Sauerkraut

Today, October 3, we celebrate the day of German unity and home to Metabolic Balance head office in Bavaria. It’s a great occasion to talk about the popular condiment ‘Sauerkraut’, the perfect companion, and a side dish to many meat & fish dishes. Sauerkraut is a magical food, fermented by lactic acid bacteria. It is one of the best-known German national dishes and can be homemade or brought at your local store. Fermented foods have a long history in many cultures and are made by a process called pickling. Sauerkraut has probiotic qualities and is a high source of vitamins C & K, calcium, and magnesium. It’s also a very good source of fiber, folate, iron, potassium, copper and manganese.

Here is a quick and easy guide of how to make it!
Raw cabbage is finely shredded, layered with salt, and left to ferment in a closed food container. Fully cured sauerkraut keeps for several months in an airtight jar stored at 15°C (60°F) or below. Neither refrigeration nor pasteurization is required, although these treatments prolong storage life.
Enjoy!!

Invest in Your Health

Take a moment to consider what you spend money on. There are several things that are essential for life, including food, a roof over your head, and clothing. However, we usually spend money on things that aren’t necessary, and when faced with the cost of our health it can feel like there’s nothing left in the bank. So, why should you invest in your health? You only get one body, so investing in it is obvious! Keeping it healthy should be your No. 1 priority. Another key reason to take care of your body now is that you may not have done so in the past. Whether we ate a lot of sugary snacks as kids or drank too much as young adults, most of us could stand to make up for a period of unhealthy living. Investing in your health will pay off big time! When your mind and body are healthy, you’ll feel better and work better! You may even find that you have a whole new outlook on daily life. So, HOW do I invest in my health? It all starts with you… and you can start today. Reach out to your nearest Metabolic Balance coach by visiting our website!

Metabolism: The Engine of the Body

“Good metabolism, bad metabolism, boost the metabolism, stimulate it, drive it” – the term “metabolism” is often used when we talk about health and wellness. Put very simply, the metabolism uses nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats in order to produce energy for all organs.  Vitamins and minerals are also particularly important for a fast and efficient metabolism. If they are missing, highly complicated biochemical processes cannot take place. Numerous foods are considered to be real “boosters” for the metabolism.  These include hot spices such as chili and ginger or bitter vegetables such as fennel and chicory, whose essential oils increase the basal metabolic rate. Protein foods such as poultry, fish, meat and cheese provide zinc, which is an important catalyst for metabolism.  

Sleep

Sleep. It is something we all need but many of us don’t get enough of it. But getting enough of it is so important for our overall health.

When we’re getting our zzz’s, our body rests, recovers, and recharges. It builds muscles, repairs cells, and allows the brain to form memories and improves recall.

But did you know that what you eat, and when, affects how you sleep?

“It might seem obvious why a double espresso after dinner might disrupt your sleep that night — as might a greasy, late-night cheeseburger with fries. However, the connection between a noontime salad and your slumber is somewhat less straightforward — but it’s an important one” – Ana Krieger, MD, MPH, Medical Director of the Centre for Sleep Medicine, New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine.

Learning what to eat and when through Metabolic Balance will directly enhance your sleep, increasing vitality and performance.

Counting Calories?

For decades, we’ve been told that losing weight is about calories and sticking to a rigid diet. However, the more we learn, the more clearly we see that this outdated strategy is not only misguided but also inappropriate. Why? Because everyone and every ‘body’ is unique! Things like the type of food you eat, your metabolism and even your gut health have a huge impact on whether you lose weight or not. And therefore, your nutrition should be personalized to YOU. Your uniqueness is our specialty… so stop counting the calories and book a free discovery call with a Metabolic Balance coach today!

Eating After 6pm

Eating huge meals late in the evening and before going to bed is definitely not recommended. Digestion slows down at night and has an impact on your metabolism and quality of sleep. After all, the body takes a rest at night. The body switches to “standby mode”, i.e., whilst all vital functions are maintained, and the blood sugar is kept at a constant level, it’s not the time to put your body to the task of digesting food especially in epic portions! It’s not just the timing of your meal that is important, but also the quality of the food you eat. Calories don’t care what time it is! So, what should you stick to when you want to lose weight? Although everyone’s body is unique and some things may not work for everyone, we recommend that your evening meal be lighter yet nourishing, rather than heavy and super filling. Tips for meals after 6pm:

✔ Avoid foods containing simple sugars such as sweets, chocolate, etc. These will stimulate your appetite.
✔ Focus on protein-rich foods such as fish, dairy products, eggs and nuts.
✔ Don’t eat too much raw food in the evening – steamed vegetables are easier to digest.
✔ Your last meal should preferably be at least 3 hours before bedtime.
✔ Always drink enough water.

Cholesterol

It is still rumored that foods containing cholesterol should be avoided if your cholesterol levels are elevated. However, we know that foods rich in carbohydrates, e.g. bread, cereals, pasta and rice, also have a negative effect on cholesterol levels.

To achieve a balanced cholesterol level, a diet rich in fiber and with a high proportion of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants is therefore recommended.  

  • Foods rich in fiber: oats, legumes, apples and vegetables
  • Foods rich in omega-3: sea fish, linseed oil, walnut oil or hemp seed oil, nuts
  • Rich in antioxidants: besides vegetables and fruit, also green tea or dark chocolate

Sequence of Meals

First the fish, then the potatoes – doesn’t it matter what you eat first? The main thing is that it’s healthy, right?

In fact, studies have shown that the order of meals has a decisive influence on blood sugar levels. Test subjects who ate proteins and fats first, followed by the carbohydrate portion, had lower blood glucose and insulin levels than study participants who ate the meal in the reverse order. The researchers are also certain that the order (protein, fat, and then carbohydrate) also improved insulin sensitivity. In addition, the participants had a longer lasting feeling of satiety. So just give it a try!

Frozen Food

Deep-frozen food is better than its reputation

Frozen food is an integral part of our diet nowadays. Since the pandemic the percentage of Americans who eat frozen food daily or every few days has increased to almost 40%. This includes ready-made meals and bakery products, but also a lot of vegetables, meat and fish.

This is not surprising, because after all, with frozen food you can quickly conjure up a meal without much effort. Vegetables and fruit do not need to be cleaned, washed or chopped. Whether fish, meat or vegetables: In any case, frozen food has a longer shelf life, is easy to portion and facilitates storage. Nevertheless, frozen food has a bad reputation among many people. According to common opinion, freshly purchased goods are basically the better choice, because freezing damages the taste and, above all, valuable ingredients such as vitamins are destroyed by freezing.

Does freezing damage the ingredients?

Food chemists and nutritionists in Hamburg, Germany investigated the latter objection a few years ago. In a complex study, they investigated how the proportion of healthy ingredients in some vegetable species changed under different storage and processing conditions.

For an optimal comparison, different types of vegetables were harvested at the same time from the same field. Then they were cleaned, washed, chopped and finally stored under different storage conditions. This means that half of the vegetables were blanched and then shock-frozen at minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit. The other half was stored in the refrigerator.

The chemists chose vitamin C as their “freshness marker”, which is considered to be extremely sensitive because, like many other vitamins, it rapidly degrades under the influence of heat, light and oxygen.

The results of the study were clear, i. e. the vitamin C content, e. g. of green beans stored in the refrigerator, decreased by around 70 percent within two weeks. Frozen green beans, on the other hand, still had around 80 percent of the original vitamin C content even after one year. Similar results were also observed for peas and carrots.

Furthermore, the scientists also investigated the content of secondary plant substances, which are also believed to have a health-promoting effect. Green beans, for example, have a high content of quercetin and kaempferol, or carrots have a high content of carotenoids and flavonoids, which protect plants from UV radiation, and in the human body the secondary plant substances are supposed to strengthen the immune system and fight against free radicals.

Again, the study showed that, when stored in the refrigerator, the secondary plant substances were degraded by up to half after only two weeks. In frozen state, a large proportion of these substances could be preserved for over four months.

Keep in mind when deep-freezing!

However, the valuable ingredients are only preserved if the food – be it fruit, vegetables, meat or fish – is shock-frozen as soon as possible. Slow freezing creates large, coarse ice crystals that destroy the cells of the frozen food, causing cell fluid to leak out. As a result, ingredients are lost and the taste and consistency suffer.

Over the years, the industry has developed a wide range of freezing processes, from cold air freezing (-40°F – particularly suitable for berries, peas) to cryogenic methods (sprayed with liquid carbon dioxide or nitrogen and temperatures from -108 to -300°F – suitable for meat, fish and bakery products) to contact freezing (-40°F metal plates – e. g. for fish fillets or cream spinach).

Due to the rapid freezing process, the metabolic processes in the cells are almost completely brought to a standstill. At the same time, only small, fine-grained ice crystals are formed which do not harm the frozen food.

Standard household freezers and freezers with shock-freeze function can reach temperatures of up to minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit. The aging process of the cells slows down, but the degradation processes do not stop completely. In other words, they run in slow motion. Therefore, frozen food should in principle not be stored for more than one year.

Keep your eyes open when shopping

While frozen fruits, vegetables, meat and fish can be regarded as healthy, ready-made frozen dishes must be viewed more critically. This is because different foods have a different freezing behavior due to their structure, and the duration of “freezing through” also differs. Therefore, in the laboratory, colorants, flavorings and preservatives as well as flavor enhancers and binders are used to prepare these ready meals in such a way that they still appeal to the consumer after thawing, although they are composed of different ingredients.

What is Metabolic Balance’s position on deep-frozen food?

Metabolic Balance also sees freezing as one of the best ways to preserve food over a longer period of time. Especially when seasonal vegetables and fruits ripen in abundance in the garden, you should make use of it. The low temperatures stop the metabolic processes in the food and thus also the growth of microorganisms. If a few points are observed when freezing, taste and nutrients are also preserved in the home kitchen. In addition, frozen products enable people, who have little time left, to prepare their meals to eat healthily despite the lack of time.

Frozen vegetables sometimes contain even more valuable ingredients than many supposedly fresh products, which in fact often have already been transported a long way.

Useful tips for freezing:

  • Spread berries on a tray and freeze briefly to prevent the berries from sticking together. Store the frozen berries in bags or freezer containers in the freezer.
  • Clean vegetables, wash, cut into bite-sized pieces, blanch and then chill very quickly, preferably with ice water, to preserve vitamins, then freeze immediately.
  • Raw fish should be frozen no later than 24 hours after purchase. Gut fresh fish, clean and freeze briefly, then immerse briefly in cold salt water before final freezing. This gives the fish a protective layer of ice.
  • Slice bread, place parchment paper between each slice, wrap and freeze.
  • Basically, you can also freeze any home-cooked food or leftovers without hesitation. Pre-cooked food should be cooled down quickly, filled into airtight containers, sealed tightly and frozen quickly.

Be aware! Some cooked foods are not suitable for freezing, such as boiled potatoes, casseroles, sauces – especially if they have been prepared with cream.

Chicken Curry

This delicious curry is packed full of delicious flavors and perfect for any lunch or dinner!

Ingredients (1 serving):
1 portions of vegetables (ex: mushrooms, leeks, onion or cauliflower)
1 chicken breasts (according to your protein weight)
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of mild or medium curry powder
1 tsp of Garam Masala
1/2 tsp of ground cumin
1/2 tsp of ground ginger
1 cloves of garlic
Vegetable stock

Preparation:
If you are using cauliflower, parboil the florets and keep the water you boiled them in. Heat the spices in a dry pan until fragrant. Add garlic and the vegetables and coat with spices. Add some oil (if using – phase 3), and pour in some vegetable stock to deglaze the pan. Cook covered for a few minutes until spices and liquid are well combined and the vegetables are coated evenly. Add the diced chicken. Cook until the chicken is cooked, stirring regularly. Add more vegetable stock or water for a looser sauce. Serve with some toasted rye bread to mop up the juices. Enjoy!

Photo: Metabolic Balance Canada