Find out the latest health and organic news from our resident dietitian, Rebecca, along with recipes, tips and more!
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Studies show that as plant food consumption increases the risk of lifestyle related diseases, such as obesity and some forms of diabetes and heart disease, have substantially decreased. If you are able to enjoy 3 to 4 servings of fruit per day you can increase your energy level, improve your hair and skin health while also decreasing your risk of macular degeneration. Eating fresh seasonal fruit offers your body the widest range of vitamins and minerals. Now is the time to purchase peaches, plums, apricots and nectarines. The multiple varieties of stone fruits offer your body antioxidants to improve your health and wellbeing.
Peaches are my favorite mid-August indulgence. Their fuzzy exterior and juicy flesh provide anti inflammatory properties and can reduce bad cholesterol levels. Peaches are a great addition to a green salad, your morning breakfast routine, or even on the grill. Be watching the Clearly Organic blog for recipes including peaches and other stone fruits.
An excellent grain free alternative for baking is coconut flour. This plant based flour is rich in fiber, healthy fat and protein. The dense yet light flour is a natural byproduct of coconut milk production. Because coconut flour is lighter and dryer in texture it doesn’t perform the same as conventional white flour. Therefore it’s best to keep a few techniques and special instructions in mind when using coconut flour.
If converting a recipe to use coconut flour you can not exchange grain based flour 1:1 with coconut flour. Coconut flour is very absorbent so you use less. A typical conversion is about 1/3 the amount of coconut flour for the amount required of grain based flour. Also, since coconut flour is dryer it’s best to add extra eggs and be sure to thoroughly mix ingredients so the flour gets evenly distributed. If you are trying coconut flour for the first time it’s wise to find a recipe that calls for this plant based flour verses converting a recipe on your own. Once you have tried baking and cooking with coconut flour a few times then you will have a better feel for the proper conversion ratio. Watch the Clearly Organic blog for recipes that specifically call for coconut flour.
Recently a Clearly Organic customer wrote in to our Ask the Dietitian section on the Clearly Brand website. Debbie was inquiring about foods and recipes that help with inflammation and arthritis. This is an excellent question because many people struggle with joint pain, inflammation and arthritis. Some food intolerances are even a result of inflammation, bloating and discomfort in your digestive tract. The best way to fight inflammation with your meal plan is to consume a diet rich in produce, healthy oils, nuts, whole grains and fatty fish.
Here are five foods that will help fight inflammation.
Here are five foods to limit or avoid when suffering from inflammation.
*Processed Meats (hot dogs, sausage)
*Sugary Beverages (soda)
*Processed Dairy (margarine)
Here are some great recipes that can help fight inflammation:
‘Tis the season for all things blueberry. If you love berries July is your golden month where almost all forms of berry are ripe and delicious. Blueberries are at their peak of freshness around July 4th, so get ready to start seeing blueberries popping into recipes at every turn. My favorite way to enjoy blueberries is by eating them fresh out of the carton as a snack, but if you like baking with berries here are a few great ways to incorporate this seasonal fruit into healthy treats.
Blueberry Chia Seed Muffins
Lemon Blueberry Oatmeal Bread
Watch for more delicious blueberry recipes this month!
When you’re asked to bring an appetizer or specifically a vegetable tray to your next gathering considering adding in a few different bright colored veggies. A typically line up for snack veggies is carrots, celery, cherries tomatoes and broccoli. While these are very nutritious and a great options for a snack, there are also some other colorful foods you could add to the selection.
*Consider thinly sliced beets. Spring beets come in many different varieties. When you cut a raw beet in thin pieces it can provide a crunchy option for dips and hummus.
*Jicama is a slightly sweet unique vegetable that has a celery like consistency.
*Heirloom cherry tomatoes are a great summer option. They come in different shapes and multiple colors to liven up a vegetable platter.
*Asparagus often gets over looked when it comes to veggies that can be eaten raw. However thin asparagus stalks are a perfect anytime snack choice.
*Endive leaves are a delightful crunchy option for creamy dips and scooping guacamole.
Don’t limit yourself to a store bought veggie tray. Selecting your own produce allows your offering to be more nutritious, colorful and fresh.
Beans aren’t just for burritos, dips and soup anymore. They can be an excellent way to add protein and nutrients to baked goods, salads and sandwiches. Believe it or not mashed beans make a great base for brownies! Black beans or chickpeas can kick up the nutritional content of a variety of desserts.
Beans are considered a legume like lentils and peas. They have about 115 calories per half cup while offering 7.5 grams of protein and fiber. Here is a great recipe for roasted organic chick peas. Use these as a salad topper verses using croutons. This will add more vitamins and minerals to your dish.
Be watching the Clearly Organic Blog for sweet treat recipes using plant based ingredients like organic beans.
June is national fresh fruit and vegetable month. This is the time of year that a surplus of produce is at its peak season and it’s a great time to visit your local farmers market. June is the perfect month to make a strawberry spinach salad with avocado. Although you can get avocados year round they are at their best in early summer.
My favorite way to enjoy national fresh fruit and veggie month is by mixing organic spring greens with lots of colorful fruit. Any combination of seasonal fruit atop crisp greens is a delicious way to celebrate the start of summer. Any easy homemade honey balsamic vinaigrette is just the right dressing for this salad combo. It’s a perfect blend of savory and sweet for a mixture of vegetables and fruit. Watch the Clearly Organic blog for a variety of colorful summer salad mixtures.
Due to the recent interest in more plant based foods grocery stores are stocking a more diverse range of baking flours, sugars and milk products. One of the options for sugar that is becoming more readily available is coconut sugar. This plant based sugar is made of the sap from the flowering buds of the coconut palm tree. The sap is then boiled to evaporate the liquid content and once dried the result is coconut sugar. It’s light brown in color and tastes similar to brown sugar but can be used 1:1 for regular table sugar in any recipe.
Coconut sugar does offer trace amounts of vitamins and minerals. Inulin is a fiber in coconut sugar that is known for helping to slow digestion. That is why some studies suggest coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index and is more diabetic friendly. Calorie for calorie coconut sugar is equal to regular sugar, both contain 16 calories and about 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon. Coconut sugar can offer a unique and different way to enjoy a sweet treat, while providing your body trace amounts of antioxidants and nutrients. Watch the Clearly Organic blog for upcoming recipes containing coconut sugar.
Alfalfa sprouts are a germinated alfalfa flower seed, which is an edible flowering plant. These crunchy sprout based vegetables are loaded with many beneficial nutrients because they are a seed that is harvested before the plant fully matures. This provides us with the benefits of a seed and bioavailable nutrients and enzymes through the sprouting process. You commonly see these unique looking sprouts atop salads, sandwiches and soups.
This low calorie nutrient dense food can help prevent diseases and lower cholesterol due to its antioxidant and fiber content. The addition of sprouts to many culinary creations can add texture, crunch, moisture and color. Alfalfa sprouts can also be added to smoothies, egg dishes, yogurt and soft cheese mixes. Watch the Clearly Organic blog for upcoming recipes that incorporate alfalfa sprouts!
Now that the weather is getting warmer and the sun is shining longer it’s time to allow our bodies more time outdoors to activate vitamin D. This fat soluble vitamin helps calcium, magnesium and phosphate absorb in our intestinal tract. The unique aspect of vitamin D is that it can be ingested from foods that we eat or it can be synthesized from sun exposure. About 10 minutes outside is all it takes to naturally activate vitamin D.
Foods containing vitamin D include fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna. Most vitamin D containing foods in the US are fortified like dairy products, soy milk and some cereals. While we can achieve our vitamin D needs from dietary intake it’s also nice to allow the sun its chance to brighten our mood, boost our immune system and allow vitamin D time to activate. Take advantage of your spring and summer months with more time outdoors.