Tag: healthy

Spicy Peanut Noodles

Can the food you eat really impact how efficiently your body burns calories? It seems like every other month there is new hype about which foods can speed up your metabolism and help you burn those extra pounds. People respond with curiosity and willingness and try just about everything.  After all, who doesn’t want to eat and shed pounds at the same time?

To better understand how food affects metabolism, let’s review how it works. Metabolic rate refers to the number of calories burned by the body each day. This number comes from a mathematical equation that includes your resting metabolic rate, physical activity and the thermic effect of food. The resting metabolic rate is the largest component, unfortunately, we have very little if any control over this number. Physical activity makes up 30-50% of your rate, and we have complete control over that, as well as the thermic effect of foods (TEF). Although it only makes up 10% of your metabolic rate, what you choose to eat is completely up to you! Carbohydrates burn 5-10% of calories eaten, fat 0-5%, and protein 20-30%.

You may have heard that eating spicy foods can rev up your metabolism. This claim does indeed have some foundation. The belief is that eating spicy foods raises your body temperature which in turns means your body spends extra energy cooling itself, and therefore, increasing your metabolic rate. Numerous studies have confirmed that capsaicin, the compound in chili peppers which gives them all the heat, does indeed raise your metabolism. A 2011 study even found that taking a ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper increased the calories burned in the following meal! But before you drown all your food in hot sauce, you should know that the increased calorie-burn only amounted to an average of 10 calories!

Interestingly, drinking cold water also gives you a metabolic boost! If you require a large glass of iced water after eating spicy foods, you are increasing your odds for achieving a speedier metabolism. Research suggests that those who consume 8 to 12 glasses of water per day burn more calories than people who only drink up to 4 glasses per day.

These two facts are good enough reasons to make some Spicy Peanut Noodles for lunch today! However, if you need one more, how about the fact that they taste amazing! The nutty flavor and spicy red chili match in this sauce recipe give new life to plain noodles. No need for heavy cream sauces when enjoying noodles! Try this recipe with the addition of steamed edamame or tofu for a complete vegetarian meal.

Spicy Peanut Noodles by Once Again Nut Butter

Spicy Peanut Noodles

3 tablespoons of red chili sauce

¼ cup of Once Again Creamy Peanut Butter

1 teaspoon of sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup of liquid aminos (or soy sauce)

2-4 tablespoons of warm water

Cooked thin noodles of your choice. We recommend rice noodles or whole wheat noodles. Mix all ingredients for the sauce except for water in a container you can seal with a lid and shake well. Lastly, add in one tablespoon of water at a time until desired consistency. Pour the sauce over hot cooked noodles and serve!

Lemon Tahini Dressing

Every year millions of people participate in biometric screenings. They do this either by choice or they may be mandated to do so by their physicians — or they are required to do this for work.  These screenings are meant to flag any individuals who may be at risk for two of the most common chronic diseases in our country: heart disease and diabetes.  One of the numbers often measured during biometric screenings are one’s total cholesterol, including a breakdown of LDL and HDL. Most people recognize those as the “bad cholesterol” and the “good cholesterol”numbers. Those two values allow the medical team conducting the screens to give advice to individuals based on their risk for heart disease based on lifestyle and more importantly what they eat can impact their health.

People either celebrate their high HDL number, or leave with a set of foods they should include in their daily intake to boost their HDL values. However, a recent study found that just looking at your HDL high numbers and resting assured that you’re protected from heart disease may not be that simple. HDL cholesterol is credited with protecting against heart disease because these lipoproteins help eliminate the excess cholesterol from the bloodstream. Therefore, looking at how well they function is just as important as looking at the quantity of HDL present in your bloodstream.

Previously, small-scale trials have shown that consumption of antioxidant-rich foods (virgin olive oil, tomatoes, berries, for example.) improved HDL function in humans. Recently, researchers selected 296 people at high risk of cardiovascular disease and assigned them to either a Mediterranean diet with an additional 4 tablespoons of virgin olive oil per day, a Mediterranean diet with an extra serving of nuts, or a healthy control diet group which included plenty of fruits and vegetables and restricted processed foods (1).  Interestingly, only the control group saw reduced total and LDL cholesterol levels. None of the groups noted a significant HDL increase either. But, the group consuming extra virgin olive oil had significantly improved function of their HDL when compared to others.

These improved functions included increased reverse cholesterol transport, the process where HDL removes cholesterol plaque in the arteries and transports it to the liver for elimination or production of hormones. Also, witnessed were increased antioxidant protection, vasodilator capacity, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies looking at how simple diet modifications can impact overall health are abundant nowadays, and scientists have just started this journey toward optimal nutritional awareness! They are eager to continue investigating food properties and how we can improve quality of life and longevity. We have recently touched on the plant-based eating approach in a previous blog: Finding substitutes for your dips and sauces that replace ingredients with ones that include potential health benefits is just what we had in mind when creating this Lemon Tahini Dressing. It is a completely plant-based dressing that combines the plant-protein rich tahini, with 6 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons of Once Again Tahini, with heart healthy extra virgin olive oil. The touch of garlic and lemon are essential for flavor, and boosting your immunity as well!

We hope you’ll enjoy this dressing with your favorite salad combo, as well as a sauce for roasted vegetables, as a spread for your wraps or as a dressing for your grain bowls. Whichever way you choose to enjoy it, you’ll be adding to your quality of life with each bite.

Lemon Tahini Dressing

2 tablespoons of Once Again Nut Butter Tahini

1 lemon

1 teaspoon of garlic paste

¼ teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tablespoons of warm water

In a small jar, (Here’s a tip: Use your empty Once Again Nut Butter jars! This is a great way to recycle them) add tahini, the juice of 1 lemon, plus the zest of that lemon, 1 teaspoon of garlic paste (or 1 garlic clove smashed), salt, and olive oil.  Replace lid,  and shake the mixture well. Now add 2-3 tablespoons of warm water until desired thickness for your dressing is achieved. We suggest no more than 4 tablespoons of warm water so that the flavor of the dressing is not diluted. You should store leftover dressing in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

  1. Álvaro Hernáez, Olga Castañer, Roberto Elosua, Xavier Pintó, Ramón Estruch, Jordi Salas-Salvadó, Dolores Corella, Fernando Arós, Lluis Serra-Majem, Miquel Fiol, Manuel Ortega-Calvo, Emilio Ros, Miguel Ángel Martínez-González, Rafael de la Torre, M. Carmen López-Sabater, Montserrat Fitó. Mediterranean Diet Improves High-Density Lipoprotein Function in High-Cardiovascular-Risk Individuals. Clinical Perspective. Circulation, 2017; 135 (7): 633 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.023712

Sweet and Sour Gummy

Let us introduce to you the amazing powers of ginger. After reading this, you’ll never look at this root the same way again. Some of you may already be familiar with its digestive properties, but there is much more to ginger. This aromatic root usually sold in grocery stores in the produce isle can also be found dried and ground to a fine powder in the spice isle. The later variety is the one often used in baked goods such as the famous gingerbread cookies.

However, it is the fresh root that will yield the best results when considering  a digestive aid. In herbal medicine, ginger is known as a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas and relaxes while soothing the intestinal tract. There are a few research studies that were able to show ginger as an effective treatment to prevent symptoms of motion sickness, and in fact at times being more effective than over-the-counter prescription medications. Ginger reduces all symptoms associated with motion sickness including dizziness, nausea, vomiting and cold sweating. This is very useful for women during pregnancy, a  delicate time when early on fetus development it is best to avoid prescription medications, yet  often women suffer from nausea and indigestion. Ginger is safe to use during pregnancy: it is effective and only a small dose needed (Always check with your doctor before using it during pregnancy).

Ginger is also very powerful as an anti-inflammatory. It contains gingerols, substances  attributed to  relief in pain in so many people suffering from osteoarthritis and /or rheumatoid arthritis. Adding fresh grated ginger to everyday dishes such as steamed rice or stir fry is all it takes to reap the benefits this spice. Ginger has also been studied for its potential cancer preventive properties and immune boosting powers.

It is a wonderful thing that ginger has such pleasant spicy flavor:  this  makes it perfect to add it to both sweets and salty dishes alike. But how can you amplify all those qualities while creating something enjoyable to eat? That’s what the goal was when I created  these Sweet and Sour Gummies. A rich dose of vitamin C comes from  lemon juice, along with  natural sweetness and immune boosting properties from honey combined with the powerful zest of ginger! These gummies are fun to make in different shapes and sizes. If you have ever made gelatin before, then you’re only a few steps away from making these gummies. Animal- based gelatin powder is made up mainly of collagen and water. These two ingredients will add protein and the consistency you are looking for in a gummy, not to mention the health benefits of collagen (sounds like a great next post!). But if you would like a vegan option you may also use the vegetarian gelatin powder made of agar.

These gummies are very sour! They were meant to be eaten one or two at a time after a meal or perhaps at the first sight of a cold since they are very rich in vitamin C. But they are not to be compared to gummy candies. If you would like a more child- friendly gummy, omit  lemon juice  and use  orange juice instead. However,  I found that some children really enjoyed the combination of sour lemon and spicy ginger!

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Sour Gummy

6 tablespoons of gelatin powder (unflavored)

2/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

6 tablespoons of Killer Bee Honey

2 teaspoons of finely grated ginger

In a small saucepan, add lemon juice, ginger and honey; mix well before sprinkling gelatin powder. Whisk mixture to avoid clumping of the gelatin powder. Now turn heat on low and mix it continuously until all of the gelatin powder disappears. Do not boil mixture, just bring it to a simmer. This should take around 7 to 9 minutes on low heat. Pour into a mold and allow the mixture  to cool. For faster results, place in freezer for 15 minutes. Store the gummy mixture  in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 10 days.