Autumn Baked Figs

Recipe of the month: NOVEMBER

autumn baked figs Autumn Baked Figs

Figs are at their best in late summer and early fall. Make the most of these delicious fruits with our recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 fresh figs (ripe but not over-ripe)
  • rice bran oil spray, to grease

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 220°C (430°F).
Generously grease a high-sided gratin or baking dish (the figs should fit snugly inside).
Place the sugar in a bowl.
Wash figs carefully and while still damp, roll in the sugar to coat well. Roll them a second time if necessary.
Place any remaining sugar and 2 tablespoons cold water in the base of the dish.
Add the figs and bake for 10 minutes until the sugar mixture forms a rich sauce (checking occasionally to ensure figs are not burning).
Set aside to cool slightly, then refrigerate for 30 minutes to chill.
Serve the baked figs drizzled with a little sauce.

Just the dish to warm up the family on a fall evening when the nights are drawing in!

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Beetroot

Beetroot for flavor, nutrition, color.

Edible beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris Conditiva Group). This vegetable is one of several of the cultivated varieties of Beta vulgaris grown for their edible taproots and their edible leaves (called beet greens).[Wikipedia, “Beetroot”] Beetroot is listed as safe for people who suffer from Histamine Intolerance.
Beetroot’s color can range from white, through red-and-white striped, to golden-yellow or red. The most common color available in stores is a dark, almost purplish red.
In North America, beetroot is also called:

  • beet
  • table beet
  • garden beet
  • red beet
  • golden beet

Nutritional Information

Raw beetroot is 88% water, 10% carbohydrates, 2% protein, and less than 1% fat. In a 100-gram amount (3.5 ounces) providing 43 calories, raw beetroot is a rich source of folate (one of the B-Group vitamins) and a moderate source of manganese. Beetroots are helpful for weight loss because they provide fiber and water to fill you up, but few calories.
Some people can’t stand the flavor of beets, but others love their sweet earthiness. If you’d like to eat beets but you’re put off by the taste, grate them raw and mix them with other ingredients  in smoothies, cookie dough, burgers, hummus, salads or red velvet cake. The other ingredients can soften or disguise the flavor.
Beet greens are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C, so don’t throw them away – use them as you would use spinach or silverbeet (Swiss chard).

Food Coloring Uses

Betanin, obtained from beetroot’s vibrantly-colored roots, is used industrially as red food colorant. It improves the color and flavor of tomato paste, sauces, desserts, jams and jellies, ice cream, candy, and breakfast cereals, among other applications. [Wikipedia, “Beetroot”] Some of the names of beetroot hybrids pay homage to their gorgeous red coloring – such as “Bull’s Blood” and “Ruby Queen”. Famously, red velvet cake is made with beetroot. During the middle of the 19th century, wine was often colored with beetroot juice. In the 21st century it can be used as a coloring for pasta.

Medicinal Uses

Traditionally, Beta vulgaris has also been used as a medicinal plant. “De honesta voluptate et valetudine” (On honest indulgence and good health) was the first cookbook ever printed. It first appeared between 1470 and 1475.  The author recommended taking beetroot with garlic to nullify the effects of “garlic-breath”. For many centuries, from the Middle Ages onwards, beetroot was used as a treatment for a range of diseases, especially illnesses of the digestion and the blood.

Beetroot and Apple Juice

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for a refreshing drink: Put beetroot, apple, carrot, celery and a tiny knob of ginger through a juicer and drink it chilled.

 

 

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Oat Milk

Avoiding Dairy Milk

Many people avoid dairy products. They might do so for health reasons, for ethical reasons, or because it’s unavailable.
The ethical argument is strong. Calves born on dairy farms are taken from their mothers when they are one day old and fed milk replacements so that the mothers’ milk can be sold for use by humans. The mothers can be heard calling for their babies for up to several weeks. On average an equal number of male and female calves are born to dairy cows. Male calves are usually killed when they are about five days old. Cows stop producing milk unless they give birth every year.

If you wish to avoid dairy products but enjoy milk’s creaminess and versatility, you can drink nutritious alternatives such as rice milk or oat milk. These milks are suitable for people with Histamine Intolerance. They can even be made inexpensively in your own home. Here, for example, is a recipe for “quick oat milk”. It’s lactose-free, and celiac-friendly.

Quick Oat Milk Recipe

This quick and easy recipe yields a milk that is rather thinner than ‘Slow Oat Milk’. It can be thickened by either the addition of a little finely ground oat bran, or by cooking the rolled oats before you make the milk.

Note: you will also need a blender and a fine sieve or cheese cloth.

Put the oats in a large bowl and add enough water to just cover them. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Drain the oats and pour into blender. Add 3 cups of water and sweetener or additional flavorings if desired. If you wish, you may add more or less water, depending on the consistency you prefer.
Blend until the oats have completely disintegrated into a creamy liquid.
Strain the milk through a fine sieve or cheese cloth (this is optional). Homemade oat milk keeps for a few days under refrigeration, but while standing it may separate, so make sure you shake or stir it before using.

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Singing – an amazing natural therapy

Singing is therapy!

You don’t have to be a perfect singer. You don’t even have to be reasonably good. Everyone can sing, even if they sing out of tune! But singing is amazingly good for your health in many ways. Just watch this video to find out how. “What happens to your brain when you sing? Professor Sarah Wilson from The University of Melbourne explains.”

Singing can benefit people who suffer from Histamine Intolerance by improving their overall health. Of course, it is only one of the many useful tools that can help us, including the all-important tool, diet.

Singing in groups

Oh, and singing in a group, with other people, is even better for your health.”Benefits for individual mental health that are associated with singing in groups include increased levels of social connectedness, increased sense of belonging, physical and emotional benefits, and reduced personal stress,” according to research conducted by the Wellness Promotion Unit at Victoria University.

Singing is free, it doesn’t require any special equipment, and it can be done at any time.  So, sing at the top of your voice when you’re driving your car and no one else can hear you, or belt out a ballad in the shower, or enjoy a quiet harmony with your partner, or join a local choir.

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Many-colored rice

Rice – white, brown,  black, red, purple or wild!

You’ve probably heard the phrase “eat the rainbow”. It refers to the fact that including a wide range of highly-colored natural foods in our diet has enormous health benefits.

The plant pigments that give fruits and vegetables and their gorgeous, glowing colors have wonderfully health-giving properties. Think of the bright reds and greens of apples, the orange (and purple) hues of carrots, the yellow of summer squash, the vibrant purple of blueberries.

Rice is a valuable food for people who suffer from Histamine Intolerance. Some people might be surprised to learn that rice comes in a range of colors, too. We are accustomed to seeing white rice, whose grains have been stripped of the nutritious outer hull, bran layer, and cereal germ. White rice is available as long grain, medium grain or short grain, as aromatic, glutinous or all-purpose. These days “brown rice” , or “whole grain rice” is more common than it used to be, and most of us know that with its extra nutrients and prebiotic properties, it’s much better for us than the processed white version!

The Rice Association (UK) says there are more than 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice (the grass species Oryza sativa)!

The wider the range of rice varieties you eat, the more nutrients you potentially consume. In addition, you add welcome variety to your diet. Rice varieties include a rainbow of colors from white and brown through red and purple to black. These colors are given to the rice grains by plant pigments with health-giving antioxidant properties. So look for colored rices in your local supermarket or health food store.

Wild Rice

What about wild rice? It’s not directly related to Asian rice (Oryza sativa). Like Asian rice it’s from the “Grass Family”, but instead of being from the genus Oryza, it’s from the genus Zizania. There are four edible species of wild rice. The grains are dark in coloring and like Asian rice they are gluten-free.
People who suffer from histamine intolerance can safely mix cooked wild rice with Asian rice for a delicious, nutritious meal.

 

 

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How to Make Home Cooking Easier

Home cooking

Home cooking

Tips for Home Cooking

We all know that we should be eating more home-cooked meals. When you prepare your own meals, you know exactly what’s gone into them. You can avoid the dubious ingredients added to many processed foods, such as monosodium glutamate, preservatives fake colors, fake flavors, extra salt and extra sugar. You can also avoid ingredients that are high in histamine or histamine liberators. Home cooking can even save you money. So what’s stopping people from cooking at home? Most people are too busy, and many lack confidence in their culinary skills.

To encourage you to use your home kitchen to produce nutritious meals we’ve rounded up some great tips on how to prepare simple meals that are enjoyable, easy and quick.

From Emma Watson at Kidspot: 6 ways to make family cooking easy.

From Weight Watchers: 6 tips for creating speedy 30 minute meals.

From the Australian Government: Quick and Easy Meals.

From Rachel Ray via “How Stuff Works”: Quick Tips for Fast Meals.

From Taylor Isaac at Cooksmarts: 12 Tips That Make Cooking Cleanup Faster & Easier.

Here are some of our favorite tips:

  • When you cook at home, double the recipe and freeze the other half for later.
  • Make use of pre-chopped snap-frozen vegetables. They save you time!
  • Keep your knives sharp.
  • Think of cooking as a relaxing and productive activity.
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Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea

Rooibos tea

Rooibos – the delicious, caffeine-free tea that’s rich in antioxidants.

Rooibos tea is one of the beverages considered safe for people with histamine intolerance. Years ago, not many people outside of Africa had heard of it, but these days it’s available in many supermarkets and health food stores around the world.

Rooibos tea, also called “redbush tea”, is made from the leaves of a bush called Aspalathus linearis. The plant is native to the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Wikipedia tells us that, “The tea has a taste and color somewhat similar to hibiscus tea, or an earthy flavor like yerba mate.”

Rooibos tea comes in two types – red and green. They look and taste different. Both are suitable for people with histamine intolerance.  You prepare rooibos tea the same way as ordinary black tea – by infusing the leaves in hot water. You can add milk and sugar if you prefer. or a sprig of mint. It can be enjoyed hot or cold.

The Benefits of Rooibos Tea

  • Rooibos tea does not contain caffeine.
  • It has low tannin levels compared to black tea or green tea.
  • It contains health-giving polyphenols.
  • The processed leaves and stems contain benzoic and cinnamic acids.
  • It is rich in ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
  • It contains antioxidants.
  • It contains quercetin.

References:

[Food Chemistry, Volume 60, Issue 1, September 1997, Pages 73-77. Comparison of the antioxidant activity of rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) with green, oolong and black tea. A. Von Gadow, E. Joubert, C.F. Hansmann.]

[Economic Botany, April 1983, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 164–173 Rooibos tea,aspalathus linearis, a caffeineless, low-tannin beverage. Julia F. Morton]

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Rice Bran Oil

rice bran oilRice Bran Oil- the “rediscovered” cooking oil with a high smoke point.

What is rice bran oil?

Imagine a grain of whole, freshly-harvested rice, sliced in half lengthwise and magnified many times. You would see a hard outer layer covering the whole rice seed, protecting it from the environment. This is called the husk, the hull, or chaff.

Inside this hard outer layer is a second layer called the bran, or inner husk. This is where rice bran oil is found. Bran represents only about 8% of the weight of the whole rice grain, but contains about 3/4 of the total oil. The bran is itself composed of four layers, and also includes the rice germ, or embryo. You’ve heard of wheat germ right? All grains have a “germ” sandwiched between the endosperm and the bran layer.

In the middle of the rice grain is the endosperm. This is the starchy part that we call “white rice” when the outer layers have been stripped off in a processing plant.

People in many Asian countries have been producing and cooking with rice bran oil for many years. The oil can be extracted from the bran either by pressing the steam-heated bran between heavy rollers or screw presses called “oil mills”, or by using solvents to chemically separate the oil from the bran. What’s left behind is a product called “defatted rice bran”. After the oil has been extracted, it must be purified.

What’s special about rice bran oil?

“Rice bran oil, not being a seed‐derived oil, has a composition qualitatively different from common vegetable oils.” [Kaimal et al., 2002]

  • High smoke point: Rice bran oil has a high smoke point of 232 °C (450 °F), which means it is appropriate for high-temperature cooking methods such as stir frying and deep frying.
  • Mild flavor: The oil has a mild to neutral taste, so it does not overpower the flavor of other foods.It is light, versatile and pleasant to use in  salad dressings, baking dips etc.
  • Balance: The oil has an ideal balance of polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) and monounsaturated fats (MUFA). In fact it contains 37% polyunsaturated fats and 45 % monounsaturated fats, almost a perfect 1:1 ratio.
  • Suitable for people with histamine intolerance: Rice bran oil is listed as a safe food for sufferers of HIT.
  • Health benefits: The oil is rich in vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients. It contains abundant vitamin E complex, tocopherols and antioxidants known as gamma aryzanol, as well as quantities of phytosterols, polyphenols and sqnalene. It is considered to be “heart friendly” and may help to lower cholesterol.
  • Keeping qualities: Rice bran oil has a very good shelf life compared with other cooking oils.

Keep some rice bran oil in your pantry for healthier eating!


Reference: Origin of problems encountered in rice bran oil processing. Thengumpillil Narayana Balagopala Kaimal et.al. European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology. 9 April 2002. https://doi.org/10.1002/1438-9312(200204)104:4<203::AID-EJLT203>3.0.CO;2-X

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Cauliflower – the versatile vegetable

CauliflowerCauliflower – it’s better than you think

We decided to write about cauliflower in this post because:

  • it’s permitted on the Strictly Low Histamine Diet
  • it’s one of the vegetables that’s so easy to hate if it’s prepared wrongly
  • it’s good for you
  • lately, people have been coming up with inventive ways to make it actually delicious.
  • it’s very low in Calories, which is useful for people who want to lose weight

Wikipedia tells us that cauliflower (Brassica oleracea) originated in the Northeast Mediterranean. “Cauliflower is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head is eaten – the edible white flesh sometimes called “curd” (similar appearance to cheese curd).”Purple cauliflower

There are four major groups of cauliflower:

  • Italian, which includes white, Romanesco, various brown, green, purple, and yellow cultivars. This type is the ancestral form from which the others were derived.
  • Northern European annuals, which include Erfurt and Snowball.
  • Northwest European biennial, which include Angers and Roscoff.
  • Asian, a tropical type used in China and India. It includes Early Benaras and Early Patna.

Fractal cauliflowerDid you know that there are hundreds of historic and current commercial varieties of cauliflower used around the world? Or that cauliflower comes in colors other than creamy white? The other colors of cauliflower include:

  • Orange, whose beautiful color is provided by beta-carotene, a provitamin A compound. Cultivars include ‘Cheddar’ and ‘Orange Bouquet’.
  • Green, which is also known as “broccoflower”. This comes in the normal cloud-shaped head (curd) or in a fractal spiral curd called “Romanesco Broccoli”. Varieties of the cloud-shaped green cauliflower include ‘Alverda’, ‘Green Goddess’ and ‘Vorda’. Romanesco varieties include ‘Minaret’ and ‘Veronica’.
  • Purple, whose stunning color is given to it by anthocyanins, plant pigments that are found in other plants, including red cabbage, red plums and red grapes. Varieties include ‘Graffiti’ and ‘Purple Cape’.

How to keep the Nutrients in Cauliflower

Cauliflower heads can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed, pickled, or eaten raw. According to Wikipedia, “Boiling reduces the levels of cauliflower compounds, with losses of 20–30% after five minutes, 40–50% after ten minutes, and 75% after thirty minutes.” However, other preparation methods, such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying, have no significant effect on the compounds.”

Romanesco CauliflowerWonderful Ways with Cauliflower

Maybe your Mom always used to serve up cauliflower looking like a white, watery, blob on the plate, but these days there are a lot of great ways to use this versatile food, such as

  • cauliflower “rice”
  • cauliflower”steaks”
  • vegan “cauliflower cheese”
  • creamy, savory cauliflower whip
  • cauliflower salad
  • cauliflower soup
  • roasted cauliflower
  • cauliflower dip
  • mashed cauliflower
  • white sauce made out of cauliflower
  • and even cauliflower chocolate pudding!

There are loads of ideas on the internet – just type “cauliflower recipes” into your search engine. Make sure you check the other ingredients and if there’s anything histamine-unfriendly in there, either leave it out or substitute a similar, histamine-friendly ingredient.

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Zucchinis (courgettes) – A vegetable that’s really a fruit.

zucchini courgetteEnjoy zucchinis in a variety of dishes

Zucchinis, otherwise knows as courgettes, are considered to be a safe food for people with histamine intolerance. They can be incorporated into a huge variety of dishes, including:

  • slices and cobblers
  • pizza crust
  • soups
  • breads
  • salads
  • sweet cakes and muffins
  • cookies and biscuits

Zucchinis are a type of summer squash. The zucchinis we see in the shops have been harvested while young. In Britain, Ireland and Australia, a fully grown zucchini is called a marrow.

Their botanical name is Cucurbita pepo, and they can be dark green, pale green, golden-orange, or striped. Everyone thinks of zucchinis as vegetables, but botanically speaking they are fruits – “…a type of botanical berry called a “pepo”, being the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower.” [Wikipedia]Golden_zucchinis

A Brief History of Zucchinis

Like so many delicious food plants, zucchinis originated in South America. In the early 16th century the explorer Christopher Columbus brought seeds of zucchini’s cucurbit ancestors to the Mediterranean and Africa. However it was not until the second half of the 19th century that the zucchinis we know today were bred, in northern Italy. That’s why we tend to think of zucchinis as a “Mediterranean vegetable” – when they are really a South American fruit!

To make a rectangular zucchini-based pizza:

Ingredients

1 large zucchini
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
1 pastured egg, beaten
3 Tbsp. water
2 cups spelt flour
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Your favorite low histamine pizza toppings.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C)
Chop zucchini into small chunks.
Place raw zucchini into a food processor and process 3 – 4 minutes until it becomes smooth and gloopy.
Add, flour, beaten egg, olive oil and parsley to the zucchini in food processor and mix until it forms a smooth dough. Add a little water if needed to achieve dough consistency.
Scoop out the dough onto a baking sheet (baking tray) lined with parchment (baking paper). Pat it out into a pizza shape.
Allow dough to sit on the kitchen counter (benchtop) for 20 minutes before baking.
Slide baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and top with your favorite low histamine pizza toppings.
Return pizza to the oven, making sure to swivel the baking sheet 180 degrees (to allow for even cooking).
Bake for another 15 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown.
Take it out of the oven and slice into rectangular pieces.

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