Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Taste of Spring

I'm afraid I've become a bit of a nutrition geek over the past year. The cancer and diet connection is huge, so I've researched it pretty thoroughly since my diagnosis. It's become very difficult for me to shop in regular grocery stores and go to mainstream restaurants because I'm starting to see how little food value there is in so many of the items that are sold. Just today, I was at Mayo Clinic with my mother-in-law to consult with an oncologist there, and we stopped in at the cafeteria for something to eat. The Mayo Clinic is world class in every respect...except for their cafeteria. I looked around at all the food choices and thought to myself "Sheesh! No wonder we have so many sick people in America. If you can't get a decent, healthful meal at Mayo Clinic, where can you get one?" So, I guess you have to take matters into your own hands. How, you ask? Read on!

Warm weather is slowly returning to the Northland, and we've had a hint of spring in the air. It doesn't take much in Minnesota to feel like spring. We get a few days in a row of above freezing weather and see a little snow-melt, and we quickly start fantasizing about apple blossoms and backyard barbeques, and wondering if it is too early to unearth the sandals. Unfortunately, we're still a long way off from real spring, but that hasn't stopped me from having fresh spring greens! I've been enjoying some gorgeous sweet pea shoots, and the best part is that I grew them right on my kitchen counter.

Growing pea sprouts is ridiculously easy. You just soak some pea seeds overnight, then just rinse and drain them for a couple of days until they sprout a little root tail. Stick them on some dirt, water them a little, and, voila! In two weeks, you've got a little mini-crop of sprouts ready to harvest. I throw them in salads, on sandwiches, in green juices, and green smoothies for a fresh, sweet taste that makes winter just a little bit easier to bear.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention the fact that sprouts are jam packed with vitamins, minerals and enzymes, so they are little nutrition factories. You can even grow some types of sprouts in a glass jar. Alfalfa sprouts, radish sprouts, and broccoli sprouts are just a few that are super simple to grow. They're even easier than pea sprouts. You just soak some seeds for a few hours in a jar. Put some cheesecloth over the top and just rinse and drain them a few times a day. In about three days, you've got sprouts! It all makes me rather giddy to grow my own salad components on my kitchen counter! I feel like such the uber-gardener!

Ciao! I'm off to soak some broccoli seeds!

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