Thanksgiving recipes with the twist of compassion.  
Recipes

Thanksgiving recipes with the twist of compassion.  

The biggest dinner of the year is officially around the corner. For the love of turkeys and our taste buds, we put together the dishes that are unsurpassably delicious and, you guessed right, made with the ingredient that makes the flavors tastier and the texture just right – compassion.

Let’s sit down with our loved ones, keeping our hearts open, our cell phones on mute, and let the holiday season be about joy and making memories that last a lifetime.

Cauliflower bean cakes with vegan yogurt recipe: 

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower (1 medium)
  • 1 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp chives (chopped)
  • 1 grated potato
  • 2 tbsp of garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp grape seed oil
  • Coconut yogurt

 

Cut the cauliflower into florets. Place the florets in a food processor and pulse until the size of a rice.

Add coconut oil, chopped chives, garlic powder, grated potato, garbanzo bean flour, and salt into the mixing bowl. Mix. Use your hands to form the patties.

Heat the grape seed oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry the patties until browned, 3 minutes per side. Note: cover the skillet for the first 3 minutes to let the patties cook well on the inside. Remove the top and turn the patties on the other side and let them brown. Serve with a coconut yogurt!

Stuffed plant-based roast recipe:

  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 cups water
  • Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/4 tbs paprika
  • 1/4 tbs of black pepper
  • barbecue sauce
  • sriracha sauce
  • grape seed oil
  • 1/4 salt

 

Add salt, black pepper, garlic and onion powders to gluten. Pour 1/2 cup of water in the dry ingredients and mix vigorously with a fork. When it forms a stiff dough, knead it for about 5 mins. Let the dough rest for 10 mins. While waiting bring to a boil 4 cups of water, add liquid aminos or soy sauce, salt, spices (optional).

Note: When mixing dry ingredients with water do not over pour, add slowly to reach a dough like consistency. If dry ingredient do not entirely combine just add a little more water.

Broth:

4 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce or liquid aminos
1 tablespoon molasses (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh ginger (optional)
1/4 salt

Spread gluten into 1 large piece, stretch into 1 inch. Place chopped garlic and chopped mushrooms in the middle of the dough and close and roll the dough to form a rounded shape. Place carefully into boiling water. Simmer in broth for about 50 minutes with the pan covered and the low heat. Once cooked let it cool to the room temperature in the broth.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Put 1 tbsp of grape seed oil (olive oil) on the bottom of the oven-friendly dish, add 1 tbsp of sriracha and 1 tbsp of barbecue sauce. Put the gluten meat in the dish and put 2 tbsp of barbecue sauce on top and glaze the sides too. Roast for 30 minutes.

Enjoy the Meaty notes!

Sweet potato casserole with coconut cream and probiotic topping recipe: 

  • sweet potatoes (6 medium)
  • 2 tbsp raw sugar
  • 1/8 salt
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • Probiotic CareBar® Coconut & Cacao flavor by EFFi Foods (2)
  • coconut cream or coconut milk
  • vanilla

 

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Put sweet potatoes in saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash.
  2. Mix together the sweet potatoes, 2 tbsp of raw sugar, 1/8 salt, vegan butter, coconut cream or coconut milk and vanilla powder. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a baking dish.
  3. For the topping: cut in small pieces two bars of Probiotic CareBar®. We chose the coconut and cacao nibs flavor. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven 35 minutes.

Yummy!

Gluten-free pumpkin pie pudding recipe:

  • 2tbsp chia seeds
  • half a glass of coconut milk (coconut cream)
  • pumpkin pie purée (ready mix)
  • 1/2 tbs of coconut sugar
  • vegan marshmallow
  • gluten-free muffin

 

In a glass combine coconut milk with chia seeds, mix and let it sit for an hour (or overnight) in the refrigerator. Once ready, add 1 inch layer of the pumpkin pie mix. Take gluten-free muffin and grate it into the cup until full. Pour 1 tbsp of coconut cream to soak the muffin crumbles and top with glazed vegan marshmallow.

This crustless, vegan and gluten-free pumpkin pudding will be a hit and a great addition to Thanksgiving memories.

Delish!

 

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Power of protein and how to digest it better. 
Health & Fitness

Power of protein and how to digest it better. 

We all know the importance of proteins as the “building blocks” upon which our body’s tissues are created. Proteins have also been shown to support the nervous system by keeping the mind healthy and alert. But when it comes to digesting these valuable amino acids, there are many factors at play that can alter our stomach’s ability to break them down properly. Our body requires two main ingredients to help properly digest proteins: stomach acid and digestive enzymes. These two ingredients work in tandem: stomach acid “switches on” the enzymes, activating them and allowing the proper breakdown of food.

Digestive enzymes have several specific functions such as keeping gut bacteria out of the bloodstream, maintaining normal microbial populations in the GI tract and regulating blood sugars after eating a lot of starches. The human body produces fewer enzymes as we age, thus food is less frequently broken down properly by activated enzymes before it reaches the small intestine. Aside from the normal aging process, other factors that affect protein digestion are: antacid use, use of antibiotics, overeating, poor sleep habits and increased stress levels. Even in health-conscious and physically active communities there can be difficulty digesting protein even while on a high-protein diet. This is especially true when protein sources are predominantly animal-based. On the contrary, plant-based protein sources are often predigested via fermentation and are already easy for the body to use effectively.

When an overgrowth of microbes makes the stomach pH too high, or alkaline, whole protein molecules are allowed to bypass the stomach and reach the small intestine. Additionally, an alkaline environment allows the growth of bacteria and yeast in the small intestine which can cause symptoms such as gas, cramping, heartburn and irregular bowel movements. Maintaining the appropriate pH promotes health levels of enzyme activity, but how do we help promote healthy pH levels?

That’s where probiotics come in. Probiotics have been shown to kill overgrown bacteria in our digestive tract, calm inflammation and therefore help restore the digestive tract to the proper pH level. Thus, fermented foods, foods fortified with probiotics and probiotic supplementation can all gently bring our body’s inner ecosystem back into a state of balance. Probiotics therefore enhance protein uptake in the body, especially for less bio-available protein sources. Improved absorption of dietary proteins and a diet rich in plant-based protein sources not only reduce our need to consume as much protein, but we can also lessen our carbon footprints along the way.

 

References

Body Ecology. How to Digest Protein: Your Health Depends On It. https://bodyecology.com/articles/how-to-digest-protein-your-health-depends-on-it

Chu, Will. 2016. Probiotics Flex Their Muscles To Enhance Protein Efficacy. NutraIngredients. https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2016/03/24/Probiotics-flex-their-muscles-to-enhance-protein-efficacy

 

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Ward off a cold this winter with probiotics and a strong immunity
Health & Fitness

Ward off a cold this winter with probiotics and a strong immunity

As the winter season approaches, so do your coworker’s or child’s dreaded colds, sniffles and coughs. Let’s take a deep dive into how you can avoid getting sick by keeping your immunity strong. We start by looking to your gut, the battleground where the war against colds and the flu is won. Our own unique intestinal microbiome is where 70% of our immune system resides. One of the most important “residents” is probiotics, also known as “good” bacteria. Research has shown that probiotics reduce the risk and/or duration of respiratory infection symptoms. Once our system becomes deficient in probiotics, we are more likely to experience digestive disorders, skin issues, autoimmune disease and frequent colds and flus. As long as we keep our ratio of good:bad bacteria high, we increase our chances of staving off predatory infections.

In order to boost our immune system and bolster the “good” bacteria in our gut, look no further than probiotics. Increasing your intake of probiotics leads to an abundance of good bacteria, making it more difficult for the bad bacteria from colds and flus to make an impact. Probiotics utilize a three-pronged approach to defeating cold and flu bugs:

  1. By surrounding the virus, probiotics neutralize it and effectively render it useless
  2. Probiotics form a barrier along the intestinal walls to prevent any viruses from passing into the bloodstream
  3. Probiotics communicate with your body to produce more substances that can help neutralize the virus before it causes any damage

Probiotics come in numerous strains and are naturally present in a variety of food groups and supplements: sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, pickles, kefir and kombucha, to name a few. To give yourself the best chance of avoiding illness this Winter, don’t forget to combine the following tips with your daily probiotic food groups and/or supplementation:

-Diligent hand washing

-Proper amounts of sleep

-Stay well hydrated

-Avoid excessive sugar intake (this has been found to suppress the immune system by effectively “paralyzing” white blood cells)

-Reduce stress levels

Unfortunately, due to refrigeration and dangerous agricultural practices, many of our foods not only contain smaller than usual amounts of probiotics but are often full of antibiotics which can kill any good bacteria in our bodies. Just another reason to make sure you buy ‘organic’!

References

Lehtoranta, L, et al. (2014). Probiotics in respiratory virus infections. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. Aug: 33(8): 1289-1302.

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. (2012). Probiotics are secret weapon for fighting symptoms of the common cold in college students, study suggests. Science News. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022162335.htm

Watson, B. (Nov. 11, 2013). Why probiotics are so effective in preventing cold and flu. Chatelaine. http://www.chatelaine.com/health/wellness/probiotics-to-prevent-colds/

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Probiotics, Microbiome and Autism
Health & Fitness

Probiotics, Microbiome and Autism

More than 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates stated “all disease begins in the gut.” More recently, research has shown the undeniable link between humans’ gut microbiome and the central nervous system, otherwise known as “microbiome-gut-brain-axis”. Furthermore, the microbial makeup of our intestines has been dubbed the “second brain” due to the intricate role it plays during development of our immune system and the incidence of disease later in life.

Interestingly, recent evidence suggests an increased incidence of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) cases, more commonly known as autism, due to “Western” habits such as fast-food diets and overuse of medications that can affect the composition of gut microbiota.

Several factors during fetal and infant development have been implicated in the incidence of ASD, from the bacterial composition of the mother’s digestive tract during pregnancy to breast-feeding habits within the first 2 years of life. Studies have shown that severe infections during the first 2 trimesters of pregnancy increased the risk of developing autism by as much as 4x. Additionally, breast-feeding practices may be related to establishing a healthy gut microbiome and providing long-term protection against autism, IBD, diabetes and obesity. Any deviations can lead to atypical gut composition and microbial disbalance, directly correlating to an increased frequency of gastrointestinal symptoms in autistic children.

There has been documented clinical improvement in autistic children who ingest probiotics such as Lactobacillus reuteri, which occurs naturally in breast milk and is likely to alter gut microflora. Benefits range from improved sociability, increased levels of oxytocin as well as enhanced brain plasticity, the brain’s ability to form new connections that foster learning. Needless to say, probiotic supplementation in the ASD setting showcases the direct correlation between ASD symptoms and the individual’s microbiome. An increasingly popular area of study, research continues to uncover the mechanisms by which probiotics can improve the lives of those who suffer from ASD as well as many other preventable diseases.

References

MIT. (2017). Studies explain the link between autism and severe infection during pregnancy. http://www.News.mit.edu/2017/studies-explain-link-between-autism-severe-infection-during-pregnancy-0913

Mulle, JG, Sharp WG and Cubells, JF. The Gut Microbiome: A New Frontier in Autism Research. Current Psychiatry Reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3564498/#!po=64.8810

Strati F, et al. (2017). New evidences on the altered gut microbiota in autism spectrum disorders. Microbiome, 5(24).

Galland, L. The Gut Microbiome and the Brain. Journal of Medicinal Food. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4259177/

Autism Speaks. New findings on probiotics and autism: What you need to know. https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2016/06/24/new-findings-probiotics-and-autism-what-you-need-know

 

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Best Ways to Get Your Daily Vitamin D
Health & Fitness

Best Ways to Get Your Daily Vitamin D

Your body must have vitamin D to promote bone growth and absorb calcium. While there is no “superior” vitamin and all vitamins from A to Zinc have their own special characteristics, but it is hard to deny the fact that vitamin D is extremely important. It helps regulate the immune and the neuromuscular systems and it also plays major roles in the life cycle of human cells.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that both children and adults under 70 years old, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, should get about 600 International Units or IU of vitamin D on a daily basis while those above 70 should aim for 800 IU daily.

Here is the list of foods that provide vitamin D:

  1. Shiitake Mushrooms.

Mushrooms come in many forms. And believe it or not, mushrooms are like humans because they have the capacity to produce vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet light. But when it comes to mushroom foods that have vitamin D, shiitake mushroom is on top of the list. In fact, a half cup contains 20.30 IU or 5.08% of the daily value. Aside from the sunshine vitamin, shiitake mushroom is also an excellent source of copper, selenium and pantothenic acid and a good source of vitamin B2, niacin, choline and Zinc. Not bad.

2. Fortified Milk Alternatives.

Soy, almond, coconut and rice milks are often fortified with vegan vitamin D. And since the Food and Drug Administration has recently increased the amount of vitamin D that can be added to both dairy milk and milk alternatives, you can now get up to 205 IU of D in an 8-ounce glass of your favorite dairy substitute.

3. Tofu.

Not only is tofu packed with other nutrients such as calcium, zinc, protein, and omega 3 fatty acids, it is also a very important source of vitamin D. By including tofu in one’s diet, you can get almost 30% of the recommended daily consumption of vitamin D.

Vegans may be at greater risk for low vitamin D intake, but they can obtain vitamin D from regular exposure to sun and fortified foods. Using vitamin D supplements can also help up your D levels. It’s important to remember that if you are a plant-based eater that many supplements with vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) are of animal origin (lanolin); vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is produced from yeast and is acceptable to vegans.

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Most Influential Innovations of 2017
Community

Most Influential Innovations of 2017

Life is all about staying in motion. But in order to avoid stagnation, we must constantly innovate. Some innovations help us farm more efficiently or travel farther into space, but only a select few will actually make the world a better place. Read along as we recap the top 3 most influential innovations of 2017.

The Boring Company

Another one of Elan Musk’s disruptive ideas, The Boring Company aims to make the roads most-traveled “3D”, by starting with a large network of underground tunnels to help you navigate around (and under) traffic.

Tesla Goes Vegan

Eco-friendly and conscientious consumers can finally rejoice as Tesla now offers the option of “leather-free interiors” in all models. This means steering wheels, seats and even the gear shift can be cruelty-free!

The End of an Era

Nasa’s 12-year Cassini mission to Saturn came to a crashing halt after over a decade of exploring the planet and its moons. After years of capturing captivating photos and rewriting the books on Saturn, Cassini was directed into Titan’s orbit one final time, where Nasa planned for the satellite to “break apart, melt, vaporize and become part of the very planet it left Earth to explore.”

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Probiotic Research: New Strains and New Benefits
Health & Fitness

Probiotic Research: New Strains and New Benefits

You are probably familiar now with the term ‘probiotics’ and their associated positive digestive benefits. What you may not know, though, is how diverse probiotics are both in their strains as well as their health benefits. Here are some common probiotic strains and their associated health benefits:

  • Lactobacillus salivarius – reduce inflammation in colitis
  • Lactobacillus plantarum – reduce total cholesterol levels
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum – reduced atopic dermatitis symptoms
  • Streptococcus mutans – reduced incidence of dental cavities
  • Bifidobacterium longum – decreases anxiety
  • Lactobacillus crispatus – decreased incidence of UTIs in women
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus – directly promotes weight loss

As we learn more about specific probiotic strains we start to see how important probiotics are in promoting good health and reducing illness and disease. So whether you decide to eat more kimchi and yogurt, drink more kefir and kombucha, or simply start taking a daily probiotic supplement, make sure you continue to do your body a favor.

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3 Steps to Better Sleep
Lifestyle

3 Steps to Better Sleep

Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders are dangerous, costly, and impact our health and overall well-being. Here are the three steps to better sleep.

1. Have the same sleeping schedule

The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. Most people don’t need more than eight hours in bed to achieve this goal.

Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even during the weekend. Some people like to wake early in the morning to get a head start on the day while others enjoy socializing late into the night. Choose the times that suit you best.

2. Create a restful environment

Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Dark, quiet, cool but not cold, not too dry or humid, uncluttered and calm – that’s the perfect setup for sleeping. Exposure to light might make it more challenging to fall asleep. Avoid prolonged use of illuminated screens just before bedtime. Consider using earplugs, room-darkening shades, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

Doing calming activities before bedtime, such as taking a bath or using relaxation techniques, might promote better sleep.

3. Regular physical activity for a better sleep

Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. Avoid being active too close to bedtime.  If you can’t get to the gym, spending time outside every day will be helpful, too.

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Easy Steps to a Healthy Lifestyle
Health & Fitness

Easy Steps to a Healthy Lifestyle

It sounds pretty easy. Get more sleep, drink more water, exercise on a regular basis, dont stress out, and your life will improve. But sometimes we need to follow few simple steps that can make a huge difference in our ultimate happiness and overall health.

1. Exercise and good sleep

Research shows that exercising effects overall quality of sleep. We also know that exercise lifts mood and reduces stress. When it comes to having a direct impact on getting a good night’s sleep, exercising late afternoon or early evening appears to be the most beneficial. That’s because it raises your body temperature above normal a few hours before bed, allowing it to start falling just as you’re getting ready for bed. This decrease in body temperature appears to be a trigger that helps ease you into sleep.

2. Healthy Diet

Developing healthy eating habits isn’t as complicated or as restrictive as many people imagine. The essential steps are to eat mostly foods derived from plants—vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes (beans, peas, lentils)—and limit or even better, completely remove, highly processed foods. Don’t forget to drink a lot of water. Drinking 2 cups of water before each meal is a good place to start.

3.  Laugh out loud.

It keeps you grounded, and helps you cope with stressful situations. Read the comics, watch your favorite sitcom, or tell jokes to bring out those happy feelings.

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Plant-Based Proteins – How They Stack Up
Nutrition

Plant-Based Proteins – How They Stack Up

As the building blocks of the human body, we all understand the importance of protein in the human diet. But one might wonder about the difference between plant-based protein sources when compared to more “mainstream” animal-based options such as those we find in meat or whey powders. No matter how you slice it, the recommended daily intake of protein is approximately 56 grams/day for a sedentary male and 46 grams/day for a sedentary female. One can just as easily consume the daily value with a 100% plant-based diet. It turns out that plant-based proteins such as brown rice and pea protein can be just as effective as whey, without the downsides associated with animal-based protein sources. Here are some plant-based protein options easily found in any grocery store:

Brown Rice Protein

  • Dairy and gluten free
  • Improve liver and heart function
  • Regulate cholesterol
  • Antioxidants and Nutrients that promote weight loss
  • Aid in muscle recovery
  • Helps burn fat
  • Stabilizes blood sugar

Pea Protein

  • Dairy and gluten free
  • Doesn’t cause bloating
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Can lower elevated blood pressure
  • Enhance muscle thickness just as effectively as dairy-based protein
  • Low in calories and carbs

Pumpkin Protein

  • Antioxidant-rich
  • Builds lean muscle
  • Increases resting metabolism
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Energy-boosting
  • Protect kidney function
  • Enhances immune system

Sacha Inchi Protein

  • Improves cholesterol profile
  • Regulates appetite
  • Promotes healthy blood pressure
  • Lowers inflammation
  • Aids in calcium absorption for healthier bones
  • Help restores skin/hair damage

No matter which plant-based protein you incorporate into your regimen, daily probiotic supplementation has been shown to help the body utilize protein intake and maximize its benefits. So don’t forget to sprinkle some probiotics into your post-workout protein shake and maximize your gains!

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