“If you plant the right seed in the right spot it will grow without further coaxing. I believe this is the best metaphor for creating habits. Let me be more explicit: If you pick the right small behavior and sequence it right, then you won’t have to motivate yourself to have it grow, it will just happen naturally, like a good seed planted in a good spot.” – BJ Fogg, Innovator and Social Scientist
Sprouting is like having a mini garden right in your kitchen; it’s simply a process of giving the right seed the right spot, or more specifically, the right conditions to grow. I love watching tiny seeds germinate; a sprout represents the miracle of new life.
A seed contains a lot of potential nutrients, however in it’s dormant state, the potential is locked up tight. Nature has designed seeds with a protective coating that helps to keep them dormant until they have the most optimal conditions to grow. This coating contains substances that are not good for our body, one is phytic acid which blocks mineral absorption, as well seeds contain enzyme inhibitors that wreak havoc on the delicate tissues of your digestive tract. This is why we need to soak the seeds, nuts, grains and beans that we plan to eat; the soaking not only lessens the harmful effects of these substances, it also starts the sprouting process that transforms a seed to a plant.
Seeds like alfalfa, clover, radish and broccoli can become a treasure chest of nutrients, just add water and help them to grow. Once germinated the dormant seeds awaken to become a living plants, you can then receive their bounty.
SPROUT NEW PERSPECTIVES
Despite the treasure and bounty, not many people choose to sprout in their own kitchens. I don’t know why that it is for sure, perhaps it seems too much of a fuss to tend the little buggers? Or maybe it’s because of reports that sprouts might contain contaminants that can make you sick?
However, once you get a rhythm with sprouting you’ll see that it takes very little time and effort, it’s really not a fuss at all. When it comes to sprouts making you sick it’s pretty easy to tell when sprouts are slimy, moldy or smelly – definitely don’t eat them then.
With a little bit of research and education you can set your mind at ease when it comes to the fear of getting sick from eating sprouts. If you take a closer look you might find that the benefits of sprouting will outweigh the small amount of work it takes to grow them.
Living foods, like sprouts, contain enzymes. Our bodies contain enzymes too and these enzymes do important work. In your body there are three different groups of enzymes: “metabolic enzymes” do specialized work within our bodies, “digestive enzymes” help us break down and assimilate our food, and “food enzymes” which are found in raw foods that begin to break down the food in the stomach.
In some wildly riveting alfalfa sprout studies, scientist found that the sprout enzymes are able to cross your gut barrier and stay intact! This is where the nutritional benefits start to roll in, the introduction of enzymes into your body.
Food enzymes, found in raw and living foods, begin to pre-digest the food in your stomach therefore creating less work for your body’s digestive enzymes.
Not only are sprouts a superb source of nutrients, they also boost our immune system. Sprouts like alfalfa, radish, broccoli, fennugreek, mung bean and clover contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals (plant compounds) that can protect us against disease. In scientific research one compound found in broccoli, called sulforaphane, has been shown to be effective in preventing the growth of cancer cells.
When it comes to nutrient density, broccoli sproutlings have advantages over the full grown broccoli plant. Here’s the thing, when you eat a sprout you are eating the entire plant at a very young age. That is, you eat the root, stem, and head. Different nutrients are concentrated in different parts of the plant. We typically don’t eat the whole broccoli plant: root, leaves, flowers, stems and floret. This is why, even though it’s much smaller, each little sprout can have as much or more of certain micronutrients as the entire broccoli plant.
The story of seed to plant can teach us that the end result of our labors always starts with a seed. But you can’t just set the seed on the counter and hope it grows. You have to apply the right sequence of events in order to sprout and grow the seed to maturation.
As a metaphor, this is a lot like many aspects of our life. In order to accomplish goals we must have habits in place that will get us to the end result we desire. Consistent habits are the seeds of big change.
If you want to have mobility in your joints as well as strength and suppleness in your tissues when you’re 80 you need understand and apply the daily habits with movement that will support you in reaching that goal.
If you want to get better sleep you need to know and practice the habits that set you up for good sleep.
If you want to eat high quality nutrient dense foods that you prepare in your home you will have to have the knowledge and habits that support you in maintaining the kitchen routines to make it happen.
Start with a seed: What’s the vision of where you want to get to? Identify the habits needed to get yourself there. Build your habits in small incremental steps. Eventually your small habits will grow and big change will happen over time.
Choose Your Seeds: Many seeds are suitable for sprouting. I like clover, alfalfa, fenugreek, broccoli and radish seeds the best. This company, Mountain Rose, has sprouting seeds that you can order.
Have a Sprouting Apparatus:This can be a mason jar with a special plastic lid or mesh screen or stacking trays designed just for growing your little plants. Here are some different sprouting devises.
Give Them Space: Choose the appropriate amount of seeds for the size of your sprouting apparatus. Seeds need space to grow, don’t overcrowd them. A rough rule of thumb is to use about 2 tablespoon of seeds to a 1 quart jar.
Soak: Cover your seeds with plenty of water and let them soak over night.
Drain: Drain off the soaking water.. If you’re using a special stacking tray now you can spread your soaked seeds in the trays. If you’re using a jar, leave it turned upside down in your dish rack.
Rinse: Twice per day, in the morning and the evening.
A Mini Plant: Once two leaves grow and the leaves turn green your sprouts are ready to eat.
I hope you’ll consider taking on sprouting as a new kitchen habits that helps you reach your goals with food, nutrition and wellness. Sprouting is fun, easy and cost effective.
Cheers to continually sprouting new seeds for your own personal evolution: hold a vision for your desires, make space for your vision, nurture the habits that your vision requires. This is how growth and change happen!