Monthly Archives: June 2017

June Nutrition Nuggets


June is nearly over! The summer solstice is past us, and the days will be getting shorter. The months seem to be going by quite fast. What was new in the health news for June?

I believe the biggest shocker to anyone who is interested in their diet or nutrition is whether or not coconut oil is a healthy choice. Lets start with that. Remember, fats are not all the same. Here is an excerpt from my post Healthy Oils/Fats:     

  • Trans Fats:  Being banned by the FDA.  Most trans fats are made from highly processed oils; called partial hydrogenation. Research has shown them to be unhealthy for consumption and that is why they are banned in European countries & are being banned here.
  • Saturated Fats: They are solid at room temperatures. Less than 7% should be in your diet.
  • Polyunsaturated Fats: They are always liquid even when refrigerated. Each type of polyunsaturated oil contains a different Omega 3  to Omega 6 ratio. Check the labels. Your body needs both but the Omega 3’s should be higher.
  • Monounsaturated Fat: Liquid at room temperature but becomes cloudy when refrigerated. Choose oils that are highest in monounsaturated fats. These are the “healthy oils”. These oils contain more Omega 3’s.

CBS News ran this article, along with a video, on June 16th: Why you should replace coconut oil with healthier fatsThe American Heart Association (AHA) released a report this week aimed at setting the record straight in the long-running debate over the healthiest fats. A recent New York Times survey found that 72 percent of Americans think coconut oil is healthy but only 37 percent of nutritionists agree with them.

The AHA says that replacing saturated fats found in coconut oil or butter with vegetable oils like corn or peanut can lower cardiovascular disease by about 30 percent. That’s almost the same amount as a cholesterol-lowering statin drugI want to mention here that corn & soy oil is GMO unless it is Organic. Extra Virgin Olive oil, a mono-saturated fat, would be my choice.

In the video, Dr. Tara Narula said: “But the reality is when you look at what coconut oil is made of, 80 percent of it is saturated fat and that’s similar to butter which is about 60 percent saturated fat or beef fat which is about 40 percent,” Narula told “CBS This Morning.” “Saturated fat raises the LDL or the ‘bad’ cholesterol so coconut oil is going to have that same effect as butter and beef fat.”

There is such a thing as the “halo effect”, where a food goes from bad to a super food status from one study or a celebrity endorsement. We have seen this happen many times. This has happened to coconut oil. It is not a “bad” oil but it is a saturated fat. 

Based on all that I have read about this, coconut oil can be used, but in moderation. The AHA has recommended that no more than 7% of your total calories per day should come from saturated fat. For example, with 2000 calories a day your saturated fat limit is 16 grams or 140 calories from saturated fat. On the label of my coconut oil it states that 1 tablespoon = 13 grams of saturated fat. 

Coconut oil advocates argue that it is a healthy fat because it is plant based. Not all plant based oils are healthy. They also point to cultures who exclusively use coconut oil in their cooking. Yes, but they don’t have the same lifestyle & fast foods that we have. I can list all the arguments for its use as a food, but research does not back them up. Consume it in moderation.

It still has many uses as a skin moisturizer & in other beauty products. Don’t throw it away, just move it to your bathroom 🙂

As I am writing this, I see a new study with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. USA Today reported on June 21, 2017: Extra virgin olive oil staves off Alzheimer’s, preserves memory, new study shows  Very good article by Sean Rossman. “Temple University research shows extra-virgin olive oil protects against memory loss, preserves the ability to learn and reduces conditions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at the college’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine found mice with EVOO-enriched diets had better memories and learning abilities compared to the rodents who didn’t eat the oil. The real effect of EVOO appeared in the inner-workings of the mice’s brains. Neuron connections in the brain were better preserved in those on an EVOO diet.

Also, olive oil reduces brain inflammation and activates the autophagy process, whereby intracellular debris and toxins are removed. Such debris and toxins are firm markers of Alzheimer’s disease. A reduction in autophagy, researchers claim, is suspected to be the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Read the rest of the article for more information about this study. This is good news, but remember, the study has been done only on rats. Human clinical trials are needed. But in the meantime, I will keep on using my extra virgin olive oil! 

The next piece of bad news is for french fry lovers 🙂  From the Washington Post, Those french fries could kill you, a new study says. But don’t panic! This article, published b on June 16, was my favorite because of the way it was written. He starts by saying: Hey, you, the dude reading this story on your phone over a pile of french fries: Back slowly away from the crispy spuds. They’re out to get you.” 

The article is based on a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which concluded that: “The frequent consumption of fried potatoes appears to be associated with an increased mortality risk. Additional studies in larger sample sizes should be performed to confirm if overall potato consumption is associated with higher mortality risk.”

Mr. Carmen finished the article with: What they did say was that folks who ate “fried potatoes” two or more times a week “were at an increased risk of mortality.” And not the kind of minuscule increase that’s easy to brush off for those firmly committed to their death sticks. The researchers concluded that frequent fried potato eaters more than doubled their risk of premature death. This was in the study results.

The ray of hope for tuber lovers? “The consumption of unfried potatoes was not associated with an increased mortality risk,” the study noted. No word if those unfried potatoes were drenched with butter, slathered with sour cream and sprinkled with pre-shredded cheddar.

Everyone, of course, cried fryer-oil tears over the news.” Once a month can’t be all that bad, right? 

BBC News, June 14, 2017:  EU court bans dairy-style names for soya and tofu “Plant-based foods cannot be sold in the European Union using terms such as milk, butter and cheese, the European Court of Justice has ruled.

The ECJ was ruling in a case referred to it by a German court and involving German food company TofuTown. The company sells plant-based products with names including “Soyatoo Tofu Butter” and “Veggie Cheese”. It said customers were not misled, because their products’ plant origins were clear.

Since December 2013 EU regulations have stated that designations such as milk, butter, cheese cream and yogurt can only be used for marketing and advertising products which are derived from animal milk.

There are some exceptions. Coconut milk is allowed, for example, as are peanut butter, almond milk and ice cream. However, soya and tofu are not exempted.

I included this article because I thought it was interesting. Since the consumers were not confused, I am not convinced there is a problem with the labeling. I would say that the process required to make butter or cheese should be the deciding factor, not that it comes from milk 🙂

I really enjoyed reading this article about the history of rice in Asia. I received it from the Oldways Whole Grains Council’s newsletter.  A NEW DAWN FOR WHOLE GRAINS IN CHINA, MAY 31, 2017  When you think of grain foods in China, you’d be forgiven if white rice is the first thing that comes to mind. But as China gears up to feed a growing population, and ward off the diet-related chronic diseases that Americans are all too familiar with, the tradition of whole grains in China is being revisited with renewed vigor.

What is interesting about this article is that the reason they are promoting brown rice over white rice has more to do with feeding the population than the health benefits. One kilogram of paddy rice yields about 750 grams of brown rice, but only 650 grams of white rice. For this reason, the Health Promotion Board in the Philippines encourages people to “be RICEsponsible” and choose brown rice instead.  It would not be surprising to see similar campaigns make their way to China in the coming years. Apparently some reports warn that in 40 years there will only be enough food in China for people to eat 2 meals per day, so strategies to reduce food waste are of utmost importance.

Read the rest of the article for the history of white, black & brown rice in Asia. In conclusion, the article ended with this information…

…”Despite the historical significance that whole grains have in Chinese culture, companies are also  finding modern ways to incorporate more whole grains into current Chinese traditions. Oat House (the company that organized the Sino-Foreign Whole Grains Industry Development Experts Forum) is putting whole grain oat flour into the mooncakes for the upcoming mid-autumn festival in China. Here is a link to what mooncakes are.

With their eager embrace of globalization, many Chinese people have reshaped their diets to incorporate unfamiliar foods from around the world (like coffee and yogurt). Hopefully, with cooperation of Chinese government agencies, NGOs, and manufacturers, whole grains will make their way onto more and more Chinese plates as well. (Kelly) 

Kentucky fried Chicken has been in China since 1987 & has over 5,000 outlets there! Pizza Hut, Subway & Starbucks are there also. Hopefully the SAD, Standard American Diet, and all its diseases won’t follow.

After reading my post, my husband has abandoned using coconut oil in & on everything. It was the buttery taste that he was going for on toast & popcorn. I never liked it because it made my mouth feel greasy. He is back to using EV olive oil now. I think he has made the right decision. 

Until next week…Mary 🙂

***Cookbook by Rebecca Katz & Mat Edelson, on Amazon, only $1.99 for Kindle edition: The Healthy Mind Cookbook: Big-Flavor Recipes to Enhance Brain Function, Mood, Memory, and Mental Clarity  A collection of more than 120 recipes formulated to optimize brain health, boost memory, improve mood, sharpen the central nervous system, and more.

Food & Mood.

You have read &/or heard my opinions on food & mood for a very long time. On many occasions I have encouraged you to start a food diary that also notes how you feel emotionally after you eat a specific food or a meal. This is why you should start doing this…

I saw an article on BBC news regarding food & mental health. I decided to dig a bit further to see if I could find any research on the subject. We can all stand to improve our mental health, but especially when dealing with a life altering diagnosis. 

This is the article that started my thoughts on the subject: How food can improve your mental health 22 May 2017  Approximately one in four of us will experience a mental health problem each year in England.  As part of our fight against this, we have a very much under utilised tool – food. In BBC One’s Doctor in the House, I try to help 34-year-old Emma Gleeson, who has been experiencing anxiety, depression and panic attacks for many years. 

This article is worth a serious look. The dramatic changes in her mental health is wonderful. Emma states: “I had been living on a diet of takeaways, fizzy drinks and general processed and convenience foods for as long as I can remember, and didn’t for one moment think that what I ate was contributing in any way to the anxiety and panic attacks I’d been experiencing for years,” she said.

“Since meeting and spending time with Dr Rangan, he has changed my entire outlook on food, and why certain foods were potentially having a negative impact on my mental health. I now only buy and cook with fresh food, I make my own stocks, I eat plenty of fish and I try to reduce the amount of sugar I consume. I feel so much better and intend to keep this up.”

Diet changes to effect a change in our mental health should be made along with any therapy or prescriptions you are already taking. This is not meant to replace mental health care if you need it.

 In Psychology today: How Food Effects Mood has a list of articles written about food & mood. They are all very good. The first one isRecent Links Between Food and Mood : The benefits of being a Mediterranean omnivore by Gary L. Wenk Ph.D.Your …Brain on Food, Posted Apr 08, 2015 “Considerable evidence has linked an unhealthy diet to obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cancer.  We now understand how chronic obesity ages us and then underlies the foundation of our death.  Furthermore, obesity leads to body-wide chronic inflammation that predisposes us to depression and dementia.  However, these are all the long-term consequences of our diet upon our body and brain.  What about the short- term consequences?  Can specific nutrients in my breakfast or lunch influence my brain’s function today?  Intuitively, we would all agree that this is certainly likely.  After all, being depressed or anxious can lead to poor dietary habits; conversely, poor dietary choices can lead to depression and anxiety.  Although it can be difficult to determine which came first in some people, most relevant studies indicate that an unhealthy diet is a significant risk factor for future depressive symptoms (Br J Psychiatry 2009;195:408413).” Continue reading for more information on studies & the 🙂 Mediterranean diet & mood! 

This next article is about moods & the Mediterranean diet but it also lists 6 foods & their impact on your mood; salmon, probiotics (gut to brain link 🙂 ), leafy greens, blueberries, oysters & chocolate. 

 From the Washington Post:  6 foods to eat for a mood boost   April 6  “If you’ve ever found bliss in a bite of chocolate or smiled when someone offered you a french fry, then you know food can make you happy. But while it’s true that your favorite treat may give you a brief emotional lift, sustained mood-boosting brain power can only come from a consistent supply of nutritious foods.

Recognizing the difference between a quick jolt of cookie-fueled joy and the positive effects of long-term nutrition for brain health is important. Researchers are taking a closer look at how food can impact your mood and future cognitive function, and they are finding that what you eat does make a difference.” I do like the cookie-fueled joy, but I agree with the idea that long-term nutrition is more important. This article shows it is not just what you are no longer eating~ junk food~ but also the impact of what you are eating every day on your mental wellbeing. 

I found this article in Food & Nutrition: The Relationship Between Food and Mood BY ABBIE GELLMAN, MS, RD, CDN, 02/08/2017  Turns out that the old saying “you are what you eat” is true, especially in relation to food and mood. Over the past several years, many evidence-based studies have been published detailing how some foods help improve your mood while others make it worse. Important nutrients affect brain chemistry, impacting mood, memory and cognitive function.  However, if you’re eating a healthy balance of whole foods that contain a variety of nutrients, you’re more likely to feel calmer, more content and generally in a better mood.”

The author, Abbie Gellman, goes on to talk about; Ways Your Food Intake Can Effect Your Mood & Ways You Can Improve Your Mood Through Food. This was my favorite tip in the second part: “Consume foods as close as possible to how they look in nature. For example, an orange is less processed and closer to nature than orange juice.” Good advice.

Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food , Eva Selhub MD, POSTED NOVEMBER 16, 2015, 9:00 AM , UPDATED NOVEMBER 17, 2015,  “Think about it. Your brain is always “on.” It takes care of your thoughts and movements, your breathing and heartbeat, your senses — it works hard 24/7, even while you’re asleep. This means your brain requires a constant supply of fuel. That “fuel” comes from the foods you eat — and what’s in that fuel makes all the difference. Put simply, what you eat directly affects the structure and function of your brain and, ultimately, your mood.

Like an expensive car, your brain functions best when it gets only premium fuel. Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress — the “waste” (free radicals) produced when the body uses oxygen, which can damage cells.”

The brain/gut connection has been the subject of several studies. This is a good article from Johns Hopkins Medicine, Healthy Aging: The Brain-Gut Connection“Anxiety and depression have been thought to contribute to gastro conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A Johns Hopkins expert explains how what’s going on in your gut could be affecting your brain….If you’ve ever “gone with your gut” to make a decision or felt “butterflies in your stomach” when nervous, you’re likely getting signals from an unexpected source: your second brain.  Hidden in the walls of the digestive system, this “brain in your gut” is revolutionizing medicine’s understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think.”  

If you are mindful of the brain/gut connection, passing up the coke & fries makes sense. It doesn’t mean that you CAN’T try the deep fried Oreo at the fair. It means you might want to share it with someone & enjoy your half. Just don’t make them at home 🙂 

This article from WebMD was published December 15, 2009. This idea has been around for a long time & the recommendations in the article still apply. How Food Affects Your Moods Can your diet help put you in a good mood (or a bad one)?  By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

So how should you change your diet if you want to try to improve your mood? You’ll find eight suggestions below. Try to incorporate as many as possible, because regardless of their effects on mood, most of these changes offer other health benefits as well. Read the article for details about each of these.

  1. Don’t Banish Carbs — Just Choose ‘Smart’ Ones
  2. Get More Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  3. Eat a Balanced Breakfast
  4. Keep Exercising and Lose Weight (Slowly)
  5. Move to a Mediterranean Diet 🙂 🙂 🙂
  6. Get Enough Vitamin D
  7. Select Selenium-Rich Foods
  8. Don’t Overdo Caffeine

Eliminating or decreasing the amount of sugar & processed foods is a good start. Dare I say it? Yes, move towards a plant based diet such as the Mediterranean.

I will leave you with 2 quotes from my favorite author Michael Pollen’s books & a list of Brain Food recipes below.

“It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car” From Food Rules: An Eaters Manual. My favorite book of his.

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” from In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto 

Until next week…Mary 🙂

Here are a few links to Brain Food Recipes!

  • PureWow: 30 Mood-Boosting Dinners for a Happier, Healthier Month  SARAH STIEFVATER, MAR. 22, 2017  “Our perfect dinner is delicious and nutritious enough that we don’t feel guilty about eating it. Basically, we want to eat things that make us feel good. Which is why we’ll be whipping up the following 30 meals this month: They all include ingredients that are proven to boost your mood.
  • From Eating Well: Brain-Boosting Dinner Recipes   “Eat for a sharper mind with these healthy dinner recipes to boost brain power. Adding omega-3-rich ingredients, such as oily fish, to your diet, as well as iron-rich foods, such as beans, and water-rich foods, such as leafy salad greens, can support healthy cognitive function. Try one of our healthy salmon recipes or hearty bean recipes tonight for a brain-boosting dinner.”
  • Cooking Light, Health News: 5 Recipes to Boost Brain Health Much depends on what you eat, especially how you age, feel, and focus. So why not feed your body and brain with clean, high-octane fuel? Here’s how.
  • A Couple Cooks: 10 Brain Food Recipes to Boost Your Mood We’re Sonja & Alex, a husband and wife who love to cook. This website is a collection of the simple, healthy, and mostly vegetarian recipes we cook in our kitchen. We also host the A Couple Cooks Podcast, a show for a growing community of people who love to cook and eat well.
  • Eating Well: Brain-Boosting, Healthy Breakfast Recipes Our healthy breakfast recipes deliver brain-boosting nutrients, like iron and omega-3s, plus whole grains to support cognitive function and improve memory while powering your morning. Try our healthy granola, breakfast-sandwich, waffle recipes and more easy breakfast recipes for a healthy start to your day.

Simple Meals

This time of year I prefer to be outdoors taking walks or working in the garden. I don’t want to be in the house cooking a complicated, time consuming meal. I want something easy to make & easy to clean up! The key to this is to prepare produce ahead of time, & to cook staples such as grains & beans to have on hand in the refrigerator.

Because my husband grows vegetables, we came to an agreement that he harvests our salad greens & any ripe fruits & veggies twice a week. This way, I can I spin dry the salad greens before I store them in a salad keeper for use when needed. Produce such as potatoes, tomatoes, beets & mushrooms I clean when I am ready to use them. Veggies like carrots, celery, & cucumbers, I clean & cut into bite size pieces. They can be stored for use in a quick meal or a grab & go snack.

I usually cook a pot of brown rice, or other grain; & a pot of beans or lentils, at the beginning of the week & store them in the frig to be used in salads or by themselves. I also bake potatoes & root vegetables all at the same time if I know I will be using them in a recipe during the week. 

Real Simple: How to Store Fruits and Vegetables  By Elizabeth Passarella, Keep your produce as fresh as possible with these guidelines* for storing fruits and vegetables. Excellent guide.

***Before you ask, I rinse everything with cold water. I don’t use vinegar or any commercial rinse product. 

The latest newsletter from Oldways has some wonderful ideas for One-Dish MealsKeep things simple in the kitchen this summer with healthy one-dish Mediterranean meals. There are plenty of traditional examples of these kinds of dishes. It’s no wonder the Mediterranean diet topped U.S. News’ list of the easiest diets to follow! Fewer dishes mean more time to relax while you’re cooking and enjoy your meal at the table. You might even have some extra time to take advantage of the sunny summer weather. Keep reading for our favorite one-dish Mediterranean meal ideas.

Here are two ideas from the newsletter:

  • 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ¼ cup dried apricots, cut into quarters
  • 3 to 4 cups cooked chicken or turkey, chopped
  • 1 red apple, unpeeled and chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • ½ head green leaf lettuce
  1. If the chicken’s not already cooked, poach it gently in a little water while you chop and mix everything else. When it’s cooked through, chop it. (Poaching a chicken breast takes about 10-12 minutes, depending on thickness.)
  2. Finely grate the peel of a fresh lemon into a large bowl, then juice the lemon into the same bowl (remember to grate the peel first!)
  3. Add poppy seeds, mustard, honey, oil and apricots to the bowl, then let apricots soften for at least 15 minutes in this dressing (less time if they are very fresh).
  4. Add the lumpy ingredients and chicken, and mix well. Serve on a bed of greens.

Tips and Variations

  • Use 2 tablepsoons honey-mustard instead of honey and mustard.
  • Dip your measuring spoon in the oil before measuring the honey, so the honey will slide right off. Or just estimate the honey, pouring it right into your salad bowl. No need to be exact!
  • Make enough for tomorrow’s lunch and feel free to add other ingredients you have lying around: fresh corn, Italian chicken sausage, chopped lettuce etc. The dressing’s the key, then anything else goes.
  • Always roll a lemon before juicing it—it breaks down the fruit inside and makes it jucier!
  • Make everything ahead and add the lettuce just when serving.
  • Instead of doubling everything, you can add extra veggies to stretch this.

Big Salads
If you need dinner on the table fast, keep it simple with a big, seasonal salad. Seasonal vegetables taste incredible during the summer months, so always keep a few options on hand in case an impromptu salad is needed. Try a classic fattoush (Middle Eastern pita salad) made with torn whole wheat pita, romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, and mint. Summer fruits add nice flavor to salads too. Try tossing berries and sliced peaches with summer greens and farro, for example. To make your salads more substantial, add:

  • Beans, chickpeas, or lentils
  • Canned tuna
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Shaved or crumbled cheese
  • Nuts or seeds
  • Leftover roasted chicken or fish

I make a big salad of our mixed greens, add some beans & rice I made at the beginning of the week, olives, sliced red peppers, carrots, cucumber & celery to it. You can add fish, poultry or tofu rather than beans. Be creative! 

One of my favorite dishes to make ahead & serve all week 🙂 is a quiche. I have links to quiche recipes on our Recipe Page. When I don’t have time for that, I simply saute whatever veggies I have on hand, or use the leftover roasted vegetables & then add beaten eggs to the mix. Allow the eggs to cook slowly, turn & serve. Easy, healthy & fast! You can serve it with a simple salad or a side of sliced tomatoes, avocado, & salsa. Corn tortillas, sprouted bread or a flat bread go well with it too.

Incredible Egg: FRITTATA MUFFIN RECIPE This is a great idea. You can have them handy when you need a pick-me-up or a small meal.

Another favorite of mine is a simple vegan potato salad. Here is my basic recipe.

  • Steamed, cut up red, purple or golden potatoes. I vary how large I cut the cubes of potato, just to be different.
  • Celery, chopped.
  • Carrot; I grate these because it adds color & a different texture to the salad.
  • Scallions, chopped. I prefer the scallions because they add a lighter onion taste than regular onions.
  • Garlic cloves, chopped.
  • Bell peppers sliced or chopped.
  • Pickle relish.
  • Lemon pepper.
  • Vegenaise…I use Follow Your Heart Vegenaise 

Adjust the amounts you use according to your taste & the quantity needed. If you use salt, go lightly because the vegenaise has a subtle salty taste.

Cookie+Kate: Herbed Red Potato Salad (no mayo!)  I enjoy going through this site. She has a new cookbook, as of May 17, 2017, that looks wonderful: Love Real Food: More Than 100 Feel-Good Vegetarian Favorites to Delight the Senses and Nourish the Body 

Tacos or burritos are easy, fast meals. This is another meal that you can be creative with. There are no rules for tortillas in my kitchen. Sprouted tortillas are our choice & fillings can be any leftovers!

Simple Breakfast Burrito ideas of mine. Using a sprouted tortilla or one of your choice, fill with:

  • Left over vegetables. Add tomatoes, avocado & salsa.
  • Egg salad. I add beans & rice.
  • Beans, rice, scrambled eggs, peppers, grated cheese.
  • Beans, potatoes, scrambled eggs, peppers, grated cheese.
  • Scrambled tofu~ Mash the tofu, and add it to sauteed onions, garlic & turmeric. I  add spinach when sauteing the onions. Add beans, rice & cheese to the filling. 

Just because they are called Breakfast Burritos doesn’t mean you can’t serve them for lunch or dinner 🙂

For more recipes take a look at Cooking Light: Healthy Burrito Recipes

If you are in the mood for pizza, here is my grandsons favorite recipe of mine. 

French Bread Pizza

  • Choose any bread for the base. For special occasions I use an organic sourdough or French bread loaf. Cut it in half lengthwise.
  • Use your favorite pasta sauce & “paint” it onto the top of each loaf half.
  • This is the fun part…add anything in the refrigerator that you would like on your pizza. Leftovers, beans, fish, poultry, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, olives, peppers; anything that takes your fancy.
  • Top with cheese or not! 
  • Bake it in oven at 400 for approximately 30 minutes depending on the toppings. 
  • Serve with arugula & spinach on top.

When I make this for a group of kids, I use a flat bread such as pita or chapala as the base. I cut up & grate all the toppings I think they would like & place them in bowls; including the sauce. I then let the kids build their own pizza. Lots of fun & you are guaranteed to have nothing leftover!

Flatout Flat Bread: 26 of the Best Flatbread Pizza Recipes I like the Quick Fix Margherita Pizza Could not be more simple & tasty. Look at the list on the left for different recipes.

Keep it healthy & simple!

Our favorite breakfast, lunch or dinner is simply sprouted bread toasted with a smear of Vegenaise, slices of avocado, peppers & tomato on top.

My second favorite is sprouted bread toasted with almond butter & slices of banana on top 🙂

My husbands idea of a fast, healthy, meal is a dip with whole grain crackers or pita chips. I like celery or carrot sticks.

Those beans I made at the beginning of the week can now be put in a blender or food processor with or without some salsa & blended until you are happy with the consistency for a dip; creamy or with bits of beans.

Hummus is a very good dip to have on hand. 1 tablespoon has 2.1 gms of fiber & 1.2 gms of protein. 

I haven’t even mentioned fruits or Greek yogurt! So many “fast foods” to have on hand. I think you have the idea.

Bon Appetite: 10 Things to Do With Hummus Note that one idea is Hummus Flatbread Pizza.

Explore the additional recipes below. Enjoy! Until next week…Mary 🙂

P.S. My daughter text me that they are selling jackfruit at Smart & Final in Encinitas. Even sent me this photo!

Jennifer Moore

More Ideas!


What the heck is Jackfruit?

I have been aware of Jackfruit for quite awhile but didn’t take an interest in it. To be honest, when I see the headline, “The New Superfood”, I ignore it. For the last 2 months I have seen Jackfruit mentioned in nearly all of my food related newsletters. Then, when shopping at our local natural foods market, I saw a package of marinated Jackfruit in the cooler by the tofu. I decided it was meant to be 🙂 I needed to research this fruit, write about it & cook with it. 

The ultimate place to learn about this fruit is The Jackfruit Company. Their March 9th, 2016, Blog:  What Is Jackfruit Anyway? (Jackfruit FAQs) is a good place to begin.

alt=jackfruit meat alterantive

The Jackfruit Company


The question gets asked all the time, since jackfruit is a word that has many arching a brow in curiosity. Considering we’re The Jackfruit Company, we love explaining what jackfruit is, where jackfruit comes from, how to cook with jackfruit, and why jackfruit is so nutritious.

Jackfruit is believed to have originated in Southern India thousands of years ago, but is now widely cultivated in tropical regions around the world: SE Asia, South America, Australia and the Caribbean where it has been enjoyed both in ripe and young forms.  Jackfruit grows on trees (aptly named jackfruit trees!). A single jackfruit tree can produce 2 to 3 tons of fruit per year, with a single jackfruit growing up to 80 pounds big! Similar in growing style to bananas or coconuts, jackfruit is harvested straight from the tree. Very impressive!

Jackfruit is a drought-resistant, high-yield crop that enables us to provide substantial income to local families, who, up until recently, had no real means of monetizing the jackfruit already growing abundantly on their land. This company is pretty amazing. Click HERE to see the video about its founder & why she started this company.

Our mission at The Jackfruit Company is to twofold: to help more people all over the world eat this fiber-rich, nutrient-dense fruit (a single serving offers 20% of your daily fiber recommendation!) and generate new income for local farmers in India, our partners who source the young jackfruit.

What’s more, jackfruit is recognized as a high-fiber whole-food meat alternative that will shape the future — and change, for the healthier, the center of the plate. Jackfruit is a good meat substitute because it is soy-free & gluten free. Most meat substitutes are made with soy & or gluten (seitan for example). 

So, now that you know all that (high five!), let’s answer some of your other burning questions about jackfruit. Click on the link above to see the other FAQ’s. 

I wondered about its nutritional valueI copied this data from the FDA website. For the complete nutritional breakdown click HERE.  

Values per 1 cup sliced, raw, edible portion. This information appears to be for the ripe fruit. You will see the difference on the product label below.

  • Calories: 157
  • protein: 2.84 gm
  • Total Fat: 1.06 gm
  • Fiber: 2.5 gm
  • Sugar: 31.48 gm This would be fructose in the ripe fruit. 

There is a big difference in young green Jackfruit & ripe Jackfruit nutritionally. Most recipes are with the young green fruit. According to my research young green Jackfruit is low on the glycemic scale. This is because it is higher in fiber & lower in sugar than the ripe fruit. The fiber slows down the effect of the sugar. 

This is a product from The Jackfruit Company with the nutritional facts. Click on the image to go to the product for a larger view & information.

The Jackfruit Company

I bought the product shown above, BBQ Jackfruit, at our local natural food store, Wild Rivers. They sell this one & Tex-Mex Jackfruit. I am not a BBQ sauce fan but my husband is. Neither of us have ever had a pulled pork BBQ sandwich, so this was a real test! I asked two of the people who work there if they had tried it. John, who is a meat eater, said he had but wasn’t impressed. He said it didn’t taste like pork to him. Marina, a vegetarian, said that she loved it. 

I followed the recipe on the website for BBQ Jackfruit Sliders, & served it on an organic whole wheat hamburger bun with lettuce. We paired the sandwich with corn on the cob, grilled in our toaster oven & a fresh salad. 

We both really enjoyed it. The BBQ flavor was not overpowering & it tasted sweet & smokey. We didn’t think it tasted like pork, but being vegetarians for most of our lives, we are not good judges of what pork tastes like 🙂 I have never liked the texture of meat but for some reason I liked the texture of this. I would definitely purchase it again. One reason is because it is already cooked & you just heat it up. It was an easy, tasty, & fast meal to put together.

I am looking forward to trying the Tex-Mex flavor next in a taco or with roasted veggies as a fajita. 

***Just before I published this post I bought the Tex-Mex Jackfruit. I used their  Tex-Mex Jackfruit Taco Recipe on The Jackfruit Company website. I also had fresh tomatoes, avocado & salad mix to add to the taco. It was fast & easy to make. Took about 15 minutes because I sauteed the onion & peppers first. The flavor was excellent & we both enjoyed it. We will definitely be having these again. I am very excited to have these soy & gluten free options.

You can buy fresh jackfruit at an Asian market I am told. I have never seen the fruit & we don’t have an Asian market here. It can also be found in cans. They are either packed in water, brine or in a syrup. I plan on looking for it when we go to a “big city”. I would like to try using it in other recipes.

***My source at Jimbo’s, Encinitas, said that they sell the fresh fruit each season, but that it goes really fast. She said that one of the fruits they sold was 1 & 1/2 feet long!

Most of the recipes I found were for pulled pork sandwiches. I dug a little deeper & found other ways to cook with the fruit.

 The Jackfruit Company; Recipes Archives Their recipes are limited to their products but have some good ideas. 

A favorite website, Minimalist Baker: BBQ JACKFRUIT SANDWICHES WITH AVOCADO SLAW  Simple, 30 minute BBQ jackfruit sandwiches that will fool any meat lover! A crunchy, cool avocado slaw and roasted salted cashews add even more texture and flavor. The perfect vegan substitute for pulled pork. Click on the recipe title if you would like a printed version. The site also has photos & information about jackfruit.

Prep time, Cook time, Total time, Serves: 4-5


  • 2 20-ounce cans young green jackfruit in water (NOT in syrup or brine)
  • 1/4 cup BBQ seasoning (2 Tbsp brown sugar + 1 tsp paprika + 1 tsp garlic powder + 1/2 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp pepper + 1/2 tsp chili powder)
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce (ensure it’s vegan) + more for topping
AVOCADO SLAW (optional)
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage + carrots (Trader’s has a great cruciferous veg mix)
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 lemon or lime, juiced
  • Salt + Pepper to taste
  • (water to thin)
  • 4-6 whole grain vegan buns (GF for gluten free eaters)
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted cashews (or roast on your own – see notes*)
  1. Rinse, drain and thoroughly dry jackfruit. Chop off the center “core” portion of the fruit and discard. Place in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix together BBQ seasoning and add to jackfruit. Toss to coat.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1-2 Tbsp oil of choice and seasoned jackfruit. Toss to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes to achieve some color.
  4. Add BBQ sauce and thin with enough water to make a sauce. Stir and reduce heat to low- medium and cook for about 20 minutes (up to 35 minutes on low for a deeper flavor).
  5. Remove lid and stir occasionally. TIP: For finer texture, use two forks to shred the jackfruit as it cooks down.
  6. In the meantime, make slaw by adding all ingredients except vegetables (avocado through salt + pepper) to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Thin with water until a thick sauce is made, then add veggies and toss to coat. Set in the refrigerator until serving.
  7. Once the jackfruit has been properly simmered, turn up heat to medium-high and cook for 2-3 more minutes to get a little extra color/texture (a tip I learned from Namely Marly!). Then remove from heat.
  8. Place generous portions of slaw on the bottom buns, top with generous serving of BBQ jackfruit, and cashews. Serve with extra BBQ sauce!
  9. Leftover jackfruit keeps for up to a couple days in the fridge, though best when fresh.


* Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 5 sandwiches with avocado slaw and roasted cashews.
* Loosely adapted from Blissful Basil.
* To roast your own cashews: Toss 1/2 cup cashews in a bit of oil and sea salt and spread on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10-12 minutes, or until roasty, fragrant and slightly golden brown.

Nutrition Information: Serving size: 1 sandwich Calories: 431 Fat: 13.6g Saturated fat: 2.6g Carbohydrates: 65g Sugar: 17gSodium: 1000mg Fiber: 15.7g Protein: 11.5g

Cooking Light Jackfruit recipesA slide show with lots of fun recipes. I was surprised to see this recipe using jackfruit! 

Vegan ‘Chicken’ Noodle Soup  by  Serves 6

Everyone enjoys a steaming bowl of soup to warm up their body and spirits when they’re under the weather. Now vegans and vegetarians don’t have to miss out on this comfort. Our plant-based spin on chicken noodle features jackfruit, which perfectly mimics shredded chicken, and a combination of herbs that will hit you with a nostalgic taste. Feel free to substitute other pasta shapes (alphabet soup, anyone?) or other seasonal veggies you have on hand. 


  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • 1 can jackfruit in brine, drained and shredded
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups dried whole wheat rotini
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

How to Make It 

  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil. Cook until translucent and fragrant.
  2. Stir in the broth and the next 7 ingredients (through bay leaves). Simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the rotini, cooking for about 8-10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Stir in nutritional yeast and lemon zest just before serving.
Click on the recipe title for nutritional information.

These recipes use flavorings to turn jackfruit into fish, beef or pork! This site is fun because each recipe is linked to a new website. You get to make new friends 🙂  Vegan Food & 16 mouth-watering vegan jackfruit recipes Recently, Jackfruit has become the go-to ingredient for compassionate cooks. Not only is it super tasty, incredibly versatile, it’s also an excellent source of B-vitamins and a great source of dietary fibre, and makes a fabulous substitute for meat in dishes that traditionally contain pulled-pork, crab, tuna etc. You name it, jackfruit can transform into it! So here’s 16 of the most ridiculously tasty vegan jackfruit recipes that will be loved by all. 

Let me know if you try this interesting fruit. I would love to share everyone’s opinions. Until next week…Mary 🙂

***Clarification from last weeks post. I wrote: “It takes 2-4 medium oranges to make one cup of juice; 5-8 teaspoons of sugar per cup. Cola has 5 teaspoons per 8 ounces.” Oranges come in many varieties. Juicing oranges vary in juiciness & sweetness. The sweeter the orange, the more sugar you get per cup/8 ounces. Thus, 8 ounces of orange juice could have more sugar than 8 ounces of cola.

Additional Informational Resources

New Vegan friends!

  • Namely Marly:  At Namely Marly, we love celebrating – life, family, and the little things that happen every day. We’re devoted to healthy living, vegan food, and days full of abundance.
  • Keepin’ It KindWelcome to Keepin’ it Kind! I’m Kristy- Animal Lover, Travel Fanatic, and Chickpea Devotee. Join my husband and me as we make the world a kinder place, one delicious vegan meal at a time…
  • Veganosity: Hi there, and welcome! We’re so happy you’re here. We created Veganosity for people who want to eat really good food that happens to be vegan….
  • Sweet Simple Vegan Hi! I’m Jasmine, the Sweet Simple Vegan. I am here to share recipes and lifestyle tips to inspire others to take charge of their health.
  • Thyme & LoveHola! I’m Jeni! I create healthy, delicious Vegan recipes that are often inspired by my love of Mexico. I live in Michigan with my Husband Hector and our Pug, Phoebe.
  • Blissful BasilPlant-passionate recipe creator, vegan cookbook author, psychologist, animal lover, and curiosity chaser. My name is Ashley, and I’m the writer and photographer behind Blissful Basil….
  • Vegan Richa: Hi, I’m Richa! I create flavorful plant based recipes that are inspired by my Indian upbringing, including many gluten-free, soy-free, and oil-free options….
  • Fettle Vegan: Welcome to Fettle Vegan, where I whip up and share healthy, creative plant-based recipes easy enough for the novice cook but flavorful enough for even the advanced chef to enjoy! Some of the recipes fall into the categories ‘gluten-free’, ‘raw’, and ‘low sugar’ as well, but every one of them is created with a healthy perspective in mind. 
  • Yup,’s vegan!  I’m Shannon, founder of Yup, it’s Vegan! I’m a morning person based in Baltimore, USA. I create healthy plant-based recipes that everyone will love, using seasonal produce and global inspiration.