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Thinking About a Soup Cleanse?

The Chinese have always been promoting the nutritiousness of soups, as seen from the variety and how each type of soup is able to help soothe the lungs and other internal organs. However, with the recent trend in detox plans and juice cleanse, there is a new trend called – soup cleanse.

All of us here at The Wellness Insider are healthily sceptical about soup cleanses considering how little evidence there is about them, so we decided to ask the experts. Integrative Dentist and Health Coach, Dr Surinder Arora, said that the point of soup cleanses was to get “people to eat whole real foods if the soups are prepared themselves” and that “this is another way to get these good foods into the body.” However, she did mention that soup cleanses are “not needed if people have eliminated artificial and processed junk foods from their diet.”

So, in other words, it is not a total ‘don’t try it!’ diet regime and it might be a good way for you to try and cut back from sugar and other additives. Nonetheless, it’s not meant to be a long term diet but like most of us, it’s great to have a bowl of soup once in a while.

If you’re interested in doing a soup cleanse, then you may want to try out the following recipes by our friends at Gergich & Co. in this simple infographic.
Click to Enlarge Image

Soup up Your Lifestyle with a Soup Cleanse

 

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Whip Up a Vegan Brunch!

Let’s meet together to prepare some VEGAN brunch!

Vegan diet can be really versatile and so delicious.  You can eat healthy and you don’t have to compromise on flavor. Classes will be conducted in accordance to plan based diet, all the dishes are also gluten-free. And the most important…. they are really yummy.

vegan brunch

We are going to prepare :

  • ”scrambled egg” – tofu . Breakfast of champions. A tofu scramble is a classic hearty vegan breakfast/brunch.
  • ”cheese” out of cashew nuts . Cashew cheese is perfect for those of you wanting an alternative to dairy or for the adventurous foodies who want to give a new recipe a try.
  • Vegan lentils a’ la baked beans

After the class we will sit together and enjoy the food.
This class will be hands-on so please wear comfortable clothing.
*Please bring your own  apron.

Experience includes:
  • Recipes
  • All ingredients and kitchen equipment will be provided
  • Instruction and tips (after the classes email support with the teacher)

Date: Sun, 9 or 16 April 2017
Time: 10.30am to 1.30pm
Price: S$65/pax

To register, please click here.

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The Truth About Green Juices and Smoothies

The popularity of green juices and smoothies have been increasing over the years, especially when health magazines or ‘experts’ have been expounding the virtues of drinking your veggies rather than chewing them. It kinda makes sense, considering that we often eat less vegetables than we’re supposed to and drinking green juices or smoothies is a good way of ensuring your 1 out of 5 per day while also filling you up until your next meal.

However, just like any health trend, there are some controversy over drinking green juices and smoothies – mainly that consuming that much vegetables on a regular basis contributes too much oxalate into the body, which will cause health problems such as kidney stones later in life. This is especially harmful to the 20% of people who are oxalate sensitive or already naturally produce oxalate, as they will have a higher tendency to have oxalate stones forming in any part of the body.

Moreover, most of these green juices and smoothies contain cruciferous vegetables, which may not be suitable for those with thyroid problems. Others also say that by blending the vegetables into a juice or smoothie, you’re actually destroying up to 90% of the nutrients, which defeats the purpose of drinking said juice or smoothie.

So what’s the truth? Firstly, there isn’t much evidence to prove that 90% of nutrients will be gone after blending. Although it is true that you cannot get 100% of the vegetable’s nutrients unless you get it off the farm and consume it without cutting it.

Cardiologist, Dr Joel Kahn, wrote an article about this and he discussed the science behind why green juices or smoothies or even eating more vegetables is good for your health. The inorganic nitrates within the vegetables promote heart health and when we swallow these nitrate-rich veggies, they’re rapid absorbed and released into our blood stream, and converted into nitric oxide (NO) by enzymes.

According to Dr Kahn, this NO gas is made in the lining of our arteries (endothelium). When our arteries produce a lot of NO, our arteries relax, our blood pressure is normal, our blood is less likely to clot and our arteries resist making plaque. There’s another reason to be grateful for NO. When we want to have sex, it’s NO that causes blood vessels to dilate and engorge the parts that need to grow. In other words: When you want to say yes to sex, say NO.

So when we eat leafy greens and drink our green juices and smoothies, the dietary nitrates power our blood vessels and improve the overall quality of our lives.

There is an argument that in order to get the benefits of the nitrates, our food needs to come in contact with bacteria on our tongue that convert the nitrates to make NO in our arteries. If you quickly gulp your green juices or smoothies past your tongue, you may not permit time for the bacteria to munch on the dietary nitrates.

But, according to Dr Kahn, there is another pathway for the dietary nitrates to be fully absorbed and NO to be produced. When our blood level of nitrates rise after eating or drinking plant-based nitrate-rich foods, the nitrates enter our salivary gland and are concentrated in our saliva. Our saliva may have nitrate concentrations 10 times that of our blood and the green drink we swallowed 45 minutes ago may be secreted right on to our tongue to enjoy the bacteria-nitrate interaction. So if the bacteria doesn’t get your dietary nitrates the first time down, this “entero-salivary” recirculation makes sure they get them the second time around.

Conclusion? Go ahead and enjoy your green juice or smoothie but lay off on the fruits which add sugar. Here are a couple of our favourite green smoothie recipes, both of which are great as breakfast smoothies:

Pick-me-up
1 tbsp Chlorophyll powder
1 cup chilled green tea
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 cup fresh baby kale
juice of half a lemon
half an apple or a banana
half an avocado

Blend everything in a food processor until smooth

Ready For the Day
1 cup osmanthus tea
1 cup fresh baby kale
1 cup cucumber
1 cup of bak choy
1 tsp of grated ginger
1/2 cup of your favourite kombucha

Blend everything in a food processor until smooth.


Photo credits: Pixabay
With references from MindBodyGreen

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Pumpkin Salad With Chicken & Avocado

Come January all I want is greens, and as I’m not a fan of a boring leafy salads that never fill you, you’re always gonna see me add quality protein and good fats!

This simple salad of mixed organic leaves, roasted pumpkin and turmeric baked chicken with avocado did the job for dinner, and as my largest meal of the day is always breakfast or lunch (where I have more time to burn the energy)… why not!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking tips:

  • Roast a whole chicken as part of your ‘food prep’
  • Roast a whole pumpkin as part of your ‘food prep’
  • Buy mixed salad leaves for speed

Ingredients:
1/2 ripe avocado
100g of roast pumpkin
100g of roast chicken
1/2 bag of mixed salad leaves
1/2 lemon
1 tbspn of extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp of sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Place all salad leaves in a bowl
  2. Assemble pumpkin, chicken & avocado on top
  3. Squeeze over the lemon juice
  4. Drizzle over the olive oil
  5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds
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12 Vegetables to Add In Your Diet (no salads involved)

Not everyone likes veggies (especially picky children) but everyone knows the benefits of eating more vegetables or at least, having them in your meal. Whether you’re one of the veggie haters or not, here are 12 vegetables (some are technically fruits or flowers) to add in your diet and how to sneak them into your meal. Some are absolutely child-friendly! Don’t worry, we are not going the easy route through smoothies or salads. You might actually enjoy some of these dishes and not even think that the veggies are in them.

veg in diet

Spinach

spinach-bowl

Spinach contains iron, magnesium, vitamins A, C and B-6, and it even has calcium! This is definitely a great vegetable to consume on a regular basis and here are some methods of sneaking them into your meals:

  1. Add the puréed spinach into a pancake mix. You can make funny designs to delight your young ones and once it’s drizzled with honey, they wouldn’t even know that the green is from vegetables but think that it’s from food colouring.
  2. Blitz it in a soup. Follow our Chickpea Soup recipe and simply add in boiled spinach into the food processor. You will be able to mask the spinach taste with the carrots and chickpeas. Add in a bit of cheese if you’re worried. Sadly, the green will still show but at least it’s in a soup and tastes nothing like the raw veggie.
  3. Add it into lasagne. Frozen spinach is great for this dish. The tomato sauce, béchamel and cheese will definitely hide the taste of the spinach.

chopped-kale

Kale

Kale isn’t the easiest vegetable to cook but it is another great vegetable to add into your diet because it contains more vitamins, calcium and magnesium than spinach. One serving of kale supplies your daily needs of Vitamin C! It also contains iron but in a smaller amount compared to spinach, also has vitamin K and lutein (great for your eyes) which is why this vegetable has been called a ‘super food’. However, it is a bit bitter and can get a bit too chewy when cooked, making it slightly tougher to sneak into your meal. Nonetheless, we try.

  1. Make them into vegetable chips. This is easy if you have dehydrators but if you don’t, you’ll have to rely on your trusty oven. Some people choose to fry them but since we’re about healthy eating, we do not recommend that. We like this recipe of Crispy Tamari Kale Chips from Health.com.
  2. Put it in an omelette. Cut the kale into fine slices and just add it into your egg mixture. This will definitely ensure that the kale is eaten without complaint because it’s your seasoning of the omelette that everyone will taste.
  3. Put it into fried rice. Here’s an Asian twist. Again, chop it up into fine pieces and just stir fry it with your fried rice. This will cook it down while stir frying has been proven to negate some of the bitter flavour.

If you’re able to get baby kale, do use them instead as they’re a lot more tender and easier to cook down or to simply eat as a salad.

broccoli-1429150_640

Broccoli

Technically speaking, broccoli is a head of flowers but since they’re green, we’ll still lump it under a vegetable. Similar to the previous two veggies, broccoli contains all the same nutrients in high amounts but it’s not that bitter (especially when stir fried). In fact, the flavour is quite mild but most people do not like the florets or texture.

  1. Similar to spinach, boiled broccoli works very well in the chickpea soup recipe.
  2. Broccoli also works very well in fried rice but do note that you will need to cook the broccoli first with garlic and the other ingredients before you add the rice as broccoli will take a bit longer than kale to cook.
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Melissa’s Table Top Talk Episode 19: Busy Mums Can Keep Fit!

Mums, this is for YOU! We know how crazy it can get and mothers tend to put themselves last when it comes to family and work. However, your health is important too! Kareen Lai from Mums In Sync and Nuts About Butter shares some tips on exercises, mindset changes as well as how simple it is to just make a quick but healthy breakfast with freshly churned nut butters.

Meanwhile, Melissa gets kitchen envy as Kareen made an open faced sandwich with her Almond Butter, avocado and hemp seeds which was served with cold brewed coffee. Really had a great snack this week…so can’t really complain.

Nuts About Butter is now on sale at the Wellness Shop and you can check out Kareen’s profile here.

Catch the ‘live’ version of Melissa’s Table Top Talk every Tue, 8.30pm (Singapore Time) at Wellness Insider’s Facebook page. To be updated on the latest episodes, you can also subscribe via our YouTube channel.

 

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Why You Should Add Fish Into Your Diet

Thanks to the increasing popularity of the Atkins and Paleo Diet, a lot of people are eating more red meat and poultry. However, we would like to bring your attention to the humble fish. Fish acts as a healthier alternative to both red and white meat but it is also contains a lot of different nutrients that chicken doesn’t provide.
fish-featured

Among these benefits is the fact that a lot of fish (particularly the oilier ones, even if they make a mess of things) have a lot of polyunsaturated Omega-3 fatty acids, the kind that helps with improving cholesterol and triglycerides level in the body. It also offers lean protein as well as vitamins A, B and D all in one package. Not just that but since it’s also lighter than other types of meat, you get all those benefits while also eating less calories per weight when compared to red meat.

fish-image1

Of course, not all fish have the same effects; different types of seafood can offer different benefits.  Some seafood help pregnant women and is good for the foetus, while others can help reduce chances of obesity and other dietary benefits. Shellfish for example, is high in selenium while salt water fish helps increase levels of iodine. But the biggest benefit that all types of seafood have is that they increase the level of heme iron, which is a type of iron that’s easier for the body to absorb than other types of iron.

Of course, while seafood offers a lot of benefits, to some, it doesn’t taste nearly as good as red meat (am I right?). So if you want to give eating more fish a try, here are a couple of recipes to get you started to put fish into your diet.

fish-image4

Tuna Salad

Tuna salad is, thankfully, a very simple recipe to replicate.  Tuna is one of the fish that tastes good with just a little bit of seasoning (or even with no seasoning at all) and it contains Omega-3 fatty acids. For this recipe, all you need is a can of tuna (preferably the type that comes with water instead of oil), some vegetables that you can chop up (potatoes and carrots are recommended but you can go with whatever tickles your fancy) and, if you really want to add an extra kick to it, a little mayonnaise or mustard to make it a tasty tuna sauce.  After that, you can mix in the chopped vegetables and voila – a simple tuna salad for you to enjoy. Great for packed lunches, picnics or even as a sandwich filling!

fish-image-3

Steamed Fish with Lime and Garlic

This staple of Thai food has a lot to offer, combining a variety of tastes all into one dish while also keeping them balanced enough to make sure to make you shiver with excitement. For this dish you can any fish of your choosing but the most common one for this dish is the Barramundi, also known as Sea Bass, and the recipe is for a whole fish. You will also need five stalks of lemon grass (though only the bottom half).

For the sauce, you will need:

  • 1 cup of stock of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped palm sugar
  • 8 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 6 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 or 2 finely chopped chillies (depends on how spicy you want it to be)
  • 20 to 25 sprigs of chopped cilantro
  • 1 or 2 stalks of chopped Chinese celery

Before trying to do anything with the Barramundi, score the fish with three diagonal incisions and stuff the chopped lemongrass into the cleaned out section of fish.

Heat the stock in a saucepan until it starts boiling and then reduce the heat to put in the sugar. Once that boils over, you should let it sit for a bit while you mince the garlic, chillies and cilantro before mixing them in with the stock, once the stock cools down a little, along with the fish sauce and lime juice. The rest of this is tasting the sauce to make sure it’s to your liking. If it is not salty enough, add in soy sauce instead of salt to give it more dimension.

Pour the sauce over the fish and then steam the fish for about 15 to 20 minutes (though this can vary depending on the size of the fish).

Finally, garnish your fish with the chopped Chinese celery before putting it on a platter and then…well, get to eating it of course! Make sure to serve it with some piping hot rice!

fish-image2

Broiled Cod with Lemon and Thyme

This recipe is a little bit simpler and easier to prepare. Cod in itself is a fish that is easy to cook, you can buy the fillets or steaks, which makes eating and cleaning up a lot easier.

Using mayonnaise as a base (you don’t need much), add in a squeeze of lemon juice and a teaspoon of dried thyme. If you have the fresh herb, even better! Take two tablespoons of the fresh thyme, chop it finely before adding into the mayonnaise.

Then you spread this sauce into the cod filet right before you broil it in the oven. If you don’t have a broiler, baking this in a toaster oven for 10 to 15 minutes will give it the same effect. The flavour of the sauce will be absorbed by the fish and give it a mouthwatering slightly golden crust on top of it, giving you a different texture from the soft flaky fish.

 

While these are only three out of a lot (really, a lot) of recipes, do remember that you can quickly look up any fish recipes that you might want to try. What matters is that you try to add fish into your diet as often as you can as the benefits it brings for your body as well as your mind are extensive and, just like vegetables, meat and dairy, it’s an important part of the food pyramid…plus a lot of fish are really delicious.

Remember, the key is balance and variety to ensure that we have all the nutrients that we need!

Photo credits: Bosch, Food Network, The New York Times/ Well, Serious Eats, The Huffington Post/US Edition .

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