Sprouts as percentage of diet
Can you have too many sprouts as part of your diet. I saw a source online of sprouting seeds and that seemed like a really good way to go raw on a budget. Are they a good source of vitamins and minerals? What about fats and proteins?
my understanding is that you should limit the legume sprouts, but the greens would be okay....radish, alfalfa, broccoli, fenugreek, etc.
Yes, I've also read that one should take it easy on raw legumes - AND DO NOT attempt to eat kidney beans raw, even if they've been sprouted! (here's a thread on exactly this issue: http://www.rawfoodtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5510)
and more on the topic:
I think sprouts are an excellent addition to the raw diet (I find it strange that so many raw-foodists, even some prominent ones, do not include them with any regularity in their diet). Some detractors point to issues with them, such as the canavanine content in Alfalfa sprouts (http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Medicago+sativa - see also Andrew Weil's remarks, in his various books), but there are others who contend that these are nowhere near as worrisome, in reality (http://www.rawfoodinfo.com/articles/art_toxinseeds.html).
One caution that I have read very consistently, however, is that one should definitely take it easy on the buckwheat greens - they ARE very healthy to consume, but, if eaten in excessive quantities, can lead to skin photosensitivity. Apparently, this has been known about in veterinary circles for many years but only relatively-recently became widely-acknowledged in human raw-foodist circles. Gabriel Cousins ackowledges the issue, as does Brian Clement - apparently, the Creative Health Institute recently reduced their reliance upon buckwheat sprouts, as a direct consequence of the above realisations.
There also appear to be at least 3 philosophies with regard to sprouting:-
1) 'Wheatgrass rules the roost' - very popular in the Wigmore school of thought - both for oral consumption of the extracted juice, and for it's regular use as enema fluid for detox purposes.
2) 'Only sprout up until the primary division of the sprout leaves' - the theory here is that this is when the sprout is at its most nutritious because any further development will result in the sprout using much of its own nutritional materials for growth, rather than them being so readily-available for human absorption.
3) 'grow significant quantities of more mature sprouts'. This theory holds that although there may be some truth in the nutritional status reducing slightly on account of extended growing cycle, this tradeoff may more than adequately be compensated for by the healing power of the additional chlorophyll.
You must draw your own conclusions about where the truth may lie - personally, I think all three arguments have some validity, and I would personally view them, in ascending order of validity, as 1, 2, 3.
The above issues and philosophies notwithstanding, I enjoy eating sprouts and I enthusiastically encourage you to try including them in your diet. It's not just about vitamins and minerals - they are so full of life-force - consider that vegetables are generally considered to be 'dead' after 48hrs of removal from the soil, and supermarkets these days can store vegetables for anything between 5 days and 12 months. Sprouts are also a respectable source of lecithin (which is present in most foods, in small amounts), which is good for the heart and the brain. Also, sprouting your own seeds enables you to grow and consume a wonderfully-wide variety of nutritional profiles (which can be further improved if you spray a little liquid kelp onto your sprouts after the first couple of days of growth).
Perhaps many of the non-believers are actually not anti-sprout but more apathetical towards them because they do require some commitment to ensure a continual fresh supply. If you're serious about sprouting, then please don't sap your own enthusiasm by being a martyr to manual sprout production - just invest in an automatic sprouter that will allow you to enjoy eating sprouts without their production dominating your waking hours.
The EasyGreen is a famous unit, with many happy customers. Personally, I feel the unit is shamefully and greedily overpriced. It does, however, include it's own water pump for spraying purposes, which means it does not require a 'live' water supply. Far better value, but requiring a permanent and 'live' connection to your household water supply, are the kits offered by Val at www.eatsprouts.com. They still require a not-insignificant initial outlay, but the difference is that you can build one or more sprouters of dramatically-larger size than an EasyGreen, at increasingly-economical cost per square inch. This is particularly relevant if you wish to grow wheatgrass or other sprouts all the way through to leaf development, with it's bonus of higher chlorophyll levels. This obviously requires a few more days of development. While EasyGreen claim you can use the sprouter for 5 days and then allow any further development to occur outside the sprouter, they will not only charge you an exhorbitant amount for spare trays to enable this method, but this method will defeat the object of automation, since you will have to manually spray your sprouts for the latter stages of their growing cycle, and will run a higher risk of mould developing between the roots, since automated misting is so much more adept then manual spraying at cooling the thermal energy chemically-generated by the developing sprouts themselves. Building Val's kits allows you to have much greater sprouting 'real estate' so that automation may continue throughout the extended growing cycle necessary for high chlorophyll yields.
That's about all I can think of at the moment - it's 3am and I need some sleep!! ;)
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