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Seeking Jess Vegan Nutrition Vegan Recipes Vegan Tips

Recipe: Quick Tofu & Broccoli (VEGAN)

This Quick Vegan Tofu & Broccoli Recipe is what you have been missing your whole life. Trust me 🙂

Honestly, I don’t think I have ever cooked something so quick with so little effort. And it just tasted bomb. Like seriously. I didn’t want the meal to end.

Portions: 2-3

This meal has 9.1g of protein and 60g of carbs. It’s also high in iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C and folate.

Quick Vegan Tofu & Broccoli Recipe:

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of bulgur
  • 2 tsp oil (preferably sunflower)
  • 3 gloves of garlic
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 cups tofu
  • 3 cups broccoli
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • salt & pepper for taste
  • siracha for taste

Preparation:

  • cook up 1 cup of bulgur with 2 cups of water and add 1 tbs of vegetable broth
  • heat up some oil in a pot, add the garlic and onion and let cook for 2-3 minutes
  • mix up 1/2 cup of vegetable broth mixed with water, soy sauce and mustard
  • add tofu and broccoli to the pan and pour over with mixture
  • let cook for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat
  • add salt and pepper for taste
  • serve and add siracha for taste

If you would like to see the whole macro- & micronutrient count, make sure to check out cronometer.com.

Enjoy 🙂 

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Seeking Jess Vegan Nutrition Vegan Tips

Iron A Vegan Diet and Food Combinations

Iron A Vegan Diet & Food Combinations

Iron is seen as one of the critical nutrients on the vegan diet as well as on an omnivore diet worldwide. Generally, it is possible to cover iron needs with a plant based diet, if the food intake is optimally combined. It is also important to mention that some have higher iron needs such as pregnant women, breastfeed women, children and teenagers.

What do we need iron for?

Iron is needed for the transportation of oxygen in our blood, as iron makes up the biggest part of haemoglobin. In the muscles iron has the role to store oxygen. It is also important for energy production as well as the creation of transmitters in the body.

When there is a lack of iron in our body, iron reservoirs are activated. If the reservoirs are not enough, the resorption of the iron increases through nutrition.

A lack of iron can lead to a decreased physical capacity and disturb thermoregulation. A chronically low intake of iron can lead to iron deficiency anaemia.

Bioavailability of iron

Iron is available in both, animal and plant products. It depends on the type of iron if it is well or less well absorbed.

In our body we have the bivalent iron, also called heme-iron. Because of our similarity to animals, this type of iron can also be found in animal products.

Plant products on the other hand have trivalent iron, also called non-heme iron. Trivalent iron tends to form complexes whilst the solubility is very low, even at a pH of> 5. Therefore, it is less well absorbed by the body than divalent iron. In addition to that, it can interact with other food components or be influenced both positively and negatively in the absorption process.

The bioavailability of heme-iron is 15-35%, whereas for non-heme iron it is 2-20%.

How To Increase Iron Resorption

Adding Vitamin C, fruit acids, organic acids and sulfur-containing amino acids to meals can increase iron resorption. Especially Vitamin C can increase resorption by 3 to 4 times.

Some compounds such as oxalates, phytates, tannines and other polyphenols can inhibit iron absorption. Phytates in legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains create complexes with minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc, which inhibit resorption. Soaking, fermentation and sprouting can reduce the amount of phytates.

Lack of Iron

As mentioned before, a lack of iron can lead to anaemia. If there is a lack of iron diagnosed, supplements can be taken when consulted with a doctor. It is not recommended to take supplements when no diagnose has been made.

Plant Sources Of Iron

  • Legumes: lentils, beans, chickpeas, tofu
  • Nuts and seeds: pumpkin, sesame (tahini), flax seeds, pistachios, sunflower seeds
  • Whole grains and pseudo cereal: amaranth, quinoa, millet, oats, spelt, brown rice
  • Vegetables: raw fennel, purslane, endive, lamb’s lettuce, cooked salsify, rocket, zucchini
  • Dried fruit: peach, apricot, banana, dates

Generally it is again important to highlight that iron is not only critical for vegans or vegetarians but also for omnivores. Therefore, it is important to smartly combine food.

Some examples:

  • Hummus with bell pepper sticks
  • Orange juice and oatmeal
  • Fermented soy products such as miso or tempeh
  • Dried fruits and nuts
  • Lentils and tomato sauce
  • Dark chocolate and strawberries
  • Tofu, Broccoli & Tahini

I hope that this article could help you understand the importance of iron for our body and on a vegan diet in general. If there are more questions, feel free to reach out to me at any time.

If you are not sure about how much iron you are getting into your diet, you can always track it using cronomenter.com. I personally really enjoy it, as it really helps me understand what I need to eat in order to hi my targets.

With love,

Jess

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Seeking Jess Vegan Nutrition Vegan Tips

Vegan Recipe: One Pot Mexican Quinoa Bowl

Vegan Recipe: One Pot Mexican Quinoa Bowl

This vegan meal has been one of the yummiest I have ever made (my boyfriend approved). And the best thing about it? It is super quick and easy because it honestly doesn’t need a lot of cooking experience. I mean, who doesn’t love these kind of meals where you can just throw everything together?

In addition to that, it has some super healthy ingredients such as quinoa (more to its health benefits by simplyquinoa) and beans (also high in protein and super nutrient dense).

Honestly, don’t miss out on this recipe! It is also great for bulk meals as it can be easily stored in the fridge for a few days.

Vegan Recipe: One Pot Mexican Quinoa Bowl

Portions:

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 cans canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 bell peppers (colours up to you)
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Can of Kidney Beans
  • 1 Can of Corn
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Broth
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Heat up some oil in a pot, add the red onion and let it cook for around 2-3 minutes
  • Add the garlic and bell peppers and let cook for around 3-4 minutes
  • Add all of the other ingredients, except for the lime, let it cook with the lid on for around 20-25 minutes, make sure to check regularly
  • Lastly, add the lime juice and salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish with some avocado and/or cherry tomatoes

Serve and enjoy!

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Seeking Jess Vegan Nutrition Vegan Tips

Vegan Recipe: Chickpea & Lentil Salad

Vegan Recipe: Chickpea & Lentil Salad

Are you looking for a quick, nutritious vegan meal that is high in protein? Then you are right here. I prepared this salad for a vegan dinner party and it literally look me 10 minutes to make!

And the best part of it? You are having legumes, which are one of the healthiest foods out there!

Why are legumes great?

As mentioned above, legumes are a great source of vegan protein

They are also:

  • high in fiber
  • complex carbohydrates, which means they will keep you fuller for longer, providing you with energy
  • high in B-vitamins
  • high in iron, calcium, phosphorous, zinc and magnesium
  • good source of folate
  • low in saturated fat and have no cholesterol

These are the macronutrients you will get through this meal:

  • Protein: 67.2g
  • Net Carbs: 136.2g
  • Fat: 28.5g

Total Calories: ~ 1255 kcal

If you would like to get a better into depth info about the macro- & micronutrients of this vegan chickpea & lentil salad, make sure to check out cronometer.com

Recipe: Vegan Chickpea & Lentil Salad

Portions: 2

What you will need:

  • 2 handful of parsley
  • 2 cups lentils
  • 1/3 cup cucumber
  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 1/3 red onion
  • 2 tbsps mustard
  • 1 tbsp hummus
  • salt to taste
  • 1/3 cup tomatoes
  • 1 full red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup green bell pepper
  • juice from 1/2 half lemon 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (optional)

Preparation:

  • cook lentils and chickpeas or rinse cooked ones with water
  • cut up vegetables and place everything in a bowl with the chickpeas and lentils
  • add hummus, mustard, olive oil, lemon and salt & pepper to taste

And lastly, serve and enjoy!

With love,

Jess x

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Seeking Jess Vegan Nutrition Vegan Tips

How To Make The Perfect Buddha Bowl

How To Make The Perfect Buddha Bowl

If you are new into a plant based diet or you just really like nurturing yourself with the best whole foods, this post is perfect for you.

I am literally obsessed with buddha bowls! A buddha bowl is usually vegan/vegetarian and it is a combination of many different food items put together and served cold. Sounds like the perfect lunch or dinner during a hot summer, right?

So now the big question:

How To Make The Perfect Buddha Bowl?

1. Add your base

A perfect base are complex carbohydrates or whole grains. These are one of the healthiest foods and should be a staple in a whole food plant based diet. Whole grains are packed with fiber, proteins, B vitamins, antioxidants and minerals.

Great whole grains as a base are:

  • Amaranth
  • Brown (or white) rice
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat

2. Add your green base

Greens are full of vitamins and minerals, are high in water content and low in calories.

These are some greenst that are perfect for your buddha bowl:

  • Lettuce
  • Spinach (Iron, Calcium and Vitamin A)
  • Kale (Calcium, Vitamin K)
  • Rocket (Vitamin A, Vitamin K)
  • Bok Choy (Vitamin A, Vitamin C)

3. Add your protein

It is important to start with the fact that we don’t need as much protein as most of us believe. All we need is for the protein to make up 10% – 25% of our diet, which can be easily achieved by adding beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds into our diet.

Add these vegan proteins to your buddha bowl:

  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Falafel
  • Beans
  • Hummus
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils

4. Add your healthy fats

Whole healthy fats are so important to add to our diet regularly. If you follow a plant based/vegan diet, make sure to get a high amount of Omega 3 into your diet, which you can get through Chia, Hemp or Flax Seeds as well as Walnuts.

Add these healthy fats to your buddha bowl:

  • Avocado
  • Flax Seeds
  • Olives
  • Nuts
  • Hemp Seeds

5. Add your veggies

This is definitely my favourite part when putting together a buddha bowl. Add all of your favourite vegetables!

Some veggies I personally love to add are:

  • Cucumber
  • Peppers
  • Corn
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Beets

6. Add your dressing

And to perfectly round your buddha bowl up, you should not forget the perfect dressing. I personally like to keep it simple by adding a few of those:

  • Tahini
  • Lemon
  • Soy Sauce
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Vegan Mayo
  • Peanut Butter Sauce
  • Mustard
  • Apple Cider Vinegar

I really hope I could make this summer a little bit tastier for you by sharing this quick how to make a buddha bowl recipe.

With love,

Jess x

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Seeking Jess Vegan Nutrition Vegan Tips

The Vegan Diet: Best Nutrition Guide & Critical Nutrients

The Vegan Diet: Best Nutrition Guide & Critical Nutrients

Recently I have released two podcast episodes covering exactly this topic. As there is a lot of information covered in both episodes (#5 & #6), I decided that I am going to give you a small summary and share a few tips with you, so you can make sure you are getting all of the essential nutrients in your diet.

In case you would like to listen to the podcast episodes first, you can do so here (also available on iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher):

Generally, I always advocate for a whole food plant based diet, as I believe it to be the healthiest. A whole food plant based diet is made up of 5 main food groups which are: whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits and nuts & seeds.

I personally follow the 80-20 rule. This means that 80% of the time I eat a whole food plant based diet and the other 20% I like to indulge in vegan junk food like ice cream, pizza, burgers, etc.

If you are currently transitioning into veganism or you are already vegan, it is important to make regular blood checks. If it you are low on some nutrient, it is advised to work closely with your doctor or nutritionist. And in addition to that, work on an adequate meal plan and/or supplementation.

And now let’s have a look at the Nutrition Guide for a Vegan Diet and the list of nutrients that might be critical on a vegan/plant based diet and what to do:

Omega 3

Omega 3 on a vegan diet

Iron

iron on a vegan diet

Vitamin D

vitamin d on a vegan diet

Iodine

iodine on a vegan diet

B12

Calcium

B2

Selenium

I hope this information could help you in some kind of way. You can always reach out to me at any time if you need more help or advice. I love connecting with every single one of you.

With love,

Jess x

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Seeking Jess Vegan Nutrition Vegan Tips

10 Ways To Consume Less Sugar

Everyone loves the taste of something sweet, which in most cases is caused by added sugar.

First of all, let’s answer the question: What is sugar?

Sugar is a carbohydrate. Glucose is the most common carbohydrate and the most important and quickest source of energy.

Refined sugar in processed foods is the bad one as it has no vital substances or fiber. It has literally no use for the functions of our body. Overconsumption of sugar can be linked to several diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

I personally try to limit my consumption of sugar as much as I can, but I do like to indulge in sweets once in a while.

A few other things that have helped me reduce my sugar consumption are:

  1. Substitute sugar with dried fruit like dates, dried figs and raisins
  2. Spice things up with cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.
  3. Substitute overripe bananas (e.g. add to oatmeal or as sweetener in many recipes)
  4. Try to not consume anything sweet for 2 weeks, your taste buds will adapt very quickly and you will crave it less
  5. Use dark chocolate or cocoa powder
  6. Drink herbal teas with a lot of flavour (especially fruit)
  7. Make healthy vegan desserts out of raw ingredients
  8. Try to eat more nuts (fat content can reduce sugar craving)
  9. Try to eat more fruit and don’t be scared of the sugar in it (check blogpost)
  10. Swap out the soda for flavoured water (cold water with orange, lemon, cucumber, strawberry slices)

Lastly, I would say that you should always make sure to check food labels, as there is sugar in almost anything! Check out this blogpost for the different names sugar can have.

With love,

Jess x

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Seeking Jess Vegan Nutrition

Is Oil Healthy, and if So, Which One?

Is Oil Healthy and if So, Which One?

Fat make up one of the three macronutrients. While there is a lot of opinions on the internet about how much fat we should be consuming, most organisations recommend the fat content not to exceed the amount of 30% of a diet. And this is mainly healthy fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds. Oils should only make a small part of it, due to the fact that oil are very high in calories (9kcal/g) and low in their energy density.

There are some nutritional benefits such as vitamin A, D, E & K, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fats.

Most of us like oil due to its taste and aromas. And let’s be honest, oils make so many things taste better.

But first let’s answer the question: What are vegetable oils?

Vegetable oils are the isolated fat component and thus an extract of a high fat plant such as seeds or nuts. In this process the fat component is extracted and only a minimal part of the valuable ingredients is kept as most of the nutrients are lost. The energy value of the extracted oil is also much higher compared to the actual nut or seeds. That’s why daily consumption should be kept to a minimum. Usually oils are liquid at 20°C and fats are solid.

Which oils are the healthiest and best for cooking?

Firstly, it depends on the quality of oils:

  • Cold pressed virgin oils: can contain more valuable nutrients compared to refined oils
  • Organic oils: low pesticide content, which is better for us as a consumer and for the environment
  • Type of fat: Saturated fat (coconut oil) – not the healthiest; monounsaturated fat (olive oil) – little healthier due to oxidation stability; polyunsaturated fat (essential) – need to consume through food, not that stable, but are the healthiest

Which oils have a high smoking point?

A high smoking point means that these oils can be heated very high. These oils are coconut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil and soybean oil.

What oil is best for salad dressings?

The best choice would be oils with polyunsaturated fatty acids such as flax oil, hemp oil or walnut (these should not be heated).

What can I do with olive oil?

You can moderately heat olive oil or also use it for salad dressings.

What else should you know?

You have to keep in mind that generally, speaking from a nutritional point of view, oils have less positive value than the product it has been extracted of. Hence, it is always better to use the food item in its whole form (flax seeds over flaxseed oil).

In case you have an underlying disease (such as cardiovascular disease), it would make sense to completely stay away from any type of oil.

Generally I would say that I personally try to avoid cooking with oil as much as I can, as I do not see that much nutritional value in it and I prefer the whole food over the refined one. But I try not to avoid it any cost, as for example most restaurants add oils to their dishes.

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Seeking Jess Vegan Facts Vegan Nutrition

Is Veganism The Secret To Longevity?

When it comes to the term “healthy diet”, I feel like every single person is having their own opinion about that. That’s why it is difficult to generalise this term and say that a specific diet, such as for example the vegan diet, is the healthiest.

If you have been vegan for a while now, like me, you also know that you can eat only junk food and still be vegan. So, is a vegan diet still the healthiest? I don’t think so.

I personally believe that it is up to everyone to understand what is healthiest for them and make sure that we have an understanding about how our body works.

I personally find it super interesting to have a look at how our diet has evolved. When we do so, we can see that our diet has changed a lot. If we go a little further, we can also see that diets differs from region to region.

There is one specific region that has caught not only my attention, but also the attention of many others. Why? Because these people are known to have lived a long life, some of them becoming 100 years or older.

What place am I speaking about?

It is Okinawa.

Okinawa is located in the south of Japan.

The most interesting part is that we might be able to see a link between nutrition and why these people have lived there for so long. There are 50 people to 100,000 people in Okinawa that are 100 years or older. When compared to Germany it is only 17 to 100,000 people. In year 2000 women could live up to 86 years and men to 78 years.

When we look at the typical western diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer or coronary heart diseases, the numbers are very low. These people are also known to work out a lot and be very active. Of course, one argument could be that these people are just very lucky to have good genes. But another thing we could do is to have a look at their diet.

So how does the diet of the people in Okinawa look like?

  1. It is mostly plant-based. A big part of their diet is made out of sweet potatoes.
  2. They eat only until they are 80% full, which means that they don’t overeat.
  3. They see food as a medicine. They are conscious about what type of food they put into their bodies.
  4. Their sugar and fat intake is very low.
  5. Their protein intake is very low. Most of the protein comes from soy products, such as tofu or miso soups.
  6. They eat a lot of vitamin C, vitamin E, folate and vitamin B6.
  7. They get vitamin D through sunlight exposure.
  8. Their drinking water is very rich in calcium.
  9. They consume a lot of potassium, while their sodium intake is low.
  10. Their consumption of saturated fat is very low.
  11. They consume a lot of complex carbohydrates (low glycemic index).
  12. They consume a lot of herbs & spices.
  13. Meat is consumed only once a month.
  14. Alcohol consumption is very limited.
  15. Fish consumption is eaten but not regularly.

So generally we can say that the food that the people of Okinawa eat is very low in energy but very high in their nutritional value. Vegetables have very low calories, of which you can eat a lot of while getting in a lot of amazing nutrients. And because of their calorie restriction they live by, the older generation is not overweight and lives longer.

Unfortunately these are all facts that have been measured before the 1960s. Now, a lot of things have changed not only in Japan but in the world in general. People are now starting to gain weight in Okinawa and people do not live as long anymore. They do not move that much and they now consume a lot of meat, fish, white rice and bread.

As mentioned before, their longevity might have been due to their genes. But when we take a closer look on how the diet has shifted and what is currently happening over there, we might be able to see a correlation between diet and longevity.

Now it is up to you to decide what you want to believe.

With love,

Jess x

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Vegan Nutrition Vegan Tips

Is Sugar In Fruit Bad For Us?

Is sugar in fruit bad for us?

I hear so many people saying that the sugar in fruit can make you gain weight.

For that matter it is important to mention that sugar does not always equal sugar and that there are different types of it.

Generally, a high consumption of sugar is associated with several diseases. Most of us know that sugary candy bars and chocolate are not part of a healthy diet.

It is important to know that sugars belong to carbohydrates and the carbohydrate glucose is the most important and quickest source of energy.

But which sugar are we talking about? As you probably already know, the refined sugar in processed foods is the bad one as it has no vital substances or fiber. It has literally no use for the functions of our body.

So the sugar that can be used as a source of energy are the complex carbohydrates. The less processed the food, the better. These kind of foods are whole grains, potatoes, legumes and vegetables. You do not have to worry about the sugar in these kind of foods. 

The sugar that you have to worry about is the hidden sugar in processed foods, which are added in order to make the products taste better.

Some examples of foods with hidden sugar are: soft drinks, baked goods, sandwich spreads, some plant milks, ketchup, salad dressings, foods in cans, cereal or cereal bars, ready-made meals, sauces, plant based yogurts, fruit juice, nut butters, dried fruit, coffee drinks, bottled tea, protein powder, tomato sauce, energy bars, instant oatmeal, packaged fruits, etc.

One thing we also have to remember is that sugar has many different names on labels. Make sure to have a lookout at these names:

  • words ending with “ose”: fructose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, glucose, lactose, galactose
  • everything with syrup: high fructos corn syrup (HFCS), agave syrup, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, corn syrup, malt syrup, rice syrup,
  • everything with “sugar”
  • fruit juice
  • apple sweetener,
  • dextrin,
  • fruit extract,
  • fruit puree,
  • fruit powder,
  • concentrated fruit juice
  • barley malt
  • wheat dextrin
  • honey
So now back to the main question if sugar in fruit is bad for us

Studies show that the sugar in fruit does not have the same negative effects on our body as the refined sugars.

Fruit is rich in secondary phytonutrients, fiber, micronutrients, it has anti- inflammatory effects, it improves artery function and it has the possibility to reduce the risk of cancer. Due to the high water content in fruit, sugar is not as concentrated and therefore make fruit a very healthy food.

The World Health Organization suggest a consumption of minimum 400 grams of fruit and vegetables per day.

To summarise, we can say that we should not be scared of the sugar in fruit. I personally eat fruit in abundance as it makes me feel great. And I as I have a sweet tooth, fruits are the best type of treat for me.

What is your favourite fruit?

With love,

Jess x