Monday, March 21, 2016

20 Delicious High-Protein Foods

Man Sticking Knife Through MeatPeople argue about carbs, fats, and everything in between.
However, almost everyone agrees that protein is important.
Eating plenty of protein has numerous benefits.
It can help you lose weight (especially belly fat), and increase your muscle mass and strength, to name a few (12).
The recommended daily intake (RDI) is 46 grams for women, and 56 grams for men (3).
However, many health and fitness experts believe that we need much more than that.
Here is a list of 20 delicious foods that are high in protein.

1. Eggs

Eggs in a Basket
Whole eggs are among the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet.
They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, eye-protecting antioxidants and brain nutrients that most people don’t get enough of.
Whole eggs are high in protein, but egg whites are almost pure protein.
Protein content: 35% of calories in a whole egg. 1 large egg contains 6 grams of protein, with 78 calories (4).

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Grow a Garden Indoors

The Right Way (And Wrong Way) To Garden Indoors With Grow Lights
Image source:
Starting and growing plants indoors is a great way to augment your gardening space and to extend your growing season. However, providing the proper lighting for your indoor plants can seem like a daunting task.
It doesn’t have to be. With the right grow lights, you can be on your way to an indoor garden this winter. The first decision to make is incandescent versus fluorescent lighting. Most indoor plants will benefit from fluorescent lighting, which is more energy efficient and burns cooler than incandescent lighting.
Standard 20- and 40-watt fluorescent tubes are great for starting plants from seeds. For larger plants, you can use high output fluorescent lighting, which produces double the amount of light as standard tubes, yet burns cool. High output tubes have a lifespan of about 10,000 hours.
Just as they do outdoors, plants have varying needs for light. Too much light can cause foliage to curl. Too much heat can cause leaves to burn. On the other hand, plants that receive too little light can become weak and stretched-out out or “leggy.”
How much light is the right amount depends on what you are growing. Foliage plants generally require less light, for instance, whereas exotic plants like more light. Keep in mind also that some plants – such as the poinsettia — require periods with no little to no light in order to flower.
Plants use light waves that we can see (visible light) and some invisible wavelengths we can’t see (such as infrared light). Plants capture these wavelengths in both the blue and red parts of the light spectrum to use during photosynthesis.
Standard incandescent lights serve as a good source of red rays, but they a poor source of blue rays. Incandescent bulbs also produce more heat than many plants can tolerate. On the other hand, fluorescent lights give off both red and blue wavelengths. They also give off little heat, so they can be placed only inches above seedlings and young plants.
The Right Way (And Wrong Way) To Garden Indoors With Grow Lights
Image source: wikimedia
Be sure to account for plant growth with the placement of your fluorescent grow lighting. Although fluorescent lights work well when they are close to plants, you will need to raise the fixtures as your plants grow. Plants that touch a fixture can burn, so consider adjustable hangers for your grow lights.
How do you determine how much indoor lighting you need? For light-needy plants like tomatoes, a good rule of thumb is about 40 watts per square foot of growing space. For low light plants such as herbs and lettuces, you need only about 25 to 30 watts per square foot.
When figuring your growing area, be sure to measure only your growing area, not the actual room size. If you will be growing tomatoes in a 3 x 3 area, here is the formula for lighting:
The growing area: 3 x 3 = 9 square feet. To get the desired wattage, multiply watts x square feet. So, 40 x 9 = 360 watts. You can round up to 400 watts and plan on using a 400 watt grow light for optimum tomato growth.
Also, consider a reflector. What is a reflector? A reflector ensures that your plants receive a uniform amount of light from a grow light.
Keep in mind that the quantity of light can drop off dramatically under the lights, depending on where the plants are located. A sign that this is happening is when seedlings and plants grow at an angle toward brighter light. To solve this problem, extend fluorescent light reflectors out past the edges of your flats. Another trick is to line older reflectors with aluminum foil to provide more light for your plants. You also can place aluminum foil or a white surface behind plant fixtures for more light reflection.
Horizontal reflectors are the most efficient reflectors and are the most popular. To determine the type of reflector you need, once again you must factor in the size of your growing area.
For the 3 x 3 tomato garden we have been using as an example, a small reflector will help provide the maximum amount of light on the growing plants. Look for reflectors that have air-cooling flanges and tempered glass.
Take the time to shop around for the right grow lights for your indoor garden. Check out your local garden store as well as some of the variety of deals that are available online.
About 2.7 million American households buy indoor grow lights each year and, according to the University of Vermont Extension Service, about 15 million American households grow plants under lights indoors. You can join those numbers today.
By using grow lights effectively, you can grow plants from virtually any location in your house at any time of year – and enjoy fresh produce even during the cold months. Give it a try.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Homemade Root Beer

The root beer we find on the grocery store shelves today is a far cry from its healthful ancestor. Homemade “root beer” is a purifying tonic whose roots are firmly planted in Native American medicine.

“Roots” Beer

Old-fashioned root beer, the modern-day version that is, often conjures up images of drive-in movies, ice cream floats and lazy summer afternoons. Originally a tonic created using various roots; this modern day sugar laden beverage actually has its origins in Native American medicine. The “roots” used to make the authentic Native American “roots” beer contain properties that assist the body in the elimination of toxins.
The burdock root, sarsaparilla and sassafras work to purify the blood. Wintergreen, containing salicylates, adds a refreshing taste while at the same time providing a natural painkiller – a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory compound similar to aspirin. The cinnamon and ginger have warming characteristics and work to stimulate circulation. The vanilla bean and sarsaparilla have a reputation for being aphrodisiacs. Maybe they are the ingredients that make root beer so popular.

Gathering Your Own Sassafras Roots, Bark or Stems

Sassafras can be found growing wild all across the eastern United States and Canada. It has long been a root traditionally used to create the unique flavor of root beer. The key ingredient in sassafras is safrole. The FDA banned safrole from commercial food use in the early 60s. At that time, studies found that rats who were fed large amounts developed liver damage or cancer. However, according to Toxnet,  after extrapolating human exposure based on the rodent carcinogens  a person who drank a sassafras root beer everyday would have less carcinogenic risk than if drinking beer or wine daily.
Then in 1994, the Dietary Supplemental Health and Education Act lifted the ban on sassafras oil. Many microbreweries still use sassafras when making their root beer today.
Just as the Native Americans did for hundreds of years, people all across the native range of sassafras continue to harvest it and make homemade root beer yearly with no apparent detriment to their health. If you feel adventurous and would like to go out and harvest some of your own to make your sassafras root beer, here is what you need to look for. If you are unsure as to whether a root or stem that you have gathered is sassafras, just break the root or stem and smell it. If it is sassafras, it will smell just like root beer.
If you do not have sassafras readily available to you, it can be purchased online and at many health food stores.

Homemade Sassafras Root Beer

If you want to try your hand at making a delicious detoxifying tonic, try the recipe below and then relax and enjoy the flavors.

Natural “Roots” Beer Recipe

  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ cup sassafras bark
  • ½ cup sarsaparilla root
  • ¼ cup burdock root
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon anise seeds (You can use fennel if desired.)
  • 4 allspice berries
  • ½ cup dried Wintergreen leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried orange peel
  • 3 half-inch slices fresh ginger root
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 cups purified water
  • ½ cup honey
  • 4 cups carbonated mineral water
Scrub the roots and bark clean of any dirt. If necessary, cut the roots and bark into small one half-inch long pieces. It may be necessary to use a pair of pruning shears to accomplish this task.
In a 3 quart pan, mix together the herbs, orange peel, ginger and vanilla bean. Add the purified water and mix well.
Bring to a boil, cover pot and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
Strain through cheesecloth or a paper towel lined fine mesh sieve. Add the honey to the hot herbal tea mixture and stir well. Taste and add more honey if more sweetness is desired. Allow the mixture to cool.
When ready to serve, add the carbonated mineral water, stir well, and pour over glasses filled with ice. Serve immediately.
Makes 8 cups
To create a healthier version of the traditional root beer float, try your homemade root beer recipe with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt.
So if you’re looking for a historic and flavorful detoxifying tonic, root beer just might be what the doctor ordered. If you’re looking for that familiar and favorite root beer flavor, but don’t want all the sugar and artificial flavors, making your own homemade sassafras root beer just might be the answer.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Beet Kvass

WE LOVE THIS super-healthy recipe for traditional beet kvass from Hannah at Nothing But Delicious. We’re peering over Hannah’s shoulder as she takes us through the in’s and out’s of this old-school health beverage. What do you think: would you or wouldn’t you?
BEFORE I EVER TASTED beet kvass, I read that “to drink it is to taste the blood of the Earth”. Dramatic! But then I made beet kvass myself andwow.
I’m no stranger to fermented food and drink – from kefir to kombucha to kimchi, I love it all! But I’ve never tasted anything quite like this thick, crimson liquid; it is salty, ever-so-slightly sweet, ever-so-slightly sour and somewhere, underneath all of that, it tastes the way that soil smells in the springtime. And, oh boy, is it pungent.
Kvass has been a staple in Eastern Europe since the 10th century B.C. Traditional brews are made with rye bread, currants, raspberries and a number of other fruits, but no type of kvass is quite as beneficial as one made with beets, which the Russians have long claimed cleanses the blood and other internal organs. They weren’t far off; beets contain nutrients that have been proven to detoxify the liver, lower blood pressure and aid in the production of stomach acid. Because kvass is made with raw beets, it preserves these nutrients; the longer beets are cooked, the less phytonutrients they retain.
To say that beet kvass is an acquired taste is an understatement. If you didn’t grow up drinking the stuff, there’s a good chance that, despite it’s magical healing properties, you’ll be turned off by it. Luckily, there’s an easy way to warm up to it, and believe me, you will warm up to it.Pour half a cup kvass into a tall glass, mix it with a splash of agave nectar, then top it with lots of ice and soda water. Use aromatic herbs, if you have some on hand. Muddle raw cane sugar with mint, thyme or basil before adding the kvass, or simply place a sprig in the glass so that it hits your nose before you begin to drink.
Here’s a few do’s and don’ts for making your own beet kvass.
sanitize your beets and your jar, which should be a friendly, bad-bacteria-free environment in which the good bacteria in whey can thrive.
fuss over cutting the beets. If the pieces are too large, the fermentation process will happen very slowly. If they’re too small, you might be making beet wine.
seal your jar tightly. True lacto-fermentation happens in an anaerobic environment. One of the only ways that making kvass can go wrong is mold and mold can only grow where there is oxygen.
drink kvass cold.
worry if you come up short on whey. You actually don’t have to use whey at all, but it will expedite the fermentation process and add nutrition to your kvass.
use plastic. For anything. Ever. It’s a hotbed for filth of all sorts.
peel the beets- it’s difficult, messy and unnecessary. As long as you pull off any lingering roots and sanitize the whole beet with boiling water, you’re good to go.
be alarmed if your toilet bowl turns red. This is a harmless phenomenon called beeturia and it happens to about 15% of people.

    32 ounce glass jar with lid*
    fine mesh strainer
    coffee filter or cheese cloth
    yogurt or kefir
    10-12 ounces (one very large) beet
    1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
    2 Tablespoons whey
    filtered water
    Place coffee filter or cheese cloth in fine mesh strainer over a bowl and separate whey from yogurt or kefir- sometimes this takes a while, so give yourself time. Whey should be completely clear.
    Pour boiling water over whole beets and into the jar to sanitize. Remove any roots and chop beets into 1/2" cubes. Put them in the clean jar with whey and salt, then cover with filtered water.
    Leave the jar on the counter for 48 hours. You can tell the kvass is ready when it's really, really fizzy. At this point, you can let it sit for another day or two to develop a more sour flavor, or pop it in the fridge, where it keeps for about a week.
    Remember my tips above for adding fresh herbs and making your kvass even fizzier!Beet Kvass

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

White Willow Bark for Pain Relief

White willow bark is nature’s original aspirin. In the days before pharmaceutical aspirin, the bark of the white willow provided pain relief and reduced fevers. All the way back to Hippocrates, who advised his patients to chew on the bark to calm fever and inflammation, white willow bark has been used by herbalists for the same uses that aspirin and ibuprofen are used today. 
Salix Alba wikipedia commons
Salix Alba
wikipedia commons
The chemical constituent in white willow that is credited for it’s therapeutic benefits is salicin. All willows contain the glucoside, salicin, which is converted to salicylic acid in the body. However, not all willows contain salicin in amounts sufficient for pain relief. The Purple Willow contains the highest concentrations of salicin, with white willow having the next highest concentration, and is more effective at reducing fever than the white willow. White willow is preferred for remedies, however, because it is more palatable than purple willow. A blend of these two willows would make a fair compromise. 
The form found in aspirin is a synthetic version of this called acetylsalicylic acid. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that the effects of white willow bark may take a little longer to work than acetylsalicylic acid, but appears to be longer lasting. Many people also report that it is far less irritating to the stomach compared to aspirin.  READ MORE...