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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

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 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

Categories
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

Categories
Vegan Nutrition

Omega 3 On A Vegan Diet – What Do You Have To Know?

Omega 3 On Vegan Diet

There is a common misconception that it is difficult to get enough Omega 3 on a vegan diet. Most people believe that the number one source of Omega 3 is fish.

Let’s see why Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for our body, why the believe of fish being the only Omega 3 source is not true and how we can ensure an adequate Omega 3 consumption on a vegan diet.

 

Function

Omega 3 fatty acids are, as mentioned above, essential for our body, which means that our body can not synthesize this nutrient itself and it needs to be supplied from the outside.

Omega 3 has many functions in our organism:

  • important component of the human cell membrane
  • highly concentrated in the brain and nerve cells (especially DHA)
  • plays an important role in the development of retina and brain in the growth phase

There are two types of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) & DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

EPA & DHA, which is mostly found in animal products, is the direct form of Omega 3, whereas ALA (mostly found in plant products) is the indirect from.

Our body can only make use of EPA & DHA. Therefore, when plant products are consumed, our body first needs to convert ALA into EPA & DHA.

 

Omega 3 fatty acids & Omega 6 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA) have anti-inflammatory potential. It expands our blood vessels and thus can lower or balance blood pressure. It harmonizes the blood lipid image and has positive effects on the cardiovascular system and rheumatic diseases.

Omega 6 fatty acids, on the other hand, can promote inflammatory processes.

Omega 6 in animal products have arachidonic acid, plant products have linoleic acids, which have to be converted to arachidonic acid in the body.

Both conversions, ALA into EPA or DHA and linoleic acid into arachidonic acid use the same enzymes. That means that they are both “competing” for the same enzyme.

It matters how much of Omega 3 and Omega 6 is consumed, as even a small imbalance can have certain effects.

An optimal ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 would be 5:1 (the smaller the better)

Good plant sources of Omega 3 are:

  • flax seeds
  • hemp seeds
  • chia seeds
  • walnuts
  • and all of the related oils 

(Note: All these foods also have Omega 6, but with a good ratio to Omega 3)

High concentrations of Omega 6 can be found in sunflower seeds and oil, pumpkin seeds and oil, most nuts (almonds, brazil buts, peanuts and hazelnuts) and plant oils such as wheat germ, thistle, corn germ, sesame and soybean oil).

Micro algae and linseed oil can be good sources of Omega 3 as they have DHA and EPA (this is where fish get their O3 from).

As a summary, vegans should not be too worried about not getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids, when a whole food plant based diet is followed and the above mentioned foods are incorporated regularly into the diet. Important to remember is that omega-3 fatty acids should be balanced with the amount of omega-6 fatty acids consumed through diet to counteract inflammatory processes in the body.

 

With love,

Jess x

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Vegan Facts Vegan Nutrition Vegan Tips

Cow’s Milk vs. Plant Milk (Nutrients, Environment, Animals)

Cow’s Milk vs. Plant Milk

What are the differences of cow’s milk vs. plant milk? As plant milk is starting to become more popular all over the world, the demand of cow’s milk is decreasing. People are slowly starting to understand that cow’s milk might not be the best for health, the environment and the animals.

Dairy products can be associated with some health problems. Milk is high in cholesterol and saturated fat, of which both have the possibility to increase the risk of cancer, such as prostate and breast cancer. Also, dairy products contain hormones, pesticides and puss.

At the same time consumers might be afraid that by cutting out dairy, they might be missing some important nutrients such as calcium and vitamin b2. Let’s have a look at these nutrients in cow’s milk vs. plant milk.

Nutrients

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, which is important for calcium balance, bone metabolism and the immune system.

Cow’s milk does contain vitamin D, but the amount is usually very small.

Plant milk only contains vitamin D, if it has been fortified. Generally, it is safer to rely on enough sunlight during summer days and vitamin D supplements in order to get an adequate amount of vitamin D. 

Calcium

As everyone knows, calcium is important for strong bones and teeth.

Calcium is generally lower in plant milks, but many companies fortify their plant milks with it.

Great plant sources of calcium are: kale, broccoli, pak choi, wild herbs, dried fruit, nuts, almonds, seeds and pseudo-grains (like amaranth) and some legumes (like tofu, soya beans, lupin, black beans, white beans, red beans).

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

Yes, cow’s milk does contain vitamin B2, but so do kale, mushrooms, asparagus, almonds, nutritional yeast, avocado and wild rice

In comparison: cow’s milk has 180µg per 100g, kale 182µg per 100g, mushrooms 389µg per 100g and broccoli 177µg per 100g.

Whole grains and legumes can also be a good source of vitamin B2.

Iron

Iron is known to be a critical nutrient in the vegan diet, but also for women in general. Iron is an important component of red blood cells, which carry oxygen from your lungs to your whole body.

I personally think it’s super cool that there is more iron in plant milk than there is in cow’s milk. In comparison there is about 60µg in 100g of cow’s milk while there can be around 570µg in 100g of soy milk.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is needed for brain function, nerve tissue health and the production of red blood cells.

Conventional plant milks are sometimes fortified with vitamin B12, though it is not the best source of vitamin B12. It is always recommended to supplement vitamin B12.

In addition to that, many people have a lactose intolerance, which can lead to diarrhoea, bloating and severe stomach cramps.

Environment

Many think that soy products are responsible for deforestation. Most soybeans, which are used for soy milk, usually come from France, Italy, Canada and West Europe.

98% of all soy that is being grown worldwide is used for animal food. Only 2% is being used for products, which we consume (most producers put the place of production on their packaging).

Soy beans that are used for animal food usually come from Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and the US, where rainforests are being destroyed for this reason.

Two research groups from Sweden have analysed the life cycle of soy and oat milk vs. cow’s milk. 

This is what they have found out:

When it comes to land consumption, soy milk and oat milk use 39% and 21% respectively, compared to cow’s milk with 100%. Both plant milks also create less greenhouse gases (cow’s milk: 100%, soy milk: 24%, oat milk: 31%).

UNESCO-IHE analysed the water usage of soy milk and burgers as well as cow’s milk and beef burgers. The results are crazy! While it takes 158 litres of water to get a 150g soy burger, it takes 2350 litres (!!!!!) of water to get get a 150g beef burger. It takes 296 litres of water to get 1 litre of soy milk, while for 1 litre of cow’s milk, it takes 1050 litres of water. 

Animals

Not only does it seem that the consumption of plant milk has a lot of benefits for our health and the environment, but it seems like it has a lot of benefits for the animals, too.

A cow, just like any other mammal (including us humans) produces milk only when pregnant. A dairy cow needs to constantly produce milk. For this reason cows are being forcibly inseminated every year. After the cow gives birth to her baby, both, mother and calf are being separated within hours or minutes, which is very traumatic for both parts. The cow will be inseminated again, six to eight weeks after giving birth.

While female cows all face the same destiny and become a dairy cow, male calves are being sold to fattening farms, where they spend a few weeks gaining weight, until they are being sent to slaughter.

A life span of a cow is between 18 and 22 years. In the dairy and slaughter industry most of these animals die way before. A dairy cow, when no longer able to produce milk, will be slaughtered at the age of 4.5 to 6 years.

Nowadays there are so many choices and brands. More and more stores offer soy, oat, almond, cashew, hazelnut, coconut, rice, hemp and macadamia milk.

I personally love coconut and oat milk. Which is your favourite plant milk?

With love,

Jess x

Sources:
ProVeg (2018). Treatment of cows in the dairy industry.
Ecodemy (2019). Pflanzenmilch – der Siegeszug einer Milch, die eigentlich gar nicht so heißen darf
Categories
Vegan Nutrition

Vegan Grocery Shopping List – 10 Foods a Healthy Vegan Should Have at Home

I know that transitioning into a vegan diet is not easy. Even as a vegan it can get confusing on what to eat or what foods to buy. It took me a long time to figure it out myself. Since I started studying vegan nutrition, things got a little clearer and I couldn’t be happier to share my knowledge with you. My goal is to help every single one of you live a healthier and happier life.

The first step is to make sure that you have the right foods at home.

This grocery shopping list, which contains 10 food groups, will hopefully be of big help when doing your next vegan food shopping:

 

1)LEGUMES

Beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, dips like bean dip or hummus, tofu and tempeh.  

Legumes are one of the healthiest foods!

Why?

It is:

  • loaded with fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients
  • packed with protein, iron, zinc, folate, potassium
  • naturally low in saturated fat and sodium
  • has no cholesterol
  • has the lowest glycemic index food out there

 

2) UNPROCESSED WHOLE GRAINS

Amaranth, barley, corn, spelt, wild rice, brown rice, oats, quinoa, wild rice, buckwheat, rye, bulgur, couscous, whole wheat pasta

What are the benefits?

  • high in fiber
  • high in vitamins, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants and phytochemicals
  • good source of vitamin E and B vitamins
  • good source of complex carbohydrates and protein

 

3)DARK LEAFY GREENS & CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

Kale, mustard greens, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, romaine lettuce, etc.

You should consume these foods daily, as they are:

  • a good source of lutein and A,C and K vitamins
  • a good source of calcium
  • high in fiber
  • a good source of folate and minerals

 

5)OTHER VEGETABLES

Sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, artichokes, aubergine, asparagus, celery, fennel, mushrooms, peppers, beetroot, radish, squash, etc.

The list could go on and on. You will get the most health benefits by mixing it up and getting in as many different vegetables as possible into your diet.

 

6)BERRIES

Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, goji berries, açaí berries, cranberries, grapes, etc.

Berries can be considered a real superfood, as they are low in calories, high in anti-cancer and cardiovascular protective phytonutrients/antioxidants. Especially the blueberry is high in vitamin C and E, iron, manganese, copper and beta-carotine. 

 

7) OTHER FRUITS

Apples, bananas, mangos, kiwis, oranges, papayas, apricots, figs, pomelo, pineapple, pomegranate, peach, passionfruit, nectarine, watermelon, etc. 

I suggest buying seasonal fruit, as it is fresher, it tastes better and it is better for the environment and the economy.

 

8)OMEGA 3 SEEDS

hemp seeds, flax seeds and/or chia seeds

Only 2 types of fats are essential in our diet, which are Omega 3 and Omega 6

We do not have to worry much about Omega 6, because we naturally consume it in our daily diet. Actually most of us consume a high amount of these healthy fats.

A whole food plant based diet can help make sure to have a healthy balance between Omega 6 and Omega 3. The best ratio would be 5:1 (Omega 6: Omega 3), the lower the better.

 

9)NUTS

Walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, macadamia, cashew nuts, pistachios, peanuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, etc.

There is no reason to be scared of the healthy fats in nuts, as they come with a lot of health benefits, such as:

  • high in protein and fiber, which will help you feel satisfied and fuller for longer
  • contain nutrients such as vitamin E, potassium and magnesium

Nuts easily absorb pesticides. That’s why you should make sure to always buy organic.

Recommendation: a handful of nuts a day

 

10)SPICES

Turmeric, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, curry powder, etc.

Good spices do the trick and make a meal super delicious. That’s why you should always have some basics (the ones mentioned above) available in your kitchen.