How To's

Food Friday: Sprouting 101

Happy Friday fellow health nuts! It's the long weekend! Im off to celebrate a beloved friend's wedding this weekend and it is going to be beautiful. What are you getting up to?

Lately I have been experimenting with new food prep techniques and making a lot of whole foods myself. What a thrill when you know exactly how your food is made/prepared, hence know exactly what you are putting in your body. I just recently started sprouting because of the ease and the nutritional benefits. Thanks to Costal Healing and Whole Life Nutrition for the inspiration!

Why sprouts?

There are several reasons why choosing to make your own sprouts is beneficial.

  • First of all it is very easy and cheap! You just have to remember to rinse them a couple times a day. Having an at home garden makes me think my green thumb is improving. :)
  • They are very nutritious. Since beans sprout from just adding water, they are packed full of important nutrients that the plant will need in its initial few days. Therefore they are very nutrient dense, with little calories. Other examples of nutrient dense foods are liver, eggs, lamb, leafy greens (especially baby greens).
  • Sprouts have many health benefits. Because of their packed storehouse of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and fibre they can help battle conditions such as digestive and bowel issues, blood pressure and cholesterol issues, a poor immune system, skin name it!
  • Broccoli sprouts contain sulforaphane. This is a powerful antioxidant and detoxification chemical. These sprouts can take a little longer to start sprouting so be patient. 

What you will need:

  • 1-L wide-mouth mason jar - You can pick a pack up at Canadian Tire, find at thrift stores or buy a couple at Michaels. 
  • Plastic needlework canvas - You can find this at Michaels for 99 cents (or any craft store). The finer canvas works best for smaller sprouting seeds. (Sprouting lids are available online for a cost, but it is very easy to make your own.)
  • Sprouting seeds - Mung and alfalfa are typically the easiest to start with but broccoli sprouts are even more nutritious. You can find seeds at places like Halifax Seed. 

How to sprout:

  • To make the sprouting lid, trace the metal lid on the needlework canvas. Cut the circle out and insert into the mason jar lid ring (without the inner circle). Voila!
  • Place 2 tbsp of sprouting seeds in the mason jar. Cover with a few inches of water, screw lid on, and let soak overnight in a warm dark place. After 6-10 hours, drain the water. 
  • Rinse the seeds with water twice a day, draining the jar completely each time. Store in a warm dark place, tilted at an angle in a bowl, so any excess water drains out. The sprouts should be moist but not sitting in water. 
  • Once the sprouts have grown a few centimeters and have defined yellow leaves, place the jar in a bright place to be exposed to sunlight to green. Continue to rinse to ensure they do not dry out. 
  • Store sprouts in the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy on salads, sandwiches or as a snack. 

Any other at home garden tips?

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen

(Photo credit:

Food Friday: Tips & Tricks in the Kitchen

Over the years of living on my own and my interest in food and cooking, I have come across several tips and tricks in the kitchen. Some from famous chefs like Michael Smith and Jamie Oliver and some from who knows where. Hopefully they help you! 

Avocado - Buying too many avocados at once and can't eat them fast enough before they go bad? Leave them out until they are ripe, then just pop them in the fridge until you want to indulge. They will stay fresh for much longer!

Peanut/nut butters - Don't want the mess of the separated oil in organic all natural nut butters? No worries! Simple store the jar in the fridge upside down before opening and it mixes itself. 

Smoothies - Love creamy smoothies but can't eat banana like me? Try adding a quarter to a half an avocado you had stored in the fridge and you get a similar creaminess to a banana, without tasting the avocado. Or soak chia seeds for 5 minutes in water and add to the smoothie mixture. Yum!

Ginger - Adding more ginger to your cooking for the warming or immune benefits? Just store it in a tupperware container in the freezer. When needed, scrape the peel off with the back of a spoon and grate more easily without it getting stringy. Voila!

Tomato - Its soon to be tomato time again (if the cold ever ends!) but make sure you aren't storing yours in the fridge. The juiciness/freshness just won't be the same!

sliced mango.jpg

Mango - They are oh so delicious. I usually get it EVERYWHERE, like I am a little child eating ice cream but I finally was shown a better, cleaner way to eat it. Just slice off both sides from the pit, next slice the "meat" on each side in cubes, then scoop out from the skin. Just as good, without the mess...almost.

Steel cut oats - Heard the benefits of this less processed, fiber rich breakfast, but discouraged due to the time commitment? Just boil water before you go to bed, add oats, remove from heat and cover overnight. In the morning you will have ready to go oats. The perfect breakfast with cinnamon, ground flax seed, blueberries and nuts. Or even some of that sliced mango. (Around 1.5-2 cups/half cup oats - fine tune depending on your oats and liking - store in your fridge for the week.)

Flax seed - High in good omega 3 fats, lignans and fiber and great to add to oats, smoothies, muffins etc. However, ground flax seeds gets oxidized quickly overtime (a reaction we don't want), therefore its best to ground your own and store in the freezer for the week.

Egg replacer - Sensitive to eggs but want to do some baking? 1 egg = 1 tbsp ground flax seed soaked in 3 tbsp warm water for 5 minutes. Add this combo when the recipe calls to add the eggs.

Tomato paste - Only need 1 tbsp for a recipe? Freeze 1 tablespoon portions using ice cube trays, then store in a ziplock in the freezer until needed. No waste!

Kale - Discouraged to add kale to salads, soups, smoothies because of the little extra work there is to "de-stem" and wash the nutrient pack leafy green? I like to prepare a bag of kale on the weekends, de-stemmed and washed, so it is an easy addition like my spinach and mixed greens. 

Those are some of my tips and tricks. What are yours?

Yours in health,

Dr. Karen