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Vegan 101: Soaking and Sprouting

Vegan 101: Soaking and Sprouting

Whether you are new to the vegan game, or have been at it for quite a while, you may have come across articles, recipes, or information where people talk about soaking and sprouting. From soaking nuts to sprouting legumes, there are lots of ingredients you can soak and sprout and the reasons for doing so are many. Let’s dive in and learn what each one is, when you use it, and why it is beneficial.

Soaking

Just like you may soak your shirt or your dishes, you can also soak food. Quite simply, it is the act of submerging foods such as nuts, seeds, and legumes in water. When you do it with legumes, such as chickpeas and large beans, it is done before cooking to soften them in preparation for the cooking process.

For nuts and seeds, soaking is done mostly for a digestive benefit. When the ingredients are soaked, they release a compound called phytic acid. This is not a harmful compound and occurs naturally in the plant. For many people who do not digest nuts and seeds well, however, it can lead to digestive distress and the inability to extract nutrients. Removing phytic acid allows these individuals to enjoy nuts and seeds as a healthy snack. Soaking nuts and seeds is commonly known as “activating” them, and once they have been soaked, you can make them crunchy again through dehydrating.

Sprouting

Similar to soaking, in that you initially soak the items in water, you can think of sprouting as the step after soaking. The moist ingredients are contained in a warm environment, so they start to sprout, in the same way as if they were planted in the ground. Just like fresh young fruits and vegetables have great nutritional value, so too do sprouted grains, nuts, and seeds. They are a powerhouse of enzymes, vitamins, and minerals and packed full of important micronutrients.



This nutritional boost is indeed one of the main reasons to sprout ingredients. You can sprout things such as legumes, including chickpeas, adzuki beans, mung beans, and lentils. Grains also sprout well, especially quinoa, buckwheat, and millet. In many cases, you will see flours that are milled from sprouted grains. For this, the grains are sprouted, dehydrated, and then milled into a flour before being sold. This not only boosts the nutrient profile of the flour, but also, for some people, makes them easier to digest.

To sprout your own grains and legumes, follow these steps:
  • Rinse the product thoroughly 2-3 times.
  • Drain well, making sure all the water has drained off.
  • Place the ingredient in a jar, set it on the counter in a warm place out of the sun, and cover with a see-through, breathable cloth.
  • Each day, take the ingredients that you are soaking out of the jar, rinse well, and then return to the jar. Repeat 2-3 times per day.

After a few days you will see the sprouting begin. Let them sprout for as long as you like and then enjoy raw, on salads, in sandwiches or on top of a stir-fry.

Want some more delicious and creative vegan food ideas? How about a delicious meal delivered straight to your door? Reach out to Savor Living and we’ll show you how we can help!

How to Personalize Your Plant Plan

How to Personalize Your Plant Plan

When it comes to following a vegan or plant-based diet, like all other diets and health plans, it’s not a one size fits all.  Choosing to adopt this lifestyle, in the interest of improved health and reduced environmental impact is the first step, but adopting it personalized to you is the part that really matters. Without taking into account specific considerations as they relate to your personal needs, likes, and body responses, the lifestyle will prove difficult to maintain and fail to give you the results and outcome you desire. Here’s what to consider in crafting a plant-based lifestyle that will work for you.

Energy Needs

Many people struggle in the early stages of a vegan diet with balancing energy needs with caloric intake, with feelings of fullness and satiety. Because many plant-based foods are high in fibre, they may fill you up and make you full, but be lower in overall caloric content and hence leave you feeling fatigued or low in energy later in the day. Figuring out what works for your body and how much food you need to eat will take some time. For the first few weeks, keep a journal of what you eat to allow you to modify it as necessary and to monitor it for adequate caloric and nutrient intake. This is especially relevant if you are entering the diet as an athlete and need adequate fuel to facilitate performance.

Digestive System

While the basis of the digestive system and how it works is the same for everyone, we each have our own individual nuances when it comes to breaking down food. Some people digest quickly, and food moves through the system fast. Others have a stomach that empties slowly and the food will remain in the digestive process and organs for longer. This is relevant when it comes to adopting a vegan diet, as many of the items consumed are high in fibre. For those who have a slower digestive system, this can pose a problem if the body is forced to digest too much. When you are switching to new foods, like higher fibre legumes and whole grains, start with a smaller portion to avoid any unwanted digestive distress.

Personal Preference

One of the most important things to do during the set-up stages of your new plant lifestyle is to get really comfortable with your own personal preferences and philosophies.  Don’t get trapped in a label or certain way of eating just because it is trending, and don’t fall into avoiding a certain food or eating excess of a certain food because you read online that someone else did. The basis of personalizing your lifestyle is that you find out what works for you, eat the foods that make you feel good and leave you energized, and you don’t have to worry about the ones that don’t!

If you are new to eating a vegan or plant-based diet, it may take some time to get used to it and to feel like you know what you are doing. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us for some assistance in meal prep, or to order some food to get you inspired!

 

 

Jackfruit: A Vegan’s Best Friend

Jackfruit: A Vegan’s Best Friend

If you have noticed an increasing number of vegan recipes calling for jackfruit, or using jackfruit in place of meat, you’re not wrong. Pulled pork turned pulled jackfruit; tacos delivered with jackfruit; jackfruit burgers, wraps, and Mexican spiced. So, if you’re wondering what all this jackfruit stuff is about, why it is so commonly used and where you can get your hands on some, here’s what you need to know:

What is Jackfruit?

A tropical fruit grown in Thailand, and other Asian regions, jackfruit is a large fruit that has a prickly outer layer of skin. This outer layer Is peeled off and discarded, and it is the flesh on the inside that is used for eating and cooking. Ripe jackfruit can be eaten fresh or used in a lot of desserts and sweet dishes as is common in Asian cuisines.  In its ripe state, it is very sweet and juicy, and has a distinct flavour!

Why is it a popular vegan meat alternative?

It is the unripe state however that is most interesting when it comes to vegan cooking. Known as green jackfruit, when it is unripe, it has a stringy texture, making it similar to chicken or pulled pork. This makes it a popular choice to use in things such as curries, pulled pork look-alike dishes, noodle dishes, or menu items which are typically made with a tender type of meat.

Where can I find Jackfruit?

You can find jackfruit in the can throughout much of North America in Asian grocery stores. It is harder to find fresh options in countries in the northern hemisphere, but in some cities, which offer large produce markets, vendors may be able to get it in. When you purchase the canned version, opt for the one in brine as opposed to syrup, as this is most suitable for savoury dishes and vegan meat alternative options.

How do I prepare Jackfruit?

Depending on the kind you get, the fruit may be ready to go and you can just add it into your dish, or, you may need to do some preparation ahead of time. Canned jackfruit for example, comes ready for use, and you simply drain the can and add it to your dish. Once heated, the jackfruit starts to fall apart into even more of a stringy texture, or you can pull it apart as you need to.

If you purchase a whole, fresh, Jackfruit, you will have to cut it apart and use only the fleshy fruit from inside and do some work to prepare it, including boiling and peeling. Follow these easy steps to help you out.

Being plant-based, adopting a vegan diet, and choosing not to consume meat doesn’t have to mean you have less choice or can’t enjoy a version of your favourite dish. Instead, it just means you have to get a little creative, try new things and use alternative ingredients. If you aren’t sure about doing this on your own, don’t hesitate to subscribe to our monthly subscription meal service, where you can try out all sorts of cool vegan food, and not have to worry about making it yourself!