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Go Nuts for Macadamias

 

When you think of macadamias, Hawaii may come to mind – but they actually come from the land down under! These delicious nuts are native to north eastern New South Wales and central and south eastern Queensland in Australia.

Macadamias are a tough nut to crack, as the saying goes. Containing at least 72 percent oil, they’re encased in a leathery, green husk that splits open as the nut matures. When they fall from the tree, the husk is removed and the nuts are dried. The shell can then be removed using a nutcracker. 

Macadamia nuts are among the fattiest of all nuts, but that’s also what makes them healthy. The majority of the fat in Macadamia nuts is in the form of monounsaturated fatty acids which benefit the cardiovascular system, reducing cholesterol level and help to clean the arteries.

Another health benefit of macadamia comes from their high flavonoid content. Flavonoids help to prevent cell damage and protect our body from environmental toxins. They also convert into antioxidants which destroy free radicals and could protect our bodies from various diseases and certain types of cancer.

 Like other nuts, macadamia nuts contain a good deal of fibre. Eating just 10 to 12 nuts will meet about 10 percent of your daily fibre needs. Macadamia nuts also contain high amounts of vitamin B1 and magnesium, and just one serving nets 58 percent of what you need in manganese and 23 percent of the recommended daily value of thiamin.

Check out our nuts

Going Gluten-Free

 

Whether you’re gluten-intolerant or just giving a new diet a test run, anyone trying to avoid gluten knows it can be tough finding suitable substitutes.

We’re here to help! From bread to flour to pasta, here are some suggestions for alternatives to common wheat-based products. Get creative and try some of these today.

Flour substitutes

Baking without regular wheat flour can be tricky, but flour alternatives are plentiful and when used in the right proportions and treated with care, can taste great. Almond flour, coconut flour and rice flour are just a few options, and can be used with corn starch, potato starch and tapioca starch with great results. Check out Epicurious’ guide to gluten-free baking here.

Bread substitutes

If you’re dying for a sandwich and don’t know what to make it with, consider making a wrap instead with corn tortillas, or using lettuce leaves to pile your sandwich filling on. Rice cakes also work perfectly as a stand-in for crackers, pizza crust, and even bagels.

Pancake and oatmeal substitutes

We all love pancakes for a leisurely breakfast, and you can still have them by replacing wheat flour with cornmeal or corn flour, like in this recipe. How about oatmeal? If you must have your carbs in the morning, consider corn grits instead.

Pasta substitutes

There’s nothing better than a bowl of piping hot pasta slathered in your favourite sauce – and you can still get your fix with rice noodles, or by creating zucchini or eggplant ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Spaghetti squash is also a great alternative – roasted and pulled apart with a fork, it looks exactly like noodles!

Flax Seeds: 5 Health Benefits


Flaxseed was cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC. In the 8th century, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseed that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it. 

Flaxseed is a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber; modern research has found evidence to suggest that flaxseed can also help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Add two tablespoons of flax seeds to your daily smoothie to enjoy these wonderful health benefits.

1. Healthy Skin and Hair

The ALA fats in flax seeds benefits the skin and hair by providing essential fats as well as b-vitamins which can help reduce dryness and flakiness. It can also improve symptoms of acne, rosacea, and eczema.

2. Weight Loss

Since flax is full of healthy fats and fiber, it will help you feel satisfied longer so you will eat fewer calories overall which may lead to weight loss. ALA fats may also help reduce inflammation.

3. Lower Cholesterol

The soluble fiber content of flax seeds trap fat and cholesterol in the digestive system so that it unable to be absorbed. Soluble fiber also traps bile, forcing the body to make more and using up excess cholesterol in the blood.

4. Antioxidant properties

Flax seeds are also packed with antioxidants. Lignans provide us with antioxidant benefits for anti-aging, hormone balance and cellular health. Lignans are also known for their anti-viral and antibacterial properties.

5. Digestive Health

Perhaps the biggest flax seed benefits come from it’s ability to promote digestive health. The ALA in flax can help protect the lining of the digestive tract and maintain gastrointestinal health. It has been shown to be beneficial for people suffering from Crohn’s disease or other digestive ailments, as it can help reduce gut inflammation.

7 Reasons to Eat Quinoa

Quinoa was an important crop for the Inca Empire back in the day. They referred to it as the mother of all grains and believed it to be sacred. It has been consumed for thousands of years in South America, although it only reached “superfood status” a few years ago!

The year 2013 was actually called The International Year of Quinoa”by the United Nations (UN), based on its high nutrient value and potential to contribute to food security worldwide. NASA scientists have been looking at it as a suitable crop to be grown in outer space, mostly based on its high nutrient content, ease of use and how easy it is to grow!

To cook quinoa, add one part of the grain to two parts liquid in a saucepan. After the mixture is brought to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. One cup of quinoa cooked with this method usually takes 15 minutes to prepare. When cooking is complete, you will notice that the grains have become translucent, and the white germ has partially detached itself, appearing like a white-spiraled tail.

Here are seven health benefits of quinoa:

1. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.

2. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber is most widely known to relieve constipation. It also helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes. Fiber lowers cholesterol and glucose levels and may help you to lose weight.

3. Quinoa contains Iron. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. Iron also increases brain function.

4. Quinoa contains lysine. Lysine is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair.

5. Quinoa is rich in magnesium. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control.

6. Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2). B2 improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells. 

7. Quinoa has a high content of manganese. Manganese is an antioxidant, which helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals.

Featured Product: Wild Rice

The Health Promotion Board recently released a controversial report that eating white rice increases one's likelihood of getting diabetes. Whether or not you agree, it's never a bad idea to explore other delicious, healthy carbohydrate options.

If like us, you can't live without rice, you might want to try wild rice, an exceptionally nutritious choice with a lovely nutty flavour.

Unlike regular white and brown rice that we consume in Asia, wild rice isn't actually rice! It's classified as grass that happen to produce edible grains. Three of the four known species are native to North America and have long been harvested by native Americans. The fourth is native to China where it is now more common to consume the stem as a vegetable instead of the grain.

Just one cup (around 164 grams) of cooked wild rice gives you a significant amount of B vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates. In addition, a study has found that wild rice contains 30 times more antioxidant activity than white rice.


How to cook wild rice

Wild rice can be steamed or boiled just like regular white rice, but it needs more water — three cups of water per cup of rice— and takes longer to cook. A cup of raw wild rice will typically yield 3-4 cups after cooking. For additional flavour, try cooking wild rice in chicken stock instead of water. 

Wild rice is particularly popular in North America and is often served as salad, baked casserole dish, or even a stuffing for poultry. Here are some recipes to try.

Miso ginger wild rice with carrots and cabbage from Whole Foods Market

Creamy baked chicken and wild rice casserole by Sunny Anderson

Wild rice with mushrooms from the New York Times

Producer in the Spotlight: Ocean Spray

If you’ve tasted our Ruby Dried Cranberries, you’ll know that these delicious tart morsels make the best snacks, salad toppings, and yogurt mix-ins. Our Ruby Dried Cranberries are brought to you all the way from Ocean Spray, a company with an 85-year long history of growing quality fruit across the USA.

Ocean Spray was formed in 1930 by three cranberry growers with a simple love of cranberries. Led by lawyer and grower Marcus L. Urann, the three began coming up with new and innovative products made from cranberries. Since then, the Ocean Spray cooperative has grown to more than 700 grower families all across North America, many of whom operate farms that have been in their families for generations. Thanks to their expertise and dedication, Ocean Spray has grown into the trusted brand they are today.

The cooperative’s first product was jellied cranberry sauce, followed by original Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail hitting the shelves in the early 1930s, beginning a long tradition of quality, innovation, and success. The rest, as they say, is history.

As a Grower-Owned Cooperative Ocean Spray prides themselves on the high quality and most importantly the safety, of their products. For more than 85 years, Ocean Spray farmers have been growing cranberries and grapefruit that are GMO free.

At Ocean Spray, caring for the land runs deep. Ocean Spray is committed to managing their business in a way that minimizes their environmental impact, from conserving water, to reducing energy use, and cutting unnecessary waste and product packaging. 

Try their dried cranberries in our retail store, or order wholesale for a whole range of dried fruit products and cranberry concentrates.

4 reasons to buy in bulk!

4 Reasons to Buy Groceries in Bulk

 Pantry

Is bigger always better? In the case of healthy pantry staples, the answer might just be a resounding 'yes'!

 

From oats to raw nuts to chia seeds, we give you four reasons to ditch those tiny supermarket packets in favour of something a lot more substantial.

 

1. Stretch your grocery budget

There's a good reason why everyone loves a warehouse grocery store -- it's a sure way to make your money go further! Why buy a small handful of cashews for $3.99 when you can get four times the amount for $10? When it comes to saving money, buying larger quantities of groceries is a no-brainer.

 

2. Reduce your environmental footprint

Buying one large bag instead of many smaller ones means less packaging and less waste that ends up in landfills. When you buy groceries in bulk, you can feel good in more ways than one, knowing that you've reduced your environmental footprint.

 

3. Save precious time

Save yourself multiple trips to the supermarket -- not to mention money spent on bus fare, petrol and parking -- by stocking up on staples. Since so many pantry staples are non-perishable and keep well, buying more at one go leaves you more time to spend on fun weekend activities, rather than at that long line for the cashier. For bonus points: buy online to avoid the supermarket completely! 

 

4. Eat better

Bulk buying leads to healthier food choices. When you have a big jar of quinoa in your kitchen, chances are you'll get your creative cooking juices flowing and turn it into whole host of delicious, healthy meals for yourself and your family. Way better than finding an empty pantry and having to fill up on instant noodles and their tiny packets of MSG.

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