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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Superfoods

Someone asked me recently what foods I include in my vegan diet that are considered superfoods, so I thought what a better topic to blog than my two favorite superfoods! 


Hemp seed - I know I have said it before and blogged it before, but it truly is a superfood.
  • Hemp is a high protein seed containing all nine of the essential amino acids that the human body requires. 
  • Hemp is a good source of omega fatty acids and fiber. 
  • Hemp seeds also contain vitamin E and trace minerals. 
  • Hemp seed has a balanced ratio of omega 3 to 6 fatty acids, about a 1:3 ratio. This won’t help correct your omega fatty acid balance if it’s off, but it gives you the right balance to start with. 
  • The protein content of the hemp seed is very digestible and therefore it's a great protein powder to use instead of whey or soy. It really doesn't cause bloating or gas, like whey or soy protein powders can. 
  • Hemp seed does not contain phytic acid (soy does). High amounts of phytic acid can prevent us from absorbing minerals from foods. 

Uses for hemp seeds: 
  • grind into hemp seed butter to make a substitute for almond butter or peanut butter.
  • sprinkle onto or into anything
  • add water and make hemp milk


 
Chia Seeds - Yep, ch...ch...ch...chia. But don't buy the chia pet to get your chia seeds.


What makes the Chia Seed the super food that many claim it to be?

  • 30% of the chia seed’s oil is Omega 3 oil. 40% of its oil is Omega 6 oil. The chia seed has a dense percentage of alpha-linolenic fatty acid.
  • You do not need to grind the Chia Seeds to digest it. It is a relatively easy to digest seed, whereas flax seeds are not. Often, one has to grind flax seeds to be able to process them in their digestive system. That is not the case with chia seeds.
  • Chia seeds are great for athletes because they are highly hydrophilic, which means they absord large amounts of water. Chia Seeds can absorb over 10 times their weight in water making them a great in helping keep our bodies hydrated. They absorb the water we drink holding it in our system longer.
  • Scientists also have found that eating chia seed slows down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrate calories into simple sugars. This may be a great benefit for people living with diabetes.
  • Chia seeds are full of antioxidants and are high in fiber. 
  • The chia seed has been around for centuries and are now only starting to get recognition as the super food that many health gurus have always known it to be. 
  • Chia is even more nutritious than flax, doesn't have to be ground, and lasts a much longer time without going rancid. 



 Uses for Chia Seeds - 

  • Mix Chia seeds into yogurt (non-dairy, please!), sprinkle them on cereal in the morning, add to salads, or even add them to your baking. There are many ways to add chia seeds into your daily routine


Eat your veggies (hemp seed and chia seeds too), 


Karen

Sunday, April 11, 2010

You are what you eat

You are what you eat, sounds familiar right? No offense to Q'doba, but if I have one more naked burrito with grilled veggies (hold the cheese and sour cream) at the airport in Seattle, I am pretty sure I will turn into one! 

So I decided to go to Anthony's where I used to always eat in my pre-vegan days. Nothing there is vegetarian, let alone vegan. So I ordered the shrimp mango salad, hold the shrimp, hold the bacon and hold the blue cheese please! Seems like I should get a discount on that salad doesn't it! It was actually delicious! But those are the difficulties vegans face. I try not to get picky about it because I really don't want someone adding a special "yellow" seasoning back in the kitchen when I ask for things slightly differently! 


Airports are the worst for vegans, wait, I take that back, the worst place is the cafeteria at the VA hospital in Seattle! The choice there is brownish iceberg lettuce, ick! At least the coffee cart does soy lattes! 

Luckily, I was in Portland part of this past week and got to eat at my favorite spot, Blossoming Lotus. I had the live soup (apple/squash) and the live pizza. At home I have been integrating more raw food recipes into my meals. 

I bought books from Kristen's Raw, she's a raw vegan chef. Had some great things so far. Just started reading the book "Becoming Raw". I'm not totally jumping on the raw food bandwagon because there are just some things that I like cooked and research has shown that there are some vegetables that are better eaten cooked or slightly cooked. 

 
So why raw?  

Well, I have noticed that when I eat about 50-75% raw everyday that I have so much more energy, even if I miss my workout. So at home, I'm trying to do mainly raw, not 100%, but about 75% raw.



Right now, in my dehydrator (Excalibur) I have my raw granola bars and raw chocolate hemp bars dehydrating. My kitchen smells so good, I can smell the chocolate! I'm going to make some hemp seed/chia seed crackers next for some homemade hummus! I made some great flax/hemp sun dried tomato crackers about 2 weeks ago that were awesome. I'm making up some goodies to take with me this coming weekend for my Virginia City 3 day paranormal ghost hunt! 

I bought a really good hurom juicer and have been having fun making "plant blood". A whole mix of different veggies and fruits. Really yummy. I notice that my taste buds are much more active since going vegan. Not sure why, but it's amazing the flavors that I seem to pick up on now. 


So I'm 10 weeks in and loving my vegan life. Eat your veggies, try some raw!


Karen