SHOW me what you GROW Contest!

Do you want to know what’s in my garden right now?  Chives, onion, bell peppers, parsley, cucumbers, tomatoes and strawberries!  Dee-lish!  Guess what.  I hate gardening.  That’s right.  I do!  I love the products I get from my garden, but hate the work.  You know, I have discovered that it’s really not that hard!  I don’t have a big garden, but my little piece of life in my backyard brings me happiness.  This is the best food you can get people.  Really, it is.  100% organic and as fresh as possible.  These fruits and veggies are full of nutrients and taste fantastic!  Yum!

strawberries, tomatoes and parsley

I’d like to know what’s in your garden?  Send me a photo and your name will be entered into a draw to win free groceries!  Submissions will be accepted until the draw date, July 10, 2013.  The winner will receive a $20 gift certificate to a local grocer.

This contest is open to anyone in Canada.

You may send a photo of the garden itself, or the products of the garden like my picture above.  I am not looking for a work of art.  Although pretty photography will be appreciated, it’s not required.  All photos will be accepted as they are received.

Send all photos to karen@natureprenatal.com or directly to my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/#!/NaturePrenatal.

Good luck and happy gardening!

SPROUTING

Do you sprout?  Want to learn how?  It’s easy.  Really.  And it has so many wonderful health benefits that it just makes sense.  By sprouting beans, legumes, grains, seeds and nuts, you increase their digestibility and nutrient content, making them a much more nutritious food than when they are in their dormant, unsprouted state.  Sprouting increases vitamin C, many of the B vitamins and protein.  It also neutralizes phytic acid, which can inhibit the absorption of minerals like calcium and magnesium.  Sprouting neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, increasing the digestibility and nutrient absorption as well.  Basically, sprouts are a living food, rich in nutrients and easily absorbed by our bodies.  It’s a great way to get a lot of nutrition in a small amount of food.  You can add sprouts to your meals every day, like in your sandwhiches, burgers, salads, soups, and even baked goods.

Before we go on, I should warn you about alfalfa sprouts.  I’m not saying you can never eat them, but do so in moderation.  Alfalfa sprouts contain an amino acid called canavanine, which can be toxic and harmful to the immune system.

Health Canada warns that “as the popularity of sprouts increases, so does the potential for sprout-related illnesses.  Because most cases of foodborne illness go unreported, the actual numbers of illnesses resulting from eating sprouts in the Canadian population  is unknown.”

Let’s think about this for a minute.  Foodborne illness is food contaminated by bacteria, viruses and parasites.  E. coli and salmonella are the possible risks for sprouts.  If you buy your sprouts from an unknown source your chances are higher that it will be contaminated.  If you are pregnant, or have a compromised immune system, you are even more at risk.  If this is a concern for you, I would recommend you lightly steam or cook your sprouts.  Of course, if you purchase organic sprouts from a trusted source, grow them yourself, rinse them often and properly store them, your sprouts should be fine.  I am about to show you how.

There are a few different ways to make your own sprouts, but I am going to show you how I do mine.  I have tried the other ways, and this is what I find to be the easiest.

First, you will need a large glass jar.  A mason jar is ideal, but you can use any glass jar.  You will need a cover to place on top.  For this you can use cheesecloth, or a small round screen that fits perfectly over a mason jar.  These are sold specifically for sprouting.  As you can see, I used a screen that I cut myself and keep in place with a rubber band.

 

soaking beans to sprout

Day 1

The length of time it takes to sprout will vary depending on what you are sprouting.  If you buy seeds sold specifically for sprouting, like I did, you will find exact directions on the bag.  For the purpose of this blog, I am sprouting a bean mix of lentils, peas and chick peas.

Day one, you put  2 – 4 tbsp of seeds in a jar.  Cover the jar with screen or mesh and secure.  Add water, swirl and drain.  Refill with about 1 cup of water and soak seeds for 4 – 6 hours.  Drain.  I recommend using filtered or pure spring water.

Sprouts day 2

Day 2

Rinse twice a day by refilling jar with water and gently swirling.  Drain water and prop the jar at an angle so the excess water drains out.  I used a bowl for this purpose.  Notice how my daughter was mesmerized by the process!

Sprouts day 3

Day 3

Repeat for the next 3 – 6 days and your sprouts are ready to eat!  Yum!

 

 

 

Sprouts day 4

Day 4

 

Sprouts day 5

Day 5

Sprouts day 6

Day 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To maintain freshness, refrigerate well drained sprouts in a sealed container.

BIGGEST CONTEST EVER!!

UPDATE:  This contest is now over.  Thank you to all women, pregnant and trying to conceive, who have entered.  I wish you all much success in your own pregnancies and plans for pregnancy.

Two winners have been selected.  The first has been named ‘Colleen’ and you can read about her in this introductory blog post.

The second winner is ‘Denise’, who is currently working on getting pregnant.  Read her introductory blog post here.

Both women will be featured monthly on my blog.  Please check back often to read their stories.

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I am very excited to announce that my BIGGEST CONTEST EVER is now officially open!  One woman who is currently pregnant (in her first trimester) will be drawn to win unlimited nutrition and lifestyle coaching throughout her entire pregnancy! A second woman who is actively trying to conceive will also win free nutrition and lifestyle coaching to assist with her plans for pregnancy. Both of these women will receive a full nutrition and lifestyle assessment, which will increase her chances to experience a healthy pregnancy and birthing experience.  Of course the main goal is to result in a happy and healthy baby!

All assessments and updates may be done online or in person.  This contest is open to all women in any province.

Are you wondering, what’s the catch?  The winners will be featured regularly on my blog.  To maintain confidentiality, names will be changed and the winners will not be announced publically.  If you have any concerns about privacy, please let me know.  You may call me at 613-854-9848 or send an e-mail to karen@natureprenatal.com.

The first winner will be drawn June 14, 2013! This will be a woman who is currently pregnant, in her first trimester.

The second winner will be drawn once my Facebook page has reached 100 ‘likes’.  This will be a woman who is currently trying to conceive.  All entrants will be contacted via e-mail when that date has been scheduled.

Please be sure to share and like my Facebook page here.  The sooner we reach 100 likes, the sooner the second name will be drawn!

RULES:

You must be within your first trimester of pregnancy, or actively trying to conceive.

You must complete an initial assessment, either online or in person, and send in monthly updates.

You must complete a follow-up assessment during and/or after pregnancy.

Permission to blog about your progress is mandatory.

Click here for the contest entry form.  Good luck!