Vegan App and Salad Love

Happy Saturday everyone! Hope you're all having a great weekend! 

Today I wanted to mention Vegan Recipes and Nutrition (a great new apps for vegans) and also the components of a good salad because, you know, every day is a good day for salad! 



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First, lets talk about the app; I often get asked on social media for ways to make the transition into veganism easier - even though I'm not fully vegan myself, I have been in the past and know how difficult it can be at the beginning. It is often hard to know which foods are good for you, especially if you've just transitioned from an "eat-everything" diet to a vegan one. How do you know that a certain ingredient is appropriate for your new diet? You can either print out a long list manually or seek the help of an app which makes it 10 times easier!

Vegan Recipes and Nutrition is a free ingredient locator/recipe app (for iPhone and Android) that helps users pick out something healthy from the grocery store. Its key ingredient recipe tool brings up a checklist that people can use when looking for ingredients that are apt for their diet. Edamam, the app’s creator, has a separate app for vegetarians so users that have different diets can conveniently check what food items are ok for vegetarians but not for vegans. Apart from giving users access to a list of vegan-safe ingredients, Edamam also helps users whip up something delicious based on their cravings. It has a wide selection of recipes from pancakes (perfect for the weekend!) to smoothies. If you know anyone who’s interested in switching to a vegan diet, it’s worth showing them this app to make the transition easier.

It’s amazing to see how useful smartphones can now be, especially when it comes to keeping track of what you're eating. Who would’ve thought the day would come that smartphones can be used to check labels or check the nutritional content on certain items? According to the company that handles the day-to-day operations of gaming site Pocket Fruity, the mobile business is booming from the success of apps with billions of pounds being spent on downloading apps each year - we should prepare ourselves for even more apps that can help us in our daily activities in the not too distant future (I'm hoping to bring my own out soon)! The Vegan Recipes and Nutrition App is free to download for all Android phone users.

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Now for the salad! Salad has been given a pretty bad reputation over the last few years. Contrary to what many people think, salad isn't rabbit food or diet food or the dullest meal; a meal is as good as you make it! So I'm going to summarise for you the components that make it perfect.

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THE BASE

A raw leafy green base; in the correct quantities (at least two cups, shredded) these contain high amounts of protein, calcium and iron.  Preferably the darker the green the better; fresh spinach, for example, contains nine times the amount of vitamin K in equal quantities that iceberg lettuce.


These leafs should be cleaned and dried (in a salad spinner or with paper towels) ... no one wants a soggy salad!
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COLOURFUL FRUIT + VEG

Colours and variety! Brightly coloured produce provide a lot of different nutrients:

REDS: contain beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A by the body (for eye and skin health)  and lycopene which may reduce the risk of heart disease; they are also high in elegiac acid and hydroxybenzoic acids - examples include: red bell pepper, tomatoes and pomegranate.

ORANGE / YELLOW: are rich in beta-carotene, flavonoids and hesperetin as well as limonoids which have been shown to help fight certain types of cancer - examples include  squash, sweet potato, corn, citrus fruits and carrots.

GREENS: rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, both carotenoids which are said to protect eyesight. Some greens also contain isothiocyanate compounds which are thought to have anti-cancer properties  - examples include: rocket, spinach, kale, iceberg, apples, brussels sprouts, broccoli, peas, chard, herbs and legumes.

BLUE: rich in antioxidants and anti-inflamitories and also thought to keep the memory sharp - examples include: blueberries (and that's about it)! 

PURPLE: contain elegiac acid which is said to be an anti-aging compound - examples include  purple potatoes, grapes, plums, beetroot and aubergine.

WHITE: onions and garlic contain allicin which may stop tumour growth - examples include: garlic, cauliflower (cauliflower cous cous anyone?!), onions, coconut and parsnips. 







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THE FILLER-UPPERS 

Fruit and veg high in water content help to bulk up a salad and make it a more filling meal. Examples include cucumbers, courgette and celery.

Try spiralized cucumber for a Greek Salad with a twist!




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Healthy fats

A filling salad definitely needs to provide you with health fats and omegas -  
avocado, seeds, oil and tahini are all great plant based choices.


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PROTEIN + FIBRE

To make a salad filling and sustainable, it's a good idea to add in plenty of protein and fibre. If you're plant based, good protein choices include: buckwheat, spelt, mixed beans, brown lentils, quinoa, tofu, nuts and seeds. If you eat meat, good choices are lean chicken or turkey breast or fish (tuna, salmon, white fish).

As for fibre, it's great to include wholewheat carbohydrates (buckwheat noodles, brown rice, bulgar wheat) and high fibre veg (sweet potato, artichokes, broccoli). Beans, lentils and split peas are both high in fibre and protein so are great choices.


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