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Vegetarian Tacos

Ingredients

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 small sweet onion, finely diced
1 large garlic clove, smashed and minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 (14 oz) can green lentils, rinsed and drained
generous pinch of salt
1 tsp lime juice
1/3 cup toasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), divided
freshly ground black pepper
4 leaves leafy lettuce

Spicy Guacamole

1 large ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
3/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
juice from 1 lime
1/4 tsp salt

Toppings

1 diced tomato
1/4 cup sliced black olives
2 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
cilantro sprigs
1/2 lime, cut into wedges

Method

  1. In heavy saucepan, heat oil. Saute onion until soft and almost clear. Stir in garlic, cumin, and chili powder. Saute for 30 seconds. Stir in lentils and 2 Tbsp water. Stir to blend. Add a splash more water if needed to prevent sticking. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes for flavours to blend.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and half the pepitas. Cover and set aside.
  3. Chop avocado and place in food processor along with remaining guacamole ingredients. Whirl until as smooth as you’d like.
  4. Line serving plates with lettuce leaf. Top with scoop of lentils, dollop of guacamole, some diced tomato, black olives, green onions, and feta. Drizzle with yogurt and serve with cilantro sprig and lime wedge. Sprinkle with remaining pepitas and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Tip

Toasting pepitas is easy. Place them in a dry, heavy pan and heat over medium heat. Stir often. Remove from heat when they begin to pop. Transfer to bowl and set aside.

Source: Alive magazine

In Pictures: Foods of SF Veggie Restaurant in Hong Kong

American-style Vegan Casual Dining

The Restaurant

How Food Packaging Claims Can Fool You

Sally Wadyka wrote . . . . . . .

“No artificial colors.” “Good source of fiber.” “Contains sea salt.” All these package claims and more might make you snatch a product off the supermarket shelf and feel virtuous about doing so.

“Food manufacturers use every possible word they can to magnify the desirability of a product,” says Walter Willett, M.D., professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. And that language can lead you to believe you’ve picked something that’s going to make you healthier—even though what’s inside that box may not be all that good for you.

Companies have to carefully choose their marketing pitches because some terms are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, such as low-sodium (meaning the food has 140 mg or less per serving) or “good source of” (meaning it provides 10 to 19 percent of the daily value for a nutrient).

Little wonder, then, that food marketers strive to come up with healthy-sounding slogans that fall outside FDA regulation. It unfairly falls to shoppers, says Willett, to sleuth out what truly makes a food healthy. “Turn the package around,” he says, “and read the ingredients and nutrition facts label, paying attention to crucial things like sodium, sugar, whole grains, type of fat, and calories.” And watch out for front-of-package tricks like these.

Beware: When You See a Nutrient Claim, Such as ‘Good Source of Calcium’

Calling out just one or two nutrients can mislead consumers to assume one product is healthier overall than another. For instance, highlighting the calcium content on plain yogurt is one thing because overall, plain yogurt is a healthy food and calcium is naturally present. But a calcium claim on a cookie? It might make you feel better about eating it, but there’s probably little benefit. For example, Stella D’oro Breakfast Treats carry the claim “good source of calcium,” and the product does supply 10 percent of the daily value for calcium from added calcium carbonate. But with 90 calories, 6 grams of sugars, and zero fiber, the cookie is far from a health food.

Beware: When the Name of the Product Itself Sounds Healthy

The nutrition count of Simply Lay’s Sea Salted potato chips is practically identical to Lay’s Classic potato chips, with just 10 fewer milligrams of sodium. Quaker Oats Select Starts Protein instant oatmeals have 10 grams of protein per packet (from added whey protein), but also 12 to 13 grams of sugars. Or consider Stoned Wheat Thins: The word “wheat” in this product name may be confusing, leading consumers to believe they’re getting a whole-wheat cracker. But this one is made with white flour plus a smattering of cracked wheat, and consequently has about a third of the fiber of a true whole-wheat cracker.

Beware: When the Package Is Plastered With Healthy Buzzwords

They can catch your attention, but you can’t rely on buzzwords to be a shortcut to finding a healthy food. In some cases, the food may contain so little of the ingredient that it’s irrelevant nutritionally. For example, the dehydrated vegetables in roasted vegetable Ritz crackers, which tout “made with real vegetables” on the package, don’t change the nutritional makeup of the crackers much at all compared with regular Ritz. Refined wheat flour is the first ingredient listed in both, and each serving has 80 calories and no fiber. In fact, the veggie crackers have 150 mg of sodium per serving compared with 105 in the regular version. And candy labeled “made with real honey,” as Brach’s candy corn is, may be making a true claim. But honey is a form of added sugar and, in this case, the candy also has four other types of sugars (sugar, corn syrup, confectioner’s glaze, and dextrose), for a total of 28 grams of sugars per serving. This warning applies when the package alerts you to what’s not there, too. For example, Log Cabin pancake syrup proclaims “no high-fructose corn syrup,” but the top three ingredients are corn syrup, water, and sugars, meaning it’s still full of added sugars.

Beware: When the Words ‘Simple,’ ‘Natural,’ or ‘Free From’ Are Used

So-called clean labels are increasingly popular. “Consumers want simpler formulas, with ingredients that they can easily understand and fewer or no processed ingredients,” says Francine Schoenwetter, director of content at New Hope Network, a research firm. “Label claims such as ‘simple’ and ‘natural’ don’t have to be verified,” says Charlotte Vallaeys, Consumer Reports’ senior policy analyst and food labeling expert. You need to look closely to see whether the manufacturers’ definition of the terms matches yours. Kozy Shack Simply Well chocolate pudding touts that it is made with simple, wholesome ingredients, but most people probably wouldn’t consider inulin (a type of added fiber), sucralose (an artificial sweetener), and carrageenan (a thickener) “simple.” “Free from” claims, such as no artificial colors, must be truthful. But the food can still be less than healthy. For example, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese proudly proclaims “no artificial flavors, preservatives or dyes” on the package. However, each cup prepared contains 720 mg of sodium.

Source: Consumer Report

Avoiding Grains in Gluten-free Diet Could Deny Many People Important Nutrients

Gluten-free diets are increasingly popular but not a good idea for everyone, doctors say.

Gluten is a type of protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Only people with conditions that require them to avoid gluten — such as celiac disease or gluten sensitivity — should go completely gluten-free, said Dr. Christopher Heron, a family medicine physician at Penn State Medical Group in State College.

“The grains found in wheat products are essential to overall health. They provide nutrients that aren’t found in most gluten-free foods, Heron said in a university news release.

That’s why many people with celiac disease need to take a multivitamin, he said.

The immune systems of some people react poorly to gluten, resulting in conditions such as celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

“Celiac disease primarily causes inflammation in the small intestine, which makes it difficult to absorb nutrients from food,” Heron explained. Weight loss, diarrhea and indigestion are typical symptoms of the disease.

With gluten-free products now widely available, many healthy people believe these foods can help them lose weight or reduce indigestion or fatigue, the doctors noted.

“Rather than going gluten-free, people who don’t suffer from a gluten-related disease should shoot for a healthier diet overall by managing portion size and being aware of foods’ nutritional content,” said Dr. Lauren Schneekloth, a family medicine physician at Penn State Medical Group.

Source: HealthDay


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