The Plantbased & Un-cooked Experience

What not to sprout

All pulses/legumes (lentils, peas and beans) are easy to sprout and they are bursting with amino acids. The only problem is, they also contain a natural toxin called lectins, which can cause acute poisoning. Lectins are broken down when they are soaked and sprouted.

So you need to be careful when dealing with these kinds of foods and only sprout those I have listed further down, as most toxins will vanish in the sprouting process for some pulses and legumes and are still there in others. Garbanzo beans/Chickpeas can still be trouble some for some people, even after being sprouted, so be careful with this legume.

Symptoms of lectin poisoning

How will you know, that you have intolerance even though you sprout your beans? The mild version is gas and sometimes this can also develop into vomiting and diarrhea and in worst cases, large amounts of lectins can cause cramps and bleeding. So be careful when you deal with the type of food in its raw condition.

List of pulses/legumes to sprout safely

All these will sprout in 4-8 days and don’t eat them before this point, due to the amounts of lectins

  • Lentils
  • Peas (garden, sugar snap) (Pisum sativum & Pisum arvense)
  • Adzuki beans
  • Mung beans
  • Garbanzo/Chick peas


Stay away from or be careful with

The beans listed here are the ones with the highest amounts of lectins and these are dangerous or will cause stomach problems when eaten raw.

  • Kidney beans, lima beans, black beans, horse beans, runner beans, garden beans
  • Avoid peas from these sorts (L. sativus, L. cicera and L. clymenun)
  • Garbanzo beans/Chickpeas – they have trypsininhibitors, which which are proteins that inhibits us from digesting this food, unless it’s slightly cooked.
  • Also do not eat too many sprouts (max. 1/2 kilo a day) e.g. in juices, as the amounts of lectins in these safe sprouted beans add up and then you get too much.
  • Flax seeds/Linseeds have a natural toxin called cyanogene glycoses (CG), which in large amounts can cause problems in both sprouted and ground form. Eating 1/2 cup of flax seeds a day is not considered to be a problem. Other foods that contain CG is coffee beans, alfalfa sprouts, cassava (yucca), yams, almonds, peaches, cherries, apricots, any stone fruits and bamboo shoots and they are all safe to eat.
  • Both flax seeds and sunflowers have high amounts of the heavy metal cadmium, which can be absorbed by the body, if eaten in too large amounts
  • Buckwheats has the natural toxin called fogopyrin, which exist in sprouted buckwheats and the unsprouted buckwheat seeds as well. The amount of fagopyrin does not get lower through sprouting. If you are sensitive to fagopyrin, you will know as you will be sensitive to sun light, itching and red skin. Avoid juicing and blending buckwheats into your raw foods over extended periods. Unlike the shoots of the buckwheat plant, buckwheat groats, or seeds, are not generally problematic because they contain only trace quantities of fagopyrin. Buckwheat groats are commonly sold as Kasha or are ground into buckwheat flour, which is used to make soba noodles and buckwheat pancakes. These foods have long been used as staples in many cultures and appear to be perfectly safe. Notice, that these are vegan foods, but not raw.
  • Lucerne sprouts has the natural toxin called canavanine. Make sure when sprouting, that they have leaves before you eat them. These sprouts need to be taken in very large amounts (typically through juicing) in order to have a reaction.