Everything you wanted to know about Chia seeds January 25 2015
View the full article on www.builtlean.com
Chia seeds have made a recent comeback and are generating a lot of buzz. Yes, we are talking about the same tiny seeds that used to sprout into goofy green hair on those once-beloved terracotta Chia Pets.
Ancient Aztec warriors valued chia seeds as a staple food in their diet. In the 80’s and 90’s in the U.S., people ran to the stores to purchase amusing Chia Pets. Now, some say that chia’s been rediscovered in the 21st century for its nutritional benefits.
It may have taken about five centuries, but this super seed has finally gained mainstream popularity for its superfood properties.
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia, also known as Salvia, is part of the flowering plant family known as Salvia Hispanica. Native to southern and central Mexico and Guatemala, it has been cultivated for centuries since pre-Columbian times. Chia seeds from this plant are often referred to as the “Aztec superfood,” as they were an essential component of the Aztec diet, providing sustained daily energy and medicinal support. Supposedly, just one tablespoon of chia seeds could sustain an individual for a 24-hour period!
The seeds are whole grain, nutritional powerhouses; chia seeds are known to have among the highest antioxidant activity of any whole food, are among the highest whole-food sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and carry more protein and fiber than most whole grains.
What Are The Benefits Of Chia Seeds?
Chia is packed with many vitamins and minerals including:
Heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids including a-linolenic acid (ALA)
Essential minerals including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc
Vitamins: B2, B3, C
Antioxidants including flavonoids and phenolic acids
These nutrients found in chia seeds have been linked to several health benefits:
1) Increases Energy & Endurance
Chia has an extremely high energy-to-weight ratio, providing more energy than most popular whole grains including wheat, rice, and oats. Chia provides a slow and stable release of glucose into the bloodstream during and following its digestion, helping the body to maintain a steady energy supply, and build stamina.
2) Promotes Hydration & Electrolyte Balance
Chia seeds are hygroscopic, and have the unique ability to absorb more than 12 times their weight in water. This quality allows chia to help support and prolong hydration, and to retain electrolytes in the body, particularly during physical exertion and exercise.
3) Chia May Help Lower Blood Pressure
There are many beneficial components of chia that may be responsible for the reduced systolic blood pressure associated with chia consumption observed in research: vegetable protein, complex carbohydrates, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, antioxidants, minerals.
4) Chia Helps Regulate Blood Glucose Levels
High levels of soluble fiber in chia help to slow the breakdown of complex carbohydrates to be released into the bloodstream as glucose. The unique hygroscopic property of chia is said to occur in the stomach after consumption, creating a gel barrier between the carbohydrates and digestive enzymes. Slowing the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar in the body allows for a slow and steady release of glucose into the bloodstream, and a steady insulin response.
5) Chia May Support Weight Loss
The slow and steady release of glucose into the bloodstream results in more consistent and balanced energy levels, allowing the body to feel full for a longer period of time, while quieting cravings for sugar-filled junk foods and simple carbohydrates. While this is not supported by everyone, it’s suggested the tiny seeds soak up fluid and expand in the digestive tract, keeping you feeling full and satisfied.
How Can You Fit Chia Seeds Into Your Diet?
As Chia is extremely versatile, you can easily incorporate it into your everyday diet.
Chia can be transformed into a nutrient-rich gel when added to liquid, making a great pudding that can stand alone, or can be added to foods for a nutritional boost. Chia has only a faint nutty taste when eaten raw, and it can effortlessly take on the taste of whatever food or drink it is added to.
Tips For Eating Chia Seeds
Sprinkle whole seeds onto oatmeal, yogurts, salads, etc. for a nutritious crunch
Combine with almond milk for a healthy raw pudding
Thicken and enhance sauces, salad dressing, and smoothies
Use to replace egg in recipes
Add to water or healthy beverages for promoted hydration
WHITE SUGAR VS. BROWN SUGAR January 06 2015
We bring you the sweetest advice for the sweetest teeth to go with the warm temperature vibe. A few years back, a great clash of titans erupted: White sugar vs. Brown sugar. As you know, we never fight the urge to sit still and always add a vital element, to this or any duel: alternatives. However, you will have to wait until next month to find out about them –there is so much to tell, we have decided not to cover all the information this month. Carry on reading to discover all we have to tell you!
First… is brown sugar healthier than white (or refined) sugar? So, let us first make a clear distinction between something being “healthier than” and something being “less unhealthy than” – a distinction very important when talking about a substance that is high on our “least wanted” list. Thus, the answer becomes that brown (unrefined) sugar is less unhealthy than refined, but even this will depend on the pureness of the brown sugar. The difference lies in the refinement process that the juice obtained from the sugar cane (or from beetroot, to obtain sucrose) undergoes. To get white sugar, cane sugar is subjected to a purification or cleansing process in which impurities are removed. Brown sugar comes directly from sugar cane juice, without undergoing any refinement process except for crystalizing, preserving this way both its mineral properties and its original flavour.
Sugar is a large calorie source in the modern diet, although mostly under the name of empty calories, for they aren’t accompanied by a mineral or vitamin contribution. So the best way to keep a healthy diet, given our diets aren’t precisely low-cal, is to take the least amount of sugar, white or brown, which our whim allows us. One thing to note amongst the benefits of brown sugar is it rich with alkaline mineral salts that help alkalise or PH, which is beneficial to our health, as our blood PH is usually to acid. The purest form of raw cane sugar is generally known as “panela”.
Reasons why white sugar is harmful to our health:
According to University of San Francisco investigators, refined sugar is a risk to our health, inducing a near of 35 million deaths worldwide every year.
It is so toxic it should equal alcohol or tobacco, as well as at least equally addictive.
Refined sugar doesn’t just cause cardiovascular diseases, hyper and hypoglycaemia, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, but also various types of cancer. When sugar levels in the body are excessive, this induces changes in the b-catenin protein, which promotes cell proliferation in tumour cells.
Generally, official medicine doesn’t give food any acknowledgement. A great number of scientists and integrative medicine doctors recognise that the best way to treat cancer is to cut the tumour and cancer cells’ power supply: one way to accomplish this is minimising the consumption of refined sugar, including products that contain it, such as biscuits, soft drinks, etc.
Sugar and oral health
Many epidemiological studies link excessive consumption of simple sugars with cavities. This association occurs because sugar feeds the bacteria that are naturally present in our mouth, resulting in growth of these bacteria, which cause tooth decay. It should be noted that in cavity formation other factors such as oral hygiene, fluoride availability, the quality of saliva and genetics are also important.
Sugar may cause resistance to insulin
Insulin is the hormone responsible for reducing blood sugar in cases of hyperglycaemia. This hormone acts through components called receptors, which send the message for the body to reduce blood sugar levels. It has been observed that excessive and continued intake of refined sugars produces insulin resistance, meaning that the cellular receptors responsible for capturing the insulin’s message do not act effectively. Imbalances in blood sugar levels can lead to long-term hyperglycaemia, diabetes, arteriosclerosis and cataracts.
Refined sugar creates addiction
Given that glucose is the only neurone substrate, it is indisputable that the quantity and quality of this nutrient in the diet can directly affect the nervous system and mood. Children especially, although the entire population in general, rapidly engage in the non-nutritive sweetness of refined sugar. It is much sweeter than natural sugar in foods, so the taste buds get used to this intense flavour and lose pleasure in natural sweetness. As a result, sugar consumption may displace more healthful products in your diet (fruits, also dehydrated, dried fruits, cereals, etc.).
It is well known that children with autism are very sensitive to sugar. It can increase their levels of candida, a fungus that affects the intestinal yeast and is in permanent imbalance in autistic people due to immune deficiency. Therefore, it is desirable to eliminate all sugars from their diet.
Children’s activity rate may also be affected by refined sugars. These sugars and carbohydrates enter their bloodstream quickly, thus producing rapid changes in blood sugar levels. This is why a sugar free diet for hyperactive or attention deficit children is recommended.
Sugar is also a big enemy of progressive illnesses such as Parkinson’s. Removing sugar consumption could help eliminate the neurological dysfunction of people with Parkinson, reversing or eliminating any of the tremors commonly associated with the disease.
So, dear readers… we don’t want to frighten you with these news, but alert you of what you really do to your body when consuming white sugar. However, not all is lost, for next month equally sweet alternatives will be waiting for you – much healthier for your organism, though!
Celebrate World Vegan Month with three sweet and savory recipes by Danielle Waldron November 14 2014
View the full article on www.flavor574.com
Whether you are already vegetarian or vegan, are friends with a person who is or are simply curious about the lifestyle, these three meat- and dairy-free recipes are sure to win over even the strictest of vegans.
SPICY SWEET CHILI
This recipe is my mom’s and she adapted it just for me when I went vegan. The non-vegan/non-vegetarian recipe had ground beef and honey in it. I make this about once a week — it’s a favorite, especially for colder nights.
1 green pepper, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans dark red kidney beans
1 can petite diced tomatoes
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. thyme leaves
1 tsp. cumin
Rinse and chop the pepper and jalapeños. If you desire a spicier chili, leave the seeds in the peppers. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add the garlic and green peppers and stir until soft and the garlic is fragrant. Add tomatoes and kidney beans (don’t drain either of them) and add the jalapeños and the spices. Stir well. Place lid on pot and let simmer on low for at least 20 minutes. Stir frequently.
This is another of my mom’s recipes as well. When I went vegan a little more than a year ago, my mom had to get really creative with making meals that were non-dairy but also delicious.
1 can enchilada sauce (medium is good, but can be as hot or mild as you’d like)
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided
1 can black beans
6 wheat tortillas (be sure the package denotes it as “lard free”)
Optional: soy or dairy-free cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, stir ½ cup of the enchilada sauce, ½ cup of the diced tomatoes with some juice and 2 tbsp. of the cilantro. Drain the black beans and add to the mixture. Stir well.
In a small bowl, stir in the remaining enchilada sauce, diced tomatoes and cilantro.
Spoon the black bean mixture into a tortilla and sprinkle some soy cheese onto the mixture. Wrap the tortilla and place in the pan (seam side down). Spoon the enchilada sauce mixture over the wrapped enchilada, topping with more cheese if you like.
Bake for 20 minutes covered with foil.
Remove the foil and bake for 10 additional minutes or until cheese is bubbly and the tortillas are golden.
A common misconception I run into is, as a vegan, I “don’t eat sweets or junk food” which is totally untrue ... vegans like sweets just like the next person. I brought these into work for the crew that had to work on Fourth of July and it was well-received. In full disclosure, I’m not much of a baker — I much prefer cooking — but these cupcakes from Babble were fun and tasty.
For the cupcakes:
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
½ granulated sugar
¼ cup. canola oil
¾ cup vanilla almond milk
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar
For the frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup melted and cooled vegan butter (I use Earth Balance which can be found at nearly any grocery store)
2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat the oven to 365 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with 10 liners.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. If you’re using a stand or electric mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix on low for a few seconds. Add remaining ingredients and mix on medium until well blended and smooth.
Fill the liners with the batter and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Remove cupcakes from the pan and cool completely. While cooling, combine all frosting ingredients. If using a stand or electric mixer, beat on low then increase to medium-high until fluffy. Adjust consistency of frosting by adding more sugar or more butter if too thin or too thick, respectively.
Frost as desired.
July Newsletter - Where to find the "Good" fats July 20 2014
Hello there, Ekotraders!
In this newsletter you will know more about where to find "good" fats, in addition to giving you highlights on Medium Chain Triglycerides. We hope you enjoy it!
Importance of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)
Rich sources for extraction of the beneficial MCTs include palm kernel oil and coconut oil –an MCT would be their concentrated forms. Instead of being metabolised through the digestion process like other fats are, MCTs are taken straight to the liver where they act very similar to carbohydrates, providing instant –and well-sustained- energy.
If you want to feel the effects of this for yourself, put a tablespoon of MCTs in your coffee. This will feel like you gave your body rocket fuel.
But it’s not just the energy you get that’s interesting. MCTs improve blood sugar regulation, improve metabolism (especially fat metabolism), may improve thyroid function, improve appetite regulation, and are used to treat many ailments (Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, seizures, cystic fibrosis, etc.).
As far as brain function goes, MCT oil is like rocket fuel because it enhances ketone production. Ketones, of course, are a more efficient fuel for your brain.
Of course, a side effect of all of that is improved body composition. If you’re into burning fat, MCTs are your friend.
Getting MCTs in your diet is simple. For starters, you should be using coconut oil for something on a day-to-day basis, whether you’re cooking with it, putting it in a smoothie, or eating it with a spoon.
Pure MCT oil is a highly recommended supplement. You can cook with the oil itself (or add it to the oil/fat you’re already cooking with –as long as temperature stays under 160ºC). You can put it straight into your smoothie, coffee, or tea. And you can use it in your salad dressing or soups.
Coconut oil is an edible oil that has been consumed in tropical places for thousands of years. Studies done on native diets high in coconut oil consumption show that these populations are generally in good health, and don’t suffer as much from many of the modern diseases of western nations where coconut oil is seldom consumed. It has many health benefits:
Improves or reverses Alzheimer’s Disease
Improves type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Kills Candida Fungus
Improves or heals many skin diseases
Provides peak performance energy
Helps with Hypothyroidism
Raises body temperature
Conditions and strengthens hair
Kills many bacteria and viruses
Promotes weight loss
Preserves muscle mass
Coconut oil is being introduced into western kitchen on a more regular basis every day, mainly for the health benefits it provides, but also for its rich, sweet and original taste. On our behalf you will soon have Foodin coconut oil available, which will surely give a great twist to your meals! It will be available in Spain this week, and you will be able to purchase it on our online store from the 28th of July onwards.
Thank you for reading us another month, Ekotraders! We hope to have been helpful and that you contact us with any questions or issues that may arise, on this or on any other matter. You can count on us for anything you wish!
Raw Chocolate Health Benefits & Profile June 08 2014
View the full article on www.builtlean.com
You may know that dark chocolate is a healthier choice than milk chocolate and that the cocoa in chocolate can offer a wide range of health benefits.
What you may not know is that most dark chocolate today is so highly processed that it loses most of its nutrient and antioxidant strength and really provides you with nothing more than excess sugar and fat. You may have also never learned the important difference between cacao and cocoa…but you will soon!
This quick guide is meant to restore the artery-clogging and fat-gaining reputation of chocolate. You will learn the most important facts about raw chocolate including its impressive health benefits, where to buy it, and how to incorporate this superfood into your diet.
What is Raw Chocolate?
Cacao (ka·cow) is the raw, unprocessed form of chocolate. These untreated seeds referred to as cacao beans can be considered a superfood offering a wealth of antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals.
Is it true that chocolate grows on trees? If you thought “Yes”, you are certainly right.
The superstar of chocolate known as cacao beans are grown on small trees named Theobroma cacao, which literally translates to “cacao, the food of the gods” in the Greek language. These trees are native to Mexico, Central and South America. Each cacao pod that emerges from the tree typically houses between 40 and 60 cacao seeds. After careful harvesting, the pods are opened, the seeds are removed, and they undergo a natural fermentation and drying process. After the drying process is completed in 1-2 weeks, you are left you with raw cacao beans.
To make the chocolate that we all know and love, these raw cacao beans are then roasted to form cocoa, which is then combined with sugar and fats until the beans are unrecognizable. The high heat during the roasting process reduces the levels of antioxidants in the cacao, minimizing the powerful health benefits found in the unprocessed, raw cacao. To receive the greatest benefits from cacao, look for ‘raw’, non-roasted cacao beans.
Raw Chocolate Health Benefits
Magnesium, and other essential minerals including calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
Polyphenols called flavonoids, with antioxidant properties
Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E
Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
These nutrients found in raw chocolate have been linked to a number of health benefits:
1) Raw chocolate can lower blood pressure & improve circulation
Flavanols, theobromine, and other components found in cacao may lower blood pressure and enhance circulation by promoting dilation, strength, and health of blood vessels
2) Raw chocolate can promote cardiovascular function & health
The antioxidant power of flavonoids and essential minerals and vitamins found in cacao can support healthy heart functioning by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, lowering LDL cholesterol, and reducing plaque buildup on artery walls.
3) Raw chocolate Can Neutralize free radicals
High levels of antioxidants protect the body from a buildup of free radicals from sun exposure, pollution, cigarette smoking, etc., which may damage healthy body tissue giving rise to cancer and cardiovascular disease.
4) Raw Chocolate can improve digestion
A sufficient amount of fiber delivered with each serving of cacao supports digestion while cacao stimulates the body’s production of digestive enzymes.
5) Raw chocolate can enhance physical and mental well-being
There are many components of cacao including alkaloids, proteins, beta-carotene, leucine, linoleic, lipase, lysine, and theobromine, that all work together to improve physical and mental health. For example, theombromine helps to stimulate the central nervous system, relax smooth muscles, and dilate blood vessels, giving the body a boost of energy; “bliss” chemicals found in cacao help to increase circulation and availability of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in brain, improving mood and combating depression.
Raw Chocolate Buying Tips
Cacao beans can be found at most health food markets including Whole Foods, and online at Amazon, or Navitas Naturals.
Raw cacao can be purchased as whole beans (peeled or unpeeled), nibs, or powder
Nutri-Nick is making News March 13 2014