Thursday, June 23, 2011
Sprouting is a simple, do it yourself way to add some powerful nutrition to you and your kiddos diet. It has become a fan favorite (or at least on most days) around our house. My 2 year old loves helping "make" the sprouts. She gets excited about putting the seeds in the jar, rinsing them, and then waiting for the "tails." All this excitement in "making" them and she is more excited to eat them. And yes, she is 2 and has strong opinions these days, so some days she loves them and other days she wants nothing to do with them. On the days that she loves them, her little sister is much more excited to eat them as well. Because around our house, what one sister does the other does as well!
By sprouting seeds, nuts, or beans, you are taking the thing are you are sprouting from it's dormant state and basically bringing it to life. Studies have shown that nutrients in sprouted seeds, nuts, grains, and beans can be increased by up to 400% after soaking or sprouting. That's significant! Not only does the nutritional value increase but by sprouting you also neutralize enzyme inhibitors. Enzyme inhibitors are what keeps the seed, nut, bean from growing and sprouting until external conditions are favorable, and so by soaking the conditions become favorable and the seed begins to grow or sprout. This process is what helps make sprouts more digestible. The seeds, nuts, grain, or beans that are hard for some to digest become easier once they are soaked and sprouted due to the neutralizing affect of these enzyme inhibitors. Because sprouting makes it much easier for our bodies to digest the food, we are then able to gain more of the nutritional value from the sprouted food when compared to the same food before it is sprouted.
So by growing your own sprouts you end up with a raw, easily digestible, alkalizing,whole food that is a powerhouse of nutrients.
If your interested in beginning to do some sprouting it really is quite simple and requires very little. I picked up a sprouting jar at our local health food store for under $5. You can also use a large jar you have at home with a cheesecloth over top. If your using your own jar it's important that you have something over the jar to prevent bugs from getting in, but that also allows air to come in and enables you to rinse them. The only other thing needed is something to sprout. I usually just pick up the specific sprouting seeds at our local health food store. We've sprouted lentils before which were really good. A quick google search and you can find how to sprout and the specifics on different things.
There are lots of ways to use sprouts. I love the crunch of sprouts in a salad, sandwich, or wrap. One of favorites for picnics, is sprouted Ezekial bread (we buy this!) with avocado spread on it. We then top it with tomatoes, sprouts, and sometimes a little goat cheese. I will also toss them into a stir-fry or egg scramble. Sometimes my girls will just snack on them plain. So many options with these nutrient dense sprouts.
The other great thing about sprouts is that they are fun for kids. There are days when I am having to get creative with my 2 year old, Norah. Some days she'll eat a dinner packed with greens and other days all she wants is fruit and bread. The sprouts can be fun because I'll sometimes decorate her plate. I'll give my best attempt to make a face out of whatever we're eating. Sprouts make for great hair, beards, mustaches, or eyebrows!