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Posts from the ‘Purely Nutrition.’ Category

Feeling Down? Try These Mood-Boosting Foods

Everyone gets down every once in a while. Sometimes simple pick me ups such as running or meditating can help you get out of a mood funk. But your diet plays a role in how you are feeling as well, after all, food affects your hormones by providing nutrients to your body to keep it stable. Making sure you have a balanced diet is essential to keeping you feeling good and providing you with energy to get you through the day. Here are the top foods to boost your mood and fight depression:

Flax seeds

Flax seeds provide omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to be mood lifting and possibly help combat depression. Several studies have found that increasing the omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can aid in preventing major depression disorders. Flax seeds are also great for preventing heart disease – thanks to their inflammation fighting properties, which prevent plaque build up.

Getting omega-3s can be difficult if you don’t have fresh fish available to you, but there are many other sources you can get them from! A few of our favorites are peanut butter, oatmeal, flax seeds, walnuts, brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

Berries

Berries are considered one of the healthiest foods. There is nothing worse than letting stress get in your way, especially when you are feeling down. This can lead to an overwhelming spiral–exhausting you mentally and physically. Blueberries can help prevent the release of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland during stressful situations, that travels to the hippocampus (a major portion of your brain) and provides emotional responses. Berries can help control and counter the effects of this hormone’s impact on your mood.

Berries are loaded with anthocyanidins, known to boost brain function and antioxidants, which promote brain and nervous system health. Berries are also low in sugar and calories, so pile them on!

Blackberries

Limit sugar intake

Keeping your blood sugar level steady is more important than you think. When your blood sugar gets low you are more prone to feeling depressed and irritable. This means that paying attention to what you are eating is essential to maintaining your glucose levels to keep you in a balanced state of mind. Sugar promotes inflammation in the body that is directly correlated to promoting depression and anxiety. It also interferes with the balance of hormones within the hippocampus because of the inflammation it promotes throughout the body. Furthermore, sugar creates spikes in your blood levels, promoting you to eat unhealthy and to make poor food choices more frequently. It becomes an addiction for quick pick-me-ups, but will not help your mood in the long-run. Choose healthy wholesome foods that will make you feel great. Try choosing a balanced meal with lean protein, vegetables and whole grains to control your blood sugar and prevent inflammation.

Folic Acid

Folate and vitamin B12 are important for mood control because low levels can lead to depression and other mental issues. Studies have shown that low blood levels of these vitamins are sometimes related to depression, although no one is exactly sure why. Some scientists believe that these vitamins are used by the body to create serotonin, one of the key neurotransmitters that help normalize mood. This vitamin is especially important for women and even more important during pregnancy. Some foods that provide folic acid are lentils, leafy greens, citrus, asparagus, kidney beans, oatmeal and broccoli.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are a great source of B vitamins, which are key nutrients for good moods. Research has shown that vitamin B6 deficiencies can lead to higher stress, irritability, tiredness and depression. By choosing whole grains, you can get your carb-comfort food fix–boosting your mood without derailing your diet. So, don’t eliminate all carbs — just make smart choices when choosing which carbs to put into your body. Limit sugary, unrefined carbs (such as cakes and cookies) and pick smart or “complex” carbs (such as whole grains), along with plenty of fruits, vegetables and legumes, which all contribute healthy carbs and fiber.

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Find out what works for your body to ensure you are staying balanced. Don’t let your mood get in the way of your enjoying your day! Try changing your diet to promote a healthy lifestyle and most importantly a healthy better feeling you.

Ingredient Spotlight: Amaranth

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While quinoa was considered sacred to the Incas, amaranth was the revered grain for the Aztecs — valued greatly for its high nutritional value and ability to thrive in poor soil.

What exactly is amaranth? Amaranth is a member of the Chenopodiaceae family of plants. This grain is a relative of beets, Swiss chard, spinach, and quinoa. For this reason, some of its nutritional characteristics are more like these dark green leafy vegetables than the cereal grain. Like quinoa and millet, amaranth is not technically a grain, but because it is enjoyed in meals like other true grains, it is usually referred to as such.

What does it taste like? Amaranth has a porridge-like texture with a mild nutty taste. It is completely gluten-free and is said to be easily digestible for people recovering from illnesses or cleanses. It is also a great source of plant protein!

What does it look like? Amaranth comes from a tall bushy plant. The seeds at the top of the plant are the grains made into the amaranth cereal and flour.

 Amaranth

Why is it special? Amaranth contains more essential amino acids than any other plant source–specifically the amino acids lysine and methionine, which are not produced in other cereal grains in such great quantities. It’s also a great source of calcium, containing four times as much as wheat, and is second only to quinoa as a plant-based iron source. To top it all off, amaranth is the only grain to include vitamin C and is remarkably high in protein!

How to get in your daily dose? You can cook amaranth on the stove for about 20 minutes for a porridge-like consistency or you can pop amaranth in a pot on the stove to make amaranth puffs (like in our granola)! Amaranth can be used in a wide variety of recipes for both breakfast and dinner, such as cereals, pilafs, soups and veggie burgers. One of our favorites is Elizabeth’s Amaranth Sweet Potato + Swiss Chard Fritters.

For a quick and convenient dose of amaranth, eat a bowl of purely elizabeth Ancient Grain Granola or Oatmeal–you can find the power grain in almost all of our products!

amaranth fritters

Oatmeal for a Healthy Heart

February is the month of love! It is also coincidentally American Heart Month — reminding us as we embark on the new year that nothing is more important than thinking about our life choices and how those choices impact our health and well-being.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD)—including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure—is the number 1 killer of men and women in the United States — a staggering and heart-wrenching statistic. But the good news is there are many preventative steps you can take to decrease your risk for CVD by making simply changes in your daily routine.

6 Grain Oatmeal and Bananas Booklet

Diet is a huge factor in preventing CVD. Limiting your saturated fats and cholesterol will reduce plaque build up and increase your heart health. One of the best foods for this is oatmeal! Whole-grains are essential to your diet because of their fiber and rich nutrient content. Oatmeal is packed with soluble fiber, which is linked to lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, regulating blood sugar and lowering your risk of heart disease.

Having fiber in your diet can also protect against obesity, which is directly correlated to increased risk for CVD. Fiber helps to lower your insulin levels, preventing a blood sugar spike post-meal. Why is this important? When you have high insulin levels for long periods of time your body stores the extra energy as fat increasing your chances for obesity. Foods with low glycemic loads that won’t cause blood sugar spikes include veggies, berries, nuts and seeds, beans, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, rye and oatmeal — our favorite!

With up to 5 grams a fiber in 1/3 cup of purely elizabeth oatmeal, this amounts to 20% of your recommend daily intake. Women need 25 grams of fiber per day, and men need 38 grams per day, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Our oatmeal is also free of added sugar — a big plus when keeping keeping your GI in check as sugar is the highest GI carbohydrate. If we’re looking to sweeten our oats up we use coconut sugar, a low-glycemic sweetener that won’t cause the dreaded insulin spike. Another favorite oatmeal topping of ours is purely elizabeth granola + fruit — combined it can add up to around 10 grams of fiber (almost half of your recommend daily intake)!

Your food choices shouldn’t be boring, and neither should caring about your health! We want healthy hearts this year, so make small goals to change your lifestyle on your path to prevention.

Not Your Everyday Kale Salad

Kale Salad

 

…Kale Salad…

Indigents 

4 cups lactino kale, shredded

1 cup shaved brussels sprouts, raw

2 cups roasted cauliflower

1/4 cup raw pine nuts

1 cup pickled apples

Dressing

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp olive oil

 

Directions:

In a large bowl add all salad ingredients. In a separate small bowl, add dressing ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour dressing ingredients in salad bowl. Toss to combine and serve.

Veggie Chili with Skillet Baked Corn Bread

Warm up by the fireside with this mouthwatering dish. Packed full of flavor, it is perfect for fall and making for your friends!

Chunky veggie chili loaded with goodness. Perfect to warm up by the fireside with.

Chunky veggie chili loaded with goodness. Perfect to warm up by the fireside with.

…Veggie Chili with Skillet Baked Corn Bread…

Ingredients: 

1/3 cup olive oil

2 cups mushrooms

1 cup chopped red peppers

1 cup chopped carrots

2 cups chopped onions

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp cumin

2 1/2 tbsp canned green chilies

2 tsp chili powder

1 QT tomato juice or more if needed

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 15oz can diced tomatoes

1 20 oz can kidney beans

3 tbsp tomato paste

Directions

Heat olive oil in large pot over medium high heat; add mushrooms, red peppers, carrots, onion, garlic and spices. Cook for 7 minutes. Ad remaining ingredients – tomato juice, brown rice, diced tomato, kidney beans, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and stir. Reduce the heat and simmer 20 minutes uncovered. Add Salt to taste

Click on the photo above for the Skillet Corn Bread recipe. 

Oven Pear Crips

Such a simple recipe! Perfect for snack time or added as a topping to any dish. Try on top of a salad or make as a side for dinner!

pear

…Oven Pear Crisps…

Ingredients: 

2 pears

goat cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 F. With a mandolin or sharp knife, thinly slice pears. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Flip and continue to bake for 1 hour. Serve with goat cheese.

Kaniwa, Considered a New Superfood!

Originally from the Andes Mountains in Peru, Kaniwa it is a nutrient dense grain. It has a mild, nutty taste and doesn’t contain the sour elements some grains can have when cooked. It is considered a high-quality protein containing flavonoids and a whole range of vitamins and minerals. Lavonoids are among the most intensively-studied antioxidants, and Kaniwa has been shown to contain exceptionally high levels of flavonoids, particularly isorhamnetin and quercetin. In addition to providing anti-aging benefits for the skin, flavonoids may help prevent cardiovascular diseases, inhibit the growth of certain bacteria and viruses, and reduce the risk of certain inflammatory diseases.

Contains Kaniwa and Quinoa!

Contains Kaniwa and Quinoa!

Kaniwa, like its cousin quinoa, is naturally gluten-free; yet, it is supercharged with B vitamins and a wide range of minerals, including calcium, iron and phosphorus As Kaniwa is closely related to quinoa, it is not surprising that also Kaniwa is loaded with high-quality protein that contains notable amounts of all essential amino acids, including lysine which is usually found only in small amounts in grains. In fact, Kaniwa has been shown to contain even more protein than quinoa (around 16% compared with 13% reported for quinoa)!

Source: http://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/kaniwa-nutrition-facts.php#ixzz3H4xrnSTp

 

Try this recipe using …Purely Elizabeth Ancient Hot Grain Cereal…

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Our Favorite Non GMO Snacks

October is Non-GMO month–an opportunity to coordinate our voices and our actions, for our right to know what’s in our food, and to choose non-GMO. We hear about Non-GMOs and supporting Non-GMOs all the time, but here’s a quick recap to remind you what a GMO is and why you should be concerned.

What is GMO? A GMO, or a genetically engineered food, is a plant or meat product that has had its DNA altered in a lab to enhance desired characteristics with genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria.

Are GMOs safe?

In 30 other countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production of GMOs, because they are not considered proven safe. In the U.S. on the other hand, the FDA approved commercial production of GMOs based on studies conducted by the companies who created them and profit from their sale.

How common are GMOs?

According to the USDA, in 2011, 94% of soy, 90% of cotton, and 88% of corn and 90% of canola grown in the U.S. contained GMO’s. In addition, sugar beet, varieties of squash and Hawaiian Papaya contain high levels of GMO’s. As a result, it is estimated that GMOs are now present in more than 80% of packaged products in the average U.S. grocery store.

Why should you be concerned?

Peer reviewed scientific studies have linked GMOs to allergies, organ toxicity and other health problems. Environmental issues have also been linked to genetic engineering, such as biodiversity loss, an increase in pesticide use, emergence of super weeds and unintentional contamination of non-GMO crops.

What can you do about it?

1. Purchase products from companies that have carry the Non-GMO Project Seal. Products that just say “GMO free” do not guarantee that they don’t contain GMOs. All of our products at purely elizabeth are Non-GMO Project Verified and it’s our mission to continue to provide clean, natural foods with clean ingredients!

2. If not labeled organic or Non-GMO Project Verified, avoid products that contain Corn, Soybeans, Cottonseed, Hawaiian Papaya, Sugar Beets, some varieties of Squash and Canola Oil.

Source: Non-GMO Project www.nongmoproject.org.

Here are some of our favorite Non-GMO Project Verified snacks!

purely elizabeth- Original Ancient Grain Granola

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Quinn Popcorn- California Olive Oil Popcorn

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Barnana- Organic Peanut Butter Chewy Banana Bites

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Simple Squares – Rosemary Organic Nutrition Bar

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Yummari- Coffee Chia Chargers 

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Nib Mor- Dark Chocolate with Almonds

Bar-almond

Dang- Toasted Coconut Chips

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Food Should Taste Good- Harvest Pumpkin Chips

HarvestPumpkin

Mary’s Gone Crackers- Herb Crackers

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Rhythm Superfoods- Bombay Curry Kale Chips

Rhythm Bomay

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