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My thumb is not green…Which means that if I can grow sprouts, anyone can.  It’s ridiculously easy and highly gratifying!  Sprouts are the only food that I (currently) have the time or motivation to grow myself.

STEP 1:  Buy seeds.  Here is a nice blend of organic alfalfa, radish and broccoli sprout seeds.  My local natural food Co-op has a whole section with seeds and sprouting supplies.

STEP 2:  Get a quart wide-mouth canning jar and sprouting lid.  A sprouting lid has holes in it to allow air flow and drainage.  I made my own using some plastic mesh that I found at the craft store.  Just make sure that the holes are small enough so that the seeds don’t go through.

STEP 3:  (DAY 1)  Soak 1 tablespoon sprouts in the quart jar filled with cool water for 4-8 hours.  Drain through the sprout lid.

STEP 4:  (DAYS 2-5)  At least 2 times per day, rinse the seeds and growing sprouts by filling up the jar with cool water so it overflows.  Turn upside down to drain.  Keep out of direct light.  Don’t let the seeds dry out.

Day 3 – Draining the Sprouts

STEP 5:  After the sprouts start to grow, place the jar in a location that gets indirect sunlight.  This develops the chlorophyll.

Day 4 – Exposing the Sprouts to Indirect Sunlight

STEP 6:  (Day 5-6)  When the jar is filled up with green sprouts you’re ready to harvest!

Day 5 – Harvest Day

Place the sprouts in a large bowl filled with cool water.  Break up the sprout “clump” and swish around to loosen the seed hulls.  Most will float to the top, and the rest will sink to the bottom.  Carefully pour the hulls down the drain while keeping the sprouts from following!

STEP 7:  Drain the sprouts and store in a closed container in the refrigerator.  I put a damp paper towel in the bottom of the container to keep the sprouts moist but not too wet.  Eat within a week.

My favorite summer sandwich is a “green sandwich,” made with sprouts, cucumber, green pepper and avocado, with dilled horseradish sauce (Vegenaise + Bubbies Horseradish + dill).  Sometimes I add some marinated tofu slices.

For a great resource and more information, consult The Sprouting Book, by Ann Wigmore.


“But there are farms in this country, and more of them all the time, where animals lead very happy lives, and have one bad day.” -Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan made that statement on the February 1, 2011 Oprah episode, “Oprah and 378 Staffers Go Vegan: The One-Week Challenge.”

Since the show aired, I haven’t stopped thinking about that phrase:  One bad day.

Getting slaughtered for no good reason certainly qualifies as a bad day.

But, does Michael Pollan really believe the fantasy that animals raised and “harvested” on small farms only have one bad day?

When a heifer or cow gives birth and her baby is taken away…does that count as a bad day?  When she gets her supernumerary teats removed or her udders “flamed” (to remove udder hair) does that count as a bad day?  When a cow gets painful mastitis or laminitis, does that add more days to the “bad” column?

For “beef” cattle…Is the day of castration a bad day?  Disbudding?  Branding?  For pigs…Is the day of tooth/tusk trimming, ear tagging, tail docking, and castration a bad day?  Just because it’s “routine husbandry practice” doesn’t mean that it’s not painful.

Now– and this might be difficult, but let’s try– let’s estimate the number of “bad days” for egg laying hens, for chickens raised for meat (i.e “broilers”) and for turkeys, all within the “Certified Humane Raised & Handled” label.  You can download the actual Standards documents here.

“Certified Humane” Eggs…

  • “The Animal Care Standards for Laying Hens do not require that hens have access to range.”  (2009 Standards Manual: Egg Laying Hens)
  • Minimum stocking density requirements:  1 square foot to 1 1/2 square feet per hen.  (E 16: Stocking Density).
  • Cannibalism is a common problem for “cage-free” housing (i.e. “one big cage” instead of separate battery cages).
  • Beak trimming/tipping is permitted preventatively in “flocks that are susceptible to outbreaks of cannibalism.” (H 6: Physical alterations)
  • Other problems:  significant feather loss and fowl mite infestation.

“Certified Humane” Chickens…

How many bad days are we up to?  Or– for birds– does all this simply add up to one bad life?  Humane?

Look…let’s stop pretending that animal agriculture– of the variety that Michael Pollan likes to promote (i.e. “happy meat”)– is a “one bad day” scenario.  One can only make such a statement out of ignorance.

BUT…Even if animals only endured one bad day, I still believe that’s one bad day too many.  Why kill if it’s unnecessary?  We don’t need to eat eggs, chickens and turkeys.  We don’t need to eat pigs and cows.  We don’t need to consume milk from cows and cheese from goats or sheep.

How would you like it if someone decided to kill you?  Is that okay?  After all, you “led a good life, and it’s just one bad day.”  

I don’t see how it can be justifiable to treat animals differently than we would like ourselves treated.  Animals value their lives just like we do.  No one wants to have bad days, and certainly not bad days that can be prevented.

[You can hear Michael Pollan’s statement with your own ears by listening to Episode 46 of the Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals podcastJ.W. provides excellent commentary on that Oprah show episode.  Michael Pollan’s statement is 1 hour, 2 minutes, 30 seconds into the podcast.]

"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

“Every time you purchase animal products you pay assassins to murder sentient beings for you.”

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"My purpose is not to offend you, it is to provoke you to think." Unknown


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