Steel Cut Oatmeal Recipe with Coconut Oil and Cinnamon

Easy Steel Cut Oatmeal Recipe with Coconut Oil and Cinnamon: Wake Up Right!

May 3, 2016 by Emily Monaco

Oatmeal is a classic breakfast food — and for good reason. It’s hearty, tasty, and it’s very simple to prepare. Steel cut oatmeal in particular has a chewy texture that rolled oats just don’t bring to the table. They may take a bit longer to cook, but they’re not high-maintenance, and the result is absolutely worth it.

The first key to the success of this oatmeal is combining steel cut oats with oat bran. The steel cut oats add the chewy factor you crave, but the oat bran adds a luxurious creaminess to the mix.

A dash of cinnamon and a pinch of salt lend flavor, and when topped with extra-virgin coconut oil and coconut sugar, the steel cut oatmeal takes on a slightly tropical flavor. The former has staying power, keeping you full all morning, while the latter adds just the right amount of sweetness without sending your glycemic index through the roof.

You might think that steel cut oatmeal is too time-consuming for a weekday morning, but I enjoy this oatmeal pretty much every day: just set it on the stove and let it bubble over a very low heat as you’re getting ready, stirring a few times as you think of it. Adding the milk of your choice to the top has the added benefit of cooling the just-cooked oats down enough to eat them before having to get out the door.

Steel Cut Oatmeal with Coconut Oil and Cinnamon

Serves 1

Ingredients
1/4 cup organic steel-cut oats
1/8 cup oat bran
1 cup water (more as needed)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup milk (dairy, almond, soy…)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon coconut sugar

Directions

Combine the oats, oat bran, water, cinnamon, and salt in a saucepan. Set over a low heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes. If you have the time to stand a the stove for a few moments, you can make this step go even faster by bringing the oats to a boil over high heat first, before reducing the heat.

When the oatmeal is cooked, pour into a bowl and top with the milk, coconut oil, and coconut sugar. Enjoy!

Basil- Herb That Protects DNA, Prevents Diabetes, Cleans Bloodstream, Destroys Cholesterol & Improves Vision

Basil- Herb That Protects DNA, Prevents Diabetes, Cleans Bloodstream, Destroys Cholesterol & Improves Vision

Basil is known as the king of herbs. Basil is an excellent source of a variety of key nutrients, including vitamin C, calcium, vitamin A, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and iron. The chemical compounds present in basil leaves and flowers have disease preventing properties. They are not only delicious but offer the body a variety of health benefits, including the prevention of certain cancers and cholesterol problems.

Great Uses And Benefits Of Basil Leaf Herb

Kidney Stones

Basil can be used to strengthen your kidneys. In cases of stones in your kidney, the juice of basil leaves mixed with honey and taken daily for 6 months will expel them through the urinary tract.

Fight Viruses and Infections

Basil essential oils have been found to exhibit anti-microbial activity against a wide range of bacteria, yeasts, molds and viruses. This means you can add protection against the candida virus and various forms of skin irritations to the long list of proven benefits of basil.

Headaches

Basil is a good headache remedy. Boil leaves in half a quart of water, cooking until half the liquid remains. Take a couple of teaspoons an hour with water to relieve your pain and swelling. You can also make a paste of basil leaves pounded with sandalwood to apply to your forehead to relieve headache and provide coolness in general.

DNA Protection

Basil leaves come complete with an array of antioxidants and other wonderful phytonutrients. Some of these phytonutrients, orientin and vicenin, which are in the flavonoid family, have been found to “protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.” – whfoods

Protects heart and blood vessels

This plant is high in vitamin B6 and magnesium. Magnesium prevents heart attacks and strengthens the cardiovascular system. B6 prevents the accumulation of harmful ingredients, like homocysteine. Moreover, it lowers the risk of arrhythmia and provides relaxation of the muscles.

Prevent Diabetes

Basil extracts reduce sugars as well as free radicals in your body. Studies were conducted regarding how basil extracts affect your glycemic index, which concluded that it may have the possibility to inhibit diabetes.

Boost Immune System

Eating fresh basil leaves regularly will give your immune system a boost. Studies show that the various chemical compounds in basil may improve the body’s production of infection-fighting antibodies by up to 20 percent. For best results, use fresh basil rather than dried versions.

Anti-ageing

Basil contains antioxidants that will fight off the wrinkles that can be caused by free radicals and it is also said to tighten and the firm up the skin, making it look more youthful and fresh.

Improves Vision

Just 100 grams of fresh basil leaves provide the recommended daily dose of vitamin A. Vitamin A has antioxidant properties and is essential for healthy vision. Fresh basil juice is an effective remedy for sore eyes and night-blindness, which is commonly caused by Vitamin A deficiency. For sore eyes, put two drops of black basil juice into the affected eye daily before going to bed.

7 Alternative Grains and Seeds to Incorporate into Your Diet

7 Alternative Grains and Seeds to Incorporate into Your Diet

Filling and simple to cook, rice is a food staple in many cultures around the world. Yet, it’s just one of the many grains and seeds that are an excellent source of nutrition. mental_floss spoke with Melanie Sherman, Registered Dietician and founder of Westside Nutrition and Wellness, about the unique properties of seven often-overlooked grains and grain substitutes.

1. WILD RICE

Ready to leave white rice behind but wary of venturing too far out of your comfort zone? Wild rice (which isn’t technically a rice) contains almost twice the protein of brown rice and is high in several B vitamins, manganese, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. According to one study, it has 30 times more antioxidants than white rice. It grows in lakes, bays and tidal rivers (although most commercial rice is grown in man-made lakes); these difficult growing conditions make it more expensive than other grains.

For best results, wild rice should be soaked before cooking. “Sometimes soaking can make the grain more digestible, or change the nutrient content,” Sherman says. This will also help eliminate phytic acid, which can limit the absorption of essential minerals like iron, zinc and calcium. Although Sherman says that not all grains need to be soaked, wild rice and buckwheat benefit from it. Whether or not you choose to soak your grains, Sherman adds that every grain needs to be washed before cooking.

2. AMARANTH

Amaranth is a small seed with a fine texture, making it a popular choice to add to baked goods, cereals, or porridge. According to the Whole Grains Council, its protein content is much higher than other grains at 13-14 percent, and amaranth is considered a "complete" protein because it contains the amino acid lysine (something missing in most other grains). It can be cooked by boiling it in water (for 20 minutes), but can also be toasted and sweetened for a dessert. You can also try popping amaranth like corn kernels for a popcorn substitute.

3. MILLET

A grain with a sweet, nutty flavor, Sherman recommends cooking millet as a porridge with dried apricots. (Sweeten the porridge with apple juice instead of brown sugar for a healthy twist.) It also works well in a hot pilaf with other grains and vegetables.

Sherman says, “Millet is highly nutritious, a good source of phosphorous and magnesium as well as copper and manganese.” She also notes that because millet is a goitrogen, a type of food that can have negative health effects on your thyroid, it is wise to eat it in moderation, especially if you have any autoimmune or thyroid conditions. Millet doesn’t typically serve well cold, as it tends to stick together as it dries, but it’s versatile and quick to cook (10 to 25 minutes).

4. TEFF

Grown mainly in Ethiopia and Eritrea, teff is a good source of protein, zinc, vitamin B6, and iron, and has a great balance of amino acids (although slightly lacking in lysine). The size of a poppy seed, teff has a notably high amount of calcium — about 123 mg per cup, the same amount found in 1/2 cup of spinach. The fine grains are ground into a flour and then fermented to make the flat crepe-like bread called injera (a traditional Ethiopian dish), on which hot foods like vegetables and meat are served.

5. WHEATBERRY

Wheatberry goes great with green vegetables or in a sweet salad with cranberries, orange, and cheese. It contains all the elements of a whole wheat kernel: the bran, germ, and endosperm, which provide a wider spectrum of nutrients than do processed grains like white rice (which has the bran and germ stripped for a greater shelf life). Wheatberry is also a good source of iron and fiber.

Wheatberry takes about 50 minutes to cook, relatively longer than most grains, but if you make a whole batch it will keep throughout the week (it’s also great cold). You can also experiment with the flavor by toasting the wheat berries before cooking; just heat them in the pot before adding water.

6. QUINOA

You’ve likely seen quinoa on restaurant menus, but might not have tried cooking it at home—which is a shame, because the fluffy seed only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to cook.

“It is exceptionally high in protein, fiber, and is low on the glycemic index," Sherman says of quinoa. "It is also a great source of many nutrients including manganese, copper, phosphorous and magnesium.” She also notes that quinoa has a protective coating made of chemical compounds called saponins, which can cause a bitter taste. To prevent this, it should be washed under running water while rubbing the grain to remove any remaining bitterness. (Although most quinoa sold today is pre-treated to remove the saponin, many still like washing it just to make sure.)

7. BUCKWHEAT

Though it’s a seed, buckwheat is treated like a grain in a culinary sense.You could cook the buckwheat as a hot cereal for breakfast, or grind it into flour to make pancakes or crepes. The toasted version is used for kasha varnishkes, a traditional Eastern European dish of pasta noodles, kasha (toasted buckwheat), and onions.

“Buckwheat has similar health benefits to whole grains in that it’s high in fiber and vitamins and minerals," Sherman says. "It’s great in terms of cholesterol management, and blood sugar control.” Plus, it’s easy to cook—it takes just 20 minutes.

May 2, 2016 – 3:00pm

Tomatoes: Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts

Tomatoes: Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts

Tomatoes are ubiquitous in the American diet. They appear in sauces, salads, juices, soups and elsewhere. Their prevalence is good news; tomatoes are healthful as well as tasty and versatile. They are especially lauded for their cardiovascular benefits.

"Tomatoes are low in calories, (about 25 calories per one medium-size tomato) yet filled with nutrition," said Heather Mangieri, a Pittsburgh-based registered dietitian and nutritionist, health author and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. They are good sources of several vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, especially the carotenoid lycopene, which gives tomatoes their vibrant red color.

But Americans didn’t always take advantage of tomatoes’ goodness. Tomatoes were used as a decorative plant until the late 1800s. People thought tomatoes were poisonous, probably because they belong to the nightshade family, according to the Texas A & M University horticulture department. (Tomatoes do, in fact, contain alkaloids that can cause adverse reactions in some people.)

However, while people in North America were shunning tomatoes, indigenous peoples in South America, as well as Europeans, were chowing down. Tomatoes are native to the region of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile. Around the 1500s, Spanish conquistadors began shipping them around the globe.

Italians were among the first Western populations to embrace the tomato. In Italy, a tomato is a pomodoro, or golden apple, which probably refers to yellow- or orange-colored tomatoes. The French sometimes call them "love apples" — pomme d’amour, according to the George Mateljan Foundation’s World’s Healthiest Foods website.

Fruit or vegetable?

Whether a tomato is classified as a fruit or a vegetable depends on whom you ask. A botanist would tell you that a tomato is a fruit as well as a berry because it develops from a single fertilized ovary.

A chef or U.S. politician, however, might disagree. In 1886, in a tax lawsuit with a tomato importer, the Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes are vegetables, according to National Geographic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture lists tomatoes and tomato products in the vegetable group in the National Nutrient Database. But the primary reason we think of tomatoes as vegetables is their savory taste, which we associate with main meals rather than dessert or snacks.

There are hundreds of varieties of tomatoes. They can bered, pink, yellow, orange/tangerine, green, purple, brown, or black, according to World’s Healthiest Foods. Among the largest varieties are beefsteak and beef master tomatoes. Roma tomatoes are medium in size, and cherry and grape tomatoes are small.

The term "heirloom tomatoes" has several different meanings. Traditionally, the term refers to seeds that get handed down from generation to generation within a family. But there are also "commercial heirloom" tomatoes in the marketplace, which are often produced from cross-breeding and open pollination.

Nutrient profile

"Tomatoes are high in fiber and a good source of vitamin A, C, B2 … folate and chromium," said Mangieri. The vitamins act as antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals to stop the condition of oxidative stress, according to an article in Pharmacognosy Review. Free radicals cause cell damage and disruption that can contribute to diseases. The minerals play important roles in ensuring the body functions properly.

"There are also a variety of carotenoids [including lycopene and beta-carotene], the phytonutrients that are thought to play a role in chronic disease prevention," said Mangieri. Mangieri noted that cooking tomatoes increases the amount of lycopene you absorb.

"Tomatoes are also rich in potassium, a mineral that Americans fall short on in their diet. One medium tomato contain almost 300 mg of potassium," said Mangieri. "One cup of tomato juice contains 534 milligrams of potassium, and a half-cup of tomato sauce has 454 milligrams." Potassium is associated with heart health and proper nerve and muscle function.

Here are the nutrition facts for tomatoes, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates food labeling through the National Labeling and Education Act:

Health benefits

Heart health

Lycopene is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease, said Mangieri. A 2011 review of studies on lycopene and heart disease, published in Current Medicinal Chemistry, found that most research supports the positive relationship between lycopene intake or low-dose supplementation and reduced risk of heart disease. This is likely due to two of lycopene’s actions involving fats in the bloodstream. Lycopene, and some other phytonutrients, can lower lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation is when fats in the blood are damaged by oxygen and in excess can trigger gradual blocking of blood vessels (atherosclerosis). Lycopene has also been shown to result in lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Beta-carotene may help lower the risk of metabolic syndrome, at least in middle-age and elderly men, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition found. Metabolic syndrome is characterized by high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels and excess fat around the waist. It is often considered a precursor to heart disease and diabetes. In the study, men with the most beta-carotene intake had the lowest risk of metabolic syndrome, as well as reduced waist circumference. Scientists suspect this is the result of beta-carotene’s antioxidant activities.

Phytonutrients in tomatoes can also help reduce excessive platelet clumping, which can lead to unwanted clotting and blood vessel blockages, according to a study of 19 fruits and 26 vegetables published in Blood Coagulation Fibrinolysis. The study found tomatoes to be among the most effective foods in this regard.

Vitamin C, too, is linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. A 2015 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at more than 100,000 people and found that those who ate the most fruits and vegetables had a 15 percent lower risk of developing heart disease. Those with the highest vitamin C levels in their plasma had even more reduced rates of heart disease. Scientists theorize that vitamin C may have cardiovascular benefits because it is an antioxidant. It also may lower bad LDL cholesterol and keep arteries flexible, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

"A diet rich in potassium helps to offset some of sodium’s harmful effects on blood pressure," said Mangieri. This is because potassium promotes vasodilation, or widening of the blood vessels, which decreases blood pressure. One study of 12,000 adults, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that those who consumed 4,069 mg of potassium each day lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease and ischemic heart disease by 37 percent and 49 percent, respectively, compared to those who took 1,793 mg per day.

Antioxidant power

Though most of the phytonutrients and vitamins in tomatoes have potent antioxidant properties, lycopene is a standout. In a test tube study published in Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, researchers found that lycopene was most effective at deactivating singlet oxygen (a harmful free radical) of all the carotenoids. This could be because lycopene has a unique molecule shape that is highly effective in deactivating free radicals.

Strong bones

Lycopene may promote bone health and help prevent the development of osteoporosis. A study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that participants with higher levels of lycopene in their blood were less likely to experience hip or nonvertebral fracture. Furthermore, a study published in Osteoporosis International found that postmenopausal women who added lycopene to their diets for four months saw decreased bone resorption (breakdown of bones).

Eyesight

Tomatoes contain both vitamin A and beta-carotene, which can turn into vitamin A when digested. Vitamin A is known to be necessary for vision. It is required to keep the retina working correctly and for low-light and color vision, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. It also plays a role in eye development.

Digestion

Mangieri noted tomatoes’ high fiber content, which fills about 9 percent of your daily needs per cup. This can help promote smooth digestion, healthy stool bulk and regularity, which helps maintain colorectal health. According to the Mayo Clinic, a high-fiber diet may help reduce the risk of hemorrhoids and diverticulitis (small, painful pouches on the colon).

Skin

Tomatoes’ vitamin C and vitamin A content is good for your skin. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, vitamin C is necessary for collagen production, which keeps your skin looking youthful and aids in wound healing, and vitamin A is a compound in retinoids, which are popular in anti-aging skin treatments.

Beta-carotene may help protect against sunburn, according to a meta-analysis published in Photochemistry and Photobiology. The researchers looked at several studies and found that participants who took beta-carotene supplements for 10 weeks had lower rates of sunburn. For each month of additional supplementation, the protection level increased.

Cancer prevention

A 1999 review published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that tomatoes and lycopene were associated with reduced risk of cancers of the prostate, lung, stomach, pancreas, colon and rectum, esophagus, oral cavity, breast and cervix. The associations were strongest for prostate, lung and stomach cancers.

Much research has focused on the relationship between reduced prostate cancer risk and tomatoes. For example, a large-scale study of nearly 50,000 men published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found an inverse relationship between lycopene from tomatoes and prostate cancer risk. Men with the highest levels of lycopene were 21 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than those with the lowest lycopene levels.

Another study published in PloS One found that alpha-tomatine, a saponin phytonutrient in tomatoes, was associated with the death of prostate cancer cells in a laboratory setting. Alpha-tomatine was also associated with anti-growth effects in non-small cell lung cancer cells, according to a study in Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics.

A 2015 review published in the Journal of Cancer Prevention found that lycopene lowered the risk of stomach cancer through its antioxidant actions. Researchers looked primarily at participants who smoked, suffered from chronic inflammation or had elevated levels of stomach bacteria Helicobacter pylori, though they noted that poor diet and family history could also be risk factors lessened by lycopene.

Stroke

Lycopene may decrease stroke risk, at least in men. According to a 12-year study published in Neurology, middle-age men with the highest levels of lycopene in their blood had a 55 percent reduced rate of any kind of stroke. They had a 59 percent reduced rate of strokes from blood clots, the most common kind.

Cognition

The beta-carotene in tomatoes may help protect against cognitive decline. A study published in JAMA found that men who took beta-carotene supplements long term — the study covered 18 years — were less likely to lose cognitive abilities. Men who took beta-carotene supplements for only one year did not see results. The authors speculate that the long-term results were the result of beta-carotene acting as an antioxidant, but could also be the result of lifestyle factors or other characteristics. More studies are needed.

Additionally, some studies have linked diets with tomatoes to a reduced risk of neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, according to World’s Healthiest Foods.

Asthma

Some small-scale studies suggest that the lycopene content in tomatoes may help asthma sufferers. One study, published in Free Radical Research,found that taking tomato extract reduced lung inflammation. Another study, published in Allergy, found that a daily dose of lycopene for a week reduced exercise-induced asthma in 55 percent of participants. Researchers suspect this was because of an antioxidant effect in the lungs.

Nerve, muscle and cell health

"Tomatoes are rich in potassium, a mineral that helps nerves and muscles communicate," said Mangieri. For example, potassium helps regulates your heart beat. "It helps move nutrients into cells and waste products out of cells," she added.

Risks of eating tomatoes

Like many fruits and vegetables with edible skins, tomatoes are often covered in pesticides. Tomatoes ranked ninth on the Environmental Working Group’s annual Dirty Dozen list, which compiles the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides. Try to buy organic tomatoes if you can.

The leaves of a tomato plant should not be eaten. They contain large concentrations of alkaloids, according to World’s Healthiest Foods.

If eaten in reasonable amounts, tomatoes should produce no serious side effects. If you eat an abundance of tomatoes daily, however, you may experience problems from having too much lycopene or potassium. Consuming more than 30 mg of lycopene daily could potentially cause nausea, diarrhea, indigestion and bloating, according to the American Cancer Society.

People with serious hyperkalemia, or too much potassium in their blood, should talk to their doctors about the appropriate amount of tomato consumption. According to the National Institutes of Health, hyperkalemia can result in irregular heartbeats and other cardiovascular problems, as well as reduced muscle control.

Enjoying tomatoes

Mangieri, a self-described tomato lover, provided some tips on incorporating more tomatoes into your diet. She said:

  • Tomatoes are definitely better fresh, but that does not mean that you can’t enjoy them in the winter months. Place fresh tomatoes in zip-lock bags and freeze them for the winter. They can be used to make soups, stews and chili during the colder months.
  • Add a layer of fresh, sliced tomatoes to lasagna. It’s a great way to boost the nutrients of this dish.
  • Eat baby tomatoes with hummus or low-fat dressing.
  • Fresh tomatoes sliced with fresh mozzarella, topped with fresh basil then drizzled with olive oil.

Additional resources

Despite drought, California almond acreage rose 6 percent in 2015 – Orchards, Nuts & Vines – Capital Press

Despite drought, California almond acreage rose 6 percent in 2015

Tim Hearden/Capital Press A new almond orchard near Tracy, Calif., is in its first growing season. Overall almond acreage in California increased by 6 percent in 2015, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Tim Hearden/Capital Press A new almond orchard near Tracy, Calif., is in its first growing season. Overall almond acreage in California increased by 6 percent in 2015, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service

SACRAMENTO — The drought has done little to slow the growth of almond acreage in California, as the more than 1.1 million overall acres planted in 2015 was 6 percent more than the previous year.

Of last year’s total plantings, 890,000 acres were bearing and 220,000 acres were non-bearing, and preliminary bearing acreage for this year is estimated at 900,000 acres, the National Agricultural Statistics Service reports.

The increase came despite removals of about 45,000 acres of trees in 2015 — much of which occurred after harvest — and continues a trend in which acreage has doubled in the last 20 years, according to government and industry statistics.

However, the Almond Board of California downplays the trend’s impact on water resources, citing studies that found most new acreage has replaced other irrigated crops and the total amount of water used by agriculture has held steady since 2000.

“Almonds take up about 14 percent of the state’s irrigated farmland but use 9.5 percent of California’s agricultural water — less than a proportionate share,” board president and chief executive officer Richard Waycott said in a statement. “Because of the industry’s commitment to research and efficiency, growers use 33 percent less water to grow a pound of almonds than they did two decades ago.”

As lucrative prices have continued to encourage growers to switch to nuts from other crops, the almond board has fought diligently in the past couple of years to rebut critics who charge the industry places too much of a burden on the environment. Last summer, the board set aside $2.5 million in research into water efficiency, honeybee health and best practices for the current fiscal year.

The board argues that almond trees provide certain benefits to the environment, including groundwater recharge potential and carbon sequestration.

Even as drastic cutbacks in surface water during the drought have prompted some growers in the San Joaquin Valley to remove trees, Kern, Fresno, Stanislaus, Merced and Madera counties still led the state in 2015 in terms of acreage, combining for 73 percent of California’s bearing orchards, according to NASS.

Nonpareils continued to be the leading variety with 310,646 total acres in 2015, followed by Monterey (102,299), Butte (86,152), Carmel (81,449) and Padre (55,493), the agency reported.

The estimates were based on a voluntary survey sent to about 6,000 almond growers as well as almond nursery sales and pesticide application data maintained by county agricultural commissioners and the state Department of Pesticide Regulation, NASS explained.

Wal-Mart to Drop Wild Oats Organic Food Brand – WSJ

Wal-Mart to Drop Wild Oats Organic Food Brand

ENLARGE

Wal-Mart is dropping its Wild Oats organic food brand, according to sources, two years after introducing it as a way to bring inexpensive organics to a larger audience. Photo: Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency

By Sarah Nassauer

Updated April 25, 2016 7:43 p.m. ET

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is phasing out its Wild Oats organic food brand, according to people familiar with the matter, dropping a line of products introduced two years ago in an effort to bring inexpensive organics to the masses.

The world’s largest retailer has unwound a complicated deal with private-equity firm Yucaipa Cos. that allowed it to sell Wild Oats pasta sauces, cereals and other shelf-stable products, the people said. The products will disappear from Wal-Mart shelves in coming months, they added.

Two years ago, Wal-Mart turned to Yucaipa as a faster way to get more organic products on shelves as competitors such as Kroger Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp. reported skyrocketing sales of their own natural and organic store brands. Yucaipa, which is run by billionaire Ron Burkle, bought the Wild Oats brand after the grocery chain was sold to rival Whole Foods Market Inc.

Now Wal-Mart is switching tactics, hoping to add organic products to shelves in other ways, including selling more fresh produce and adding more organic food to its existing store brand, Great Value, these people said. Wal-Mart would have to further expand its own network of organic-food suppliers.

Spokespeople for Wal-Mart and Yucaipa declined to comment.

Wal-Mart’s move to drop Wild Oats is “an odd step to take when we know they are trying to increase private-label penetration and trying to target the higher-income consumer,” said Laura Kennedy, principal analyst at Kantar Retail, a research and consulting firm. But if Wal-Mart was “losing money to a middleman, well, this is not a time Wal-Mart wants to be losing anything.”

More grocers are using organic food to lure shoppers to stores, especially more desirable well-heeled customers.

Sales of food labeled organic rose 16.7% to $13.4 billion for the year ended April 2, according to Nielsen data. Sales of all food rose 1.6% to $468 billion during that time.

Wal-Mart is the country’s largest grocer, but has been slow to become an organic powerhouse on the same scale, stymied by the food’s often higher production costs and unique supply chain.

Overall, Wal-Mart has been battling slow-growing sales and a shift to online shopping. It recently closed more than 150 U.S. stores.

In recent months Wal-Mart executives have said they are making a renewed push to increase organic-food sales. Adding food perceived as healthier is “not our affluent-customer strategy, its broad-based strategy, but it’s a key piece to being relevant with that customer base,” Wal-Mart Chief Merchandising Officer Steve Bratspies said in a November interview. Wal-Mart is adding more organic fresh produce and small organic brands to shelves, executives said.

Some Wild Oats products sold well at Wal-Mart, particularly staples such as pasta sauce priced at about $2 a jar, the same as nonorganic brands like Prego and Ragu, the people familiar with the matter said. But the brand didn’t grow as quickly as some at Wal-Mart hoped, in part because the products weren’t in every store and weren’t called out on Wal-Mart’s shelves at the time, these people added.

Last year, Wal-Mart began adding purple signage to shelves to help shoppers notice organic items, Mr. Bratspies said in November. “That is one thing I would say we haven’t done a good enough job on,” generally.

Wild Oats started out as a chain of natural-food markets and was purchased by Whole Foods in 2007. After a challenge from antitrust authorities and long court battle, Whole Foods agreed to sell dozens of Wild Oats stores and the rights to the brand name.

Mr. Burkle’s Los Angeles-based Yucaipa bought the brand around 2012, licensing it to Wal-Mart.

When Wild Oats hit Wal-Mart shelves in 2014, the retailer touted it as a watershed moment that created a new price position for organic food, about 25% lower than national brands, making the food accessible to all.

Write to Sarah Nassauer at sarah.nassauer

Health Benefits of Cucumber | Healthy Food Master

Health Benefits of Cucumber

Health Benefits of Cucumbers

This vegetable belong to the Cucurbitaceae family such as pumpkin, and watermelon. Cucumbers are vegetable with high water content (around 95% water), they are naturally low in calories also low in fat, sodium and cholesterol. There is nothing better than good salad with Cucumbers in hot summer days because it will help you to stay hydrated. Not just in hot summer days you may eat cucumbers all year round because it’s loaded with nutrients, vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, Vitamin K, copper, vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. So it can help you to avoid nutrient deficiencies in your body. Let’s see the health benefits of this cool vegetable.

Antioxidant Properties. Antioxidant properties comes by containing of numerous antioxidants one of them is Vitamin C who is well-known and also beta-carotene. Antioxidant flavonoids are also contained in Cucumbers apigenin, quercetin, luteolin, and kaempferol,6 which provide more benefits. As instance quercetin many believe prevents histamine release. Kaempferol in other hand may help fight cancer and lower your risk of chronic diseases including heart disease.

Bone Health. low intakes of vitamin K in your diet may be associated with a higher risk for bone fracture. By eating a proper intake of fruits or vegetables you can provide vitamin K for example one cup of this vegetable provides 11% of your daily needs. Vitamin K is important mineral that can improve calcium absorption in the bones which is essential for optimal bone health.

Weight Loss and Digestion. Because Cucumber is high water content and low in calories makes it good diet for people who are looking for weight loss. The dietary fiber and high water content in this vegetable are excellent team to ridding the body of toxins from the digestive system, also aiding digestion. As a remedy for chronic constipation may be effective daily consumption of cucumbers.

Reduce bad breath. Bacteria in the mouth usually can cause bad breath, Fiber and water-rich vegetables such as cucumbers can boost your mouth’s saliva production, saliva in the mouth helps for washing the bacteria which cause the odor in the mouth.

Lowering Blood Pressure. Cucumbers contain potassium known mineral who is associated with lower blood pressure levels. For your body to function properly is crucial a proper balance of potassium inside and also outside your cells.

Reduces cholesterol. Because of compound called sterols who is contained in cucumber it helps to reduce bad cholesterol.

What Else Are Cucumbers Good For? helps in revitalizing the skin, drink cucumber juice daily can control hair fall, effective remedy for fight different kinds of cancer, good for dental health. Well Cucumbers are really powerhouse vegetable and adding them into your daily diet is no mistake.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil | Organic Facts

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has a multitude of health benefits, which include but are not limited to skin care, hair care, improving digestion and immunity against a host of infections and diseases. The oil is used not just in tropical countries, where coconut plantations are abundant, but also in the US and the UK. People are discovering the wonders this oil can create and it is again gaining popularity throughout the world. Let us see how many of these benefits you are aware of.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Skin care: Coconut oil is excellent massage oil that acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skin, including dry skin. Unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin from the application of coconut oil. Therefore, it is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of skin, which normally accompany aging.

It helps in preventing degenerative diseases premature aging due to its well-known antioxidant properties. It also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. For that exact reason, coconut oil forms the base ingredient of various body care products like soaps, lotions, and creams that are used for skin care.

Hair care: Coconut oil helps in healthy growth of hair and gives your hair a shiny quality. It is also highly effective in reducing protein loss, which can lead to various unattractive or unhealthy qualities in your hair. It is used as hair care oil and is used in manufacturing various conditioners and dandruff relief creams. It is normally applied topically for hair care.

Coconut oil is extensively used in the Indian sub-continent for hair care. It is an excellent conditioner and helps the re-growth process of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing and healing damaged hair. Research studies indicate that coconut oil provides better protection to hair from damage caused by hygral fatigue.

By regularly massaging your head with coconut oil, you can ensure that your scalp is free of dandruff, even if your scalp is chronically dry. It also helps in keeping your hair and scalp free from lice and lice eggs.

Heart diseases: There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for heart health. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats.In reality, it is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in actively preventing various heart problems like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Coconut oil does not lead to increase in LDL levels, and it reduces the incidence of injury and damage to arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis. Study suggests that intake of coconut oil may help to maintain healthy lipid profiles in pre-menopausal women.

Weight loss: Coconut oil is very useful for weight loss. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. Research suggests that coconut oil helps to reduce abdominal obesity in women. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. Further, it increases the body’s metabolic rate by removing stress on the pancreas, thereby burning more energy and helping obese and overweight people lose the weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who use coconut oil every day as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.

Immunity: It strengthens the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which research has supported as an effective way to deal with viruses and bacteria that cause diseases like herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. Coconut oil helps in fighting harmful bacteria like listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

Digestion: Internal functions of coconut oil occur primarily due to it being used as cooking oil. It helps to improve the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion-related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. It also helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Candida: Candida, also known as Systemic Candidiasis, is a tragic disease caused from excessive and uncontrolled growth of yeast called Candida Albicans in the stomach. Coconut provides relief from the inflammation caused by candida, both externally and internally. Its high moisture retaining capacity keeps the skin from cracking or peeling off. Capric acid, Caprylic acid, caproic acid, myristic acid and lauric acid found in coconut oil help in eliminating Candida albicans.

Further, unlike other pharmaceutical treatments for candida, the effects of coconut oil is gradual and not drastic or sudden, which gives the patient an appropriate amount of time to get used to the withdrawal symptoms or Herxheimer Reactions (the name given to the symptoms accompanying body’s rejection of toxins generated during elimination of these fungi). But, in the treatment of this condition, people should systematically and gradually increase their dosages of coconut oil and shouldn’t initially start with a large quantity.

 

Healing and Infections: When applied to infected areas, coconut oil forms a chemical layer that protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil is highly effective on bruises because it speeds up the healing process of damaged tissues.

According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills the viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, and other serious health risks. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhoea. Finally, coconut oil is also effective in the elimination of fungi and yeast that cause ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, and diaper rash.

Other Benefits

Coconut oil is strongly recommended for a number of other benefits that are explained below. Using coconut oils has been shown to mildly help the following:

Liver: The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids helps in preventing liver diseases because those substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing the work load of the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat.

Kidney: It helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps to dissolve kidney stones.

Pancreatitis: Coconut oil is also believed to be useful in treating pancreatitis.

Stress relief: Coconut oil is very soothing and hence it helps in removing stress. Applying it to the head, followed by a gentle massage, helps to eliminate mental fatigue. According to research virgin coconut oil gives relief from stress and has antioxidant properties.

Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also promotes the effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.

Bones: As mentioned earlier, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium, which are necessary for the development of bones. Thus, it is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.

Dental care: Calcium is an important component of our teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in developing strong teeth. It also stops tooth decay. Recent research suggests that coconut oil is beneficial in reducing plaque formation and plaque induced gingivitis.

HIV and cancer: It is believed that coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing a person’s viral susceptibility for HIV and cancer patients. Preliminary research has shown an indication of this effect of coconut oil on reducing the viral load of HIV patients.

Coconut oil is often used by athletes, body builders and by those who are dieting. The reason behind this being that it contains less calories than other oils, its fat content is easily converted into energy, and it does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. Coconut oil helps boost energy and endurance, and generally enhances the performance of athletes.

Coconut oil and Alzheimer’s disease: The research conducted by Dr. Newport states that the oil is useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Apart from this there is no scientific evidence or traditional knowledge of coconut oil being used for treating Alzheimer’s. In fact, it is not traditionally thought that the oil helps in boosting the function of the brain in any form.

Use as Carrier Oil

Carrier oils are those oils, which easily penetrate or absorb into the skin and thus facilitate seepage or absorption of other oils (such as essential oils) and herbal extracts through the skin when mixed into it.It is easily absorbed through the skin’s pores and thus is used as carrier oil. Furthermore, being one of the most stable oils, it doesn’t go rancid, nor does it let the other oils, herbal extracts, or medicines spoil inside of it. It does not alter the properties of the oils and herbs mixed within it. It also protects the herbs and oils from microbial or fungal interactions. Coconut oil is expensive in several countries; however, in tropical countries its cost is low enough to make it affordable as carrier oil.

Buying Coconut Oil

There are primarily 6 varieties of coconut oil: pure, refined, virgin, organic, fractionated and extra virgin (this is most debated form as there are no standards on virginity and it is unclear as to what qualifies as extra virgin oil). When you want to buy coconut oil, first of all, you need to decide why you need it and where you are going to use it. Your choice should be based on your need, like whether you want it for edible purposes or as a carrier oil to be used in aromatherapy, for massaging, for weight loss, or for medicinal purposes. Below is a list of such purposes and the type of coconut oil to buy.

Purpose————–Preferable Type to Buy

Cooking—————-Refined

Weight Loss———–Virgin

As a Carrier Oil——-Virgin, Fractionated

Good Health———-Virgin, Organic

Massaging————-Pure, Refined

Hair——————–Pure, Refined

Medicinal uses——–Virgin, Virgin Organic

Furthermore, before you buy coconut oil, you should keep in mind that for edible and therapeutic uses, refined oil is the best as it is hygienic and clean. Unrefined oil is good for external applications like hair care and skin care.

How to use and store it?

Unlike most other oils, coconut oil has a high melting point – about 24 to 25 degrees Celsius or 76-78 Fahrenheit. Therefore it is solid at room temperature and melts only when the temperature rises considerably. It is often in this form, and obviously, don’t keep it in your refrigerator.

If you are using coconut oil for topical purposes, especially hair care, just melt the oil (if it is solid) by keeping the bottle in the sun or soaking it in warm water. You can also take some oil out and put it in a small bowl and heat the bowl over a flame (don’t use a microwave). Then, take the oil on your palm and apply it to your hair. If you want to use it for internal consumption, simply replace butter or vegetable oils with coconut oil in your recipes. Remember, you don’t need to completely switch to coconut oil, because then you will lose the other benefits of more traditional oils and dairy products.

In colder countries, coconut oil comes in good, broad containers. However, if you get it in a pack (tetra-pack or plastic pouch), after opening the pack, be sure to keep the oil in containers with tight lid and broad mouth so that you can scoop it out with a spoon if it solidifies. Keeping it sealed or lidded is necessary because there are other admirers of coconut oil (ants, cockroaches, other insects and rodents just love it!).

I don’t like the taste of coconut oil. What should I do?: Try using it in a variety of different recipes. However, if you get nauseated after eating coconut oil, don’t force yourself to eat it. As can happen with any food item, your body may be allergic to coconut oil and it is best not to consume it.

Where to buy from?: Pure and refined coconut oils are easily available in most grocery stores, especially in tropical countries. For other varieties, you may need to search in larger department stores or drug stores. In countries which do not produce coconut oil, like the US, Canada, and most of Europe, you will need to visit big grocers or grocery stores in localities which have higher populations of people from India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Philippines, and coastal Africa. Obviously, you can order it online as well and have it delivered wherever you live.

Which brand to buy?: When you are buying coconut oil in packs, go for the reliable and reputable brands. Read the contents carefully and check the manufacturing date (although it has a long shelf life, fresher is still better).

How much to pay?: The price of coconut oil depends on many factors such as its availability (cheaper where it is produced and more costly in other places, and it is even more expensive when ordered via phone, Internet etc.). The price is also affected by demand, variety (the refined one costs the least, followed by the fractionated, the virgin, the organic and the organic virgin coconut oils), brand, and quantity (buying in bulk costs a little less).

How much to buy? Buy only as much you can consume in few months, because despite the fact that coconut oil does not go rancid for a long time, it is not wise to store it unnecessarily. You will get better results with fresh coconut oil.

Composition of Coconut Oil

More than 90% of coconut oil consists of saturated fats (Don’t panic! It’s not as bad as it sounds, read to the end of this review and your opinion may change), along with traces of a few unsaturated fatty acids, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Virgin coconut oil is no different from this.

Saturated fatty acids: Most of them are medium chain triglycerides, which are supposed to assimilate well in the body’s systems.

  • Lauric acid is the chief contributor, representing more than 40% of the total, followed by capric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid and palmitic. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin. Lauric acid is helpful in dealing with viruses and diseases.
  • Capric acid reacts with certain enzymes secreted by other bacteria, which subsequently convert it into a powerful antimicrobial agent, monocaprin.
  • Caprylic acid, caproic acid and myristic acid are rich in antimicrobial and antifungal properties

Unsaturated fatty acids: Polyunsaturated fatty acids- linoleic acid, monounsaturated fatty acids- Oleic acid

Poly-phenols: Coconut contains Gallic acid, which is also known as phenolic acid. These polyphenols are responsible for the fragrance and the taste of coconut oil and Virgin Coconut Oil is rich in these polyphenols.

Derivatives of fatty acid: Betaines, ethanolamide, ethoxylates, fatty esters, fatty polysorbates, monoglycerides and polyol esters.

Derivatives of fatty alcohols: Fatty chlorides, fatty alcohol sulphate and fatty alcohol ether sulphate

Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamin E, vitamin K and minerals such as iron.

Hope this will be of some help to you. Got any suggestions? Your comments are welcome! You may also share this information with your friends. Thanks!

23 Chia Seed Recipes

23 Chia Seed Recipes

Chia seeds are not only packed with nutrition but also equipped with unique traits that make them a versatile feature in many of your meals. Learn more about chia seeds, their benefits, and their uses with the following 23 chia seed recipes.

An Introduction to Chia Seeds

Chia seeds, otherwise known as Salvia hispanica, have roots in southern Mexico and Guatamala and are part of the mint family Lamiaceae. Chia is grown for its seed, which is what is most prized by those looking for concentrated health benefits. In fact, “chia” is the Mayan word for strength.

One ounce of chia seeds contains 138 calories, 9 grams of fat, 11 milligrams of potassium, 10 grams of dietary fiber, nearly 5 grams of protein, 17 percent of the RDA of calcium, 12 percent of the RDA of iron, and 23 percent of the RDA of magnesium. Chia seeds are gluten-free and high in antioxidants.

The chia seed’s most promising feature, though, is its fat content. Each seed is between 25 percent to 40 percent oil, with 60 percent of its oil content comprising the omega-3 alpha-linoleic acid and 20 percent of the omega-6 linoleic acid. Chia seeds have been shown to effectively maintain a balanced serum lipid profile in the body. A proper balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is essential in reducing the risk of many chronic diseases that are prevalent in the U.S. Meanwhile, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have neuroprotective properties, boosting brain function and preventing neurodegenerative and neurological disorders.

Usually, chia seeds are grown organically and without GMO tampering. But still, to be safe, only purchase chia seed brands that are labeled “organic”. Because chia seeds are so concentrated in nutrition, you don’t want to offset their effects with the chemicals used in conventional farming practices.

23 Chia Seed Recipes

The following 23 chia seed recipes will entice your taste buds and infuse your body with all the essential benefits of the superfood in a delicious and fuss-free way. Enjoy!

1. Chocolate Paleo Powerballs

Energize throughout the day with these chocolate paleo powerballs. They’re sweetened with honey and full of healthy fats from almond butter and chia seeds and fiber from gluten-free oats.

2. Sugar-Free Homemade Vegan Yogurt

Who needs hard-to-digest, cow milk-based yogurt in the diet when it’s easy as 1-2-3 to whip up a plant-based alternative? This vegan yogurt recipe relies on almonds, sunflower seeds, probiotics, and the gel-like effects of chia seeds to create a creamy, animal-friendly yogurt.

3. Coconut Chia Pudding with Raspberries and Dark Chocolate

This recipe had me at dark chocolate. Indulge without really indulging at all with this coconut milk-based pudding recipe that balances the tartness of raspberries with the decadent sweetness of dark chocolate.

4. Luscious Chia Seed Pudding

This is a basic chia seed pudding recipe, without the bells and whistles evident in many versions you see today. Master this recipe and venture on to more exotic combinations.

5. No-Knead Spelt Bread

This bread is based in spelt, which is an ancient superfood grain. Dried fruits, nuts, and chia seeds bulk up the mixture and make for a more satisfying (and healthier) bite.

6. Muhammara Recipe with Toasted Chia Seeds

Chia seeds aren’t relegated to sweet concoctions only. In this Middle Eastern-inspired recipe, chia seeds provide a nutty accent to the dense walnut, red pepper, and tomato-heavy Muhammara dip.

7. Mexican Chia Fresca

This traditional fruit is made more satisfying with addition of chia seeds. The result is a refreshing, citrusy beverage that will kick your energy levels up.

8. Quinoa Energy Bars

Nothing spells boosted energy quite like chia seeds do. In this recipe, dates, walnuts, pistachios, quinoa, coconut, figs, and white grape juice come together to make a chewy energy bar whose flavors are augmented by the addition of chia seeds!

9. Green Power Bliss Smoothie with Spinach, Chia and Pea Protein

In this recipe, chia builds texture so you get more satisfaction from your morning fix of greens than you normally would. This smoothie recipe features spinach, pear, avocado, coconut water, and pea protein for the ultimate fiber and protein-packed breakfast or midday snack.

10. Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

These aren’t your grandma’s chocolate chip cookies. They are a no-bake vegan version of the classic, based in oats, almond butter, nuts, and coconut oil. Mix in chia seeds for an added chew.

11. Strawberry Chia Jam

You don’t need store-bought jam with the homemade version is so easy (and much healthier) to put together. Chia binds together the strawberries, water, lemon, and maple syrup, resulting in a few-ingredient jam that tastes just as good as any manufactured alternative, only without the sugar and excessive processing!

12. Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding

Chia’s rightful place is in a pudding. Without using an artificial thickening agent or dairy yogurt, you can achieve a thick, creamy texture with the swelling nature of chia seeds. In this pudding recipe, you get the comforting and grounding effects of pumpkin and almond essence, sweetened with just a touch of maple syrup.

13. Simple Chocolate-Coffee Energy Bites

These energy bites can be whipped up in under 5 minutes and will give you that much-needed morning dose of energy and welcome chocolate fix. Only a handful of ingredients, including dates, almonds, cocoa powder, and chia seeds, make these delicious bites possible.

14. Watermelon and Strawberry Smoothie

Cool down and energize up with this smoothie recipe. Chia seeds add more bulk to the beverage.

15. Vegan Sweet Potato Granola

What isn’t in this granola recipe? Grain-fee, sugar-free, and dairy-free, this granola is full of wholesome ingredients, including almonds, coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, pecans, sweet potato puree, and, of course, chia seeds!

16. Probiotic Matcha Nice Cream

Ice cream is elevated to superfood status in this “nice cream” recipe, which includes maca powder, probiotic powder, matcha powder, and chia seeds. The base is a combination of frozen banana and mango, making for the perfect lightly-sweet treat.

17. Superfood Granola with Kale

Follow the suggestion of this recipe and add in chia to the already superfood-heavy formula. Kale, dried cranberries, seeds, nuts, and dates come together to do the seemingly impossible: turning granola green.

18. Green Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are incredibly convenient for those among us with busy mornings. A little foresight the night before is all it takes to wake up to a breakfast that is ready for munching. This green overnight oats recipe is a simple take on overnight oats, only with the nutritional boost offered by fresh spinach and chia seeds.

19. Raw Vegan Linzer Cookies

These classic cookies are good enough to warrant a more prominent place in your diet; however, it’s hard to justify unless they get a healthier twist. This vegan linzer cookies recipe is fuss-free, even eliminating the need to bake. Chia seeds are essential in firming the raspberry jam filling.

20. Warming Vegan Smoothie with Maca and Raw Chocolate

This smoothie is full of substance, including nuts, chocolate, hemp, chia, maca, vanilla, maple syrup, spices, and even a little cayenne pepper. It’ll warm your senses and your soul.

21. Black Bean Brownies

What if I told you that you could have brownies everyday for breakfast without threatening your hard-earned waistline? These gluten-free and egg-free black bean brownies make it possible! Black beans make for a unique base to this recipe and actually don’t offer any discernible taste. Instead, black beans offer the dense texture characteristic of brownies without the eggs or flour. Sweetened with honey or agave, these brownies also contain no white sugar! Chia seeds help to firm the batter and unsweetened cocoa powder dominates the flavor profile, and in an entirely welcome way.

22. Vegan Mango Chia Pudding

Add a little tropical touch to your breakfast with this mango chia pudding recipe. Sweetened with agave, textured with chia seeds, and based in coconut milk, the dish is vegan and full of sweet, creamy flavor!

23. Egg Substitute

Vegan cooking is a realm characterized by loopholes of creativity. You can substitute eggs in many baked recipes with a simple mixture of chia seeds and water. Chia has a binding effect similar to eggs and makes for the perfect egg alternative. Try it out!

Related on Organic Authority
7 Valuable Chia Seed Benefits
Chia Seeds: Superfood or Weird Sprout Pet Thing?
7 Impressive Benefits of Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds Image from Shutterstock, Matcha Image from EcoSalon, Linzer Image from EcoSalon,

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Ancient grains with new bite

Ancient grains with new bite

Ancient grains amaranth, freekeh, farrow,quinoa, Kamut. Photographed at the Great Lakes Culinary Center.(Photo: Jessica J. Trevino, Detroit Free Press)Buy Photo

Are you familiar with freekeh? How about Kamut? And amaranth or emmer?

Known as ancient grains, and found in the rice and grain aisle at grocery stores, these old grains are new again. With roots that trace back centuries and once found mainly at health food and specialty stores, ancient grains are becoming more mainstream at your local grocery stores.

Ancient grains, a staple in cultures worldwide, have many health benefits. Some have even called them a super food. While most ancient grains carry a list of essential vitamins and minerals, “Labeling these grains as super — the latest trend — is hyperbole. All whole grains are healthful, each in its own way,” according to a 2014 University of California Berkeley Wellness report.

“Ancient grains are certainly more nutritious than refined grain products (like white flour or refined crackers), but the health benefits of whole grains need not come with high price tags or mythic origin stories,” Kelly Toups, a registered dietitian and program manager for Boston-based Oldways Whole Grains Council, said in an e-mail.

The health benefits of whole grains, says Toups, include reduced risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. A lower risk of colorectal cancer is also associated with whole grains.

In the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it’s recommended that half the grains you consume should be whole grains.

In terms of popularity, first came quinoa and little-by-little, lesser known grains like freekah, farro, kamut and amaranth cropped up. You will find them on their own or paired with others in grain medleys. Some of these grains, like quinoa and kamut, are also ground into flours and used to replace other flours in ingredients like pasta. Many of these ancient grains, like millet and amaranth, are also gluten-free.

Evidence is mounting that more Americans are making whole grains a part of their diets.

Ancient grains were named a top food trend in the National Restaurant Association’s 2016 Culinary Forecast. According to a report from data research firm Packaged Facts, sales growth of kamut for the 52-week period ending July 2014 was up 686%. Freekeh sales increased 159%, and amaranth was up 123%.

Flavor profiles of ancient grains range from farro’s hearty and earthy nuances to aramanth and quinoa’s mild flavor. You can use ancient grains as a side dish or swap them out for rice in most recipes.

Today’s Feast recipes include using quinoa to make cakes and mixing farro with spinach and tahini. Freekeh is paired with caramelized onions and chickpeas for a protein-packed dish. And tiny aramanth lends its texture to cornmeal muffins. Kamut adds interest to a breakfast bowl with avocado and quinoa. Any leftover cooked grains are great addition tossed in a salad.

So up your grain game and give these ancient grains a try.

Contact Susan Selasky at 313-222-6872 or sselasky@freepress.com. Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.

Amaranth (ama-ranth)

Botanically speaking, amaranth is considered a pseuodo-grain because it’s a seed, not a grain. But it’s thought of as a grain because its nutritional profile is so similar to cereal grains. Amaranth is also eaten like a grain. Amaranth is tiny, smaller than the size of a pin head. Has a porridge-like consistency and is often used in a such a way.

Advantages: Gluten-free and high in protein. Amaranth is also noted for potentially lowering cholesterol.

Cook it: Amaranth cooks quickly. Place 1 cup amaranth in 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook 20 minutes. You can pop it like popcorn in a dry skillet and stir it into melted chocolate or granola.

Recipe to try: Amaranth-cornmeal Muffins

Farro (far-ro)

Cultivated in Italy, farro is often called emmer and einkorn. You will find farro in whole, pearled and semi-pearled varieties. Whole takes longer to cook because it still has the germ and bran. It’s hulled, but the process keeps the germ and bran intact. Pearled and semi-pearled have some of the nutritous germ and bran removed. Use it in place of rice in risotto, in pilafs, in stuffings and salads.

Advantages: High in fiber and protein, has no fat and has more calcium than quinoa. Farro has a hearty, yet nutty flavor. It’s also a little on the chewy side.

Cook it: Place 1 cup farro in 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer about 1 hour for whole farro, 30 minutes for pearled and 30 to 40 minutes for semi-pearled. Drain any excess water.

Recipe to try: Farro with Tahini and Spinach

Quinoa (keen-WAH)

Quinoa is called the mother of all grains because it’s a complete protein and contains all the essential amino acids. This grain is grown mainly in South America and is considered sacred by the Incas. Its annual harvest starts in late March, according to the Whole Grains Council. You will find white, red and black quinoa varieties or a medley of all three.

Advantages: Gluten-free and a nutrient all-star containing protein and fiber. One cup of cooked quinoa has 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. It has a slightly crunchy texture that’s more pronounced in the black variety. Based on its health properties and ease of growing, quinoa is thought of as an important crop as a world food source. Use it in soups, salads and as a side dish.

How to cook: To cook 1 cup of quinoa to serve as a side dish, place it in 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Recipe to try: Quinoa Cakes with Roasted Garlic Aioli.

Freekeh (free-kuh)

This is the newest to the grain aisle. The name freekeh means “to rub” in Arabic, so this grain is named after how it’s made — not the variety of wheat. Young green grains are parched and roasted and then rubbed to reveal the roasted grains. You’ll find it on its own in whole or cracked varieties. Freekeh has a smoky and nutty flavor.

Advantages: Fiber-rich with a low glycemic index according to “Simply Ancient” by Maria Speck (Penguin Random House, $27.50).

How to cook: Freekeh is sold whole or cracked. The latter cooks faster. Add 1 cup of freekeh to 2½ cups water or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and cook about 20 minutes or until just tender

Recipe to try: Freekeh with Caramelized Shallots, Chickpeas and Greek Yogurt.

Kamut (ka-MOOT)

Kamut is a trademarked name for Khorasan wheat. It’s about twice the size of a wheat berry and closely related to wheat. Kamut is fatter than a grain of rice and puffs up a little once cooked. There are two references of Kamut’s origins: called the Prophet’s Wheat because it’s thought that Noah brought Kamut kernals on the Ark. It’s also called King Tut’s Wheat because of claims that it was found in the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh.

Advantages: A good source of protein and fiber. Some sources say that people who are wheat-intolerant may be able to tolerate and digest Kamut.

How to cook: Kamut is best if you soak it overnight before cooking. Place 1 cup Kamut in a bowl, cover with 3 cups water and soak overnight. Drain off the water. In a saucepan bring 3 cups water or broth to a boil. Add the Kamut, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer 30-40 minutes (about 1 hour if you didn’t soak it). Drain off any excess water and serve.

Recipe to try: Avocado Breakfast Bowl with Kamut and Quinoa.