Saturday, May 15, 2010

More on our Snacking Table (& Why We Sprout)

Our snacking table is still a success! We are getting more foods from the farmers market, and eating all of it by the end of the week. The nagging for snacks between meals has stopped almost completely too! Here we have cucumber, carrots, sliced apples, almond butter, raw corn on the cob (yes raw- it's straight from the farm and super sweet- no cooking or butter needed!), and steamed broccoli.

Here: Snap peas are a great snack since you eat the entire pod and they are sweet and crunchy, plus more watermelon, some lightly steamed broccoli with sea salt, and sprouted sunflower seeds.

A quick word about sprouting nuts: What are sprouted nuts, and why would someone want to sprout them? I learned about sprouting from Alissa Cohen's "Living on Live Food" book. Her explanation is great, so I'll just post it here:

"There are some very good reasons to soak and sprout. Soaking nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes removes their natural enzyme inhibitors: phytates and oxalates.

Sprouting greatly increases the nutritional value of these foods and makes them far more digestible because their protein is broken down into amino acids, their starches are changed into simple sugars, and their fats are converted into soluble fatty acids.

Sprouting increases the enzyme content of these foods. Even though they are initially raw, their enzymes are lying dormant. Sprouting activates them. If you do not sprout them, your body has to use its own enzymes to break up these foods.

Soaked and sprouted nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes are highly nutritious and produce an amazing amount of nourishment than otherwise would not be available."

Also, I've noticed with Brad's allergies that food he normal reacts negatively to doesn't bother him if sprouted. For instance wheat breads and tortillas bother him, but he does fine with sprouted wheat breads and tortillas. The same goes for some nuts he eats.

How do you sprout? Well, that is another post entirely. Certain foods can simply be soaked, others actually need to be sprouted. For most of the nuts and seeds we have been using at our snacking table, I simply put them in a large bowl and cover them with enough filtered water so they expand, then let them soak overnight on the kitchen counter. The next morning, rinse them well and they are officially "sprouted." The soaking obviously makes them soft, so I throw them in my dehydrator and season them (sea salt mainly, but you can use oil or other seasonings to spice them up- lime and Chile powder are good on pistachios and cashews!), and they crunch back up. This way we can receive the benefit of raw, sprouted nuts but enjoy the taste of roasted, crunchy, salted ones!

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