Category Archives: Healthy Living Tips

Healthy Marshmallow Root Tea

Healthy Reasons You Should be Drinking Marshmallow Root Tea:

Marshmallow Root Tea

Soak, Boil, Steep and Sip –  the mantra for today’s tea drinkers.

I am a tea fashionista; I simply adore it and can’t get enough. Honestly, I can drink tea in any form or flavor.

My favorite kind of tea is the Indian Chai tea. It’s extremely popular and well known, but don’t underestimate its amazing taste.

Recently my friend introduced me to Marshmallow Root tea.

My grandma and mom like to call it “old fashion Kava”.

Kava is usually soaked and boiled, before being reduced to a half a cup. I like to add a little jagri or a local honey and drink it up.

Amazing! It works wonders on your body! Check out the health benefits.

If you get a cold from being caught in the rain or a case of seasonal sickness, drinking this tea would get rid of your sickness after just three days.

Most ingredients in this tea are roots and spices, and then I like to add a few ingredients from my kitchen pantry.

Marshmallow Root tea is an herbal tea.

 

To make this delicious tea:

 

 

  • Take 2 teaspoons of roots and soak them for about an hour or two.
  • Boil to reduce, and add a 1/4 teaspoon of honey.
  • Enjoy the amazing taste and all the healthy benefits that are packed within!
  • For more information about marshmallow root, check out this link here.

 

3 Rules of A Clean Fridge

A clean and organized refrigerator is not only fresh and healthy, but it makes you a better homemaker. This is because when everything is stacked neatly, you’ll not only be able to find items easier, but you’ll find yourself more inspired. Try these pointers to make you a pro chef in the kitchen!
messy refrigrator

Dangers of a Messy Fridge:

We live in a time of convenience and your fridge is definitely there for your convenience. It’s meant to keep food fresh, safe, and tasty.  But not only do you sacrifice the nutritional value of food by storing it too long, but the danger of improper food storage is very high. This is true of both raw and cooked food. Did you know the fridge is the biggest breeding ground of bacteria in your house?
In most houses, the fridge gets overcrowded by plastic containers filled with leftovers, frozen veggies, dressings, sauces etc., all saved with the hope that we will use them some day. However, you can’t risk the food-borne illness and food poisoning that may result from your messy fridge. Here are the rules I follow to stay safe and sane…

Rule #1: Prevent Overbuying:

Before going grocery shopping, check that you are not buying items you already have. Also, try shopping one day later than planned – you’ll find you end up using up a lot of stuff you already have in the house and waste less.

Rule #2: Don’t Keep Food Too Long:

When in doubt, toss the item.  Chances are you will never use it. To be more precise, it’s a good idea to allot five to ten minutes once a week to glance through your fridge and toss out moldy or expired items.

  • Protip:Keep a marker handy so you can date any home-cooked meals you store in the freezer!  The general rule of thumb is to use frozen meals within one month, otherwise they lose their taste.

 

  • Also, anything in the freezer that has formed ice crystals means it’s not fresh. Toss it out. NO good.

 

Rule #3: Clean Your Fridge Means Actually Cleaning:

Sorry, but it’s not enough to just empty out the tupperware and toss the expire mayo. Once a month, you need to grab a clean sponge and wipe down the shelves.

  • Make a solution of lemon juice or baking soda diluted with water to wipe down all shelves and drawers.

 

  • To prevent foul smells, always start by making sure any onion and garlic is covered completely. Then put coffee grounds (or baking soda) in shallow containers and place them on each shelf.

3 Step Homemade Soy Yogurt

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Organic Soy Yogurt

 

Homemade Soy Yogurt

My friend Debbie is a huge believer in plant-based foods. As a Vegan, she was missing probiotics in her diet.  When she found out about my blog she requested I make Pure soy yogurt at home. Supermarkets have many flavors, but add sugar to their soy yogurt, so for optimum healthiness, you should make it at home.

What You Need

2 cup  Organic unsweetened soy milk

1 count store bought organic soy yogurt plain( Whole Soy & Co)

1 Heavy pot or glass microwave container

whisk

 

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Three Easy Steps to Make yogurt:

1. Boil the milk either on the stove or in a microwave.

2. Let it cool down enough that that you can hold your finger in the milk for twenty seconds.

3. Add two heaping spoonfuls of soy yogurt to boiled milk.  Whisk evenly so yogurt mixes properly. Pour into individual jar with tight lid.

4. Let it sit undisturbed in regular oven with lights on for six to eight hours.

5. Once it sets, refrigerate for a few hours to make it firm.

Enjoy with fresh fruit.

Sugar Free Date Rolls

 

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Date Bars

Yummy Sugar Free Date Rolls

It is always a challenge to eat well-balanced snacks all the time.  This snack provides a great way to incorporate fiber high in protein and it is sugar-free.

Variations can be numerous and good thing about this recipe that you can never go wrong!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup mixed nut finely chopped unsalted
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

How to prepare:

1. Place dates in a heavy-duty pan on a medium heat let dates melt.  Dates will turn like soft paste. OR this step can be done in food processor.

2. Chop nuts finely in food processor. Add dates and coconut flakes.

3. For variations chocolate chips, cranberries, raisins, peanut butter can be added according to your choice. Almond and cashew butter is also a good choice!

4. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.  Take teaspoon dough into hands and roll them into balls or logs.  Roll them into flaky coconuts.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

 

Enjoy as treat guilt free or as dessert!  This can be done in advance and it stays fresh for upto two weeks in airtight container.

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coconut flakes on date roll

 

Natural Mosquito Repllent

lime_clove_mosquito_repellent

I recently came across a post about making your own mosquito repellent and I thought it was great!  I don’t like to use too many chemicals or electric lights that kill bugs, so this was a great alternative.  Hope you and enjoy and let me know how it works for you in the comments!

Here’s the original post:

Living Off The Grid – Mosquito Repellent 

At your next outdoor gathering try this SAFE and EFFECTIVE method of keeping mosquitos at bay!  Simply slice a lime in half and press in a good amount of cloves for an ALL NATURAL mosquito repellent.  Make sure to share this with your friends!

How to Use Turmeric to cure your cough, add flavor to your meal, and add glow to your skin!

My love for Turmeric

I grew up in India watching my mom use Turmeric for all sorts of uses. However, I don’t see it being widely used here in the US. It is a wonderful super plant that can be used as a spice and medicine. I want share not only how to use it but also where to get it.

This is what Turmeric Plant looks like in the store

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Health benefits of Turmeric

Regular use of  turmeric in a micro amount (like 1/4 of a tsp) is beneficial. Its yellow color which is full of antioxidant properties. Here are the list of benefits:

  • Ward off Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Blood Purifier
  • Skin Cleanser
  • Cough Suppressant

and… much much more.

How to Use Turmeric to Cure Your Cough

  1. Add 1/4 tsp of powder turmeric in a half cup of  warm milk
  2. Touch of salt
  3. 1 tsp of ghee.
  4. Take every night till cough is gone before bedtime (should be gone in 3-5 days)

How to Use Turmeric as a Face Mask

  1. Mix ground turmeric with besan/chick pea flour
  2. Add heavy cream in equal portions
  3. Apply to face
  4. Wash off after 15 minutes

You will get an instant glow to your skin! Brides have been using this for years in India… even widely used today!

How to Use Turmeric as a Spice

Here is a picture of powder Turmeric:

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You can use Turmeric Powder in various curries of dry legumes, beans, and different vegetables. The powder of turmeric is derived after the stem is boiled, drained, dried in the sun, cleaned, polished and then pounded into powder.

You can also enjoy Turmeric as a condiment with your meals

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Pickled Amba Haldi

Fresh roots are available in health and specialty stores. wash them and cut them into thin pieces. Amba haldi is in its white form. It is similar to ginger root.

Add lemon juice to it. Enjoy with meals in small amount.  This lemony turmeric stays in refrigerator for 6 months.

Yogurts to Avoid in Your Supermarket

Yogurt is extremely good for you. However in the last years it as turned into a fad.

Yogurt or Calorie Loaded Desert?

The good news is that now we have a wide variety of yogurts available in super markets with live cultures (great for probiotics!). The bad news is that instead of making healthy wholesome food most yogurts are more like a calorie loaded dessert. To give yogurt a dessert flavor they add extra sugars’ or artificial sweeteners! YUCK! 

It’s easy to be confused when shopping for yogurt in the dairy aisle, as there are hundreds of varieties.

Some yogurts are made with cow’s milk, goat’s milk or soy milk. What’s the difference? Some are made with live cultures such as Lactobacillius, acidophilus and bifidus.  The bacteria in these yogurts help the gut to heal faster after taking oral antibiotics.

To make it easier on my VegFusion readers, I created a simply cheat sheet to make your yogurt shopping experience super easy 🙂

Simple Healthy Yogurt Cheat Sheet

1. Get plain yogurt without added sugar, corn syrup or flavor.

2. Add your own fruit.

3. Avoid the artificial sweeteners like aspartame etc.

4. Find a locally produced yogurt without gum, fillers,thickeners, or stabilizers such as carrageen, modified food starch Example: Seven Star Yogurt from whole food.

5. Know what to look for on the labels. Specifically, you are interested in yogurts that contain the live cultures Lactobacillus, Acidophilus and bifidus. There may be two or three other types of live cultures, but these are the most common and easiest to assimilate for most people.
6. Remember that even nonfat, organic, live culture yogurt has natural sugar. A one-cup serving of this kind of yogurt provides live cultures, 14 grams of protein, 0 grams of fat and 10 grams of sugar. That is not added sugar, but simply sugar from the milk from which it it is made. This is to say all things in moderation.
Yoplait original  99% fat free  cherry orchard has 170 calories with 27gms of sugar with 1.5g of fat.(Unhealthy-loads of sugar)


Dannon all natural vanilla has 150 calories and 25gms of sugar. (Unhealthy-loads of sugar)

Breyers cream savers has 240 calories with 3.5 gms of total fat,

dried corn syrup. artificial cream flavor, gelatin, and artificial

color red 40 blue.(Unhealthy-Added artificial colors)







The whole soy yogurt has 150

calories, 12gms of sugar  and

Fage has 90 calories, 7 gms of

sugar and 15 gms of protein.

(Highly Recommended)





 I always try to make yogurt at home using 2% reduced fat milk, 

but if I’m going to buy yogurt I would recommend the veg fusion 

readers  stick to one of the healthier examples above.  Visit my 

blog for a detailed version of making yogurt at home. 
  • Calories In Indian food

    Spices

    .

    Please read through before you go to an Indian restaurant buffet on the weekend!! Indians love to eat  traditional Indian dishes. India is a country with  diverse languages, dialect, cultures and cuisines. All the cuisines are mouth watering and have their own distinct  taste.One cannot even dare to compare one to the other.  As a Gujarati lady  I love my staple meals with sweets with ghee – high in fat content and savory snacks……..   But, do we know the calorie content of that food?

    Here is a quick cheat sheet to get an idea so we can cut back on fried and sweet dishes. Personally I believe all food is good in if we can control the portions and frequency to consume that particular dishes or food preparations.Our basic meal components are vegetables.–Dals /lentils/legumes — curries beans base. Rice,roti,dosa,paratha–grain based meals with some carbohydrates.

    Basic calorie counts are: 

    Puri–150 calories whole wheat
    Rotis— 85 calories of 6″ diameter fat content -0.5 gms  whole wheat flour
    Dal urad /split matepa beans–154 calories per one bowl fat content –6gms
    Rajama/chana–153 calories per 150 gms  fat content -5gms
    mixed vegetables 142 calories per 150 gms .  Fat content- 15 gms  based on oil
    Plain dosa – 125 calories meduim dosa . fat content 3gms
    Idlis -132 calories for 2 pc. Fat content: 3 gms
    yougurt rice-190 calories per 100 gms. Fat content- 7gms

    Typical Gujarati Thali

    coconut rice 368 calories per 100 gms fat content 15 gms
    Fried rice-120 calories
    Brown bread 1pc-70 calories
    Naan bread 1pc-317 calories
    Sweets:
    Jalebi: 100 gm-1 pc 380 calories
    Gulab Jamun 2pc -280 calories
    Rasgullas 2pc- 110 calories
    Sandesh 2pc- 60 calories
    Gajar/ carrot halwa-150 gm-260 calories
    Barfi 1pc-103 calories
    Ras malai 2pc-250 calories
    Snacks:
    Potatowada  2small pc -170 calories
    Indian tea with 2tsp skim milk and 2tsp sugar  200 calories
    sweet lassi -150 calories
    Milkshake -185 calories
    coconut chutney-64 calories
    Papad- 142 calories
    one Traditional Samosa– 252 calories
    Steamed one piece Dhokla– 150 calories
    hand full of Chivda- 201 calories
    4 pieces of Chakli/ Muruku- 140 Calories
    2 pieces Pakora– 90 calories
    1 piece of Chana dal vada– 100 pieces
    1 piece of Aloo tikki- 275 calories
    1 plate of Papri chat with 6 pieces- 712 calories
    100 gms of Bhel Puri– 176 calories

    This is just the estimate of numbers. Calorie counts in Indian food  may differ with the type oil used and other ingredients like cream in north Indian dishes. Staple foods such as roti, rice, beans, vegetables are very healthy and does not depend on processing. Indian meal is low fat and low in calories. It consist of  carbohydrates, natural proteins and healthy starch which is required for the human body.

    Healthy Substitutes
    Bake in oven  instead of frying
     Substitute with agave nectar for regular cane sugar
    Controlling portions is also a good way to cut down calories.
    steamed, boiled, stir fried, sauteed ,pressure-cooked rice can be an excellent.
    Salt intake can be reduced watch for sodium content like papad
    Use of fresh herbs and spices to flavor the dishes instead of oil and sugar
    Use of whole grains
    For tampering use healthy oil like 1tsp instead of 3tsp

    Traditional way of grinding

    My Dream Food Label

    My Dream Food Label was just published in New York Times by Mark Bittman. Mark Bittman is an Op-Ed Lead Food columnist at the NY Times.

    He has just proposed a new Food Label:

    See a bigger version of this label here.

    I totally agree with him on the subject of food labels. Food label NEEDs to be changed. Obesity in this wealthy country (USA) means we are doing something wrong.

    I really applaud Mark Bittman on writing this article and suggesting a change in food labels.

    According to him “I want something that allows me to make a fast but enlightened choice.” I like his suggestions for food labels by numbers and colors. Our Nutrition facts are displayed in a way that are confusing and over informative at times. We need a simple system to cut down on confusion over the nutritional value of the food we eat.

    What do you think – leave a comment below.

    The Facts About Cereals

    We all love the the sugary sweet crunch of cereal in the morning. It is what most of us would like to have for our morning breakfast. If we can not avoid sugary cereal totally, we can reduce the amount at least by half. According to The Environmental Working Group, there are ten sugary children’s cereals on the supermarket shelf.
    These facts are based on percentage of sugar by weight:

    Kellogg’s Honey Smacks 56%
    Post Golden Crisp         52%
    Kellogg’S Froot Loops Marshmallow   48%
    Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s All Berries   47%
    Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch Original   44%
    Quaker Oats Oh!s       44%
    Kellogg’s Apple Jacks             43%
    Kellogg’s Froot Loops Original   41%
    How much sugar is in a one cup of cereal?  It is interesting to find that at least 47 popular children’s cereals pack more sugar in one cup than three Chips Ahoy Cookies and a Twinkie.
    Healthier cereals have a short ingredient list, lots of fiber, few or no added sugars and they are always placed higher on the shelf.  Mothers want to serve healthier cereals that also taste great to their children.  There are a lot of good options that many kids will like.
    Better Cereal Choices:
    Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats
    General Mills Cheerios Original
    General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios
    Kix Original
    Quaker Natural Granola
    Kashi
    I’ve found that oatmeal is the best, but it, too, has lots of sugar.  It is better to have plain oatmeal where you can add your own ingredients like agave nectar, pitted dates, cranberries, walnuts and your choice of fruit like bananas and strawberries. McCann’s Irish oatmeal is great tasting. I love my oatmeal well done.  I cook it little more than recommended.

    Health Benefits of Granola

    Lower Blood Pressure

    Granola may lower your blood pressure, which is a health benefit because hypertension increases your risk for heart disease, kidney disease and stroke, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Whole grains, such as oats, may lower your blood pressure because they are high in potassium and low in sodium, according to the Mayo Clinic. For some extra potassium, purchase or make your granola with dried fruit, and eat it with skim milk or yogurt and fresh fruit, such as bananas. Read the label when you purchase granola to make sure that it is not too high in sodium.

    Prevent Anemia
    A health benefit of granola is that it may reduce your risk for iron-deficiency anemia because oats are naturally high in iron. Iron is an essential mineral for healthy red blood cells, and children and women of child-bearing age are at higher risk for iron-deficiency anemia. Each cup of homemade granola may have more than 5 g iron, or nearly one-third of the daily value for iron. For extra iron, choose a ready-made granola that is enriched with iron.

    Control Your Weight

    Granola may help you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight, which can reduce your risk for obesity-related chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes. Oats supply dietary fiber, and a high-fiber diet may help you control your weight, according to the Mayo Clinic. Increase the fiber content of your granola by buying a high-fiber brand, or making your own with flax seed, nuts or dried fruit. Granola is high in sugars and calories, so only have a small portion as part of your reduced-calorie breakfast for weight control.


    Lower Cholesterol

    Granola may lower your cholesterol as part of a high-fiber diet. Soluble fiber, which is in fruit, beans and oats, lowers bad LDL cholesterol levels in your blood, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you are making your own granola, add some flax seed for extra fiber and heart-healthy omega-three fats. Read the ingredients list before you purchase a ready-made granola to make sure that it does not have partially hydrogenated oils. These oils supply trans fats, which not only raise your LDL cholesterol, but also lower your levels of good HDL cholesterol.




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