4 Unexpected Foods That Dehydrate You (and How to Avoid Them)

 Photo Credit:  www.health24.com

Photo Credit: www.health24.com


Dehydration is tricky business. It is experienced in stages, from the annoying nature of mild dehydration to having your life threatened by severe dehydration. The symptoms range from dry mouth and fatigue to vomiting and muscle spasms. It can be due to insufficient water consumption after working out, warm weather, increased stress level, or a medication you are taking.

You might still find yourself dehydrated even if the factors above do not apply to you. The answer might lie in your eating or drinking habits. Some foods require your organs to utilizes a significant amount of water as they process it, causing you to become dehydrated without your realizing it. As such, they require more time to process and extra water to stay fully functioning. Here are the top 4 foods and beverages that lead to dehydration and how to avoid them.

1) Sugary Drinks

The average person drinks quite a bit of sugar every a day in the form of soda, tea, and coffee. What most people don’t realize is that sugar creates an acidic substance in your body that prevents proper enzyme functioning and requires copious amounts of water to process properly, causing your body to crash. While the helping of sugar may satisfy your brain in the moment, you will start experiencing its less desirable impact later in the day. People who realize this about sugar often turn to artificial sugars, but they are not much better. Artificial sugars are difficult to process, making your organs work harder than usual. As such, your organs will utilize large amounts of water during the process, causing dehydration if you are not drinking enough non-sugary drinks.

How to avoid Sugary Drinks?

The best way to avoid sugary drink is finding an alternative. Unfortunately for most people, sugary drinks are addictive. If you try to force yourself to stop, your brain might resist it. One way of weaning yourself off sugar is to begin by replacing it with 100% fruit juice. Whenever you feel thirsty, get your fruit juice pack out and pour it into a glass. Drink it slowly. In a few days, you will develop the habit of drinking fruit juice, which will reduce the unhealthy sugary drink consumption. Once this has happened, begin watering down your juice with half of a glass of juice and half of a glass of water. After a week of this, drink one glass of water with lemon or lime for every glass of watered down juice you drink. Soon enough, you will be ready to replace your fruit juice with 100% water. Congratulations! You did it.

 Photo Credit:  www.dailystar.co.uk

Photo Credit: www.dailystar.co.uk

2) Fried Foods

We all know that fried foods are high in cholesterol and fat, but not many are aware that it causes dehydration. The majority of the fried foods contain large amounts of salt. Salt causes your body dehydrate because it requires large amounts of water to process. The more salt you eat, the more water it requires.

How to avoid Fried Foods?

We most often turn to fried foods in the form of fast food when we are too hungry to find a satisfying, high-carb alternative. The best way to avoid fried food is to plan your daily healthy meals. When you are full or know when your next meal is, you will not look for instant fast foods. Over a period of time, you will drop the fried foods completely because you have developed a healthy eating habit.

3) Popcorn

We all love to watch movies, and we can all admit that the salty, buttery popcorn is our favorite movie-watching indulgence. At this point, you can probably guess why this might cause dehydration: the salt! The theater popcorns contain roughly 550 milligrams of sodium. But take it one step further. Have you ever noticed why your throat become dry during the movie while eating the popcorn? Even if you are drinking soda, you body starts demanding more liquid to satisfy your thirst. Can you guess why? It’s a sugary drink (see above!).

How to avoid Popcorn?

If you are planning to see a movie, prepare yourself for when you will go to the counter to purchase something to eat. Instead of popcorn, look for a salad or sandwich, which are significantly more healthy than popcorn.

4) Coffee

You might think coffee mostly contains liquid, so how it can be the reason for your dehydration? Even if you don’t use sugar in your coffee because of its impact on your hydration, you’re not fully covered yet. Like sugar, the caffeine in your coffee speeds up the dehydration process, causing your body use more water than usual to keep it fully functional.

How to avoid Coffee?

You do not need to give up your coffee completely right away. The first step is to simply cut back. Then, when you’re down to one cup, begin blending decaf coffee in with your regular until you are 100% decaf. And, of course, make sure you are getting your recommended 8 hours of sleep every night!

Dehydration can lead to serious health problems if you are not taking care of your body. Your body needs sufficient amount of water to run its internal functions. Each organ in your body uses a certain amount of water as it processes the food and drinks you consume. A lack of the water may result in slowing down their functioning, along with the other even more concerning symptoms of dehydration. Your best bet is to cut down on the four items above that are the biggest culprits of dehydration, and by drinking plenty of water every day.

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This article was written by Wheeler del Torro, Nutritional Anthropologist & Founder of Seasonality Spices.

4 Foods to Boost Your Memory

 Photo Credit: everydayhealth.com

Photo Credit: everydayhealth.com

For better or worse, everything you eat plays a role in your physiological functioning. It either nurtures or hinders the functioning of our cells and the systems of our bodies. This is why it is so important to eat as many organic and wholesome foods as possible. They are laden with rich nutrient profiles, which bolster the performance of our bodies. Scientific studies have gone so far as to identify the nutrient profiles of foods, helping you to determine which foods to consume if you are looking to target a certain function of the body.

If you are inclined to forgetfulness or amnesia, lack of sleep, high stress levels, and lack of certain nutrients in your body are all playing a contributing role in tampering with your ability to retain information. In order to counter the effects, you will need to adjust your lifestyle and environmental factors. The following four foods are proven to significantly improve your memory:

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate is widely regarded for its delectable taste and mouth-watering aroma. It is also commonly considered to be an excellent mood booster. What is not as frequently recognized is cacao’s scientifically proven brain-boosting compounds. Dark chocolate is laden with antioxidants, caffeine, and flavonoids, which are all memory-boosting agents. Flavonoids, for example, are responsible for improving the learning and memory areas of our brains.

Oranges

It has been scientifically proven that Vitamin C plays an essential role in the functioning of your nervous system, which also plays a contributing role in boosting your memory. You can acquire your daily dose of Vitamin C by eating one medium-sized orange. Vitamin C is considered to contain large traces of antioxidant compounds, which are responsible for protecting your brain cells against free radicals. It also promotes the wellness of your brain, which, in turn, boosts your memory.

Green Tea

Green tea consists of a large number of compounds that are responsible for the nourishment of your brain. Similar to dark chocolate, it contains a high amount of caffeine, which improves memory, focus, and alertness. It also contains L-theanine, which is responsible for boosting the activity of your brain’s neurotransmitter to help you memorize and focus better. It also enhances the frequency of your brain’s alpha waves, which help you to relax without making you feel exhausted. Green tea also contains an abundance of antioxidants and polyphenols, which are responsible for protecting your brain from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Broccoli

A majority of people don’t realize the value of broccoli as a staple diet food, excluding it from their daily meals. As such, they are missing out on the compounds found in broccoli, some of which are proven to significantly improve memory and attention span. Broccoli is laden with a range of powerful antioxidants, which are considered important for the nourishment of your nervous system. Additionally, the vegetable contains large traces of Vitamin K in it, which is responsible for the production of sphingolipids in our brains cells, which strengthens our nervous system. A study shows that taking Vitamin K in abundance is linked with improving your memory.

From Vitamin K to caffeine and antioxidants, there are many routes to a better memory and more nimble mind. Try adding the above foods into your daily diet and for an extended period of time in order to see changes. Struggling with creative ways to eat these foods? Check out the recipes below!


BONUS: CHOCOLATE COVERED CLEMENTINES RECIPE

 Photo Credit: meganscookin.com

Photo Credit: meganscookin.com

Ingredients

3/4 cup vegan bittersweet chocolate

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Coarse grain sea salt

5 clementines, peeled and segmented

Instructions

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt chocolate, stir in allspice and cinnamon. Carefully dip clementine sections until 2/3 of the fruit is covered. Place on baking tray and sprinkle with sea salt. Place in fridge for 1 hour before serving.


BONUS: LEAN GREEN MACHINE SMOOTHIE

 Photo Credit: liveeatlearn.com

Photo Credit: liveeatlearn.com

Ingredients

2 green tea bags

1/3 cups broccoli florets

1/2 cup cucumber

1 tbsp mint leaves

1 green apple

1 banana

1 cup spinach

4 ice cubes

Instructions

Boil a pot of water. Pour out two cups of hot water and steep the two green tea bags for 3–4 minutes.

Combine rest of ingredients in a blender. Pour in green tea and blend until smooth.

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This article was written by Wheeler del Torro, Nutritional Anthropologist & Founder of Seasonality Spices.

5 Millennial Pink Foods That Are Actually Good For You

 Photo Credit:  www.pinterest.com  

Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com 

Millennial pink foods are everywhere. If you’ve gone shopping, scrolled through your social media feed, or if you even just have an internet connection, you have heard something about the millennial pink foods trend. The popularity of the pink food began in 2017 when the New York Magazine wrote an article about it.

There are different ways that millennial pink has appeared, from clothing to women’s hair color, but it’s millennial pink foods that have grabbed pop culture’s imagination. Millennial pink has become a dream food. And, better yet, it has been found that the food items are good for health as well. Here we have a list of the top five most popular millennial pink foods and their effects on our bodies.

BEETS

This earthy vegetable can be a lot of fun to cook with. Its juice can be used for natural pink coloring of any dish, from pilaf to smoothies. Like watermelon, beets have a high concentration of lycopene. What’s more, they also have high concentrations of folate and anthocyanins. Folate is used by the body to make red and white blood cells and to convert the carbohydrates you eat into energy. Expecting mothers who take folate will also protect their developing child from birth defects. Anthocyanins, on the other hand, are used by the body to repair its muscles after workout or injury. They also protect your body from various disease by improving your immune system and reducing inflammation.

WATERMELON

Watermelon is one of the most famous pink food items. It is is used around the world in a variety of forms. It is perfect for hot summer days because you can cut it up and enjoy it as-is, or you can use it as in ingredient in your drinks, salads, meat dishes, and even infused in your ice cream. The health foods industry loves it because of its high concentration of lycopene. Lycopene is a very strong antioxidant that can benefit your blood pressure, skin, heart, flight inflammation and even help to fight diseases such as cancer.

RASPBERRIES

Raspberries are the perfect fruit. Not only are they one of the few fruits that are low on the glycemic index (making them low in sugar and therefore better for your body than their sugary counterparts), they have a high concentration of fiber. These traits make it the perfect fruit for losing or maintaining weight. Eating such a low sugar fruit will help you to maintain your level of energy throughout the day. The addition of fiber into your diet will help to improve your digestion. Between the two, your body will benefit from regulated blood sugar levels and reduced cholesterol levels.

DRAGON FRUIT

The dragon fruit is rapidly gaining popularity not only because it is a pink food but also because it is extremely photogenic. However, the delights that dragon fruit provides do not end there. The fruit also has a rich concentration of Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and fiber, which makes it a delicious and beautiful addition to your diet.

RED GRAPEFRUIT

If you are looking for a new way to help your body defend against colds and flus, consider eating more red grapefruit. It has a rich concentration of vitamin C that will not only boost your immune system but help to delay the signs of aging. It also has a high concentration of pectin that helps to reduce cholesterol and it is good for the GI tract.

As you can see, the Millennial pink foods trend may seem superficial, but each food has high concentrations of vitamins and nutrients that are healthy for your body. Benefits range from improved performance, disease prevention, and weight loss. Below are a few recipes to get you started in working these power foods into your diet.

 

BONUS: MILLENNIAL PINK SMOOTHIE BOWL

Ingredients

1 large dragon fruit, peeled and cut

5 large strawberries cut

1 cup raspberries

1 banana, cut

1 medium beet, peeled and cut

3/4 cup coconut milk yogurt

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1 tablespoon agave

1 teaspoon lime juice

1/2 cup of crushed ice

Instructions

Combine all ingredients into a blender. Blend on high until smooth.

 

BONUS:GRAPEFRUIT WATERMELON SALAD

 Photo Credit:  www.lifeisbutadish.com

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup hazelnuts

2/3 cup water

1/3 cup lime juice

1/2 medium watermelon, cubed

2 small ruby red grapefruit, split into wedges

1/3 cup mint, sliced

Instructions
 Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking tray. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until toasted. Fold the hazelnuts in a towel and rub to remove the skins. Chop them into large pieces.

Place the watermelon, grapefruit, and mint in a large serving bowl. Combine the water and lime in a small bowl. Drizzle over the fruit mixture and gently toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and serve.

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This article was written by Wheeler del Torro, Nutritional Anthropologist & Founder of Seasonality Spices

Everything You Never Knew About Timut Pepper

 Photo Credit:  www.sbs.com.au

Photo Credit: www.sbs.com.au

Every year, media sources and social media feeds alike introduce new food trends to check out. This year has been no different. Back in January, the BBC kicked off the “Hot New Foods of 2018” craze with a zesty, grapefruit-like spice that originates in the Himalayas. That spice is known as Timut pepper. Timut pepper is an on-trend ingredient that, in the Western world, is most often used to give condiments and alcoholic beverages an extra kick. It causes a slight numbing sensation in your mouth when it’s ingested, which adds an exciting dimension to any food or beverage.

But the flavor and sensation of Timut pepper is only the beginning of its appealing properties. Natives to the Himalayan region of Asia have been using it for years not only for its taste but also for its medicinal effects. Some of the most common medicinal benefits of the pepper include:

1. To Reduce Pain

This one might sound odd to you. Many people associate pepper with heat, but there are peppers like Timut that so spicy that they actually lower a person’s experience of pain. When Timut pepper comes into contact with a person’s mouth or any other body part, the spice occupies the pain receptors and helps to eliminate the nervous system’s reactions of discomfort or pain. Timut pepper will not heal the source of any pain you are experiencing, but it is a wonderful temporary treatment.

2. To Stimulate Circulation

Timut pepper contains high levels of iron, which stimulates the circulatory system and oxygenates your red blood cells. This is a particularly good thing for individuals with low levels of iron, but it can also be beneficial for anyone feeling lethargic or lightheaded.

3. To Improve Immunity

Timut pepper is helps to strengthen the immune system as it contains high levels of zinc. Many people tend to overlook the Importance of zinc in boosting the immune system. Some benefits of a strong immune system include a higher resistance to illness and faster healing wounds.

4. To Improve Appetite

One of the hardest things to get back in shape after recovering from an injury or illness is your appetite. However, it’s when your body is healing and repairing that is when you need nutrients the most. With Timut pepper, you can experience a natural stimulation of your appetite and improved metabolism speed.

5. To Eliminate Inflammation

Timut pepper also contains antioxidants and organic acids such as phytosterols and terpenes that provide anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body. Oxidative stress caused by free radical activity in the body is the leading cause of inflammation. In response, Timut pepper contains compounds that can help neutralize these free radicals and stop inflammation at its roots.

So why not try out Timut pepper, if not for it spicy taste then for its incredible health benefits? Below are a couple of recipes you can try. If you’re looking to stock your spice cabinet with the freshest supply of Timut pepper imported directly from an organic and sustainable farm Nepal, you can find Timut pepper here.

 

BONUS: THUKPA RECIPE (Traditional Nepalese dish)

 Photo Credit:  www.mapsofindia.com

Photo Credit: www.mapsofindia.com

Ingredients

3 cloves of garlic, peeled

3 shallots, peeled

1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon Seasonality Spices® Cumin

1 teaspoon Seasonality Spices® Garam Masala

1 teaspoon Seasonality Spices® Turmeric

1 teaspoon Seasonality Spices® Timut Peppercorn, ground

2 green chilies, diced

1/2 can tomato paste

4 cups vegetable broth

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon agave

1/2 head small green cabbage, thinly sliced

3 stalks of celery, sliced

3 carrots, sliced into thin rounds

2 red pepper, sliced into strips

1 lime, juiced

Directions

In a food processor, blend the garlic, shallots, and ginger into a paste.

Place a large pot on medium-high heat. Melt the coconut oil, then add the paste. Cook for about 5 minutes until the liquid evaporates. Add the Seasonality Spices® Cumin, Seasonality Spices® Garam Masala, Seasonality Spices® Turmeric, Seasonality Spices® Timut, and green chili, and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the tomato paste and vegetable broth, and bring mixture to a boil for 7–10 minutes.

Add the soy sauce and agave to the broth. Add cabbage and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, and pepper, and cook another 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add the lime juice and serve immediately.

 

BONUS: MAPO TOFU RECIPE (A traditional Chinese dish)

 Photo Credit:  www.futuredish.com

Photo Credit: www.futuredish.com

Ingredients

1 pound soft tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch cubes

3 tablespoons peanut oil

6 ounces ripe jackfruit, shredded

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely minced peeled fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 leeks, thinly sliced

2 1/2 tablespoons chili bean paste

2 teaspoons Seasonality Spices® Timut Peppercorn, ground

1 cup vegetable stock

2 teaspoons white sugar

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon scallions, sliced

Directions

Stir together broth, bean paste, soy sauce, and kosher salt. Set aside.

Boil a saucepan of water. Add tofu to the saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.

Pour the oil into a large wok on medium heat. Add to the wok the ginger, garlic and leeks. Cook until they release a scent and have softened. Add the jackfruit, chili bean paste, and Seasonality Spices® Timut pepper. Stir well, and cook for 1 minute.

Drain tofu and add into wok, stirring gently.

Mix vegetable stock and white sugar in a separate bowl. Add to the wok along with the cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring gently, and cook until thickened.

Turn off heat and sprinkle with soy sauce and 1 tablespoon scallion before serving.

5 Healing Foods for People on the AIP Diet

 Photo Credit:  www.saragottfriedmd.com

So you’ve taken the plunge and started the AIP diet. Congratulations! There’s no doubt you’ve been told ad nauseam the foods you should avoid in order to heal. I’m here to share with you a little secret: living with an autoimmune disease does not need to be so deficits-based. In fact, you can grow, learn, and try new things while on AIP. But before we take a look at some foods you should definitely add into your diet while on AIP, let’s take a step back for a moment and cover some of the basics.

 

What is the AIP Diet?

The Autoimmune Protocol, or AIP, is a diet that is used for the treatment and management of autoimmune diseases. These diseases cause the immune system to mistakenly attack the body’s healthy tissues and are characterized by inflammation. Because irritation is at the root of autoimmune diseases, and because many health professionals believe the cause of the suffering is leaky gut, nutritionists and holistic health professionals often recommend cutting out foods that are notoriously irritating to the body. The result: the Autoimmune Protocol. AIP is a stricter version of the Paleo diet that eliminates even more foods. Patients are further advised to consume nutrient-rich food items. By consuming the food items rich in nutrients and avoiding those that might cause inflammation, many people have found relief from their autoimmune symptoms through AIP.

If you are planning to follow the AIP diet, it is important that you strictly follow the diet plan for a few weeks. Once your condition starts to improve, you can slowly reintroduce the food items that you have been avoiding while carefully watching your body’s reaction. Should another flare up occur after eating a previously restricted food, the individual is advised to exclude the food item from their diet for a long time.

 

Benefits of AIP Diet

The Autoimmune Protocol Diet is very beneficial for any body, and especially beneficial for those who are are currently suffering from autoimmune diseases. Some of the most obvious benefits include:

1. The ability to maintain your health without the use of synthetic drugs.

2. An opportunity for the good bacteria residing in the gut to thrive.

3. A better understanding of your body and its functions.

4. The excuse to treat your body to only anti-inflammatory, nutrient-rich, and unprocessed natural food items.

 

So, What Should I Eat?

You have no doubt come across list upon list of foods you can and cannot eat while on AIP. I’m here to tell you that there’s another list: the foods you should be eating. Go crazy with them! They will only help your body to heal faster. Here is a list of the top 5 staple food items that should be a part of your meal if you are on Autoimmune Protocol Diet.

1. Turmeric

Turmeric is an important ingredient that is often add into Asian dishes to enhance the color and flavor of the food. You may not be aware that, for centuries, humans have been using turmeric for the treatment of wounds and pain. It has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that will heal any body, including yours.

2. Activated charcoal

While you are on the AIP diet, it is not only important to reduce the inflammation in your body. It’s also worth making the effort to eliminate any chemicals or toxins that are causing inflammation. This is why it’s encouraged that you eat only organic and free-range foods. But what about the toxins that you cannot avoid? Enter activated charcoal. Activated charcoal was once thought to be the universal antidote to all illnesses. It has been used in Asia for tens of thousands of years by Chinese healers and Ayurvedic practitioners. More recently, it has been used since the early 1800s as an emergency treatment for overdosing. In its activated state, charcoal has a negative electrical charge that attracts positively charge particles such as toxins and gases, binding itself to the unwanted guest and preventing it from being absorbed into the body. Given its powerful qualities, the detox world has cleaved to activated charcoal as a tool for cleansing the body and cultivating digestive health, heart health, and to slow down the aging process. Activated charcoal detoxes can be found online, as can charcoal pills. Seasonality Spices® even sells an organic, all-natural black lava salt from Hawaii that contains activated charcoal.

3. Spirulina

Maintaining a proper nutritional level is very important any time, but especially when you are attempting to heal your body with the AIP diet. As such, spirulina is an excellent option to explore. It is cyanobacteria commonly known as blue-green algae. Spirulina will provide your body with all the important nutrients that you need to stay healthy and fit while you are following the AIP diet, many of which are impossible to get on the average diet. Another benefit of Spirulina is that it is anti-inflammatory. It will protect your body from any kind of inflammation reactions. You can blend Spirulina into any smoothie, acacia bowl, juice, or even a glass of water.

4. Coconut oil

Another food with powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties is coconut oil. Should you use it instead of avocado oil or olive oil (two other oils that are permitted by AIP), you will find that your foods have an additional, delicious flavor and are boosted with nutritional properties and healing affects you cannot find in the other two options. Coconut oil is additionally good for massage because the oil will be infused into your bloodstream through the skin, further helping to reduce inflammation in your body.

5. Broccoli

Broccoli is jam-packed with nutrients, one of which is sulforaphane. This powerful antioxidant fights inflammation by lowering your levels of cytokines and NF-kB. Research has also show it to lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. Bon appetite!

 

Bottom line

Being restricted to an AIP diet doesn’t need to be a negative, restrictive experience. Once you have gotten used to the foods to avoid with the diet, make it a point to have some fun with it. Explore the five staple foods above. Learn more about them, and how you can incorporate them into your everyday life. Experiment in the kitchen. Share new foods with friends. Here are a couple of recipes to get you started.

 

BONUS: Ginger Turmeric Herbal Tea

 Photo Credit: www. thehealthytart.com

Photo Credit: www.thehealthytart.com

 

Ingredients

8 cups of water

1 small lemon, chopped

1½ inch ginger root, minced

1 tsp Seasonality Spices® Turmeric

1 tsp Seasonality Spices® Cinnamon

 

Instructions

Add all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil on the stove. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool off. Strain with a fine mesh strainer before serving.

 

BONUS: Caramelized Broccoli

 Photo Credit:  www.seriouseats.com

Photo Credit: www.seriouseats.com

 

Ingredients

3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

2 heads of broccoli

1/2 cup water

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons Seasonality Spices® Herbes de Provence

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

 

Instructions

Peel the broccoli stems away from the heads. Cut the heads in half lengthwise. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil. Add the broccoli, cut side down. Cover the skillet and cook over medium heat until richly browned on the bottom, about 8 minutes. Add the water, cover and cook until the broccoli is just tender and the water has evaporated. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of coconut oil along with the garlic and the Seasonality Spices® Herbes de Provence and cook uncovered until the garlic is golden brown. Drizzle the broccoli with the lemon juice and serve.

Everything You Need to Know About Blue Majik

 Photo Credit:  https://www.fitedm.com

Photo Credit: https://www.fitedm.com

The US has caught the smoothie bug, and it’s bad. These days you can’t walk two blocks without seeing a fancy new juice bar. And don’t try to scroll through your Instagram feed without seeing ten photos of your friends’ breakfast smoothie bowls. If you’re anything like me, you can’t help but to double tap every single one you see. Each is more beautiful than the last!

If you are into healthy eating, Blue Majik must have caught your eye by now. In less than a year, this delightful ingredient has made its way into cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and smoothie bowls with lightening speed. The powder gives the food an unmistakable blue raspberry slushie-like color that looks as if it’s unicorn food.

But what is Blue Majik, exactly?

Blue Majik is a branded powder product that is extracted from spirulina. In fact, Blue Majik is the blue that gives spirulina it’s radiant green color. What is spirulina, you ask? According to Maggie Moon, M.S., R.D., author of The MIND Diet, “Spirulina is blue-green bacteria sometimes called ‘blue-green algae,’ and a type of seaweed.”

Blue Majik was created by a company named E3 Live back in 2016. As a nutrient-dense superfood, Blue Majik is packed with vitamins and minerals and boasts of many health benefits. It is quite expensive (you can get it for $1/gram on Amazon), but most health food fans consider it a worthwhile investment.

What’s so super about the superfood?

Like spirulina, Blue Majik is jam-packed with nutrients such as protein, B vitamins (including B12), phytonutrients (including phycocyanin), selenium, zinc, copper, manganese, iron (22 times the amount of spinach), Vitamin E, and gamma-linolenic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid).

According to the medical field, the impact of these nutrients are promising but not yet official. Some of the promised benefits include immune support, reduced allergic reactions, increased probiotic growth, reduced infection, reduced cancer symptoms, protection against liver damage, and reduced risk of eye disease such as cataracts and macular degeneration. With such tremendous promise of health benefits, it’s not hard to imagine why Blue Majik has taken the health industry by storm.

So, how do I use it?

Blue Majik is available in pill or powder form. Always follow the instructions given by the vendor of the product.

The powder can be mixed into any food for a nutrient-boost. The most common uses are in smoothies, juices, and chia bowls, but the creativity doesn’t need to end there. People have used Blue Majik in sauces, cream cheese, yogurt, icing, and in their margaritas. Most recently, Seasonality Spices has created a Blue Majik Salt that can be used to bring out the flavor and up the health profile of everyday foods.

Get creative. Blue Majik is sure to catch the eye and the imagination of anyone in its presence. Plus, it has the promise of promoting tremendous health outcomes.

BONUS: Wheeler del Torro’s Vegan Blue Majik Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soy milk, divided

  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot

  • 3 tsp Blue Majik powder

  • 2 cups soy creamer

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 3 tsp Blue Majik powder

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup soy milk with arrowroot and Blue Majik powder and set aside.

  2. Mix the soy creamer, remaining 3/4 cup soymilk, and sugar together in a saucepan and bring to a boil over low heat. When the mixture begins to simmer, take off heat and immediately pour in the arrowroot cream. This will cause the liquid to thicken noticeably.

  3. Add the vanilla extract.

  4. Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool, then place in refrigerator. Ice cream mixture should be well chilled before adding to ice cream machine. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

 

BONUS: Vegan Blue Majik Smoothie Bowl Recipe

1 frozen banana

1 cup frozen mango

1 cup frozen pineapple

2 tsp Blue Majik powder

1 tbsp chia seeds

1/3 cup unsweetened soy milk

Blend ingredients together until smooth. Top with fresh fruit, shredded coconut, mixed nuts, and granola.

Enjoy!

Three Company Culture Challenges a Nutritional Anthropologist Can Fix

            A nutritional anthropologist is a professional whose basic aim is to understand how the well-being of humans is affected from evolutionary, behavioral, social and cultural perspectives,. Authors Sera L. Young and Gretel H. Pelto state that “as a discipline whose aim is to understand the human animal and its place in the natural order of things, a hallmark of anthropology is that its practitioners often engage in research that has the effect of making the familiar strange, and the strange familiar. For example, nutritional anthropologists examine practices in contemporary Euro-American societies that are taken for granted as simply “normal” or “natural” and reveal how culture-bound they actually are. The structure of meals, in which foods are served sequentially with soup first and dessert last, strikes people in other parts of the world as quite peculiar.”[1]

Today, the nutritional anthropologists belong to a class of fast-rising professionals ,called the corporate anthropologists. These individuals are social experts, consultants or social scientists who use a systematic discipline and research methodology to study and decode human behavior. Hence, decoding facilitates the development of a deeper understanding of the needs of both the company’s employees and customers.

Ultimately ,hiring nutritional anthropologists is perhaps the most important decision a company has to make. Their insights and systematic observation approach can do wonders for the company and its culture, internal politics, policies, and productivity.  Since most of their work involve integrating multiple perspectives on human behavior and experience, nutritional anthropologists can create solutions and fix cultural challenges experienced by the company.

 

Traditional Company Culture: The Background Story

            In a 2008 released report titled “The New Collaboration: Enabling Innovation, Changing the Work Place”, IBM recognized and argued an essential point that the old corporate model: encompassing exclusivity, hierarchy and solitude was no longer competitive in a globally interconnected world. Most organizational cultures are outdated, ineffective, and wanting. Now, with the advent of instant worldwide communication, essentially free information, and the ability of large numbers of people to organize and collaborate without hierarchy, creativity and innovation can move far more rapidly than it can through a traditional organization. And for the company to take its company culture to the next level, it is a necessity to hire an expert who’ll observe the mechanics of a company’s culture, draw conclusions, and implement the required adjustments to revitalize or reshape it. Here are three ways in which nutritional anthropologists are helping to do just that in corporations today.

 

Company Culture Challenge #1: Too Many Structural Layers

            Most traditional corporations have too many hierarchical layers. The number of layers implies vertical complexity. With centralized and bureaucratic structures, they typically have more vertical levels than decentralized organizations. The trouble with all these layers is that they become stumbling blocks for effective communication. It slows down work processes, takes a longer time to solve problem, increases organizational costs, impedes performance, and may result in organizational failure. In a Chron article titled "The Disadvantages of Multiple Layers of Management”, Brian Bass argues that “the problem of communication within an organization with multiple layers of management is multifaceted. As an essential part of any functioning organization, these multiple layers can create multifaceted disadvantages. This organizational structure negatively affects communication by limiting the flow of information within the organization.”[2]

            With a nutritional anthropologist on the payroll, strategically coordinated events begin to break down barriers and open up lines of communication among all levels of the company. Think of the nutritional anthropologist like a grandmother bringing the family together over a good meal and sparking relevant conversations consistently over a period of time. Through creative, original, surprising, and strategic tactics, a nutritional anthropologist facilitates groups and conversations that begin to deconstruct the communication barriers that are inherent in an organization with a large number of structural layers.

 

Company Culture Challenge #2: Slow Reaction to Internal and External Changes

            In a competitive environment where fleet-footed rivals, finicky customers and changing landscape of technology and globalization drive the pace of change ever faster, companies need to be flexible and continually adapt the way they do business. It is only when the company adjusts to changes in culture and economic demands that it stands out and stays relevant. A crucial point in the growth and stability of a company is how it reacts to internal and external changes. Henk W. Volberda says that the deciding making process in firms is facing a pioneering frequency and amplitude of change in the economic environment. More than ever, they have to be reactive to the nature of the marketplace, well-informed as to the latest developments, and well-equipped to respond.[3] Through a systematic deep analysis of corporate culture, a nutritional anthropologist can use his or her skills to assist in building capacity for responsiveness and communication. Engaging all of the workforce to determine solutions and discussing necessary tools to facilitate change effectively and efficiently remain the ultimate goal.

 

Company Culture Challenge #3: Centrally-Maintained Authority

            Centralized authority refers to a company structure where most of the major decision-making power and authority rests in the hands of a concentrated group of managers or supervisors. Often, this can improve consistency in decision-making, but it does also have drawbacks relative to decentralized authority where front line managers have more power. According to Neil Kokemuller, “An overly top-down organizational approach naturally prohibits creative thinking and innovative ideas from front line levels. More decentralized companies often promote new product and service ideas conceived by regular employees and conveyed through their managers to the top.”[4]  

Today, a growing number of companies face the challenges of a central authority and are attempting to take steps to decentralize. With a nutritional anthropologist providing professional development for staff on every corporate level, there can be an assurance that leadership is strategically cultivated at all levels and that succession is assured.

 

            At present, the globalization of business is creating new and unique situations for many companies which can give rise to new company culture challenges. This also means there are hosts of new needs for a corporation have the ability to observe, analyze, interpret, and create solutions which can help them to remain relevant in this fast paced world. Often times, the most innovative of these companies turn to a nutritional anthropologist to get the job done.

 

[1] Sera L. Young & Gretel H. Pelto, Core Concepts in Nutritional Anthropology, June 2012, Nutrition and Health Book Series, https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-61779-894-8_25

[2] Bryan Bass, The Disadvantages of Multiple Layers of Management, Chron, http://smallbusiness.chron.com/disadvantages-multiple-layers-management-31118.html

[3] Henk W. Volberda, Change for change’s sake? Internal responses to external challenges, February 2014, Discovery: Research Impact, https://discovery.rsm.nl/articles/detail/17-change-for-changes-sake-internal-responses-to-external-challenges/

[4] Neil Kokemuller, Disadvantages of Centralized Authority, Azcentral, https://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/disadvantages-centralized-authority-7701.html

What Are Truffles?

THE WORLD'S MOST EXPENSIVE FOOD

 

When I moved to France after high school to learn about the culinary world from the masters, I had never seen truffles in real life. I had heard amazing stories of the delightful flavor and smell of French truffles. I was working with chefs around Paris hosting pop up dinner parties.  A secretive and unpredictable supplier would lurk around the back door of the kitchen, dealing only in cash. There was something about him that struck me as nefarious. I assumed some sort of alternate business was taking place out of the kitchen. I was soon to experience the glorious flavor and covert business of the black truffle. The man I had suspected as being up to no good was in fact a truffle dealer. Truffles are so prized and hard to come by that their growing sites are kept top secret and the whole market operates in cash.

 

As I learned more about truffles of all kinds and began incorporating them in to my recipes, I discovered some of the factors that give them their luxury status.

 

Truffles are known as the diamonds of the culinary world. This nickname provides some insight into their worth and value. A truffle is a type of edible mushroom that is extremely rare. It is the rarity of truffles that makes them so unique and highly sought after. Truffles are known to be a delicacy and have a specific aroma and taste that sets them apart from other types of mushrooms. They are known for having a firm texture, but they are most often used in dishes where they are used as shaved toppings for added flavor. Adding truffle to any dish has the ability to make it gourmet.

 

wheelerdeltorrotruffle+prices.png

SOME ELEMENTS THAT MAKE TRUFFLES SO PRIZED INCLUDE:

 

WILD

People for generations, if not centuries, have tried to cultivate truffles. Farmers in the United States and Australia have attempted to recreate the conditions under which truffles thrive in Europe, but truffle cultivation rarely produces full truffles or large crops. Since truffle production cannot be scaled up and they remain rare, chefs and connoisseurs are willing to pay high prices.  

 

HIDDEN 

Adding to the mystery of truffles, they grow underground at the roots of trees. Nestled under the roots of trees, harvesting truffles requires first finding them beneath the soil and digging them up. Trained dogs are often used to help with harvesting truffles. Dogs, (historically truffle hunters used pigs, but the pigs didn't want to share their finds) have to be raised and trained to help in the search for truffles. Truffles favor the roots of certain trees, including oak, poplar, and hazel, and are sensitive to changes in the climate.

 

Truffle Hunting Dogs

 

VARIETY

There is more than one type of truffle. Most truffles are categorized based on their color, season and appearance, including black, white burgundy, summer and winter. Different types of truffles can range in color and taste and are found in different parts of the world. They are also at different price levels, with white truffles form Italy often topping the price index for world truffles. France is often known for having the best black truffles, rivaling white truffles in Italy. Most are known based on the location where they are harvested.

 

wheelerdeltorrotruffles.jpg

Truffle Types. From http://therivermagazine.co.uk/

 

PAIRINGS

Truffles have a distinct aroma and a very noticeable taste, which is why they can be used in a variety of dishes. Truffles flavor starts to lessen after they are harvested, which also adds to the expense of this mushroom. Cooking actually dissipates the flavor of truffles. Truffles are often used to add a gourmet garnish to plain, hearty dishes like pasta and rice to ensure that the full taste is intact.

Air Fried Sweet Potato Fries

This easy-to-make recipe makes crispy, delicious sweet potato fries without the extra calories that come with deep frying!

INGREDIENTS

2 medium sweet potatoes
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees F
Chop the sweet potatoes into even sized pieces
Coat the pieces in 2 tbsp oil and place in the air fryer
Cook for 8 minutes, stir to prevent sticking, and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes
Remove from air fryer, add salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Bon appetite!

 

Air Fried Chicken Tenders

Great grandma's time-tested recipe for crispy, perfectly browned fried chicken. The best part: because it is adapted for the air fryer, it is healthier than its deep fried cousin!

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs. imitation chicken breast halves

3 eggs, beaten (or cashew cream, see recipe below)

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1 tsp garlic powder

¾ tsp paprika

½ tsp cayenne

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp chili powder

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cut chicken breasts into 1” wide strips
  • Pour flour onto a large plate
  • Mix breadcrumbs and seasonings together in a shallow bowl or on a second large plate
  • Coat pieces of chicken in flour, dip into eggs (or cashew cream), then dredge into crumb mixture
  • Heat up your air fryer to 375 degrees.
  • Place a row of strips on the frying basket. Spray with a light coat of cooking spray.
  • Cook sticks for 6 minutes. Open fryer to flip the strips with tongs. Continue cooking for 4-6 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Serve with honey mustard for dipping.

 

FOR CASHEW CREAM

Place 2 cups cashews in a bowl. Add cold water to cover. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, drain and rinse. Place in blender with enough cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Blend until smooth.

 

Air Fried Recipes: Onion Rings

Battered, breaded, and then fried to crispy perfection. What's best- because they are air fried, they are healthier than their deep fried counterparts!

air fried onion ring2 wheeler del torro
air fried onion ring1 wheeler del torro

 

INGREDIENTS

1 large onion, cut into rings
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup corn starch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup soy milk (or regular milk if non-vegan)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp paprika, blended

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Separate the onion slices into rings and set aside. 
  • In a small bowl, stir together the flour, corn starch, baking powder, and salt.
  • Dip the onion slices into the flour mixture until coated; set aside. 
  • Whisk the egg and milk into the flour mixture using a fork. 
  • Dip the floured rings into the batter to coat, then place on a wire rack to drain until the batter stops dripping. 
  • Place the bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Place rings one at a time into the crumbs, and scoop the crumbs up over the ring to coat. Give it a hard tap as you remove it from the crumbs. The coating should cling very well. Repeat with remaining rings.
  • Place the rings side by side in the frying basket. Spray lightly with cooking oil, flip, coat with garlic powder and paprika blend. Place in the air fryer. 
  • Fry the rings for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip once during the cooking. Remove to paper towels to drain. Season with seasoning salt, and serve.
air fried onion rings4 wheeler del torro
air fried onion rings3 wheeler del torro

Air Fried Recipes: Mozzarella Sticks

This ooey, gooey mozzarella stick is sure to impress. The best part: because it is air fried, it's healthier than its fried cousin! The recipe is for vegan mozzarella sticks, but you can substitute regular mozzarella for the same effect.

wheeler del torro air fried mozzarella sticks
wheeler del torro vegan mozzarella sticks

INGREDIENTS

5 oz. vegan (or regular) mozzarella
1/4 c flour
1/4 c plus 1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 c water
1 tbsp cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 c breadcrumbs (I use panko)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a wide, shallow bowl, combine ingredients for wet mix, flour through garlic powder. The consistency should be like pancake batter, so adjust if needed.
  • In another wide, shallow bowl, stir together breadcrumbs and remaining spices.
  • Slice vegan cheese into ½” strips.
  • Lightly coat each stick with flour.
  • Dredge each stick in the wet mix, then toss in bread crumbs until fully coated.
  • Place sticks untouching in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze for 1+ hours.
  • Heat up your air fryer to 400 degrees.
  • Place a row of sticks on the frying basket. Spray with a light coat of cooking spray.
  • Cook sticks for 6 minutes. Open fryer to flip the sticks with tongs. Continue cooking for 7-9 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Season with garlic salt and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

Soul Food Pop Up In Portsmouth

Thanks to the Seacoast African American Cultural Center for inviting us to help them host a thoughtful and delicious fundraiser on Soul Food. Thanks also to Suzanne Laurent of the Seacoast Online, The Portsmouth Herald, and Katherine Bouzianis of The Port's Mouth for their glowing coverage of the event. You can find links to the coverage below.

Until next time, be well!

 

 

Soul Food with Chef Wheeler del Torro

   

(Katherine Bouzianis, The Port's Mouth)

SAACC Presents 'Best Food Ever Eaten'

 

(Suzanne Laurent, Seacoast Online)

 

Hot Dark Chocolate

Twenty five degree weather calls for hot chocolate made with dark chocolate, almond and coconut milk with whipped coconut cream. 

Whipped Coconut Cream

 

2 (13.5-ounce) cans unflavored, unsweetened full-fat coconut milk

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 to 4 tablespoons coconut flour

 

Pour the coconut milk into a glass jar, cover, and chill for several hours, until the layer of cream has risen to the top and solidified. Chill a bowl and beaters of a hand mixer.

 

Drain off the clear liquid and transfer the cream to the chilled bowl. Beat the cream until thick and fluffy. Add the vanilla, then gradually beat in the powdered sugar and coconut flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, monitoring the flavor and consistency to suit your taste.

 

Transfer the coconut cream to a storage container, cover, and chill for 2 hours until the mixture firms. Serve chilled.

This recipe appears in my Filet of Soul: AfroVegan cookbook.