Nutrition and Food

What are Pre and Probiotics?

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Many of us have heard the word “probiotics.” In fact, many of us would even be able to associate probiotics with our gut or stomach. But what do they do? How do they help our stomach and digestion, and what the heck are prebiotics?

Probiotics are live bacterial cultures that help to keep our gut healthy.  Probiotics help with digestion, absorption of nutrients, and immune function.   Probiotics are found in fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, natto, and kimchi.   Probiotics can also be found in dairy products such as yogurt.  One reason why we are encouraged to eat more yogurt, (how many of us have watched Activia commercials with Jamie Lee Curtis?) and certain soft, fermented cheese. Probiotics are now being manufactured into supplement form.  

Prebiotics are fiber, that basically work as a ‘fertilizer’ for the probiotics. Meaning, while the probiotics, or “good bacteria,” is working it’s way into the gut, prebiotics are helping the probiotics multiply, grow, and improve the amount of good bacteria in the gut. Interestingly, the body doesn’t digest prebiotics. It simply utilizes them to propagate probiotics in the digestive system.

Although both pre and probiotics work together to improve gut health, they are not found in the same foods. If you’re looking to add both to your diet without utilizing food sources, both can be found in supplement form.  However, the Registered Dietitian Nutritionists’ on the B.Komplete Team strongly recommend food first – before supplements.  Dietary supplements are not tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration like medications. And the probiotic strains in the supplements may not be specific for the condition you’re looking to treat.  Always tell your Physician what you are doing that may affect your health, and schedule an appointment with a RDN on our team.

Foods Rich in Probiotics

Yogurt: is the number one source of probiotics. However, this only applies if the label says “active live cultures.” Any pasteurization or sterilization can kill the bacteria and then there’s no good bacteria.

Sauerkraut: Also known as lacto-fermented cabbage. When unpasteurized, contains Lactobacillus bacteria (good bacteria). In this state, it contains more probiotics than yogurt.

Miso Soup: A very popular item on a Japanese restaurant menu, this soup is made with miso paste, an Asian seasoning made by fermenting a mixture of soybeans, barley, brown rice and several other grains with a fungus, Aspergillus oryzae.  Miso is a healthy, probiotic food that helps support digestion by adding beneficial microorganisms to your digestive tract.

Kefir: Similar to yogurt, there’s kefir, a fermented and cultured beverage, with a characteristic tart taste. For those with a dairy intolerance, kefir can be a good choice. Interestingly enough, a study done by Ohio State University, found that drinking kefir can reduce gas and bloating brought on by lactose consumption by almost 70%.

Pickles: Cucumbers that have been “pickled” in a solution of salt and water, using their own lactic acid bacteria, they are left to ferment, which turns them sour and a source of probiotics. Pickles are a good source of vitamin K too, although they are high in sodium, something to watch out for.

Foods Rich in Prebiotics

Asparagus: Great source of prebiotics with roughly 5% fiber by weight.  Check out this delicious recipe for asparagus salad or this recipe for an asparagus frittata

Legumes:  A great sources of protein and iron. Common legumes include; lentils, kidneys, and chickpeas. Legumes have the right amount of fiber to boost healthy gut flora.

Jerusalem Artichoke: Interestingly, Jerusalem artichoke has nothing to do with artichoke, with the exception of its heart’s flavor. Jerusalem artichoke is loaded with prebiotics as well as potassium and iron.  And they are easy to prepare!

Bananas: A convenient food, that has fiber and potassium.  

Oats: Healthy grains with the added bonus of prebiotics. Oats contain beta-glucan fiber, which is what increases healthy gut bacteria, as well as antioxidants, which means they have anti-inflammatory effects.

How Much Do You Need?

At present, the verdict is out on exactly how much we need to consume, however some of the regulatory and scientific groups have put forward, per day figures of:

  • Dietary fiber: 25-38 grams

If you are not used to eating a diet that is rich in fiber, start slowly.  Try adding 1 new food each day for a week that provides a good source of fiber.  You can gradually increase each week.  

We truly hope this blog post was helpful, and inspires you to add a source of pre and/or probiotic fiber into your daily food plan.  Here at B.Komplete we believe in a healthy and balanced approach to eating.  Let us know in the comment section what you try!

Corporate Wellness

How to Avoid a “Food Coma” After Lunch

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So you’ve had a busy morning and it’s time for lunch. For many people, work lunches involve buying food from the company cafeteria, or heading out to one of the many eateries that cater to the workweek lunch crowd. Taking your full lunch break is a great way to decompress and prepare for the work in the afternoon (see our blog on how to do the business lunch healthfully), but there is one outcome every productive worker wants to avoid: the food coma.

The “Food Coma” which is so ubiquitous it was added to the Oxford Dictionaries Online in 2014, is that feeling of sleepiness that overtakes people after a big meal. You may know it by a different name like “the itis,” or “after dinner dip,” but you probably haven’t heard of the technical term: “postprandial somnolence.”  We most commonly think of it happening after big holiday meals (like Thanksgiving) but a food coma after lunch can ruin afternoon productivity. So how can we all prevent the food coma…

Don’t go too big. 

A study in young men tested whether a low or high calorie lunch would have a greater impact on sleepiness during a monotonous drive (don’t worry, the drive was in a simulator). Researchers found that the larger meal caused a much greater lull in attentiveness and trend toward greater sleepiness compared to the smaller meal.

TipPack your lunch the night before, or make sure to exercise your ordering skills at a restaurant to ensure your meal is less calorie dense. Use the Healthy Dining Finder to locate a restaurant with healthy options near you, or check out some of B. Komplete’s healthy ordering tips for business lunches.

Keep those carbohydrates complex. 

One theory for feeling sleepy after meals has to do with the amount and types of carbohydrates we eat. There is evidence that eating easily digestible simple carbohydrates (like white flour and sugary desserts) causes sleepiness by increasing blood sugar and subsequent insulin production. That increase in insulin production happens concurrently with increases in hormones like melatonin which causes sleepiness, and inhibition of orexin neurons which help maintain wakefulness. Multiple studies show greater sleepiness and earlier onset of sleep with meals higher refined and total carbohydrate. 

TipTry to keep your post-meal surge in blood sugar slow and controlled by choosing healthy, complex forms of carbohydrates like whole grains. Also be sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables that add healthy fiber and slow the digestion of carbohydrate in the gut.

Avoid high fat meals. 

A study done in over 700 Australian men found that those who ate diets higher in fat reported experiencing greater daytime sleepiness than those with lower fat intake.  

TipKeep your lunch light on the grease! Heavier, fatty foods like pizza and burgers might just exacerbate your post-meal lull. Also consider the type of fat you eat. Typical fast food often contains lots of saturated fat, the fat we typically consider less healthy. Instead, choose foods full of healthy unsaturated fats like guacamole, or a salad with a vinegar and olive oil, nuts and seeds.  

Get a good night’s sleep.

The experience of a “afternoon dip” doesn’t have everything to do with your meal. At least some of this post-lunch sleepiness is due to natural fluctuations of your circadian rhythm which can be exacerbated by the content of your meals. However, another major factor for your desire for an afternoon nap? Sleep debt. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 Americans is sleep-deprived and you’re much less likely to feel energized after lunch if you didn’t get enough sleep the previous night. Poor sleep is also associated with poor food choices, which can exacerbate the food coma, creating a vicious cycle…  

TipSet an alarm not just for the morning, but for bedtime and hold yourself to it! Ensuring you get enough sleep will not only help you stake wakeful throughout the workday, but will also help you make healthy food choices at lunch!

It might feel great to take a nap after a satisfying meal, but this isn’t an option when you’re busy at work. Prioritizing healthy, light lunches and adequate sleep at nighttime can help you maintain your productivity and prevent the dreaded food coma.

However, if you’re like many Americans, you have a hectic work day and prioritizing healthful behaviors can be difficult. Check out B.Komplete’s post on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a busy schedule!

Nutrition and Food

What Foods to Eat in the Summer

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Warm days means fresh summer foods. Wondering what foods can help you stay in shape all summer long?  Eating well and keeping yourself hydrated is important to keep yourself ready and energized for summer activities.  B.Komplete Registered Dietitian Nutritionists can help you learn more about these foods for when you’re having fun in the sun!

Summer Foods

Watermelon: The perfect fruit to keep you hydrated without a whole lot of calories. Check out this watermelon feta mint salad

Berries: Blueberries. Raspberries. Blackberries. Jam packed with fiber and antioxidants. Toss them in your plain yogurt or oatmeal for some added natural sweetness. Want to try berries in a delicious savory dish? Try this recipe for grilled salmon and blueberry sauce!

Tomatoes: Rich in an antioxidant called, lycopene and perfect tossed in a salad or to simply enjoy alone (especially grape tomatoes).

Avocados: Yes, you should eat fat! Especially the heart-healthy fats in avocados to keep you satisfied as well as add some creaminess to your dishes.  Try swapping out butter or cream cheese for ¼ of a mashed avocado on your toast/bagel. How about making a delicious creamy avocado sauce for your pasta or “zoodles”? 

Corn: Get the local grown corn and throw it on the grill for some sweet BBQ crunch! You gain 4 grams of fiber in just ½ cup of kernels.  Click here to learn more about your local farms.  Learn more about eating organic and fresh foods here.

Zucchini: This vitamin C-rich veggie is perfect for grilling or making “zoodles”. The Food Network has wonderful recipe ideas.  Love Pad Thai?  Try this lighter version that uses “zoodles.”  Click here to purchase for a budget-friendly spiralizer to make your “zoodles”.

Nuts: A good source of healthy fats, protein, fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Try a small handful of dry-roasted unsalted almonds, cashews, walnuts or pistachio as an on-the go or pre-workout snack.

Want to try multiple summer-friendly foods all in one dish? Try this grilled corn, watermelon and avocado salad!  Substitute the apple or celery for jicama if you are having trouble finding it.

Resources

Interested to learn more about seasonal foods and how to enjoy summer food? Below are links to help guide you:

https//snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season-summer

Nutrition and Food

Creamy, Dreamy Recipes Perfect for Your Summer Body

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We all know the cycle – as the weather heats up, our motivation increases to get or maintain a toned physique.  Often times this means giving up some of the foods we really enjoy to eat.  However, these desires don’t need to be mutually exclusive – you can get or maintain a toned physique AND eat food that you enjoy!  Try one of our favorite creamy, dreamy recipes that are both delicious and nutritious.  

B.Komplete Ranch Dip

Perfect for a vegetable dip, and used on sandwiches, fish, meat, baked potatoes and whole grain pasta.  Thin it out with a splash of water and you have made your own salad dressing!

Makes 8 – 2 Tablespoon Servings

Ingredients
  • 2 Cups siggis Plain Yogurt (Fat-Free)
  • 2/3 Cup Light Mayonnaise
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Dill Weed
  • ½ Teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well blended. 
  2. Consume immediately or refrigerate (will keep covered, in refrigeration up to 3 days).  

B.Komplete Cheesecake Pudding

Makes 6 – ½ Cup Servings

Ingredients
  • 1 (8 oz.) Packages of Low-Fat Cream Cheese   
  • 1 (8 oz.) package of Fat-Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup Siggis Plain Yogurt (Fat-Free)
  • ¼ Cup Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Allow the cream cheese to soften in room temperature (about 30 – 60 minutes).  When the cream cheese has softened, combine in a medium bowl with all other ingredients.  Mix well.

  2. Consume immediately for a creamy treat, or refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours for a more firm texture.  Enjoy with fresh fruit, or add a pinch of lemon zest. 

If you haven’t tried siggis yet – get up and immediately go buy it!  The Icelandic “Skyr” is a thick and creamy yogurt that is high in protein and has a great flavor.  Siggis is B.Komplete Approved because the flavored varieties are still lower in added sugar.  Its the perfect breakfast or snack to take with you during the summer!  The B.Komplete Dietitian Team uses siggis in a variety of our Corporate Wellness Cooking Demonstrations.  We love siggis, and we know that you will too. 

Nutrition and Food

What Foods to Eat in the Winter

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Winter means colder temperatures and less hours of daylight. With more time spent inside and little exposure to sunlight, it can become a challenge to stay happy and energized. Because of this, it is crucial to stay focused on the nutrition choices that work for you during this time of the year. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression with seasonal patterns, is very common during the cold months of winter. Changes in mood, energy, focus, appetite, and sleep are normal and expected with this kind of disorder. There are many different ways that you can stay on top of your health and prevent symptoms of SAD. Staying active, eating healthy winter foods, and managing your stress are great places to start.

To stay happy, healthy, and energized incorporate these winter foods into your day:

Sweet Potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, fiber. They are also packed with antioxidants. With their sweet taste and bright orange color, adding them to your meal can be fun. Also, they work well in a lot of different recipes. Whether you choose to bake, roast, or mash them, sweet potatoes are a great food to eat to keep you full and energized! Check out more recipe ideas here.

Brussel Sprouts are “tiny cabbages” and have a wide variety of health benefits.  When prepared with herbs, spices and some healthy oil, they taste really yummy! Brussels are full of fiber, as well as contain high levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants that can protect your DNA from oxidative damage. Try tossing them in some olive or avocado oil and roasting until lightly browned. Add some herbs like oregano, cumin, or smoked paprika.  Toss with a pinch of salt and pepper, and enjoy! For other Brussel sprout recipe ideas, click here.

Salmon contains tryptophan which is an amino-acid that is a precursor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is associated with positive mood regulation. Salmon also contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown in some studies to help regulate depression. The fat in salmon is heart healthy and helps to reduce harmful inflammation.  Salmon can be baked, broiled, or grilled. Add your favorite marinade or season with citrus like lemon, lime and orange, and enjoy!  Check out this link for more salmon recipe ideas.

Winter Squash is full of Vitamin A and carotenoids, which have been shown to promote healthy skin as well as benefit heart health and immunity. Also rich in fiber and potassium, winter squash is a great option for many! Try all different varieties: Acorn, butternut, kabocha, and delicate squash! To learn more about squash varities, check out Epicurious, and for some yummy winter squash recipes, click here.

Clementines are vitamin C and fiber-packed tiny fruits.  This sweet and tart delights are great snacks for just about anywhere, anytime. Full of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium, clementines are easy to pack and delicious to eat, Whether you’re peeling one for your morning snack or throwing them into your salad for lunch, clementines are the perfect addition to your day!  For delicious recipe inspiration, check out Saveur

Staying happy and healthy can sometimes be a challenge. Life is crazy, and there are always things to be worrying about and stressing over. Take small steps daily to keep your mind at ease and your body strong and energized. Enjoy these winter foods for your mood and overall vitality.  Your health and well-being are important to all of us here at B.Komplete!  Contact us at info@bkomplete.com to book one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists to help you come up with the health and wellness strategies that work, for you.  

Exercise

Interview – Your Time is Now

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B.Komplete had the opportunity to speak with Dave, who is a professional in the food industry.  Dave is happily married with two children.  Like many of us, Dave started gaining weight in his 30’s, and found himself in a state he didn’t feel great about.  And, then Dave made a change.  Read on to learn what worked for him – which may also work for you.  

When you first decided to make changes in your life, what was the first thing you did?
  • I realized I was not in the shape that I wanted to be in. It was obvious I wasn’t active enough and I knew I probably wasn’t eating the best. I wanted to start by focusing on my eating habits. To do this, I just started to keep track of what I was eating each day.
How did you begin the physical process of changing your life?
  • At first, I thought about how I could keep track of what I was eating. I knew I could keep notes or create an excel spreadsheet. Then I thought to myself, there has to be an easier way to do this, especially with all of the new technology now a days. So, I started to look into different apps. I searched “weight loss” and found My Fitness Pal and Lose It.  My Fitness Pal  appeared to have a focus on exercise and that’s not what I wanted at this point. I chose to use Lose It because I could budget the amount of calories I was allotted each day in order to hit my goal weight.  
What goals did you set for yourself?
  • I knew I wanted to lose weight. At the beginning, I was at my heaviest of 255 lbs and I wanted to get down to a healthier weight. I set a goal to get down to 215 lbs. Lose It actually helped me to hit my end goal by giving me mini goals each week. By that I mean, each week I was allotted a set number of calories in order to lose 2 lbs per week.
Were there any obstacles you faced during the process of change? How did you manage to stay healthy at work?
  • One Thursday or Friday evening, I wanted to enjoy a glass of wine with my wife after work but I didn’t have enough calories left to do so. That’s when it hit me. If I did enough physical activity, I could burn off enough calories to be able to enjoy my wine. This became important to me to work out so I could enjoy things and still maintain my calorie goals. Also, it helped me to feel better about myself.
  • With a long commute to work each day and a busy schedule, it’s hard to find time to fit in exercise. It helped for me to schedule it into my day and make it a priority. I started to go to the gym before work in the morning. I remember one of the first mornings my alarm went off and I said “if I don’t get up now, I’m never going to do this.” So, I got up and have been doing it ever since. On the days I have an early meeting and can’t go to the gym beforehand, I have to defend my time, meaning even if I can’t do my usual hour or so workout and only have time for 20 minutes of cardio, I do it.
  • Food wise, at work I started to make substitutes in my lunches. By tracking what I ate, I saw what wasn’t good for me and what I could replace it with. For instance, I now eat baked Lays chips instead of regular potato chips. Also, I’m a big fan of soups. I used to eat jambalaya and seafood bisque’s which are high in fat and sodium. Now, I found one that is much healthier and still tastes great.  
 What resources did/do you use to help keep you going?
  • Like I said, the app Lose It  works well for me to track what I eat. I can also use it to track my exercises. There was one saying that my previous manager used to say that has stuck with me, that was: “what gets measured, gets done.” I think of that when I track what I eat and when I exercise. It helps you see or “measure” what you are doing and it keeps me accountable to “get it done” or meet my daily calorie allowance and fit in daily exercise.
  • You have to find something that works for you. When I started to get into exercising, I was never a fan of running but it is now something that I enjoy and helps me. I started running shorter distances, maybe a mile or two. Now, I have ran numerous races from 5K, 10K, to a half marathon.
Have your changes impacted your kids or family at all? if so, how?
  • My children are 5 & 2 so they are in their cute years. They actually helped to inspire me to want to change. I saw a picture of myself and one of my children and it didn’t look like me next to this cute kid.
  • Now that I’ve made my changes and stick to a healthy lifestyle, it sets a good example for them. They’ve come to my races and cheer me on from the sides. My older child even does “races” in the backyard where he just runs around for a little. It’s good for them to see the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise. Hopefully, down the road they will understand that from watching me.
What advice would you give your kids in the future on the importance of health, physical activity, and eating healthy?
  • I would say you have to make it a priority. You need to stay consistent, even if you can’t fit in a full workout one day, do what you can. You are still doing something and staying active. Also, find something you enjoy and are comfortable with. If you enjoy it, it will be easier to make it a priority in your daily life. It helps to track everything. You see what you are doing right and what you can improve on.
What are you most proud of?
  • After I lost all the weight, I went back to the doctors and my doctor noticed right away that I lost weight. Also, my biometrics had all improved. It was nice to see that not only on the outside I had improved, but also on the inside.
Dave’s Weight change:
March 2014 – 255 pounds, November 2014 – 200 pounds.
Dave ran his first half marathon in November 2014.

 


B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

 

Corporate Wellness

Business Lunch Hour – A Healthy Addition to Your Work-Day?

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It’s 11:00 AM and your stomach starts to growl – do you know where your lunch is?

The business lunch manifests itself in many ways:  the quick lunch, the working lunch, the networking lunch with coworkers, the job interview lunch, or the lunch-with-your-boss lunch!  Whatever type you follow, we recommend making sure it’s a true and healthy break from your busy day.

There are countless benefits of breaking from work for lunch; reducing stress, increasing concentration, sustained energy for your afternoon, feeling better, and many more.  However, unhealthy food choices and overeating can greatly hinder, if not cancel out, those positive results.  By including better-for-you food and beverage choices and being mindful while eating, you can boost the positive benefits and fuel your body to get you through the rest of your workday with energy and vitality.

Mindful eating is a skill that takes practice.  Mindful eating means: avoiding emotional food decisions and distractions at meal time.  When we eat “mindlessly” we are not present during our mealtime, which can lead to weight gain and health problems.  Don’t let emotions, stress, or deadlines sway your ability to maintain healthy eating habits during a busy work day.  Practice being present and enjoy a breather, savor each bite, and come back to work recharged.

Four B.Komplete Tips for Your Mindful and Healthy Business Lunch

#1) When eating out, research the restaurant ahead of time.

Most restaurants have online menus  available for perusal.  You can check out Healthy Dining Finder  to find healthy dining options in your area.  Another tool to use is Calorie King which reveals the nutritional content of many foods.  By figuring out your meal ahead of time, you can avoid the risk of impulse ordering. 

More tips for eating out – Restaurant dining can pinch your wallet and your waistline – choose wisely:

  • Order the smallest size available
  • Choose to drink water, unsweetened tea, or club soda
  • Request that the bread/chips be brought out with your meal, or avoid altogether
  • Ask for dressing on the side
  • Ask for light sauce or sauce on the side
  • Choose grilled, baked, poached, or steamed proteins
  • Aim to make a meal out of a salad and additional protein
  • Share your appetizer, salad, entrée and/or dessert
  • Use lemon, olive oil, and/or vinegar to flavor

#2) Drink a big glass of water before you start your lunch break.

Research has shown that drinking about 16 oz. of water prior to a meal  can help you avoid temptations like dipping into the endless bread or chips offered at many restaurants.  Additionally, thirst and hunger triggers come from the same part of your brain, meaning that while you may feel hungry, you are in fact thirsty.  Drinking water 15 minutes before eating  can help curb your cravings and encourage eating less at meal time.

#3) Pack your lunch the night before.

Your work day is busy enough.  Avoid a hectic morning and try packing your lunch the night before when you’ve had a chance to decompress and can make mindful decisions.  Have you heard about “salad in a jar” – it’s a solution for a healthy, custom, and delicious grab-and-go option.

#4) When eating with others, remember to savor.

It’s easy to get distracted by office chatter when networking with colleagues.  Eating becomes so automatic that you may look down at your plate and notice your food is already gone.  Savor each bite (for example, notice the texture of the food in your mouth or identify the different sweet, salty, sour, and spicy flavors as you chew) as if it were your last, to help avoid problems like overeating.

There are many reasons to take a lunch break  and keep it sacred.  This is so important that we’ve even mentioned it before in a previous post.  Remember that lunch can be delicious and healthy.  Schedule a daily break for yourself  to refresh your mind and feed your belly.  We promise your body and your company will thank you for it!

Nutrition and Food

Savory Ancient Grain Recipe

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B.Komplete Millet Pilaf

Looking for a healthier version of a comfort dish? The Ancient Grain Millet is perfect to use in place of any simple carbohydrate (white rice, bread or pasta). Millet will take on the flavors that you add. Try out this B.Komplete Savory Millet Stuffing recipe:

Makes 6-8 Servings

Cook Time: ~30 minutes

Ingredients
  • 1 TBSP Buttery Spread (Smart Balance)
  • 1/2 Medium White Onion, Diced
  • 1 Medium Sweet Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 2 Celery Stalks, Diced
  • 2 CUPS Millet, Uncooked
  • 4.4 CUPS Low Sodium Broth (Veg or Chicken)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
Instructions
  1. Combine millet and vegetable broth in a cooking pot, and cook on medium heat until the mixture begins to boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, and allow for the liquid to be absorbed. The millet will be ready when it is soft.  Additional water may need to be added if the millet is still crunchy.

  2. Heat a large sauté pan and add butter/oil, onions, celery, and vegan sausage crumbles.  Stir mixture to coat with the butter.  Allow vegetables to lightly brown.  Add the bay leaves and thyme.  Mix in the cooked millet.  Enjoy as an entrée or a side dish. 

Photo credit: One Green Planet

Nutrition and Food

How to Start a Vegetarian Diet – Are You Up for the Challenge?

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Type “becoming a vegetarian” into your favorite search engine and you are guaranteed to see a plethora of news articles, medical journals, lifestyle blogs, and social media sites filled with suggestions.  Let’s keep it simple – condensed results for you in an easy-to-follow article:

First, let’s review the benefits.  Switching to a vegetarian lifestyle can help improve personal health , sustain the environment, support animal welfare, and save money.  Whatever you believe, there is always a reason to consider trying a vegetarian diet.

If you’re reading this, then you may have thought about becoming a vegetarian at one time.  For whatever reason you couldn’t start then, we challenge you to take the venture now!  Vegetarianism is more accessible than ever, even for the busy professional. 

Here are four steps to make it happen:

Step 1 – Let’s be honest…

Before skydiving for the first time, would you calmly hop in your car and drive to the nearest airport?  Probably not; you may consider a few things like risk, personal health and cost, prior to jumping.  Similarly, if you want to become a vegetarian, consider the following:

  1. What foods do you enjoy and what don’t you like?
  2. Are you an adventurous eater or do you to stick with what you know?
  3. Do you eat in restaurants or at home?
  4. Do you cook or buy ready-to-eat meals?

Understanding your preferences will help make this work.  For example, don’t expect to become a vegan chef overnight if you don’t like cooking.  You may enjoy some ready-to-eat options instead while you ease yourself into cooking a few meals. 

Step 2 – What do you know?

There are different types of vegetarianism.  Here are the most popular:

  • “No food with a face” – Quoted from TV character Phoebe Buffay of Friends , this type of vegetarian avoids food with a face, or simply put animal meat. The technical name is lacto-ovo vegetarian, which includes eating animal byproducts like dairy and eggs, but not the animal flesh itself. 
  • One fish, two fish… – A pescatarian fuses the health benefits of fresh fish with nutrient rich plant-based foods. A pescatarian avoids all land animals like beef and poultry and may also exclude byproducts like eggs and dairy.
  • Animal hugger – Also known as vegan. This version completely omits animal product from the diet including byproducts like eggs, dairy, honey, and foods with Red40 coloring. 
  • What the heck is a flexitarian? – A newer term, the flexitarian  consumes meat less frequently and in smaller amounts. For example, a flexitarian  may eat plant-based foods only, but will eat meat on special occasions like holidays.

Which one sounds good?  Choose the best fit for you and set it as your goal.

Step 3 – Let’s eat!

Enough thinking, let’s start eating! 

Tip 1 – Make your favorite already-vegetarian dishes:

Do you like sandwiches like grilled cheese and PB&J, veggie lasagna , rice and beans , tossed green salads and other potato, pasta and fruit salads, minestrone soup, or mac ‘n cheese?  If you do, good news!  These are already meat-free dishes!  

Tip 2 – Embrace “gateway” meat products:

While some people turn their noses up at the processed nature of faux meats, this option can be an efficient way to add protein and make a meaty dish vegetarian without losing the flavor and texture of the dish.  These products can be found in most grocery store chains, in the natural food and frozen food isles:

Tip 3 – Substitutions for Vegan-friendly dishes

Avoid dairy and eggs by using plant-based ingredients instead.  Items like applesauce, bananas, nut milks, flax seed, and coconut can be substituted while cooking and baking.  In addition to great taste, your foods may be healthier!  Check out conversion charts available online.

Step 4 - Nice to meet you!

To be a successful vegetarian, introduce yourself to new meals and ingredients.  Plant-based dishes can be delicious, easy to find, and healthy.

 

Take the Challenge

Starting a vegetarian diet can be easy to do, and can be a gradual process.  It’s helpful to have a support system in friends and family. 

To help you get started, we challenge you to take the 3-day B.Komplete Vegetarian Challenge!  All you need to do is try three breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners that fall within the type of vegetarian you want to become.  Use the recipe sources in this post or stick to your already vegetarian favorites.  Then, let us know how you did by leaving a comment below! 

Not willing to commit yet?  Try out Meatless Monday.  A now global movement, this  organization encourages people to “once a week, cut the meat.”  Their website has a vault of resources to help you commit to reducing overall consumption of meat.

 

Nutrition and Food

B.Komplete Explore the Store: Stress Management… and Potatoes

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How Do Potatoes Relate to Stress Management?

Stress impacts us all.  And the one thing that is always true about stress – it never goes away.   At B.Komplete we are passionate about teaching consumers how to manage the stress we all face, in simple ways.  Food impacts our mood, and we can choose what we eat to impact how we feel.  In times of acute stress our levels of cortisol are UP, which increases are cravings for fat and sugar.  However, in that stressful time, the worst things we can eat are fat and sugar.  The best things to eat are foods that help to promote the release of serotonin, the hormone that relates to our good mood; feelings of wellness and calm.  Complex carbohydrates help to promote the release of serotonin.  Potatoes are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates.  

Come with us, as we explore the store in the potato aisle!