How to Make Informed Food Choices

How to Make Informed Food Choices

Making informed food choices is crucial for promoting both personal health and environmental sustainability. When we consider where our food comes from and how it’s produced, we empower ourselves to make decisions that benefit not only our own well-being but also our environment.

From Farm to Table: Understanding the Journey of Your Food

Understanding the journey of your food, from farm to table and making informed food choices, while embracing sustainability, is multifaceted and intertwines personal health and environmental stewardship. Each step in this journey involves making informed food choices that prioritize both individual well-being and the planet’s vitality.

Sustainability involves practices that uphold the ecological balance of our planet, ensuring the longevity of natural resources while promoting human health. From the selection of seeds to the harvesting of crops, every decision made by farmers contributes to the sustainability of our food system.

Informed food Choices & Sustainability

As consumers, our role in the journey is equally significant. Through informed food choices, we have the power to influence the course of our food’s journey. Opting for locally sourced, organically grown produce and supporting farmers who prioritize sustainable practices are integral steps in this process.

Also, embracing sustainability in our food journey extends beyond just consumption. It involves fostering a deeper connection with the food we eat, understanding its origins, and appreciating the efforts of those involved in its production.

In essence, sustainability is a collaborative venture that emphasizes the interconnectedness of human health and environmental well-being. By making informed food choices rooted in sustainability, we not only nourish our bodies but also cultivate a healthier planet for future generations.

Why It Matters

In today’s world, the concept of sustainability has transcended beyond buzzword status; it has become a cornerstone of responsible living. But why does sustainability matter, particularly in the context of our food choices and overall health?

First and foremost, sustainability ensures the preservation of our planet’s resources for future generations. By making informed food choices that prioritize sustainability, we mitigate the depletion of natural resources such as water, soil, and energy, safeguarding the integrity of ecosystems and biodiversity.

Also, sustainability directly impacts human health. Sustainable food systems promote the consumption of nutrient-rich foods that support overall well-being. By opting for sustainably sourced fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, individuals can enhance their diets while reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Additionally, embracing sustainability fosters social equity and economic stability. Sustainable farming practices promote fair labor conditions and support local communities, ensuring that everyone involved in the food production chain receives fair compensation and opportunities for advancement.

In reality, sustainability matters because it serves as the heartbeat of a thriving, interconnected ecosystem where informed food choices lead to improved health outcomes for individuals and the planet alike. By practicing sustainability in our daily lives, we pave the way for a brighter, more resilient future.

Understanding Sustainable Farming

Sustainable farming, a cornerstone of informed food choices, goes beyond mere cultivation practices—it’s a commitment to nurturing the land while safeguarding the health of both consumers and the environment. At its core, sustainable farming prioritizes health by promoting agricultural methods that enhance soil fertility, minimize chemical inputs, and prioritize biodiversity.

In embracing sustainability, farmers adopt techniques aimed at conserving natural resources and reducing environmental impact. These methods include crop rotation, organic fertilization, and integrated pest management, which collectively foster healthier ecosystems and resilient food systems.

Also, sustainable farming champions the principle of “food with a story.” By connecting consumers with the origins of their food, it fosters transparency and trust in the agricultural process. This transparency empowers individuals to make informed food choices aligned with their values and concerns regarding health and environmental stewardship.

From reducing carbon emissions to conserving water and preserving wildlife habitats, the benefits of sustainable farming ripple far beyond the boundaries of the farm. It represents a holistic approach to food production—one that not only feeds the world but also nurtures the planet for generations to come.

Essentially, sustainable farming embodies the ethos of responsible agriculture, where the well-being of the land, the farmer, and the consumer converge in harmony. As consumers, embracing sustainability empowers us to support agricultural practices that prioritize health and environmental vitality, paving the way for a more resilient and nourished future.

The Impact of Your Purchasing Power

As consumers, the choices we make regarding the food we purchase and consume have considerable influence. Opting for locally sourced, in-season, and sustainably grown food not only contributes to our own well-being but also minimizes our ecological footprint. Shopping at farmers’ markets or participating in community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs are excellent avenues for making such choices.

Your purchasing decisions have considerable influence on the food system, shaping both personal health and the trajectory of sustainability. By making informed food choices, you not only nourish yourself but also contribute to the broader environmental and social landscape.

Consider the Impact of Food Choices

Every item you place in your shopping cart reflects a vote for the type of food system you wish to endorse. Opting for locally sourced, in-season, and sustainably grown products not only promotes your own health but also minimizes your ecological footprint. This conscious choice supports farmers who prioritize environmental stewardship and ethical practices.

Support Sustainable Practices

Choosing products with certifications such as organic or fair trade signifies your commitment to sustainability. These labels indicate that the food was produced in a manner that respects both people and the planet. By actively seeking out these designations, you incentivize businesses to adopt more environmentally friendly and socially responsible practices.

Embrace Sustainability

Embracing a mindset of mindful consumption empowers you to make choices that align with your values. Whether it’s opting for plant-based alternatives, reducing food waste, or supporting local farmers’ markets, each decision has the potential to drive positive change. Together, our collective actions can create a more equitable and sustainable food system for future generations.

Basically, your purchasing power extends far beyond the checkout counter—it’s a catalyst for change in the realm of food production and consumption. By leveraging this power to prioritize health and sustainability, you play a vital role in shaping a brighter and more resilient future for all.

Food Choices & Food Labels

Interpreting food labels empowers us to make informed food choices. Terms like “organic,” “free-range,” or “non-GMO” offer insights into how food was cultivated or processed. Familiarizing ourselves with label terminology facilitates decision-making aligned with our values and preferences.

Navigating food labels is crucial for making informed food choices that prioritize both health and sustainability. Here’s a breakdown of key terms and what they mean:

  • Organic: Products labeled as organic are produced without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Choosing organic options supports sustainability by promoting healthier soil and reducing chemical runoff into the environment.
  • Non-GMO: Non-GMO labels indicate that the product does not contain genetically modified ingredients. Opting for non-GMO foods supports health and helps preserve biodiversity by avoiding genetically engineered crops.
  • Fair Trade: Fair Trade certification ensures that products are sourced from producers who receive fair wages and work under humane conditions. Supporting Fair Trade products promotes social equity and sustainability in agricultural practices.
  • Grass Fed: This label indicates that animals were fed a diet primarily consisting of grass or forage. Grass-fed meat and dairy products often contain higher levels of beneficial nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, promoting both animal welfare and human health.
  • Sustainable Sourced: Products labeled as sustainably sourced are harvested or produced in a manner that minimizes environmental impact and promotes long-term ecological balance. Choosing sustainably sourced foods supports health by ensuring the availability of nutritious options for future generations.

Understanding these labels empowers consumers to make informed food choices that align with their values and contribute to both personal health and global sustainability.

Key Takeaways

To sum it up, making informed food choices involves considering various factors beyond taste and convenience. By understanding the journey of food from farm to table, prioritizing sustainability, and paying attention to label information, we can contribute to both personal well-being and environmental preservation.

Let’s celebrate National Nutrition Month® by embracing choices that go beyond the dining table, nurturing our bodies, communities, and the planet at large.

Whether your goal is to improve your health through nutrition or live a more sustainable lifestyle, we are committed to supporting you in achieving your health and wellness goals. Call or book an appointment.

Plant-Based Foods for Weight Loss and Health

Plant-Based Foods for Weight Loss and Health

In a world where health-conscious food choices are on the rise, adopting a whole food plant-based diet has emerged as a powerful strategy for weight loss and overall health. This approach prioritizes nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods derived from plants, offering many health benefits for those seeking a healthier lifestyle. To gain a deeper understanding of the benefits of plant-based foods for weight loss, let’s start by exploring one of its fundamental components: fruits and vegetables.

Eat A Rainbow of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

A whole food plant-based diet is full of fruits and vegetables, packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These colorful antioxidant rich foods not only support weight loss by providing a low-calorie density but also contribute to overall health with their disease-fighting properties. Incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your daily meals ensures a diverse range of nutrients. Be sure to include these delicious low-calorie, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables on a regular basis:

  • Non-starchy vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and brussels sprouts. Roast, steam, or stir-fry them, they’re delicious in any form.
  • Leafy Greens: Spinach, swiss chard, and arugula are powerhouses of essential nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. Pack them into salads, blend them into smoothies, or into your morning scramble.
  • Fruits: Berries, apples, pears, and citrus fruits are naturally sweet, satisfying cravings without sugar spikes. Snack on them fresh, frozen, or blended into refreshing smoothies.

Plant-Based Proteins for Sustained Energy

Contrary to common misconceptions, plant-based diets can offer adequate protein for building and maintaining muscle mass and supporting weight loss. Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans, along with tofu and tempeh, are excellent sources of plant-based proteins. These foods not only provide the necessary amino acids but also offer fiber, promoting gut health and and satiety. Be sure to get a variety of these powerhouse proteins:

  • Lentils and Beans: These small but mighty proteins keep you feeling full and fueled. Try them in hearty stews, satisfying salads, and creamy dips.
  • Tofu and Tempeh: These soy-based proteins are delicious and versatile making a delicious plant-based alternative.
  • Seitan and Nutritional Yeast: This wheat gluten-based meat alternative and deactivated yeast can provide a satisfying texture and a savory umami boost, perfect for stir fries and vegan roasts.

Whole Grains for Sustained Energy Release

Whole grains are a vital component of a well-rounded plant-based diet. Opt for organic grains like quinoa, wild rice, and oats, which are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates. These foods provide a steady release of energy, helping to curb cravings and maintain stable blood sugar levels, essential for weight management. Here’s a few of my favorite recipes to help you incorporate whole grains into your meals:

Weight Loss Friendly Fats: Nuts, Seeds, and Avocados

Including sources of healthy fats is crucial for a balanced diet. Nuts, seeds, and avocados offer a satisfying dose of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy and can support weight loss. The key is moderation; incorporating these nutrient-dense fats in moderation can enhance flavor and satiety without compromising your weight loss goals.

Minimizing Processed Foods and Added Sugars

To truly embrace a whole food plant-based approach, it’s essential to minimize processed foods and added sugars. Whole foods in their natural state provide a broad spectrum of nutrients without the empty calories and artificial additives found in processed alternatives. This shift not only aids in weight loss but also supports overall health and longevity.

Practical Tips for Transitioning to a Whole Food Plant-Based Lifestyle

As you embark on your journey towards a whole food plant-based lifestyle, consider these practical tips to make the transition smoother:

Gradual Shifts for Long Term Success

Rather than making drastic changes overnight, gradually shift towards a plant-based diet. Start by incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins into your meals. This approach allows your taste buds and digestive system to adapt, increasing the likelihood of long-term success.

Experiment with Flavorful Plant-Based Recipes

Explore the wide variety of plant-based recipes available, from hearty salads to savory stews. Experimenting with flavors and textures not only keeps meals exciting but also dispels the myth that plant-based eating is bland or monotonous. Embrace herbs, spices, and diverse cooking methods to create delicious, satisfying dishes.

Stay Hydrated and Listen to Your Body

water infused with fruits and herbs

Proper hydration is a key aspect of any healthy lifestyle. Water not only supports overall bodily functions but can also aid in weight loss by promoting a feeling of fullness.

Fruit-infused water serves as a delightful and refreshing solution for individuals who find plain water unappealing. By infusing water with a medley of fruits, such as citrus slices, berries, or herbs, one can transform the taste without adding extra calories or sugars. This infusion not only enhances the flavor but also provides a subtle hint of natural sweetness, making it a more enticing option for those who struggle to meet their daily water intake goals.

Conclusion

Starting a whole food plant-based journey for weight loss and overall health is a rewarding choice. By prioritizing fruits, vegetables, plant-based proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats, you not only support your weight management goals but also promote a resilient and thriving body. Remember, the key lies in making sustainable choices that resonate with your unique preferences and lifestyle.

Schedule a personalized consultation to tailor these principles to your unique journey. Whether your goal is weight loss, a healthier lifestyle, or mastering plant-based eating, together we can create a plan that aligns with your health needs and goals.

Book your consultation and take the next step towards a vibrant, plant-powered life.

Powerful Health Benefits of Probiotics, Fermented Foods & How To Get Them

Powerful Health Benefits of Probiotics, Fermented Foods & How To Get Them

Explore some of the most common fermented foods and the potential health benefits they bring. From enhancing gut health to uplifting your mood, these functional foods are more than just a culinary delight; they’re a natural powerhouse of probiotics and enzymes.

Dive in and discover how these unique foods can be a game-changer for your health and overall well-being.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms, mainly beneficial bacteria and yeast, that may provide health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. These microorganisms are similar to the beneficial microbes that naturally reside in the human digestive system.

When ingested, probiotics can positively influence the balance of the gut microbiota, promoting digestive health and contributing to overall well-being. They are commonly found in fermented foods and dietary supplements.

Fermentation, a natural occurring process, involves the transformation of food with the help of beneficial microorganisms like bacteria, yeast, or fungi. These microbes feast on sugars and other compounds within the food, creating byproducts such as organic acids, gases, and alcohol.

This not only results in distinct and delicious flavors but also acts as a form of preservation, extending the shelf life of the food. What’s so interesting are the benefits of these functional foods. The fermentation process infuses the food with probiotics and digestive enzymes that can have many health benefits.

Quick Facts:

  • Probiotics: These are the beneficial bacteria introduced or generated during fermentation.
  • Enzymes: These are proteins that speed up chemical reactions, aiding in digestion.
  • Preservation: The acidic or alcoholic environment created by fermentation deters spoilage.

Potential Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

Gut Health

Your gut is not just a digestive organ; it’s a complex ecosystem packed with trillions of microbes. Probiotics found in fermented foods contribute to this ecosystem. Fermented foods benefit gut health by introducing probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, which contribute to a balanced gut microbiome.

These probiotics aid in digestion, nutrient absorption, and maintaining a healthy microbial ecosystem. They also out-compete harmful bacteria, maintaining a balanced gut microbiome, which is crucial for overall health.[3]

Immune Health

Probiotics and a healthy gut microbiome play a crucial role in supporting the immune system. The gut is a significant part of the body’s immune network, housing a large portion of immune cells.

Probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods, help maintain a balanced and diverse gut microbiome. This balance is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system. Probiotics contribute to immune defense by:

Enhancing Gut Barrier Function: A healthy gut barrier prevents harmful substances, including pathogens, from entering the bloodstream. Probiotics contribute to maintaining the integrity of the gut lining, strengthening the barrier against invaders.[1]

Competing with Harmful Microbes: Probiotics compete with pathogenic (harmful) bacteria for space and resources in the gut. By outnumbering and outcompeting harmful microbes, probiotics help prevent infections.[2]

Modulating Immune Response: Probiotics can influence the activity of immune cells, helping to regulate the immune response. They promote a balanced immune reaction, preventing excessive inflammation and supporting a more effective defense against pathogens.[4]

Producing Antimicrobial Substances: Some probiotics produce substances with antimicrobial properties, inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria and providing an additional layer of protection.[5]

Improving Antigen Presentation: Probiotics may enhance the presentation of antigens (substances that trigger an immune response) to immune cells, improving the immune system’s ability to recognize and respond to potential threats.[4]

Overall, a well-balanced gut microbiome, supported by probiotics, is vital for a robust and effective immune system.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Inflammation is a natural defense mechanism, but chronic inflammation can lead to various diseases. Probiotics and other bioactive compounds in fermented foods have anti-inflammatory properties that can help manage conditions like arthritis and even heart disease.[3]

The anti-inflammatory properties of probiotics contribute to overall health by helping to manage inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to various health conditions, and probiotics play a role in modulating the body’s inflammatory response. Here’s how the anti-inflammatory properties of probiotics can benefit your health:

  • Balancing the Immune System: Probiotics support a balanced immune system. By promoting a state of immune balance, they help prevent excessive inflammation that can lead to chronic diseases.

  • Regulating Inflammatory Responses: Probiotics interact with immune cells and other components of the immune system, helping to regulate and modulate inflammatory responses. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals dealing with conditions related to inflammation, such as arthritis.

  • Reducing Systemic Inflammation: Probiotics may help reduce systemic inflammation, which is inflammation that affects the entire body. By doing so, they contribute to a healthier internal environment.

  • Protecting Against Inflammatory Diseases: Chronic inflammation is a contributing factor to many diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and certain cancers. The anti-inflammatory effects of probiotics may help protect against the development of these inflammatory diseases.

It’s important to note that the specific mechanisms through which probiotics exert their anti-inflammatory effects can vary depending on the strains and the individual’s health condition. Including a variety of probiotic-rich foods or supplements in your diet may contribute to a more balanced and less inflammatory internal environment.

Regulate Blood Sugar

Research suggests that a balanced gut microbiome may have a role in managing blood sugar levels. Fermented foods like kefir and yogurt are shown to have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar, which can be particularly beneficial for people with diabetes.[7]

Probiotics, the beneficial bacteria that support gut health, may play a role in the regulation of blood sugar levels. Here’s how probiotics can contribute to better blood sugar control:

  • Fermentation of Dietary Fibers: Probiotics in the gut can ferment dietary fibers, producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs, such as butyrate, have been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for the proper utilization of glucose.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Chronic inflammation is linked to insulin resistance and impaired glucose metabolism. Probiotics contribute to a less inflammatory environment in the gut and the body, potentially improving insulin sensitivity.

  • Influence on Enteroendocrine Cells: Probiotics may interact with enteroendocrine cells in the gut, affecting the secretion of hormones involved in appetite regulation and glucose metabolism. This interaction can contribute to better blood sugar control.

  • Metabolism of Bile Acids: Probiotics can influence the metabolism of bile acids, which play a role in fat digestion. This interaction may indirectly impact glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

  • Production of Bioactive Substances: Some probiotics can produce bioactive substances, such as bioactive peptides, that may have insulin-like effects or help regulate glucose metabolism.

  • Influence on Gut Microbiota: Probiotics help maintain a balanced and diverse gut microbiota. A healthy gut microbiota is associated with improved metabolic health, including better blood sugar regulation.

While research suggests a potential link between probiotics and improved blood sugar control, individual responses may vary. Incorporating probiotic-rich foods or supplements into a balanced diet may be a supportive strategy for those looking to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

However, individuals with diabetes or other health concerns should consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice.

Mood Enhancer

The gut-brain axis is a hot topic in scientific research. A balanced gut microbiome may impact neurotransmitters and mood-regulating hormones, potentially acting as a natural mood enhancer.[6]

The connection between probiotics and mood enhancement is linked to the gut-brain axis, a bidirectional communication system between the gut and the brain. Here’s how probiotics may act as mood enhancers:

  • Neurotransmitter Production: The gut is home to a large portion of the body’s neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which plays a key role in mood regulation. Some probiotics, especially certain strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, can influence the production and availability of neurotransmitters in the gut, potentially impacting mood.

  • Hormonal Regulation: Probiotics may influence the production and regulation of hormones, including those that impact mood. For example, the gut microbiota can interact with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which plays a role in stress response and mood regulation.

  • Short-Chain Fatty Acid Production: Probiotics can ferment dietary fibers to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs may have a role in supporting the gut-brain axis and influencing neural function, potentially affecting mood.

  • GABA Production: Some probiotics have been shown to produce gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter with calming effects. Increased GABA levels may contribute to a more relaxed mood.

  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation: The vagus nerve, a major component of the parasympathetic nervous system, connects the gut and the brain. Probiotics may stimulate the vagus nerve, facilitating communication between the gut and the brain and potentially influencing mood.

Keep in mind, while there is evidence suggesting a connection between gut health, probiotics, and mood, individual responses may vary. Factors such as the specific strains of probiotics, overall gut health, and an individual’s existing mood conditions can influence the outcomes.

Incorporating probiotic-rich foods or supplements into a balanced diet may be a supportive strategy for those interested in promoting both gut and mental health.

However, individuals with mental health concerns should consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice and treatment.

Types of Fermented Foods

If you’re new to the world of fermented foods, you’ve been missing out on lots of flavor and health benefits. Here are some popular options: [8]

  • Kimchi: A traditional Korean dish made of fermented vegetables, commonly cabbage, with a mix of seasonings.
  • Sauerkraut: German for “sour cabbage.” Unlike cabbage packed in vinegar, this fermented version consists of finely chopped cabbage fermented by lactic acid bacteria.
  • Yogurt: Fermented milk or dairy free products enriched with beneficial bacteria.
  • Kefir: A fermented milk drink, similar to yogurt but with a thinner consistency.
  • Tempeh: A fermented soy product that is a good source of complete protein.
  • Miso Paste: A Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans.
  • Kombucha: A fizzy drink made by fermenting sweetened tea with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.
  • Pickles: Fermented cucumbers in a brine of water, salt, and spices.

Simple Recipes with Fermented Foods

Kimchi Fried Rice

You’ll love this plant based kimchi fried rice that’s full of spiciness and flavor made with only 10 ingredients.

Plant-Based Yogurt Ranch Dip

This dairy free good-for-you vegan ranch veggie dip is one of my favorites. With just a few simple ingredients, it only takes 5 minutes to make.

Kombucha Vinaigrette

This super simple make at home Kombucha Vinaigrette adds a little zing to any salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup kombucha (any flavor – we love raspberry]
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • In a jar with a lid, combine the kombucha, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and sweetener.
  • Seal the jar and shake vigorously until well combined. [Use caution when opening.]
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Enjoy with leafy greens or drizzle over your favorite plant-based protein for some zing.

Key Points To Remember

Incorporating fermented foods and probiotics into your diet is a proactive step toward nurturing your overall health and well-being. These nutritional powerhouses offer a multitude of benefits that extend beyond mere culinary delight.

Rich in probiotics, fermented foods play a pivotal role in maintaining a balanced and diverse gut microbiome, influencing digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall gut health. By including a variety of fermented foods in your diet, you not only savor unique flavors but also prioritize your overall well-being.

Are you looking for more guidance on improving your health with food? I’m here to help you meet your health goals. You can reach out to julie@corenutritionhw.com to schedule a consultation.

References:

  1. Tamang, J. P., Watanabe, K., & Holzapfel, W. H. (2016). Review: Diversity of Microorganisms in Global Fermented Foods and Beverages. Frontiers in Microbiology, 7, 377.
  2. Rezac, S., Kok, C. R., Heermann, M., & Hutkins, R. (2018). Fermented Foods as a Dietary Source of Live Organisms. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9, 1785.
  3. Hill, C., Guarner, F., Reid, G., Gibson, G. R., Merenstein, D. J., Pot, B., … & Calder, P. C. (2014). Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 11(8), 506–514.
  4. Mazziotta C, Tognon M, Martini F, Torreggiani E, Rotondo JC. Probiotics Mechanism of Action on Immune Cells and Beneficial Effects on Human Health. Cells. 2023 Jan 2;12(1):184. doi: 10.3390/cells12010184. PMID: 36611977; PMCID: PMC9818925.
  5. Fijan S. Probiotics and Their Antimicrobial Effect. Microorganisms. 2023 Feb 19;11(2):528. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms11020528. PMID: 36838493; PMCID: PMC9963354.
  6. Hemarajata, P., & Versalovic, J. (2013). Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: Mechanisms of intestinal immunomodulation and neuromodulation. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, 6(1), 39–51.
  7. Tilg, H., & Moschen, A. R. (2014). Microbiota and diabetes: an evolving relationship. Gut, 63(9), 1513–1521. 
  8. Marco, M. L., Heeney, D., Binda, S., Cifelli, C. J., Cotter, P. D., Foligné, B., … & Ouwehand, A. (2017). Health benefits of fermented foods: microbiota and beyond. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 44, 94–102.
Quick & Healthy Chickpea Wrap Recipe

Quick & Healthy Chickpea Wrap Recipe

Looking for a chickpea recipe that’s both quick and nutritious? Look no further than this Spicy Chickpea Wrap! Full of flavor and packed with plant-based protein, this satisfying meal is perfect for busy days when you need something wholesome in a hurry.

Start by preparing your chickpeas. Rinse and drain canned chickpeas, then toss them with your favorite spices. You could use a blend of cumin, paprika, and chili powder for a kick of heat or keep it simple by using a done for you blend of spices called Ole Bay Seasoning.

Next, assemble your wrap. Lay out a whole grain tortilla and layer it with crisp lettuce leaves, sliced cucumbers, and ripe avocado. Top it all off with your seasoned chickpeas and a drizzle of creamy tahini dressing or a delicious homemade dressing.

Now comes the fun part – rolling up your wrap! Fold in the sides, then roll it up tightly from the bottom. This not only keeps all the delicious ingredients contained but also makes it easier to eat on the go. Want it warm? Once you’ve rolled the wrap, place on a hot cast iron griddle and press a few minutes on each side.

Finally, enjoy your Spicy Chickpea Wrap! Whether you’re packing it for lunch or enjoying it for a quick dinner, you’ll love the bold flavors and nutritious ingredients packed into every bite.

Looking for more gut healthy chickpea recipes? Take a look at the oven roasted chickpeas recipe to make a delicious crunchy snack for home or on the go.

Oven Roasted Old Bay Chickpea Snack

Quick & Healthy Chickpea Wrap

Julie Pace, RDN
20 minute Chickpea Wraps made with simple, nutrient rich ingredients. Seasoned with Old Bay and filled with crunchy vegetables and a delicious homemade thousand island dressing. They're so easy to make and so delicious.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Lunch
Cuisine dairy free, plant-based, vegan
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • 1 15oz. chickpeas, canned drained, rinsed, and dried
  • 2-3 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 small avocado, diced peeled, pitted, diced
  • 4 pieces green leaf lettuce
  • 1/4 cup homemade thousand island dressing see notes
  • 2 large tortillas

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line small baking pan with parchment paper. (Optional) You can skip the oven and sprinkle Old Bay Seasoning on rinsed chickpeas.
  • Add chickpeas to a small bowl, add 1 Tbsp avocado oil, add in Old Bay Seasoning. Toss chickpeas in mixture to coat. Spread chickpeas on baking pan and heat in oven for 10 minutes.
  • While chickpeas are roasting, make thousand island dressing. See notes for link to the recipe. Optional (can use your favorite ready made dressing to save time)
  • Remove chickpeas from oven.
  • Lay tortilla flat on plate. Add lettuce, chickpeas, cucumber, avocado, red onion, and red bell pepper. Top with 1-2 tbsp of vegan thousand island dressing. Fold and grill in a grill pan on each side until desired crispness.
  • Remove from grill pan and enjoy!
Keyword chickpea, chickpea wrap
20 Minute Asian Stir Fry

20 Minute Asian Stir Fry

Are you craving a delicious Asian-inspired dish that can be on your table in no time? If so, you’ll love this flavorful 20-minute asian stir-fry recipe. This quick and easy dish features a nutrient-rich combination of tender noodles, crisp colorful vegetables, and a savory sauce that your taste buds will love. Get ready to impress your family and friends with this easy-to-make, restaurant-quality meal that is sure to become a favorite in your recipe collection.

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • RIce Noodles
  • Broccoli Florets
  • Red Bel Pepper
  • Red Onions (Optional)
  • Green Onions
  • Garlic
  • Edamame ( or your favorite protein)
  • White Button Mushrooms
  • Soy Sauce
  • Fresh ginger
  • Cornstarc
  • Sesame Oil
  • Maple Syrup
  • Light Brown Sugar, organic

Why You’ll Love This Recipe:

In just 20 minutes, you will have created a sensational stir-fry bursting with flavors and textures. The tender rice noodles, crisp vegetables, and savory sauce come together to deliver a takeout experience at a homemade price. Whether you’re needing a quick weeknight meal or hosting a gathering, this 20 minute Asian stir fry recipe is one everyone will love.

Let’s get cooking!

Feel free to customize this recipe by swapping out the veggies for your personal favorites, or choose a different protein that suits your taste buds. The beauty of this dish lies in its flexibility, allowing you to tailor it to your preferences and experiment with various ingredient combinations.

20 Minute Asian Stir Fry

Julie Pace, RDN
Try this flavorful 20 minute Asian stir fry recipe for a quick and easy lunch or dinner. It's packed with colorful, fresh, nutrient rich vegetables and protein-rich edamame making it a nourishing and satisfying meal.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

Sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar organic
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce, low sodium
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced, optional

To thicken sauce:

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Stir Fry

  • 6 ounces rice noodles, uncooked
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 stalks green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup red bell peppers, sliced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 12 ounce edamame, shelled frozen, organic

Instructions
 

Stir Fry

  • In a wok or skillet, heat sesame oil. Add in broccoli, red bell pepper, green onions, garlic, mushrooms, and red onion. Stir fry for about 5 minutes or until tender.
  • While vegetables are cooking, cook the noodles and edamame according to package directions. Then set aside.

Sauce

  • In a medium saucepan whisk together water, sesame oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, maple syrup, ginger and garlic.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and cold water then set aside.
  • Bring ingredients in saucepan to a boil then simmer.
  • Add in the cornstarch/water mixture, whisk slowly and continuously to combine. Let simmer until sauce starts to thicken.
  • Remove from heat when desired thickness is reached. Set aside.
  • Combine the cooked noodles and edamame to skillet with vegetables. Pour over sauce and toss well until evenly coated.
  • Plate and enjoy!
Keyword Healthy Recipes, noodles, Quick and Easy, vegan