Sprouting? What?

What do you think when you hear the word “sprouting?”

For some reason I have a vague recollection of someone once telling me that sprouts can be grown in feces. Not sure where that idea came from, but it stuck with me.


I couldn’t look at a sprout without thinking of cow manure.

Over the years, I overcame that mental image and tried sprouts on my sandwich and in my salad but they didn’t do much for me. I mentally filed it away as a fringe health thing and ignored it.

A few years ago I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It’s a common ailment in the U.S. according to the NIH, with one in five Americans suffering from the symptoms. It involves cramping, bloating and a host of other unpleasantness I’ll spare you. I had it relatively light and learned I could control it with stress management and diet. While I was told more fiber and water should limit my “episodes”, it didn’t seem to stop the constant bloating.

The first time I came across a book that mentioned sprouting as easier on the stomach, I dismissed it. That was a great deal of work for something I wasn’t even sure would fix things. And what if they were just being paranoid? A few years and a few other sprouting books later, I picked up Sally Fallon’s book, “Nourishing Traditions” and became convinced.

“Phytic acid [in the bran of whole grain] combines with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc in the intestinal tract, blocking their absorption,” Fallon wrote. “Whole grains also contain enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion. Traditional societies usually soak or ferment their grains before eating them, processes that neutralize phytate and enzyme inhibitors and, in effect, predigest grains so that all their nutrients are more available.”

Suddenly it all made sense to me. As a (very) amateur gardener, I knew that to start growing anything from seeds, you have to make sure it has plenty of water. This releases the enzymes inhibitor in

the seed, telling the vitamins and minerals it stored they are free. If you don’t soak them, the nutrients stay locked inside and the good stuff stays hidden (aka no growth). It makes sense to me that this is the same concept in my stomach. Some people have no digestion problems and can eat whatever suits their fancy (I miss you, Pizza Hut!). Me? I have to watch out. But I like to think of it as my body’s way of keeping me uber healthy.

Whatever makes me feel better, right?

I think I’m finally brave enough to try sprouting. Of course wheat is my main concern, so wheat berries will be my first experiment. But there are so many other options. Have you looked through the literature section? There are several books on sprouting, like Ann Wigmore’s book and Steve Meyerowitz’s book.

Are you thinking of sprouting? Have you been sprouting? I welcome any and all advice!

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