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vegetarian food, recipe, healthy diet, antioxidants, organic, vitamins, minerals, beans, nuts, seaweed, dry fruits

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
dehydrated snacks, organic food, healthy diet, growing vegetables, fruits, vegetables, lifestyle, health

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

healthy,diet,fruit,health,nuts,seaweed,lifestyle,organic,food,minerals,vitamins

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

There are those that believe there are little to no differences regarding organically grown foods or foods grown conventionally. Others believe organic is a healthier choice, but the price tag is not worth it. Let's look at both sides of the table and alternatives to store bought organic products.

Pesticides

Pesticides are the biggest concern among consumers. Pesticides do absorb into fruits and vegetables, leaving low level of residue. There are certain fruits and vegetables that are more often contaminated than others. Apples, Spinach, Bell Peppers and Potatoes are a few. It is always advised when purchasing fruits and vegetables that all items be washed before consumption. Most people do not have particular problems eating conventionally grown products as long as they wash them off first. If this does concern you, then do some research to see which foods run a higher risk of pesticide treatments vs others.

Fertilizers

Vegetables grown with conventional fertilizers grow quite rapidly, allocating less energy for nutrient development. Soils and fertilizers also play a big role in the overall nutritional value within these foods as well. Composted soil, commonly used in organic gardening, allow plants to grown at a normal pace with an excellent balance of nutrients. Nitrogen is released at a much slower rate when using composted soil.

Hydro, Hydroponics, grow plants, grow lights, grow shop, grow room, grow box, herb garden, plant lights, gardeners, gardening, vegetables, water filters, water treatment, nutrients, nutrition, seeds, flowers

Nutritional Value

Studies have shown that organically grown foods offer 40% higher nutrients including zinc, vitamin C and iron. Some vegetables and fruits yield 58% more antioxidants when organically grown. On the other hand, foods purchased from local farmers will offer fresher and more nutritionally sound products because they are not being shipped from somewhere else.

Indoor gardening with Grow tents or Grow room boxes

For those who wish to grow their own organic vegetables and fruits, grow tents and grow boxes have become extremely popular. They take up a great deal less space and various methods have cut down on the high levels of labor.

Hydroponics is a method that will cut back on labor because it requires less water and yields a higher quality then using conventional methods of growth. As hydroponic gardening offers various setups, there's something for just about everyone. From continuous flow solutions to drip methods and passive-sub-irrigation to deep water cultures and setups are quite easy to install.

For those who wish to find an alternative to soil, you may wish to choose a growth medium. Growth mediums replace soil using a base for the plants such as coconut husks or clay pellets.

Hydro, Hydroponics, grow plants, grow lights, grow shop, grow room, grow box, herb garden, plant lights,

Summing Up

Whether you are of the conventional school or the organic school, eating more fruits and vegetables is a much healthier choice. Organic can be a bit more expensive than conventional products, you might want to only purchase organic foods that are more often associated with contaminants such as apples, bell peppers, etc.

Growing your own vegetables and fruits is a nice alternative to the above. It's less expensive and you know exactly what is and what is not in your food. Whatever option works best for you, eat more vegetables and fruits because they are good for you!

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

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