Know the story behind your Fairtrade tea

When you relax with that first cup of the day, do you know what you are drinking?

One Acre tea has a story hidden behind the name.

fairtrade teas from cafe direct

Garden teas from Fairtrade farmers

Every sip you drink is seeped in the care and cultivation of a garden-farmer somewhere on the Bushenyi Hills of Uganda, around the Rungwe volcano in Tanzania or the down Rukuriri Valley in Kenya.

Each farmer looks after land no bigger than a half a football pitch, which means every leaf on every bush has been carefully nurtured to bring you the best cup of tea you can enjoy in the morning.

Not surprising when you realise that the fairtrade tea brand, CafeDirect, ensure that 50% of the profit goes back into the farmer’s pocket.

It also means the tea is distinctive. The Ugandan tea is rich in colour and full of character; the Tanzanian leaf benefits from fertile soil to produce deeper flavour; and the highland climate of the Kenyan tea is bright and not too strong.

There’s a craftmanship in these teas that you can taste, which is why they have such unique packaging – One Acre want you to know that you’re drinking quality.

To see CafeDirect’s entire range of teas, coffee and cocoa, visit GoodnessDirect.

 

Not all gluten-free pasta is equal

We’re not boasting. But some gluten-free pasta is better than others. And some people think this is the best gluten-free spaghetti around…

organic quinoa gluten-free pasta

Better than normal spaghetti

I know, you may well say spaghetti is just spaghetti but, if you’re up for trying new foods then I think you’ll appreciate the bite and taste of BioFair’s organic gluten-free version.

Some even say it is better than normal spaghetti.

The difference is the use of the superfood quinoa mixed with rice flour. In my opinion, the magic touch comes from the high protein content in quinoa, which gives it a more enjoyable mouth-feel. The cooked result is certainly not over-starchy, as you’ll find with many gluten-free pastas. Another advantage is that it’s suitable for those who have to stay corn free (or just can’t stand the taste).

For an enjoyable meal, serve it with sautéed tomatoes, aubergine, red onion, sweet pepper courgettes and mushrooms, tossed in truffle oil or worcester sauce.

You’ll find Biofair Fair Trade Rice Quinoa Spaghetti on the non-wheat pasta shelf at GoodnessDirect.

 

 

For healthy packed lunches – try Coconut Water

Soon, summer will be over and the kids will be back into the school routine (Yay! er… I mean, ‘poor things’.)

But what about all the school rules on drinks? It seems at times that the only drink schools will allow is water. However, many do still permit fruit juice, milk or squash.

Vita Coco coconut water

A healthier choice

Choosing healthy packed lunch drinks

The trouble with these options are that often children don’t like to drink water or milk, while fruit juice is full of sugar and squash often full of preservatives. So what do you do?

Vita Coco believe they have a healthier answer with a coconut range aimed at children. Their coconut water has no added sugar, no artificial colourings and preservatives and is never made from concentrate.

Instead they mix pure coconut water with water (36%) and grape juice (25%). The result is a fruity drink at only 22 calories per 100ml - half the calories of apple juice and far less than orange juice. Two flavours are available in 4 pack or 16 pack boxes: Coconut water with apple & blackcurrant or Coconut water with mango & pineapple.

Making the right choices for your child’s lunchbox means is important. By picking healthier options you can make sure your children get all the nutrition they need. For some great ideas, visit NetMums’ Lunchbox page and try out Vita Coco from GoodnessDirect.

Cinnamon & Ginger Brown Rice Puff Cereal (gluten free)

Cinnamon Ginger Puffed Rice Baked Cereal

Brown Rice Puffs fromBrown rice puffs cereal Big Oz have been my recent breakfast inspiration. They are simple, nutritious and gluten free. I do like them just as they are but thought, with a little mixing and matching I could cook up something to inspire my mornings.

Quantities

Note: I’m a bit of a fan of the American way of volumetric cooking and so for ‘try it and see’ recipes of my own I use a small mug I have in the kitchen as a rough guide and am little vague on quantities. So just select your own cup or small mug and use the same one throughout and it will taste great.

These quantities should last you a working weeks worth of breakfast:

Ingredients:

1.5 cups puffed brown rice (I used Big Oz Brown Rice Puffs)
1 cups rolled oats (gluten free or not as you need)
0.5 cup sunflower seeds
0.25 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoons ground ginger
0.5 teaspoon sea salt
Optional  – add coconut sugar or stevia, or Sweet Freedom for sweetness

What to do:

+ Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
+ Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
+ In a small bowl mix together maple syrup, coconut oil, and coconut sugar.
+ Heat on the hob or microwave for 1 minute or just until everything is melted.
+ In a large mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients.
+ Pour wet mixture in the large bowl with all the dry ingredients and stir until everything is coated.
+ Pour onto the baking tray and spread evenly.
+ Bake for 10 minutes, take out, stir, and check continuously
+ Continue baking until golden brown.
+ Cool for 10-20 minutes.
+ Store in an airtight container
+ Serve with the milk you prefer or as a snack.

Need a quick healthy meal? I recommend Al’Fez

When life gets busy, the short-cuts can make all the difference between a happy day and a disaster.

For example: You return home hungry after an evening’s shopping or a long commute. Do you opt for the easiest, quickest food regardless of the calories? Or are you going to spend time boiling the water, chopping vegetables and spicing the food till it’s just right?

Honestly? I’d opt for the pizza and chips and feel happy about it!

quick Healthy meals from Al’Fez

However, in the long term, we need better, healthier solutions. So let me introduce Al’Fez.

A' Fez tagine is a quick and healthy meal

Al’Fez make quick healthy meals easy

It’s no secret that I love couscous - its easy to make, low in fat and wonderful in a Tagine. Al’Fez offers a range of tagine sauces, couscous mixes, spice jars and even a whole Dinner Kit for making tasty North African and Middle Eastern food without the hassle.

I’m especially grateful for the Moroccan Style Rub with its bouillon, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, rose petals and cloves – perfect for frying with some courgette or fish when you’re in a hurry. (Check the link for the Moroccan Pumpkin and Chickpea Soup recipe.)

Let me sum it up this way: Feed me some exotic food from Al’Fez and I’ll be a lot happier than if I’d just had pizza.

Agave syrup – in new exotic flavours

Let’s be honest about Agave syrup.

It might be a natural sweetener and it may not give you that sugar rush that makes you hungry for more, but you should treat agave syrup in the same way you do any other sweet syrup – take it in moderation.

Agave syrup has just about the same amount of calories as honey and, because it is doubly sweet, you won’t need to use as much of it. However, the sugars in agave get stored as fat in your body far more easily than with most other sugar alternatives. That’s why, if you love the taste (and for that I can’t blame you) then perhaps you should just keep it in the cupboard for those extra indulgent moments.

low gi organic Agave sweetener

Agave sweetener can be subtly flavoured

And this is where agave syrup comes into its own –  because you can subtly flavour the nectar to create all sorts of nuances. Try mixing ginger syrup with agave for example.

Organic company, Chantico, have filtered and spiced their agave syrups to produce three contrasting flavours for you to try: a neutral Golden flavour you can sneak into sponge cakes, the richer, more mineral-ly Original taste is ideal for smoothies, and there’s an exotic Cinnamon Agave for more indulgent desserts.

I admit, it’s the Cinnamon flavour that has my mouth watering – just the type of thing you want when you’re making pancakes.

Find all three flavours at GoodnessDirect.

Why vegans can’t rely on flaxseed alone for Omega 3

We all know we need to get more Omega 3 in our diet. Right?

The essential fatty acid is important for the health of our body’s cells and has a noticeable impact on the quality of our eyesight and elasticity of our skin.

However, for vegetarians and vegans it gets a little more tricky…

flaxseed or linseed is a vegan source of omega 3

Flaxseed – important for Omega 3

It should be easy… flaxseed (or linseed) is very high in Omega 3, as is chia. Millers like Linwoods produce ground packs of flaxseed for this purpose. Try Granvoita for chia. Or you could try a daily spoon of flaxseed oil. However, the chemical structure of Omega 3 in flaxseed and chia, known as ALA, still won’t easily transform into useful nutrients for the body.

For this to happen, non-meat eaters are advised to combine their flaxseed intake with another form of Omega 3 which your body can metabolise (technically known as DHA). The best plant source for DHA is algae (consider spirulina). Vegetarians can opt for eggs or other full-fat dairy products as these contain some DHA too. The combination makes it far easier for your body to take in the Omega 3 from flaxseed.

There is speculation that other sea vegetables (seaweed) could be a source of DHA. Specifically, algal oil, made from Nori, could be a plentiful source of Omega 3.

One more thing to note. To get that Omega 3 combination working properly, the body also needs to have sufficient vitamins B3, B6, C, zinc, and magnesium. It’s a good idea for everyone to take a multivitamin supplement. You can find lots of vegan supplements at GoodnessDirect