How to Sprout Mung Beans

Sprouted food, including fresh sprouts, is so often viewed as a hippie-crunchy food trend. I think that sprouts really couldn't be more relevant right now, when so many of use are in need of easily digestible foods, and plant-based protein is more popular than ever. If you're wondering what protein has to do with sprouts, marvel at this: one cup of mung bean sprouts has 14g of plant protein! Why mung beans? These are a great starter sprout for novices, or those who want easy, high-nutrient, foolproof sprouts fresh from their own kitchen.

Some other amazing nutrition facts about mung bean sprouts:

  • Mung bean sprouts are highly alkaline foods that support healthy pH balance and skin glow.
  • They're easy to digest, and offer ample enzymes for your body.
  • Mung beans are an amazing source of folate, with 100% of your daily recommended dose in just 1 cup.
  • They're packed with high levels of key beauty minerals like skin-clearing zinc and calming magnesium.

Ready to sprout your own? Get familiar with these simple steps and you could have fresh sprouts in your kitchen this spring, and year-round:

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Step 1: Assemble your Equipment

Here's all you really need for sprouting mung beans:

  • dried mung beans (Bob's Red Mill offers them bagged, and you can also find them in bulk bins— bagged, from a high quality source can be better for avoiding contamination.)
  • sprouting bag (you can also use a jar or bowl, but I highly recommend investing in a hemp sprouting bag for ease of use and proper air flow that ensures your sprouts don't spoil or grow unwanted bacteria. You can reuse it again and again, and it's so simple that you will thank me!)
  • Water and a bowl

Start by measuring out about 1/3 cup or less of dry mung beans (I prefer to sprout just a little at a time because sprouts only last a few days and this prevents waste).

Step 2: Rinse & Drain

Pick out any bad beans and rinse the leftovers in a bowl, draining afterward.

Step 3: Soak

Cover beans in water a let sit 8 hours or overnight. The beans will swell slightly.

Step 4: Transfer to Your Sprouting Bag

Drain soaked beans, transfer to your sprouting bag, and cinch the top of the bag. Immerse the bag in water for a few seconds, until it is soaked through. Hang the bag to drip dry on a cabinet handle or hook.

Step 5: Rinse Sprouts Twice Daily

In the AM and PM, immerse your sprouting bag in a bowl of fresh, cool water. Swish it around to rinse the sprouts inside, and hang to drip dry once more. In 2-4 days, you'll have fresh sprouts! You can sprout them shorter or longer time frames, depending on what you prefer.

Step 6: Keep Sprouts Fresh

Store your well-drained sprouts in the fridge. They'll last just a few days, so enjoy them quickly, It helps to store them with a paper towel that can absorb excess moisture that will cause them to spoil more rapidly. These sprouts are amazing in salads and smoothies, and as a crunchy topping to stir frys and other, unexpected dishes (nachos!).

Simple Wellness Practices that Transform Your Bathing Ritual

I’ll be honest, I’ve wasted many a shower composing emails in my head, or tallying up a mental list of to-dos to check off the minute I’m dried and dressed. I think it was becoming a mother that made me realize that a routine shower (or bath) is less a task to perform on autopilot and more of a self-care ritual to be savored.

I challenge you to seize those precious bathing moments to incorporate some simple wellness practices that will help you look and feel your best— mind, body and spirit. I try to incorporate a few of these 8 practices every time I bathe, whether I’m hopping in for a quick rinse or taking time out for a long soak.

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8 Wellness Practices that Transform Your Bathing Ritual

1. Gratitude. You’ve probably already made a mental note to bring more gratitude into your life, but you may not have found the time to be consistent. So incorporate it into your bathing ritual. When I shower in the morning, it wakes up my senses and I’m instantly grateful for another sunrise, the calming feeling of warm water flowing over my body, a roof over my head, and food that will be my breakfast meal.

2. Healthy Beauty. Your bathing ritual just won’t support your body and beauty if the products you use contain hormone-disrupting or carcinogenic ingredients. Put thought into the products you choose, and remember that your dollars are well-spent on products that absorb into your body in seconds, and influence your overall health. For ideas, I’ve shared lots of my favorite natural and organic products on this site!

3. Head massage. You know how drool-inducing a head massage can be at a salon, now slow down and bring those techniques into your regular routine. The benefits are way more than just pleasurable: gently massaging your scalp encourages the flow and drainage of lymph from your brain that keeps your brain and waste-removing lymphatic system in top form.

4. Deep, steamy breaths. If you’re showering, take a few moments to deeply breathe in steam that rises from the stream of water. You’ll calm your body, open up your airways, and help your body detox naturally.

5. Aromatherapy. In addition to steam, there are so many benefits to adding natural scents to your bathing routine; I recommend using small amounts of essential oils to avoid any synthetic fragrances. You can sprinkle a few drops of essential oils on your shower floor, make or purchase a baking soda-based aromatherapy tablet that dissolves on the floor of your shower and emits scent as you bathe, or mix essential oils with a carrier oil and/or natural salts to add to your bath. I share some of my favorite essential oils in this post.

6. Single-tasking. You’ve heard of multi-tasking, now single task— mindfully perform one task at a  time. I see this as kind of a mini warmup or trial run for meditation that strengthens the brain’s focus and calm in the same way. Pay attention to the details of your bathing ritual (even though I bet you could bathe in your sleep, it’s so routine) like scents, textures, and sensations, and you practice a habit that will serve you outside of your bathing ritual.

7. Dry brushing. I love dry brushing after I bathe— when my skin is clean and my circulation is already flowing. I think it’s the perfect addition to a bathing ritual, as it speeds up the flow of waste-removing lymph and brings glow and tone to your body (it can even reduce cellulite!). Get your own natural-bristle body brush and add this quick, transformative step to your routine using instructions found here or in the Eat Pretty books.

8. Skin-nourishing oils. The final wellness-boosting step I’d encourage you to adopt in your bathing routine is applying high-quality natural or organic oils to your skin. This practice gives you a chance to touch your skin, head to toe, and love your body. And plant-based oils will enhance the effects of your beauty diet from the outside-in.

What wellness practices do you love to incorporate in your own bathing ritual?

The Best Essential Oils for Your Bath

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Whenever I have one of those days where stress, work, and motherhood (or all of the above) wear me out yet leave me wired, a bath is how I wipe the slate clean and prepare for restful sleep. You might call it a bathing meditation, because it has similar effects for my mind and body.

Many of my clients who have had difficulty sleeping or managing stress have found a bath to be an ideal evening self-care practice. If nighttime is the time when cravings hit, or when you find yourself staying up too late binging on TV, or even when you tend to feel restless and unable to settle into sleep, I challenge you to break that routine with a bath. A warm bath (I like mine HOT, even though I know it's dehydrating to my skin...!) detoxifies, relaxes muscles, increases circulation, restores the mind & body, and pampers you. It's an ideal time to grab a magazine, listen to a podcast, slather on a face mask— or just stare at the ceiling and breathe. And then there's the water. You can find any number of amazing bath products (see a few faves at the end of this post) to boost the benefits of your bath, but just a few drops of the right essential oil make an otherwise average soak into a tailored spa treatment. I like to change it up but always come back to some combination of lavender + jasmine + sandalwood. 

To find out which essential oils are best for the bath, I previously interviewed essential oil expert Robin Block of Wyndmere Naturals for her picks. I also added some of my own favorites to this list! Pick the ones that speak to you and follow the key instructions afterward for a rewarding beauty ritual you'll revisit time and again:

Best Essential Oils for the Bath

  • Rose: “If I had to pick only one oil, I’d probably choose rose oil,” says Block. “It’s calming but gently uplifting and it helps with anxiety or nervous tension.” Rose oil supports all skin types, so even those with dry, sensitive skin will benefit from its restorative effects.
  • Cedarwood, Sandalwood or Rosewood: Block says that any oils that come from tree bark are incredibly soothing and grounding—and I totally agree. Sandalwood in particular is prized for its fragrance, as well as its calming properties, making it a personal fave.
  • Neroli: This lovely oil, which is extracted from orange blossom flowers, calms the mind and uplifts the spirit. It makes a great addition to a wintertime bath, since, “We’re often starved for uplifting scents in the winter,” Block says. Neroli is a gentle sedative that encourages sleep and reduces anxiety. Think of this oil as the antidote to a stressful day.
  • Vetiver: Vetiver, distilled from the roots of the vetiver plant, is a humectant oil that brings moisture to dry skin and peace to your mind. “In India, vetiver is called the oil of tranquility,” says Block.
  • Lavender: Known as the quintessential oil for calm, lavender is a favorite for nighttime baths and the treatment of insomnia. Lavender also supports damaged, stressed or irritated skin, making it a wonderful choice for many of those with skin issues.
  • Roman or German Chamomile: Chamomile is known for its gentle, calming properties, making it an excellent essential oil to add to a tension-reducing bath before bed.  Add a few drops of chamomile essential oil to a chamomile tea bag and let it soak in your bath for extra benefits, Block suggests.
  • Ylang Ylang or Jasmine:  Ylang ylang and jasmine essential oils maybe stimulants that uplift your mood, but I also find them to be soothing to your body. A bath scented with these exotic oils, which are aphrodisiacs and blend especially well together, also benefits dry skin.

After filling your bath, Block recommends that you wait a few minutes for the water to reach a warm temperature, and never get into a bath that’s steaming or scalding, since it does strip natural oils from the skin. (I'm trying to do this more!). Then sprinkle a few drops of your chosen essential oil (or essential oil blend, since most oils mix well with others) into a cup of whole milk or a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add this diluted mixture to your bath water and stir to blend. Add essential oils directly to hot water and they will evaporate quickly, along with their therapeutic benefits. Or, as an antidote to sore muscles, mix a few drops of essential oils into two cups of Epsom salts and dissolve into your bath.

When choosing essential oils for your bath, look for an indication that the oils are 100% pure and therapeutic grade. Brands like Wyndmere Naturals, Young Living, doTERRA and Aura Cacia are known for the purity of their oils.

Want to add instant therapeutic benefits to bath, with a product that's ready to use? These are some of my personal favorite natural and organic bath products:

EO Botanical Bath Salt Soaks. With a range of natural scents and a choice of different types of salts (from Himalayan pink to sea salt and Epsom salt), these are a great budget-friendly bath soak option. 

Pursoma Bath Soaks. The Pursoma Hot Tub Bath (a splurge at $36) in particular helped me stop a cold in its tracks. The best part of these detoxifying bath blends is the incredibly high-quality ingredients, including wild harvested seaweeds, organic ginger powder, and pure French clay.

Dr. Hauschka Aromatherapy Bath Kit. A collection of trial sizes of Dr. Hauschka’s rosemary, spruce, sage, lemon and lavender bath oils that make your bath smell amazing and leave your skin so moisturized and happy.

What's your current favorite natural or organic bath product?

Note: This post was originally published 8/26/11 and was most recently updated June 2017.

Join Me for a Free Fall Beauty Tune-Up in Brooklyn!

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Ready for fall and winter?

Maybe your skin is lagging behind a bit?

If you're in the Brooklyn area on Wednesday, November 6th, stop by The One Well Boutique to tune-up your natural beauty from the inside out— with an amazing group of estheticians, experts and natural beauty gurus who are offering a transformative (and free!) night. I'll be sampling my sweet and skin-strengthening Pumpkin Pecan Bites and offering tons of fall beauty nutrition advice, so come ask me your beauty questions! The one well is also packed with eco-chic products that make amazing holiday gifts, so get started early.

Hope to see you there!

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Don't Miss A Night for Green Beauty Sept 4 in NYC!

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Next Wednesday, the place to be in beauty won't be backstage at the fashion shows in Lincoln Center. It won't be at the world's largest Sephora in Shanghai, nor will it be in the top secret labs of L'Oreal or Revlon.

The place to be in beauty on Wednesday September 4th will be in NYC's Flatiron District, at the James Corbett Studio, from 5 to 9 pm.

 

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Reader Q: Do I Need to Detox?

Should detoxing be part of my beauty routine?

Q:  Do I need to detox?

A: That depends on two things:

1) what your current diet looks like

2) what detox means to you

‘Detox’ has become a quick answer to weight loss, turning it into a crash diet for many people. Detox now involves anything from consuming only juices for weeks at a time, to taking supplements, shakes, and powders, either in addition to meals or as meal replacements.

 

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The First Mass Market Facial Oils: Natural Vs. Conventional...Plus Your Chance to Win One!

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Flipping through a fashion mag last week, I saw an ad for new L'Oreal Age Perfect Glow Renewal Facial Oil, billed as The first facial oil*.

The claim seemed a little outrageous, until my eyes found the asterisk on the facing page that further explained *In the current Mass Market (non-Department Stores).

From there I glanced up to my desk, where I'd just set two samples of Seventh Generation's own new mass market facial oils (available in Walgreens). I thought it would be interesting to compare the two L'Oreal and the Seventh Generation products. I found that Seventh Gen's oils give L'Oreal's new oil a run for its money— in more ways than one.

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For Gorgeous Skin, Cut Sugar, but DON'T Cut These Sugar-Packed Foods!

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Being sugar-conscious is one of the smartest things you can do for your skin, simple as that.

But while you're working on cutting refined sugar (you know, the added sugars you get in just about every processed food, from granola bars to yogurt to cereals and tomato sauce), there's one type of sugar-containing food that you SHOULD NOT eliminate...fruit!

'But doesn't fruit contain just as much sugar as some processed foods?' you ask. Good question.

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5 Everyday Dishes with Natural UV Defense

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It’s August, and by now you’ve likely worked your way through a few tubes of natural sunscreen.

But if you really want to get smart about protecting your beauty from sun damage this year, you’ll pack your diet with a few major nutrients that amp up your skin’s natural ability to defend against UV damage, promote healing and reduce the negative effects of the sun.

For natural sun protection from the inside, go for lycopene, beta carotene, vitamins C + E (they’re a power couple when eaten together), and omega 3s. If you think it takes work to get these nutrients in your diet, think again. The following 5 dishes—all common summer foods— deliver a major dose of sun-protective sustenance. They’ll give you extra sun defense (though don’t ditch your sunscreen) that will boost your anti-aging power all summer long.

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Build a Better Summertime Breakfast

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It’s a steamy summer morning and the last thing on your mind is food. You’d like to take a cool shower and sit in front of the air conditioner— but no scrambling eggs or cooking oatmeal, please. Problem is, breakfast is your chance to rev up calorie burning after a night of fasting, give you energy to get through a busy morning, and deliver a major dose of beautifying nutrients to your body. Skipping breakfast means that you’ll miss out on all that great stuff!

What will sustain your beauty and body on hot summer mornings without weighting you down—or making you break a sweat? Here's my recipe for the perfect summertime smoothie.

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