Protecting Our Inner Ecology
Protecting Our Inner Ecology
Most of us can’t help but notice the negative changes that have occurred in our outer world and the responsibilities we share in preserving and restoring our natural resources. What many people are not aware of or don’t address on a consistent basis, is the ecology of our respective inner worlds. So many of us suffer from ailments large and small- from diabetes to allergies to a general sense of fatigue. We have accepted these as our lot in life, something to live with and maybe temporarily alleviate with a pill, a chemical or a cup of coffee. In our busy stressful lives we often forget to make ourselves and our health a priority. It’s encouraging to see people become increasingly passionate about the state of our planet but I believe it’s also time to become passionate about our personal well-being.
The ultimate reward for eating is to nourish our bodies. But many people substitute chemicals and processed “health” foods for genuine nourishment. In addition, many people forget nutrition because they eat for a host of other reasons: the time of day, social obligation, habit, or emotional fulfillment. How often do you go to your refrigerator and say to yourself, “what will best benefit my body?” We typically eat what is easy and convenient. I have spent the past 30 years living and working in the holistic nutrition world always trying to give my body the best fuel to keep it healthy, energetic and youthful. It seems that everyday there is a new superfood or miracle product on the market. Many of these products can be quite good and I incorporate new things into my diet all the time but the constant influx of information can be overwhelming. For those of you who maintain a healthy skepticism toward the multitude of so-called ‘nutritional miracles,’ let me share with you the one mainstay of my health routine for the past 30 years- sprouting. Sprouting is not the latest diet fad being hyped by some mystic fringe group. But to the extent that sprouting offers a healthy, simple and inexpensive food source, it is nearly a panacea. Sprouting and drinking wheatgrass is one of the quickest, easiest, inexpensive and versatile ways I’ve found for addressing the precise inner ecological balance in our bodies. Sprouts are really miniature plants grown from otherwise inedible seeds of grains, nuts and legumes. Perhaps one of the many reasons for sprouting seed is in their astounding nutritional makeup of proteins, vitamins and minerals. When seeds are soaked in water and begin to grow, enzymes are activated which increase the seed’s nutritional content. Unsprouted wheatberries, for example, contain 28.0 grams of folic acid (a B vitamin). When sprouted, the grown seeds yield 106 grams. In fact, all B vitamins as well as vitamins A, C and E increase when a seed is sprouted. The 1.1 milligrams of calcium in an alfalfa seed sprout to 210 milligrams in the seven-day-old sprout. Magnesium content jumps from 3.6 milligrams to 440 milligrams in the same time.
Digestibility is another important factor in sprouting. The germination process involves the breakdown of protein into amino acids, fats into fatty acids and starches into simple sugars. Enzymes also break down food in the human digestive system. Sprouts are, in essence, a predigested food with nutrients that can be easily used by the body. People with chronic digestion problems, therefore can easily assimilate sprouts. Humans are the only creatures on the planet, except for their kept animals, that eat cooked foods. Many believe that cooked food is one source of the degenerative conditions, such as cancer, that now plague our planet. Most people eat a diet that is 10% raw (orange juice and a salad) and 90% cooked whereas a larger percentage of raw foods in the diet would be extremely beneficial. Sprouts, fresh vegetables, fruits and their juices slow the aging clock and start the regenerative clock. Meats and other heavily cooked food lack the enzymes the body wants for its good fuel.
Sprouting has been an essential part of my health routine for the past thirty years. If you are trying to incorporate more nutritious living foods into your diet, I encourage you to look towards sprouts- truly the tiny giant of the nutrition world. There are great books and resources about sprouting on your own. In addition, you can buy sprouts already grown. My store in Lincoln Park sells them as does the farmers markets and many Whole Foods locations.
Here is an easy recipe for a delicious (and truly nutritious) lentil salad:
· 1 lb sprouted lentils
· 2 cups diced tomato
· 2/3 cup Braggs liquid aminos
· ¼ cup lemon juice
· 3 Tablespoons sesame oil
· 2 teaspoons spike (sold in health food stores)
· 1 tablespoon black pepper
· 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
· 3-5 bay leaves
· 1 tablespoon cumin
· 1 cup cucumber (chopped)
· 1 cup zucchini (chopped)
· 1 cup celery (chopped)
· 1 cup corn
· 1 cup green onion (chopped)
· 1 cup carrot (shredded)
· 1 red pepper (chopped)
· 1 green pepper (chopped)
To sprout lentils:
Put one cup lentil seeds in 5 cups water in a glass jar. Cover with cheese cloth or other porous material. Let soak overnight 8-10 hours. Drain water and rinse lentils in fresh water. Allow lentils to drain in jar upside down at a 45 degree angle. Rinse twice a day for 2-3 days until lentils sprout a small tail. Rinse them and they are ready to eat.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix and serve.
Lentil Sprouts are one of the most ancient beans on earth. Cooked lentils can be acid-forming and cause flatulence. Lentils are alkaline when sprouted. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids, B vitamins and Iron.
Sprouting is an easy and fun activity to do in your home.
I always wanted to learn how to sprout at home. Thanks Karyn.
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