eating tips

FUNCTIONAL FOOD | Sprout up your life

I have something to confess: I was once scared of eating beans and legumes because they made me feel bloated and, dare I say, gassy after eating them. My fears are now just a faded memory thanks to the magic of soaking (and sometimes sprouting).

For those of you that know me, you have probably heard me talk about eating more sprouted grains and legumes. Not only are certain grains and legumes great sources of protein but soaking/sprouting them can help unleash their nutrient content without having to deal with the pesky bloating feeling afterwards.

What is sprouting?
Sprouting brings the seed, legume/bean, and even nuts to life through germination.
Sprouting is a method which involves soaking used to increase nutrient density and availability, while also contributing to enhanced digestibility.

Why sprout?
Sprouting or soaking gets more nutrition (protein, vitamin C, B vitamins, iron) out of those beans and grains without having to worry about feeling bloated after eating them.

How to sprout
Sprouting is actually easy with the 3 steps below but it can be a little too time consuming. Most of us are busy bees and it is hard to add sprouting to our daily schedule. If you don’t have the time to sprout, soaking is the next best thing. Simply place the serving you intend to eat or cook in a container (preferably glass), fill with water and cover for at least 8 hours before cooking time. You may let them soak for longer if you wish! (Doing it the night before works best for me since I can enjoy my Z’s while they soak). Once you are ready to cook the grains/legumes/beans, drain water and rinse well before cooking.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Whole grains and legumes (including beans) are amazing plant foods which carry so much nutrition. They are both high in protein (especially beans and legumes) and complex carbohydrates. They high in fiber and aid in maintaining blood sugar levels stable and keeping you feeling satisfied (happy belly!) for longer.

Whole grains and legumes take much longer to be broken down versus simple carbohydrates which are quickly turned into sugar to give us a quick energy source. Some simple carbs can spike our blood sugar levels while legumes, like lentils, can prevent blood-sugar levels from spiking thanks to their high-fiber content.

Need any more convincing? Not only are they tasty; some studies have shown that due to their abundance in nutrients and phytochemicals, they help protect against cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Additionally, legumes and beans are rich in folate which is essential for all of those expecting Momma’s out there!

While all whole grains and legumes are nutrient powerhouses of their own and excellent additions to a balanced diet, their bran contain anti nutrients such as phytic acid which make them a little harder to fully digest—the reason some of us tend to feel bloated or flatulent after consuming them!

When phytic acid binds with other nutrients and minerals (iron, zinc, calcium and even magnesium-to name a few) the ability to absorb these very nutrients is compromised. Fear not, my little kittens! Soaking and/or sprouting breaks down phytic acid and other anti nutrients, unlocking all the goodness and increasing bioavailability of vitamins and minerals, and making them much easier for our body to access and digest.

Sprout in 3 easy steps:

1.     Wash grains/legumes/beans with clean water, then drain the water in a colander. Place in a bowl or container and soak for about 12 hours.

2.     Drain grains once again in a colander and place in a mason jar or glass jar of your preference. Cover with a sprouting lid (you can get this at your local store or online). Turn the jar upside down frequently so that any extra water is able to drain. Rinse and drain twice a day.

3.     Repeat rinsing and draining for a couple of more days. Sprouting may take up to 1-5 days, depending on the seed. When the seed has a small tail on it, it has sprouted!

Every couple of weeks, I will be posting nutrition and wellness advice, recipes, and interesting findings worth sharing with all of you. I know that we all have different interests and needs so I will try to cover different topics with every post. I would love to read your feedback so I encourage you to share your thoughts and/or questions in the comments section below.

 

If you would like to know more about me, please visit my website Alimental G

FUNCTIONAL FOOD | O Porridge, My Porridge

Ummm…is it fall yet?

With our recent weather, you wouldn’t think that we are well into the first month of fall. Yes, the mornings have definitely been much cooler; and, as I constantly check all the weather reports like a dork, I do hear that fall is upon us!

With a change of season comes a whole new wave of foods (pumpkin-spice anything, anyone?) and new craving for warmer dishes. Out go the cool smoothies (well not out completely but…maybe just not as often?) and in come the warm, more comforting foods to enjoy post workout or before heading out to work: a warm breakfast that energizes us, keeps our blood sugar levels stable and keeps us fueled to kick some butt for the rest of the day!

My go-to breakfast for days like these is porridge–it’s creamy, comforting, hearty, and filling. If you know, or suspect, that you are going to have a long day, porridge sure does pack a punch to help you start your day and keep you focus for those early meetings.

Without further ado, today I’m going to provide you with two recipe options that include seasonal fruits that you can find at your local farmer’s market or grocery store for both a traditional porridge à la G and a quinoa version, since not everyone loves oats (gasp!); and because it’s sometimes fun (and actually quite nourishing) to mix it up!
 
Apple Pie Quinoa
Ingredients:
1/3 cup quinoa
1 red apple
A handful of strawberries
1 tbsp + 1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 medjool date
1 cup coconut or almond milk
1 tsp extra virgin coconut oil (optional)
Optional topping ideas: 1 tbsp chia seeds, or 1 tbsp almond butter

Wash the apple and chop it into cubes. Slice the strawberries into thin pieces. Chop the date and discard the seed. 
Place the fruits in a saucepan over medium heat and cover them with water (about ½ cup). Add the 1 tbsp of cinnamon, and vanilla. 
Stir frequently while cooking, for about 15 minutes, until the apples are soft. 
Once the apples are stewed, add the coconut milk and bring to a boil.
Add in the quinoa, the other 1 tsp of cinnamon and reduce heat to a simmer. 
Add coconut oil (optional, but it adds a creamy boost) and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Enjoy!

Persimmon Oats
Ingredients:
1/3 cup rolled oats (soaked previously in water so they are easier to digest)
1 cup coconut or almond milk
1 tbsp cinnamon + 1 tsp
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 medjool date
Optional topping ideas: 1 tbsp chia seeds, or 1 tbsp almond butter

Wash the persimmon and cut it into cubes. Chop the date and discard the seed. 
Place the fruits in a saucepan over medium heat and cover them with water (about ½ cup).
Add the 1 tbsp of cinnamon, and the ½ tsp of cardamom. 
Cook for about 12-15 minutes, until water has absorbed and the persimmon is soft.
Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. 
Add oats and reduce heat to a low simmer. 
Add coconut oil (optional, but as I said above, it adds more to the creaminess) and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until desired creaminess is achieved! 

Enjoy!

(Note: You can switch these recipes up: instead of using quinoa, you may use oats (simply reduce cooking time) or the other way around. You can also switch up the fruit and do this with your favorite fruits! I can’t get enough of bananas, but I’m a little monkey :) 

 
NUTRITIONAL INFO
 
Rolled oats are high in fiber; they also contain manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium, some B vitamins and iron. I do stress to soak your rolled oats in water before consuming them (you may do this the night before or for at least 4 hours); this will help remove the phytic acid which can make them harder to digest and make the nutrients more difficult to absorb in our bodies. Plus, phytic acid can also make some of us feel bloated! I will be explaining the importance of soaking very soon!
Note: steel cut oats are an even better option, but they do take longer to cook. Feel free to use these if you have the time!

Quinoa is high in protein and fiber. It has all the essential amino acids and is also a great source of magnesium, manganese, vitamin E, iron, phosphorous, copper and zinc. It is technically a seed not a grain, and is naturally gluten free. 
 
Dates are a great source of potassium and a special type of soluble fiber which has been noted to aid in keeping blood sugar levels stable by delaying the absorption of glucose in the small intestine. This fiber also increases satiety – which helps to keep up feel fuller for longer. Dates are also rich in B vitamins, copper, manganese, magnesium, iron, folate, phosphorous.  They also contain zinc and selenium.
 
Persimmon: Have you been seeing these orange babies everywhere? I sure have. They are an amazing source of provitamin A, copper, manganese, and some B vitamins. Get them while they last!
 
Apples are a good source of vitamin C, and fiber; their skin contains a lot of the nutrients, so try to leave it on!
 
Strawberries are an amazing source of vitamin C, which helps keep our immune systems strong. Pairing them with iron-rich oats is a perfect combo since iron absorption is enhanced with intake of vitamin-C-rich foods. Strawberries also contain vitamin K, flavonoids, dietary fiber, manganese, some B vitamins, and iodine (which is essential for our thyroid).
 
Cinnamon: It might just be my favorite spice. It helps lowering blood sugar levels, circulation and is even a digestant. Plus, in my opinion, it is absolutely delicious on everything–especially fruits!
 
Cardamom helps relieve gas, is a digestive aid (like cinnamon) and is rich in zinc and manganese (an antioxidant mineral). 

Every couple of weeks, I will be posting nutrition and wellness advice, recipes, and interesting findings worth sharing with all of you. I know that we all have different interests and needs so I will try to cover different topics with every post. I would love to read your feedback so I encourage you to share your thoughts and/or questions in the comments section below.

If you would like to know more about me, please visit my website Alimental G.

HEALTH HACKS | 5 Delicious Yet Nutritious Smoothies

Smoothies are an easy way to trick your body into ingesting a smorgasbord of goodness --protein, healthy fats, vegetables, and fruits-- without compromising your taste buds. They are the perfect, tasty vehicle for a nutritious meal in the convenience of a to-go cup. Moreover, aggregate prep and gulp time can be less than 10 minutes (it would take you longer to unearth matching socks in your underwear drawer). Brighten your daily diet with these recipes that are health-nut approved... but are so delicious your brain will never deem it to be true:

1.  Beet Berry Smoothie . Get the recipe  here .

1. Beet Berry Smoothie. Get the recipe here.

2.  Strawberry Banana-Mango Lava Flow.  Get the recipe  here .

2. Strawberry Banana-Mango Lava Flow. Get the recipe here.

3.  Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie . Get the recipe  here .

3. Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie. Get the recipe here.

4.  Vegan Detox Green Monster Smoothie . Get the recipe  here .

4. Vegan Detox Green Monster Smoothie. Get the recipe here.

5.  Orange Oatmeal Smoothie . Get the recipe  here .

5. Orange Oatmeal Smoothie. Get the recipe here.