Herbal Teas

Rosehip will help raise your immunity as it is full of Vitamin C.

Ginger is well known for helping nausea and to settle the stomach but it is also good for colds and flu.

Chamomile will help you sleep better as it calms your nervous system. It is also good for digestion.

Green tea has become a substitute for normal black tea with many people. Green tea will help boost your immunity as it is an anti-oxidant. If the taste is not to your liking then add a bit of lemon to give it a bit of a lift.

Fennel is a great tea to help you with controlling that sweet tooth. It tastes like liquorice so it can satisfy your cravings for sweet feeds as well as help suppress your appetite.

Lemon grass tones your skin and is also good for digestion and fever.

Peppermint is a great stomach tea for digestion and to help with bad breath, congestion and fluid buildup. Peppermint is a stimulant so is a great tea to have in the mornings instead of that cup of coffee.

Spearmint is a good stand in for peppermint if you find peppermint too strong. Or you can add spearmint in with peppermint and chamomile if you want to make a great mix.

Brahmi tea will help your memory become a lot clearer

Dandelion is for fluid buildup and puffiness as it helps cleans the liver. If you feel unsettled when you drink it though see a naturopath as your liver function may need attention.

Raspberry leaf tea is for expectant mothers suffering from morning sickness and can also make for an easier delivery when baby is due.

So as you can see there are many teas to choose from each with their individual way of assisting you to get healthy. Maybe tomorrow instead of that cup of coffee or black tea, which both contain caffeine, which can be bad for you, try a cup of herbal tea and help clean up your body at the same time.

Fruit Salad

Fruit salads are very colourful and pleasing to the eye. Depending on the fruit you choose you can create quite a visual impact. I love to use the strawberries in all my fruit salads not only is the strawberry very tasty it also has a very vibrant colour. Other colourful fruits that look great in a fruit salad include blueberries, kiwifruit and green grapes. I love the look of a colourful salad that’s almost too beautiful to eat!

You can use pretty much any fruit in your salad but be aware of fruit that browns and serve accordingly. Fruit such as bananas, pears or apples will start to brown so if you must have these make sure that the salad is served immediately. Better yet, you can make up the salad ahead of time and only add these fruits immediately before serving.

You really don’t need to add anything to the salad as the fruit will release its own juices but there are many dressings that will add more flavour and/or texture. If your salad contains fruit that is already quite sweet you may want to add plain yogurt, some orange or lime zest, or a little sprinkle of powdered sugar. If you feel you need some added sweetness pour in a little citrus juice or stir in some honey. Balsamic vinegar with just a touch of sugar will give the salad a tangy sweet taste. Or just keep it simple with a squeeze of lemon or lime.

You can add a little crunch to your fruit salad by adding nuts! Great additions include pistashios, walnuts, shredded coconut and even crushed dry roasted peanuts. Be safe and ensure your guests have no allergies before you serve a salad that contains nuts.

Just use your imagination and your favourite fruits to come up with your own variations. Experiment with dressings and the addition of nuts to make a unique creation. Fruit salads are a healthy guilt free dish to enjoy!

Calcium Uptake

Dairy is usually a rich source of calcium. A cup (one cup is equivalent to 250ml) of whole milk contains as much as 290mg of calcium, while a cup of skim milk yoghurt holds about 452mg of calcium.

The recommended intake of calcium is between 1000mg to 1300mg per day for the average person. Meeting the recommended daily allowance for calcium does not pose such a major problem for vegetarians who are lacto-ovo. But this is not the case for vegans and vegetarians who are lactose intolerant.

The good news is calcium is also available in abundance from other food sources such as green vegetables, beans and lentils as well as seeds and nuts. Below is a short list of some calcium rich food:

  • A cup of baked bean 154mg
  • A cup of cooked collard greens 357mg
  • A cup of cooked soybeans 132mg
  • A cup of cooked broccoli 132mg
  • A cup of cooked Swiss chard 128mg
  • A cup of cooked dandelion greens 147mg
  • A cup of cooked kale 206mg
  • A cup of cooked mustard greens 193mg
  • A cup of cooked okra 147mg
  • A cup of raw bokchoy 116mg
  • A cup of cooked lambs quarters 618mg
  • A cup of soybean flour 143mg
  • A cup of cooked quinoa 82mg
  • A cup of soybean milk 46mg
  • A cup of rolled oats 20mg
  • A pack of tofu (250gm) 154mg
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds 109mg
  • ½ cup of whole almonds 83mg
  • 1 dries fig 27mg
  • 1 fresh medium orange 52mg
  • 1 fresh medium papaya 72mg
  • 1 corn tortilla 139mg
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses 137mg

Source: The New Laurel’s Kitchen by Laurel Robertson et al, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, California

With a bit of planning, meeting the RDA of 1300mg is a small challenge:

Breakfast

  • ½ cup of oats with a cup of soymilk 56mg
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses 137mg
  • ½ fresh medium papaya 36mg

Mid-morning snack

  • ¼ cup whole almonds 41mg
  • 1 medium orange 52mg
  • 1 cup soybean milk 46mg

Lunch

  • 250gm tofu 154mg
  • ½ cup cooked kale 103mg
  • 1 cup cooked okra 147mg

Mid-afternoon snack

  • 2 dried figs 54mg

Dinner

  • 1 corn tortilla 139mg
  • ½ cup cooked lambs quarters 309mg
  • ½ an orange 26mg
  • Total calcium 1300mg

By eating a wide selection of food, meeting the RDA for calcium is not only convenient but also enjoyable because of the variety of food involved: from nuts to dried fruits and an array of vegetables and fresh fruits.

Vegan Smoothies

When making the change to a vegan diet, whether for health or for ethical reasons, one of the most challenging aspects of the day is breakfast. After all traditionally breakfast is eggs, cereal, toast with butter, sausage, bacon, or any number of foods that are not appropriate for vegans. When trying to maintain a vegan diet while also eating only whole foods you have to watch out for refined sugars and other starches in breads, sugar for coffee, and even the artificial chemicals in nondairy creamer.

It is plain to see that having a balanced meal to start the day may be almost impossible. But it is not. Even as a vegan, you can still drink a homemade smoothie. All you need is some fresh produce, a blender, a little practice and a few other products to add to give you any missing vitamins or proteins for the day. When learning how to make smoothies the first step is to wander around the produce aisle at the store and decide which fruits you enjoy. Strawberries, bananas, and melons all make great additions to any smoothie. Many other fruits can work great as well including peaches, grapes, kiwi, and other berries. Also consider juicing fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons or limes. Buying fruit juice from the store is usually not a good idea when on a whole foods or vegan diet. But juicing your own at home can be a great way to avoid preservatives and other chemicals.

After deciding on your favorite fruits, now decide what else you can throw in your smoothies for extra nutrition. It is easy to eat several servings of vegetables per day by simply hiding milder ones in your smoothies. Spinach, alfalfa sprouts, chard, and lettuce are common in stores and are generally easy to add. One thing to keep in mind when on any vegan diet is to get enough vitamins and proteins. Without being careful many people find themselves not eating enough Vitamin B12, Iron, Vitamin D, Calcium, Iodine, or Omega 3 Fatty Acids. You can counter this by grinding certain beans, nuts, healthy oils, or supplements into your morning smoothie. Some supplements, like fish oil, may be better taken in capsule form.

Breakfast, lunch, or any meal on the go does not have to be impossible for someone on a vegan and whole foods diet. Stocking your house with fresh produce, buying a strong blender, and learning which supplements you may need may be all it takes to enjoy a healthy meal. And best of all, it takes only minutes to prepare, is very portable, and cleanup is very easy!

Choose A Vegetable Juicer

The Speed Of The Juicer.

First, think about the speed of the juicer. Some juicers move at much slower speeds, which can make it harder to juice the heartier vegetables you may want to use.

The faster and stronger the juicer, the more versatile it is going to be.

The Pulp Factor.

Also, consider the pulp factor. What does the juicer do with the pulp? The big difference between a juicer and a blender is the blender keeps the pulp in the juice while the juicer ensures it is separated from the mix.

Ideally, you will want to find a juicer that ejects the pulp, which will make cleaning the juicer a breeze. You will find you quickly avoid all juicing if you are spending half an hour cleaning the machine after each use.

The Strength Of The Juicer.

Also, consider the strength of the juicer. How powerful is the machine? If the juicer is not operating with much strength, it may not hold up to many juice creations. If you have a family and plan to prepare various juices at the one time, you will want a juicer with enough horsepower it can easily keep up.

Noise.

Finally, also take into account the noise factor. Now if you plan to juice in the afternoon or evening, this may not be much of a consideration. But if you want to juice at breakfast and you get up earlier than other family members, they are not going to appreciate a deafening machine.

Fruit Facts

One of the interesting points to note concerning fruit health facts is that fruits are some of the best sources of antioxidants. Vitamin C and beta carotene are known to be some of the most potent antioxidants in the world. Antioxidants are believed to eliminate oxidative stress on the body’s cells. They do so by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are unstable compounds that are created during fat metabolism and certain environmental factors. Consequently, free radicals are believed to be responsible for altering the affected cell’s metabolism resulting in abnormal cell growth. Fruits such as oranges, strawberries and melons are also excellent sources of vitamin C.

Another one of the interesting fruit health facts is that they are rich sources of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are poly-phenolic compounds found mostly in “blue fruits” such as blue berries, blackberries as well as the acai berry. So named for their blue pigments, blue fruits have powerful antioxidant properties offering protection against a number of problems such as infections, aging and some forms of cancer.

The tomato, which is commonly mistaken for a vegetable, is known for its high antioxidant concentration. Interestingly, one particular antioxidant, lycopene, found in high concentrations in tomatoes has been linked to reducing the chances of one developing cancer. In order to receive all their nutritional and health benefits, tomatoes are best cooked but can still be eaten raw. This is contrary to most fruit health facts that say fruit is best eaten raw to receive the best health benefits.

When choosing which fruits to add to your diet, you should try to select fruits that are rich in potassium. Great examples of such fruits include bananas, oranges, cantaloupe and honey dew melons. Moreover, when choosing fruits that are canned or packed, be sure to take the healthier option i.e. those canned in 100% fruit juice or water rather than those canned in syrup.

You will also be interested to learn that a number of fruits such as mango and apricots go well with meat dishes such as chicken. Moreover, fruits are known to be low in calories and make some of the best alternatives to snacks that are high in fat and sodium. This means that replacing junk food snacks with health fruit snacks can be a great way to lose weight.

When learning on fruit health facts, you will be interested to know that fruits are also popularly used in a number of natural skin care products. For instance, the avocado when ripe is crushed and mixed with egg yolks to be used as a face mask during the summer to protect the skin from harmful UV rays. Moreover, bananas are used to naturally remove blackheads while cucumber can be used to relieve sun burns.

Vegetable Nutrition

You get the idea. Like a zombie, I mindlessly walk the store and get each item on the list and bring them home. While unpacking I start to make comments about each item (I probably should write an article on why I shouldn’t do that) and why we don’t need them.

I always get hung up on celery and lettuce. They don’t do anything for me and I see them as a side item to my sandwich or meal. Actually, I would rather substitute spinach or broccoli for each of them, because I know those two vegetables are healthy (as long as Pop-Eye and my mom aren’t liars).

So that got me thinking of researching and writing an article on the nutritional benefits of lettuce and celery. Exciting, earth shattering stuff, I know.

Well I was actually quite surprised by the minerals and nutrients each one packed. For instance, did you know celery is a great source of riboflavin, calcium, dietary fiber, and contains good amounts of vitamin A, B6, C, and K? I didn’t either. All of these nutrients and vitamins are key cogs that keep our body functioning at a high level.

What about lettuce? Well, let me break that down as well. Lettuce contains thiamin, vitamins B6, A, C, K and (like celery) are very good sources for dietary fiber, folate and manganese.

So now that you know that you know the power that these watery, tasteless vegetables pack, here are some ways to incorporate them into your daily meals.

Celery, when I think of it, is seen as the main side with a plate of buffalo wings, Well, that may be very true but have you ever tried adding celery to soup? Your spinach salad? What about mixing it in with canned tuna and spreading it on bread for a sandwich? These are all great ways to get celery into your diet without having to eat it raw.

Want your kids to eat more celery. Will try the tried and true Ants on a Log recipe that kids have been devouring up for who knows how long. Simple cut each celery stalk into 3 pieces, smear peanut butter in the gap (or almond butter for a healthier option) and add 3 to 4 raisins (these are your ants) and voila!

How about lettuce? Well just because you buy it for taco night and then forget about it until it starts stinking up your fridge, doesn’t mean it cannot be used as an enhancer to any lunch or dinner item. Making a turkey or other cold cut sandwich? Sprinkle some lettuce on it. Have a left over tomato sitting on the counter, slice it up and combine with lettuce for a quick salad.

Healthy Summer Foods

  • Corn
    Fresh sweet corn is a great addition as a side dish or incorporated into a dip recipe. Corn also contains two antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin) that help to eliminate the damaging free radicals in your body. These specific antioxidants also have been shown to aid in the protection your eyes from the harmful UV rays. Corn is a great tasting summer food that can be used in a multitude of healthy summer recipes.
  • Tomatoes
    Fresh off the vine there is nothing more versatile in healthy summer recipes than tomatoes. Tomatoes also provide an extra layer of protection from sunburn. Specifically the lycopene that is present in tomatoes, has been shown to reduce the effects of the sun by as much as 50% with as little as 3 tablespoons of tomato paste. The best summer diets wouldn’t be complete without a healthy dose of fresh tomatoes.
  • Raspberries
    Aside from their delicious taste these little berries are a great natural source of pectin. Pectin has been shown to lower cholesterol and as soon as you can pick them you should be including them in your healthy summer recipes. Raspberries are also really high in fiber which aids with digestion and weight maintenance.

Love Dried Mango

These fruits are popular organic treats that are mostly coming from South East Asian countries. Given the abundance of sunlight and the right amount of moisture needed for the photosynthetic processes required in order to grow mango delicacies in these nations. However, dried mangoes have conquered not only the tropical countries, but also the places on its north and east side. If you buy dried mango whether out of interest or not, you are bound to have a wonderful snacking experience. Instead of choosing that pack of potato chips or that bowl of pretzels, go for a pack of dried mangoes. Here are some reasons why you should:

  1. It has the good calories your body needs. A teeny tiny serving of 20 pieces of potato chips will cost you and your body around 147 calories with 86% calories from fat. However, one-third cup of dried mangoes, which is probably enough to entertain you for a full-length comedy movie will cost you only 160 calories with 0% calories from fat. In fact, the calories that come from mangoes come from carbohydrates that are inherent in mangoes. Snacking need not be a tortuous experience for your body. You can turn the tides around by choosing organic food options and writing it in your grocery list.
  2. It has the vitamins your body needs for daily functioning. Mangoes are a rich source of vitamins A and C plus potassium and beta carotene. If you are not extremely fond of eating natural mangoes because of the pulp and the fiber that gets stuck in your teeth, dried mangoes is definitely a better option. Munching on at least 5 pieces of dried mangoes in a day can give you the vitamins and minerals you need.
  3. A better snacking alternative! Again, when it comes to snacking, it has to be guilt-free while giving you the advantage for vitamins and minerals that you need in order to stay fit and healthy. If you are conscious about your weight and your daily calorie intake, substituting your fatty snacks with a pack of fruits can do a lot for your confidence and figure. Also, since it is dehydrated, you can be sure that the shelf life of a pack of these products can last long and will not be stale even after a few weeks of storing it inside your refrigerator. Go ahead, buy dried mango and enjoy its benefits.

Greek Yogurt Flavors

Chobani Bites: Coffee With Chocolate Chips

If you’ve been watching your diet for some time, chances are you have cravings for chocolate now and again. Chobani bites offers the option to get a snack in that hits that sweet spot, provides 8 grams of protein, and still manages to be in low in fat and provide a great taste for 100 calories. This is hands down my all-time favorite type of yogurt, and I recommend it to friends pretty much every day. It’s a bit high in sugar for those that closely scrutinize your carb intake, but still worth it.

Chobani Fruit at the Bottom: Apple Cinnamon

If you’re not a big fan of fruits and vegetables, it can be incredibly difficult to work into your eating habits on a daily basis. Combine an easy fruit serving that with the curative powers of a super food like cinnamon, and you have my second favorite greek yogurt flavor. Clocking in with a whopping 28% protein and only 120 calories, Chobani’s Fruit at the Bottom is easy to squeeze in at any time of the day.

Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt Dips: Roasted Red Pepper

Combining the indulgent feeling of a creamy, delicious dip with the healthy facets of Greek Yogurt, this Dannon Dip powerhouse provides a feeling of fullness and nutrition. If your friends are health-conscious as well, this is an easy alternatives to fattier dips. You can also mix in carrots and other vegetables instead of the usual chips and dip combination. The very best part of a dip like this is that in terms of calories, the density isn’t there. You can take a whole two tablespoons of Dannon Oikos Grek Yogurt Dip and it only comes in at 25 calories a serving. That’s impressive and delicious!