Lettuce Discuss… What are Antioxidants?

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Antioxidants are phytochemicals. These are natural chemicals that are great for promoting health and well being in your body. They offer unique properties that help to maintain healthy cells.

Phytochemicals are non-nutritional chemicals found in plants. They have protective and disease preventing (not curing) properties.  Plants produce these chemicals to protect themselves, however these chemicals can also reduce the risk of diseases in humans. There are over a thousand known phytochemicals, the most common ones are found in Tomatoes (Lycopene), in fruits and berries (Flavanoids) and in soy (Isoflavinoids). These are all antioxidants. But before we get into antioxidants we need to understand what a “free Radical” is.

Free Radicals.

Simply free radicals are chemicals that are formed naturally in our body that have the potential to harm or damage our cells. In normal cellular functions they play an important role. However in large concentrations they can become hazardous to our bodies and cause damage to DNA, Cells, Proteins and Cell membranes. This can be caused by environmental toxins including and not limited too cigarette’s, metals, high oxygen atmospheres, and ionizing radiation (x-rays entering the atmosphere from space and exposure to radiation). These can increase the risk of cancer, heart disease and other diseases.

Antioxidants.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals. The Antioxidants interact with the free radicals and prevent them causing any harm. The body does make its own antioxidants in small doses, these are called “endogenous”. Which simply means they are produced inside the cell or organism. However, the body really relies on the “exogenous” (externally produced), antioxidants to obtain what it needs. These are called dietary antioxidants and are found in higher concentrations in dietary supplements.

Summary:

Free Radicals in large concentrations can cause damage to cells, cell membranes and proteins within our body. Antioxidants interact with the free radicals and neutralize them rendering them harmless.

Follow this link for more information http://www.phytochemicals.info/antioxidants.php

We at Lettuce Discuss… use a daily supplement to top up our intake of Antioxidants.

Our preferred supplement is from Biovea and is called “Berry Powder Blend”.

 BioveaTub

Click Image or Follow Link.  http://www.biovea.com/uk/product_detail.aspx?PID=1753&OS=204&KW=berry%20powder&cp=4&NAME=BERRY-POWDER-BLEND-Organic-Strawberry-442g

It makes a nice refreshing drink of a morning when you mix the powder with water. Organic Berry Powder Blend is an organic, blend of 12 fresh freeze-dried berries (including whole berries, seeds and juice). It is Fresh Freeze Dried and it is a Rich source of Natural Antioxidants. It tastes great and mixes easily without residue or after taste unlike so many other supplements. It is also Gluten Free, Organic, Vegan, Vegetarian, Alcohol Free

Ingredients:

Serving Size: 1 level scoop (9.8g)

Servings Per Container: 45

Amount Per Serving:

  • Organic Berry Blend: 1000mg

Containing Organic Maqui Berry(Aristotelia Chilensis), Organic Acerola Berry (Malpighia Punicifolia), Organic Blackberry(Rubus Fruticosus), Organic Blueberry(Vaccinium Angustifolium), Organic Strawberry (Fragaria Virginiana), Organic Goji Berry (Lycium Barbarum), Organic Raspberry(Rubus Idaeus), Organic Cranberry(Vaccinium Oxycoccos), Organic Yum Berry(Myrica Rubra), Organic Black Currant (Ribes Nigrum), Organic Bilberry(Vaccinium Myrtillus), Organic Lingonberry(Vaccinium Vitis-idaea), Organic Aronia Berry (Aronia Melanocarpa), Organic Concord Grape Fruit Juice Pwd. (Vitis Labrusca), and Organic Pomegranate Fruit Juice Pwd. (Punica Granatum) • Organic Stevia Leaf Extract 20 mg

Other Ingredients: Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Arabic Gum, Organic Strawberry Flavouring, and Citric Acid.

Further Reading

Phytochemicals: Antioxidants

http://www.phytochemicals.info/antioxidants.php

Free radicals

http://www.healthchecksystems.com/antioxid.htm

Stevia

http://www.livescience.com/39601-stevia-facts-safety.html

Biovea, BERRY POWDER BLEND (Organic -Strawberry) 442g 

http://www.biovea.com/uk/product_detail.aspx?PID=1753&OS=204&KW=berry%20powder&cp=4&NAME=BERRY-POWDER-BLEND-Organic-Strawberry-442g

Disclaimer

(Phytochemicals / Antioxidants are not a cure for cancer or heart disease. We have found no medical trials that suggest that Antioxidants will cure heart disease or cancer. We have only found commentaries suggesting that they will reduce the risk and help maintain a healthy body. There is no replacement for a well balanced diet. If in doubt visit your health care professional.)

Many Blessings

Mako & Hema

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Lettuce Discuss… Juicing Combinations for your General Health

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For best results drink 1 Pint per day but break it down to coincide with meal times so drink ¼ Pint with each meal and one before bed. As these are all good for you anyway you can’t over do it although you would become bored drinking the same thing every day.

If you suffer from depression Please avoid Cranberries, Rhubarb and Green Plums. The high acidic values will not help but can contribute to depression.

Anemia Blackberry & Parsley or Parsley & Grape
Arthritis Celery & Parsley
Asthma Celery & Papaya or Celery, Endive and Carrot
Blood Pressure (High) Carrot, Parsley and Celery or Grape and Carrot
Blood Pressure (Low) Parsley or Capsicum and Garlic
Catarrh, Colds etc Watercress and Apple with ¼ tsp Cream of Tartar
Circulation Beets & Blackberry or Parsley, Alfalfa & Pineapple
Colds and Sinus Celery and Grapefruit with ¼ tsp Cream of Tartar
Constipation Celery, Spinach and Grapefruit
Diarrhea Carrot and Blackberry juice
Indigestion Coconut milk, Fig, Parsley and Carrot
Insomnia Lettuce and Celery Juice
Kidney Cleanse Celery, Parsley and Asparagus or Carrot and Parsley Juice
Kidneys (Bladder Problems) Blackcurrant with Juniper Berry Tea, Celery and Pomegranate Juice
Liver Cleanse Radish & Pineapple Juice or Black Cherry Concentrate & Chlorophyll or Carrot, Beet and Cucumber Juice
Memory (Poor) Celery, Carrot and Prune Juice
Nervous Tension Celery, Carrot and Prune Juice or Lettuce and Tomato Juice
Overweight (Obesity) Beet Greens, Parsley and Celery Juice
Sinus Cayenne Powder 1tsp in 1 Cup of water
Weight Reduction Parsley, Grape & Pineapple Juice

 

Quantities:

Alfalfa Handful                                                            Asparagus 6-8 sticks

Apple 2 small                                                                Beets 2

Beet Greens 1 Cup                                                    Blackberry ½ Cup

Blackcurrant 1 cup                                                    Capsicum 1 teaspoon

Carrot 2                                                                           Coconut Milk 1 Cup

Grape ½ Cup                                                                  Endive 1

Fig 1 Cup                                                                         Garlic 2 Cloves

Grapefruit 1 whole                                                   Pineapple half small pineapple

Spinach 2 Cups                                                            Parsley Bunch

Papaya whole                                                               Pomegranate 1 whole

Radish 1 Cup                                                                 Watercress 1 pack

Lettuce Discuss … “That” Chocolate Spread!

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Before we became Vegan we both used to love this “Spread” Once we had a look inside the Ingredients…

We were amazed. Here is the break down and how they get the ingredient.

Sugar: NOT GOOD, Refined sugar is made from a processing and bleaching process, not bleach off the shelf but chemicals that react to make it white. Often Bone Char (taken from the bones of murdered cattle) is used in refining sugar. Unless you know where the sugar comes from it may not be Vegan. Know your food!

Unrefined beet sugar is perfect, no bone char is introduced anywhere near it as are turbinado sugar, organic evaporated cane juice, organic dehydrated cane juice, and organic cane sugar.

Palm Oil: NOT GOOD, Our old friend Palm Oil. Palm oil is worse in some instances than animal fats (not that I would ingest either) Palm Oil causes Hypertension, It is high in fat, it is a saturated fat, its high in cholesterol, it is also reported to block the receptors in the brain that shout out “I’m full, stop eating”. Palm Oil also causes inflammation that is linked to insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes)! It’s associated with obesity and other metabolic disorders. On a humanitarian level the planting of palms for palm oil is cutting back the natural environment for Orang Utans, if they could speak I would imagine they would hate palm oil too.

Hazelnuts: GOOD, some people are allergic to hazelnuts but they are generally good for you. They are rich in dietry fibre and folates, are a great source of energy, contain vitamin E, they are full of health promoting phyto chemicals. Pretty good and quite sweet too. We avoid them here because Hema is REALLY allergic so we have no cross contamination.

Cocoa: GOOD, Cocoa solids are one of the richest sources of flavanol antioxidants. Oh yeah, cocoa is great for migraines, menstrual pains, and just tastes really good. No complaints over cocoa.

Skim Milk: NOT GOOD, A study conducted by the University of Hawaii in 2007 suggested that drinking, using in cooking of low fat milk (skimmed) may increase the risk of low-grade prostate cancer tumors. Did you know that to get a cow to produce milk they first get it pregnant and then take the calf away so it keeps producing milk!

 Whey (milk): NOT GOOD, derived from milk see above.

 Lecithin (soy): NOT GOOD, see our blog on soy lecithin

Artificial Vanillin: NOT GOOD, artificial vanillin is made up from petroleum! Yep if you want some fuel (and I mean FOSSIL Fuels) eat nutella and other chemically derived spread! However, Organic Vanillin is good.

Next up: Our recipe for a Super Delicious Vegan Chocolate Spread!

Many Blessings!

Mako & Hema

Lettuce Discuss… The Importance of Essential Vitamin B12 for Vegan’s

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You should be getting at least 1.5 mcg of B12 per day.

If you are Vegan you need to make sure that you are getting enough B12. This  only occurs naturally in animal derived foods. Therefore, being Vegan we need to supplement it. If you are B12 deficient this can cause the following,

Anaemia, caused by a lack of vitamin B12 can result in symptoms that include:

A lack of energy or lethargy, fatigue, tiredness.

Being out of breath, faintness, headache, ringing in the ears, appetite loss.

More extreme symptoms due to Vitamin B12 deficiency include:

Yellowing of the skin, mouth ulcers, sore tongue, vision problems, mood changes, irritability, and depression.

If you have some of these symptoms we recommend you visit your health professional.

For more information follow this link

Vitamin B12 Information

Vitamin B12 is found in fortified foods (these are foods and produce that have had vitamins and minerals added to them). You may have seen nutritional yeast with added B12 (This makes a great Mac Cheese more of that in the next blog).

 How to get B12:

There are many supplements on the market that contain B12, you need to make sure that they contain 1.5mcg or more also make sure that they don’t contain Meat derived gelatine.

Little and often is key with B12.

Fortified Cereals (all Bran) contains B12.

A Brief list of B12 fortified supplements

Almond Milk, Fortified 1 Cup contains 3mcg, nutritional Yeast, 1 tablespoon contains 3mcg, Vegan Mayo 1 serving 0.24mcg, Tempeh ½ cup approx 0.12mcg, Ready to eat cereal fortified with B12 ½ to 1 cup 0.6 – 0.66mcg.

B-wise and B-healthy!

Many Blessings

Mako & Hema

Lettuce Discuss… Gluten, what you should know!

Gluten

Lettuce Discuss… Gluten, what you should know!

Gluten consists of two proteins… gliadin and glutenin. It is the gliadin part that people react negatively to. Gluten is a name for a family of proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. It is also found in spelt, triticale, kamut, faro and einkorn these are close relatives of wheat. Sometimes the term is used to describe rice as in Glutenous, this is in fact totally wrong -rice protein has no gluten and is therefore safe to eat.

Here’s the dilemma, Oats do not contain Gluten. They are Gluten free. However, the way Oats are processed in the USA and Britain cross contaminates with Gluten and in some instances they add wheat flour to the Oats as a thickening agent. If they are really Gluey and stick elastic when cooked guess what, that’s the GLUten. The word itself is derived from Latin for GLUE.

So when you go to buy Oats, make sure it says “Gluten free”, that’s what we do!

Anyone who has tried to remove gluten from their diet will tell you that gluten is in almost everything. As a common additive it is found in thousands of processed foods, and that’s where the major problem is found.

Gluten can cause damaging health issues on its own, but processed gluten is even worse especially when its added to processed foods like pasta, bread, oatmeal, and cereal.

Gluten typically in its natural form is not harmful for people who are healthy, if taken in very small amounts, but off a factory conveyor belt somewhere after being processed, it becomes a substance that the body will not tolerate and in some instances is very toxic.

Wheat Gluten Can Cause the following…

Celiac Disease

When gluten is exposed to the cells of the immune system in the digestive tract, they believe it is coming from some sort of foreign body, like a bacteria. This then Causes the immune system to “mount an attack”, against it. The Gluten proteins are then attacked by the immune system, which also attacks “tissue transglutaminase”, this is an enzyme found in the cells of the digestive tract.

Therefore, Celiac disease is known as an autoimmune disorder because the system attacks both the Gluten and the body’s own cells in the intestinal wall.

Be warned this reaction can cause degeneration of the intestinal wall and also lead to various nutrient deficiencies and digestive issues such as anemia and fatigue. These can lead on to many more serious and life threatening diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.

Gluten Sensitivity

Anotherdisorder called Gluten Sensitivity is much more common in the general population, this basically means having some sort of adverse reaction to gluten and an eradication of these symptoms is obtained through removing Gluten from your diet. If you have reaction to gluten but celiac disease is ruled out. The technical term is “non-Celiac gluten sensitivity”. There is no attack on the body’s own systems with Non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Many of the symptoms however mimic those in celiac disease, these include bloating, stomach pain, fatigue, diarrhea, also joints and bone pain.

Gluten Can Cause Adverse Effects In People Who Don’t Have Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity

I know that this sounds contradictory but we are using examples from modern (chemical Medicine reports), which are often contradictory anyway. If for instance you have “Irritable Bowl Syndrome” or (IBS) which is very common affecting about 14% of US citizens and you eat a gluten diet the Gluten will have a negative effect on the function of the intestine as a barrier to the bloodstream. This is due to the fact that Gluten causes the intestine to become inflamed and degenerates the lining. This then allows leakage into the bloodstream. This is also true of anyone who suffers with Gastro intestinal problems, ulcers and lesions to name two.

Studies show that individuals (especially IBS patients) who have not been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity do have negative and adverse reactions to gluten. However, according to many doctors this isn’t happening! You just have IBS or Ulcers; it can’t possibly be Gluten Insensitivity.

 

Gluten May Be Addictive

Do you get unnatural cravings for bread? Doughnuts? These are common cravings right? Maybe not.

When you break gluten down in a test tube you will find peptides (small proteins) called exorphins. This is a peptide not formed in the body but they can activate *opioid receptors in the brain. The vicious circle is you eat gluten, the brain says, “I like gluten” then it sends signals saying “more gluten NOW”!

It is a well-known fact that sugar is the most addictive food item but, did you know that wheat is the second most addictive?

*(Opiods are the bit that says I NEEEEEED that again, it controls the addictive bit of your brain)

Some Brain Disorders Have Now Been Associated With Gluten And Sufferers Now See Dramatic Improvements On A Gluten-Free Diet

Lets get technical for a minute. The official name for this is “Gluten-Sensitive Idiopathic Neuropathy”, in 53 patients who were involved in a study 57% (30 patients) had antibodies in their blood attacking Gluten. The main neurological disorder that gluten has been attributed to is “Cerebellar Ataxia”; this condition in the brain affects the ability to coordinate balance, problems with speech and movements. It is now known that Ataxia is linked directly to Gluten Consumption. This causes irreversible damage to the brain and is called “Gluten Ataxia”. Patients have shown slight improvements to this condition when they completely remove Gluten from their diets.

 Other brain disorders that respond really well to a Gluten Free diet are…

Autism: several studies show improvements in symptoms when they follow a Gluten free diet.

Epilepsy: there are many reports from epileptic patients saying that they have significant improvements by removing Gluten from their diet.

Schizophrenia: these patients see enormous improvements by having a Gluten Free Diet.

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases are diseases in which the body’s immune system attacks organs and or anything found naturally within it.

Many statistics show a relationship between autoimmune diseases and Gluten. These include Celiac disease as mentioned above, Hashimotos Thyroiditis, Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism, Graves disease, Type 1 Diabetes, and Multiple Sclerosis to name a few. Removing Gluten completely from the diet has seen many improvements in all of these diseases.

We are not saying it is a cure for any of these conditions, but what we are saying is “what have you got to lose”?

You will see the benefits of a gluten free diet pretty much within a week or two. For me the weight started to drop off. I was feeling more comfortable after eating. The permanent swelling and bloating that I had in my stomach disappeared!

Give it 1 month without Gluten and see if you feel better, I would wager that you do!

We both did and still do. We have no cravings for donuts or bread as most things we can find Vegan, Gluten and soy free. If we cant, we make it ourselves. See our pancake blog!

 Many blessings

Mako and Hema

Lettuce Discuss… The Health Benefits of Beetroots

beetroot

Lettuce Discuss… the health benefits of Beetroots

 The little red vegetable that packs a punch of goodness!

The beetroot contains 20 times more nitrates than any other vegetable.

Beetroots contain sodium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous all beneficial minerals for the body,

Beetroot juice is a rich source of natural sugar and is considered one of the best in vegetable juices as it contains potassium, sodium, calcium, sulfur, phosphorus, iodine, chlorine, copper, vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), C. Although rich in digestible carbohydrates, the juice is low in calorie content and has good amount of proteins and amino acids.

Beetroot contains Folic Acid: This is important in cell division and growth. Children and adults need folic acid to produce healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia.

Cleanses the Colon, Strengthens your gall bladder, and liver: Eating the beetroot naturally de-stresses the colon, you may have more bowel movements after eating but this is natural. It supports and strengthens the liver and gall bladder too. Removing stress from both organs.

Cleanses Your Blood: Removes the toxins from your blood as it is a great anti oxidant!

It Boosts your immunity: Encourages the bodies’ natural immune system! (This is especially important for people who battle autoimmune disorders- Autoimmune disorders are by definition, your own cells attach itself. However eating or juicing 2-3 times a week will put your body back into balance, healing itself rather then on the attack)

Fights Cancer: Betacyanin, the pigment that gives beetroot its velvet deep color, is an antioxidant that possesses anti-cancer properties. In 2011, a study carried out by Howard University in Washington, USA,  found that betacyanin slowed tumor growth by 12.5 percent when exposed to prostate and breast cancer cells.

Heal Acne: The great number of anthocyanins within beetroot, has a positive impact on the condition of skin and hair. Beets can improve complexion, reduce inflammation, help with dry skin, reduces freckles and age spots and makes your skin younger looking just by drinking the juice is sufficient. However, it can be rubbed directly on to the skin -it may stain a little so its best if you are not on your way out. The stain naturally gets absorbed into your skin.

Beetroots can Eliminate and Prevent Cellulite: Take 3 medium beetroots and grate them, to this add 3 tablespoons of honey (Raw is best) and 1 tsp ground black pepper.  Place the mixture onto the areas to be treated and then wrap over the area with cellophane. Leave in place for 30 to 40 minutes and rinse it all off.  If you then repeat this once a week your skin will become smooth and visible signs of cellulite will disappear.

Beetroot can be used as a Facial Toner: Mix one beet with 1/2 cup chopped cabbage and ¼ cup of water. Blend them together really well so they will sit in an ice cube tray. Freeze the cubes in the freezer. Any time you feel you need to rejuvenate your skin, rub one ice cube over your face. It will feel fresh and rejuvenated. (Best to do before bedtime to allow the stain to naturally absorb).

Beetroot is a Great source of iron: Iron is used in the body for many reasons but mainly for carrying oxygen to the blood cells. Approximately 2/3 of iron in the body is found in hemoglobin (the red protein found in blood).

Beetroot Protects against Heart Disease:Nitrates lower blood pressure because bacteria in the mouth and gut convert it into the gas nitric oxide, which relaxes and widens the blood vessels, allowing blood to circulate more freely. (This natural process may help with headaches and migraines, by allowing the blood to flow).

Lowers blood pressure: A 2010 study carried out by Queen Mary’s University in London found that drinking just one 1 cup (US) or 250 ml (EU) of beetroot juice a day dramatically lowered blood pressure for several hours.

Treats and cures boils and abscesses: By drinking the juice or eating the vegetable, in addition, you can apply it directly to the infected area too by cutting the beetroot and rubbing it on. (Make sure to dispose the used beetroot into the trash after applying to the skin).

Full of fiber: Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. A diet high in fiber has many health benefits. It can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, some cancers, and can also improve digestive health.

It may be a small vegetable but it does pack a lot in!

We will add a recipe for juicing and a soup next!

Many blessings

Mako and Hema

Lettuce Discuss… Agave Syrup or Agave Nectar…Harmful or good for you?

AGAVE_Nectar

Lettuce Discuss… Agave Syrup or Agave Nectar…Harmful or good for you? 

First of all there is no such thing as Agave Nectar, this is a marketing name that was thought up in the 1990’s to make us all think that this is a natural, traditional syrup. Let me assure you it is not. The agave we buy in the store has been dramatically processed to turn it into very high fructose syrup.

Agave syrup is subjected to enzymatic and chemical processes, not what you would call “organic, raw, or natural”

The content of this can range from 70% to over 90% Fructose.

Fructose doesn’t send any signals to the brain to say “I’m Full”, it also affects the memory and it can only be metabolized through the liver, this in turn places a burden on the liver. It has also been shown that refined fructose negatively interferes with the hearts use of key minerals, for example magnesium.

Studies also show that the liver from people who use large amounts of fructose develop fatty deposits and cirrhosis.

Fructose could also contribute to diabetes, the insulin receptors sensitivity can be reduced, and there by raising insulin levels and this then contributes to metabolic syndrome.

For all you students out there who live on a High Fructose diet think of this…

An experiment was conducted using 2 groups of Lab rats and a maze one group were fed on a high fructose diet as well as rat food, the other just on rat food. The group fed with high fructose after six weeks were slower and their brains showed a decline in synaptic activity.

So bare this in mind it can impede your mental ability.

This is reversible and can be helped by taking DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and Omega 3 fatty acids.

The full report is at http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/this-is-your-brain-on-sugar-ucla-233992.aspx

So is Agave good or bad?

For us -we will never use it again!

Many Thanks and bless you,

Mako and Hema

The following links will be useful in your own research

http://www.sott.net/article/259915-High-Fructose-Corn-Syrup-Bad-for-the-brain

http://news.yale.edu/2013/01/04/study-suggests-effect-fructose-brain-may-promote-overeating

http://www.foodrenegade.com/agave-nectar-good-or-bad/

http://realfoodforager.com/why-i-never-use-agave/

http://www.westonaprice.org/modern-foods/agave-nectar-worse-than-we-thought

http://www.treelight.com/health/nutrition/Agave.html