Healthmerit http://healthmerit.net Live a healthy life Sun, 14 Jan 2018 22:05:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Veganism is not a silver bullet http://healthmerit.net/veganism-is-not-a-silver-bullet/ http://healthmerit.net/veganism-is-not-a-silver-bullet/#respond Sun, 14 Jan 2018 22:05:12 +0000 http://healthmerit.freesite.host/?p=428 I have always had mixed feelings about vegans and veganism. I respect those people who are vegan for intrinsic reasons. To them, veganism is the logical choice. When you listen…

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I have always had mixed feelings about vegans and veganism. I respect those people who are vegan for intrinsic reasons. To them, veganism is the logical choice. When you listen to your body / you inner self and understand the wish to eat only plant based food, then it is the natural choice. As this choice is part of you, it completely natural and there is no struggle inside you. And when you feel you need something else to eat beside plants, then it completely fine to change the eating habits till that need is satisfied. 

On the other hand, there are people who have gone to veganism for some extrinsic reasons. Is it the influence of some celebrity or the need to make world more sustainable or animals are just too cute, whatever the reason is, it is based on the ego. This way you fill your ego and not your true self and there is no harmony inside you.

As with all the hypes, there's no need to be part of it to be "cool" or to raise you self-esteem. We are not living any more in the society, where "common" rules guide our beliefs and actions. Each of us is an Individual. This gives the freedom of choice and in the same time the responsibility to truly take care of yourself and support others on their part.

By nature, we are omnivores

Humans have always been omnivores. Our physical bodies have adopted to that diet and this is the easiest way to get all the needed nutrients. In the recent decades, there has been a huge shift to eat a lot of meat. In the same time we eat more processed food and sugars and this has lead us to very unbalanced eating habits. To swing over to the opposite has basically the same effect. It takes years and decades to realize it, but the drawback will come.

So, if you consider becoming a vegan, you need to understand that you need to plan your diet very carefully. If you don't do that, there is a lot higher risk of malnourishment compared to omnivores. As you reduce the range of food you are willing to eat, the probability rises you don't get everything your body needs. 

Let it be natural

For me, it is very important that I don't push other people behave in the same way as I do. Yes, I explain my point of view as well as I can and it is up to the others to agree with me or not. For me, same rule applies to other people as well. Everybody makes their own choices and I should accept those choices even when I don't agree.

Same applies to veganism. It is fine if you are a vegan, but you cannot assume everybody should be vegan. As I said earlier, humans are by nature omnivores and becoming vegan is a conscious decision. So, you shouldn't push other people, specially close ones, to become vegan. Explain you beliefs and they should be as tolerant towards you as you should be tolerant towards them. 

In the families, where there are vegans, children should still be omnivores till they themselves are able to decide which way to follow. This way you give them free will to listen themselves and choose appropriate path to follow.

Vegan vs Organic

There are a lot of talks about how healthy and sustainable vegan diet is. In a way this is true and is hard to argue against it. On the other hand, this is also a myth what we imprint into our minds and never fully understand how wrong it might be.

Most of the food comes from huge fields and plantations where mono cultures dominate. To get good harvest, farmers use herbicides and pesticides extensively and more and more is GMO. The most direct effect for us it that we eat more and more chemicals and it is hard to predict what effect it has to our bodies. These effects can manifest tens of years later and even if we are able to prove the causes, we never get our heath back. Also, how many animals and insects are killed by the same chemicals? And the diversity of the nature?

When you are eating food that is imported from some far away place, do you really know what effect transportation has to the nature? If ever possible, food should come from the same place where you are living. I know it is not possible to get everything locally, but we need to be aware of the issue and visit more local farmers.

And not everything that is vegan is healthy. I'm not talking about plants we don't use for being poisonous or drugs etc. But simple things like sugar and wheat. It is by the nature that when we give up something, we are going to replace it with something else. And we want to feel good when we are eating it should be also tasty. So, it is so easy to fall into that pitfall and replace all the animal based food with sweets etc. If you are interested follow those links and understand why think sugar is not harmful, not addictive and not causing serious illnesses.

If you truly want to be healthy and sustainable, eat organic food raised in the vicinity where you live. And maybe organic meat is actually better than vegan food full of pesticides and herbicides. 

All food is sacred

I like the belief of indigenous people that all food is sacred. All the food is provided by earth and we need to respect it. It is the way of the nature that every living organism needs food for staying alive and later on becomes itself the food. This is the cycle in the nature. Everybody needs to eat and in the end will be eaten by someone else. This applies to our physical bodies. So, if we acknowledge the fact that our physical bodies we be consumed by other organisms, it shouldn't be a taboo to eat other organisms, including animals.

As all the food is sacred, we need to respect the food. It is important how our food is raised and processed and how we prepare our own meals. When we are mindful to those aspects, then our food is sacred and we live in peace with nature.

Plants are living organisms

There is a good argument being vegan - animals are conscious living organisms and therefore we should not eat them. But what makes an organism conscious? They feel, they communicate, ...

There are a lot of studies that show how plants communicate, how they feed their offspring, how they react to external influences etc. For us, plants a lot more different compared to animals, but maybe we are no so different at all. It is possible that our knowledge about plants is too superficial.

Most people don't like sects

We are vegans, we are good! The future is for vegans only! 

When you want to force your beliefs upon other people and you deaf and blind to other opinions, you are pert of the sect. And most reasonable people don't like it. Even when they agree on some aspects of your dogma, it is never possible to agree with your methods. In cults, there is no true free will and self development. It is just a crazy mantra you repeat and repeat never fully understanding the meaning nor the effect on others.

So, in those cases there no big difference between white supremacists and vegan supremacists!

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Quickly made vegan oat cookies http://healthmerit.net/quickly-made-vegan-oat-cookies/ http://healthmerit.net/quickly-made-vegan-oat-cookies/#respond Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:18:55 +0000 http://healthmerit.net/?p=507 There are a lot of ways to make oat cookies. I have tried several and the latest is so far the best. Beside the great taste, it is in the…

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There are a lot of ways to make oat cookies. I have tried several and the latest is so far the best. Beside the great taste, it is in the same time vegan, sugar and wheat free.

4 small bananas
1 tbsp peanut butter
5 dried dates
50 ml oat flakes
1 tsp cinnamon
0,5 tsp nutmeg
0,5 tsp cardamon

Preheat oven to 200 C.

Put ripe bananas to food processor. Use the cutting blade to smash bananas. It takes about 1 minute to do so.  Then add peanut butter and spices. Use again the cutting blade about 30 seconds. Then add oat flakes and slowly mix flakes with dough.

I used tablespoon for making small size cookies.

Put cookies to oven for 20 minutes and you have great vegan oat cookies.

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Sugar free fruit and cacao vegan bars http://healthmerit.net/sugar-free-fruit-cacao-vegan-bars/ http://healthmerit.net/sugar-free-fruit-cacao-vegan-bars/#respond Tue, 07 Nov 2017 21:43:00 +0000 http://healthmerit.freesite.host/?p=440 When I want to prepare desserts which are both vegan and sugar free, I need to be very creative. There are so many options for vegan desserts, but most of…

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When I want to prepare desserts which are both vegan and sugar free, I need to be very creative. There are so many options for vegan desserts, but most of those include sugar or other sweeteners. One of my favourites is sugar free vegan bars. The only downside is that the bars need to stay in refrigerator overnight. So, when I have enough time for preparation and I don't need to make something very quickly, these bars is my choice for dessert/sweet snacks.

Two weeks ago, me and my wife, we attended kizomba festival. It was two and half days full of dancing. We ate those bars during the breaks and we got all the energy needed. Beside, the taste is so awesome 😉

200 g cashews
200 g walnuts
200 g dried figs
200 g dried dates
100 g cacao paste
100 g cacao butter
3 tbsp cacao nibs
3 tbsp chia seeds

Start preparations of vegan bars with melting cacao paste and butter on the very low temperature. Make sure you don't overheat cacao, otherwise cacao loses most of it's best nutrients. I usually melt cacao in metal cup which is in the pot filled with hot water.

Pour cashews, walnuts, figs, dates and melted cacao butter/paste to food processor. Use the cutting blade for 5 minutes to get good texture for the bars. Then add chia seeds and cacao nibs and process another minute.

Pour the mixture to the plate. Press it with spoon to make mixture firm. Put the plate to the refrigerator for overnight. When you take plate out, cut mixture into small pieces.

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Sugar free vegan chocolate mousse and strawberry cheesecake cream http://healthmerit.net/sugar-free-vegan-chocolate-mousse-strawberry-cheesecake/ http://healthmerit.net/sugar-free-vegan-chocolate-mousse-strawberry-cheesecake/#respond Wed, 26 Jul 2017 22:20:37 +0000 http://healthmerit.freesite.host/?p=375 I wanted to make a tasty vegan dessert without any sugar added. My idea was to combine two great desserts: chocolate mousse and cheesecake. It took several tries and finally,…

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I wanted to make a tasty vegan dessert without any sugar added. My idea was to combine two great desserts: chocolate mousse and cheesecake. It took several tries and finally, I made very good dessert with two layers and with soft and creamy texture. Also, mousse and cheesecake are well-balanced and complement each other.

This dessert is soft and creamy. You cannot cut it into pieces like a cake. Put it to the cups and enjoy!

Chocolate mousse

4 bananas
3 avocados
200 g dried dates
6 tbsp cacao powder

Strawberry cheesecake cream

200 g cashews
100 g dried dates
3 limes
25 strawberries
40 g cacao butter

Chocolate mousse

Soak dates in warm water for 30 minutes.

Add bananas, ripe avocados, dates and cacao powder to food processor. It takes at least 5 minutes to get smooth mousse. Pour mousse to a large cup and put to refrigerator for an hour.

Strawberry cheesecake cream

Soak dates and cashews in warm water for 30 minutes.

Melt cacao butter in a very low temperature.

Add cashews with the water, dates, strawberries and cacao butter to food processor. It takes about 3-4 minutes till you have great cheesecake cream.

Pour it on top of chocolate mousse and put to refrigerator for 2 hours.

After that, you have great dessert.

Enjoy!

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Easy parsnip chips with hot salsa http://healthmerit.net/parsnip-chips-with-hot-salsa/ http://healthmerit.net/parsnip-chips-with-hot-salsa/#respond Fri, 14 Jul 2017 22:47:35 +0000 http://healthmerit.freesite.host/?p=370 Parsnip chips are very tasty. The slightly sweet taste resonates excellently with hot salsa and makes the combination balanced and organic.

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We are all used to eat potato and corn chips. So, sometimes it is even hard to imagine some other kind of chips.

I like to experiment with food to make something new which is in the same time tasty and healthy. So, I tried with parsnip chips. Although I have used parsnips frequently in my cooking, chips was totally new area. Chips are usually fried, but that is not for me, so I put parsnips to oven instead. But I encourage you to try different ways to make chips.

And naturally, you need sauce with chips. I was thinking of several options and finally decided to try hot salsa. And that was an excellent choice. The sweetness on parsnips resonates very well with hot salsa and the flavours are very balanced.

Serve chips with salsa when both are still warm.

Parsnip chips

3 small parsnips
2 tbsp curry
50 ml olive oil
Salt

Hot salsa

6 tomatoes
3 celery stalks
1 onion
2 garlic gloves
3 Bird eye chilli
Salt
4 carrots
2 white capsicum
50 g mushrooms
Turmeric

 

Parsnip chips

Slice parsnips very thinly and put it to the marinade of olive oil, curry and salt.

After an hour heat oven to 200 C. Take parsnips from marinade and put to oven for 10-15 minutes.

If you like fried chips, just put to hot fryer.

Hot salsa

In the same time when parsnips are in the marinade, prepare your salsa.

Put tomatoes to slow juicer or just use smashed tomatoes instead.

Cut celery, carrots and capsicum and mushrooms to thin slices. Cut finely onion and garlic and smash dried chillies.

Heat pan, pour oil and add mushrooms, After a minute add carrots. After one more minute add garlic, celery and capsicum.

After 2-3 minutes, add the rest of ingredients let the salsa boil 3 minutes in the low temperature.

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Spicy chickpea soup http://healthmerit.net/spicy-chickpea-soup/ http://healthmerit.net/spicy-chickpea-soup/#respond Tue, 06 Jun 2017 07:48:25 +0000 http://healthmerit.freesite.host/?p=253 This creamy and spicy chickpea soup is great for lunch. If you like hummus, then you definitely need to try it!

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Do you like  soups and think that a good soup should be tasty and be for the meal itself? Try this creamy chickpea soup and I'm sure you want it many more times! Depending how spicy food you like, add more or less seasoning. If it is possible, use dried chickpeas instead of canned ones. Dried and boiled chickpeas taste a lot better and you can be sure there is nothing added you don't want to eat 😉

Soup

0,5 cauliflower
200 g chickpeas
2 carrots
400 ml coconut milk
1 l vegan broth
parsley
lime
2 gloves garlic
2 Bird eye chilli
1 tbsp turmeric
0,5 tbsp cumin
0,5 tsp salt

Roasted chickpeas

50 g chickpeas
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp cumin
0,5 tsp slat
2 Bird eye chilli

Take dried chickpeas and put to cold water for overnight.

Boil the chickpeas till they are soft. That should take about an hour.

Pour some olive oil to the pot and add finely chopped carrots and cauliflower. If you make carrot juice yourself, use carrot pulp instead. Add 4/5 of chickpeas, garlic and broth. Boil it 10 minutes.

Add seasoning, lime juice and coconut milk. Heat it till the soup starts boiling. Turn off the heat and let it cool 5 minutes.

In the same time heat pan, pour some olive oil and add the rest of chickpeas and seasoning. Fry chickpeas in oil and in seasoning till chickpeas are crispy.

Take hand blender and blend your soup till it is nice and creamy.

Garnish your soup with roasted chickpeas.

 

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Two sugar-free vegan ice creams http://healthmerit.net/two-sugar-free-vegan-ice-creams/ http://healthmerit.net/two-sugar-free-vegan-ice-creams/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 08:21:01 +0000 http://healthmerit.freesite.host/?p=138 When the summer heat hits you, you need something to cool you down. There are endless possible ways to do it. I like to play with food and discover something…

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When the summer heat hits you, you need something to cool you down. There are endless possible ways to do it. I like to play with food and discover something completely new. Not always these experiments work out great. But with these two vegan ice creams I’m happy.

I like the taste of both of the ice creams. Beside the taste these are very healthy. Specially when you compare with the most of the ice creams you can buy. I didn’t add any sugar, I’m just using the natural sugars form ingredients. So, if you eat fruits and berries, but don’t want any refined sugar, these desserts are for you!

Based on these two examples, you can create your own favorite ice creams. Please add to the comments, how you did your own ice creams.

Coconut and mango ice cream

Put mango, coconut cream and bananas into blender.
Pour the mix to the pot and add some finely grated nutmeg.
Heat the mix but don’t let it boil.
Cool it down and put into fridge for the night.

0,5 mango
200 ml coconut cream
2 banana
nutmeg

Strawberry and water melon ice cream

Use hand blender to mix all ingredients together and put into fridge for the night.

200 g srawberry
100 g water melon
1 banana

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7 reasons to eat strawberries http://healthmerit.net/7-reasons-to-eat-strawberries/ http://healthmerit.net/7-reasons-to-eat-strawberries/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 07:58:16 +0000 http://healthmerit.freesite.host/?p=116 Can you imagine a summer without strawberries? For me, it's impossible. During my childhood, the reasons were taste and look. Now, a lot more!

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Can you imagine a summer without strawberries? For me, it is not possible. As long as I remember, I have always eaten those delicious berries. In summer I was often at my grandparents. When you are a small boy and are in countryside for the summer, you do a lot of stuff. One of my favorites was to eat wild strawberries. There was nothing better than that.

Even now, when I have my own kids, I like to pick my own wild strawberries. It is fun to do it with family. Regular strawberries are also very good, but if you have tried the wild ones, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Nice wild strawberries

Wild strawberry

If you ever wonder, why you should eat strawberries, then here are 7 very good reasons:

1. Strawberries are great source of antioxidants

Strawberries are one of the best source of antioxidants in the world. You can compare it with blueberries, grapes, kiwis, cranberries and acai berries. Take a cup of strawberries and you’ll have enough of anthocyanins, flavonols, hydroxy-benzoic acids, hydroxy-cinnamic acids, tannins and stilbenes.

Antioxidants reduce amount of free radicals in your body. So you feel and look healthier and younger Also, this reduces the risk of chronic illnesses. As having such a high concentration of antioxidants, strawberries and help you to prevent heart diseases and even cancer.

2. What is your source of vitamin C?

If possible, I’ll pick strawberries. One cup and you’ll have your daily ratio of vitamin C.

3. Berry to reduce the risk of cancer 

Strawberries have very strong anticancer effect. It is one of the top common anticancer foods you can find. Recent studies show that regular eating of strawberries can reduce cancer risk up to 70%. This effect comes from its red color. Anthocyanins are the reason of the bright color and for suppressing the proliferation of cancer cell cultures.

4. Heavy metals

One of the modern era one of the biggest health risks is pollution.  Heavy metals have a big part of it. Although there are a lot of different foods to detox specific heavy metals, strawberries have the capacity to detox you from several heavy metals. Most importantly it can you help with digested mercury

5. Keep your brain sharp

It is possible to have keen mind in the old age. Recent study shows that strawberries may delay memory decline in older women.

6. Whiten your teeth

Did you know, that strawberries contain maleic acid? Maleic acid is found in most of the common whitening toothpastes. If you want to whiten your teeth in the natural way cut strawberry and rub your teeth with let is stay for the minute and then rinse with water.

7. The taste is great

Last, but not least – you just cannot ignore the great taste!  Beside just eating fresh strawberries or wild strawberries, you should try to:

  • Straberry, apricot and lime panna cotta

    Tricolor panna cotta: apricot, strawberry and lime

    Make raw strawberry jam and freeze it for the winter

  • Have you tried strawberry panna cotta?
  • Make your own yogurt with strawberries and banana
  • Make vegan sugar-free ice cream

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Reduce your stress to stop stress eating today! http://healthmerit.net/reduce-your-stress-to-stop-stress-eating-today/ http://healthmerit.net/reduce-your-stress-to-stop-stress-eating-today/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:40:27 +0000 http://healthmerit.freesite.host/?p=112 Stop stress eating today! Keep in mind what you eat, when you eat and why you eat! And that can be the only thing you need to lose weight.

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If you ever get in trouble which ends in court, you shouldn’t bribe the judge, but give him/her food!

Stress gives us early warnings! Anxiety, irritability and muscle tension are the signs of stress!
Here is what you should do to reduce stress and stressful eating:

1.  It is very important that you do not skip meals, especially breakfast.

Strong and healthy breakfast will provide your body with energy it needs to get through the day. Regular meals will keep you calm and less likely to get irritated, capricious or exhausted. I once read a study in Economist conducted on 1000 applications of prisoners to Israel judges (either asking for allowed out on parole or to have the conditions of their incarceration changed). It was found that, at the start of the day, the judges granted around two-thirds of the applications before them. As the hours passed, that number fell sharply, eventually reaching zero. But clemency returned after each of two daily breaks, during which the judges retired for food. The approval rate shot back up to near its original value, before falling again as the day wore on. So, if justice is served, but more of it after lunch 🙂 , it is pretty obvious that we – poor mortals 🙂 - depend on healthy eating and keeping our blood sugar levels in control. Planning your meals and consuming them regularly helps to avoid mindless eating and consuming much high-calorie foods in bigger quantities later.

2. Make a list of foods you usually crave for and keep them out of your home or office.

3. Keep track of- or even better a diary to write down – your emotions and thoughts as well as eating habits.

This will help you to look for connections and patterns, and then figure out how to overcome them.

4. Practice relaxation skills, such as yoga, stretching, massage, deep breathing or meditation.

5. Engaging in regular physical activity or exercise has done miracles for me.

Even if after a long working day at office followed by 2-3 hours of chores at home, the only thing I want to do is to collapse in front of the TV, I drag myself to gym. And voila! when I come back, I am a new, relaxed and happy person and love my children and husband again 😀 .

6. Also, I can’t stress enough do get adequate sleep!

Sleeping BuddhaI am utterly and totally dependent on sleep. I am a sleep junky! If not getting enough food doesn’t make me cranky, half an hour less sleep and I am not my usual charming self! My husband, on the other hand, can do without sleep and still be his calm and stoic self with ease. Although, privately, he has confessed that missing a meal can make him lose his ever-present optimism and good mood! 🙂 .
And always, before eating, ask yourself are you truly hungry or do you feel stressed or anxious? Then if you're tempted to eat when you're not hungry, find a distraction.

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Paskha is the Easter dessert http://healthmerit.net/paskha-easter-dessert/ http://healthmerit.net/paskha-easter-dessert/#respond Thu, 13 Apr 2017 20:55:26 +0000 http://healthmerit.freesite.host/?p=302 Paskha is the ultimate Easter dessert. When you have tried it, you'll want to eat it every Easter. And it is very easy to make!

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Easter is a wonderful time of the year. The winter is finally over and everybody is hoping for the warm spring. I have very warm memories from my childhood about Easter. The colouring of the eggs with onion peels was very funny. You never new what colour combination each egg gets. And later on the egg tapping 😉 . It was true competition - who can find the toughest egg.

But the best memories are about paskha. It always tasted so good and although my mother made a lot of paskha, we ate all of it very quickly. So, now I make it for my family and we enjoy it as much as colouring and tapping the eggs

250 g butter
1 kg curd
5 eggs
4 dl sugar
4 dl sour cream
2 tbsp vanilla sugar
100 g almonds
100 g apricots

 

Start the preparations with cutting almonds and dried apricots to small pieces. Based on your taste preferences you can add or replace apricots with other dried fruits or berries - raisins, cranberries, papayas, ... 

Heat the pot and melt butter. Add curd, sour cream and whisked eggs. Stir constantly till it is almost boiling. Turn off the stove and add sugar, vanilla sugar, almonds and apricots. Stir it till sugar is melted.

Pour the paskha into the very fine sieve to drain the liquids. If you don't have very fine sieve, add several layers of gauze to the sieve before pouring paskha into it. Place the sieve on top of the pot and put it to the refrigerator. Let it drain for 24-48 hours. Then it is ready for eating.

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