Spinach is very versatile and it is easy to incorporate spinach into a diet. That is great because spinach has so many health benefits. Vitamin C, or ascorbate, is chemically the simplest vitamin. Unlike humans, plants can synthesise ascorbate, accumulating it up to 10% of the total water-soluble ‘carbohydrates’, according to research findings. The washing process of pre-packaged spinach, which uses circulating water with chlorine-based sanitiser, “can be a potential source of ascorbate loss and younger plant tissues often have higher ascorbate concentrations than older ones, e.g. in spinach.” (Food Chemistry 233 (2017) 237–246) So, if you are buying spinach for a salad, try the baby spinach that is sold unpacked and wash it yourself.
The following is very interesting too:
“Dark green leafy vegetables are primary food sources for lutein and b-carotene, however these bioactives have low bioavailability… Lutein liberation and in vitro accessibility were three-fold higher from spinach puree compared to whole leaves. Results for b-carotene liberation were similar, whereas that of b-carotene accessibility was only about two-fold.” (Food Chemistry 224 (2017) 407–413) This is good to know, well supports my recipe for Tabouleh. They call lutein ‘eye vitamin’.
Spinach can be added to many savoury dishes, raw or cooked. I prefer cooked spinach in winter and raw in summer. We are in the middle of the winter right now in Australia. And, here I am again with a new soup recipe. Please enjoy!
Cloudy Spinach Soup
Millet is an ancient grain that is gluten free and has less starch than wheat and rice. Millet has a high anti-oxidant activity and it contains multiple vitamins and minerals, also contains higher levels of protein.
In eastern Europe, they make porridge from millet, in central and west Asia they fry the grain and use them in the tea or consume as a cereal.
My great-grandmother used to make a millet bread for my mother when she was a child during the hungry post-war years. She remembers that bread as one of the most delicious treats of her childhood. So I decided to make a millet bread of my own and share with you.
Millet Bread Recipe
1 1/4 cup warm milk (cow, goat, almond, cashew, soya, any)
1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoon honey
1 cup millet flour or 3/4 cup dry yellow millet
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon Bi-Carb soda
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Fructose is contained in most sweeteners that are used in traditional desserts. Refined sugar, honey, maple syrup – all contain fructose. Fortunately, it is recognised now that sugar is the main source of fat that build up in the human body. Spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels may also cause dysfunctions of organs.
Since I discovered Brown Rice Malt Syrup, I have been really enjoying it in my recipes. Rice malt syrup is fructose free, it is made from 100% brown rice. Australian brands make organic Brown Rice Malt Syrup that reduces arsenic to hardly detectable levels. This is good information to be researched for those who consume rice regularly.
The malt syrup is made through fermenting rice to break down the starches and then transforming it into syrup through cooking. The syrup contains soluble complex carbohydrates, maltose and glucose. Rice Malt Syrup is a lower GI product in comparison to fructose and it takes more than an hour to digest.
So, here you are, for milk, fructose and gluten intolerances I have a chocolate dessert for you!
Fructose Free Chocolate Cake
270ml coconut cream
I created Teff cookies and I found them magical. First, one cookie keeps you going for a few hours and also, they are great for weight management.
Besides Teff’s high-fibre and high-protein qualities, which were mentioned in the previous posts for Teff recipes, this super grain also contains vitamins K, B1, B2, B3, B6 and C, which is unique for a grain. Combination of minerals is also admirable, just a few to mention: copper, zinc, magnesium, iron (which is easily absorbed), and what is the most attractive for me is high amounts of calcium. If your body, like mine, doesn’t agree with dairy products, Teff is a very good option for calcium consumption. This array of vitamins and minerals found in Teff makes it a healthy, weight-managing and bone-strengthening food.
There is also a nut butter ingredient in my recipe. My choice is a cashew nut butter, which I love using for my desserts. However, a similar result can be achieved by using peanut butter. Peanuts have more protein than any of the other nuts. Also, peanuts champion the other nuts with plant Sterols, which can help lower bad cholesterol in your body and reduce the risk of heart disease. Cashews have the lowest fat content (the same as pistachios), although peanuts aren’t far behind.
1.5 cups Teff flour
Cashew tree produce cashew apples, and cashew apples have cashew seeds. The green seeds are processed, and we find them as light brown cashew nuts on the food store shelves.
From a traditional stir fry to a modern cashew milk, from breakfast to dinner, cashew nuts prove to be more versatile every day. Health benefits of the cashew nuts inspire not only many of us who experiment with home cooking but also some food manufacturers.
In addition to being healthy, pumpkin also contains another healthy ingredient, that is pepitas, or pumpkin seeds. Pepitas are very rich in minerals such as zinc, magnesium and iron. They are also high in protein content, about 20%. Unfortunately, like many other nuts and seeds, pepitas contain anti-nutrients like phytic acid, or phytate, that can make all the previously discussed important nutrients less bioavailable when you consume them. These anti-nutrients bind to minerals, especially zinc and iron, and the minerals cannot be absorbed.
I found a study that was specifically designed to research this factor in pumpkin seeds. It concluded, ‘The subsequent digestion under intestinal conditions showed that Zn becomes less accessible, indicating that antinutrients like naturally present phytate may be responsible for complex formation in the small intestines, thus reducing the potential for Zn bioavailability.’ (Food Chemistry, Volume 128, Issue 4, 15 October 2011, Pages 839-846)
So, if you plan on consuming seeds or nuts on a regular basis, it would be wise to soak or sprout them, that is what doctors advise. Unfortunately, ‘the soaking of whole seeds for 24 h can lead to leaching of iron and, to a lesser extent, of zinc ions into the soaking medium.’ The same applies to all legumes and grains. The good news, it was also proved that fermentation can completely hydrolyze the phytic acid. (Food Chemistry, Volume 138, Issue 1, 1 May 2013, Pages 430-436) And by the way, the heating also causes phytic acid reduction.
In this recipe I suggest to bake the whole pumpkin. But don’t worry the baked pumpkin can be stored very well and there are other recipes where the baked pumpkin can be used. See the links:
Dates are delicious, and they have a caramel flavour when used in baking. If you are one of us who decided to exclude refined sugars from your diet and you still have traces of a sweet tooth, you should consider Dates, such a versatile sweetener. This fruit is very sweet but at the same time it is considered to be a functional food.
According to Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition (Volume 52, Issue 3, 2012) ‘it is apparent that the date fruits are highly nutritious and may have several potential health benefits’. Dates are a rich source of energy, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Compared to other dried fruits such as apricots and figs, dates are a good source of compounds with antioxidant activity.
The same Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition published a research where ’10 minerals have been reported in dates, with the most prominent being selenium, copper, potassium and magnesium, providing more than 15 percent of the recommended intake of these minerals in 100 grams of dates, which is roughly 4 dates. As dates have a high potassium and low sodium content, they are a healthy choice for those with hypertension.’