Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Banana Bread: Healthified!

             This is one of my favourite recipes! I used it for our bake sale last year and it seemed to go over pretty well. It’s super easy to make and it’s relatively healthy, so I don’t feel AS guilty mowing down on delicious baked goods when they’re made like this. Like most of us, I love dessert. A healthy lifestyle isn’t about depriving yourself, it’s important to let yourself indulge once in a while. I try to modify recipes to make them as healthy as possible (healthier than the original anyway) and add certain ingredients for extra benefits.
For example, you can substitute regular flour for whole wheat or spelt flour. You can also add ground flaxseed to certain recipes for added fibre, and if I’m going to use chocolate I make sure to use dark to get those flavanols in! You can substitute ingredients with various other functional foods as well providing that they will work with the nature/texture of the particular recipe.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt.
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
*Optional: 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or frozen blueberries

Whisk together dry ingredients, set aside.

3 large very ripe bananas
2 eggs (I like to use omega-3 fortified eggs. yeah functional foods!)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk of choice (almond milk is good for this recipe)
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk together. You can use an electric mixer, but it's not difficult to do by hand either. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45-50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes to cool and enjoy!

From Caitlin!

Monday, 19 September 2011

The Joys of Soluble Fiber

Fibre is an important part of our diet. This study focused specifically on soluble fibre and it's weight loss potential. When we ingest soluble fibre, it acts as a gel and holds water. It therefore becomes very viscous and slows down how quickly your stomach empties. This keeps you feeling fuller longer and ultimately, you take in less food and therefore less calories. Check out the article to learn more!


By Alex

Sunday, 18 September 2011

NANS students have fun too!

Last years student executive hosted an amazing event for all the students of NANS in the shape of a Brewery Tour. It was a resounding success and the event will be repeated this year! (All you can drink, oops)
Pictured from left to right:
Caitlin: Current Social Coordinator
Jeff: Current Communications Officer
Freddy: Current Co-vice president
Anna: Past President
Luke: Past Treasurer
Elly: Current President

Quinoa Carrot Loaf

This great recipe is adapted from the food blog Bakeaholic.  I’ve made it a number of times and the secret ingredient that adds a powerful punch of complete protein is – of course – quinoa!  If you aren’t familiar with cooking quinoa, you can find easy instructions online or on paper at Bulk Barn.  Enjoy experimenting with this great healthy recipe!

Quinoa Carrot Loaf
                  2 cups whole wheat flour (or mix of whole wheat and white flour)
                  1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
                  1 tsp baking powder
                  1 tsp baking soda
                  1 tsp cinnamon

                  1 cup cooked quinoa*
                  1 cup shredded carrots
                  1/2 cup plain yogurt
                  2 eggs, beaten
                  1/3 cup sugar
                  2 Tbs. canola oil
                  1 tsp vanilla
   approx. 1/3 cup uncooked quinoa + 2/3 cup water, made in a rice cooker, or on stove for about 15         minutes

Pre-Heat oven to 350.
Peel and shred carrots.
Boil and cook quinoa. Set aside.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
In another bowl mix wet ingredients.
Pour wet ingredients into dry mixture and mix until just moistened.
Spoon into prepared loaf pan, or muffin tins.
Bake for 40-50 minutes for loaf, and 20-25 minutes for muffins.
A toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean.

-Note- this is a versatile loaf that can support a wide range of variations.  Substitute carrots with ingredients like fresh fruit or raisins and walnuts.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Trends in the Nutraceutical Industry!

It seems like everyday I read about the newest health supplement that just seems to be bursting with the cure for yet another common human ailment. One day a new usage is discovered for a well-known vitamin, the next it’s an African seed that’s been used to curb hunger by the regions natives for centuries. Whichever way this new supplement is discovered or used, it also seems to generate a fad following. 

    Now the encouraged consumption and incorporation of functional ingredients and natural supplements into our diets is not what I have a problem with. I am conflicted however, with which the evidence for these new “miracle ingredients” is presented. It is rare for media outlets to link their readers to the peer-reviewed journal articles that help support their claims. So how do we know when to believe the hype or not?

    One answer comes in the form of a very interesting and interactive webpage (see link at bottom of the post_. I recently stumbled across this page while surfing the Internet on a not so interesting Wednesday. In a nutshell this webpage lists health supplements, from Vitamin D to black tea to omega-3’s to grapefruit seed extract. All of these supplements are represented by colourful bubbles, with size dictating their popularity and are ranked based on the amount of scientific evidence backing their particular health claim (i.e. peppermint oil as a cure for IBS).  This eye-catching and easy to follow interface allows for a clear pictorial representation of which supplements have scientific merit, and which are more of hype (for now of course). 

    As a user you can choose to narrow down this list by type of health supplement (enzyme, mineral, plant compound etc.) or by health claim (cancer, mental health, digestion etc.). The best part is that each time you click on a supplement it will automatically lead you to a journal article (usually from NCBI – National Center for Biotechnology Information) providing scientific evidence that either backs up or disputes the health claim. 

    I highly recommend exploring this webpage and checking out the accompanying articles. It really is surprising to see which health supplements have very strong evidence backing their claims (i.e. folic acid), and which supplements (such as wheat grass) do not. Enjoy!

Information is Beautiful website: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/play/snake-oil-supplements/

- Maggie