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Quinoa Week: My Seed Crackers – activated and raw.

So I’m experimenting. I was thinking how nice it’s be if I could keep my favourite crackers raw, but still easy on our digestions yet still crunchy. It’s gotta be possible. So…

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This is what I’ve done. Use any amount and type of seeds you like just be sure that HALF of them are either flax seeds or chia seeds. Add some other fun things like gogi berries, or flavoured salt, sprouted quino or any other sprouts, za’artar and sumac, dried of fresh turmeric and ginger, cayenne….

Cover the seeds with water and let sit for a few hours – or overnight as I did last night. See pic no.1. This will release the phytic acid making the seeds easier to digest with their nutrients more available. In essence you’re ‘activating’ the seeds.

This morning they were very gooey thanks to the flax I used (I didnt add chia coz I wnated to see how they behaved separately.) I then spread the mixture on a tray, as I have before – so about .5cm thick and even, then I sprinkled the whole lot with a litle more Himalayan salt.

They are now in the oven at 48oC (still considered raw at this temp), and I’m going to leave them there for 4-5 hours, checking them along the way. I didn’t cut this lot into squares as I’m planning on them being very crunchy – so I’ll break them up once they cool.

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Stay tuned for the result. This could be good! Or not…

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Quinoa Week

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Pronounced keen-wa, although there is some debate about this. In South America it’s pronounced keen – oa. Either way it’s one of the most exciting new foods available to us. Prized by the Incas – who called it ‘mother or super grain’ – only in the last 20 years has it been available to us, and even so it still may take some dedication to find it in smaller towns. It is higher in protein than other grains and seeds, way more calcium than milk and has a good deal of iron, B Vitamins, fibre and phosphorus. This is gluten-free food and high is essential fatty acids.
Cook quinoa as you would absorb brown rice or cook with a few tabelspoons of millet, amaranth and brown rice. Be sure to wash well as it can be bitter, and better still – soak it for 6 hours before using, remembering to use clean water to cook it in. You can get red, black or white quinoa, flakes, flour, puffs and milk.

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Quinoa Week: Puffed Quinoa and Peanut Butter Balls

½ cup peanut butter, organic – or any nut butter
3-4 tbsp raw agave nectar, or any syrup sweetener you prefer
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup puffed quinoa, preferably naturally puffed
1 tbsp crushed, unsalted and organic peanuts – optional for another texture

Raw, dark chocolate (optional)

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In a mixing bowl, combine your peanut butter, agave and vanilla. If the mixture is too firm, use a food processor or heat it up on the stove a little.

Add the puffed quinoa (and peanuts, if using), and stir to combine.
Place mixture in the fridge for 15 minutes to let it firm up. This also makes it less sticky making the balls easier to roll.

With wet hands, roll into 12 balls – about the size of a walnut and return to fridge for 15 minutes before serving. (Not essential.)

Optional: dip some or all of the balls in melted dark chocolate. OMG! Yum!

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Natural Sweeteners Week: Maple Syrup – good for diabetics, and anti-cancer..

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Tests on the syrup, which is made by boiling sap from the maple tree, found that it contains compounds which could help manage Type 2 diabetes, as well as acting as anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agents.

Researchers identified 54 compounds, twice as many as the syrup was previously thought to have. Five were found to be unique to maple syrup. Several of the syrup’s polyphenol, or water-soluble, compounds inhibited the enzymes that convert carbohydrates to sugars, raising the prospect of a new way of managing Type 2 Diabetes. They also found that many of the antioxidant compounds, which prevent the oxidation and ageing of the body’s cells, aren’t found in other natural sweeteners.

Dr Navindra Seeram, who led the research at the University of Rhode Island, said: ‘We don’t know yet whether the new compounds contribute to the healthy profile of maple syrup.‘But we do know that the sheer quantity and variety of identified compounds with documented health benefits qualifies maple syrup as a champion food. ‘It is a one-stop shop for these beneficial compounds, several of which are also found in berries, tea, red wine and flaxseed, just to name a few.’

Explaining the science behind the findings, he said: ‘We found a wide variety of polyphenols in maple syrup. We discovered that the polyphenols in maple syrup inhibit enzymes that are involved in the conversion of carbohydrate to sugar.‘In fact, in preliminary studies, maple syrup had a greater enzyme-inhibiting effect compared to several other healthy plant foods such as berries.’

‘By 2050, one in three people will be afflicted with Type 2 diabetes, so finding a potential anti-diabetic compound in maple syrup is interesting for the scientific community and the consumer.’

Maple syrup has a GI of 54. Of course you need to buy (preferably organic) maple syrup. Imitation male syrup is just white sugar and artificial flavourings.

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National Diabetes Week: The Anti-Diabetic Properties of ALOE VERA:

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Three systemic reviews of herbal medicines for glycaemic control in diabetes found that A. vera can lower blood glucose levels in diabetic patients (Grover et al 2002, Vogler & Ernst 1999, Yeh et al 2003). #lifestream

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National Diabetes Week : Herbs I use in my clinic to treat Diabetes – Gymnema

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Look for Gymnema in your health food stores. It’s also wonderful to curb sugar and carb’ cravings, by balancing your blood sugar.

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Natural Sweeteners Week: Stevia.

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Part of the sunflower family, native to regions from western North America to South America. Commonly known as sweetleaf, sweet leaf, sugarleaf, or simply stevia, is widely grown for its sweet leaves. Stevia has a ‘slow release’ energy and longer duration than that of refined white sugar, although some of its extracts may have a bitter after taste.

With its steviol glycoside extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar, low-carbohydrate and almost nil effect on blood glucose – it has been gaining popularity over the years. Stevia has been widely used for decades as a sweetener in Japan yet in some countries health concerns and political controversies have limited its availability. The United States banned stevia in the early 1990s unless labeled as a dietary supplement but in 2008 it approved an extract of stevia as a food additive. In 2011, stevia was approved for use in the EU. Stevia contains no calories and a GI of zero. Many people have found Stevia to have an unpleasant aftertaste, which caused manufacturers to add other ingredients such as dextrose or maltodextrin to make a more pleasant-tasting blend. Make sure you check the ingredients only whatever products you buy. Stevia only. It’s available as a powder or drops.
I personally don’t get into stevia. I’ve tried it in cooking a number of times and I just don’t like the taste – but if you do then you’re onto a winner as this herb has been used for centuries as a ‘sweet treat’. Naturally growing your own plant then drying and blending the leaves to a power is the way to go. Avoid the powders and granules if you can, unless unrefined and totally pure and unbleached.

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National Diabetes Week: Herbal Medicine I use in my clinic to treat Diabetes.

Magnolia is one of my favourite medicinal herbs to use. I use it to treat unsulin resistance, it’s also wonderful to helps to shrink fat cells – so it’s great for weight loss, it has a positive effect on the endocrine (hormone) system, reduces gas and bloating in the digestive tract, and helps reduces anxiety. See why I love it? You can get it from health food stores with a practitioner, as the one I use is a practitioner-only brand. Or from you Naturopath or Herbalist.

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Natural Sweeteners week: A Super Healthy Moscow Mule

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I’m alwasy looking for ways to Janella-fy yummy but not so healthy classic dishes and drinks. I’m pretty happy about this one. Either leave the vodka in or out – up to you. Swap the ginger beer for #lifestream Ginger Syrup. This is sweetend with manuka honey and also contains aple cider vinegar, so will give your mule a nice kick. Add lime juice to taste and perhaps garnish with mint leaves and ice in the warmer months. You can keep it as simple as Ginger Syrup, lime juice and mineral water, Your immune system and digestion is going to love this one.

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Natural Sweeteners: Molasses.

To make molasses, the cane of a sugar plant is harvested and stripped of its leaves. The juice is then extracted by crushing, mashing and cutting the cane. The juice is boiled so you end up with sugar crystals only and this is called the ‘first boiling’ and has the highest sugar content because comparatively little sugar has been extracted from the source. First syrup is known as “cane syrup”, as opposed to molasses.

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Second molasses is created from a second boiling and sugar extraction, and has a slight bitter tinge to it. The third and final boiling of the sugar syrup yields Blackstrap Molasses, known for its thick and dark consistency, and big flavour. The majority of sucrose from the original juice has been crystallised and removed here.

The roots of the sugar cane run a long way into the soil, and have received a broad spectrum of minerals and trace elements. Unlike refined sugars, it contains trace amounts of vitamins and significant amounts of several minerals. Blackstrap molasses is a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron; one tablespoon provides up to 20% of the daily value of each of those nutrients. Blackstrap has long been sold as a health supplement.

You really want to buy molasses organic as cane sugar is heavily sprayed with toxic chemicals plus if it’s not organic it may contain sulphur, which means allergenic chemicals have been used in processing.

In the Middle Eastern, molasses is also available made from carob, grapes, dates, pomegranates, and mulberries – and usually contains white sugar. In Nepal it is called chaku. One tablespoon (20 g) contains 58 calories (240 kJ), 14.95 g of carbohydrates, and 11.1 g of sugar divided amongst sucrose: 5.88, glucose: 2.38 and fructose: 2.56 g. Blackstrap has a GI of 55, so suitable for diabetics.

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