The Macro Bowl: Your New Go-To Lunch

By: Callie McBride

The food pyramid tells us which foods to load up on and which to enjoy sparingly; restaurants often contradict a nutritious dish with that classic side of fries. It seems that we are led to be confused by the food industry about nutritional balance, or lack thereof. How is one to really know that the steaming plate of roasted vegetables, doused with creamy cheese, isn’t actually the healthy option after all? And when a super, super-sized soft drink is offered for only 50 cents more, the trap becomes difficult to escape.

Enter the Macro Bowl, a dish that has recently made its way onto popular vegan restaurant menus and into raw food cookbooks. Imagine a large, colorful creation of nutritionally dense foods that combine to create a healthy powerhouse right before your eyes. Named after the high content of macronutrients that they contain, Macro Bowls typically feature steamed or raw greens, something fermented from the sea (seaweed, kimchee, wakame), brown rice or cooked quinoa, a root or steamed veggie, and a delicious dressing or side of avocado to top it off.  Right there you’ll see protein, calcium, omega 3s, healthy fats, fiber, many vitamins and minerals, and best of all, easy digestion. They come in different varieties, but they are all extremely dense with macronutrients, or all of the necessary and essential components to a healthy diet. Just think, you can get an entire day’s worth of essential nutrients, all in a tightly packed and flavorful bowl!

Carbs, proteins, fats, macrominerals, and water are the players, and the game is ensuring that your body gets all of its macronutrients as much as possible. (Hence why fried green beans with cheesy sauce probably don’t count.) The Macro Bowl is designed to load up the body with all of these nutrients at once-yes please. I have had my fair share of macro bowls or plates in New York City-specifically Brooklyn’s Sun In Bloom and Cafe Blossom in the West Village- and I can attest that this is one nutritious overload not to miss. The best part is that there is no strict recipe to follow with exact measurements or lengthy cooking. The variety and color is completely up to you and your palate. So check out the recipes below for inspiration, grab a bowl, and say hello to your new favorite dish.

Sun in Bloom’s Hearty Macro Bowl:

Daily Green, Daily Bean, Steamed Collard Greens, Steamed Kale, Wakame, Daily Veggie, House Made Raw Sauerkraut, and Tempeh. Served with Sesame Ginger Dressing (suggestion of adding avocado)

Café Blossom’s Macro Salad:

Spiced Quinoa, Steamed Tofu, Kimchee, Kimpura Carrot, Raw Kale with Avocado and Lemon

Follow this simple formula and personalize it to create an at-home Macro Bowl:

  • Greens (cooked or raw)
  • Healthy whole grain (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, etc)
  • Plant protein (beans or organic tofu or tempeh)
  • Seaweed or kimchee
  • Seasonal raw veggies
  • Cooked root veggie (sweet potato or squash)
  • Avocado 
  • Yummy dressing (lemon+olive oil, Green Goddess, tahini, whatever floats your boat!)

Happy experimenting!

Good vs. Bad Bacteria – How To Maintain Balance In Your Gut

By: Stephanie Heino

The human body plays host to a number of micro-organisms, most of which are our friends.  But we do have some that create imbalances which show up in your overall health. Our colon has the largest microbial community in the body, and this is where the micro-organisms live. In this part of the body, the bacterial population usually doubles once or twice a day. Many of these bacteria are, of course, also eliminated during the course of the day, so that a healthy balance is maintained. Under normal circumstances, the microbial community in the colon – which includes more than 300 different species of micro-organisms – regulates itself. These micro-organisms normally prevent infection and growth of “bad” bacteria (parasites like Salmonella and clostridia, for instance), and have a positive effect on nutrition.

However, the intestinal flora of the colon can very easily be disturbed. This may change the balance of normal micro-organisms in the colon greatly. Several factors, like stress, altitude changes, starvation, parasitic organisms, diarrhea, and use of antibiotics, could contribute to such an imbalance.

When the balance is disturbed, one can become susceptible to disease. In these circumstances, boosting the numbers of “good” bacteria present in the gastrointestinal tract can be particularly useful. This is where probiotics come into play. Probiotics are microbial foods or supplements that can be used to change or improve the intestinal bacterial balance to boost the health of the host. The most common forms of probiotics include Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. These good guys destroy the overgrowth of toxic bacteria by competing for attachment sites and nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract. Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria also produce organic acids that reduce the intestinal pH and retard the growth of “bad”, acid-sensitive bacteria.

If you are like me, and aren’t a fan of fermented dairy products, there are tons of other forms of fermented foods, such Imageas sauerkraut (white cabbage cut finely, salted and fermented in its own liquid shown in picture) or kimchi, miso (a thick paste made from fermented and processed soy beans) and tempeh (a dish made from split soybeans and water), which are also cultured with Lactobacillus, bifidobacteria, and other forms of beneficial bacteria. However, the potency and number of live organisms in commercial products may vary greatly. And many manufacturers are finding it difficult to overcome technical problems, especially in terms of keeping the micro-organisms alive under unfriendly conditions.

When it comes to intestinal health, we also need to consider prebiotics, which are non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics. When probiotics and prebiotics are combined, they form a symbiotic relationship. Prebiotics include foods like dietary fiber that nourish the beneficial micro-organisms in the gut. It is therefore essential to include enough fiber in the diet by eating fruit, vegetables and whole-grains, as well as bananas, onions, garlic, honey and artichokes.

So if you are not a fan of dairy (like me!) make sure to get enough of these foods, or choose a dietary supplement like NOW Dairy-Free Probiotic-10. You don’t necessarily need probiotics to be healthy. However, these microorganisms may help with digestion and offer protection from harmful bacteria, just as the existing “good” bacteria in your body already do.

Probiotics may help to:

  • Treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics
  • Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections
  • Treat irritable bowel syndrome
  • Reduce bladder cancer recurrence
  • Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
  • Prevent and treat eczema in children
  • Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu

Easy, Delicious Tempeh Recipes!

Easy, Delicious Tempeh Recipes! | The Organic Beauty BlogTempeh is a delicious and healthy food made of fermented whole soy beans.  It’s a great source of protein and fiber, lowers cholesterol, is chock full of awesome nutrients, and is really easy to cook!  Below are some of my favorite tempeh recipes:

Easy Broiled Tempeh
Serves 2
Ingredients:

  • 1 package tempeh, pre steamed for 15 minutes
  • 4 large mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 6 tablespoons tamari
  • 4 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley

Directions:

Preheat broiler.  Cut tempeh into small cubes.  Toss with tamari, mushrooms, garlic, and ginger.  Lightly oil an 8×8 baking pan or pie plate.  Pour tempeh mixture into pan and broil 6″ from heat source until liquid is bubbling and tempeh is browned.  Sprinkle with parsley, and serve over brown rice, quinoa or greens.

Cold Soba Noodles with Tempeh
Serves 6
Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 (8 ounce) package tempeh
  • chili powder
  • 8 ounces soba noodles
  • 1/2 cup chunky raw almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons agave
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, to taste
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 8 ounces mung bean sprouts, or other sprouts of choice
  • 3 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced, julienned, or cut into strips with a vegetable peeler.
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or 1/4 cup parsley
  • 2 -3 tablespoons finely chopped almonds (optional)

Directions:

Break or cut tempeh into small cubes and toss with vegetable oil and 1 tbsp tamari.  Let sit.  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add noodles, stirring to prevent sticking.  Cook noodles according to package instructions, until al dente.  Heat a skillet over medium heat, and add tempeh cubes and marinating liquid.  Cook, stirring often, until nicely browned and crisp.  Sprinkle with chili powder and remove from heat.  If you’d like, you can set the tempeh on a paper towel to drain some of the oil.  In a small bowl, whisk together almond butter, lime juice, agave, pepper flakes, 2 tbsp tamari and water.  Set aside.  Drain noodles, rinse under cold water, and drain again.  In a large bowl, combine noodles, sprouts, tempeh, scallions, cilantro and almonds.  Whisk dressing and pour over, tossing to coat.  Serve at room temperature.  The refrigerated leftovers are delicious!

BBQ Tempeh with Greens
This delicious recipe comes from The Chic Life
Serves 2
Ingredients:

For tempeh:

  • 1 8-ounce package of tempeh, sliced to make short strips, 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 cup homemade BBQ sauce (check out The Chic Life’s recipe!) bottled BBQ
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

For greens:

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8-1/4 chopped onion
  • 6 cups packed greens, swiss chard and kale work best!
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 4 sprays of Braggs liquid amino, optional
  • 1 tablespoon raw organic apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Combine tempeh and BBQ sauce in a bowl. Gently stir to coat all sides of tempeh slices. Marinate for 5-10 minutes.  In the meantime, pre-heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook till translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add greens and water and cook till wilted, about 5-6 minutes.  While greens are cooking, heat oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add tempeh and cook till each side is golden brown, about 4-5 minutes per side.  Serve tempeh over greens!