Step aside, tofu, tempeh, and seitan. There’s a new meatless-meal staple that’s making our mouths water.

Jackfruit is a high grade anti-oxidant owing to dense concentration of vitamin C. It strengthens immune function and protects from could, cold, flu, infections and critical conditions like Cancer and tumours.

Jackfruit is a powerhouse of energy. It can lend a quick boost of energy without disturbing the sugar levels in the body significantly.

Potassium controls sodium, maintains the  electrolyte balance along with regulating muscle function. All these roles make potassium a very healthy food for arresting high blood pressure and maintaining health of your heart.

The high fiber content in Jackfruit aids healthy digestion and an effective excretion which keeps the gastrointestinal tract clean and healthy.

Jackfruit contains dietary fiber that reduces the effects of toxin in the colon and protect from colon cancer. Additionally its constipation preventing properties prevent piles.

Jackfruit is a rich source Vitamin A and its equivalents that protect eyes from infections, improve eye sight and prevent vision related medical problems .

The anti-oxidant properties and high water content of Jackfruit keeps skin healthy, moisturized and reduces the wrinkles and dryness retaining the youthful texture of the skin.

The Jackfruit root has been found to be an effective remedy for asthma symptoms.

Jackfruit maintains good bone health with high calcium content and increases its density by reducing the calcium loss owing to healthy potassium content.

Jackfruit alleviates anemia by adding iron and increasing the iron absorption with Vitamin C  in the body. Other minerals in it improve the quality of blood.

Jackfruit comes from the mulberry family. It has thorny projections outside and soft flesh inside which is  intensely sweet and delicious in taste. It is typically found in South East Asia and finds its origins in India. Thailand and Vietnam are the largest producers and exporters of this fruit. Jackfruit is found in many varieties across countries and continents and is classified based on the softness of its flesh.

Jackfruit’s flesh is very high in fiber content. The taste and texture makes it a great fruit for jams, chutneys, candies, cakes and other sweet preparations.  Unripe raw jackfruit is used in savoury dishes and is cooked in gravies and spicy curries. The texture of unripe jackfruit is like mutton and so is its taste when cooked in spices which makes it popular amongst vegans and non-vegans alike. The seeds of Jackfruit are also eaten in boiled form as a snack in some countries.

It is a healthy fruit with almost no fats but high energy. The taste and preparations make it a delectable fruit which is easy to include in the meal plan. Unfortunately many countries get only canned jackfruit stored in sugar syrup or brine which is not as healthy as out-of-tree fruit. But this fact should not keep you from eating and enjoying this gorgeous fruit even if it is out of the can.

Scientific name: Artocarpus heterophyllus

Nutritional Value of Jackfruit:

It contains high amount of nutrient like vitamin, minerals, electrolytes, phytonutrients, carbohydrate, fiber, fat and protein.  Jackfruit is a good source of calorie but contains no cholesterol or saturated fats.

Jackfruit is rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B5 content in Jackfruit fulfills about 25% of our daily requirement. Apart from Vitamin B5 Jackfruit is also a rich source of  Vitamin C, Magnesium and Potassium. The fat content of Jackfruit is very low at just about 0.64 grams. Though water is not a nutrient but it is pertinent to mention that Jackfruit is made up 80% water.

Health Benefits of Jackfruit:

Jackfruit contains high amount of carbohydrate and calorie that provides energy instantly. It is rich in antioxidants which protect from cancer, ageing and degenerative disease. Due to rich antioxidants it is good for eye sight and protects from conditions like cataract and macular degeneration. It is a good source of potassium which maintains fluid and electrolyte level in balance. Also it improves bone and skin health.

1. Optimizes Immune function:

Anti-oxidants are required by the body for scavenging free radicals. These are produced when oxygen reacts with certain molecules and kick starts a chain reaction which damages cell membranes and even DNA.

These free radicals have been associated with natural processes like ageing, skin wrinkling,  increased vulnerability to infections and diseases and more serious conditions like cancer and tumours. Vitamin C is a natural anti-oxidant but since it is water soluble and is not found in our bodies, you need to consume it through dietary sources.

Jackfruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C with a high content of 13.8 mg per 100 grams. Studies have shown that vitamin C  is a better anti-oxidant than compounds like Methanol and Ethanol. This makes vitamin C very effective against the free radicals in the body. The purification of our body by ridding it of free radicals  increases immune system function. It increases immunity to protect against common diseases like cough, cold and flu. It has also been found to form a strong resistance against infections.

2. High Energy Source:

If you are looking at quick energy boost than very few fruits come close to Jackfruit. Jackfruit contains high amount of carbohydrate and calorie but hardly any companion fat. It contains a healthy amount of simple sugar like fructose and sucrose that are easily digested by our bodies. The sugar in Jackfruit is  not only easy to digest but also comes from a category called “Slowly Available glucose” or SAG. This releases the glucose in our body in a restrained manner and therefore reduces the glycemic index of Jackfruit.

In simple words, diabetic people suffering from high sugar levels and sugar spikes can enjoy this deliciously sweet fruit without worrying about the glucose levels. However, if Jackfruit is regular part of your diet than make sure you add some physical activity to your routine to aid the digestion.

3. Maintains Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular health:

Potassium is one of the most important components that regulate blood pressure. Our body needs about 4700 milligrams of Potassium in a day. Optimum balance of potassium is key to controlling the right amount of sodium in our body. Potassium deficiency can make your sodium levels spiral out of control leading to substantial damage to heart and the arteries. Apart from this functionality, potassium is responsible for coordinating and maintaining muscle function which includes heart muscles as well.

Jackfruit contains good amount of potassium which is about 10% of our daily requirement. The ideal levels of  potassium is required to maintain fluid level i.e. to balance electrolyte also. All these different functions of potassium helps in maintaining ideal blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack.

4. Improves Digestion:

When you open up a Jackfruit and take a look at its flesh, it clearly shows a lot of soft fiber. This fiber is not just for show but actually does convert itself into important and significant amount of roughage. Jackfruit has 1.5 grams of roughage per 100 grams of serving which is considered excellent. Dietary fiber  makes for a laxative which adds bulk to your stools and soften them up. Both of these factors make it easy for your body to push them through the Anal passage. Thus it improves digestion and prevents constipation.

Jackfruit contains both soluble and insoluble fiber with soluble content of 25% of the total fiber. Soluble fiber is the one which is digested in our body and provides energy whereas insoluble just passes through the Gastrointestinal tract. The insoluble fiber actually adds bulk to stools and make for an expeditious exit. It keeps the tracts clean and reduce a build up in the intestines.

5. Colon Cancer and Piles:

Colon cancer is caused when there is damage to colon at cellular level and these altered cells continue to divide rapidly even when there is no requirement of new cells. Eventually they destroy the normal cells and also tend to travel to other parts of the body through blood stream. Colon cancer appears in its early stages as polyps in the colon lining and take a full blown cancerous form as it progresses.

Fruits like Jackfruit that are high on anti-oxidants help to clean toxins from the colon, keeping it in a good and healthy shape. Though it does not treat the cancer itself  but can definitely help in reducing the risk of developing this condition.

It also helps in alleviating and preventing piles. Piles are Haemorrhoids in the anal area and are basically made of  swollen blood vessels. It is a very painful condition and critical cases experience bleeding and excruciating pain while passing stools. One of the main causes of Piles is Chronic Constipation. Jackfruit prevents constipation due to its high fiber content and can help alleviating the symptoms.

6. Vitamin A for Vision:

Jackfruit contains Vitamin A and its equivalent in form of Beta Carotene and Lutein Zeaxanthin. Beta Carotene gets synthesized and converts itself into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an important nutrient  for eye health. It is an anti-oxidant that improves the vision and protects the eye from free radicals. It is also known to protect eyes from bacterial and viral infections by strengthening the mucous membranes that create a film on the cornea .

Lutein Zeaxanthin in Jackfruit is also known for its anti-oxidant properties that serve your eye sight effectively and impressively. It protects the eyes from intense and harmful  light waves like ultraviolet rays. This component is also considered monumental in improving your eye sight in dim lit and low light arenas. It is highly effective in preventing degeneration of the retina and reduce the risk of cataract and macular degeneration.

7. Skin Health and Ageing:

Ageing is caused due to natural factors like increase in age. But due to pollution, UV radiations and unhealthy lifestyle ageing is knocking at an early age and  is progressing faster than natural. The main causes of ageing are free radicals produced in our body due to high oxidative stress caused due to pollution.  Antioxidant rich diet including fruits like Jackfruit have proven to destroy these free radicals to slow the ageing process.

Eating Jackfruit also keeps skin moisturized and well hydrated due to high level of water content in it. Water reduces dryness and lend a supple appearance to your facial skin. This further reduces the light wrinkles and fine lines on skin making it look younger and glowing.

8. Asthma:

With an increase in pollution and weakened immunity, number of asthma cases being reported are increasing every year. Jackfruit has been proved beneficial to asthma patients. Asthma shows symptoms like extreme difficulty in breathing, wheezing and accompanying panic attacks. Like all COPD diseases, asthma needs to be managed and can be reversed.

Jackfruit and its extracts are now being explored to treat asthma and controlling its symptoms. Boiling the root of Jackfruit and consuming it is known to alleviate the symptoms of asthma.

9. Bone Health:

Jackfruit contains high amount of calcium which strengthens and promotes healthy bone health. Other bone related illnesses like Arthritis, Osteoporosis can also be managed and prevented with regular seasonal consumption of Jackfruit. High potassium in Jackfruit further decreases the loss of calcium through kidney thereby increasing calcium density in bone and strengthening it.

10. Anemia:

Anemia is a condition which is defined by reduction of red blood cells (RBC) or Haemoglobin in blood below the acceptable  minimum levels. This leads slow transportation of oxygen in the body leading to bouts of lethargy, constant tiredness, pale complexion and in some cases blacking out.

Jackfruit contains iron which can combat the deficiency of RBCs in the blood. The vitamin C content further enables an effective absorption of iron in the body. It is said that all iron that you get from dietary sources can pass right through your body without being absorbed if there is no Vitamin C in the body. Other minerals like copper and magnesium in Jackfruit improve the quality of blood.

Unless you’ve spent time scouring Indian rain forests or haunting the aisles of Asian markets, you may not have heard of jackfruit. This large, tropical superfruit is causing excitement in vegan and nonvegan circles, mostly because of its consistency and flavour once it’s been cooked. If coaxed with the right flavours, especially barbecue and Asian sauces, jackfruit mimics the taste and consistency of pulled pork or carne asada – if that’s your “thing”. Jackfruit is also all natural. You can find jackfruit in just about any Asian market, but the key is to buy canned, green unripe jackfruit in water, not in brine, and without preservatives. Ripe jackfruit has a different taste altogether, much like chewing gum, and is far too sweet for cooking. To prepare, cook it a bit, then douse in your favourite sauce before cooking a little longer. Since jackfruit takes on the flavour of whatever it’s cooked with, you can use just about any sauce, but those with a hint of sugar are best for a crispy, golden brown finish.

Amazing facts about Jackfruit:

Jackfruit is the largest tree borne fruit in the world which can weight from a mere 3 kilograms to 36 Kilograms! A full mature jackfruit can have a length of 92 cm and width that extends to 51 cm.

The wood of Jackfruit is used in making musical instruments, furniture and even in house construction. the distinct colour of Monks’ robes in South East Asia comes from the dye of this wood.

Jackfruit is also known to grow from the underground roots in some rare cases! In such situations the fruit actually cracks the ground over it and emerges outside.

Jackfruit is a wonderful fruit with wonderful health benefits. Its juicy sweet taste becomes even better when you know about the health benefits that you are going to derive from it.

Thank you for reading! Stay healthy, keep fit, and love being vegan!

Advertisements

How does Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium benefit our bodies ?

All three contain chemicals that help promote muscle relaxation and assist in nerve transmission. They help maintain a healthy blood pressure. People suffering from hypertension are highly recommended to include foods rich in potassium in their diet – Potassium (K) is also vital for other body functions that include proper functioning of the nervous system, kidneys, heart, and the musculoskeletal system. Potassium deficiency, or hypokalemia, can cause fatigue, problems in muscle coordination, weakness, etc. Foods high in potassium are beneficial for diabetic patients, as they help in proper functioning of the pancreas. Very high levels of potassium, or hyperkalemia, can cause health problems like kidney failure, so everything in moderation. Fresh fruits and vegetables make some of the best foods that are high in potassium.

A comprehensive list of such foods is given below:

•Apricots
•Avocado
•Bananas
•Beet
•Broccoli
•Brussels Sprouts
•Cantaloupe
•Carrots
•Cauliflower
•Chickpeas
•Dates
•Figs
•Kiwi Fruit
•Beans
•Honeydew Melons
•Nectarines
•Oranges
•Pears (fresh)
•Peanuts
•Baked Potatoes
•Prunes
•Raisins
•Spinach
•Tomatoes
•Canned Sauce
•Winter Squash

Though Calcium (Ca) is necessary for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, it also helps to regulate blood pressure. It also helps in healing of wounds, and in producing key enzymes that aid in digestion and metabolism. Adequate intake of calcium is a must for people of all age groups. The amount of calcium required by the body, increases with increasing age. As we grow older, our bodies need more calcium for maintaining strong bones. There are no specific symptoms associated with calcium deficiency. Just like with any other mineral, the intake of calcium should not exceed beyond our body’s requirement of the mineral.

Here’s a list of common foods that are rich sources of calcium:

•Almonds
•Beans
•Brazil nuts
•Broccoli
•Celery
•Collard greens
•Flaxseeds
•Instant oats
•Kale
•Kelp
•Oranges
•Papaya
•Sesame seeds
•Spinach
•Swiss chard
•Tahini

Magnesium (Mg) is an essential mineral that plays an important role in metabolism. Many people are unaware of the significance of magnesium and hence, suffer from health problems related to magnesium deficiency. Almost 300 bio-chemical reactions take place in the body with the help of magnesium. Magnesium is necessary for production of energy in the body. It also helps to regulate blood pressure in a natural way. Magnesium plays a key role in protein synthesis, and synthesis of enzymes. Symptoms of low magnesium, include heart palpitation, fatigue, fibromyalgia, kidney stones, osteoporosis, tics and twitches, diabetes, etc. To get the required amounts of magnesium, one should consume raw food rather than processed food.

Given here is a list of common foods that are rich in magnesium:

•Black beans
•Broccoli
•Peanuts
•Soy milk
•Spinach
•Tofu
•Whole grains
•Whole wheat bread

Eat well, do good and stay vegan.

Artichoke

Since ancient times, the artichoke has been used for liver and gallbladder conditions, ‘cleaning’ the blood, as well as the bladder. The Egyptians highly prized it as a health food and Plinius described it as the ‘food for the rich’ because of the health problems contributed to an excessive lifestyle choice in foods there were and are high in unhealthy animal fats that led to liver illnesses (such as cirrhosis), gout and a general run down condition.

The artichoke is very high in fiber, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and other trace elements important for a balanced system. It is known to positively help poor liver function as well as lower the blood sugar, improve the appetite and digestion, is diuretic and may help some migraine conditions (most especially those caused by toxins in the blood), as it helps the body rid itself of excess water and moves toxins. Artichoke also has the added side effect of an improved skin luminosity.

In a poor diet of excessive drinking (most especially strong alcoholic drinks), high red meat and fat consumption, the artichoke can boost the liver’s ability to regenerate its cells.

The liver’s main function is the metabolic transformation of nutrients from the food we eat. It also detoxifies certain poisons. An over stressed liver obviously cannot function properly, which among other things results in poor assimilation of nutrients and increased toxins in the blood. This will eventually adversely affect the entire body causing numerous ailments that are often only symptomatically treated. What is amazing are the numbers of people who abuse their livers and hence their bodies, think they eat well, yet are suffering from a form of malnutrition – a word one associates with poverty and third world countries.

Artichokes only have about 25 calories. They are excellent for weight loss and maintaining optimum health. Artichokes are extremely filling and two or three of them will suffice for a complete meal with amazingly no fat, providing tons of fiber, and an abundance of vitamins.

Do buy organic when in season, they are relatively well priced. Artichokes are easy to prepare, you can steam steam them and serve with a little apple cider vinegar, or fresh lemon juice and olive oil. They are also superb with numerous plant based dips. Anti-aging is delicious, cheap and healthy!

~ Active Vegan ~

Got the facts on milk?

For years we have understood that abstaining from red meat is an important way to avoid disease, and tread lighter on the planet. Growing research now shows that avoiding dairy products is just as key, after all, it does come from the same cow, and it certainly isn’t natural. 

Got the facts on milk? 

The Journal of the American Medical Association – Pediatrics published an editorial that might surprise you. The authors, Dr. David Ludwig and Dr. Walter Willett – both of whom are physicians and professors at the Harvard Medical School – strongly question the consumption of cows’ milk, even by children.

Quoting their article, “Dairy milk evolved to promote the growth of grazing animals at high risk for predation when small. The consequences of lifetime human exposure to the growth factors in milk have not been well studied. Milk consumption increases serum concentrations of insulin-like growth factor 1, an anabolic hormone linked to prostate and other cancers. In addition, modern industrial methods maintain dairy cows in active milk production throughout successive pregnancies, resulting in a milk supply with high levels of reproductive hormones.”

They cite a large body of research to support their claims. Adequate calcium, they point out, is easily obtained from other sources. They note that dairy consumption is not protective against bone fractures and that it is strongly correlated with prostate cancer. As Drs. Ludwig and Willett say, we’d do much better getting our nutrients from diets that include green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and adequate protein.

None of this is news. That this advice is appearing in one of the world’s preeminent pediatrics  journals highlights its importance.

Safeguarding personal health, of course, is not the only good reason to avoid dairy products.

Dairy cattle, like all cattle, are surprisingly heavy polluters.

Cows belch a lot of methane ¨C by most estimates 100 to 200 liters per day. Because methane is some 34 to 86 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (depending mostly on whether one counts its effects over 100 or 20 years, respectively), this adds up to a huge impact on the climate. In fact, when one does the arithmetic, this amounts to about the same global warming effect, per cow, as a car.

Cows also produce a lot of manure. According to the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food, better than 2 cubic feet of the stuff a day. Besides polluting our waterways and our drinking water, this manure is responsible for enormous amounts of ammonia pollution. Indeed, the majority of all ammonia pollution comes from cows. Much of this becomes nitrous oxide in the atmosphere, a gas which, at 300 times the effect of CO2, dwarfs even methane in its global warming potential molecule for molecule.

There is also indirect pollution involved in dairy production. Most important among those is the effects of corn and soy production. The great majority of corn and soy in North America and elsewhere is grown to feed animals. This is incredibly inefficient all around and cows are just about as inefficient as inefficient can be. According to Vaclav Smil’s careful analysis, some 95% of the protein taken in by cattle is lost to humans. We get only 5% of what we fed them back. This is made all the worse since it requires enormous amounts of fertilizers and pesticides to produce all of that corn and soy. Much of the fertilizer runs off into water ways and creates dead zones in lakes and bays and even the Gulf of Mexico.

All in all, dairy, like other animal agriculture, is highly polluting and highly wasteful. The fact is that dairy, like beef, is among the worst polluters, animal per animal, on earth.

And then, there’s the plight of the cattle themselves. Like humans, cows have to give birth in order to produce milk. So, the cows are artificially inseminated once each year. Nine months later, a calf is born. Almost always, 24 to 48 hours after that, the calf is taken away. This causes great emotional pain both for the mother and for her offspring. Former cattle rancher Helen Weston describes how the mothers react: “The cow is an exceptionally loving and gentle creature. She cries for days when her calf is taken from her. It is a pitiful sound, a pitiful sound.”

Female calves are usually allowed to live. She’ll be raised to be another dairy cow. If the calf is male, however, he may well be quickly killed. Or he may be raised for beef. More likely, though, he’ll be sent to a veal farm instead. At the veal farm, he’ll probably be fed an iron-deficient gruel so that the meat will be pale.  He’ll likely be chained by the neck in a tiny stall – with no room to walk or even turn. At 16 weeks of age, he will be sent to slaughter. The veal industry would not exist were it not for the ‘surplus’ (i. e., male) dairy calves.

Dairy cows are bred to produce unnatural amounts of milk. Annual milk production per cow has more than doubled since the 1940s. The cows routinely suffer calcium deficiencies and painful mastitis. And, while their natural lives would span some 25 years, they are sent to slaughter before their fifth birthday. They become hamburger and “processed” beef.

We don’t need dairy. It does a great deal more harm than good. So, eat like the doctors from Harvard suggest. Adopt a high quality diet filled with beans and grains and leafy greens and nuts and seeds. Your body will be better off. The world will be better off. And fewer cows will suffer so.

~ Active Vegan ~

Whole Grains.

Stocking a healthy vegan pantry has never been easier than it is right now!

With a full on vegan pantry in play and the right mind set, you simply cannot go wrong! Remember to give your palette a couple of weeks to adjust and get used to not consuming animal products. Once your palettes have been ‘reset’ to clean and healthy whole foods, you shall never look back again!

Grains play an integral part of healthy health, and there are so many healthy whole grains out there that we assume not everyone has heard of or tried as yet!

This list may not be a surprise to someone who is already vegan however, it can be a great resource to someone who is about to climb on board the vegan train! It is important that you incorporate a healthy balance of vegetables, legumes, fruit, nut, seed, herbs and spices, and off course grains into your diet for optimum health.

Having the right and basic ingredients in your pantry means you can cook a healthy meal, hopefully in a short time after you come home from a busy and tiring workday. Being vegan is not difficult but it takes a little effort on our part, especially when we are starting out. A vegan pantry does not contain any animal products, yet you can make wonderful meals with what you have on hand.

The below list is a basic list which offers a wonderful variety of grains for you to try!

Whole Grains:

* Whole Wheat Couscous
* Brown Rice
* Quinoa (Pronounced Keen-wah)
* Amaranth
* Barley
* Oats
* Millet
* Spelt Flour:
* Whole Wheat
* Wheat Pastry flour (Good substitute for Maida or while flour)
* Teff Flour
* Soy Flour
* Besan (Gram flour)
* Rice Flour
* Beans flour (Any beans)
* Grains flour
* Semolina (Rava)

With these additions to your pantry you can make so very many dishes, everything from baked goods (bread etc), to pasta, pizza, pilaf, soups, stir fries, breakfasts, salads, burgers, desserts, breakfast, lunch and dinners, every dish can be veganized and it is very possible to live a healthy, cruelty free life every day!

Why Are Whole Grains So Healthy?

Whole-grain foods keep all parts of the grain.  Processed foods keep only the part called the endosperm, which is the flour portion of the grain. That makes whole grain foods better sources of:

various breads, whole grains, wheat

  • B Vitamins
  • Vitamin E
  • selenium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Fiber

These and other nutrients are lost when the grain is refined for white rice or white flour.  Even though some vitamins and minerals are added back to refined grains after they go through the milling process, they still are not as good as the original.

Eating More Whole-Grain Foods:

To include more whole-grain foods in your diet:

  • Add barley or wild rice to soups, stews, and casseroles.
  • Choose:
    • oatmeal or another whole-grain cereal over corn flakes or other low-fiber cereals.
    • whole-wheat or whole-grain breads instead of bread made from refined flour.
      • Check the package to make sure the word “whole” is associated with the first item in the ingredient listing.
    • popcorn or whole-grain crackers instead of snacks made from refined grains.
    • brown rice instead of refined white rice.
    • whole-grain pasta instead of regular pasta.

How to Know If a Product Is “Whole” Grain

Remember that whole grain foods cannot always be identified by colour or name, such as multi-grain or wheat. Look for the “whole” grain listed first in the ingredient list on nutrition labels, such as:

  • whole wheat
  • whole oats
  • brown rice.

What the Research Says

The benefits of eating more whole grains are becoming clearer as scientists continue to examine the evidence.  Researchers analyzed several studies totalling 149,000 participants on the relation between whole grains and heart disease.  The findings showed a consistent association between eating at least 2 1/2 servings of whole grains a day and good heart health.  The health benefits, researchers found, include a lower rate of:

In addition, the American Institute of Cancer Research suggests that diets rich in whole grains can reduce the incidence of certain types of cancer. Whole grains contain nutrients and compounds that can protect cells from damage that could lead to cancer. These include:

Eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans could also eliminate  meat and processed meat in our diet –  foods that are linked to increased cancer risk.

 Points to Remember:

  • Eating at least 2 ½ servings of whole grains a day can be good for your heart. Balance these out with a variety of other vegan food group options.
  • Choose oatmeal or other whole-grain pasta, cereals, and breads instead of refined products.
  • Look for the “whole” grain listed first in the ingredient list on nutrition labels, such as:
    • whole wheat
    • whole oats
    • brown rice.

Unless you have celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity or another reason to cut back, you don’t want to miss out on the health benefits of whole grains. You’re getting fiber, a healthy plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals and a variety of phytochemicals that will improve your health.

Whole grains help digestion, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, can help weight control, redistribute fat, make you feel full, regulate blood sugar, some grains even deliver calcium and vitamin C, they are a jolly good source of B Vitamins, they deliver essential minerals, may even reduce asthma risk, they cut markers of inflammation, may even lower cancer risk, they protect your teeth and gums, and may even help you live longer.

So go ahead, enjoy your grains! We would love to hear how you make use of them! Do share for everyone’s benefit of health!

~ Active Vegan ~

Benefit from seeds!

Quality of health increases through regular consumption of seeds.

Seed are not just excellent for birds, they benefit humans tremendously, and they are a superfood source that you really do want to incorporate into your daily meal plan!  You can eat them in larger quantities as a main course, grind them into butters,  flax seed can be used as a healthy egg substitute (1 t flax to 3 part water),  you can pop them into smoothies,  drinks and make desserts with them,  sprinkle them over any dish including salads and sandwiches, or use them in smaller quantities as garnishes for other foods. They’re inexpensive, convenient, and tasty. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the most commonly eaten seeds:

Flax seeds: Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, zinc, iron, calcium, and Vitamin E, and are a great addition to your diet. Newer food products that may contain them include cereals and crackers, but you can buy plain flax seeds as well. Flax seeds must be chewed thoroughly though to get the benefits. Since it’s difficult to completely chew this small seed, a better option is to grind them in a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder. Once they’re ground, you can add them to smoothies, bread dough, baked goods, and hot cereals. You can also use them as a healthy egg substitute in cooking and baking (1 t ground flax to 3 part water = 1 egg).

Chia seeds: great omega 3 to omega 6 ratio at slightly more 6 than 3, ALA, anti-inflammatory, laxative, soothing for the digestive tract calcium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, protein, fiber, different varieties vary quite a bit in nutritional make up. Great for breakfast, desserts and smoothies!

Hemp seeds: Commonly thought of as a “hippie” food, hemp has some significant health benefits. Hemp seeds are rich in protein, calcium, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. While hemp contains trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, one of the compounds found in marijuana , you will not feel any effects by consuming products containing hemp. Stunning form of well rounded protein and amino acids! Versatile to almost every available dish you can think of. Best consumed in it’s raw form.

Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are chock full of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, tryptophan, and iron. They’re also a good source of copper, zinc, and Vitamin K. You can buy prepackaged pumpkin seeds at most supermarkets, or you can make your own. Scoop out the seeds from a pumpkin’s inner cavity, rinse them off and dry them, then roast them for the best flavor.

Sesame seeds: Not just good on bagels or in Asian dishes, sesame seeds can jazz up salads, cereals, and yogurt. This tiny seed is loaded with copper and manganese, and also has plenty of calcium, magnesium, tryptophan, and iron. Toasting sesame seeds really brings out their flavor. Sesame seeds are a surprising source of the bone-building mineral calcium, great news for folks who have trouble tolerating dairy products. And seeds are a rich source of vitamin E. The only drawback: Some seeds are quite high in fat. Sunflower and sesame seeds provide about 80 percent of their calories as fat, although the fat is mostly of the heart-smart unsaturated variety.

Sunflower seeds: You can buy these shelled, but it’s more fun to buy them whole and crack open the hulls. Sunflower seeds are a tremendous source of Vitamin E and are also rich in Vitamin B1. Also a fantastic base for dips!

Seeds are the “eggs” that contain the nutrients needed to nourish the growth of a new plant. So their high nutrient content shouldn’t come as a surprise. What’s surprising is that we generally relegate these nutritional wonders to the occasional snack rather than making them staples of our diet. Adding more seeds to your meals shall strengthen your body as well as nourish your mind.

With their gold mine of healthy minerals and their niacin and folic-acid contents, seeds are an excellent nutrition package. They are among the better plant sources of iron and zinc. In fact, one ounce of pumpkin seeds contains almost twice as much iron as three ounces of skinless chicken breast. And they provide more fiber per ounce than nuts. They are also great  sources of protein.

Edible seeds are an important part of a raw food diet mainly for the essential fatty acids (EFA’s) they contain. EFA’s are polyunsaturated fats that the human body cannot produce, so they must be obtained from our diets. There are two groups of EFA’s; they are omega 3’s and omega 6’s. The omega 3 fatty acids are alpha linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The omega 6 essential fatty acids are linoleic acid (LA), gamalinolenic acid (GLA), and arachidonic acid (AA).

These EFA’s found in seeds balance and regulate energy production, blood circulation, nerve function, inflammation, hormone regulation, recovery from exercise, immune function, cell growth, and much more. A diet high in animal products and processed foods is high in omega 6’s which compete for the same metabolizing enzymes needed by the omega 3’s for assimilation. Most people’s diets don’t contain enough omega 3’s which upsets the important balance required for good health. When omega 6’s are consumed in excess they use up the metabolizing enzymes making them unavailable for omega 3 metabolism, so it makes complete sense to stop consuming ‘animal products’, and up your seed intake for optimum health and balance.

It’s common for people to consume over 20 times more omega 6 than omega 3, and this type of imbalance is associated with significant health issues including heart disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimers, diabetes, mood disorders, arthritis, osteoporosis, inflammation, and obesity. Experts vary in their opinions of the ideal ratio with guidelines ranging anywhere from omega 6 to omega 3 of 4:1 to 1:2. When consuming a well balanced raw food diet including seeds, it should be easy to fall within these guidelines.

Research shows that eating seeds and the EFA’s they contain can elevate mood, improve brain function and development, and build a healthy circulatory system to name just a few. You can now see how including edible seeds in your daily diet shall go a long way in improving your health.

Like nuts, which are actually large seeds, edible seeds are best if soaked before eating, except hemp which does not have enzyme inhibitors. Edible seeds can be put into smoothies, ground and sprinkled over salads, mixed in raw recipes, or blended with citrus juice to make a super healthy salad dressing. These are just a few of the ways to make seeds and their magical EFA’s part of your daily diet.

We would very much love for you to share your recipes and inspirations with us, and to use this platform to share with others in order to encourage everyone on the right track!

https://www.facebook.com/ActiveVegan

~ Active Vegan ~