[Transcript] – How To Render Seeds & Plants More Digestible, Get More Amino Acids From Vegetables & Everything You Need To Know About Sprouts & Sprouting With Doug Evans.

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From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/doug-evans-sproutingpodcast/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:01:05] Who is Doug Evans?

[00:02:26] Does blending sprouts activate cancer-fighting sulforaphane?

[00:05:14] How did Doug get into sprouts?

[00:09:31] Plant defense mechanisms that could be harmful

[00:15:58] How to sprout properly?

[00:21:02] Doug's favorite sprouts

[00:25:48] Doug's favorite recipes for sprouts

[00:29:10] Preservation and storing of sprouts

[00:32:09] The Sprouting Company and solving sprouting problems

[00:42:41] End of Podcast

[00:43:42] Legal Disclaimer

Ben:  My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.

Doug:  On average, produce is two weeks old from the time it was in the ground and harvested, transported in refrigerated trucks. And, by the time you eat it, it's already old. When you're eating a sprout, you're eating the root, the shoot, the endosperm, the embryo, the testa, and you're eating it whole while it is alive. So, you're eating pure living optimum food. Almost everything else that someone's eating is already dead, putrefying, or decaying, or rotting.

Ben:  Fitness, nutrition, biohacking, longevity, life optimization, spirituality, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the Ben Greenfield Life show. Are you ready to hack your life? Let's do this.

Well, folks, I got a repeat guest today, Doug Evans, who is a sprouting nerd. He is a guy who knows more about sprouts than anybody I know. Sprouts might sound kind of boring to you, but man, if you heard our first episode about sprouting, and I'll link to it in the shownotes if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/SproutingPodcast, then you heard some pretty cool information about the transformative power of sprouts. And, we'll be going over a lot of that today so you don't have to go back and listen again.

But, Doug has a very interesting story as far as how he got into sprouts. And, he has probably been my single biggest resource, both he and his book called appropriately, “The Sprout Book” on how to actually figure out how to sprout, how to do it properly, what kind of things to sprout with and even some newer technologies and tools that Doug develops and has developed, especially this past couple of years in terms of helping to make sprouting easier. 

So, Doug, I guess the million-dollar question we got to start off with is did you have sprouts for breakfast this morning?

Doug:  Actually, I haven't eaten yet this morning, Ben. But, as soon as I eat, I'm going to be eating sprouts.

Ben:  My wife has been using those two sprouting jars that you sent up to us a few weeks ago to make sprouts every week. So, I've got a fresh batch to add a little bit to in my morning smoothie each day. And, I enjoy them, man. They're fantastic. They kind of give this nice creamy rich texture to the smoothie. And, I think you might remember this, was it Dr. Rhonda Patrick back in the day who was spreading around this idea that if you blend sprouts that you somehow activate more of the cancer-fighting sulforaphane in the sprouts? Did you ever hear that?

Doug:  Yeah. Basically, what happens is inside of the sprout, there are little vacuoles, and one holds the glucosinolate glucoraphanin and another one holds the enzyme myrosinase. And, when you chew, break or an insect bites them, the two vacuoles open up and they blend. And, that's what forms sulforaphane. So, the freezing action actually has the same effect.

Ben:  Does that actually mean that you should keep your sprouting seeds in the freezer? Would it allow for more sulforaphane to get unlocked if you were to do that prior to actually sprouting or does that matter?

Doug:  No, no. You may want to store your sprouting seeds like store the broccoli seeds in the freezer as a additional form of preservation. But, when you consume them, the best thing to me, I love fresh. So, if you're eating them fresh, you get the flavor, the texture. But, if you're busy and you're sprouting more than you can consume and you want to store them in the freezer, I would store them in individual sections of an ice cube tray, and then you could pop them into a smoothie and then you're going to maximize the biological chemical reaction when you're consuming the smoothie.

Ben:  Wait, do you mean you would take the sprouts that you've already made, like you've sprouted seeds and you would store those sprouts in the freezer?

Doug:  Correct. If you want to be able to have sulforaphane on demand, you can freeze them, then throw them into a smoothie, and then get them and you don't have to have fresh growing all the time.

Ben:  Okay. That's actually good to know. I wasn't quite sure if you could freeze them, but it sounds like not only would freezing allow for you to better preserve your sprouts but it may actually allow for better bioavailability of the sulforaphane if you were to blend your frozen sprouts.

Doug:  That would be correct.

Ben:  Okay, that's interesting.

Alright. So, we probably put the cart ahead of the horse here just jumping into the deep logistics of freezing versus not freezing your sprouts, but you actually have a pretty interesting story. What actually got you into sprouts in the first place?

Doug:  So, I first saw sprouts at the farmers market in New York City in Union Square 30 years ago, and I was drawn to the freshness. I love the green color. I love the simplicity of them. And so, I've been sprouting literally for 30 years, but it was about seven years ago when I moved to the desert and I moved to the Mojave Desert to Wonder Valley Hot Springs when for the first time I didn't have access to food that I was living in a food desert not just the Mojave Desert. And, I love plants. I eat a lot of plants. I've been eating raw plants for 25 years almost exclusively. But here, I had no other options.

And so, I asked the universe, I said, “What can I do for food?” And then, I got the idea, “Oh, I could sprout.” And, the download that came to me was three parts. Number one, sprouts were vegetables. They were food. So, if you eat vegetables, you could eat sprouts as a food source. And, number two, sprouts were vitamins and minerals that every sprout contained every amino acid to form complete proteins. They were phytonutrients, micronutrients, polyphenols, bioflavonoids. They had so much in them that you could literally use sprouts as an alternative to a multivitamin or to a protein powder. And three, and this just blew my mind and all the research support this, is that sprouts were medicine and that there were thousands of peer-reviewed published studies on the medicinal properties of sprouts; from their anti-cancer aspects to raising heat shock proteins, to detoxifying benzene and other air pollutants from the lungs, to regulating insulin levels in diabetics. There's this whole body of supporting research around sprouts as medicine.

Ben:  I actually didn't know about lung pollution. That's pretty interesting. So, you said it detoxifies benzene from the lungs?

Doug:  Yeah. The action of the sulforaphane opens up the Nrf2 pathways and forms. Basically, it's killing and weakening the weak cells, the compromised cells, and it's also causing the extraction and excretion of benzene and the other air pollutants for the lungs. So, pretty much, benzene, we have a million firefighters in the United States that have all been exposed to benzene that anyone who's smoked a combustible cigarette or marijuana is exposing themselves to benzene and other air pollutants. And, these things form in the lungs. So, there's an action inside of the sulforaphane which actually helps to heal. So, as opposed to taking something to kind of numb the body, this is actually healing the lungs and healing the internal organs.

Ben:  Yeah, you got to write your next book, “Sprouting for Potheads” or come out with a Cheeto-flavored sprouting seed, Doug. That would certainly be popular.

I just got back from India, actually, all joking aside, the pollution is horrific there. I didn't come across many places that had sprouts, but it's been very front and center for me. I have a nebulizer here on my desk. I've been nebulizing a hydrogen peroxide and saline solution. I've been using high doses of antioxidants. I've been eating sprouts but didn't realize that they would have an effect as well.

Now, it's interesting because and you're no doubt aware of this being in the plant-based and sprouting industry, Doug, there's a pretty big push towards people really kind of decrying the benefits of plants and instead championing the idea that plants have such a host of built-in plant defense mechanisms that they could be harmful for you. I would imagine that if, I don't know, the Carnivore MD who's a great guy, my friend, Paul Saladino, were on the show with us, he'd say, “Well, sprouts are bullshit,” because he goes through the grocery store and just holds up all the different plants and tells you that they're bullshit.

Doug:  Yeah.

Ben:  And, I recently interviewed Steven Gundry and I said, “Well, what do you think about sprouting?” I said, “because when you sprout, when you ferment, when you soak, and when you do slow prep methods, you even pressure cook many plants, you can often make them more digestible.” And, he said, “No, no, no. If you sprout a seed, it's going to concentrate the lectins and make it even more harmful.”

So, I'm curious what your take is on this. I'm sure it's something that you've thought about. And, not to muddy up the waters too much with this question, Doug, but when you talk about sprouts having a lot of amino acids in them–and that's my understanding too. They have a really great amino acid profile. Obviously, you'd have to eat a lot of them to get all of the protein that you need for the entire day. And, it makes me wonder if you try to get all of your protein from sprouts if you wind up with some digestive distress.

Doug:  I mean, Ben, I've lived exclusively on sprouts for 30 days at a time.

Ben:  Wow.

Doug:  And, I never became emaciated. I had maximum energy. When I did my chronometer to analyze, I was probably at 80% carbs, 10% fat, 10% protein exclusively from eating the sprouts. But, if you were to eat more of the protein-oriented sprouts, it's well-known that soy has protein in it; garbanzo beans, legumes, lentils, mung bean, all have amino acids that form complete proteins and they're very bioavailable. 

But, I want to go back to this lectin conversation because the science supports that if you take a seed–and a seed is a complete living organism in a dormant state. And, what allows that seed to stay in this dormant state are nature's preservatives, which include lectins, phytic acid, trypsins. And so, when you take the seed and you imbibe it with water, you soak it with water, it triggers a chemical reaction, which is causing the seed to begin to germinate. And, by doing that, you remove the enzyme inhibitors, you reduce the phytic acids and the trypsins and the lectins. Literally, when you're soaking the seeds, you could see you're washing away the lectins because you're initiating a metabolic transformation from a seed into a vegetable.

So, I have no idea where Dr. Gundry is getting this information, but you can't be concentrating it because the sheer act of sprouting is creating exudate, which is the biofilm transfer, the wasting. It's almost the shedding of the seed. So, after you sent me that teaser question, I did research on research at research, and this may have just been a hallucination or a triggering comment by Dr. Gundry.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, I mean, he's an interesting guy. He does sell supplements too that supposedly digest lectin for you. So, there might be a little bit of capitalism at play with his thoughts about sprouts. But, what you just explained, that was kind of what I thought was that, well, everything I know about sprouting or soaking or fermentation or rinsing and the like helps to predigest a lot of these potential digestive irritants or autoimmune as salience. And so, your reply makes sense.

Has anybody actually ever tested, do you know, the lectin content of say a seed versus a sprout?

Doug:  To answer your question, I don't know. so, I don't have an answer to that, but I think that by and large to attack lectins and say, “Don't eat legumes,” which have been the largest population studies have included people eating large amounts of legumes as part of the staple of their diet for centuries, if not from the beginning of time.

Ben:  Well, I mean, Steven argues, I think this what he said during my podcast, that those populations are living a long time despite those harmful dietary practices, and that their genetics and other lifestyle factors are protecting them, and that technically they'd be even healthier if they were to eliminate things like legumes and wheat. He's got some interesting ideas, but I don't want to spend the whole podcast talking about Steven, I'd rather focus on these sprouts because just so my audience knows, I eat them. I don't necessarily, like you, survive solely on sprouts for 30 days, but they're a staple of my diet ever since I read your book, the sprouting book. But, when I got your book, they were kind of a mystery to me. They were the overpriced little things in plastic containers that you get at the grocery store that cost an arm and a leg. I didn't realize kind of like I have since then with things like I make water kefir and I make dairy kefir and my wife makes the sourdough bread that would normally cost 8 bucks a loaf at the grocery store and we make our own yogurt now. And, once you learn how to do these things, you save a lot of money.

But, the thing I want you to explain to my audience, and this might seem a dumb question but it would have really helped me if I would have heard it back in the day, is how do you actually sprout?

Doug:  So, sprouting has been around. The first instances of sprouted seeds goes back 3,000 B.C. So, they go back for a long time as sprouted seeds as sustenance. So, it's not new. For the last 300, 400 years in the developed world, people were sprouting using a Mason jar, cheesecloth and they would add the seeds. So, you can take a jar, take a measuring spoon, and basically you add–we make a quarter cup measuring spoon. So, you take a quarter cup of seeds. So, throw in some broccoli seeds, quarter cup, and then you fill it up with just about this much water. So, that one-quarter cup of seeds with one cup of water and then you let them soak during the course of the day or overnight, call it eight hours. And then, twice a day, you rinse the seeds.

Ben:  And, by the way, I know this because the Post-it note right next to our kitchen sink that says sprouts to remind us to do the rinsing.

Doug:  Yeah. So, that was the basic thing. So, if you take a quarter cup of seeds, it will create six cups of sprouts in about five days. And, each of those cups when you talked about costing an arm and a leg, if you went to the health food store, you'd pay $3 to $5 per cup.

Ben:  Yeah.

Doug:  And here, you could take one-quarter cup of seeds and make six cups of sprouts and you're getting just–if we think about this, number one, you know that they're fresh because you are growing them. Number two, you know that they're clean because you're washing your jar, you're washing the seeds, you're supplying the water. Number three, when you harvest them, you can look at them. And normally, whether it's sprouts or regular produce from the grocery store, on average, produce is two weeks old from the time it was in the ground and harvested, transported in refrigerated trucks. And, by the time you eat it, it's already old. When you're eating a sprout, you're eating the root, the shoot, the endosperm, the embryo, the testa and you're eating it whole while it is alive. So, you're eating pure living optimum food. Almost everything else that someone's eating is already dead, putrefying, or decaying, or rotting.

Ben:  I've had some people tell me they start eating sprouts and they get digestive distress and I tell them–because this happened to me. First couple of weeks, I think there was a little bit of a detoxification effect happening. Probably from some of the sulforaphane and other liver antioxidant pathway upregulators in the sprouts. Have you had that happen before where people will start eating sprouts and their body kind of sort of takes one step back to go two steps forward?

Doug:  Well, if you think about the impact of the gut microbiome, sprouts are a prebiotic. The insoluble fiber that exists in all plants is a prebiotic. So, in order to develop the healthy microbes, in order to break them down, it may take a few days or a few weeks to establish a healthy microbiome to create that level of flow in the system. But, the long-term stress, and also you can start small, I wouldn't take a large jar like this and these sprouted very quickly, these sprouted garbanzo beans, I wouldn't eat this whole thing. Go from no plants and no sprouts to starting to eat four, five, six cups of a sprouted garbanzo bean. But, if you're introducing them over time, the body will adjust very quickly to adapt to them.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. So, garbanzo beans, I tend to get gas by the way from chickpeas, hummus. They just don't agree with me. But, I can do the sprouted garbanzo beans probably for the reasons that we discussed earlier.

I wanted to ask you what your favorites are for sprouting. I would say broccoli's my favorite. It's partially because I enjoy the taste. It's got this nice umami flavor, but then also, of course, the sulforaphane benefits. What are your favorite seeds to sprout, Doug?

Doug:  The sprouted garbanzo beans are a snack to me that I can eat midday and before dinner and they're hearty. So, they actually will fill you up. And, one cup of sprouted garbanzo beans is 250 calories and 20 grams of protein.

Ben:  That's pretty good.

Doug:  So, you're actually getting a good protein-carbohydrate balance. So, I love those as a snack. There's other sprouts like lentils. When you sprout a lentil, you double the antioxidant levels, you triple the vitamin C and you're quadrupling the soluble and insoluble fiber.

Ben:  Wow.

Doug:  So, if you think about the benefits of consuming these is you're getting like–the vitamin C is paramount because vitamin C is one of the only vitamins that the body does not make so you need an external source of vitamin C. So, the idea that you could get it from a low sugar high fibrous plant in the form of sprouts is extremely powerful. So, I like those.

At The Sprouting Company, we have a protein mix which has garbanzo and lentils and mung beans and adzuki in it. So, you're getting an array of various sprouts in there. So, I like the mixes. And alfalfa, if you think about what does a horse eat? Alfalfa hay.

Ben:  That's what our goats eat too, by the way.

Doug:  Yeah. So, you actually, Ben, and we can go offline I could show you how to create sprouted alfalfa sprouts for the goats. And, it's just incredible.

Ben:  No kidding. I'm going to write a note because my wife will actually want to know about this. She's in charge of the goat and chicken feeding protocols. I'm running notes to myself right now about that.

Now, what about, and hopefully this isn't too dumb of a question, but I know if I'm wondering others probably are. A lot of people are into pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, can you sprout things like that?

Doug:  Absolutely. Chia and flax actually have omega-3 medium-chain fatty acids in the form of ALA. And, there's a lot of myths that the conversion from ALA into EPA and DHA is inefficient. And, I think it's actually quite efficient because that is my source of my omega-3s is by eating chia and flax and occasionally some sea vegetables in the form of nori. And, I just checked my omega-3 levels and they're perfect.

Ben:  You know what your omega index was?

Doug:  I can look it up. I did the Quant test.

Ben:  Okay. Yeah, yeah. I mean above 4% is pretty good. Bill and Christina Harris, omega researchers from OmegaQuant, they say they like to see values closer to 8%. That's surprising if you had good values though because you are right. There is poor conversion of the ALA, but I wonder if a lot of the information out there on that is not investigating a sprouted plant source versus a non-sprouted plant source. What do you think?

Doug:  Yeah. I mean, I think that a lot of the information is old and dated. And, that's where I want to participate in using myself as evidence and research even if it's just a body of one to be able to contribute to how the body can operate. And, I could say, Ben, I'm 57. I'm going to be 58 in a few months. And, I've never felt better, had more energy, had been more fit. I just went through this entire process of getting fit last year. I know you do a whole workout routine. I run 3 miles a few times a week and then I do some bodyweight squats. And, I average 300 push-ups a day. So, last year, I did about a 100,000 push-ups. And, I have the energy. I could do anything.

Ben:  Yeah, that's incredible. I do a 100 push-ups a day. I thought I was doing well. Geez, that's actually really good.

Now, with our nutritional approaches, they differ, right? I'm one of those guys who's like, “Well, I can get a lot of amino acids from meat, so I'll have steak and chicken and turkey and fish. And, I can get a lot more DHA from fish oil and fish than I can from say eating plants alone.” So, I almost use meat and fish and fish oil and things like that for convenience. Because frankly, it just requires me to eat less on my plate and get a lot of amino acids and omega acids. But, the sprouts for me, I throw them in like a condiment. I sprinkle a little bit on salad. I have a little side with dinner. I put some in my smoothie, et cetera. But, I know you have a lot of different ways that you use sprouts. For you, what are some of your favorite recipes that are your go-tos as far as sprouts besides just eating them straight out of the jar?

Doug:  Yeah. I mean I used to eat big salads and I'd have baby lettuces and other kale and other things. And now, instead of adding sprouts to my salad, I use sprouts, a full jar of sprouts as the basic of a salad. So, that's just one obvious part. 

And then, I have all sorts of dressings from a tahini dressing to a balsamic dressing to a Mexican or Mediterranean style. I make this beautiful olive tapenade that I use to mix in with the sprouts. So, the sprouts as a salad base is just kind of a huge breakthrough. You couldn't afford to do it if you were buying the sprouts in the grocery store. But, if you're growing the sprouts, you can get a whole jar as the base.

The second thing that I love is I use sprouts to make sushi. So, I make sushi rolls, and not only do the sprouts replace the fish and they replace the rice and they replace the other vegetables. So, I'm laying out the sprouts and I'm wrapping them in the sushi. And, I could still use the other things that make sushi interesting. I could use wasabi. I could use ginger. I could use various sauces. But, I can make a really tight sushi wrap with a variety of sprouts. So, that's another thing.

So, I used to add sprouts to my soup, but now, I will take almost any soup and use that as a dressing to add on top of the sprouts.

Ben:  Yeah. Actually, I have a big piping hot cup of bone broth a few times a week with lunch and I heat it up over the stovetop and I drop a handful of sprouts, and then I sprinkle–there's a guy named Dr. Thomas Cowan. He has this organic heirloom vegetable powder company. And, I put a sprinkling of a few of his vegetable powders like the ashitaba or he has one called low oxalate greens into the bone broth, put a handful of sprouts in that. I mean, you could almost have that alone as a meal. And, that's a great idea too regarding the sushi.

By the way, another company that's really nice is Primal Kitchen dressings. They have these Caesars and ranches and they just taste fantastic with sprouts.

But, what about dehydration? Okay. Could you make a dehydrated crunchy sprout snack?

Doug:  Absolutely. Basically, the various forms of preservation are freezing, dehydration, and freeze-drying. So, the thing that I like about sprouts in their whole form is that you're getting the water content as well. So, when you dehydrate them, you're removing the water molecules, you're left with the cytoplasm, but by and large, if you're doing low-temperature dehydration, you're still getting living enzymatically rich food that stores well.

So, for traveling purposes, dehydrating them, light dehydration is a great way to be able to travel with the sprouts. But, my first go-to is always fresh. And, I've been sprouting on the go. Literally, I took the cooler, I took the sprouting jars. And, it's interesting when I went through security, they thought the sprouting jars were liquid and their TSA was so quick to want to grab them. I'm like, “No, that's just vegetable storage in glass.” So, I've been consistently being able to get through security with sprouts in the jar. And, the crazy thing I traveled last week from New York to San Francisco back to Wonder Valley Hot Springs, it was a 16-hour day, you could see how the sprouts grew during the transportation that where I started to where they ended in the 17 hours later. 

Ben:  Yeah, they're Chia Pets literally.

So, in terms of the storage, we mentioned that the freezer will, of course, be a great place. You gave that that ice cube tray tip. But, if I put them in the refrigerator, about how long and are there signs that they might be getting old or certain smells you should look for as far as the sprout longevity in the fridge?

Doug:  Yeah. I think part of our human nature survival is using all of our senses. So, if something feels slimy, we don't want to eat that. If something looks right, if the crisp whites are starting to turn off, white and brown, that's not a good sign. And, if it smells funky, you don't want to eat it. But basically, I think that if you're storing the sprouts in a semi-open-air container, you could successfully store them for two to three days without any question and they will stay fresh.

Ben:  We just use the Pyrex glass containers in the fridge. Though I'm going to start freezing some now because we tend to occasionally get excess. After a few days, they'll get a little slimy and you throw them out or my wife gives them to the chickens actually. But, that's a good idea about the freezing. I'm going to remember that.

So, this sprouting system that you have, it's just called The Sprouting Company, right?

Doug:  Yeah, The Sprouting Company. And, my co-founder, Mike Posner, he went through this whole transformation from being pop artist to walking across the country and climbing Mount Everest and doing the Wim Hof breathwork. And then, he realized that there was an opportunity to upgrade his nutrition. So, he started to sprout and he put out six jars. And, when he was starting, it was such an effort to go buy one jar and to buy a lid and to get the stand and to get the drip tray and they were small and people were using iPad stands and football tees to hold them up. So, we just said, “Hey, we want to have something that's glass, that's stainless steel, that's large that looks good and that could function.” And then, on the seeds, in the beginning when I didn't know everything that I knew now, I was just getting seeds from the bulk bin in the grocery store. And, after I did the research for the book, I realized how important the seeds were because that's what I was ultimately consuming so I wanted to make sure that we got seeds that were all organic, all tested for pathogens, tested for a high germination rate.

And Ben, this quarter, we're going to introduce that all of our seeds have been tested, third-party lab tested for glyphosate residue. So, these are the first seeds that are on the market where everyone has been tested for glyphosate AKA Roundup to make sure there's no Roundup Ready residue, which is a terrible neurotoxin.

Ben:  Yeah. I was getting the Broccoli & Friends mix from Amazon. And then, once you started generating your own sprouts, especially based on our last discussion our last podcast, we went deep into the issue with glyphosate and toxins on a lot of different sprouting seeds that you get, and also the low germination rates. That's important because otherwise you're going to sprout and you might get very poor conversion of a lot of the seeds into the actual sprout, right?

Doug:  Yeah. Well, if you're just throwing something into the garden, if some things germinate, some things don't, it doesn't matter because it's all going to compost. But, if you're growing the sprouts to eat, germination really matters. And Ben, you'll really appreciate this. Also, you mentioned the sulforaphane, we did some testing when I was writing the book and after the book where I bought seeds from everywhere and I sent them to third-party lab to understand what levels of sulforaphane or the precursor glucoraphanin. And, the crazy thing was some of them had say level 30, some had 40. The highest ones that we were able to get were 55. But, the crazy thing is some had zero. So here, I was buying broccoli seeds online thinking that I'm going to get some sulforaphane and they had zero levels. And so, I took it further that I sent it out to another lab to get them sequenced, the DNA sequenced. And, turns out they weren't specifically broccoli, they were in the Brassica family but they weren't actually broccoli. So, that kind of motivated me to actually put out a third-party lab-verified high glucoraphanin broccoli seed. So, that's coming out as well.

Ben:  Yeah. So, basically, what I used to do after we did our first podcast was I just had the cheapo glass mason jars and, like you mentioned, with the iPad stands or the golf tees. I just try and get them to stand at about that recommended 45-degree angle in a dark section of the pantry and they'd occasionally tip over and then I put little towels underneath them to soak up the water. And, this new sprouting system, basically you said, I think I got my first batch maybe a couple of months ago, you take it out of the package and it's just a perfect angle. I believe it's 45 degrees. You got the lid on there. You got the glass jar. You got the stainless steel. And then, every shipment comes with this order. I mean, I got four bags of seeds. I think I got eight now and you send out the high germination low glyphosate seeds. You send out the entire sprouting kit. And, it's super simple but then you have this app too. Tell me about how the app works.

Doug:  Yeah. I mean, basically, the app is a giveaway whether someone is buying our seeds or not because I was literally getting bombarded across TikTok and Instagram and my LinkedIn. People were just bombarding me with questions because they didn't know how to sprout. So, I said, “Well, what are the biggest issues? People don't know when to soak, when to rinse, when to harvest.” So, we just created an app as a free utility that someone can actually follow the process, get push notifications, and learn how to sprout in the app.

Ben:  And, the app is you can just download that for free on the App Store, right?

Doug:  Exactly. Sprouting Company app. There's a link off of the website as well.

Ben:  I'll link to that in the shownotes if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/SproutingPodcast. I got some insider deals and discounts for Doug's sprouting systems and the seeds. But then, of course, you can get the app for free. And, even though we're old school and we still have the post that's going on the kitchen counter, the app also has reminders on it about when to do your rinsings and your final harvesting of the sprouts, right?

Doug:  Yeah. I mean, that was the big thing because what happens is people aren't just sitting around doing nothing, so they're running around. And, this is just a reminder and we found that the adoption of the app is just been terrific. And, since I wrote the book, Ben, and I sent you an early copy of the book in early 2000, tens of thousands of copies of the book have been sold, but hundreds of thousands of people are starting to sprout around the world, and we're starting to see the success. 

[00:38:41] Benefits of sprouting and these “anti-nutrients.”

Now, you had asked another question that I want to circle back to on the benefits of sprouting and these “anti-nutrients.”

Ben:  Okay.

Doug:  So, the essence of the anti-nutrient is part of the phytochemicals that exist in the plants. So, there's a difference between phytochemicals and phytonutrients. And, these “anti-nutrients” are to protect the plants from their predators, which are insects. In terms of humans, the antinutrients actually, if anything, can have anti-cancer protecting property. They can actually protect the body and create a hermetic effect. And, that's what causes these metabolic changes in the body. So, if you think about the new research that's coming out from Dr. Jed Fahey at John's Hopkins University on broccoli sprouts, sulforaphane, and autism, that's because of the anti-nutrients are creating heat shock protein impact in the brain. So, it's actually simulating the effect of getting a fever. So, it's a very benign reaction but it's enough to actually trigger positive metabolic actions in the body.

Ben:  You mean that the heat shock proteins or the HSPs are having a beneficial effect?

Doug:  Beneficial effect. Similar to a sauna, hot bath, or even a cold plunge you're getting the HSPs.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah, or even over in Europe especially they use cancer hypothermia to enhance chemotherapy or to even act as a standalone treatment for cytotoxicity. I've actually done one of those sessions myself just to experiment with it and undergo this hypothermia and it's extremely hot for a very long period of time. But, you can imagine at least if you had cancer the amount of cytotoxicity that that amount of heat and heat shock proteins could produce. So, it's actually pretty good medicine.

Doug, this sprouting system and the app, I think it's going to be a game changer. I know that we've been planning out this podcast for some time as far as me wanting to get you on the show to talk about it. I think everybody listening in should own one, get one, get some seeds, try out sprouting. I think it's just going to change your diet. It's absolutely going to change the amount of money that you spent at the grocery store on expensive sprouts. We probably save, I would estimate probably about 30 to 40 bucks a week just doing our own sprouts compared to the volume that we'd buy from the grocery store. So, Doug, I want to congratulate you on the launch of The Sprouting Company and this app, and encourage you to keep up the great work and maybe write another recipe book in the meantime.

Doug:  Yeah. I mean, I've been meeting with chefs literally around the country and around the world and they love sprouts. And, the biggest thing that I'm whispering into their ear was, “You don't need to use the sprouts just as a garnish now, you can actually put them as the center of the plate.” So, that was really exciting to see that.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Well, of course, I know you can add recipes to the app too. So, that's obviously another platform where people can get those. And again, that one's free in the App Store. And, all of the shownotes are going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/SproutingPodcast. Doug, it was a pleasure having you on for a second time. Everybody, if you enjoyed this interview, if you want to hear more about Doug, his backstory and more about sprout, check out our first show. Check out his book, “The Sprouts Book.” Check out The Sprouting Company, their seeds, and their sprouting systems. Check out the free app. And, until next time. I'm Ben Greenfield along with Doug Evans signing out from BenGreenfieldLife.com. Have an amazing week.

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Picture this: nestled within a tiny seed lies the blueprint for life itself, quietly waiting for the right moment to burst forth. Add a splash of water and a hint of sunlight, and these unassuming seeds awaken, transforming into vibrant sprouts teeming with life and health benefits.

Today, I'm exploring the captivating world of sprouting with Doug Evans, the mastermind behind The Sprouting Company. If you're interested in uncovering the remarkable benefits of sprouts and how they can revolutionize your health and well-being, you won't want to miss this episode. 

Doug, an early pioneer in the natural food industry, wrote The Sprout Book, which I read during the COVID-19 quarantine. This book teaches you how to easily grow sprouts, microgreens, grasses, and much more. It also helps you discover the vast health benefits of sprouts, including improving the digestive process, increasing metabolic rate, boosting enzymatic activity, preventing anemia, aiding in weight loss, regulating cholesterol, reducing blood pressure, preventing neural tube defects, enhancing skin health, improving vision, supporting the immune system, and increasing usable energy reserves.

With over 30 years of experience, Doug's journey underscores what he calls “the transformative power of sprouts.” In 2002, he co-founded Organic Avenue, one of the first exclusively organic plant-based retail chains in the country. He then created and founded Juicero, the first fresh, farm-to-glass automatic cold-press juicer, with the mission of bringing more fresh produce to the home. Today, he is helping people realize their health potential with The Sprouting Company, which my wife and I now use extensively to sprout foods from broccoli to alfalfa to lentils and more.

Doug's mission extends beyond providing sprouts; he's a beacon of knowledge on their nutritional benefits, making healthy eating and self-sufficiency in food production accessible to all. In this show, you'll explore topics like the best seeds for sprouting, the optimal daily intake of sprouts, the potential health risks associated with sprouting, proper storage methods, the best sprout recipes, and much more.

With that said, get ready to unravel the mysteries of sprouting and discover how sprouts can revolutionize your approach to food and well-being.

Oh, and if you're looking for additional information on sprouting, I suggest checking out our first podcast together: “How To Tap into the Power of the Planet’s Most Nutritious Foods: Sprouts, Shoots, Microgreens & More With Doug Evans.” You can also visit The Sprouting Company by clicking here (use code BEN to save 10%).

During this discussion, you'll discover:  

-Questions that Ben asked Doug:

  • For people who may not have heard our first podcast, what got you interested in sprouts?
  • What's happening when you sprout something, exactly?
  • Have any human studies ever been done on the health benefits of sprouts?
  • What type of seeds are best to sprout?
  • How many sprouts can/should you eat per day?
  • What are some recipes you would use sprouts in?
  • In a recent interview with Steven Gundry, he mentioned that sprouting actually concentrates the problematic lectins in seeds. What are your thoughts on this?
  • Is there anyone who should avoid sprouts due to pre-existing conditions?
  • What motivated you to create this new sprouting system, given that people can easily sprout seeds by simply tilting a cheap glass mason jar at a 45-degree angle?
  • How important is it to monitor for mold or other issues while sprouting, and are there specific signs to look out for?
  • How long do sprouts last after you make them, and how do you store them?
  • How does The Sprouting Company app work?

-Who is Doug Evans?…00:18–06:10

-Does blending sprouts activate cancer-fighting sulforaphane?…07:31

  • Little vacuoles (storage compartments within the cells of plants) contain water, nutrients, waste products, and glucoraphanin — a natural compound found in certain vegetables, particularly in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale 
  • The vacuoles open and blend with myrosinase (an enzyme found in plants) when chewed, creating sulforaphane — a compound known for its potential health benefits, including anti-cancer properties and support for detoxification processes in the body
    • Freezing action has the same effect
  • You can keep sprouting seeds in the freezer for longer preservation, but it's best to use sprouts fresh

-How did Doug get into sprouts?…10:27

  • Doug first saw sprouts in a farmer's market in New York 30 years ago
  • He moved to the Mojave Desert 7 years ago and lacked fresh food
  • Decided to grow sprouts
    1. Sprouts are vegetables
    2. Sprouts are rich in nutrients
      • Could be an alternative to a multivitamin or a protein powder
    3. Sprouts are medicine

-What plant defense mechanisms could be harmful?…14:36

-How do you sprout properly?…21:04

  • The Sprout Book by Doug Evans
  • The first instances of sprouted seeds go back to 3,000 BCE
  • You take a jar, take a quarter cup of seeds, and fill it up with 1 cup of water
    • Leave them soaked for 8 hours
    • You rinse them twice a day
  • The Sprouting Company (use code BEN to save 10%)
  • On average, produce is old when you get sprouts at the grocery store
  • Home-grown sprouts are eaten whole when they are alive
  • Digestive distress when eating sprouts
    • Sprouts are prebiotic (insoluble fibers in plants are prebiotic)
    • It may take a few days or weeks to establish a healthy microbiome 
    • The body adjusts over time

-What are Doug’s favorite sprouts?…28:48

  • Sprouted garbanzo beans
    • A good snack midday or before dinner
    • Fills you up
    • A cup has 20g of protein
  • Sprouted lentils
    • Doubles the antioxidant levels
    • Triples the vitamin C
    • Quadruples the soluble and insoluble fiber
  • Protein Mix (use code BEN to save 10%)
    • Garbanzo
    • Mung beans
    • Lentils
  • Alfalfa (use code BEN to save 10%)
    • Alfalfa sprouts for the goats
  • Can also sprout pumpkin, chia, and flax seeds
  • Chia and flax seeds have omega-3 medium-chain fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
  • The myth that the conversion from ALA into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is inefficient — EPA and DHA are long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that are primarily found in fatty fish and seafood 
  • Nori sea vegetable
  • Podcast with Dr. Bill Harris and Dr. Kristina Jackson:
  • OmegaQuant Omega-3 Index Test
  • Doug has never felt better and does 300 push-ups a day
  • Ben does 100 push-ups a day

-What are Doug’s favorite recipes for sprouts?…33:47

-How do you preserve and store sprouts?…37:06

  • 3 types of preservation:
    1. Freezing
    2. Dehydration
    3. Freeze drying
  • Dehydration removes water molecules — left only with the cytoplasm (a jelly-like substance that fills the cell and is enclosed by the cell membrane)
  • With low-temperature dehydration, you still get living, enzymatically-rich food that stores well
    • Dehydration is a great way to be able to travel with the sprouts
  • The first go-to is always fresh
  • How long can they stay in the refrigerator?
    • If something looks slimy or smells funky, don’t eat
    • They can usually be stored for 2–3 days

-What is The Sprouting Company and how is it solving sprouting problems?…39:51 

  • The Sprouting Company (use code BEN to save 10%)
  • The story of co-founder Mike Posner
    • Transformation from being a pop artist to walking across the country and climbing Mount Everest
  • Doug’s beginnings and problems with sprouting
  • Finding the right seeds
  • Germination is very important
  • Broccoli and Friends
  • Had broccoli seeds tested for sulforaphane and the precursor glucoraphanin at a third-party lab 
    • Some had 30, 40
    • The highest was 55
    • Some seeds had 0 levels
  • Sent seeds to another lab to get them DNA sequenced
    • Some seeds were in the Brassica family — not actually broccoli
  • Sprouting Kit (use code BEN to save 10%)
  • Sprouting App
  • Benefits of sprouts and anti-nutrients
    • Anti-nutrients protect the plants from predators, which are insects
  • New research from Johns Hopkins University on broccoli sprouts, sulforaphane, and autism
  • The anti-nutrients are creating heat shock protein impact in the brain
    • Simulating the effects of getting a fever
    • Beneficial effects similar to a sauna, a hot bath, or even a cold plunge
  • Chefs love sprouts
    • Sprouts can be the main ingredient of the meal

-And much more…

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Resources from this episode:

Doug Evans:

– Podcasts:

– Other Resources:

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