FUNCTIONAL FOOD | Sprout up your life

I have something to confess: I was once scared of eating beans and legumes because they made me feel bloated and, dare I say, gassy after eating them. My fears are now just a faded memory thanks to the magic of soaking (and sometimes sprouting).

For those of you that know me, you have probably heard me talk about eating more sprouted grains and legumes. Not only are certain grains and legumes great sources of protein but soaking/sprouting them can help unleash their nutrient content without having to deal with the pesky bloating feeling afterwards.

What is sprouting?
Sprouting brings the seed, legume/bean, and even nuts to life through germination.
Sprouting is a method which involves soaking used to increase nutrient density and availability, while also contributing to enhanced digestibility.

Why sprout?
Sprouting or soaking gets more nutrition (protein, vitamin C, B vitamins, iron) out of those beans and grains without having to worry about feeling bloated after eating them.

How to sprout
Sprouting is actually easy with the 3 steps below but it can be a little too time consuming. Most of us are busy bees and it is hard to add sprouting to our daily schedule. If you don’t have the time to sprout, soaking is the next best thing. Simply place the serving you intend to eat or cook in a container (preferably glass), fill with water and cover for at least 8 hours before cooking time. You may let them soak for longer if you wish! (Doing it the night before works best for me since I can enjoy my Z’s while they soak). Once you are ready to cook the grains/legumes/beans, drain water and rinse well before cooking.

Whole grains and legumes (including beans) are amazing plant foods which carry so much nutrition. They are both high in protein (especially beans and legumes) and complex carbohydrates. They high in fiber and aid in maintaining blood sugar levels stable and keeping you feeling satisfied (happy belly!) for longer.

Whole grains and legumes take much longer to be broken down versus simple carbohydrates which are quickly turned into sugar to give us a quick energy source. Some simple carbs can spike our blood sugar levels while legumes, like lentils, can prevent blood-sugar levels from spiking thanks to their high-fiber content.

Need any more convincing? Not only are they tasty; some studies have shown that due to their abundance in nutrients and phytochemicals, they help protect against cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Additionally, legumes and beans are rich in folate which is essential for all of those expecting Momma’s out there!

While all whole grains and legumes are nutrient powerhouses of their own and excellent additions to a balanced diet, their bran contain anti nutrients such as phytic acid which make them a little harder to fully digest—the reason some of us tend to feel bloated or flatulent after consuming them!

When phytic acid binds with other nutrients and minerals (iron, zinc, calcium and even magnesium-to name a few) the ability to absorb these very nutrients is compromised. Fear not, my little kittens! Soaking and/or sprouting breaks down phytic acid and other anti nutrients, unlocking all the goodness and increasing bioavailability of vitamins and minerals, and making them much easier for our body to access and digest.

Sprout in 3 easy steps:

1.     Wash grains/legumes/beans with clean water, then drain the water in a colander. Place in a bowl or container and soak for about 12 hours.

2.     Drain grains once again in a colander and place in a mason jar or glass jar of your preference. Cover with a sprouting lid (you can get this at your local store or online). Turn the jar upside down frequently so that any extra water is able to drain. Rinse and drain twice a day.

3.     Repeat rinsing and draining for a couple of more days. Sprouting may take up to 1-5 days, depending on the seed. When the seed has a small tail on it, it has sprouted!

Every couple of weeks, I will be posting nutrition and wellness advice, recipes, and interesting findings worth sharing with all of you. I know that we all have different interests and needs so I will try to cover different topics with every post. I would love to read your feedback so I encourage you to share your thoughts and/or questions in the comments section below.


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