Friday, February 20, 2015

8 Healthy And Delicious Take-To-Work Snacks

These nutritious treats on crackers are going to annihilate your midday junk food cravings and show NO REMORSE.

Most healthy snacks offer very little textural contrast — they’re either all smushy, like smoothies and oatmeal, or all crunchy, like pretzels and granola bars. Having a little crunch with a little something creamy is more satisfying. I like crispbread crackers (like this) for the task because there is just the right amount of surface area to make things interesting without overdoing it. Their size also gives you a nutritional assist in the moderation department.

There are many brands of crispbread crackers, but one Swedish brand in particular (Wasa) is easy to find and has lots of variety, like sourdough, multi or whole grain, and sesame. All are attractive options as they are low in calories and fat but high in fiber, and they are often recommended by nutritionists as a satisfying, moderate snack. Really, it’s a crunchy, hearty alternative to sandwich bread.


1. Keep an arsenal of snack enhancers at work so you are not schlepping stuff back and forth.
  • small bottle of good olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • nice pepper grinder
  • honey
  • small jar of cinnamon
2. Keep a few tools at work too.
  • cutting board
  • cheap paring knife
3. Pack smart.
  • Pack your crispbread in Tupperware to keep it from cracking. You may even want to wrap it in plastic wrap so other ingredients in your snack pack don’t get moisture on your cracker. Wet crackers are the worst.

1. Apples and Honey with Nut Butter

Pack a whole apple in your bag. Smear peanut, almond, cashew — whatever butter you are into — onto your crispbread. Drape a small sheet of plastic wrap over the nut butter so it doesn’t smear all over, then pack it up. At snack time, thinly slice your apple, and drizzle with honey and cinnamon, which you hopefully have at work. You can substitute the apple for a banana to mix things up.

2. Avocado and Mozzarella

At home, slice your fresh mozzarella and wrap in plastic wrap. Pack your crispbread and a whole avocado to go. When you are ready to eat, slice your avocado. Top the crispbread with the mozzarella, add your sliced avocado, drizzle with olive oil, and season with kosher salt and pepper.

3. Hummus, Carrot, and Cucumber

Before work, use a vegetable peeler to make long strands with your carrot and cucumber and pack in a plastic baggie or container. Pack your crispbread and a container of hummus. When ready, spread your hummus on the crispbread and lay down those carrots and cukes.

4. Egg White Salad

This is a good one to plan the night before. Hard-boil 2 eggs (place in a small pan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover with a lid, and let stand for 12 minutes. Drain the water, then place eggs in a bowl of ice water to cool.) Peel the eggs and then, using the whites only, chop them up and put into a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill, and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir to combine.

Load the egg white salad into a container and pack your crispbread separately. Spoon over crispbread at lunchtime.

5. Dates and Goat Cheese

Cut up some goat cheese and place into a container. Throw in some chopped dates and sliced almonds, separated from the cheese by a plastic baggy. Pack your crispbread to go. Ready to eat? Smear the goat cheese on to your crispbread, top with dates and almonds, and drizzle with honey from your stash.

6. Tomato and Feta

Slice some tomatoes and place them in your container, then cover with plastic wrap. Crumble some feta into a pile in your container and sprinkle with dried oregano or Italian herbs. Pack your crispbread separately. When you get hungry, top your crispbread with tomato, feta and herbs, and drizzle with your stashed olive oil and freshly ground pepper.

7. Pineapple and Chipotle

At home, slice your pineapple (or you can use canned slices in juice), and scoop out ¼ cup cottage cheese. Place both in a container and sprinkle with a pinch of chipotle powder. Pack up your crispbread separately. Don’t assemble this one until you are ready to eat or you’ll have a sad, wet cracker. :(

8. Strawberries and Spice

At home, slice up some fresh strawberries and place in a plastic container. Spread a tablespoon of cream cheese on your crispbread and sprinkle with nutmeg, cinnamon, or vanilla salt. Wrap it in plastic wrap and pack in the container. When the time is right, layer the strawberries over the crispbread.
[via Buzzfeed]

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Top 5 Popular GMO Foods to Avoid

As you’ve already known, GMO foods are extremely unsafe because of the countless health risks and life-threatening diseases that they can cause in the long run. Even if consumers are now more aware about the negative effects of GMOs, greedy manufacturers still continue to produce and sell them to this day. They certainly won’t be stopping anytime soon, therefore it’s up to us to be more meticulous when it comes to buying safer foods.

Several studies have found that sugar beets, soy, canola, cotton, and corn are the top 5 crops that are often genetically-modified. These popular crops are severely altered and contain traces of pesticide that can cause major health problems like blood cancer, liver toxicity, kidney failure, gut inflammation, or even death.

What’s really scary is that these GMO crops are listed as innocent ingredients on many commercial products. They’re disguised in the form of brown sugar, fructose, glucose, modified starch, vegetable oil, and the like. So you really need to read the labels carefully to evade these creepy GMO products.

Get more facts about GMOs and how you can successfully avoid them in this special infographic below. Remember to share this online so you can help spread the word about GMO foods!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Vegan Valentine’s Day Recipes

Nothing says romance like a cruelty-free Valentine’s Day. If vegan Valentine’s Day recipes seem like they’re out of your wheelhouse a little bit, don’t’ worry! We’ve got lots of ideas for you to choose from! There are even some ideas for entire menus, so this list really has way more than 10 recipes.

10+ Vegan Valentine’s Day Recipes

1. Chocolate Truffles – These vegan truffles use homemade cashew cream in place of dairy-based cream in conventional truffle recipes. The results are decadently delicious!

2. Almost Raw Truffles – This is an even simpler Valentine’s Day truffle recipe that requires no stove at all. And they’re free from refined sugar, too!

3. Mango-Banana Smoothie – Start the day off with a healthy breakfast packed with natural aphrodisiacs.

4. A Whole Vegan Menu – If you’re doing Valentine’s Day at home, we’ve got you covered. This menu has everything from a signature cocktail to a romantic vegan main dish and dessert.

5. Raw Chocolate-Peppermint Brownies – This is another super simple vegan dessert. All that you need to make it is a blender.

6. Grapefruit-Cranberry White Wine Spritzer – This is a festive cocktail that’s refreshing, tart, and not overly boozy. Because getting sloppy drunk isn’t super romantic.

7. Another Whole Menu – This menu had me at Tipsy Vodka Cream Sauce. YUM!

8. Romantic Dinner a Deux – Vegetarian Times has a nice selection of recipes complete with nutritional information.

9. Lemon-Ginger Vegetable Pie – This roasted veggie pie has plenty of ginger, a natural aphrodisiac. It’s a perfect Valentine’s Day main dish.

10. Easy Vegan Quiche – You can make this quiche with any veggies that you like. And your date doesn’t have to know how easy it was to make!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

10 Powerhouse Plant Proteins

Easier on the planet’s water and land resources—and often easier on your digestive tract than animal proteins—plant foods offer ample essential amino acids to build muscle and maintain optimal health. From quinoa to lentils to chia, you’ll find these protein-rich plant foods ground into powders, added to breads and bars, and bringing substance to soups and other packaged vegan and vegetarian foods. Eating them fresh and whole is even better, of course, because you’ll also benefit from these foods’ abundant phytonutrients and antioxidants, in addition to essential amino acids, our bodies’ building blocks.

  1. Tempeh (7 ounces = 20 grams)
  2. Lentils (1 cup cooked = 18 grams)
  3. Chickpeas (1 cup cooked = 14.5 grams)
  4. Tofu (3 ounces = 9 grams)
  5. Quinoa (1 cup cooked = 9 grams)
  1. Hemp seeds (3 tablespoons = 10 grams)
  2. Peanuts (¼ cup = 9.5 grams)
  3. Almonds (¼ cup = 8 grams)
  4. Sunflower seeds (¼ cup raw = 7 grams)
  5. Chia seeds (2 tablespoons = 6 grams)
Do you need to combine them?
These proteins are not all “complete” (except soy and quinoa)—most plants lack one or more of the essential amino acids; but plant-based nutrition has come a long way since its early days of combining bland, brown foods in the same meal. Now we know that vegetables like spinach pack a protein punch too; and as long as you have a variety of protein-rich foods in your diet, you don’t need to carefully plan proteins at every meal.

Can plant proteins meet your needs?
For kids, total protein (in grams) should be about 0.4 times bodyweight in pounds. For adults, it should be about 0.36 times bodyweight in pounds. So, if you’re a 130-pound 40-something, you’d want to aim for about 47 grams of protein. Thus if you add 2 tablespoons of chia (6 grams) and ¼ cup of almonds (8 grams) to one cup of cooked oatmeal (which also has 6 grams), at 20 total grams you’re nearly halfway there.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

29 Amazing Vegan Ice Cream Recipes

Yes, you can make amazing ice cream without a cow in sight. There are lots of different ingredients to experiment with (coconut milk, frozen bananas, avocado, soy or almond milk), and you can do it with or without an ice cream maker (frozen bananas are your new best friend if you don’t have one). Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind:
  • Fat helps you get the right creamy texture. That’s what makes coconut milk such a perfect substitute for whole milk and cream. Give it a shot, even if you think you don’t love coconut; the flavor is pretty subtle, especially if you mix it with fruit, chocolate, etc.
  • Thickeners like corn starch and arrowroot (like in this basic coconut ice cream recipe) can also help make a creamier texture.
  • Make sure any sweetener you add is in syrup/liquid form, or it’ll cause crystals to form.
  • Make sure all your ingredients are as cold as they can be pre-freezing/blending. That’ll help everything combine without starting to melt too much, which can make for a grainy final product.

Coconut-based Ice Creams

1. Fig, Coconut and Blackberry Ice Cream

The flavors are pretty fruity and complex, not at all like a standard sugar and cream recipe. Make sure to use ripe figs (preferably mission figs), they taste sweeter. Find the recipe here.

2. Vegan Coconut Ice Cream

For those of you who love coconut milk, this ice cream will be right up your alley.  If you’re familiar with Hawaiian and/or tropical desserts, it’ll probably remind you of haupia.  This recipe uses the same basic ingredients– coconut milk, cornstarch and sugar– but instead of turning the ingredients into gelatin-like squares, you end up with a dazzling white frozen dessert. 

3. Salted Caramel Pretzel Ice Cream

Smooth vanilla ice cream with ribbons of salted caramel and lots of chunky chocolate-covered pretzels. You'll never eat pretzels from a bag again! Try out the recipe here.

4. Vegan Rhubarb Ice Cream

An ice cream meant for those who enjoy the tartness of rhubarb.  The perfect treat during those hot, sticky summer days. Recipe here.

5. Coffee Coconut Milk Ice Cream with Hot Fudge

This recipe is incredibly simple and yields great results. The coconut milk churned just like regular ice cream, and once frozen became the farthest thing from your typical vegan dessert. A key thing to note is that the ice cream doesn’t have a strong coconut flavor, like you would think. So if you’re not a coconut lover,  you’ll still like it - especially if you add the coffee.

6. Avocado-Coconut Ice Cream

This recipe is a bit unusual, but that’s what makes it so appealing. It’s also creamy and smooth without being heavy. And though you feel slightly virtuous as you eat it, it still tastes like a treat. But most importantly, it’s cool and refreshing, which is just what you want during those hot days.

7. Vegan Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

This delicious recipe is rich and creamy and sweet just like regular ice cream. And the cinnamon sugar and actual toast flecks gave it a whole new flavor dimension.

8. Vegan Cinnamon Toast Ice Cream

A creamy texture that is much better than any cow’s milk product I have ever made. You’ve seen a can of full fat coconut milk, and that creamy layer on the top, it’s beautiful. And it’s incredible in ice cream, with a smooth and rich flavor that's similar to gelato in Italy. You will love this recipe and everyone will be shocked that it’s vegan.

9. Vegan Black Sesame and Ginger Ice Creams

Intrigued by the deep asphalt grey color of black sesame, which is so uncharacteristic to ice cream or any dessert for that matter. Deviant ice cream. Paired with some ginger ice cream to go with the grey batch. Ginger is another one of those warming, earthy flavors, which combines wonderfully with the sesame. The pairing of the two is very comforting, almost soothing to have after a long day or to end a peaceful dinner. Find the recipe here.

10. Vegan Butter Pecan Ice Cream

You’ll need to buy (or make) a vegan butter substitute to get the ideal buttery flavor in this recipe.

11. Vegan Mango Coconut Ice Cream

Start with a can of coconut milk for a rich and creamy base. Simply combine the coconut milk with some almond milk and blend in ripe fruit and organic sugar. Chill the mixture then freeze in an ice cream maker. Scoop and enjoy. Recipe here.

12. Vegan Peanut Butter Chunk and Chocolate Crunch Ice Cream

Using coconut milk makes this recipe dairy free + vegan and incredibly simple to make.

13. Vegan Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

If your children like pumpkin pie, they are going to love this pumpkin ice cream. Recipe here.

14. Vegan Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

So yummy and refreshing, this vegan chocolate chunk ice cream recipe is sure to be a delight!

Banana-based Ice Cream

15. Vegan Maple Pecan Ice Cream

Bananas are inexpensive and when fully ripe are as sweet as can be. And they can be dressed up many ways, like this ice cream. Recipe here.

16. Banana Cherry Garcia Soft Serve

Cherries + dark chocolate is always a winning pair! Frozen bananas make magical ice cream with just a blender. Recipe here.

17. Lavender Banana-Coconut Ice Cream

A relaxing and delicious blend of lavender, coconut, and banana.  And, you don’t even need an ice cream maker to enjoy this decadent and sweet recipe.

18. Vegan Cake Batter Ice Cream

This fun recipe is just like soft serve ice cream, but it’s healthy, vegan and incredibly easy to whip up. Now you can have your cake and eat ice cream, too.

19. Vegan Chunky Monkey Ice Cream

This recipe is delicious and super healthy, much better than the store bought version any day

20. Vegan Strawberry-Banana Ice Cream

Are you ready to indulge and be blown away by this easy and decadent raw recipe? It’s 100% raw, vegan, gluten-free, sweetener free and delicious :)

21. Vegan Mango-Banana Ice Cream

A no fuss fruity, creamy, and even healthy — frozen mango and bananas are all you need in this recipe.

22. Salted Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Chocolate Caramel Sauce

This recipe is easy and insanely delicious! If those that isn't enough, it’s also dairy free, gluten free and has no refined sugar. plus you don’t need a fancy ice cream maker. Follow the recipe along here.

Nut-based and Other Ice Creams

23. Vegan Peach-Almond Ice Cream

This recipe involves making your own almond milk as part of the process (don’t worry, it’s not hard).

24. Vegan Salted Caramel Ice Cream

This ice cream is made with silken tofu for added oomph. Recipe here.

25. Chocolate Sorbet

This is the good stuff. It’s essentially a mix of hot chocolate and actual chocolate, melted together and frozen into someone scoopable. This recipe is for people who wish chocolate ice cream tasted more like chocolate.

26. Chocolate Soy Ice Cream

This deliciously diet-friendly chocolate soy ice cream recipe is easy to fit into a sensible diet, plus it’s a great source of protein, fiber, iron and calcium. It’s easy and cheap to make, too, and if you don’t have an ice cream maker yet, it’s a great reason to get one.

27. Raw Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Cashews and almond milk give this ice cream recipe a great creamy texture with zero custard-cooking required.

28. Vegan Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream

This recipe takes blueberry ice cream to all new heights. Almond and coconut milk team up in this base.

29. Vegan Chocolate-Avocado Soft Serve

You can make this in a blender or food processor; just make sure to chill the coconut milk and avocados ahead of time. Recipe here.
[via BuzzFeed]