Why I Eat Sprouted Bread

by Ann Marie Michaels on August 19, 2012

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sprouted-bread

Have you ever heard of sprouted bread? I had my first sandwich made with sprouted bread 25 years ago in San Francisco. I’ve been hooked on the nutty, delicious flavor of whole-grain sprouted bread ever since.

Sprouted bread is the only kind of bread I buy these days. In fact, I am such a believer in sprouted grains, these days I almost exclusively bake and cook with sprouted flour.

I recommended sprouted bread to my 80-year-old father-in-law a few years ago. He says that sprouted bread has helped his digestion tremendously. He notices a huge difference when he eats sprouted bread versus eating regular bread. In fact, since he switched to sprouted bread (and started drinking kefir regularly), he’s been able to get off all of his medications for digestive ailments.

What Is Sprouted Bread?

Sprouted bread is made from whole wheat kernels, also called wheat berries. The wheat berries are sprouted and then mashed and then baked into bread. Because the kernels are not ground into flour, sprouted bread is often called flourless bread.

Sprouting wheat berries

You can also make sprouted flour bread by using sprouted wheat berries and grinding it into flour and then baking bread. This is not the same thing as sprouted bread, but it’s every bit as good for you.

Sprouted Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Sprouted bread is different than regular whole wheat bread because the wheat berries are sprouted. Whole wheat bread that is not sprouted is made by grinding the whole wheat berries into flour. This includes the nutrient-dense wheat germ, endosperm and bran.

In contrast, white bread is made from flour in which the wheat germ and bran have been removed, leaving only the endosperm. Whole wheat bread is much more nutritious than white bread, but since the wheat berries have not been sprouted or soaked, the phytic acid and other anti-nutrients in the grain can cause problems.

Why I Eat Sprouted Bread

Unsprouted whole-grain bread and baked goods can cause digestive difficulties and malabsorption of minerals. Unless phytic acid is broken down, it blocks the absorption of important minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc.

You may think you’re getting plenty of minerals and don’t need to worry about malabsorption, but it turns out that a lot of us are deficient in some minerals, notably magnesium. See my recent post: Are You Suffering From Magnesium Deficiency?

Sprouted bread or bread made with sprouted whole wheat flour is not only more nutritious, I think it tastes much better than white bread. To me, white bread tastes so bland, like cardboard (with the exception of long-fermented sourdoughs made with white flour, which is very flavorful and nutritious — see my post on Jack Bezian’s sourdough bread).

Sprouting Wheat Berries

Like my father-in-law, I do notice a difference when I eat regular bread (white or whole wheat) compared to when I eat sprouted bread. Regular bread makes me constipated and bloated. I have no digestive issues when I eat sprouted bread or bread made with sprouted flour.

How to Sprout Wheat Berries at Home

It’s very easy and inexpensive to sprout your own wheat berries at home.

Soaking Wheat Berries

Once you sprout wheat berries, you can then use them to make wheat berry salads or dry them and grind them into flour to use for baking and cooking.

Here’s a video I made showing how to sprout wheat berries:

This video is a sneak preview from my online cooking class, Healthy Whole Grains.

How to Use Sprouted Flour

You can use sprouted flour in all your recipes, just like you use whole wheat flour. I use sprouted flour to make pizza, pasta, bagels, chocolate chip cookies, bagels, pancakes, waffles, chicken nuggets — you name it!

Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour Pasta

If your family is not used to the more robust flavor of whole wheat, you can start by adding 1/4 or 1/2 sprouted whole wheat flour to your recipes in place of white flour. Then slowly increase the amount of whole wheat sprouted flour until you can get away as much whole wheat sprouted flour as possible.

In most of my recipes, I use 100% sprouted flour, but there are some recipes that I will still use 50% white flour (mainly pizza, bagels, bread and pie crust).

Whole Wheat Sourdough Waffles

Where to Find Sprouted Bread and Sprouted Flour

You can find sprouted flour and sprouted grains in the VGN Marketplace.

You can find sprouted bread at most health food stores. You can also find sprouted tortillas, sprouted whole-grain pasta, and even sprouted bagels and English muffins at some health food stores.

How to Find Store and Use Sprouted Bread and Sprouted Flour

I store my sprouted bread in the fridge and freezer. Because it’s a living food, it goes moldy a lot faster than other store-bought breads. Sprouted bread will keep a long time in the freezer.

If you want to cook and bake with sprouted flour, you can either make your own sprouted flour at home using the method for sprouting wheat berries above, or you can buy sprouted flour. Some health food stores sell sprouted flour. I haven’t found any that do here in Los Angeles, so I buy sprouted flour online and store it in the freezer. It will keep for several months in your freezer.

Want to Learn More About Sprouting Grains?

If you want to learn more about how to sprout grains and how to use sprouted grains in your kitchen, sign up for my 12-week online cooking class, Healthy Whole Grains.

Do You Eat Sprouted Bread?

Do you eat sprouted bread and bake with sprouted flour? Have you noticed benefits to your health? Please share your experiences in the comments.

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

ida August 20, 2012 at 1:16 AM

Do you have a recipe for sprouted bread? Without grinding it into flour first? My husband has blood sugar issues, and we’ve tried sprouted flour, but it still effects him. Ezekiel bread seems to be the only one he can tolerate, but after spending so much every week at the store on Ezekiel products, I would like very much to try making my own.

Thanks!!

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Melody August 20, 2012 at 12:20 PM

I echo Amy’s request for the recipe for making sprouted grain bread….I have a ton of whole wheat and whole spelt berries and would love to skip the step of having it ground into flour!!!

Thanks!

Melody

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cheeseslave August 20, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Hi, guys,

I don’t have a recipe for flourless sprouted bread. You can google it and find them online — look for sprouted bread recipe or essene bread recipe.

I didn’t link to one because I don’t know which ones are good — I’ve never tried making it.

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Melody August 21, 2012 at 11:43 AM

I found some on the Sproutpeople website…I completely forgot about these! We buy our sprouting seeds from them.

Essene Bread: http://sproutpeople.org/recipes/bread/essene.html

Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread: http://sproutpeople.org/recipes/bread/whole_wheat_bread.html

I haven’t tried them yet, but I might try the Essene sometime…it sounds like it’s what you were describing Ann Marie

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Sandy November 13, 2012 at 4:03 PM

THANKS! I buy my seeds from them too but forgot about their recipe.

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Ginger August 22, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Ida
The Essene bread recipe on the Sprout People’s website makes very good bread, and it is much more economical than buying loaves at the store.
http://sproutpeople.org/recipes/bread/essene.html

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Amy August 20, 2012 at 3:12 AM

Great post! We eat sprouted grain bread as well. I’d love a fail proof recipe, I have NEVER had luck making bread (it’s a joke between my husband and myself about how much money I’ve wasted trying to make bread).

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cheeseslave August 20, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Amy – See my comment above — I’ve never tried making it. Mainly because it’s so easy to buy at the store.

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Mary @ Homemade Dutch Apple Pie August 20, 2012 at 3:41 AM

Do you have a recipe for sprouted bread? I sometimes make my own sprouted flour, but I didn’t know you could make bread without doing that extra step. I’d love to try making sprouted bread. I have major bloating/gas/constipation issues, and I know wheat products contribute. I soak most of my baked goods, but I often wonder if sprouted would be even more helpful for me.

I just read an article last night in Whole Living Magazine about Jack Bezian’s sourdough and was wondering what others’ take on it was. The article claims that non-organic all purpose flour is actually more nutrient dense than organic. Do you agree? It said organic AP flour is the least nourishing flour you can find. I’d never heard that.

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cheeseslave August 20, 2012 at 1:21 PM

@Mary –

Re: a recipe — see my comment above — I’ve never tried making it. Mainly because it’s so easy to buy at the store.

And how funny — I just read that article in Whole Living Magazine last night! I thought Jack was saying that all-purpose flour is more nutrient dense than whole wheat flour IF it is fermented the way he does. I didn’t see where it said that plain all-purpose flour is more nutrient dense than organic. It’s all about the fermentation, according to Jack.

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Robin @ Thank Your Body August 20, 2012 at 4:43 AM

I love sprouted bread! We use sprouted flour for pretty much everything and I love the taste.

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cheeseslave August 20, 2012 at 1:22 PM

@Robin

I agree, I think it is much more flavorful than white flour!

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Mary August 20, 2012 at 5:08 AM

I was wondering the same thing as the other Mary mentioned in her post. I read the article in Whole Living magazine and was so surprised to read that white flour had more nutrition than organic! But what about the pesticides? Is it a trade-off? I wonder.

I love baking with sprouted flour that I purchase online from the “To Your Health” company. I usually use the sprouted spelt. It makes great bread, cookies, and basically anything else I want to bake. However, I do sift out some of the bran. It is loaded with the stuff! I find that if I sift some of it out, it makes a much nicer, lighter bread. I have read on the Wston A Price site that this isn’t an uncommon practice and something that bakers have been doing going back to ancient times.

This is what the article said (see below)…but keep in mind, it was referring to flour that had not been sprouted but was instead being used to make a sourdough. Nonetheless, I still apply this technique when baking with sprouted flour…no matter what type whether it be spelt or rye, etc. The bread bakes up much nicer with less of the bran. Also…I use the sprouted flour to make sourdough as well. I think of this as double insurance to increase digestibility and protect my self and my family from the phytic acid…

“BREAD

Bread can only be called the staff of life if it has undergone careful preparation; otherwise bread can be the road to an early grave. For starters, the flour used in bread should be stone ground. Wheat and rye contain high levels of phytase, but this is destroyed by the heat of industrial grinding, and also lessens over time. Fresh grinding of wheat or rye berries before use will ensure that the original amount of phytase remains in the flour.

Rye has the highest level of phytase in relation to phytates of any grain, so rye is the perfect grain to use as a sourdough starter. Phytates in wheat are greatly reduced during sourdough preparation, as wheat is also high in phytase. Yeast rising bread may not fully reduce phytic acid levels.57 Phytate breakdown is significantly higher in sourdough bread than in yeasted bread.58

Yet even with the highly fermentable rye, a traditional ancient recipe from the French calls for removal of 25 percent of the bran and coarse substances.59 As an example of this practice, one small bakery in Canada sifts the coarse bran out of the flour before making it into bread.62″

It’s the last paragraph above…and repeated here again below…that really caught my eye and why I sift out some of the bran…even if it is sprouted…

“Yet even with the highly fermentable rye, a traditional ancient recipe from the French calls for removal of 25 percent of the bran and coarse substances.59 As an example of this practice, one small bakery in Canada sifts the coarse bran out of the flour before making it into bread.62. (The footnote “62″ reads as follows: http://www.littlestream.com/ )

You can read the Weston A Price article “Living with Phytic Acid”, in its entirety here:

http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/living-with-phytic-acid

Love,
Mary

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cheeseslave August 20, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Hi, Mary!

Another Mary!

I will go pull that article and reread it. That is not what I thought it said (see my comment above to the other Mary)

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Melissa@unmistakablyfood August 20, 2012 at 7:49 PM

What do you think about sifting out the bran? I’ve been reading Ramiel Nigel, author of Cure Tooth Decay, and he says traditional cultures removed the bran and germ. I e-mailed him the other day, and he clarified this recommendation: to always sift the flour. I’m not sure what I think…It’s not like I can go back in time and see what people did.

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Irene August 25, 2012 at 12:05 AM

My mother, who grew up on a remote farm in Europe where they raised everything they ate, has said they sifted before making the sourdough. If you read Sepp Holzer’s book (he’s the Austrian version of Joel Salatin) he says bran is for chickens. Take a look at his kids – talk about fully developed and beautiful. Those were enough traditionally-linked sources for me. If my chickens eat the bran, they give it back in the form of a more nutritious egg anyway.

It also makes sense if you consider that Dr. Price used white flour and achieved healing.

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JMR August 20, 2012 at 5:59 AM

I haven’t tried sprouted bread. I’ll have to put that on my list of things to learn. I am looking forward to trying Jack Bezian’s sourdough bread when I move to L.A. in a few weeks. I read that article in Whole Living Magazine yesterday and it reminded me that you had written about the bread quite some time ago. Thank you for the information.

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cheeseslave August 20, 2012 at 1:23 PM

@JMR

Hahaha! Wow it seems like everyone read that article! I just read it yesterday too!

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Heather :) :) :) August 20, 2012 at 6:42 AM

I don’t eat any bread right now, because I’m still grain-free…but WOW, this sprouted bread looks AWESOME!!! I really wanted to reach through the computer and grab that photo of the loaf of bread, too…and slather it with real butter :) :) I’ve always felt that bread like this is the best kind of bread :) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

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Linda August 20, 2012 at 7:38 AM

I have been making sourdough bread for a while now because I thought it is the healthiest bread to eat. I do like to keep a bag of sprouted flour on hand though when I want to make muffins are quick bread and don’t have time for soaking. Your comment about your father-in-law really caught my attention. My mom has some kind of stomach infection that she is taking pills for. I think this just came up. I was thinking she needs to eat lacto fermented foods and kefir regularly, but I would have to make it and bring it to her. I wonder if sprouted flour would be helpful to her.
I can find sprouted bread at the grocery store, but it always has sprouted soy flour in it. I have noticed all the organic breads have soy so I don’t buy it. It annoys me that they put soy in everything.

I

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cheeseslave August 20, 2012 at 1:24 PM

@Linda

My father-in-law swears by the sprouted bread! He says that and kefir have changed his life.

There are brands of sprouted bread that do NOT contain sprouted soy. I buy the ones without sprouted soy added.

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christine July 16, 2013 at 11:11 AM

juicing apples and green cabbage with the pulp and drinking it is great for ulcers. i use a vitamix.

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DaNelle August 20, 2012 at 8:30 AM

I know Sprouted Bread is better for me, but I can’t seem to love the taste yet, I guess I should start making it homemade!

DaNelle recently posted…Why I changed my mind about Homeschooling

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Beth August 20, 2012 at 12:12 PM

How long is recommended for “long-fermented sourdough”?

Also, how do you feel about Trader Joe’s Sprouted Flourless Whole Wheat Berry Bread? Its ingredients are: sprouted organic whole wheat berries, filtered water, wheat gluten, organic dates, fresh yeast, sea salt, organic raisins, soy lecithin (emulsifier), cultured wheat.

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cheeseslave August 20, 2012 at 1:26 PM

@Beth

Most sourdough is fermented for 18-20 hours. Jack Bezian slow ferments his in the fridge for several days and up to a month.

I regularly buy the Trader Joe’s sprouted bread.

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Beth August 20, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Thanks, Ann Marie. Just so I’m clear, if I wanted to make a request to a small, local bakery, I should encourage them to do their sourdough for longer than 24 hours ideally? What is a reasonable yet optimal sourdough time for a small bakery that’s already making some artisanal, organic and sourdough breads?

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cheeseslave August 20, 2012 at 7:50 PM

I think 18-20 hours is great. Any sourdough bread is better than commercial yeast bread. We are just lucky to have Jack here in LA who does long-fermented bread. But I wouldn’t ask a baker to ferment for longer — they probably would not know how to do it.

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Ellen Stumbo August 20, 2012 at 1:20 PM

I would also love some recipes for making my own sprouted bread. I have a bread machine and would love some pointers!

Currently I buy Ezekiel bread and use sprouted flour as well. Notice any differences? My youngest has Down syndrome and we have struggled with constipation with her from the time she was born We have tried so many things, and we have been good with probiotics and Juice Plus+ supplements. As soon as we switched to sprouted bread we were done fighting the constipation and she is now one regular little girl! Whole grains make a big difference!

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cheeseslave August 20, 2012 at 1:27 PM

@Ellen

That is so awesome! Thank you for sharing.

There are some practitioners who work with kids with Down’s Syndrome and produce amazing results. Google Dr. Dean Howell.

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Beth August 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM
gabi August 20, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Great post, we love sprouted bread (will be back to it when we finish GAPS). Your waffles are beautiful. Do you dehydrate your sprouted grains or let them air dry? Love your Marcato pasta roller…I have an old one and they’re just so shiny! :)

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cheeseslave August 20, 2012 at 4:07 PM

@Gabi

I dehydrate them. Air-drying probably won’t work — they might get moldy.

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Fernanda August 20, 2012 at 8:19 PM

What kind of water filter do you use?

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cheeseslave August 20, 2012 at 8:52 PM

I have a reverse osmosis filter. Also have a Berkey for backup in case we lose power.

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Alexa August 20, 2012 at 8:25 PM

What is your opinion on adding vital wheat gluten to sprouted bread?

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cheeseslave August 20, 2012 at 8:53 PM

I don’t think you need it unless you are making pizza, bagels or something else that needs extra gluten and you don’t want to add white flour.

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stina August 21, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Long ago and far away in the 70s there was a trend for 100% whole-wheat pasta (non-sprouted); my mother was really into this for a while. I hated it because that heavy, gritty whole wheat was like eating concrete.

I didn’t try sprouted bread for ages because of that vile whole wheat pasta I ate as a child. When I finally broke down and tried sprouted bread/flours, I couldn’t believe it was the same substance; what a difference disabling the phytic acid makes!

Soaking and sprouting makes a world of difference with rice as well as wheat. I buy sprouted brown rice from To Your Health in Alabama, and it’s crazy-delicious, especially with bone broth and/or cultured butter. So much easier to digest, and no bloated-icky feeling.

The easier digestion carries over into baked goods made with sprouted flour as well–like applesauce cake and brownies (at least in my experience).

Obligatory disclaimer: I don’t work for TYH or get free stuff/goodies/compensation from them (wish they *would* give me free sprouted stuff!).

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stina August 21, 2012 at 10:57 AM

P.S. – your stack of waffles made me want to take a bite out of my monitor!

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cheeseslave August 21, 2012 at 11:59 AM

I make my pasta, pizza, pie crusts and bread with 50% sprouted whole wheat flour and 50% white flour. Tastes great and kids don’t notice!

Waffles, pancakes, brownies, cookies, etc. I make with 100% sprouted flour.

No complaints!

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Karla August 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Do you have a recipe for sprouted bread? I have had interest from a few friends and family.
Thanks!

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Beth August 21, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Here’s a bunch of sprouted recipes:

http://www.organicsproutedflour.net/recipes.html

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cheeseslave August 21, 2012 at 12:49 PM

No, I don’t have a recipe for sprouted bread — I’ve never tried making it before. I have only made bread with sprouted flour so far.

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Alexa August 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM

But what about buying sprouted bread that has vital wheat gluten in the ingredients? Is that a problem?

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cheeseslave August 23, 2012 at 5:26 PM

I personally think it is only a problem if you are allergic to gluten.

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Meg S October 30, 2012 at 5:13 PM

I DO eat bread made with sprouted wheat berries. Trader Joe’s makes a fabulous bread called, “Flourless Sprouted Wheat” and it is the only bread that I can eat daily without having digestive and elimination problems. AND it tastes fabulous. I am trying hard to find a recipe that includes its ingredients that will closely resemble the bread from Trader Joe’s. I often go to visit family in Montana and they do not have a TJ’s there. It would be great to make it for them. Have any recipes similar? They use dates and raisins ground very finely as well in the bread.
Your video was well done btw.

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Meg S October 30, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Meg again. I just now read the other ladies’ comments on the recipes available online. No need to respond. There is SO much to learn about making bread and grains -

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Brad Kayganich January 24, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Great info cheeseslave. I will give this a try, where do you get your wheat berries? By the way do you eat raw honey? Great to spread on sprouted bread for a delicious snack, especially for breakfast.

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mary March 24, 2013 at 5:49 AM

What kind of waffle maker do you use? The only ones I can find have a nasty non-stick coating.

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stephanie May 28, 2013 at 3:50 PM

What bread to you buy?

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Ann Marie Michaels May 28, 2013 at 4:19 PM

We buy Alvarado St. Bakery and sometimes Ezekiel. We also buy real sourdough bread from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, or the farmer’s market.

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Thomas Braun August 4, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Please tell me the name of the bakery that makes Trader Joe’s 7 gm carb Sprouted Rye Bread. Need it for export
Thanks

Thomas Braun

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kazy November 23, 2013 at 7:25 AM

Hi. I was told by my doctor that she wanted me on a grainless diet. Also low carbs. You say the sprouted grain doesn’t have the same ill effects that regular grain has, but what about the carbs? My doctor says that any carb even gluten free can raise your blood sugars and cause an insulin response which in turn causes inflammation and elevation of lipids. How does sprouted grains hold up to the whole carbohydrate issue?

Thanks,

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The Organic Christian December 29, 2013 at 2:44 AM

If you are worried about inflammation and your blood sugar level it is still best to but out grain sources of carb and stick with other sources. The breaking down of the phytic acid is mainly to help with digestive issues and absorption of minerals. So if you are a relatively healthy person and/or a child who needs the extra carbs. Including soaked or sprouted grains is perfectly fine but for those of us who need to keep our inflammation low, and our blood sugar level it’s best to leave it.

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