Chia seeds.

Chia Seeds, A Popular Superfood

You may have heard of chia pets – clay figurines where chia sprouts grow to be like animals’ hair or fur. Many have become fond of these “pets” and were given as gifts and made someone happy. But have you heard about chia seeds? These days they have become increasingly popular as a superfood. Many are eating chia seeds for its nutritional value.

Chia seeds are oval gray seeds with black and white spots. The seeds are so tiny they’re just about 1 millimeter in diameter. A distinct characteristic of these seeds are the way they can easily absorb liquid 12 times its weight. When soaked it also becomes like gel, making it great for use in creams and beverages. The seeds come from the plant Salvia hispanica of the mint family and originated from Central America. Historically, these seeds were eaten by Aztecs and Mayans. “Chia” actually means “strength” in the Mayan language. Let’s find out if the chia seeds really live up to its name and if it will provide you with “strength” by checking out its advantages.

Benefits of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds may be small, but they are packed with a lot of nutrients that are good for your body. There are lots of benefits of chia seeds.

The high amount of antioxidants in the seeds helps in fighting aging and cancer. Because the seeds are high in fiber it is good for the intestines. Calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus which are found in chia seeds are great for healthy bones. According to studies, chia seeds may decrease the spike of blood sugar after a high carbohydrate meal of those with type 2 diabetes. Chia seeds also decreases inflammation and improve your energy. Because it’s rich in protein, it is good for the muscles, skin and hair. It is also good for the heart because of omega 3 fatty acids and the fiber in it.
If you want to lose weight, eating chia seeds can you help you with that. When the seeds become gel-like in your stomach, it will make you feel full so you don’t have to eat more than you need to. Chia seeds are high in protein and when you have higher intake of protein your appetite tends to slow down. You will also are less likely to think about food or to want to have midnight snacks. Who wouldn’t want that?
But of course the benefits can be there but eating chia seeds should be coupled by other factors such as having a healthy lifestyle and eating healthy diet. You can’t just eat chia seeds and lose weight. You would also need to eat other nutritious food and exercise as well.

Chia seeds side effects

If you are going to eat chia seeds to lose weight, you should not go around and eat chia seeds all day and every day. You should determine how much chia seeds for weight loss. There are chia seeds side effects so you have to be careful. The recommended dosage for chia seeds is taking in 20 grams or about 1 ½ tablespoons, twice a day. That is the chia seeds daily amount. So try not to eat too much.

Because chia seeds are high in fiber, eating too much of these might have a side effect on your digestive system. You might get pain in the abdomen, gas, constipation or diarrhea. If you are taking medicine for high blood pressure or blood thinners, taking chia seeds might also affect your health. If you have allergies to food like sesame or mustard seeds, you might want to avoid chia seeds as well.

You also need to be careful of eating too much of chia seeds as you may choke because of its gelling properties. There was a study of a man who ate dry chia seeds and then drank water. The expanded seeds blocked his esophagus and he was taken to the hospital to take them out. Be sure to soak chia seeds for 5-10 minutes before taking them. Another danger to not preparing chia seeds correctly is when you eat dry seeds; it might soak liquid from your body – which is not good since chia seeds absorbs 12 times its weight.

So if you ask, can you eat too many chia seeds? Yes, you actually can. But these should not stop you from eating them (except if you have allergies and taking the medication mentioned before). Just eat in moderation and you’ll do great enjoying chia seeds and the good health benefits they offer.

Eating Chia Seeds

If you’ve never had chia seeds before you should try it. It used to be sold mostly online or in natural food stores but now many grocery stores have them, thanks to the growing popularity of these nutritious seeds. So head on out to your nearest grocery stores and get those chia seeds.

It tastes bland so you can mix many flavors with it and do so many things with it. You don’t need to ground it. Try sprinkling chia seeds over cereals, yogurt, vegetables or rice. It is also great for porridge, pudding, smoothies and beverages. If you need to thicken your sauce, adding chia seeds will do the trick. If you are avoiding eggs, chia seeds can be your substitute.

There are many recipes out there with chia seeds as the main ingredient. Here’s a basic recipe for chia seeds pudding to start you off. You’ve got to have chia seeds – 6 tablespoons would be just right. You need the liquid where the seeds will soak – about 2 cups coconut milk, almond milk or regular milk will do. If you want it on the sweet side, add a tablespoon of honey, maple syrup or plain old sugar. Add a little bit of vanilla and mix. The pudding should be ready in less than 30 minutes but if you want it to really set; you can leave it in the refrigerator overnight and enjoy it the next day. Get a portion of the pudding and top it with your favorite berries – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries. Sounds so yummy! Now that would be a great start to enjoying your chia seeds.

Vegetarian Lasagna

A Glance At Italian Vegetarian Food

Vegetarianism is a lifestyle of avoiding eating meat. To some this may seem very restrictive and some may feel that one will not have a lot of food to choose from. Well, think again. There is an abundance of fruits and vegetables that can be part of delicious meals. And all over the world, there are many different types of cuisines that would satisfy a vegetarian. One that has become very famous all over the globe is that of Italian cuisine. The good news is you can have everyday Italian vegetarian recipes because a lot of the ingredients are readily available.

Italian ingredients

Italians love to use simple, quality ingredients. Because we are talking vegetarian here, we won’t need to discuss meat ingredients. We’ll be dealing with just fruits and vegetables. For authentic Italian vegetarian recipes, you must get the right ingredients and the preparation, of course.

First, pasta. Italian pasta comes in different shapes, lengths and widths. For example, pasta that looks like thin rods are called spaghetti; those that look like sheets are called lasgane; those that look like swirls are called fusilli and many other pastas. There are still some pastas that have fillings such as ravioli and tortellini. There are pastas that are made without eggs and some without. So if you’re a vegetarian who doesn’t eat eggs, you would have to check on the ingredients. Or better yet, you can make your own pasta to make sure there are no eggs in there. Italians like their pasta cooked “al dente” which means “firm to the bite.” So don’t overcook your pasta.

Olive oil. What’s good about Italian cooking is they don’t usually use animal fats (a plus for vegetarians) in their sauces. They mostly use a vegetable fat, particularly olive oil. One of the main ingredients of pesto, a sauce traditionally made in Northern Italy, is olive oil, along with basil and pine nuts.

Tomatoes. In Tuscany, Italy they like to cook with tomatoes, as with other parts of the country. These can be used fresh or cooked into tomato sauce. These can be added to different pastas and other delicious Italian dishes.

Cheese. If you’re a vegetarian that eats cheese, then with Italian dishes, you’re in for a treat. There is a vast amount and different types of cheeses that go into different kinds of meals. There are pecorino cheese, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, parmigiano-reggiano, gorgonzola, and other types of cheeses.

Other common ingredients used in Italian cooking in the North are potatoes, rice and corn. In the South, it is also common to use peppers, olives, garlic, artichokes, oranges, eggplants and zucchini.

Italian cuisine

The Italians usually have four or five courses in their meals. If you’re a vegetarian you can have vegetarian Italian starters, main course and desserts. There are different types of them.

When you think of Italian food, one usually thinks of pasta and pizza. There are so many pizza chains all over the world and it all started in Italy. The popular pizza in America is from Neapolitan cuisine which is a flat, round type of bread baked in the oven and topped with tomato sauce, cheese and different kinds of toppings. Another dish popular in this area that uses mozzarella from water buffalo’s milk is parmigiana, a baked eggplant dish with tomato sauce and cheese.

You’ve probably had polenta before. It’s a corn-based dish traditionally made in Northern Italy. They’re also known for their pasta dishes and cheeses.

If you’re looking for Italian bread for your sandwich or as a side to meals, look to focaccia. It’s a flat bread that’s usually seasoned with simple ingredients such as olive oil and salt. You can be more creative with it and add herbs, vegetables and cheese.

If you’re looking for a rice dish, then cook risotto. It’s a creamy rice dish from Northern Italy that can be prepared with various ingredients. One vegetarian risotto dish include one with pumpkin, nutmeg and grated cheese. Another one comes with different kinds of mushrooms.

If you’re looking for a soup dish that’s easy to make, Tuscany’s ribolita is worth a try. It’s a vegetable soup from the previous day that’s reheated (or as what the name means “reboiled). Main ingredients include – leftover bread, cannellini beans, carrots, cabbage, onion and olive oil.

Italian vegetarian recipes

There is a very long list of Italian dishes so you have a lot to choose from. But for now, you can start with these two meat-free Italian recipes. Soon you will have taste of home Italian vegetarian recipes as you continue to add to your list of well-loved Italian vegetarian recipes.

Vegetarian Spaghetti

You don’t have to worry about meat in this vegetarian spaghetti dish. It’s a delicious vegetarian meal. This can be your Italian vegetarian recipes main course.

Ingredients

15 ounces spaghetti
1 cup onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 big tomatoes, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
25 ounces spaghetti sauce
15 ounces garbanzo beans
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp oregano

Directions

1. Boil the spaghetti. Directions usually ask to add salt or oil. Just follow the instructions in the package and you’ll be good.
2. Heat the pan and then add oil.
3. Saute onion, celery, garlic and tomatoes.
4. You can then add the sauce, beans, and the spices – sugar, salt and oregano.
5. Let the sauce come to a boil.
6. Drain spaghetti and then add the sauce and cheese over the pasta.
7. Enjoy!

Eggplant Lasagna

It is common for meat lovers to have meaty lasagna. But for vegetarians, eggplant lasagna is the way to go.

Ingredients

3 large eggplants
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
25 ounce tomato sauce
½ cup water
2 eggs
350 g lasagna sheets
3 cups mozzarella
½ cup parmesan
2 cups ricotta
Salt
Pepper
Parsley

Directions

1. Cut eggplants into 3mm slices. Season one side with salt and let sit for 15 minutes. Season the other side and let sit for 15 minutes as well. Pat dry with a kitchen towel.

2. Now for the sauce. Heat a skillet and add oil. Sauté the onions until translucent. Add tomato sauce, water, and salt and pepper to taste.

3. In a bowl, combine all the cheeses – Parmesan, ricotta and mozzarella. Mix the eggs in as well.

4. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

5. It’s time to layer. On a baking dish, start with the sauce then lasagna sheet then eggplant then cheese. Keep layering and end with the sauce and cheeses.

6. Before putting it in the oven, cover the dish with foil first. Then bake for 35 minutes.

7. Garnish with parsley before serving.

8. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Thai Food

Increasing numbers of people are turning to a vegetarian diet because of its many health benefits, however, sometimes it can be difficult to find inspiring and exciting recipes to keep daily meals exciting. Keeping your diet interesting and varied is the key to a successful vegetarian lifestyle, but the good news is that there are plenty of exotic options other than plain old pasta and nut roast!

If you love exotic tastes with a hint of spice, Thai food could be the perfect choice for you. There are plenty of great Thai vegetarian recipes which will tantalise your tastebuds and liven up your regime. Thai food lends itself well to a healthy lifestyle, and there are lots of delicious vegetarian Thai food options which also fit well into the raw diet. If you’re looking for inspiration to bring more life and taste into your lunchbox, evening meal, or dinner party menu, there is sure to be a vegetarian Thai food recipe that fits the bill!

Thai food lends itself well to the vegetarian diet thanks to the wide array of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices which are routinely used in its recipes. There are many authentic vegetarian dishes which are regularly served in Thai restaurants, and even many of the meat-based classic Thai dishes can easily be converted into a feast for vegetarian diners.

Here are a couple of fantastic Thai vegetarian recipes that are sure to encourage you to try a greater range of vegetable based Thai food.

 

Rainbow Pad Thai

Pad Thai is one of the most popular and best known dishes from Thailand. Incredibly easy to make, this recipe is ideal for a lunch with friends, as part of an evening meal, or even to pack in a lunchbox to take to work. As you can guess from its name, this dish is extremely colorful and will brighten up your day.

Salad Ingredients:

1 zucchini

1 purple carrot

1 orange carrot

1 yellow carrot

40 g capsicum

Several handfuls of beansprouts

Half cup of peanuts

 

Sauce Ingredients:

 

1/3 cup of water

1/4 cup of lime juice

2 Kaffir lime leaves

2 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp orange juice

2 tbsp almond butter

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp coconut sugar

2 tsp white miso

2 cloves of garlic

2 tsp minced ginger

1/4 tsp chili flakes

Using a spiralizer, turn your zucchini into noodles. Peel the carrots and slice very thinly into ribbons using a mandolin then cut into matchsticks. Thinly slice the capsicum and put all of the prepared vegetables in a bowl. Sice the lime leaves and mince the garlic then combine with the other sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour the sauce over the sliced vegetables then add beansprouts, peanuts and chili flakes and serve.

Vegan Curry With Marinated Mushrooms

Not only is this dish vegetable based, it’s actually vegan so you can serve it to your completely animal-product free friends too! This spicy curry is perfect when you’re looking for something a little different for dinner and yet is incredibly easy to make. With plenty of chewy texture, you’re sure to love this delicious Thai recipe.

Curry Ingredients:

1/4 cp of cashew nuts

1 cup of water

1 tsp curry powder

1/4 cup of diced onions

pepper and salt to taste

 

Marinated mushrooms and onions ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup of diced onions

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp coriander

 

Blend all of the curry ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Add the lemon juice, soy sauce and coriander to the mushrooms and onions and leave to rest for an hour until softened. Put the curry into a bowl and add the marinated mushrooms and onions then serve.


Vegetarian Chinese Food

One of the greatest problems facing anyone starting out with a vegetarian diet is finding a variety of exciting foods to keep meals interesting. Many people considering a vegetarian lifestyle are put off by the idea that they will be restricted to a handful of basic meal ideas with a limited range of tastes and flavors. However this need not be the case. The good news is that, if you look at a broader scope of ethnic cuisines, you will discover that there is a wealth of delicious and healthy vegetarian options waiting to be discovered. Chinese cooking, for example, offers an amazing array of tasty plant-based dishes that are simple to prepare and yet which taste fantastic.

Vegetarian Chinese food options come in a variety of guises. Many of the staples of Oriental cuisine are plant-based, including bean curd, water chestnuts, beansprouts, nuts and mushrooms, meaning that there are a host of classic Chinese recipes which require no adaptation for those who eat no meat, and many more well known dishes can easily be prepared using only vegetarian ingredients. Some of the best known and simplest Chinese vegetarian dishes to make include stir fries and simple noodle-based recipes. Nothing could be easier than whipping up a classic lo mein noodles dish using a range of fresh and tasty vegetables for a healthy and simple dinner.

Whether you are looking for inspiration to help you bring more exotic flavors into your life, are searching for basic yet flavorsome options for a quick supper or need to find an impressive banquet to delight your dinner party guests, there is a vegetarian Chinese food recipe to meet your needs. So, read on and discover some delicious and exciting recipes that will whisk you away to the Far East!


 Spicy Sesame Peanut Noodles 

 

This noodle based dish is both vegetarian and vegan and is incredibly quick and easy to prepare when you’re in a rush or after a long, hard day. Suitable to be served either cold or hot, you could even make double the amount and take some to work for your lunch on the following day. Feel free to use your favorite type of pasta or noodles, such as spaghetti or ramen. If you prefer your dishes less spicy, you can switch the cayenne pepper for red pepper flakes instead.


Ingredients – serves 3

2/3 cup of peanut butter
1/4 cup of soy sauce
3 minced cloves of garlic
2 sliced green onions
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Juice from 1 lime
1/2 lb cooked noodles or pasta
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds

Cook the noodles or pasta and slice up the green onions and mince the garlic cloves. Combine all of the other ingredients except the sesame seeds and noodles in a saucepan over a low heat and whisk carefully until your sauce is smooth. Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss gently to mix. Sprinkle the sesame seeds onto the top of the dish and serve either hot or cold.


Five Spice Baked Tofu

Tofu (or bean curd) is a staple of Chinese cuisine and represents an ideal meat alternative for a more substantial meal. This dish, marinated in a delicious mix of five spice, sesame oil and soy sauce is baked in an oven and can be added to any type of stir fry, noodle dish or salad.


Ingredients

1 block extra firm tofu
1 cup of vegetable broth
1/4 cup of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
3 minced cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon of sesame seeds

Prepare the tofu by pressing it and the slice the tofu into strips measuring around 1/2″ in length. Grease your baking pan and place the tofu in the pan in a single layer. Whisk the other ingredients in a bowl and then pour over the sliced tofu. Leave to marinate overnight. Bake the tofu in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes before turning each piece over and baking for a further 15 minutes. Check to see that all of the liquid has been fully absorbed and then serve.

Pescatarian Diet

What is a Pescatarian Diet


While you will no doubt have heard about the benefits of a vegetarian diet, you may not be aware of the lifestyle known as the Pescatarian diet. This is a way of eating that includes seafood and fish but excludes other animal products like meat – basically, a Pescatarian is a vegetarian that eats fish. Some Pescatarians also eat dairy produce and eggs, although this is not always the case. The Pescatarian diet is nothing new, with many cultures having had a heavy reliance on fish for their nutrient intake for countless generations. As seafood is a very healthy source of fatty acids, vitamins and dietary protein, it is easy to see why this way of life is considered to be beneficial, and its many followers have a strong belief that it can contribute greatly to their well-being.

Is the Pescatarian Diet Healthy?

The Pescatarian diet has a lot to offer when it comes to promoting health and well-being. There are numerous advantages in retaining fish in the diet as it can help to eliminate the nutrient deficiencies which may be experienced by some vegetarians and can help to supply an adequate source of protein and iron in the diet. Protein is an essential component in anyone’s diet for building up muscles, cells and tissues, and those who solely enjoy a plant-based diet may find that they struggle to include enough of this key component in their everyday intake. Plants are not complete sources of protein, whereas fish and seafood are, and therefore it makes sense to consume these foods on a regular basis if you find that you are struggling to eat enough protein in a standard vegetarian diet.

What are the Benefits of a Pescatarian Diet?

There are numerous benefits to switching to a Pescatarian diet including:

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Fish is a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids which help to improve mental health, boost cardiovascular health, help to control hormone levels and cut the risk of developing diabetes.

Lower Inflammation

Eating fish can help to control inflammation in the body which, when left unchecked, can lead to cancer, asthma and arthritis among other conditions.

Better Heart Health

Eating fish can help to protect against coronary heart disease and strokes by reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, decreasing the formation of blood clots and regulating the heartbeat.

Fighting Cognitive Decline

The Omega 3 fatty acids in fish help to preserve cognitive function, reducing the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Mood Boosting

Eating fish can help to lower the risk of developing anxiety, ADHD and depression. It can also help to treat the symptoms experienced by sufferers of any of these conditions.

Weight Loss

The nutrients found in seafood and fish can help to reduce the food cravings that lead to overeating. Also, a low intake of omega 3 has been linked to obesity, so the high content found in fish can help to guard against weight gain.

Pesco Vegetarian Recipes to Inspire You

If you are interested in trying out a Pescatarian lifestyle but are not sure where to begin, here are some inspiring Pesco Vegetarian recipes to get you off to a healthy start.

Shrimp Spinach Tagliatelle

Pasta dishes are always popular, and now you can combine this perennial favorite with the benefits of seafood.

Cooking and preparation time: 20 minutes
Serves 2

 

Ingredients:

10 shrimp per person
Handful of fresh basil, torn
100 ml white wine
50 ml olive oil
Handful of chopped sun dried tomatoes
1 chopped clove of garlic
Juice of half a lemon
300 g spinach tagliatelle
Pinch of salt

Fill a large saucepan half way with water, add the pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Add the tagliatelle and boil for five minutes before draining and putting to one side. Add the olive oil to a skillet and put over a medium high heat. Fry the shrimp in the pan together with the sun dried tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, white wine and salt. Cook until the shrimp is pink and the wine has reduced. Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle fresh basil over the shrimp. Plate the tagliatelle and put the shrimp on top. Serve.

Sticky Salmon Kebabs

Perfect for the barbecue season, this delicious kebabs are sure to please the whole family.

Cooking and preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves 6

Ingredients:

Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 minced clove of garlic
½ teaspoon of red chili flakes
1 teaspoon of honey
1 salmon fillet chopped into cubes
½ red onion cut into cubes
½ zucchini cut into cubes
10 cherry tomatoes

Mix the mustard, lemon juice, garlic, chili flakes, honey and olive oil in a bowl then spoon the marinade over the salmon and leave for 1 hour. Once the salmon has marinaded, place one of each vegetable and a piece of salmon on a skewer and repeat until you have filled each skewer. Barbecue until cooked or cook in a medium oven for 10 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Serve with rice or quinoa.

Lime and Chili Mackerel

This delicious and easy dish is ideal for a midweek meal or for a summer barbecue!

Cooking and preparation time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Serves 6

 

Ingredients:

Juice of two limes
1 chopped red chili
2 minced cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 piece of minced ginger
2 handfuls of fresh chopped cilantro
1 sliced lime
3 whole mackerel

Mix the chili, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic and half of the cilantro in a bowl. Score the mackerel four times on each side diagonally down to the bone and pour the marinade over the fish. Cover with foil and put into the fridge. Leave for 3 hours. Once the fish is marinaded, add the lime to the tray and grill the fish for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with potatoes and salad.