Chia Seeds Falafel

what? you've never heard about chia seeds?

i have never heard about chia seeds. up until 3 weeks ago and since then chia seeds seem to have conquered the world - or at least the one around me. they are in everybody's mouth! everywhere i turn i hear something about chia seed: how super healthy they are and how everybody should integrate them into their daily diet. i did some research and here is what i have found. chia seeds come from a plant in the mint family and have their origin in Mexico and Guatemala. history tells us that these little seeds were an important food crop for the Aztecs.

the most important facts about chia seeds are:

  • they are an energy booster
  • they are high in protein
  • they are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
  • they are an excellent source of fiber (which lowers cholesterol)
  • they are rich in antioxidants (which protect your body from aging and cancer)
  • they are rich in minerals (which help maintaining a healthy weight)
  • they are gluten-free
  • they can regulate blood sugar

at the same time there have been cases of people having had problems after eating chia seeds. when added to water these little seeds form a hydrogel capsule by absorbing up to 27 times their weight in water. this has led a few people to an  esophageal obstruction.

this is what you need to keep in mind when eating this superfood:

1. eat one or two tablespoons of chia seeds a day (not more than that!)

2. soak chia seeds into water for a couple of hours before eating

Ciao!

to the recipe

baba ganoush

hummus

 

The Lebanese Dinner

Whole Wheat Pancakes - Good morning Brain!

good morning to everyone! i hope you have all slept well and that you are all top motivated to get up and start this beautiful new day.

this is one way to start - pancakes. who doesn't like pancakes?! it will take you about 10 minutes to prepare and will get you going for the entire morning. in addition to that this is a tasty healthy recipe containing lots of vitamins and good energy.  

while enjoying your whole wheat pancakes together with a good cup of coffee, here's a list you might be interested reading:

My top 10 braingredients

1. Quinoa:  is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. it is a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids. it contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains and also iron and lysin. furthermore quinoa is loaded with magnesium and B2 which improves energy metabolism within the brain.

2. Apples: are rich in vitamins A, B and C. apart front he numerous vitamins, apples has a tremendous repertoire of micro nutrients and minerals. it also has antiviral properties and can detoxify the body. the peel of the apple also includes a powerful antioxidant called quercetin that enhances memory function. An apple a day, does keep the doctor away! 

3. Avocado: these buttery fruits are rich in monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow in the brain. they may also help lower blood pressure, which can reduce your risks for hypertension or a stroke that could permanently damage brain tissue.  


4. Blueberries: recent studies int he US suggest that the consumption of blueberries may be affective in improving short term memory loss and brain aging!

5. Nuts: are a good intake of vitamin E which might help to prevent cognitive decline, particularly in the elderly. nuts are a great source of vitamin E along with leafy green vegetables, asparagus, olives, seeds, eggs, brown rice and whole grains. so GO NUTS!

6. Wholegrains: the brain cannot work without energy. the ability to concentrate and focus comes from the adequate and steady supply of energy. achieve this by choosing whole grains which release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert throughout the day.  

7. Wild salmon: is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for brain function. omega-3s also contain anti-inflammatory substances. other oily fish that provide the benefits of omega-3s are sardines and herring,

8. Water: when a person becomes dehydrated, their brain tissue shrinks. several studies have shown that dehydration can affect cognitive function. it can impair short-term memory loss, focus and decision making. so drink 3 L of water every day to keep your brain fit.

9. Beets: it has been determined that nitrates in beets can increase blood flow to the brain, thereby improving mental performance. 

10. Sage: Sage contains compounds that prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory.

Have a good day!

Ciao.

to the recipe

Peppered Mussels - Impepata di Cozze

finally i am at sea!! in a lovely little fishing village called Castiglione della Pescaia in the province of Grosseto. nice beaches, relaxed way of living, no time pressure and about 40°C. my only daily concern is what to eat with this heat. 

what i love doing here is to get my fish directly from the fishers as soon as they hit the harbor, pack it with some ice and go home to start cooking it. this is what i did today with 1.8 kg of mussels. big, fresh, juicy, light and incredibly tasty.

 

 

 

mussels contain a lot of long chain fatty acids which are those we want to improve brain function. they are also rich in vitamins (B12, B, C) and in iron. 

GOOD TO KNOW: according to the guardian.com 'most of the mussels we eat these days are cultivated on ropes suspended from floating rafts in clean waters. they plump up naturally on plankton, converting it into nutritious meaty flesh. farmed mussels are environmentally benign, and some research suggests their cultivation may have an overall beneficial effect on the marine ecosystem'.

Courgetti

today i met 30-something year old, mother of two Francesca who currently lives in Lumino with her husband Andrea. Lumino is a little village in the Italian part of Switzerland, not too far from its capital Bellinzona and not too far from where I was born and grew up. Francesca lives in a beautiful old house which once was a typical grotto ticinese and then became her grandparents' home. it's a quiet, peaceful place where time seems to move just a bit slower - or maybe it's the heat as it is 34°C.
not more than 10 metres from the house is Francesca's beautiful garden where she grows many different vegetables and fruits. her garden is well taken care of and it's enough taking a glimpse at it to notice how much work and especially how much love she puts in those 45m2. 

earth, water, sun and work. these are the ingredients used in this garden, nothing else. and the result is stunning:  depending on the season Francesca manages to grow the amount she needs for the whole winter. courgettes, 4 kinds of tomatoes, green beans, salads, pumpkins, cucumbers, egg plants, strawberries, water melons, basil, oregano, blueberries, and other fruits and vegetables keep her busy in the evening and at the weekends..
quite an accomplishment if you think that Francesca also works part time in a bookshop and has two little boys, one old enough to run around the house looking for adventure. 

we walked through the narrow paths of the garden, chose our vegetables, picked the ones we wanted to eat and only few seconds later all our vegetables were on the stove ready to be cooked. no queuing, no paying, no plastic bags, no transport costs to and from the shop, no pollution. just organic, fresh seasonal products only 10 meters away from the kitchen- sommerlicious!

today Francesca and I cooked Courgetti, a kohlrabi salad with edible flowers and a whole grain loaf of bread Francesca baked this morning. a light, easy and quick summer dish perfect for such crazy temperatures.

thank you Francesca for this great time. food simply tastes better when shared with friends.

Courgetti  

Kohlrabi Salad

The ingredients

Super Blueberries

why should one eat seasonal, local and organic?
by eating what our seasons have to offer we would eat products that taste much better having been exposed to the energy of the sun. they would be rich in vitamins and minerals, and even more so if they are local, as they wouldn't be subjected to long transports. without using pesticides you would respect nature as well as respect animals

everything grown in the season would pollute the climate 9 times less
e.g. 
1 kg of Swiss green beans need 0.1L of oil to get to our shelves.
1 kg of Spanish green beans would need double as much.
1 kg of Kenyan green beans, the ones we usually find in winter at the supermarket, need 48 times more oil. if you really have to buy summer product in the winter, buy frozen ones in light plastic bags. they are great in quality (better than the fresh ones out of season) and not too bad for our nature: the lighter the packages, the less it negatively affects our planet. EAT WITH YOUR BRAIN!

There are some things you can do to show more respect for nature:

  • choose local products
  • choose seasonal products
  • choose organic products
  • plan your shopping ahead
  • eat fish only once a week
  • eat less meat
  • eat more quinoa
  • buy only what you need
  • eat only the amount you need
  • NO waste 
  • avoid trash
  • don't buy a new shopping bag every time you shop
  • in the winter buy frozen products
  • choose light packaging
  • don't buy water
  • drink tap water
  • grow your own herbs
  • read before you buy
  • think before you buy

to the recipe

Andreas' Birchermuesli

111 years ago the Swiss physician Maximilan Oskar Bircher Benner (1867-1939) opened his sanatorium Lebendige Kraft - Living Strength (later called Bircher-Benner clinic) not too far from the prestigious Hotel Dolder in the sunny Zürichberg (up the Zurich Hills).

He was a pioneer nutritionist - and quite a criticized one - in the raw fruits and vegetables diet being firmly convinced that raw fruits and vegetables were much more nourishing than cooked ones, and by far healthier than meat. Bircher in fact based his patients' strict diet on uncooked and unprocessed food banning can food and processed aliments, like white flour and crystal sugar, from his patients' menus.

                                      Maximilian O. Bircher-Benner (1867-1939)

                                      Maximilian O. Bircher-Benner (1867-1939)

Not only did Bircher prescribed his patiens a diet strongly based on raw food, but also encouraged them - almost ordered them - to outdoor movement, sport and air baths. Only today we can recognize that Bircher's theories were years ahead of his time and we can simply admit that he was right.

Bicher's most famous dish is the one that was named after him - the Bircher Müesli, a bowl of oats and fresh fruits. This dish was meant to be eaten for breakfast, evening snack and never as a full meal. This was the original recipe:

  • 2-3 apples (peel and seeds included)
  • 1 Tsp of oats (soaked for 12 hours in 3 Tsp of water)
  • 1 Tsp of grated walnuts, grated hazelnuts, grated almonds
  • 1 Tsp of sweetened condensed milk
  • honey
  • 1 squeezed lemon

I learnt an adapted version of this recipe years ago from my dearest Andreas, who thaught me well. That pinch of salt, the grated ginger, all those seeds, berries and that bit of curd cheese he added in his recipe, give his muesli a splash of flavor making it by far the best one I have ever tasted. And it tastes even better if eaten at the lake on a sunny Saturday morning after having attempted my first swim, just few hundreds meters from where the original recipe was once created back in 1897.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As mentioned in other posts your brain does not have a storage place for fuel and it is particularly affected by lack of food. If your brain's fuel source - glucose isn't refilled after a night's sleep, your brain won't function at its best level. Every student willing to learn, every business man craving for the perfect presentation, everyone wanting to perform simply needs to eat breakfast.

Ciao.

to the recipe

The Ultimate Brainburger

burgers as brainfood? you must be kidding me! this only if you think of mc donald's burgers not if you think of one of mines, like for example - The Ultimate Brainburger!

quinoa, oat meal, beetroot, parsley, avocado, curd cheese, lime, eggs, arugula between two fluffy whole grain buns sprinkled with flaxseeds and pumpkinseeds. these ingredients would make the top 10 among all braingredients. whole wheat as well as oat meal and beetroot increase blood flow to the brain which means a higher quality and quantity of brain function. they also contain a lot of vitamin B6 which is great for everyone trying to improve their memory. eggs are full of vitamin B12 and, if not eaten too often, can prevent your brain from shrinking thank to their essential fatty acids. quinoa is the healthiest and maybe oldest (it in fact dates back about 4000 years) ingredient of all. it is a complete protein, it is full of fibre, magnesium and iron which in short: prevents heart disease by lowering blood pressure, may help you lose weight as it makes you feel fuller for longer and helps your concentration. AND IT TASTES GREAT!!

let's not forget that our brain represents only 2% of the body's weight but uses an incredible 20% of the energy produced by the body. i have recently come across an article saying that a person can be as much as 20% more productive (according to World Health Organization) just by making better eating choices. you can promote quicker and sharper thinking, better memory and concentration, improved balance and coordination, and activation of your feel good hormones just by eating correctly.

eat what your brain tells you!

ciao.

to the recipe

BRAIN FOOD at McDonald's

i’ve been meditating about my first post for weeks now. i wanted something special, something tasty and tasteful, appealing to everyone. i wanted the nr. 1 brainfood dish with the perfect picture to be my first post. you know one of those pictures you’d like to rip out of the book and start eating so good it looks.

well little did i know that these would be my first words: brain food at mc donald’s.

shocking as it might sound mc donald’s in aarau switzerland is now selling quite a wide range of meals as brainfood targeting those who need it probably the most - students. ’BRAINFOOD - enjoy your lunch break with a student meal for only 15 CHF’ is what the add says. the first thing that popped to my mind was: what? has mc donald started selling brain food meals? what ingredients can i expect in these meals: apples? a nice fresh salad? broccoli maybe? nuts? definitely whole grain bun... beetroot… and perhaps a slice of avocado!!

well almost: 

chicken nuggets, chips and coke or

***

cheeseburger, chips and coke or

***

big mac, chips and coke 

for only 15 CHF. 

hmm, these meals don't seem to be very new. have people been eating brain food at mc donald’s for all these years without even knowing it? or have mc-ingredients changed in the last couple of days? have mc-researchers found the true brainfood components? it’s hard to say. it is a fact though that mc donald's brain food doesn't sound nor look very sexy!

one thing i learnt about brainfood is that if you want to keep your brain fit and awake, perfectly working even after your lunch break you should NOT be eating:

food high in calories

***

food with too much sugar (like coke & ketch-up)

***

refined grains (like white bread)

as this could negatively affect your digestion as well as your brain performance. unfortunately that thin slice of tomato, which is indeed quite a good braingredient (well done mc!) and that tiny little piece of lettuce do not supply your body with enough vitamins. in order to get the vitamin C that you need in a day, you should in fact eat 16 double hamburgers.  the only problem is that in doing so, you would also eat 8 days of fat and about 2.5 days of carbohydrate which doesn’t really add up. 

could this be just a spelling mistake?

unfortunately i don't think so.

what should you eat then for lunch in order to show a top performance at work or at school? well keep it light! you don't want all your blood rushing down to your stomach in order to digest that huge amount of fat and sugar. have some fish or chicken with some steamed vegetables, a slice of whole grain bread, an apple and some water. doesn't this sound sexy?! 

 wanna feed your brain properly? follow me on here. next time the perfect brainfood burger!

ciao!