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vegetarian, vegan, semi-vegetarian, vegan society, food, healthy, diet, vegetables, hydroponics

A vegetarian obstanes from eating any form of animal product that is made available through the slaughtering of animals. A vegan also obstains from consuming or using any animal products from meats to dairy products to lotions or creams.

The term Vegan was first coined in 1944 by Donald Watson, co-founder of the Vegan Society in England. Originally the term meant non-diary vegetarian. Later on the vegan's doctrine said man should live without exploiting animals.

In the early 2000s, due to the growth in popularity, many supermarkets and other stores started selling foods and products catering to vegetarians and vegans. They have several top athletes and celebrities that have been practicing veganism for some time now to share their stories.

The Vegan Diet:

Researchers have found that vegan diets are higher in fiber, folic acid, vitamin C, E, iron, magnesium and phytochemicals. Vegan diets are also lower in calories, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, saturated fats, vitamin D, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12. It is suggested that those on vegan diets should take a vitamin B12 supplement.

A really well-balanced vegan diet may offer protection against various generative conditions, including heart disease.

Vegan vs Vegetarian Diets

Vegans:

Vegans, as a general rule, will not consume or use any animal products.

Dietary vegans will not consume any animal products, including diary products and eggs.

Ethical vegans will also stay away from any products such as shampoos, lotions, etc that have any form of animal components or products tested on animals.

Vegetarians:

Vegetarians, similar to Vegans, will steer clear of red meat, poultry, seafood, any flesh from an animal or by products of slaughtering animals. Many object to meats in their diets because they feel animal meats are unhealthy, or due to religious beliefs, or the rights of animals.

Semi-Vegetarians normally stick with vegetarian foods but may also include fish or poultry. Once in a while they might consume read meats but rather infrequently. Some who incorporate fish and poultry in their diets will not eat red meat because they are mammals.

Ovo-Vegetarians will consume eggs and diary products mainly because they suffer allergies from various other foods such as seeds or various beans.

Most long-term strict vegetarians and vegans will stay on strict vegetarians diets, and not revert back to any form of animal products.

In many cases, vegetarians and vegans feel the consumption of animals is unhealthy. Due to products used for raising beef or chickens, the processing of eggs and many other health reasons.

For whatever reason, should you choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, there are many wonderful recipes and dishes that will leave you more than satisfied with your choice to move away from animal products.

Hydroponics:

vegetarian, vegan, semi-vegetarian, vegan society, food, healthy, diet, vegetables, hydroponics

While collecting wonderful recipes for your new found vegan/vegetarian diet, why not start your own indoors hydroponic garden? You can grow fresh vegetables and herbs in the comfort of your home and enjoy every morsel of freshness!

Hydroponic gardens are easy to setup and easy to take care of. There are so many gardeners that have been successful with hydroponic gardening -you'll get a lot of help in getting started.

Start off with a nice size grow box, a few plant lights, a good nutrient for feeding your plants, a water filter and read up on water treatments. Depending on what vegetables or herbs you want to grow and your available space will dictate the size of garden you want to start off with.

Research online, talk to people growing hydroponic plants, or visit your local plant shop for tips and tricks. You'll discover a whole new world of fresh and healthy produce.

Nutrition,food,health,life,fruits,vegetables,hydroponics

With the ever growing popularity of hydroponic gardening, along the way come questions regarding the nutritional value of hydroponics vs soil grown vegetables and fruits. Nutritional value has become a very important part of our lives, therefore knowing what you are growing and consuming is an important factor.

Without doubt, hydroponics is an environmental giant but are the nutritional values on the same scale as soil grown plants? Elements and nutrients found in soil have a strong impact on the plants' values. Hydroponics, on the other hand, are grown in water vs soil. It could be said that hydroponics are therefore lacking in important nutrients and elements. That is not the case though because hydroponic growth relies on a liquid nutrients fed to the plants and therefor hydroponic plants are given the same essential elements and compounds as soil grown plants.

Some will say that soil grown plants will always have a higher level of nutrients than those grown in water. If the hydroponic gardener chooses his or her nutrient supplements wisely, they will have plants that are just as robust and loaded with great nutrients as those grown in soil. There are higher-end nutrient solutions on the market that are probably a good investment to ensure the bumper crops within your home are top quality.

Pros and Cons:

Hydroponics, grown the proper way, have exactly the same values as plants grown in soil. Those interested in hydroponic gardening must do their homework and learn how to grow plants the proper way in a hydroponic system. Without the proper lighting, nutrients and water, whether grown in soil or hydroponically the plants will not do well.

If you are just starting off with a hydroponic garden, it is strongly suggested that you get with someone who has been doing this for some time. Your local nursery might have hydroponic systems and people experienced in how to grow plants correctly.

Humidity must be controlled regularly because these plants are using water for their base of growth. Too much water can cause rot and wilting but this can be said with plants based in soil as well. Getting advice and learning from knowledgeable hydroponic gardeners is going to save you from unexpected mishaps and get you on the road to great gardening success.

Some of the Pros for hydroponics is not needing soil which makes for a great alternative for apartment dwellers. Hydroponics can be grown in the middle of a desert as long as you have an ample water supply.

As the water stays within the system, you will save on your water bill unlike soil gardening. Nutrients can be controlled as well as deciding whether you want a lower end nutrient or a higher end, it's your choice. You will not have to worry about pesticides and other chemicals that are sprayed on produce you purchase from the store. Hydroponics is extremely environmentally friendly and cost efficient.

Learn from those with experience and you will have year round wonderful produce for your table and fresh aromatic herbs for your many wonderful dishes. You will have the same high quality nutritional value as you have come to experience in an outdoor garden.

Always include a good amount of vegetables and fruits in your daily diet. These foods are loaded with vitamins and proteins that your body needs to stay healthy. Experiment with a variety of vegetable and fruit dishes for a wonderful change of pace.

food,healthy,lifestyle,vitamins,minerals,seaweed

Red blood cells carry oxygen to your body's tissues and in exchange remove carbon dioxide.  Protein rich in iron, known as hemoglobin, are what cause blood cells to become red.  Bone marrow continuously makes more red blood cells as blood cells die over a period of time.

Foods High In Iron:

The consumption of iron-rich foods aid in supplying oxygen to your cells and can prevent anemia.  Some of the leading foods that supply iron include red meat, beans lentils, leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach, raisins, prunes and egg yolks.

What Is Anemia:

Anemia is a condition in which your body cannot produce enough red blood cells or causing a low level of hemoglobin.  Iron-deficiency is the most common form of anemia due to a low intake of iron.  Vitamin C foods such as citrus fruits will help increase your absorption  of iron.

Folic Acid - Known as Vitamin B9:

Folic Acid is a B-complex vitamin and exceptional provider of new healthy red blood cells.  People who have low levels of folic acid are also prone to anemia.  Foods you should consider consuming are enriched breads, green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, nuts, peas, beans and cereals.

Vitamin B-12:

Vitamin B-12 is also a B-complex vitamin that is extremely important for the production of red blood cells in bone marrow and for DNA synthesis.  An abnormal cell division within bone marrow resulting in large immature red blood cells is known as megaloblasts.  This is caused by a low intake of vitamin B-12.  Megaloblastic is a form of anemia causing red blood cells unable to store or move oxygen into tissues.  Good sources of B-12 are found in animal products such as beef liver, fish, red meat, milk, dairy products, eggs, nutrtional yeasts and fortified cereals.

Now that you have a keen idea of what can cause anemia and how to prevent it with many iron-rich foods, let's look at other alternatives of food choices high in iron.  At the top of the list is seaweed.  Yes, seaweed, the stuff you see washed up on shore from the ocean.

That said, no one is expecting you to run out to the beach and grab a handful of seaweed and start snacking on it!

There are approximately 20 different types of seaweed including nori, kelp, Irish moss and kombu to name a few. Seaweed has more concentrated nutrition then other  vegetables.  It can prolong life, aid in beauty and health and prevent diseases.  This mineral-rich vegetable has existed for thousands of years.

Some types of seaweed have higher calcium levels than cheese, greater levels of protein than eggs and better contents of iron than beef.  Seaweed's healing abilities include lowering cholesterol, treating cancer, dissolving tumors and cysts, reducing water retention, aiding in weight loss and shrinking goiters.

Here is an example of cooking with seaweed:

Nori:

Nori is best known as the outer wrap of sushi and one sheet of nori has the equivalent omega-3 at in two avocados.  Nori is an excellent resource for healthy skin because it creates a healthy, natural oil protection for your skin.  It also reduces acne and dry skin which is a major plus for those living in arid or cold environments.

Making Your Own Sushi:

Take one flat sheet of nori, add brown rice, shredded carrots, thinly sliced avocado, other raw vegetables and roll it up.  Then dip it in seasame oil and ginger sauce - it's healthy and so very tasty!

There are many wonderful recipes at your disposal to experiment with incorporating seaweed into your diet.  You would quite amazed how wonderful and delicious these dishes are.  So experiment have enter into a new world of optimal health!

In A Nutshell:

You can find edible seaweed in health food or Japanese stores.  Seaweed is one of the oldest and greatest sources of nutrition that you can possibly find on this planet.  For thousands of years people have know the benefits of seaweed and now it's your turn.

If you decide to incorporate seaweed into your diet, why not start your own hydroponic garden and grow veggies and herbs to make your new recipes exceptional!  Hydroponic gardening is a great way to enjoy fresh, robust vegetables and flavor-rich herbs year round!

Check it out - you will be glad you did!

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Karen B. Vance

food,diet,healthy,protein,vitamins,minerals

For far too many years people's diets lacked fats and proteins believing these nutrients would pack weight on and offered little to no value.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Dieters often failed in losing weight and maintaining good nutritional health by blocking these extremely important factors from the their diets.

Good Fats:

Fat not only assist your body in the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K but serves as a trigger for your inner furnace to burn off unwanted foods and calories.  Fats also help you maintain a healthy, properly functioning brain, controls inflammation and enriches your blood for proper clotting.

Good Proteins:

Protein is essential in maintenance and muscular development as well as developing healthy  glands, skin, hair and your organs.  Protein is essential in children for proper growth and development.  Without protein children can develop poorly and have an enormous loss in vitality and energy.  Without good proteins and fats in your diet, you can suffer from malnutrition, hair loss, loss of muscle mass, suffer from sickly skin, fatigue, a poor immune system and in some cases can lead to death.

Protein and fat are found in many different foods.  A healthy diet should consist of vegetables and fruits, whole grains and high protein foods.  Choosing the correct fats and proteins is critical to assure you are consuming healthy fats and proteins vs saturated fats and low value protein.

Medical research has shown that an adult woman should consume 46 grams of protein every day and women who are pregnant or nursing should consume 71 grams per day.  Medical journals strongly believe a woman should take in 20 to 25% of her daily calories from fat.  A 1,600 calorie diet should consist of 35 to 62 grams of fat while a 2,400 calorie diet should have 53 to 93 grams of fat.

Won't Consuming Too Much Protein Put On Weight?

If you do consume more proteins than your body needs, excess calories may be stored away as fat.  However, by eating a low calorie diet and consuming excessive protein can actually cause weight-loss.

Burning stored fats for energy is quite common when including exercise in your daily routine.  A high protein, reduced calorie diet can bring about lean muscle mass while reducing body fat.

All Fats Are Not Created Equally:

Burgers from a fast-food place have approximately 13 grams of protein and 10 grams of fat.  A broiled burger consisting of 95% lean hamburger will give you 22 grams of protein and only 5 grams of fat. Always choose to purchase extra lean hamburger when you get a burger craving. Hamburger is saturated fat and too much consumption of saturated fat can lead to many ailments including heart disease.

Good sources of fats can be found in peanuts, sunflower and sesame seeds, olive oils, soy beans and cocoa butter.  Some vegetables such as lima beans are high in fat and protein but are natural fats and proteins.  Too often consumers shy away from vegetables that have a higher levels of fat than others, these foods are not saturated fat and are good for you.  Vegetables are excellent sources of fats a proteins.

Animal fats can be a little trickier but not difficult to choose from. Higher cuts of beef are very lean and actually the best choices for your protein and fat intake.  They are more expensive but much healthier.  Chicken skins are high in saturated fats and should be removed before consumption.

Hydroponic Gardening and a Healthy Diet:

Many gardeners are turning to hydroponic gardening for a number of reasons.  If you are a city dweller or have little to no room for an outdoor garden, this is an excellent option for growing robust, healthy fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Hydroponic gardens are easy to setup and you can enjoy fresh foods year round. Growing your own produce will eliminate the risk of foods sprayed with pesticides and other unhealthy treatments.

Starting off with a small, simple grow box, a good plant light and the liquid nutrients will get you on the path of enjoying healthy fresh foods at arms reach.  Get with someone who is knowledgeable in hydroponic gardening and you will discover how wonderful gardening can truly be.

0 Comments | Posted in News By Karen B. Vance

food,healthy,diet,seaweed,kelp,algae,vegetarian,vegan

Seaweed, Kelp, Algae are in the same family and are commonly known as seaweed. The algae/seaweed family consists of red, brown and green algae. In order for seaweed to grow it needs seawater and enough light to form photosynthesis.

"Photosynthesis" is the process by which green plants and other organisms use sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and from water. Photosynthesis in plants mostly involves the green pigment chlorophyll and generates oxygen as a byproduct.

Seaweed exists in a wide range of areas. The highest elevation is on top of sea spray while the lowest areas are several feet deep. Seaweeds that survive deep within the ocean are known as red algae.

Seaweed that grows on rocks must be able to withstand rapid temperature changes, salinity and some extent drying.

Dietary:

Seaweed is consumed by many coastal people, East Asia, Brunei, China, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru, Scandinavia, England, Ireland, California and Scotland just to name just a few.

Although there are many vegetarian restaurants popping up along coastal areas, it is not that popular in the U.S. Also referred to as sea vegetables, seaweed/kelp/algae are consumed elsewhere worldwide.

Asian cultures consume the largest level of seaweed but also found on menus in Scotland, Peru and Scandinavia. Nova Scotia consumes sea parsley while Siberians eat harvested kelp from the Bering Sea.

Seaweed is loaded with minerals ranging from calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, iodine and zinc. Sea vegetables contain some fats and omega-6 to omega3 fatty acids. Seaweed is also one of the very few sources of vitamine B12. On top of that, seaweed produces antioxidants as protective carotenoid pigments and vitamins C and E. Carotenoid is a group of red and yellow pigments contained in animal fat and plants. It is chemically similar to carotene.

Is Kelp Seaweed or Something Else?

Kelp is in the brown algae family and is large seaweed. It is believed that kelp first appeared approximately 5 million years ago. It grows in the form of a forest in shallow oceans requiring nutrient rich waters with temperature around 6 to 14°C (43 and 57 °F). In the 19th century, seaweed/kelp was burned in order to produce soda ash or sodium carbonate.

Kelp has an extremely fast growing rate; its decay creates methane and sugars that can be converted into ethanol. There have been many speculations regarding ocean kelp farms that could be a renewable source of energy.

The Healing Components of Kelp and Seaweed:

Kelp is often used for dressing wounds and for the production of dental molds. Seaweed is believed to have properties for curing tuberculosis, arthritis, influenza, common colds, infestations and tumors. Nori, a specific type of seaweed eaten in Japan is believed to cure radiation poisoning.

Seaweed extract is found in many diet pills, is an ingredient in toothpastes, ice cream and gelatins.

The photosynthesis of algae is enormous for nutrients. It is used to remove undesirable water elements such as ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, iron and copper. These elements are quickly consumed by seaweed and in turn, fish consume the seaweed.

Hydroponics:

Growing fresh, robust vegetables and herbs are also a great alternative for a healthier lifestyle. If you have not looked into or experienced indoor hydroponic gardening, you don't know what you are missing out on! Talk to fellow gardeners or gardening experts and discover the world of hydroponic gardening.

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening By Karen B. Vance

food,smartphones,health,technology,hydroponics

As hydroponic gardening grows in popularity and technology, hydroponics is entering a new world of controlling your garden with smartphones!  A new European company called Niwa is a technological breakthrough for greenhouses.  This first-time technology allows you to setup the very best environment for your plants and is literally a smartphone growing system.

Their smart food technological device will literally turn your greenhouse into a smartphone garden!  Niwa is a small, smart-looking hydroponic farm ready to grow in your home.  Imagine fresh, succulent foods grown in your home with the latest cutting-edge devices and operated by your smartphone. Through your phone, you can watch the progress of your plants' growth or go for autopilot. 

Niwa offers two systems for indoor gardener. A small garden will run $199 and a much larger version is $399.  Whatever plants you are growing from tomatoes to strawberries the App will upload the appropriate program settings, including the correct values for each type of  plant.

Javier Mirrillias, Niwa's founder, said the idea came from a great deal of frustration over the globalized food system in place today.  His research brought him to "Almeria", which is the largest tomato producer on earth using hydroponic greenhouses.  Almeria is so enormous, it can be viewed from space.  He started meeting and discussing advanced technology with agricultural experts from around the world.  He wanted to know how to go about creating technology that could be utilized by ordinary people to grow their own foods.

After many prototypes and a great deal of research, Niwa was created.

food,smartphones,health,technology,hydroponics

Just What Is Niwa and Hydroponics:

Niwa is based on hydroponics which is a soilless technique for growing plants.  The plants receive their nutrients from water.  Hydroponics has become very popular in recent years, even though the technique has been around for a very long time.  The idea is to setup a grow box or grow room, purchase grow lights or plant lights and place your plants in a water-based formula of nutrients.

The difference between hydroponic gardens and Niwa is it's microcontroller with custom created software which is a built-in expert farmer.  You do not have to know how much water or when, what the ideal temperature is for each of your plant types or practically anything else.  Niwa has the knowledge and does it for you!

How Niwa Works:

Niwa comes with built-in sensors in order to create the best environment for your plants by controlling temperature, lighting, humidity and when water is needed.  As various plants have various needs, the App will ask for your input on some very simple questions.

For example, if you are growing flowers, the App will ask if you buds, if you answer yes, the system will start a new segment and new settings will be put into place.

You can control your settings from your smartphone App which will also allow you to keep track and understand your plants' progression.  More experienced gardeners can also setup incubation along with various experimentations for the growing process..

As mentioned earlier, grow lamps are a big part of hydroponic gardens.  Niwa offers a compact fluorescent lamp of 200 watts when running along with the heating system.  The reservoir of water should be changed out and refilled every other week.

Hydroponics is an extremely popular and easy way for everyone to grow fresh foods, house plants, veggies, fruits and herbs within their homes.  This is a wonderful alternative for those who live in cities or apartments.  Gardening could not possibly be easier or fun.

Should Niwa, while still new on the scene, be able to offer such great technology and place experience in the hands of novices, what a giant step this will be for hydroponics.  Only time will tell.

Photo credit: Niwa

food,health,life,seaweed,vitamins,minerals

The Story of Seaweed:

Anyone who has ever gone to the ocean is familiar with seaweed, it's that dark brown  stuff that washes up onto the beach.  Seaweed offers some of the most amazing nutrients and minerals for the human body - Bet you didn't see that coming!

People have been using seaweed for thousands of years and with good reason.  Seaweed is closely tied to many human cultures due to its availability and its chemical similarities to the human body.

People who have grown up by the sea have been using seaweed for their late night clam bakes for years with very good reason.  Anthropologists know that every living creature came from the sea and every living creature has elements of the sea in their bodies.  Before man got into agriculture, seaweed was the main basic staple diet  of early man who lived by the sea.  Seaweed is considered one of the oldest, nutritional food sources and one of the oldest life forms on earth.

The Magic Of Seaweed:

Seaweed is made up of minerals, vitamins and trace elements that form its composition.  Humans have the same makeup, internally, making seaweed's minerals and healing components easily absorbed into the blood and offers amazing healing benefits for various health issues.

Seaweed can offer detoxification in the human body, rejuvenate skin, destroy bacteria and give us a mountain of minerals.

Where Can I Get Seaweed:

You probably have been using seaweed and don't even know it.  Seaweed has been incorporated into many foods as well as in creams and lotions for your skin.  Seaweed pills have been available for quite sometime in health stores and can be found in an assortment of other consumable products.

How To Prepare Seaweed:

Short of washing it, there are no special processing steps involved in preparing it.  There are limitless foods cooked with seaweed worldwide.  Seaweed is an incredibly versatile food that can be consumed fresh, boiled, steamed, fried, etc. and served as a side dish with just about any type of entree.

You probably are not even aware that seaweed extracts are used in the production of gelatin, pudding, ice cream and toothpaste.  Seaweed is also used as a stabilizer and emulsifier in many everyday products.

Taking a Closer Look At Seaweed:

The benefits of incorporating seaweed into your diet are almost endless.  Seaweed is fat-free, one of the richest vegetables in minerals and low in calories. Sea vegetables  thrive without human intervention because they grow naturally in a marine environment.

This lovely food is high in phosphorous and calcium, higher still in magnesium, iron, sodium and iodine. That's better than the highest quality vitamin pill because seaweed also offers high levels of vitamin A,B1,C and E!  Adding to all this great stuff, add concentrated protein and healthy carbohydrates.

Seaweed is probably the most perfect, nutritionally loaded food source on this planet.

Are There Different Types of Seaweed:

Yes, there are two basic groups of seaweed - brown algae and red algae.  Adding to that, there are many variations to these two groups.  Each group has it's own nutritional properties and a number of different species:

Brown Algae:

Hijiki:

This algae is from the Far East and contains the highest level of calcium of all the types.  It's harvested, steamed and dried to capture the highest level of flavor.

Kelp:

This is the commonly known brown algae and grows along the coastlines of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  It is usually dried and sold as a granular that is sprinkled on foods or sold whole for an added part to a salad.  Kelp has been used for many years as a supplement for people who suffer from thyroid disorders.

Kombu:

This  algae is often used for added flavor in soups.  Added to beans, Kombu can reduce the gas effects caused by bean consumption.

Irish Moss:

This is used mostly in relishes, breads and various delicacies.

Nori:

Found in Japan, this algae is an ingredient in many recipes around the world.  It  is used in bread and sushi wraps. Nori is  extremely high in vitamin A and protein.

Incorporating Seaweed and Fresh Foods for a Healthier Life:

It would be a shame to consume seaweed with all those amazing benefits and then wash it down with junk foods!  Have you ever thought about starting your own hydroponic garden and taking the nutritional benefits a step further?

Hydroponic gardens are so hot that outdoor gardeners are bringing their expertise inside for fresh, nutritional vegetables and herbs year round.  Hydroponic gardens consist of a grow box or grown room, some plant lights, water filters and excellent nutrients for the production of the healthiest, most robust vegetables to place on your table.

Many gardeners and consumers are becoming less satisfied with the produce they find at the local supermarkets.  People are concerned about the chemicals that are applied at vegetable farms and the lack of flavor once they hit the shelves is disappointing.  A hydroponic garden is easy to start and the benefits are year round great tasting, healthy foods.  Growing your own herbs will give you the best flavor for your salads, soups and side dishes of seaweed!

In Conclusion:

Seaweed, in its raw state, has a less then pleasant taste, leaving few people beating down the doors to get it.  But, it is offered in so many excellent forms you needn't consume it raw.  The benefits for a healthy body, both internally and externally, are to extensive to ignore.  Used as a body wrap, the  seaweed literally draws out impurities or toxins.  From seaweed facials to seaweed sprinkled in soups, this amazing food has been benefiting humans for thousands of years and it's about time everyone found out about it.

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Karen B. Vance

food,healthy,diet,weight loss,hydroponics,tea,green

Is Green Tea Really a Weight Loss Solution:

Did you know outside of water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world?  There are many reasons tea is so popular. It offers cleansing components and in some cases can remove stress for a higher level of health.  Green tea has been used for a long time in assisting people who need to lose weight.  Drinking green tea along with a well balanced diet has proven to be quite successful.

Should Green Tea Be Consumed Before Meals:

Water, green tea or low calorie drinks do curb one's appetite allowing the intake of less food.  You should show moderation with teas or other beverages that are high in caffeine, as these drinks can cause dehydration and have a negative effect on your overall health.  Some nutritionists believe that consuming green tea with meals will allow the caffeine to  serve as a fueling agent for your metabolism vs drinking the tea by itself which can cause blood sugar issues.

Some dieters prefer their tea with added sugar but realize an excessive amount of sugar will defeat their dietary goals.  According to the Mayo Clinic, taking in more than 6 - 9 teaspoons of sugar daily will lead to weight gain. Many soft drinks, such as soda, will use up your daily maximum sugar intake with one can or bottle.  Many dieters find there is a need for something sweet to satisfy their cravings.  If you suffer from sugar cravings, try adding sweets that are low in sugar content.  Some fruits, such as watermelon have zero calories and yet is naturally sweet.

Green tea, by itself, is not going to have much effect on weight loss if you continue consuming high calorie desserts, snacks or high-sugar beverages.  If you need cream and sugar in your tea, go for sugar alternates and use low fat milk.

How Often Should You Consume Green Tea Daily?

Studies have shown consuming 2 - 3 cups of caffeine-free green tea daily will offer overall benefits.  Two to three cups of green tea offers 240 to 320 milligrams of polyphenols which are antioxidants associated with anti-aging benefits and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Caffeine vs Caffeine-Free Tea:

Most people have a good tolerance toward caffeine if consumed in moderation.  Excessive consumption (500 milligrams or more) can cause insomnia, anxiety, nervous stress, high blood pressure and digestive problems.  It is recommended that you stick with caffeine-free green tea for overall good health and steer clear of the caffeinated varieties.

Adding Fresh Nutrients To A Diet Can Ramp Up Your Dietary Goals:

Many people wishing to improve their overall health and take off excess pounds have found fresh fruits and vegetables are a perfect alternative to processed, high-calorie foods.

Hydroponic Gardens And Your Dietary Needs:

Hydroponic gardens are becoming extremely popular for a number of reasons.  They are easy to grow and you can enjoy healthy, fresh foods everyday of the year.  Setting up a grow box or grow room, adding appropriate plant lights and purchasing the appropriate nutrients is not difficult to do and the end result is fresh, tasty, non-toxic foods for you and your family.

Fruits and vegetables purchased from your local supermarket are becoming extremely expensive and not necessarily fresh produce.  You should always wash these foods before using them because of unknown pesticides and other elements that have been added to grow them.

With a hydroponic garden you add nutrients that are safe, you never need to add pesticides and using water filters keeps your plants healthy and robust.

Conclusion:

Diets can often be something no one looks forward to starting, but are necessary for overall good health.  Incorporating healthy nutritional foods, drinking lots of low-calorie or calorie free beverages and staying focused will bring you to your dietary goals.

Pay attention to the warning signs that you will encounter along the way.  Keep your caffeine level as low as possible, incorporate caffeine-free green tea and run from excessive sugar intake.

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening By Karen B. Vance

food,healthy,diet,vegetarian,meat,vegan,vegetables

Veganism (pronounced VEE-gunism) is the act of refusing to consume or use animal products, the participant is referred to as a Vegan (VEE-gun).  There are different types vegans from dietary to ethical to environmental.

Dietary Vegans:

Dietary Vegans do not consume animal products such as meat, eggs, dairy products or other animal related substances.

Ethical Vegans:

These Vegans not only refrain from consuming animal products but also will not use any animal products for other purposes such as products developed through the testing of animals. They do not use leather, wool or silk products as well.

Environmental Veganism:

Environmental vegans stay clear of any animal products on the belief that using animals as a product is not only environmentally destructive but also unethical.

Where the Term Veganism Comes From:

In 1944, Donald Watson created the expression "veganism" when he was the co-founder of The Vegan Society in England.  Originally the term meant vegetarians who also refused consumption of all diary products.  Later on, the concept evolved into man being able to live without the manipulation and abuse of animals.

Vegetarianism actually dates back to cultures in both ancient Greece and ancient India but the actual term came about in the 19th century meaning to avoid meat.

The American Vegan Society:

The American Society was first founded in 1948 by Catherine Nimmo (1887 - 1985) and Rubin Abramowitz in California.  Nimmo, a native of the Netherlands, had been a Vegan since 1931 when the society was first founded in England.

H. Jay Dinshah (1933 - 2000) had visited a slaughterhouse and read many of Watson's literature.  He turned from all animal products on Feb. 8, 1960 and started the American Vegan Society in Malaga, NJ.

Vegetarianism vs Veganism:

Vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry or fish.Vegans go further by avoiding all animal products such as milk, cheese, eggs, honey, the use of leather, wool and silk.  Across the board, vegetarians find their diets healthier, it's better for the environment and their ethical beliefs.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics confirms that a vegetarian diet offers all nutritional needs and is key to healthier living.  As with other diets, the idea is to have a large variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, whole grain, seeds and beans.  Also, as with other diets, laying low on sweets and fatty foods.

Facts Regarding the Vegan Diet:

Research in 2009 showed that vegetarian/vegan diets are higher in fiber, folic acid, vitamin C and E, magnesium and phytochemicals.  These diets are lower in saturated fats, cholesterol, calories, long-chair omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, zinc, vitamin D and vitamin B12.

As a vegetarian/vegan diet does not provide vitamin B12, it is suggested that you incorporate a daily supplement of this vitamin.

The Growing Popularity:

More reports are showing the decline in consumption of animal meat.  Although there are various reasons for this decline, studies have shown that health concerns lead the list.  The higher costs of animal products, especially red meats, have also played a big role with consumers.  Although there is not a great deal of data regarding the well being of animals, many consumers are turning to leafy diets due to animal treatment.

Like all diets, dieters come and go with the latest trend. Those who have chosen vegan diets for ethical reasons seem to remain vegan dieters.  These people are really concerned about the treatment of animals, the raising of animals in order to slaughter them for food.

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How To Transition From Other Diets to a Vegan Diet:

People have changed their diets in various ways by slowly changing their eating habits.  Some people prefer plant-based foods that resemble animal products while other simply removes animal products all together.  Some people have become quite creative by incorporating various international cuisines that are animal free. Many have found growing their own produce is not only healthier but also cost efficient.

Grow Your Own Foods Hydroponically:

Start your own hydroponic garden and grow vegetables and leafy greens for fresh, year-round excellent foods.  Hydroponic gardens are actually quite easy to setup from purchasing or building a grow box and setting up grow lights or plant lights.  Starting an herbal garden will add wonderful flavors to your salads.  Home gardening has never been easier or more rewarding.  More gardeners are turning to hydroponic gardens because there are no harmful additives and water filters and treatments allow for healthier plant growth. Hydroponic nutrients create a more robust plant growth as well.

Get Creative:

For years, many people have played around with salads by incorporating their own fruits, vegetables, spices and salad dressings.  With a Vegan Diet, grab a cookbook, experiment with various foods and find those that best suit your taste. Grow these foods in your own hydroponic garden and discover fresh, tasty foods right at home. You'd be amazed how easy it is to create wonderful dishes every day.

Some Suggested Replacement Foods:

Dairy:

Soymilk and other milk products that do not contain real milk.

Nut milks such as almond and coconut

Soy margarine and soy sour cream

Eggs:

Egg replacers found in natural food stores or other egg solutions for those who have no tolerance to real eggs.
Bananas are a great replacement for sweet dishes such as pancakes

Tofu

Cornstarch

Vegetariansim and Veganism in a Nutshell:

Go online and read up on people who have turned their eating habits in a healthier life style.  Find great recipes and talk with others to help guide you to the best choices for starting a vegetarian or vegan diet.  If you think your diet will be limited, you couldn't be more wrong!  There are so many wonderful, tasty, healthy foods out there that you will absolutely amazed!  So come on over and learn to live a healthier life.

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening By Karen B. Vance

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Almonds are one of the most popular nuts consumed to date.  They make for a great snack, loaded with flavor and very flexible in many dishes.  Almonds, in small amounts, are a great nutrient as long as you do not over indulge.  Eating a large quantity can lead to unwanted weight gain.

 Too many nuts can cause a gain of one pound per week.  Although the natural fats in almonds are relatively healthy, 3 oz will add an extra 42g of fat into your diet. Let's look at the components found in almonds and their benefits as well as their downside:

Manganese:

Manganese is a mineral that is quite high in almonds and one ounce will give you 0.6 mg of manganese.  Your daily intake of this mineral should be approximately 1.8 to 2.3 mg per day for proper bodily function.  If you are on various prescriptions or use antacids, blood pressure medications, antibiotics and laxatives, you should show caution with the level of manganese you take in.  This mineral can cause certain medications to alter their effectiveness.

Lower levels are attributed to poor bone formation, bone loss and itchy skin conditions.  Most American diets consist of higher levels of manganese then are needed, so it is unlikely increasing the level of manganese will prevent or treat osteoporosis.  Deficiencies of manganese can also cause low blood cholesterol levels and abnormal blood sugar levels.

Vitamin E:

Almonds provide a good source of vitamin E which gives you antioxidant protection. Per ounce of almonds will only give you approximately half the needed amount your body requires. On the other hand, if you are consuming a rich vitamin E diet consisting eggs, whole grains, spinach - you could end up with an overdose situation. Too much vitamin E can cause blurred vision, diarrhea, headaches and lethargy.

Fiber:

One ounce of almonds contains 3.5g of fiber.  Your body needs approximately 25 - 38g in order to prevent diarrhea and constipation. Unfortunately, if you eat too many almonds you can actually cause constipation and bloating.  It is advised that if you do consume quite a few almonds daily, drink a good deal of water to assist your body in handling the fiber intake.

Many dieters do enjoy incorporating various nuts into their daily consumption.  Nuts make for a good level of protein and are a very satisfying snack vs. chips and candies.  In appropriate levels, nuts are a good snack choice.

There are many other foods dieters consume every day that are rich in Manganese:

Cloves, Oats, Spinach, Pineapples, Raspberries, Collard Greens, Black Peppers, Kale, Sea Vegetables, Pumpkin Seeds, Brown Rice, Parsley, Dill, Cucumber, Corn, Onions, Bananas, Cashews and Peanuts.  This is only a small list of foods that are rich in Manganese.

Grow Your Own Fresh Foods:

Many people have already read a great deal about hydroponic gardening but have not yet taken the initial steps to set one up. Hydroponic gardening consists of plants grown in a growing box or room; plants are grown with plant lights in water instead of soil and are fed a rich nutrient solution for robust, healthy plants.

Many vegetable and herbal foods can be grown in a hydroponic garden. Wouldn't it be great to enjoy fresh, manganese-rich foods year round?  Setting up a hydroponic garden is not difficult.  If your local garden shop offers hydroponic supplies, talk to experts who are knowledgeable and willing to help you take the first step. They will assess your gardening abilities as well as your provided space to get you on the right track.

People are looking for healthier foods for healthier bodies and healthier lifestyles.  There are many wonderful vegetables and fruits that will help you out. Incorporate more greens and fruits in your family's diets. Junk foods, bad carbs and sweets are a way of the past and just not good for you.

Take an interest in the foods you consume, you might be pleasantly surprised what healthy alternatives are out there!

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening By Karen B. Vance
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Roughly 2.5 percent of the US population practices some form of vegetarianism, electing to eat few to no meats and other products that come from animals. While the decision to follow a vegetarian diet may be due to moral beliefs or health concerns, there are some distinctive health benefits to going vegetarian. Some studies have shown that vegetarians are less at risk for heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and other serious medical conditions than people who eat meat; however, this may have less to do with avoiding meat and more to do with the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are common staples in the vegetarian diet.

You, too, can get the health benefits of these foods without having to give up meat and seafood altogether. Here are some standard vegetarian favorites that can make a healthful addition to any diet:

- Beans - Beans are high in dietary fiber, which is needed for a healthy digestive system and important for keeping cholesterol levels in check. In addition, beans provide protein, iron, potassium, zinc and B vitamins. To get the most health benefits, purchase dried beans or use canned beans that are low in sodium and that have been well rinsed.

- Nuts - Nuts are smart healthy snack ideas because they have a satisfying crunch like chips, but are much more healthful for the body. Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which play a role in the health of the heart, brain and skin. Nuts are also rich in the antioxidant vitamin E that helps to fight free radical damage. Several essential minerals are also present in nuts as well as heart-healthy plant phytosterols. When choosing nuts to enjoy as snack foods or in recipes, choose varieties that are low in sodium. Also, be sure to stick to the recommended serving size to limit your calorie intake.

- Seaweed - Just as there are many different types of nuts, there are several delicious varieties of aquatic plants that can be added to the diet. Seaweed contains iron, iodine, magnesium, calcium, chromium and vitamins A, C and E, many of the key nutrients that are necessary for maintaining a well-balanced diet. Seaweed is usually used in cooking rather than enjoyed on its own. You can find many free recipes that incorporate seaweed online for experimenting with the aquatic plants in your kitchen.

- Dry Fruits - Easier to eat than whole fruits, dry fruits allow you to enjoy all of the vitamins and minerals found in your favorite fruits without all the mess. Perfect for on-the-go snacking, dry fruits can be eaten on their own, stirred into yogurt, added to savory dishes or eaten with cereal or granola.

Cantinstar has a wide selection of healthy snack ideas that can allow you to reap the benefits of vegetarian foods that everyone should eat.

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Karen B. Vance
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Dehydration is a method of preserving foods that involves removing water from vegetables, fruits, seafood and meats to help them last longer. With dehydration, you retain many of the health benefits of the vitamins and other nutrients in foods without having to worry about botulism. Dehydrated foods are easy to store and don't require refrigeration or freezing.

Here is a quick guide to DIY food dehydration to help you get started enjoying the many benefits of dry-food.

Getting Started

  1. Carefully select the foods that you want to dry. Select fruits and vegetables that are fresh and ready to eat. Fish, crab, lobster and other seafood and meats should also be as fresh as possible.
  2. Ready your foods the way you would to enjoy them. You need to do all of the cutting, slicing, mincing, trimming and chopping of your foods prior to dehydration. Foods in thinner 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch pieces will dry more quickly.
  3. If you're dehydrating any fruits, vegetables or plants that include skins or outer coverings, such as grapes or herbs, be sure to wash the foods first.
  4. When you're drying light-colored fruits and veggies, coat the foods with lemon juice or an ascorbic acid product to help prevent drying. Vegetables should also be steamed or blanched to help prevent them from becoming tough during dehydration

Successful Drying

  1. You can dry foods in the oven, in an appliance called a dehydrator or even in the sun. Dehydrators are by far the fastest and most efficient way to dry, so you may want to invest in one if you plant to prepare your own dry-foods frequently.
  2. Before you begin to dry and throughout the drying process, you should get the temperatures of the oven or dehydrator to 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and then maintain the temperatures at that level. Air should also be allowed to circulate through the space to ensure optimal results.
0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Karen B. Vance

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Cheese with fruit or even dried fruit makes for a delicious healthy snack

People concerned about their weight and health in general usually have a snack to provide themselves with extra nutrition and prevent overeating during a meal.

“The Journal of Nutrition” published a study in February of 2010 which revealed that about 97% of Americans have a habit of snacking. The article went on to say that on average Americans get about 24% of their caloric intake from snacks. Knowing that snacks are such a big part of our diet it is imperative that we know what kinds of foods to snack on in order to maintain healthy eating habits.

Snacking quells hunger which prevents overeating

When you become overly hungry this is when you end up overeating at meal time. Having snacks between meals helps you from becoming too hungry and thus can prevent you from eating too much at your next meal. When you start getting hunger pangs between meals you really shouldn’t wait until lunch or dinner to appease that hunger. It’s much smarter to just have a snack to help you hang on. But stay away from junk food. Have something healthy like vegetables, fruit or something made from whole grains, which are all rich in carbohydrates. Combine with a protein like nuts or a dairy product such as cheese. When you start early giving your kids snacks like these they will learn to like healthy eating and not be inclined later in life to fill up on chips and dip.

Healthy snacks help maintain even blood sugar levels

Healthy people strive to maintain even blood sugar levels in order to stave off Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and heart disease. When you make it a habit to have healthy snacks with a consistent number of carbs for every snack or meal you are way ahead of the game. If you already suffer from diabetes this is even more important in helping prevent huge spikes and dips in your blood sugar levels, which can lead to a resistance to insulin. A healthy diet is crucial to living a healthy productive life and if you go online you will find many free recipes that you can use to achieve this.

Healthy Snacks can provide essential nutrients

It’s okay to splurge on a junk food snack once in a while but you really need to learn how delicious and much more satisfying and filling healthy snacks can be. If you choose good nutritious snacks like whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, seeds or nuts you can gain the essential nutrients you need without adding unnecessary calories. These snacks can all be prepared without any cooking needed.

Things to remember

The important thing to remember is not to overdo it. Don’t have a snack if you aren’t really hungry and don’t have a snack right before you sit down for a meal. If you’re upset think first before you start soothing yourself with food. This can only lead to eating way too much, gaining weight and more reasons to be upset. The same goes for boredom. Don’t eat just to occupy or entertain yourself. According to MayoClinic.com a healthy snack should contain approximately 100 calories. If you don’t have time for a meal and want a heavier snack, don’t consume more than 250 calories.

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Karen B. Vance

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Most of us probably do not consider seaweed a delicacy, but in fact this rich food offers an abundance of nutrients and health benefits. From being loaded with vitamins to detoxifying the body, seaweed is the food source that offers many of the benefits from food sources such as fish, calamari, crab, octopus, shrimp and the like. Plus, seaweed is a food source that has little in the way of detriments as well.

People have been cooking with seaweed for thousands of years, so it is closely tied to many different cultures around the world. This is because seaweed is plentiful and very easy to harvest and has a multitude of uses. In being part of the human diet either as snack or in recipes, seaweed offers plenty of dietary uses.

The Benefits of Seaweed

There are a number of advantages that seaweed brings to your dinner table. Reaping the benefits will lead to a stronger, healthier you.

Low Calorie & Fat-Free: Seaweed is very low calorie per serving and has very little in the way of fat, making it one of the easiest foods to fill up on without worrying about your waistline.

Minerals: This food product is also one of the richest sources of minerals as well. This is because it absorbs the minerals as well as the rich nutrients from the ocean. This is especially true of calcium and phosphorus which are very important for the body.

Vitamins: You can find plenty of Vitamins A, B1, C and E in seaweed along with being rich in protein and good carbohydrates for energy. You can get a great deal of your daily vitamin needs by including seaweed as part of your diet.

In fact, seaweed is arguably the most nutritionally packed food on the planet. A concentration of everything needed into one simple plant. It’s little wonder that more people are turning to seaweed for their nutritional needs.

Why You Should Choose Seaweed for Your Next Meal

Admittedly, seaweed is not the most pleasant tasting of foods especially in its raw form. However, when cooking it with a complete meal the overall taste definitely improves and the health benefits are certainly worth adding it to your dinner one or more nights each week.

You can use traditional cooking methods with seaweed or make it into a dry food source for snacks. One positive aspect of this food is that it is highly versatile, especially as a side item to your main meal. This means that you can eat a healthy, low calorie diet rich in the nutrients you need while not worrying as much about the sheer amount that is consumed. Like spinach, seaweed is very low in fat so you can consume more without worrying about the waistline.

Overall, seaweed is a food source that you can use on a regular basis and raw seaweed is often used for facials and other skin treatments. This is an all-in-one food product that can help you in so many ways.

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Florence B. Harrell

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Seaweed is one of the most nutritious foods we have, yet it may seem difficult at times to find ways of fitting it into your general diet. It’s understandable since seaweed does have plenty of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins it also has a taste in many cases that you will need time to adapt.

However, there are many ways to prepare seaweed which eliminates that particular taste and makes it well suited for your lunch or dinner table. The first step is understanding that there are different types of seaweed available so you can pick and choose. For example, Sea Lettuce has the strong taste of the ocean which makes it perfect for seafood platters. Nori is a Japanese ingredient in their cuisine and Dulse is red algae which is a common food source in northern countries with an ocean coastline such as Ireland.

Salads

Perhaps the most common way that seaweed is incorporated into Western cuisine, salads offers a great way to mix seaweed into lettuce and other vegetables for a tasty appetizer for meals. You can chop up seaweed to serve in many different types of salads with oil and vinegar dressing or sesame seed oil to spice it up. If anything, seaweed makes for an excellent side dish for your meal when included in a salad.

Soups

Another great appetizer for your meals is having seaweed in your soup to add flavor and texture. One advantage is that unlike standard vegetables, seaweed will not break down or fall apart in your soups when heated. You can create wonderful treats such as bouillabaisse or cioppino, added dried seaweed to clam chowder or combine it with other seafood for a soup treat that you will never forget.

Sushi

Sushi and seaweed are a natural combination and it’s easy to incorporate both into your meal. You can use dried Nori seaweed to create the rolls that wrap the fish or barbeque chicken if you so desire. Chicken and sushi make for a great combination, especially when wrapped in a sheet of seaweed that provides good texture as well as many nutritional elements to your meal. You can even add green peppers, sautéed onions and other vegetable delights to augment sushi to your personal tastes.

Snacks

We often don’t think of seaweed being a snack food, but it can be baked or fried to create a healthy, hearty snack that have the consistency of potato chips. However, seaweed has far less calories and a lot more dietary fiber. Use them with your favorite dip or create your own crisps of seaweed for a delightful treat.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

You can have seaweed at all three of your meals and snacks, too. Dice up some Nori and add eggs for a delicious breakfast that you can augment with various spices. Plus, you can add seaweed to omelets complete with bamboo shoots or shitake mushrooms as well. Let your imagination soar as you can create many delicious meals with seaweed as one of the ingredients.

Cantinastar offers many seaweed snacks and free recipes that provide health benefits for you and your family. Perfect with crab, lobster, shrimp or calamari, seaweed is the perfect ingredient whether you use the freshwater or saltwater varieties.

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Florence B. Harrell

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The New Seafood: Cooking with Seaweed

Gourmet seafood isn't just fish, calamari, crab, lobster, shrimp and other shellfish. Plants from the sea are becoming a culinary craze all across the country and are cropping up on menus at some of the finest restaurants around the world. Seaweed can be a delicious addition to your diet, and one that offers incredible health benefits at the same time.

The Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed

Seaweed has long been a staple of Asian and Scandinavian cooking, where aquatic freshwater and saltwater plants are readily available. Now, more and more people are adding seaweed to recipes, largely for the health benefits of the plants. A single serving of seaweed provides more immune system-boosting vitamin C than a serving of orange, grapefruit and other citrus fruits. In addition, seaweed is a natural source of vitamin D, providing more than what's found in a glass of milk. A serving of seaweed also treats your body to iron needed for producing healthy red blood cells, iodine for supporting thyroid function and the essential immune system mineral zinc. You'll also get a heaping dose of omega-3 fatty acids, the essential healthy fats that many people take fish and krill oil capsules to treat their bodies to get the benefits of.

Types of Seaweed for Cooking

There are many types of seaweed available at Asian food stores and online with which to experiment in recipes. The three most commonly used types are:

  • Nori - these Japanese algae is usually sold as a dry-food in sheets. If you've ever eaten a maki sushi roll, you'll quickly recognize the crispy blackish-green seaweed as the wrapper most commonly used by sushi chefs.
  • Kombu - Made up of broad leaves, kombu is a staple in Japanese cuisine and can be purchased fresh or as a dry-food.
  • Wakame - Sold as a dry-food and then rehydrated, this type of seaweed has a bright green color and a flavor that is slightly sweet.

Ways to Enjoy Seaweed

There are a number of ways that you can enjoy seaweed at home. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Take sheets of nori and bake them in the oven as a potato chip alternative that is great for dipping and rich in vitamins and minerals.
  2. Add a small bit of kombu to a sauce to bring a touch of unique flavor.
  3. Use crumbled nori in marinades for fish, chicken or seafood.
  4. Rehydrate wakame and serve it in an Asian dressing with octopus, shrimp or crab for a DIY version of a seaweed salad.
  5. Crisp kombu in a skillet and then crumble it. Use it in place of salt on all types of foods for delicious, healthy seasoning.
  6. Soak wakame and add it to a stir-fry with mushrooms, vegetables and your favorite protein like seafood or chicken.

Adding seaweed to your diet will please your palate and supply your body with essential vitamins and minerals. Don't be afraid to experiment. Dry-food seaweed is simple to work with and guaranteed to bring nutritious results.

 

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Florence B. Harrell

There are many kinds of beans that provide a very rich source of protein as well as an abundance of vitamins, minerals and that all important fiber. Protein is used by your body to build healthy cells which make up everything. When your cells are compromised, so is your bloodstream, your bones, skin, muscles, tendons and cartilage. Cells also make up the hormones and enzymes in your body. In order to stay healthy you must have a well-balanced diet that includes foods that are high in top quality protein, and that have low amounts of saturated fats. You will be able to achieve health benefits if you choose to make your meals and snacks from an assortment of beans and lean meats, which can include turkey, chicken, seafood, even pork and beef.

Lean meats are the cuts that are lower in fat

Beef and Pork

Lean meats can be found in many different varieties of meat, including pork and beef. So you do not have to give up your favorite meals when following a low-fat diet. What you do need to do is be picky, you need to choose the cuts that are lower in fat. Both beef and pork are rich in iron and they do have good quality protein, but you’ve got to know which cuts have less fat.

For steak, which is beef, the leanest cuts would be:

  • Top sirloin
  • Top Loin
  • Arm roasts
  • Top round
  • Eye of round
  • Bottom round

For a recipe that calls for ground beef such as hamburgers you would look for extra -lean ground beef. It should say on the label what percentage of fat is in the ground beef. You should be able to find 90%, 93% and 95% lean written on the label.

There are the cuts of pork that are leaner than others and if you want to stay true to your low-fat diet choose among these:

  • Tenderloin
  • Center loin
  • Pork loin
  • Ham

Don’t forget to cut away any slivers of fat that you see once you’ve taken it out of the package.

Chicken and Turkey

Chicken and turkey tend to have less fat content than beef and pork. The leanest cuts would be chicken breasts and boneless is the way to go as it’s got less fat than if the bone is in. For turkey the leanest cuts would be the turkey cutlets. There’s always a layer of fat beneath the skin of both chicken and turkey and that is why you need to remove the skin before cooking, whether or not your recipe calls for this. If you fry or sauté chicken in oil you are adding fat to your diet so instead cook poultry by roasting, broiling, grilling or even boiling. Any excess fat can be drained off after cooking. If you avoid recipes that call for breading the meat you’ll be way ahead of the game. The same goes for fatty sauces and gravies. Left over chicken or turkey sandwiches make for a great kids’ snack and if you serve with fruit and nuts you’re teaching your children that healthy eating can be delicious.

Fish and Shellfish

Seafood is rich in many important nutrients including Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. There are many different kinds of fish that can make delicious meals including shellfish like shrimp, lobster, crab, clams and mussels. Everyone should have at least 8 ounces of seafood included in their diet every week as this is known to help reduce the likelihood of developing heart disease. When seafood is cooked correctly it can be very beneficial but if not, it can be harmful. Stay away from recipes that call for breading or frying or any that call for a sauce made of butter or drawn butter. These only add triglycerides to a really good source of lean protein. When you’re cooking use a fresh lemon squeezed over your seafood or cocktail sauce it’s delicious so no added fat is needed at all. When making snacks from left-over seafood dishes avoid using mayonnaise. You’ll find that all you need to flavor and moisten the fish is a freshly squeezed lemon and maybe a slice of tomato.

Beans are a better source of nutrition

The reason I say this is because beans provide a wider range of nutritional benefits than do animal sources that mainly provide just protein. Beans contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that are critical to good health. These include the B vitamins and folic acid, selenium, and zinc. There are many kinds of beans to choose from which are easily available and can be included in many different recipes:

  • Kidney beans
  • Navy beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans
  • Soy beans
  • Chickpeas

You can easily add them to your diet if you’re not already doing so by using them to salads, soups, stews, and stir-fry vegetable recipes. Beans come dry, usually in clear packaging and if you read the directions you will see that you need to rinse them before cooking with them so soak them in water and boil beans before you use them in your recipe. Otherwise you can buy them already prepared in cans and of course this is more convenient. Don’t add any fat when cooking them and when you go to a restaurant make sure the dish isn’t prepared with fat, like in the case of refried beans. Avoid ordering those and perhaps ask for fruit instead.

 

0 Comments | Posted in Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Florence B. Harrell

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Choosing to eat healthy means steering clear of some foods for better alternatives such as organic. Meats, vegetables and fruits grown with little to no processing, often referred to as organic, contain relatively low amounts of additives.

Some of the foods we consume are processed with additives and are neither clean nor sustainable. These foods are harmful to our health and/or the environment. There are foods that experts feel very strongly should be avoided, so let's take a look at these foods. Although these foods are not "banned", they are better left alone and replaced with alternatives.

Canned Tomatoes:

Tin cans are lined with a resin that contains bisphenol-A which is a synthetic estrogen. This estrogen is linked to various health issues including heart disease, Diabetes, Obesity and reproductive problems. The bisphenol-A exceeds acceptable levels and can cause suppressed sperm production or damage to eggs of animals.

Fredrick Vom Saal (Endocrinologist) stated, if you get 50 mcg of BPA per liter in a tomato can, that level is going to impact people, especially the young.

He went on to say that he will not go near canned tomatoes!

If you prefer tomatoes that are in containers vs fresh from produce, choose those that are in glass bottles. These bottles do not use resin linings.

BPA Causes Damage In OffSpring

Microwave Popcorn:

According to studies from UCLA, the bag lining contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and attributed to infertility in humans. Tests done on animals have shown these chemicals cause testicular, liver and pancreatic cancers. Adding to that, the microwaving process causes the chemicals to vaporize and end up in the popcorn.

Olga Naidenko, Toxicologist, believes these chemical remain in your body and also continue to accumulate every time you consume microwaved popcorn.

Researchers are concerned that the levels in humans could reach the amounts that are causing cancer in animals. Some manufacturers, including DuPont, will be phasing out PFOA by 2015. Unfortunately, there will be millions of bags sold between now and then.

It is strongly suggested that you return to the good old days when popcorn was prepared in a skillet. You can opt for real butter or other alternatives such as soup mix, vegetable flakes or other herbs.

You can make your popcorn organic by using coconut oil instead.

Stop Eating Microwave Popcorn?

Corn-Fed Beef:

Cattle, by nature, eat grass and have forever. Unfortunately, farmers want their cattle to fatten up and are therefore feeding them corn and soybeans. This equates to a higher price tag on cattle and lower prices at the grocery store. That also means, less nutritional value for the rest of us. Studies conducted by Clemson University and the USDA found that grass-fed beef is higher in vitamin E, beta-carotene, calcium, potassium, omega-3s and more. Grass-fed beef is lower in inflammatory omega-6s and saturated fats that are linked to heart disease.

Joel Salatin is co-owner of Polyface Farms and Author of many books on sustainable farming. He said that cows are herbivores but that doesn't mean they should be fed corn and chicken manure.

You can find grass-fed beef at specialty stores and farmers' markets. You may also find grass-fed beef, nationally, at Whole Food. As grass-fed beef demand a premium, most are labeled very clearly.

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Farmed Salmon:

You will not find salmon's natural environment in crammed pens being fed soy, poultry litter and hydrolyzed chicken feathers! Farmed salmon are much higher in contaminants such as pesticides, carcinogens, PCBs and brominated flame retardants. Do you really want your family or yourself eating this?

According to Dr. Carpenter, the highest contaminated fish come from Northern Europe and found on American menus. He went on to say that it's pretty bad when you eat only one of these dinners every 5 months without running the risk of cancer.Dr. David Carpenter is the director of the Institute for Health and Environment at the University at Albany

Preliminary tests have revealed this salmon can be linked to DDT, diabetes and obesity. Some do believe the level of omega-3s counter the risks. Concerns are in the high levels of antibiotics and pesticides that are treating these fish. When you consume these farmed salmon, you are taking in the same drugs and chemicals that are treating the fish.

You might want to choose wild caught Alaskan salmon instead. Packages that read "Fresh Atlantic" are actually farmed and therefore a false statement. There are absolutely no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon. How Healthy Is The Fish You Are Eating?

How Healthy Is The Fish You Are Eating?

Nonorganic Potatoes:

Potatoes are a root vegetable that absorb nutrients as well as harmful pesticides, fungicides and herbicides from the soil. Potatoes are also treated with fungicides during the growing process, and then sprayed with herbicides in order to kill off the vines before harvesting.

Richard Moyer, farm director of the Rodale Institute, stated that if you buy a potato from the store and try to make it sprout, it will not happen.

He has spoken with many potato growers who told him, quite frankly, they will never eat potatoes they sell. They have separate plots without chemicals for themselves.

Richard Moyer is the farm director of the Rodale Institute, owned by Rodale Inc. the publisher of Prevention. He is also chair of the National Organic Standards Board.

Washing potatoes will not remove the chemicals that have absorbed into the flesh. Buying organic potatoes will only cost approx. $1 a lb. more and is worth it for your health.

Milk Production with Artificial Hormones:

Farmers treat the dairy cattle "recombinant bovine growth hormone" (also called rBGH or rBST) in order to boost milk production. This also increases the risk for utter infection and pus in the milk. This also causes high levels of hormone "insulin" like growth in the milk. This high level of insulin can lead to prostate, colon and breast cancers.

Richard North is project director of Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO - Oregon division of the American Cancer Society.

Mr North said that when the government approved rBGH, that IGF-1, from milk, would break down in the human digestion. He went on to state that even though there is not a 100% proof that there is an increase of cancer in humans, it is banned in almost all industrialized countries.

Look for labels for rBGH Free, rBST free milk products or purchase raw milk instead.

Do you Still Drink Milk?

GMO Unfermented Soy:

Genetically engineered food causes a great deal of concern because of the manipulation of DNA and genetic coding including one species to another.

Always check labels to make sure soy is Non-GMO or organic. Never consume unfermented soy and if possible, ask the company where exactly Non-GMO soy was obtained.

Buy Only Femented Soy - Foods Fit for Human Consumption

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Apples:

Out of all fruits that are harvest in the fall, Apples would win hands down in being treated with pesticides. Apples are descended from a singular tree in order to retain their individual flavors. As apples do not have a resistance to pest, they are continually sprayed. Although the industry maintains that the low residues are harmless, that might not be necessarily true.

Mark Kastel is a former exec. for agribusiness, co-director of Cornucopia Institute that supports organic foods. He believes it is only common sense to avoid the most treated produce, i.e. apples. He also stated that most farm workers have a higher risk of many cancers.

Studies from all sources are concerned with the startling increase of higher body levels of pesticides being linked to Parkinson's disease.

With the onslaught of Thanksgiving, preparing everything from potato dishes to apple pies, it might be to your best interest to start off with organic ingredients. Use common sense, read labels and have a healthy and safe Thanksgiving.

2 Comments | Posted in News By Florence B. Harrell

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Without doubt, the white potato is the most consumed potato on most consumers tables. Although the skins of these potatoes offer a certain level of nutrients, as a general rule they are not on the top of the list for good food value.

That said, there actually is a potato out there that is loaded with nutrients and packed full of mega antioxidants. It's the purple potato! I'll bet almost none of you have eaten or even seen a purple potato. It's time you did become acquainted with this perfect little gem, because it's extremely good for you.

The purple potato is from South America and is named for its rich, dark purple skin and flesh. These potatoes are loaded in antioxidant phytochemicals which aid in creating a lower blood pressure.

Vegetables and fruits that are rich in color often reveal the nutritional value and that value is quite high. Nutritionists have stated over and over that the deeper and richer a fruit or vegetable appears, the more dense it is in nutrients. It has always been suggested that your diet should consist of a combination of colors to ensure you are getting the best possible nutrients into your body.

Purple has the characteristics of rich and powerful antioxidants also called anthocyanin. From the flavonoid family, anthocyanin boosts the immune system and offers fighting agents against cancer.

Varieties of Purple Potatoes:

  • Purple Viking
  • Purple Majesty
  • Purple Peruvian

There are other foods that offer anthocyanin including blueberries and pomegranates. These foods, as well as the potato, have the ability to protect the structure and integrity of DNA. Anthocyanin also produces cytokines which are extremely important in prompting a proper immune return.

Other Antioxidant Benefits:

Antioxidants offer anti-inflammatory values that will protect the health of capillaries and strengthen membranes. It has also shown to regulate estrogenic activity, thereby lowering the risk of hormonal related diseases.

Lowering Your Blood Pressure:

A study that was presented in 2012 at the American Chemical Society national Meeting in Denver, stated that consumption of purple potatoes actually lowered the blood pressure of those consuming these potatoes. It is believed the consumption of these potatoes had an effect on the capillaries and blood vessels.

Purple potatoes have a high concentration of chlorogenic acid which lowered the blood pressure in mice.

What About Flavor:

Most consumers are accustomed to eating white potatoes for their flavor and texture. Given the nutritional values in purple potatoes, what do they taste like? Actually, the purple potato tastes very much the same as your standard white and is actually a little creamier in texture.

Cooking Purple Potatoes:

You should cook these potatoes with the skin on, as you should with the white potatoes. Keeping the skin on allows moisture to remain within the potato and prevents the loss of their nutrients.

The skin on these potatoes are loaded with vitamin C along with polyphenols and potassium.

The best ways to prepare purple potatoes are through steaming or baking. If you must have fried potatoes, use a clean healthy oil such as coconut oil or olive oil.

Some folks believe in just taking a big bite out the potato from the onslaught! Now granted, as this potato is a new concept and you are still trying to get over the color, this might not be the best time to just chomp down on its royal rawness!

1 Comments | Posted in Fruits & Vegetable Gardening By Florence B. Harrell

Manufacturers continue to use various additives that studies have shown to cause anything from heart disease to diabetes. Although there are several alternatives that would make their foods safer, the price tag is more than they are willing to pay.

Jeopardizing the well being of their consumers for their profit margin seems to be the sad state of the manufacturing world. That said, there are certain additives that should be checked off your list now and forever. You are about to discover some of the horrific chemicals that you and your family are consuming on a daily basis.

For centuries food additives have been added to boost the flavor and appearance of foods. Additives also increase their shelf life, but what about their contributing value in foods?

Why Additives:

To help the processing of foods, packaging and storage, food additives are in almost all the products we consume. You have to ask yourself, what exactly are these food additives and what do we really know about them. Why do foods have to have an increased shelf life that is leaning toward the ridiculous? Are any of these additives offering any nutritional value or offer even a small amount of health benefits?

Approximately 90% of U.S households purchase processed foods, loaded with artificial additives. That said, how many of these additives hold serious health issues that, as consumers, we are totally unaware of?

Believe it or not, there are actually additives that are worse for your health than others. Here are some of the worst food additives that you should avoid at all costs.

Artificial Sweeteners:

Equal (Aspartame) is just one of many sweeteners on the market today called artificial sweeteners. Aspartame is a neurotoxin and carcinogen that accounts for more adverse reactions than all other food additives put together. It has been known to affect your short term memory and erode your intelligence. These sweeteners could possibly lead to a variety of diseases including lymphoma, diabetes, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease. Other serious disorders include: depression and anxiety, Alzheimer's, dizziness, nausea, migraines and seizures. This is just a small list of the affects artificial sweeteners can have on you.

Aspartame is found in most of your artificial sweeteners and should be avoided.

Another, relatively new sweetener, called Acesulfame-K can be found in many baking goods, gelatins and gum. There has not been enough research done on this product yet, but is linked to kidney tumors.

You might well want to steer clear of artificial sweeteners and consider the natural components of sugar instead.

High Fructose Corn Syrup:

HFCS is the number one source of added calories in the U.S. It is a very refined artificial sweetener and is found in almost all processed foods. At lightning speed, HFCS will add more pounds on you than any other ingredient. It can increase your cholesterol and has contributed to an increasing percentage in diabetes and damage to tissues. Flavored yogurts, salad dressings, breads, candies and cereals are just a few foods containing HFCS. You might want to look at those labels a little closer.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Many Chinese restaurants used to add MSG to their dishes. Most of these restaurants have since pulled the additive due to its negative affects. MSG is an amino acid used to flavor soups, salad dressings, chips and frozen entrees. Excitotoxin is another name for MSG, contributing to depression, fatigue, obesity, headaches and disorientation. Neurological pathways to the brain and the removal of your ability to feel full are effects of MSG. Ergo, you eat beyond your fullness and gain weight.

Some of the foods containing MSG are: chips, cookies, many other snacks, seasonings, some Campbell Soups, frozen dinners, lunch meats and some restaurants.

Trans Fat:

Trans Fat is another additive used to increase the shelf life of foods and is considered one of the most dangerous. Deep fried fast foods, some processed foods containing margarine or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils when processed, form trans fats due to their contents.

Studies have shown that trans fats increase bad cholesterol levels while decreasing good cholesterol levels. This increases the risk of heart diseases, strokes and heart attacks. Trans fats also contribute to diabetes, inflammations and other serious health issues.

Trans fats are found in chips, crackers, fast foods, margarine and many baked goods.

Food Dyes:

Artificial colorings found in sodas, fruit juices and salad dressings may contribute to behavioral problems in children. This in turn can lead to a serious reduction in their IQs. Other food colorings have also been linked to cancer.

Blue #1 and #2 (E133)

This food coloring is banned in many countries including France, Norway and Finland. These colorings are found in candy, cereal, soft drinks, pet foods and sports drinks.

Red #3 (Red #40) (E124)

This dye has been banned since 1990 after years of debate regarding their incorporation into foods and cosmetics. Unfortunately, it is still on the market until the products, still out there, run out. Red dye has shown to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in animals and could be an interference in brain nerve transmission.

This dye is found in fruit cocktails, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, maraschino cherries and bakery products.

Yellow #6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102)

These dyes have increased the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in animals. They are both banned in Sweden and Norway.

You can find this dye in American cheese, lemonade,candies and carbonated beverages.

Please Note: Macaroni and cheese was on this list. As of Nov 6, 2013 Kraft announced they are removing the yellow additive from this product! Give a big hand to Kraft!!

Sodium Sulfite (E221)

According to the FDA, one in 100 people are highly sensitive to foods containing sulfites. As most of these people suffer from asthma, it is believed their is a strong link between asthma and sulfites. These people usually suffer breathing problems, rashes and headaches. In extreme cases sulfite may cause death by closing down the airway and therefore leading to cardiac arrest.

Sodium Sulfite is found in wine and dried fruit

Sodium Nitrate/Nitrite:

Many foods, including many processed meats, bacon, hot dogs, luncheon meats, ham, corned beef and smoked fish use sodium nitrate as a preservative and for coloring and flavor. Sodium nitrate is highly carcinogenic once it enters the digestive system. It then forms many nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and may damage many internal organs including the liver and pancreas. It is considered extremely toxic and should have been banned a long time ago. The USDA tried to ban it in the 1970s but was vetoed by food manufacturers complaining there were no alternatives for preserving packaged meat products.

The biggest reason sodium is still used is because it makes old meat look fresh as it's a color fixer. Sodium nitrate is found in hotdogs, cured meats, corned beef, bacon, luncheon meats, ham and other processed meats.

BHA and BHT (E320)

Known as butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydrozyttoluene are preservatives that keep foods from changing color, changing the flavoring of foods or becoming rancid. It can alter the brain, behaviors and possibly cause cancer. These additives are oxidants which can form cancer causing compounds in your body.

BHA and BHT are found in gum, frozen sausages, cereal, potato chips, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candies and jello.

Sulfur Dioxide (E220)

This additive is considered toxic and both the United States and the Federal Drugs Administration have prohibited its use on raw fruit and vegetables. It has an adverse reaction on bronchial issues, especially those prone to asthma, low blood pressure, tingling or flushing sensations or anaphylactic shock. It should be avoided if you suffer from emphysema, bronchitis, asthma or cardiovascular disease, says the International Labour Organization.

Sulfur Dioxide is found in beer, dried fruits, cordials, wine, soft drinks, juices, vinegar and various potato products.

Potassium Bromate:

Potassium Bromate is used to increase the volume in white flours, rolls and breads. It is known to cause cancer in animals, even with the small amounts found in bread can cause problems in humans.

In Summary:

Even though the United States and the FDA are not coming down on food manufacturers and their bad habits of using additives, you can stop buying their products. In this day and age, there are healthy alternatives to these dangerous additives but manufacturers don't want to spend the money to implement better practices.

Read labels carefully and weigh the percentage of additives added to your purchases. For the sake of your health and the health of your family, it's up to you to just say no, I can live without your products. Sometimes the best way to know what is in your food is to grow it yourself, growing vegatibles and fruits hydroponically way is easier than you think.

1 Comments | Posted in News By Florence B. Harrell

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