Sprouting: A Healthy and Easy Lifestyle Option

One of my favourite tips for healthy eating on the road involves the task of sprouting. Sprouts are real living foods that are abundant in food enzymes, providing exceptional amounts of protein, easily assimilated vitamins A, C and D plus antioxidants, anti-carcinogens, minerals, nucleic acids, plant antibiotics and plant hormones – a whole of lot of stuff which works together to give us amazing health benefits. In fact, sprouts are widely recognized as a ‘wonder food’. As one of the most nutritious foods that exist, sprouts make an exceptional addition to any healthy lifestyle plan. According to Paul Talalay, MD, in the American Cancer Society NEWS, “broccoli sprouts are better for you than full-grown broccoli, and contain more of the enzyme sulforaphane which helps protect cells and prevents their genes from turning into cancer.” From the humble beginnings of a seed, sprouts are incredibly easy to grow and taste amazing. I use a wide-mouth jar closed with screen mesh and a rubber band to secure it closed. Listed below, from the International Sprout Growers Association, are a few ideas on how to serve up sprouts:

  • Add to tossed salads
  • Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and sunflowers
  • Use in coleslaw (cabbage, clover, radish)
  • Try in potato salad (mung bean, lentil)
  • Try in wraps and roll-ups (alfalfa, sunflower, radish)
  • Stir-fry with other vegetables (alfalfa, clover, radish, mung bean, lentil)
  • Blend into fruit shakes or juices (cabbage, mung bean, lentil)
  • Blend with vegetable juices (cabbage, mung bean, lentil)
  • Replace celery in sandwich spreads (lentil, radish)
  • Mix with soft cheeses for a dip (mung bean, radish)
  • Grind up and use in sandwich spreads (lentil, radish)
  • Top grilled cheese sandwiches after grilling (alfalfa, clover)
  • Stir into soups or stews when serving (mung bean, lentil)
  • Mix into pancake or waffle batter (buckwheat)
  • Eat them fresh and uncooked in a sprout salad (salad mixes)
  • Top omelet or scrambled eggs (alfalfa, clover, radish)
  • Combine in rice dishes (fenugreek, lentil, mung bean)
  • Add to sushi (radish, sunflower)
  • Saute with onions (mung bean, clover, radish)
  • Puree with peas or beans (mung bean, lentil)
  • Add to baked beans (lentil)
  • Steam and serve with butter (mung bean, lentil)
  • Use in sandwiches instead of lettuce (alfalfa, clover, radish)

Here’s a lovely recipe to perhaps spice up your salad routine!

Delicious Healthy Bean Sprout Salad

  • 2 cups sprouts
  • 3 grated carrots
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ chopped red onion

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp whole grain mustard
  • ½ tsp salt

Whisk up the dressing, pour it on the salad and mix it up. Serve on a leaf bed of lettuce or cabbage.

Click here for the document handout which I extended to those at the Alumapalooza workshop on “Healthy Living on the Road”. Also, download this document on the health benefits of sprouts, as put out by the ISGA.

One of the concerns of late about sprouting has been the concern about contamination. Here’s a great article from the University of California that addresses food safety. And here are some great tips from the nurtureyourown.com blog on growing your own sprouts:

1. Use certified organic seeds.
Organic certification means that the seeds were grown and handled in such a way that minimizes possible sources of contamination.To cite one example, manure used on organic fields must be composted for a long period of time. Composting reduces or get rids of pathogens in manure. Furthermore, licenced organic farmers are required to use rodent and bird proof storage for seeds meant for sprouting or eating. As far as I know, organic sprouting seeds have not been implicated in any outbreak of food poisoning.
2. Consume same day after harvesting
Best to eat the sprouts on the same day they are picked. However, if you can’t finish them all, pack them in a box and refrigerate them. Treat sprouts and foods containing sprouts just as you would any food – refrigerate until use.

Generally, some common sense precautions and good cleanliness habits will go a long way to ensuring that you will enjoy a healthy diet. This applies not just to sprouts, but also to any other raw foods that you take, for example: salads, fruits and nuts.

Additionally, here’s a great video on how-to grow your own sprouts.

As a safety side-note, it is still advised that people with weakened immune systems, the elderly and children not eat raw sprouts. If there is a concern, consult a doctor or health practitioner.

Yoga and Healthy Living on the Road

Susan smilesWonderful seeing men in our morning yoga classes!With very little sleep and a lack of desired preparation for today’s ‘Healthy Living on the Road’ workshop, I was running on pure adrenaline in addition to being a wee bit nervous about standing up teaching about what I deem healthy choices in my life. slaDE was laid back and open to me being the commander to our onstage workshop — it sure has helped that I’ve spent a lot of the winter preparing material for this very workshop. The confidence boost I received from our yoga students during our class was a welcome burst of energy (the Vita-Mix smoothie helped with this as well — recipe Day #2 is published at the end of the post) that carried me through, feeling on top of the world. Again this morning, another 40 students blessed us with their presence. I am blown away by the unexpected but amazing interest in yoga this year. Packing the tent full each day with breathing and stretching beings has offered an incredible energy and lightness to Alumapalooza 2011, and I felt that this was a missing component last year.

We were absolutely delighted to run into our Canadian Airstreamin’ friends whom we made a wonderful connection with last year. Turns out that we were to be staying in their home town once we made our way north of the border. Synchronicity is such a delightful component to our adventurous life, like a puzzle that strangely falls in to place without the slightest effort or know-how. In this puzzle that we call life, I feel that what is most relevant is the intention and authenticity behind the love, relationship and gifts that we extend in to this world.

Fast forward a few hours …. the ‘Healthy Living on the Road’ workshop turned out to be a marvellous success. At least 80-100 people spent the full hour listening to me provide a steady stream of alternative options for health that have allowed slaDE and I to lead a very healthy lifestyle when travelling in our Airstream (practicing what we ‘preach’). slaDE led the audience through an active stretching session that would hopefully inspire movement in the participants’ daily lives. Time passed incredibly fast and I was able to whirl up a quick smoothie for tasting in our handy-dandy brandy-new Vita-Mix (with a shiny stainless steel brushed finish). The concoction must have been a hit with it disappearing within minutes! After our workshop, slaDE and I demoed yogaFLIGHT after the happy-hour draws and announcements. From there, a man name Jerry volunteered to try this form of ‘yoga flying’. You see, Jerry was easily 300 lbs and 6’4″ tall. Yikes! Many people were contemplating the intelligence of slaDE offering his services to Jerry, but it’s amazing the strength and flexibility my husband has! This moment in time captured was priceless, for all those involved and witness!

Child's PoseVita-Mix Smoothie Recipe Day 2: Morning Zing Smoothie

• ½ blender of water and ice
• 2 stalks celery
• 2 sticks carrot
• small handful of kale
• handful of spinach
• ½ inch fresh ginger root
• 2 apples
• 3 large wedges of watermelon (without rind; any seeds liquify beautifully in the VM)
• 1 tsp cinnamon and cardamon
• 2 tsp of lemon juice to cut any green taste (for newbie green smoothie drinkers)