Saturday, February 21, 2015

Chunky Vegetarian Chili

I love this recipe. It's fairly easy and delicious. I usually cook chili in my small crock pot, but I have tried it on the stove top as well with great results. If you wanted to mix it up you could add other veggies or meat. This recipe is high in protein and fiber.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
11/2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 16oz can of stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1. Start by heating the oil and sautee the onion, peppers and garlic for about 5 minutes
2. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes
3. add sugar, cumin, oregano, salt, black pepper and beans. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes.

*When I use my crockpot, I add everything to the pot and cook it for 2-3 hours for a more baked in flavor. I've noticed a slight difference in flavor cooking it this way. The chili is also more liquidy than the stove top version. I also like to add red pepper flakes for more spice.

Nutrition Facts: Chili
Portions: 4
Nutrition Facts: Amount Per Portion
Total Calories 199 Calories
Added Sugars 14 Calories
Nutrients Amount Per Portion
Protein 8 g
Carbohydrate 35 g
Dietary Fiber 9 g
Total Sugars 9 g
Added Sugars 3 g
Total Fat 5 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Minerals Amount Per Portion
Calcium 130 mg
Potassium 775 mg
Sodium 512 mg
Copper 405 µg
Iron 5 mg
Magnesium 68 mg
Phosphorus 162 mg
Selenium 6 µg
Zinc 1 mg
Vitamins Amount Per Portion
Vitamin A 63 µg RAE
Vitamin B6 0.4 mg
Vitamin C 91 mg
Vitamin E 3 mg AT
Vitamin K 14 µg

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Finding Reliable Sources Online

This semester at Queens College I'm taking a course called Nutrition 1. Our first project was to ask a health question and find a reliable internet article that answered it. I loved this project because I am always reading articles online and trying to figure out if they're trustworthy or not. We talked about tips for finding reliable sources and some questions to ask yourself as you read these articles:
     Is the claim too good to be true?
     What is the evidence? Any research?
     Who funded the research study?
     What is actually being tested/measured? How much information is available?
     Look for a Meta-Analysis if possible, a meta-analysis is usually a compilation of multiple research studies on the same topic that have been reviewed by multiple scientists.

For my assignment we had to ask a question, provide an answer listing the article source and explain how you know the source is reliable. We were told to find an article on a current topic, not from a medical journal. Here's what I submitted:

Question: February is American Heart Month, an effort to spread awareness about heart disease and promote heart health. I know that  diets high in animal products have more saturated fats and cholesterol which could contribute to poor heart health. My question is, how does a eating a plant-based diet impact heart health?
Answer: A plant-based diet such as vegetarian/vegan can be very healthy for your heart. Plant-based diets are often high in complex carbohydrates and fiber. People who stick to a plant-based diet have fewer heart disease risk factors including lower blood pressure, half the risk of diabetes, half the risk of hypertension, and are less likely to be obese. Plant based diets have been linked to lower risk of cancer although more research is needed to determine exactly why we see this trend.
I believe my source is reliable because:
1. The Physicians Commitee for Responsible Medicine is the organization that runs the website. They are a nonprofit made up of doctors that focuses on prevention, education and research.
2. They offer a disclaimer stating they provide information, not medical advice. I think this is their way of saying talk to your doctor before you do anything drastic. It makes them seem like a professional site. They clearly are concerned about clarity and how readers use the information which makes me trust them.
3. The archives on this site are full of research studies to back up the information in this article. I read a study that showed a plant based diet was not only healthy for the heart, but could actually reverse heart disease.
4. They do not make wild health claims. Their findings are consistent with what information I do already know. They make suggestions for a healthy, balanced diet. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Almond Milk

   When I first went vegan, I had to find a replacement for milk on my cereal. I tried soy milk and didn't like the taste. I'm so glad I found almond milk! It's delicious and good for you. You don't have to be a vegan to get nutrients from almond milk! I personally prefer the vanilla flavor, but original or plain is better for cooking with it. Silk almond milk is my regular brand. They use non-GMO verified almonds from California.

Did you know almond milk actually has more calcium than dairy milk?

Non-flavored Almond milk would be the healthiest choice of course, but even flavored almond milks have more calcium and fewer calories than milk from a cow.

I have made my own almond milk before with my Grandmother. It takes alot of almonds! But it was delicious! When I did it, we didn't use any cinnamon or honey, but I really liked these step-by-step pictures and instructions on How to Make Almond Milk.

I am interested in finding out where my food comes from. That journey has largely driven my desire to find plant-based alternatives to animal products. I think the typical American diet is too high in animal products.We need to have more concern with how the animals are treated, if not to be humane, then surely for the quality of the products we consume. Buying these dairy alternative products shows consumer demand for a plant-based dairy replacement. This is a small way I can use my purchasing choices to have a voice, to say I want alternative options to be available.

Friday, February 6, 2015

DIY Lip Scrub

I first saw this at LUSH. They had testers so I tried it. Its a little messy but you can literally eat it after and from what I hear, most people do just lick it off. The scrub exfoliates your lips which is something I know my lips don't normally get. It leaves them really soft. Usually these lip scrubs are sugar based but there's a wide range of recipes out there now. I saw recipes that used coffee beans, salt, or brown sugar instead of sugar.
With the cold weather we've been having in New York this year, my lips have gotten really chapped. I thought a lip scrub would probably help. I found recipes that used honey, olive oil, pumpkin, peppermint, vanilla or ginger. I used what I already had in my apartment, some regular white sugar, some blue sugar candy I ground up, a tiny bit of coconut oil and a few drops of grapefruit oil. I'm really happy with how it turned out.
For more recipe ideas:
Checkout this article with step-by-step pictures