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How Good Are Nuts?

Talking nuts today, (yes, a common thing I do) – but seriously just how good are nuts?

This tiny little bit of food is power packed with lots of essential nutrients – and different nuts contain different things.  Example – the Brazil nut is a great source of selenium but also good at reducing the LDL cholesterol, however, research has shown that you only need to have four of these awesome nuts ONCE A MONTH.

Yup, only once a month that’s all it takes to help get that bad cholesterol down.

Now some nuts are healthier than others but they are all a good source of unsaturated fat – the good fats – they’re also a great source of protein and most are a good source of vitamins B and E.

The top 5 for me are:

  1. Macadamias which contain more heart-healthy monounsaturated fat which has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
  2. Cashews are very high in iron, zinc and magnesium. Iron helps keep your blood oxygenated, zinc is great for the immune system and magnesium can improve memory.
  3. Brazil nuts, as mentioned above, the selenium can help prevent cancer.
  4. Almonds, these nuts contain more fibre than any other nut and they’re also the highest in Vitamin E
    and number 5
  5. Walnuts – quite a maligned nut, but contains the most antioxidants of any nut around. Also contains the most omega-3 fatty acids which fights inflammation And high in manganeses which can reduce PMS symptoms.

The beauty of nuts is that you can use them in lots of different ways. Not only having them as a raw snack but they can be used for making milk, the base for creamy sauces and dressings and butters.

Here’s a tip – Keep your nuts fresh by storing them in the fridge it gives them a longer ‘shelf’ life.

Oh, and one last thing – they’re a great source of calcium and magnesium for healthy bones – see don’t need animal dairy at all if you’re eating nuts

I’ve talked about nuts before – so go here to get the gen on making nut milks – The Humble Nut

Ciao
Fee



 

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The Humble Little Nut

We really do sometimes take the humble little nut for granted when, in fact, it packs an almighty powerful punch.

Not only can we use the nut in different ways, but it is also a major contributor to our health.

So let’s start with the nutritional value of nuts.  Yes, it does depend a wee bit on the actual nut, but generally they are a source of:

  • protein (yes, nodding head, they are)
  • potassium,
  • calcium (see, you don’t need dairy – chop some nuts and sprinkle over dark green veg and you’re good to go!)
  • magnesium
  • anitoxidants
  • Vitamin E
  • fibre
  • selenium
  • iron

As I said – each type of nut offers different things.  However they pretty much all have fat in them – good fat – but still fat.  This is why you don’t want to sit down to a bag of nuts!!!  Instead it’s recommended that a handful a day is sufficient.  (mixed or one type).

Please avoid nuts that have been roasted as they normally will be done in oil and have salt and/or flavourings added.  It’s best to buy raw and dry roast them in the oven yourself.

HOW TO STORE.  Sadly nuts come already shelled and not chilled which means you have no idea how old they are.  If they smell a bit “off” (rancid) they are waaaaay past their ‘best by’ date.  When you get them home … pop into the fridge and they will last longer.

What to do with them:

NUT MILK

Nuts make remarkable milk that can be used either in cooking or just plain over grains or to drink. To make the nut milk –

You’ll need:.

  • Organic nuts are best and they ought to be fresh. You could use any kind of type, however, I suggest you start with either almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts or hazelnuts.
  • This is where you need to have a really good, and powerful blender – one that you make smoothies with.
    Next you’ll need something to strain the milk with.  You could use cheese cloth or muslin which I’d suggest to start with – you can get a nut milk bag later on if you want to continue making your milk.

How to:

  • Soak the nuts over night this will soften them and make it easier to blend.
  • The portion is 1 cup of nuts to 3 cups of filtered water (you can alter the amount of water as you get familiar with the process
  • Put into your blender and blend at high speed until the nuts are well mixed. (They’ll turn the colour of milk)
  • Strain the fluid through your cheese cloth to separate it from the pulp, getting out as much milk as possible by twisting the cloth.
  • You can use the pulp in baking.

If you do want to sweeten the milk, try with a little date puree which is the healthiest option … just put it back into the blender with the date puree and blend well.

NUT BUTTER

Again quite a simple process.  Your food processor will do the job effectively.

You’ll need:

  • Organic nuts and this time dry roast them and cooled
  • Oil – maybe.

How to:

  • Put the cooled nuts into the processor and start to blend them.
  • They should start forming a ball.  Some nuts won’t need the extra oil, but if you think the nuts are not forming enough of a paste, then add a little oil to help the process.
  • Once made, place into pot or small glass jar to use.

Nuts au natural:

Regardless if you have them whole or chopped they are a fabulous addition to practically anything.

  • Include cashews to stir-fried vegetables – scrumptious.
  • Obviously you can always add nuts to baking e.g. cakes, breads or cookies.
  • A little mix of nuts sprinkled over a salad or I’ve been known to put them over veggies.

That’s it – so go nutty!

Ciao
Fee



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Top Tips

This page is dedicated to some of my favourite Top Tips.

Little snippets of information that might appeal.  Some will be in video form, others in image, but I’ll try to keep each one short.

TopTip:
How to stop you avocado from going brown

TopTip:
How to clean your garlic press … easy!

TopTip:
How to pour plant based milk from a carton.

TopTip:
How to Store Nuts.

 

Once nuts are taken out of their shells, they start to deterioate.  Don’t worry, they don’t go off quickly, but to prolong their life – store them in a sealed container in the fridge.  For best nuts, buy them in their shells!!

 

 

 

 

 

Top Tip:
What you didn’t know about Peanut Butter

 

TopTip:
Parsley

 

TopTip:
Oregano.

 

Use the herb Oregano in any Italian dish ….

 

(actually you can use it anywhere you like!!!! )

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Take a Stand Against Plastic.

Yes I know, you just love those supermarket plastic bags ‘cause then you can use them to line your rubbish bins can’t you.

Of course you also have a black bin liner in the big bin too and you go ahead and put in the smaller, rubbish filled supermarket plastic bags into the larger black bin liner so they can all go to the land fill.

I’m not picking at you, hell no, I’ve been known to line the household rubbish bin with the plastic bag, and when looking after a dog – yup, picking up the doggy-do with one as well.
But I do try to limit the amount of plastic I do use – or recycle as much as I can.  Even been known to re-purpose and give the plastic a new meaning in life.

I do use canvas bags at the supermarket … I find them easier to carry anyway, and the ones I have are a decent size.  Inside one of them I have plastic bags e.g. bread bags or nut bags that I have previously used.  I soon learned that the bar code needs to be removed, so there’s a sticker over them.  Otherwise you get charged for a loaf of bread instead of a head of broccoli or a couple of onions.  Hopefully the last sentence tells you that I use these bags for for veggies/fruit (buying loose where-ever possible).  As for the nuts – well, I’m not that organized to be able to put the right nuts into the right bags therefore the bags have a few product numbers crossed out and the new one put on.

Having a stainless steel water bottle instead of a plastic one means I can put it through the dishwasher on occasions to get it sterilized …. I’m waiting for the day the supermarkets provide water stations where you put in 50c and you can fill your bottle with filtered water.  Will I be waiting a while for that to happen????  Going to the States too often shows me what can be done.

Don’t use any facial product that has microbeads and use a bar of soap instead of bottled free-flow.

Would like to say that I make my own products as in cleaners, toothpaste, shampoos etc, but sadly, no.  However, I seldom buy frozen foods, go more with cans and when I do freeze it’s in plastic storage boxes that I’ve got at the op shop, thoroughly washed and giving it another life.  Use glass where I can and cover food in the fridge with those little doilies that you can also get at the op-shop for next to nothing.

My mother did without plastic.  I remember she had a basket and a string bag to go shopping with.  Everything came in paper bags even the meat was wrapped in paper.  She bottled (or canned for my American readers), all the excess fruit and veggies.  We had everything from pickled onions to preserved eggs, spaghetti to salted meats, not to mention the bottles of peaches, apples, feijoas, plums etc and the cakes and biscuits.  We were lucky to have a walk through pantry – yup I said “walk through”.  That pantry was “heaven”!

It’s quite sad that we are all in such a hurry.  “Convenience” has taken over, meaning that we’d rather grab a new plastic bag for the head of broccoli than wash out a used bread (e.g.) bag and put it back into our canvas shopping bag.

Let’s be real, the politicians are not going to ban the plastic bag because it would upset too many people (probably including their own families).  I will give kudos to those companies that charge for the plastic bags, but perhaps they could go one step further and offer a small discount if you bring your own recycled ones.

And, yes, I know there are countries who have actually banned the plastic bag … I just wish more would follow suit it would make a huge difference to our planet.

Do you do something different that helps the environment?
Your comments will be appreciated.

Ciao
Fee

SOCIALMEDIA




How To Stop Being Hungry On A Vegan Diet

Just gone vegan?  Here’s how to stop being hungry when going vegan.

So many new vegans tell me just how hungry they get.

Well, some of you may already know that I do suggest taking things slowly for example starting with two or three days a week going completely animal free.

But some of you may see a movie like Speciesism or Earthlings and just decide that you can’t go another day consuming animal flesh and by-products.

And when you jump right in, then hunger can be quite a factor.

So just how do you tackle the hunger and stop it from happening ?

The first thing you have to do is make sure you are getting enough protein such as beans, nuts, pulses etc and enough fats ..  again nuts, seeds and oils like coconut or olive.  Then there are the carbs (which seems to be especially true for men) and this can be potatoes and other root vegetables, bread or rice.

Get a list from the internet on both vegan carbs and vegan protein.

Unfortunately many new vegans think they just need to subtract the animal and they’ll be right.  Unfortunately this isn’t the case. you need to replace the protein and fats.  The beauty is that you’ll replace with much healthier protein and fats.

Another thing you can do is don’t go so long between meals.  Be prepared by having snacks at the ready.  Hummus and crackers are excellent as are a things like Sundried tomatoes with avocado or olive tapenade on pita.  Of course there’s fruit, I find a banana fills me up long enough before the next meal.

And last tip – Slow down … like really slow down.  This is so much better for your digestion anyway and  if you have gone to the trouble of preparing the meal, the least you can do is enjoy it.  So turn off the T.V. (unless you live alone) and enjoy your family and the meal together.

If you have any other tips, please leave a comment below … would love to have them added here.

Until next time – be a conscious consumer and enjoy life.

Ciao
Fee

SOCIALMEDIA




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How To Cook Without Oil

I’d like to show you how to cook without using oil.  And the example is using Scrambled Tofu

First let me explain about why you would even want to consider cooking without oil.  If you’re wanting to get onto the health swing, then reducing or even eliminating oil from your eating plan is a definite must.

Confession time:  Oil was pretty darn difficult for me to let go of.  In saying that, I don’t mind if someone else has used it and I’m the recipient of delicious vegan food.  But, I don’t use it in my every day meals.  If you’re diabetic or have high cholesterol, heart disease etc, then consider not using it at all.

“But wait” I hear you say “isn’t coconut oil good for you?” – well no.  It’s actually as bad as tallow or beef fat, although not as bad as butter, as it’s a saturated fat.  Find more here Is Coconut Oil Good For You?
And what about Olive Oil?  Well, it’s not that good either – Studies On Olive Oil However, of the two, the Olive oil is better especially if you’re having it with lots of leafy green veg, grains, nuts and seeds etc – in other words – whole plant foods.

I’ll leave you to make up your own mind, but for now check out the Fee’s Random Kitchen video below to see how to cook scrambled tofu without oil.

Have great food and
be compassionate to all animals including humans

Ciao

 

 




A History Lesson in Vegetarian Diet

I’ve been reading up a little history that I thought you might be interested in.

It seems that every culture throughout history has used food to prevent and treat illness and promote good health. Apparently the Egyptians used lentils to enlighten the mind and the Greeks and Romans used honey to heal wounds. In China, grains and sprouted beans treated a wide range from constipation to dropsy.


That was ancient times. So around the time of the industrial revolution man, in his wisdom, decided not to continue with foods for medicinal purposes and it’s really only in recent times that food has come back into fashion for the health and well being of the human body.

There also has been extensive research into eating habits and the properties of individual foods as the concern about our health grows. These studies have revealed the positive attributes of a diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans with only a moderate amount of dairy foods.

It’s interesting that studies have shown that those who follow a vegetarian diet suffer less from things such as obesity, cancer, heart disease, gallstones, diabetes and constipation. On a whole those eating this diet compared to the normal western diet are healthier.

Unfortunately it still is regarded as “alternative” or “way out there” or rather “odd” but as vegetarian foods become more and more tasty, available and easy the more the “average” person will give it a go….starting with Meatless Mondays. Try our Vegetarian Starter Kit

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My 3 Top Tips For Going Vegan

These are my three top tips for going vegan, maybe they would be more aptly named as my top 3 ‘don’ts’.

1.   DON’T GO COLD TURKEY

(excuse the pun), especially If you’re doing this on your own. Going vegan or plant based eating is a lifestyle change. It’s not a diet in the traditional sense of the word, it is a different way of eating (and for vegan it includes way of living) and something that you need to get your head around. I know it can be difficult if you’ve just seen a movie like ‘Earthlings’ and you see where your meat is actually coming from. It’s like the old saying – once seen, never can be unsee – which means you’re finding it really difficult to look at meat the same way you used to.
But, if you want going vegan to work, then do it slowly. Pick 2 or 3 days a week to be animal free (including dairy and eggs) or, just make the weekends the time for having animal products.
Make sure you eat up the food you already have, it’s a waste to throw it out – but as you replace it, you can then look for the vegan version.

2.  DON’T THINK ABOUT ‘GIVING UP’ FOODS

Think about discovering ‘new’ foods.
Many people think about the foods they are going to have to give up such as bacon or cheese or ice-cream or chicken nuggets or other favourites they may have.
So I always counsel to try and think about the new foods and flavours. When looking at recipes think things like ‘ooo that looks so good’ or ‘wow I bet that’s tasty’ or ‘I know I’ll like that because it has XYZ seasonings’. So look at the new foods and soon those foods will become part of your life.

3.  DON’T JUST TAKE THE MEAT OFF YOUR PLATE

Put a quality protein in its place. You need to be eating quality foods, so putting a quality protein in the place of meat is a great way to start your vegan voyage. To begin with try foods like chickpeas, quinoa, lentils and beans and put one of those with your plate full of vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds. Not only will it give you the nourishment, it will help to fill you up. Oh, and keep it all full of as much colour as you can – not only looks tasty but full of nutrition.

Those are my top 3 tips for going vegan:

Don’t go Cold Turkey – Don’t think about ‘giving up’ foods and Don’t just take the meat off.

Ciao
Fee



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Melon & Curry Sauce

Oh this is simply divine – a melon and curry sauce that can be used over anything!

You will need a good food processor/blender and:

How To Make:

  • 1 cup of cashews soaked and drained. (for optimum result soak overnight).

Blend these nuts until really, really creamy then add:

  • 1 Tblsp Maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • Blend these with the nut cream then add:
  • The flesh of 1/2 a Rock Melon (for a more traditional taste use a Mango).
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons Curry powder – add enough curry powder to your taste.

Blend until smooth tasting as you go so you don’t over-do the curry.   You want the flavour of the Melon to come through.

Once the sauce is blended to a creamy consistency, put it into a glass jar and refrigerate.  You can add to all sorts of dishes at the last minute to just get it heated through.

Note:
You don’t want to boil it … be gentle if heating through on its own.

Please leave a comment if you do make this and what you added it to.

Enjoy
Fee



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How To Make Vegan Boursin Cheese

As it’s one of my favourites, I thought I’d show you how to make vegan Boursin cheese.

This is something that is a cross between a soft cheese and a spread.  You need to keep it in the refrigerator to keep it firm-ish.

Ingredients

  • ½ Cup + 2 Tblsp of cashews soak overnight and rinsed thoroughly.
  • 12.3 oz box extra firm silken tofu – drain as much water out as possible.
  • 2 Tblsp fresh lemon juice.
  • ¾ teaspoon salt.
  • ½ teaspoon light miso.

Blend the above ingredients until really, really smooth.

Then add:

  • 1 – 2 medium cloves crushed garlic.
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons minced fresh chives.
  • 1 Tblsp chopped fresh parsley.
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper.

Blend again until smooth or pulse to have more “chopped” bits.

Scoop into 2 cup ramekins, cover and pop into the refrigerator.

Variations:

  • Use shallots instead of garlic
  • Instead of the chives use basil or dill
  • Try 2 Tblsp of chopped roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Add chopped nuts.

Enjoy
Ciao
Fee





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