Shout Out for Sprouts
Raw food enthusiasts will love this recipe due to its combination of textures, spices, and seasonings. Raw foods have been the mainstay of diets since the beginning of time and before the discovery of fire. Some foods, in their natural state, provide more nutrients and enzymes than their cooked counterparts, and sprouts fall into this category.
Over 5,000 years ago, ancient Chinese physicians were believed to have prescribed sprouts for curing many diseases. There are various types of sprouts: soybean, mung, mustard, alfalfa, sunflower, radish, lentil, and broccoli. Raw sprouts provide a host of nutritional benefits, but the primary nutritional advantage is the sprouts’ contribution of enzymes.
The digestive system is a powerful indicator of our state of wellness, thus the phrase, “gut feeling”. It requires a balance of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids in order to function in an efficient manner. As we age, the digestive system gets “sluggish” and slows down. This is due to the body’s slowed production of enzymes.
Enzymes are proteins that act as a catalyst with vitamins and minerals to create a homeostatic metabolic environment. They energize biological functions and assist in the breakdown of foods. When we are young, our bodies produce a great deal of enzymes, but as we age, this enzymatic production slows almost to a complete halt. One of the first signs of a slowing production of enzymes is in the gut. A healthy gut flora can be partially achieved by ingesting probiotics, but enzymes are necessary to propel these good bacteria to act at full momentum.
Omega’s in Sprouts
Raw sprouts provide chlorophyll which detoxifies and cleanses the body, resulting in oxidation of the blood. This helps to fight and reverse protein deficient anemia and some skin disorders. Sprouts also supply fatty acids, Omega-3, and Omega-6. These fatty acids cannot be produced by the body, so it is essential that these beneficial fats be incorporated into the diet. Most think of fish as the first call to action for supplying the body with Omega’s, but sprouts are another excellent source.
One cup of raw sprouts provides about 13% of the daily recommended value of vitamin K, 5% of vitamin C, and 3% of folate. Additionally, there are only 10 calories, 1.3g of carbohydrates and .8g of fiber.
Selection and Preparation
When purchasing sprouts, check the date and location of growth of sprouts. Because sprouts grow in warmer environments, they are highly susceptible to disease. Also, sprouts are fully developed within the first 4 – 5 days of harvest; the fresher the better. It is preferable to choose sprouts from a local, reliable source because the length of transport impacts the freshness of the sprout. Some sprout producers are now offering spicy versions of broccoli and alfalfa sprouts, so if you need a little spice, look for these varieties.
Sprouts should be green, vibrant, and erect in the package. Check the bottom of the package to ensure there is no liquid residue; the drier the sprout is also indicative of their freshness.
The ingredients in this recipe provide a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and lipids, as well as the enzymatic punch from the sprouts. The kidney and garbanzo beans provide fiber and protein, the avocado offers healthy oils, and the hint of radish offers anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties which also contribute to a healthy “gut”.
Raw Food Wrap (serves 2)
1 cup alfalfa sprouts
1 medium avocado; 1/2 chopped for wrap and 1/2 for sauce
1/4 cup radish, chopped
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 cup red kidney beans, drained
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pico de gallo
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 low carb flatbread or tortilla
1/2 tsp. quality olive oil
Goat cheese (optional)
- In a food processor, puree 1/2 avocado, cilantro, and oil; salt and pepper to taste (if a thinner sauce is preferred, add more oil)
- Rinse and drain beans
- Cut one half of avocado into bite sized pieces
- Layer flatbread with sauce, sprouts, beans, seeds, pico, radish, avocado, and cheese (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Roll into log shape and cut in half or thirds
- Organic and/or non GMO foods are recommended
- Additional items to consider: mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers
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