You’ve got kale, spinach, and collard greens down, right? Well, time to add another super-veggie into your energy-boosting diet. Enter kohlrabi!
Kohlrabi is a vegetable that is part of the cabbage family and is often referred to as German Turnip. It looks similar to a turnip and comes with purple, white, or green skin but the flesh inside is white. The leaves, stem and skin are all edible and the whole thing can be eaten raw or cooked.
If you need an instant immune system boost, then try snacking on a cup of raw Kohlrabi. Of all the vitamins in kohlrabi, vitamin C is the most abundant. In fact, a cup of raw kohlrabi has almost 84 mg of vitamin C, which is more than enough to meet your daily requirements. It also has a good amount of the B vitamins, such as vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and folate. B vitamins play a role in increasing metabolic rates and maintaining healthy skin and hair.
It has approximately 8 grams of carbohydrates and, almost 5 grams of this is from dietary fiber. This makes it a great source of energy and helps to keep you full longer whilst being beneficial for your digestion. Kohlrabi is a powerhouse of minerals too and contains magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, selenium. and particularly high levels of potassium. The best part of all is that it’s super low in calories with a cup at only 36Kcal. Shred it on your salads, sautee it with your veggies or just bite into it like an apple! It is so versatile, here are some recipes to inspire you:
Kohlrabi Asian Salad
Shaved Kohlrabi with Apple and Hazelnuts
Everyone loves the taste of chocolate and those who like to indulge every now and then should know that there is a way to satisfy their craving in a healthier and more nutritious way!
'Cacao' is one of the main components of all chocolate, although you may have heard the word 'Cocoa' used more often. Generally 'Cocoa' refers to a more processed chocolate product with added sugar, as opposed to raw Cacao which has no sugar and is in its raw and natural state.
Most people are unaware that Cacao has one of the highest amounts of antioxidants of all known food! It boasts a high level of many amazing nutrients, especially magnesium, iron and zinc. These three are key for healthy blood formation, brain and heart function and strong bones. Cacao is full of health promoting and beautifying fatty acids and minerals, as well as a top source of nutrients that support mood and the immune system. It has been used for thousands of years to boost health and energy levels and infact the generic name 'Theobroma' is derived from Greek which means "Food of the Gods."
The main differences between raw organic chocolate and commercially processed chocolate are the processing methods used and the added ingredients:
Commercially processed chocolate:
- Highly processed through intense high heating method which ultimately 'burns' out all the nutrients of cacao.
- Made by gently heating to temperature of a maximum of 40c (104F). This ensure all of the enzymes are kept intact and the amazing nutrients are still present.
Commercially processed chocolate:
- Has a list of added ingredients such as white refined sugar, milk products, palm oil many other ingredients that we should all be avoiding in our diets. These ingredients include nasty chemicals, additives and preservatives.
- The end product is highly refined and processed and holds no nutritional benefits. Excess consumption can lead to diabetes, weight gain and many other health issues.
- Has a maximum of 4 to 5 plant based ingredients. Each ingredient has its own nutritional benefits, and being raw, they are readily absorbed by the body ensuring you reap all the health benefits.
- Raw chocolate has no refined sugars and is sweetened using a natural form of sugar such as coconut nectar, raw honey, agave or maple syrup.
- The final product is natural, organic and pure and is suitable for people with different dietary needs such as vegans, vegetarians, people following a gluten/wheat/soy or lactose-free diet and even diabetics.
We are all love to indulge once in a while so make it a guilt-free treat and take advantage of the many nutritional benefits in raw chocolate!
When it comes to food and health, as Hippocrates once said, 'Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food’.
TURMERIC is often labeled “powdered Gold” for its incredible health benefits. It has been scientifically proven to exhibit powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and has the potential to fight off various malignant diseases such as diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Here are our 5 favourite ways to add Turmeric to your diet.
Butternut squash and Pumpkins are great store cupboard items as they last for weeks and are a great superfood. Just one cup provides 300% of the daily value of Vitamin A, and its an excellent source of Vitamin C, and one of the few vegetable sources of Vitamin E. It's are great shaved with a potato peeler, it can also be added to stir-fries or chinked and added to a tray of roasted vegetables. Roasted butternut and sweet potato soup is easy to make and is packed full of vitamins and minerals. It can easily be turned into a nutritious supper with the addition of a handful of leftover chicken or turkey.
Try this easy Butternut squash and Sweet Potato soup recipe.
Allergies to Superfoods are more common then one thinks. I am personally very experimental with food and love trying new things, especially when I know that they carry an increased amount of nutrition. However there is something I feel I need to highlight, especially as I see it more and more around me. It seems to be the most common in people who have shifted to a healthy diet that contains many 'new age' foods, and in the process developed digestive issues, respiratory issues and the likes.
'How can that be?' I hear you say, everything that's healthy is good for us!!
Well in theory yes, but in practice things are a little bit different. If you think about it, our bodies are used to receiving and processing foods that are grown in areas of the world where we live and where our ancestors lived. The body can get very confused when you give it something that has been grown at 4000m up a mountain on the other side of the world: it has never had it, doesn't recognise it and is simply not physiologically made to consume it. This can result in many different reactions in the body. My suggestion is to be careful when trying something new or unusual, even if its recognised as a superfood. Start with small amounts and keep your awareness on your body and how you feel over the weeks to come. Sometimes the reaction is not instantaneous, but rather a cumulative one as the body ingests more and more of the substance. On a personal note, having never suffered form any allergy at all, I noticed a reaction to the amazing Chia Seeds. After a few months of me consuming them quite frequently, I developed respiratory issues which got progressively worse. Following numerous trips to the doctor and no answers, I proceeded to eliminate several foods and found Chia seeds to be the culprit (symptoms gone for more then a year).
So Yes Superfoods can be absolutely amazing for you, but proceed with care when trying them out, especially with kids as the reactions can be stronger.
MANUKA HONEY from New Zealand has long been valued for its 'miraculous' healing properties and is quickly gaining worldwide recognition. It is made by bees who collect nectar exclusively from New Zealand's native Manuka Bushes.
I came to know the honey a few years back when a friend was using it during an illness as her 'medicine' which she said had amazing healing effects.
Manuka honey contains a unique antibacterial ingredient not found in other honeys that makes it an effective antibiotic and wound healer. According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Manuka Honey has been used to promote wound healing, relieve gastrointestinal problems, has the ability to fight infectious microbes and bacteria, reduces inflammation in the body and helps with cancer treatment.
This type of honey is hard to find and I was thrilled to come across it today at the Ripe organic store (it can also be found at Spinney's and Park n' Shop supermarkets). You'll notice that the bottle has UMF 5+ on it. 'Unique Manuka Factor' commonly known as UMF is the only worldwide standard in identifying and measuring the antibacterial strength or quality of some strains of Manuka. It is a guarantee that the honey being sold to you has the special UMF antibacterial property and the number indicates the strength.
The higher the number, the higher the concentration. I usually buy UMF 10+ for daily consumption (or 5+ if they've run out of 10+!). UMF 15+ and 18+ increase significantly in price and have therapeutic concentrations - taking into consideration the significant price increase, I would recommend them more for people with chronic conditions who need the extra boost.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR is a wonder potion that can be used for treating or preventing a multitude of conditions. Here are five of my absolute favourites:
Apple cider vinegar regulates acid levels in the stomach and can really
help with acid reflux. It also increases good bacteria in the gut and fights conditions like Candida. Its antibiotic properties can help with bacterial infections in the stomach. It also contains pectin, which can help soothe stomach cramps and generally comfort your tummy. Simply mix 1tsp/1 tablespoon of vinegar in a glass of water and drink (you can add a bit of honey if the taste is too sharp for you).
Sip this before eating. If you know you're going to indulge in foods that will make you sorry later, try this: Add 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water and drink it 30 minutes before you eat.
3-Cold and flu
Most germs can't survive in the acidic environment vinegar creates, so as soon as you feel your throat hurting, use the vinegar to bust the germs! Just mix ¼ cup apple cider vinegar with ¼ cup warm water and gargle every hour.
To clear a stuffy nose, mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of warm water and drink. This helps drain your sinuses.
4-Beat workout fatigue
Exercise and extreme stress cause lactic acid to build up in the body, causing fatigue. The amino acids contained in apple cider vinegar act as an antidote to this. What’s more the potassium and enzymes in the vinegar act as a pick-me-up! Next time you're feeling beat, add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to a glass of chilled water and sip.
5-Night-time leg cramps
If you’re prone to night-time cramps, add 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and a little honey to a glass of water and drink before going to sleep. This will hopefully ease night-time leg cramps for good!
The Chia Seed brings huge numbers of unsurpassed nutrition along with amazing health benefits. With over 27 key nutrients, it contains six times more calcium than milk does. It also comes with 100% more Omega-3 nutrients than salmon as well as 41% of your overall daily fiber needs, and at only forty-one calories in a single serving of Chia seeds. The benefits include increased energy levels, improved digestion, and better complexion. It can also tone your muscles, boost your mental sharpness, and allow you to sleep better at night. It is a fantastic source of cholesterol-free protein and is packed with complete vegetable proteins. The organic chia seeds also contain a great deal of fiber, with two tablespoons giving you 42% of the amount of fiber you need to consume daily. I buy mine at the Organic Food Café in Dubai and have it religiously with my oats every morning. The seeds are practically flavourless so they will not alter the taste of your foods. They turn into a jelly texture when you mix them with liquids. My kids Sprinkle them on their porridge or cereal in the morning and they love them! You can sprinkle Chia seeds on salads, throw them in stews, mix them with yoghurt or juice, and bake them in pastries. Your imagination is the limit as you can serve them in seconds. They also have an impressive shelf life so you can store them as long as you want to. They are best kept in the fridge.
Here is Dr Perricone giving his view on Chia Seeds:
RAW Cacao, not to be confused with highly processed chocolate bars sold these days, is one of the richest sources of anti-oxidants out there! It is jam packed with minerals and is especially rich in iron, zinc and magnesium. It also contains neurotransmitters like serotonin, which helps keep the feel-good chemicals in your brain active and buzzing for a long time after you've had your chocolate.
As more of us seek healthy chocolate alternatives without all the added sugars, milk fat and artificial additives and preservatives, I set it upon myself to find the best authentic Raw Chocolate products out there. This grueling task required eating enormous quantities of chocolate…or at least that’s what I told myself in between tastings! In the end, I found a few chocolate products that fit the category in Dubai, there may be more out there but I think my chocolate fest needs to come to an end very quickly:
Both of these are sold in Organic Food and Café.
Pacari Chocolate: All of the raw ingredients are 100% organic and produced according to fair and equitable standards. New flavors include yummy Lemongrass and Wild Blueberry.
Conscious Chocolate: These organic, raw, handmade bars are sweetened with Agave nectar (cactus syrup) which doesn’t imbalance the natural blood sugar levels. The flavors are exquisite, and range form Goji Berry and coconut flakes to bars infused with therapeutic essential oils such as rose and tangerine.
Our friends at Goumbook (the first ME online green directory) have several companies listed in their directory that supply raw cacao products in Dubai. Check them out here: http://goumbook.com/category/directory/food-and-drink/chocolate/
Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is a wonderful Superfood that we’ve all heard a lot about over the last couple of years. Why is it so great and more importantly how can we including it in our cooking?
The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron and is a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins.
It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids. Some types of wheat come close to matching quinoa's protein content, but grains such as barley, corn, and rice generally have less than half the protein of quinoa. Quinoa is about 18% protein and just 1/2-cup will provide a child’s protein needs for one day! How amazing is that? The 6-7% fat of quinoa is relatively high when compared to other grains, but it boasts a low sodium content and also provides valuable starch and fiber. The seeds are gluten-free which makes this a nutritious and flavorful alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity. Quinoa is a worthy addition to anyone's diet, supplying variety as well as good nutrition.
So now for the big question: how do we cook it and how can we include it in our diet?
A classmate of mine, gave me a great breakfast recipe for the kids:
Boil the Quinoa in a little bit of water until the grains open up, add some almond milk, cinnamon, chopped banana and a little honey to taste…It’s a great alternative to porridge and really does taste good for adults and children alike!
We cook brown rice almost daily in our home as an accompaniment to stews. I mix the quinoa in with the rice and boil them together for a more nourishing alternative. It can also be a substitute for the rice.
Cooked quinoa is excellent in hot casseroles and soups, stews, in stir-fries, or cold in salads. The seeds cook very quickly, in only 15 minutes. Uncooked seeds may be added to soups and stews as you would barley or rice. Cold salads consisting of quinoa and chopped vegetables or cooked beans make a quick, easy, and nutritious dish.
One of my favorite recipes is this Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, sooooo delicious:http://www.glowpeople.com/5/post/2013/05/quinoa-salad.html
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