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Quinoa is a well-loved plant-based food and its also a complete source of dietary protein. It contains all essential amino acids, and is technically grain-free. Like most other seeds, quinoa is bursting with nutrition. It’s a fantastic source of iron (which makes it a great meat alternative) and it also boosts a large amount of fiber to reduce high-cholesterol. Fiber binds with fat and cholesterol in the blood, which sweeps it out and in return aids in heart health. Try making quinoa for breakfast as a porridge, mixing it into baked goods, using it atop salads at lunch, make Vegan Sloppy Joes, or making a delicious quinoa pilaf.
Quinoa Nutrition Stats:
1 cup cooked quinoa contains: 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 15 percent of your daily iron requirements, 0 cholesterol, 4 grams of fat, 19 percent of your daily folate (a B vitamin) requirements, 30 percent of your daily magnesium requirements, and 58 percent of your daily manganese requirements.
Try out this Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed With Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf or this Toasted Quinoa Vegetable Stacks with Green Goddess Dressing, which are both amazingly delicious, full of fiber, and boost a nice dose of complete protein.
2. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are such a great food for a variety of purposes. These tiny, tasteless seeds offer so much nutrition to benefit your health in many different ways. Chia seeds are a well-known source of B vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, iron, and calcium, which help support energy and metabolism, along with bone and heart health. They’re also a good source of dietary protein for such a small serving. In terms of lowering cholesterol, chia seeds contain large amounts of soluble fiber, which is the best kind of fiber for lowering cholesterol.
Chia Seed Nutrition Stats:
One ounce (2 tablespoons) of chia seeds contains: 9 grams of fat (mostly from omega 3 fatty acids), 11 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 12 percent of your daily iron requirements, 17 percent of your daily calcium requirements, 5.5 grams of protein, 30 percent of your daily manganese requirements, and 27 percent of your daily phosphorus requirements.
Chia seeds are easy enough to fit into smoothies but also make delicious desserts and baked goods. Try them out in one of these recipes for a great snack, dessert, or even breakfast: Cacao Maca Energizing Smoothie, Crunchy Chia Chocolate With Lucuma, Maca, Vanilla, and Cashews, or French Toast Chia Power Pudding.
Hemp protein is one of the best plant-based proteins because it’s chock-full of all essential amino acids, along with iron, magnesium, omega 3′s, and also fiber. Hemp protein is also very alkaline, which is indicated by it’s natural green hues. Hemp seeds can be used interchangeably for hemp protein and can easily be added to a variety of meals.
In terms of cholesterol, hemp contains a large dose of soluble and insoluble fiber, so it not only reduces cholesterol, but also helps with regularity, another important factor in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
Hemp Seed Nutrition Stats:
Three tablespoons of high-fiber hemp protein powder contains: 4 grams of fat, 12 grams of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, 0 grams of cholesterol, 11 grams of protein, 25 percent of your daily iron requirements, 15 percent of your daily zinc requirements, and 35 percent of your daily magnesium requirements.
Try out some hemp seeds or hemp protein in one of these delicious, cholesterol-friendly recipes: Jujube Raspberry and Hemp Seed Oatmeal, Raw Hemp Chia Seed Bars, Hemp Seed, Cacao Nib, and Dried Cherry Cookies, Creamy Hemp Pesto, or a Mango and Hemp Smoothie.
Soy gets a lot of bad rap, but edamame is one of the healthiest forms of soy you can eat. Essentially just boiled green soybeans, these shelled soybeans offer a deliciously sweet flavor, along with a rich dose of complete and cholesterol-lowering benefits. They’re also easy to toss into salads, stir-fries, and any entree of your choosing.
Concerned about soy? You may want to reconsider; more research supports the use of non-GMO soy than studies that oppose the use of it. The few studies that gave soy its bad reputation were very small studies and didn’t include extensive, long-term data. Other studies show that soy has been found to reduce high-cholesterol, along with lower the risk of cancer.
Edamame Nutrition Stats:
One cup of frozen, shelled edamame contains: 6 grams of fat, 6 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 0 grams of cholesterol, 11 grams of protein, 14 percent of your daily iron requirements, 89 percent of your daily folate requirements, and 19 percent of your daily Vitamin C requirements.
Try out some edamame this week in: Oil-free Kale Edamame Hummus, Sesame Ginger Cucumber Noodles with Mint and Edamame or boil some for a nice healthy, afternoon snack!
5. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are another wealth of protein, iron, zinc, and omega 3 fatty acids. They also contain more protein per serving than beef or any other animal food! They’re low on the glycemic index, rich in minerals like magnesium, iron, and potassium, and are even alkaline-forming, indicated by their natural green hue (which houses the chlorophyll found in pumpkin seeds.)
Pumpkin seeds benefit blood cholesterol levels by boosting HDL (good) cholesterol due to their anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy benefits. They’ve also been found helpful to reduce high blood pressure and high blood sugar in individuals with diabetes due to their high amounts of healthy fats and magnesium.
Pumpkin Seed Nutritional Stats:
One quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains roughly: 13 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of cholesterol, 73 percent of your daily manganese requirements, 47 percent of your daily copper requirements, 15 percent of your daily iron requirements, and 47 percent of your daily magnesium requirements.
Try using a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds in this delicious variety of recipes: The Glow Bowl: Baked Sweet Potatoes with Pesto Pasta, Tomatoes, and Pumpkin Seeds, Zucchini Pasta with Pumpkin Seeds and Garlic, or this Superfood Salad – Sprouting Broccoli, Chickpeas, Kale, Sprouts, and Seeds.
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Check out this video on YouTube:
“Very confident” four-year-olds outsmart hunters and protect their clan.
Just days after a poacher’s snare had killed one of their own, two young mountain gorillas worked together to find and destroy traps in their Rwandan forest home, according to conservationists on the scene.
“This is absolutely the first time that we’ve seen juveniles doing that … I don’t know of any other reports in the world of juveniles destroying snares,” said Veronica Vecellio, gorilla program coördinator at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center, in the reserve where the event took place.
“We are the largest database and observer of wild gorillas … so I would be very surprised if somebody else has seen that,” Vecellio added.
Bush-meat hunters set thousands of rope-and-branch snares in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, where the mountain gorillas live. The traps are intended for antelope and other species but sometimes capture the apes.
Adults are generally strong enough to free themselves. Youngsters aren’t always so lucky.
An ensnared infant named Ngwino, found too late by workers from Karisoke, died of snare-related wounds. Her shoulder had been dislocated during escape attempts, and gangrene had set in after the ropes cut deep into her leg.
The hunters, Vecellio said, seem to have no interest in the gorillas. Even small apes, which would be relatively easy to carry away for sale, are left to die.
Tracker John Ndayambaje spotted a trap very close to the Kuryama gorilla clan. He moved in to deactivate the snare, but a silverback named Vubu grunted, cautioning Ndayambaje to stay away, Vecellio said.
Suddenly two juveniles—Rwema, a male; and Dukore, a female; both about four years old—ran toward the trap.
As Ndayambaje and a few tourists watched, Rwema jumped on the bent tree branch and broke it, while Dukore freed the noose.
The pair then spied another snare nearby—one the tracker himself had missed—and raced for it. Joined by a third gorilla, a teenager named Tetero, Rwema and Dukore destroyed that trap as well.
The speed with which everything happened makes Vecellio, the gorilla program coordinator, think this wasn’t the first time the young gorillas had outsmarted trappers.
“They were very confident,” she said. “They saw what they had to do, they did it, and then they left.”
Silverbacks in the Kuryama group have occasionally been caught in the snares, so Vecellio thinks the juveniles would have known the traps are dangerous.
“That’s why they destroyed them,” Vecellio said.
More: Read “Making Friends With Mountain Gorillas,” a 1970 National Geographic article by Dian Fossey – Source: National Geographic
We’re wondering if part-2 of this story is where the gorillas start digging traps for the poachers!
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Tips on Choosing the Best Pre-Yoga Eats:
You want to focus on foods that are: easy to digest, light on the stomach, not too heavy in protein or fat, and don’t contain simple carbohydrates (like sugar and cereal). Think foods that contain soluble fiber (which is slow to digest), small amounts of healthy fats and protein, and foods that are friendly to your blood sugar. Pairing a little light protein with some easy-to-digest carbs is another good tip to support blood sugar levels and prevent lean muscle mass even further.
So what exactly are you supposed to eat before you get your downward dog on? There’s a good bit of conflicting advice out there on what the best pre-workout eats are, however, for yoga, there are five vegan choices that most anyone can agree on. These options are, of course, not set in stone, but are some great general suggestions you can try out to see how they work for you.
1. A Banana and a Small Serving of Vegan Yogurt
A banana contains soluble fiber, which digests slowly and won’t spike your blood sugar. Bananas are also friendly to the stomach, and their natural sugars will help sustain you through your workout practice. In the body, bananas act like a starch due to their binding nature, which means they won’t disrupt your blood sugar levels like sugary, pre-workout drinks will. Bananas also contain potassium, Vitamin B6 for energy, and even natural sugars that act as pre-biotics to feed good bacteria. Pairing a banana with some low sugar or low sugar or sugar-free vegan yogurt (that contains live cultures to feed good bacteria even further) will help sustain you even longer and support your digestion.
2. Sprouted Grain Bread with a Tablespoon of Raw Almond Butter
If you’re not into fruit, then sprouted grain toast may be another good option to try for some healthy carbohydrates. Your body needs a little bit of carbs before a workout; otherwise you run the risk of losing your “juice” which leaves you low in energy and less likely to have as great of a workout. Sprouted grain bread is a healthier option than refined bread on the shelf since the bread is flour-free, contains a small amount of protein, and has live, natural enzymes to support your digestion. Raw almond butter goes great on sprouted grain bread, since it will lower the glycemic effect of the bread and will add a little bit of protein and more fiber. Keep the almond butter to one tablespoon and choose raw almond butter since it’s lighter on your stomach than roasted almond butters with added oil and salt.
3. A Dried Fruit and Nut Bar
Dried fruit and nut bars that contain no added sugars are a great pre-workout option. The dried fruit will provide you with energy and the raw nuts in the bar will help the sugars in the fruit digest more slowly. Choose a bar that contains no more than 200-300 calories so it’s not too heavy on your stomach. Also, try to stick to those that just contain dried fruit and nuts versus those with added syrups or nectars. You can also make your own energy bars or bites right at home instead of eating store bought bars.
4. A Small Green Smoothie
A small green smoothie is another great-pre workout idea. Try to keep the ingredients in your smoothie to mostly greens to support your blood sugar and maybe add a couple slivers of avocado, a tablespoon or two of chia or hemp, or some frozen acai puree for just a little healthy fat. The healthy fats will help you absorb the nutrients in the smoothie better and support your blood sugar levels. You can add a little plant-based protein as another option, along with some low-glycemic fruits like berries, a half a banana, or a half a green apple.
5. Oatmeal or Quinoa With Berries
Oatmeal is a fantastic grain to eat before yoga, but try to have it at least an hour before so it has time to digest properly. Oatmeal contains soluble fibers, which digest very slowly into the bloodstream and it’s extremely high in magnesium to support your energy levels and prevent muscle cramps. Oatmeal is also rich in B vitamins and one of the most delicious grains to enjoy. If you’re not into oatmeal or eating a grain-free diet, the almighty quinoa seed is another great option to choose since it’s high in protein like oats. Pair your oatmeal or quinoa with some berries or pomegranate arils to include some fresh produce into your meal, and maybe add a little bit of ground flax for extra fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. Keep your serving to around 1/3 cup so it doesn’t sit too heavily on your stomach.
For more tips on how to support your yoga practice, check out The Yoga Diet: Foods that Heal and Energize Your Life.
What do you eat before your yoga class?
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Halloween is super fun, especially as a kid when you get loads of candy while trick or treating! But a lot of that candy is full of animal products, artificial ingredients and sugar. We’ve rounded up some vegan candy recipes that are much healthier than the traditional Halloween favorites. Check out these awesome candy recipes!
1. Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Vegan Brownies
These brownies are epic when it comes to the chocolate, so if you’re a chocoholic, definitely try this recipe. They include dark chocolate bars, cacao chunks and cacao butter, yum!
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (D- sprouted grains or nuts, ground into flour)
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar (1/8 c. Stevia)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup cacao nibs*
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate bar, broken into small pieces* (Raw dark chocolate)
- 1/3 cup cacao butter*
- 6 tablespoons vegan butter (coconut oil)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons flax, 6 tablespoons water) **
- Pumpkin Swirl Topping Ingredients:
- 1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree***
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9×7 inch pan.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, and salt.
- Set it aside.
- Using the double boiler method, melt cacao nibs, cacao butter, dark chocolate, butter, and vanilla until they become the consistency of warm chocolate fudge sauce, sort of like chocolate gravy…yum!
- Once the chocolate mixture is melted and well combined, add it to the dry ingredients, stirring to combine. Add flax eggs and stir again. Pour the resulting brownie batter into the 9×7 inch pan.
- In a bowl, whisk together the can of pumpkin, unsweetened applesauce, and pumpkin pie spice. Pour it evenly over the brownie batter, using a butter knife or toothpick to gently swirl some of the pumpkin topping into the chocolate batter.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the pumpkin is slightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let brownies cool for 20-30 minutes before enjoying them so the chocolate and pumpkin layers can set.
- When they are cool, try them with a giant scoop of coconut ice cream…or with two forks on the couch while you watch parks and recreation.
2. Vegan Candy Corn
Store-bought candy corn can contain gelatin and artificial flavors. Try this homemade version instead!
3. Raw Strawberry Creme Chocolate Truffles
There are no artificial colors here, but there are cashews, strawberries, coconut oil and raw cacao powder.
4. The World’s Healthiest Mounds Bar Fudge
This fudge is full of coconut and chocolate goodness, just like the candy bar.
- 2 Tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut (I used reduced fat)
- 1 teaspoon coconut flour
- 2 Tablespoons coconut almond milk (you could use regular almond or coconut milk, too)
- 1/4 cup mashed banana, pumpkin, or applesauce (Choose this carefully, as it will determine the flavor of your fudge. I tried banana and pumpkin, and while pumpkin was great, I thought banana was best in this.)
- 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (Carob powder is great, too)
- sweetener to taste (I used one packet of stevia.)
- Mix together unsweetened shredded coconut and coconut flour.
- Add in milk and stir until combined and uniform.
- Add in mashed banana, pumpkin, or applesauce, cocoa powder, and sweetener to taste and mix until incorporated.
- Spread it into a container (plastic works very well for popping the fudge out) and freeze until solid.
5. Oreo Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
Instead of using red and green for the colors, try black and orange instead to make these Oreo balls perfectly Halloween-themed.
6. Pumpkin Nut Butter Cups
These delicious nut butter cups are full of delicious pumpkin puree and almond butter. Yum!
7. Raw Snickers Candy Bars
Snickers is a popular Halloween candy for Trick or Treating, but this raw version is amazingly good, made with dates, agave and almonds.
8. Splendid Maple Candy Crackle
This recipe is pretty easy to make! You make it by simply cooking maple syrup over a stove top for ten minutes and freezing it. Easy peasy!
9. Almond Joy Cookies
If you’re a fan of the popular candy bar Almond Joy, try these cookies. They contain everything you love about the packaged version!
10. Vegan Rice Krispie Treats
This treat contains only seven ingredients, and none of them are gelatin marshmallows! Instead, use macadamia nut butter.
11. Clean Eating Pumpkin Truffles
It’s hard to miss traditional Halloween candy when you’re chewing these smooth, chocolate pumpkin truffles.
12. Halloween Bat Biscuits
Super cute and just as tasty, all the kids will enjoy these bat cookies.
13. Frozen Banana Mummies
Don’t these look adorable? Kids can bypass thinking that these are a “healthy” snack and instead will enjoy the cool mummy design.
14. Peanut Butter Popcorn Fudge
Since this recipe has minimal prep time and absolutely no cooking time, you’ll have this fudge cut and ready to pass out to neighbors in a flash!
15. Raw Dark Chocolate Cherry Cream Cups
Dark chocolate cherry cordial candies are absolutely delicious, but this homemade version beats out the packaged ones, hands down!
Lead image source: Vegan Candy Corn
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