22 Sep

Raw food, less water

When you start eating more raw foods, you may find you’re not as thirsty or don’t need as much water or other beverages as you normally do. There are several reasons for this.

First of all, raw foods, such as raw fruits and vegetables have a higher volume of water in them, so your body is getting the hydration it needs from foods.

This doesn’t mean you should stop drinking water or juices. You don’t want to adopt some of the more radical elements of the raw food trend. First and foremost, listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs. If you’re overweight, sluggish, tired, depressed, your body might be telling you to make some dietary changes, and raw foods might be one way to alleviate some physical disorders.

But if you’re overweight and have symptoms of Type II diabetes, overwhelming thirst can be one symptom. When you start consuming more raw foods, with a higher fiber and moisture content, you may start to lose weight, and that can go a long way to reducing your blood sugars.

If you’re not overweight, or don’t have Type II diabetes, you still might find you’re not as thirsty as you normally are. First of all, if you’re drinking water and juices, you’re not consuming caffeine, which is so dehydrating and makes you thirstier. And by not consuming as much in the way of cooked foods or especially highly processed foods, which have astronomical sodium counts, you won’t be as thirsty either.

By consuming more raw, uncooked food, and pure water and fruit juices, you’re putting your body into balance. Keeping sodium to normal levels found in foods means you’ll start to require a more balanced amount of water. Don’t think of this as changing or taking away. Think of it as adding balance, and it will make the process of eating healthier much easier.

21 Sep

Which Ingredients Make Good Pet Foods?

When you are considering which pet food to choose for your pet the most important consideration should always be the ingredients. The quality of the ingredients are what truly set premium foods apart from the poorer grades of foods.

When you look at a pet food label the ingredients are required to be listed in order of weight or predominance in the food. However, this can be slightly misleading. This is weight prior to processing. This means that if whole chicken is used in the food it may be listed first in the ingredient list, which sounds very appealing to the customer. Whole chicken contains a great deal of moisture. By the time the chicken is processed it weighs much less. For this reason, some people prefer to see things like chicken meal, or lamb meal in the first few spots in the ingredient list since these ingredients have already had the moisture removed from them prior to weighing for use in making the pet food.

According to the respected Whole Dog Journal, and other sources, for dogs it’s good to see multiple sources of animal protein in the first five ingredients of a premium dog food. It’s especially important to have a good source of protein in the first couple of ingredients. The exception would be with foods that are sold as pre-mixes, such as dehydrated or freeze dried foods, which are intended to be supplemented with protein sources by the owner. In these cases you would not expect to see protein sources among the first few ingredients.

Many concerned owners look for the following in their pet foods:

You should avoid generic ingredients such as “meat meal” or “animal fat.” Instead look for named sources such as beef fat, chicken fat, lamb meal, fish, etc.

Look for human grade, USDA approved ingredients. Pet food cannot, by law, be sold for human consumption, but look for companies that are committed to using human grade ingredients. You can also seek out hormone- and antibiotic-free meats. All poultry is already raised hormone-free in the U.S. but other meats are not necessarily raised this way unless specified.

Try to avoid foods that use corn gluten meal and other glutens. Many dogs are allergic to corn. Corn gluten is often a cheap protein filler and waste product from other industries. There can be similar problems with wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate, which are also used as fillers.

Avoid “meat by-products” and “meat digests.” When reading pet food labels look for specific, named sources of protein, such as lamb, chicken, tuna, beef, and so on. The term “meat” is a catch-all phrase that allows the pet food industry to be very unspecific about what kind of meat it’s using, so you don’t know what you could be feeding your pet.

There’s also a vast difference in preparation between “whole” chicken, chicken “meal,” chicken “by-products,” and chicken “digests.” Each term describes different preparation and parts of the chicken used. As a consumer and pet owner, you want to purchase foods which rely primarily on whole foods and meals. These are the foods which are closest to their original, live form and contain the most nutrition. By-products and digests contain necks, feet, intestines and other parts of the animal that you would not consider fit for human consumption.

Many foods may contain these ingredients as well as the more premium ingredients. But the primary ingredients you should look for should be whole foods and meals made from named meat sources.

Avoid BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin. These are artificial preservatives and often used in poor quality foods. Ethoxyquin is banned in foods for human consumption except as a color preservative in spices.

Avoid artificial colors, sugars and sweeteners.

Another thing to watch for on the ingredient list is “splitting” — many times an ingredient such as corn is split into multiple listings — ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, and other corn sources. Singly they are not a big presence, but added together, corn can become the biggest ingredient in your dog’s diet.

Taurine was added to cat foods in the 1970s when cats began going blind and dying due to taurine deficiencies. Dogs were thought not to need taurine but now links are being found that suggest they do require it. Some companies have begun adding it to dog foods.

Many people also prefer to buy from companies that have U.S.-grown ingredients. This isn’t simply patriotism. The United States has some of the strictest regulations in the world for growing and manufacturing foods. Some companies list the source of their ingredients on their Web sites but it is more difficult to find out this information from other companies.

Some people prefer to feed their pets so-called “exotic” protein diets — venison, buffalo, duck, trout, etc. They may be trying to find foods that won’t trigger allergies in their pets. In general, it’s considered good advice to avoid feeding your dog (or cat) such unusual proteins unless he or she already has an allergy problem. If your pet does well on a more common protein it’s a good idea to stick with it and save the exotic proteins for a time when it’s needed. That way you know you have some options if you run into problems. If your pet should develop an allergy to the exotic proteins you would have nowhere to go.

High protein diets are very popular at the moment. The old ideas about excessive protein possibly harming your pet’s kidneys seem to have been debunked. However, if you wish to try a high protein diet, or one of the new grain-free diets, make sure that you find a food that has the AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy statement. You want to make sure that you are feeding a food that is nutritionally balanced.

17 Sep

The Spirit of Coffee – Coffees of the World

Ever wonder where the coffee beans in your morning coffee come from? You probably know words like Arabica and Robusta in terms of taste, but did you know that these words can also tell us where those coffees were grown? Here is a look at three of the world’s best specialty coffees and the regions in which they originated. Read on to discover the rich history of these coffees.

Yemen Arabian Mocca

Grown in the mountainous region of Sanani in south Yemen at an altitude in excess of 4,500 ft, Arabian Mocca is the world’s oldest cultivated coffee, distinguished by its richness and full body with chocolate undertones. Yemen is on Asia’s Arabian peninsula, a stone’s throw from Africa. Since there are no other Arabian coffees, it is classified as part of the family tastes of North African coffees.

It is here that the term “mocca” was coined. Its correct spelling is Mokha, for the port city that Yemen coffees ship from. Yemen’s arid climate contributes to the production of one of the best-loved specialty coffees that led Europeans to fall in love with coffee many centuries ago.

Yemeni coffee is one of the most distinct and prized coffees in the world. It’s been called a “wild” or natural cup, earthy, complex, pungent — to some it may be strange and bitter. This coffee can also be characterized as dry, winey, and acidic with chocolate and fruit undertones, rustic flavors, and intense aromas.

(Source: http://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.arabia.yemen.html)

Mexico “Spirit of the Aztec”

The state of Veracruz produces many average coffees in its low-lying regions, but atop the tall mountains near the city of Coatepec an excellent Arabica bean coffee called Altura Coatepec reigns. The word Altura itself means “high grown”. Altura Pluma indicates the finest coffee of Mexico. Coetepec, a coffee district of Veracruz, provides particularly outstanding coffee beans. Mexican Altura beans have a full medium body, fine acidity, a wonderful bouquet and a satisfying flavor that is mild and sweet. This fine Mexican coffee is noted for delivering a consistently smooth taste and fragrant flavor with good body, depth, and overall balance. It is likely one of the most underappreciated coffees around.

Mexican coffee botanists celebrate Mexico’s highest altitudes (with their approximately one hundred species of Arabica coffee plants) as the finest region of all the world’s gourmet coffees. An inferior grade of coffee bean known Robusta grows at lower altitudes. Mexico itself produces huge quantities of these unremarkable coffee beans, often utilized as dark roasts, supermarket coffees and beans for blending.

Arabica coffee arrived in Mexico at the start of the nineteenth century from the West Indies. Today, Mexico ranks among the world’s top coffee exporters. Most Mexican coffee is processed by the wet method to ensure better acidity and body. Mexican coffee is graded based on the altitude where it is grown. The plantations of Veracruz account for 60 to 70 percent of the Mexican coffee crop. Approximately 5 million bags of coffee a year originate in Mexico. Most of the better beans are grown on large plantations in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guerrero. These are producers of “high-grown” Altura Coatepec coffees, among the finest coffees grown in the Americas.

Their flavor is light and nutty with medium acidity and a mild, well-balanced body. With a fine chocolate tang and a hint of sweet undertone beneath the finish, these coffees make an ideal beverage for those of us who enjoy a smooth, mellow-tasting brew that is not overpowering. Altura’s smoothness produces many loyalists of the coffee drinkers who sample it. Mexican Altura Coatepec is an incredible morning coffee, as it could be used in a blend to tone down accompanying fuller-bodied coffees, or better yet, alone for the pure regional flavor.

(Source: http://www.coffeeuniverse.com/world_coffee_latin.html)

Java “Dutch Estate”

As a synonym of coffee, “java” introduced itself in the seventeenth century when the Dutch began cultivating coffee trees on the island of Java (part of the islands of Indonesia) and successfully exported it globally. Often the standard by which all other coffees are measured, Java’s finest golden beans are roasted to yield a piquant aroma, displaying an exquisite acid balance, a heavy body with chocolate undertones, and a lighter finish than Sumatran.

At one time the island of Java was ruled by sultans and dominated by mysticism. The early Dutch settlers who came in the late 17th century found Java to be a wonderfully diverse place with high mountains, thick tropical rain forests and a sultry climate that revolved around the monsoon rains. The Dutch and the Javanese settled the coastal volcanic plains, while much of the interior of the island was left to the jungle and a few tribal groups. The Dutch found that coffee grew very well in this climate, and began to set up plantations around their initial foothold in Batavia (modern day Jakarta). Initially Arabica coffees were planted, but many of these were killed by the coffee rust plague that devastated the region in the 1800’s. Robusta was the logical replacement — a tough plant resistant to many diseases.

Eventually the Dutch plantation owners conquered Java and took on the elements. Large plantations were established in the east of the island, as well as in Central Java and the west. After the Japanese occupied Java in the 1940’s many of these plantations were destroyed or absorbed back into the jungle with their owners imprisoned by the Japanese. After the war and the ensuing independence struggle, many of the larger plantations ended up under the control of the government. Today the big Java plantations (such as Nusantara XII) are still government-owned. However there are many medium and smaller growers who produce excellent quality Arabica beans. These coffees are known as “Government Estate” Java. They are primarily produced at 4 old farms (Kayumas, Blawan, Djampit, Pancoer). The Government body grows about 85% of the coffee in East Java, close to Bali on the Ijen area. The range of altitudes suitable for coffee production is 3,000 to 6,000 feet, with most growing in the plateau region at 4,500 feet.

17 Sep

Coffee For Your Health

Many of us rely on coffee to get us going in the mornings, wake us up in the afternoons, and prepare us for that special business meeting. Go ahead, have a cup of coffee. It’s much healthier than you may be thinking right now.

Coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world. No matter where you go, coffee is usually available. Yet, until recently there’s been very little research on the effects of coffee on our health. The researcher’s are waking up however. There have recently been studies completed on a variety of health benefits to drinking that simply delicious cup of coffee.

In a study in Italy, it was proven that that brewed coffee contains many antioxidants and consumption of antioxidant-rich brewed coffee may inhibit diseases caused by oxidative damages. When compared to other caffeine containing beverages like tea and cocoa, coffee proved to be the best in helping to prevent disease.

Caffeine in Coffee – Good or Bad?

The caffeine in coffee has often been a source of concern for many. Most people have problems sleeping when they drink coffee right before bedtime. Others will drink coffee to give them that boost of energy caffeine provides. Some even feel their heart rate increase if they drink too much coffee.

Did you know there are also benefits to the caffeine found in coffee? Coffee intake ( due to the caffeine) was associated with a significantly lower risk for Alzheimer’s Disease, independently of other possible confounding variables. These results, with future prospective studies, may have a major impact on the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Another benefit of drinking coffee has been studied in China. Their research clinically proved the caffeine in coffee helps to prevent Parkinson’s disease. Many of us have been led to believe that caffeine is bad for us. True enough, large quantities may hurt us, but the evidence is strong for the benefits it provides.

Coffee – Healthy Tonic for the Liver?

Studies completed in Japan indicated that people who drink more than a cup of coffee a day are less likely to develop liver cancer than those who do not, Japanese researchers say. Coffee also helped lower the risk of cirrhosis of the liver. Chlorogenic acid present in coffee beans has been proven in studies to also reduce the risk of liver cancer.

Harvard Medical School completed a study in 2004 that strongly suggest coffee has preventative qualities for Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. The authors found an inverse association between coffee intake and type 2 diabetes after adjustment for age, body mass index, and other risk factors. Total caffeine intake from coffee and other sources was associated with a statistically significantly lower risk for diabetes in both men and women. These data suggest that long-term coffee consumption is associated with a statistically significantly lower risk for type 2 diabetes.

Coffee and Physical Fitness

The amounts of water, carbohydrate and salt that athletes are advised to consume during exercise are based upon their effectiveness in preventing both fatigue as well as illness due to hyperthermia, dehydration or hyper hydration. The old issues concerning coffee and caffeine were that it acts as a diuretic, thus causing more fluid loss during activity. Studies have caused researchers to re think this point. These studies suggest that consuming caffeine does not have this effect and can even have beneficial effects on keeping the body fit.

Caffeine does not improve maximal oxygen capacity directly, but could permit the athlete to train at a greater power output and/or to train longer. It has also been shown to increase speed and/or power output in simulated race conditions. These effects have been found in activities that last as little as 60 seconds or as long as 2 hours. There is less information about the effects of caffeine on strength; however, recent work suggests no effect on maximal ability, but enhanced endurance or resistance to fatigue. There is no evidence that caffeine ingestion before exercise leads to dehydration, ion imbalance, or any other adverse effects.

16 Sep

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9 Sep

Gourmet Foods and the Use of Alba White Truffles

Whenever you think about culinary arts and skills, think gourmet foods and white truffles. Gourmet foods come with high quality and taste. These dishes are very common in the United Kingdom, despite being originally from Alba, Italy. They are as well among the most highly upheld and traditional foods of exotic cooking that have been passed down from one generation to another by the Roman culture. Continue reading

5 Sep

Pork and chicken dumplings

Pork and chicken dumplingsIngredients

150g pork mince
150g chicken mince
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
½ tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
½ cup water chestnuts, chopped
6 shiitake mushrooms (300g), finely sliced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
25 fresh white round wonton wrappers
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Sauce

¹⁄³ cup light soy sauce
1 chilli, finely sliced
2cm-piece ginger,
cut into fine strips
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp sesame oil

Method

1 Combine pork and chicken mince, soy, oyster sauce, sesame oil, ginger, chestnut, mushroom and onion in a bowl. Mix until well combined.
2 Lay 5 wrappers on a clean bench. Using your fingertip, wet the outside edges with a little water. Put about 3 teaspoons of mince filling in the centre of each wrapper. Fold over to encase filling. Overlap edges in little pleats. Gently flatten base slightly so dumplings stand up. Repeat 4 times with remaining wrappers and filling.
3 Heat a non-stick frypan. Add a little oil. Fry dumplings in batches for about 1 minute or until base is crisp. Add 1 cup hot water, cover and cook for 5-6 minutes or until water has evaporated and dumplings are tender. Remove and keep warm.
4 To make sauce: Combine ingredients. Serve in dipping bowl or over the dumplings.

3 Sep

Get More Energy With The Raw Food Detox Diet

Raw food detox diet involves eating food in its uncooked form, referring to anything that occurs naturally. There are immense benefits to be derived from a diet consisting primarily or sole of raw organic vegan food. Eating raw foods gives you 100 percent of the available nutrition. But you can lose up to 85 percent of the original nutritional value when you cook the same food.

Raw food detox diet also provides enzymes that help digest your food. Living foods not exposed to temperatures above 116 degrees Fahrenheit keep their enzymes intact; otherwise, the enzymes break up and your body has to work harder to digest your meals. Enzyme-rich foods give you a more realistic and efficient energy source. They rapidly break down in our stomach and immediately begin to provide energy and nutrition.

One of the most life enhancing benefits is the abundant amount of energy that is available to you. Energy that is usually use to digest cooked food is freed up for you to spend for other things, when eating raw. You will find that you will need to sleep less to feel rested.

Many athletes have found that light raw meals give a more sustainable form of energy and improve their performance. Students find that raw food detox diet gives them a more stable blood sugar level, helping them to think more clearly and stay more focused. Eating in this manner is also known to enhance your beauty. Most of all, when you eat well you feel good – and feeling good is the essence of life.

To start your raw food detox diet, increase the amount of fresh produce in your cooked food diet. The cleansing process begins and helps flush out old toxins. Greens and fresh fruits are especially effective in pushing debris out of your cells and colon. These two primary raw sources attune your body to eating more and more raw food.

As you feel fuller and more nourished from the increased quantities of raw food, you may consider trying to let go of cooked meals. Cultured items (like tofu) help initiate beneficial flora. Dried foods assist your transition by giving a raw food way to satisfy a cooked food craving for something heavy. The goal in a raw food detox diet is to achieve the ideal balanced diet of 60 per cent fresh foods, 20 per cent sprouted foods, 10 per cent dried foods, and 10 per cent cultured foods. Try to achieve that to make the most of healthy, energy and culinary enjoyment!

31 Aug

Food and Health Concerns Among People

In terms of nutrition food and health are great concern all over the world. The major concentration is on the threats exerted by kinds of foods, and how we can cut them by avoiding junk foods and modifying our daily diets. For example, many consumers avoid the white sugar as they perceive that it is harmful for health.

Many nutrition and health authorities offer guidance for people to avoid health problems associated with over or under-consumption of certain foods. However, it largely depends on the attitude of the people to their food intake and health. Continue reading