Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Meet Whole Foods: Sprouts!

Before I introduce this week's new whole food, I just want to share two things. The first thing is about the food for thought post from yesterday. I love this poem that I shared and it is meaningful to me for a few reasons. I grew up in a good home with parents that tried hard to teach me what is right. I still remember one family night (our family held family night every week on Monday night) when my Dad shared this poem with us. He gave us each our own printed copy and encouraged us to memorize it and I think most of us kids did. To this day I still  have that copy. And my siblings and I still can recite this poem from memory. I'm grateful to my Dad for teaching me about the importance of making sure our words are kind before we let them leave our lips. It's so important in all of our relationships, but in family relationships especially!

The second thing I want to share is about a great break through I had this morning. Or at least I think so. I made a green smoothie for breakfast and shared it with my boys. And they FOUGHT ABOUT WHO GOT THE MOST!! AND THEY KNOW THERE IS SPINACH IN IT!! Yeah!!! :) I know we shouldn't rejoice over our kids fighting, but I was so excited!!

And now moving on to the new whole food of the week:

Meet: Sprouts!

What are Sprouts?
Vegetable seeds, grains, nuts or beans can all be sprouted. They are easy to grow at home or you can buy them in the store. They are tasty and delicious and good for you. The nice thing about it is that they can be grown any time of the year (including in the middle of winter when nothing is growing where I live...except seed sprouts!!) Use only seeds that are specifically sold for sprouting, to ensure they don't have pesticides on them. It is important when sprouting grains that the grains haven't been processed, use any whole grains like wheat, barley, spelt, oat groats, etc. Beans like mung beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, etc can all be sprouted as long as it is in it's whole form (not split peas, for example).

How do I grow them?
Sprouts are easy to grow and economical too. In the picture below I have sprouted a blend of vegetable seeds called "alpha plus mix". It has alfalfa, cabbage, clover and radish seeds. Here are the simple steps:

  • Day 1: Soak the seeds. I usually do this overnight - just put in a couple of tablespoons of sprout seeds and let soak in water.
  • Day 2: Rinse the seeds and put them in a dark place and wait for them to germinate. I recommend rinsing the seeds several times a day so they don't develop a bacteria growth.
  • Days 3-6: Continue rinsing the seeds several times a day and leave sitting in a dark place.
  • Day 5-7: Once the sprouts have developed their leaves, you can either continue rinsing them and let them grow even more or let them sit in the sun for a few hours until they green up. 
  • Then store in the refrigerator and rinse every day. 
  • Enjoy your delicious sprouts!

How healthy are they?
Sprouting seeds, grains or beans ups the nutrition by many times. Sprouts are rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes. Since they are a living food, their vitamin content will increase whereas fruits and vegetables that you purchase from the store will actually lose nutrition over time. Some sources I've read say that sprouts have a greater concentration of nutrition properties than at any other point in the plant's life, including at maturity. Sprouts are easy to digest and good for the immune system.

How do I use them?
Use seed sprouts in place of lettuce on sandwiches or burgers, use in salad wraps or as a topping on a salad. Use grain sprouts in bread products for added nutrition. Use bean sprouts in Asian dishes - stir fry, egg rolls, etc.

Where can I buy the materials?
You can buy sprout seeds and materials at a health food stores near you or there are several products available at amazon as well.

Linked to Meatless Mondays

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