Fibre - The Unexpected Super Food.

I recently read an article in the BBC News (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-46827426) that describes fibre as the ‘life changing food that 90% of us aren’t eating enough of’. This took me by surprise as fibre hasn’t been something that I have thought that much about. Fibre is well known for stopping constipation but it also lee[s your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels down, reduces the chances of debilitating heart attacks and strokes as well as reducing life-long diseases such as type-2 diabetes and colon cancer.

According to this article, the researchers, at the University of Otago, in New Zealand, and the University of Dundee say people should be eating a minimum of 25g of fibre per day. But they call this an "adequate" amount for improving health and say there are benefits for pushing past 30g (1oz).

So how do you get 30g of fibre a day?

A plant based diet definitely provides ample opportunity to eat fibre as high quantities of fibre are found in many fruit and vegetables. They are also found in whole wheat products such as brown rice and wholewheat bread. Here are some easy tips:

  • Eat lots of fresh fruit, ideally with the skin on whenever you can.

  • Eat lots of vegetables

  • Eat plenty of grains and pulses.

  • Choose 100% wholewheat bread.

  • Choose brown rice.

  • Choose high fibre cereal.

  • Snack on nuts.

  • Rule of thumb = 1/2 cup chopped veggies - 4g and 1 serving fruit 3g.

To break this down further:

  • An apple with the skin on - 4g

  • 1 tangerine - 3g

  • 1 cup of raspberries - 8g

  • 1 cup of blueberries - 3g

  • 1 cup strawberries - 3g

  • Half a cup of rolled oats - 9g

  • 2 slices wholemeal bread topped with 1 banana -8g

  • Handful of almonds - 3g

  • 1 sweet potato - 3g

  • 1 cup of cooked lentils - 4g

  • 1 cup brussel sprouts - 6g

  • 1 cup chickpeas - 12 g

  • 1 carrot - 3g

  • 1 cup black beans - 15 g

  • ! cup cooked brown rice - 2.5g

  • 1 cup cooked pasta/white rice - 1g

  • 1 bowl of high fibre cereal - 5g

  • 1/2 avocado - 6g

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds - 10g

Making Changes

So the next time you are planning your meals for the week or grabbing a snack, think about your daily fibre intake. Consider switching to brown rice and wholewheat bread, don’t peel your apples and reach for a handful of almonds rather than a high sugar, low fibre alternative. Take a moment to read the labels on any processed food and you will soon start to have an awareness for the fibre intake of each item you are eating.

Enjoy!

No Bake Tropical Almond Butter Bars from 100% Real by Sam Talbot

I am obsessed with making energy balls and bars. I didn’t have any pineapple, macadamia nuts or almond butter on hand so I substituted dried apricots, cashews and cashew butter and they came out great. So feel free to substitute ingredients. Below is the original recipe (which I have yet to make!) To toast the nuts, coconut and oats, spread them out in a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake for about a 8 minutes at 350F.

12 pitted Medjool dates

1 1/4 cups uncooked regular rolled oats, toasted

1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted

1.2 cup chopped macadamia nuts, toasted

1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple

1/4 cup unsweetened almond butter

1/4 cup raw honey

2 tablespoons refined coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Method

  1. Line the bottom of an 8 inch square baking dish with parchment paper, allowing a few excess inches of parchment to extend past the sides of the dish.

  2. Process the dates in a food processor until finely chopped and the dates begin to form a ball. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the oats, coconut, nuts and pineapple. Stir to combine.

  3. Combine the almond butter, honey, coconut oil and salt in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour over the date mixture and stir until well blended. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with a piece of plastic wrap and press onto the surface of the mixture. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

  4. Using the parchment paper, remove from the baking dish. Cut into 12 bars. I like to wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap and then keep in the fridge.

Iron Skillet Shrimp with Grapefruit from 100% Real by Sam Talbot

Tasty asian inspired shrimp salad - I would definitely make this again!

Ingredients

1 pink grapefruit

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons raw honey

1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1.2 teaspoon black pepper

11/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 1/2 pounds of peeled and deveined large raw shrimp

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

5 ounces seasonal lettuce or greens (spinach and arugula work well)

1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/4 cup lightly toasted hazelenuts

Method

  1. Peel the grapefruit and remove all the pith. Carefully slice the fruit segments from the membranes.

  2. Whisk together the vinegar, lime juice, mustard, honey, ginger and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly to combine.

  3. Sprinkle the shrimp with the paprika, cumin and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast iron or non stick skillet over a medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook just until the shrimp turn pink, about 2 minutes per side.

  4. Add the grapefruit, shrimp, greens, cilantro, onion and hazelnuts to the vinaigrette in the bowl. Toss well.

  5. Enjoy!

Brussel Sprout Stir Fry with Tofu

I have to share this recipe as it’s amazing! In fact, I can’t wait to heat up the leftovers for lunch today…

I was determined to use up the veggies in my fridge - I had a bag of Brussel sprouts and some tofu. I am not a huge fan of tofu but have decided to embrace this strange ingredient and figure out how to cook it and like it.

Here is what I decided to make…(photo coming soon…)

Ingredients

1 inch of ginger - peeled and finely chopped

1 bunch of scallions (green onions) - finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic - finely chopped

1 bag of Brussel Sprouts - finely sliced in the food processor using the slicer attachment

1 head of broccoli finely sliced

1 package of extra firm tofu

Tamari Sauce

Sesame Oil

Asian noodles - any variety already cooked and drained. I just added a little noodles as I wanted the veggies to more prevalent than the noodles.

Sesame seeds

Steps To Make The Tofu

Here is the full blog post on the tofu preparation: https://minimalistbaker.com/quick-easy-crispy-tofu/

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) and wrap your extra firm tofu (this is important – anything less than extra firm won’t crisp up as fast or as well) and set something heavy on top like a cast iron skillet. You want it to drain for about 10 minutes or so.

Step 2: 10 minutes later, cube tofu and add to a mixing bowl. Season with salt and, depending on what type of dish you’re adding it to, season accordingly (i.e. curry powder for a curry dish, or a bit of tamari and/or chili garlic sauce for a stir-fry). I just added chopped garlic and some tamari.

Step 3: Sauté in oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until browned on all sides (shaking the pan as needed to cook all sides).

Step 4: Finish baking in the oven for about 15 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Mmmm, yes, please.

Steps to Make the Stir Fry

  1. Heat the sesame oil in the wok or pan. Keep the heat high.

  2. Add the garlic, scallions and garlic and toss in the oil.

  3. Add the Brussel sprouts and broccoli and keep stirring to coat the veggies in the oil. Add tamari sauce to taste. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes or until veggies are soft.

  4. Add in the cooked noodles.

  5. Top with sesame seeds.

AMAZING Vegan Banana Bread!

My whole family loves this vegan banana bread which is saying a lot when my picky six year old is begging me for a slice! I added chocolate chips to the main mixture and didn’t add a topping. I also used regular flour instead of spelt flour and it came out great. i cooked the bread for a good hour.

Thanks Angela Liddon with Oh She Glows for this amazing recipe. To see Angela’s blog post about this bread, check out: https://ohsheglows.com/2016/10/07/vegan-banana-bread/

One Bowl Vegan Banana Bread

Vegan, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

This vegan banana bread is delicious, wholesome, naturally sweetened, and takes 10 minutes to throw together. What could be better when you have some overripe bananas to use up? Nothing, my friends, absolutely nothing! Whip this into the oven before guests arrive to fill the house with a delectable banana bread aroma. For a fun twist, try adding cinnamon and nutmeg into the dough before baking, or even stir in some chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate for a more decadent loaf. I love it topped with both sliced banana (which enhances the sweetness and banana flavour) and crunchy walnuts. This recipe is adapted from my Blissful Banana Blueberry Muffins.

Yield
1 (9x5-inch) loaf

Prep time
10 Minutes

Cook time
50 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the wet ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups (320 g) mashed very ripe banana (about 4 medium or 3 large)

  • 2 tablespoons (15 g) ground flaxseed

  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) plant-based milk (I like almond milk)

  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) coconut oil, melted*

  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) pure maple syrup**

  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract

For the dry ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (60 g) coconut sugar***

  • 1/2 cup (50 g) rolled oats

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1 1/2 cups (210 g) light/white spelt flour or whole-grain spelt flour****

  • Sliced banana, chopped walnuts, and/or chocolate chips, for topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with oil and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, mash the banana until almost smooth, and make sure you have 1 1/3 cups.

  3. Stir the wet ingredients (ground flax, milk, melted oil, maple syrup, and vanilla) into the banana until combined.

  4. Stir the dry ingredients (sugar, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour) into the wet mixture, one by one, in the order listed. Stop stirring when there are no flour patches at the bottom of the bowl.

  5. Spoon the dough into the loaf pan and spread out evenly. Add your desired toppings and gently press them into the dough to adhere.

  6. Bake the loaf, uncovered, for 45 to 55 minutes (I bake for 47 to 48 minutes, but your time may vary), until lightly golden and firm on top. The top of the loaf should slowly spring back when touched.

  7. Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. Then, slide a knife around the loaf to loosen it and gently remove it from the pan, placing it directly onto the cooling rack until completely cooled (or to hasten the cooling process, transfer to the fridge for 45 minutes).

  8. Slice the loaf once cooled. I love to spread it with vegan butter or coconut oil. The loaf will keep in the fridge tightly wrapped for 3 to 4 days, or it can be frozen for 4 to 6 weeks.

Nutrition Information

Tips from Angela

  • * I have not tried it yet, but you can probably swap melted vegan butter for the coconut oil.

  • ** If you don’t have any maple syrup on hand, feel free to swap in another 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar. The loaf won’t be quite as moist, but it’ll still work.

  • *** Coconut sugar can probably be swapped for natural cane sugar.

  • **** I tried this recipe with light/white spelt flour, all-purpose white flour, and whole-grain spelt flour. My preference is light/white spelt flour because it lends a great flavour while still feeling quite light in texture. The whole-grain spelt flour version is my second favourite; it is heartier in texture than the light/white spelt flour version (and cracks more on the top of the loaf), with a slightly earthier flavour. It doesn’t rise as much, though, and is more dense. If your whole-grain spelt flour is quite coarse, I recommend sifting it prior to use for the best results.