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15 Tips on How To Start Cooking Healthy – From Nutritionists and Cooks

Healthy cooking often means a drastic change in eating habits, and as habits are our second nature, it might be just one of the most difficult things in the world to do. Many students in our Online Healthy Cooking School say that the most difficult thing for them was to start, to make that first step towards the healthier kitchen and better habits.

So, what do you do, where do you begin in that ocean of information about what is right and what is wrong on your plate? We asked 15 nutritionists and healthy cooks to share their best tips on getting started with healthy cooking. Here is the list of their practical advice, that can be helpful even if you are not a novice in healthy eating anymore.

1.Think “plus one” each time you are preparing a recipe or a meal

This reminds you to add at least one additional non-starch vegetable or beans to the meal or dish.  This simple technique is fast and can really help you boost your intake of vegetables that provide important micronutrients, feed the good bacteria in your gut microbiome, and fills you up on healthy foods. The great thing is it’s inexpensive, quick, and can easily be done with items you probably already have on hand if you’re trying to eat healthier.

Lisa Garcia  (MS, RDN, LD) is a registered dietitian nutritionist. She uses a coach approach and personalized, actionable steps to enable clients to address weight and gut health issues while still enjoying their lives and eating (follow Lisa on Facebook)

 

Easy green beans recipe:

2. Start with plant-based complex carbs and use the right oil

Start with a single-ingredient plant-based complex carb; my favorites include beans, legumes, potatoes, or any minimally processed grain such as barley or farro. Consider swapping butter and lard for liquid oils – my favorite being Avocado Oil, which allows for a high cooking temperature, and thus contributes a great deal of heart-healthy unsaturated fats!

Rachel Fine (MS, RD, CSSD, CDN) is a Registered Dietitian and owner of To The Pointe Nutrition, a nutrition counseling firm in NYC

(follow Rachel on Instagram)

 

3. Swap your ingredients for healthier recipes

For starters, cooking healthy does not need to be boring nor complex. One super easy swap is to start cooking with gluten free ingredients to make your dishes more nutritious. Swap out regular semolina drum wheat pastas for legume based pastas such as red lentil or chickpea pasta for increased protein intake, as 1 serving can have up to 14g protein. You can then add in your favorite vegetables and protein to make it a more well-rounded dish such as broccoli and grilled chicken. For flavor, you can whip up a plant based sauce in under 5 minutes such as a vegan pesto or a vegan cashew sauce.  Incorporating dairy free ingredients into your cooking such as using coconut milk or vegan cheeses have added nutritional benefits as these are anti-inflammatory and also a good source of healthy fats and proteins. You can use coconut milk as a swap for regular milk when baking or making pancakes, and swap out butter for coconut oil in all recipes as well.

Melissa Eboli AKA Chef Via Melissa is a certified Culinary Nutrition Expert (CNE), Nutritional Chef and wellness counselor based out of NY. Her services include event catering, dinner parties, cooking classes and recipe development (follow Melissa on Facebook and Instagram)

 

Gluten-free Strawberry Pie Recipe:

4. Start with sheet pan meals

People often overcomplicate cooking in their minds and when you add in a ‘healthy’ twist, it becomes even more daunting. From my experience, as a Food Business Owner and Health Coach, the best way to start is with whole food ingredients, prepared simply. And, don’t be afraid to take shortcuts to make it easier on yourself. For example, purchase pre-cut vegetables or mini-versions, like baby carrots and baby potatoes. This makes it so much easier to get food prepped and into the oven. I love sheet pan meals – where all the ingredients are cooked together on one sheet pan, making clean-up a breeze too. One of my favorites is organic chicken thighs with roasted baby potatoes and baby carrots. Use simple spices like salt, pepper and garlic powder to season the chicken, potatoes and carrots. Drizzle some olive oil on the pan and cook all ingredients at 400 F for 30 minutes. It’s easy to change up this simple meal with different proteins, vegetables, herbs and spices, like rosemary, sage or turmeric, for variety. You’ll be amazed at how simple this meal is to prepare and wow your family and friends!

Elizabeth Girouard is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Certified Workplace Wellness Ambassador. She is also the Founder of Pure Simple Wellness and Zing Meals

(follow Elizabeth on Facebook and Instagram)

 

Baked potato wedges recipe:

5. Master 10 flexible recipe techniques

The best way to get started with healthy cooking is to first make a list of all the whole foods you love today (i.e., vegetables, grains, beans). It’s common to get in a food rut and forget about all the whole foods you already like. It’s best to start incorporating these “Personal Best” foods into your current meals before introducing new foods into your diet. The second tip is to make a list and master ten flexible “Recipe Techniques” that are aligned to your eating style and can easily incorporate whatever ingredients you have on hand. For example, a stir fry over quinoa or zucchini noodles, simple pasta dish, a frittata with meat and/or veggies, a vegetable soup with chicken or beans, and a meat/veggie chili are good examples of this. Keeping ingredients you love on hand and using simple but flexible recipes is a great way to get into healthy cooking one bite at a time!

Marissa S. Costonis H.C. is a health change guru and author of the Amazon bestseller, Change BITES, 5 Change Management Strategies to Transform Your Health

(follow Marissa on Instagram and Facebook)

 

6. Make half your plate fruits or vegetables at every meal

The recommendation for the general public is to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, with a serving equivalent to about 1 cup of produce. Most Americans find this difficult to do, but if you cook each meal so that half of the plate is filled with fresh, frozen, or canned fruits or veggies, you’re guaranteed to improve your health. Typically, you should shoot for 2 servings of fruit, as these are higher in sugar, and 3 servings of non-starchy veggies per day. Don’t count the starchy corn, potatoes, beans, or peas towards your vegetable servings. While they do provide nutrients, like fruit, they’re high in sugar and can make your liver work overtime to release insulin. Focus on the “rainbow” of fruits and vegetables to get all of your vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This means eating greens, reds, oranges, whites, and yellows throughout the week, as each color contributes a small portion of your micronutrient needs.

Colleen Wysocki-Woods (MS, RDN) is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a private practice in Colorado called ZEST Nutrition

(follow Colleen on Facebook)

 

7. Use as few ingredients as possible

Healthy cooking doesn’t need to involve all day meal prep, batch cooking and complicated meals or soggy dinners. Forget the idea of meal prepping and cooking for the entire week. This can get old, plus its tedious it involves a lot of work.  Focus instead on 5 ingredients, 20 minute meals, that involve little to no prep. Think pre-chopped veggies, fresh pre-made guacamole and sheet pan dinners!

Mariana Dineen is a Registered Dietitian and the founder of Pretty Nutritious, a virtual private practice and social media platform with a mission to help women find the confidence to ditch unrealistic diet rules and live a fun and delicious life

(follow Mariana on Instagram)

 

Two Ingredient Rice Bread Recipe:

 

8. Start with breakfast

Start small and pick one meal to transform at a time. Start with breakfast. Breakfast is easy to meal prep with homemade, healthy, and nutritious options, instead of all the processed sugar-filled junk, or worse, skipping breakfast all together before you run out the door.Easy options like overnight protein oatmeal, pancake bites, freezable waffles, vegan frittata bites, or classic baked goods like healthy muffins and quick breads.

Options that can be made ahead, freeze well, transport well if you do need to eat “on the go” and work for everyone in the family will make your morning less stressful, fueled with nutrition, and lead you to have an easier time making healthy choices throughout the rest of the day.

Rebecca Pytell is the founder, content creator, and celiac disease and food allergy coach behind Strength and Sunshine, a gluten-free & allergy-free food and recipe website

(follow Rebecca on Facebook and Instagram)

 

9. Buy the rainbow

When going grocery shopping, try to buy produce in a variety of colors or choose a different fruit or vegetable every time you shop- think rainbow. This will offer a wide range of health-promoting nutrients because each fruit or vegetable is packed with its own set of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Many of the pigment compounds in these fruits and vegetables also act as antioxidants, which defend against cell damage. With the help of a bit of oil and seasoning, you can easily roast or sauté a mixture of vegetables and incorporate them into entrees or meal preps. Fruits can be sliced into salads or enjoyed as desserts. Having a variety of produce on hand gives you options when it’s time to cook, helping keep your meals interesting.

Ysabel Montemayor is the lead Registered Dietitian at the meal delivery service Fresh n’ Lean,

the largest organic ready-to-eat meal delivery service.

 

10. Choose healthy oils for cooking

From my clinical experience, what we input to our bodies through food choices has a massive effect on “mental illnesses” (Anxiety, depressive disorders). It’s important to remember that a majority of our serotonin is located in our guts, that’s our neurotransmitter that creates feelings of happiness, so we first need to make sure our gut health is OK. My best tip is to start making manageable steps towards changing how you cook and eat. If you’re cooking with anything other than coconut, olive, or avocado oil, please change that now. Try new ways to roast veggies and always make your own sauces. They’re so much yummier and most likely always better for you. Here’s a healthy dressing recipe for honey mustard dressing: 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp dijon mustard, black pepper & Himalayan sea salt, a tsp (or less!) of pure maple syrup or agave.

Erica Basso (MA, AMFT) is a Holistic Psychotherapist, who uses the power of food to heal and connect

(follow Erica on Instagram)

 

11. Add more pulses and vegetables to your diet and cook them with spices

If you want to get started with healthy cooking, you may want to incorporate more plant-based ingredients in your diets such as beans, pulses, vegetables and tofu. When cooking with these ingredients, I would really recommend stocking up on some spices and herbs as they add so much flavour which will make all the difference. One of my favourite easy ways to make something healthy is to make a curry using chickpeas or lentils and lots of vegetables. Using spices such as curry powder, cumin and turmeric and herbs like cilantro (coriander), paired with some creamy coconut milk will transform the beans and vegetables into a comforting, flavourful curry that you won’t be able to stop eating!

Rhian WIlliams has a food blog where she posts easy, undetectably vegan and gluten-free recipes, focusing on healthy comfort food and naturally sweetened desserts using plant-based ingredients

(follow Rhian on Instagram and Facebook)

 

Mung Bean Soup Recipe:

12. Plan ahead and invest in slow cooker

Make a plan and keep it simple! One thing I love recommending to beginner cooks is investing in a slow cooker. We have all been there; coming home from a long day at work and don’t have the energy or time to cook. Start the day off right and throw something into the slow cooker! It is very hard to burn, and the entire meal is already done before you get home. Bonus: Check your local grocery store to see if they have any slow cooker meals already prepped for you.

Laurel Deininger is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator located in St. Petersburg, Florida who loves cooking, yoga, and her dog, Reagan.

(follow Laurel on Instagram)

 

13. Keep frozen vegetables at hand

Getting started with healthy cooking can be intimidating, so I suggest starting with small changes instead of trying to go all-in at once. You’ll need time to build your cooking skills and for your body to adjust to the new way of eating. A great way to start incorporating more healthy ingredients into your meals is to keep frozen vegetables on hand. Items like frozen broccoli florets, spinach, peas, or cauliflower can be tossed into many recipes, like soups, stews, casseroles, and quick pasta dishes for an instant nutritional boost. Plus, they’re already washed and chopped, which means less work for you. And perhaps the best part, you don’t have to worry about frozen vegetables going limp in the back of your fridge if you don’t use them right away.

Beth Moncel has been creating simple, satisfying, balanced, and budget-friendly meals for ten years through her blog, BudgetBytes. She loves teaching people how to cook and watching them discover the joy and independence that come with cooking at home

(follow Beth on Instagram)

 

Savoury oatmeal with frozen veggies recipe:

 

14. Start slow and add one change at a time

So often people try to do too much as one time, cutting out entire food groups or macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat). Start by focusing on adding more veggies to your day and consuming protein at each meal.  Look for easy ways to make healthy swaps; one’s that take little to no effort. For example, instead of wheat pasta, try zucchini noodles or House Foods Tofu Shirataki Spaghetti. Instead of regular gnocchi, try a cauliflower based gnocchi. These are a few sneaky ways to increase your vegetable and protein intake, both of which keep you fuller for longer.

Lauren Cadillac is a Manhattan-based Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer, who’s approach focuses first on feeling good; improving mood, sleep, digestion, energy, performance in the gym and at work

(follow Lauren on Instagram)

 

15. Gradually build your healthy cooking habits

When getting started with adopting a healthy cooking regimen, the key is to start simple by choosing one meal that you want to focus on. From there you can start to seek inspiration and recipes from Pinterest, Instagram accounts or cookbooks for that one meal.  For example, if you want to start to cook healthier dinners, you can make a goal to cook one new healthy recipe a week. As you build up this habit, you can increase to two or three healthy recipes a week, until it some becomes a sustainable lifestyle. Then you can move on to looking at other meals or snacks to start cooking healthier options.  Don’t overwhelm yourself, take it one healthy meal at a time.

Allison Tibbs is a certified Personal Trainer & Healthy Lifestyle Coach who advocates for women to use fitness, nutrition, and self-care as a way to create more peace, joy, and balance in their lives

(follow Allison on Instagram)

 

Feel inspired? Check out our online healthy cooking classes:

Kombucha at home online course
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Food Cultures and Health with Tamara S Melton

In this episode we are talking with Tamara S. Melton, co-founder of Diversify Dietetics, about the importance of cultural diversity when it comes to nutrition, what impact traditional foods have on our health and what a healthy diet really means in the modern global context.

Interview Highlights and Quick Links

3:50 What cultural diversity means in the context of nutrition

7:15 How understanding of other’s food cultures can help improve eating habits

11:35 Why cultural diversity in food and nutrition is crucial for better healthcare outcomes

14:00 Why Quinoa and Kale is not the best choice for everyone

16:10 Why food diversity is so important

19:30 What makes certain cuisines so flavourful

21:00 Why you should always look at locally produced foods first

23:45 The role of geneticist food intolerances

26:35 What to look at in meat and dairy substitutes

28:00 The problem with popular diets (Keto, Paleo, vegan etc. )

31:00 What healthy eating really means – for everyone

33:05 What Diversify Dietetics stands for

About Tamara S Melton

Tamara S. Melton is a Registered dietitian nutritionist and a Director of Health Informatics for Morrison Healthcare. She is the former Inaugural Program Director for Health Informatics at Georgia State University (GSU). Tamara is the co-founder of Diversify Dietetics, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the nutrition and dietetics profession. “As an educator and administrator, I have seen the difference that a supportive community and access to resources can make in the success of a student. As a professional, I’ve seen that diverse teams lead to better outcomes for the patients and clients that we serve. I’m excited to create and participate in a space where we can improve diversity and strengthen the nutrition profession!”

Follow Tamara S Melton on Social Media:

Diversify Dietetics Website

Diversify Dietetics Instagram

Tamara’s Instagram

This video was recorded live, as a part of Happy Bellyfish Video Podcast “Healthy Eating Unbiased and Simplified”. In these interview series we bring nutritionists, doctors, farmers and activists to share different prospectives on what healthy eating is.

To watch LIVE EPISODES EVERY TUESDAY AT 8 PM and ask your questions directly, join our facebook group here

 

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8 Best Meal Planning Online Courses: Meal Prep Ideas and Beyond

Meal planning online courses can be a great help for those who want to embrace healthy eating, but have little time for daily cooking and shopping. Usually, they include meal planning templates, calendars and different tools to ease the process of meal preparation.

Online programmes from our top list offer different approaches to meal planning. Some of them focus on building your personal meal plan from scratch, giving special attention to its nutritional value. Some give you ready-made solutions for weight loss and muscle building, and some simply offer necessary cooking skills and hacks. Regardless of their focus, all these online courses offer great solution that will make your life in the kitchen easier and your diet healthier.

1. Nutrition Masterclass: Build Your Perfect Diet & Meal Plan

This best-selling course can be especially interesting for those who are interested in meal planning for weight loss and muscle building. The instructor Felix Harder, a Health and Fitness coach, teaches his students to create a meal plan of their own. He also introduces healthy dieting and explains common dieting trends.

2. Meal Planning and Food Prep for Real Life

This course is the best solution for those who want to introduce meal planning into their every day life. You will learn to plan, shop, portion and package food in a way that makes sense for you and your family. Instead of teaching what exactly you should eat, the instructor covers practical skills for meal planning and preparation.

3. Meal Planning Masterclass: Create Your Own Meal Plan

One more best-selling course for those who are into muscle building and weight loss, offered by a bodybuilder. It teaches to design a meal plan around your schedule and lifestyle, without excluding your favourite foods. As a special bonus, it even includes cheat meal tips and strategies.

4. Internationally Accredited Diploma in Diet Planning

If you are looking at meal plans from a professional point of view, this might be just the right program for you. Upon completion you can earn an Internationally Accredited Diploma Certificate in Diet Planning and Weight Management’ certified by CPD Certification Service. It offers 72 lectures and almost 4 hours of video materials that teach all you need to create perfect diet and nutrition plans.

5. Vegan Nutrition: Build Your Plant Based Diet & Meal Plan

If you are following a vegan diet, then this course might be just what you are looking for. It will help you understand the fundamentals of vegan dieting (calories, protein, carbs, fat, vitamins & minerals) and create a plant-based diet that is perfect for your needs and lifestyle. This course also focuses on fat loss and muscle building.

6. Paleo Dave Method: Techniques to Master Weekly Meal Prep!

This course is not taught from a perspective of a nutritionist or a health coach, it is taught from a perspective of a professional chef. The instructor will share with you real kitchen secrets to make your meal preparation easier and more efficient. This program focuses on Paleo Diet.

7. The Mediterranean Meal Plan – Never Say DIEt. LIVE it!

The mediterranean diet is believed to be one of the healthiest in the world and many centenarians (people who live over 100 years) are found in the Mediterranean region. This course explained the concept of the Mediterranean Diet and teaches ways to follow it in your every day life.

8. Quick and Healthy Make-Ahead Japanese Meals and Side Dishes

This course derives inspiration from the Japanese cuisine, which is known for its healthy dishes. It focuses on easy make-ahead meals and is full for wonderful ideas for any healthy kitchen.

Do you follow any particular meal plans? Share with us in the comments!

 

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Top 20 Gluten-Free Bloggers 2018 (Recipes, Travel & Lifestyle)

Gluten-free bloggers from our list opted for a gluten-free lifestyle for a good reason, and often it was not their own free choice. Most of them were either diagnosed with Celiac disease themselves or had to live with severe food allergies of their family members. All of them follow different diets: on this list you will find vegan bloggers, as well as those who follow keto or paleo diets, or just simply live without gluten and sugar, without giving it a special name.

Regardless, in each blog you will find plenty of delicious gluten-free recipes, motivation and resources for a healthy gluten-free lifestyle.

1.Gluten Free Follow Me

Gluten Free Follow Me, a creation by Jackie Aanonsen McEwan, is ore than just a blog – it’s a proper guide to gluten-free life. On her website you will find recipes, products and over 2000 gluten-free eateries.

2. No Gluten, No Problem

This blog is created by Pete and Kelli Bronski, a husband-and-wife team. No Gluten, No Problem received multiple awards as a top allergy and gluten-free blog, and for a good reason. Their website is full of delicious gluten-free recipes.

3. Gluten Free Easily

Shirley Braden leads a gluten intolerance / celiac support group, and she set up this blog to share the information with the group. She shares gluten-free recipes as well as tips on how to lead a gluten-free life.

4. The Spunky Coconut

By changing the nutrition Kelly V. Brozyna could dramatically improve the health condition of all members of her family. She creates gluten-free and Paleo dishes that are similar to conventional wheat/dairy/refined sugar recipes – you can find them on her website and in her cookbooks. 

5. This Mess is Ours

Meg van der Kruik, the creator of This Mess is Ours, has a true challenge: she cooks for a vegetarian and three meat-eaters with a range of gluten and dairy sensitivities. She shares her recipes on the blog, which accompanied by absolutely amazing photography

6. Noshtastic

Sheena’s blog is unique because it features recipes for different types of diets, while staying gluten-free. Thus, you will find gluten-free food ideas for paleo diet, whole 30 recipes, keto diet and low carb recipes.

7. Gluten-Free on a Shoestring

Nicole Hunn, the author of 4 cookbooks, focuses on making a gluten-free diet affordable for everyone. If you consider gluten-free food to be too expensive then her cost-saving recipes will change it.

8. The Gluten Free Lifesaver

The Gluten Free Lifesaver is created and managed by Kristine Ofstad, a coeliac. She features easy and yummy recipes and product reviews. If you are into food blogging yourself, then Kristine can offer you professional help in this niche as well.

9. Spoonful of Health

Dawn Wicks Rofrano, the author of Spoonful of Health is a health coach in Natural Medicine Clinic, where she works along with her husband, a Chiropractic Physician. Her blog is not specifically dedicated to gluten-free lifestyle, but her recipes are free of gluten, grain, dairy and soy. She also shares general health and nutrition tips.

10. Strength and Sunshine

Rebecca, the author of Strength and Sunshine, is a Celiac advocate, healthy allergy-friendly food blogger and a yogi. She shares amazing gluten-free recipes, which include plenty of cookies, breads, cakes and even doughnuts. 

11. CAFE (Celiac and Allergy Friendly Epicurean)

Jackie Ourman, a trained chef, had to switch her diet completely when her children, her mother and herself were diagnosed with life-threatening allergies. She shares gluten-free and allergy-friendly recipes and many useful resources.

12. Hold the Gluten

Maureen Stanley has been gluten-free since 2005. She is the creator of a famous podcast and on her website you will find loads of helpful gluten-free products recommendations, including cosmetics.

13. The Gluten Free Blogger

Sarah is a coeliac who makes gluten-free lifestyle fun! She loves food and calls herself a  “Professional Gluten Free Pizza Tester”. On her blog you will find products, recipes, eateries and even humour.

14. My Darling Lemon Thyme

Emma Galloway, the creator of My Darling Lemon Thyme, is a trained chef. When she took a break from work to take here of her newly born baby she discovered that her children, as well as her, suffer from gluten and lactose intolerance. Her blog is dedicated to “gluten-free vegetarian real food recipes, stories and tips on organic gardening”.

15. Goodie Goodie Gluten Free

Julie is a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach. Her website is devoted to “healthy original gluten-free & plant-based & free-from recipes, lifestyle articles, self-care tips, gluten-free reviews & spiritual growth.”

16. My Gluten-Free Kitchen

Michelle was diagnosed with a celiac disease in 2010. She loves baking and has a serious sweet tooth for cupcakes and cookies, so she had no choice, but to learn gluten-free baking.

17. Gluten-free Goddess

Karina, aka Gluten-Free Goddess, who discovered she was gluten-intolerant in 2001, shares an archive of 400 gluten-free recipes. We also love her FAQ session – it has a lot of useful tips for the basis of gluten-free lifestyle.

18. Gluten Free Sage

Jet, the creator of Gluten Free Sage, is sharing her 15 years of experience of living with Celiac disease. Her website is not just about recipes – it offers a real support for those who go through the same challenges and features tonnes of resources and motivation.

19. Eat Without Gluten

Sema is a college student who was diagnosed with Celiac and who makes a gluten-free lifestyle look really easy. Her blog provides “positive, practical, educational and insightful information on the gluten-free diet”.

20. BuenQamino

BuenQamino is a creation of Christina Kantzavelos, a world traveller who has been suffering from food allergies and an autoimmune disease since 2012. Her blog features Celiac, Gluten-Free, Allergen Friendly travel.   

And the best source for gluten-free travel available on internet is to be found on Legal Nomads, a blog, which we earlier featured in our Top 28 Food and Travel Bloggers.

Do you think we missed a great gluten-free blog? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to add it!

 

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Vegetarian Cheese Following Ancient Roman Recipe, From the Milk of Endangered Goats

Giacomo Gati, a Sicilian producer of artisan vegetarian cheeses is doing even more important work than can seem at first glance. Through his work he is bringing back the old Roman traditions of cheese making and saving endangered Sicilian Girgentana goats from extinction.

Let us tell you his story.

 

Giacomo is a farmer’s son, who grew up close to the south coast of Sicily. It took him many years however until he settled in Campobello di Licata, his homeland, and started running a farm of his own.

When he was 17 he emigrated to Germany, pursuing better career opportunities as a mechanical engineer, but 10 years later a nostalgia for his native Sicilian countryside has brought him back.

Upon his return to Italy in 1979 he searched for Girgentana goats, whose milk taste he remembered since his childhood. In earlier times these gorgeous ancient goats with twisted horns were a common sight in Sicily. Shepherds would walk in the villages from house to house with their goats and sell fresh milk . But it was not the case anymore. At some point, there were around 30 000 Girgentana goats to be found in Sicily. But when Giacomo started his farm, there were only about 600 goats remaining.

 

 

The reason for the rapid decline of the goats population were the new sanitary rules imposed by the government. The goats were not allowed to enter the villages anymore and the farmers could not sell their milk easily. The only way to bring their population back was to make it financially viable to raise them. This is when Giacomo came up with an idea to start producing cheese from their milk.

There were many good reasons to bring milk from Girgentana goats back to the diet of Sicilians:

 

“The milk of this goat ‘capra Girgentana’ owns differents beneficials properties for the body and was the only type of milk which resembles at human milk, recommended for the diet of children and sick because it is low in cholesterol and easy to digests. Some researchers affirm that thanks to the Ubichinone coenzym, the milk of ‘capra Girgentana’ has an anti-tumor action. The goat’s milk also contains more selenium, zinc and iron than cow’s milk.”

 

The cheeses made in his small factory are unique not just because of the milk that they use.  Giacomo was not coming from a family of cheese-makers, and while it can seem as a disadvantage, it allowed him to experiment with different methods of production.

 

 

Most high-quality cheeses nowadays are made with animal rennet – an enzyme, that is derived from an animal (usually calf’s) stomach. In ancient times, however, rennets extracted from plants were used to coagulate cheese, but this knowledge is largely lost. Giacomo had to turn to ancient texts of Roman writers to find out the technique of cheese coagulation with the help of plants, and it took him many years of experimentation to come up with a perfect formula.

Some of the most common rennets that he uses are cardoons and milk from fig leaves. Both plants are growing all around Sicily in the wild.

 

 

One of the most flavourful cheeses was actually invented by mistake – without addition of any other enzymes to the milk at all. The coagulation was achieved thanks to the unique climate conditions, when a hot dry wind came to Sicily from the African coast.

 

 

The production of the cheese at Agricola Montalbo was taken over by a young couple from Licata,  Valeria Orlando and Davide Lonardo, who are carrying on and developing the traditions of ancient cheese-making.

You can find cheeses mentioned in this article here

 

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Iron-Rich Foods for Vegans and Vegetarians – How to Avoid Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency is a rather common condition nowadays. Pregnant women, children and vegetarians are considered to be high risk groups and doctors routinely prescribe them iron supplements. But do they really need one, or can iron deficiency be avoided just with the help of iron-rich foods?

Side effects of iron supplements

First of all, it’s important to understand if you have any iron deficiency at all. For that you can simply make a routine blood test – nowadays some companies even allow to do so without a doctor’s visit (here is an example of one such Test for Nutrient Deficiencies that we know of).

Unless you are suffering with a severe case of anemia or have a serious medical condition, there should be no need for you to take iron supplements. Moreover, there are good reasons why you should avoid taking one. First of all, its side effects like constipation or diarrhea together with abdominal pain and cramps are common, and a medicine to aid digestion is often prescribed along with an iron supplement.

To do a quick check of what short-term issues appear to be most common, we did a search on Google, putting “iron supplements” with the word “why”, and here are the top suggested queries that appeared:

 

 

Recent research shows that If iron is taken in excessive quantities it can even cause long-term adverse effects on health. Some studies showed a suggestive association between dietary heme and risk of colon cancer. So, unless an iron supplement is absolutely necessary, it is worth trying to get all the iron you need from food sources.

Difference between iron in animal foods and in plant-based foods

Vegetarians and vegans are often diagnosed with iron deficiency. There are two different types of  dietary iron that are found in foods: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is only found in animal foods and it is much easier absorbed than non-heme iron. Animal foods with the highest content of iron include, for example, liver, beef, clams.

Non-heme iron is found in plant-based foods and it does not get absorbed as well as heme iron. It is possible however to increase non-heme iron absorption with the right combination of foods.

How to increase iron absorption from plant-based food

There are a few simple rules you need to follow in order to increase absorption of non-heme iron: 

  1. Always combine iron-rich foods with Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps to absorb iron and synthesizes red blood cells.

Here is an example of some foods containing a big amount of Vitamin C (besides lemons, oranges and fresh chilli peppers):

2. Do not combine iron-rich foods with foods that contain caffeine

Coffee and black tea can reduce your iron absorption by as much as 60%. Try to bring caffeinated foods and beverages in your diet to the minimum. If it is not possible, keep at least two hours between your iron-rich meal and a cup of coffee.

3. Do not combine iron-rich foods with foods that contain calcium

Studies have shown that calcium can inhibit iron absorption, the inhibitory effect, however, may be of short duration. Similar to caffeine, try to avoid eating any foods that contain calcium (for example, dairy) together with your iron-rich meal.

4. Consume foods containing phytic acid the right way

Phytic acid is found in plant seeds and it may interfere with absorption of various minerals and nutrients, in particular iron, zync and calcium. Foods with high content of phytic acid, however, are also the biggest sources of non-heme iron – it includes seeds, legumes and nuts. To neutralise phytic acid always soak the foods (at best overnight), or use techniques like sprouting and fermentation. Vitamin C also counteracts phytic acid.

5. Improve your overall gut health

Including probiotics in your regular diet can improve absorption of minerals significantly. Probiotic foods include yoghurt, sauerkraut, miso, kimchi.

Iron-rich foods for vegans and vegetarians

There are a few main groups of vegetarian and vegan foods that are rich in iron. If you follow the main rules of non-heme iron absorption, they might meet your daily iron requirement.

  1. Legumes

Different types of lentils, beans, including soy products, are known sources of iron for vegans and vegetarians. It includes flours made from legumes like chickpea flour.  Don’t forget to soak legumes overnight to neutralise phytic acid. Here are a few examples:

 

2. Leafy greens

Spinach is not the only source of plant-based iron, even though it is the most popular one. Other leafy greens like beet greens, swiss chard or turnip greens are also extremely high in iron.

3. Dry fruits, berries and vegetables

Some dried fruits and vegetables have significantly more iron than their raw form. The best example is sun dried tomatoes that have more iron than natto. Dried apricots are an example of iron-rich dried fruits.

4. Seeds and nuts

Seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds etc.) are the real powerhouse of iron. It is also crucial to soak them before consumption. Here are a few examples of iron content in seeds:

5. Grains

Certain grains and cereals, including quinoa, buckwheat and oats, also contain high amounts of iron. Don’t forget to soak the grains before consumption.

6. Sweets

Molasses is often prescribed by nutritionists as a natural “iron supplement”. Jaggery (gur), raw unprocessed cane sugar, also has high contents of iron.

Recipes of some Iron-rich foods for vegans and vegetarians

Savory Chickpea Pancakes

Beet Greens Soup

Spicy Oatmeal

Sesame Spinach

Sesame Seed Candy

Nutrition data source: http://nutritiondata.self.com/

 

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Top 15 Weight Loss Online Programs (Nutrition, Diets and Foods)

Our list of online weight loss programs and courses focuses on specific diets, foods and nutrition in general. We did not prioritize any particular approach to weight loss, as we believe that all bodies are different, and what exactly will work for you will depend on many factors. All the courses in our list are built by professionals in their niches and offer comprehensive guided programs, meal plans, recipes of weight loss foods and lots of motivational material.

Here, at Happy Bellyfish, we believe that weight loss is just a positive side affect of an overall improved health, and it’s your own health but not the shape of your body that you should focus on. Healthy food is the first thing to start with. To learn more about healthy eating habits, check out our list of Healthy Online Cooking Classes or join our Free Sugar Detox Programme.

We wish you lots of success on your healthy eating and weight loss journey.

1. Weight Loss And Nutrition: Lose Fat & Get Your Dream Body

This course will help you understand the fundamentals of weight loss, from a nutritional point of view. You’l be able to create your own diet plan that will fir your personal lifestyle.

2. The 30 in 45 Weight Loss & Body Transformation Program

This program focuses on the right foods that promote and enable fat loss. It includes an easy to follow food guide and meal preparation strategies. The course also includes a Body Weight Workout Program.

3. Reset & Rebalance for Weight Loss

This weight loss course offers a very comprehensive 8-week program. It is developed by a Registered Dietitian and is largely based on the science of the glycemic index. The course includes a 77 page workbook that enables students to customize their meal plans.

4. Accelerated Weight Loss in Just 1 Week!

This short programme, designed by a kinesiologist and an acupressure expert, offers a simply meal plan that facilitates a rapid weight loss. The meal plan includes detailed recipes and a scheduled eating plan, that forces the body to use its stored fat.

5. Weight Loss: Nutrition, Lose Fat, Eat Healthy & Set Goals

This programme will help you identify healthy and unhealthy foods, understand nutritional food labels and learn how and when to use supplements. In a series of short lectures it presents nutrition tips and ways to set the right nutrition mindset.

6. Body 4 Believers Weight loss

The focus of this program is the knowledge about nutrition. It guides its students how to eat normal everyday foods in a way that removes fat from the body. You will learn how to achieve the right balance of the required macro-nutrients, improve metabolism and increase energy levels.

7. 6-Week Weight Loss Diet: Weight Loss Plan with 150+ Recipes.

It’s a very comprehensive 6-week weight loss program, that includes 40 videos of recipes and meal plans. It also introduces necessary lifestyle changes and covers such topics like raw foods and the ways to quit sugar and get rid of sugar addiction.

8. Weight Loss: Love Food and Lose Weight Without Dieting

One more six weeks weight loss programme, that doesn’t focus on any specific diet, but instead focuses on healthy nutritious food that helps you loose weight. You will learn what’s in your food besides calories and understand psychological and emotional side of our food choices.

9. Healthy Easy Desserts for Weight Loss (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

This is a healthy cooking online course that teaches how to create delicious sweets with natural sugars, focusing on nutrient-dense treats. It gives you ready solutions for homemade healthy snacks and healthy ways to satisfy your cravings.

10. Self-Control Psychology and Weight Loss

This course, unlike all the others on this list, focuses not just on the food itself but on the psychology of self-control for weight loss. It helps students stick to their goals and meal plans and teaches how to make high-calorie foods less alluring.

11. The Ultimate Intermittent Fasting & Fast Weight Loss Course!

Fasting is not the method suitable for everyone, but intermittent fasting is endorsed by many as an effective way to stay fit and energetic. This course explains the concepts of intermittent fasting in a series of very brief lectures and offers a meal plan at the end.

12. 5-Day Juice & Green Smoothie Detox For Weight Loss

A very brief course that gives an introduction into juicing and smoothies. It is created by a Certified Nutritionist and offers a full meal plan, a shopping list, juice & smoothie videos and a daily motivation video.

13. Xtreme Fat Loss Dieting Hacks For Faster Weight Loss

This weight loss course is based on a Keto diet. It offers mechanisms to control and stabilize blood sugar, introduces strategic cheat days and shares a workout plan as well. One small section is dedicated to intermittent fasting.

14. Nutrition for natural beauty from the inside out.

This course, offered by a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, doesn’t provide quick fixes for a fast result, but rather introduces a long-term transformative lifestyle solution. It covers such topics like food allergies, strengthening of immune system and proper absorption of nutrients.

15. 7 Day Sugar Detox (FREE)

A short free online programme from Happy Bellyfish that offers an actionable plan to quit refined sugar, manage sugar cravings and develop healthy eating habits.

 

 

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Top 45 Vegan and Plant-Based Blogs 2018

All vegan and plant-based bloggers from our top list are a great source of culinary inspiration. You will find here both big names from the food bloggers world as well as smaller, but equally delicious blogs. It doesn’t matter if you follow a plant based diet or a vegan lifestyle, or if you just want to incorporate more whole foods, fruits and veggies into your diet and eat healthier. These amazing bloggers share creative recipes, knowledge and their passion for clean eating.

1. Pick Up Limes

This blog and You Tube Channel is run by Sadia, a Dietetics graduate (an expert in human nutrition). Besides delicious recipes she also shares nutrition advice, food hacks and tips for minimalism living.

2. Deliciously Ella

Ella started her blog when she turned to plant based diet as a mean to cope with a chronic illness.  Since then she became a real sensation and inspired hundreds of thousands to improve their diets with her healthy wholesome recipes, which she shares on her blog and Instagram.

3. Avantgarde Vegan

Gaz is a professional chef who started his career at the age of 14. He hosts his own cooking show on You Tube, sharing his delicious vegan recipes, many of which are real masterpieces. Gaz knows how to cook in style, and his camera work and instructions are excellent.

4. My New Roots

Sarah is a Holistic Nutritionist and a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and she built her blog around her plant-based way of eating. 99% of her diet consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds – and you will find all these ingredients in her recipes!

5. The Full Helping

Gena has overcome anorexia in her teen years and eventually turned to a vegan lifestyle, learned to love cooking and managed to heal herself from an eating disorder. Her blog is the real help for those who are always looking for simple yet nourishing vegan meals recipes.

6. Vegan Miam

Rika and Doni are avid travellers, who share plant-based (mostly) Asian recipes on their blog. Their recipes are flavourful and unique, and their travel notes are utterly inspiring.

7. Isa Chandra

Isa has been creating delicious vegan recipes for over 20 years, and she managed to turn her passion for great food into a profession. Her blog offers exquisite vegan recipes along with gorgeous food photography.

8. Yum Universe

Heather Crosby, who calls her self a “veggie-lover”, shares her knowledge and resources for those, who want to lead a healthy yet delicious life. Her blog is a judgement free space with loads of recipes and meal plans, and it serves the goal to inspire more people to enjoy vegetables.

 

 

9. Blissful Basil

Ashley is a professional psychologist and a recipe creator who focuses on simple plant-based, vegan recipes. On her blog she offers a wonderful collection of both delicious and visually appealing recipes, including raw vegan meals, pastas, gluten-free dishes and healthy snacks.

10. Sweet Potato Soul

Since switching to a vegan diet Jenné has significantly improved her digestion, treated acne and freed herself from anti-depressant drugs. She shares easy-to-make vegan recipes and healthy eating tips on her blog and You Tube channel.

11. Plant Based Pixie

Pixie is a registered associate nutritionist, who describes her plant-based diet as  “‘a diet based on plants’, not necessarily a diet solely consisting of plants”. Besides sharing recipes, she also shares a lot of nutrition information, from a professional point of view, and occasional travel notes and fitness inspiration.

12. The Glowing Fridge

Shannon believes that plant based foods beautify from inside out – they make your gut healthy and your skin glowing. Her blog is not just about food, but also about beauty, wellness and general vegan lifestyle.

13. Vegan by Somi

Somi’s blog is a perfect place for those who are just starting out the transition to vegan or plant based lifestyle. She focuses on simple recipes, special tips and tricks and vegan nutrition as a whole.

14. Sarah’s Vegan Kitchen

Sarah is the creator of a popular You Tube Channel Sarah’s Vegan Kitchen, where you can find lots of daily vegan meals ideas. On her blog she shares written recipes, where one section is completely dedicated to “fake meat” recipes, if this is something you are into.

15. Rawmazing

Susan, who found her balance by eating raw and plant-based cooked foods, shares her knowledge and experience on her blog. Through her website you’ll find not just amazing recipes along with stellar food photography, but also a community of like-minded people.

16. Plant Based Jane

Jane showcases on her blog how effortless can vegan cooking be, and how diverse a plant based diet is. Her recipes are easy to replicate and will suit for vegan foodies of any age.

17. Healthienut

Taavi shares a lot of recipes that resemble traditional treats – but don’t get confused, all of them are vegan. Her section on desserts has a big collection of healthy vegan baking recipes, which includes many cookies and cakes.

18. Fooduzzi

Alexa’s blog is full of ideas for hearty vegan meals, which you can easily prepare in your kitchen. She also shares gorgeous and innovative recipes, like color changing pasta or vegan parmesan (yes, such a thing exists!).

19. Sprouting Zen

Jen is a certified raw vegan chef who shares her recipes (not just raw) on her blog. Her diet once consisted of many unhealthy eating habits, including loads of fried foods and sugars. After she transitioned to a plant based lifestyle, coupled with the evolving yoga practice, she never looked back.

20. Mrs. Plant

Mrs. Plant has an inspiring story. Just 6 years ago she was a sedentary Type 2 diabetic, a fast-food junkie, taking oral medications 3 times a day. She switched to a plant-based diet cold turkey, went off medications in 3 month completely and managed a significant weight loss. On her blog she shares her recipes as well as specific information for people suffering from Type 2 diabetes.

 

 

21. Food by Maria

Maria, a certified Nutritional Consultant, calls herself a healthy Greek Canadian fitness and food enthusiast. She shares recipes of sugar-free desserts, colorful breakfasts, nutritious snacks and dinners, along with her excellent food photography.

22. Pass the Plants

Beth shares recipes and tutorials for a dairy-free, meat-free and egg-free diet, focusing on the meals that are both healthy and affordable. A special part of her recipes is dedicated to (vegan) re-inventions of traditional meaty dishes, like tacos or cheese sauce.

23. I Love Vegan

Brittany and William, a young married couple, features over 180 vegan recipes on their website. Their meals are especially suitable for beginner cooks and those who lead a busy life and are short on time. They show that a vegan diet doesn’t need to be restrictive at all.

24. Simple Vegan Blog

Iosune (a health coach and a recipe developer) and Alberto (a food photographer and stylist) share delicious vegan and gluten-free recipes, which are also simple to make and look gorgeous. They have a special section on their website dedicated to vegan Spanish recipes, which is unique!

25. Yup … It’s Vegan

Shannon’s blog is a great place to get inspiration for simple, budget-friendly vegan meals, without the use of refined sugars or refined oils. Focusing on regionally available foods, Shannon features the seasonal produce from the Mid-Atlantic United States.

26. The Simple Veganista

Through her recipes Julie showcases that vegan food doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive.  She offers a vast collection of raw recipes, as well as adopted vegan versions of traditionally meaty and cheesy dishes like pizzas and burgers.

27. Connoisseurs Veg

Alissa, a recipe creator and an avid yogi, gets creative in her kitchen and loves to “veganize” traditional recipes. Her nacho sweet potato cheese and vegan mozzarella sticks are a great testament to that!

28. Vegan Richa

Richa Hingle, a person behind this blog, is an award winning recipe developer and an author of a best-selling cookbook. Her focus is vegan Indian cuisine – she lists over 1000 recipes, featuring different legumes, beans, lentils, pulses, veggies, whole grains, whole grain flatbreads, nuts, seeds and greens.

29. Crazy Vegan Kitchen

Amrita is a Melbourne-based, Singapore-native graduate of Le Cordon Bleu London and an animal rights activists. She shares  healthy, 100% plant based vegan recipes suitable for everyone, with a professional touch of a food stylist. Her colorful sushi and desserts will inspire everyone to get creative in the kitchen.

30. The Nut-Free Vegan

The vegan recipes of Steven, the creator of this blog, are unique, because they are completely free of tree nuts. His website is a treasure box for those who have nut allergies but still want to follow a plant-based or vegan lifestyle.

31. Vegan Heaven

Sina, who was once a real cheese-addict, shares her vegan recipes as well as tips for vegan travellers on her blog. You will find tonnes of plant-based and whole-food meals on her website, many of which take no more than 30 minutes to prepare.

32. From My Bowl

Caitlin is a vegan food and lifestyle blogger who shares her creations on her website and on her popular You Tube channel. All her recipes are oil-free, so it’s a perfect match for those who want to learn to cook wholesome meals without any use of oils whatsoever.

33. This Rawsome Vegan Life

Em, an award-winning food blogger and a best-selling cookbook author has been living vegan lifestyle since she was 16. She shares her recipes with a touch of a truly unique style, both in writing and photography. Her collection of raw vegan desserts is especially eye-catching.

34. Dora’s Table

If you are fond of Mexican food, Dora’s blog is just the right place for you. A graduate of Culinary Institute of America, Dora adopted plant-based diet to improve her health and since then she has re-created numerous famous Mexican dishes (yes to tacos and tamales!) to suit vegan dietary requirements.

35. It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

Sam, coming from a family of butchers and hunters, went vegan overnight and she shares her easy vegan recipes with step-by-step tutorials on her blog. Her videos are full of optimism and humour, and her recipes are as creative as they can be – for example, a vegan egg, which looks exactly like a chicken egg cooked sunny side up!

36. Mississippi Vegan

Timothy’s menus are truly original. He tries to incorporate cajun, creole, and southern inspired ideas into his recipes, along with local, seasonal, and often wild produce and mushrooms. He is also a professional artist who compliments his cookery with top-notch photography and teaches food styling.

37. Veggie Inspired

Jenn’s blog began as a way to document her journey on a 30 day whole foods plant based challenge and she hasn’t stopped writing ever since. She has a wonderful collection of recipes that take 15 to 30 minutes to prepare, just perfect for the busy vegan foodies out there.

38. Naturally Nina

Nina is a student of Nutritional Medicine and Dietetics and she shares her passion for healthy lifestyle and nutrition through her blog and instagram. Her recipes are simple, beautiful and diverse, and will inspire anyone to make their kitchen healthy.

39. The Plant Philosophy

Veganism has completely changed Margaret’s life, and she eagerly shares her success to inspire others who already follow a vegan lifestyle or just find themselves in transition. Her recipes are simple and beautiful, and you will even find some ideas for vegan dog treats.

40. Elephantastic Vegan

Initially, Bianca started her blog to keep a better track of what she was eating and what she was able to cook. Today, besides delicious recipes (where an entire section is dedicated to homemade breads!) her blog also offers a lot of information for those who are just starting our with a vegan diet.

41. The Colorful Kitchen

Ilene is a certified health coach, who combines her love of color and texture with plant-based cooking on her blog. Her healthy recipes are mostly gluten-free, and through their colorful presentation they are the real pleasure for the eyes!

42. Healthy Happy Life

Kathy Patalsky is the author of two cookbooks and the founder of  blogger-fueled recipe website Finding Vegan, who strives to inspire everyone to enjoy more veggies and fruits in their diet. Her blog is not just about delicious vegan recipes, it is a lifestyle blog, full of beautiful photography and inspiring travel notes.

43. The First Mess

Laura is a Culinary School graduate, who grew up with agriculture and spent years working in restaurants. Her blog is about  “living simply, cooking, and staying connected to the earth”. Her marvellous plant-based recipe collection includes everything from easy dips to wellness smoothies and hearty stews. 

44. Pickles And Honey

This blog is run by Amanda, a Culinary Nutritionist, and Aaron, an award-winning Creative Director. Most of their vegan recipes feature not more than 10 ingredients and require minimal kitchen equipment, as well as just a few minutes for preparation.

45. My Whole Food Life

Melissa and Marcus created their blog with the mission to give inspiration to those seeking a healthier lifestyle. With their passion to create homemade healthy versions of unhealthy foods, they turned their blog into a “one-stop shop for great healthy recipes”.

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How to Sprout Mung Bean and Enjoy Its Health Benefits

With a history of 4500 years of cultivation behind it, you’ll find sprouted mung beans featured in Indian dishes and Asian stir fries. Also known as green gram or mung dal, they enhance the flavour of your dish with a nutty tang.

Labelled as bean sprouts and sold in supermarkets and specialty food stores, these fast-growing green seeds offer an easy way to add fibre and protein to your diet.

While plant foods are brimming with essential vitamins and minerals, they turn twice as nutritious when uncooked seeds are left to germinate. Sprouting reduces sugars that cause flatulence. Adding sprouted food ensures that your body absorbs maximum nutrients from each meal.

How to sprout mung bean?

  • Choose organic, fresh and whole mung beans.
  • Measure out required amount and remove stones, weeds and sticks.
  • Use clean sprouting tools like Mason jars, sprouting bags and bowls.
  • Bean seeds expand and double in size while developing roots. One cup of raw seeds provides around two cups of sprouts.

Choose method to germinate bean sprouts

You can use jars or sprouting bags. Both these methods require wet seeds to be kept in a cool, dry area of your kitchen, preferably a pantry cabinet away from direct sunlight.

Mung dal quantity – ½ to 1 cup of seeds to enable chutes to develop.

Canning or Mason Jar

You can get this sprouting jar here

Glass jars minimise fungus growth in your sprouts.

Equipment – Bowl and wide-rimmed canning jar with screen lid. Or Mason jar with ring to secure mesh or cloth screen.

Soaking – Rinse seeds well in cold water. Add to jar or bowl and pour 2-3 cups of water. Cover and place in a cool place for 8-14 hours (preferably overnight). Soak for 8-9 hours in humid weather.

Drain and Rinse – Drain water from bowl or jar. Rinse beans with cold water. Gently swirl jar or bowl a bit before draining the water again. This allows air flow and gives seeds room to grow. Add wet seeds to jar (transfer from bowl) and cover with mesh lid or mesh cloth and ring. Place in a cool, dry place.

Repeat this process for 2-3 times (once every 8 to 12 hours) on Day One. Seeds require at least 3 rinses in warm weather. This prevents bacterial or fungal growth.

Drain and rinse – Repeat this technique on Days Two to Four, until your roots have grown to desired length.

Bag or sack method

You can get this sprouting bag here

Sprouting bags provide better air circulation while seeds germinate.

Equipment  Shallow bowl and a sprouting bag. Use eco-friendly bags made with linen, cotton, muslin or fine mesh.

Soaking – Rinse seeds well and add to jar with 2 to 3 cups of cold water. Cover jar with mesh lid and soak seeds for 8-14 hours.

Drain – Transfer water and seeds to sprouting bag or sack. Hang bag in a cool and dry place. Place a large bowl under it and let water drip from bag into it.

Repeat process – Sprinkle fresh water on seeds, hang bag with wet seeds and allow excess water to drain off. Do this 2-3 times (every 8-12 hours) on first day.

Multiple days – continue this sprinkle and drain process for 2-4 days, until chutes have grown to your liking.

When will bean sprouts be ready to eat?

After 2-3 days of rinsing and draining, seeds will develop ¾ to 1-inch long chutes. Add raw sprouts to salads, sandwiches and soups. Enhance your curry, stew, baked roll, casserole or and stir fry with sprouts.

Storage – Use sprouts raw or cooked after the final rinse. Store in fridge for 3-5 days in an airtight jar or freezer bag.

Health benefits of sprouted mung beans

  • These are excellent sources of Vitamins A, B, E and F. In addition, they contain healthy amounts of natural oestrogen, magnesium, potassium, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Vitamin K is essential for effective blood clotting, to maintain bone density and to prevent calcium build-up of calcium in blood vessels. One cup of bean sprouts has 34 mg of this vitamin. 
  • High levels of Vitamin C (14 mg in one cup) and phytonutrients afford you protection against viral infections, common cold and flu, skin irritation and collagen damage.
  • Iron is essential for strengthening your immune system, reducing fatigue and fighting infection. Women can meet 5% of recommended daily intake of iron with one cup of raw sprouts. For men, this works out to 12%.
  • Folate is needed to produce red blood cells, maintain new cells, especially during childhood to puberty, and create DNA. Pregnant women require enough folate to ensure proper growth of their foetus. A cup of raw sprouts provides you with 16% of recommended daily intake.
  • Bean sprouts also contain enough amounts of thiamine-B6 vitamin, which combines with folate to alleviate PMS symptoms in women. This easily digestible plant food can prevent constipation and IBS symptoms.
  • Each cup of mung sprouts has 2.5 gm of protein (a healthy person requires 0.8-1.0 gm of protein per kg of body weight). Phytic acid and tannin in mung bean may help digestion and remove toxins from the body, while peptides can help regulate blood pressure.
  • Amino acids, proteins and phytochemicals found in mung dal act as antioxidant, antitumour and anti-inflammatory agents. This can protect you from cancer, coronary heart disease, high blood cholesterol and ageing.
  • Fibre, amino acids and polyphenols in bean sprouts can regulate sugar absorption. Regular intake of sprouts can help stabilise weight, and prevent Type 2 diabetes and obesity.
  • According to Ayurveda, mung dal balances all the three doshas, heals the body and improves digestion.

A word of caution: Raw mung sprouts could contain bacteria. Serve cooked, roasted or baked sprouts to small children, pregnant women and the elderly. If you’re recovering from an illness or weaker immune system, avoid consuming uncooked sprouts.

Have you tried sprouting mung beans or other sprouts at home? Tell us about your sprouting experiments in the comments below.

 

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Superfoods and Healthy Nutrition Trends in 2018: What Experts Say

Healthy food industry is like fashion: every year new trends and super foods pop up and occupy our instagram feeds and health store shelves. Many of these foods, just like seasonal colors, fade with time: either because of newly found nutrition facts or simply because of boredom.

To understand which new super foods are here to stay, we asked top nutrition and healthy food experts what to expect from the healthy food trends in 2018, and here is what they had  to say.

 

Herbs to improve cognitive function and gut health boosters

 

Whilst there are a number of health and wellness trends set for 2018 it’s essential we stay on top of those which are scientifically sound and those which are simply taking FAD to a whole new level. Evidence surrounding nootropics is beginning to emerge as we understand how natural components of food and some more obscure herbs can influence our brain function. Research surrounding omega-3 for optimal brain health is pretty solid. However, there’s speculations surrounding herbs such as ginkgo and st john’s wart around how these can benefit our cognition. Before you rush to the shops I’d recommend waiting until the evidence surrounding these are fully conclusive.

Gut Health is also set to continue climbing up the trends ladder for 2018. Whilst gut health is hugely important and is linked to a number of health complications it’s not necessarily about popping the strongest probiotics you can find (this in itself has become a trend in 2017). Should you have gut health issues I recommend speaking to a nutritionist or other health care professional to work on a plan specifically for you.”

Jenna Hope, Jenna Hope Nutrition (Follow Jenna on Instagram and Facebook)

 

Keto diet and nutrient-dense superfood vegetables

 

The keto lifestyle will gain even more traction in 2018. People are starting to see that a diet focused on non-starchy vegetables, eggs, and meat yields much better health outcomes than a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. In 2018 I think we’ll continue to see regular foods transformed into healthier, low-carb versions, using nutrient-dense superfood vegetables like cauliflower, kale, and more.”

Maya Krampf, Wholesome Yum (Follow Maya on Instagram and Facebook)

 

Home cooking and gut-friendly healthy items: fermented foods, mushrooms and soy

 

“2017 saw home, lifestyle, and design trends centred around experiences and bringing the feelings of connection and comfort into our everyday lives. I think we’ll see that trend continuing in 2018 with health and nutrition and I predict an upswing in home cooking with fresh, hearty, healthy ingredients. I think we’ll see a major focus on vibrant meals that can be easily created at home with family and friends. Watch for buzzwords surrounding ease of preparation, comfort, satiety, and health-consciousness particularly about digestive health. 2018’s superfoods will be gut-friendly items including fermented foods, mushrooms, and soy.”

Morgan Crutchfield, Oh my Veggies (Follow “Oh My Veggies” on Facebook and Pinterest)

 

Sugar free diet

 

It’s not a specific food, but sugar free (or sugar light) eating is such an important and positive trend. I’ve gone sugar free a couple different times, and every time I find huge benefits from it, including: I feel better when I’m sugar free, I eat better (honestly, I eat REALLY yummy food when I’m going sugar free.) There are loads of major health benefits to consuming less sugar. I recalibrate my palate so I can really taste and appreciate food found in nature.

Bjork Ostrom, Pinch of Yum (Follow “Pinch of Yum” on Instagram and Facebook)

Functional Mushrooms

Functional mushrooms are medicinal mushrooms. In other words, it is certain types of mushrooms that possess medicinal properties and are often added to different health products. Examples of functional mushrooms include Shiitake, Cordiceps, Enoki, Reishi.

 

“I think that few of the trends which started already in 2017 will experience their boom this year. We might still see the popular colourful lattes, focused on using quality plant based milks and superfood powders. Most likely the super food of this year will be functional mushrooms. As we are finally getting concerned more about our gut health lately, we try to support the good gut flora and therefore our immune system by adding the right foods in our diets. And functional mushrooms seem like they can take a big role in the healthy body scenario.”

Dagmar Mulligan, The Peckish Girl (Follow Dagmar on Instagram and Facebook)

 

Superfood powders like turmeric, collagen and spirulina

Superfood powders are nothing else but your favourite healthy foods in their powdered and hence concentrated form. They are usually prepared from fresh raw ingredients that are freeze-dried and then processed into fine powders. Through this method all the necessary nutrients (minerals, antioxidants, bioflavonoids etc.) stay intact.

 

In 2018, I believe superfood powders will become the new trend – since they can be added to just about any food and will automatically amp up the nutritional value! In particular, turmeric powder, collagen, spirulina and protein powders for women will be all over supermarket shelves, and can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods, and even coffee!”

Anjali Shah, The Picky Eater (Follow Anjali on Instagram and Twitter)

 

 

Keep it simple: fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and plant based fats

 

“As the field of nutrition is young and always growing, there are so many new healthy food trends. However, those trends, ones found to have little scientific information backing them up, always end up going out of trend. What never goes out of style? Having a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and plant based fats.

As appealing as new trends are, they go out of style for a reason. The best thing to do with your 2018 health goals is to simply learn how to cook fresh, wholesome foods. Go to your local farmers market, buy fresh produce, take a cooking class. Learn how to adapt a healthy lifestyle, instead of buying into new trends that claim to solve all your problems.”

Stephanie Voytek, That Certain Touch (Follow Stephanie on Instagram)

 

Do you think there will be some other food trends to come that are worth mentioning? Let us know in the comments!

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