I remember seeing at my grandmother’s house as a kid, cute little sprouts coming out of a round terracotta pot. These days, as I’ve started sprouting at home, I’m experiencing the same amount of amusement, although with recycled milk cartons and glass jars. The crunchy texture is nevertheless as good as I remember.
Germinating seeds at home is really quite simple, requiring only water and a container (you can also get readily available kits). As bean sprouts are only one of many, many options (the germinating method is exactly the same for all legumes, seeds, nut and grains), you may never run out of new seeds to try. Sesame, chickpeas, lentils, afalfa, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, amaranth, quinoa and navy beans — the list goes on. With numerous benefits including increased nutrient absorption, antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, which the seeds send out in their maximum potential before they turn into a plant, this ancient method is regaining its popularity these days.
Another food trend worth noting is “whole food” which places wholesome food prepared in a largely unprocessed and unrefined state in the center of diet. In North America, it is also one of the fastest-growing market segments now, creating an almost mainstream lifestyle trend in some of the cities.
If you’re willing, you can find simple ways to practice a whole food diet within Seoul. Especially for those without the time to cook Sprout located in Haebangchon would provide a great start. “The biggest challenges for people seeking a whole food diet are finding the ingredients, prepping them and, often, packaging them to go to work or school — Sprout does all for them,” the owners mention. With breakfast menus, hot dishes, salads, homemade snacks as well as desserts made with whole food ingredients, Sprout offers creative and well-balanced tastes via its nationwide delivery service.
The benefits of the food have been tried and tested by the nutritionist owners, long before the shop opening. After a trip to India which inspired them to study holistic nutrition and to try whole foods diet, they experienced its “healing” properties themselves: “I noticed how much energy I had, while the digestion problems I had went away completely.” Upon graduation, they started holding workshops, consultation and detox programs, and it was for the workshop participants that they first started cooking: “The participants looked stressed about the cooking part, so we decided to cook and offer some meals and desserts for them to try.” From there, Sprout started through word of mouth and is growing quickly, with “noticeably more people becoming conscious of what they are eating.”
While practicing a whole food diet can seem quite trying for busy Seoulites, the Sprout owners say that even starting from simple things can bring great results. An example would be using pure maple syrup and dates for sweeteners, and coconut oil and olive oil instead of refined oils, as it is done at Sprout. “Green smoothie in the morning is great too!” the owners add. Once you experience how whole food is “not only good for your body but also so flavorful and filling,” you might be surprised at how easy this lifestyle actually is.