Is Bread Vegan?

Is Bread Vegan?

Is Bread Vegan?

 

The simple answer is yes. Most breads are vegan friendly. Always check those labels though. 

Well-made bread (not the processed kinds found in supermarkets), is traditionally made with a few simple ingredients. Yeast, water, a very small amount of sugar, a healthy fat and flour.

 

Download My FREE 30 Page Vegan Nutrition Guide-2

 

Vegan Yes – But Healthy?

 

Is bread vegan? Mainly, yes. Is it healthy? Not so much.

It has been known for a long time that refined grains (particularly in the form of white bread) aren’t particularly healthy, beneficial or nutritious for humans. 

For the last 20 years doctors, dieticians and nutritionists have advised us to consume whole grains instead.

But are whole grains really any better for us and should bread ever be categorised as healthy?

 

The Gluten Controversy

 

Bread is largely made of wheat, and wheat is predominantly made of gluten, which is a type of protein that gives bread it’s stretchy/springy quality.

Over the last 15 years there has been mounting evidence that a growing proportion of the population is particularly sensitive to gluten.

It was generally thought that it was only those with Celiac Disease that experience an immune response to gluten (wheat, barley, rye, spelt). But there is now growing speculation that even those with gluten sensitivity experience a certain amount of immunological damage after consuming wheat products. 

There have been a number of controlled trials (studystudy)  in the last decade that have demonstrated that gluten has the propensity to damage the digestive tract, even in those without Celiac disease. The immunological response can cause symptoms such as tiredness, pain, bloating and irregular bowel movements. 

There have also been strong links between gluten sensitivity and certain disorders of the brain. Schizophrenia (study,study) and cerebellar ataxia (studystudy), for example. 

I always believe there is no smoke without fire. Most bread contains gluten and we know gluten has the propensity to trigger an immune response in certain individuals who have a susceptibility. So if you have unexplained symptoms of tiredness, digestive pains, bloating or even anxiety or depression, then seek medical advice. The only real way to establish whether you have a gluten sensitivity is to remove gluten from your diet for a period of 30 days and then reintroduce foods containing gluten to see if your body reacts (but this should be under the supervision of an experienced professional). 

 

The Toxic Ingredients of Bread

 

The reality may be that Gluten is actually the lessor of two evils. The real dangers of bread may actually come from some of its unsavoury ingredients: 

 

  • Artificial Flavours & Colours: Obviously these vary in usage from country to country. Artificial flavours and colours are also normally derived from petroleum. And many of these additives have been linked to health issues in children such as allergies, asthma and hyperactivity. 

 

  • Preservatives: All foods are supposed to be eaten fresh, and bread is no exception. Steer clear of any breads that contain preservatives. A common one in a lot of countries is calcium propionate. Again, this has been linked to child health problems such as ADHD.

 

  • Refined Sugars:This can be an ingredient that is incredibly difficult to spot, even in breads that are marketed as “low sugar” and “healthy”. Some common household breads contain as much as 2-3 grams of sugar per slice. The World Health Organisation advises that we should consume no more than 6 grams a day. There is also the contentious issue in some countries that the sugar used is derived from GMO sugar beets.

 

  • Dough Conditioners: In traditional bread making techniques these would never have been used. They have literally been introduced so that manufacturers can speed up the manufacturing process and maximise profit. Many dough conditioners are derived from extracting fat from corn or soybean oil and then manipulating it with other ingredients. Some common examples (and also ones that have been banned) include: sodium stearoyl lactylate, monoglycerides, azodicarbonamide and DATEM.

 

  • GMOs: Thankfully these haven’t made their way into the UK yet (but I am sure it’s only a matter of time). A lot of countries (especially the U.S.) use multiple GMO ingredients in the production of household breads. GMO soy flour, corn oil and soybean oil are all common. GMO use is clearly a contentious issue. The issue for me is that there have never been any long term tests on humans that assess the health impacts. And the argument that GMO’s are safer because no pesticides are used is incorrect. Some GMO’s are actually engineered by inserting toxic pesticides into the seed. This then causes the insects stomach to explode when trying to eat the crop.

 

Nutritional Profile of Bread

 

Bread is really just empty calories. It contains only low levels of vitamins and minerals.  High levels of sugar. Low levels of protein. Often high amounts of unhealthy fats. High amounts of salt. And not much else. 

But what about whole grain bread, I hear you cry? Well, it’s not much better I’m afraid. 

While whole grains offer slightly more vitamins and minerals than processed grains, whole grain bread will contain higher levels of phytic acid, so it will potentially block any increased nutritional profile. 

 

Is bread vegan? Is bread healthy? It can be. Why not try one of these healthy recipes?

 

Deliciously Ella: Date & Pecan Loaf

 

 

Plant Based Judy: Date & Pecan Loaf

 

 

Vegan Corner: Gluten Free Buns

 

 

 

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Candida Treatment – How To Prevent and Reverse

Candida Treatment – How To Prevent and Reverse

Candida is caused by a genus of yeast and is by far the most common reason for fungal infections throughout the world today. And in todays article we are going to talk about the best foods to eat for candida treatment.

 

Ordinarily there will be very low levels of candida present in the gut, but they will normally be kept in check by your healthy flora or “health gut bacteria”. The problems will start to arise when the candida becomes overgrown and unchecked in the body. When this happens the potential symptoms caused can be endless. You can have mental clarity issues, bloating, sugar cravings, wind and constipation, floaters in the eyes, irritability, mood swings, thrush, joint pains, skin rashes and persistent and regular coughs. The list is literally endless.

 

The real problems arising from candida are caused when it starts to either irritate or penetrate the gut wall. When this happens you will be far more susceptible to food sensitivities and all of the above symptoms have the propensity to become a lot worse. This is because undigested food particles are able to pass directly into the blood stream and the body mistakes these as “invaders” or infections and triggers autoimmune responses. Again, this will dramatically make the above symptoms worse and certainly problematic to treat. When food particles are able to pass into the blood stream on a regular basis the condition is known as “leaky gut”. It is therefore imperative that you are able to keep candida levels low in the body through a healthy diet.

 

candida

Candida In The Intestines

 

One of the biggest triggers for candida today is the use (and over use) of antibiotics. Similarly, diets high in processed refined sugars will cause candida to proliferate throughout the body. Other causes include the long term use of contraceptive pills, medications for diabetes and steroid medications. The stress placed on a woman’s body during pregnancy can also cause candida to spiral out of control.

 

If you believe you may have candida based on some of the above symptoms, or you have recently taken a course of antibiotics, then visit your GP and request a stool sample/blood test. If candida is detected, then the following should be an effective candida treatment for you.

 

Candida Treatment – Foods To Remove From Your Diet

 

  1. After initially diagnosing candida you should remove all yeast and fermented foods/drinks from your diet. The worst culprits are breads, cheeses, alcoholic beverages, refined vinegars, (this obviously includes foods where vinegar is a major component: tomato sauce, baked beans, salad cream and picked foods such as pickled eggs).
  2. Also look at removing all refined flour foods that contain any sort or yeast or processed/refined sugars. Pizzas, pasta or anything along these lines will be a no no.
  3. The main foods to remove above all are foods that contain refined sugars. Yeast loves sugar and will overgrow very quickly in its presence. While you are getting the condition under control you will also need to remove almost all natural sugars from the diet as well, which includes high sugar fruits such as melons, bananas, grapes and kiwis. Some of the other low sugar fruits (blueberries/blackberries/raspberry’s etc) may not necessarily feed the yeast directly by their sugar content; but they are likely to contain mould, especially if they have been stored for a while during the transportation process. Mould will help exacerbate the problem. Artificial sugars should also be removed from the diet.
  4. Also avoid malted foods and drinks completely. If you are partial to a Ryvita or Horlicks drinks, then can them while you are getting the condition under control.
  5. Also avoid all nuts as these commonly harbour mould. Again, this will only make the problem worse.
  6. Milk and dairy. Usually very high in sugar, so again, got to go.
  7. Some people also struggle to get rid of candida while eating foods that can easily be converted to sugars in the gut. Sweetcorn, carrots and potatoes can also be problematic but this is only usually in patients with bad yeast overgrowth.

 

Candida Treatment – Foods That Will Help Kill Off Candida

 

  1. Garlic has a highly potent capacity for killing off yeast because of its anti-fungal properties. It is best to be eaten raw. Simply swallow a whole clove of garlic once a day.
  2. Increase your vegetable intake. Green beans, leeks, onions, parsnips, tomatoes, spinach, sprouts and watercress are all good go to choices for fighting candida. These types of vegetable will enable the populations of your “healthy bacteria” to increase and fight off the unwanted yeast and “bad bacteria”.
  3. Generally speaking, the fruits that are generally ok to eat while removing candida from the body are: cherries, small amounts of pineapple, apples and pomegranates.
  4. Replace milk with healthier nut milks instead. Almond or oat milks are great choices.
  5. Brown rice, quinoa, lentils and millet are also good foods while removing candida (or anytime for that matter!)
  6. If you need to have bread in your diet then opt for yeast free rye breads.
  7. Two of the best herbs for helping to fight off this infection are thyme and coriander. So add abundantly to all your foods.

 

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My Top Tips For Better Health

My Top Tips For Better Health

  • Avoid skipping breakfast. It is by far the most important meal of the day. Since your evening meal the previous evening, you have literally been fasting, so if you skip breakfast your blood sugar levels will become very erratic and you will be scrambling for sugary treats by 10am.
  • Avoid sugary breakfast cereals. And also avoid any cereals containing gluten. Gluten is becoming more and more of a problem as it is very difficult for the body to break down and digest. Try organic oats, quinoa, kamut or amaranth as they will be far easier for the body to digest (and they are far healthier). Also try nut milks as a healthier alternative to milk.
  • Also consider making a healthy smoothie for breakfast. It will be packed full of nutrients and you can also add some healthy protein powders to really kick start the day. Spurilna, hemp or even pea powders are great choices.
  • Variety is the spice of life. Avoid getting caught in the routine trap. Most people will buy the same foods week in week out. This creates a susceptibility to certain food allergies. Eat a wide variety of foods and ideally foods that are grown locally and organic. These foods will contain a greater quantity of nutrients compared to foods that have been shipped from the other side of the world. The last few years have also seen organic foods becoming cheaper and cheaper (as more and more people purchase) and I strongly believe that you can dramatically reduce your chances of developing cancer if you can cut your exposure to these pesticides.
  • It’s not just what you eat. You should also try and avoid toiletries that contain harmful ingredients. Again, try and select organic products for your hair and skin – this is particularly important as much of what you put on the skin ends up in the bloodstream. And especially try and avoid exposure to harmful cleaning products, opting for natural organic alternatives.
  • In the winter, choose hearty warm meals and lighter fresh meals (with lots of raw fruits and vegetables) in the summer. During the winter you can try and make fruit compotes or lightly grilling fruits. These are particularly warming and easier on your digestive tract.
  • So many people today are failing to drink sufficient amounts of healthy clean water. The repercussions of this are wide ranging. See my recent article: Getting Enough Water? for more information. Basically your body requires about one and a half to two litres a day. More if you are exercising.
  • Remove as much caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks from your diet as possible. These types of drinks will cause dehydration (and cause lots of other health conditions). As a general rule of thumb if you drink any of these types of drinks then your body will need approx. 250ml water for every drink you have. Remember, many of the foods and drinks that you crave have been designed to trigger that response. And its these types of snack foods in your diet that will be causing or contributing to many of your health problems.
  • As an alternative to caffeine, trying drinking more herbal teas, particularly green and white teas. These are packed full of antioxidants that will assist your body in removing many of the unwanted toxins.
  • Aim for at least 9 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Also aim to have one plate full a day of salad (containing as many different colours as possible). By adopting this approach you will dramatically reduce your chances of developing many of today’s leading causes of death.
  • When cooking try and lightly steam vegetables instead of cooking at very high temperatures (such as stir frying) as this will preserve more nutrients.
  • Keep things simple. You should always strive to eat foods as close to nature as possible. Avoid foods that contain ingredients that you can’t pronounce and always try and avoid rich foods and sauces, fried foods, barbequed foods and foods cooked at very high temperatures (these will create toxic compounds such as heterocyclic amines that have been heavily linked to cancer growth).
  • Avoid pre-packed, ready meals and tinned foods. These types of foods are often loaded with sugar and harmful preservatives. Also, tinned foods contain mercury and aluminium which will leak into the food. Not something you want to be ingesting! These types of metals have been linked with everything from heart disease to degenerative brain disorders.
  • Do not add table salt to your food. It is devoid of all nutrients and will cause water retention in the body, and subsequently cause high blood pressure. The average diet today contains approx. 10 grams of salt per day. It has been estimated that if this was reduced to below 3 grams a day there would be approximately 80,000 deaths avoided in the UK each year.
  • Avoid ALL FAD DIETS. Diets do not work. You need to concentrate on a healthy well balanced lifestyle and not yo-yo weight loss programmes.
  • Avoid all cooking oils if possible. If you are going to use them then I would suggest that you use cold pressed olive or coconut oil as these will be slightly less damaging in the body.
  • Eat your meals sitting down and chewing your food properly before swallowing. You can further aid digestion by snacking on fruits between meals.
  • Avoid any foods and oils that contain hydrogenated or trans-fats. They are now being banned in many countries because they cause fat deposits around the heart.
  • Avoid red meats. They can putrefy in the gut and the intestines and often contain antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals.

 

The Health Benefits Of Cucumbers

The Health Benefits Of Cucumbers

Cucumbers are one of those “go to” salad ingredients that everyone enjoys. They are refreshing to eat and will help rehydrate the body. They have good amounts of vitamin K, C, B, manganese, potassium and copper. Below I have put together a list of their main benefits and why you should eat them on a regular basis.

 

Pinky And The Brains

 

One of the main benefits of cucumbers is that they contain antioxidants called fisteins. Fisteins are vitally important for brain health as they prevent inflammation. It is also great for improving memory and preventing damage to nerves in the brain, one of the leading causes of degenerative diseases like alzheimer’s.

 

Further Antioxidants

 

As well as fisteins, cucumbers are packed full of other essential antioxidants incusing beta-carotene and vitamin C. Flavonoids are also abundant in the form of kaempferol, apigentin, luteolin and quercetin. Quercetin is great for people who have hay-fever and other allergies as it helps prevent histamine being released in the body, making it a great natural antihistamine. Kaempferol has been shown to protect you from the two leading causes of death (cancer and heart disease).

 

They Help Prevent Inflammation

 

A really cool thing about cucumbers is that they target enzymes that cause inflammation in the body after they have carried out their roles. This is particularly great if you are already suffering from inflammatory diseases, which most people are!

 

They Help Prevent Cancer

 

Cucumbers are packed with lignans, a type of polyphenol (or an antioxidant). Many leading studies have demonstrated that people who regularly consume foods that contain lignans had a much lower risk of developing prostate, breast and ovarian cancers. Cucumbers are also loaded with cucurbitacins, a chemical compound contained in plants that also helps ward of cancer growth.

 

Healthy Gut

 

To have a healthy gut you need to provide it with an abundant supply of fibre and water. Cucumbers provide a rich source of both. The water helps hydrate the digestive tract and the fibre adds bulk to your stools and speeds up transit times. They are also great for relieving the symptoms associated with IBS and acid reflux.

 

Avoid Dog Breath

 

If you are struggling with bad breath then it is probably caused by a poor diet. Having said that, some people are often afflicted with bad breath as a result of conditions such as tonsil stones. Cucumbers can help reduce the odours produced by bacteria. Simply place a slice of cucumber in your mouth and swish it around while it dissolves. By doing this it will help remove some of those unwanted odours!

 

Avoid The Stress

 

People who have low levels of certain B vitamins are generally more prone to mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress. Cucumbers contain a good amount of B1, B5 and B7 that will help reduce some of the symptoms associated with these conditions.

 

Maintain A Healthy Weight

 

There are basically no calories in cucumbers. But their fibre content will make you feel fuller for longer, making them a great snaking food throughout the day. Cucumbers also break down into a gel-like texture as the body digests them. This texture slows down the digestive process slightly, making your feel fuller for longer.

 

A Healthy Heart

 

To maintain a healthy heart function you need a diet rich in potassium. Potassium helps maintain a regular beat as well as maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Potassium is also an electrolyte and interacts and regulates sodium in the body. This process is essential for a healthy heart contractions and overall heart health.

 

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8 Reasons To Regularly Eat Or Drink Ginger

8 Reasons To Regularly Eat Or Drink Ginger

 

1. Lost your appetite recently? Eat some fresh ginger on an empty stomach before a meal and it will stir up your appetite. Particularly effective if you have recently been unwell and have a very poor appetite.
2. Ginger has been shown in many studies to assist the absorption of many essential nutrients.
3. It keeps the lymphatic system moving and prevents your glands becoming clogged.
4. Not a keen flier? Chew on a cube of ginger and it will take away some of that nausea.
5. Regular ginger consumption has been shown to improve the symptoms of IBS and flatulence.
6. Always have a gurgling stomach? Then chew on ginger!
7. Suffer with joint problems? Ginger is great as it has fairly potent anti-inflammatory properties. Eating lots of ginger will help reduce the inflammation as will adding ginger essential oil to your bath.
8. Feeling congested? Drink a cup of fresh ginger and honey tea to clear the nose and throat. Particularly good during those long winter months.

 

What health benefits do you normally get from ginger?

 

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IBS Cure

IBS Cure

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or IBS as it’s commonly known) is a common disease that affects the digestive system. Symptoms can be mild to severe and include constipation, stomach cramps, bloating and diarrhoea. The symptoms generally come and go but can last for days, weeks or even months at a time for the unlucky ones. Eating certain foods or being stressed are the main two antagonists for symptoms developing.

The main thing that you need to keep in mind is that everyone is different. The triggers for one person will be different for the next person. But the one thing I guarantee is that avoiding the below foods, will go a long way towards improving or reversing your symptoms completely.

 

IBS Cure- Avoid Dairy

 

Dairy contains high amounts of saturated fats which can have a very inflammatory response on an already inflamed digestive system – so not great. On top of this dairy products contain large amounts of lactose (a type of sugar). Many people with IBS struggle to digest lactose properly which can lead to further inflammation.

Alternatives: I would always advise that you avoid dairy products completely, but if you are going to consume them, then harder cheeses (such as cheddar) will be gentler on the digestive tract. A good replacement for milk would be the various nut milks available (almond etc) or coconut and hemp milks.

 

IBS Cure- Avoid Fruits That Contain Lots Of Fructose

 

Fruits that have a high concentration of fructose are a common cause of IBS related symptoms. If you have IBS then you should consider avoiding the following: dried fruits, concentrated fruit juices, apples, pears and watermelons.

Alternatives: Some great low fructose choices include: lemons, limes, berries, oranges, bananas and grapes.

 

IBS Cure – Fructans

 

There are a number of vegetables that contain high amounts of fructan. Fructans are sugar molecules found in certain carbohydrates that can exacerbate IBS symptoms. Fructans can cause constipation, bloating and irregular bowel movements. Some of the main culprits include cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, garlic and leeks.

Alternatives: Some other vegetables that are generally better tolerated include: spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and courgette.

 

IBS Cure – Beans/Legumes

 

If you are able to tolerate beans and legumes then they will provide you with an abundance of vitamins, minerals and fibre. If you have IBS then these are one of the most common triggers for symptoms. The worst culprits tend to be chickpeas, lentils, baked beans and soybeans.

Alternatives: There aren’t really any like-for-like alternatives for beans and legumes. Quinoa and amaranth grains tend to be very well tolerated by many with IBS.

 

IBS Cure – Polyols

 

Polyols are generally found in foods as sugar free sweeteners. Have a look on food labels and if it contains anything ending in ol or eg then it’s most likely a polyol. Common examples include mannitol, xylitol and sorbitol. Also, just be aware that mushrooms also contain natural polyols which can cause IBS symptoms to worsen.

Alternatives: Be very careful when loading added sugars and sweeteners to foods. It will cause unwanted blood sugar spikes. I would suggest small amounts of honey, coconut sugar or maple syrup if you absolutely must sweeten your food.

 

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