Ital

Jamaican/Rastafari word for VITAL, ORGANIC, NATURAL, WHOLESOME… real roots


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Cloth Nappies and a Clean Bum

Wipes and diapers are a necessary but costly evil when dealing with the un-potty trained… unless you decide to try out cloth nappies like our moms did.

Who wants to meddle in poop too long, some may ask, why not make it easy to exlude the eww factor. For me there are a few simple reason that made me try it out

1) IT SAVES MONEY!!! The 200 Rand we spend on diapers is a nice lunch out.

2) It saves the earth! Less non-biodegradable waste to put in a landfill that hurts the environment. Our small way of showing respect to Mama Earth. Continue reading

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Plant Sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids (ALA’s)

This post on fats explores eating good fats versus bad fats  and one of the things that stood out was that one type of essential fat, Omega-3, came best from fish. This lead me to think of vegetarians and vegans who may not eat fish and what is the best way to get the highly important fatty acid into their bodies.

Omega-6’s are best found in seeds and oil from these seeds, but for Omega-3’s, studies have shown that they are best found in oily fish like herring, tuna and salmon. This is because our bodies most efficiently use the Omega-3’s called EPA and DHA that are directly found in oily fish while the plant source, ALA, must convert to EPA and then DPA, losing some of its oomph along the way.

Flax Seeds are the best source of plant based omega-3’s (ALA’s)

Here are some tips for balancing Omega 3’s

•     These oily fish get their high levels of Omega-3’s directly from plant based marine life and vegans too can get high levels of DHA from algae derived supplements. Unfortunately, EPA is not found in these supplements.

•    Ensure that the body has enough ALA’s (plant based Omega-3’s which convert in the body to EPA and then DHA) in relation to the amount of LA’s (Omega-6’s) included! As the excerpt explained, Omega-6’s make common household oils that we use everyday (like corn, sunflower, and soybean) and are also rife in animal products and processed food, while Omega-3 fatty acids are harder to find.

•    One recommendation is to substitute an oil rich in Omega-6’s (like corn, sunflower, and soybean) for an oil rich in monounsaturated fats such as olive and and nut oils. This is to help balance the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio since we often have an overabundance of the former fatty acid and a deficiency of the latter.

•    There are great plant sources of Omega-3’s:

  1. The richest known source of ALA Omega-3 fatty acids is flax seed aka linseed. Add them to cereals/porridges, smoothies, salads, baked goods, stews and soups but remember, “the rawer the better”.
  2. Eat lots of Fresh green veges. Whole plant foods contain enough fat for your diet if you eat enough. Since most Western diets have low green food intake they are not seen as significant contributors to fat intake. Regularly eat avocados, olives, nuts, wheatgerm and seeds to get plenty good fat.
  3. Walnuts are the nuts with the highest levels of ALA’s.
  4. Pumpkin seeds, hempseeds, soybeans and canola contain ALA though in lower concentration.

More info on how to balance the omega fatty acids in your diet from womantowoman.com and The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition


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Beet and Apple Salad

One day after cutting up a beet for some juice, we realized our juicer had broke! Not wanting to waste our beets we looked up recipes and found this AMAZING one!

Directions
Toss 2 thinly sliced apples, 4 thinly sliced celery stalks (with leaves) and 1 minced shallot in a bowl with the juice of 1 lemon. Peel 1 beet, then slice into matchsticks and add to the bowl. Toss in 1 teaspoon sugar, 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper. Let stand 10 minutes, then serve on a bed of sliced endive.

Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/beet-and-apple-salad-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

 


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Coconut Portobello Stir-Fry

Coconut Portobello Stir-Fry
Indulge yourself with this exotic Coconut Stir-Fry recipe. Although its name suggests that it’s a nut, coconut is actually a seed! Tropical coconut is rich in many B vitamins, folic acid, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. Even though coconut contains some saturated fat, unlike animal products, its fatty acids do not raise cholesterol or contribute to heart disease.
When I made this I used the dried mango and added more of the seasonings.

Ingredients:
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1- 2 Tbs. water
1 large carrot, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
5 oz. portobello mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 cup shredded coconut (fresh or dried)
1 oz. dried diced apple, mango, or papaya
1 Tbs. soy sauce
3 dashes tabasco sauce
salt and pepper (to taste) 
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Directions:
  1. Heat olive oil and water in a large, deep skillet for 1 minute.
  2. Add vegetables and sauté over high heat until softened (about 7-10 minutes), stirring frequently; add more water if needed to keep mixture from drying out.
  3. Turn heat down slightly and add coconut, fruit, soy sauce, and tabasco sauce; stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over brown rice.

source: http://www.vegparadise.com/highestperch58.html


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Vegan Enchiladas with Cilantro Avocado Cream Sauce

A friend invited me over for dinner and this is what she made. It is one of my new FAVORITE recipes and I hope you fulljoy. Feel free to sub out any ingredients that you don’t have or like.

Yield: 4 Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped (~2 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup sweet potato, chopped (or zucchini)
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 handfuls spinach, chopped
  • 1 can black beans (~2 cups), drained and rinsed
  • Enchilada sauce or Pasta sauce (about 2.5 cups)* see note
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder, or to taste
  • 4 whole grain tortilla wraps (I used Food for Life Ezekiel)
  • Cilantro Avocado Cream Sauce, to pour on top (recipe below)
  • Green onion & chopped cilantro, to garnish

Note: Depending on what kind of sauce you use, you will have to adjust the seasonings to taste. I used a pasta sauce so I likely needed more seasonings to achieve the taste I desired. Continue reading


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Fat is Good. Eat Good Fat

From Health For Life The Pathway to Biblical Health and Wholeness, Dr Liam Chapman, 2008

“Fat is necessary in our diets. It is the type of fat we eat that matters. Saturated and monounsaturated fats are only used for energy and aren’t necessary for life. Polyunsaturated fats or oils are essential. The optimum amount of fat in the diet should be 20% of our total calories. The average in the Western world is 40%. The wrong kinds of fats increases our chances of heart disease – the biggest killer of the western world. Polyunsaturated fats include Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega 6 is linoleic acid, which comes from seeds and their oils e.g., sunflower, hemp, pumpkin, and sesame and soya bean amongst others.  They are also found in evening primrose oil and borage oil. They are necessary for the thinning of the blood, immune function, sugar balance and reducing inflammation.

Omega 3 is alpha-linolenic acid (DHA and EPA). These are found in oily fish-mackerel, herring, tuna and salmon. They are important for blood thinning, blood fats, immune function, water balance, reducing inflammation and for brain function. The ideal ratio of the above in our diet is 2:1, omega 6:omega 3. In reality most of the western diet is deficient in both so we had better get used to eating oily fish and seeds! It is particularly deficient in Omega 3.

WARNING- pregnant women should not eat more than 1 portion of tuna a week due to the possible mercury levels present [from the can.]

The Olive Oil Story

Olive Oil is as old as man can remember. Although the amount of Omega 3 and Omega 6 is not great, the quality of olive oil is due to its unrefined nature, which makes it a purer source of healthy fats than other refined vegetable oils like sunflower oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the best. It is mainly a monounsaturated fat. Saturated (hard) fats are mainly the red meat and dairy products. A high intake of these is definitely associated with heart disease.

Margarine is classified as a polyunsaturated fat and therefore apparently healthy. The problem is in its refining and processing. It has been through a process called hydrogenation, which converts it into a trans fat. This process does two things. Firstly, it blocks the body’s ability to use other healthy polyunsaturated fats. Secondly, it releases toxic free radicals that damage body cells and tissues. Frying has the same effect on oils as the above and should be avoided.”


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Perfume and Purify Your Rooms With Essential Oils

Since having a baby I’ve been using few different methods to make use of essential oils and aromatherapy.

Method #1
Recycle an old jar by using it as your oil diffuser. Boil a bit of hot water, add to small amount to a cleaned jar. Add a few drops of your oil to the hot water. Let diffuse and inhale the goodness.

Method #2
I have a bunch of tea light candles and sometimes I put 2 drops of oil directly into the wax and light.

Method #3
Now that its winter in Jo’burg (winter in South Africa comes when its summer in the Western Hemisphere) we constantly have our heaters on. Put a few drops of your favourite essential oil on a few balls of cotton and place in a room out if reach of children. In winter you can place this cotton balls behind the warm part of your radiator.

Method #4
You can easily scent your fireplace with essential oils. Add a drop or two to a few logs prior to adding to the fire. Dont add the drops of oil directly into the fire as essential oils are inflammable.

Sources:

  • Aromatherapy and Massage For Mother and Baby, Allison England, 2000