The biggest problem with the Standard American Diet (SAD) is that we are eating what amounts to empty calories. The foods we eat are little more that the macro-nutrients that they are made from and most of that in the form of carbohydrates. In a time when we are bombarded with advice from doctors, huge conglomerate food manufacturers, and even our own government that implies that food is our enemy we are also being told to drink more soda, snacks and processed food than ever. We have forgotten what real food is. I can’t tell you how many times I have had someone tell me, “I only eat boneless, skinless, chicken breast…I don’t want to know where my food is coming from or that it used to be a live animal”. This has to stop! We need a great tasting source of live food full of all of the nutrients that should be there as nature intended. Sprouts!
There are several things that you can sprout: grains, beans and seeds. One of the great things about sprouts is that the nutrients contained in the object being sprouted is suddenly and almost magically more bio-available which means your body can absorb it more easily. During the process of sprouting the would-be plant uses its store of starches and sugars to begin the growing process; that makes the sprouted seed lower in carbohydrates at the same time that the protein, vitamins, minerals and enzymes you need to live become more available. Sprouts are truly the answer to the question, “what should we be eating?”
Not every one is going to be able to produce their own food as was done just over a century ago, but they can grow their own sprouts. It does not take a lot of time, only a few minutes a day and the sprouts are ready to eat in 3-5 days. It does not take up a lot of space or require any unique or expensive equipment; I grow mine in a 1 quart, wide mouth mason jar on my counter top. You just need a good supply of organic seeds (available from many sources online), some good soap to keep things clean, a 1 quart, wide mouth mason jar, a screen or fine mesh strainer for rinsing, an air tight container to store them in in the refrigerator and a decent salad spinner to dry them once they are fully grown.
The last and most important thing I am going to mention before discussing the simple procedure of growing your own sprouts and some recipes is that sprouts taste great. There is a huge variety of things to sprout like the very familiar mung beans (popular in Asian cuisine); lentils or any other bean for that matter; radish, alfalfa seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, broccoli seeds, clover seeds or just about any other seed you can think of; wheat, barley, rye, rice or any other grain you can think of and all of them have a distinct flavor and nutrient complex. As you can imagine using some of these sprouts in a salad can really give a great boost to flavor; radish seeds, for example are quite spicy and broccoli sprouts taste quite a lot like broccoli (go figure).
The simple sprouting procedure:
- Rinse, sort and soak the seeds – seeds are a natural product and you will want to make sure there is little or no foreign matter in your seeds. Simple rinse them under cool water, place them in your jar (or other vessel designed for the purpose) and cover them with tepid water (room temperature is sufficient). Let them soak for 8-12 hours.
- Drain. I use the water that the seeds have soaked in to water my plants. Some of the nutrients in the seeds seems to get past into the water and my house plants have never looked better…no need for Miracle Grow.
- Store the jar in a dark corner of the room or in a cupboard that has some air circulation. I keep mine in a darker corner of the kitchen covered with a towel so no direct light reaches the sprouts.
- Rinse the seeds every 12 hours or so to keep them moist and don’t forget to use the water for your house plants. I use the metal ring to secure a clean, white paper towel on the top of the jar to keep bad things out.
- When the sprouts are large enough (3-5 days depending on the ambient room temperature) simply turn them out into a salad spinner for a final rinse and spin dry.
- Store them in the refrigerator in an air tight container. Stored properly the will last at least a week or maybe more if you don’t eat them before that.
That’s it, it’s that simple; surely anyone can do that. Keep everything clean, clean your hands before you handle your sprouts and they should be contaminant free. Here is one of my favorite recipes using a couple of different bean sprouts that looks great and tastes even better. There is an added bonus that because these sprouts are so nutrient dense that have the ability to keep you from getting hungry for long periods of time. When you get the nutrients you need your body stops complaining that it is hungry all of the time…interesting; no? As always don’t hesitate to try this salad in you are missing one of the ingredients…substitute something else in its place.
Three Sprout and Cabbage Salad
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Mix all of the ingredients together well, set aside until ready to dress the salad.
3 cups cabbage, finely shredded (use any kind you like…be creative)
1 cup lentil sprouts
1 cup adzuki bean sprouts
1 cup broccoli sprouts
¼ cup green onion, finely sliced
Toss all of the ingredients together. About 15 minutes before you want to serve the salad toss with the dressing. Taste to make sure the seasonings are the way you like them and serve.Enjoy!
I eat sprouts just about everyday in one form or another: I eat them in salads, I add them to my sauteed dishes just at the end so the heat warms them but does not kill the enzymes and other micro-nutrients, I eat them in omelettes, on sandwiches or just out of the container when I just need something to take the edge off of my hunger. Over the past 6 months I have lost weight, gained strength, improved my energy level and generally gotten healthier. Sprouts are just one of the things I have done to improve my diet, but I definitely think they have helped. Enjoy!