Agave is a perennial plant, classified under the monocots. Chiefly Mexican, agaves are also native to the southern and western United States and central and tropical South America. They are succulents with a large rosette of thick, fleshy leaves, each ending generally in a sharp point and with a spiny margin; the stout stem is usually short, the leaves apparently springing from the root. Along with plants from the related genus Yucca, various Agave species are popular ornamental plants.
Agave nectar (sometimes called agave syrup) is most often produced from the Blue Agaves that flourish in the volcanic soils of Southern Mexico. Agaves are large, spikey plants that resemble cactus or yuccas in both form and habitat, but they are actually similar to the familiar Aloe Vera.
Agaves come in many sizes and colors. There are over 100 species. Due to the Blue Agave’s high carbohydrate content (which results in a high percentage of fructose in the final nectar), Blue Agave is the preferred species for producing nectar. Though there are other species used to produce agave nectars, such as the Maguey Agave, the premium nectars are produced from 100% Weber Blue Agave.
The taste of agave nectar is analogous, though not identical, to honey. Many people who do not like the taste of honey find agave a more palatable choice. It also has none of the bitter aftertaste associated with artificial sweeteners.
WHY AGAVE OVER OTHER SWEETENERS
It can be a challenge for even experienced cooks to substitute artificial sweeteners for sugars without compromising food quality or palatability. An artificial sweetener may be suitable for reducing the caloric content and glycemic index of a dish, but they lose their usefulness in many other culinary applications where a sugar is needed for more than its ability to sweeten. Continue reading
Ginger or ginger root is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It lends its name to its genus and family: Zingiberaceae.
Ginger is native to southern China, from where it is spread to the Spice Islands and other parts of Asia, and subsequently to West Africa and to the Caribbean. Ginger appeared in Europe, via India, in the 1st century CE as a result of the lucrative spice trade.
Ginger is a herb that is used as a spice and also for its remedial qualities. The underground stem (rhizome) can be used fresh, powdered, dried, or as an oil or juice.
The human skin wraps and protects our bodies. It comprises a living, dynamic tissue system. It has the extraordinary ability to absorb applied products, partially or completely, into the bloodstream. In fact, up to 60% of the products we use on our skin are absorbed and deposited into the circulatory system. For instance, the average woman absorbs 30 pounds of the ingredients contained in moisturizers over sixty years.
These new understandings of how the skin functions reveal concerns about the possible long term effects due to the amalgamation of chemicals used in cosmetics, often termed the “chemical cocktail effect”. Several chemicals which are used in common, popular cosmetics are known irritants and carcinogens. Concern stems from the knowledge that most of these ingredients are derived synthetically or from petroleum. Avoiding these substances serve to decrease overall exposure to harmful or irritating cosmetic ingredients.
Ingredients to Avoid
|Forms Found in Cosmetics and Possible Negative Side Effects
Thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease.
Found in almost all antiperspirants.
Works by blocking pores so sweat cannot be released by the skin.
||FD&C, derived from coal tar.For example, Azo dyes are a risk to asthmatics, eczema sufferers and people sensitive to aspirin.
Causes hyperactivity in children, severe headaches, blurred vision and itchy/watery eyes and nose
|DEA, MEA, TEA
||Causes allergic reactions, irritating to eyes and dries out hair and skin
Can contain up to 200 undeclared substances (Fairley, 2001).
Major cause, in addition to artificial colours, of skin irritations and allergies (Antczak, 2001).
May cause dizziness, skin irritation and hyper-pigmentation
Whoever coined the term “fast food” added a superfluous ‘s’ as it should have been “fat food”.
People today are becoming more and more health conscious. But secretly they love food. The same goes for me. I hate becoming fat, but just the idea of a pizza with melted cheese slowly coming into my mouth, makes me all blushy. But with a myriad of alternatives available like whole-wheat pizza base, or gluten-free pastas and skimmed milk among others, is becoming lesser and lesser unhealthy. They not only fulfill our satisfaction, but also have great nutritional factors like vitamins and minerals and are great for those weight watchers.
Ragi, an annual plant widely grown as a cereal in warm seasons, is an extensively used cereal in India. It is used in various dishes like porridge, ragi muddle, dosas etc.
I’m sure most parents are concerned about keeping their families healthy. At home, my family and I have specific healthy activities that we engage in regularly. On vacation, it can be challenging to keep up with our healthy habits, but I’ve discovered a few tricks that help us all stay on track.
1. Drink the Water
I always make sure that my family stays properly hydrated. This is especially important on summer vacations that include activities in the hot sun. Drinking enough water can help you avoid certain heat-related issues such as heat stroke. Each member of my family has a personal, refillable water bottle to take along on trips. If we are planning an outing somewhere that might not have a reliable source of water, I’ll bring water in a cooler to take with us.
When it comes to organic foods, it’s just as imperative to know what isn’t allowed and what is. The organic standards are process-based, meaning they establish the rules for an entire system of farming that follows a product from its early stages on the farm all the way to retail.
The USDA organic regulations prohibit the use of GMOs, listing them as “excluded methods,” and defining those methods as “a variety of methods to genetically modify organisms or influence their growth and development by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes.
The New York Times published a story called, “It’s Organic, but Does That Mean It’s Safer?
The ‘USDA certified-organic’ standard was not developed to be a food safety label, but a label that confirms and verifies that the product is produced following organic protocols.
‘Organic’ is a rather odd name since all food is organic, meaning that it’s made from living things. But it seems to have stuck. Organic farming is called ‘biological farming’ in some countries. Then there’s biodynamic farming and permaculture. All these slightly different types or farming are sustainable which is the most important thing to remember. Confusing, isn’t it!
What’s so great about organic food? Continue reading