The Green Machine Keeps You Lean and Mean — July 5, 2021

The Green Machine Keeps You Lean and Mean

Green Machine Copycat Smoothie

  • 2C apples
  • 1C pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup spinach, lightly packed
  • 3/4 cup kale, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup mango, can be frozen
  • kiwi
  • 1/2 banana
  • Ginger root

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Apples…2C

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Calories 100  

Carbohydrates 25 grams

Sugars 10.39

Fiber…Apples are high in fiber—both insoluble and soluble. A single medium-sized apple contains about four grams of fiber…4 grams…17%DV….which is important for helping to manage blood pressure, reducing your risk of heart disease, helping you stay “full” and as a result helping you lose weight, lowering blood sugar levels and boosting digestive function.

Vitamin C…Vitamin C is great for your immune system, helping your body to protect itself against infections and diseases. Apples also provide 2–4% of the RDI for other vitamins and minerals—including manganese, iron, copper, and the vitamins A, E, B1, B2, and B6.                    

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Pineapple Juice…1C

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We all know what a pineapple is, but did you know that for centuries pineapples were so rare that only very wealthy people could afford to buy them and that people would even rent pineapples simply to display at dinner parties. But did you know just how healthy pineapple and pineapple juice are for you?!…(more on pineapple coming soon)…

Nutritional Value…A 1 cup serving of unsweetened pineapple juice contains: 

  • Calories: 132
  • Protein: less than 1 gram
  • Fat: less than 1 gram
  • Carbs: 33 gram
  • Sugars: 25 grams
  • Fiber: less than 1 gram
  • Vitamins…Vitamin B6: 15%DV…Vitamin C: 100%DV
  • Minerals…Manganese: 55%DV…Copper: 19%DV…Thiamine: 12%DVFolate: 11%DV…Potassium: and Magnesium: 7%DV

Antioxidants…Pineapple juice is a great source of antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and vitamin A, which promote healthy skin, heal wounds, and may reduce the effects of premature skin aging.

Bromelain…But more importantly, pineapple and pineapple juice are the only major dietary source of bromelain, a group of enzymes that has been linked to health benefits for centuries…for such benefits as reducing inflammation, improving digestion, and strengthening your immune system, and improving recovery from infections—such as pneumonia, sinusitis, and bronchitis—especially when used in combination with antibiotics.

Health Benefits

Anti-inflammatory Properties…Pineapple juice, as mentioned above, contains bromelain, an enzyme, which serves as an anti-inflammatory agent.

This means that pineapple juice triggers your body’s ability to…find relief from inflammatory bowel disorders, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis..heal surgical wounds or deep burns…minimize sinus congestion…protect itself from harmful, diarrhea-causing bacteria—reduce swelling…reduce the level of inflammation and pain caused by surgery, sports injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis…relieve pain…treat the symptoms of arthritis

Asthma…Pineapple juice contains beta-carotene, an antioxidant that converts into vitamin A during digestion and can both prevent and relieve the symptoms of asthma…bromelain which fights off inflammation…as well as vitamin C.

Blood Pressure…The bromelain found in pineapple and pineapple juice is also helpful in regulating blood pressure levels. Not only that, pineapple juice also contains a high level of potassium, a nutrient that can help reduce hypertension, protect overall cardiovascular health, and reduce your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. 

Cancer…Not only can bromelain help with asthma and blood pressure, but bromelain has other potential health benefits…including the potential to help fight cancer by helping to prevent the formation of tumors, reduce their size, or even cause the death of cancerous cells.

Digestion…The enzymes in pineapple juice help break protein into smaller subunits, such as amino acids and small peptides, which can then be more easily absorbed in your gut and may particularly help those people whose pancreas cannot make enough digestive enzymes on its own. Not only that, these enzymes may also help protect your gut from harmful, diarrhea-causing bacteria, such as E. coli and V. cholera.

Eye Care…Drinking juices, such as pineapple juice and orange juice, that contain vitamin C regularly protects your overall vision as you age and also prevents many vision-related problems such as cataracts.

Fertility...Pineapple juice has a rich blend of nutrients including potassium, vitamin C, and a range of B vitamins. These have all been linked with increased fertility in both men and women, and a positive boost in reproductive hormones.

Heart…The bromelain found in pineapple juice is good for your heart. It may help reduce high blood pressure, prevent the formation of blood clots, and minimize the severity of health conditions caused by heart disease.

Immune System...Pineapple and pineapple juice are rich in vitamins and minerals—especially vitamin C, a very powerful antioxidant— that can kick-start your immune system and increase the production of white blood cells, the primary line of defense for the body. This means that consuming pineapple and pineappl juice will help you recover from viral and bacterial infections much more quickly.

Mood Swings…Pineapple and pineapple juice contain high amounts of vitamin B6, a vitamin that has been show to improve the symptoms of depression, help regulate hormones, and help with psychological problems—such as anxiety issues, mood swings, and depression.

Muscle Function…One hundred grams of pineapple juice contains 130 mg of potassium…which is important for maintaining fluid balance in the body, enabling nerve impulses, and helping you maintain optimal muscle function.

Skin Care...Pineapple juice is rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, two antioxidants that help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and damage caused by the harmful UV rays and pollution.

Weight Management…Pineapple and pineapple juice are included in many detox diets because it acts as a natural diuretic—helping to release toxins from the body. Also, the bromelain found in pineapple juice help metabolize protein, burn excess fat in the abdominal area, reduce stomach bloating and fight belly fat. 

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Broccoli

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1.Anti-inflammatory…Two cups of broccoli contains about 400 milligrams of omega-3, as much as one soft gel capsule of flax oil. Omega-3 sends signals to our inflammatory system whenever our bodies are threatened with dangerous levels of potential toxins or overly-reactive, oxygen-containing molecules, telling our brain to “kick in” and help protect from any possible  damage and prevent the inflammatory system from going bonkers…

2.  Antioxidant…Broccoli also contains vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can act as an antioxidant—such as flavonoids, carotenoids, and beta-carotene…This means that broccoli can help your body fight against the many toxins that pose a risk to our cells.

3. Aging Process.No, broccoli can’t keep us from getting older…even though that would be nice…But it can help prevent age-related diseases because of these same antioxidant functions.







More Mango — June 30, 2021

More Mango

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Chia Smoothie….To make a green chia smoothie, blend 2 cups of spinach, 1.5 cups of water, and 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. Then add one peeled orange, a cup of strawberries, and a cup of frozen blueberries and blend again

Chia Sprouts: Place chia seeds in a single layer (use only about a teaspoon to allow enough space to grow) in a terracotta saucer or unglazed clay dish. Spray the seeds with water several times and cover with plastic wrap or a clear glass dish. Put in a sunny spot. Spray morning and evening until green sprouts appear, about 3-7 days. Use these microgreens to garnish salads and sandwiches

Cooking with Chia…can also be used to cook with—as in baked goods such as crackers, cake, bread and muffins. They are great for thickening sauces and

Egg Substitute….In vegan baking, they can replace eggs. To use them as an egg substitute in baking, try mixing 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water, then let them sit for a few minutes. A gel will form that can be used instead of eggs in baking…Chia seeds are relatively easy to find in any major grocery store. They are black in color and they have a mild, nutty flavor….Raw, they can be sprinkled on cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies. They can also be eaten cooked, added to baked goods like bread and muffinsEgg Replacer: This may be used to replace whole eggs in baking. For 1 whole egg, mix 1 tablespoon of whole chia seeds or 2 teaspoons ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a raw scrambled eggUsing Chia Gel as an Egg ReplacerWhat You’ll Need:A Small Bowl…A Fork…1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds…3 Tbsp. WaterCombine water and chia seeds in a bowl…Use a fork to stir vigorously for 45 seconds, making sure to fully submerge the seeds to get them nice and wet…Let the mixture sit for 2-3 minutes…Use a fork to stir vigorously (again) for 45 seconds, making sure to break apart any clumps in the chia seeds that may have formed…Keep a close eye on your mixture – it should be ready to use within the next few minutes…*Note* The chia gel does not need to sit in the refrigerator while water is absorbed but it may help the process along. Also, depending on the seeds used, absorption may be quicker or slower, so just keep an eye out for the formation of the gelatinous texture you’re going for!

10+ Chia Fresca Recipes and Why This Chia Seed Drink Is Remarkable For Hydration

15 Chia Seed Drink Recipes (Vegan and Gluten-Free!)

Top 15 Best Ways to Eat Chia Seeds, With Vegan and Gluten-Free Recipes

25 Delicious Chia Seed Pudding Recipes Made With Chia Seeds (Vegan and Gluten Free).

5 Classic Thanksgiving Recipes Made with Chia Seeds

4 Chia Seed Pudding Recipes That Are Simple and Easy To Make

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Smoothie AdditionWhat You’ll Need:A small mason jar (feel free to be creative here)…2.5 Tbsp. Chia Seeds…1 Cup WaterCombine water and chia seeds in mason jar and seal…Shake vigorously for 45 seconds…Allow mixture to set in refrigerator for 10 minutes…Shake vigorously for 45 seconds (again)…Allow mixture to set in refrigerator for an additional 10 minutes before stirring into your smoothie, juice, or other beverage.

One of my favorite ways to eat chia is by making a delicious chia seed pudding.

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Coconut flakes…1C…One ounce of unsweetened coconut flakes contains 187 calories…4.6 grams of fiber…94mg iron—12%DV for men and 5% for women…and 18.3 grams of total fat.

As far as health benefits, coconut helps maintain healthy tissue and fights disease…keeps you from being hungry between meals…helps prevent digestive disorders—such as constipation and hemorrhoids…maintains healthy circulation…helps lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels…and helps you maintain healthy bone tissue and fight osteoporosis.

Coconut oil…Oil…I’ve used coconut oil here because my family totally loves the flavor, but you could also use another oil or not even add oil at all for a lighter version—such as 1/2C almond butter and/or ¼C maple syrup.

Dried Mango…1C…One cup of dried mango contains about 480 calories…small amounts of fat and protein…120 grams of carbohydrates, six of which are dietary fiber and the remaining 94 grams sugar. Sweetened dried mango obviously contains even more calories and sugar than unsweetened…60%DV vitamin A…6%DV vitamin C. Dried pineapple, apricot, or peaches are other great options.

Maple Syrup…1/4C

Oats…3C…

  • According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2009-2010, consumption of oatmeal accounts for about 20% of all whole grains consumed by U.S. adults! This percentage was virtually identical to the percentage of whole grains provided by all cold cereals combined. It was also not far behind the percentage of whole grains provided by all breads and rolls. In short, oatmeal is playing a very prominent role in intake of whole grains by adults in the U.S….. Both oats and oatmeal may provide us with special digestive benefits, partly in connection with their ability to increase the viscosity of our digestive tract contents. “Viscosity” refers to the thickness of the contents and their likelihood of flowing either too quickly or too slowly through our digestive tract. Too little viscosity means too quick of a flow. And along with too quick of a flow comes increased potential difficulty with blood sugar regulation. For this reason, it is very helpful for our foods to provide us with substantial viscosity so that these foods can pass through the upper part of our GI tract (and especially our small intestine) in a healthy way. Intake of oats and oatmeal has been associated with optimal levels of viscosity in which it becomes easier for food to pass through our upper digestive tract and improve our blood sugar regulation….Healthy passage of oats through our digestive tract has also been linked to an improved sense of fullness when we eat this popular grain. In several studies, consumption of oatmeal has been associated with an increased feeling of fullness after being consumed, and the viscosity of the oatmeal seems to be important for this feeling to occur. Also important in this process may be a unique carbohydrate (called beta-glucan) that is present in oatmeal. In one recent study, oatmeal breakfasts (consisting of approximately ½ cup of dry oatmeal in 1 cup of water and microwaved for 2 minutes) were found to result in an improved sense of fullness (as well as a decreased desire to eat) at both one and two hours following the breakfast meal….Smaller waist circumference, lower body mass index (BMI), and decreased risk of metabolic syndrome in adults have all been associated with oatmeal intake in recent studies. All of these measurements are associated with lower risk of health problems, including risk of obesity. As a general rule, the volume of oatmeal in these encouraging studies has been approximately 1 cup cooked, with an average fiber content of 4-5 grams. We mention the fiber content of oatmeal in this context because oat fiber has been shown to play a role in these health benefits. Also notable in this context are two unique nutrients found in oats: (1) beta-glucans, which are polysaccharide carbohydrates, and (2) steroidal saponins (including avenacoside A,1 and avenacoside B,2), which are sugar-related (glycoside) molecules found mostly in the bran portion of the oats…. Beta-glucans (mentioned above) have become a special area of research focus in the relationship between oat intake and improved blood sugar regulation. While some foods that we eat can cause abrupt increases in our blood sugar level following their consumption, the beta-glucans found in oats help prevent these abrupt increases when we eat oats. Specifically, between 3-6 grams of beta-glucans per serving of oats seem necessary to provide this moderating effect on our blood sugar level. We have seen one recent meta-analysis of six studies in this area (“meta-analysis” means that the results of multiple studies were statistically combined together in order to produce a more powerful statistical analysis) that showed lower levels of hemoglobin A1C (a blood test often used to assess blood sugar control over a three-month period) following daily consumption of approximately 1 cup cooked oatmeal at breakfast….When taken as a group, the above studies on oats and oatmeal were one important factor in our decision to include oats or oatmeal on five out of seven days in our World’s Healthiest Foods Meal Plan!

Oats, unprocessed, dry
0.25 cup
(39.00 grams)Calories: 152
GI: low
NutrientDRI/DV
manganese83%
molybdenum64%
phosphorus29%
copper27%
biotin26%
vitamin B125%
magnesium16%
chromium15%
fiber15%
zinc14%
protein13%

Oat’s Digestive Support…Once foods are eaten, not all of them have an equally supportive impact on our digestive tract. For example, when eaten in large amounts, food with disproportional amounts of fat can slow down our digestive process excessively, including the rate of that foods pass out of our stomach (known as the rate of emptying). Foods that contain disproportional amounts of simple sugars and simple starches can work in the opposite direction, speeding up the digestive process and challenging our blood sugar regulation. By contrast, oats are a food that seems to provide us with unusually helpful digestive support….A key focus in studies on oats and digestive support has been the unique fibers known as beta-glucans. Water-soluble fibers, beta-glucans support our digestion in two basic ways….First, beta-glucans increase the “viscosity” of our food contents when they are present in our upper digestive tract. While “viscosity” is a measurement that generally refers to thickness, the idea of viscosity actually involves more than just thickness. When a substance is “viscous” it is not only thick but it is also resistant to flow. Honey and molasses are examples of viscous fluids that take time to pour out of a bottle or jar. Compared to non-viscous fluids like water, these viscous fluids take much longer to pour out and be emptied from the container in which they reside. The beta-glucans in oats appear to have this same type of effect in our small intestine. They allow our food to keep moving through our digestive tract, but they also help regulate the pace by slowing it down and allowing more time for nutrient digestion and absorption….The increased viscosity of our GI contents may also be accompanied by more engagement of the smooth muscles that surround our small intestine, as well as by the release of digestion-related hormones. This hormone release may include peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLF-1), which are associated with increased feelings of fullness and satisfaction with food. So as you can see, there are a variety of factors that fall into this “digestive support” category when oats are present in the upper portion of our GI tract….The digestive tract support provided by oats extends to our lower GI tract as well. In our large intestine (colon), oats—including their beta-glucans—get fermented by intestinal bacteria. This fermentability of oat fibers like beta-glucans not only helps maintain healthy bacterial populations in our large intestine, but it also provides the release of short chain fatty acids from these fibers that can provide energy for our intestinal cells….esearchers have linked both aspects of digestive tract support—increased viscosity in the small intestine and fermentability in the large intestine—to better regulation of insulin, blood sugar, and cholesterol. While these health benefits have sometimes been associated with particular amounts of beta-glucan in oats, there remains a good bit of debate about the exact amount of beta-glucan that is needed. Most studies suggest that 1-2 grams of beta-glucan per serving of oats is not sufficient to provide optimal benefits, and that a more desirable range for beta-glucan intake falls between 3-6 grams per serving. Unfortunately, however, more research is needed before a firm conclusion can be reached about these beta-glucan amounts. More research is also needed about specific varieties of oats and variations in beta-glucan content. Still, the overall research is very clear about the digestive support provided by this unique grain….Blood Sugar Support Provided by Oats…Although mentioned earlier in this profile, it’s worth singling out blood sugar support as a special health benefit provided by oats. Of course, healthy regulation of blood sugar would be expected from most any whole food that provided us with a substantial amount of protein and fiber. Both of these macronutrients can be helpful in stabilizing our blood sugar because both help moderate the passage of food through our GI tract and engage our digestive processes in a balanced way. Interestingly, you will not find oats in our Top 25 WHFoods for either protein or fiber; therefore, they are not an especially concentrated source of either macronutrient. Yet, they are a significant and balanced source, with ¼ cup of dry unprocessed oats typically providing us with 6-7 grams of protein and 4-5 grams of fiber. Importantly, the fiber in oats is split between soluble and insoluble, providing us with digestive benefits from both fiber types. And equally important, the soluble fiber in oats includes their beta-glucans….Researchers are not entirely clear about all of the connections that exist between oat intake and blood sugar regulation. All studies point to an important role played by the soluble fiber found in this grain and the beta-glucans that are contained within this soluble fiber component. Also involved may be minerals like manganese (oats are the number 2 source of manganese at WHFoods), the B vitamins they contain (as they play a role in glucose metabolism), and oat saponins, including avenacoside A,1 and B,2. Perhaps it is the unique combination of all these factors in oats that result in the blood sugar support seen in research studies. Intake of oats and oatmeal has repeatedly been shown to improve after-meal (postprandial) blood sugar and insulin levels. In addition, healthy levels of hemoglobin A1C have been associated with intake of both oats and oatmeal. (Hemomglobin A1C is a form of the key protein in our red blood cells—hemoglobin—in which the protein gets linked up with a sugar molecule through a process called glycosylation. If an overly high percentage of our hemoglobin proteins begin to take this form, healthcare providers begin to suspect problems in glucose and insulin metabolism. Since our red blood cells live for approximately three months, hemoglobin A1C levels are viewed as representing the degree of blood sugar stability over a three-month period. In persons at risk for blood sugar problems, intake of both oats and oatmeal have been associated with healthier levels of hemoglobin A1C—which researchers consider evidence of blood sugar support provided by the intake of this grain….One final issue that we would like to address regarding oats and blood sugar is glycemic index (GI). Although you will find a more detailed description of this issue in the Description section of this profile, we think that it is important to point out that the GI values that we have seen for old-fashioned rolled oats and steel cut oats are significantly lower than the values that we have seen for instant oats. The overall GI range for old-fashioned rolled oats and steel cut oats is 55–70. By contrast, the overall GI range for instant appears to be much closer to 70–80. At WHFoods, we treat 55 or below as “low GI;” 56–69 as “medium GI;” and 70 or above as “high GI.” So you can see that old-fashioned rolled oats and steel cut oats fall into the low or medium GI range, while instant oats fall into the high range. For this reason, old-fashioned or steel cut oats (versus instant oats) would be expected to provide you with better blood sugar support than instant oats….Oats’ Cardiovascular Support…Strong intake of fiber—including both soluble and insoluble fiber—has long been associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular problems. While the focus in many cardiovascular studies has remained on soluble fiber, research has shown cardiovascular benefits for both fiber types. Soluble fiber—just like its name suggests—is especially “friendly” toward water. Soluble fibers can take on water, swell, and hold water. This characteristic of soluble fiber can lead to improved viscosity in our small intestine contents as described earlier in this profile. As a result of this improved viscosity, we get improved digestion and absorption of nutrients, including some of the key cardiovascular-support nutrients present in oats. These nutrients include multiple B vitamins, as well as the minerals magnesium and zinc. Within the soluble fiber portion of oats are found beta-glucans, and intake of these unique polysaccharide fibers has been associated with decreased levels of total and LDL cholesterol….In a very large scale study in Denmark involving over 50,000 adults between the ages of 50–64 years, intake of oats has been associated with decreased risk of heart attack (also known as myocardial infarct, or MI). Researchers conducting this study pointed to potential roles for both soluble and insoluble fibers in producing the study results. Some more complicated metabolic processes may also be involved in the cardiovascular benefits related to intake of oats. In particular, researchers have been interested in the ability of oat intake to lessen the risk of excessive inflammation in the blood vessels. The series of events in this area of research has sometimes focused on some unique phenolic, nitrogen-containing molecules in oats called avenathramides. Also of interest have been the oat saponins—primarily avenacoside A,1 and avenacoside B,2. These sugar-related (glycoside) molecules are found primarily in the bran portion of the oat, and like beta-glucan, their intake has been associated with decreased levels of LDL and total cholesterol….It’s important not to lose the forest through the trees, however, when looking at the cardiovascular benefits of oats and oatmeal. In multiple studies, consumption of this grain has been associated with decreased risk of metabolic syndrome, decreased risk of obesity, lower waist circumference, and lower body mass index (BMI). These findings all point in the direction of cardiovascular support following routine intake of this unique grain. Also worth mentioning in this context are the findings from an analysis of the data from the Nutrition Health and Examination Surveys (NHANES) between 2001—2010 in the U.S. In these analyses, children who ate oatmeal on a regular basis were found to have decreased risk of “central adiposity”, which is the accumulation of excessive body fat in the general abdominal area….Description…Oats are a member of the grass family of plants (Poaceae) and are often described as a “cereal grass” or “cereal grain.” In this context, the word “grain” refers to the edible seeds of the plant and the word “cereal” refers to the practice of growing these plants in order to obtain their grains. In other words, oats are correctly described as a cereal grain because they are typically grown for their grain (seeds), and they are also correctly described as a “cereal grass” because in addition to being cultivated for their grain/seed content, they also belong to the grass family of plants (Poaceae)….Unlike oats, however, some plants referred to as “cereal grains” do not belong to the grass family. These non-grass grains are sometimes called “pseudograins” or “pseudocereals.” The “pseudograins” or “pseudocereal grains” include buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, and teff. The cereal grasses include not only oats but also wheat, rye, barley, kamut, spelt, triticale, sorghum, rice, corn (maize), and millet. In its labeling standards, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not differentiate between the cereal grains versus the pseudocereal grains, imply including all of the plants listed above as cereal grains….In addition to being members of the grass family, oats belong to the science genus/species Avena sativa….Virtually all oats available in supermarkets have been processed to varying degrees. Minimal oat processing usually includes cleaning (including both screening and air blowing, or aspiration) and hulling. Screening and aspiration are used to remove weed seeds, non-oat grains, and loose (unattached) hulls from the oats. Hulling is used to remove hulls that are still naturally attached to the oats at the time of harvest. (These oat hulls can also be referred to as “chaff.” Once the oats have been cleaned and hulled, they are usually referred to as “whole oat groats” or simply “groats.”) After the cleaning and hulling the oat grains in order to produce the groats, additional processing steps may take place in production of the final oat products….n the U.S., three types of oat products dominate the marketplace: (1) “old-fashioned” or “regular” rolled oats, (2) quick and instant rolled oats, and (3) steel cut oats. “Old-fashioned” rolled oats usually consist of whole oat groats that have been steamed and rolled to produce their somewhat irregular but recognizably flat and disc-like shape. After rolling, old-fashioned oats are heat-dried to reduce moisture….Quick and instant rolled oats typically vary from old-fashioned rolled oats in at least one of two ways. They are either rolled into thinner flakes or steamed for a longer period of time—or undergo both processes—in order to produce easier-to-chew oats that can be prepared at home quite quickly….Steel cut oats are whole oat groats that have been cut into smaller pieces. Like their name implies, these oats are usually cut into pieces using a steel blade. Sometimes “steel cut” is a term for oats that is used synonymously with “Irish” or “Scottish” oats. However, a more traditional use of these terms would restrict “steel cut” to whole oat groats that have been cut with a steel blade and “Irish” or “Scottish” to whole oat groats that have been stone-ground. All oats in this general category (steel cut, Irish, Scottish) have varying cooking times depending on the size of the resulting pieces. We have seen steel cut oats that were cut into very small pieces and cook within 5-7 minutes. However, we have also seen large-pieced steel cut oats that took 20-30 minutes to cook….Ordinarily, you might assume that quick and instant oatmeals were far less nutritious that either old-fashioned rolled oats or steel cut oats. While there are definitely some measurable differences in these different oat types, they are far more similar, rather than dissimilar, in terms of their conventional nutrient content….For example, you will find the protein, fiber, and fat content of all three types to fall within a fairly narrow range. This similarity in conventional nutrients is largely related to the products’ similar starting point and relatively small deviation from that starting point: all of the products above begin with whole oat groats and don’t rely on removal of major groat components to produce the final version of the oats….However, like most moderately high carbohydrate-containing foods, increased amounts of processing usually result higher glycemic index (GI) values for the food and this rule clearly applies to oats. Most of the GI values that we have seen for old-fashioned and steel cut oats fall into the range of 50–65. Unfortunately, this overall range is a little bit too large to pinpoint the GI of all old-fashioned and steel cut oats as being clearly “low” (55 or below) versus “medium” (between 55–70)….Yet, with this caveat in mind, we still think it makes overall sense to think about these two categories of oats (old-fashioned and steel cut) as low in glycemic index. By contrast, most of the GI values that we have seen for instant oats fall into the 70–80 range, and researchers usually consider GI values about 70 to be “high GI.” In summary, even though these different forms of oat products are relatively similar in terms of their conventional nutrient content, and even though all of these forms are definitely less processed than many other types of processed foods in the supermarket, there are still measurable differences between these oat versions, and in the case of instant oats versus steel cut or old-fashioned, GI value is one of those differences….From a labeling standpoint, one confusing aspect of oats involves their description as a “whole grain” food. “Whole grain” is allowed as a labeling claim by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) whenever a grain product contains all three natural components of the grain (germ, bran, and endosperm) in “particular proportions.” However, fluctuations in the ratio of germ-to-bran-to-endosperm are allowed by the FDA, and there is no tightly defined standard with respect to these whole grain components. For example, it is not completely clear in all cases just how the germ, bran, and endosperm wind up in the final version of a whole grain product that can legally be described as “100% whole grain” by the FDA. Since all old-fashioned rolled oats and steel cut oats—as well as most instant oats—contain substantial portions of the oat’s bran, germ, and endosperm, it is common to find each version of oats (including instant oatmeals) bearing the label of “100% whole grain.”…In addition to the forms of oats and oatmeal described above, you can find isolated components of oats—especially oat bran–as well as oat flour in many supermarkets. Muffins recipes, for example, can often be found with oat bran as a key ingredient. Oat flour can be purchased in the store or made at home in a blender from rolled or steel cut oats. While not typically used to entirely replace another flour—like wheat flour—in a recipe (due to changes in density and the resulting texture), oat flour is frequently used to replace some portion of another flour in a recipe in order to bring the unique health benefits of oats into that recipe….HistorT…Ancestral wild oats are believed to have multiple centers of origin, including one center in southwestern Asia as well as a center in the general area of the Mediterranean Sea. As a family of plants, grasses (including oats) evolved ten’s of millions of years ago. As a cultivated food, the planting of oats still goes back in time several thousand years. One lineage of planted varieties involves a pathway with its northernmost end in Russia and its southernmost end in Ethiopia, with cultivation in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Egypt in between those northernmost and southernmost points. A second oat lineage of planted varieties has its northernmost point in the United Kingdom and stretches down through Spain and then into Morocco in the northwestern tip of Africa.,,,Today, the Russian Federation remains the world’s largest producer of oats, with Canada coming in second as the world’s largest oat producer. Oats also continue to be grown throughout Europe and the Middle East. In addition to Canada, the United States also plays an important role in global oats production and accounts for about 4% of the world’s oat supply. On a global basis, Australia produces about 9% of all oats, and this grain is also grown in parts of South America, and Mexico….Within the U.S., Wisconsin is the largest oat-producing state, with about $31 million in total production. South Dakota, Minnesota, and North Dakota have the next largest volumes in terms of oat production…These statistics related to oats should not be confused with the relatively small roll that oats play worldwide as a commercial grain crop based on tons produced. Corn dominates world grain production at about 900 million tons, followed by rice and wheat at about 700 million each. Both barley and sorghum are produced in larger volumes than oats, which themselves are produced at a volume less than 100 million tons per year….How to Select and Store…Buy small quantities of oats at one time since this grain has a slightly higher fat content than other grains and will go rancid more quickly. Oats are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the oats are covered, free from debris, and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure its maximal freshness. Smell the oats to make sure that they are fresh. Whether purchasing oats in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure there is no evidence of moisture….f you purchase prepared oatmeal products such as oatmeal, look at the ingredients to ensure that the product does not contain any salt, sugar, or other additives….At WHFoods, we encourage the purchase of certified organically grown foods, and oats are no exception. Repeated research studies on organic foods as a group show that your likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals can be greatly reduced through the purchased of certified organic foods, including oats. You may possibly be able to find a local organic grower who sells oats that has not applied for formal organic certification either through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or through a state agency. (Examples of states offering state-certified organic foods include California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.) However, if you are shopping in a large supermarket, your most reliable source of organically grown oats is very likely to be oats that display the USDA organic logo….Store oatmeal in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark place where they will keep for approximately two months….Tips for Preparing and Cooking…The Nutrient-Rich Way of Cooking Oats…Different types of oats require slightly different cooking methods for making hot cereal or porridge. For all types, it is best to add the oats to cold water and then cook at a simmer. The preparation of rolled oats and steel-cut oats require similar proportions using two parts water to one part oats. Cooking times for rolled oats can vary substantially;yet, as a general rule, rolled oats take approximately 15 minutes to cook. Cooking times for steel cut oats can also vary substantially; as a general rule, 20-30 minutes are needed. Due to their consistency, whole oat groats (which have not been cut) require more time and more water. Use three parts water to one part whole oat groats and simmer for 30-50 minutes. We’ve provided fairly large ranges in our cooking times for oats due to the widely ranging types of oats in the marketplace. For example, many manufacturers take whole oat groats and cut them up into small pieces, allowing for groats that will be ready after 5-10 minutes of cooking….How to Enjoy…A Few Quick Serving Ideas…A great way to start your day—add your favorite nuts and fruits to a piping hot bowl of oatmeal….Oatmeal cookies are a favorite for kids of all ages….Add oat flour or whole oats the next time you make bread or muffins….Sprinkle oat bran on your hot or cold cereal….Oat groats make a great basis for stuffing for poultry….For some of our favorite recipes, click Recipes….If you’d like even more recipes and ways to prepare oats the Nutrient-Rich Way, you may want to explore The World’s Healthiest Foods book….Individual Concerns…Oats and the “Gluten Grains”

This area of research on oats remains somewhat controversial, even though the labeling of oat products as “gluten free” has been allowed in the U.S. (and in several other countries) for many years….Beginning in 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) excluded oats from the list of prohibited grains in their regulations for “gluten free” labeling while also allowing all oats products to be labeled as “gluten free.” Many present-day oat products display a “gluten free” label. In addition to these labeling regulations, numerous celiac organizations currently allow limited amounts of oats in meal plans designed for persons with diagnosed celiac disease, even though a goal of these meal plans is to remain gluten-free. (Celiac disease is an especially important health condition in relationship to dietary gluten since celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which gluten-related proteins can trigger extensive damage in the small intestine.)…You can find extensive information about gluten and grains (including oats) in the following articles on our website: What is gluten? Is gluten-free the same as wheat-free? How is wheat related to other grains? Is gluten sensitivity the same thing as wheat allergy? Can I still have an unwanted reaction to wheat or grains, even if I always choose whole grains?…he reason that oats remain somewhat controversial in research studies involves the reactions of some persons diagnosed with celiac disease to some of types of proteins (prolamins) or fragments of those proteins (polypeptides from prolamins) present in oats. These reactions seem restricted to certain varieties of oats, and they have not been shown to be present in all persons diagnosed with celiac disease. However, it is easy to understand how persons faced with a diagnosis of celiac disease might want to avoid consumption of oats until the exact nature of these oat reactions was better understood. Although we do not try and address the nutrient needs or dietary guidelines of any person diagnosed with a medical conditions on our website, it would still be our recommendation that any person diagnosed with celiac disease consult with his or her healthcare provider before making a decision about inclusion of oats in a meal plan….Nutritional Profile…Oats are an excellent source of manganese and molybdenum. They are also a very good source of phosphorus as well as a good source of copper, biotin, vitamin B1, magnesium, dietary fiber, chromium, zinc and protein. In the phytonutrient category, oats provide valuable amounts of beta-glucans and saponins (including avenacoside A,1 and avenacoside B,2)….In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, here is an in-depth nutritional profile for Oats. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.

They are a low calorie treat that contain magnesium, which is important for maintaining nerve and muscle function and protecting your immune system as well as the health of bone your heart, and your bones…iron, which is important for carrying oxygen through the body and converting calories into energy…. monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are important for preventing heart attacks and strokes, as well as lowering levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood…zinc, which is important for your immune system, digestive system, and nervous systems as well as cell regrowth and division and your sense of taste and smell…all making them a crispy alternative to other unhealthy snack options out there.

Watermelon Seeds…1C…Watermelon seeds are similar to pumpkin seeds.You can find these watermelon seeds at Costco…and enjoy the extra nutrients—such as magnesium, zinc, iron, folate, and healthy fats—that they have to offer.

Roasting your own watermelon seeds is easy….and with summer so quickly approaching…(as in, today is the last day of school)…totally not a bad idea.

To roast your own watermelon seeds, preheat your oven to 325°F…place the seeds on a baking sheet…roast for about fifteen minutes, stir halfway through to ensure an even crispiness. You can add adding a little olive oil and salt…or a light dusting of cinnamon and sugar…or lime juice, chili powder, or cayenne pepper to give them more flavor.

Feel free to use whatever other cereals, nuts, seeds, fresh or dried fruit—such as dried pineapple, apricot, or peaches… and sweetener—such as agave syrup, coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, or brown sugar—you desire.

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  • Taste the granola after you’ve mixed all the ingredients together, but before you start baking it to make sure that you don’t need to add any more sweetener.Place in a bowl the oats, almonds, walnuts, dates, sesame seeds and cinnamon. You can chop the ingredients, but it’s optional.
  • Pour into a saucepan the agave syrup, oil, vanilla extract and water, stir and cook over medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes or until the coconut oil is melted.
  • Combine dry and wet ingredients in the bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are totally mixed.
  • Place the granola on a baking sheet (with baking paper) and bake for 25 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, add the dried mango and bake for the last 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and allow the granola to cool completely. Place in a glass container and it should keep for a few weeks.
  • Preheat oven to 350° Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easier clean up.
  • Put the oats, mango, watermelon seeds, almonds, chia seeds, almond butter, maple syrup, salt, and coconut oil in a large bowl and gently stir until it’s completely combined.
  • Evenly spread the granola on the baking sheet and bake for ten minutes. Stir the coconut into the granola and bake for ten more minutes or until the granola is golden brown. Let cool before storing in an airtight container.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to ten days. If it lasts that long.
  • Enjoy!
  • Preheat oven to 350° Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easier clean up.
  • Put the oats, mango, watermelon seeds, almonds, chia seeds, almond butter, maple syrup, salt, and coconut oil in a large bowl and gently stir until it’s completely combined.
  • Evenly spread the granola on the baking sheet and bake for ten minutes. Stir the coconut into the granola and bake for ten more minutes or until the granola is golden brown. Let cool before storing in an airtight container.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to ten days. If it lasts that long.
  • Enjoy!

t

This weekend we had a graduation brunch for our youngest daughter who just graduated from college…

Tons of fun…

On the menu were your mimosa bar and yogurt parfait/waffle bar and all the other trending grad party ideas that require tons of different fruits, but probably end up using only a little of each individual ingredient.

So as I sit here typing this, I am surrounded with quite an assortment of leftover dried fruits, nuts, coconut, and anything and everything else that you could possibly think about adding to your mimosa…or your yogurt parfait…or your smoothies…or your pancakes…or whatever else you could possibly think about eating for breakfast.

The perfect homemade granola is healthy, super sweet, crunchy, and tasty.

So today I’m going to share a recipe for a homemade tropical-flavored granola—complete with dried mango, coconut, and almonds…a vegan and gluten-free granola that is perfect simply eaten one fistful at a time as it is…served topped with milk or a plant-based milk alternative…served over ice cream or an ice cream alternative.

Whatever your personal diet options may be, this healthy and delicious tropical mango and coconut granola is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters….and only requires about ten minutes and about ten ingredients to put together…and another twenty minutes to bake…in order to make enough granola for a couple of weeks.

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Ingredients

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Almonds…1C…

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Making the Perfect Copycat Naked Blue Machine Smoothie — June 23, 2021

Making the Perfect Copycat Naked Blue Machine Smoothie

Naked smoothies market some of their smoothies as machines…machines that perform supposedly different jobs.

There is the Blue Machine, the Red Machine, the Green Machine, the Rainbow Machine, the Power-C Machine, and finally the Vitamin D Machine. Each of these is designed not only to get the nutritional value and health benefits of a ton of fruits and veggies into your body in one or two or three big gulps, but also to perform different jobs.

In the case of the Blue Machine, supposedly the smoothie offers the nutritional value and health benefits of twenty-seven blueberries, three blackberries, threapples, and one banana.

So let’s first take a look at the health benefits of these four fruits and then I’ll share some ideas as far as how to make your own Blue Machine smoothie—a smoothie that you actually know for certain what it contains and will actually enjoy and might even, if not probably will, save you money in the long run.

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Blueberries

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Blueberries provide great nutritional value.

This renowned superfood contains not only high amounts of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants…but is also a great source of vitamin K.

As far as health benefits, blueberries provide many including the ability to…

—–lowers your risk of heart disease

—–lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels

—–lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes by up to 26%

—–slow the rate of cognitive decline

—–reduce blood pressure

—–protect against aging and cancer

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Blackberries

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Nutritionally speaking, a half cup serving of blackberries roughly contains about 430 calories. This same half cup also contains about half of a gram of fat, zero cholesterol, a miligram of sodium, about ten grams of carbohydrates.

Blackberries contain significant amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber…actually five grams of dietary fiber, or 25% RDV. Blackberries are also a good source of pectin, a type of soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol levels.

As far as vitamins, a half cup of blueberries contains…

  • Vitamin A…214 IU
  • Vitamin B1…thiamine…2%…0.020 mg
  • Vitamin B2…riboflavin…2%…0.026 mg
  • Vitamin B3…niacin…4%…0.646 mg
  • Vitamin B6…2%…0.030 mg
  • Vitamin B9…folate…6%…25 μg
  • Vitamin C…25%…21.0 mg…It has been documented that as far back as 1771 to treat scurvy.
  • Vitamin E…8%…1.17 mg
  • Vitamin K…19%…19.8 μg

In addition to these vitamins, blackberries also contain many minerals that we need, such as…

  • Calcium…3%…29 mg
  • Iron…5%…0.62 mg
  • Magnesium…6%…20 mg
  • Phosphorus…3%…22 mg
  • Potassium…3%…162 mg
  • Sodium…0%…1 mg
  • Zinc…6%…0.53 mg

As far as health benefits, blackberries provide antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral properties. Blackberries are also a great option for adding antioxidants to your smoothies.

As to how, the best way to use a bunch of fresh blackberries to make smoothies is to first flash freeze them by arranging the berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and then putting the cookie sheet with the berries into the freezer until they are solidly frozen…finally putting them in an airtight container or Ziploc bag, labelling, and dating.

However, right now I don’t have room to store one more thing in my freezer, much less set an entire cookie sheet in there to flash freeze something.

So I use my berries as soon as I get them or simply buy prepackaged frozen berries, even though we’re all supposed to be trying to avoid processed foods, remember?

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Apples

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Calories 100  

Carbohydrates 25 grams

Sugars 10.39

Fiber…Apples are high in fiber—both insoluble and soluble. A single medium-sized apple contains about four grams of fiber…4 grams…17%DV….which is important for helping to manage blood pressure, reducing your risk of heart disease, helping you stay “full” and as a result helping you lose weight, lowering blood sugar levels and boosting digestive function.

Vitamin C…Vitamin C is great for your immune system, helping your body to protect itself against infections and diseases. Apples also provide 2–4% of the RDI for other vitamins and minerals—including manganese, iron, copper, and the vitamins A, E, B1, B2, and B6.                    

Antioxidants Apples contain many different antioxidants, including…      

Catechin…a natural antioxidant also found in green tea that has been shown to improve brain and muscle function

Chlorogenic acid…another natural antioxidant also found in coffee that has been found to lower blood sugar and cause weight loss.      

Quercetin…an antioxidant also found in many other plant foods that has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anticancer, and antidepressant effects.

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Banana

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Americans seem to go apes over bananas. In fact, the typical American eats a total of forty-four bananas each year…(I guess that those making a smoothie each and every morning makes up for those of us who hardly if ever eat a banana if it’s not in banana pudding)…

But before moving on to our recipe for a copycat Naked Blue Machine smoothie, let’s look back at the health benefits of eating bananas…

Asthma…Bananas help prevent wheezing in children with asthma because of their antioxidant and potassium content.

Athletic Performance…The unique mix of vitamins, minerals, and low glycemic carbohydrates…easy portability…low expense…and great taste have made bananas a favorite fruit among endurance athletes.

Bananas especially provide excellent nutrition before endurance exercise. Distance cyclists have found that eating half of a banana every fifteen minutes of a three-hour race keep their energy levels steady just as well as drinking a processed sports beverage.

Not only that we’ve all been told to eat a banana if we have cramps. This is because of their bananas are a good source of the potassium that can help prevent muscle cramps and soreness cauaws by dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

Bones…Bananas do not contain high levels of calcium, but they do contain an abundance of a certain carbohydrate, called fructooligosaccharides, that help the body absorb calcium.

Cancer…Bananas contain lectin and vitamin C, two antioxidants that help keep cancer cells—especially lukemia, kidney, and colon cancer cells—from growing. Eating four to six bananas per week can cut your risk of developing kidney cancer in half. Bananas are also fairly rich in fiber and resistant starch…both of which may feed your friendly gut bacteria and safeguard against colon cancer.

Depression…Bananas contain three nutrients that may help preserve memory, boost a person’s ability to learn and remember things, and regulate mood. These nutrients include tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts to serotonin, the mood-elevating brain neurotransmitter…vitamin B6 that help you sleep…and magnesium to help your muscles relax.

Diabetes…The American Diabetes Association recommends eating bananas because of their fiber content. Diets that include high levels of fiber can help lower blood sugar levels, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, and help lower blood sugar in those who are diabetic.

Digestive Health…Bananas contain water and fiber, both of which promote regularity and encourage digestive health. One medium banana provides about three grams of fiber, about 10% of a person’s fiber needs for a day. Fiber found in bananas can also improve bloating, gas, and stomach cramps.

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Ingredients

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  • 1/2C blueberries, fresh or frozen…you can use frozen fruit, but fresh fruit is actually better tasting and better for you if you already have it on hand.
  • 1/2C blackberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/2 banana, frozen
  • 1C milk…regular milk or any other milk substitute you may have on hand—including almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, and the list now goes on and on and one
  • 2/3C plain or vanilla yogurt…you can use vanilla flavored yogurt….but if you do, leave out the vanilla and honey because vanilla yogurt is typically already sweet.
  • 2tsp sweetener—sugar or any other sugar substitute that you may have on hand—including honey, monk fruit sweetener, stevia, agave, and that list now goes on and on and on also
  • 1/2C ice cubes or 1/3C crushed ice
  • Optional Ingredients…1/2tsp lemon zest, dash nutmeg or cinnamon or thyme, 2Tbsp protein powder, 1Tbsp ground flax, 1tsp vanilla,

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Instructions

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Making the smoothie is actually a no-brainer…if you’re still reading this blog, you’ve probably made more than one smoothie if your lifetime.

First pour the liquid into the blender, and you shake it…you shake it…you shake it, shake it, shake it.

Next you add the fruit, yogurt, vanilla, and honey….and you shake it…you shake it…you shake it, you shake it, you shake it, shake it, shake it.

Then you add the ice cubes and spices and you blend it…you blend it…you blend it, blend it, blend it.

And yes, you can make smoothies with peanut butter and jelly…(more on this later)…

It’s Finally Summer…Should We All Get Naked? — June 21, 2021

It’s Finally Summer…Should We All Get Naked?

It’s finally summer…So should we all get naked?

No…not physically naked…I’m a good Southern Baptist from Mississippi…what would my Mom and her friends think…how long would it take me to be de-chur.ched.

I mean, should we all get Naked Juice whenever we go to the grocery store…(for those of you who still do…i personally haven’t been since all this corona crap started)…or add it to our online shopping cart when we order groceries online?

You know, those Naked Juice fruit and vegetable—such as Pomegranate Blueberry and Green Machine—that come in containers which all proudly display colorful pictures of all the different fruits…as well as how much fruit such as apple, kiwi, and broccoli.

Each of these smoothie supposedly contains an insane amount of fruits and veggies.

For example, a 15.2oz bottle of Naked Juice’s Red Machine consists of two apples, eleven strawberries, half of a banana, thirteen raspberries, two-thirds of an orange, seven grapes, one-fourth of a pomegranate, and three cranberries

A 15.2oz bottle of Pomegranate Berry contains one-and-a-half pomegranates, twenty-three blueberries, half of an apple, thirty-four red grapes and twenty-four white grapes.

All without any preservatives, added sugars, or artificial flavors at all.

Or at least so they say, but…

Are these smoothies actually as beneficial and nutritious as they claim to be?

But what else is in these juices?

And how there be any profit from selling these, given the cost of produce and the high volume of produce each bottle supposedly contains?

Actually, I’ve learned that we all should definitely not get naked—we should not all take our clothes off…(although thank God, we can all now take off those darn face masks that we only had to wear for how long)…and we should probably not add Naked smoothies to our food stash, or at least not keep drinking them the way that most of us do…

So let’s look at some of the reasons that we all should got get naked…I mean, Naked…shall we?!

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Sugar

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Even though Naked’s claims that its smoothies contain no added sugar, their smoothies still contain very high amounts of sugar derived from the fruits and veggies themselves.

The American Heart Association recommended RDI for sugar is nine teaspoons for men and six teaspoons for women. Yet a 15.2oz bottle of Green Machine contains thirteen teaspoons…twice the amount of sugar recommended daily in that one smoothie alone…not to mention the exact same number of grams of sugar as a can of Mountain Dew.

A 15.2oz bottle of Strawberry contains nine teaspoons of sugar.

Sure most of the sugar in the smoothies is fructose, as compared to the high fructose corn syrup found in soda…but that’s still a lot.

And sugar is still sugar…regardless which neck of the woods it comes from…the country where it is made naturally or the city where men make it themselves.

All types of sugar turn into glucose in your liver and then is metabolized into triglycerides, “bad” cholesterol.

So how can PepsiCo claim that their Naked smoothies have “No Sugar Added” and that it’s safe and healthy to eat non-nutritive sources of concentrated, naturally-occurring sugar, and added sugars in the form of ‘fruit juice puree’ or ‘fruit puree.’

When we all know…even though we often try to ignore the fact…that eating lots of sugar increases your risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

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Fiber

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Fiber

Naked smoothies are not only high in sugar, they are also low in fiber because almost all of the fiber found in any fruit or veggie is removed during the juicing process.

So don’t get too excited when you see the huge list of veggies on the side of the bottle.

Even though the USDA recommends having two servings of fruit per day, fruit juices are lower in fiber than the actual fruit itself. So the USDA also recommends that at least one of these servings of fruit come from whole fruits instead of fruit juice.

Fiber is important for many reasons, but especially for diabetics because fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels and insulin secretion, potentially preventing blood sugar spikes.

While the fiber in whole fruit provides these benefits, the lack of fiber in fruit and vegetable juices may actually increase both blood sugar and insulin levels.

And this is why I started writing this blog in the first place…

My husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes…so I wanted to find out more about nutrition, not only to help him meet his nutritional needs, but also to prevent the rest of my family from ever developing type 2 diabetes in the first place.

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Calories

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A 15.2oz bottle of Naked Juice’s Green Machine provides 270 calories. Other products, such as Blue or Red Machine, contain as many as 320 calories.

Naked smoothies contain an insane amount of calories for a mere beverage…especially one that most of us drink way more than we should in the first place.

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Lawsuit

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In fact, Naked smoothies are so bad that they went through a lawsuit because the smoothies were being marketed as having all natural fruits and vegetables when in fact this was not the truth.

The ccompany was marketing their products as being “all natural” and “non-GMO”…a claim that was not only incredibly misleading, but also an example of false advertising.

This lawsuit was settled by Naked’s parent company, PepsiCo, for nine million dollars….meaning that If you had bought one of their products any time between Sept. 27, 2007 and Aug. 19, 2013, you may be owed some money…up to $75 if you can provide proof of purchase and up to $45 if you can’r.

This can be explained further on NakedJuiceClass.com, the website for this settlement,

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The Bottom Line

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So instead of getting Naked, we’re better off making our own darn smoothies…thank you very much, PepsiCo…great idea, poor product.

We’re all much better off knowing exactly what we’re actually putting into our bodies….instead of drinking cheap, nutrient-poor beverages that contain lots of calories and lots of sugar….beverages that are low in fiber and may ultimately cause you to gain weight instead of losing weight.

So in the next few posts, we’re going to look at ways that we can make our own smoothies that are similar to the smoothies that the Naked smoothies supposedly offer…but smoothies that actually do contain whole produce, and are brimming with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

How Much Chia Would a She Chia Chew if a She Chia Could Chew Chia?!…(in other words, why we should all be adding chia seed to our smoothies)… — June 18, 2021

How Much Chia Would a She Chia Chew if a She Chia Could Chew Chia?!…(in other words, why we should all be adding chia seed to our smoothies)…

For a while it seemed like we constantly being bombarded by the word “superfood.”

Then corona hit…and we all got super bored…and super hungry…and some of us perhaps super fat.

So here we are about a year and a half later, trying to recover from whatever the heck this last year has been and trying to fit back into the clothes we wore to work before we started working from home so that we can now back to work and buy more clothes that actually fit.

And I’m back to my Raw Foods Pyramid and its different tiers…I am actually supposed to be finishing my series on fruits and then beginning my next series of vegetables, but seem to be getting sidetracked every now and then…(i think my pediatrician was the one who first diagnosed someone as having attention-deficit disorder back in the day…right, Mom?!)…

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Why Shake the Chia?

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One great way to use chia seed is by making a smoothie or smoothie bowl.

On their own, chia seeds are relatively flavorless and will not change the taste of the foods that you add them to—in this case, smoothies—very much.

But adding chia seed turns your perfect smoothie into an even more perfect-er smoothie by making it thicker, giving it more texture, and adding nutritional value.

Thickness…Chia seeds help thicken your smoothies because they absorb so much liquid and get really plump when you add them to your smoothie.

Texture...Chia seeds give your smoothie extra texture, meaning that your chia-containing smoothie will help you feel fuller and stay feeling full for a much longer period of time, while taking in fewer calories. In general, you will want to use no more than 1Tbsp chia seed per 1C liquid. More than that may make your smoothie turn out too thick.

That Stuff...Chia seeds give your smoothies more spunk than junk…nutrients such as protein, fiber, antioxidants, omega3 fatty acids…as well as minerals—such as potassium, riboflavin, folate, zine, phosphorous, copper, manganese, niacin, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and iron. Each tablespoon of chia seeds will typically contains four grams of protein and eight grams of fiber.

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The How

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There are three ways to add chia seeds to your smoothies—simply add them to your smoothie after you’ve thoroughly blended all of your ingredients if you enjoy the extra crunch…or first make a chia gel by pre-soaking the chia seeds for at least twenty minutes and then blend them into your smoothie…or grind the chia seed into a fine powder first and then make your smoothie.

Straight from the Bag…Chia seed straight from the bag is probably not gonna be your best option as far as making smoothies and smoothie bowls because the seeds are so hard that they won’t blend up properly enough to give your smoothie a nice texture. Instead you will end up with a big chia un-smoothie chock full of small grains of chia seeds.

Chia Gel…When I’m planning on having a smoothie for breakfast the next morning, I soak a couple of tablespoons raw chia seeds in a glass with enough water to make sure that all the seed are covered and stick it in my fridge. The next morning, when I’m ready to make my smoothie, the seeds will be soft and mushy…perfect for making the perfect smoothie.

Powder…Using a pre-ground…(is that even a word)…chia seed powder is great because that way you can be more certain that you won’t end up with little pieces of seed in your smoothie. The powder will more easily blends right into the other ingredients, giving your smoothie a smoother texture.

In the next few posts, I’ll be sharing three more specific smoothie recipes…so keep reading…and enjoy the summer unlike last summer when we were all couped up for the most part inside, right?!

Chia Pudding — June 13, 2021

Chia Pudding

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two pots of 3-Ingredient Chia Pudding

It’s also vegan, gluten-free, pChiaaleo and keto

The perfect chia pudding is a delicious, creamy, smooth, nutritious, and versatile pudding…which consists of only three ingredients—chia seeds, milk and a sweetener of choice…is great for topping with fresh fruit, coconut, hemp seed, granola, yogurt, nuts, nut butters, and jams.

The perfect chia pudding’s amazing texture and flavor lead to endless topping possibilities….and will leave you feeling perfectly satisfied, satiated and energized throughout your day.

Eating chia pudding as a snack or on-the-go breakfast option will provide you a delicious, comforting treat that is packed with protein, omega-3, antioxidants, and calcium…in fact, more calcium than a glass of milk, more antioxidants than a handful of blueberries, and more omega-3 than a piece of salmon.

Two tablespoons of chia seeds contains 130 calories, 11 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, and 9 grams protein—five of which are omega-3s…

Even though chia pudding actually only requires three ingredients—milk, chia seed, and sweetener—you can tweak it to make it into so many other flavors and textures.

So when you make chia pudding, you not only reap the nutritional value of the chia seeds, but also the added benefit of the milk or milk alternative and the sugar or healthy sugar substitute.

Okay, like almost everything else in my life, I am making this way more complicated than it really should be…

So let’s all go grab that bag of chia seeds out from the back of the pantry, shall we?!

Chia pudding can be made vegan, gluten-free, paleo and keto—all depending on the mix-ins

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Chia Pudding:

Chia Seeds…2Tbsp…Chia seeds have pretty much no flavor on their own, but will absorb whatever else—liquids, sweeteners, spices, and other stuff you add to your chia pudding.

Only use chia seeds, no other type of seed, to make chia seed pudding…(seems kinda obvious, otherwise it wouldn’t be chia seed pudding…right(?!))…but no other type of seed will work.

Also make sure that your chia seeds are fresh.

If your first attempts at making chia pudding is an epic fail, try switching brands. Many people claim that chia seed from Trader Joe’s do not absorb as much liquid and will not work as well as many of the other brands out there.

Typically your want your ratio of chia seeds to milk to be 3Tbsp chia seeds per 1C liquid, but adding more chia seed will result in a thicker pudding.

Milk or Milk Substitute…1/2C milk or milk substitute—such as unsweetened coconut, almond or cashew milk…actually how much milk you need to use depends on how much chia seed you’re using. Four tablespoons of chia seeds per cup of liquid will give you the perfect chia pudding consistency.

Sugar and Spice...2Tbsp maple syrup, agave nectar, honey or other sweetener of choice…1tsp vanilla…1/4tsp cinnamon…( based on personal taste preferences)

Toppings of choice…fresh fruit granola, nut butter, nuts, etc

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Common sense would tell you to simply dump all the ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth. Then after it is blended, cover and refrigerate until thick and creamy, at least two hours and as long as a week.

But actually you have two options as far as using your chia—either leaving the chia seeds whole and whisk the ingredients together…or grinding the chia seeds in a coffee grinder, depending on how smooth your pudding to be.

The first method involves placing all of the ingredients in a blender all at once.

The second method involves blending everything except the chia seeds and adding them later. You will want to do this if you’re adding any flavors—such as strawberries, spices, chocolate—to the pudding at this point instead of waiting to add them after the pudding has set.

Regardless if you grind your chia seeds or not before finishing your pudding, let the mixture sit for about ten minutes before stirring again. This will keep the chia seeds from all clumping together at the bottom of your jar, leaving you with lots of liquid on top instead of a well combined, creamy pudding.

Shaking or whisking a few times within the first hour will also keep it from clumping.

If your pudding isn’t as thick and creamy as you had hoped that it would be whenever you get ready to eat it, simply add more chia seeds, stir, and refrigerate for another hour or so.

Add any other add-ins and toppings of your choice whenever you get ready to eat or serve it.

I like to make big enough of a batch at one time to last for an entire week. You could also make your pudding and then refrigerate it so that it will be ready to eat the next morning.

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Variations

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Banana Split Chia Pudding…Allow chia pudding to sit in fridge long enough to gel. While doing this, toast 1/4C unsweetened coconut flakes in a preheat sauté pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about three minutes. Let coconut cool. Spoon chia pudding into two serving dishes. Top each serving with sliced banana, strawberries, blueberries, coconut flakes and chocolate chips.

Chai Chia Pudding…Add 1tsp cinnamon and a pinch of cloves.

Chocolate Chia Pudding…Add ¼C cocoa powder before sticking pudding into fridge to set.

Kiwi Chia Pudding...After your chia pudding has set, blend three kiwi in blender or food processor until smooth. Layer chia pudding and kiwi puree twice in two glass containers. Top each parfait with blackberries, blueberries, more sliced kiwi, and a few flakes of toasted coconut.

Mango Chia Pudding…After your chia pudding has set, peel your mango and remove the flesh. Blend the mango flesh in a blender or food processor until smooth. Layer your chia pudding and a layer of the smooshed up mango in a serving dish twice. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Matcha: Add 1Tbsp matcha green tea powder before sticking pudding into fridge.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Chia Pudding…Add 3Tbsp peanut butter or other nut butter and 3Tbsp jelly or jam of choice before sticking in fridge.

Pecan Pie Chia Pudding…Add ½tsp cinnamon and 1/2tsp almond extract to base before sticking it in the fridge. Add ½C chopped toasted pecans to finished pudding.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding…Add 1tsp pumpkin pie spice and 1/2C canned pumpkin to chia pudding before sticking it in the fridge. Toast 2Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes. Top your finished chia pudding with coconut and almond butter drizzle.

Raspberry Chia Pudding…Mash 1/C raspberries in a small bowl. Add 2Tbsp granola and raspberries to finished pudding.

Strawberry Chia Pudding…Add ½C strawberries to the finished chia pudding.

Chia Seeds—No Longer Just a Pet, But Your BFF — June 6, 2021

Chia Seeds—No Longer Just a Pet, But Your BFF

When I was growing up…in the days before pretty much anything other than digital watches existed…we used to have to suffer through the ads whenever we wanted to watch whatever one of the three available channels happened to be showing at that time.

Anybody else remember when the only available stations were ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS?!

One of the commercials that you’d hear/watch the most often was for chia pets…

I always begged my parents to buy me one…they looked so adorable…

Yet they never would…

I promised myself that when I grew up, I would buy my own chia…

And now I do…quite often…

But not to watch hair grow and look cute, but to gain their nutritional and health benefits.

Chia seed are valued by health-conscious people and nutritionists for both their health benefits and their nutritional value…as a superfood and an ingredient that can be added to less nutritious items—such as baked pastries and snacks—in order to label them as healthy and nutritious.

But first let’s find out exactly what a chia seeds is…

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What is a chia seed?

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Chia seeds are the tiny seeds of the chia plant, a flowering plant belonging to the mint family, that is native to Mexico and Guatemala…flat ovals with a shiny and smooth texture that can range in color from white to brown or black.

Chia seeds were a staple food for the ancient Aztecs and Mayans…making up an important part of their regular diets…used for medical benefits, especially for their ability to provide sustainable energy…(after all, the word “chia” is actually the ancient Mayan word for “strength”….and treasured to much that the seeds were often offered to Aztec gods in religious ceremonies as far back as 3500 BC.

Today the seeds are grown in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Argentina, Australia, and the United States…and the chia seed market is projected to reach more than two billion dollars in sales by 2022.

Since the days of chia pets, chia has been declared a “superfood”…making it a popular treat for health-conscious people all over the world…added to porridge, salads or yogurt….used to thicken sauces…as a replacement for eggs… made into pudding…used in baked goods…and so forth.

And touted for their health benefits—such as lowering cholesterol, improving gut health, reducing appetite and weight, lowering triglycerides, and improving blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.

Let’s take a closer look….

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Nutritional Value

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Chia seeds…1/2C…Despite their small size, chia seeds are chock full of important nutrients…including iron, calcium, antioxidants, fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients.

One ounce of chia seeds contains…

  • Fiber: 11 grams.
  • Protein: 4 grams.
  • Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are omega-3s).
  • Calcium: 18% of the RDI.
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDI.
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDI.
  • Phosphorus: 27% of the RDI.

Chia seeds are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet…because these tiny seeds deliver such a powerful nutritional punch for very few calories.

Not only do chia seeds offer these important nutrients at a higher amount calorie for calorie than most other foods, they are also a whole-grain food…usually grown organically…non-GMO…and naturally free of gluten.

Antioxidants…Chia seeds contain high levels of the antioxidants that your body needs to protect you from the free radicals, which can damage your cells and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer. These antioxidants keep the seeds from getting rancid.

Calcium…Chia seeds contain high levels of calcium…18%RDI per ounce…which is more than most dairy products.

Fiber…Chia seeds contain twelve grams of carbs per ounce…eleven of which are soluble fiber, fiber which doesn’t raise your blood sugar or require insulin to be disposed of. as opposed to “digestible” carbs like starch and sugar.

Protein...Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein…14% protein…which is very high compared to most plants and is very important, especially for people who eat little or no animal products.

Protein is important for many reasons, but for me personally perhaps the best benefit is the fact that protein is by far the most weight loss friendly dietary nutrient because protein lowers your appetite and obsessive thoughts about food by as much as sixty percent.

Not only do chia seeds contain large amounts of protein, they also contain many of the essential amino acids that help your body use this protein more efficiently.

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Health Benefits

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Chia seeds have become a more and more popular “staple food” in the last few years not only because of their nutritional value, but also their alleged health benefits…which include…

Blood Sugar Control…Chia seeds are high in fiber…fiber that not only lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes…but also metabolic syndrome and heart disease…fiber that is also so important for reducing insulin resistance and improving blood sugar control.

Blood sugar levels often spike temporarily after meals, but eating chia seeds may prevent this, but studies have shown that eating bread made with chia seeds is less likely to affect your blood sugar than more traditional breads.

Bone Health…Chia seeds contain several nutrients—including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus—that are important for keeping your bones healthy. Gram for gram, chia seeds contain more calcium than dairy products. One ounce of chia seeds contains 18%DV calcium.

Digestion…The fiber contained in chia seeds helps prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements.

Heart…Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids that help prevent heart disease—including heart attack, stroke, and sudden cardiac death—by lowering LDL, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels…reducing plaque…lowering blood pressure…reducing inflammation, insulin resistance, and belly fat…raising “good “ HDL cholesterol….reducing blood pressure in people with hypertension.

Inflammation…Inflammation, such as red and swollen skin, is your body’s normal response to infection or injury, This inflammation helps your body heal and fight off bacteria, viruses and other infectious agents…but sometimes excessive inflammation can lead to health conditions such as heart disease and cancer.

Inflammation is measured by inflammatory markers. Studies have shown that eating chia seed regularly can reduce these inflammatory marker by as much as 40%.

Chia seeds contain antioxidants that help fight off this inflammation.

Weight Management…Chia seeds can help you maintain a healthy weight because they contain high amounts of fiber…39%DV per ounce….nearly 5g per 1Tbsp…as well as protein. Soluble fiber found in the seeds absorbs water, causing them to expand in your stomach and making you feel fuller faster while eating less. Chia seeds also contain high levels of protein, omega-3-fatty acids and alpha-linoleic acid which may also be useful for weight loss by helping to keep you from feeling so hungry and eating so much.

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The How

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Chia seeds will “stay good” for up to five years if stored in a cool, dry spot.

Chia seeds can typically be found in any major grocery store, but can also be bought off Amazon.

Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor…in fact, they have hardly any distinctive flavor, if any, and will not compete with other flavors in any given dish…making it possible to make a given food softer and more delicious…as well as more nutritious.

Chia seeds are a highly versatile ingredient. They can be used raw—sprinkled into salads, soups, stews, salad dressings, vegetable dishes, rice dishes, marinades, cereal, porridge, pudding, yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies. They can also be used to cook with—as in baked goods such as crackers, cake, bread and muffins. They are great for thickening sauces and using as an egg substitute in recipes. They can be mixed with water and turned into a gel because of their ability to absorb both water and fat.

In the next few posts, we will take a look at ways that you can actually use those chia seeds you probably bought when you first decided to eat healthier, but still haven’t figured out what to do with…

So keep reading…

Thanks…

Pantry Staples…Maple Syrup — May 30, 2021

Pantry Staples…Maple Syrup

These days more and more people are switching to sugar alternatives, choosing to enjoy a lifestyle of less processed foods, embracing the concept of “green living,” and choosing to pursue such diets as paleo, vegan, and so forth.

But which alternative should you choose…especially given the fact that every single out there naturally produces some sort of sugar as a result of the sun simply shining down on that plant.

This sugar is important for the health of the plant because the plant uses this sugar as a source of energy for their growth of their roots.

For centuries the syrup from the maple tree syrup.

The Indians living in North America thousands of years ago were the first to collect the sap from the maple trees and process it into maple syrup. They used for this maple syrup for both medical and cultural purposes…seeing it as source of energy and nutrition and combining it with other herbs—such as juniper berry, catnip and ginger.

They introduced it to early European settlers, who quickly began improving the technology involved in gathering the sap from the trees. These Europeans began combining the maple syrup with herbs, teas, lemon juice and/or apple cider vinegar to improve insulin sensitivity, help combat metabolic disorders such as diabetes, improve digestion, and increase immunity against colds and respiratory issues.

Many people today…including Elf from the movie Elf…still choose maple syrup as their sweetener of choice….making it one of the most popular sugar alternatives out there.

Maple syrup is perhaps one of the least processed of the sugar alternatives out there.

Maple syrup is a very “low preservative” food…meaning that it is not highly processed but sold just like God made it.

Maple syrup, like fruits and veggies, is a seasonal product.

In the summer, maple trees—including the red maple trees store sugar in its root as starch its roots…and then in the winter, people put either “taps” or tubes into the trees to gather the sap in a bucket….then in the spring when the temperature gets warmer, the sap goes through a cycle of freezing and thawing which builds up pressure within the trees and causes the sap from the tap into the buckets.

The process of gathering sap takes anywhere from four to six weeks, usually during the month of March and April….depending on the changes in daily temperature.

Once the sap is gathered, the sap is boiled down to make syrup.

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Making Maple Syrup

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One gallon of maple syrup requires forty gallons of sap.

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Nutritional Value

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Although maple syrup is high in sugar, specifically sucrose, maple syrup is still a better option than refined cane sugar or corn syrup or agave nectar because it contains more antioxidants and vitamins.

Maple syrup contains up to twenty-four different antioxidants

In fact, the better options for sugar—maple syrup, brown sugar, dark and blackstrap molasses, honey, and maple syrup—all have more antioxidants than the sugar that most of us use every day to sweeten our coffee and cook with.

Maple syrup also provices fairly high amount of nutrients—including zinc, manganese, potassium and calcium. 

One tablespoon of maple syrup contains…

  • Calories…52.2
  • Carbohydrates…13.4 grams
  • Calcium…13.4mg…1%DV
  • Iron…0.2mg…1% DV
  • Magnesium…2.8mg…1% DV
  • Manganese…0.7mg…33% DV
  • Potassium…40.8mg…1%DV
  • Zinc…0.8mg…6% DV

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Health Benefits

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Antioxidants...As mentioned above, maple syrup contains antioxidants.

But what do these antioxidants do…(in case your head has been buried under a rock for the last decade or you’ve never read a single blog post of mine before)…

Antioxidants help prevent cancer, fight inflammation, protect the health of your skin, slave off Alzheimer’s, and prevent neurodegenerative diseases, arthritis, IBS or heart disease.

Diabetes...Maple syrup high a lower gylecmic index than sucrose and may keep you from experiencing the rollercoaster of “sugar highs” followed by “sugar crash.” Just remember that consuming too much of any sweetening product out there will not be so sweet if you overuse of it causes health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Digestion…Replacing the refined sugars or artificial sweeteners in your diet with natural sweeteners is good for your digestive system because it can help prevent digestive system disorders—such as indigestion, gas, bloating, cramping, constipation, candida, IBS, and leaky gut syndrome

Natural sweeteners such as maple syrup are a much better alternative to the sugar typically used in baked goods, yogurt, oatmeal or smoothies because these sweeteners keep the digestive tract in healthy and free from chemicals and the damage that result from a high-sugar diet, 

Immune System…Maple syrup is good for your immune system because the zinc that maple syrup contains helps fight inflammation and illnesses—including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer—and keep your level of white blood cells up. Maple syrup also contains manganese, which is important for fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, blood sugar regulation…as well as brain and nerve function.

Skin…Supposedly applying a mask containing maple syrup directly onto your skin may help lower skin inflammation, redness, blemishes and dryness, hydrate the skin, and reduce bacteria and signs of irritation.

One simple mask recipe is to simply microwave 1-½Tbsp 100% maple syrup for about twenty seconds and then add 3Tbsp plain oatmeal or rolled oats and 1-½Tbsp milk or milk alternative. After applying the face mask with your hands or a brush, wait fifteen minutes and then rinse the mask off with warm water.

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Maple Syrup vs. Artificial Sweeteners

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Of course, we can probably all figure out that sugar is bad for us…our parents have been telling us that from generation to generation to generation to generation to come.

But what about all the other stuff that we could be using instead of sugar?

When it comes to sweeteners other than sugar, there are basically two carpools…

The first carpool is for all the refined products out there—including sugar itself, Splenda, sucralose, agave, and aspartame.

Artficial sweeteners may be calorie-free, yet they can be the cause of many health problems—including weight gain, fatigue, anxiety, depression, learning disabilities and short-term memory loss…as well as making these problems worse if they already exist.

Not only that artificial sweeteners do pretty much nothing as far as weight management goes because the sweeteners could be addicting and make you want to even eat more.

Table sugar has absolutely no nutrients…let me say that again…table sugar has NO nutrients at all…so why even bother putting forth the effort to lift a spoon and add it to your coffee, cereal, or whatever.

And probably the most important factor to me—artificial sweeteners are just that…artificial…processed…

Making the sugar that most of us simply take for granted actually requires a long, complicated process of mechanically harvesting, cleaning, washing, milling, extracting, juicing, filtering, purifying, vacuuming and condensing sugar cane stalks and beets.

Making maple syrup is a much more natural process that pretty much requires simply gathering the sap from the trees,

In others words, something…if not the one thing…that anyone who might possibly be interested in reading this blog wants to eliminate in his or her diet as much as possible.

The second carpool is for natural sweeteners such as honey, molasses, and maple syrup

The second carpool is obviouisly the better choice.

Unlike table sugar, maple syrup and most other natural sweeteners do contain nutrients—such as antioxidants and minerals.

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Maple Syrup vs. Other Natural Sweeteners

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Raw honey and blackstrap molasses are also more nutritious than table sugar and have health benefits—such as acting as natural antibacterial agents.

If you’re shopping for honey, look for honey that is pure, unfiltered and unpasteurized. These types of honey maintain their nutritional value…unlike their processed cousins.

Dark molasses is the fluid that remains after fully extracting of sugar from raw sugar cane and has the highest concentration of antioxidants of all sweeteners…as well as many nutrients—including vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, potassium, iron and selenium. 

However, molasses does require more mechanical and chemical processing that making honey or maple syrup.

There are several different standards of maple syrup—based the grade and place of origin.

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The Which

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Grade…In order for maple syrup to be considered “pure,” at least 66% percent of the sugar it contains must be sucrose.

Pure maple syrup is classified as either “grade A” or “grade B.” Either of these grades is a good choice as long as the syrups are actually pure and free of preservatives, artificial dyes and flavors…but grade B maple syrup typically contains more antioxidants.

The darker the maple syrup is…the later in the year the sap was harvested, the stronger the flavor will be, and the more nutritional value it will offer.

But buyers beware…most maple syrups at your local grocery store will actually not be the “real stuff”…but instead basically an imposters or a highly refined syrup made with maple syrup flavoring. Like almost everything else, you get what you pay for.

In order for a syrup to be regarded as “pure” maple syrup, the only…or at least the primary…ingredient…must be maple syrup instead of refined cane/beet sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

Buy organic maple syrup if and when you can find it so that you can be assured that the maple trees were not treated with any chemicals during the manufacturing process.

Place of Origin…Most, if not all, maple syrup production here in America is done in the New England states—such as Vermont…but Canada supplies over 80% of the world’s maple syrup.

Maple syrup is a great natural substitute for sugar—both for sweetening your sweet tea or whatever…and for cooking, making marinades and glazes, incuding in salad dressings, and baking.

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The How

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If you are planning you baking with maple syrup as a substitute for the sugar originally called for in a recipe for “baked goods,” use the same amount of maple syrup as you would have used if you had used sugar but reduce the amount of liquid by about a half-cup so that you can create the perfect amount of sweetness without adding too much moisture or diminishing the texture you’re looking for.

On the other hand, if you are planning on using the maple sugar as a sugar substitute In smoothies, salad dressings or other liquids, use the same amount originally called for and don’t worry about changing the measurements for any other ingredients also.

Making the Perfect Chutney — May 23, 2021

Making the Perfect Chutney

While we’re on the topic of mango and Indian food, there is no way that I could even think about not bringing up mango chutney…the standard Indian condiment…as standard to that cuisine as ketchup…(or catsup…really, people(?!))is to ours here in America.

The word “chutney” derives from the Hindi word meaning ‘to lick’ or ‘to eat with appetite’…and the Hindi people must really have a great appetite for chutney because in India, chutney is as common as ketchup is here in America. They served chutney a dipping sauce for naan, a condiment for curry, spread it on toast…kinda like vegemite and Australia.

Chutneys have actually been concocted as far back as 500BC….where the people in India began to grind down any medicinal plants, plants that they believed to have health benefits, into chutneys…adding spices to the ground down plants…making a wet paste with the mixture…and sauteeing it in oil…in order to keep the overabundance of fruits and veggies from going bad…

But first of all…what exactly is chutney…and what’s the difference between a relish, a chutney, a marmalade…

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Chutney…The What

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Chutney are savory condiments that can be made from a variety of fruits and veggies—such as coconut, mango, tamarind, apples, rhubarb—that have been slow-cooked along with vinegar and spices.

The idea of making chutney originated in India, but over the centuries has expanded to the point where today almost every country has its own interpretation of this versatile condiment.

Chutneys found in India typically consist of roasted dried lentils, spices—such as coriander, ginger, garlic and cumin, dates, coconut, onions, prunes, tomatoes, chili peppers, limes, mango, and peanuts.

Chutneys from South Africa feature apricots.

Chutneys from England feature apples and vinegar.

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Chutney or Jam

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Chutney differs from jam because jams and jellies are sweet…while chutney is savory because of the spices and vinegar that have been added to the fruit.

Recipes for jams often require pectin in order to creates a thick texture….whereas chutney recipes never call for added pectin.

Chutney is typically chunky and full of pieces of dried fruit and raisins whereas jams are typically blended until smooth.

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Chutney or Relish

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The difference between chutney and relish are not as clear. Perhaps the main difference is the fact that chutneys combine various fruits…whereas relishes typically focus on one primary ingredient.

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Making Chutney

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You can easily make your own chutneys by slow-cooking fruit or vegetables with other ingredients—such as garlic, chil peppers, and vinegar. Then you can use your chutney as a unique, flavorful condiment served along various entrees and appetizers that your guests will be sure to remember.

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Types of Chutney

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As talked about briefly earlier, once the concept of making chutneys found its way out of India and into other countries and regions around the world, this condiment came to no longer be a recipe, but a conglomeration of any and all sorts of ingredients…more of a concept, rather than an actual recipe.

Today perhaps the four most common chutneys are Major Grey’s Chutney, mango chutney, mint chutney, and tomato chutney.

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Major Grey’s Chutney

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Major Grey’s Chutney…This type of chutney is very similar to mango chutney, but milder…and with two more key ingredients—raisins and lime juice. Typical ingredients of Major Grey’s chutney include mango, raisins, vinegar, lime juice, onion…some sort of sweetener…and some blend of spices.

Supposedly the recipe for this variety of chutney was first created by a British Army officer…(probably named Major Grey…go figure)…and is the most popular type of chutney here in America today.

Two brands of Major Grey’s Mango available for sale in the US and Canada are Patak’s, Sharwood’s and Crosse & Blackwell…(the last of which if owned by Smucker.

  • 5 firm mango, about 3C
  • 1C sugar, brown sugar, or other sweetener
  • 1C vinegar—apple cider or white
  • 1C seedless raisins
  • Fruits/Veggies—2 small onions, chopped fine…1/3C cup fresh ginger, grated or chopped fine…1/2″ piece Mexican lime, little, thin skin…3/4″ piece serrano chile, small…one large onion, chopped
  • Spices…
  • 1tsp each—salt, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • Other…
  • 1/2C slivered almonds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard 
  • Peel mangoes. Cut into 1/2″ segments. Put the vinegar in a heavy kettle. Tie the spices in a muslin bag large enough to allow swelling. Add this bag of spices and sugar. Simmer gently 30min, stirring often. Add fruits/veggies/other and half of the mango. Simmer two hours, stirring and watching carefully. Add the rest of the mangoes. Simmer two more hours. Remove the spice bag. Pour mixture into hot sterilized jars. Seal. Let set in a cool place for several weeks before using. This chutney can be kept for years.

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Mango Chutney

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Mango Chutney…Mango chutney is very similar to Major Grey’s chutney, but milder and sweeter. Here is Alton Brown’s recipe for mango chutney…

4# fresh mangos, peeled

3Tbsp vegetable oil

Spices…1tsp chili powder…1-1/2Tbsp curry powder…salt and pepper

Fruits/Veggies…1/4C minced fresh ginger…1C red bell pepper, diced…1/2Craisins

Other…8oz unsweetened pineapple juice…4oz cider vinegar…1/2C brown sugar…1/2C macadamia nuts, roughly chopped and toasted

Cube the mango. Heat the oil in skillet. Add spices, onion, and bell pepper. Saute 2min. Add mango. Cook for one more minute. Combine pineapple juice, vinegar, sugar, and curry powder in a separate bowl. Add this mixture to the skillet. Stir to combine. Simmer for about thirty minutes, stirring frequently. Add raisins and nuts. Season with salt and pepper.

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Mint Chutney

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  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1-½C fresh mint leaves
  • 1 green chile pepper
  • ½tsp salt
  • 1 medium onion, cut into chunks 
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼C water
  • Combine cilantro, mint leaves, chile pepper, salt, onion and lemon juice. Process to a fine paste, adding enough water to achieve a thick sauce.

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Tomato Chutney

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Instead of serving plain ketchup, try a zesty tomato chutney with your burgers and french fries…such as the following recipe…

  • 8 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2C apple cider vinegar
  • 2Tbsp olive oil
  • Spices…2 garlic cloves, minced…1tsp cumin…1tsp cumin…1 tsp dry mustard…1/2tsp turmeric…1tsp chili powder…2Tbsp brown sugar…1/4tsp salt
  • Fruits/Veggies…2 green chilies, finely chopped with seeds removed
  • Add the olive oil to a saute pan over medium heat. Add spices, chilies, and garlic. Cook for one minute. Stir in the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Simmer over medium heat, uncovered, for about twenty minutes.
33 Different Kinds of Coffee to Keep Even the Barista Confused — May 22, 2021

33 Different Kinds of Coffee to Keep Even the Barista Confused

 

 

 

I am a simple person. I have dwindled my wardrobe into a 52-piece capsule wardrobe, organized my spice cabinet alphabetically, and cleaned/organized every single room in my house this year in my quest for minimalism and a better lifestyle in general for my family.

So it’s probably not a big shock that I “like my coffee like I do my men—strong, dark, and steamy”…or whatever that expression is.

 

But rumor tells me that there are so many perhaps better alternatives to this black coffee, options such as…

 

1. Affogato–a single or dual shot of espresso mixed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

2. Americano—a single or double shot of espresso diluted with hot water

3. Bicerin Coffee—a shot of espresso, chocolate drink, and milk or cream all layered in a glass

4. Black Coffee—coffee with no dairy products such as milk or cream added

5. Bulletproof Coffee—a buttered coffee drink that supposedly helps you lose weight

6. Cappuccino—very similar to a café latte, but the foam and the chocolate sprinkles are more on the top than already mixed in

7. Cafe Latte—coffee with steamed milk froth and the micro-foam on top

8. Cold Brew—coffee beans steeped in water for twelve hours or more

9. Cortado—a Spanish beverage that contains coffee with a generous amount of warm milk

10. Cuban Espresso—a sweetened dark-roasted espresso shot with an addition of demerara sugar

11. Decaf Coffee—coffee that has some of the caffeine taken out

12. Double Espresso—two shots of espresso

13. Espresso—a single shot of espresso

14. Flat White— a single shot of espresso served with steamed milk

15. Galao Coffee—a Portuguese milky sweet coffee

16. Green Coffee—coffee that is made with coffee beans that haven’t been roasted to that familiar brown color that we all expect, supposedly great for those who are trying to lose weight

17. Iced Coffee—coffee with ice in it…(as if you couldn’t  figure that out already)

18. Instant Coffee—coffee powder that is prepared by making fine grains from already roasted coffee

19. Irish Coffee—black coffee with whiskey and sugar added and topped with cream

20. Kopi Luwak—a premium coffee type prepared in Asia that requires collecting coffee beans that have been crapped out by a Civet…(sorry, I think that I’ll pass on this one.)…

21. Kopi Tubruk—an Indonesian coffee drink that is made by dissolving coffee beans directly into the boiling water

22. Long Black Coffee—a single shot of espresso with 70% hot water added

23. Long Macchiato—a double shot of espresso with a layer of cream and foam added on the top

24. Mocha—a single shot of espresso with a spoonful of chocolate powder, steamed milk froth and microfoam, and them more chocolate powder on the very top.

25. Mushroom Coffee…regular coffee that has been infused with medicinal mushroom extracts…(see next post, you know, the one that I haven’t even written yet(?!)…

26. Piccolo Latte—a shot of espresso or Ristretto served in a demitasse cup with steamed milk and a little foam on top

27. Ristretto—a single shot of espresso with the same amount of coffee beans but the half amount of water

28. Short Macchiato-–a single shot of espresso with a layer of cream and foam added on the top

29. Sweet Coffee—coffee that contains some sort of sweetener

30. Turkish Coffee—a stronger and more aromatic Turkish beverage made by using coffee beans that have been ground so fine that it doesn’t even need filtering

31. Vienna Coffee—a type of black coffee served with a whopping amount of cream on the top

32. White Coffee—a mild version of traditional coffee with less brewing and less intense taste

33. Yuanyang Coffee—a popular beverage from Hong Kong that is prepared by combining both the coffee and tea