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Continuing with information about growing sprouts which is needed now by diabetics in the Southern hemisphere, especially, as they head into winter, but sprouts are the most economical way to get fresh, live food, so they can help everyone in this global financial crisis to get better nutrition.
Sprouts are a low glycemic food, high in nutrition and the enzymes which let you live. When you have insufficient enzymes, you die. Only raw foods provide enzymes. They will help you detox, too, as they are a wonderful alkaline food.
With all the ecological issues of today’s factory farming and ruined, polluted land, sprouts can give you food you oversee, even if you do not have land to grow in. And, sprouting is a way to teach children to become gardeners and build the idea of independence and self-sufficiency skills.
In the NY Times bestseller “YOU, The Owner’s Manual”, medical doctors Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz write: “We believe that food is the next frontier in medicine – by studying how food can be used for healing.”
Sprouts are truly powerful medicine, as you will learn, below.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD writes in “Fasting and Eating for Health” (St. Martin’s Press, NY, 1995): “Most chronic medical problems … can be reversed by adopting a more natural diet.”
There’s nothing more natural than sprouts, the baby seeds of the mature plants, which we otherwise need to depend on farmers or larger gardens to grow in. Only certain seeds made for sprouting can be used, as most seeds are prepared for planting in soil outdoors and are therefore prayed with fungicides. Only buy seeds specifically labeled for Sprouting indoors.
There’s always hope for reversal of diabetes. Our bodies and plant seeds are miracles. “Within 24 months, every atom within our body has been replaced by new atoms derived from foods, water, and air . . . in 2 years our inherent rebuilding mechanisms can rebuild us a completely new body.” says Udo Erasmus, N.D., in “Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill”, Alive Books, Burnaby, BC, 1993.
And, Dr. Gabriel Cousens, MD a wholistic practitioner for decades, adds. “A live-food diet has been used with great success to heal arthritis, high blood pressure, menstrual difficulties, obesity, allergies, diabetes, ulcers, heart and other circulatory diseases, hormone disturbances, diverticulosis, anemia, weak immune system and other degenerative diseases or poor states of health.”
“Many people have found a live-food diet an excellent aid for improving the brain/mind function … a high percentage of live food in the diet plays an important part in creating a healthful longevity.”
(Dr. Gabriel Cousens, M.D., Conscious Eating, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA, 2000)
In her research, according to naturopath and herbalist Isabell Shipard, ND in 2005 –
“Sprouts are a tremendous source of (plant) digestive enzymes. Enzymes act as biological catalysts needed for the complete digestion of protein, carbohydrates and fats. The physiology of vitamins, minerals and trace elements is also dependent on enzyme activity.”
“Being eaten whilst extremely young, “alive” and rapidly developing, sprouts have been acclaimed as the “most enzyme-rich food on the planet“. Estimates suggest there can be up to 100 times more enzymes in sprouts than in fruit and vegetables, depending on the particular type of enzyme and the variety of seed being sprouted. The period of greatest enzyme activity in sprouts is generally between germination and 7 days of age.”
Shipard also adds that “when seeds are sprouted, minerals chelate or merge with protein, in a way that increases their function.”
“Grains and legume seeds of all plants contain abundant enzymes. However, while grains and seeds are dry, enzymes are largely inactive, due to enzyme inhibitors, until given moisture to activate germination. It is these inhibitors that enable many seeds to last for years in soil without deteriorating, whilst waiting for moisture. Enzyme inhibitors in some grains and legume seeds (for example trypsin inhibitors in raw soybeans and certain other beans and peas) need to be inactivated by heating or other processes, before they can be safely fed. However, heating, cooking and grinding processes can also inactivate certain digestive enzymes within grains and seeds. Fortunately, during germination and sprouting of grains and seeds, many enzyme inhibitors are effectively neutralized, whilst at the same time the activity of beneficial plant digestive enzymes is greatly enhanced.”
There are increases in Protein Quality after Sprouting say Chavan and Kadam (1989). “Very complex qualitative changes are reported to occur during soaking and sprouting of seeds. The conversion of storage proteins of cereal grains into albumins and globulins during sprouting may improve the quality of cereal proteins.” Many studies have shown an increase in the content of the amino acid Lysine with sprouting, which is usually at low levels in grains.
Expert Sproutman, Steve Meyerowitz, reports in his book “Sprout It!”:
“Plants have a remarkable ability to absorb nutrients through their leaves as well as their roots. … Sprouts normally have higher vitamin and mineral levels than regular vegetables because, as baby plants, their nutrients are more concentrated. But, with the addition of liquid kelp fertilizer, these levels are elevated to rival vegetables grown outdoors.”
Kelp is one of nature’s most abundant mineral resources, whether you eat it as food yourself or use it to feed your sprout’s leaves and roots. Of all foods, kelp is the #1 source for magnesium, sodium and iron.
Here’s the short list of what you’ll be feeding to your sprouts (and then yourself) when you use this liquid kelp fertilizer:
Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, chromium, germanium, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, strontium, vanadium, and zinc, as well as vitamins A,B1,B2,C,D,E,K, carotene, pantothene, and the important vegetarian vitamin B-12. You also get 21 amino acids and cell factors such as auxins, giberellins, cytokinins, RNA, DNA, etc. And, there are hundreds of different kinds of kelp, but this one is the kind designed for plants and seedlings, and even though it is very concentrated, this kelp will never “burn” your plants.
How To Use Liquid Kelp in an automatic Sprouter:
Just add 2-4 drops of liquid kelp to the water reservoir.
In a Hemp Sprouting Bag or a Glass Jar:
Add a few drops of liquid kelp to your seeds during soaking. Understand that the soak water will take on the color of a dark tea and the seeds will absorb the nutrients. Also, for some sprouts, hemp bags are problematic as fine roots get tangled in the fiber’s weave. Hemp has natural anti-fungal resistance.
Using a Mister Bottle:
While the sprouts are growing, you may mist the seeds or leaves with your liquid kelp solution by adding just 2 drops of kelp to your mister bottle. There is no limit to how many times you may apply the kelp mist to sprouts (as much as once per day or as little as once every two or three days). For larger size bottles, add enough liquid kelp to the water to make the resulting mixture look like a cup of light tea.
As you may know, from a couple of commercial incidents in the past, bacterial infection of mung bean seeds has caused outbreaks of food poisoning when the sprouts were eaten. So, you need to learn how to protect your crop. This begins with disinfecting the seeds and your equipment and keeping your own hands meticulously clean, as well as having good culturing practices, explained below.
Now research by Apinya Vanichpun, a microbiologist from Nottingham University, UK has shown ways of disinfecting the bean seeds using natural methods which do not prevent the beans from sprouting.
She presented her findings at the Society for General Microbiology saying:
___ “If the bean seeds are contaminated with pathogenic bacteria there can be disease outbreaks when the sprouts are eaten”.
___ “The challenge is to find a means of disinfecting the seeds that kills bacteria but that still allows the seeds to germinate to produce sprouts”.
___ “Consumers who want organic, “natural” foods do not want chemicals used to disinfect them and so this must be taken into account too.”
___ Her experiments used Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, a potent (sometimes fatal) agent which causes listeriosis, a serious food borne disease which can lead to meningitis in people with a reduced immune system and abortion in pregnancy.
___ By applying hot and chilled water in turn to the mung bean seeds killed significant numbers of the bacteria. However it had the disadvantage that it reduced the germination level of the seeds so producing fewer sprouts.
___ An equal mix of lime juice and vinegar was as effective in reducing bacterial numbers as a mixture containing sodium hypochlorite, the sterilizing chemical used in babies’ bottles; however this was still not as good as the temperature treatments.
The lime and vinegar mix also had the problem that it affected the germination rate of the seeds more than did the sodium hypochlorite solution (only 78% sprouted with lime and vinegar against 98% with sodium hypochlorite).
Hot water treatment seems to be a good option to use for seed disinfection as it would be a suitable choice for production systems that required the use of only natural products for organic fresh produce.
North Carolina State University suggests the following for Mung Bean Sprout’s Culture, (which have been the most problematical, after wheatgrass’ mold issues):
___ For best results, use only non-chlorinated water such as well water, spring water or distilled water, because the chlorine in city water can cause poor sprouting.
___ Sprouting is best done at 70 to 80°F in a dark place. It will take 3 to 7 days to obtain mature sized sprouts, depending on the temperature.
___ Place mature sprouts in a water-filled container and wash to remove seed coats and fibrous roots. The seed sprouts will sink to the bottom and the seed hulls will float to the top. Gently skim the seed hulls off with a small wire strainer spoon or fork. Allow sprouts to drip drain.
___ When mature, sprouts are best when used immediately after washing, but can be stored for several days in the refrigerator (38 to 50°F) in closed glass and plastic containers or freezer bags.
___ The size of mature sprouts will vary. Allowing the sprouts to grow too long (over 4 inches) may cause them to become bitter.
Additions to this Basic procedure:
___ Never touch the seedlings with your hands (contamination).
___ Place the seedlings in a sieve and rinse under running water.
___ According to the germination method and type of seeds, soak the seeds for 4 – 12 hours or place them directly in the germinator.
___ Water once or several times a day, according to the type of seedling.
___ The ideal position for your germinator is a well-lit spot near the window, but not directly in the sun, with a room temperature of 18-22° C.
___ Harvest between the 2nd and the 12th day.
___ Mold is the biggest enemy of seedlings. It may form if the seedlings are of poor quality, the room temperature is too high, the environment too moist or there is insufficient air supply. If this happens, don’t give up – have another try!
___ Seedlings that secrete mucilage (cress, alfalfa, chia) should be rinsed briefly, once only, and afterward kept moist by spraying if necessary.
___ Keep the room well ventilated. If necessary, remove the seed trays and lid from the germinator several times a day to guarantee a sufficient supply of fresh air.
___ Add a few radish or black radish seedlings to prevent the formation of mold.
___ If the seedlings smell moldy, they have received too much moisture. Throw them away. Clean the germinator with a mixture of water and vinegar or Food Grade hydrogen peroxide (explained below), and leave it to dry in the fresh air.
Or, as another sanitizer :
Wholistic Research suggests:
Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen Peroxide (or H2O2), is water plus an extra oxygen molecule. The extra oxygen molecule is easily released, and it can destroy bacteria and viruses — because bacteria and viruses cannot survive in an oxygen-rich environment.
It must be Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide (which has no additives and is the only pure grade). Only that form is safe for use in food production, plant care, sterilizing and for oxygen therapy. Ask your pharmacist to get it; don’t just buy the Hydrogen Peroxide on the shelf!
At full strength, Food Hydrogen Peroxide requires care, so use vinyl or rubber gloves and make sure you have some eye protection as you dilute it to the needed concentration (instructions follow). Food grade hydrogen peroxide is 35% potent and 100% pure. Take care with it, too.
WARNING: 35% hydrogen peroxide is still a strong oxidizer. Use rubber gloves whenever handling full strength H2O2 and, as with all medicines and chemicals, keep out of reach of children.
___ Add 1/2 teaspoon of full strength H2O2 to a pint (16 ounces) of water to soak the seeds to disinfect any bacteria on the seeds and to increase the amount of available oxygen and nitrogen to them. Larger beans and grains can be soaked in a stronger dilution of 1 teaspoon per 16 ounces because they do not have delicate green leaves
___ Add 1/2 teaspoon of full strength H2O2 to a pint (16 ounces) of water in a mister bottle and spray the sprouts once or twice a day for extra oxygenation and disinfection (Note: misting with H202 does not replace regular twice daily rinsing with plain water. Use H202 after rinsing with water)
If using the Freshlife Automatic Sprouter just add 15 drops of H2O2 to the rinse water in the reservoir
Soak basket sprouters in full strength H2O2 for 4 to 8 hours to sterilize and brighten baskets that have been stained by mold or the pigments in some seed casings.
Do not however soak sprout bags or towels in H2O2 because hemp and bamboo’s natural fibers will be weakened by the oxidizing action of the peroxide. Hemp and bamboo have natural protection of their own.
___ When growing wheatgrass in soil, mold can develop on the soil surface, so use a mister bottle, spray the surface of the soil with a dilution of 1 teaspoon per 16 ounce H2O2 before spreading the sprouted grain over the soil
___ These treatments need not be applied with every rinse but only when necessary or once every 2 days as regular maintenance. It is an aid and a preventative, but not a necessity.
For more information on using Hydrogen Peroxide for sprouting and wheatgrass read “Sprouts the Miracle Food” by Steve Meyerowitz, the Sproutman.
Some sprouts will naturally form fine, white fibrous roots, and these roots resemble mildew. If the growth is only on the roots and it is very fine and white, usually you need not be concerned. However, if you experience genuine mildew, which is gray and dense, discard the sprouts.
Mildew can be overcome by experimenting with the frequency of watering, temperature level, and location. It is also vitally important to start with very clean trays.
Some types of sprouts will emit an odor as they sprout, and this is particularly true of members of the Brassica family (broccoli, cauliflower and kale). Odor, if any, will occur within the first three days of sprouting. A slight odor is nothing to be concerned about, and it can be minimized by frequent watering and by emptying the base tray immediately after each watering.
A strong, persistent unpleasant odor indicates the sprouts are not growing and need to be discarded. Brassicas are so nutritious that it is important to learn how to sprout them properly. Broccoli sprouts are potent anti-oxidant sources and research shows they are potent cancer fighters.
Sautéed Mung Bean and Fresh Seaweed Salad
Sauteed mung beans and seaweed salad are both classic Asian dishes, but you don’t usually see them prepared together. This preparation provides a nice contrast of hot and cold, plus a blend of sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavors.
2 ozs dried seaweed (wakame, arame, kombu, mekabu or a mixture)
2T sesame seeds
3T rice vinegar
3T tamari soy sauce
3T sesame oil
1 t raw sugar or brown rice syrup or agave nectar (best)
1 t fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1T fresh garlic, peeled and diced
1 to 2 t hot dried red pepper flakes
1C mung bean sprouts
2 t unsalted butter
Soak the seaweed in warm water for about 5 minutes. When soft, drain the seaweed, squeezing out excess water. If seaweed was purchased whole, cut it into strips.
Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds for a few minutes in a dry pan over medium heat, until fragrant. (I prefer not to toast seeds, as it impacts nutrition.)
In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, oil, sweetener, ginger, garlic and pepper. Toss this mixture with the seaweed and sesame seeds, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
The seaweed salad can be prepared up to 2 days in advance.
Just before serving the salad, sauté the bean sprouts in butter for a just a few minutes on low to medium temperature. The sprouts should still be crispy and juicy.
Stir into cold seaweed salad, and serve immediately. Serves 6.
Stainless Steel screens for glass sprout jars. and also at Whole Foods.
Bamboo Ecotowel and Hemp Bags: sprouts can be sprouted that way, too, and both hemp and bamboo have natural antifungal qualities.
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