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Farmers Market Finds: Protein-Packed Produce for Meatless Monday!

August 8 2016 Meatless Monday 

Farmers Market Finds: Protein-Packed Produce for Meatless Monday!National Farmers Market Week, August 7-13, is a wonderful time to explore the markets in your community and plan new and exciting meatless meals with local fruits and veggies. In honor of the week-long celebration, we’ve put together this list of protein-packed produce to look for at the market and add to your menu plan. These delicious (and nutritious) veggies make it easy to create balanced meals for Meatless Monday!     1. Green Peas At the farmers market youll often find fresh-picked green peas still in the peapod. Peas have a powerful serving of protein - up to 9 grams of per cup when cooked -and are also rich in fiber, potassium, iron, zinc, folate, B vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin K. Make them the star of your entrée or add them to soup, salad, or stir fry.       2. Broccoli Farm-fresh broccoli is as rich in flavor and fiber as it is in protein. Broccoli can be enjoyed raw, steamed, roasted, stir-fried, baked in casseroles or stirred into soups. Broccoli provides over 5 grams of protein per cup and plenty of vitamin A, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin C and vitamin K and high levels of potassium, calcium and phosphorus.     3. Mushrooms Mushrooms are a protein-rich food but are better known for their savory flavors, meaty textures, and versatility in the kitchen. On their own one cup of raw mushrooms has roughly 2 grams of protein – add them to dishes with other veggies for even more flavor and vegetable protein. Ask farmers in your local market which varieties you should try.       4. Brussels Sprouts If youve never seen brussels sprouts fresh on the stalk, youve got to find them in person at your farmers market this season. This tiny, protein-packed (about 4 grams of protein per cup) cruciferous vegetable may have gotten a bad rap in popular culture, but youll love what happens when you roast them with a little olive oil and your favorite spices.         5. Asparagus Asparagus is a wonderful vegetable for summer being perfect for the grill, roasting, quick blanching, or even eating raw. This veggie contains up to 4 grams of protein per cup and also adds a lot of fiber and minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, folate and chromium to your meal. Asparagus looks fancy, but its an easy-to-cook nutritional powerhouse.         6. Artichokes Artichokes might be known for their flavor and fiber content, but they have substantial protein to offer as well (roughly the same as spinach). These flowers can be blended, steamed, roasted, or transformed into a delicious dip. Get fresh artichokes at the farmers market and your dinner guests will be more than impressed with a meatless spread.       7. Spinach Spinach is probably the most famous protein-rich veggie in the bunch; this vibrant seasonal green is not to be missed. Spinach shines as a raw ingredient in salad, sautéed with other veggies, or blended in green juices and smoothies. With over 5 grams of protein per cup, spinach makes getting your daily servings of protein easy.         8. Kale Kale is a versatile, protein-filled green that works well in everything from salads and smoothies to soups and casseroles. With nearly as much protein per serving as spinach, kale offers fiber, vitamin A, and more vitamin C per serving than oranges. Farmers cultivate a variety of types of kale, including curly, frilled, and textured dinosaur leaves.         9. Cauliflower A cruciferous cousin of broccoli, cauliflower makes a moderate protein impact of its own while adding texture and body to meatless meals. Cut your fresh head of cauliflower into thick slices width-wise to make cauliflower steaks, chop into florets and swap in for broccoli in your favorite recipes, or mash it with potatoes to a less starchy alternative.       Farmers markets offer a huge variety of protein-rich foods to make your Meatless Monday fresh, tasty and healthy. Stop by your local market to find even more ideas for delicious meals this season!   Hungry for more fresh farmers market finds? Tour the Union Square Greenmarket with Chef Bryce Shuman of Betony Restaurant in NYC: The post Farmers Market Finds: Protein-Packed Produce for Meatless Monday! appeared first on Meatless Monday.

Why Garlic Should Be a Diet Staple

April 5 2016 Vegetarian Times 

Why Garlic Should Be a Diet Staple Garlic is a favorite ingredient for cooks around the world--and provides a variety of health benefits. Heres how to get the most from this ancient superfood. Garlic may stink, literally, but when it comes to health benefits, this plant is a winner. Not only is it rich in phosphorus, calcium, and copper, but when incorporated into a regular diet, it may reduce risks of cancer and heart disease. Garlic Benefits Garlics benefits include lowering total cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing oxidative stress--which has been linked to numerous health conditions--controlling infections, helping keep iron in circulation, and possibly reducing the risk of cancer, says George Mateljan, Hawaii-based author of The Worlds Healthiest Foods (GMF Publishing, 2015) and founder of Health Valley Foods. Cooked vs. Raw Garlic As for its famous odor? Not until you cut into a garlic clove will its sulfur compounds release their smell. The compounds found in raw garlic confer the greatest health benefits, but cooked garlic is a superstar, too--lending a flavor kick to soups, stews, breads, meats, vegetables, sauces, and dressings. It can also be roasted on its own so that each clove becomes soft and spreadable. Meanwhile, letting crushed garlic stand for 10 minutes before cooking with it can prevent the loss of its cancer-fighting properties, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition. See also High and Low: Garlic Presses Know Your Garlic Supermarkets usually carry just one kind of garlic, but there are actually hundreds of different types--they can be found at farmers markets and garlic festivals (see left). They all fall into one of two general categories: Softneck Characteristics >> Most frequently found in grocery stores, this type produces stalks, but usually also has more individual cloves than the hardneck types. Flavor profile >> Generally milder than hardneck. Common types >> Silverskin and artichoke Hardneck Characteristics >> Garlics in this category feature hard, woody stalks that often send up a floral stalk, and are larger but provide fewer cloves per bulb than softneck varieties. Flavor profile >> This category includes a wider variety of flavors--including some that border on intense--than softneck garlics. Common types >> Rocambole, porcelain, purple stripe, marbled purple stripe, glazed purple stripe Garlic supplements to try Although garlic and its derivatives are included on the Food and Drug Administrations Generally Recognized As Safe list, check with your doctor before taking garlic supplements, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on blood-thinning medications. Here are a few options: Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract $21.99/­­300 Formula 100 capsules; kyolic.com Metagenics SuperGarlic 6000 $31.95/­­90 600 mg concentrate tablets; metagenics.com Natural Factors GarlicRich Super Strength Garlic Concentrate $13.97/­­90 500 mg coated softgels; natralfactors.com Natures Way Garlic Bulb $5.49/­­100 580 mg vegetarian capsules; naturesway.com The Vitamin Shoppe Aged Garlic Extract $15.99/­­200 600 mg capsules; vitaminshoppe.com

9 Farmers Market Veggies that Put Protein on Your Plate

August 3 2015 Meatless Monday 

9 Farmers Market Veggies that Put Protein on Your PlateNational Farmers Market Week, August 2-8, is a wonderful time to explore the markets in your community and plan new and exciting meatless meals with local fruits and veggies. In honor of the week-long celebration, we’ve put together this list of protein-packed produce to look for at the market and add to your menu plan. These delicious (and nutritious) veggies make it easy to create balanced meals for Meatless Monday!     1. Green Peas At the farmers market youll often find fresh-picked green peas still in the peapod. Peas have a powerful serving of protein - up to 9 grams of per cup when cooked -and are also rich in fiber, potassium, iron, zinc, folate, B vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin K. Make them the star of your entrée or add them to soup, salad, or stir fry.       2. Broccoli Farm-fresh broccoli is as rich in flavor and fiber as it is in protein. Broccoli can be enjoyed raw, steamed, roasted, stir-fried, baked in casseroles or stirred into soups. Broccoli provides over 5 grams of protein per cup and plenty of vitamin A, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin C and vitamin K and high levels of potassium, calcium and phosphorus.     3. Mushrooms Mushrooms are a protein-rich food but are better known for their savory flavors, meaty textures, and versatility in the kitchen. On their own one cup of raw mushrooms has roughly 2 grams of protein – add them to dishes with other veggies for even more flavor and vegetable protein. Ask farmers in your local market which varieties you should try.       4. Brussels Sprouts If youve never seen brussels sprouts fresh on the stalk, youve got to find them in person at your farmers market this season. This tiny, protein-packed (about 4 grams of protein per cup) cruciferous vegetable may have gotten a bad rap in popular culture, but youll love what happens when you roast them with a little olive oil and your favorite spices.         5. Asparagus Asparagus is a wonderful vegetable for summer being perfect for the grill, roasting, quick blanching, or even eating raw. This veggie contains up to 4 grams of protein per cup and also adds a lot of fiber and minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, folate and chromium to your meal. Asparagus looks fancy, but its an easy-to-cook nutritional powerhouse.         6. Artichokes Artichokes might be known for their flavor and fiber content, but they have substantial protein to offer as well (roughly the same as spinach). These flowers can be blended, steamed, roasted, or transformed into a delicious dip. Get fresh artichokes at the farmers market and your dinner guests will be more than impressed with a meatless spread.       7. Spinach Spinach is probably the most famous protein-rich veggie in the bunch; this vibrant seasonal green is not to be missed. Spinach shines as a raw ingredient in salad, sautéed with other veggies, or blended in green juices and smoothies. With over 5 grams of protein per cup, spinach makes getting your daily servings of protein easy.         8. Kale Kale is a versatile, protein-filled green that works well in everything from salads and smoothies to soups and casseroles. With nearly as much protein per serving as spinach, kale offers fiber, vitamin A, and more vitamin C per serving than oranges. Farmers cultivate a variety of types of kale, including curly, frilled, and textured dinosaur leaves.         9. Cauliflower A cruciferous cousin of broccoli, cauliflower makes a moderate protein impact of its own while adding texture and body to meatless meals. Cut your fresh head of cauliflower into thick slices width-wise to make cauliflower steaks, chop into florets and swap in for broccoli in your favorite recipes, or mash it with potatoes to a less starchy alternative.       Farmers markets offer a huge variety of protein-rich foods to make your Meatless Monday fresh, tasty and healthy. Stop by your local market to find even more ideas for delicious meals this season! The post 9 Farmers Market Veggies that Put Protein on Your Plate appeared first on Meatless Monday.

The Best Vegan Milk (Non-Dairy) Alternatives

April 22 2015 VegKitchen 

The Best Vegan Milk (Non-Dairy) AlternativesAre you looking for some healthy vegan milk alternatives that can please your taste buds at the same time? Well, the market is flooded with dozens of non-dairy milk beverages and quite a few of them are worth trying. Sounds interesting? Read on below to learn more: Why Vegan Milk is a Good Choice for You? No matter whether you are a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, picking non-dairy milk alternatives over the regular ones is always beneficial for you. Let us dig a bit deeper and find out why one should go for vegan milk choices: - Being free of lactose, it is non-allergenic. So, if you are allergic to cow milk, going vegan will help you a lot. - If you have lactose intolerance, the chances are big that you experience acid reflux, abdominal gas, bloating, etc. frequently. Dairy-free milk substitutes can eliminate these symptoms fast and easily. - Acne and regular milk always go hand in hand. The risk becomes even greater in case of skimmed milk. But when you replace your dairy consumption with the vegan alternatives, you get rid of it. - When the milk is produced from a cow non-organically, it gets contaminated by the antibiotics and hormones injected into the animals body. The unnatural production process of milk also causes mastitis to cows, which results into the presence of pus in milk. All these lead to hormonal imbalances and various other ailments in human beings. However, when you opt for non-dairy milk, you can always stay away from these worries. - Most of the vegan milk alternatives can be made easily, quickly and economically at home and you can even add lots of flavor to it. 8 Best Vegan Milk Alternatives You Should Try -  Soy Milk It is prepared by pounding and processing dried soybeans with water. You can find a variety of flavors including light, sweet, full-cream, vanilla, chocolate, etc. in the market. The density and creaminess of the milk may also vary greatly and it tastes even better than regular milk. Qualities: - The protein content is almost similar to cow milk (around 8 grams a cup). - High in dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin D, plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, antioxidants, phytoestrogen, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, choline, folate, etc. - Very low in saturated fats and sugar - Lactose and cholesterol-free - Prevents prostate cancer, osteoporosis, cholesterol transportation, etc. - Strengthens blood vessels - Eases menopausal symptoms - Oat Milk This nutritious milk is made by pre-soaking the grains of oatmeal in water and straining the concotion carefully. It is sweet in taste and thick in consistency. A variety of flavor is available in the market and you are free to pick your favorite one. Qualities: - Fulfills almost 35% of our daily requirements of calcium - Works as a protein powerhouse - Fat and sugar content is very low. - Contains no cholesterol or saturated fats - Rich in soluble fibers, iron, vitamin A, vitamin D, folate, phytochemicals, etc. - Prevents a number of cancers - Improves cardiovascular health - Promotes digestion and prevents constipation - Increases good cholesterol level and reduces bad cholesterol level - Makes the immune system stronger - Keeps skin clean and acne-free -  Rice Milk This thin and naturally sweetened milk substitute is prepared from brown rice grains and is considered as extremely healthy. You can also avail its vanilla-flavored version from your local supermarket. Qualities: - Has perfect proportions of protein and carbohydrate - Great source of antioxidants, B-vitamins, vitamin D, calcium, etc. - Gluten-free milk - No saturated fat and cholesterol - Very inexpensive -  Almond Milk This wonderfully tasty vegan milk is made by pulverizing soaked almonds thoroughly. The sweet and nutty flavor and high nutrition make it highly popular among the lovers of dairy-free milk substitutes. Qualities: - Fulfills 30% of our daily requirements of calcium - Contains 25% of our daily requirements of vitamin D - Very low in calories (one servings offers only 30 calories) - Enriched with proteins, omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, dietary fibers, vitamin E, iron, zinc, magnesium, etc. - No saturated fats, cholesterol and lactose - Gives immunity a boost - Makes teeth and bones stronger - Helps in healthy digestion - Perks up the skin texture by offering anti-aging benefits - Encourages weight loss -  Coconut Milk It is another creamy, flavorful and nourishing alternative to regular milk, which is basically prepared by grating the meaty flesh of ripe coconuts as well as extracting the concoction. You can get both thick and thin coconut milk for using as cooking ingredients and both of them are super tasty. Qualities: - High in dietary fibers, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, iron, calcium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, selenium, etc. - Contains very less amount of sugar - No fructose - Helps in controlling blood sugar - Strengthens both bones and blood vessels - Prevents arthritis and osteoporosis - Gives a feeling of fullness, thereby helping in weight loss -  Cashew Milk Cashew milk has a natural vanilla flavor and it is made of a smooth, rich blend of water and cashew nuts. It is an amazingly tasty, absolutely creamy and highly satisfying milk beverage. Qualities: - Amazing source of proteins, B-vitamins, calcium, magnesium, copper, etc. - Very low fat content - Free of cholesterol - Increases the production of RBCs (Red Blood Corpuscles) - Promotes healthy metabolism - Helps in tissue and bone formations - Keeps cholesterol levels under control - Enhances cardiovascular health -  Hazelnut Milk Being derived from tasty and savory hazelnut, this milk tastes heavenly. It also has a nutty flavor, which is very much liked by people. Like all other vegan mil substitutes, it also has high nutrition value. Qualities: - High in healthy carbohydrates, vitamin B-12, vitamin D and calcium - No saturated fats, lactose and cholesterol - Takes care of bones and teeth - Keeps filled for a long time -  Hemp Milk It is prepared from the seeds of hemp tree and is regarded as one of the healthiest choices for dairy-free milk. It is widely known for its earthy taste and nutty flavor. Qualities: - Contains as much as 10 essential amino acids - Has a perfect omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids ratio - Loaded with soluble fibers, proteins, vitamin B1, vitamin B5, calcium, potassium, - Aids in muscle building - Provides immense energy 3 Simple and Easy Homemade Vegan Milk Recipes What if you need a good vegan milk alternative for cooking or drinking but do not wish to purchase commercial one? Just DIY! We are giving you 3 easy, simple and fast vegan milk recipes to try at home: (1) DIY: Homemade Almond Milk Recipe Ingredients: - Best-quality raw almonds - 1 cup (organic is even better) - Sea salt - 1 teaspoon - Distilled water - 2 to 4 cups (as per your preference) Method: - Take the almonds in a glass bowl and pour distilled water into it to soak them completely. Add sea salt to the water and cover the bowl with a lid. Keep it aside for nearly 12 hours. - Rinse the swelled up almonds well under running water to get rid of all sorts of enzyme inhibitors. - Now, put the almonds in a blender and pour rest of the distilled water into it. Blend thoroughly to mash all the nuts. - Strain it or not, your creamy almond milk is absolutely ready! (2) DIY: Homemade Oat Milk Recipe Ingredients: - Oats - 1 cup - Organic raw honey - 1 to 2 tablespoons (as required for sweetness) - Sea salt - (1/­­4) teaspoon - Distilled water - 3 cups Method: - Rinse the oats well and drain them perfectly before placing them in a bowl. - Add water to it and cover with a lid. Let the oats soak for 8 to 10 hours so that they get softer as well as easier to process. - Once again, rinse the oats well and remove the oat slime completely. - Shift them to a blender and pour distilled water into it. Blend for some time and sieve it. - Press the semi-pulverized oats with the backside of a spoon in order to take the maximum milk out of it. - Add honey and sea salt to the concoction and your homemade oat ilk is here! (3) DIY: Homemade Brown Rice Milk Recipe Ingredients: - Brown rice - (1/­­2) cup - Sea salt - 1 teaspoon - Distilled water - 2 cups Method: - Clean and wash brown rice properly and soak it in water for a couple of hours. - Cook it as usual. - Now, place the cooked brown rice inside a blender jar. Also, add sea salt and distilled water to it. - Blend until a smooth, thick milk is formed. - Voila! So, are you ready to switch to vegan milk alternatives? References http:/­­/­­vegetarian.about.com/­­od/­­vegetarianvegan101/­­f/­­MilkSubstitutes.htm http:/­­/­­www.peta2.com/­­lifestyle/­­vegan-milk-101/­­ http:/­­/­­www.beautyglimpse.com/­­almond-milk-vs-regular-milk-which-is-healthier/­­ Authors Bio Soni likes to share her knowledge with the world helping others to live a healthier life. She also loves to share her express her views and explore anything and everything that can feed her pen.

Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health?

August 11 2014 VegKitchen 

Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health?Contributed by Kris Gunnars, originally printed on  Authority Nutrition , adapted and reprinted with permission.  The health effects of coffee are controversial. Depending on who you ask, it’s either a super healthy beverage or incredibly harmful. But despite what you may have heard, there are actually plenty of good things to be said about coffee. For example, it is high in antioxidants and linked to a reduced risk of many diseases. However... it also contains caffeine, a stimulant that can cause problems in some people and disrupt sleep. This article takes a detailed look at coffee and its health effects, examining both the pros and cons. Coffee Contains Some Essential Nutrients and is High in Antioxidants Coffee is more than just dark brown water... many of the nutrients in the coffee beans do make it into the drink. A typical 8oz (240 ml) cup of coffee contains (1): - Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 11% of the RDA. - Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 6% of the RDA. - Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 2% of the RDA. - Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 2% of the RDA. - Folate: 1% of the RDA. - Manganese: 3% of the RDA. - Potassium: 3% of the RDA. - Magnesium: 2% of the RDA. - Phosphorus: 1% of the RDA. This may not seem like a lot, but try multiplying with 3, 4, or however many cups you drink per day. It can add up to a significant portion of your daily nutrient intake. But where coffee really shines is in its high content of antioxidants. The average person who eats a typical Western diet actually gets more antioxidants from coffee than fruits and vegetables... combined (2, 3). Bottom Line: Coffee contains a small amount of some vitamins and minerals, which add up if you drink many cups per day. It is also high in antioxidants. Coffee Contains Caffeine, A Stimulant That Can Enhance Brain Function and Boost Metabolism Caffeine is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world (4). Soft drinks, tea and chocolate all contain caffeine, but coffee is the biggest source. The caffeine content of a single cup can range from 30-300 mg, but the average cup is somewhere around 90-100 mg. Caffeine is a known stimulant. In the brain, it blocks the function of an inhibitory neurotransmitter (brain hormone) called Adenosine. By blocking adenosine, caffeine actually increases activity in the brain and the release of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine. This reduces tiredness and makes us feel more alert (5, 6). There are numerous studies showing that caffeine can lead to a short-term boost in brain function... including improved mood, reaction time, vigilance and general cognitive function (7, 8). Caffeine can also boost metabolism (calories burned) by 3-11% and even increase exercise performance by 11-12%, on average (9, 10, 11, 12). However... some of these effects are likely to be short-term. If you drink coffee every day, then you will build a tolerance to it and the effects will be less powerful (13). There are also some downsides to caffeine, which Ill get to in a bit. Bottom Line: The main active compound in coffee is the stimulant caffeine. It can cause a short-term boost in energy levels, brain function, metabolic rate and exercise performance. Coffee May Help Protect Your Brain in Old Age, Leading to Reduced Risk of Alzheimers and Parkinsons Alzheimers disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease and a leading cause of dementia. Studies have shown that coffee drinkers have up to a 65% lower risk of developing Alzheimers disease (14, 15, 16). Parkinsons is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and caused by the death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain. Coffee drinkers have a 32-60% lower risk of Parkinsons disease. The more coffee people drink, the lower the risk (17, 18, 19, 20). Bottom Line: Several studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of dementia, Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons disease in old age. Coffee Drinkers Have a Much Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugars due to resistance to the effects of insulin. This is a very common disease... it has increased 10-fold in a few decades and now afflicts over 300 million people. Interestingly, coffee drinkers appear to have a significantly reduced risk of developing this disease, some studies showing that coffee drinkers are up to 23-67% less likely to become diabetic (21, 22, 23, 24). In one large review study that looked at 18 studies with 457,922 individuals, each daily cup of coffee was linked to a 7% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (25). Bottom Line: Numerous studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Coffee Drinkers Have a Lower Risk of Liver Diseases The liver is an incredibly important organ that has hundreds of different functions in the body. It is very sensitive to modern insults like excess alcohol and fructose intake. The end stage of liver damage is called Cirrhosis, and involves most of the liver being replaced with scar tissue. Coffee drinkers have up to an 84% lower risk of developing cirrhosis, with the strongest effect for those who drink 4 or more cups per day (26, 27, 28). Liver cancer is also common... it is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Coffee drinkers have up to a 40% lower risk of liver cancer (29, 30). Bottom Line: Coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer. The more coffee they drink, the lower the risk. Caffeine Can Cause Anxiety and Disrupt Sleep It wouldnt be right to only talk about the good stuff without mentioning the bad. The truth is... there are some important negative aspects to coffee as well (although this depends on the individual). Consuming too much caffeine can lead to jitteriness, anxiety, heart palpitations and may even exacerbate panic attacks (34). If you are sensitive to caffeine and tend to become overstimulated, then perhaps you shouldnt be drinking coffee. Another unwanted side effect is that it can disrupt sleep (35). If coffee reduces the quality of your sleep, then try avoiding coffee late in the day, such as after 2pm. Caffeine can also have some diuretic and blood pressure raising effects, but this usually goes away with regular use. However, an increase in blood pressure of 1-2 mm/­­Hg may persist (36, 37, 38). Bottom Line: Caffeine can have various negative effects, such as causing anxiety and disrupting sleep, but this depends greatly on the individual. Caffeine is Addictive and Missing a Few Cups Can Lead to Withdrawal One issue with caffeine, is that it can lead to addiction in many people. When people consume caffeine regularly, they become tolerant to it. It either stops working as it used to, or a larger dose is needed to get the same effects (39). When people abstain from caffeine, they get withdrawal symptoms like headache, tiredness, brain fog and irritability. This can last for a few days (40, 41). Tolerance and withdrawal are the hallmarks of physical addiction. A lot of people (understandably) dont like the idea of being literally dependant on a chemical substance in order to function properly. Bottom Line: Caffeine is an addictive substance. It can lead to tolerance and well documented withdrawal symptoms like headache, tiredness and irritability. The Difference Between Regular and Decaf Some people opt for decaffeinated coffee instead of regular. The way decaffeinated coffee is usually made, is by rinsing the coffee beans with solvent chemicals. Each time this is done, some percentage of the caffeine dissolves in the solvent and this process is repeated until most of the caffeine has been removed. However, its important to keep in mind that even decaffeinated coffee does containsome caffeine, just much less than regular coffee. Unfortunately, not all of the health benefits of regular coffee apply to decaffeinated coffee. For example, some studies show no reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinsons or liver diseases for people who drink decaffeinated coffee. Bottom Line: Decaffeinated coffee is made by extracting caffeine from the coffee beans using solvents. Decaf does not have all of the same health benefits as regular coffee. Things to Keep in Mind in Order to Maximize The Health Benefits There are some things you can do in order to maximize the beneficial health effects you get from coffee. The most important is to NOT add anything unhealthy to it. This includes sugar and any sort of artificial, chemical-laden creamer. Another important thing is to brew coffee with a paper filter. Unfiltered coffee (such as Turkish or French press) contains cafestol, a substance that can increase cholesterol levels (42, 43). Also keep in mind that some of the coffee drinks at places like Starbucks can contain hundreds of calories and a whole bunch of sugar. These drinks are NOT healthy. Bottom Line: It is important not to put sugar or a chemical-laden creamer in your coffee. Brewing with a paper filter can get rid of a cholesterol-raising compound called Cafestol. Should You be Drinking Coffee? There are some people who would definitely want to avoid or severely limit coffee consumption, especially pregnant women. People with anxiety issues, high blood pressure or insomnia might also want to try limiting coffee for a while to see if it helps. There is also some evidence that people who metabolize caffeine slowly have an increased risk of heart attacks from drinking coffee (44). All that being said... it does seem clear that for the average person, coffee can have important beneficial effects on health. If you dont already drink coffee, then I dont think these benefits are a compelling reason to start doing it. There are downsides as well. But if you already drink coffee and you enjoy it, then the benefits appear to far outweigh the negatives. Take Home Message Its important to keep in mind that many of the studies in the article are observational studies, which can not prove that coffee caused the beneficial effects. But given that the effects are strong and consistent among studies, it is a fairly strong indicator that coffee does in fact play a role. Despite having been demonized in the past, the evidence points to coffee being healthy ... at least for the majority of people. This article was originally printed on Authority Nutrition -- Coffee: Good or Bad? - Here are lots more natural health topics on VegKitchens Nutrition  page.

Sarah Bs Bubble Tea

August 19 2014 My New Roots 

Sarah Bs Bubble Tea I get some pretty interesting recipe requests from you, my readers, and although I receive far more than I could ever fulfill, I do like to rise to the occasion. I am especially inclined to answer the call if more than one person asks for the same thing: gluten-free vegan lasagna, healthy cookies, and easy breakfasts are just a few of the cravings Ive tried to satisfy. It seems that over the past year, bubble tea has become a popular item for health-ifying, and Ive gotten several emails about this very thing. How can we take a pretty sugar-laden, artificially-coloured-and-flavoured beverage and turn it into something beneficial, light, and refreshing? Here I am to the rescue! But can I make a confession? Ive never actually tried it before. Most of the time I do my research in order to gear up before making something out of my wheelhouse, but this time it was just too much to swallow. I actually did go to a teashop though, with my best intentions to sample a bevy of bubbles. I walked in, saw all the crazy colours, dubious juices and syrups, pulled a 180 and headed straight to the health food store instead. I did leave with bubble tea straws, of course. That much I know is essential. So, that all said, if I get this totally wrong, I do apologize. This is my version and I quite like it. Sarah Bs bubble tea is not pretending to by anything other than what it is - a bubble tea all its own. Tapioca Pearls of Wisdom What makes those darn bubbles anyway? Its tapioca, in fact. Tapioca is the dried starch from the root of the cassava plant, a tuber native to South America. It has a naturally sweet taste, which is why it is so often used in candies and desserts, most familiar of them being tapioca pudding. Tapioca also the amazing ability to absorb and thicken liquid. Being naturally gluten-free, it is has become a popular gelling agent to use in foods, as opposed to fillers containing wheat. You can use tapioca flour /­­ starch /­­ powder in place of arrowroot or cornstarch in most recipes. Tapioca is a staple food in many countries throughout the world due to its high concentration of carbohydrates, low levels of fat and dietary cholesterol, and its vitamin and mineral balance. Key nutrients in tapioca include calcium to support bone health, magnesium to help control inflammation, phosphorus for protein synthesis, and vitamin A for glowing skin. You can find tapioca at most health food stores where it is often sold in powder, flaked, or pearled form. For bubble tea, look for large pearls instead of the small ones that are typically used to make tapioca pudding. Make sure that the only ingredient in the pearls is tapioca starch, and organic if possible. Many novelty pearls contain food coulouring and flavouring agents, and its best to avoid those for obvious reasons. Natural peals are pure white and are almost completely flavourless, except for a hint of sweetness. Peaches and plums have just come into season, so Ive decided to use those as the fruit base for my teas. You can use whatever is available where you are of course, and match the brewed tea flavours accordingly. I chose chamomile to pair up with the peach and green tea to go with the plum. These were really delicious combinations, but are by no means the only options. Rooibos would be tasty with peaches too, and maybe jasmine with plums? Im just guessing here - get creative!     Print recipe     Sarah B’s Peach and Plum Bubble Tea Serves 4-6  Ingredients: 1/­­2 cup large pearl tapioca 6 cups water, divided 2 - 3 Tbsp. maple syrup or raw honey (to your taste) 4 peaches 4 plums 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 Tbsp. dried chamomile flowers (or 2 chamomile tea bags) 1 Tbsp. loose leaf green tea (or 2 green tea bags) milk of your choice for serving (optional) Directions: 1. Bring 3 cups /­­ 750ml water to a roiling boil, add the tapioca pearls and stir. Reduce the heat to simmer and let cook for 25-30 minutes, then turn off the heat and let sit covered, for another 30 minutes until the pearls are translucent (if a few of them have slightly white centers, this is okay, but test one to make sure that it isnt powdery in the middle). 2. While the pearls are cooking, add 3 cups /­­ 750 ml of cold water to a large glass jar or container. Stir in the liquid sweetener of your choice to dissolve. Once the pearls have cooked, add them to the jar of cold sweetened water and let sit in the fridge until ready to use. If the water does not entirely cover the pearls, add just enough water to do so. 3. Brew the tea. Bring enough water for 4 cups of tea to the boil. Let cool slightly and pour over tea bags (I used two different tea pots for the two different flavours). Let steep for at least 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and discard. 4. Peel the peaches and plums. Add peaches and 1 teaspoon lemon juice to a blender and blend on high until totally creamy and smooth. Repeat with plums and remaining lemon juice. Set aside. 5. To serve the tea, place desired amount of tapioca pearls in each glass, fill 3 glasses about half full with chamomile and the others with green tea. Spoon peach purée into the chamomile glasses and plum purée into the green tea glasses. Add a squirt of milk if desired. Stir with a large straw, sweeten to taste and enjoy. So what else do you want to know about? What other kooky experiments will you have me diving into? Bring ‘em on! If you are so inclined to send me an email, type “recipe request” as the subject line and I’ll squirrel it away for a time when I’m a bit stumped for what to make next. And you never know, I may just answer your call. Hope you are all having a gorgeous summer! Sorry for the radio silence on my end – I’ve been giving the cookbook so much attention, it’s hard to keep the blog up to speed. I promise it will be worth the wait though. Good golly am I excited!!! *   *   *   *   *   * Show me your bubble tea on Instagram: #MNRbubbletea


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