The four following health foods are worthwhile additions to your plate. Here we offer them as examples of how you can save money and increase nutritional value when it comes to dietary trends.
Perhaps you’ve heard about the many health benefits of almonds and converted the lunchbox classic PB&J to the lesser-known but power-packed AB&J sandwich. Almonds can help lower cholesterol; reduce risk of heart disease, inflammation and cancer; improve blood pressure, blood sugar, digestion, immunity and cognitive function—all while helping maintain a healthy weight. But so can other tree nuts. With a jar of almond butter approaching $10 in some stores, it’s wise to look for ways to save.
Making your own nut butters is incredibly easy and it’s a great way to save money. If you enjoy a range of nut flavors, including Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts, you’ll be able to shop for deals on unprocessed nuts (if it’s a great price, buy extra and freeze some for later). Plus, by diversifying your nut intake, you’ll invite a wider range of micronutrients into your diet: Brazil nuts are packed with selenium; hazelnuts are filled with folate and heart-healthy proanthocyanidin; pecans increase metabolism; pistachios support the vascular system; and walnuts have more antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids than any other nut.
How to Make Nut Butters
Add whole nuts or nut pieces to a food processor or high-powered blender, such as those made by Blendtec or Vitamix. If you’d like to add optional salt or honey, a good ratio is 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon honey per cup of nuts. Process all ingredients on low speed at first, then faster, until a cohesive mass of nut butter pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Scrape out and store in an airtight container; eat within two weeks.
One of the world’s oldest comfort foods, bone broth is having a hip health-food moment right now. A spot in New York City sells 8 ounces of bone broth for the low, low price of about $5. I’m not saying it’s not delicious. But I am here to tell you that you can make a huge batch of bone broth at home out of ingredients that you might have thrown away otherwise—so basically for free. Extras will freeze perfectly for you, and the work involved is minimal.
Mineral-rich bone broth is revered by cultures all over the world for its restorative and curative qualities. It’s famous for improving immunity, but can also boost energy and help restore damaged parts of the body such as muscles, bones and the digestive tract. Plus, bone broth is easily digestible by almost everyone.
Homemade bone broth can be superior to most store-bought soup stocks for two reasons: You get to choose the raw materials; and you can simmer the bones for hours and hours to maximize their nutritional output. It’s important to use bones from grass-fed animals and wild-caught fish, which are better for you than anything you’ll get from grain-fed, feedlot animals and farmed fish.
You can buy bones from butchers who sell sustainably raised meats, or you can use your own leftover bones and scraps (such as knuckles, feet, necks, fish heads and shrimp shells). Bones with marrow in the middle are especially nutritious. Toss bones and scraps (it’s OK if they have skin or fat on them) into a lidded bucket in your freezer and make broth whenever the bucket gets full.
Use bone broth as a soup base or cooking liquid for vegetables, beans and grains. Or you can simply sip it by itself. Get creative with added flavors such as ginger juice, raw garlic or hot sauce.
How to Make Bone Broth
Prepare bones: Crack raw or cooked bones with a mallet, cleaver or good knife to expose any nutritious interior marrow. (Optional: Preroast raw bones in the oven to initiate browning reactions that add flavor.) You need not worry about perfect proportions, but here’s a helpful guide: Per 1 gallon of water, include one chicken or duck carcass; 6 to 8 pounds of beef, lamb or pork bones; four to six fish carcasses; 4 to 6 pounds of shrimp shells; or a combination of any of these. A turkey carcass may require 2 gallons of water.
Simmer slowly: Put bones in a stockpot with optional additional ingredients, and cover with cold water. Add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar per gallon of water; the vinegar helps draw extra minerals out of the bones. If you’d like to add vegetables and seasonings for flavor and nutrition, try carrots, celery, garlic, mushrooms, onions, parsley, thyme, bay and peppercorns. Bring the water to a boil very slowly. As soon as the boiling point is reached, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Check broth occasionally over several hours, and skim any scum off the top. An hour or two is sufficient to extract the good stuff from thin fish bones or shrimp shells, but allow at least four hours, or even all day or overnight, for larger bones. (You can also simmer broth in a crockpot on low heat.)
Chill and remove fat: Strain out and discard solids. Chill broth in the refrigerator to make it easy to remove the solid fat that rises to the top (reserve it for cooking). Store broth in the refrigerator for several days or freeze in ice cube trays or freezer containers. When you are ready to use your broth, it may be a gelatinous mass depending on how much healthful gelatin was in your mixture. To reconstitute it, simply heat some of the gel with water.
Original Article Site and Authorship: , http://www.motherearthliving.com, By Tabitha Alterman