They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and lycopene an important antioxidant. Although they grow mostly seasonal, supermarkets offer this red fruit all year round.
Health benefits improve through heat, best examples are ketchup. Although ketchup is not necessarily a healthy option, hence it delivers the antioxidant lycopene.
The Italian cuisine is a prime example of using tomatoes in hundreds of different applications such as sauces, dips, stews, and toppings like shown on these tomato basil crostinis.
They are also part of essentially every restaurant operation in the world. However, chefs who practice the Farm to Table concepts only utilize seasonal fruit and vegetables. Which explains the popularity of these concepts based on the exceptional flavor that comes with perfectly ripened fruit and vegetables.
Vegan chefs know the importance to add vitamin-rich fruit and vegetables to vegan meals. That’s why it is essential to make every plant-based meal as nutritious as possible, which is especially vital to the success of people transitioning to a vegan diet.
30 reasons why you should eat tomatoes
Tomatoes originate from the nightshade plant such as chili peppers and potatoes from Central America
They were cultivated circa 500 BC by the Aztecs.
Although they ripen on the vine through sunlight, it is a good idea to store them in dark places after harvesting (not in the refrigerator).
If stored in broad daylight they quickly lose their vitamins.
A tomatoes weight consists of over 90% water.
Americans love their tomatoes. According to Vegetablefacts.org, Americans eat more than 24 pounds per year.
Tomatoes are full of antioxidants that may prevent or fight certain deceases.
They are good for your heart. In a study of middle-aged men with low consumption of tomatoes had an increased risk of heart decease and strokes.
Studies suggest that people who eat higher concentrations of antioxidants like lycopene have fewer incidences of prostate and breast cancer.
Lycopene is found in higher concentrations of cooked tomatoes compared to fresh ones.
Lycopene protects your skin as it may prevent sunburns.
Local tomatoes taste better as they are picked on their peak compared to those which are shipped from other states or countries. Many are picked green and ripened in boxes during their long transport to other states or countries. Some distributors use ethylene gas to speed up the ripening process that turns them red.
They are a great source of vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, vitamin A, B6, C & K as well as folate.
Chlorophylls and carotenoids are the reason why tomatoes turn colors from green to red. Therefore chlorophylls diminish in the ripening process and carotenoids increase.
Salsa is now the number one selling condiment containing the “red fruit”, pushing ketchup to second place. (Sorry Heinz)
Tomatoes are low in carbohydrates about 4%. However, they include about 1.5 grams of fibers and only have about 23 calories per fruit.
There are over 7000 different types of the tomato plant which originated from Peru.
According to the Guinness book, the largest tomato ever recorded was 3.51 kg or 7.12 lb.
The most extensive tomato battle in the world happens in Spain where over 35000 people are throwing over 130000 tomatoes at each other. (Talking about waste here!)
They are grown in different colors such as white, yellow, green, pink, orange, purple, brown and black.
China is the largest grower of the red fruit, followed by the United States and India.
According to MomJunction.com tomatoes are ideal for pregnant women as they add a good taste to the mouth and help grow the fetus in the womb. The vitamin-A helps the newborn develop a good vision, and the simple sugars give the mom a boost of energy.
Tomatoes are good for smokers. The slightly acidic nature of this red fruit fights carcinogens usually found in cigarettes. (Heck, this is still no reason keep smoking!!)
They are good for digestion as they prevent diarrhea and constipation. These powerful fruits are also known to prevent jaundice and remove toxins from the body.
The daily consumption of this beautiful fruit may reduce the oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes.
What could be better to have some vegan pancakes on a Sunday morning with some freshly made berry banana sauce?
Combined with a freshly brewed cup of coffee is right up my alley. Every so often I need to treat myself to something sweet. Not that I eat a lot of sweets, but when I do, everyone around me is in for a treat, too. Regardless if that is at home or on the job.
Vegan pancakes for the family
Everyday right after breakfast, we prepare food for the family. In the restaurant business, we call our colleagues – family. It is a good way to get together and chill for a view minutes. For those of you who don’t know, I am an executive chef at a hotel restaurant in New York.
We exchange ideas, thoughts and organize the rest of the day. So I decided to make vegan coconut pancakes with fresh berry banana sauce. The sauce is actually inspired by the famous Crepe Suzette recipe.
By the way, I am the only vegan on my team, so they were especially surprised to see that these coconut pancakes were plant-based. Not only are they vegan, but they taste just as delicious as regular pancakes.
Tips for making good vegan pancakes
Have good flour. I use organic white flour and organic whole wheat flour. One of the reasons I use whole wheat flour is for the fibers. It also gives the vegan pancakes some more texture. However, that is personal preference. Feel free to use only white flour.
Don’t over stir the batter. I am sure you have heard that a million times. Mix all ingredients just enough until you have a few lumps visible. Do not try to dissolve all these lumps, by doing so, you are overworking the batter only to get a tough and chewy pancake.
Use a good baking powder. One that is not expired and was properly covered. Baking powder loses their strength after time.
Let the pancake batter rest for at least 8-12 minutes before making the pancakes. This little break will give the gluten the chance to relax and the pancakes will taste better. Compared to bread dough, which should only be mixed minimally, all ingredients of the pancake batter need to be incorporated thoroughly, without overmixing.
Make a test pancake. The reason is twofold: You’ll see if the recipe works and the pancakes taste as they suppose. Second, you’ll find out if the pan has the right heat. Too hot, obviously the pancakes will burn and too cold makes them tough, because of overcooking.
A griddle works better than a pan. If you use a pan, choose a nonstick with a heavy bottom. This assures an even heat.
Utilize a good vegetable oil spray that doesn’t leave much residue. Certain sprays leave a brownish residue, which will prevent the pancakes from turning golden brown.
Combine all ingredients except Almond milk and Seltzer water.
Slowly pour the almond milk and Seltzer water while whisking.
Let rest for at least 8-12 minutes.
Spray oil on to griddle or pan. With a 2 oz ladle pour 3-4 inch circles of even pancakes on the griddle. If you are using a pan than obviously, you have to make the pancakes at a time.
Turn pancakes once small bubbles appear on the surface. Remove from heat once they have a golden brown color.
Berry banana sauce
On medium heat bring juices, sugar, and cinnamon in a pan to a simmer.
Let liquid reduce to about half.
Add all berries and bananas to the orange sauce. Gently simmer fruits until the bananas start to melt and the sauce has turned bluish red.
Assemble of the Vegan Pancakes
Stack three or more pancakes on top of each other. Pour equal amounts of berry sauce over each stack. Drizzle with syrup and sprinkle with coconut flakes. Dust with powder sugar to your liking and serve. Enjoy!
The Seltzer water helps to make the batter more bubbly. It also gives the pancakes a fluffier texture.
Tip: When reducing sugar and orange juice for the berry sauce add 1 tablespoon of Orange liqueur such as Grand Manier. It's a great way to finish the sauce with style and flavor.
Would you rather feed your kids a greasy Buffalo chicken wrap over a healthy vegetable wrap? It depends. If you are not a vegetarian or vegan, you probably don’t see anything wrong with that. I don’t blame you. There was a time when I did the same. In fact, I loved them so much I couldn’t imagine becoming a vegan one day. Luckily, times have changed.
Living in a fast food generation
Raising two boys into young adults, who have grown up in a fast food society, I had some regrets.
I always thought – OK – if the kids behave I will reward them with a treat. And the treat was the kid’s meal at Mc Donald’s (that’s when they were really small) since they had an indoor playground where they could play after their meal.
What a mistake. I instilled junk food as a way of an incentive for my kids. I remember my kids knew all the burger joints by name before they were able to read. I know it’s my fault, I didn’t know any better then.
Children live what they learn. That’s what my wife always says, and I think it comes true in many cases. I always liked to eat healthy (most of the time :)), and kids take notice of that. Kids unconsciously learn and adapt their parent’s lifestyle.
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”― Albert Einstein
For instance, my boys would say I eat trees for breakfast. That tree-like food was home-baked multigrain bread with lots of nuts and seeds or maybe a bowl of oatmeal. They rather loved the soft white bread, which I didn’t like to buy. Today, I must say they eat the same way as I do putting fibers, fruit, and vegetables first. I am very happy about that, although they are no vegans yet.
Implementing healthy dining options
I was always an advocate for eating healthy as you can tell. However, since transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, I have come to realize that not only chefs but cooks, servers, F&B managers, restaurateurs have an opportunity to educate our communities when it comes to the trend of eating healthy. Unfortunately, not enough hospitality professionals actually following this trend. Yes, the big restaurant corporations all have implemented healthy dining options, however, rather few meals.
Farm to table is one concept that resonates with most diners everywhere. However, not all farm to table concepts are vegan, most actually offer animal products. Obviously not every chef can be a vegan, either. Hence, most chefs have the opportunity to offer more vegan options to their menus.
“The most ethical diet just so happens to be the most environmentally sound diet and just so happens to be the healthiest.”― Dr. Michael Greger
I see it every day on my job as an executive chef, where we serve all types of guests ranging from corporate clients, locals to tourists. They are all looking for healthier dining options and are open to vegan meals, too. Which is great as this opens the door to more conversations about veganism.
The Future of Our Health is Determined by the Choices We Make….
That is, in particular, true with the type of food we choose to eat. Well, some get away with eating junk food all day long and still don’t get sick. However, the growing obesity rate in the USA suggests otherwise.
We have never had so many obese children. Our healthcare cost is through the roof. If we don’t change the way we eat we essentially program our bodies to fail, which is unsustainable for a nation. We have an opportunity to change that by simply living healthy and maybe even transition to veganism.
Veganism as a lifestyle
Many of my guests are open to hearing what it takes to be a vegan, but the possibility of never eating meat again feels too overwhelming to them. Once I explain the process of becoming a vegan, they are much more open-minded.
The most challenging period is the first few month. This is where people question your decision of becoming a vegan.
Especially if these individuals are family members; makes it especially difficult to stay on the path of veganism. Comments like “you’re restricting yourself”, “you are getting too thin” or “you are taking it to another level” is completely normal.
In these situations, it’s essential to remember why we have chosen to become a vegan. More on this in a later post. Believe or not, veganism is likely the most sustainable lifestyle thus far.
I became vegan because I saw footage of what really goes on in the slaughterhouses and on the dairy farms. Ellen DeGenere
Regardless of what people tell me about veganism, most are incredibly supportive. In fact many of my colleagues or family members trying to adjust their eating habits. They might not transition to veganism. However, I do see that they are making an effort to eat healthier. To be honest, it’s extremely fulfilling to see people around me getting inspired to live healthier, because of my lifestyle. In the end, it will help humans, animals, and the planet.
I chose this vegetable wrap because it appeals to kids as it does to adults. Who doesn’t like a wrap?
This guest post has been written by Abdullah Al Mamun of Juicer Moz.
You might think wheatgrass is just another diet fad having its day, and that the obsession that health enthusiasts are currently pressing into it will soon fade.
But the fact remains that, when it comes to nutritional value, wheatgrass offers the gold standard. From its regenerative prowess to its beautifying effects, wheatgrass offers a boatload of benefits that are wholesome to health.
If you’re still sitting on the fence, undecided about using wheatgrass, here are 30 reasons to jump into the use of wheatgrass:
30 Convincing Benefits of Wheatgrass
It Is An Excellent Source of Blood-Building Chlorophyll:
Wheatgrass juice offers an abundant supply of living chlorophyll, being made up of 70% chlorophyll. Chlorophyll molecules have structures that are similar to those of hemin molecules which make up the pigments that mix with proteins to produce hemoglobin.
Chlorophyll functions effectively as a blood builder, as chlorophyll molecules are identical to hemin molecules. However, the fresher the source of the chlorophyll, the more potent the chlorophyll will be. Using best green juicer we can make wheatgrass juice easily.
Wheatgrass contains substances such as chlorophyll that boost red blood cell production in the body. Hence, it immensely enhances the efficacy of the immune system.
According to a study published in the journal of Indian Pediatrics in 2004, wheatgrass helps generate red blood cells so efficiently it minimized the need for blood transfusion in patients.
It Produces A Potent Antibacterial Juice:
It has been proved that chlorophyll is a highly potent antibiotic. Hence wheatgrass, with its high chlorophyll contents, has a natural healing prowess that’s effective for both internal and external use.
It’s An Effective Remedy For Various Skin Problems:
The healing potentials of Chlorophyll also apply to skin problems that affect the inner and outer skin layers, including acne, eczema, insect bites, and some other skin infections.
Cell Regeneration Can Be Catalyzed With Wheatgrass:
When cells and tissues absorb chlorophyll, they’re regenerated and refined. This regenerative impact of wheatgrass leads to accelerated healing of both internal and external wounds.
Skin Cleansing Also Takes Place Upon the Application of Wheatgrass:
Wheatgrass not only supplies skin cells with wholesome nutrients, but it also acts as an excellent skin cleansing agent.
Long-term Application of Wheatgrass Can Help Remove Scars:
Not only does wheatgrass help eradicate skin ailments, but it can also remove scars to make for a perfect skin.
The High Chlorophyll Contents Expunges Internal Scars:
Since chlorophyll helps to build up hemoglobin, it counters the effects of carbon monoxide and other acid gases. It also removes scars in the lungs caused by the inhalation of these acid gases.
It Alleviates Sinuses:
The drying effects of the chlorophyll contents alleviate congestion in the sinus and head colds.
With its Rich Protein & Enzyme Contents, It Slows Down Aging:
Wheatgrass contains a copper-filled protein called superoxide, as well as some enzymes that degrade superoxide radicals in the bloodstream, and this leads to delayed aging process.
Wheatgrass Inhibits The Growth of Grey Hairs:
As it delays the aging process, it also inhibits the growth of grey hairs.
It Ticks All The Boxes In Terms of Essential Nutrients:
Containing all minerals in existence, as well as numerous vitamins, proteins, and amino acids, wheatgrass is a perfect natural healer.
An Excellent Liver Cleanser:
One of the most widely known properties of wheatgrass is its liver cleansing effects.
Meliorates Blood Sugar Issues:
With its highly potent anti-hyperglycemic properties, wheatgrass meliorates blood sugar irregularities. This makes it highly beneficial especially to diabetic patients.
Wheatgrass Eliminates Drug Deposits From Cells:
Its chlorophyll-rich juice removes drug deposits from body cells.
Rids the Body of Heavy Metals;
Its detoxifying effects eradicates heavy metals from the bloodstreams.
One of the Most Potent Detoxifying Agents:
Chlorophyll is well known as a highly potent detoxifying agent, and wheatgrass is replete with chlorophyll.
With its Potent Detoxifying Qualities, it’s Also a Great Body Deodorant:
Wheatgrass comes with great antiseptic qualities. That also makes it an ideal natural deodorant that eradicates foul smelling body odor caused by sweats, magnesium deficiency, and defects in dairy fats digestions.
Wheatgrass Juice Enhances The Functions of several Body Organs:
The heart, cardiovascular system, liver, and intestine are among the organs that benefit immensely from the refining effects of the juice.
It’s Effective For The Treatment of Blood Disorders:
It’s an excellent home remedy for a wide array of blood disorders including high blood pressure.
It’s Oxidizing Effects Prevent Cancerous Cells From Spreading:
Wheatgrass comes with many great oxidizing agents that increase the level of oxidation in the body, and this inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells.
With its Nutrient-Packed Contents, It’s an Ideal Remedy For Digestive Dysfunctions:
It comes with numerous Vitamin B, among other nutrients that enhance the function digestive system muscles.
It’s High Magnesium Contents Dissipates Constipation:
It frees up the bowels and stems constipation with its high magnesium contents.
The Rich Nutritional Contents Negates The Need for Junk Food:
Junk food cravings are usually triggered by the short supply of some vitamins and minerals. Hence, the intake of nutrient-rich wheatgrass juice inhibits junk food cravings.
It is Ideal For Weight-Loss:
The selenium contents of wheatgrass enhance the functions of the thyroid gland, which is a key player in the body’s weight management.
Enhances Tooth Health:
Not only does wheatgrass foil tooth decay, it also rids the gums of harmful substances that can cause toothaches and plaques.
It Restores Fertility:
Chlorophyll is also known to revitalize sex hormones.
Wheatgrass is Replete with Light Energy:
Being the primary product that results from a plant’s interaction with light, chlorophyll is the food substance with the highest amount of light energy.
With the Large Proportion of Stored Starch, It’s a Great Source of Energy:
Wheatgrass contains a proportionate amount of energy in form of stored starch and requires little energy to release its nutritional contents. Also, its nutrients are quickly assimilated within minutes, making it a great energy drink.
It’s one of the Ideal Alkaline Consumables:
Nutritionist across the board tend to agree that alkaline foods make for healthier diets that lead to better cell function.
According to a number of researchers, no amount of wheatgrass consumed can be toxic to humans. However, due to its potent detoxifying effect, you might develop a nauseous feeling if you consume too much per time. It’s also best to drink wheatgrass juice on an empty stomach or with light food
About the Author:
I am Abdullah Al Mamun, Marketing Director of Juicer Moz. I am a kind of Juice and nutrition guy. I also love to read and write about healthy food. Fishing is one of my favorite things.
Ever passed by a bakery and smelled the scent of a freshly baked bread? OMG, to me that’s addictive. Especially for breakfast, it’s a real treat. Unfortunately, the closest international bakery is over 10 miles away and I am not a fan of white bread, which is sold in many bakeries.
Therefore every so often I have the desire to bake my multigrain bread. All year round we buy bread in the supermarket, although sprouted organic bread, but it’s not the same.
The fewer ingredients the better the bread
I have a habit of reading the ingredient label of almost anything I buy and that includes multigrain bread. If I see words I can’t even pronounce I will put it right back on the shelf. I know it’s weird, but that’s me.
You might say I used a lot of ingredients in my bread. While that is true they are actually very healthy additions.
Which ingredients are better?
Regular or whole wheat flour?
Organic versus conventionally grown flour?
Organic or regular seeds?
Bleached or unbleached flour?
There are so many questions, that most people become confused or frustrated. Then there is the price issue. Organic flour and seeds are much more expensive than conventionally grown.
Hold your horses…
What are the benefits of whole wheat flour?
According to Organic Facts, whole wheat has an enormous amount of benefits to our health. It’s loaded with B-vitamins and minerals.
Organic flour vs regular conventional flour
I prefer to use organic ingredients for my multigrain bread. Not only is the end product better, it is also far more superior as it tastes better. But don’t take my word for it. Go out and buy organic and conventional grown flour and create two batches of bread loaves.
That said, to fair, you must use the same type of flour. Since all flours are measured by their protein and ashes as well as their enrichment. Once you have identified the same flours compare which batch feels better and which one bakes better. I found that bread made with organic flour feels better and taster better.
Here is why:
Organic grains must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and must be free of artificial food additives.
Conventionally grown wheat, on the other hand, has been crossbreed for decades now. It is not the same grain we used to eat a century ago. So while you might think there is no difference in taste between the two flours, rest assured that you are getting a dose of pesticides with your bread made with conventional flour.
For years I have eaten bread made with conventional flour until I learned more about the facts. I am not a fan of putting one ingredient down for an organic one. It’s just preference or maybe I am just a bit paranoid when it comes to non-organic ingredients.
However, should you go with regular flour than buy unbleached flour.
This multigrain recipe, which I’ve used for years, I have used a 6 qt KitchenAid mixer with a kneading hook. If you are using a smaller 4 or 5 qt bowl or a food processor just make several batches or simply reduce the recipe.
Mix yeast and warm water in a bowl. Cover and let sit for 5 min for the yeast to do its job.
Place all other dry ingredients in the mixer bowl. Making sure all ingredients are incorporated. Add the yeast which should have doubled in volume.
Begin mixing ingredients on low-speed and add water to it and mix until it shapes like a ball. Let it rest for 2-3 minutes and knead it again for about a minute. Remove dough from bowl and let rest for a few minutes. Knead the dough again by hand for about 2 minutes, by folding and pressing it down.
Place dough in a container dusted with flour and cover with a clean kitchen towel. I usually place it in my oven, which I had run previously for about 2 minutes just to bring up the temperature to about 90 °F. If you have a sunny spot such as a window board, that would work too. Let dough rise until it doubles in volume or 45-50 minutes.
Now it's time to knead the dough until all air has disappeared. That is usually done in less than 2-3 minutes of kneading. Many bakers let the dough rise again before finally forming it in to shape.So if you have the time let it rise again for another hour, then knead it again and form it into shape. This is done by using both hands rotating the dough circle wise on the table pressing the dough softly between both hands until it takes the shape of a ball. You might have to give it a little break so that you don't overwork the dough.
Now you're ready to shape and fit the dough into the loaf form. You do this by rolling the dough under your hands pressing and rolling it on the table until it gets longer and wider.When placing dough into the greased and flour dusted loaf pan press it down firmly so it fits evenly. If you do not have a loaf pan bake in a shape of a half-size ball about 1 lb each or shape it into rolls as seen in the picture. Then let the dough rise again to the size of what the finished bread would look like.
Preheat oven to about 400°F. Place loaf pans on the center shelf and bake for about 30-35 minutes. One way to find out if the bread is finished is by knocking on the bread if it sounds hollow like someone knocks on a door the bread is ready. Remove the bread from the loaf pans immediately in such a way that it can breathe from all sides so it doesn't sweat.
Once the bread has cooled you may start eating your bread. Try the bread with some freshly made hummus and avocado and a cup of coffee. This bread only stays fresh for about two days, so keep all other loaves in the freezer. Enjoy!
Yeast: You may use active dry yeast or instant yeast. However, active yeast must be dissolved in a liquid to be activated. Instant yeast can be sprinkled into the flour.
Tip: Warm up the loaf pan to about 90-100 °F. That will assure the dough rises quickly. You can give the bread a nice design by slashing it with a very sharp knife. Do this by holding your knife 45 degrees slicing the dough a 1/4 inch deep.
I like to sprinkle some flour on top of the bread which gives it a rustic feel. When placing the multi-grain bread into the oven, be quick and don't drop the loaf pans onto the oven shelf. You don't want the dough to lose its nicely risen shape.
Last but not least, add some steam to the oven. You can do this by pouring some water onto an empty tray below the bread, which has been placed there before the oven was heated up. The steam will assure the crust will get crispy.
Share this Recipe
Enjoy freshly baked multigrain bread by jazzing it up with avocado and hummus as a delightful vegan breakfast. Enjoy!
What type of bread do you like to bake? What are your experiences? Have you tried this recipe, please let me know your thoughts?
Hello and thanks for visiting Kraemer’s Culinary Blog.
I am in the process of changing my blog name to Life of a Vegan Chef.
I have been a vegan for some time and love it.
I am also convinced that veganism is the most sustainable lifestyle, which will ultimately help the environment.
Please excuse any of the confusion, while I change my theme and concept.
As a chef I am thrilled to write about a fine dining vegan lifestyle.
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