Green TEAriffic

Care of Amy Symington To the Chinese, the health benefits of green tea is ancient history, quite literally. Only in the recent past has Western culture jumped on the green tea bandwagon and for more than legit reasons. Green tea contains a type of anti-oxidant rich polyphenol called catechin that has been shown to have various health benefits relating to disease prevention. We are talking the big bad diseases here too; namely type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and some cancers. There is consistent epidemiological data that suggests green tea helps to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, fasting total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (or “bad” cholesterol), and inhibits cancer cell growth as well as reduces the formation of blood clots, minimizing heart attack and stroke risk. All of which helps to fight against the risk of obtaining the big bad diseases listed above. It has also been shown that green tea extract is beneficial for whole-body metabolism, particularly by increasing fat oxidation. The most effective time for green tea’s fat burning powers is when the body is at rest and has been fasted (i.e. right in the morning). Interestingly, due to this increased rate of fat burning, researchers from… Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition

Charming Chard

Care of Laura Wright (blogging at We should all know by now that eating your greens is a big step towards good health maintenance and feeling the high vibes. Kale has certainly been getting a lot of attention in the past year or so but what about chard! Leafy chard, from the same family as spinach and beets, with its various coloured stems deserves a little spotlight too. Buying it: Leafy, green chard originally hails from Sicily (despite commonly being referred to as Swiss Chard) and has an earthy, slightly salty taste. There are 3 main types available at markets around this time of year and into the early fall: Rainbow Chard with its pink, yellow and white stalks, Rhubarb or Ruby Chard with its deep red stems and slightly stronger flavour and the classic Fordhook Chard with more crinkled leaves and thicker white stems. As with any green leafies, going organic is optimal when buying chard as leafy vegetables in general tend to harbor more pesticide residue than others. Killer Carotenoids: Vibrant chard is loaded with antioxidants in the form of carotenoids. Carotenoids offer pigmentation to yellow, orange and red produce as well… Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition

Ginger: A Series of Facts

Care of Amy Symington Serious facts about ginger: Its recorded origin dates back 3000 years to a Sanskrit word “srngaveram” which translates to mean “horn root,” coinciding with its horn and root like appearance.  However, the Indian and Chinese are believed to have been utilizing this spicy pungent root for well over 5000 years, specifically for medicinal purposes. There is no question then why ginger is one of the most frequently utilized spice and dietary condiments in the world.  Zingiber officinale, or ginger as we know it, is also world renowned for its potential relief of nausea, arthritis, colds and headaches in addition to potentially preventing chronic diseases like the big bad 3 – diabetes, heart disease and cancer. In recent years much research has been executed and many scientific reports have been written in regards to ginger’s powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties.  As always in the nutrition world the execution of more research is necessary to defiantly determine the outcome of ginger’s consumption, however currently there are some powerful reasons for adding ginger to your food repertoire. As ginger has extremely high levels of antioxidants present (only pomegranate and some types of berries exceed its levels)… Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition

Vegetarian energy foods for kids & athletes

Vegetarian energy foods for growing kids, active teens, and those with fast-paced metabolisms Book store shelves are stocked with “Eat more, weigh less” nutrition books, but little is written on healthy ways to increase your caloric intake. Enter vegetarian energy foods; vegetarian diets, particularly vegan diets, tend to have low calorie intakes because of their low fat and high fibre contents. There are many cases where “high octane” foods are required to accommodate high energy demands. Those engaged in physical sports have increased energy needs ranging from 2000 to 6000 calories per day. Others such as pregnant women may easily meet their energy needs but may not necessarily meet nutrient requirements unless some attention is given to nutrient-dense foods. Even children, with limited stomach capacities have high nutrient requirements. Big breakfasts granola-type cereal with soy milk, dates, figs, and other dried or fresh fruit. banana soy milk smoothies with tahini or almond, cashew or sunflower butter added nut butter, such as almond or cashew, with banana on whole grain toast and juice pancakes with sliced fruit, walnuts, non-hydrogenated margarine and maple syrup whole grain muffins with tahini & honey spread, banana and juice Lay it on for lunch hummus in… Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg Healthy Living Nutrition Resource Centre Vegan & Vegetarian Cooking Tips

Dairy-free calcium sources

Written by Bonnie Kumer, R.D. and Nicole Hambleton    No bones about it, vegetarians can maintain healthy calcium stores on a dairy-free diet. Eating a calcium-rich, vegan diet just takes a little knowledge about calcium requirements, an understanding of calcium absorption, avoidance of calcium thieves and a bit of menu planning. How much calcium do we really need? The amount of calcium recommended as the RNI (Required Nutritional Intake): Women 1000 mg/day Women 50+ 1200-1500 mg/day Men 1000 mg/day These requirements take into account the negative effects of protein and sodium on calcium balance. Calcium absorption levels of plant foods Deep green vegetables (broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Chinese and green cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, etc.) 50-70% Milk 32% Almonds 21% Beans 17% Spinach, cooked 5% Studies have shown that the calcium in kale, bok choy, broccoli and other green leafy vegetables as well as tofu (set with calcium sulfate or calcium chloride) is absorbed at a rate equal to or greater than milk. The role of protein Animal protein (beef, poultry, fish, and egg) causes calcium to be excreted in the urine. A person following a diet that does not include animal protein may have lowered calcium needs. For example,… Read More

Filed under: Eat Veg Healthy Living Nutrition Resource Centre

Sources of Iron for Vegetarians

Written by Sejal Parikh-Shah N.D. B.Sc. Iron is the most abundant mineral found in blood. The human body contains from 3.5 to 4.5 gm of iron, 2/3 of which is present in hemoglobin. The remainder is stored in the liver, spleen and bone marrow. Purpose of iron in the body The most important function of iron is in the production of hemoglobin and oxygenation of red blood cells. Iron is also important for growth in children, maintaining a healthy immune system and for energy production. Iron deficiency – who’s at risk? Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia. The groups at highest risk are infants under two years of age, teenage girls, pregnant women and the elderly. Iron deficiency may be due to an increased iron requirement, decreased dietary intake, diminished iron absorption or utilization, blood loss, or a combination of factors. A typical infant’s diet in developed countries (high in milk and cereals) is also low in iron. An adolescent consuming a junk food diet is at higher risk of iron deficiency. Blood loss is the most common cause of iron deficiency in women of child-bearing age due to excessive menstrual bleeding. Individuals who engage in strenuous… Read More

Filed under: Healthy Living Nutrition Resource Centre