The health of the physical body should be the concern of every aspirant to the higher life. Spiritual evolution requires refinement of man's vehicles. In order to attain purification of the physical organism, the body must be provided with proper nutrition.
More and more people are discovering the benefits that can be received by adding to the diet the condensed energy hidden within the seed and released in the form of sprouts. The Western Wisdom Teachings stress the importance of nutrition, not only for the health of the physical body, but also as an aid to one's spiritual sensitivity. Therefore, anyone aspiring to the higher life should be aware of the healthful benefits to be obtained by the use of sprouts.
The sprouting of seeds is rapidly taking its place in the home as the housewife learns that the sprouted seeds contain vital nourishment needed by our bodies. Sprouts are very nutritious because they contain all elements a plant needs for life and growth. The endosperm of the seed is the storehouse of carbohydrates, protein, and oil. When the seed germinates, these become predigested amino acids and natural sugars upon which the plant embryo feeds as it grows to maturity. When used as food, the life force is released and supplies the energy which is capable of generating healthy cells in the body and supplying us with new vigor and life. Used as an adjunct to the diet, sprouts can retard the aging process, since they contain ample amounts of male and female hormones, available in their most assimilable form. Processed foods often lack the vitamins and minerals necessary to a balanced diet. Research shows that, in sprouts, one finds one of the foods highest in vitamin and mineral content. Sprouts should, therefore, occupy a prominent place in the diet. Among their other virtues is the fact that the seeds are low in cost, can be stored indefinitely, and are easy to grow, and, when sprouted, increase their nutritional value many times.
Very little is needed in the way of equipment for sprouting seeds: several two-quart wide-mouth jars and enough cheesecloth or nylon to serve as covers for the jars. Rubber bands may be used to attach the cloth to the open end of the jar. The number of jars needed will be determined by the amount and frequency of the fresh sprouts desired. Only one kind of seed should be sprouted in a jar at a time.
With the equipment at hand, we now consider the sprouting procedures required for the three major classifications of sprouts: seeds, grains, and legumes.
1. Seeds include alfalfa, celery, clover, oats, radish, fenugreek, and sunflower. Soak the desired amount of seeds, about one to two tablespoonsful, in a two-quart jar by filling the jar half-way with tepid water and covering it with cheese-cloth or nylon, securing the cloth with a rubber band. Place the jar in a dark area, at about room temperature, for about five hours. After five hours, drain, rinse, and let the seeds stand without water for about eight to twelve hours. Rinse again and drain well to prevent rotting. For the next six days, the seeds should be rinsed and drained twice a day using lukewarm water. They should be kept at room temperature in a dark place. After the sixth day, place them in the light for one more day to increase their chlorophyll content. When determining the desired amount of seeds for each container, consider that seeds will expand about eight times the original amount. One jar may be used as a starter and others added as the need arises.
2. Grains include rye, wheat, buckwheat, barley, millet, and rice. Their preparation is the same as for the seeds.
3. Legumes include lentils, mung beans, and soy beans. Due to their hardness, they require an initial soaking of about fifteen hours. They should be rinsed twice a day and given three days for adequate germination. One cup of beans may be used for each two-quart jar, since expansion in their case is not so great as in the case of seeds and grains.
It should be noted that sunflower and lentil sprouts should not be larger than the seed itself in order to be palatable. The time required for these seeds to sprout is about two or three days.
Seeds, grains, and lentils for sprouting may be obtained in most natural food stores or grain outlets and provide an inexpensive, as well as healthful way to provide food for the family table. Caution should be used so that only untreated seeds are purchased. In case of a drastic food shortage, war, or natural catastrophe, a quantity of them stored away could be utilized as a survival food.
One of the many benefits of sprouts is their high energy content. The following is a brief outline of the nutritional value of some of the more popular sprouts.
1. All legumes such as those mentioned above are highly concentrated in both protein and starch and are acid-forming unless sprouted.
When a proper diet of greens, seeds, nuts, vegetables, and fruit is followed, a proper balance of acid vs. alkaline foods is maintained. When the diet is heavy on the protein side, acidity results and then it is necessary to eliminate as many acid-forming foods as possible. Sprouting helps to reduce the acid-alkaline imbalance which might occur when grains, legumes, and other proteins are used.
Mung beans, similar in composition to fruits, are rich in vitamins A, C, and B complex.
2. Most seeds contain a great deal of phosphorous, an important mineral for spiritual aspirants, who want to increase their alertness and mental abilities. Phosphorous is also necessary for healthy bones and teeth, a fact which makes sprouted seeds desirable for babies and children.
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamins B and D and all the essential amino acids.
Sesame seeds are a rich source of calcium, iron, phosphorous, niacin, and protein.
Alfalfa, probably the most popular sprouted seed, contains much chlorophyll, as well as vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, G. K, and U. It also has large amounts of iron, calcium, phosphorous, and sulphur.
3. Grains. Sprouted wheat has become a favorite with many who try to follow a natural diet. These sprouts contain vitamins C, E, B complex, magnesium, caldum, phosphorous, sodium, potassium, protein, enzymes, chlorophyll, and possibly B-17. In its cooked form, wheat is unacceptable to some individuals, causing mucus congestion, allergic reaction, and constipation. In its sprouted form, a large portion of starch is converted to simple sugars, making it a wholesome food acceptable to many who would otherwise need to eliminate wheat as a food source.
Another way to use wheat is to grow the whole wheat berries as grass. The chlorophyll and laetrile content of wheat grass is very high. The wheat grass should be chewed to obtain the juice, discarding the pulp. Special juicers for wheat grass are now on the market.
Another grain we may mention is buckwheat, a food rich in lecithin and rutin.
For most people, sprouts would be an excellent addition to their diet. However, as no set dietary rules can be established to encompass the case of every individual, we suggest that the reader use proper discretion in their use.
Sprouts are best when eaten raw, because cooking always destroys a large part of the nutritional content. The entire sprout is eaten, including leaves and roots. Sprouts are good eaten by themselves but can also be added to salads, sandwiches, or soups. They can also be blended for baby food, sauces, and dressings. They can be stored in the refrigerator in a jar or plastic bag for up to two weeks. It is preferable, however, to make small amounts at frequent intervals since seeds and sprouts tend to become rancid when held for too long a time. Since harmful chemicals are created when foods become rancid, every effort should be made to provide fresh foods in the diet.
The following represent sample recipes. Most dished can be enhanced by the addition of sprouts. The cook can use creativity in serving sprouts with favorite dishes.
Place wheat and water in blender and blend until thick. Add chopped dates to taste and blend until creamy. Figs may be used instead of dates.
A variation of the above is to strain the pulp and sweeten with honey or maple syrup. Carob or malt powder may be added. If allowed to stand at least 24 hours, it will taste like buttermilk and be very beneficial for the digestion.
Place pineapple and water in blender and blend to the consistency of sauce. Pour the sauce over alfalfa sprouts. Sprinkle ground sesame seeds over the salad.
Add the chopped buckwheat lettuce and sunflower greens to the sprouts, toss, and serve.
After rinsing wheat berries, soak them in water 24 hours. Pour out the enzyme-rich soak water and drink, or use in preparing other dishes.
Blend water and chickpeas until thick. Add lemon juice and vegetable powder. The taste is similar to cottage cheese.
There are both physical and spiritual benefits when we try to purify our bodies by providing them with wholesome foods. Sprouts are an excellent adjunct to other pure foods in their natural state. Proper diet can help us in our efforts to raise our sensitivity to higher vibrations. As we become more sensitive individuals, we become better enabled to use our purified bodies in the service of humanity.