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!

Flu Season is Approaching Fast!

Welcome to the flu season! Ginger water can be a great remedy for colds – or even better their prevention. Cut about 2 cm (1″) of fresh, peeled ginger into slices, boil in 1 l of water. Cook as long till you have about half of the liquid. Pour into a thermos and drink throughout the day. As long as you are in Strict Conversion Phase of your Metabolic Balance Plan, drink it only during meals. In later phases you may also drink it occasionally, as long as this does not trigger increased food cravings or hunger. 

If you’re in a pinch for time, simply place one or two slices of peeled ginger in a cup, add hot water and leave to steep for five to ten minutes. It tastes good and is good for you!

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Prepare for Flu Season

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We’ll soon be in winter when the immune system is often at its weakest. If you get a cold, do remember that standard medications may not be the most appropriate when a natural immune booster may be a better choice. Many medicinal plants also block infections, strengthen the immune system and alleviate inflammation. For example, ginger and thyme have an expectorant effect, eucalyptus oil relieves coughing and echinacea and sea buckthorn strengthen the immune system. At the onset of a cold it certainly makes sense to start with natural remedies. However, if you don’t feel better after a few days, you should see your health care provider.

Prepare for the Flu-Season!

Are you dreading the upcoming season of runny noses and watery eyes? Then we have a great tip for you: if you want to strengthen your immune system in fall, you should think about your nutrition. Studies show that especially vitamins A, C, E and beta carotene, but also the trace elements zinc and selenium as well as secondary plant extracts play a key role in fighting off colds and flu. These micro-nutrients activate the immune cells, stimulate the formation of antibodies and also influence the production of natural killer cells. So remember to add plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to your daily menu! Citrus fruits, kiwi, sea buckthorn and rose hips are nutritious vitamin C provider. Sauerkraut and green bell pepper also contain many vitamins to support a healthy immune system.

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Meal Preparation & Clean Eating!

Meal prep and clean eating are easy with your Metabolic Balance plan. Simply pack your daily power lunch box with vegetables from your plan and one portion of protein. Plus an apple of course! Ready – Steady – Go!

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Shelf Life of Food – “Best Before” vs. “Use By”

Do you know the difference between “best before date” and “use by”?

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It’s important to understand the difference between what food manufacturers and producers mean by a best before date and a use by date.

A best before date means manufacturers give you a guide of when their foods will still taste good. You may not know this, but in order to find out the best-before dates on foods, manufacturers expose their products to a so-called stress test. Climatic conditions such as an incubator, refrigerator or humid room temperatures can artificially cause food to age rapidly. The decisive factors for determining if food is still at its best are the product’s taste, smell, consistency and nutritional composition. When the manufacturer knows these, they can suggest the optimal best before date and often add in a little buffer time. This means that almost all packaged foods can still be used after the best before date has expired. Dry foods such as rice, pasta, semolina, salt, honey and sugar have practically an unlimited shelf life. We suggest that you rely on your senses and common sense.

However, this is different for “use by” dates. This date is printed on perishable products such as ground meat, fresh poultry or smoked salmon. After the “use by” date has expired, this product may not be sold and should not be eaten either.