some, but not all, of the brain attached?

    We need the answer to these questions.

    Meanwhile, I'm grain-free, and my (and my family's) health has never been better.

    November 23rd, 2010 6:59 pm Reply
    • Josefina

      I don’t think pasta was a regular food for Italians before 1850. As far as I know, wheat was not used by farmers, but reserved for the upper classes.
      As for corn, during the nixtamalization process, a lot of the bran and germ is broken down. It isn’t sifted as the entire grain is processed, unlike wheat, but you still end up with a semi-whole product. I’ve searched and searched for the exact amount of germ and bran removed, but have not been successful.

      March 8th, 2012 1:03 pm Reply
      • Roxanne

        Also, during the nixtamalization process, traditional North and South American cultures used mineral ash for the process. Not only does this sufficiently break down the hull of the corn kernel (making the corn digestible and making minerals bioavailable), but the use of mineral ash significantly raises the mineral content of the corn. Nowadays, in most commercial corn masa facilities, slaked lime (i.e. Calcium Hydroxide) is used to remove the hull. This doesn’t have the same benefits as using mineral ash.

        I spent 10 days in New Mexico recently, and I spent some time at a few very traditional Pueblos, learning the traditional cuisine. They still use the old mineral ash process, and I was taught how to use mineral ash for nixtamalization, as well as other traditional corn processing techniques. It was fascinating and educational!

        July 4th, 2012 11:18 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Oh, and yes you are pretty much left with freshly ground white flour (but it is not refined as there are no fillers and synthetic vitamins added nor is it bleached). There is nutrition and fiber in the bran, yes, but it does more harm than good digestively which is why it is discarded according to Rami's research.

    November 23rd, 2010 6:06 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Diana, when you sift your fresh flour, much of the bran stays in the sifter. This is what you discard. Some of the bran will still go through, yes, but that is ok from what I understand from Rami. Getting most of the bran out is the goal not every single bit.

    November 23rd, 2010 6:03 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Elizabeth, I totally agree with you .. the societies that did eat the whole grain (such as the Swiss and their sourdough bread) had such high amounts of Activator X (vitamin K2) in their diet that it probably offset the mineral blockage by the high phytate bran portion of the grain even though the grain was sour leavened. This is just an hunch though.

    November 23rd, 2010 5:50 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Kelly, yes some do fine without grains, but I tend to not recommend this as it is cost prohibitive for most people to eat this way. Grains are a cheap filler food and if Rami's way of preparing them makes them digestible enough so folks can eat them and not suffer health consequences as traditional peoples did, then this is the best way to go for the vast majority of folks. We ate GAPS which is basically paleo in my household of 5 for almost 6 months and it almost doubled the food budget. This is just too much for most families to handle long term. Learning how to prepare grains the right way is absolutely the way to go for the vast majority of people.

    November 23rd, 2010 5:48 pm Reply
    • Alan

      **”Grains are a cheap filler food”**, You say it yourself, what you don’t say is that grains are also caloricly dense nutritionally poor filler food. They are the paupers food and only subtract from the diet.

      March 15th, 2011 2:38 am Reply
      • Josefina

        But I wouldn’t say that foods high in calories and low in micronutrients is bad for you.

        May 16th, 2011 6:28 pm Reply
  • Elizabeth

    Oh it did post! Sorry about that! Thank you for your post Sarah!

    November 23rd, 2010 4:58 pm Reply
  • Elizabeth

    I made a long comment, but it was too long! SO in short, Make sure you have an ABUNDANCE of fat soluble vitamins and minerals in your diet, so that some grains won't be that big of a deal, because your body has such an abundance – it won't need to steal from your bones!

    Eat more Raw Pastured Spring Butter!

    November 23rd, 2010 4:57 pm Reply
  • Elizabeth

    I've read Rami's 1st edition from cover to cover- and I have his new edition waiting to be read. I too was at the conference, and went to Rami's presentation.
    This topic is of abundant importance to me- as through my childhood-teen years had 16 amalgam fillings placed- and had even more cavities than that. It's not something to be ashamaed of- but it's something a lot of kids have to go through. I'm on the pathway to preventing my daughter from ever having that issue- and I am healing my own body and teeth. I've seen great improvements in the last 2 years, a decreased sensitivity, and really no more tooth aches- it all started with taking FCLO and raw milk- but it does take more than that.
    I think, that a majority of people are very malnourished- and that leads to tooth decay in a large percentage of those people.
    It seems that a theme from the conference was- if you are sick, or not in perfect health, have any symptoms- or suffer from any degree of tooth decay- it would be of benefit to "TRY" avoiding grains- at least for a period of time until your body can heal and better absorb and break down the grains.
    Personally, I'm a "wheat is the staff of life" kind of girl, so it's really challenging to avoid grains completely- but reducing the amount, and getting a non GMO grain, and properly preparing it- seems like a good compromise.

    Dr. Weston A Price had 100% reversal of cavities in his group of school children- just by feeding them One solid meal- and that meal included "a roll made with freshly ground wheat flour" but it's important to note that that roll was SMOTHERED in high vitamin X factor butter-

    Maybe part of the issue is making sure we have an ABUNDANCE of fat soluble activators to make sure those grains we do eat are usable and that we have so much mineral and fat soluble concentration in our foods that it won't be a big deal if we eat some grains.

    November 23rd, 2010 4:55 pm Reply
    • Dana

      It’s important to remember that when Price spoke of “displacing foods of modern commerce” he didn’t just mean the foods of modern commerce were bad for you, but that they were especially bad when they *displaced* what one’s body needed.

      Had the indigenous groups he studied with all the dental problems simply added on a few industrial foods to their traditional diets, they might have still had the occasional problems, but they wouldn’t have been devastated to the degree that he recorded.

      My family is Cajun and if you looked at my grandparents’ generation you’d see some chronic disease (I was born in ’74) but on the whole you’d see well-formed bodies and pretty fair disease resistance. But in my parents’ generation and mine you see the industrial foods *replacing* the traditional foods rather than accompanying them, with the expected adverse results. My parents are both type 2 diabetic now and my face is underdeveloped with a narrow maxilla and not enough room for all my teeth. You can see in my mother’s bone structure where she’d had at least some good nutrition prenatally and while she was growing up, but I got the short end of the stick.

      May 12th, 2011 5:41 pm Reply
  • Elizabeth Walling

    Diana, I agree it's an interesting topic. Usually you just hear about whole grains vs. industrial refined grains. It's intriguing to learn about exactly how traditional cultures prepared their grains. From what I've read, there isn't an across-the-board method, though I believe grinding the grain fresh and fermentation were widely used. I honestly think fresh grinding is very important, though I imagine the traditional way of doing so allowed for the bran to be sifted out. I can see how that would be difficult with a typical modern grain mill.

    November 23rd, 2010 4:45 pm Reply
  • Marina

    Sorry, from my last post I meant we stopped eating brown rice and switched to white basmati rice that we eat 1-2 times a week.
    Also, I simply love your blog Sarah, I even added the link to my Blogroll!

    November 23rd, 2010 4:26 pm Reply
  • Marina

    I have also read Rami's book, and also asked him a few questions over email about my daughter's severe cavities 2 years ago (she is 7 now). In his book he recommended to avoid whole grains, even properly prepared for people who are trying to cure cavities. So I am doing it, and my daughter's teeth are improving. Also since she started on raw milk her adult teeth came in looking really healthy. The only things we do not avoid are buckwheat, since this is not technically a grain but from a rhubarb family I think (it is also a traditional food in Russia where we are from), and sometimes I make pumpkin millet porridge that she loves. We also switched to white basmati rice instead of continuing to eat white rice, and I soak rolled oatmeal that we might eat once a week in whey as you Sarah recommended.

    November 23rd, 2010 4:23 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    I'm with Morgan – go paleo! We don't eat grains or sugar (only local, raw honey) and we don't do A1 milk.


    November 23rd, 2010 4:16 pm Reply
  • Diana Bauman

    Elizabeth, coming from a very traditional family, in Spain… this was unheard of. So for me, culturally, I need to stick to that. However, I'm still interested. How does one separate the bran? I grind my own wheat… if I were to sift that, equal proportion of flour will go through the sifter. It doesn't separate the bran from the endosperm or germ. It will all go through as it's just being sifted creating a lighter volume of flour. I feel the only way one can separate the bran from the rest of the berry is if it's man made… totally eliminating the value of grinding your own at home.

    If there is something I'm missing, please let me know. I'm definitely not one to try and argue I'm honestly interested. Maybe there is a way?

    November 23rd, 2010 3:47 pm Reply
    • Josefina

      In Cure Tooth Decay, Nagel says that 25% of all thr flour will be sifted away. Perhaps if you stone grind the flour, the germ will not be as finely ground as the white portion? Just guessing, but I know some whole grain flours look different than others. Grinding with a steel grinder might chop it all up into finer bits. To sift a portion away, it needs to be larger obviously and you’ll probably need a sifter with a certain size holes.

      May 16th, 2011 6:22 pm Reply
  • Elizabeth Walling

    Diana, Stephan Guyenet from Whole Health Source has written a lot about how grains were traditionally prepared in healthy cultures. He mentions more than once than separating the bran was a common practice. Here is one of his quotes:

    "To make sourdough bread, first the dry grains are ground into flour. Next, the flour is sifted through a screen to remove a portion of the bran. The earliest bread eaters probably didn't do this, although there is evidence of the wealthy eating sifted flour in societies as old as ancient Egypt and ancient Rome. I don't know what the optimum amount of bran to include in flour is, but it's not zero. I would be inclined to keep at least half of it, recognizing that the bran is disproportionately rich in nutrients."

    This is just one random quote that I grabbed up quickly, but there are a lot of other good quotes from his site about this. The point is that even traditional cultures did not always eat the entire grain, although they still ate a much less refined version (and typically fermented) than the white flour we're familiar with today.

    November 23rd, 2010 3:05 pm Reply
    • Josefina

      According to Nagel, most of the bran was removed including the germ, definitely much more than 50%. Maybe 95%, but not sure. Grains were not eaten for the micronutritional benefit so it doesn’t matter that the bran is rich in vitamins and minerals; it’s toxic just the same. When comparing white commercial flour with the Swiss’ rye flour, there was only a minute difference in nutrient content.

      May 16th, 2011 6:17 pm Reply
  • Diana Bauman

    Sarah, I'm a little confused. When talking about the bran from whole wheat berries be it wheat, rye or spelt how would one separate the bran? The outer layer of the wheat berry? The bran makes up a considerable amount of nutrients including most of the fiber in the wheat. Once removed, your left with a small percentage of the germ and the endosperm… pretty much white flour. By sifting pulverized wheat berries (ground flour), there is no way to separate the bran from the rest of the wheat berry. I'm assuming if the bran is stripped the phytic acid would be nearly gone since all that is left would be the endosperm or white flour. Am I missing something? This is interesting though and would appreciate your comments.

    November 23rd, 2010 2:38 pm Reply
    • Josefina

      I don’t grind my own grains, but looking at whole grain flour, the bran bits do appear to be slightly larger than the white bits, making it possible to sift them away.

      May 16th, 2011 6:08 pm Reply
      • Josefina

        Oh, and the germ is also removed. According to Nigel, I think about 95% of germ and bran is removed in the process.

        Not all fiber is good for us. And the loss of nutrients in the sifting process is made up by eating other nutrient dense foods.

        March 8th, 2012 12:49 pm Reply
  • Kelly the Kitchen Kop


    But Morgan is right in that for those that do fine w/o grains, it's a simpler way to go about this to just avoid them or reduce them significantly. Even if we do tolerate grains OK, most of us don't need as many as we eat now.

    I seem to have whey on hand more than I do yogurt or kefir, so I've already been soaking my grains in it, but I have been using a lot more than you suggest, so I guess I could cut that back some.

    Thanks Sarah!

    November 23rd, 2010 1:27 pm Reply
    • Dana

      Everybody does fine without grains. Anyone needing more carb intake because of level of physical activity can just as easily get that carb from tubers–and that’s how human beings get their carbs when they aren’t grain farmers.

      May 12th, 2011 5:37 pm Reply
      • Josefina

        Actually, you might be mistaken, at least in one case I know of. For the sake of our son, my husband has attempted to cut down on grains in favor of other starches, but he does very poorly on them (tubers). Bread, refined that is, makes him feel great. I had a hard time believing it at first, but so it is. His ancestry is 50% Norwegian, 25% Austrian and the rest British Isles. Not sure that’s relevant to this or not. He has a particular affinity for pumpernickel.

        March 8th, 2012 12:44 pm Reply
        • Melissa @ Unmistakablyfood

          Yes, Josafina, I agree. Not everyone does fine without grains. I don’t. I almost destroyed my health by going paleo. I had a low metabolism, and my adrenals and thyroid were shot. I was dizzy, shaky, fatigued, couldn’t stop eating, and was loosing weight. I also had heart palpitations. After researching, I decided I must be sensitive to grains and decided to do the paleo diet. Worst thing I could have done. I was so hungry no matter how much I ate and the dizzyness and heart palpitations got worse. Every so often, I just couldn’t take it and I would binge on carbs – and then I would feel great. I finally ran across Matt Stone’s blog – 180 degree health. By following his RRARFing program, which includes eating a lot of carbs, I have been able to heal myself. I feel better now than I ever have in my life. I do believe that grains need to be properly prepared – but in this day and age where people’s metabolism’s are shot, more often than not we need to just eat what our bodies tell us we need. For some of us, that is going to include grains!

          August 16th, 2012 11:15 pm Reply
          • TheOne

            No offense but your comment mingles two topics. Eating low carb and eating no grains are not the same thing. You can go grain free and still eat a high carb diet. Clearly something made you feel grains were an issue. Maybe you should have eliminated grains and increased your consumption of potatoes, sweet potatoes, plantains, rice, etc. vs. going to the extreme opposite that is paleo.

            September 22nd, 2013 5:03 pm
  • Elizabeth Walling

    I've reduced our grain intake because grains are a little more difficult to properly prepare, and I always found myself wondering if I was doing enough. Not relying on them so much gives me the freedom to not worry so much about doing it perfectly.

    We aren't grain-free by any means, but I do make the effort to make sure grains aren't our only source of carbohydrates. We do fruit, dairy and plenty of potatoes.

    November 23rd, 2010 1:27 pm Reply
    • Kate Collins

      Elizabeth, I couldn’t agree more. That is why we do what we do. Leave the worry to us as we test every batch to make sure the sprouted benefits are intact. Check out the gold standard of sprouted flours at to save you time and give you peace of mind. And keep focusing on fruits, raw dairy and plenty of veggies, including properly sprouted whole grain flour!

      August 17th, 2012 9:02 am Reply
      • Bev

        Ok, for a working woman, this is overwhelming!!! I don’t have the mental energy to sort thru all of this and soak or not soak my own grains, or sprout, or take out some or all of the brown….. where can I buy some healthy bread for my kids to pack in their lunch? Brands?

        January 16th, 2013 2:19 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Morgan, not everyone does well on paleo. There are many healthy, vibrant traditional cultures that include grains so stating that humans can't or shouldn't eat them is ignoring this historical fact.

    November 23rd, 2010 12:25 pm Reply
    • Dana

      Saying that some groups eat grains and do OK is not the same as saying that not everyone does well on paleo. If you define “paleo” as “the way human beings eat when they do not engage in grain agriculture” then there are lots of ways to do paleo and any human being would thrive on at least one of them.

      Plus, grain’s just a waste of good grazing grounds. It’s a heck of a lot of work to put into a food that, let’s face it, does not give you a lot in return nutritionally. I can get lots of bioavailable nutrients from bone broth; I don’t need to eat grains for that.

      If you LIKE grains and know safe ways to prepare them then great, by all means eat what you prefer. But it’s a myth that anyone *needs* them.

      May 12th, 2011 5:35 pm Reply
      • Josefina

        I do not think that entire societies would go through the trouble of growing, harvesting, ageing and preparing grains as properly and involved as they have done were it not for the health benefit of ’empty’ carbs. What Nagel has touched on in his book has had me looking and finding proof for how carbs do not have to be nutritional powerhouses in order to provide healthy nourishment. For example, lichen has been an important staple for many populations in northern climates, and most species don’t contain much of anything in the way of micronutrients. As long as the diet includes plenty of other nutrient-dense foods, there is no danger in consuming highly starchy foods. As far as grains go, yes the Swiss had a higher rate of cavities, but from what I remember, the rate was still fairly low.

        May 16th, 2011 6:05 pm Reply
        • Maisie G

          I speak as someone with an anthropology degree who has studied the reasons for the change from hunter/gatherer lifestyles to agriculture. Growing grains for health benefits is NOT one of the reasons people settled and began labor-intensive crop growing! Carbs are addicitve — the more you eat the more you want. Your body produces carbs. You do not need to consume them (as proven by Inuit and other “Paleo” people).
          Agriculture has led to nothing but problems — property rights, large families (children to work the land), wars over territory, materialism, etc. Read “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn and some hard-core science by Jared Diamond to understand what I’m talking about.

          October 13th, 2011 1:51 pm Reply
          • Annie

            Large families are a problem?

            January 12th, 2012 4:29 pm
          • Josefina

            Yes, I have read Ishmael and a couple other books by Quinn. I was swayed by his rhetoric at first, but I think the fact that Ted Turner, a huge population control advocate, sponsored its publication, speaks for itself.
            I do like Jared Diamond. A little more substance to his theories. Still theories though, always come with a bias despite being grounded in hard science.

            What in your anthropological research has had you conclude that the starches in grains (as opposed to those of tubers and other pre-agricultural food staples) are more addictive?

            “Growing grains for health benefits is NOT one of the reasons people settled and began labor-intensive crop growing!”

            And what is the reason you think that people even began to grow cereal grains, if they didn’t have any previous experience with high starch foods and its effects on their bodies? How did they get ‘hooked’ before they got hooked? I fail to see any similarities between cocaine addiction and grain addiction in this sort of situation. People getting hooked on cocaine don’t typically start producing their own cocaine first, and then get hooked.
            If high starch foods are eaten ONLY because we’re addicted to them, how come entire populations are able to maintain a high standard of health eating them?

            March 8th, 2012 12:33 pm
          • Josefina

            Annie, yes large families are a problem if your interest lies in controlling an unruly and uncomfortably expanding populace. The never ending concern of any civilization’s ruling class;).

            March 8th, 2012 12:36 pm
  • Patty

    I have don what Morgan suggests and although I did not have a cavity issue, I certainly had a gum issue. Six months ago, I could make my gums bleed just my pressing them firmly…they were so inflammed and swollen at times. And reading you post just made me realize that they have not bled in weeks, even when brushing and flossing. I can't prove anything, but sure is an interesting coincidence!

    November 23rd, 2010 11:58 am Reply
    • Anna

      Hi Patty,

      I wish I had a way to get in touch with you directly, but perhaps you will see this. I just came from the dentist with the same problems. My gums are totally inflamed and I’m looking at a $1500 bill for all the work they have planned for me. I definitely want to explore other options. Do you have any update on your gum health???


      May 16th, 2011 5:59 pm Reply
      • Adela


        Have you tried oil pulling? It does wonders to the gums. You swish whatever oil you can tolerate, the sunflower and teh safflower ones don’t have any taste, for 20 minutes first things in the morning. It may seem a lot but try it, it’s a daily detox too, you get more energy besides a fresh breath, I do that while I prepare my kids lunchboxes and breakfast.

        But yes, diet is number one! You have a diet rich in sugar and grains, low quality meats and fats, that’s the cause of your inflamation. One quick experiment, two weeks off of grains and sugars will give you pleanty of reasons to not touch grains too often.

        October 13th, 2011 12:28 pm Reply
  • Morgan Polotan

    I would just cut out grains altogether and eat a paleolithic diet.

    November 23rd, 2010 6:27 am Reply
    • Dana

      It’s interesting–if you go to the PPNF site and look at their summation of Dr. Price’s work, somewhere on the site they have a chart of all the traditional groups he visited and the rate of caries in each group.

      Guess who had the most cavities? The Swiss.

      Guess who had the fewest? The Inuit.

      Big difference between the two: the Swiss ate a lot more bread!

      I love grain… it just doesn’t love me. I want to learn how to prepare it to reduce phytate content but I don’t ever want grain to be the foundation of my diet again. It’s done my health no favors, that’s for sure.

      May 12th, 2011 5:33 pm Reply
    • Patrick

      I respect the paleo diet, and I think it is consistent with the WAP teaching. It is consistent in the sense that it doesn’t conflict with it. But I think it is unnecessarily restrictive. Many of the traditional cultures that Dr. Price studied ate foods that the paleo diet excludes, yet these cultures were supremely healthy. Of particular importance are raw dairy foods, which many traditional cultures considered the cornerstone of their diet. Properly prepared grains is another example.

      I have a blog called The National Fork,, on which I discuss topics surrounding nutrition and politics. I included a post a while back on this very subject.

      June 28th, 2011 3:53 pm Reply
  • Our growing family

    How will this change recipes? What if it doesn't call for that much liquid? I'm kind of in the dark on some of this…maybe you can fill me in. Would you pour off the liquid?
    Also…would you mind making a vlog of the sifting of your flour so I can see what is supposed to be left behind?

    November 23rd, 2010 5:54 am Reply
  • PurpleDancingDahlias

    Since we are dealing with some teeth decay issues right now (just got Rami's book in the mail today) I most likely will be implementing the same things you are. I already try to use water and whey for soaking because it feels like such a waste to use my good raw yogurt or kefir (we have our own milk cow) that will eventually get cooked to soak grains.
    Thankyou! This post couldn't have come at a better time.

    November 23rd, 2010 4:37 am Reply

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