First off, I want to apologize for being inactive for almost a month. The Practice Vitality writers have all had some personal issues they have had to deal with, and somehow all at the same time. It’s not easy to share issues of a personal nature over the internet, but we have always wanted Practice Vitality to be about a healing community, so once things simmer down, I will let my friends in the blogosphere know what has been happening with me (but not my co-contributors). I will say this – being a doctor and a patient at the same time has been an interesting experience.
With the new year coming, probably many of you will want to start the year off with a cleanse. Personally, I favor cleanses in the spring and the summer, when many of the fresh, cool, crisp foods used in a cleanse are better tolerated. Mung beans sprouts are a great cleansing food for the winter due to their easy digestibility. In Ayurveda, they are considered cooling, so adding some warming Indian spices and healthy oils can help make them more suitable for the winter.
Mung bean sprouts are a childhood food for me, but they have been considered a healthy food for thousands of years such as in ancient health systems like Ayurveda. For more info, check out this post by Joyful Belly Ayurveda – one of my favorite websites for ayurvedic nutrition. It’s a very user-friendly and approachable resource for ayurvedic and integrative nutrition. Mung beans are high in one of my favorite compounds – resistant starch, which has shown some evidence that it can be helpful for colon health and for the gut microbiome.
How to Make Mung Bean Sprouts:
Mung bean sprouts take a little planning, but very little time or preparation. Usually, I make mine over 2 nights.
- Soak your mung beans. I soak them at least for 12 hours. I change out the water after a day if I don’t end up going to the next step.
- Drain out the water, and cover the bowl of mung beans with a lid. Place a tissue on the bottom of the bowl to collect the excess water.
- Wait a few hours – as few as 3 hours but can be as long as 12hrs.
- The sprouts need a moist environment but they should not be wet.
- Alternately, you can put the beans in a moist cloth and gather the cloth tightly in a ball which you can let hang in the kitchen. You can also just put the mung beans in a nut-milk bag and let them hang.
- If you live in a cold climate, you may want to put the sprouts in the oven with the pilot light on to help them along.
- Cooking sprouts thoroughly can prevent illness from sprouts
- Wash sprouts thoroughly before eating them or cooking with them
- Wash seeds in peroxide preheated to 140 degrees fahrenheit to help minimize bacteria. Peroxide is not a harmful chemical in these small amounts.
- The longer you wait for the seeds to sprout the more likely you are to have bacteria on the sprouts.
- Refrigerate sprouts once you have made them.
Now, you should all know that I love sprouts for the health benefits, but there are risks, just as for anything. Sprouts have to grow in warmer, more humid temperatures, which bacteria also love and so there is a risk of food poisoning with E. Coli. Making sprouts at home actually has more risk than buying sprouts outside because the sprouts makers work with the FDA to minimize the risk. Here is a website from UC Davis the has some suggestions on how to minimize the risk of food poisoning. Pregnant women, young children and elderly, and people who could have a compromised immune system should not eat home-made sprouts.
Here are some other posts to use as references to help you get a good idea on how to make mung bean sprouts:
- Heres a little video
- Serve Mung bean sprouts plain as a snack, or with a couple of squeezes lemon, 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch of chili powder and turmeric. Chopped cilantro is a nice garnish. You can also add carrots and grated fresh coconut.
- Add warming indian tempering spices, such as in this short youtube video. Sesame oil and ghee are great options, but keep in mind that in Ayurveda sesame oil is heating and if you have heavy periods they can get worse if you use sesame.