Author Archives: planted

9 Foods That Will Boost and Improve Your Gut Health

Did you know that our gut health is very important to our overall well-being?

Not only does gut health effect, both positively or negatively, digestion and other gut-related concerns, but it also impacts other areas of our lives including heart health, skin health, metabolism, obesity and diabetes concerns, and even mental health. On the other hand, poor gut health can lead to negative consequences such as unintentional weight changes and chronic fatigue.

In other words, you should really take care of your gut health if you want to optimize your overall health. One way to do it is by simply adjusting your diet and eating foods that will benefit your gut health.

In this article, we will list down 9 foods that you can eat to improve or boost your gut health. These foods are typically common foods, so you don’t need to worry about price and how to find them.

1) Yogurt

Yogurt, especially live yogurt, is one of the common and excellent sources of gut-friendly bacteria – which is key to your gut’s health. Hence, yogurt is one of the commonly sought-out foods when it comes to taking care of their gut health.

Look for sugar-free and full-fat yogurt as this maximizes the benefits you can get from it. Sugared yogurt may lessen or reserve its positive effects for the gut.

2) Almonds

Almonds have good probiotic properties, meaning they are a good treat for your gut bacteria. Almonds are high in fiber and full of polyphenols and fatty acids; an ideal diet for your gut-friendly bacteria.

Almonds can simply be delicious in themselves, so have a treat while taking care of your gut health!

3) Peas

Peas contain key fiber – both soluble and insoluble – and fiber is one key element in our gut-friendly bacteria’s diet.

4) Kimchi

This special Korean food is made of fermented vegetables, making it rich with probiotic bacteria. Kimchi, aside from being rich with probiotics, is also rich with fiber and key vitamins.

Basically, kimchi is another gut-friendly food. And if you are a fan of Korean shows and KPop, or just anything about Korea, the better!

5) Olive oil

Olive oil is another food that is rich with fatty acids and polyphenols – something that our gut bacteria loves to consume. So, be sure to add olive oil to your kitchen for better gut health. Not to mention that olive oil is rich with health benefits in itself!

For a healthier diet, cook your vegetables with olive oil. Or, if you are into salad, replace your oil with olive oil for a healthier diet!

6) Garlic

Garlic is rich with antifungal and antibacterial property, but it will not hurt your gut-friendly bacteria. It will only target harmful or “bad” gut bacteria, so it is still a good partner for your gut health.

For the “good” bacteria, garlic’s properties can be used as their “fuel source”, making them optimized for whatever they are doing.

7) Banana

Bananas are rich and full of fiber, a favorite snack of your gut bacteria. Hence, bananas are another food to eat to keep your gut health intact. After all, what we eat when we have digestive problems? Bananas!

Also, bananas contain key minerals that are important for our health.

8) Ginger

Ginger is good for stimulating your digestive system. You can add ginger to your diet if you simply eat meals that are cooked with ginger – such as with soups. You can also make a ginger tea if that is your thing too!

9) Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a dish native to Germany, but over time, it has made its way to just about everywhere. Sauerkraut is made with finely chopped, fermented cabbage, making it beneficial for your gut health. But do not choose or cook sauerkraut that is pickled in vinegar as this can reserve or lessen its benefits.

These are just some of the foods that you can eat to boost your gut health. Of course, there are many more foods which can fit, but we’ve picked the ones that you probably commonly eat. You may even be surprised that by eating these foods, you are already helping your gut without even knowing it!

4 Plant-Based Family Blogs Helping Us Raise our Kids

plant-based family blogs to raise plant-based kids

I underestimated the challenges of raising plant-based kids. When you’re living on your own, switching to a plant-based diet is a breeze.  We’ve put together a short list of plant-based family blogs to help.

Think about it, you used to do all of your own shopping, plan your own meals, and choose the restaurants you’re going to. 

What happens when you add a husband and sprinkle a couple of kids on top? Raising plant-based kids is not such a breeze. It’s actually a different ballgame. 

When you’re the head of a household and you are trying to navigate around allergies and picky eaters, planning family-friendly plant-based meals can feel impossible.

We’re here to rescue you!

A few other families have made it their mission to share their experiences and what works for them so that you don’t have to go through the same mistakes. 

Read on to find the 4 best plant-based family blogs to help keep your family on track! 

1. Nora Cooks

If you haven’t discovered the site Nora Cooks just yet, you are in for a treat! 

On her site, you are going to find delicious recipes that are both kid and meat-eater approved. Nora has three kids and has shared her tried and true family-friendly plant-based meals!

This plant-based family blog also shares her tips and tricks for raising vegan kids. While there is a difference with vegan diets vs plant-based diets, I still really do like these recipes for a helping raise our kids plant-based.

She has a section dedicated to 30-minute meals which makes cooking at home a breeze! Her vegan mac and cheese is sure to win over kid’s hearts in a minute! 

2. Shane and Simple

Shane and Simple’s tag is “practical, not pretentious, plant-based meals.” 

This approach to a plant-based lifestyle is perfect for families! 

No nonsense, just delicious food. 

Shane first went plant-based for health reasons, and it was not in the original plan for the whole family to transition. However, his whole family did slowly transition to a plant-based diet. He has created a plant-based family blog to help others ease through this transition!

This blog post about becoming a plant-based family should give you some pointers! 

3. My Plant-Based Family

With a name like that, how can it not be a great resource? My Plant-Based Family is a blog created by Holly!

The plant-based family blog is comprehensive and includes posts specific to transitioning kids to a plant-based diet

Not only is this site packed with helpful blogs, it contains a plant-based e-course that will give you the confidence you need to take care of your plant-based family! 

4. Vegan Family Kitchen

The site Vegan Family Kitchen is a great resource for anyone looking to streamline the cooking process!

This mom, Brigitte, has gone through the wringer creating meal plans that will give your kids the nourishment they need. 

What’s great about meal plans is that they give you back the most important thing- time with your plant-based family! 

Plant-based Family Blogs to Help Your Family

Raising vegan kids has never been easier than with the help of plant-based family blogs!

These blogs will help you navigate allergies, picky-eaters, meal-prep, budgeting for meals, and more. 

Providing your family with healthy and delicious foods is one of the most amazing things you can do as a parent! 

Want to learn more about healthy living? Make sure to check out our other posts for more! 

Incase you are still looking for some recommendations here are a couple of additional lists:

Common Misconceptions and Myths about Plant-Based Diets

Many people find a plant-based diet boring, tasteless, and hard to follow. Some even think that a plant-based diet is expensive and does not provide enough nutrients to stay fit and healthy. I’m happy to say I’ve don’t a bit of research :). I found these are just a few of the many misconceptions and myths about plant-based diets.

Common Misconceptions and Myths about Plant-Based Diets

Fallacies or myths often led people to doubt their dietary choices. Remember, you need to differentiate between myths and facts. In this post, we will bust the myths about the plant-based diet.

Myth 1: Plant-based Diet means to become a Vegetarian

Following a plant-based diet does not mean that you cannot eat animal-sourced foods at all. Many experts recommend including fish, meat, dairy, or poultry in your diet. However, the key is to have them in smaller portions and less often. You can use poultry, fish, or meat as a side dish or garnish with your plant-based main meal.

Myth 2: Plant-based Diet is a Luxury

Another common myth about plant-based diets is that it is expensive.  You will find a wide range of plants, beans, whole grains, and legumes at reasonable pricing. Not only are these packed with minerals, vitamins, and proteins, but they also cost less than meat.

plant-based diet is a luxury

Additionally, rice, wheat, corn, potatoes –all are inexpensive. Some leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, and seasonal fruits are a little pricey. However, you can purchase frozen or canned fruits and veggies; make sure to go for low-sodium options if possible.

Myth 3: Plant-based Diet is Boring

A plant-based diet offers so much variety; all you have to do is explore and experiment.  From beans, nuts, and seeds to pasta, legumes, and noodles, step into the world of amazing, healthy food.

Add in a little spice to make an otherwise boring food into a tasty meal.  You can replace meat with mushrooms or legumes, cheese with blended nuts, and sugary delights with date-sweetened desserts.

Myth 4: It means giving up your favorite Snacks

Well, munching on too many sugary snacks is not good for your oral health in the first place. Instead of eating candies or sugary snacks, you can experiment with vegetables or fruits, and come up with healthy, mouthwatering treats.

myths about plant-based diets

You can consult your dietitian for some innovative, tasty desserts while you are on a plant-based diet. Frozen grapes and berries are good alternatives to sugary popsicles. Plus, unsalted nuts, fruits, carrots and celery sticks are a few healthy snacks.

Myth 5: It does not suffice Body’s Nutrient Requirement

Needless to say, this is also a misconception.  Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans provide all the nutrients that your body needs. You only need to work on the proportion of food; there is no harm in consuming animal-based food as long as it is smaller in portion and less often.

misconceptions of plant-based diets

For most healthy people, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per Kg of body weight.  You can obtain protein from various plant foods, including whole grains, beans, lentils, seeds, nuts, and tofu.

Some Final Thoughts

Many people hesitate to switch to a plant-based diet because of the misconceptions and myths about this healthy diet. Some find it boring; others call it expensive. Of course, you will need to have your own reasoning to try it out. As always make sure to see the advice of your medical professional before changing any of your diets. But when you are ready to dip your toe in the plant-based living waters make sure to head over and check out some of the delicious recipes we’ve gathered :).

Plant-Based Recipes that Your Kids Will Love

When it comes to food, making your kids eat veggies or plant-based meals is a big challenge. However, the good news is that you can make delicious, nutritious plant-based recipes for your kids without even letting them know. So, if you are looking for some plant-based recipes for your kids, then read along.

Vegetarian Chili

Summer is around the corner and the season calls for some healthy, nutritious barbecue, without meat. Surprised? Well, the trick is to make healthy and “good looking” food so that your kids cannot disapprove of the recipe. You will need the following ingredients to make this mouthwatering dish.

vegetarian chili

Ingredients

  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 can red beans*
  • 1 can black beans*
  • 2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 packs reduced sodium chili spice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp shredded cheese

*rinsed and drained

Instructions

  1. Wash potatoes and dry them with a paper towel. Now, pierce the dried potatoes with a fork and wrap them into aluminum foil.
  2. Bake the potatoes at 400F for 60 to 90 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté onions in olive oil for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Now, add dry lentils and keep stirring for 5 minutes.
  5. In the next step, add tomatoes, beans, chili spice, and cilantro with 1 cup of water. Lower the flame and let it cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Keep occasionally stirring until the lentils get fully cooked; add water if needed.
  7. Slice the potatoes in half and top them with as much vegetarian chili as your kid likes. You can also sprinkle shredded cheese.
  8. Serve it in a baked potato, burgers, chicken, or anything that your kids will approve.

Crispy Cauliflower with Potato Tacos

It is hard to resist potatoes, especially when paired with crispy cauliflower and creamy dill dip. Your kids will love the baked tacos. The recipe is simple but offers the yummiest flavors to soothe the tastebuds. The crispy cauliflower is the star of the dish – it’s baked, not fried.

Crispy cauliflower with potato tacos

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium-sized cauliflower
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes (diced)
  • 4 cups cabbage (shredded)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond/cashew milk
  • 1 tbsp apple vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup finely ground almond flour
  • 1/2 cup raw pepitas (unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Creamy vegan sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Finely cut the medium-sized cauliflower into thick strips
  3. Add milk, 1 1/2 cups almond meal, and cider vinegar in a separate bowl. Mix well until it becomes a thin liquid.  
  4. In another bowl, add 3/4 cup almond meal, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, pepitas, and salt.
  5. Coat cauliflower slices and diced potatoes first in the milk mixture and then in the dry mix.
  6. Place them on parched cookie sheets and bake until golden brown.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the creamy vegan sauce.
  8. Serve crispy cauliflowers with shredded cabbage on soft corn tortillas.

Greek Pasta Salad

You can make this simple recipe as a side dish or include in the main course by adding chicken or shrimp to it. Greek pasta salad also makes for yummy school lunch.

greek pasta salad
https://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/simple-greek-pasta-salad/

Ingredients 

For the Salad

  • 8 oz cooked and cooled pasta
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1/4 small, thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 pint grape tomato
  • 1 cup olives
  • 6 ounce crumbled feta cheese

For the Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta, drain and rinse it with cold water.
  2. Cut the veggies.
  3. Add the dressing ingredients in another bowl and whisk to mix well.
  4. Combine the veggies and dressing in a large bowl and mix with a spoon. Serve the salad at room temperature or chilled.

Our taste buds can change and adapt to new flavors; all you need to do is frequently expose your children to fresh flavors. It will help them appreciate nutritious and healthy food like these plant-based recipes.

Once you’re done with these plant-based recipes make sure to head over and check out another great post about vegan recipes for the grill.

Grow Your Garden Made Easy

Vegetable-growing-cheat-sheet
Luna was visiting me in Tampa over the holiday and I was able to take her and her family to one of the local strawberry farms for the best strawberry shortcake of her life (plug for Goodson’s Farm in Wimauma, FL here). Coming from Chicago, she couldn’t believe that it’s strawberry season in December. In between bites of sweet strawberries, cake, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, we started talking about how are these berries soooo delicious…do they use pesticides on them…what’s the best way to keep these strawberries tasting their best…how long will they last if we don’t refrigerate them? I mean, let’s be honest, we really didn’t need to worry about that last question because between 4 kids, those berries didn’t last two days. Planting my own berries wasn’t ever on my radar in Germany because I didn’t own the piece of grass out my back door. But here in Florida, I feel like I could do it. How and where do I start? Here’s a perfect way to help anybody start their own garden. If you have been holding off, then hold off no more (unless you live in Chicago and it’s too cold to start :)). Be sure to check out the good to be home blog for info about this post.

strawberries