Vegan Stuffed Pumpkin


1 medium pumpkin, about 2-1/2 lb
generous 1 cup long grain brown rice, well rinsed
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp soy margarine
pinch of saffron threads
1 tsp coriander seeds
2-3 strips of orange rind, finely sliced
3-4 tbsp shelled pistachio nuts
2-3 tbsp dried cranberries
3/4 cup ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
1 bunch of fresh basil, leaves loosely torn
1 bunch each of fresh coriander (cilantro), mint and flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
salt and ground black pepper
lemon wedges and soy yogurt, to serve


  1. 1 Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Wash the pumpkin and cut off the stalk end to use as a lid. Scoop all the seeds out of the middle with a metal spoon, and pull out the stringy bits. Replace the lid, put the pumpkin on a baking tray and bake for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, put the rice into a heavy pan and pour in just enough water to cover. Add a pinch of salt and bring the water to the boil, then lower the heat and partially cover the pan.
  4. Simmer the rice for 10-12 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed and the grains of rice are cooked but still have a bite.
  5. Heat the oil and margarine in a wide, heavy pan. Stir in the saffron, coriander seeds, orange rind, pistachios, cranberries and apricots, then toss in the cooked rice and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Turn off the heat, cover the pan with a dish towel and press the lid tightly on top. Leave the pilaff to steam for about 10 minutes, then toss in the herbs.
  7. Take the pumpkin out of the oven. Lift off the lid and spoon the pilaff into the cavity. Put the lid back on and pop it back in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  8. To serve, remove the lid and slice a round off the top of the pumpkin. Place the ring on a plate and spoon some pilaff in the middle. Continue slicing and filling on individual plates until all the pumpkin and pilaff are used up. Serve with lemon wedges and soy yogurt.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Vegan Cooking

Gadget: Jar for brewing Loose Leaf Tea

Imbue Magnetic Tea Infusing Vessel

Imbue lets the tea leaves absorb water and expand as they infuse for a controlled amount of time, yielding maximum flavor.

The container is made from shatter resistant borosilicate glass that also keeps your tea hot and your hand cool.

The bamboo lid is strong and flexible, and it also features an embedded neodymium magnetic ring that attracts the stainless steel filter that holds the tea, which in turn simplifies the relationship between the lid, filter, and draining dish.

The removable sleeve is made from a natural insulated fabric with a no-slip suede interior lining for a great grip.

Watch video of the operation . . . . .

How to Boost the Nutrition of Meals Without Using Supplements?

Leslie Beck wrote . . . . .

There are plenty of ways to infuse more fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and disease-fighting phytochemicals into your diet. And they don’t require popping nutritional supplements or stirring protein powders into foods.

The key is having the right ingredients on hand so you can easily bolster the nutritional content of all kinds of meals – from smoothies, eggs and breakfast cereals to salads, soups and stews. The goal is to make healthy meals even better for you.

That said, fortifying everyday meals with nutrient-packed ingredients doesn’t guarantee you will meet your daily requirements for all vitamins and minerals – or protein, fibre and omega-3s for that matter. Depending on your diet, you may still need to take a supplement (vitamin D is likely one of them).

In the meantime, consider enhancing the nutritional value of meals and snacks with the following whole food ingredients. Here’s what they have to offer, plus simple ways to add them to your diet.

Blackstrap molasses:

Thick, dark in colour and slightly bitter-tasting, blackstrap molasses has the highest nutrient content of all types of molasses. One tablespoon adds a decent amount of calcium (170 mg) and iron (3.5. mg) to meals, along with 500 mg of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure (adults need 4700 mg daily).

Add it to smoothies, drizzle it over oatmeal, add it to baked beans or use it to baste roasted chicken or turkey. (Note: a tablespoon also delivers 12 g of sugar, so cut sugar elsewhere in your diet.)

Chia seeds:

Two tablespoons of these tiny seeds offer five grams of fibre, 90 mg of calcium and a hefty dose (2.5 mg) of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid. (Women require 1.1 grams of ALA daily; men need 1.6 g.)

Blend chia seeds into smoothies, sprinkle them over hot cereal and yogurt, add them to granola, use them as a salad topper or incorporate them into hummus, casseroles, stir-fries and muffin batters.

Cocoa (unsweetened):

It provides a little fibre, magnesium, potassium and manganese, but cocoa’s claim to fame are flavonoids, which are antioxidants shown to help reduce inflammation, relax blood vessels, improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.

Add unsweetened coca powder to protein shakes and salad dressings, sprinkle it over hot cereal or mix it into chili and stews (my favourite way to use cocoa).

Flaxseed (ground):

Like chia seeds, flaxseeds are loaded with the omega-3 fatty acid, ALA: Two tablespoons supply two days’ worth (3.2 g) for men. Higher intakes of ALA are thought to help guard against Type 2 diabetes.

Ground flax (a.k.a. flax meal) also provides something that chia (and hemp) seeds don’t: lignans, which are phytochemicals linked to breast and prostate cancer prevention.

Hemp hearts:

Use shelled hemp seeds to bolster the protein, magnesium and ALA content of meals. Two tablespoons deliver 6.3 g of protein – the amount found in one large egg – along with 1.7 g of ALA and nearly half a day’s magnesium requirement for women and one-third of a day’s worth for men.

Add hemp hearts to the same types of foods you’d add chia and ground flax to. Keep in mind, though, that calories from seeds add up. Substitute one tablespoon of seeds for one teaspoon of oil or butter in your diet.

Nutritional yeast:

Sold as flakes or powder in natural food stores, nutritional yeast is a source of B vitamins, especially B12. And when it’s fortified with B12, it becomes an excellent source, making it popular with vegans. (Vegan diets are void of B12.)

Depending on the brand, fortified nutritional yeast can provide anywhere from four to 12 micrograms of B12 per tablespoon. (Adults need 2.4 mcg per day.)

Sprinkled nutritional yeast (it has a cheesy flavour) over pasta, popcorn, baked potatoes, scrambled eggs, cooked vegetables and salads.

Pomegranate seeds:

Packed with antioxidants called polyphenols, pomegranate seeds also deliver fibre, B vitamins, vitamins C and K and potassium. One pomegranate, for instance, supplies one-quarter of a day’s worth of folate (a B vitamin needed to synthesize and repair DNA) and one-third of your daily vitamin C.

Add pomegranate seeds to green salads, fruit salads, yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, whole grain pilafs and muffin batters.


While this well-studied curry spice adds only a minuscule amount of minerals to foods, it offers plenty of curcumin, a phytochemical shown to have inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.

Add one-quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric to water when cooking rice or quinoa, mix it into salad dressings, sprinkle it over cauliflower before roasting or add it to egg salad.

Walnut oil:

Like chia, flax and hemp seeds, this polyunsaturated oil adds a good amount of the omega-3 fatty acid, ALA, to meals. (One tablespoon provides 1.4 g.)

Drizzle it over hot cereal or mix it with olive oil for a nutty-tasting salad dressing (three parts olive oil to one part walnut oil). Unrefined walnut oil is not suitable for high-heat cooking.

Wheat germ oil:

Use this oil to increase the vitamin E content of smoothies, protein shakes, dips and salad dressings. One tablespoon serves up an impressive 20 mg of the antioxidant nutrient; adults need 15 mg each day. A higher intake of vitamin E from foods has been linked to protection from heart disease and eye disease (macular degeneration) and a slower rate of cognitive decline.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Getting the Most from Your Stretching Routine

New research reviews hundreds of studies to determine the best way to stretch to improve range of motion and prevent injury during sports and exercise

The conclusions of a systematic review of hundreds of studies contradict the most common static stretching findings from the last 15 years. This research is available today in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism and the findings have been endorsed by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), Canada’s resource and voice for exercise physiology and health & fitness.

For over 30 years, from the 1960s to the late 1990s, fitness professionals, enthusiasts and athletes were told that static stretching (stretching muscles while the body is at rest) was important for increased flexibility, improved performance and injury reduction. This period was followed by 15 years of being told that static stretching could cause performance impairments and that it does not reduce injury risk, resulting in a dramatic switch to dynamic stretching, where movements are performed through large ranges of motion usually at a fast speed. As a result, many people no longer perform static stretching before exercise or playing sports.

A comprehensive review of the literature published today brings new recommendations to fitness enthusiasts, athletes, coaches and rehabilitation practitioners. Upon reviewing hundreds of studies, researchers found that static stretching, when incorporated into a full warm-up routine that includes an initial aerobic component, static and dynamic stretching and then active and dynamic sport-specific activities should not result in significant performance impairments and may reduce muscle strain injury risk. This systematic review has also highlighted the lack of scientific data regarding the effects of dynamic stretching on injury risk.

“It is important for fitness professionals and enthusiasts, coaches, rehabilitation professionals and other scientists to critically assess the findings of fitness studies” says Dr. David Behm, Memorial University of Newfoundland and lead author of the study. “Many studies over the last 15 years did not include a full warm-up, something that most athletes do regularly. Many studies also tested stretches that were held much longer than what is typically done,” continued Dr. Behm. “Before incorporating new findings into your fitness activities, think about how the study applies to your situation and activities”.

“CSEP strongly supports promoting physical activity for healthy outcomes and equally important to that are warm up routines that increase range of motion and decrease muscle injury,” says Dr. Phil Chilibeck, CSEP Chair. “The recommendation in the CSEP Position Stand is that all components of a warmup be included with appropriate duration of stretching. The inclusion of static, or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), stretching is recommended and has the potential to positively influence the standard warmup routines of a large number of athletes.”

Source: EurekAlert!

Older Adults Live Independently Longer When Monitored by Care Team and Technology

Finding ways to help older adults “age in place” has been a focus of researchers at the University of Missouri for more than a decade. Now, a new study shows their work at TigerPlace, an independent living community that uses sensor technology and onsite care coordination to maintain residents’ health, is successful.

Researchers found TigerPlace residents stayed longer than seniors who live in other senior housing across the nation. Additionally, residents who lived with sensors in their apartments stayed at TigerPlace the longest. Length of stay is important because it indicates that residents’ health remains stable enough for them to continue living independently rather than transferring to an advanced-care facility or a hospital. The technologically enhanced care coordination at TigerPlace could serve as a cost-effective care model for improving the health and function of older adults whether they live in senior housing, assisted living, retirement communities or their own homes.

“I knew we were increasing residents’ lengths of stay based on care coordination because of the positive outcomes we observed in several prior studies, and I thought the sensors also would have an impact,” said Marilyn Rantz, Curators Professor Emerita in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. “But to double length of stay based on care coordination and then to nearly double again based on adding sensors, to me, is huge. That is huge for consumers. Comparing the cost of living at TigerPlace with the sensor technology versus living in a nursing home reveals potential savings of about $30,000 per person. Potential cost savings to Medicaid-funded nursing homes, assuming the technology and care coordination are reimbursed, are estimated to be about $87,000 per person.”

At TigerPlace, all residents receive care coordination from an onsite, interdisciplinary team consisting of a registered nurse and a licensed clinical social worker. The registered nurse focuses on physical health concerns while the social worker addresses mental health and relationship-based concerns. Some of the residents have sensors in their apartments that monitor walking patterns for increasing fall risk, respiration rate, restlessness and pulse, and detect falls. The health information is relayed to the care coordinators who can intervene to address health changes. Previous research by Rantz and her colleagues found health problems are detected one to two weeks earlier in individuals who live with the sensors.

For the current study, the researchers monitored length of stay for TigerPlace residents for nearly five years. The researchers found the residents who lived with sensors had an average length of stay of 4.3 years as compared to a stay of 2.6 years among residents living without sensors. The national median for time older adults spend in senior housing is 1.8 years, according to previous research.

“The sensors also enhance decision-making for the care coordinators,” Rantz said. “The sensors help the nurse or the social worker focus on alerts to potential health problems. The alerts can also indicate potential depression, increasing confusion and/or other problems the person may be experiencing. With the sensors, the nurses get a head’s up several days or weeks before the health condition becomes serious – before people will even detect it themselves and complain about it. It’s all about early detection.”

Rantz said she’s hopeful the positive outcomes from care coordination and sensor technology at TigerPlace will translate to other senior housing facilities and, ultimately, in older adults’ own homes. Senior housing facilities could benefit from establishing onsite wellness centers and having an onsite nurse care coordinator, even for limited hours a week; having a designated person to monitor and attend to health concerns can keep conditions from worsening and help elders stay in senior housing, Rantz said. Rantz and her colleagues are in the pilot phase of Sinclair@Home, a service to help older adults live safely and independently in their own homes using sensor technology and off-site care coordination by a registered nurse.

“When we started TigerPlace, we hoped to learn new things about aging in place,” Rantz said. “Now, 12 years later, this research reemphasizes that we’re able to continue to discover new ways of helping people age well. We’re learning the real benefits of how care coordination and technology can come together to find new solutions to the persistent problems of aging. Helping people stay functionally active and independent is what it’s all about.”

Source: EurekAlert!

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