Tag Archives: unrefined

5 Tips for Eating Healthier

1 Dec

The colder months bring with them the holidays, which just so happen to revolve around a plethora of food. Having enjoyed my Thanksgiving feast just a few days ago, I feel that eating healthy for a while is in order.

One in three American children is overweight or obese, which is nearly triple the rate seen in 1963 (source). As for adults, over 35% are obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With obesity comes a gamut of health issues including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes, in addition to certain types of cancer (source). In the past, these weight-related issues were seen only in adults. Now, however, it is becoming common to see them in children; a huge red flag signalling that we need to do something about this.

The good news is that much of the obesity epidemic can be fought with a lifestyle change, and this means eating healthier. Food is the fuel of life, and what we choose to eat plays a significant role in our health.

While I don’t always post the healthiest of recipes here on Vegan Food Addict, I try to make it a habit of following the tips below in my personal life.

Fresh Sage, Rosemary and Salt

1. Cut the salt
Keep that blood pressure in check by watching your sodium intake. Too much sodium not only results in high blood pressure, it also contributes to kidney disease. Sodium is a vital nutrient, however, those age 50 and younger need less than 2,300mg per day, and those 51 and older need even less, approximately 1,500mg per day (source). When cooking, use a light hand when adding salt or soy sauce, and use products that are low sodium (i.e. soups and vegetable broth). Some of the worst high-sodium offenders are cheese, meat, prepared and processed foods. Add more flavor without salt by using fresh herbs, garlic, onion, citrus juice or white vinegar.

2. Choose unprocessed foods with fewer ingredients
Many of us have already made it a habit of reading nutrition labels. Whether it be to avoid products with specific ingredients, or to buy something with a particular vitamin or nutrient, we need to be aware of what, exactly, we are putting into our bodies. As a general rule, it is best to buy those products which are unprocessed and have the fewest ingredients; ingredients you can pronounce! That way, you should know exactly what you are eating.

3. Substitute wheat for white
Ditch those white products for wheat. Instead of all-purpose flour use whole wheat flour, and rather than white rice use brown rice. All-purpose flour and white rice are typically bleached and stripped of their nutrients, and as a result, really don’t offer much natural nutritional value. When compared to all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour provides more Potassium and Protein, in addition to more Vitamin B6 and Magnesium (source). When compared to white rice, brown rice provides more Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6 and Magnesium (source). Should you dislike the hearty taste and texture of whole wheat products, try using white whole wheat flour as it has both a lighter flavor and texture, and serves as an excellent stand-in for all-purpose and regular whole wheat flours. When making baked goods with whole wheat flour, the use of additional liquid may be necessary.

4. Sweeten naturally
Rather than using refined sugar and other chemical-laden sweeteners, try fruits such as apricots, bananas or dates. Not only are they excellent sweeteners, they also offer additional nutritional value including Vitamins A, C (source), Potassium (source), Magnesium and B6 (source). There are many fruits you can use — experiment and see what you like best!

5. Bake, don’t fry
Reduce your oil consumption. This includes oil of any type, in addition to butter and margarine. Nearly 100% fat, oil should only be consumed in small amounts. In fact, just one tablespoon olive oil provides about one-quarter of your daily recommended amount of fat (source). Rather than frying, prepare your food as you normally would, however, lightly coat with the oil of your choice and bake until crispy. If you prefer to cook without any added oil, wrap in foil and bake in the oven until cooked to your satisfaction.

Have additional tips? Comment below and let us know about them!

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Raw Nut Butter Cookie Balls

19 May

Having a sweet tooth doesn’t mean giving into unhealthy desserts. The big not-so-secret secret is using fruit to satisfy your cravings. Naturally sweet and unrefined, dates are a very popular fruit used to achieve the level of sweetness we crave. According to Dr. Michael Greger M.D., though dates are 80% sugar, they have no adverse affects on blood sugar or weight, and actually improve triglycerides and antioxidants (source). In addition, Medjool dates, in particular, contain a variety of essential nutrients such as Copper, Manganese and Potassium (source).

Ready for a sweet treat? Say goodbye to the guilt and make yourself a batch of these Raw Nut Butter Cookie Balls. Not only are they raw, they are delicious and healthy with added protein and a touch of cinnamon.

Raw Nut Butter Cookie Balls

Raw Nut Butter Cookie Balls
Yields approximately 9-10 balls

1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
1/2 cup uncooked quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups pitted dates
4 tablespoons raw nut butter of your choice

Combine cashews, oats and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and process for 30-60 seconds, or until the consistency of cornmeal is reached.

Add dates and nut butter and pulse until mixture is combined, stopping occasionally to scrape sides. Mixture should be moist enough to form into balls and hold their shape. If not, add an additional teaspoon nut butter and mix. Repeat if necessary.

Using approximately 1 tablespoon of the mixture at a time, roll into balls and place in an air-tight container and refrigerate until ready to eat.

NOTE: Due to the nature of preservative-free foods, these cookies are best if eaten within one week, otherwise they may be frozen until ready for consumption.

Coconut Peanut Butter Granola

14 Apr

My love for coconut and peanut butter is no secret since I’ve used them together before in these Moist Coconut Peanut Butter Muffins. Coupling the two ingredients creates a magical combination of deliciousness. This easy recipe for Coconut Peanut Butter Granola is a favorite of mine and is delicious by itself, eaten as cereal, or even enjoyed with fruit and yogurt as a parfait. Use your imagination and enjoy!

Coconut Peanut Butter Granola

Coconut Peanut Butter Granola
Yields approximately 6 cups

3 cups uncooked oatmeal
1/2 cup flax meal (ground flax seed)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil (using refined will provide less of a coconut flavor)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 225º F.

Combine all ingredients and spread out onto a large ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool before eating.

Coconut Peanut Butter Granola

Green Tea Coconut Cookies

11 Mar

Matcha is a finely milled, high-quality green tea common in Japanese culture. Used not only to flavor various foods and beverages, this form of tea is also utilized as a dye because of its rich green color. It is produced by first growing tea plants under the cover of shade. These plants take longer to grow which causes their leaves to turn a darker shade of green. Once the desired point of maturity is reached, the leaves are stripped away and laid flat to dry. They are then de-stemmed, de-vained, and finally, stone ground to produce the powder known as matcha (source).

These melt-in-your-mouth cookies are fashioned after the ever-popular Russian Tea Cakes, also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies, Butterballs or Snowball Cookies (source). With the addition of matcha and coconut, these green beauties boast an exciting flavor and various health benefits, and are an excellent St. Patrick’s Day treat.

Due to a high amount of Epigallocatechin gallate (an antioxidant), matcha helps protect against cancer and HIV, and is said to protect against bad breath and assist with weight loss. In addition, matcha is a good source of the amino acid L-theanine, which is said to provide an anti-stress and relaxing effect (source).

Green Tea Coconut Cookies

Green Tea Coconut Cookies
Yields 24 (1-1/2 inch) cookies

1/2 cup vegan buttery spread
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil (not refined)
2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder
1/4 cup + 1/2 cup powdered sugar, divided
1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut (optional*)
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 400º F.

Cream together buttery spread, coconut oil, green tea powder and 1/4 cup powdered sugar until smooth. Add shredded coconut and flour and mix until combined. Mixture will be somewhat crumbly but should stick together.

Roll dough into 24 balls, approximately 1-1/2 inches in size. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or just until set.

Meanwhile, place 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a wide, shallow dish; set aside.

Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Roll each cookie in powdered sugar and set aside until completely cooled.

* If you prefer to use unsweetened shredded coconut, increase ¼ cup powdered sugar to 1/3 cup and proceed with recipe as directed.

Green Tea Coconut Cookies

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