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Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Making the Switch to Indian Style Snacks

buja snacks

Move over chips and chocolate. Indian style snacks are in and with good reason. Not only are they scrumptious, they are a healthy alternative as well. As more of us look for options with good nutritional value, snacks like crunchy seasoned peas and Bhuja mixes are flying off the shelves. However, get down to the basics and you’ll find that flavor is the biggest drive behind Indian style snacks like those available at They simply taste too good!

indian snacks

Crunchy Seasoned Peas and the Power of Bhuja
There’s nothing complicated about crunchy seasoned peas. They are green peas that have been dried and blended with spices that really pack a punch. With every mouthful, you get a savory combination that is a treat to the taste buds. If you are like so many others who are tired of the same, old chips, Indian style snacks will wake up your mouth. Bhuja mixes are another hot item because they do not contain gluten and are multigrain. They are based on an old tradition as farmers roasted a variety of grains and then added spices to provide them with snack food that could last during travel. Today, the manufacturers of Bhuja mixes combine the power of Eastern spices and Western grains to create snack mixes that really pop. Without any trans fats, they offer you an alternative to other snacks that will do you more harm than good. When you want to indulge in a temptation for the tongue, Indian style snacks are a popular choice. Bhuja mixes are perfect for anyone who is on the go. Grab a bag and have a handy snack.

Changing Up the Diet
Trending now … Instead of opting for the standard chocolate bar, many consumers have decided they are ready for something new and Indian style snacks fit the bill. Take Mysore Bonda for instance. With a blend of chili, coconut, pepper, curry, and urad dal, it can be pan-fried to be a healthy option that is an explosion of flavor. Chaat is another tasty treat that consists of toasted bread that covered with mashed potatoes and baked beans, with a unique Indian take on the beans that brings in the spices. Cutlets made from red beans and oats are another Indian style snack that turn up the heat with spices, providing variety with every mouthful.

indian food ingredients

It’s All in the Spices
Indian style snacks have unique spice combinations that set them apart from the typical snacks in the Western world. For anyone who is tired of eating bland foods without any flavor, it’s no surprise that Indian style snacks are drawing a crowd. With every bite, the taste buds come alive. These spicy blends are also beneficial for the metabolism, helping individuals to maintain a healthy weight. When compared to the typical chips and chocolate, they are a nutritional option. For anyone who loves to eat and likes to experiment with new flavors, Indian style snacks offer something different and make for a healthy choice as an added benefit.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

How to Grow Vegetables From Leftovers and Kitchen Waste

Farmers have been growing crops from crops for centuries. This is something that you can do at home too. After buying and using produce some of those vegetables and herbs can be sustainably regrown from the leftover pieces. Even if you’re not much of a farmer, these are simple methods that anyone can master.

growing scallions

  • Scallions: To regrow scallions or green onions simply save the ends. When cutting the ends off, leave about an inch of the stem attached to the roots. Then place the root ends into a glass of water in a well-lit area and new scallions will grow. Scallions grow in a matter of days, so in no time at all you have brand new scallions ready to use. This process can be repeated again and again.

growing basil

  • Basil / cilantro: Basil and cilantro are regrown from plant clippings. Cut clippings that have about 4 inches of stem on them and place the clippings into a glass of water. Leave the glass of water and clippings in an area with direct sunlight. Roots grow from the stem and when they reach about 2 inches the clippings are ready to plant.

growing lettuce

  • Romaine Lettuce: Romaine is regrown from the stump end of a head. The stump is placed into a bowl with ½ inch of water and left in a window sill. In about 2 weeks new leaves will start to grow. A month or so later the lettuce will be fully grown.

window sill celery

  • Bok choy / celery: Bok choy and celery are regrown the same way as lettuce. Place the root end in water and then place it in a well-lit area. In a few weeks, when the (more…)
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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Toast the New Year with Green Champagne in Biodegradable Packaging

naturally clicquot group

For New Year’s many people will be toasting champagne at midnight. For 2015 you can drink to the new year out of a bottle kept chilled inside packaging made from potatoes. French designer Cédric Ragot has developed an innovative packaging for Veuve Clicquot that is completely biodegradable. Called Naturally Clicquot, the isothermal design can keep a chilled bottle cool for up to 2 hours.

naturally clicquot open

The packaging is made from potato starch and paper and because of this, Naturally Clicquot’s packaging is 100% biodegradable. Even the label is made using recycled paper. A promotional video about the design that addresses the problem of packaging waste can be viewed on the Veuve Clicquot website. This innovatively packaged champagne will cost about $58 but is a unique, eco-friendly buy.

vineard grapes

If looking for other tasty, eco-friendly champagnes to toast to the new year here are a few “greener” options.

  • Vranken Pommery: obtained environmental certification for their practices of waste management, sustainable growing, water conservation and energy conservation.
  • Domaine Carneros: certified by California certified organic farmers in 2008. This vineyard uses photovoltaic solar power for energy.
  • Leclerc Briant: this biodynamic winemaker uses only natural products for repellents and compost for fertilizers.
  • Champagne Fleury: a biodynamic winery using compost as fertilizer since the 1970’s. Organically grown grapes and no pesticides.

Pommery POP rosePommery, my first pick, can be found online at and its Brut Royal champagne will cost about $40 if you’re a club member otherwise it’s about $60. Pommery can also be found on prices vary from $130 for a vintage bottle to $54 for POP. Perhaps Pommery’s “greenest” bottle would be POP Earth, but it is sold out on The Earth champagne reflects the brand’s commitment to using sustainable practices. Earth’s bottle used lighter glass, 1.85 lbs. instead of 2 lbs., reducing energy cost during shipping. Earth’s label is also made from recycled materials and printed with water soluble ink.

So welcome in the new year with an alternative champagne and toast to a greener year. Cheers!

related: more eco-friendly libations reviewed on The Alternative Consumer

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

You are what you eat: are the bacteria in your gut influencing what you eat this holiday season?

man food shopping

Many of us looked forward to that Thanksgiving meal and those December holiday cravings are starting to kick in. I, for one, found myself wondering why we have cravings for certain comfort foods. So I took a peek into the possible reasons for our cravings and the leading one may surprise you.

Firstly, we need to understand how our gut works. After the mechanical manipulation of chewing, food lands in the gut for a nice acid bath and digestion. Monitoring the whole thing is the ENS, enteric nervous system, which is an extensive network of neurons regulating: fluid exchange, blood flow, gut movement , physical condition and information about the gastrointestinal tract. The ENS in turn communicates to our brain via the vagus nerve through the secretion of hormones like peptide YY and cholecystokinin to tell us when we are full.

Now it’s time to get to the issue of cravings. For a long time people believed that our bodies would get cravings for foods that we needed. But new research is finding that the microbial life forms that live in our gut might be influencing our eating habits to best suit them. This sounds iffy at best but when you consider that in our bodies bacteria cells outnumber our own 10 to 1 it seems reasonable to say they are having an effect on us.

So when I dig into my Thanksgiving Day baked yams I’m not only feeding me, but also all the bacteria inside me. Keeping the bacteria happy and healthy is just as important to good bodily function as keeping me healthy and happy. But, can my bacteria be influencing my habits? (more…)

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Options for a Turkey-Free Thanksgiving Meal

What is the history of Thanksgiving and when did we all start celebrating? A short version of the story is as follows, in 1621 the pilgrims and Indians came together to share in the bounty of the earth. Following this the first recorded Thanksgiving observance wasn’t until 1671 and happened in Charlestown on June 29th.  Then in 1789 president George Washington declared the first Thanksgiving observance under the new national government. But it wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln announced the official fixed date to be the last Thursday of November. Just like that, the turkey holiday was born.

From the start, Thanksgiving has been a holiday surrounding the sharing of food and the giving of thanks. The iconic Thanksgiving food in today’s pop culture is perhaps the turkey.  Trying to keep environmental impact low however means excluding the holidays mascot from the table. Turkeys use up a lot of resources to raise, receive large amounts of antibiotics and have toxins in them. We all know that to lower our carbon foot print we want to consume foods that are at the base of the food chain, namely plant products. But unless you are already a committed vegetarian resisting that sumptuous bird in the middle of the table or envisioning Thanksgiving without it might be tricky. However, now-a-days there are many alternative turkey options to help you make that jump.


The poster child of these options is Tofurky. Tofurky has been providing a turkey like alternative for non-meat eaters since 1995. But there are many other options on the market as well if Tofurky doesn’t do it for you. Some other brands Include Field Roast Grain Meat Company, Quorn’s and Gardein.

gardein roast

Many options can be found online or in stores like Whole Foods Market which sells the Gardein holiday roast 3.99 for a 6 oz serving (above).

veggie whole turkey

If a log shaped turkey substitute is not for you and you want to try something more closely resembling a turkey they’ve got that too. Vegetarian Plus makes a turkey shaped turkey substitute that you can even stuff with your own stuffing (above). It’s a bit pricey, Vegetarian Essentials is selling it at 69.99, but despite this they are sold out for the season.

apple turkey

But who says that you have to have a meat like turkey substitute for your table? You can have the iconic turkey on your table alongside your farmers market vegetables as a fun creative platter. This example above uses fresh farmers’ market organic apples sliced and fanned out in alternating colors to create (more…)

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