This Week’s Farmers Market Buys – Part One

Jannine Myers

I am loving the Japanese orange-flesh sweet potatoes right now! If you like sweet potatoes as much as I do, check out these recipes:

The first is a recipe that reminds me of winter-time meals back home. You’ve probably all tasted or heard of Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage Pie, but if you haven’t it’s a popular dish in New Zealand (though traditionally from northern England), that’s made with ground beef and topped with mashed potato. The recipe I used is one that replaces the potato with sweet potato, and it’s really good! I actually made these for my 11-year old because she’s kind of a picky eater, but my older daughter and I love them too.

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Ingredients

  • Sweet potato – 2 large, sliced
  • Almond milk 3–4 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • cheese (e.g. colby, edam, cheddar) 1 cup grated
Pie filling
  • Olive oil 1 tablespoon
  • Onion 1, finely diced
  • Garlic 1 clove, minced
  • Carrot 1, peeled and grated
  • Zucchini 1, grated
  • Ground beef (organic, if possible) 500g
  • Tomato paste 2 tablespoons
  • Tamari soy sauce 1 tablespoon
  • Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon
  • mustard (e.g. Dijon or wholegrain) 1 tablespoon
  • Flour 1 tablespoon
  • Beef broth ½ cup

Preheat oven to 190 C/375 F. Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil.

  1. Cook sweet potato in pot of boiling water for 12–15 minutes, until very soft. Drain and mash with butter and milk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. While sweet potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a large fry-pan on medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, carrot and zucchini for about 3–4 minutes. Add beef and cook for a further 3–4 minutes until brown, breaking up with a wooden spoon (drain fat before continuing with remaining ingredients). Add tomato paste, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce and mustard, stir until combined. Sprinkle over flour, stir to combine and cook for 1–2 minutes then add beef broth, stir and simmer for 5–7 minutes until sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Fill four individual ramekins (to 2/3 full) with pie filling. Top with sweet potato mash and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, then let it cool slightly before serving. Serve with a side of fresh greens.

[Recipe from Nadia Lim]

The second recipe is one that is currently my favourite post-run breakfast meal! Seriously, if you have not tried eating sweet potatoes this way, you must:

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Just three ingredients are needed for this awesome recipe:

  1. Sweet potatoes (orange-flesh) – 2 or 3 medium/large
  2. Almond butter – 1 tbsp per half sweet potato
  3. Cinnamon – a generous dash

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 F. Gently scrub and clean the sweet potatoes, then pierce the tops of them with a fork before laying them on a foil-lined baking tray. Bake for at least 45 minutes.

[Tip: I bake the sweet potatoes the night before]

In the morning, when you’re ready to eat, take half of one of the sweet potatoes (keep the rest stored in an air-tight container in the fridge), and warm it up in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Spread about a tbsp of almond butter over the warm sweet potato, and sprinkle with cinnamon. So delicious!!! {And don’t take the skin off, it’s packed with nutrients!)

I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts why sweet potatoes are a great food for runners, but here’s a good visual reminder:

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 Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do!

A Few More Healthy Snack/Breakfast Recipes

Jannine Myers

Most of you know by now that when I cook or bake, I tend to make snack and meal choices based on what I have in the pantry and refrigerator. What I enjoy most about this method of eating, is that I am constantly eating different foods and getting a wide variety of nutrients into my diet. The following recipes are some of the snacks that resulted from the previous week’s pantry and refrigerator ingredients:

Soft Gingerbread Cookies (Low-Fat/Low-Sugar/Fresh Ginger)

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped (add a little ground ginger too, optional)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 beaten egg + additional almond milk to the equivalent of 1/2 cup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl combine almond milk, sugar, coconut oil, coconut sugar, and egg/milk mixture.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined; roll into balls and place on baking sheet.
  5. Sprinkle a little cinnamon and sugar over the tops of the cookies.
  6. Bake cookies for about 10-15 minutes.

Buckwheat Porridge Loaf With Fresh Fruit

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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup raw buckwheat groats
  • 1/3 cup coconut or almond milk
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 fresh peach, washed and sliced with skin on
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp dessicated coconut (+ more for topping)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • GF flour (enough to turn mixture into a bread dough)

Directions

  1. Soak the buckwheat groats in a bowl of water, and let it sit overnight. In the morning, rinse the buckwheat in a strainer for about one or two minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375F. Once the buckwheat is drained and rinsed, add it to your food processor and pulse a few times to break up the groats.
  3. In a bowl, combine the milk, mashed banana, chia, dessicated coconut, baking powder, vanilla extract, and buckwheat and stir until well combined. Let this sit for a few minutes so the chia can soak up some liquid. Add enough flour to turn the mixture into a bread dough.
  4. Lightly grease a small baking dish and pour in the porridge mixture. Top with the peach slices. Place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from your oven, let it cool slightly and sprinkle with shredded coconut. Eat as is, or with yogurt and cinnamon.

Spiced Muesli And Coconut Yogurt

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Ingredients

  • 3 fresh dates, pitted, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
  • A small dash each of nutmeg, ground ginger, cloves, anise seed, and cinnamon [Spices not only add great flavor, but they contain numerous health benefits]
  • 150g tub Chobani Non-GMO Coconut Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup organic muesli (I buy Alishan Organic Muesli from Green Leaf in Chatan)
  • Handful of almonds and sunflower seeds

Directions

  1. Combine dates, orange juice, muesli, and spices in a small bowl.
  2. Spoon half of date mixture into a jar or serving bowl. Top with half of the yoghurt. Repeat layers. Finish with almonds and seeds.

Mini Banana, Oat, and Yogurt Muffins (great for school lunch boxes)

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I like the Japanese brand Meiji Bulgaria LB81, which is supposedly good for intestinal health)
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups oats
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (or up to 1/2 cup if you prefer a sweeter muffin)
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and fill a mini muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. Add all ingredients except for walnuts to a blender or food processor and process on high until the oats are broken down and the batter is smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour batter into prepared muffin pan, filling each cavity until it is about ¾ full. Sprinkle a few walnuts over the top of each muffin. [Note: I had leftover batter, so I made a few regular size muffins as well].
  4. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in pan and sprinkle with a little powdered sugar. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.

 

Lentils and Eggs – A Great Recovery Combo

Jannine Myers

It’s been a while since I posted a “fast, fresh, and easy” dinner meal, so here’s one that’s loaded with wholesome nutrients and perfect really, for any time of day.

Warm Lentil Salad

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Besides having to wash and cut some vegetables, this recipe is really very simple and shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes to prepare. Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

Green salad leaves (any kind)

1 cup green lentils, uncooked

Chicken broth and/or water (3 cups total liquid)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinger

salt and pepper

1 zucchini, diced

1 large carrot, diced

1 small punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large tomatoes)

1 small punnet of button mushrooms (chopped)

eggs (one per person)

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tbsp basil pesto

Directions

Cook the lentils in broth/water as directed on the package. When the lentils are cooked, set aside to cool a little. Meanwhile, saute all the vegetables in the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, and during the last couple of minutes, add the balsamic vinegar. Finish cooking the vegetables and take the pan off the heat. Next, poach the eggs in boiling water and white vinegar. Finally, layer the plates. Start with the green salad leaves, then the lentils, followed by the vegetables, and then the poached eggs. Add a small dollop of basil pesto and your warm lentil salad is ready to eat.

[Original recipe here]

Buckwheat Groats For Breakfast – Try Them!

Jannine Myers

One of the things I love about summer is eating cold cereal for breakfast! I usually make my own cereal however, simply because I’m hesitant to buy any of the boxed cereals that line the supermarket shelves; most of those contain nothing but excessive amounts of sugar and a generous amount of chemicals. The cereal I currently have in my pantry is one that I made using a mix of buckwheat groats and whole flaxseeds.

Buckwheat, by the way, has nothing to do with wheat or grains, but is actually the seed of the plant, which means that it is gluten-free. In addition to being gluten-free, buckwheat groats are a great source of fiber, full of B complex vitamins, and rich in rutin – a compound credited for it’s anti-inflammatory effects. Flaxseeds on the other hand, while rich in various nutrients, really need to be eaten in ground form to reap the full nutritional benefits (but I like using whole flaxseeds for this recipe, mostly for the texture and taste that they add to the cereal).

Here’s what you will need:

1 cup buckwheat groats

1 cup whole flaxseeds

3/4 cup water

1/4 tsp each of ground cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and 1 tsp of ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsps maple syrup (optional)

A generous scoop of Back to Nature Harvest Blend dried fruits and nuts (Raisins, Almonds, Pumpkin Seed Kernels, Sunflower Seed Kernels, Dried Apricots, Pecans)

Directions:

Soak the groats, flaxseed, spices, and vanilla extract in the water, and let sit (covered) in the refrigerator for several hours. When you’re ready to bake the cereal, preheat the oven to 275 degrees F, and then transfer the groats/flaxseed mixture to a cookie baking tray. The mixture will be “gooey,” which is normal since buckwheat groats, when soaked, become very gelatinous. As it bakes in the oven however, at a low heat over a long time, the texture will eventually dry out and become crunchy. Bake the cereal for approximately 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. After an hour (or more, if necessary) of baking, add the dried fruits and nuts and bake for a further 10 minutes.

[Note: you may want to cover the cereal with tin foil part way through the baking if the edges start to darken or burn]

Take out of the oven and allow to cool completely. I like to eat my cereal with almond milk and some type of fruit topping. I also like to add some Natures Path Heritage Flakes, which does contain wheat.

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A Double Dose of Healing Power – Turmeric and Ginger Smoothie

Jannine Myers

Turmeric and ginger are botanically related to one another; turmeric originates from the Curcuma longa plant, which is part of the ginger family. Both turmeric and ginger are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and are also recommended as natural remedies for gastrointestinal problems. Since runners are often injured and/or plagued with “tummy” issues, I thought I’d share a turmeric/ginger smoothie recipe that’s creamy, zesty, and hopefully healing.

Ingredients

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  • 1/2 large ripe banana, previously frozen is preferable
  • 1/3 cup fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh ginger (1 small knob, peeled)
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric (or sub cinnamon)
  • Approx. 1/2 cup raw carrot sticks
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (~1/2 small lemon)
  • 1/2 cup (240 ml) unsweetened almond milk

[Optional: I also added a chunk of tofu (about 1/4 cup), and about 1/4 cup of Purity Organic Orange Carrot Turmeric Mango juice]

Found this at the Foster commissary, in one of the small refrigerators near the Delicatessan

Found this at the Foster commissary, in one of the small refrigerators near the Delicatessan

Directions

Simple – blend everything together! And enjoy……

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[A slightly modified version of this recipe]

Mason Jars – Convenient Meal Vessels For Busy Athletes

Jannine Myers

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A few weekends ago, on Mother’s Day, my daughters gave me two mason jars, which I really love! I personally like using them as drinking glasses, but mason jars can also be useful for people who want to take easy-to-make, healthy meals to work. Breakfast and lunch can both be made the night before, stored in mason jars, and easily carried to work the next day. Here’s three recipe examples that show how versatile mason jars are:

1. Green Smoothie

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Any smoothie recipe will do, but for the one above, I simply threw all of the following into a blender:

  • A small handful of Japanese salad greens
  • 1 kiwifruit
  • 1/2 of a frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 single serve packet of Green Smoothie powder (Japanese product)

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2. Cherry Chia Breakfast Oatmeal

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This was more like two and a half, or three, servings for me, but the nice thing about this recipe is that the chia seeds bind everything together so as long as you keep the jar in the refrigerator (with a sealed lid), you can eat it over a couple of days. Here’s how I made this fresh cherry oatmeal:

  1. Mix together 3/4 cup of oats, 1 cup almond milk, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and a dash of cinnamon to an airtight container. Gently whisk and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.
  2. Add about 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries and 1 tbsp maple syrup to a high-powered blender. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes or until completely smooth. Pour into an airtight container and stir in 2 tbsps chia seeds. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
  3. In 3 small mason jars, layer the oats and cherry chia mixture. Garnish with chopped cherries (or other berries) and almonds, if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

 

3. Chickpea, Brown Rice, and Green Salad

P1070028The thing you want to remember with mason jar salads, is that the dressing should be at the bottom of the jar, then beans and hearty vegetables should be added next, followed by grains and pastas, then protein, and finally greens, nuts, and seeds. You can either eat your salad right out of the jar (after giving it a good shake), or you can transfer it to a salad bowl. Here’s how I made this chickpea, brown rice, and green salad:

  1. In a rice cooker, I added about 1/2 cup of brown rice, and a single packet of mixed beans (you can find various types of mixed bean combinations – for use in the rice cooker – at any Japanese store). Once the brown rice and bean mixture is cooked, let it cool slightly and give it some flavor by adding a little olive oil, salt, and a couple of pressed garlic cloves. Mix together and put aside.
  2. Make a quick dressing by mixing together a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a tsp stone ground mustard, salt and pepper, a sprinkle of Italian herbs (optional), and a tsp of honey.
  3. Drain and rinse 1 can of chickpeas, and mix together with some sliced green onions. Add enough of the dressing to give it a good coating.
  4. Now you can start layering your salad; start with the chickpeas (stir a little more dressing in if needed), then layer with the rice and bean mixture, followed by a handful of freshly diced tomato, your favorite greens, and a sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese.

[What’s your favorite Mason Jar recipe?]

The Ultimate Acai Berry Breakfast Bowl

Jannine Myers

Last weekend, on Mother’s Day, I came home from my morning run to find my girls preparing the most amazing breakfast for me. I’m not kidding – this acai berry bowl was so refreshing and delicious that it’s probably going to be one of my favorite post-run breakfasts from now on. Let me show you what you will need, and what prior preparations must be done before you assemble it all together.

First up, you’ll need to buy Acai juice; we bought ours from Kaldi Coffee Farm (there are two locations that I know of: San A Convention Building in Ginowan, and the new Aeon Mall).

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Pour the juice into ice cubes and freeze.

Additionally, peel and cut in half a couple of bananas, and freeze those too.

That’s all you need to do (besides making sure you have all the other ingredients), prior to assembling your acai bowls. So here’s your ingredient list (for two bowls):

For the frozen Acai mixture, you’ll need:

  • Unsweetened Almond Milk (approx. 4 oz.)
  • Frozen Acai juice (approx. 4 frozen cubes)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

For the toppings, pretty much anything you like but we used:

  • sliced bananas
  • sliced strawberries
  • sliced kiwi
  • blueberries
  • granola
  • shredded (unsweetened) coconut

It’s pretty straightforward from here; simply pour all of your frozen ingredients into a blender and pulse until you have a nice smooth consistency (you may need to experiment with the quantity of frozen acai cubes and almond milk). Pour into serving bowls, and then add your toppings.

By the way, acai berries, according to Dr. David Jockers, “are extraordinarily rich in antioxidants and have a very high ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity) that is far superior to any other form of fruit that has been officially tested and categorized. It is also rich in key B vitamins, electrolytes and trace minerals that are necessary for reducing inflammation and improving energy levels.”

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A Smoothie Recipe To Prevent Post-Race Illness

Jannine Myers

Last week I ran a half marathon, and knowing how cold it would be – for me, at least – I was worried that the combination of feeling cold before and after the race, and the intensity at which I would run, would result in post-race illness. It’s not uncommon for the body’s immune system to take a beating after a high-intensity endurance race, and since I’ve experienced that outcome more than once, I was determined to take some preventative measures this time.

Nutrition has always been my key priority beyond training itself, and so for the purpose of strengthening my immune system, I searched online for “Immunity Booster Smoothie” recipes, and chose the one that I felt would deliver the most effective results. I chose this recipe from minimalistbaker.com, and I believe it may have helped my recovery.

If any of you had seen me the morning of the run (and I know several of you did, and can attest to this), my lips were a dark blue/purple color, and my teeth were literally chattering uncontrollably. By the time I got home later that afternoon and finished soaking in a warm bath, the cold symptoms had already started: the runny nose, head congestion, watery eyes, and general muscle aches. I had to take a decongestant before I went to bed to make sure I’d sleep okay. But guess what? The next morning – no more cold symptoms. The only symptoms that remained were sore leg muscles from running a hard race.

So getting back to the smoothie – I drank a full glass daily for seven days prior to the race. And here’s why I believe it helped:

  • Sweet potato – One medium sweet potato will provide well over 100% of your daily needs for vitamin A, as well as 37% of vitamin C, 16% of vitamin B-6, 10% of pantothenic acid, 15% of potassium and 28% of manganese. You’ll also find small amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin and folate. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/281438.php
  • Orange juice – Vitamins A and C, Folate, and Copper – all help to promote a healthy immune system
  • Ginger, Cinnamon, and Turmeric – all great anti-inflammatory agents, and excellent for warding off colds
  • Flaxseed – contains ALA and lignans, both of which decrease inflammatory reactions and boost immunity http://www.flaxcouncil.ca/english/pdf/FF_Immune_R4.pdf
  • Almond Butter – contains Vitamin E, a crucial immune booster

Ready to try it? Here’s the recipe:

Immune Booster Orange Smoothie (modified from original version)

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 small cooked sweet potato (I kept the skin on, to preserve more nutrients)
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp each ground turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger (if using fresh ginger, use 1 tsp chopped)
  • 1/2 Tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Large handful ice (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. To bake your sweet potato, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and split in half lengthwise. Lightly oil and place face down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until soft – 25-30 minutes. (Or, buy one that’s already cooked, from San A)
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
  3. Pour into a glass and garnish with extra cinnamon if desired.

Enjoy!

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Carbing Up On Chemical-Laden Breads

Jannine Myers

Growing up, I remember walking to the local dairy (that’s what we call the little corner stores in New Zealand), and buying fresh bread on Sunday mornings. The bread loaves were so fresh that they were stacked – unpackaged – on large aerated baking racks. We had to eat the bread as soon as we bought it, otherwise it would dry out and go stale within a day or two. Nowadays, if you buy bread from a supermarket, you’ll be taking home a loaf that was likely baked at least two days earlier, and baked with ingredients that will preserve the bread’s freshness for several more days.

Have you ever taken a moment to look at the nutrition label on the back of the breads you buy? Take a look for example, at one of the most commonly sold breads in our commissaries here in Okinawa – Wonder Whole Grain White Bread:

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Wonder Whole Grain White Bread has a whopping 78 ingredients listed on it’s nutrition label!

Wheat Flour Enriched ( Flour , Barley Malt , Ferrous Sulfate [ Iron , Iron ] , Vitamin B [ Niacin Vitamin B3 ,Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1 { Thiamin Vitamin B1 ,Thiamin Vitamin B1 } , Riboflavin Vitamin B2 { Riboflavin Vitamin B2 } , Folic Acid Vitamin B9 ] ) , Water , Wheat Flour Whole , Corn Syrup High Fructose , Yeast , Wheat Gluten , Rice Brown Flour , Soy Fiber , Calcium Sulphate ,Contains 22% or less , Soybeans Oil , Salt , Vinegar ,Corn Starch , Wheat Starch , Soy Flour , Honey , Dough Conditioners ( May contain : , Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate ,Datem , Mono and Diglycerides , Mono And Diglycerides Ethoxylated , Dicalcium Phosphate , and/or , Calcium Dioxide ) , Yeast Nutrients ( May contain : , Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate , Datem , Mono and Diglycerides ,Mono And Diglycerides Ethoxylated , Dicalcium Phosphate , and/or , Calcium Dioxide , May contain : ,Ammonium Sulfate , Ammonium Chloride , Monocalcium Phosphate , and/or , Ammonium Phosphate ) , Yeast Nutrients ( May contain : , Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate ,Datem , Mono and Diglycerides , Mono And Diglycerides Ethoxylated , Dicalcium Phosphate , and/or , Calcium Dioxide , May contain : , Ammonium Sulfate , Ammonium Chloride , Monocalcium Phosphate , and/or , Ammonium Phosphate ) , Enrichment ( Vitamin E Acetate , Ferrous Sulfate [ Iron , Iron ] , Zinc Oxide , Calcium Sulphate ,Niacin Vitamin B3 , Vitamin D , Pyridoxine Hydrochloride HCl [ Pyridoxine Vitamin B6 ] , Folic Acid Vitamin B9 ,Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1 [ Thiamin Vitamin B1 ,Thiamin Vitamin B1 ] , Vitamin B12 ) , Enzymes , Whey ,Calcium Propionate , To Retain Freshness , Soy Lecithin

Or, how about Nature’s Own Enriched Honey Wheat Bread:

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Unbleached, Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Honey, Sugar, Wheat Gluten, Whole Wheat Flour, Rye Flour, Wheat Bran, Contains 2% or Less of Each of the Following: Yeast, Soy Flour, Salt, Soybean Oil, Dough Conditioners (Contains One or More of the Following: Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Calcium Stearoyl Lactylate, Monoglycerides, Mono- and Diglycerides, Distilled Monoglycerides, Calcium Peroxide, Calcium Iodate, DATEM, Ethoxylated Mono- and Diglycerides, Enzymes, Ascorbic Acid), Cultured Wheat Flour, Vinegar, Calcium Sulfate, Yeast Food (Ammonium Sulfate), Monocalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Calcium Carbonate.

30+ ingredients! If that doesn’t alarm you, then consider the potential side effects of some food additives that have been linked to specific illnesses and cancers (and these are in several commercially-sold breads), for example:

  • Mono- and diglycerides – these are emulsifiers that are used in bread to help prolong shelf life. They typically contain trans-fats, which we now know raise bad cholesterol levels, and lower good cholesterol. The caveat here, is that food manufacturers do not have to mention that the mono- and diglycerides in their products most likely contain trans-fats.
  • Azodicarbonamide – this is an artificial chemical used to bleach flour. It is banned in Europe and Australia because of it’s link to respiratory issues, allergies, and asthma.
  • Calcium Propionate – this is an antifungal used as a preservative. It’s believed to also cause permanent damage to the stomach lining and cause ulcers.
  • Bromide (listed in some breads as potassium bromate) – it supposedly makes the dough more elastic and able to stand up well to commercial baking tools. Bromate has been linked with several cancers, but especially cancer in the thyroid. It’s often used in fast food rolls and buns, and in pizza dough.

These are just a few of the controversial ingredients used in today’s commercially sold breads. Consider buying instead, organic-labeled breads that tend to have a much shorter and safer ingredient list, or better still, make your own bread.

Here’s a recipe from KingArthurFlour.com; it’s easy to make, and doesn’t involve any kneading. Besides tasting great, it has just eight ingredients:

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons molasses, maple syrup, dark corn syrup, or brown sugar corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups King Arthur whole wheat flour, white whole wheat preferred

Directions

Heavily grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. This loaf tends to stick, so be sure to grease the pan thoroughly with non-stick vegetable oil spray.

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Beat the mixture vigorously for about 3 minutes; an electric mixer set on high speed works well here. You should have a very sticky dough. It won’t be pourable, but neither will it be kneadable. Scoop it into the prepared pan.

Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes; it should just about rise to the rim of the pan, perhaps just barely cresting over the rim. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

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Uncover the bread, and bake it for about 40 to 45 minutes, tenting it with aluminum foil after 20 minutes. The bread is done when it’s golden brown on top. Remove it from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out onto a rack.

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Cool the bread completely before slicing it.

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References:

Donsky, A., & Tsakos, L. (2013, August 28). Scary Ingredients Used in Bread Manufacturing. Retrieved December 11, 2014.

Weil, M.D., A. (2012, July 16). Q & A Library. Retrieved December 11, 2014, from http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401144/A-Carcinogen-in-Your-Bread.html

Yoquinto, L. (2012, March 16). The Truth About Potassium Bromate. Retrieved December 11, 2014

The Side Effects of Calcium Propionate. (2011, March 28). Retrieved December 11, 2014, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/314019-the-side-effects-of-calcium-propionate/

Why I Never Eat Commercial Bread. (2012, January 31). Retrieved December 11, 2014, from http://realfoodforager.com/why-i-never-eat-commercial-

Nicciola For Nutella Junkies

Jannine Myers

Are you a Nutella junkie? And a runner? If you answered yes to both these questions, keep reading. You’ll be pleased to know that your favorite combination of Hazelnut and Chocolate has been mindfully put together in a Hammer gel formula that will not only give you all the endurance you need, but also the same amazing taste experience as a huge spoonful of Nutella.

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Some of you may be wondering, “Why not go straight for the Nutella?” Surely it has similar nutrition components, or at least enough sugar to provide a decent burst of energy. You’re right – it has plenty of sugar. In fact, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, a leading obesity expert and physician at the University of Ottawa and Bariatric Medical Institute, explains that two tablespoons of Nutella (one serving size), has approximately 5.5 teaspoons of sugar. That converts to around 22g of sugar, and that’s in addition to the 21g of sugar that is already naturally present in Nutella. Compare that with just 25g total sugar in Hammer’s new Hazelnut gel (called Nocciola – pronounced “No-CHO-la”).

Here’s two more comparisons:

  • Nutella fat content 12g (per serving) versus 2.5g fat in Nicciola
  • Nutella sodium content 15mg (per serving) versus 40mg sodium in Nicciola

Interested in trying Nicciola? Buy now from Hammer and get your supply before Christmas! And, as an added bonus, try using Nicciola in other creative ways, such as these – suggested by other athletes:

  • a pancake or waffle syrup
  • an ice cream topping
  • over bacon
  • with a banana
  • an oatmeal sweetener

Or, do what I did and make a hazelnut granola:

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup “extra dark” cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp each of nutmeg, ginger, and cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 packets Hammer Hazelnut-Chocolate gel (Nicciola)
  • 2 tbsps agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2-3 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until well blended. Spoon mixture onto a baking tray and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Let cool, then store in an airtight container. Serve with organic yogurt and fresh or frozen berries.