I wanted to share some of my postpartum must haves. These are things I use all the time these days. This list isn’t all inclusive… for example, I’m not listing diapers, stroller, car seat, and stuff like that. This list is simply to highlight a few things that I find very helpful as a new mommy.
I’ve been growing my own sprouts for many years and I love it. It’s such a fun process. One of my ultimate “green” goals is to grow more than just sprouts for my family. One of these days!
I know that when many people hear that I love sprouts, they automatically presume that I don’t shave my legs and that I hug trees in my spare time. And, when people hear that I grow my own… look out, because I might as well be from another planet – haha. But, when people learn how easy, fun, nutritious and inexpensive it is, they’re all too eager to ask me how to do it. Right now, I have alfalfa and broccoli sprouts growing in mason jars on my counter (I also grow radish sprouts and mung sprouts sometimes). They’re all just so adorable. (Oh yeah, and I “do” shave my legs!)
What is sprouting exactly? ???Sprouting??? is when you cultivate seeds in a non-soil environment just long enough for them to ???wake up??? from their dormant stage, burst into life, and sprout little, tiny stems and tiny leaves??? and then you gobble ???em up! Sprouting is one of the best tools you can use to helping you stay on a healthy path.??I???m going to let you in on a little secret (the gardeners among you might know this already)??? aside from the physical/health benefits of eating sprouts (which many people speak about) few people recognize sprouting for what it does to your??mental outlook. The process of growing your own sprouts is simply amazing! When I walk into my kitchen and see these little babies growing from seed to fresh sprout, it makes me smile and I???m reminded about the wonderfully healthy lifestyle I lead??? it???s impossible to miss it, because these little foods are growing and sprouting before my eyes.??It inspires me and I reflect on the clean, pure, fresh, and green lifestyle I???ve chosen for myself. It imbues a kind of energy, like warm sunlight shining on me, that is hard to describe, but every bit as real as their food/nutritional benefits. And,??if you have kids…this is one of the best activities that you can do together. It’s an awesome way to get kids excited about eating sprouts.
Sprouts are delicate, hearty by the handful, and bursting with delicious and nutritious juicy flavor with every bite. There is no doubt that sprouts are one of the healthiest foods you can consume because they’re considered a ???pre-digested??? food, making them more easily assimilated by your body. It???s during the sprouting process that the seeds??? protein transforms into amino acids, and the starch converts to simple sugars, making these optimal for digestion. They are a good source of vitamins A, C, E and B-vitamins; hence, they are a source of anti-oxidants. Plus, they contain chlorophyll. See? Gone are the days of pushing sprouts to the side. They are a staple in my lifestyle.
Get this! Researchers at John Hopkins University??found that broccoli sprouts can have as much as 30-50 times the concentration of protective chemicals found in the mature broccoli plants. Even though they can be a little stinky, they taste delicious so don’t let a little stench put you off. And, alfalfa sprouts have saponins in them, which have been found to bind to cholesterol to help prevent it from being absorbed into the body.??The University of Toronto??shows that dietary sources of saponins may lower the risk of human cancers, too. Not only that… check this out from University of Saskatchewan:
Broccoli Sprouts Eaten During Pregnancy May Provide Children with Life-long??Protection Against Heart Disease – U of S Study…??Eating broccoli sprouts during pregnancy may provide your kids with??life-long protection against cardiovascular disease, according to a research??team led by Bernhard Juurlink at the University of Saskatchewan… In effect, broccoli sprouts boost the body’s natural defenses against the??oxidative stress that causes high blood pressure and inflammation.??Surprisingly, this dietary change not only improves the health of the??expectant mothers, but also has a lasting effect on the offspring.
Pretty bad-ass, huh?
I enjoy sprouts in many different ways.??I eat them in salads, juice them, add them to my smoothies and simply snack on them by the handful all by themselves (before I leave the house, I throw a few handfuls of them into a baggie, squeeze a little fresh lemon, lime or orange juice on them, and toss it into my cooler for the day, along with my mason jars full of fresh green juice and green smoothie). They’re such a light and refreshing snack.
Want to learn how to grow your very own? Alright! I’m going to teach you. Written directions here and see below for a video I made.
Directions for the ???Jar Method??? You will need quart size or 1/2-gallon glass mason jars (both sizes are fine), plus plastic (or metal) screen lids (available online or at places like Whole Foods??? produce section ??? or just use cheesecloth with a rubber band, but this can get a little messy), a dish drying rack (the folding kind that looks like an X from the side), seeds, and water. You can use a variety of seeds, start with alfalfa and practice with that. Then, you can start adding other combinations such as clover, onion, broccoli, etc.
2 Tablespoons seeds
Soak the seeds in the water overnight in a half-gallon jar filled most of the way with filtered water. The following morning, drain them.
You will then be sprouting the seeds for approximately 5-6 days (tip them upside down and set them on an angle on the dish drying rack), rinsing them and draining them 1-2 times a day (usually only once/day is necessary, but there are times when they might seem dry and a second rinsing and draining might be helpful. Caution here though, if they???re too wet, they can get moldy.)??
You can sprout these on your counter top (out of direct sunlight). They don’t need to be covered or placed in a closet. On the last day or two of sprouting, you can give them a little extra sunlight to develop the chlorophyll. I still avoid direct sunlight for the most part so they don’t get dried out…maybe for a few minutes is fine, but then I put them back to their area on my countertop.
On about Day 6, rinse the sprouts in a large bowl of water to loosen their ???hulls??? (the outer shell of the seeds). Drain off the hulls and water. You’ll see that they easily come off as you gently agitate the water with your hands. Put the sprouts back into the jar and on the counter for this last day.??Store them in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container or a glass sprouting jar covered with a mesh screen. Continue to rinse and drain every few days until you???ve gobbled them all up!
Remember, you???re starting one jar, but when that jar is done, you???ll have to wait another 6-7 days to enjoy sprouts again. For this reason, I recommend always having about three jars going. Start one; then start another, two days later; and then another, two days later; and so on.
If you get mold??or your sprouts don???t turn out for any other reason, don???t worry, just try again. You???ll quickly get the hang of it and develop a sense for when to rinse and drain them. My first attempt years ago was not a success. But, my second attempt and on have been pure sprouting bliss! Note… if you’re growing broccoli sprouts and after a few days you notice something that looks like mold, it’s probably not! The roots have little hairs that stick out as they dry but once you rinse them, they go back down.
Mung Sprouts Mung sprouts take less time to sprout (Yay!). Follow the same instructions as above, using 1/4 cup seeds. And, they???re ready to eat within 2-3 days. No hulling is needed for these; you can eat them once they have their little sprouted tails. These are an excellent source of fresh amino acids!
Want to see my video showing you how to grow sprouts?
I usually buy my sprout seeds??here but there are many great sources on the web.??Enjoy!