Living Foods are aptly named because they are in fact ALIVE! – right until the time you eat them. Living foods such as sprouted barley, almond or buckwheat are generally considered to be exceptionally high in nutritional value. This is evidenced by the fact that most living foods or sprouts have limited shelf lives and therefore are easily digested and absorbed by the human body because they break down so quickly. However, living foods require knowledge and practical skills on the part of the grower in order to be effective. This is primarily because it’s not always easy – or safe – to buy commercially produced living foods that are available in some supermarkets. Understanding what living foods are, how to sprout live foods and knowing the benefits of living foods is critical in order to take advantage of this unique food source.
Most live food comes in the form of seeds and pod-like structures. These can be purchased at many health food stores and some conventional supermarkets. Depending on the variety, seeds must be rinsed, soaked for between 15 minutes to 8 hours or more, and then sprouted using simple techniques.
How to Sprout-Simple Steps to Sprouting
- The Cloth Technique: Using only 100% cotton cloths, place one layer of previously soaked seeds on top of a damp cotton or linen towel. Place another damp towel on top of the seeds and let sit, adding water to dampen the towels as needed, on average for 1 – 2 days, again depending on the type of seeds being used.
- The Jar Technique: Wide-mouthed canning jars fitted with specialized screens can grow a variety of living foods. Seeds are soaked according to their type, rinsed and placed in the jar to sprout. Once they begin to sprout water is drained and the jar is left at a 45 degree angle to continue to allow proper drainage. Sprouts or grasses are then eaten before they become rancid, which can happen quite quickly.
- Or you may purchase Sprouting Machines that can take out some of the work.
Benefits of Living Foods
Some people consider live foods to be the most nutritionally complete food substances available with powerful health benefits. These include:
*Enzymes: Enzymes found in living whole foods are difficult to obtain elsewhere. These enzymes aid in digestion, allowing the body to make better use of available nutrients.
*Amino Acids: Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. People looking to build lean muscle or lose weight will benefit greatly from the amino acids found in living foods.
*Antioxidants: Antioxidants prevent the breakdown and degeneration of cells. This is an important step in the fight against aging.
*Phytochemicals: Phytochemicals have been shown to have protective properties against cancer and heart disease, among other serious conditions.
Living Foods come in an incredible variety and include: almond, buckwheat, lentils, mung beans, peas, peanuts, mustard, corn, oats, rice, millet, wheat, cabbage, rye, barley, amaranth, kale, fenugreek, flax, sunflower, sesame, radish, clover, garbanzo and alfalfa among many others.
Living Foods are easy to grow at home using either the jar or cloth method, or by purchasing specialized sprouting machines that can help to speed up the process and lengthen the time to spoilage. Live food diets often work well in combination with raw or organic food diets.