How about Lemon?

Here’s another very common question we are asked – can I use a lemon to season my meals? 

The answer is yes and no. If lemon is on your list then you can definitely use the whole lemon. Lemon will be listed as one of your fruits, thus, if it is listed, then yes it can be used with your meal. You can use it in both, water or tea and as an ingredient in your food.  

The lemon peel, on the other hand, can be used as a seasoning by everyone. This is regardless of the phase they are in.

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What about Frozen Food?

One of the more common questions we get is about frozen foods. Can I use frozen meat, fish, vegetable or fruit? And how much should I have when it’s frozen? 

First, yes you can use frozen foods, as long as they contain no additives, fats or sauces – simply the pure food. We’ve seen, for example, commercial frozen fruit with added sugar. This would definitely not be allowed. So if you’re buying frozen foods, always check the label. If it’s a whole food that has been frozen soon after harvesting or preparing or one you have frozen it yourself, then it’s fine. With regards to quantities this is very simple. The amount of frozen fruit and frozen vegetables is exactly the same as allotted on your plan. When weighing frozen proteins such as fish, meat or seafood, you should always have an extra 25g more than listed in your plan, as there is a loss of water during thawing. For example: if you have 125g fish listed on your plan then you will need to have 150g of frozen fish.

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Chai Tea – Spices from India 

Chai has been gaining in popularity for several years now. The classic Indian spiced chai tea, sometimes also called yogi tea, does not actually contain any tea at all. Instead, it’s a spice mix of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and black pepper. These spices are said to have a warming effect in Ayurveda, the classical Indian art of healing. Originally, the spices were briefly crushed in a mortar and pestle before adding to a pot of water and being brought to the boil. Milk and sugar were added, it was heated again and allowed to steep for a few minutes. Then the brewed “tea” was poured through a sieve and served. 

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Today Chai Tea is offered loose, in tea bags and even as powder. From it, the famous Indian Chai can easily be prepared with milk and little fuss. Here’s an easy way: simply froth hot milk and mix with the chai spice blend. You’re allowed to drink milky chai tea from phase 2 if  you have milk on your food list – but please, enjoy it only with your meal and do not use any other protein source for that meal.

What’s to Know About Pepper

Do you love pepper? We definitely do!

The peppercorns that we use as spice in our meals are from the Piperaceae family which has at least 700 different species! The pepper plant originally comes from the forests of southern India but is now cultivated in the tropics throughout the world. Black peppercorns with their thin, wrinkly skin are harvested and dried before they fully ripen. Nutritionally, black pepper is rich in piperine, which gives pepper its intense sharp taste. White pepper is made from fully ripe red pepper fruits, which are allowed to ferment. If the pulp is rubbed off after three days, the greyish-white, milder tasting round seeds appear. Green pepper is the unripe fruit that is placed in brine. No matter which one you use – (fresh) ground pepper is an excellent healthy addition in many aspects. Hot spices in general can support digestion and even kill pathogens. Of course those with a sensitive stomach or gastritis, should use peppery spices sparingly.

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Strategies “Around the Rules”

The Holiday Season is a wonderful time but with all the temptations everywhere we go, it can be hard to stick to healthy choices. So how do you stay on track with Metabolic Balance and not put on those extra pounds? Here’s how! 

  • Always aim to stick 100% to the three meal a day rule and take a 5 hour break between meals to avoid eating more than your stomach can handle. This will ensure your blood sugar levels don’t go too far out of sync and lead to unwanted cravings and blood sugar highs which make staying on track even harder.
  • Take your time to eat. Relax and enjoy the occasion and know there’s no rush to indulge in everything offered. By taking your time you’re less likely to overeat. Plus it’s the holiday season, a meal can and should last a little longer than normal!
  • Enjoy the goodies that are only prepared in this festive season – but always start with your protein appetizer, e. g., a bite of the Holiday turkey, ham, fish or goose.
  • Every feast needs to have a delicious dessert. How about making yours a baked apple with cinnamon this year? 
  • If you’re finding it hard to say no to sweet treats, try having some naturally bitter foods. A handful of cranberries, a cup of green tea or black coffee with your meal or tart lemon in your water can be helpful. 
  • Eggnog, punch, mulled wine or a glass of wine are a wonderful part of the Holiday Season and you shouldn’t miss out if you enjoy these treats. The best way to indulge is to ensure you drink alcohol with the meal. Remember, for each glass of alcohol drink a glass of water. 
  • Last but not least, drink your water between meals – this is the most important Strategy of the 8 Rules!

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What’s your favorite Okra Recipe?

Do you have okra on your food list? Have you tried it yet? Or are you a bit unsure what to do with it!? Let us help! 

Okra is a plant from the mallow family (so it’s related to hibiscus!) and originally comes from Ethiopia. Okra is actually the edible green seed pods of the plant so technically it could be called a fruit! 100g okra contain only 0.2g of fat and only 20 calories. It’s rich in beta-carotene, vitamin B1, B2 & B3 (niacin), vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and phosphorus. One of Okra’s nutritional highlights is the high-quality gut-friendly mucilages, which are particularly valuable for healing our digestive tracts and supporting a healthy bacterial balance in the small intestine. They taste great in a ratatouille or a stir-fry where okra mixed with tomatoes, zucchini, parsley root, eggplants and carrots. 

Back to you – what do you think about Okra? What’s your favorite Okra recipe?

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Savoy Cabbage – what a magnificent vegetable!

We love savoy cabbage – how about you? We just think it has such magnificent green, wavy leaves! Until recently, when haute cuisine started to champion it and it’s popularity increased, it was very much overlooked. One of the wonderful things about savoy cabbage, is that it has an excellent long season. The early season savoy cabbage comes on the produce shelves around Easter Time and has rather tender, loose leaves. The autumn variety though, has thicker and firmer leaves and also has a slightly spicier flavor. 

Savoy cabbage tastes greats as a vegetable side dish. It’s great to be used for savoy cabbage rolls and in lasagne. In terms of its nutritional strengths, it really does enrich our health during the winter season. It is high in vitamin C, contains vitamin B6, vitamin E, folic acid, potassium, calcium and iron. With only 31 kilo-calories per 100g, savoy cabbage could be called a “slim” vegetable, that contains plenty of beneficial sulfur oils and chlorophyll. In southern Germany, its leaves are traditionally used as a “green hot-water bottle”. The ribs of dark green savoy cabbage leaves are cut flat and briefly placed in boiling water. They are then rolled flat and laid as compresses on the body to relieve pain such as abdominal pain, chest pain or leg cramps.

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Pointed Cabbage

The tender cone of the Pointed cabbage: it’s small, fine and loosely wound – with these unique characteristics, the pointed cabbage has secured itself a special position in the cabbage family!  

As it’s naturally tender, it cooks quickly and does not need to be blanched even when using for stuffed cabbage. It also is a great addition when finely sliced into hearty and fruity-sweet salads. Make sure that it’s very fresh when you buy it, as the pointed cabbage doesn’t really have a long shelf life. Like the other members of the cabbage family, pointed cabbage is full of healthy nutrients, including vitamins C, B1, B2, potassium and beta-carotene. 

Our Top Tip: due to heat and cooking water, many nutrients can be lost. Therefore, simply finely cut some raw leaves and mix them under your other cooked vegetables.

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How do you like pointed cabbage?  Share your favorite recipes and tips with us (add to comments)! 

Fit For The Cold?

It’s not only your immune system that needs support in the colder months, we also need to look after our skin. Cold weather plus indoor heating is the perfect combination to dry your skin. The skin vessels narrow, the production of our natural oils in the skin, sebum, is reduced and the formation of the central skin barrier is lowered. This all adds up to uncomfortable, dry, brittle and cracked skin.

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What can you do to radiate healthy skin and vitality even in winter? We recommend a combination of internal and external tender, loving care for your skin. First, make sure you keep your omega 3 fatty acids in your daily essentials. Look for great sources from either oily fish and cold-pressed oils such as flax seed oil and rapeseed oil. It is also important that you stay properly hydrated. Even if you’re not as thirsty in the winter, you still need to make sure that you drink enough water. We recommend herbal teas, ginger water and mineral water or even a simple cup of hot water!

Bitter Tasting Foods to Fight Cravings!

There’s an old German saying, “What’s bitter for the mouth, is healthy for the stomach”. And we totally agree! However many naturally bitter salad leaves and vegetables are not as bitter as they once were. Instead due to modern farming and the types of plants farmed today, many of our bitter foods are nowadays much milder, sweeter or sour.

So why is this important? 

The plant components that give a bitter taste have been increasingly researched in recent years and have been shown to have many important functions for the human bodies. For example we now know that the bitter phytochemicals have very beneficial digestive characteristics and can help support and strengthen a healthy liver. 

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The health benefits can also start from the minute the sensitive taste buds on the tongue come into contact with bitter foods. This kick-starts a cascade of digestive benefits including the production of digestive juices in the stomach and boosting the function of both the gallbladder and the pancreas.

But what many people don’t realize is that these strongly alkaline and bitter substances act like a natural suppressant towards damaging sugary foods. The “bitter” taste naturally reduces the desire for sweet foods! So try to eat many sources of bitter foods that naturally help stop those cravings for sweets!