Bay leaves can be used dried or fresh in cooking. The aromatic leaf is commonly used in Mediterranean, Italian and Indian dishes. Bay leaves have a herbal fragrance and are similar in flavour to oregano and thyme. They add flavour to stews, soups, sauces, meat and vegetable dishes. Having your own bay tree in a large tub in your garden is a great way to have fresh leaves on hand for your cooking.
Bean sprouts also know as bean shoots are a common ingredient used in Asian cuisine. Bean shoots are grown from mung bean seeds, they add great flavour and texture to dishes. A great source of dietary fibre, vitamins C and K, protein, magnesium and rich in digestible energy.
Home made beef broth is excellent for healing Leaky Gut and to drink when unwell. Traditionally broth was made just from meat bones and simmered for hours to remove the gelatin, marrow and goodness from them. These days vegetables are also added to give extra flavour. If purchasing store bought broth/stocks, read your labels as many companies have changed the name of MSG to yeast extract. Organic or free range brands are available. I keep one on hand for emergencies. I get the butcher to cut my beef bones up so it's easy for the marrow and nutrients to be released easily. I prefer to making my broth in a slow cooker. I keep ice block trays filled with broth in the freezer ready for when just a small amount is required in a recipe.
Beef mince is ground down beef steak, it can make a meal very economical and is so versatile. It is used in many recipes including, hamburger patties, cottage pie, chili, meatloaf, bolognese and meatballs. Purchase organic and grass fed beef mince if possible. An excellent source of protein.
Choose grass-fed meat to ensure you are eating a healthy animal that's been fed as naturally as possible. Beef is an excellent source of protein but it should not be the only thing on your plate, balance your meal with 2/3 plant based foods and 1/3 meat.
This common root vegetable is a Superfood. Beetroot are packed with health promoting antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, betaine, folate, magnesium, copper, phosphorus and iron. Beetroot belongs to the same family as spinach and swiss chard, both the leaves and root can be eaten. It's history stretches back to 4,000 years ago and has long been used for medicinal purposes, primarily for blood, liver and digestive disorders. Recent research and trials have shown the benefits of beetroot juice in lowering high blood pressure. Check out my blog on the Health Benefits of Beetroot and best ways to store the leaves and root.
Beetroot powder is packed with antioxidants, it's perfect for adding colour to raw and baked desserts. Choose a certified organic brand, free from colours, flavours, preservatives and sweeteners. My favourite brand of beetroot powder is 'Morlife', sold in healthy food stores.
Black and white pepper both come from the fruit of a tropical vine. Black pepper is the cooked and dried unripe fruit, know as a peppercorn and white pepper is from the ripe fruit seed. Pepper is usually coupled with salt, sprinkled over or added to food.
Black tahini paste is just black sesame seeds ground down to a smooth paste. My favourite brand is Mayver's. Tahini is rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and iron. It's an excellent source of calcium and zinc and also high in vitamin E and B vitamins. You can also make your own by lightly roasting black sesame seeds and blending in a blender or food processor until you reach a smooth paste .
Blueberries come from a perennial flowering plant. These indigo coloured berries are not only a very popular fruit but have one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are essential to combat the free radicals that can damage our cells. Blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, also a good source of vitamin C, fibre and copper. Purchase local organic in season, when not in season purchase organic frozen blueberries.
Bok choy is in fact a type of cabbage but develops thick white crisp stems (celery-like) with green tender leaves. It is much higher in calcium than other varieties of cabbage. It is excellent in stir-fries.
Brazil nuts are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are the richest dietary source of selenium, only 5 brazil nuts a day will provide you with the recommended daily dietary intake. They are also high in antioxidants and contain vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, zinc and oleic acid. Research has shown that they reduce the risk of heart disease.
Broccoli is an edible green plant with a flower head, which resembles cauliflower and belongs to the cabbage family. This vegetable is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, a good source of beta carotene, folate and vitamin E. It has significant amounts of iron, potassium and rich in glucosinolates, effective natural cancer fighters.
Brussel sprouts are of the same species as cabbage and in the same family as collard greens, broccoli and kale.The leafy green vegetables look like miniature cabbages, typically 3 - 4cm in diameter. They are packed full of vitamins, minerals and sulforaphane a phytochemical known for its potential anticancer properties (boiling can reduce the level of sulforaphane, steaming and stir frying do not result in significant loss).
C Berry Blast powder by nutra organics is high in vitamin C and perfect for adding flavour to healthy treats for kids. Great for sprinkling over yoghurt or adding to muffins, smoothies and ice blocks. This organic high antioxidant blend contains - mango, acai berry, blueberries, cranberries, beetroot, goji berries, camu camu and rosehip. It can be purchased from health food stores or online (I buy from sistermixin.com http://www.sistermixin.com/product-category/nutra-organics/sfk/).
Raw organic cacao butter is also known as chocolate butter. It is used to make chocolate, truffles and desserts. Raw cacao butter is made by cold pressing ground cacao to prevent the lost of vital nutrients and separates the thick and creamy butter from the fibrous powder. It sets firm and gives a rich chocolate flavour. Choose certified organic, cold-pressed and non-gmo, my favourite brands are Chefs Choice or Lovingearth. Cacao butter is high in antioxidants, healthy fats and is a good mood support.
Organic cacao nibs are simply raw, crushed cacao beans with no added sweeteners or preservatives. Use them in place of dark chocolate chips, they are bitter but just a few goes a long way. Cacao nibs are a nutrient dense plant based whole food, containing very high amounts of antioxidants known to help fight free radicals and may assist in reducing inflammation, they are also high in, iron, magnesium and fibre.
Raw cacao powder and cocoa are made from the same source but are so different. Cacao powder is raw, unsweetened and in it's natural state, it has a stronger flavour and you would use less than cocoa powder. It is so good for you; high in dietary fibre, iron and is a good source of magnesium and antioxidants. Cocoa has been heated and processed, the high heat when processing kills all the minerals and vitamins.
When purchasing seafood opt for wild caught fish, not farmed. Salmon is one of the best choices as it contains good amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. When purchasing canned fish, look for “pole and line caught” on the label.
Capsicum is known as a vegetable but technically it's a fruit, as it's seeds are inside. It's called a pepper or bell pepper in the US. Capsicums can be eaten raw or cooked. They belong to the nightshade family. Capsicums vary in colour, shape, size and their flavour intensity, between the different varieties. They are highly nutritious and contain more vitamin C than an orange and have relatively high amounts of vitamin B6.