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Showing posts from tagged with: snacking

Fruit Versus Cholesterol

Posted by admin in Food, Givingtreesnacks, Health | 0 comments

24.06.16

High cholesterol has become a epidemic of this century, and this century alone. Many scientists believe this is due to the change in our diet over the recent years. In this decade we have reached all new highs in the prevalence rates of high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. What can we do to conquer the diseases of our time? Well we can start by eating more fruit. Why is this an issue? High cholesterol can lead to hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and eventually deathHaving cholesterol is fine, we all have cholesterol, however high cholesterol is an issue. An issue with rates at an all time high; high cholesterol is a disease that plagues over 50% of adults in the United Kingdom alone. As this can lead to cardiac arrest and in some cases death, this is clearly an issue that we need to take to heart. Where does it come from?  Cholesterol is a naturally occurring waxy substance which is necessary for healthy cell maintenance, vitamin D production, hormone production amongst other functions. Cholesterol is made by the body in the liver so we get all the cholesterol we need. However it is also a component in some foods so we need to watch our diets and consuming too much cholesterol. Dried-fruit Get low! Get low! One of the most effective ways to keep our cholesterol levels lows to limit our intake of saturated fat, as consuming these foods has been scientifically proven to raise our cholesterol levels. Saturated fat is mainly found in animal products such as butter, lard, fatty meat and full fat dairy products. Another way to combat our cholesterols is to eat more fruit and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are high in fibre and other beneficial compounds that lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and can help individuals who struggle with their cholesterol levels. Dietary fibre can be seen as a broom that works to sweep cholesterol out of the body naturally. How does this work? and what can we do? Soluble fibre found in plant foods like fruits and vegetables (as well as grains and beans) bind to and remove bile acids from the body. This means that there is less bile acid available to recirculate in the body. However we need bile acid for digestion, so the liver must use up its cholesterol reserves to produce more bile acids. This process of using up our existing cholesterol, lowers the overall cholesterol in the body. Research has shown that individuals who consume higher quantities of fruits and vegetables are at lower risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity. Additionally, experimental findings have shown that increasing daily dietary fibre intake by "5 to 10 grams have up to a 5 percent drop in cholesterol". Fruit stack Most fruits and vegetables are of high fibre content however some especially high in fibre such as broccoli, apples, strawberries and spinach. Additionally, dried fruits have been shown to also have been shown to offer a whole host of health benefits such as providing a high antioxidant value, help with insomnia and battle cancer. Dried apples have been especially good at lowering cholesterol.  Scientists conducted a year long study that tested the cholesterol lowering effect of various dried fruits in a group of 160 older women. They found that just 12 dried apple rings a day helped to significantly drop the overall cholesterol levels! It's time to get crunching! Put simply if we are to trying to reduce our cholesterol levels, reduce our risk of heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure or just live a healthy lifestyle we should limit saturated fat intake and eat more fibre! Each fruit and vegetable crisp pack at The Giving Tree count as one of your five a day! For more information click here!

National Vegetarian Week – the best of the bites!

Posted by admin in Uncategorized | 0 comments

17.05.16

National Vegetarian Week is upon us, so why not try one of these delicious meat-free meals?

These dishes are full of flavour, texture and colour so you won't feel like you're missing out on anything at all.

For the Pasta and Cheese lovers..

Mac and three cheeses recipe

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS 1 x 410g tin of evaporated milk 200g cream cheese 2 tsp English mustard ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg 350g macaroni 3 tbsp chi coconut oil 1 small garlic clove, crushed 175g  Comté or cheddar, grated 75g stilton, crumbled 500g green beans 1 tbsp chopped chives 45g  sourdough breadcrumbs 45g  pecans 150g sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil

METHOD Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Whisk the evaporated milk, cream cheese and mustard well. Add the nutmeg and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Bring 3.5 litres of salted water to a boil, and add the macaroni, slowly, making sure the water is always boiling. Stir for a minute to stop the macaroni sticking together. Test after about eight minutes – the macaroni should be very al dente. Drain well and add to the cream-cheese mixture.
 Mix a tablespoon of coconut oil and garlic and use this to grease a deep 20 x 20cm (8 x8 in) baking-dish. Spread half of the macaroni on the bottom of the dish. Scatter on half of the Comté and all of the stilton, cover with another layer of macaroni and finish with the rest of the Comté. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
Boil or steam the green beans until tender with a slight crunch – about five minutes. Drain, place in a bowl and sprinkle with the chives. Heat the coconut oil in a frying-pan. When hot, add the breadcrumbs and pecans and cook for two to three minutes, until crisp and golden. Add the beans and toss to coat them well. Serve the macaroni with green beans and, if you wish, a few tomatoes on the side.   cheesemac

Mushroom, spinach, and blue-cheese lasagne

This creamy vegetarian lasagne full of chesnut mushrooms is perfect served with a big salad and some fresh crusty bread

SERVES 4
INGREDIENTS 3 tbsp olive oil 2 x 250g packs chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 large clove of garlic, crushed 2 x 240g packs pre-washed fresh spinach 1 large jar ready-made white sauce (710g) 12 sheets ready-to-bake lasagne 125g blue cheese, crumbled
METHOD Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan, add half the mushrooms and fry until golden, about five minutes. Transfer them to kitchen paper, add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry the remaining mushrooms, also transferring them to kitchen paper after five minutes.
Add the final tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and cook the onion and garlic for about four minutes, until soft. Add the spinach to the pan, cover with a lid and allow it to wilt for one to two minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pan, mix together and season.
Use a rectangular dish about 24 x 18cm and spread a layer of white sauce on the base. Place three lasagne sheets on the sauce followed by a third of the mushroom mixture, another layer of white sauce and some crumbled cheese.
Add another three sheets of lasagne and continue layering, finishing with the final three sheets of lasagne, a good covering of white sauce and a sprinkling of crumbled cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until it is cooked through and the topping is bubbling and golden. Serve with a side salad or garlic bread.

Aubergine, pepper and yogurt stacks with coriander pesto

Serves four
3 red peppers chi coconut oil for brushing 2 large aubergines ½ lemon 8 heaped tbsp Greek yogurt sprigs of coriander to serve
For the pesto: 60g (2oz) coriander leaves 40g (1½oz) blanched almonds, lightly toasted 2 garlic cloves, chopped juice of ½ lemon 125ml (4fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil (not too grassy) 60g (2oz) feta cheese, finely crumbled 1 red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped 1 green chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Halve the peppers and remove the seeds and stalk. Put into a small roasting-tin and brush with olive oil. Season. Roast for 35 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the edges of the flesh are slightly scorched.
Meanwhile make the pesto by putting everything, except the feta and chilli, into a food processor. Whizz to a purée. Season to taste, then scrape into a bowl and add the feta cheese and chilli.   stacks_2917851b
Bean chilli with chocolate and walnuts
SERVES 6-8
INGREDIENTS 2 tbsp chi coconut oil 1 large onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 tsp cumin seeds or 1 tsp ground cumin 1 fresh chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (more if you like it hot) 1 tsp ground paprika 1 tsp dried oregano 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, seeded and finely chopped 1 carrot, finely chopped 2 sweetcorn cobs (kernels cut off) or 150g thawed frozen sweetcorn 2 large celery sticks (use leaves too), finely sliced 150g  walnuts, very finely chopped 300g dried mixed beans, such as kidney, black-eye or borlotti, soaked and cooked (or 3 x 400g cans cooked mixed pulses, drained) 2 x 400g cans whole plum tomatoes 2 tsp sea salt 60g dark chocolate (minimum 80 per cent cocoa solids), broken into pieces
to serve 120ml  plain yogurt 1 large handful coriander leaves, coarsely chopped Giving Tree broccoli and pumpkin crisps to dip and use as toppings too
METHOD Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan or casserole over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, spices and oregano and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until the spices smell fragrant and the onions are soft but not browned.
Add the peppers, carrot, sweetcorn and celery and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the walnuts, beans, tomatoes, 250ml (9fl oz) water and salt, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the chocolate and cook for a couple of minutes. Taste and season. Serve in bowls, garnished with a dollop of yogurt and chopped coriander with toasted corn tortillas on the side. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for three to five days.

branchili

5 Steps to a negative free life!

Posted by admin in Uncategorized | 0 comments

28.04.16

Negative free times. It can be so easy to get caught up in negativity and be negative free from all different angles in your life. From paying bills to unhealthy friendships, and work - related problems, to trouble at home, and we all know that a build up of negativity is never a good feeling. It’s also a gateway into a downward spiral of creating a bigger problem out of something which could be more easily solvable. Here is a small breakdown of how to have a negative free lifestyle!

GET RID OF TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS

At the time it may feel difficult to remove people from your life that you have grown to cherish, however subconsciously, someone who is in your immediate circle may be having a profound affect on your happiness.

When people feel bad about themselves they occasionally tend to put other people down without knowing it, which is in no way good for your overall happiness. If a relationship with a family member for example is reflecting something of this nature then it may be difficult to completely get out of, but the best approach is to explain how this person is making you feel as this could be resolved. If this doesn't work, distancing yourself for your own benefit may be the best option.

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EMBRACE POSITIVITY

Occasionally it can be easy to dwell over things in your life which aren’t going so well, however it’s not going to stand you in good stead for when you want to remove any negativity within your life. Sometimes, taking a moment each day to focus on the positive parts of your life, whether it be loving your job, having a wonderful family, or even the sun shining outside, appreciating these brilliant things around you will do wonders for subconsciously removing negativity from your life and enjoying the things that really matter in your life. Surround yourself with positive people and you’ll always be negative free!

DO MORE OF WHAT YOU LOVE

It’s easy to forget that life is so short sometimes, and we subsequently forget to enjoy doing more of what we love. Let’s face it, what’s the point in doing things all the time that we don’t enjoy? We spend far too long focusing our energy on parts of our lives which we don’t love that we often forget to embrace the things we do love. If painting takes your fancy or you’ve always loved going to the theatre, why do you not do them anymore? When we take away the complicated side of adult life and make it actually rather simple, as long as we are doing the fundamental things in our lives we need to do to function normally, using as much time as possible doing things we enjoy should be a priority, and is most definitely essential to be negative free!

IMG_2200CHANGE YOUR MINDSET

It’s surprising how just a simple shift in mindset can improve your positivity so dramatically. Without dipping too much into the idea of the law of attraction, unless something extremely traumatic happens in your life which undoubtedly requires down time, a swift shift in the way you view a situation can be really valuable when wanting to remove negativity from your life. Instead of thinking for example, that an interview didn’t go very well because you didn’t say everything you planned to say, shift that thought and allow yourself to accept that at the time of the interview, you did your absolute best and could not have done any more, another way to be negative free!

EAT FOODS WHICH YOUR BODY WILL THANK YOU FOR

It  goes without saying that including foods in your diet that your body will thank you for is essential. Removing some more processed foods from your diet, and replacing them with fresh fruits and vegetables will inevitably allow you to feel more positive and negative free.  Ingredients like sugar and sweeteners, along with saturated fats and too much salt, will leave you feeling lethargic and therefore more susceptible to drawing upon the negatives as opposed to the positives. Make sure you stock up on your fruit and veggie crisps with Giving Tree for a happy and healthy snacking delight!

Removing negativity from your life really can be easier than you think, with a few simple changes, your entire view can change and therefore make you happier in the long run! Here's to a negative free outlook!

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The great debate.. to snack or not to snack?

Posted by admin in Uncategorized | 0 comments

27.01.16

There seems to be a big divide between those who think snacking is a good thing and those who think snacking is bad.

Here at Giving Tree HQ, we've always been solidly in the pro-snacking camp (for reasons which we will get on to..)

Some of you will often be the ones to be totally avoid snacking and stick to a strict three daily meals, or others will admit to snacking two or three times throughout the day.

'Snacking', to some means 'eating when you're not truly hungry' and has bad connotations. Others, may see it as 'snacks' are generally unhealthy, empty calorie foods and explain the defensive side!

But here we are loud and proud that snacking is OK! When it’s done right, snacking can be a healthy habit that may help you manage your weight and balance your diet.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.42.40

Six Reasons Why Snacking Can Be a Healthy Habit

1. Smart snacking may prevent you from overeating at meal time. Most of us get hungry every 3-4 hours. So, if there’s a long stretch between meals, you’re likely to get hungry – which is why a snack would be appropriate. But if you resist the urge to snack and try to “tough it out”, there’s a good chance you’ll just make up for it by overeating at your next meal.

2. Smart snacking can help you reduce your overall calorie intake for the day. Healthy snacking can help certain people control their total calorie intake for the day – rather than thinking that you're going to add calories right on top of everything you're already eating. But if a well-planned, healthy snack helps you eat less at mealtimes, then you’ll cut your daily calories overall.

3. Smart snacking can help you to work more healthy foods into your day.  The more often you eat, the easier it will be to work in your daily servings of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, and calcium-rich dairy products.

4. Snacks can help you maintain your physical and mental energy. When you eat regular meals and snacks, it can help keep your blood sugar more stable throughout the day – a good defense against between-meal dips in blood sugar that can sap your mental and physical energy.

5. A substantial afternoon snack can help control portions at dinner – which tends to be the largest meal of the day. Lots of people manage to control their eating pretty well during the day, but really cut loose at night and eat a huge dinner. For those, a larger afternoon snack – almost a small “second lunch” – makes it much easier to cut back at the evening meal.

6. Encourage children to associate snacking with healthy foods and veg from a young age, and when serving children with treats such as chocolate, make a point of this not being a 'snack' but something that shouldn't be eaten regularly.

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(picture courtesy of @rachel_hosie)

When Is The Snacking Habit Not Healthy?

You might want to take a closer look at your snacking habits if:

– You’re eating unhealthy, high calorie foods like sweets, crisps, and fizzy drinks. Not only can these high calorie snack foods contribute to weight gain, they offer little nutritional value. – You’re eating for reasons other than hunger. Snacking wisely means that you choose healthy foods to eat in between meals to help control your appetite and meet your nutritional needs. But if you tend to snack when you’re not hungry – maybe you’re bored, stressed, angry or tired – it’s a habit you might want to think about breaking.

What Makes a Snack Healthy?

One reason snacking has gotten such a bad reputation is because so many common ‘snack foods’ are high in fat, sugar, salt and calories. You’ll want to steer clear of those, and instead put together a snack that will provide a mix of low fat protein and healthy carbohydrates.

Healthy Snack Ideas

– Protein shake made with nonfat or lowfat milk, protein powder and fruit. You can scale the size down a bit for a ‘snack-size’ shake and try adding Giving Tree strawberry crisps.

– Plain nonfat yogurt, sweetened with a little honey and cinnamon, topped with fruit. – Giving Tree pumpkin and broccoli crisps dipped in hommous

–  Cottage cheese topped with diced veg or fresh fruit

– Small handful of nuts – almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans or soy nuts

– Sliced hard-boiled egg on tomato slices with a twist of fresh ground pepper

– Edamame soybeans – heated up, drizzle with a little low-sodium soy sauce

– Canned tuna mashed with avocado and spread on a few whole grain crackers – Few slices of turkey or smoked salmon wrapped around Giving Tree broccoli crisps

  apple and peanut b snack

Let us know what you think of our snack ideas, we love to hear from you!

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