Vegan Shortbread – Celebrate Christmas

Vegan Shortbread

Vegan Shortbread is the modern, healthier, cruelty free version of the modified recipe which dates back nearly eight hundred years. Shortbread was originally introduced to the market as a biscuit bread which was made from left-over bread dough that had been sweetened and dried in the oven to form a hard, dry rusk. This custom belonged to the whole of the British Isles not just to Scotland and remains a tasty British favourite.

Over time leavening was lost from the recipe and butter was added changing the recipe from a bread base to a crumbly rusk base. This made shortbread an expensive treat that was only bought or made for special occasions and celebrations such as Christmas and Hogsmanay. The large amount of butter is what makes shortbread so crumbly and addictive. When making vegan shortbread make sure you use dairy free butter that is free from hydrogenated fats.

Today, shortbread is an abundant favourite among the British Isles and is more abundant than ever at Christmas. In fact I’d go as far as to say it wouldn’t be Christmas with out shortbread. You can have lots of family fun making and decorating shortbread with your children at Christmas and it makes a wonderful, cheaper but more thoughtful Christmas gift.

So here’s my favourite vegan shortbread Christmas Recipe that will leave you wanting to make a second, third and fourth batch.

 

VEGAN SHORTBREAD – The Recipe

 

PREP TIME      5 mins

COOK TIME    15 mins

TOTAL TIME   20 mins

Serves around: 20 cookies

Perfect for Christmas day or to give as gifts!

 INGREDIENTS

200g / ¾ cup + 2tbsp dairy-free butter

1 tsp vanilla paste or essence

100g / ½ cup caster sugar

300g / 2½ cups plain flour, sifted

Icing Sugar to decorate

Cinnamon to decorate

INSTRUCTIONS

Cream the butter, vanilla and sugar together. Stir in the flour and mix into a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160c / 140c (fan) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Once the dough is chilled, roll out to approximately ½ cm thickness and cut into shapes. Place on the baking sheet, sprinkle with a little extra sugar and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown at the edges, turning half way through to ensure even baking.

Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before decorating. Decorate the biscuits however you fancy, we’ve made ours into Christmas Trees.

Then place in a box, bag or jar, sift a small mixture of cinnamon and icing sugar over the arrangement (if required), package and give away.

 

Merry  Christmas and Enjoy!

 

Shortbread Christmas Treas

 

For January why not take then vegan challenge and get your free information pack and free recipe cards.

For more Vegan Christmas Recipes

Low-Carb Diet, High-Carb Diet, Which Carb Diet and Why?

 Low carb diet

Low-Carb Diets – They’re Not Good For You!

Dr Michael Greger, M.D wrote that a Low-Carb Diet is Metabolically Like Being Obese. But doesn’t this go against everything that the popularist diet books tell us. Why does Dr Greger tell us different?

It’s plain and simple. Each and every year Dr Gregor reads the published research on all aspects of health and well-being so you don’t have to. He then filters the down to the ‘general public who want to be educated’.  Along with other professionals such as Dr Ornish, Dr Campbell, Dr Bernard and Dr McDougall Dr Greger tries to provide us with balanced information that can help us to choose wisely.

I’m not an expert on Carbs, high or low but I do know that once you take refined carbs out of your diet and stick to a plant based diet your metabolism, weight and optimal health return to normal. I’ve tried it, I’ve just lost two stone or 28 pounds in just six months following Dr McDougall’s Starch Solution book. I feel amazing, I have more energy than my normal and I can breath again. My allergies and asthma symptoms are reducing significantly. AND WHY? Because I listened then I took Action.

Anyhow, because I’m not a specialist I thought that I’d bring the information straight to your table from someone who is.  The below information is taken from Dr Greger’s website and is straight to the point.

Have a great read, absorb the information and take ACTION!

 

How a Low-Carb Diet is Metabolically Like Being Obese

Written by: Michael Greger M.D. FACLM on November 22nd, 2016

‘Free fatty acids (meaning fat circulating in the bloodstream not packaged into triglycerides) result in inflammation, toxic fat breakdown products, and oxidative stress, which can gum up the insulin receptor pathway and lead to insulin resistance in our muscles. Insulin resistance is what causes pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. I explain the process in my video What Causes Insulin Resistance? As the level of fat in the blood rises, the body’s ability to clear sugar from the blood drops dramatically.

Where does this fat in our blood that’s wreaking all this havoc come from? It comes from the fat that we eat and from the fat that we wear.

The number of fat cells we have stays constant in adulthood. The way researchers figured that out is by measuring the amount of radioactive carbon still trapped in our DNA from all the nuclear bomb tests. After massive weight loss, our fat cells shrink as they offload fat, but the number stays the same. Conversely, when we gain weight, our fat cells stretch as we pack more and more into each individual fat cell. So, when our belly, butt, or thighs get big, we’re not adding more fat cells, we’re just cramming more fat into each cell. At a certain point, our cells become so bloated that they spill fat back into the bloodstream.

This is called the spillover effect. Not only does an obese person have more fat, but they’re constantly spilling that fat into their bloodstream. So, that could be the link between obesity and diabetes. Fat is spilling out from our fat cells and gets lodged in our muscle cells, leading to the insulin resistance that promotes the onset of type 2 diabetes. I show this in my video The Spillover Effect Links Obesity to Diabetes.

The fat can also enter our bloodstream through our mouths. If you put people on a low-carb diet, fat builds up in their muscles within two hours and insulin sensitivity drops. And the more fat found in the muscles, the lower the ability to clear sugar from the blood. It doesn’t take years for this to happen, just hours after fatty foods go into our mouths. A fat-rich diet can increase fat in the blood, and this increase is accompanied by a decrease in insulin sensitivity.

Studies clearly demonstrate that fat in the blood directly inhibits glucose transport and usage in our muscles, which is responsible for clearing about 85% of the glucose out of the blood. These findings indicate that fat consumption can play an important role in the development of insulin resistance.

Normally, we only have 10 to 50 micromoles of free fat floating around in our blood stream at any one time, but those who are obese have between 60 to 80. But, we can reach 80 just eating a high fat diet. So, a skinny person eating a low-carb diet can have the same level of fat in their blood that obese people do. Similarly, being obese is like eating some horrible bacon and butter diet all day, because obese persons are constantly spilling fat into their bloodstream, no matter what goes in their mouths.

Are all types of fat the same? Find out the answer in my video Lipotoxicity: How Saturated Fat Raises Blood Sugar.

The fat leaking into our bloodstream may also contain fat-soluble pollutants that accumulated from our diet: Pollutants in Salmon and Our Own Fat.

The spillover effect may also help explain the increased heart disease risk associated with obesity: Low Carb Diets and Coronary Blood Flow.’

 

If you enjoyed this topic you can find out more from Dr Greger at: Nutritionfacts.org

 

Before you go, why not watch Harvard’s Meat and Mortality Studies DVD. Shockingly honest, and the information is out there to help you to make wise choices, to keep you safe and disease free.

 

Enjoy the DVD, Digest and Take ACTION!

 

 

 

BENEFITS OF EATING A PLANT BASED DIET

Plant based Diet includes pizza

A plant-based diet can detoxify the body of pollutants associated with a meat and dairy full diet. Even if you took one step towards eating more plant-based in your diet you could help to lengthen your lifespan. And yes you can definitely eat a great pizza on a plant based diet.

Eating meat and other animal products are also associated with weight gain something that we all are trying to avoid. It also leads to a shortened lifespan and other negative health effects such as diabetes and coronary heart disease.

This is because meat contains a high amount of saturated fat, trans fats, sulfur dioxide, arachidonic acid, and heme iron which are all toxic to our bodies.  Heme Iron is the bad for us iron that we ingest when eating meat. Meat, fish, dairy, and eggs increase exposure to dietary antibiotics, industrial toxins, mercury and other toxic heavy metals, advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), cadmium, xenoestrogens in fish, and estrogenic meat carcinogens which have an aging effect on the body. With age, especially aging caused by a poor diet life threatening illnesses are inevitable.

Contrary to popular myth, vegans have healthy bones and higher blood protein levels than omnivores. Most vegans get more than enough protein. Legumes and pulses are a valuable source of protein. Vegans and Vegetarians can also obtain protein form Spirulina and Chia Seeds.

Studies have shown that within a few weeks of participation on a plant based diet participants experienced improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin levels, insulin resistance, and C-reactive protein levels.

Plant based Vegans have fewer nutrient deficiencies than average omnivores while maintaining a lower body weight without losing muscle mass. Those eating plant-based diets appear to experience enhanced athletic recovery without affecting the benefits of exercise. The arteries of vegans appear healthier than even long-distance endurance athletes and those on low-carb diets. Image result for b12 supplements

There are two vitamins not available in plants: vitamins D and B12. There is a serious risk of B12 deficiency if no supplements or B12-fortified foods are consumed. Always take a reliable vitamin B12 supplement, do not rely on fortified fioods for your vitamin B12 supply. The only reason meat contains B12 is because the animals have consumed it and not because that’s where it comes from.

Image result for oceans alive

 

Two other nutrients to monitor are iodine and zinc. Yeast- or algae-based long chain omega 3 fatty acids are also considered be beneficial, but not technically vegan.

Current medical training continues to under emphasize nutrition education, meaning patients often do not receive information about all of the options for treatment. Doctors report they don’t practice preventative cardiology because they fear their patients won’t change their diet. Kaiser Permanente has begun more aggressive efforts to inform his patients about the advantages of a plant-based diets.

Vitamin D is a nutrient found in some foods that is needed for health and to maintain strong bones. It does so by helping the body absorb calcium from food and supplements. People who get too little vitamin D may develop soft, thin, and brittle bones, a condition known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

Vitamin D is important to the body in many other ways. Vitamin D is required by muscles in order  to move, for example, nerves need it to carry messages between the brain and every body part, and the immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis. Vitamin D is found in cells throughout the body. Vitamin D is activated by Sunlight, make sure you get out walking each day even if it is for ten minutes.

If significantly more people moved to plant-based diets, medicare costs could go down by billions of dollars throughout the western world. A move from animal based diets to a plant-based diets will also help lessen greenhouse gas emissions and have a significant impact on the environment and global warming.

We know that the transition from animal to a plant based diet is a hard one, especially considering what we’ve been told by our parents, doctors, teachers and the medical industry. We can however should you vast amounts of research that confirm that a plant based diet significantly increases the health and well-being of an individual.

There is a rather interesting talk on the dangers of eating meat which was given to the Hawaii vegetarian society by Dr Oliveira on the dangers of eating meat.

Dr. Oliveira explains how a whole food, plant-based diet changes the way genes are turned on and off to promote longevity.  A closer look into the Blue Zones and the Mediterranean diet reveals why it works. (Hint: It is not the fish, the olive oil, or the wine!)

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For a great Plant based, vegan pizza recipe you have to look no further. Click on the link below and it’ll take you straight there.

Vegan Plant Based Pizza