Authors Posts by Nahid Ameen

Nahid Ameen

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Top 10 Ayurvedic SuperFoods for Fat-burning, Weight loss and Kapha Dosha Balancing

Eating to Balance Kapha Dosha

The kapha dosha benefits from a diet that contains whole foods and spices which are dry, light, and warming. They should lower mucus production and support digestion and elimination. Foods should be eaten as three small meals with minimal snacking in between. Kapha tastes include bitter, pungent, and astringent.

Tips for Fat-loss for Kapha’s

Along with following a Kapha specific diet the following will give you amazing weight-loss success

  1. Practice yoga for 15 minutes every morning. Include sun salutation in your practice.
  2. Add pranayama to your practice especially Kapal Bhati or breath of fire. Note contraindication before practicing.
  3. Kick start your weight loss with Kapha dosha detox. You can check out the Fab & Glowing detox program here.
  4. In order to improve the digestive power or Agni try the turmeric-ginger pickle recipe and consume this before every meal.
  5. Include the following Top 10 Ayurvedic Food for Fat-burning and Kapha Dosha Balancing in your diet to accelerate weight loss.

Turmeric

 Turmeric is a rhizome in the ginger family that has a long history of use as a food and a healing agent. It is a staple in Ayurveda and Asian cuisine and has become more popular in the West. It contains many constituents such as curcumin, volatile oils, and antioxidants that have many effects on health. Turmeric helps with digestion and weight loss by suppressing body fat accumulation. Try this amazing Ayurvedic Golden Milk Recipe for weight loss. One study showed that curcumin – an important antioxidant in Turmeric decreased body weight, fat mass, lipids, blood sugar, and increased insulin sensitivity. It also stimulated fat breakdown and lipase function. I am in the process of finishing of my new kindle ebook on Turmeric and will share with you once I publish.

Bitter gourd

Bitter gourd (or bitter melon) is a popular ingredient in South East Asian cooking. I have a great stir fry recipe here. Bitter gourd or bitter melon can reduce the weight of white adipose tissue and visceral fat, while reducing leptin production. It can reduce triglycerides, lipids that contribute towards weight gain. In addition to targeting fat, one of the more known benefits of bitter melon is for lowering blood sugar. In fact, there are numerous studies showing decreases insulin resistance, increasing glucose uptake into cells, upregulation of the insulin receptor, and increased beta-cells in the pancreas (which make insulin).

Kokum

Kokum is a plant in the mangosteen family who fruit is used in Southeast Asian countries, and provides a sour taste to food. It is known as Garcinia indica which contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA) and garcinol just like Garcinia cambogia. Studies on HCA show that it helps in weight loss and suppressing fat accumulation. Kokum can be found dried and used in food similarly to tamarind. You can add it to foods such as curries, vegetables, lentils, okra, fish, chutneys, and pickles. You can try my Easy Dal recipe and add kokum to it or try the mung dal recipe for weight loss with kokum.

 Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a very popular spice around the world, added to foods and especially desserts. But other than its pleasant taste, it has many health benefits. It is widely used in India to treat diabetes.

There are many benefits to consuming cinnamon especially for weight loss. Studies have shown  that cinnamon lowers triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood sugar. It has insulin-like activity and increases the uptake of glucose into cells. It increases our body’s production of antioxidants (glutathione, superoxide dismutase) and contains many constituents and polyphenols which help against the development of degenerative diseases. It was also shown to decrease body weight and visceral fat. A simple cup of cinnamon tea or Kadha or Immune Boosting Tea recipe can assist with both weight loss and immune defense.

Ginger

Ginger is the ultimate thermogenic food that the kapha body type loves for weight loss. Ginger contains many active constituents including gingerol that has many health benefits. Studies show that ginger aids in weight loss by lowering triglycerides and lipids. It also lowers blood sugar and enhances the action of insulin. Gingerol was found to increase our body’s production of antioxidants such as glutathione, superoxide dismutase, and catalase. These help counteract free radical damage. Try this amazing Turmeric-Ginger Pickle recipe for weight loss.

Honey

Sugar and carbohydrates are usually associated with weight gain, but the Ayurveda tells us that honey is heating and therefore Kapha pacifying. Honey is a much healthier alternative than other sweeteners. Raw, unpasteurized honey contains enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids, phenolic acids, and carotenoids. It is anti-bacterial and wound healing. Studies have found that honey lowers body weight, triglycerides, and leptin levels – a hormone that causes weight gain. If you can getting a sweet craving try my Homemade Naturally Sweetened Strawberry Jam recipe that is made with honey.

Mung beans/Moong dal

The most popular Ayurvedic food for weight loss is a nice bowl of Mung Dal Soup! Mung beans are nutrient-dense legumes, containing folic acid, magnesium, B vitamins, fibre, iron, zinc, and protein. As with many other legumes, it’s best to soak them in water before cooking to decrease phytates and anti-nutrients, and to combine them with spices, as is commonly done in many cultures. Mung beans contain a good amount of fibre (1 cup gives you 7g fibre) and protein, which make you feel full and eat less, as well as balancing your blood sugar. You can try Green Papaya and Moong Dal recipe, Moong Dal for Weight loss or the Oats Khichari recipe from my website for weight loss.

Leafy Greens

Green leafy vegetables or any type of saag are amazing bitter foods in Ayurveda for weight loss, fat burning, reducing mucus and balancing Kapha. These foods fall under bitter and astringent, therefore ideal for Kapha dosha balance. They are a MUST for every day meals! Adding leafy greens to you regular diet will completely transform your health. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, beet greens, mustard greens, collard greens, watercress, arugula, cilantro and parsley leaves are packed with vitamins, minerals as well as small amount of proteins. Try my Sprouts, Baby Kale and Avocado Salad recipe for lunch!

Fenugreek

Fenugreek seeds are a legume whose seeds are used as a spice and leaves are also common in many Asian recipes. It is especially good for kapha and vata doshas and helps remove excess mucus associated with kapha. The seeds contain protein, B vitamins, folate, minerals, iron, flavonoids, diosgenin, volatile oils, and a lot of fibre. In fact the seeds are about 45% fibre (soluble and insoluble) and this fibre is responsible for many of its effects on weight and health. Studies show that fenugreek decreases cholesterol, blood sugar, and decreases insulin resistance. One study also found reduction in body weight, BMI, adipose tissue weight, and leptin in animals (47-50). See my fenugreek sprouts recipe which could be easily used for weight loss.

Ghee

Ayurveda recommends small amount of ghee even for Kapha dosha. Ghee is clarified butter that has the whey, casein, and lactose removed. It is extremely popular in South East Asian cooking and many foods and spices are cooked in ghee. Certain spices actually release their volatile oil and increase in absorption after cooking in ghee. Ghee contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), antioxidants, and butyric acid. Butyric acid is a short chain fatty acid that is also made by our gut bacteria. It is absorbed by colon cells to be used for energy and is also anti-inflammatory. CLA is shown to reduce fat accumulation and leptin levels. Read more about Benefits of Ghee in my previous blog.

The above are the top 10 foods – however ideally In order to help balance kapha, it is recommended to do a detox at  least twice a year. This will help remove toxins and improve your energy, digestion, and mental clarity. I have a wonderful 21-Day  Ayurvedic Detox program for Kapha (vegetarian and non-vegetarian  
options). This program explains your dosha and guides you in a detoxification with food and lifestyle changes. It also provides a detailed meal plan, many recipes, a shopping list to keep you organized, a supplement guide, and so much more. It makes detoxification easy and healthy!

References:

  1. Bharat B. Aggarwal. Healing Spices: How to Use 50 Everyday and Exotic Spices To Boost Health and Beat Disease. Sterling: 2011.    
  2. Pan Y et al. Curcumin improves glycolipid metabolism through regulating peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ signalling pathway in high-fat diet-induced obese mice and 3T3-L1 adipocytes. R Soc Open Sci. 2017 Nov 15;4(11):170917.
  3. Preventive effect of a melon extracts rich in superoxide scavenging activity on abdominal and liver fat and adipokine imbalance in high-fat-fed hamsters. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jul 22;57(14):6461-7
  4. Fachinan R et al. Effectiveness of Antihyperglycemic Effect of Momordica charantia: Implication of T-Cell Cytokines. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:3707046.
  5. Krawinkel MB et al. Bitter gourd reduces elevated fasting plasma glucose levels in an intervention study among prediabetics in Tanzania. J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Jan 12;216:1-7.
  6. Vasques CA et al. Hypolipemic effect of Garcinia cambogia in obese women. Phytother Res. 2014 Jun;28(6):887-91.
  7. Zeynep Tuzcu et al. Cinnamon Polyphenol Extract Inhibits Hyperlipidemia and Inflammation by Modulation of Transcription Factors in High-Fat Diet-Fed Rats. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017 ;2017:158309
  8. Hua Ping et al. Antidiabetic effects of cinnamon oil in diabetic KK-Ay mice. Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Aug-Sep;48(8-9):2344
  9. Reza Alizadeh-Navaei et al. Investigation of the effect of ginger on the lipid levels. A double blind controlled clinical trial. Saudi Med J. 2008 Sep;29(9):1280-4.
  10. Dustmann JH. Antibacterial effect of honey. Apiacta. 1979;14:7
  11. Aljadi AM, Kamaruddin MY. Evaluation of the phenolic contents and antioxidant capacities of two Malaysian floral honeys. Food Chem. 2004;85:513–518.
  12. Jing Gong et al. Effect of fenugreek on hyperglycaemia and hyperlipidemia in diabetes and prediabetes: A meta-analysis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2016 Dec 24 ; 194:260-268.
  13. Shen P et al. Effects of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on fat accumulation, activity, and proteomics analysis in Caenorhabditis elegans. Food Chem. 2018 May 30; 249:193-201.

 

 

Courtesy of Laura Navrotski

Fenugreek Sprouts for your Salad

Making your own fenugreek sprouts is easy and a tasty addition to any salad! Fenugreek seeds are used as a spice but are actually legumes that can be sprouted like other legumes. Sprouting increases the nutrient content as well as digestibility of the legume. You can use these sprouts raw in salads. You can add up to one cup at a time, depending on your taste. For safety reasons, ensure that you store the sprouts in a safe container in the fridge for a few days.

Fenugreek Nutrients

-Iron – 1 cup provides about 8mg of iron

-Fibre – 100g of seeds provides 25g fibre. In fact, fenugreek is used as a food stabilizer and emulsifying agent due to its fibre, protein, and gum content. Seeds contain insoluble and soluble fibre and the gum portion contains galactose and mannose which are associated with its blood sugar lowering effect.

-Protein – 100g of fenugreek seeds contain 23g protein

-B vitamins, folate

-Many minerals such as calcium, zinc, selenium, manganese, copper

But keep in mind that sprouting the seeds will alter or increase the content of many of these nutrients.

Studies have shown that fenugreek has these benefits:

Promoting milk production while breastfeeding

-Helps with PMS symptoms by balancing hormones

-Lowers blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides

-Helps with digestion and gas, including colic

-Antioxidant and lowers lipid peroxidation which is a factor involved in atherosclerosis

-Helps with inflammation and asthma

Ayurveda

Pungent and bitter. Warming. Balances kapha and vata doshas.

How to Sprout Fenugreek Seeds

  1. Obtain a desired amount of fenugreek seeds (can be purchased in bulk or packaged), you could start with 1/4 cup
  2. Choose a good sized mason jar with a wide lid. Remove the lid, and place a mesh or cheesecloth or muslin cloth over the mouth of the lid, secure tightly with an elastic band.
  3. Place the seeds in the jar, fill with water, secure the mesh on top and leave for 12 hours (or overnight).
  4. After 12 hours, remove the water, rinse carefully under running water, and pour out all the water (through the cloth). Once the water is emptied, place the jar horizontally (or at a little bit of an angle on a plate). You can keep it on the kitchen counter, not in direct sunlight, but not in the dark either
  5. Twice a day (once in the morning, once before bed) rinse the jar under water, through the cloth. Place back on the plate.
  6. After 2 days, sprouts will show. However, leave the sprouts to grow longer, for up to a week.
  7. At the end, remove the sprouts and store in a container in the fridge.

 

Reference:

Sajad Ahmad, WaniPradyumanKumar. Fenugreek: A review on its nutraceutical properties and utilization in various food products. Journal of the Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences. 2016

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Ayurvedic Roasted Turmeric Potatoes

I have been cooking with turmeric a lot lately. It is a wonderful spice that provides many health benefits for inflammation, skin health, nervous system, digestion, as well as being anti-septic and anti-cancer. Actually.. I am writing a Turmeric e-book that will be out soon! All the benefits of turmeric, the history, and the >100  study references behind turmeric will be discussed, as well as >60 recipes of food and body care uses!

Turmeric is pacifying for vata, pitta, and kapha

Turmeric is bitter, pungent, astringent

Turmeric is heating and drying

In the meantime, enjoy this recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes, 3
  • Sesame seed oil, 2 tbsp
  • Garlic cloves, minced. 2
  • Turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp
  • Cayenne, 1/4 tsp
  • Paprika, 1/2 tsp
  • Himalayan salt, to taste
  • Lemon juice, 2 tsp

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F/230C
  2. In a small bowl add the spices and mix with sesame oil
  3. Clean the potatoes and  slice into wedges
  4. Add the potatoes in a bowl and coat them with the mix
  5. Spread the potatoes on a baking sheet
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, take them out to flip them, bake another 10 minutes
  7. Check with a fork that the potatoes are cooked.

I came back from my friend Sapna Jain’s store called the East India Company. You can almost find “anything” that is needed for South East Asian cooking. And since Sapna is getting more into organic my grocery bags are getting heavier every time I visit her.

On my last visit to Sapna’s I bought in organic Kamut flour as well as some other unique flours, nuts, seeds and superfoods from her. After getting the flour I have been waiting for my mom to come and stay with me. Well as hubby away in Bangladesh for 10 days I found the perfect opportunity to wake up early in the morning make chapati with Ammu (my mother)!

So it is the simplest recipe I have shared with you as far as ingredients are concerned however processing is difficult because not everyone can make their roti or chapatti round! It’s an art! So, I made two which were not the best round ones but the rest were made by Ammu.

Why use Kamut:

A grain derived from an ancient Egyptian variety of wheat.  It has large kernels that can be ground, processed into flakes or cooked whole. 

Dosha: Pitta pacifying

Energy: Cooling

Nutrients: Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Niacin, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium and Manganese. Kamut is also high in dietary fiber.

Some tricks from Ammu that I learned:

  1. Salt: Ammu used salt in water to cook the kamut flour or “atta” in a pot.
  2. Cooking the flour: She believes in cooking the kamut flour before making the roti or chapatti. In Bangla (our native tongue) she uses the term “atta kai kora” or to cook the four before kneading the dough in warm water.
  3. Adding spice: We used a spice to make the roti taste great and have a medicinal value added to it.
  4. Keeping extra: Keeping extra flour in hand for dusting the roti while making it.
  5. When rolling the chapati – keep on rotating it every few seconds to make it round.

Equipment needed:

  1. Belon! Or the Rolling Pin. I got mine from Bangladesh.
  2. Piri or the wooden flat round platform to roll the chapatti.
  3. Mixing bowl
  4. Flat iron pan or flat pan
  5. Khonti or spatula to turn the chapatti or roti

 

 

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Kamut flour, organic – 2 cups
  • Water, lukewarm water – 2/3 cups
  • Himalayan rock salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Black seeds or nigella seeds – 1/8 teaspoon
  • Ghee or coconut oil – small amount

Instructions

  1. In a pot bring water to boil and add salt.
  2. Pour in the flour and mix the flour in water.
  3. Add the nigella seeds to the flour.
  4. Keep on mixing until nice dough like consistency is formed.
  5. Transfer the mixture in the mixing bowl and start kneading with your hands.
  6. Form dough and then roll it lengthwise.
  7. Cut the dough into smaller portions to make 10 small balls.
  8. Using the palm of your hand flatten the dough.
  9. In a small bowl keep the extra flour and dip the dough in it.
  10. Sprinkle more loose flour on the rolling platform or piri.
  11. Place the dough on the piri and start rolling using the rolling pin.
  12. Keep on moving or rotating the dough so it become round. Sprinkle more flour if you feel the surface is getting sticky.
  13. Get all of the raw roti ready and place them on a plate.
  14. On a stove top – place a flat pan on the stove and let it heat up.
  15. Once hot and ready place one roti and leave it for a half a minute or until you see some bubbles form on the dough,
  16. Flip and wait for the same.
  17. You may see the roti fluffs up like a mini balloon – keep it like this for a few seconds and then turn. This is a really good sign.

 

Let’s warm up for the winter in Canada and boost the immune system with an elixir of life! I am sharing with you the Ultimate Golden Milk Recipe – Ayurvedic, Vegan and Keto Friendly!

My dear readers! What I am sharing with you here today is creamy, comforting, fatty (good fats of course!), turmeric + ginger-infused, slightly spicy, perfectly sweetened, a super healthy cup of golden milk. Using a traditional method and taking the time (no short cuts here) I am sharing with you my beloved Golden Milk Recipe. However, I am trying a slightly different Golden Milk Recipe to entice you. I have three version of the same Golden Milk Recipe and this is the one I am sharing with you.

Good news is the Golden Milk Recipe provided below still follows the traditional Ayurvedic way of making the tea but contains loads of healthy fats therefore exciting news for people following keto or low carb diet. Of course since I have used almond milk the recipe is also suitable for vegans. If you are a dairy lover you can substitute with full fat milk instead of the almond milk and add cream from dairy instead of the coconut cream. Speaking of keto diet, I have been reading blogs or watching videos of many wonderful keto recipes that are healthy and wholesome. So currently I love making fat bombs, keto bread and keto naan bread are some of my favourite. I will share with you. Please leave comments if you want to see these recipes.

Be it immunity, anti-inflammatory, protective or energizing the Golden Milk Recipe has taken over the Western wellness world with a storm. The bloggers, social media health enthusiasts, nutritionists and Herbalists all over the world has fallen in love with Turmeric and love making their golden milk recipe. Where in the West and now even in the East many looked down upon the yellow color spice that stained their dishes or hands, but now the health food stores and the specialty grocery stores are filled with numerous versions of turmeric and golden milk products. The scenario at specialty grocery stores in Canada has raw turmeric in their produce section, raw turmeric paste and turmeric powders in grocery aisles, many turmeric capsules, tinctures and supplements at supplement sections as well as Golden Milk at their coffee bars. I wish I could take pictures and show you the craziness on turmeric that is going on here in Canada! As I am more familiar with the supplement section I can’t possibly tell you enough how big nutraceutical companies are competing with one another to make the best version of the next turmeric capsule.

When I first started drinking it – I didn’t like the traditional and simple Golden Milk Recipe version. Therefore I obviously created by own. When the rest of the world is obsessing about turmeric –  as a upcoming herbalist I couldn’t ignore ginger that comes from the same family and has some very similar properties. Therefore you will see both turmeric and ginger in my Golden Milk Recipe.

Since winter is upon us – let’s learn how to a make a warm cup of the golden milk that will take care of our immunity as well as provide fatty acid benefits for our brain. Taking Turmeric with Fat is ideal for brain, organ and hormonal health.

2 Step Golden Milk Recipe:

Ingredients:

Step 1

  • ¼ cup organic, fair-trade turmeric powder
  • A pinch of cayenne (to increase absorption)
  • ½ cup spring water or filtered water

Step 2

  • 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (homemade or store-bought)
  • ½ cup spring or filtered water
  • ½ tablespoon coconut cream (full fat)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric paste (from step 1)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 strands of saffron (has aphrodisiac qualities)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or almond oil
  • Sweetener of choice (i.e. honey, maple syrup, monk fruit sugar, coconut sugar, or stevia to taste)

 

Instructions:

Step 1: This can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for a week.

  • In saucepan, mix turmeric powder and cayenne pepper with one half cup water.
  • Bring to boil and cook until a thick paste is formed.
  • Store paste in a glass jar and keep inside the refrigerator.

Step 2

  1. To a small saucepan add almond milk, water and add bring to a slight boil.
  2. Add the turmeric paste, ground ginger, saffron and the cinnamon. Infuse the spices for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the coconut cream and coconut oil (or almond oil) and keep it in the stove until the fats come up on the top.
  4. Turn off the heat and prepare a cup and a tea strainer. Place the strainer on the cup.
  5. Strain and pour the golden milk in the cup.
  6. Add sweetener of your choice.

 

Golden Milk Benefits:

  • Golden milk helps build immunity and keeps you safe from infections.
  • Golden milk can protect you from cold, flu and cough.
  • An excellent remedy for digestive problems.
  • Small amount of turmeric is considered to be a liver tonic.
  • Golden milk can assist with blood purification.
  • Since golden milk is good for blood and liver it also improves the health of the skin.
  • Adding a secret ingredient in can reduce headaches that happens due to hormonal imbalance.
  • Due to its anti-inflammatory properties it reduces body ache and arthritic pain.
  • This particular golden milk recipe will strength the reproductive health of women
  • Golden milk taken every day can improve brain health and memory.
  • This golden milk recipe can also be considered to reduce the chances of cancer development in the body.
  • This recipe can assist in intermittent fasting.
  • Turmeric also improves vision health.
  • Yogis take turmeric or golden milk to improve flexibility.

 

This Golden Milk Recipe is a must for those who are seeking to boost their immune system and improve their reproductive health.

The traditional recipe is time consuming to make. Therefore I take advantage of the Golden Milk from Botanica. In Canada Botanica is a popular brand available at many health food store. They just came up with their Golden Milk powder in an exquisite jar! It contains Organic Turmeric, organic dates, organic coconut, organic vanilla flavours, organic cardamom, organic ashwagandha, organic cinnamon, organic black pepper – which makes it perfect for even a Yogi! This golden milk has been added to my morning warm beverage regime instead of a cup of coffee.

However I love making my own recipes from scratch too when time permits. Try this recipe and reap the many benefits discussed above.

My very first experience with sea vegetables was at a Buddhist Temple in Mississauga where they served their main meal with seaweed salad and it was YUM! The first bite into the seaweed salad changed my taste bud for good! Later when we fell in love with Sushi I have had many nori rolls and seaweed salads. Luckily my education in the field of nutrition and herbal medicine also lead me to learn and explore more about sea vegetables or seaweeds. I use them in many of my favourite and delicious recipes at home, such as, I use Irish moss as a thickener for my almond milk, use kelp in my kelp and zucchini noodles, use Agar Agar in making vegan cheese and arame to cook rice. I will soon share some of these recipes with you.

I have been to many wellness seminars and I believe I heard someone (quite possibly David Wolfe) quoting someone, “The future of nutrition lies within the ocean

There are many essential nutrients required by the body to function at optimal level. The word ‘essential’ is used because the body cannot produce these nutrients on its own and need to derive them from the food we eat. Of which trace minerals and glycol nutrients are required for optimal cell function. However, many of these nutrients are missing from the very soil we grow food in. Tropical countries and countries were the land has been under water do not have this problems as much. Therefore using sea vegetables that are mineral and nutrient rich are the best ways to ensure we get all of our essential nutrition. The best thing to know about sea weeds it is grown wildly under the sea and doesn’t have to be organic and no one needs to worry about GMO! Because this is under water it is in its most pure form and human interjections to change anything in it has not happened. It is a wild edible from the ocean.

Sea vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and polysaccharides (long chain sugar, almost a bitter sugar). There are mainly three categories of seaweeds – green, red, brown, blue-greens and yellow-greens.

As I am moving towards being an herbalist, I am seeing the medicinal value of sea vegetables.

Sea vegetables are the best source of iron and iodine. Seaweeds contain ten to twenty times more nutrients than land vegetables.1 They balance thyroid function and prevent aging and chronic disease. Sea veggies are also chockfull of chlorophyll (specially the green seaweeds) and dietary fiber and they lend a salty flavor to foods, which comes from a balanced combination of sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and many other trace minerals naturally found in the ocean. The nutrient that makes it unique is the glyconutrients found in sea weeds.

Common Benefits of all Sea Vegetables:

  1. All sea vegetables contain protein, fiber (soluble and insoluble), omega 3 fatty acids and minerals.
  2. Most all of the sea vegetables contain both fat and water soluble vitamins such as, high amount of Vitamin A, beta carotene, B complex, Vitamin C and E.
  3. All seaweeds are excellent source of calcium, iodine and iron.
  4. More minerals and trace minerals combinations compared to any land vegetables.
  5. Kelp, kombu and wakame contains alginic acid which assists the human body with detoxification from heavy metals and radioactive isotopes.
  6. All sea vegetables contain iodine which makes it essential for hormonal health.
  7. The iron content in seaweeds is more bioavailable to the body because they also contain high amount of vitamin C.
  8. All seaweeds improves carbohydrate metabolism and aids in weight loss.
  9. All of the seaweeds assist the body with reducing bloating, swelling and water retention.
  10. Seaweeds are known to bind with heavy metals and radioactive pollutants in our body and remove them.
  11. Sea vegetables are also high in lignans that can block oestrogens or the bad estrogens. This reduces the chances of estrogen related cancer.

Precaution before Culinary Uses:

  1. Wash fresh sea vegetable thoroughly before using them for cooking to get rid of any sands.
  2. After cooking or adding them to salads, refrigerate any left overs.
  3. Pre-soak dried sea vegetables before consuming or adding to a dish.
  4. Note before soaking that sea-vegetable grows double in size after soaking.
  5. Store dried sea vegetables in an air-tight glass container after opening the initial package.

Varieties of sea vegetables:

Benefits of Agar Agar: (Gelidium corneum)

Taste: Salty and Sweet

Effect: Cooling

Agar Agar also known as Kanten in Japan, is wonderful for creating delicious sugar-free desserts. It comes in powder, flakes, bars and long string (almost like noodles). It is a vegetarian alternative to gelatin. It can be used to firm up jellies, pies and puddings as well as when vegan cheese. Currently Agar Agar noodles are available at Chinese Super stores and health food stores. Note that it simply dissolves in hot liquid and thickens at room temperature.

  • Agar Agar has mild laxative properties and therefore can be helpful for those who suffer from constipation.
  • If used in conjunction with vegetables in a salad Agar Agar can aid in weight loss.
  • Agar Agar is known to reduce inflammation, improve liver, lungs and heart health.
  • Agar Agar is known for its high content of iron and calcium.
  • Could be used in treating hemorrhoids.
  • This sea vegetable also can assist in eliminating radioactive toxins from the body.  
  • In cosmetic industry, it can be used to soften and moisturize skin and hair. Therefore, a number of cosmetic manufacturers are starting to use Agar Agar as one of the raw material in making lipstick, soap, ointments, lotion and cream.

Caution: Do not use if you have loose stools or diarrhea.

Benefits of Arame: (Eisenia bicyclis)

Taste: Salty and Sweet

Effect: Cooling

Arame has a rather mild flavor. Arame is brown Japanese kelp used primarily in Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Peruvian and Indonesian cuisine.

  • Arame is a good source of calcium, potassium, vitamin A and dietary fiber
  • A tablespoon of dried arame will give you 0.7 mg of iodine, therefore beneficial for thyroid health. Contains more iodine than shell fishes and more calcium than milk.
  • Arame can be used in lowering blood pressure.
  • This seaweed contains an abundant amount of chlorophyll. 
  • The nutrients in Arame improve the elasticity of skin while the antioxidants and minerals draw toxins from the dermal tissue. 
  • Arame also contains Omega 3 fatty acids, which reduces inflammation in skin, strengthens hair, bones, teeth and nails.

Benefits of Bladderwrack: (Fucus vesiculosus)

  • Improves thyroid function as it contains a good supply of iodine.
  • Bladderwrack increase metabolism and curbs appetite.
  • Contains beta-carotene that improves vision by fighting the free radicals in the cornea.
  • Reduces inflammation for people suffering from arthritis, gout, sore muscles and joints.
  • Bladderwrack is amazing for those suffering from high cholesterol, blood sugar issues and even cancer. A unique fiber found in bladderwrack is called Fucoidan (a polysaccharides) which promotes cell regeneration.
  • The fiber in the bladderwrack also assists to relieve from constipation, reduce flatulence, bloating, cramping and reduces the chances of ulcer.
  • Bladderwrack has also been used in skin care for dryness, wrinkles, and age spots. It has also been used to fight skin irritation such as burns, insect bites and itch.

Benefits of Dulse: (Palmaria palmate)

Dulse also comes in shakable flakes, similar to granulated kelp and can be a good substitute for salt. Expect a chewy texture and slightly salty finish. Dulse is available in fresh, dried, flaky and form. Dulse flakes are often shredded and sprinkled on soups, but fresh dulse can be sautéed like vegetables, dulse flakes can be used in lentil soups or sprinkle on avocado or salads. It can also be consumed as a snack.

  • Dulse packed with protein, iron and contains all 8 glyco nutrients.
  • It has less iodine (by most accounts, about 1/5 of the amount) than kombu, with high amounts of magnesium and calcium.
  • The high levels of vitamin A found in dulse make it an ideal solution for vision problems.
  • Dulse also contains manganese which can assist with preventing skin conditions (scurvy) and viral infections (herpes).

Benefits of Hijiki: (Sargassum fusiforme)

Taste: Salty

Effect: Cooling

In Japan Hijiki is known to have a very strong taste. Hijiki grows in the coastal regions of Japan, China and Korea. The “Hijiki” means “Bearer of wealth and beauty.” It expands up to four times more than its original volume after soaking in water.

  • Hijiki has vitamin B2 and niacin which assists in balancing blood sugar levels and aids in weight loss.
  • Iodine present in it balances hormones (thyroid) and also ensures their proper functioning.
  • Hijiki is a rich source of the essential bone mineral – calcium. A small amount of hijiki contains more calcium than cow’s milk. Hence it is beneficial for bone, teeth, hair and nails.
  • Hijiki is known to reduce phlegm in the body and assist in detoxification.
  • It is an amazing addition to beauty care as it is known to brighten skin tone of the face and add luster to the hair. If you think about the Ayurvedic perspective of understanding how the food looks like or the color or the shape of the food guides you what it is good for. Hijiki looks like thick, black hair.

Benefits of Irish moss (Chondrus crispus)

Taste: Salty and Sweet

Effect: Cooling

Irish moss is also known as “Sea Moss” or “Carrageen Moss.” 

  • Irish moss contains vitamin A, D, E, and K as well iodine, potassium, sulphur and calcium chloride.
  • Used externally as a beauty care ingredient, as it softens and soothes the skin as well as reduce wrinkles and dark circles. 
  • Other skincare benefits include sunburn, chapped skin, eczema, psoriasis, and rashes.
  • Within the food industry it is used as a thickener, so it is a great addition to a raw vegan diet such as to make ice-creams and nut milks. I add this powerhouse of seaweed in my homemade almond milk.
  • Irish moss is used in reducing mucus and dryness from the lungs. It is used as a remedy for any lung diseases such as cold, flu, and mumps.
  • This seaweed is also used to lower cholesterol.
  • The gelatinous substance in Irish moss makes it a useful treatment for peptic and duodenal ulcers.
  • Irish moss is also used in kidney and bladder diseases.

Benefits of Kombu (Laminaria japonica)

Kombu is a type of kelp. It comes dried, for soup or broth, or fresh, to be eaten as sashimi.

  • Kombu contains high amount of iodine, calcium, magnesium and iron.
  • Kombu is used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for goiter.
  • The alginic acid in Kombu is known to act as an intestinal cleanser.
  • Kombu in the diet will provide the much-needed iron to maintain good health.
  • In cooking Kombu is used as a flavour enhancer as it contains glutamate.
  • Kombu is also used when cooking lentils as it is known to improve the digestion of the legume.

Benefits of Kelp (Laminariales)

It is edible brown algae. At specialty grocery stores it is found in dried as well as powdered form. I mix this in my salt bottle to get more nutritional benefit from this salty food.

  • Kelp adds good amount of iodine in one’s diet which boosts metabolism and improve thyroid function.
  • Kelp is known to contain all 8 glyco nutrients.
  • Kelp has been used for men’s reproductive health especially for prostate problems.
  • Kelp is also used in autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s condition, rheumatism, hypothyroidism as well as hyperthyriodism.
  • The abundance of vitamins and minerals in kelp can promote healthy hair and skin.
  • Kelp is useful for the GI tract and the pancreas.
  • Kelp is known to reduce swelling, edema, ovarian problems, tumors, lymphatic swelling, goiter and swollen testes.
  • The nutrient content also aids in heart health and reduces blood pressure. It protects the heart in high altitudes and assists in deep breathing.
  • Kelp is also used to sooth lungs and throat when suffering from coughing and asthma.

Benefits of Nori (Porphyra species)

Seaweed sheets used to make sushi rolls which are essentially Nori. Roasted Nori also available and has the best of flavours amongst the sea vegetables.

  • Nori contains one of the richest sources of protein (30-40 grams of protein per 100 gram) and amino acids (such as Taurine) of all seaweeds.
  • Nori contains high amounts of Vitamin A, B1, B12, niacin, Vitamin C, E, K, potassium and iodine.
  • One sheet of Nori has high amounts of fiber and omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Nori contains all of the 8 glyco nutrients.
  • Nori is used in reducing cholesterol and high blood pressure.
  • Also used to prevent goiter, edema and painful urination.
  • Nori is amazing for skin health and reduces the chances of beriberi, cysts, warts, and rickets.

Benefits of Sea Lettuce (Ulva lactuca)

Sea lettuce is also known as Irish seaweeds. It is green seaweed or algae that grow worldwide. Sea lettuce is added in soups, meats and fish.  

  • Rich source of B vitamins, vitamin A, C and E.
  • Sea lettuce is known to be used to protect from macular degeneration.
  • Sea lettuce also contains good amount of calcium and magnesium – both minerals promotes bone and dental health.
  • Sea lettuce is also rich in high amount of protein and iron.

Benefits of Sea Palm (Postelsia palmaeformis)

Sea Palm is brownish-green in color, looks just like a miniature palm tree. Sea palm has a sweet and salty taste. It can be added to soups or salads. Toasted sea palm can also be consumed on its own.  

  • Sea palm like the other sea vegetables contains an array of nutrients that boosts metabolism, reduces edema, improves thyroid function, and aids in weight loss.
  • Sea Palm eliminates toxins and heavy metals from the body.
  • Reduces the chances of growths, tumors, goiter and cysts.
  • This antioxidant rich sea vegetable eliminates free-radicals and in turn slows down aging.  

Benefits of Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida)

Wakame is related to kombu and also is known as badderlocks, murlins or wing kelp. I have added to soups, rice and stir fries. Roasted wakame can be sprinkled on salads or stews as an easy way to add minerals to your favorite foods. Wakame contains high levels of B Vitamins and C which makes it amazing fat burning.

  • Contains fucoxanthin which improves insulin resistance.
  • Also is a diuretic herb which reduces swelling, water retention and bloating.
  • Wakame contains good amount of calcium which makes it good for bone, hair and skin health.
  • Reduces the chances of tumors.
  • In Japan wakame is given to mothers after childbirth to purify blood.

 Types of Sea Vegetables or Seaweeds in Nature:

Green Algae Brown Algae Red Algae
Sea Lettuce Arame Agar Agar
  Bladderwrack Dulse
  Hijiki Nori
  Kelp  
  Kombu  
  Wakame  

 

In future, I will be sharing two sea vegetable recipes. These are:

 

  1. Edmame and Arame Salad
  2. Sea Vegetable Rice. 

Stay Tuned!

Reference:

Phipott, Jane and Bradford, Montse, “Seaweed: Nature’s secret for a long and healthy life”. The Nutrition Practitioner. Winter 2006

Mateljan, George. Sea Vegetables. Weblink, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=135.

Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods. Third Edition. Page: 580 – 595.5

http://www.superfoods-for-superhealth.com/seaweed.html

Ravensthorpe, Michael , “Sea Lettuce: A Possible Secret  to Longevity.”

Weblink: http://spiritfoods.net/health-benefits-of-sea-lettuce/. Date researched: May 28, 2017.

 

Grain Free, Oil Free Chickpea Flour Flatbread or Chickpea Roti or Chila
Serves 5
A delicious Grain-Free option for those who are gluten or grain free
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup chickpea flour
  2. ½ cup cassava flour or tapioca flour
  3. Celtic Sea Salt, to taste
  4. 1 tablespoon soy or rice based yogurt
  5. 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  6. ½ teaspoon of garam masala
  7. ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  8. A pinch of cayenne pepper
  9. 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. In a stainless steel bowl add all of the dried ingredients and mix well.
  2. Add soy or rice milk and mix it with the dried ingredients.
  3. Slowly incorporate room temperature water by whisking the ingredients.
  4. Ensure the batter is not too thick. Add more water if you want thinner consistency.
  5. Heat the ceramic non-stick pan and using a ladle pour the batter on the pan. Turn the handle of the pan to make the batter round.
  6. Cook each side for 3-4 minutes or until they are cooked.
  7. This batter should make 12-14 flatbread.
Notes
  1. Adjust water to ensure lighter consistency of the batter
  2. Adjust salt as needed as when using nutritional yeast.
Utensil
  1. Gotham Steel 9.5-Inch Non-Stick Titanium Frying Pan – for no oil cooking
Conscious Health http://conscioushealth.net/

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This blog is focused on Iron – one of the most important mineral for the body. We will be discussing the Top 12 Vegetarian sources of Iron to combat iron deficiency. Additionally we will discuss the what foods contain iron, what are benefits of iron, deficiency symptoms and my iron favourite supplements.

Ayurvedic texts discuss the health benefits and the attributes of “Loha” or “Iron”.

Name in Ayurveda: Loha or Lauha

Quality: Dry, rough, heavy and hard.

Taste: Bitter, sweet and astringent

Energy: Cooling

Iron is a nutrient that is necessary to build proteins for red blood cells. Dietary iron comes from both non-vegetarian and vegetarian sources. There are two forms of iron – non-heme and heme iron.

Grains and vegetables contain non-heme iron and animal foods contains both heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron is absorbed fast into the small intestine (duodenum). Interestingly heme iron accounts for the least amount of iron coming from a dietary source but heme iron is most bio available form available to the body. Unfortunately non-heme iron is absorbed slowly in the body. Non heme iron is activated by the stomach acid into more absorbable form.

Iron is an extremely important mineral as iron goes to hemoglobin (which is a part of red blood cells), to myoglobin (of muscles), to bone marrow or the liver for storage.

Interactions with other Nutrients:

  • Vitamin A and C increases iron absorption from the intestine. Ascorbic acid and citric acid chelates iron and therefore makes it more available.
  • Copper is needed for iron absorption, iron metabolism and forming red blood cells.

Increasing Iron Absorption:

  • Bitter herbs or spices that increase stomach acid can increase iron absorption in the stomach. Especially from vegetarian sources of iron.
  • Dietary intake of foods rich in Vitamin A and C is important for iron absorption.
  • Plant sources of iron are dependent on the soil content of iron. If the soil is poor in minerals, so will the foods grown in them.
  • Cooking utensils or cookware’s, food preparation methods and various cooking techniques can assist with iron absorption from vegetarian foods. Soaking and sprouting grains, lentils, nuts and seeds, using cast iron cookware, fermentation process and cooking leafy green uncovered have huge impact in iron absorption.

Dietary Sources of Iron:

  1. Animal meat and organs
  2. Leafy greens such as, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens etc.
  3. Vegetables such as, green peas, brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, beets, tomatoes, fennel etc.
  4. Grains and lentils
  5. Beans – soy bean, navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans etc.
  6. Spices and herbs such as, turmeric, cumin, cloves, curry leaves, basil, oregano, thyme etc.
  7. Dairy products such as yogurt.
  8. Sea vegetables
  9. Supplements
  10. Iron fortified foods

Note: Plant sources contain only non-heme iron accounts for 90% of dietary iron, unfortunately only ~3-17% is of non-heme iron absorbed in the body. Heme iron or animal flesh contains 40% heme and 60% non-heme iron and accounts for 10-15% of dietary iron. However 70% of heme iron is absorbed in the body.

What Iron does in the Body?

  1. Hemoglobin formation in the red blood cells and bone marrow (with the help of copper)
  2. Iron enhances oxygen transport and storage
  3. Formation of myoglobin that carries oxygen to the muscles.
  4. Iron is present in all muscle tissues therefore lack of iron weakens the muscle tone and elasticity.
  5. Assists in cognitive development
  6. Hormone synthesis and supports menstrual flow
  7. Regulates body temperature
  8. Helps in enzymes for energy production. In Ayurvedic texts it is written that iron provides strength.
  9. Immune functions
  10. Assists in protein metabolism
  11. Antioxidant activity
  12. DNA synthesis
  13. Supports collagen production
  14. Iron in the hemoglobin molecule also helps carry carbon dioxide back to the lungs for removal.
  15. Iron is involved in the synthesis of anumber of essential neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
  16. Ayurveda states that Iron is really good for vision health.
  17. In Ayurveda iron is considered important for sexual stamina.
  18. It also pacifies kidney inflammation.
  19. Ayurveda text also states good supply of iron can assist in recovering from rheumatoid arthritis.

blood-builder

 

Deficiency Symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Low stamina
  • Pale skin
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Canker sores
  • Difficulty in concentrating and focusing
  • Low immunity

Reasons for Deficiency:

  • Low HCl or low stomach acid in the body.
  • Phytic acid, oxalic acid, polyphenols and phosphates found in food can decrease non-heme iron absorption.
  • Iron and zinc compete for absorption in the body. Therefore high intake of zinc can make the body iron deficient.
  • High calcium intake can lower iron absorption. For example milk is high in calcium but low in iron.
  • Tannins in coffee and tea also reduce iron absorption.
  • Oxalic acid binds with iron therefore inhibits iron absorption. Oxalic acids are present in spinach, kale, beets, nuts, chocolate, tea etc.
  • Excessive menstruation in women due to uterine fibroid.
  • Conditions like hemorrhoids, ulcers or other bleeding disorders.
  • Parasite in the body.
  • Blood donation.
  • After giving birth.

Disease Formation due to Low Iron:

  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive menstrual flow (menorrhagia)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Hemorrhoids

 flora-vit

Top 12 Vegetarian Food Sources to Combat Iron Deficiency

Over the years working at many Health Food Stores and learning about how companies are creating products (supplements) that are suitable for vegetarians has taught me a few things about getting iron from plant sources.

As mentioned about foods that contain high Vitamin A and C can help increase iron absorption. Therefore choosing foods that has both the above vitamins as well as iron is crucial for vegetarians. Or adding Vitamin A and C rich foods with iron rich foods can also combat any deficiency problems.

Ayurvedic or Nutritious way of making food supports iron absorption from foods. Eating fermented foods such as sourdough, idli and dosa where the grains and lentils are soaked and fermented assists with iron absorption. Fermented foods contain lactic acid that is beneficial for iron absorption. Cooking leafy greens uncovered and in a cast iron pan will also make iron available from these foods. Ayurveda also recommended eating husked grains and lentils for iron absorption. Adding Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables such as lemon, lime, green chilies and tomatoes when eating lentils, beans and pea is important for iron absorption.

My top favourite iron rich foods from vegetarian sources are –

Curry Leaves:  Curry leaves are a rich source of iron and folic acid. Curry leaves naturally contain both vitamin A and C which can increase iron absorption. The vitamin and mineral composition if this herb makes it a perfect food for hair growth, skin health and helps keep anaemia at bay. South Indian cuisine adds curry leaves to many of their foods. The

Cilantro Leaves:  Like curry leaves cilantro leaves are also high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Iron. Therefore beneficial to combat iron deficiency. Cilantro stems and roots are also highly beneficial as they are dense in nutrients. My raisin chutney recipe has many favourable ingredients to overcome iron deficiency. The recipe is shared with the members of Ayurvedic Culinary Program members in module 1.

Parsley Leaves: Similar to curry leaves and cilantro leaves, parsley too contain iron, Vitamin A and C. This herbs is a major detoxifier and supports the kidney functions.

Moringa Leaves: Popularly known as drumstick, moringa is valued for nutrient density.  Studies have shown that Moringa leaf has exceptionally high iron content. 100g (3.5oz) of beef liver contains about 10 mg iron, pork liver about 10-20 mg and moringa leaf contains 28 gram of iron per 100 gram. Therefore moringa leaf is used to treat malnourishment in many third world countries. Moringa is very popular in South India, Bangladesh and Sri Lankan cuisine. Both the leaves and the stems (also known as drumstick) is used in many dishes.

Beets: Both beet root and beet greens are amazing for nutrition. Beet greens contains Vitamin A, C, copper as well as Iron. Therefore it becomes a great source of absorbent iron.

 Tomatoes:  Tomatoes contain Vitamin A, C, iron and copper – all of the favourable nutrients for iron absorption. Sun dried tomatoes contain the most bio available form of iron. 100 grams of sun dried tomatoes contain approximately 9 mg of iron. When sun dried not available I like to add skinned and deseeded tomatoes to my curry’s and salad’s.

 Pomegranate: Dietary intake of pomegranate including the seeds and the skin is extremely beneficial for health. Pomegranate contains iron, protein as well fiber. Many cultures instinctively love adding pomegranate to their diet to combat iron deficiency anemia.  

 Apricot: Apricots are rich in Vitamin A, C, Copper and Iron – therefore it is an ideal food for iron absorption.  Dried apricots are the best way to have iron all year round and they are rich sources of fiber.

 Blackstrap Molasses: Blackstrap molasses is another rich source non-heme iron. A tablespoon of this food provides approximately 3.5 mg of iron which is approximately 19 percent of the daily recommended amount of iron for adults. Black strap molasses is sometimes taken in conjunction with Kefir to combat various health conditions.

 Amaranth: Grains such as amaranth, quinoa and rye are all great sources of iron. Half cup of amaranth contains approximately 9 mg of iron. Ensure grains are presoaked in water or sprouted before consumption to reduce phytic acid.

 Mung Beans: All lentils and beans contain phytic acid which may inhibit the absorption of iron. Therefore presoaking them for couple hours to overnight can ensure elimination of this phytic acid. Young green mung beans contain 16% of the daily value of the iron consumption needed for adult women.

 Soybeans: Soybean, tofu and tempeh are great sources of non-heme iron. One cup of cooked soy bean contains approximately 8 mg of iron, four ounces of tofu contains 6.4 mg and eight ounces of tempeh contains 4.5 mg of iron.  Soybean or soybean derivatives (tofu and tempeh) are considered superfoods that are high in protein, fiber and micro nutrients. However, consider only non-GMO soybeans or certified organic soybean to avoid GMO. Women with estrogen dominance also reduce intake of soybeans.

 My Top 3 Iron Supplements

 In Canada I feel that the following the one of the best formula’s for iron supplementation. You must ask your primary health care practitioner for the right one for you.

  1. Floravit by Salus
  2. Thorne Research – Citramins with Copper and Iron
  3. Blood Builder by Mega Food

0 2379

This is my new found early morning love! Almond milk mocha with chai spice. This is my own chai spice blend available at Conscious Health website. I also make my own homemade almond milk. The ones that are store bought does not taste as good and contains tapioca starch, calcium carbonate, potassium citrate, lecithin and natural flavour. I would rather take 5 minutes and make my own. Especially since I own a Vitamix. I also add other amazing ingredients to my almond milk. Soon I will share this recipe too.

I am sharing the benefits of the ingredients below before I share my recipe. Please do not add coffee and make it your own hot chocolate if you are avoiding caffeine.

Cacao: This world renowned food in its original form is healthy and nutrient dense. In its raw form cacao is rich in antioxidants and minerals such as, magnesium, chromium, iron, zinc, copper. It has amazing heart health benefits, aids weight loss and depression. Cacao is a bitter substance that can help fight blood sugar imbalances. Cacao is an excellent source of anti-depressant phenethylamine (PEA) molecule. 

Almond Milk: This dairy free milk option is prepared from almonds. Almonds are lower in fat compared to dairy, but high in energy. 1 cup of almond milk has 40 calories, calcium and potassium. Almonds contains Vitamin E, B2, Proteins, and Good fats. It contains minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.

Chai Spice Blend: Conscious Health Chai Spice blend contain cinnamon, cardamom, clove, bay leaf and ginger. All of these spices have superior health benefit properties. Together they improve circulation, reduces body pain and aches and strengthens the immune system.

Links to shop for the ingredients:

Cacao

Medjool Dates

Organic Instant Coffee

Coconut Oil

Chai Spice Blend

Just try this recipe!!

My Homemade Almond Milk Hot Mocha
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup almond milk (I make mine at home)
  2. 1 cup spring water or filtered water
  3. 1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs
  4. 1 teaspoon organic instant coffee
  5. 2 dates
  6. ½ teaspoon vanilla
  7. ¼ teaspoon chai spice mix
  8. 1 teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil
  9. pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Freshly grind the raw cacao.
  2. In a high speed blender add all of the above ingredients but the coconut oil.
  3. Pour into a cup and stir in the coconut oil.
Conscious Health http://conscioushealth.net/

Ayurvedic Twist to Date Based Protein Balls or Energy Balls

Today I am sharing an Ayurvedic twist to a Western quick-fix recipe for weight loss, energy boost and high protein. This recipe will give you a blast of nutrient supply that is rich in protein, fiber and good dietary fats. This is your usual date based protein balls or protein bites that you will find different variations in many blogs. This recipe is special due to three interesting ingredients I have added – Ayurvedic spices such as cardamom, cinnamon and ginger, rose water to add flavour as well as cooling effect and lastly raisins from which grape seed extract is derived.

The recipes is amazing to promote bone density, strengthen heart health, loose weight (in combination with a healthy diet), improve mood, reduce depression, balance hormone and provide energy.

The rest of the ingredients are very commonly used in other protein balls or energy balls such as fiber rich flax and chia seeds, coconut and cacao nibs or cocoa nibs.

Dates: Dates are amazing source of natural sugar, fiber and minerals such as potassium, calcium and zinc.

Munakka Raisin: Contains iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese and selenium. Extremely beneficial for weight loss, acidity and bone health.

Almonds: High in biotin, Vitamin E, manganese, copper, Vitamin B2, molybdenum and magnesium. They are rich source of dietary fat and fiber has benefits for brain, vision and heart health. Amazing for weight loss.

Hemp Seeds: Contains good fats that promote heart health as well as protein that contains 20 amino acids. Hemp seeds are rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. It is also rich in Vitamin A, D, E, B2, B3 and B6.

Dried Coconut: Contains manganese, potassium, copper, selenium and calcium all amazing for bone and blood health.

Flaxseeds: A high fiber seed that also rich in protein. Nutrients present in flaxseeds are B1, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium. Assist in weight loss.

Chia seeds: Like flaxseeds chia is also rich in dietary fiber, fats and proteins. It contains calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Chia seeds are beneficial in type 2 diabetes, heart health and improves performance in sports.

Cacao Nibs: Rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, magnesium, potassium and iron. Assists with hormonal mood swings and depression.

Matcha Green Tea: Boosts memory, metabolism, weight loss, and increase endurance. Assist in cancer prevention and contains many anti-aging properties

Rosewater: Natural anti-inflammatory, powerful mood enhancer and has a cooling effect.

Ayurvedic Protein Balls for Weight Loss
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Ingredients
  1. Medjool Dates – 1 cup (deseeded and presoaked in water)
  2. Munaka Raisins – 1 tablespoon (keep the seed and presoak in water)
  3. Almonds – ¼ cup (presoaked) or use ¼ cup of almond meal
  4. Hemp seeds – 1 tablespoon (keep 1 teaspoon from this away for garnish)
  5. Dried coconut – 1 tablespoon
  6. Cardamom, ground – ½ teaspoon
  7. Cinnamon, ground – ½ teaspoon
  8. Ginger, ground – ¼ teaspoon
  9. Nutmeg, ground – a pinch
  10. Flaxseeds, whole – 1 tablespoon
  11. Black chia seeds, whole – 1 tablespoon
  12. Cacao or cocoa nibs, raw – 2 tablespoon
  13. Coconut oil, cold pressed – 1 tablespoon or as needed
  14. Match green tea, powder – 2 teaspoon
  15. Rosewater – 1 tablespoon
Instructions
  1. Presoak dates, raisins and almonds separately in water overnight or in hot water for an hour.
  2. Dry the almonds and keep the skin on.
  3. Mix flax, chia, almonds, hemp and coconut together and grind them in a spice or coffee grinder. Note this can be made in a larger batch to use later when making more date protein balls.
  4. Coat your hands and the chopper container with coconut oil.
  5. Deseed the dates, add raisins and use a chopper to make them into a paste.
  6. Put this mixer in a large bowl and add the flax mixture.
  7. Use your hands to mix everything together.
  8. Add the spices, 1 teaspoon of the matcha green tea and rose water in the mixture.
  9. Using the palm of your hands make small balls with the mixture. Ensure palm was coated with coconut oil.
  10. Garnish with rest of the matcha green tea and hemp.
Notes
  1. Make the balls small size (up to 20 grams each)
  2. Eat no more than 2 a day to reduce sugar cravings.
  3. Add peanut or almond butter instead of almonds when using it after workout.
  4. Use black raisins if munakka is not available.
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