Recipe: Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal Muffins

oatmeal-287760Celiac disorder, like any other diseases that require dietary restrictions, can be challenging. However, this does not mean that people stricken with celiac disease are compelled to eat bland foods because of their sensitivity to gluten. FoodFacts.com is happy to dispel that perception and share this easy-to-make, healthy AND delicious gluten-free banana bread baked oatmeal muffins!

Time: 15 minutes

Serving: 12

Ingredients

  • 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 2 over-ripe medium-sized bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In one bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.
  3. In another bowl, mix all the wet ingredients.
  4. Add dry to wet and mix only until combined.
  5. Fold in the raisins.
  6. Spoon batter into lined or greased standard-sized muffin pans and silicone liners.
  7. Bake for about 11-14 minutes.
  8. Let muffins cool before drizzling Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup, if using.

Note: Be sure to store muffin in an airtight container.

Tip: Turn this recipe vegan by replacing the eggs with flaxseed eggs and forgoing the Hershey’s syrup.

Facts about celiac disease

wheat-809444Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the digestive process of the small intestine. It affects about one percent of the population of the United States, occurring more often in women than in men. People with celiac disease have sensitivity to gluten, a type of protein found in grains such as rye and barley. Ingestion of gluten triggers an abnormal immune system response, which damages the small intestines and prevents absorption of necessary nutrients such as iron, folic acid, vitamin D and calcium.

The media does extensive coverage on celiac disease, especially in May as it is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. So much so that it has propelled the gluten-free foods trend, which somewhat deviated the focus from the disease itself. In fact, over a quarter of adults in the United States find gluten-free living appealing. The truth is, a large majority of that number do not require a gluten-free diet and should not be in it.

Since it is Celiac Disease Awareness Month, FoodFacts.com aids the medical community and other proponents in educating people with these quick facts about the disease.

Genetic disorder

Celiac disease is not simply a food allergy and/or intolerance that can be countered by an antihistamine. It is a serious, lifelong, genetically-determined disease. If a blood relative is diagnosed with celiac disease, get yourself screened immediately.

Invisible illness

Celiac disease is considered an invisible illness because it is hard to diagnose. The average time for celiac to be diagnosed correctly is between 6 and 10 years. In many cases, celiac does not even manifest itself through the most common symptoms, leaving the sufferer unaware that the illness is already destroying the small intestine.

Common symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of celiac disease are, but not limited to:

Other health problems

Because celiac disease is difficult to diagnose, it is often untreated. When left untreated, the disease may lead to a variety of other medical maladies such as infertility, miscarriage, osteoporosis, anemia and lymphoma.

Higher risk of pneumonia

As reported in a recent article, researchers found that people with celiac disease are more susceptible to pneumonia if they have never received the pneumococcal vaccine. Doctors, therefore, urge diagnosed celiac patients to get the vaccine.

If you think you have celiac disease, call your doctor immediately and discuss a health management plan before switching to a gluten-free diet.

The all my foodfacts app can help you manage celiac disease. By selecting the types of food that you want to avoid, all my foodfacts will show you which products contain them. In this case, when you add “gluten” to your avoid list and run a search on grains, the app includes the products that contain grains which celiac patients are sensitive to in the results and indicates that you should avoid them.

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Find out if the products you are using are really gluten-free with the all my foodfacts app. Get it on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!

Know your ingredients with All My FoodFacts app: Madhava Agave Nectar Amber

Agave nectarAgave nectar is a product of blue agave plant that typically thrives in Southern Mexico. The agave plant is fairly low on the glycemic load chart, and larger amount of sweetness than refined sugar. This means that a small amount of agave nectar goes a long way. According to the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, the agave plant contains phytochemicals that are beneficial in strengthening the immune system.

Agave nectar comes in light, dark, amber and raw varieties. The amber variety has a medium-intensity caramel flavor. It is commonly used for savory dishes and sauces, healthy fruit drinks and most especially desserts. The amber agave nectar can also be consumed directly from the bottle as a topping for pancakes and French toast.

Agave nectar is sometimes called agave syrup or agave sweetener. It is similar to honey, and is therefore widely used by vegans as a substitute because it is not derived from animals. This week, FoodFacts.com took a look at Madhava Agave Nectar Amber with the All My FoodFacts app, and here’s what we found.

Agave nectar2 Agave nectar3

Note: The product information shown above is only a general overview of Madhava Agave Nectar Amber. Sign up on our website for personalized specifications on which products are good for you and which you should avoid based on your dietary data, or you can get the All My FoodFacts app on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!

Tips to help you transition to veganism

vegan-1161192If you’re planning to transition to veganism, you couldn’t have chosen a better time. In the recent years, there has been a burgeoning popularity of organic produce as well as awareness on the health benefits of meatless diets. In addition to that, a vast number of people became more concerned on the environmental costs of meat production, including the cruelties involved in animal farming.

There are varying reports as to the percentage of the U.S. population that is vegan. However the number is large enough to catapult vegan restaurants and food manufacturers, and other related businesses. Vegan blogs and social accounts are also thriving. Needless to say, there are plenty of resources out there that cater to the vegan market and can also help those who wish to make the transition. Foodfacts.com shares some helpful tips to kick-off your plant-based diet.

Do your research

While we’ve known that fruits and vegetables are good for us since kindergarten, that piece of wisdom merely scratches the surface of what you need to know as you embark on this journey towards veganism. Educate yourself on how the lifestyle can be beneficial for you before taking the leap.

Find recipe inspirations

If you need get over the notion that meatless diets are boring, all you need to do is look for vegan recipes. Creative vegans on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and the run-on-the-mill recipe blogs will show you just how enticing vegan food can be.

Tip: Look for instructional posts that teach you how to turn your favorite foods into vegan meals. Almost every animal product has a plant-based substitute. The texture and taste will definitely be different, but this trick has found a lot of success in helping people switch to a vegan diet.

Keep it simple

If the whole vegan meal preparation intimidates you, start with the basics. Keep things simple - oatmeal with chopped fruits for breakfast, soup or salad for lunch, and seasoned, roasted root vegetables with quinoa for dinner. Throw in some fruity smoothies for refreshments, too!

Remodel your shopping list

Focus on what you’ll be gaining, not what you’re giving up. Instead of thinking you shouldn’t buy meat, eggs and milk on your next trip to the grocery, realign your psyche on shopping for quinoa, sweet potatoes and coconut milk. Besides, no one ever brings a things not to buy list to the grocery stores!

Take it easy

Remember to take it one day at a time and transition at your own pace. If you’re not ready to go all out, start by incorporating these vegan superfoods in your daily diet. When you’re finally ready to give up meat and meat products, be sure to avoid processed vegan foods. Opt for a variety of vegan whole foods to keep your diet balanced.

The all my foodfacts app can help with your efforts towards becoming vegan. By selecting the types of food that you want to avoid, all my foodfacts will show you which products contain them. In this case, when you add “animal-derived” to your avoid list and run a search on condiments, the app includes the products that are derived from animals in the results and indicates that you should avoid them. 

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Find out if the products you are using are really vegan with the all my foodfacts app. Get it on iTunesGoogle Play and Amazon!

Recipe: Watermelon and cucumber smoothie

watermelon-932748Summer is coming!

Temperatures are rising. Seasonal fruits are back in the stands at supermarkets and pop-up food bazaars. ‘Tis the season for colorful, fruity smoothies, and Foodfacts.com is happy to share this refreshing concoction from Eating in Color: Delicious, Healthy Recipes for You and Your Family! This vegan-approved watermelon and cucumber smoothie is great for helping you stay hydrated during the hot summer months.

Bonus: it’s said to be an effective antidote to hangover, too!

Time: 15 minutes

Serving: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1/2 cup peeled and sliced cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 liter sparkling water, chilled

Additional ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine watermelon, cucumber, lime juice, salt, and mint in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Be sure to press to release all liquid.
  3. Fill a tall glass with ice, and pour 1/2 cup of the watermelon and cucumber mixture.
  4. Add 1/2 cup or more of the sparkling water.
  5. Stir in agave to taste.

Note: Store leftover mixture covered in refrigerator for up to one day. Be sure to stir well before drinking.

 

Vegan superfoods you should add to your diet

sweet-potato-1241696No, veganism is not just another food fad. It’s a way of life, and has been practiced in many different cultures for centuries. However, there has clearly been a significant rise in the number of people around the world who have switched to a vegan diet in the recent years for a number of reasons. Whether it’s for personal wellness, for the animals or for the environment, this shift in behavior has contributed to an organic products phenomenon.

The thought of giving up meat can be daunting as it is not an easy feat. Thankfully, there are lots of materials and communities that can help with transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. But if you’re not ready to make that commitment (or are just simply set with being an omnivore), Foodfacts.com recommends these vegan superfoods to incorporate in your daily meals.

Lemons

It doesn’t get any simpler than these bright yellow fruits! Enjoy them as a lemonade drink or squeeze them in everything! Lemons are rich in vitamin C and adds a zesty, citrusy flavor to your dish. In addition, lemon juice can enhance the body’s ability to absorb iron from plant sources, making lemon vinaigrette the perfect dressing to your salad!

Dark Chocolate

Who can say no to chocolates? Just be sure to avoid the sugary, dairy-filled milk chocolates. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants. It can improve blood flow, and lower blood pressure and the risk of heart diseases.

Walnuts

Walnuts are essential sources of Omega-3 that helps in keeping your heart and brain functioning. Eat them as a standalone snack, add as an ingredient to your meals, or as a topping to your salad and ice cream!

Nooch

Nooch is short for nutritional yeast. This superfood is rich in B vitamins, protein and fiber. The best part about nooch is that it is the ultimate add-on. Sprinkle it on salad, soup, popcorn or whathaveyou to make them all taste better.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B6, C and D, and potassium, magnesium  and iron. They are a good source of beta carotene, which not only helps improve eyesight and immune system, but also fights cancer.

Disclaimer: Although these superfoods generally offer great health benefits, they may not all be right for everyone. We highly recommend that you discuss your plans to make dietary changes with a nutritionist or your doctor.

 

Know your ingredients with All My FoodFacts app: McCormick Gourmet Anise Seed


AAniset FoodFacts.com, we are committed to informing you of the nutrition found in the food that you are consuming. We have decided to start a new series on the FoodFacts.com blog, which will feature a product and its ingredient data to be published every Friday.

In our previous blog post, we shared the most commonly used spices that can cause allergic reactions, and anise is one of them. Anise is an aromatic plant used as an herb for centuries for cooking and medicinal purposes. It is similar in taste to tarragon and fennel. Typically, anise leaves are only used only for additional flavoring, and the seeds are used as a spice ingredient added to a recipe.

If you’ve been using McCormick Gourmet Anise Seed to season your dishes, then we have good news for you! Using the All My FoodFacts app, we found that this product scored an A on our healthgrade score based on its ingredient data!

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Note: The product information shown above is a general overview of McCormick Gourmet Anise Seed. Sign up on our website for personalized specifications on which products are good for you and which you should avoid based on your dietary data, or you can get the All My FoodFacts app on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!

Yes, you can be allergic to spices

spices-73770We have written quite a bit about turmeric on the Foodfacts.com blog this week. The trending superfood is so good for you that it is hard not to be obsessed with it. Have you tried making the turmeric tonic recipe we shared, too? It is reportedly an excellent fix for those stubborn spring allergies!

Speaking of allergies…

As we approach the end of Food Allergy Awareness Week, it is only fitting that we discuss certain spices that can cause allergic reactions. Because spices offer a great deal of health benefits, particularly medicinal, many people believe that these wonder foods can do no wrong to the body. With the exception of the side effects of overconsuming them, it is generally thought that these plant-based products are everything nice.

The bad thing is, allergic reactions to spices are real; the good thing is, these reactions are rare. Studies have shown that less than five percent of all adults with food allergies suffer from reactions to spices – whether these plants are fresh or dried, and ground, toasted or processed.

Here are some of the most common spices that cause food allergy.

  • Garlic – Whether fresh or cooked, garlic can cause an allergic reaction. People allergic to garlic are recommended to forgo similar food additives, like onions and chives, altogether.
  • Paprika – It’s great for barbecue marinades and general seasoning, but it can cause severe reaction to anyone allergic to it. Thankfully, there are other ingredients that can serve as substitutes to paprika.
  • Mustard – Those who are allergic to mustard should exercise proper care when using it. It is said that mustard is prone to anaphylaxis in those who suffer an allergic reaction to it.
  • Anise – Although anise is not as commonly used in the home kitchen as the other previously mentioned spices, it is widely used as a flavoring for specialty candies, pastries and drinks. It is also a common ingredient in health and beauty products such as shampoos.
  • Fennel – Fennel is a flavoring commonly found in food dyes. Like anise, it can also be found in household products like soaps, toothpastes and air fresheners.
  • Turmeric – Our wonder food is of no exception. Allergic reactions to turmeric may include dermatitis and hives.

As with any food allergies, reactions to spice can be manifested in a number of symptoms: from hives and rashes, swelling of the throat and asthma, vomiting and diarrhea, to unconsciousness and even death. These are just some of the most commonly known symptoms, and certain spices may cause other mild or severe reactions. It is best to evade any spice that causes a negative effect on you.

The all my foodfacts app can help you manage your allergies by letting you log the types of foods that you are allergic to. You can even key in specific ingredients to see whether or not certain food products are safe for you to consume.

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Get the app:

iTunes – http://apple.co/1QE8Gb6

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1Imr3ie

Google Play - http://bit.ly/1QYN0kM

Recipe: Turmeric tonic

FullSizeRenderSpring allergies? Foodfacts.com has a wellness shot to help you combat the sneezes: turmeric tonic!  This trendy superfood contains a decongestant compound, and acts as anti-histamine. It also has analgesic and anti-bacterial properties, which means, it is great in treating allergies!

Time: Less than 15 minutes

Serving: 2

Ingredients

  •  2 cups coconut water
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Directions

  1. Place coconut water, turmeric and ginger root in a blender, until ginger is finely shredded.
  2. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a jar.
  3. Add lemon juice, sea salt and honey.

 

Disclaimer: Consult your doctor before using turmeric for allergy treatment. Ask about dosage and time intervals for ingestion appropriate for your health condition. 

 

Turmeric, the golden spice

indian-spices-829198In the beginning of the year, McCormick released its Flavor Forecast report for the top foods in 2016, and there is nothing that pleases us at Foodfacts.com more than to see healthy foods getting much-deserved attention. Thanks to the growing organic food movement, not only did healthy, functional superfoods made the list, they dominated it! Among the superfoods predicted to be popular this year is turmeric. Nearly halfway through the year, physical grocery stores and online food merchants, like GrubHub, have seen an increase in sales of turmeric and turmeric-based products.

What exactly is turmeric?

Turmeric, aptly called the golden spice, is that thing on the spices shelf with the yellow-orange hue. It is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that comes from the curcuma longa or curcuma domestica plant, which is native to South Asia. Turmeric is generally used in the region for cooking and formerly as a fabric dye, but most importantly, has been widely used for centuries to treat a myriad of illnesses.

The basic nutritional aspects of turmeric include a 26% daily value in manganese and 16% in iron. It is also a great source of fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, and healthy amounts of vitamin C and magnesium. The ideal serving to get all those nutritional aspects is an ounce, but it would be impossible for a person to ingest that kind of amount in one seating. The good thing is that incorporating even just a tablespoon in your meal already allows you to reap the benefits of this wonder spice!

Health benefits

Purported to cure everything from depression to cancer, turmeric offers plenty of benefits. Aside from the nutritional value mentioned above, a study on turmeric and curcumin (turmeric powder is 3.14% curcumin) reveals that curcumin have antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and immune modulating activities.

Among the health benefits of turmeric include pain relief, reducing gas and bloating, an improved ability to digest fats, and improved skin conditions from psoriasis to acne. In addition, turmeric reportedly also has artery-clearing effects that decreases congestion, and can reduce levels of bad cholesterol within weeks of use. Other reports, though further studies are required, say that turmeric is also good for improved eye health.

Search our website for the highest graded turmeric-based products!