Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Sprouts and Microgreens can be grown at home, and it is guaranteed no pesticides, no chemical fertilizers, and it is also a fun to see those plants growing.
Sprouts are germinated seeds and can be produced in a container, the container should have high moisture and humidity levels. The seeds are not actually planted but they are soaked in water and rinsed twice to three times a day. The seeds used  to germinate can be Mung Beans, Red Beans, Kale, Cabbage, Cress, Radish, Alfalfa, Celery, Pumpkin, Bok Choy seeds, and other vegetable and herbs seeds.
The seeds, stems, underdeveloped leaves (of which color is pale) or leaf buds, and roots can be consumed after 3-5 days more depends on the variety of the seeds.
Microgreens  or Micro Greens are grown by planting the vegetable, herbs seeds or other seeds in a shallow box or container and thinly covered with soil,  and they will produce tiny form of young edible greens after a few days or a week, and then they are harvested by cutting the stem just above the soil line. It usually consists of two pairs of leaves – one pair of very small leaves and one pair of  fully developed cotyledon leaves at about 1-11/2” in height.  This means that they need some sunlight during their growth, and their leaves are greener than the sprouts, and are harvested before they develop into larger plants.
How to grow sprouts
-       Prepare a clean wide-mouth glass jar or stainless steel container, and a piece of unbleached plain cloth or non woven cloth which is big enough to cover the top of the jar.
-       Put the seeds into the jar, just enough to cover 70% of the bottom of the jar to allow some room for the seeds to sprout, and rinse them  with water twice, then cover the jar with the cloth and drain the water.
-       Keep the jar covered with the cloth and place it in the room where the temperature is about 75-80 oF.
-       Do the rinsing at least twice a day, but if the seeds are in crowded condition on the second day, do the rinsing three times a day.
-       Always check if there are dead seeds or spoilage among the seeds, immediately take them out and discard them to prevent it from being rotten that will allow bacteria or fungi to grow.
-       Slightly  shake the jar after rinsing so that the seeds will not stick to the bottom of the jar and evenly get the water and humid. If there are seeds which stick together, use a toothpick or fork to separate them.
-       The sprouted seeds are ready for consumption after 48 ~ 96 hours.
How to grow Microgreens indoor
-       First you have to get a box or container of about 2-21/2deep and as large in diameter as you want  with some (organic) soil  in it;
-       Scatter the seeds so that they are about 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart and cover thinly with soil (about 1/8 inch) .  There are a large variety of seeds available, you can either start with a pre-packaged seed mix, or look for specific Microgreen mixes (see the list of seeds below);
-       Place the box or container in a spot where it can get at least four hours of sunlight;
-       Water them twice a day, morning and evening;
-       When they are sprouting, keep them away from any worms, insects or any harmful pests;
-       When they are about  1-11/2” in height, and have at least a set of true leaves, it is harvest time.  When harvesting, snip them just above the soil line, and leave the roots behind, those roots can be used as organic fertilizer for the next seeds planting.
Commonly grown varieties of microgreens :
Mesclun or Baby Greens, Lettuce, Basil, Endive, Spinach, Tatsoi, Amaranth, Arugula, Beets, Cabbage, Celery, Chard, Chervil, Cilantro, Cress, Fennel, Kale, Mustard, Parsley, Radish, and Sorrel, sunflowers, Mung Beans,  Romano beans, Coriander.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Here are 7 Tips to Cook Healthy Foods and Meals at Home.                 
Being healthy should be both physically and mentally, and the way we think and what we can do to improve our health, plus the determination and consistency to do or change something, say your habit, the food you eat, the way you prepare or cook the food also part of the healthy lifestyle.

There are many ways and many articles on how to cook simple tasty healthy foods, and you may have read some of them before, and I would like to suggest that healthy foods should be cooked using good kitchen cookware or utensils, such as sauce pan, frying pan, pot, steamer, roaster, skillets, etc. should be made of stainless steel, not aluminum and avoid using non-stick pan which is coated with Teflon, unless you are one hundred percent sure it is totally free from fine and tiny scratches, because any small damage on the pan surface will allow toxin to come out and contaminate your food.

Recently there are some cookware or frying pans which have marble-like surface inside, but I still wonder what exactly the material is used, and there are some layers of the pan are made of aluminum or alloy, and some are also coated with non-stick coating similar to teflon, so I would rather not to take the chances.

Here are some tips to prepare the healthy foods:

1.  Choose fresh vegetables (or fruits), if possible go for organic veggies, otherwise select those which with less pesticides from your reliable farms or markets, or look for some veggies which have  tiny holes or something which indicate the present of veggies eating worm, and some web inside the cauliflower or broccoli should not scare you away. Besides, you can also grow your own sprouts or microgreens at home .

2. First wash away the dirt or any impurities on the vegetables under running water, then soak them in salt & lemon water (2 liters of water + 1 tablespoon of sea salt + 2  tablespoon of fresh lemon juice) for 5-6 minutes, then rinse them with fresh clean water twice , by this way we can get rid of worms, bacteria and chemicals which comes with the veggies.

 3. if you prepare vegetables for more than one day meals, and would like to keep some of them for later use, then keep them in an airtight container or wrap them with food grade plastic wrapper. Some veggies can be stored in chiller or freezer to keep them fresh for several days.  

4. Prepare a clean stainless steel pan or pot to cook the food, try to cook the food as less oil as you can, such as stir-fry, sautee are better than deep frying, and cook, boil or simmer can be done without oil or margarine.  As nutritional expert always recommend to use water to “fry “ the foods without  using cooking oil at all, or otherwise steam the food, it is not only good for your health, and help your body to detox, but it can also decrease dark spots or freckle on the skin, and make your skin look cleaner and brighter.

5. Raw food – some experts say we have to eat raw food (or at least 80% raw) instead of cooked foods, because cooking or heating the vegetables or any food will cause the loss of most nutrients ad sometimes even no benefit at all.  You can prepare easy and simple salads using lettuce, bean sprout, alfalfa sprouts, kidney beens, large cucumber, or even apples, pineapples, chick peas, beetroot, almonds, cashew nuts, or any combination you like, make your own dressing by using lemon juice ,olive oil,  and a few drops of sesame oil, olive oil gives you monounsaturated fat which your body needs. The grown veggies  which are to be eaten raw should be cleaned thoroughly, see point 2 above.

6.  Cooked food - do not overcook the food, the nutrients, especially vitamin C and water soluble vitamins will reduce significantly or totally disappear if the food is cooked too long or with high heat. So the best way to cook leafy greens or broccoli or cauliflower is: put some water in the pan or pot with cover and heat it, before the water boils, put the veggies into the pan (pot) and stir a bit to let the water cover the veggies, and once the water is boiling, cover the pot and turn off your stove and wait for about 7-8 minutes, and then serve it after adding some salt, cayenne pepper, one table spoon of  olive oil and a few drops of sesame oil if you like. By this way the heat inside the pan(pot) will cause the veggies cooked evenly without causing the loss of nutrients.  Otherwise, cook the vegetables or leafy greens by steaming for about 6-7 minutes, and take them out from the steamer while they still look greenish or about 70% cooked.

7. For fresh salad dish, it is better to make a fresh one for every meal, squeeze some lemon juice just before you are going to take it and finish it  within 20-30  minutes after preparation. Some cooked food can be store in the fridge a bit longer, but be sure not to heat it over and over again as the nutrients will be gone under the process of heating.