It’s autumn, and this time of year Persimmons are in season. Yay!
The botanical name for his fabulously delicious fruit is Diospyros kaki, which, quite appropriately, is Greek for ‘food of the Gods’.
They are also known as Sharon fruit, but personally I prefer the Greek name ;)
Whilst there are several varieties of Persimmons, they basically fall into two categories: astringent & non-astringent and it’s very important that you know which one you’re biting into!
The Fuyu persimmon is non-astringent and can be cut up and eaten like a pear and if it’s not completely ripe it’s still ok to eat. I like them when they are the consistency of a ripe pear.
My favourite, the Hachiya persimmon, aka Japanese persimmon is, on the other hand, an astringent persimmon and it has to be completely ripe before eating. If you try to eat an unripe one, it will dry all the moisture out of your mouth and put you off persimmons forever. Imagine eating a mushy, but unripe banana and you’ll get the idea. However, if you taste a ripe one, well, it’s like a sweet, fruity, vanilla-jelly dessert, a true ‘food of the Gods’.
The Hachiya persimmon is ripe when it’s as soft as a squashy water balloon, so don’t be put off by the extreme softness. If it ain’t squishy, it ain’t ready! So leave it to ripen longer! (Don’t say I didn’t warn you…)
To eat a Hachiya persimmon, just pull off the green/brown top (which will come away easily if the fruit is ripe), slice off the top, sit down, eat the persimmon with a spoon and delight in this amazing culinary delicacy!
Once you’ve tasted a really ripe one, you’ll be hooked! :)
Not only is this fruit a joy to eat, it’s also bursting with nutrition.
1 cup of Japanese persimmon is:
So what are you waiting for? Grab some persimmons today and taste the food of the Gods! :)
So what is all this chat about drinking lemon water every morning? Suddenly it seems that everyone from famous actresses to our next-door neighbour has found the miracle cure for weight loss in a glass of warm lemon-infused water.
Is it just hype, or are there any real health benefits?
Let's take a look!
Stimulates the bowel
This is an important one, so I'm putting it at the top. It's not always something we like talking about, but we should, because regular and complete elimination (pooping) is essential for good health!
When we wake up in the morning we are dehydrated after a night’s sleep and no fluids. Our body is literally crying out for hydration and if you sleep in an over-heated room, even more so. Our digestive system has been resting too (hopefully you didn’t have a 10 pm curry….) and it needs to be woken gently. Do you like being dragged out of bed and into work-mode within minutes of starting your day? Me neither. And nor does our digestive system. 2-3 glasses (or more) of WARM water on an empty stomach does wonders for gently waking our digestive system and stimulating the bowel. Ideally the water should be warm. Not cold water, and not hot.
So why add lemon juice?
Well, apart from being pleasant-tasting and therefore easier to drink than ‘plain old water’, lemons are high in vitamin C, which may boost collagen production, which in turn helps our skin cells renew. It is also a powerful antioxidant. Cut an apple in half and put lemon juice on one half only. Now watch which half turns brown. No prizes for guessing which part stays fresh-looking and which turns brown! Lemons contain limonene, which has antiviral properties and may be useful for keeping colds and flu at bay.
Not only are we dehydrated when we wake up, we are also naturally acidic. Lemon juice, even though it is acidic, has an alkaline effect in our body and is said to counteract that overnight acidity. I haven’t found any specific studies that back it up though. The acid-alkaline discussion is one which I will try to delve into another time.
Increased metabolic rate
Drinking water on an empty stomach increases your metabolic rate. In a study, ‘Drinking 500 ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30%. The increase occurred within 10 min and reached a maximum after 30-40 min. The total thermogenic response was about 100 kJ. About 40% of the thermogenic effect originated from warming the water from 22 to 37 C.'
Will it help me lose weight?
Whilst the thermogenic effect of drinking warm water on an empty stomach sounds promising, drinking a few glasses of warm water, lemon-infused or not, will not help you lose weight, especially if cappuccino and croissant are on the menu for breakfast. HOWEVER, if those glasses of delicate-tasting water are replacing soda (diet or not), then yes, you’ll be consuming less calories and above all less ‘empty’ calories.
Less empty calories = weight loss
Exactly how much nutrition is actually in your lemon water is debatable, but it can make drinking a few glasses of water on an empty stomach easier, and that is our main goal, to drink more!
How to make lemon-infused water
A lovely way of having refreshing lemon water in the morning, is to prepare it before you go to bed.
In a litre-sized glass jug or a large glass mason jar, add 1 washed organic, or wax-free lemon cut up into pieces. Whenever possible use organic or wax-free lemons since you’ll be leaving the rind on. If you have only got waxed lemons, just remove the outer yellow rind. If the lemon is fresh with a nice thick skin you can do this easily with a vegetable peeler, otherwise it’s easier with a knife. Just cut the lemon into quarters and then cut away the skin.
Now fill the jug or jar with filtered water, cover with a lid and leave overnight. The next morning you have a lovely, delicate lemon water ready to drink.
For added deliciousness, slice a 1-2 inch piece of ginger root and add it to the water, along with some fresh mint leaves.
I usually add a small piece of turmeric root sliced up too or a couple of chunks of cucumber.
If you forget to prepare your lemon water before bedtime, no worries, just squeeze a little lemon juice into a glass of warm water, but don’t make it too strong, or you might get stomach ache. If you like it strong, don’t forget to rinse your mouth with plain water afterwards, as whilst lemon juice has an alkaline effect on our body, it is acidic on our teeth. Alternatively, you could use a straw!
If you have a delicate stomach and can't handle lemon juice, try limes which are easier on the tummy.
Some additions to your infused water
If you're craving a soda during the day, try a glass of sparkling water with some lemon and ginger. In the morning still water is preferable though.
There is really no limit to what you can add to your water, so get adventurous and experiment! Strawberries, raspberries, mango and pineapple all make a lovely infused water, but in all honesty, I prefer to eat them! :)
I've been making flaxseed crackers for years now, and whilst I love them and they're pretty versatile, I sometimes fancy something a little less, well, less flaxseedy.
So I embarked on a mission to make some decent raw, dehydrated crackers to go with my fantabulous raw vegan cheese.
They had to have certain characteristics:
- Be crunchy.
- Be tasty, but not TOO tasty. (Don't want them to cover the taste of my fabulous raw vegan cheese!)
- Not be cardboardy.
- Not be too expensive.
Easier said than done.
I followed a few online recipes but they didn't wow me, probably because I almost never followed instructions as written...I never do. I think I'm missing that gene.
I also came up with a few recipes of my own which were pretty awful. Then the other day I started thinking about my lovely sister Jen, and the great big bag of coconut flour I gave her (that I had received as a gift but couldn't carry it back on the plane with me). She had being telling me that she was looking for ways to use this lovely gift. A lightbulb came on and I thought, crackers!
The first ones I made were alright, in fact they actually grew on me (mind over matter), but they weren't exactly worthy of posting. However, since they were so easy and so quick to make, I made them again until I tasted something I really liked.
I threw some apple purée into the mixture, rolled out the dough, stuck it in the dehydrator and went to bed.
This morning I tasted them.
Result? A light, crunchy, slightly sweet, coconut cracker. :) They probably won't win any awards in the cracker world, but for me, they're a winner. :)
The next success was the sesame seed crackers. You know those sesame crackers that are made with syrup and sesame seeds? (Probably high fructose corn syrup or something horrendous) I wanted to make a healthy version and not so sweet.
Result? Well let's just say that I'm going to need to make a bigger batch next time as they're SOOOOO delicious!
Hop on over to the crackers page for these and other recipes and why not pop over to my Facebook group, Plant-based Nutrition, Health & Wellness for more chatter, tips and news! See you there!
'An apple a day keeps the doctor away', so the saying goes. In fact the benefits of apples have now been well-documented. Numerous studies have shown that apples have antioxidant properties, they lower bad cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, have protective properties for lung health and possibly inhibit cancer cell growth.
So we know we should be eating more of them, but are you really eating one a day?
I love apples. I'll have them for breakfast, snacks, put them in salads, smoothies, even in tempeh dishes. I also find them to be the ideal travelling snack. They are perfect to have on hand when hunger strikes and there is nothing good to eat on the horizon. And they're so handy. I just throw a few in my bag (not literally), and I'm ready to go.
Once, while waiting for my hand baggage to go through the airport x-ray machine, the guy checking the monitor commented on the five apples he could see in my bag. "You like apples, eh?"
(It was a long journey!)
However, whilst I am one of those irritating people that eats the whole apple, including the core, (waste not, want not) I appreciate that for some people sometimes apples can be, well, dare I say, boring?
So here are two ways to make your 'daily apple' more joyful, tasty and more filling.
Oh and remember, if you're not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you're probably not really hungry at all ;)
Mimi Kirk's 'Apple Sunrise' inspired me for these recipes.
Almond Butter, Cinnamon & Hemp
I'm Nicki Perkins, creator of lovingly plant-based and my passion is helping people adopt a healthful and delicious plant-based lifestyle.