Doug Evans on Growing Sprouts in Your Kitchen

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Katie: Hello, and welcome to “The Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com, that’s wellness with an E on the end, which is our new personal care line of haircare and toothpaste that are food for your body, food for your hair, nourish you from the inside out. We think this episode is incredibly timely right now, and really practical for anyone listening but especially families, because we’re talking about a very easy, inexpensive way that you can grow some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables available in your own kitchen in a matter of days. I’m here with Doug Evans, who was an early pioneer in the health food movement. He lost his mother to cancer and his father to heart disease and he watched other family members suffer through various health problems, and invested in and co-founded several companies with a goal of helping improve the future of health in our country. He was the inventor and founder of Juicero which was a cold-pressed using system for use at home. And he also is really passionate and involved about sprouting and has written a book called “The Sprout Book.” And he lives off the water grid and the food grid on his land with private hot springs, just east of Joshua Tree, California. And sprouting is a big part of his life. He does it to a very wide degree. But today he shares his expertise and what he’s learned in ways that we can all implement this even if we have small kitchens or even truly no kitchen or no backyard, how we can all start to grow some of our own food. Very practical and very timely episode, and I think you will get a lot out of it. So without further ado, here we go.

Doug, welcome. Thanks for being here today.

Doug: Thank you so much for having me, Katie. It’s a real pleasure and an honor and I’m so excited. I was thinking about this literally all night.

Katie: Well, thank you. I’m excited to have you here. I think this is a really timely topic and an excellent one for moms because it’s so practical and so beneficial. And to start broad, actually I’d love to always start with a story. So we’re gonna go deep on sprouting today, which is something that I do at my house and I love and that you are definitely an expert in. But I always love to hear the story of how did you get into this world in the first place?

Doug: I had a really challenging upbringing and I think we all do, so I won’t go too much on that, but I got into a lot of trouble. All of my friends were on drugs and going to jail and really serious problems. And I escaped that world into another world by leaping and joining the Army. So I was a paratrooper in the US Army and that was more insane than my home life. And then from the Army, I got into graphic design and computer graphics and my life was going, I would say fairly well. I was in a relationship, I was making money, I enjoyed my work. I didn’t really have the connection of meaning and purpose that I do today, but I felt that I was doing good work and it was bringing out the best of me.

And then my aunt got diabetes and they chopped off both of her feet below her ankles. And then my uncle got heart disease and then my mom got stomach cancer. Then my father died from complications related to heart disease. And then my brother had the first of three strokes and then a heart attack and diabetes. And I thought my entire life was genetically-cursed and that I needed to really start to get my affairs in order that I just wasn’t gonna live. And I was 36 pounds heavier and just not having the best time ever. And that was kind of my wake-up call that I needed to explore changes in my life.

And I met someone who was a vegan and I’d never heard of the term “vegan” before. And she kind of enlightened me to the fact that there was a definitive connection, beyond correlated, between lifestyle and chronic illness. And that was so hard for me to believe, almost as if was the world round or flat, right? And it was so hard for me to comprehend. But once I made that connection, and that was 21 years ago, I never looked back.

Katie: Yeah. It seems crazy a little bit to think of now for me when, being where I am now. But I remember that in my journey as well. Probably close to, gosh, almost 15 years ago now. The first time I started realizing there was more to food than just calories and that it wasn’t just a matter of like how much we ate, but that the food quality really mattered so much. And it was, it’s been a long journey for me of learning what works best for my body and choosing the most nutrient dense foods. And part of that process for me has been shifting my focus from kind of the high school and college mentality about food just being calories that were tied to your weight, to food being chemistry and nutrition and vitamins and nutrients and a message that you send to your body. So rather than just looking at the amount that we eat, looking at the micronutrients and the density and what makes food really good for the body and approaching that from a perspective of nourishing the body versus ever depriving the body.

And that’s one of the reasons I like sprouts so much because they are, on the spectrum, an incredibly nutrient dense food and also an incredibly easy to grow and acquire food if you know what you’re doing, which I think is an increasingly important topic right now with everything that we have going on in the world. So to start broad, I would love for you to kind of define what are sprouts for anyone who may not be familiar and what are all the different types of sprouts?

Doug: Sure. Well, sprouts are the result of seeds coming to life. So there would be no life or plant life on the planet if there were not sprouts. And so if we go back to the seed, all plant life begins with a seed, which is a complete, living plant organism. So that’s a seed and they’re staying in this dormant state, literally waiting for the opportunity to burst into life, also known as germination. And my insight was that even though I had been sprouting for over 25 years and sprouting a lot for 21 years, I never made the connection that sprouts could be a meaningful food source as opposed to a garnish.

So the seeds themselves were, in sprouts, were popular in certain cuisines like mung beans in Asian cuisine or alfalfa sprouts for the hippy dippy trippies of the world. But the reality was there’s a whole range literally from A to Z of seeds that are now commonly sprouted, turned into food and they can go from azuki and bean sprouts and lentils and broccoli and clover and alfalfa to peas and hemp and radish. And so literally every vegetable that we know actually has a seed that can be sprouted.

Katie: Got it. So you said, I think maybe you’re right, people probably have heard of sprouts as a garnish, maybe on the sandwich or addition in a restaurant. And you said you had made the shift to thinking of them as an actual food source and not just a garnish. So explain a little bit more what that means and what kind of nutrients can we get from sprouts.

Doug: So I grew up in New York City and then I moved to California and I was toggling between Los Angeles and San Francisco. And then my life got composted. Everything that I knew from work and relationships all kind of ended. And so when it was time to begin, kind of this next chapter, I decided that I wanted to live in nature and I wanted to have space and see sunrises and sunsets. And the place that I could literally afford to do that was the desert because it’s very inexpensive. You could still buy an acre of land in the desert for $500 or $1,000. And so I decided to move to the desert. And so fortunately on my land, I have hot springs. So we have water and we have a little oasis, but we don’t have rich soil. And part of being in the desert is that you’re far away from things.

So not only am I in a desert, I’m in a food desert because I’m an hour and 15 minutes away from a Whole Foods, and the nearest restaurants are Del Taco and Burger King. So with that, I started to, and my life has still been plant-based. So I decided, how was I going to get my organic vegetables? And so I was like, “Oh, well, let me just start to sprout.” So I started to sprout some mung beans and some broccoli sprouts and some alfalfa and some peas, green peas. And there were, I think the epiphany was there was one day when I literally had no other food. It was like on a Friday, I had consumed all of my fruit from the farmer’s market. I didn’t have anything else. And this day I just ate sprouts and I felt good and I wasn’t hungry. And that kind of made the connection that, wow, I now have food sovereignty, I can grow my own food and well, I’m sure we’re going to cover it, but I was doing this in a 48-square foot kitchen without soil, without sunshine, using the most provincial, primitive sprouting tools, Mason jars, unbleached paper towels, cheesecloth and basic kitchen equipment. And all of a sudden, I was growing copious amounts of sprouts in a very small space and I was feeling great. And that was my kind of shift into sprouts.

Katie: I love that. And I think that’s a really important distinction to talk about is that unlike a garden, which I am also a huge fan of and I would guess you are, too, but sprouts don’t require outdoor space. They don’t require soil. They don’t require sunlight in the same way that the gardens do. So for people who don’t have that outdoor space, sprouts are a great alternative. And for people who do, I would say sprouts are also a great thing to use in conjunction with a garden. I’m, right now especially, I’ll just put that plug in there. I think those of us who can absolutely should garden and grow as much of our own food as we can just to support the supply chain and also because then we know where our food came from. And with sprouting, this is truly possible for essentially everyone, because you just said a 48-square foot kitchen. Did I hear that right?

Doug: That is correct. It is tiny. It is tiny, my kitchen.

Katie: And so if you can do it in that small space, you know, all of us with our, any varying size of kitchen can find space. And I’ll even say, for me, there have been times when I lived in small apartments and the kitchen was super small. You don’t actually have to grow them in the kitchen. They just need to be able to be rinsed a couple of times a day. So I’ve grown sprouts on a table in my living room before and things like that. So they’re very adaptable. Talk about like, let’s go through the basic process of sprouting for someone who’s never done it before. Walk us through kind of where they would start.

Doug: Well, I’m gonna start with broccoli sprouts because they, not only are they easy to do, they have these incredible nutrition properties. Basically, I start with filtered water or spring water and I buy organic seeds specifically designed for sprouting, which today I believe we’re very lucky because we live in a world where you can order them online and they can come in a few days. So that’s easy and we can discuss, you know, where to buy them later. But I will, I usually buy my broccoli sprouts seeds in a five-gallon bucket. And I will take one tablespoon of the seeds and add that to a Mason jar and then add about one or two ounces of water, just enough water so that the seeds are fully submerged. And then I will set that Mason jar either in the kitchen cabinet or under the cabinet and keeping it in a semi-dark space and avoiding sunlight and allowing that to sit for five hours or eight hours.

And then using cheesecloth, and they now make these really nifty lids that have a screen on them. So you can put them on top of the Mason jar or you can replace the metal plate that’s in the Mason jar with a piece of cheesecloth and screw it on top. And then I will strain the excess water from the jar and then I’ll add more water. I’ll rinse it again and then I will turn the jar upside down pretty close to, like, 90 degrees, 75 degrees. So it’s at an angle where most of the water will, all of the water will drain out but not instantly. And then I will set the jar upside down at this angle in a jar or in a tray.

I’ve recently adopted a bamboo dish drying tray, which is at a 45 degree angle and I’m keeping my Mason jars inverted in there. And then literally twice a day, in the morning and at night, I add water and then I rinse, add water, rinse, keep inverted. And within two or three days, you’ll start to see the seeds starting to burst to life and they literally grow exponentially. So within seven days, the volume of the broccoli seeds will go from something that is about a 16th of an inch diameter to something that is well over an inch of a living plant organism with leaves and a stem. And it’s picked up along the way, fiber. And we can go into the nutrition in a little bit.

And then after five days, seven days, harvest time comes where I’ll do a final rinse. I will let them sit all day without adding any water and then I’ll start to eat them or put them into the refrigerator. And there’s actually three paths that I’ll do with a finished sprout. I’ll eat it, I will refrigerate it or I’ll freeze it.

Katie: Okay. So talk about that because that’s another important thing to know is how can you store these sprouts after you said you can refrigerate it or freeze it. How does that process work?

Doug: So, because they are a fresh plant, and the operative word here is “fresh,” it has a short shelf life, so you must…refrigeration and chilling is nature’s preservative. So if you refrigerate it, you will extend the shelf life for several days. If you freeze it, you can extend the shelf life for months. And, you know, for those very few people that may have a low temperature dehydrator, you know, used for drying fruit or vegetables, you can also dehydrate them. And they’ll also last for weeks or months being dehydrated. And the ones in the refrigerator, they’re easy to use. You pull them out of the refrigerator. And what I do is literally, I want to add sprouts to every meal. So whatever I’m eating, I’m adding sprouts to them. If it’s frozen, I take them out of the glass jar, I transfer them into a Pyrex container or I have these cloth bags that are reusable bags for the farmer’s market and I put them in there.

And something I’ve recently started to do was I’ll take the sprouts, roll them into little balls and pop them into the ice tray. So I’m making broccoli sprouts ice cubes, and then I’ll add a little filtered water. So then when I’m going to make a smoothie, I pop out a few of the ice cubes, I’m able to add them to the smoothie as opposed to just ice. And there’s a secondary benefit from freezing them where it’s activating this enzyme and simulating the same benefit of massive chewing. So it’s breaking them down and releasing more of the compound sulforaphane, which we can get into. So those are the basics.

Katie: I love it. And yeah, I would love to take a little bit more of a deep dive into broccoli sprouts especially. And I have a tutorial of this and, of course, I’ll link to your book about this as well, but it’s one of my favorite sprouts not just because I think they’re delicious, but also because they have some really unique benefits. And I know there are ways we can optimize these benefits more. But you mentioned sulforaphane. And from my understanding, sulforaphane is created when an enzyme called myrosinase transformed something called glucoraphanin into sulforaphane. And then you can correct me if I’m wrong on that. But basically like from what I understand, those two things, myrosinase and glucoraphanin are found in different parts of the plant. And so you mentioned chewing or freezing or I often blend and that is supposed to help the compounds mix, I think, from what I understand. So first of all, explain what sulforaphane is and why we should all love it.

Doug: So, sulforaphane is an antioxidant compound and it exists in cruciferous vegetables. And so from broccoli and cauliflower and kale and wasabi and bok choy, the entire range of cruciferous vegetables contains this glucoraphanin and which, as you described, is the precursor to the sulforaphane. So they all have this. So the science of how this works and why this works is being deeply, deeply researched. And I’m actually doing a Zoom call recording with Dr. Jed Fahey from Johns Hopkins University, who is one of the team of scientists that discovered that broccoli sprouts and broccoli seeds have the highest level sulforaphane within the cruciferous family 20 years ago, this discovery was made or 23 years ago.

And so part of the plant’s protective mechanism is when there are pests that go to eat it, they respond by being bitter and other kind of natural defense mechanisms, so that bitterness will protect the plant. And it turns out that bitterness can have an effect on cells and the way that sulforaphane kind of works, and there’s a wide range. There was a recent white paper that I was reading that talked about how sulforaphane is being, is now being used to treat, not to cure, autism because it’s creating the same heat shock, which results when someone who has autism has a fever, they have less symptoms of the autism without getting the fever, the broccoli sprouts, a la sulforaphane, is able to create that same, a biochemical reaction in the body. And with treating this, the chemo protective properties are very powerful.

So, without doing a full discussion on antioxidants and how they work, the recommended kind of treatment, and there was probably over 150 documented research studies in 2019 on the use of broccoli sprouts, broccoli sprout extract and the myrosinase and the glucoraphanin forming the sulforaphane in healing. And people have attempted to patent these things. And the supplements are very expensive if you buy a sulforaphane supplement. But the reality is you can literally grow them for pennies a serving and eat maybe an ounce or two ounces to start gaining that benefit of this unique compound from it.

If we just shift over to a little bit more of mainstream nutrition, broccoli sprouts, one cup of broccoli sprouts, which is a few ounces of broccoli sprouts also contain about 60% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. So they have, in these little sprouts, they’ve got vitamin C, they’ve got antioxidants, they’ve got the sulforaphane, they have chlorophyll, they have soluble and insoluble fiber, they have small amounts of protein. And so there’s all these things existing in a seed that you, as the mama, can nurture into development of this food. And it has been documented that all the cruciferous family has sulforaphane. Broccoli sprouts can have 20 to 50 and I’ve heard as even as high as a hundred times more of the sulforaphane of the mature broccoli, that vegetable.

Katie: Wow. Yeah, that’s really, really drastic. And part of my own personal process, I’m gonna try freezing more because that’s a great idea. But I grow these all the time kind of in rotation on my counter and I’ll make a smoothie out of broccoli sprouts and that, like you said, breaking up the broccoli sprouts can increase the sulforaphane availability as can, from what I’ve read and you can verify this, the heat. So we know that cold can, but it seems to be right about 150 degrees that there, it can increase that activity. So I’ll soak the sprouts in water at that temperature and then make it into a smoothie and add a little bit of mustard powder and then drink it immediately. I’m curious if there’s anything about that process that you would change to make it even more available.

Doug: I think that mustard seeds can also be sprouted. And are you buying mustard powder or are you using fresh mustard seeds?

Katie: I’m actually usually using just mustard seeds that grind up in the blender as well. But I have read that they can increase the sulforaphane because they also contain myrosinase.

Doug: So this is a secret that I’m happy to share, and this is something I learned after I wrote the book. The most amount of sulforaphane is in the seed itself. And as the seed grows and it sprouts and it goes into a mature vegetable, the sulforaphane or glucoraphanin content does not increase. It stays finite. So the most concentrated amount of the sulforaphane is in the seed itself. So, my secret that I do is I use a coffee grinder and I take mustard seeds and broccoli seeds and I grind them into a powder. And then you sprinkle that dust into anything if you’re looking for a high dose.

And then the most important part on consuming this food is you can’t inhale it. Like, you literally need to stare…..Like, to me, my process is I will stare at it and think about those seeds and the sulforaphane and the broccoli and the nature and the healing properties so that it’s like Pavlov’s dog. I want to be salivating and bringing up the digestive fluids and activating my body for the process of intaking this. So literally the first step for me, it’s a very meditative, surreal, serene process of using my eyes to prepare for the consumption. So that’s phase one.

Phase two is, I will then take this and literally, even though it may be in a liquid form or a blended form, I will chew that to mix this potent formula with my saliva. And by mixing with my saliva, I’m sending keys to the brain, clues and cues to the brain, which are then activating the digestive fluids in the stomach to begin the processing for the absorption. And then the next stage is swallowing it slowly and doing this in a ritualistic fashion on a relatively empty stomach, preferably an empty stomach. So there’s enough within the smoothie, you know, and I’ll add a black pepper, I’ll add a turmeric. I’ll add other more mature vegetables.

The research is actually saying that you get the most benefit when you’re combining broccoli sprouts and mature broccoli in a smoothie. And so really, I’m having this smoothie and letting it sit, letting it digest, letting the body absorb it, because otherwise it could be like eating corn where it’s going in and out without a lot of assimilation and bioavailability.

Katie: I absolutely agree. And I think that’s great advice for anything we eat, truly, is to chew it more, to be more present and to eat slowly. I think that alone can make a big difference for a lot of people in digestion knowing what we know about digestion beginning in the mouth and the enzymes necessary for the entire process and how we can optimize that just by being more conscious when we’re chewing. So I think that’s really, really good advice.

And yeah, I love all the points that you mentioned about sulforaphane and I think we could probably talk all day just about broccoli sprouts and sulforaphane and detoxification and how there are studies. I mean, it’s truly incredible. This is one of those things that I always encourage people to do because it’s so inexpensive and we’ve got studies showing that it’s good for the brain, it’s good for fighting cancer, it’s good for your heart. It increases glutathione as it’s an Nrf2 activator. People use this for weight loss. They think there’s positive effects for anti-aging, it boosts liver function. It reduces inflammation. I think as far as, I don’t think there are any silver bullets, but I think in general, this is one that is almost universally beneficial for people.

And I know I was first introduced to it by my doctor when I got diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. I had nodules on my thyroid and his advice was to start eating broccoli sprouts every day along with some other dietary interventions and some supplements and some, even at the time, pharmaceuticals, of course. But he explained that because of the compounds in broccoli sprouts, they actually show some anti-nodule, anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory activity. So for people who are struggling with any kind of inflammatory disease like an autoimmune disease, it can be really helpful. And I noticed that I really felt better the more and more I did that. And now, like I said, it’s a regular part of my life. What are some of the other favorite sprouts that you always have going in your kitchen?

Doug: I will, I love sunflower sprouts, and sunflower sprouts, which are also a quasi-microgreen, and we could talk about that in a moment, but microgreens are a relatively new category, you know, just a few decades old. But the sunflower sprouts, I love and I use as an alternative to lettuces in my salads. So they’re hearty and they’re rich. And so I love them. I recently started to like leek sprouts because they have this really spicy kind of kick to them, which can add life to a lot of things that I wasn’t prior exposed to.

I’m also, as a, someone who’s plant-based, people always ask, where do I get my omega-3s from? Do I take a supplement? And my experience with supplementing vitamin omega-3s has not been very good because I think the vitamin, the omega-3s get rancid whether you’re doing an algae supplement or a fish oil, which I’ve never done and I don’t have any plans to do it, but the plant-based omega-3s also leave a aftertaste in my mouth. Or if I burp after, or they’ll make me burp, it’s gross.

And so I was really getting into chia and making chia pudding and eating chia seeds. And about a year and a half ago, I started to sprout chia. And so now you’re getting the omega-3s and you’re getting the fiber and you’re getting the chlorophyll and you’re getting vitamin C. So, and I’m sure you remember the Chia Pet. I use an unglazed terracotta pot drip tray from plants and I soak them so that they’re wet. I sprinkle the broccoli, the chia seeds on them, and then I use a little spray mister. And within days, I have these activated chia seeds.

So I’m always working on chia, sunflower sprouts, always broccoli sprouts. I’m probably eating eight ounces of broccoli sprouts a day. And because I’m very active, my source of protein is usually sprouted green peas and sprouted garbanzo beans. And I’ve also, you know, soy, I don’t know what your opinion is on soy, but I think soy gets a bad rap in many instances. And, you know, the quality of soy is very relevant. So, organic soybeans that are sprouted are low-cost, a fraction of the cost of edamame, they taste even fresher and they’re alive. And so I’ve been using organic yellow soybeans. And that’s kind of my daily rotation.

And then I also have wheatgrass growing and I don’t have a wheatgrass juicer now, so I’m actually taking little bits of handfuls and I will chew the wheatgrass. And I’m doing it for my teeth and I’m doing it to get the nutrients from it and I just chew it, chew it, chew it. And no matter how much you chew, you will never break it down fully. So I chew it and then I remove the insoluble, undigestible fiber, roughage, and just compost that. But that chewing exercise is very good. And it’s, you have no choice. You can’t swallow that. So that’s my basic sprouting routine.

Katie: Okay. Let’s talk a little bit more about chia seeds specifically because I also love chia seeds. And people probably are familiar with Chia Pets if they remember them from back in the day. I also know how chia seeds can gel together. That’s one of their amazing properties and that’s why I use them to make chia seed pudding. Are there any special instructions when it comes to sprouting and rinsing chia seeds?

Doug: I don’t rinse them because they will become gelatinous very quickly. So, what I do is I wet, you can do this on cheesecloth, but then you’ll never get it off. So that’s why I like using the terracotta or the unglazed clay as a sprouting mechanism and medium. And it turns out the terracotta is porous and it’s breathable. So I will wet that. I will add the seeds onto it so that they’re literally touching each other. I try not to get a double layer or a stack. So I literally look so that the seeds are as close together as possible to form a single layer across the entire bottom of the terracotta plate. And then I will mist them and then they will kind of touch each other and they’ll form this little gelatinous film. And then I’ll cover that up. And then two or three times a day, I will continue to mist and bring them to life.

And so, if you, I posted something a few, probably a few months ago on chia seeds where I bought organic chia seeds in the health food store. And they weren’t sprouting seeds but they were on sale. And I thought, “Let me just try this.” And literally I put, one, I did sample A, I put the organic seeds, chia seeds in there. And then in sample B, I used my premium Sproutman organic sprouting seeds. And three days later, my organic sprouting seeds were about one inch tall and vibrant and healthy and the other ones were moldy.

And that was another, like, caused a few things for me to think about and research. And I found out that the organic seeds for sprouting were like the creme de la creme. Those are the first ones, the freshest ones. And then the ones that actually go into the bulk and that go into the packaging, they may actually get pasteurized and they get older and they don’t have that high germination rate. So if you’re going to sprout chia, I highly recommend getting fresh seeds specifically designed for sprouting.

Katie: Got it. Okay. That’s great to know.

This episode is sponsored by Beekeeper’s Naturals, which is my go-to source for all things bee-related. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re an amazing company. They make clean remedies that really work and that my whole family loves to take, no fight required. I’m sure you probably know that bees are absolutely vital to our global food system. And Beekeeper’s Naturals is on a mission to save the bees while creating products that support humans as well. They source all of their bee products sustainably and do a lot to support healthy bee colonies. All of their products, of course, are gluten-free, non-GMO, naturally-sourced, and keto-friendly. My personal favorite is their propolis spray which I use for natural immune support. I never have to fight my kids to take it because it tastes delicious and it’s my first line of defense at any sign of sniffles or cough or any time I’m traveling. I also really love their B.LXR Brain Fuel, which is a caffeine-free way to support focus and energy. I take this on days like today with podcasting when I need a little extra mental boost. As a listener of this podcast, you can save 15% on all Beekeeper’s Naturals products. Go to beekeepersnaturals.com/wellnessmama, and the code “wellnessmama” saves you 15%.

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And to shift gears a little bit, I know one thing I love about this is this is something that’s easy to do with kids as a way for them to see where some of the food supply comes from, even if you don’t have a garden. But it’s also truly something that’s easy enough that kids can do it on their own. Like you’ve explained the process and how easy it is to have this in our kitchen and how a lot of people probably have a lot of the tools already on hand to do this.

But I know you share the importance of this, but knowing where our food comes from and having a relationship with our food supply, and I think that’s something as parents, especially, we really want to make sure that we give our children the opportunity to do because often in today’s world, it’s easy to become completely detached from our food supply. And so I love that this is a way that kids can see the process and it’s so quick that it literally happens before their eyes and it’s exciting to them. And it’s also easy enough that even small children can become responsible for growing the sprouts. I also would love to talk a little bit about the distinction between sprouts and microgreens because that’s another thing that people can grow at home. So can you just kind of walk us through the differences and the similarities there?

Doug: Sure. So, microgreens kind of developed as a second kind of wave of the sprouts germination. So if you think about, a lot of the sprouts will go from a seed to a tail, and the little white tail and maybe forming a little leaf. And the microgreens, so sprouts can be grown in trays, in bags, in Mason jars, on terracotta. Microgreens are almost always grown in a tray so they can vertically grow up. And the microgreens typically will have leaves. They will be in a variety of vegetables that are very familiar in names to their mature vegetable countertops, you know, whether it’s cabbage or kale or arugula or beet or radish or amaranth or cilantro. So all of these are the miniature vegetables and they’re relatively easy to grow.

You typically will need a more sophisticated sprouting medium. And I say “medium” either as like a coconut husk or a soil or trays that allow the roots to go down. And they’re beautiful as a garnish and they’re actually, you know, can be a food source. The thing is they take longer to actually develop. So to grow a microgreen, you know, can be two to three times longer than the sprout. And so I focused on the sprouting because I’m using the sprouts as a food source, whereas the microgreens are, in my kind of view, are less yield, more flavor, more culinary specialty. But I’m not able to get as much food source in the per square inch of the kitchen in the time period that I have to eat.

Katie: Got it. Okay. That makes sense. And I feel like this episode has flown by. I love, like I said, I love this topic. I think it’s super timely right now. And I think that you have an amazing resource for people for getting started. So talk a little bit about your book and where people can find it.

Doug: So, during this time of living in the desert and during this time of home sheltering, sprouts just became really important for me. And so the book, this is probably the worst time to launch a book, but the best time to launch a book about sprouts. So I just, literally it airs today. I did a podcast with Marianne Williamson discussing poverty, starvation, food equality, and how sprouts could be a remedy for that. And so when I wrote the book, it was why to sprout, how to sprout, what to sprout, specifics about individual sprouts and then for the do-it-yourself recipes of how to use the sprouts as part of a meal where the recipes are all 100% plant-based, all raw, and 50% containing sprouts. So that’s the book.

And then the book also had interviews with other medical professionals and dieticians from Dean Ornish and Dr. Joel Fuhrman wrote the foreword and Dr. Joel Kahn to functional medicine doctors, Mark Hyman, and ketogenic doctors like Dr. Josh Axe and Joe Mercola, sort of a wide range of people, including yourself, that I interviewed for the book. So that’s really, the book is jam-packed and the book is available. You know, I was going to self-publish because I don’t like bureaucracy, but I ended up going to New York and taking a flyer and pitching one publisher, St. Martin’s Press, because I wanted the book to have maximum distribution.

So literally, if you go to thesproutbook.com, it lists everywhere where it’s sold from Barnes and Noble and Amazon and Books-A-Million to Powell’s. So it’s all over. The Kindle version is pretty good. I like the trade paperback. We made a specific decision not to put pictures in the book to keep the costs down and make it very accessible. And in times like this, Amazon is shipping the book fairly quickly. So, and it just launched.

Katie: Awesome. And, of course, that link will be in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm. For any of you who are hopefully outside exercising or if you’re driving, you can always find the show notes there and find all the links we’ve talked about including two blog posts on a lot of these topics. Another question I love to ask at the very end is, other than your own, is there a book or a number of books that have really dramatically impacted your life? And if so, what are they and why?

Doug: So, probably, the book that had the most impact for me was probably Scott Peck’s book, “The Road Less Traveled.” And, you know, there was a quote in there that I always think of and I share in particular with young people as well as troubled people is that life is difficult and this is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. And it is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult, once we truly understand and accept it, then life is no longer difficult because once it’s accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

And that resonated with me that, you know, for some reason I thought everything should be easy. And when I realized like, “Oh, if you want to do something, it’s going to take work. If you want to do it well, it’s going to take more work. And if you want to learn something you’d never learned before, all these things are going to be difficult.” So I’ve accepted in my life challenges that are against all odds, and I have a ranch now with 25 acres and hot springs and I’ve never lived in a house before. I’ve never owned land before. I’ve never managed engineers before and water fluid systems and growing and just, it is difficult to kind of move off of the water grid and off of the food grid. But because it’s difficult and I have that in the back of my mind, it doesn’t matter.

This is just part of living that, you know, and I’m not a parent, you’re a parent, so I can’t speak to that. But I can imagine and I look into trying to walk a day in your shoes with your six kids and running a business and doing podcasts. Like, to me, because I’m not doing it, I think like, “Wow, that’s difficult. That’s really difficult.” And so that’s probably a book that had the most impact on me.

Katie: Got it. I love that. And I’ll link to that in the show notes as well. But Doug, I appreciate you giving practical advice. I think this is, like I said at the beginning, a very timely topic right now and one that I hope will stick even after we are able to start returning to life as it was before. I think this is a great change that many of us can implement. So I appreciate your mission to educate and to explain about this and all that you do in the world.

Doug: Well, thank you so much and likewise, I hope that I can be a reflection of the goodness that you have and the genius that you have, Katie. So, thank you and thank you for having me.

Katie: Thank you. And as always, thanks to all of you for joining us today and for sharing one of your most valuable assets, your time. We’re both very grateful that you did, and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of “The Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.



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