Some see algae as “the food of the future”. This vegan food product is protein rich, requires no fresh water to produce, and releases oxygen into the atmosphere, unlike most the world’s protein today that is derived from animals. The new “micro algae” being used is a far cry from some of the algae used in the past. The taste is good and it can be used in a variety of different kinds of foods. It also works well in cooked and baked foods.
Around 70 percent of the world’s available fresh water is currently used to rear livestock and to cultivate crops to feed livestock. Algae, however, can flourish without the presence of fresh water. It can grow anywhere from deserts to oceans and ponds. This poses an overwhelmingly positive effect on food production because algae bloom quickly, are nutrient dense, and require next to nothing to grow.
Algae are comprised of 40 percent protein and, when comparing land usage, make seven times more protein than soybeans. Scientists claim that 50 percent of the world’s oxygen is accredited to algae, contrary to raising livestock which emits greenhouse gases into the planet’s atmosphere, ultimately leading to global warming.
Companies have sprung up both here and in Europe to get the algae to market. Marketed under the name AlgaVia, the powder is starting to show up as an ingredient in grocery store items. Look for microalgae in your favorite food products as algae continue to catch on.
The walnut is the nut of a deciduous tree. It has a hard, wrinkled shell and an oily, two-lobed kernel. Nuts in general are extremely healthy for you, and walnuts in particular are packed with several valuable nutrients. Just one quarter cup of walnuts will give you over 90% of the recommended daily amount of Omega 3 fatty acids, so there’s no need to resort to fish for these important fats. Omega 3 fatty acids give us all kinds of health benefits from better cognitive function to relief from inflammatory diseases such as asthma and eczema. In addition, walnuts contain an antioxidant compound called ellagic acid that supports the immune system and appears to have several anticancer properties.
Choose fresh shelled walnuts which don’t look rubbery or shriveled. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Walnuts are great raw or toasted. They can be served chopped in salads or on fruit or yogurt as a topping. They’re delicious in baked goods such as muffins, zucchini bread or pancakes.
Mushroom Walnut Roast
Walnut and Pomegranate Spread (Mukamarra)
Being chocolate lovers, we wanted to know more about vegan chocolate. We caught up with Simon Lester, the founder of Pascha Chocolate and got a chance to ask him a few questions:
How did you get the idea of vegan chocolate in the first place?
When one of my daughters developed a serious, life-threatening food allergy my life changed. All food items had to be examined and re-thought because cross contamination was serious and endemic. The penny dropped when I thought back to my early career experience with Cadbury chocolate in the UK. Read more
These sour red berries grow on a trailing shrub. You can buy them fresh in the Fall, or frozen at any time of year. Dried cranberries are a delicious addition to trail mixes. When buying fresh look for bright red shiny skins. Cranberries are a valuable source of iron, vitamin C and folic acid.
Cranberries are usually too sour to eat raw. First wash and remove any damaged berries. Then cook them with a little water and sugar, then puree them to make a sauce. Or you can add them to a recipe directly to add a contrasting flavor.
- Harlequin Squash with Corn Bread Stuffing
- Cranberry Corn Bread
- Apple Cranberry Crisp
Winter squashes are readily available at this time of year. They are nutritionally dense, supplying beta carotene, iron, and riboflavin, but best of all they provide endless options for creating tasty, satisfying meals. The best cooking method for almost any winter squash is to cut it in half, scrape out the seeds and then steam it or bake it in the oven. The flesh will then be soft and easy to scrape out or cut, to be used in a wide variety of delicious recipes.
Acorn, butternut and kabocha squash can be cut in half and filled with a delicious stuffing to provide the perfect centerpiece to any holiday table. The green and yellow striped delicata squash has sweet yellow flesh and a soft skin which can be eaten, eliminating the need for peeling. Spaghetti squash can be separated into spaghetti-like strands, making it an interesting addition to stews. And most familiar of all is pumpkin (baked, steamed or from a can), used in soups, stews, pies and even cookies!
Baked Squash Recipes
Under pressure from the dairy industry, the government is trying make it so that plant-based alternatives to dairy can’t use the terms “milk”, “butter” or “cheese” on their product labels. The excuse is that the consumer can’t tell the difference between dairy milk and soy milk, and so may be confused. It doesn’t take a PhD to know that almonds, coconuts, rice and cashews don’t come from a cow! Read more
Grapes have always been associated with health, and with good reason. They are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients. One of their renowned phytonutrients, resveratrol, is said to increase the expression of three genes related to longevity. Even though they’re sweet, grapes are also good for diabetics, since they promote a better blood sugar balance and increased insulin sensitivity. And of course the skin is packed with fiber, which helps to promote good bowel health.
At this time of year, the local grapes are particularly fresh and delicious, so it’s a great time to enjoy them. Their unique texture and sweetness makes them a perfect addition to salads and desserts, but also a handy snack throughout the day. Just wash them and put them in a bowl in the fridge to keep them fresh and ready for whenever a hunger pang strikes.
Recipes (see below):
Minted Green Grape Sorbet
Green Goddess Breakfast Smoothie