Several readers have emailed me recently inquiring about how to best go about making homemade granola.
One person carefully soaked oats for 24 hours in water with an acidic medium and then dehydrated before mixing with the other ingredients and toasting in the oven.
Another used sprouted, organic rolled oats and baked in a 200F oven with various other ingredients to make her favorite version of homemade granola.
While both of these approaches to making granola are certainly a huge improvement over any of the granolas to be had at the store, the fact is that even organic granola made with rolled oats that have been sprouted or soaked is not an easily digestible food.
The proteins in grains are extremely difficult to digest. They have the potential to cause health problems over the long term, which is why traditional societies took such great pains to soak, sprout, or sour leaven them before consuming.
Not only did traditional peoples soak, sprout, or sour leaven their grains, they also thoroughly cooked them as the final preparation step before eating.
Why Granola is SO Difficult to Digest
The dry heat of an oven at the proper toasting temperature is simply not hot enough to complete the breakdown of anti-nutrients in oats or other grains. Thus, even homemade granola is extremely difficult to digest. Eaten often, it can damage the gut over time.
Perhaps if a person has an iron gut, then homemade granola that is soaked or sprouted might work on occasion. The reality is that most people have sensitive guts anymore due to several generations of children raised on antibiotics and processed foods. Most people have some sort of digestive sensitivity to grains even if there are no grain allergy symptoms present.
I know for me, I bloat terribly if I eat homemade granola that has been soaked or sprouted and then toasted. I have no grain allergies and my digestion is in pretty decent shape. Interestingly, thoroughly cooked unsoaked oatmeal digests far better. The lesson at least to me is that the final cooking step is very important!
I have only made granola for my family once or twice. However, I stopped after observing the undigestibility of consuming this non-traditional food even when seemingly prepared in a traditional fashion.
Do your digestion a favor and opt out of any grain based granola entirely. Even homemade, organic, and soaked and/or sprouted versions aren’t good for your long term gut health.
Healthy Alternatives to Granola
Don’t hesitate to use soaked or sprouted grains that are fully cooked for all your other dishes and baked goods! This article plus video tutorial for a healthy cold breakfast cereal recipe is a very digestible alternative to granola.
Another alternative is to make grain free Paleo granola using the linked recipe.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sources and More Information
Nourishing Traditions, p. 454
Soaked Oatmeal Benefits Without the Soaking?