Welcome to day 4 of our ‘Adopt Healthy Habits’ Challenge with Inner Me! We hope you’re feeling more positive, strong and confident about yourself! Our healthy healing week continues with even more hip and healthy habits that will, quite literally, restore and replenish you to the best you can be. So what is our theory this Thursday? Go back to your roots and start soaking and sprouting!

There is no questioning the goodness of seeds, beans, nuts and grains. High in fiber, protein, omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium and countless more vitamins and minerals, these mighty minions are one of the greatest natural remedies to counter cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, lower inflammation, promote good digestion, stabilize blood-sugar levels, reduce risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, lower cholesterol, promote healthy hair, skin, nails, eyes…need we go on?

These body-boosting beauties are a fun favourite not only for vegans and vegetarians, but for fellow hip and healthy foodies who understand the benefits of eating foods that have not been tampered with. Eating a raw diet is the best way of ensuring that your body benefits from all the nutrition it deserves. The fundamental principle behind raw foodism, is that plant foods in their most natural state – uncooked and unprocessed – are the most wholesome for the body.

However, clever Mother Nature equipped these foods with anti-nutrients to protect them from insects, predators, bacteria, viruses and fungi. The most common anti-nutrient is phytic acid, a compound that inhibits mineral and nutrient absorption in the body. This is inconvenient for us wholefoods lovers, but there is a solution…hurray for soaking and sprouting!

Soaking your nuts, seeds and legumes ensures that these anti-nutrients are naturally eliminated from the outer-coating. Why? It mimics the natural germination process by providing enough moisture, warmth and acidity. Germination neutralizes anti-nutrients by helping increase phytase activity (an enzyme that helps break down phytic acid) to ensure our insides can reap all the nutritional benefits on offer.

Health and nutrition expert Vicki Edgson lives and breathes the soaking and sprouting methodology. Vicki praises how soaking and sprouting ‘awakens’ the enzymes, activating the protein content which brings out the very best of that sprouted food: ‘the active protein is superb for healing and repairing the gut in particular, containing many prebiotics that feed the cells lining the intestines, and ensuring a well-functioning digestive system.’

What’s more, sprouted beans and seeds are one of the few vegetarian foods with all nine amino acids, the building blocks of collagen and elastin. Before scientists formulate the elixir of youth, put your skin-aging worries to one side and eat yourself beautiful!

But what about the preparation, we hear you cry? Never fear, for people with even the most hectic of lifestyles will find soaking and sprouting effortless. Taking one or two days to develop, simply soak overnight and then rinse every morning and evening until the sprouts appear. ‘It’s as quick as brushing your teeth’ claims Vicki. When ready, simply sprinkle in salads, soups or use as the perfect garnish to any meal. Vicki swears by spirilised courgettes and carrots, with finely sliced radish and topped with a mixture of sprouts, with an argan oil and orange juice dressing: ‘I have a version of this for lunch virtually every day, together with a bowl of soup, and its lean, mean and energy-packed.’

So what are you waiting for? Why not try alfalfa, split peas, mung bean, radish seed, sunflower seeds or puy lentils to funk up your favourite foods? Why not smother that smoothie with those energy-providing B vitamins? Even your morning cereals can benefit from a chia seed boost of body-loving nutrition. We love our Over-Night Oats Recipe which promises to deliver a hearty bowl of porridge perfection: Simple, sumptuous and of course superabundant in superfood sustenance!

Be good to yourself this autumn, by soaking and sprouting yourself to the best version of you.

words by Olivia Murphy