Category: Mind & Body

herbal tea, healthy beverage

Top 5 Classic & Exotic Herbal Teas

Need a pick-me-up? Turn the kettle on and reach for your favourite teacup. Tea is much better for you than sodas, juices and cream or sugar-loaded coffee. A hot cup of herbal tea can wake you in the morning and relax you in the evening.

Herbal tea comes with a wide range health benefits. They are a great source of vitamins and minerals, can soothe an upset stomach and insomnia and can put a troubled mind at ease. A steaming cup of herbal tea can help to relieve nausea, bloating and an array of common ailments.

Herbal tea doesn’t come from a specific plant but is rather an infusion of leaves, seeds, roots or bark that are extracted in hot water. Consuming herbal teas means were are receiving the benefits of plants in digestible form.

To ensure that you are reaping the full benefits of your tea of choice, be sure to follow the steeping directions. Sometimes steeping for 10 to 15 minutes is required to bring out all the healthful properties. Also note the temperature indicated on the tea box – with some green teas, the water should be cooler than boiling temperature.

While there are many different types of herbal tea, these are some of our favourites.

yerba mate herbal tea | healthy

1.Yerba Maté 

This traditional South American tea is brewed from the leaves of a flowering tree and is known as nature’s original energy tonic. Nutritious and energizing, it contains nearly twice the amount of antioxidants compared to green tea. It’s also rich in B vitamins and minerals that help to combat stress.

This tea is traditionally consumed in a mate gourd with a bombilla straw. Look for organic yerba mate for a smooth, clean flavour.

herbal tea, healthy beverage

2.Ginger and Lemon

Known for strengthening your immunity, ginger and lemon tea is one of the best teas you can have. It’s been used for thousands of years to help treat colds, nausea, arthritis, migraines and hypertension. Ginger is now is one of the most popular dietary condiments in the world (Surh et al. 1999).

Organic Green Tea | Healthy Living | Zebra Organics


3.Green Tea

If you aren’t drinking green tea yet, it’s time to start now. Packed with antioxidants that help protect against cell damage, research has established that green tea features cancer-fighting, happiness-boosting and brain-saving properties. Having a cup first thing in the morning will enhance mental alertness. Green tea can be enjoyed in many ways, from matcha green tea lattes, to tea bags, or class loose-leaf versions. Green tea is most beneficial if it is steeped at a warm, not boiling, temperature.

Douglas Fir Spring Tip Tea by Juniper Ridge | Zebra Organics


4.Douglas Fir Spring Tip

Delight your senses with flavours of bright citrus, herbal mid-tones and earthly base accents. Harvested from the Douglas Fir tree native to the mountains of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, this tree is second in size to the two California Sequoia species and grows to enormous proportions. It’s important to ensure that you are purchasing a sustainable product when it comes to Douglas Fir Spring Tip tea. Try this tea by Juniper Ridge. It is a dedicated steward of the wild lands where they ethically and sustainably source the raw ingredients that go into this tea and all their products.

We supports companies that seek to build a harmonious relationship with the land, as well as creating economically viable environmentally friendly organizations.

White Sage and Wild Mint Tea, Juniper Ridge | Zebra Organics


5.White Sage and Wild mint

Suffering from stress? This tea will help put you back into the right frame of mind. This is a cozy, complex tea that tastes as good as it smells – its scent is calming and reminiscent of winter. Its top notes are refreshing mint, herbal mid-tones and resinous base accents. Harvested from the Mojave dessert in California and Nevada, the longer you steep this tea, the more earthy tones will be uncovered.

Juniper Ridge has gone above and beyond to create tea that captures the heart and spirit of nature. Juniper Ridge products are truly unique, sourced from remote areas of the west coast of the United States. These are relatively untouched environments where plants thrive and are places we may never get to visit but we can at least experience their exquisite scents.

Hydration, Fruits, Vegetables, Healthy Diet

Top Hydrating Fruits & Vegetables

Sometimes drinking your recommended daily intake of water can seem daunting. On average, approximately 20 per cent of our daily water intake comes from solid foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Many vegetables that are more than 90 per cent water are low in calories and are easy to digest, making them a great idea for a pre-work out snack.

According to research carried out by the University of Aberdeen Medical School in Scotland, water-rich fruit and vegetables may hydrate our bodies twice as effectively as a glass of water.

Research suggests that they may be more hydrating than some isotonic sports drinks, due to their content of mineral salts, natural sugars, amino acids and vitamins lost during exercise.

“To be properly hydrated, you need to replace fluid lost from the body with one that’s similar to the body’s natural composition,”
– Dr Susan Shirreffs, exercise physiologist and hydration expert at Loughborough University.

“Watery fruit and vegetables often contain levels of minerals and sugar that mirror this, so they can hydrate you more effectively than water alone.”

Here’s what you need to know:

Cucumber
Water content: 96.7%

Cucumber has the highest water content of any solid food. Great in salads or served with hommus, it can be blended with yogurt, mint and ice cubes to make a refreshing and delicious chilled soup. A cucumber can produce similar hydration levels to twice the volume of water with the bonus of calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium.

Iceberg lettuce
Water content: 95.6%

Although iceberg lettuce lacks the fibre, folate and vitamin K nutrients found in darker greens such as spinach and romaine lettuce, it has the highest water content of any lettuce. Instead of adding it to a sandwich, it can be used as a wrap for tacos and burgers.

Celery
Water content: 94.4%

Celery’s high water content helps neutralize stomach acid and it is commonly recommended as a natural remedy for heartburn and acid reflux. White containing folate and vitamins A, C and K, celery’s fiber content helps you feel full and curbs your appetite.

Radishes
Water content: 95.3%

Radishes are filled with catechin, an antioxidant that is also found in green tea. They spicey-sweet flavour of radishes can be enjoyed by slicing them up and tossing them with other ingredients in a summer salad.

Tomatoes 
Water content: 94.5%

An excellent hydrating snack that is well-paired with basil and mozzarella as an appetizer.

Watermelon
Water content: 91.5%

Watermelon is one of the richest sources of lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant. Containing essential hydration salts calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, watermelon is also high in vitamin C, beta carotene and lycopene, which helps protect the body from UV light.

Spinach
Water content: 91.4%

Raw spinach leaves are rich in lutein, potassium, fiber and folate. One cup of spinach will give you 15 per cent of your daily vitamin E intake, an antioxidant that fights damaging free radical molecules.

Other fruits and vegetables to note are the star fruit, strawberries, broccoli, grapefruit, baby carrots, green peppers, cauliflower and cantaloupe, which are all more than 90 per cent water.

Beans, healthy food

Top 10 Sources of Plant Protein

What is Plant Protein?

By now, we’re all getting used to the idea of protein coming from sources other than meat. It’s found in legumes, vegetables and whole grains and we don’t have to be vegan to prefer it.

Without reeling off big words in physiology, plant protein is just that: protein from plants. Your body doesn’t mind whether you nourish it with protein from steak or nuts, so you’re not losing anything by choosing plant protein. In fact, by reducing your meat intake, you are lowering your risk of heart disease and you will get the satisfactory feeling of knowing you ate your veggies. You’re choosing a sustainable and healthy option!

“I think that the U.S. is one of several developed countries that have just made it seem like protein is so pivotal to our health when in other countries their base diet is plant protein, beans and grains. I think it’s just evolved to be a cultural thing”
~ Dr. Michael Greger, internationally-recognized lecturer and physician

You do not need to combine a plant-based protein with a meat protein for it to become a “complete protein.” This is a myth. Plant protein is made up of essential amino acids, which our bodies can’t produce so they must come from our diet. All essential amino acids come from plants.

Top 5 Sources of Plant Protein

If there’s one thing you take from this post, is should be which foods are rich in plant protein. Dr. Leslie, registered dietitian and instructor at University of Hawaii, explains ideal sources of plant proteins:

“Any type of whole grain, beans (including tofu and edamame and soy milk), and nuts (including peanut butter). In terms of vegetables – primarily from the dark green leafy vegetables, so broccoli, spinach, kale, all of those have protein and a lot of people don’t realize that.”

Here’s our Top 10 List:

(1) Lentils

Lentils are affordable and easy to cook. From soups to curries and salads, lentils are a versatile ingredient that make for a great meat substitute.

Beans, healthy food

(2) Beans

Beans, especially soy beans, are a great source of protein. Beans are great for salads, tacos, chillies, or simply baked and seasoned on their own. If you buy dried black beans, remember to soak them for a few hours minimum, and then simmer them over heat before eating them. 

Source: Ruby Ran/Flickr

(3) Hemp Hearts

Hemp hearts have a sweet and nutty flavour. Sprinkle them on salads and cereal, add them to smoothies and baked goods and blend into stews and soups to thicken.

chia seeds, healthy food

(4) Chia Seeds

Similar to hemp hearts, chia seeds have a mild natty flavour. Sprinkle them on cereal, sauces, vegetables, yogurt or rice dishes. Add them to a glass of water and they will expand and create a gel-like texture.

quinoa salad, healthy grain, healthy food

(5) Quinoa

Quinoa is similar to couscous and is as versatile as rice. It can be served as a side dish with butter or oil, salt and pepper or other seasonings. It goes very well in veggie burgers, tossed in salads or mixed into stews. If you’re looking for a warm, hearty, flavourful breakfast on a cold day, you can’t go past a quinoa breakfast bowl. Trying mixing quinoa with dried or fresh fruit, cinnamon, almond or coconut milk and honey.

Sesame seeds, plant protein, healthy food

(6) Seeds

Protein-rich seeds include hemp, flax, chia, sesame and sunflower. Sprinkle seeds on salads and mix them into desserts and snacks.

Nuts for protein, healthy food

(7) Nuts

Protein-rich nuts include almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios and brazil nuts. Nuts can be blended into smoothies, mixed into salads, yogurt and can be enjoyed on their own as a snack.

edamame, vegetable protein, healthy food

(8) Edamame

If you’ve been to a Japanese restaurant you’ve probably enjoyed edamame as a snack. Edamame are fresh green soybeans. To cook edamame that’s still in the pod, boil the pods in water with some salt, or steam them. They can be eaten hot or cold and can be added to risottos, stir frys or salads.

chickpeas, healthy legume, protein rich

(9) Chickpeas

Chickpeas are incredibly versatile. You can eat them hot or cold, canned or dried. They can be roasted and added to salads, used as a substitute for croutons in soup, or simply seasoned with salt and eaten on their own. They are best known for being turned into hummus.

tofu, protein rich, healthy food, plants

(10) Tofu

Derived from soya, tofu is a staple ingredient in Chinese and Thai cooking. Tofu is an excellent source of not only protein but amino acids, iron and calcium. It’s best enjoyed stir fried or in noodle bowls.


How much is enough?

You don’t have to spend too much time worrying about your protein consumption, provided you eat an array of grains and vegetables.

According to Harvard Medical School, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That is the bare minimum you need to eat to prevent getting sick. This is calculated by: Weight (in pounds) x 0.36 = recommended daily protein intake (grams).

A sedentary young woman that weighs 155 pounds should be consuming 56 grams of protein per day.

Further reading:

If you’re curious about the risks associated with animal proteins such as meat and dairy, this article by the the University of Hawaii will be of interest to you.

Herb infused chocolate

Why you Need to try Herb-Infused Chocolate

Are you a chocolate lover looking to take your passion to the next level? Herb-infused chocolate will take you there. Prepare your palate for flavourful bliss with the combination of herbs and chocolate. For the first-timers out there that haven’t tried this type of chocolate before, here’s why you should:

  • It’s delicious: herbs in chocolate have a mild and balanced flavor and enhance the chocolate.
  • It has a unique flavor: Compared to milk, white and dark chocolate varieties, herb-infused chocolate will leave a unique lingering flavor on your palate. Mint may be one of the most pronounced flavours you will find, but there are many different types available.
  • It contains more nutrients: adding herbs, means adding nutrients. Learn more. Don’t forget that the right kind of chocolate is good for you. Read our blog post to learn more: 7 Reasons Why You Should Eat More Chocolate.

Herbivore, a farm run by Gabrielle Gaul on the outskirts of Palm Springs, supplies us with fresh-cut organic aloe leaves that are harvested on a weekly basis, as well as herb-infused chocolate.

Located on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park, the farm grows an array of herbs, including rosemary, mint and basil, as well as aloe. Once harvested, the herbs are slow-dried for 5-7 days (depending on their moisture content) to preserve and enhance their flavors. In this day and age, slow drying herbs is a lost art. Most big companies abandoned this process a long time ago and replaced it with rapid heat drying, to cut costs. This has negative side-effects, as it results in dried herbs that are almost devoid of taste and nutrients – not the case with Gabrielle’s herbs. Once they are fully dried, they are blended into the chocolate mix.

One of the things that sets Gabrielle’s organic herb farm apart from most others, is her clean, chemical-free, loving growing methods in this pristine high desert area where GMO is not even a thought.

Herbivore-Gabby

We asked Gabrielle a few questions:

What’s your favorite chocolate flavor, or would it be more accurate to say one of your favorites?

My favorite is Salted Pecan & Sage. I’ve always had a thing for the sweet / salty combo.

What made you think of making herb-infused chocolate?  How did you come up with the idea?

The idea struck me when I had a chocolate craving at the farmer’s market. I thought, “I wish someone sold chocolate here… Hey! I could do that!” When I pitched the idea to my market managers, we agreed that it would be have to be a healthy artisan chocolate, utilising the herbs from my farm.

What do you love about the farming and chocolate making, and your business in general?

There are so many things I love about my business. It’s difficult to name just one. To plant a seed, care for it, harvest it and then share it is very satisfying. To share a creation of your own is very satisfying. Working with nature on a small scale, rather than mass producing is very satisfying. To educate folks on the difference between real food and processed gunk is satisfying. Not promoting GMOs, waste, animal cruelty or harm to the environment is very satisfying. Working WITH nature, rather than trying to improve upon it, is the most satisfying.

Zebra Organics was the first ever to give Gabrielle and Herbivore a platform to sell her products, outside of the local farmers market, where we met her many years ago. We are proud to support our friend and passionate artisan farmer/chocolatier Gab and her efforts to produce a quality of chocolate that is rarely seen these days. Her chocolates are a real treat, rich with flavor and texture that surpasses gourmet expectations.

We are happy to help support Gabrielle and Herbivore by bringing her chocolates to your door. Order Herbivore Organic Chocolates from zebraorganics.com

Herb infused chocolate

sauerkraut-cooking

Top Ways to Enjoy Sauerkraut

We recommend eating raw or slightly cooked sauerkraut to maximise health benefits. Exposure to high heat while cooking will kill the probiotic microorganisms in sauerkraut and will reduce their cancer preventative properties.

Sauerkraut goes well with olives, avocados, and fatty fruits. For a simple salad, toss microgreens with olive oil and sauerkraut, and top with sprouted almonds, pumpkin seeds, or pistachios. You can also enjoy sauerkraut straight out of the jar for an instant snack that’s packed with flavour and is rich in probiotic bacteria, beneficial enzymes, and fiber.

Kale, beets and sauerkraut come together to create this Simple Brown Rice and Veggie Bowl. This is a delicious, healthy dinner option.

When shopping for sauerkraut, you may come across different flavours that are a spin off traditional sauerkraut. From red cabbage, to cucumber-dill and apple-fennel, your palate will enjoy the fresh, crunchy texture balanced with a combination of flavours. We are pleased to offer a range of Sauerkraut options at our online store.

Here’s why you should include sauerkraut in your diet:

Reduces breast cancer risk

Here’s some good news for females: Eating three or more serving per week of raw or short cooked cabbage and sauerkraut significantly helps to reduce breast cancer risk. Find more details from US and Polish researchers here. The anti-cancer component in sauerkraut is attributed to the high level of glucosinolates, which limit cell mutation during the initial phase of carcinogenesis.

Promotes digestion

A few teaspoons of cabbage juice or fermented juice from sauerkraut before a meal will assist in digestion by stimulating acid production in the body.

While the priobiotic bacteria helps promote digestion, sauerkraut is also great source of vitamin C and some B vitamins. It can even assist in the prevention of scurvy, a disease that results from a vitamin C deficiency.

Sauerkraut translates to “sour cabbage” in German. Over 2,000 years ago Chinese laborers that constructed the Great Wall of China ate shredded cabbage drizzled with rice wine. It has since evolved into a mixture that contains salt and sometimes spices along with fermented shredded cabbage. The fermentation process increases the vegetable’s bioavailability of nutrients.

Feature image by jules via Flickr

Shilajit Mountain Mineral Resin for Longevity & Stress Reduction

Shilajit, meaning “Rock of life” in Sanskrit, is a dietary supplement derived from ancient, purified organic plant material in the Himalayas. It is known for restoring energetic balance in the body. Medical research indicates Shilajit may positively impact cognitive disorders linked with aging such as Alzheimer’s disease (International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2012).

Shilajit is a blackish-brown powder secreted from high mountain rocks when they are warmed by the sun, particularly in the Himalayan mountains between India and Nepal. It has also been found in Russia, Tibet, Afghanistan and in northern Chile. The thick paste is dried and ground into a fine powder. Considered the root of Ayurvedic medicine, Shilajit has been prominent in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It has been used as a rejuvenator and antiaging compound.

Shilajit contains up to 85 minerals and trace elements. High in fulvic acid, Shilajit has been found to have health benefits that include prolonging longevity. Traditionally, it has been consumed by Nepali and Northern Indians and children have typically taken it with milk at breakfast. It has been used for centuries to help treat urinary infections, jaundice, digestive disorders, enlarged spleen, epilepsy, nervous disorders, chronic bronchitis, and anemia. It has also been used to treat kidney stones and to reduce anorexia, among other conditions (International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2012).

Shilajit is an excellent source of fulvic acids – and is perhaps the most superior natural source of fulvic acids available to us. These minerals help the body transport electrical signals and help to enhance hydration. Fulvic acids also have the ability to neutralise free radicals throughout the body and to detoxify simple toxins (Global Journal for Research Analysis).

Shilajit has received many praises over the years. Some reasons people include it in their diet:

  • Re-mineralize the body
  • Modulate Inflammation
  • Enhance Libido
  • Build Hormones
  • Restore and Repair Aging Cells
  • Oxygenate the blood
  • Scavenge Free Radicals
  • Increase Metabolism and Energy
  • Support the Endocrine System
  • Chelate Toxic Substances
  • Assist the Breakdown/Absorption of Nutrients

Purified, ready-for-use forms of Shilajit exist for human consumption. Dissolve a quarter of a teaspoon of Shilajit powder in hot water, tea, or warm milk. We recommend this dosage once a day. Monitor your energy levels and increase dosage to up to three times per day for greater energy and effect. Shilajit enhances the action of other herbs making it a great addition to super-food smoothies and tonics.

Shilajit is potentially able to prevent several diseases. Further research is required on a biological and clinical level.

Lacking Energy? Try Herbal Tonics

Herbal Tonics are a form of preventative medicine. Tonics are a class of herbs that strengthen the body by supporting its natural defences and promoting stamina. Nourishing and health building, Herbal Tonics build wellness over time and promote your most vibrant state of being.

Based on the idea of building health and not just curing illness and disease, Herbal Tonics support overall well-being and vitality, while encouraging healthy aging. According to Medicinal Herbalists, the bitter taste of Tonics stimulate enzyme production by the liver. Enzymes assist us with absorbing food and offer us more nutrients to help us fight infection.

There are many different types of herbal tonics on the market today. Tonics promoting energy, immunity, and joy are among those you may come across.

Energy Tonics often consist of a blend of the most commonly used adaptogenic herbs to protect your body from the draining effects of stress. Benefits include:

  • Boost energy
  • Support athletic performance
  • Push back fatigue
  • Promotes mental alertness
  • Help maintain emotional balance while under stress

Immunity Tonics are a blend of immune-toning herbs and medicinal mushrooms.  They help to restore your immune system to a healthy, balanced state. Daily use will help build and maintain radiant health. Benefits include:

  • Promote overall wellness
  • Prime immune function
  • Support a healthy, balanced allergic response
  • Tone & build Chi
  • Support body’s natural defences
Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Source:
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Joy Tonics are a combination of aromatic herbs and flowers that help you through life with fluency and ease. Joy Tonics minimise tension in our nervous system, internal organs, and blood vessels. Benefits include:

  • Promote joyful spirit
  • Enliven the heart
  • Lessen occasional sleeplessness
  • Relieve occasional stress
  • Ease tension in the body
  • Calm during times of grief, transition, loss

Adding a drop of Joy Tonic into sparkling water will help to volatilize the aromatics in the blend, and dilute the taste of the alcohol.

Visit our store to view our range of Certified Organic Herbal Tonics by Urban Moonshine. Zebra Organics supports Urban Moonshine’s mission to reignite interest in and restore the use of Herbal Tonics in modern times. Take Herbal Tonics daily on a regular basis for best results. We encourage you to embrace tonics as a part of a regular regime to build radiant health. To learn more about the Energy Tonics, watch this video by Urban Moonshine:

Is Your Body too Acidic?

With the huge amount of acid-producing foods that we consume coupled with the acid-forming tasks that the body naturally carries out, it has become increasingly challenging to maintain a slightly alkaline state. The key to preventing disease is maintaining a slightly alkaline pH.

Dr. David Williams, a medical researcher, biochemist and chiropractor, who also has a reputation as one of the world’s leading authorities on natural healing, vouches for this.

Signs that your body’s pH is hovering in the extreme acidic end are:

  1. Chest pain
  2. Indigestion
  3. Nausea
  4. Feelings of hunger

How to make your body more alkaline:

– Eat alkaline foods: You can find a list of alkalizing foods –here

– Avoid acidic foods: deep fried foods, processed foods, meat, dairy products, eggs, fish and refined sugars. Beverages high in sugar are acidic, including pop, energy drinks, sweetened teas and fruit juice.

– Reduce stress in you life: Research conducted around the world has demonstrated that there is a correlation between daily stress in your life and the body’s acidity. Stress is often linked to anxiety: Read our blog post 9 Natural Remedies for Anxiety to learn how to reduce stress.

– Consume fresh vegetable juices daily. If you don’t own a juicer, consider investing in a Vitamix. Try our Healing Raw Green Soup recipe that’s loaded with veggies.

healthy-juice-orange-alkaline

The idea that food influences the pH of the body dates back to the early 1900’s. Upon testing different foods, researchers discovered the majority of foods were either alkaline-producing or acid-producing. A link was made between patients that brought their pH back to a normal range and their reduced health complaints.

pH levels are determined by measuring the balance of acidity and alkalinity present in your body. The scale below reflects the difference between the two; values below 7 are acidic and above 7 are alkaline. Our body’s optimal pH level of the blood is 7.4. It is crucial that we seek to maintain a level as close as possible to this to ensure the enzymes in our body function optimally.

Ph-Scale

To achieve optimal pH, many experts recommend a ratio of 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods.

The American physician M.D., Dr. Gabriel Cousens states in his book Conscious Eating,

“It is not the food which determines if it makes us acid or alkaline. It is how the body responds to the food. It may be possible some people have a constitutional tendency to be either acid or alkaline in their metabolism regardless of their diet.”

6 health boosting smoothie additions

Smoothies can be a nutritional powerhouse if they are created with health-boosting bonus ingredients. Aside from fresh fruits and vegetables, adding some powerful powders and seeds to your blended beverage is a simple way to include more vitamins and minerals in your diet. Here’s a list of some of our favourite options:

1. Cacao powder and cacao nibs

Zebra-Organics-Cacao-11 copyNaturally loaded with antioxidants, cacao can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, which can translate to a healthier heart. Cacao can help trigger the release of feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins. Instead of a chocolate milkshake, add cacao powder or cacao nibs to your smoothie. They blend well with banana and almond butter.

Here’s a delicious recipe that includes a raw cacao blend called Anandamide: Blissful Anandamide: Tonic Recipe for Beginners

2. Maca powder

coffee-powder-263355_1280

Originating from the Peruvian Andes mountains, maca is believed to enhance your mood, reduce stress and assist in easing tension, while boosting energy. Made from the maca root, maca has a distinct caramel or malt-like flavour that will give you smoothie a hint of sweetness and a touch of bitterness. Try adding a hint of cinnamon with maca.

If you’re a fan of nut milk-based smoothies, try adding maca to your next smoothie. Here’s how to make Homemade Nut Milk.

3. Bee pollen

bee-pollen

The packed pollen ball found in pellets inside bee hives is a highly nutritious food according to a study. It contains a balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats and essential amino acids. It may help foster digestive and immune system function and support the cardiovascular system.

Commonly used by herbalists as a holistic remedy, high-quality, fresh bee pollen granules will be soft and fragrant. The tiny yellow, orange or brown granules can be added directly to your smoothie (if you haven’t tried them before, don’t be afraid to chew on some granules). Note that natural honey does not contain bee pollen.

4. Chia seeds

Source: Stacy Spensely
Source: Stacy Spensely

When exposed to liquid chia seeds form a gelatinous, sticky coating that helps them act as a bonding agent to foster digestion. Rich in fibre, chia seeds contain more healthy Omega-3 fatty acids than flax seeds and other grains, according to Harvard Medical School.

Adding a table spoon of chia seeds to your smoothie will give it a nutritious boost. Two varieties of chia are most commonly found in health food stores and supermarkets; white and gray-black seeds, which can be used interchangeably.

5. Hemp seeds

Source: Ruby Ran (this image has been modified)
Source: Ruby Ran (this image has been modified)

Containing protein and healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, hemp seeds are soft and very easy to digest. Adding a tablespoon to your smoothie will give it a slightly nutty and earthy taste. The seeds are small and blend well, so it’s likely you won’t even notice them in your smoothie.

Further reading: Health Benefits of Hempseed

6. Matcha (Green tea powder)

Source: Mattie Hagedorn
Source: Mattie Hagedorn

Originating from Japan, this concentrated powdered form of green tea contains 137 times more antioxidants than brewed green tea, according to research. Although matcha contains caffeine, it also contains a substance that unlike coffee, slows the release of caffeine into the bloodstream, as reported by the Daily Mail.

Matcha has a noble aroma and will add a hint of sweetness to your smoothie, along with a deep vegetal taste. Its fresh taste awakens the senses.

Making your own smoothie is the best way to know exactly what ingredients it contains. Smoothies can be water or milk-based. They are quick and easy to prepare, taste great, and are a fantastic way to help achieve your daily recommended serving amount of fruits and vegetables.

Top 4 Reasons to Eat Slower

Today our pace of life is faster than ever. Many of us find ourselves with little time in our daily lives for anything and operate with a sense of urgency. When we do find the time to eat, we we gobble down our food. This lifestyle is concerning because it’s stressful and unhealthy.

The simple act of eating slower can bring positive change to your lifestyle immediately. Next time you eat, we suggest clearing your mind and drawing attention to your food. Focus on taking smaller bites and chewing each bite more times, to stretch out the amount of time you enjoy your meal. It will add on a few extra minutes, but the effects will be profound.

The Slow Food Movement was launched in Italy in 1986 in response to the growth of fast food companies. It was an attempt to salvage the slower-paced lifestyle that was historically more common and involved eating food in a more relaxed and social way.

Noodles-chopsticks

If find you’re always the first one to finish your meal, here are some reasons why you should consider slowing down your consumption:

1. Maximize enjoyment of food

Eating slowly allows you to experience the flavours, textures and smells of what you’re eating. You might find that you do eat slower when you’re consuming a meal you value more than your typical meal. Learn to savour every meal and enhance the pleasure of eating by chewing food slowly – this means 10-20 chews per bite.

2. Improve digestion

A smooth and complete digestion involves chewing thoroughly. As digestion begins in the mouth, you have the ability to kick off your body’s natural digestion process by eating slowly. An uncomfortable feeling in your stomach after a meal is an indication that you may be experiencing indigestion from eating too fast.

3. Reduce stress

“Mindful eating” in a calm and relaxed environment can reduce stress and increase satisfaction. Be in the moment and give your food your undivided attention, instead of rushing through a meal and thinking about what you’re going to do next.

According to the New York Times, mindful eating “Involves becoming aware of that reflexive urge to plow through your meal like Cookie Monster on a shortbread bender. Resist it. Leave the fork on the table. Chew slowly. Stop talking. Tune in to the texture of the pasta, the flavor of the cheese, the bright color of the sauce in the bowl, the aroma of the rising steam.”

4. Assists with weight control

Many sources suggest that eating slowly will lead to you eating less food than if you ate quickly and hence, consuming fewer calories. It takes approximately 20 minutes for the brain to tell your body that you’re full. If you’re a fast eater, you’re more likely to eat past the point where you’re full. Harvard Medical School has addressed this: Why eating slowly may help you feel full faster. In addition, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that eating slowly reduces energy intake between meals.

This is way of life that requires sure and steady support. Here are some additional tips for slower eating:

  • Place utensils down between bites
  •  Make conversation at the dinner table
  • Use different utensils such as chopsticks
  • Set aside time to eat. Make an appointment to refuel your body
  • Create a pleasant eating environment with relaxing music