Jul
26

SEAWEED

by Nina Vachkova

SEAWEED_A

The benefits of eating vegetables are undeniable, pretty much everyone agrees on this. I like to challenge myself to try a new vegetable every time I go to a grocery store or farmer’s market, because there is still so much stuff out there I haven’t tried. Mostly I either don’t know how to prepare them, or I am not able to get my hands on a wide variety because they aren’t available where I live.. I prefer sticking to local produce because I want to support my local farmers and I can actually track where the food is coming from. But honestly, eating only local fruits and vegetables can get a bit boring in the long run, and you can also miss some amazing, nutrient-dense dishes if you avoid all exotic and imported produce. I can’t imagine never eating bananas or coconuts, just because they are not grown in my country or even on my continent.

One of these vegetables you definitely don’t want to miss out on is seaweed. You probably never thought about sea plants as a group of vegetables, did you? But just like fish and other seafood, seaweed is packed with nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and many health benefits! Seaweed is particularly rich in calcium (1400 mg in 100g in hijiki seaweed, compared to only 113g in 100g of whole milk), Iodine, Iron, and Omega 3 fatty acids. It also contains a lot of protein, but of course, with the amount of seaweed we are likely to consume, we can’t rely on it as a substitute for a regular protein source like grass-fed meat or eggs. But it is a nice bonus if you sprinkle some seaweed flakes over your hearty salad.

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Jul
20

GELATIN AND COLLAGEN

by Nina Vachkova

gelatin

WHAT IS GELATIN?

Gelatin is the cooked form of collagen, and collagen is one of the most important proteins in the human body. Actually, our bodies contain more collagen than any other protein. Connective tissues, skin, hair, joints, and bones – they are all made mostly from collagen. Pure collagen only comes from animals and it is very rare for people to eat it in its raw form. Honestly, who wants to eat pounds of raw chicken skin or chew on beef knuckles? Sure, some people do, I remember my brother sucking on chicken bones from grilled wings or drumsticks when we were little, but for me, the idea of eating even cooked animal cartilage was extremely off putting.

Back in the early paleolithic era (this was also generally true before the industrialization of food, and has remained true in some other cultures – the consumption of chicken feet in China for instance), our ancestors used to eat plenty of collagen rich food; before they started cooking their food, raw animal parts was all they were left with. Unlike us, they didn’t have the luxury of farmer’s markets or supermarkets and when they caught an animal, they ate the whole beast, largely because they did not know when their next feast was going to happen. There were no leftovers in those days, there were no freezers or food dehydrators (and you didn’t always have the luxury of staying put long enough for sun drying). You either ate the food or let it spoil and go to waste (or left the rest to predators like wolves, hyenas, or vultures). The first peoples ate organs, muscle meats, skin, and usually even the soft parts of the bone (aka marrow) – the most collagen rich part of the animal.

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Jul
12

HERBAL TEAS

by Nina Vachkova

herbal tea

In the popular TV show The Big Bang Theory, a character named Sheldon believes that when you see someone who is sad, lonely, sick, or depressed, the mandatory social convention dictates that you must offer them a hot beverage. He usually offers coffee, tea, or a herbal infusion to his sad friends, because as a man of logic with a lack of empathy (or sympathy), he knows no other way to comfort people. Other characters on the show usually don’t fully appreciate the fact that he just hands them a mug of hot tea with the words “there, there,” but what they might not know is that herbal teas and similar warm, soothing liquids offer a huge dose of comfort, relaxation, and plenty of health benefits. As fictional as Sheldon might be, he is without a doubt a very smart guy. Herbal teas really are a comfort.

We already covered the topics of tea and coffee, and we learned that only real tea comes from tea plant leaves that are dried and processed to certain levels we know as green, white, or black tea, but we are also used to using the word tea for herbal infusions. Technically, herbal teas are called tisanes. There are possibly hundreds of different herbal combinations you can try to experience a large number of benefits, allowing you to address your specific health issues by choosing the right herb or herbal blend. You can even grow and dry your own herbs at home, and in some cases you can simply handpick your herbs in nature, like nettle and chamomile. Herbal teas or infusions are naturally caffeine free, so they are a wonderful option for people sensitive to caffeine. The possibilities are almost endless with herbal infusions, so let’s talk about some of the most popular options and their health benefits.

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Jul
06

COFFEE BREAK

by Nina Vachkova

coffee

To drink or not to drink – that is a question many people ask, and the answer is far from simple. Coffee lovers tend to justify their habit by pointing out a few studies that prove certain benefits of coffee consumption. While those studies are real, and coffee in reasonable amounts is not harmful for certain individuals, and can even have some health benefits, coffee is one of the things that doesn’t follow the rule that “a little is good, so more will be even better.” Even the popular saying “everything in moderation” is not applicable here. With coffee (and caffeine, often the main reason why we drink it) we need to focus on the context. The question is not “is it healthy?” The question really is “is it healthy FOR ME?” We are not here to tell you that coffee causes adrenal fatigue or that you absolutely shouldn’t order espresso after 2pm. You should be honest with yourself though when it comes to coffee consumption. Here are the facts and all we ask you to do is evaluate those facts with your own current health and lifestyle situation in mind.

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Jun
23

TEA PARTY

by Nina Vachkova

tea party

A cup of warm tea after a long day at work sounds like a comforting way to unwind, and for many, it is a daily ritual. In certain countries, this ritual involves a specific preparation process that could be considered an art. Drinking tea comes with many benefits, but also a number of questions. What are those healthy compounds in our tea? How many cups is too many? What about caffeine? Which tea should we choose to get the maximum benefit out of it? What about herbal teas? Does it matter if it’s organic? Let’s answer some of these questions!

WHAT IS TEA?

Drinking tea has a long history, especially in countries like China and Japan, and it was used as medicine long before anyone knew what antioxidants actually are. When we talk about tea in general, we include tea leaves, rooibos needles, and even dried herbs, but the real tea is actually only harvested from one specific plant. For the purpose of this post, let’s exclude herbal teas and other non-tea beverages and focus just on the tea leaves of Camellia Sinensis.

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