The Pondering Grapefruit
a blog of moments
Recently I started sprouting. Mary, my housemate joined me for dinner one day, and we soon fell into our usual lovely conversations that I look forward to so much. She then mentioned that she has a giant bag of seeds to sprout.
Just a few days prior I had gone over to my friend’s house to bake some pies, and there I met her husband who introduced me to sprouting. He showed me the glass jar filled to the brim with excited little green plants.
After the pies were done baking, and right before leaving, I had a light dinner consisting of an English muffin cheese melt served with a side of these sprouts dressed with olive oil and sea salt. I had never tasted anything so fresh and delightful. It was as if these baby plants had twice as much joy as their adult plants--not so different from humans to be honest.
So when my roommate mentioned sprouts, I immediately caught interest and couldn't believe the timing of events.
We started sprouting that night. I decided to begin with a batch of alfalfa and red clover seeds, something easy. The back of the bag had a label of instructions: Soak the seeds; cover the top with a cheesecloth and rubber band and let the jar sit inverted overnight; in the morning rinse and rain the seeds; and then continue to rinse and rain the seeds twice a day for the next few days. The simplicity of the instructions left me a bit dumbfounded, but I figured there was only one way to learn if it really works: by taking the first step.
We began on a Sunday night, and throughout the week I found myself looking forward each morning to rinsing them before I left for work and excited to come home and see their progress. It was like having children, lots of them, children who you can keep in a glass jar in the corner of a room… and this is where the analogy falls apart.
And then, towards the end of the second day, I saw little roots! The seeds had germinated! From then on their growth seemed exponential. The roots grew twice as long the day after. Somehow a single tablespoon of seeds had grown into two cups of sprouts in just a matter of days.
"How do you know when they're ready?" I asked Mary.
"When they have tiny little leaves, I guess," she said.
After the fifth day, they had tiny little green leaves. I took them out of the jar, rinsed away all the seed casings, and put the sprouts inside a dry container in the fridge.
The sprouts have found their way into many meals since then. I garnish noodle soups with them, slip them into sandwiches, sprinkle them on top of buttered egg muffins. They taste just like the ones I had at my friend’s house: like sunlight, so fresh and sweet.
You can't get more local than your own kitchen," I remember her husband saying.
Some more seeds are growing as I speak. This time I experimented with growing two tablespoons of seeds in each jar and with growing some large and medium sized seeds. Aside from culinary pleasure, sprouting brings much psychological joy. It provides something for me to look forward to twice a day. Furthermore, it is mesmerizing to witness these seeds growing in spite of their circumstances. It doesn’t matter if it’s warm or cool, dark or bright—they just grow because that’s what they were meant to do. All it takes a just a bit of tending every day.
Taking care of these sprouts has made me realize that I am not so different from them. I too have the potential to grow every single day. You could say that growing is what I was meant to do too. My growth also requires care, though the instructions are a bit more complex (at least I consider myself to be a bit more complex than that of alfalfa sprouts, but who knows… I may be wrong!)
Now that the seasons are changing, and my mood is more vulnerable, I'm reminded that happiness is incredibly physiological. It is not found, but fought for, and once it grows it must be maintained.
For the past few weeks I’ve put a lot of attention to my lifestyle and come up with a daily checklist to upkeep my happiness. If I don't do these things, my happiness will begin to rot, just as the seeds will rot if I don't clean and drain their water. It's also a checklist because I've found checklists to be an invaluable tool for getting things done.
So here is my happiness checklist, to be repeated every morning:
It really is a simple list. Just good sleep habits, good eating habits, physical activity, and basic upkeep for the mind. I’ve found that even if one of these four pillars is defunct, I have a really hard time being my optimal self.
I’ve never asked anything of my readers before. This seems like a good place to start. If you feel inspired to create your own daily happiness checklist, I really encourage you to do so! And if you feel even more inspired to share with me, either in the comments or through email, I would love to hear about it.
May all beings sprout and be happy.
About this Blog
I have no idea how to describe what my writing is about. I just write. I post when I can, which can be weekly or monthly depending on where the universe is taking me. As for the Grapefruit, my Vietnamese nickname, Buoi, means grapefruit.