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DIY, Health & Fitness

Health Benefits of Almond Milk

A lot of people eat almonds as it is or in a dish but almond milk has become popular over the last few years.

It might seem like a health fad but have you ever wondered if almond milk is good for you? Or what are the benefits of almond milk? Read on…

Almond Milk Nutrition

Almond milk is derived from the almond nut, which can be found in the Middle East, India & North Africa. Almond milk is a plant based alternative to traditional milk from cows.

It’s made from raw almonds and filtered water and can be flavored with a few ingredients. Almond milk is low in calories and doesn’t contain saturated fat. It’s also a suitable fat free replacement for people with allergies.

Find out the awesome benefits of almond milk for the body and skin

What Are the Health Benefits of Almond Milk?

  • Almond milk contains many nutrients like iron, zinc, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus and potassium, which are excellent for a healthy body.
  • Almond milk is a very good source of vitamin A, a vitamin essential for healthy eyes and vision.
  • Almond milk is lactose-free and suitable for vegans.
  • Almond milk is a good source of protein and calcium although not as much as traditional cow’s milk but it can be fortified with these nutrients.
  • Almond milk helps boost and maintain the body’s immune system.
  • Almond milk contains vitamin E, which helps repair damaged skin and boost skin health. You can also cleanse your skin with almond milk.
  • Since almond milk doesn’t contain cholesterol or saturated fat, it’s an excellent option for people with high cholesterol. Additionally, it is high in the same heart healthy omega fatty acids usually found in fish.
  • Almond milk contains B vitamins such as iron and riboflavin, which work together for strong muscle development and helps the body repair itself.

Is Almond Milk Healthy?

A cup of almond milk is roughly 50 – 60 calories and less than 2 grams of fat making it a great option when you’re on a fitness regimen. You can use it as a liquid base in your daily smoothies.

Best Almond Milk Brands

The best almond milk brands are natural and shouldn’t contain carrageenan, an ingredient derived from red seaweed and algae, which may cause issues for the GI tract. Some good brands include:

EcoMil Sugar Free Almond Milk

EcoMil Sugar Free Almond Milk

Australias Own Organic Almond Milk

Australia’s Own Organic Almond Milk

Both brands can be found at Choithram’s Supermarkets. Wondering how to make almond milk yourself instead? See below –

How to Make Almond Milk

You will need 2 cups of raw almonds and some filtered water.

Directions for DIY Almond Milk

  • Soak the raw almonds in filtered water overnight.
  • Strain the next morning and blend the almonds with more water.
  • After blending, strain the milk through a cheesecloth and add any flavorings you like such as vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.
  • Store in a milk bottle and use within a few days.

If you make your own almond milk, keep in mind the protein and calcium content is not as much as you require and you will need to make up for it in other ways.

Is Almond Milk Good for Your Hair?

Almond milk contains a lot of good fats, vitamin E and vitamin A – ideal for moisturizing dry and dull hair, as well as maintaining softness. Read Almond Milk Benefits for Healthy Hair.

Where Can You Buy Raw Almonds?

Raw almonds can be found in most local supermarkets packed or in the bulk bin section. You can also purchase it online HERE.

Now Foods Raw Almonds

Now Foods Raw Almonds

Health & Fitness

Control Your Chocolate Cravings with Avocado Chocolate Mousse

The avocado tree can be found in Mexico although they are cultivated in several tropical and Mediterranean regions of the world. It is aka alligator pear.

The avocado is the main ingredient in guacamole, and can also be used in smoothies, milk shakes, salads and ice cream or mixed with other dishes.

Avocados are incredibly nutritious and contain up to 20 vitamins and minerals with the most abundant being vitamin K, C, B, E, potassium (more than bananas) and folate. Additionally, it contains small amounts of iron, zinc, vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin). Can you spot some vitamins vital for healthy hair growth in there?

Avocados are also rich in fiber, can help lower cholesterol, loaded with potent antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which are excellent for healthy eyes.

Avocado itself is a bit bland in taste for me except when combined with something else so when I came across this recipe while researching healthy ways to indulge chocolate cravings (I’m a serious chocoholic), it felt like a godsend.

The recipe has only a few ingredients, is simple to compile and takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish.

avocado-mousse-for-healthy-weight-loss

Ingredients for Chocolate Avocado Mousse

  • 3 – 5 ripe avocados
  • ½ cup almond or coconut milk (I used regular milk)
  • 4 tablespoons raw cocoa powder (I used a bar of dark chocolate instead)
  • Honey or agave syrup to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

There are many recipes online but below is the one I used as a guideline. I customized it based on my personal preferences. For instance, I didn’t use as much honey as she used.

1 serving comes to about 295 calories. The great thing about this recipe is a little of it fills you up faster, which means you consume fewer calories overall when included as a cheat day dish within your diet.

By the way, you can use this as a frosting for cakes and donuts as well although not sure how that would end up tasting!

3-seed-butters-essential-for-weight-loss-goals
Health & Fitness

3 Seed Butters Essential for Weight Loss Goals

This is a continuation from the earlier article on 7 Essential Nut Butters to Include in Your Diet for Better Weight Loss. This article will look at seed butters.

Seed butters are just as nutritious as nut butters and whichever one you choose boils down to personal preference. It is made the same way as nut butters by grinding suitable seeds into a paste via a blender or food processor. Seed butters are also a great alternative if you’re allergic to nuts.

Sunflower Seed Butter

Food To Live Organic Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seed butter is an excellent source of selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, vitamin E & B vitamins. It’s also full of omega-6 fatty acids. It makes for a great dipping for veggies like carrots and cucumbers, as a base in salad dressings and in baking.

Sesame Seed Butter

sesame seed butter for weight loss

Sesame seed butter is aka tahini in the Middle East. The butter is made with toasted sesame seeds and is full of omega-6 fatty acids. The many benefits of sesame seeds were covered in the earlier article – Benefits of Adding Sesame Seeds to Your Diet. The consistency is creamy and slightly runny. Sesame seed butter is excellent for use in sauces, salad dressings and the popular Middle Eastern dish hummus.

Pumpkin Seed Butter

Now Foods Organic Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seed butter is packed full of omega-6 fatty acids as well and falls into the category of a superfood. It contains a significant amount of zinc, which can help you contribute to about one third of the recommended daily allowance for women. Additionally, it contains iron, beta-carotene, phosphorus, manganese, copper, magnesium and copper. Pumpkin seeds make an excellent snack and can be eaten whole.

You can find seed butters in most supermarkets but check the ingredient listing before purchase as there might be additives like sugar, which defeats the purpose of helping with weight loss.

How to Make Seed Butters at Home

There is a detailed recipe in the earlier article – 7 Essential Nut Butters to Include in Your Diet for Better Weight Loss as well as other healthy ingredients you can include in your recipe.

8-nut-butters-for-weight-loss-in-dubai
DIY, Health & Fitness

7 Essential Nut Butters to Include in Your Diet for Better Weight Loss

Nut butters are made by grinding suitable nuts into a paste via a blender or food processor. Nut butters are high in protein, fiber and essential fatty acids, and make a suitable healthy replacement for margarine and butter in sandwiches, toast, etc. Nut butters are also suitable for vegan and paleo diets.

Peanut butter is the most popular and easily recognizable to a lot of people but it doesn’t contain that much omega-3 fatty acids, which is required for more effective functioning of the immune system. You can acquire this by incorporating other nutritious nut butters in your diet with the best 7 being:

  • The best nut butter is almond butter, which contains the least amount of calories per serving. It also contains the most fiber out of all the nut butters. Almond butter stabilizes the blood sugar levels, which leads to increased energy and reduced likelihood of unhealthy cravings. It also contains B vitamins, vitamin E, copper, phosphorus and magnesium.
  • Walnut butter is full of omega-3 fatty acids and helps to trigger leptin, an hormone that tells the body when it has had enough to eat. Additional nutrients include biotin, copper, manganese, B vitamins and
  • Cashew butter has a high content of protein, B vitamins and protein. Cashew butter can also be added to smoothies, oatmeal, and used as a dip for crudités like apples, cucumbers, celery sticks and carrots.
  • Pistachio butter improves heart health and helps to lower LDL (bad cholesterol). They contain omega-3 fatty acids and a significant amount of omega-6 fatty acids. They also contain protein, fiber and potassium.
  • Hazelnut butter contains a good amount of omega-6 fatty acids as well. They also contain fiber, vitamin E, potassium, manganese and protein although the protein content is less than the protein content of other butters. It can be paired with other benefits or ingredients for maximum benefit.
  • Macadamia nut butter has a great flavor profile and is rich in fiber, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Macadamia nut butter has a very high fatty content so consume in moderation. Macadamia nuts can be a bit pricey though so if budget is an issue, try some other nut on the list.
  • Pecan butter is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamins A, B & E, potassium, magnesium, omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, as well as a lot of fiber. It can also help lower bad cholesterol but should be consumed in moderation.

You can purchase nut butters in supermarkets but it’s best to make your own at home. If you have a frying pan and food processor, you can whip up any type of nut butter in minutes. You will need:

  • 2 – 4 cups of whichever nuts you’re using. Organic nuts work best.
  • A few tablespoons of oil (I like coconut and extra virgin olive oil for this recipe)
  • A few teaspoons of sea salt but this is optional.

DIY-nut-butter-for-weight-loss

Directions for DIY Nut Butter

  • Heat up a dry frying pan over medium heat then toss in the nuts. Move around every few minutes until toasted to your preference then remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  • Some people prefer to soak and dehydrate the nuts before processing into butter. This is up to you. If you’re doing this, don’t soak and dehydrate macadamia nuts. Here’s a detailed article on how to soak and dehydrate nuts.
  • Pour into your food processor and start pulsing initially then move on to processing for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Add in the oil slowly as you process until creamy and smooth. Go easy on the oil as nuts already contain natural oils, which are released as you process them.
  • Taste and add salt if you’re using.
  • Store in an airtight container. It should keep for up to a month in the fridge.

You can jazz up your nut butters anyway you like with some suggestions being cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, cayenne pepper, rosemary, basil, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar etc. Add in these ingredients after the nut butter is already creamy and smooth. You can also mix and match nut butters if you like. A great suggestion is pistachio and almonds.

While they fill you up and help your metabolism work more effectively, which leads to better weight loss, it’s important to keep in mind they are also high in fatty content and should therefore be consumed in moderation (not more than 2 tablespoons per serving is suggested).

An upcoming article will examine seed butters as well as their effectiveness for the body and weight loss goals.

reasons-to-replace-soy-sauce-with-coconut-aminos
Health & Fitness

7 Reasons to Replace Soy Sauce with Coconut Aminos

Soy sauce is a common condiment in Asian cooking. It’s made from soybeans and gives dishes a rich intense taste but the problem is it also has high sodium content. A tablespoon of soy sauce can contain up to 1,000 mg of sodium.

Foods high in sodium can cause increased blood pressure and has been linked to thyroid dysfunction. Additionally, a lot of soy sauce is produced using a highly chemical process.

I’ve developed a lot of interest in Asian food since the beginning of the year, which has led to including soy sauce in my diet. However, as I’ve studied it more, I’m not comfortable with the health implications. In searching for a suitable alternative, I came across coconut aminos.

Coconut aminos are derived from the sap of coconut. The sap is collected and blended with unbleached and unrefined sea salt then aged (up to 1 year) to produce coconut aminos. While not having the exact same taste as soy sauce, it provides a good balance to dishes and isn’t as salty as regular sodium sauce. It’s a dark and rich colour as well.

benefits-of-coconut-aminos-for-health

  • Coconut aminos is gluten free.
  • It contains a significant amount of amino acid, up to 17 types, which is the base for building protein in the body. They also help boost the functioning of the immune system.
  • It’s suitable for vegans.
  • It has a low-glycemic index (GI of 35).
  • It contains up to 65% less sodium than regular soy sauce.
  • It has a neutral pH, which helps to maintain proper acid/alkaline balance in the body.
  • It contains several B vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, panthothenic acid, niacin, biotin and folic acid (excellent for healthy hair growth) as well as vitamin C.

My favourite brand of coconut aminos is Coconut Secrets Coconut Aminos. The brand is economical and certified organic. I haven’t located coconut aminos anywhere in Dubai and usually get mine from iHerb. Once opened, coconut aminos should be refrigerated.

coconut-secrets-organic-coconut-aminos-dubai

You can get 10% off your first order HERE. If your order is above $40, you also get cheap shipping to Dubai for only $8 no matter the weight of your shipment.

how-to-eat-organic-in-dubai
Health & Fitness

How to Eat Organic on a Budget in Dubai

In a world where we read a lot of alarming things about chemicals in food products, GE (genetically engineered) and GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods, it has become imperative to pay attention to where our food comes from.

Investing in organic farmed produce, free of harmful chemicals with all its nutrients retained is a smart choice for personal health and the environment.

5 Reasons Organic Produce is Better

  1. Organic food tastes better. They’re nurtured for taste rather than appearance.
  2. Organic food is free of additives. It’s grown in a well-balanced, chemical free environment.
  3. Food grown organically has retained all its nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
  4. Organic farming supports the ecosystem, preserves the land, wildlife and organisms, protecting the environment for the generations that come after us.
  5. Buying organic supports independent small-scale farmers.

Having said all that, organic food doesn’t come cheap and can get expensive real quick if everything you buy is organic. In that case, how does one eat organically and still sustain a healthy wallet? Here are my top 10 tips for going organic without breaking the bank:

10-tips-for-going-organic-produce-on-a-budget

  • Compare costs between several organic shops and farms. Prices usually vary greatly and sometimes, you can get things cheaper if you buy in bulk.
  • Create your menu around items that can be used across multiple dishes.
  • Canned organic foods are also available and sometimes, they are cheaper than the fresh or frozen version.
  • Prioritize your shopping list. Every item in your pantry doesn’t have to be organic. There are some things you can buy generic like herbs, grains & onions. The most important organic foods are meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk, vegetables and some fruits.
  • You can also buy directly from the farmers to save money.
  • When you buy non-organic conventional foods, peel away the outer layer and skins and quadruple rinse them before use.
  • Some of the organic stores in Dubai have discounts on specific days every week/month. There are also organic markets in some parks that offer food at a discount.
  • If you’re up for it, you can grow some of your own organic produce at home. A few things here and there like herbs, vegetables and some fruits.
  • Eat foods that are in season. They are usually cheaper.
  • Consider buying foods in bulk when they are in season and freezing them for use later on. Buying foods out of season is super expensive.

Where Can You Find Organic Produce in Dubai?

The list keeps growing everyday and below is a cross-section of places where I have shopped for food items at one point or the other:

If you are an organic store and would like to be included in the list above, please get in touch with me HERE.