Posts Taged healthy

Superfood Series: The Power of Chia

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What is Chia? 

Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, native to Mexico and Guatemala, which can be traced back to the 16th-century. Evidence shows that it was cultivated by the Aztec in pre-Columbian times; economic historians have suggested it was as important as maize as a food crop. The word “Chia” means strength, and tradition has it that these cultures used the black and white seeds as an energy booster. That makes sense, as chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, and calcium, hence our term for it: superfood. Additionally, they are gluten and grain free and therefore easy to use in complex diet plans.

Currently they are being used for their nutritional and medicinal properties, as they suppress appetite and support weight loss, level blood sugar, and are a secret tip in regards to endurance for athletes. Dissolved in water chia seeds create a substance that looks like gelatine – the tiny seeds are able to absorb 10 to 12 times their weight in water. This hydrophilic, gel-forming action is due to the soluble fiber in the Chia seed. Therefore, Chia can prolong hydration retaining moisture in the body and even regulating the body’s absorption of bodily fluids like electrolytes.
Researchers believe that this same gel-forming phenomenon takes place in the stomach when Chia seed is consumed, thus creating a physical barrier between carbohydrates and digestive enzymes and slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar. Slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar helps with endurance and metabolic rates.

In a nutshell:

  • High in protein, no cholesterol: Chia seeds are a great source for protein. One serving contains 4.4 grams of protein.
  • Possible treatment for diabetes patients: Chia seeds could be a possible treatment for type-2 diabetes, as they slow down digestions and help to prevent blood sugar to spike
  • Fibre: 28 grams of chia seeds contain 11 grams of dietary fibre – that is a third of the daily recommended intake for adults
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: one serving of chia seeds contains almost 5 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids – 8 times the amount of an equivalent amount of salmon
  • Calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium: One gram of chia seeds contains 6 times more calcium than milk, and 4 times more phosphorus than whole milk; both are important for keeping bones and teeth healthy. It contains 3 times more iron than spinach and 15 times more magnesium than broccoli!

 

 

RECIPES

VANILLA-ALMOND CHIA BREAKFAST PUDDING

2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup Chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
chia_pudding1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or raw honey
Seasonal fruit for topping (blueberries, peaches, figs or plums)
Almonds or other nuts for topping

STEP 1   Combine almond milk, Chia seeds, vanilla syrup and sweetener in a bowl. Mix well until combined  and the mixture begins to thicken. Store covered in the fridge overnight, or for at least one hour.

STEP 2   Stir well before serving and add a bit of water to the pudding if it becomes too thick. Top with fresh fruit and nuts of your choice.

NOTE: This recipe makes enough for two large servings, but feel free to double the ingredients and keep it in the fridge. It will keep for up to 5 days.

 


 

 

KALE AND FARRO SALAD WITH LEMON AND CHIA DRESSING

1 cup Farro (or quinoa, if you prefer gluten-free), rinsed and drained
Juice from 1 large lemon (approx. 5 tbls)
3 Tbls olive oil
chia_kalesalad4 cloves garlic
1/2 a medium shallot
1 Tbls Dijon mustard
2 Tbls Chia seeds
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (Pepitas)
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 pear, cored and diced
4-5 cups kale, roughly chopped
Pepper

STEP 1   Place farro in a small saucepan with two cups of water, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 20 minutes.

STEP 2   Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, shallot and dijon in a food processor and puree. Add the Chia seeds, stir and let it sit while you prepare the rest of the salad, so the seeds have time to expand.

STEP 3   Place pumpkin seeds in a small pan with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt over medium heat. Toast, stirring frequently, until seeds become brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

STEP 4   Toss together kale, cooked farro, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds and pear. Serve with lemon and Chia seed dressing.

 


 

 

RASPBERRY CHIA DRINKchia_lemonade

2 cups coconut water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup raspberry juice (or 1 cup fresh raspberries, muddled or blended)
2-3 Tbls honey
4 Tbls Chia seeds

STEP 1   Mix all of the ingredients in a pitcher. Let sit 30 minutes until the seeds form a gel consistency.

STEP 2   Shake or stir before serving.

 

 

 

Recipes found on dailyburn.com, conveganence.com and busy-mommy.com

 

Easter Recipes for a Family Lunch

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Happy Easter, everybody! Four months into the new year 2015 we are celebrating the beginning of autumn with these easy and healthy Easter recipes. If you’re starting the day with an Easter brekkie, eggs in all variations are a must! If your having an Easter lunch on the other hand, you can get creative with seasonal veggies, hams and fish. We have hand-picked three delicious Easter lunch (or dinner) recipes that will smoothly fit into your diet plan and won’t make you pay for over-indulging the week after. Add a few simple side dishes, such as roast carrots, asparagus, peas and new potatoes and voilá – you’ve got a beautiful family meal. Off you go, the easter egg hunt is on!

 

ROASTED CARROT SOUP
Hashbrowns, Spinach and Tomato Pie is the perfect addition to your Easter Brunch Menu!

PREP TIME           TOTAL TIME          SERVES

 

INGREDIENTS:soup

  • 3 lb. carrots
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 0.13 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 medium trans-fat free margarine or butter
  • 2 clove shallots
  • 3 tsp. garlic
  • 2 c. fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 3 piece carrot juice
  • 1 c. fresh ginger
  • 0.25 plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • chives

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

STEP1 Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. On a large jelly-roll pan, toss the carrots with oil, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Spread the carrots in a single layer and roast 30 to 35 minutes, or until the carrots are caramelised, stirring once halfway through.

STEP 2 Meanwhile, in a 5-quart sauce pot, melt the margarine on medium. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook for 3 minutes or until the shallots are golden, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, broth, juice, ginger, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cover and heat to simmering on medium-high. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender.

STEP 3 With a blender, puree the mixture until smooth. The soup can be made and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead. Reheat on medium. To serve, top the soup with yogurt and chives.


 

MARINATED BEEF TENDERLOIN

… delicious with roasted carrots and shallots!
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PREP TIME           TOTAL TIME          SERVES
 
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 beef tenderloin (3 pounds; preferably center-cut), silver skin trimmed 
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 
  • Juice of 1 lemon 
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic 
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt 
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon safflower oil 
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened, divided

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

STEP 1  Place beef in a resealable plastic bag. Whisk together Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and oil, and pour over beef. Tightly seal bag, and let beef marinate at room temperature 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

STEP 2  Preheat broiler with rack 4 inches from heat source. Transfer beef and marinade to a heavy oven-safe skillet just large enough to hold the beef. Spread 2 tablespoons butter over top of beef; broil 8 minutes.

STEP 3  Remove from oven, turn beef with tongs, and spread remaining 2 tablespoons butter on top. Broil 5 minutes more.

STEP 4  Remove from oven, and cover skillet tightly with foil. Important: Let beef in skillet rest 45 minutes, otherwise it will be underdone. Thinly slice, and transfer to a serving platter. Serve with pan juices.

 


 

ROLLED STUFFED SALMON

PREP TIME           TOTAL TIME          SERVES

 

INGREDIENTS:
rolled-salmon-baked-343-d111830_vert

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 2 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only, chopped and washed well (3 1/4 cups)
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, tough stems trimmed, leaves chopped (6 cups) 
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard 
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic 
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce 
  • 2 1/4 pounds salmon fillet, preferably wild, skin removed 
  • 1/4 cup packed dill sprigs, plus 6 more sprigs for tops 
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

STEP 1  Preheat oven to 230 degrees. Melt butter in a large skillet over high. Add leeks; cook, stirring, until just golden, about 4 minutes. Add chard; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Let cool.

STEP 2  In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, mustards, garlic, and soy sauce.

STEP 3  Butterfly salmon by cutting horizontally through middle along one long side, leaving other side intact. Open flat, like a book. Flip salmon, skinned-side up; season with salt and pepper. Spread top with 1/4 cup yogurt mixture. Top with dill sprigs, then chard mixture.

STEP 4  With a long side facing you, roll up salmon into a tight log. Secure with 6 pieces of kitchen twine, starting about 1 1/4 inches from end and spacing evenly. Cut salmon into 6 equal pieces, slicing between twine. Tuck a dill sprig under twine on each roll.

STEP 5  Place rolls in a baking dish and drizzle with oil, rubbing to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until salmon is opaque on outside but still pink inside, about 15 minutes. Serve, with remaining yogurt mixture alongside.

Recipes found on marthasteward.com and goodhousekeeping.com

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly…

GoodVsBadFats

For years doctors, nutritionists and the media have taught the world that eating low-fat food is the way to live long and healthy. Unfortunately, it is never that easy. Fat is not always bad for the human body. In fact, it can be pretty healthy! Hard to believe?

To understand what you actually should be eating, we first have to clarify some basics. There are actually two types of fat: the horrible, dangerous, yet so delicious one and the healthy, good one. Bad fats can be categorised into so called saturated fats and trans fats. They increase cholesterol and your risk for certain diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and sleep apnoea – no need to mention obesity. Good fats, on the other hand, support your body instead of straining it, protecting the heart and controlling cholesterol, blood pressure and overall health.  Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are know as the good fats.

 

BadfatsTable

Oh-oh: Saturated fats are naturally found in animal products, however, they can be added to other foods, making them healthy. Trans fats are found in baked goods such as pies, cakes, biscuits, pastries, buns, donuts… in everything that is delicious and sticky, really. This kind of fat tends to be solid at room temperature – think of butter or traditional stick margarine.
Both saturated and trans fats increase levels of Low-Density Lipoprotein (often referred to as the “bad cholesterol”, as it can transport its contents of fat cells into artery walls) in the bloodstream.

Generally it is advisable to reduce your intake of saturated and trans fat. When shopping groceries opt for reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese, and leaner meat cuts. However, often “fat-free” or “low-fat” products are actually full of sugar, refined cargo-hydrates and calories, which are equally unhealthy. The keyword is choice – meaning, trying to substitute bad fats with good fats.

 

 

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Yay: Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are found in foods such as avocados, almonds, cashews, peanuts and cooking oils made from e.g. seeds, such as sunflower, canola, soybean, olive, sesame and peanut oils. As opposed to fixed-form bad fats, good fats tend to be in a liquid state.
Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats assist in lowering LDL levels in the blood stream, helping to keep cholesterol levels on track. Where possible, replace foods and drinks high in saturated fat with either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated alternatives. For example:

  • replace butter with olive oil or margarine
  • replace potato chips or chocolate with plain nuts as a healthier snack alternative
  • replace fried fast food with a sandwich or wrap made with lean meat and salad
  • instead of frying, try to bake or grill
  • replace red meat with poultry, fish and shellfish

 

NOTE ON OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

Fish and shellfish have a high level of unsaturated, rich Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are one type of polyunsaturated fats and so ridiculously healthy, that it is recommended to eat foods containing them at least twice a week. Research has shown that they have a significant impact on the physical and mental state of the human body, as they are highly concentrated in the brain. They:

  • prevent and reduce the symptoms of depression
  • protect against memory loss and dementia
  • support memory, conflict-solving abilities and emotional health
  • battle fatigue and help with bipolar disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer
  • ease arthritis, joint pain, and inflammatory skin conditions
  • support a healthy pregnancy

Good Banana Bread – Gluten Free

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As we come into autumn the nights are getting longer, it is raining and the urge to stay on the couch and declare the day an official cheat-day is immense. Sure, there’s dark chocolate and nuts and all these things that are supposed to satisfy real sugar cravings… Reality is, it doesn’t work all the time.

What about the good, old banana bread? Slightly warm and toasted it is divine and the best thing about it? It doesn’t really count as cheat-food. Bananas is energy food, full of essential minerals and a great source of potassium, which helps maintaining healthy blood pressure and healthy heart function. Being sticky and more or less sweet means you can reduce the amounts of sugar and oil significantly (as opposed to café-bought banana breads, which are full of refined white flour, sugar and saturated, bad fats). We don’t even need to talk about almonds or whatever nuts you decide to use – nuts are full of protein and healthy, cholesterol-lowering fats that keep your body healthy. Get ready, start baking!

 

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/4 cups smashed ripe banana
3 free range organic eggs
2 tbs raw honey or organic maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup macadamia nut oil, coconut oil or cold pressed olive oil
half teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda + 1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups almond meal
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (linseed) or chia seed

 

METHOD:
banana-sexy

STEP 1   Preheat your oven to 320F (160C).
STEP 2  Combine smashed banana, honey, oil, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, bicarb and lemon (the lemon activates the baking soda). You can do this by hand in a large bowl or with a good blender. Add the almond meal and flaxseed and mix well.
STEP 3   Lightly oil one loaf tin and then coat liberally with extra almond meal or desiccated coconut. This will prevent the cake from sticking.
STEP 4   Spoon batter into the tin and bake. Bake for 45 minutes to one hour (a skewer inserted into the centre should come out dry). Cover the top with foil if over-browning.
STEP 5   Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out the loaf. Makes one loaf and serves 12.
Keeps in the fridge covered for up to one week.

 

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

Plain and simple, as-is or lightly toasted
Ricotta and honey
Almond butter
Sliced banana, blueberries and raw honey

… on the couch. With Netflix.

 

 

 

Recipe by Teresa Cutter aka The Healthy Chef from her 80/20 cookbook