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India Has 70%+ Non-Vegetarian Population But Is Considered Vegetarian; Why?

Home Food  India Has 70%+ Non-Vegetarian Population But Is Considered Vegetarian; Why?

By Roshni Ramesan -February 3, 2021
Source: Ed Times

Source: Ed Times
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

India has the highest number of vegetarians in the world, with more than 400 million people identifying as vegetarian. However, various surveys over the years show that the estimated percentage of the vegetarian population is anywhere between 23% and 37%. That leaves a huge percentage of the population with non-vegetarian food habits. 

So why is it that a country, where the majority consumes poultry and meat, is considered as the vegetarian capital of the world? 

Historical evidence of meat consumption

India’s abundant forests, animals, birds and fishes ensured that meat-eating was a widespread practice. Archaeological evidence from the Harappan civilization also points to the consumption of animals. Even animal sacrifices were prevalent.

However, due to the spread of Jainism and the teachings of Buddha, vegetarianism became more common, with Hindu communities too turning to vegetarianism. Yet, other than upper castes, a large population continued eating meat.

Yet now, with a huge population that is verifiably non-vegetarian, for the West, India continues to be a place of strict vegetarianism.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that government data shows that vegetarian households are more affluent and have a higher income, which is how the ‘vegetarian stereotype’ is more likely to take over people’s minds. 

State-wise percentage of vegetarians and non-vegetarians
Source: Ed Times
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

This power to represent communities, regions, or even the entire country is what makes the stereotypes. The term non-vegetarian is a good case in point. It signals the social power of vegetarian classes, including their power to classify foods, to create a ‘food hierarchy’ wherein vegetarian food is the default and is having a higher status than meat. Thus it is akin to the term ‘non-whites’ coined by ‘whites’ to capture an incredibly diverse population who they colonised,” said anthropologist Balmurli Natrajan and economist Suraj Jacob. 


More Indian men consume meat than women

According to the National Family Health Survey, 2015-16, 42.8% Indian women and 48.9% of men consumed poultry and meat weekly. 

The survey also noted that meat and egg consumption increases with increasing household income, however, the richest 20% of Indians consume slightly less meat and eggs, bucking the trend. 

The young state of Telangana has the highest percentage of non-vegetarians with 98.7% of the population consuming meat. West Bengal (98.55%) and Andhra Pradesh (98.25%) follow closely. 

State-wise percentage of vegetarianism
Source: Ed Times
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Meanwhile, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab are states with the lowest percentage of non-vegetarians. 

People from Southern states like Kerala and Goa and Eastern states like Assam and Tripura also had large non-vegetarian populations.

Food consumption of Southern states
Source: Ed Times
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Weekly consumption

While surveys have identified that India has a small vegetarian population, the weekly and daily eating habits of most Indians stray away from non-vegetarianism. 

Weekly consumption of poultry and meat (men)
Source: Ed Times
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

According to the National Family Health Survey, barely 6% of the population eats meat on a daily basis, and nearly 40% on a weekly basis, thus showing that regular meat-eating Indians are relatively less. 

Daily food consumption of Indian women, 2015-16
Source: Ed Times
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Underreported meat consumption due to cultural factors

India has a violent history of mob lynching and social ostracization of people who consume beef because a cow is considered to be sacred in Hinduism. India’s ruling party, BJP, does not hide its inclination towards vegetarianism. Food choices have become very much political.

In such a nation, the consumption of beef is not as high as in western countries.

A reported 7% of the population eats beef. However, this figure is disputed by many researchers, who claim that the actual statistic is closer to 15% with people unwilling to admit to eating meat due to cultural and religious factors. A 2015 study of urban middle-class Indians found that young people felt “you eat [meat] in secret, away from your family”.

India, with its smorgasbord of cuisines, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, should not be restricted to an outdated stereotype that is being propelled into people’s consciousness by sheer ignorance.

Numbers don’t lie, so although daily consumption of meat is not an entirely common phenomenon, it is also wrong to assume that vegetables and pulses are all that an average Indian consumes.


Image Sources: Google Images
Sources: BBCIndia SpendBusiness Today
Find the blogger: @RoshniKahaHain

This post is tagged under: are most Indians vegetarians, Is vegetarianism increasing in India, Indian vegetarian nation myth, what percentage of Indians are vegetarian, non-vegetarian population in India by state, reasons for vegetarianism in India, percentage of non-vegetarian in India, Are most people in South India non-vegetarian, beef consumption in India, why is india veg, veg habits, reasons for being a veg country, majority vegetarians, non veg eaters in india

What are the benefits to a vegetarian diet to your health despite religious beliefs? How can a vegetable and fruit rich diet impact your health? Why? Why not?

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Africa’s Been At This Vegetarian Thing Longer Than Most of the World

  1. Africa’s Been At This Vegetarian Thing Longer Than Most of the World
Africa’s Vegetarian Roots Are Deeper Than Most of the World’s
Source: Live Kindly
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Prior to the rise of meat consumption, many African cuisines were vegetarian-friendly, relying on grains, root vegetables, and produce.
BY KAT SMITH
Source: Live Kindly

As vegan meat, dairy, and other alternatives gain an increased presence in Western supermarkets, one might get the idea that plant-based diets are something new. But in many regions across the globe, eating little to no meat has been a cornerstone of national cuisine. Africa is one example. For centuries prior to European colonization, food was often vegetarian.

The Rising Influence of Meat

Goat meat and fish made up small portions of many regional African diets. But today, meat consumption is on the rise.

“What Ghana and many countries with growing economies are seeing are nutritional transitions,” Afia Amoako, the author of the blog The Canadian African, tells LIVEKINDLY in an email.

“As more people enter the middle class, there is more appetite for things that might have been difficult to have much of as children,” she continues. “This includes more cars and for many having more supply of meat.  It doesn’t help that fast food companies are seeing our largely unregulated food system as a market for potential growth.”

Amoako adds that there’s a name for this: nutrition transition. This explains a shift in dietary consumption that coincides with economic development. It’s most often used to talk about a shift away from more grain and fiber-rich diets toward processed meat-heavy Western dietary patterns.Africa’s Vegetarian Roots Are Deeper Than Most of the World’s

Red red, a Ghanaian stew made with black-eyed peas and plantains. | The Canadian African
Source: Live Kindly
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Showcasing Traditional Foods

Today, many chefs are showcasing plant-forward traditional African dishes. Ethiopian restaurants, such as New York City’s Bunna Cafe and Azla Vegan in Los Angeles, show the diversity of the country’s plant-based dishes.

Amoako, who went plant-based for the environment, dedicates her blog to sharing affordable recipes that pay homage to her Ghanaian roots and other cuisines from around Africa. She also explores broader topics, from healthy lifestyle tips to identity. The goal is to make African cuisine more accessible to all. She adds that her favorite dish is “red red”, a bean and plantain-based stew made with tomato, onion, peppers, garlic, and ginger.

Tendai Chipara, the Zimbabwean blogger behind Plant-Based African, adopted a whole foods, plant-based diet after being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes in 2018. Prior to that, she struggled with other health issues such as anemia, fatigue, joint pain, and depression.

“I realized that I was going down a slippery slope that would end up with me without limbs, blind or worse dead,” she says. “Looking at evidence-based research the most successful way to deal with insulin resistance is to adopt a whole food plant-based diet.”

Chipara explains that growing up, the dishes she ate emphasized plant-based ingredients more than meat. Like other West African cuisines, meat is typically added for flavor. Chipara prefers to leave meat out altogether, but she has also begun incorporating mushrooms or soy chunks.

Africa’s Vegetarian Roots Are Deeper Than Most of the World’s
Source: Live Kindly
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

‘Our Ancestors Followed a Plant-Based Diet’

Fermented food and drinks are common in Zimbabwean food. Common produce includes muboora (pumpkin), magaka ane minzwa (horned melon), and mbambaira (sweet potatoes). Oils, tomatoes, and onion are the “bedrock of most Zimbabwean dishes,” Chipara adds. “The ‘supu’ or sauce is important it can make or break a dish.”

Chipara adds that the plant-based movement is not new to Zimbabwe: “Our ancestors followed a plant-based diet and they thrived and most died of old age. The food they ate was organic and meat and meat products were consumed minimally.”

Many foods marketed as “superfoods,” she adds, are foods that she grew up eating, such as avocados, moringa, and baobab. While Zimbabwean cuisine is easy to make plant-based, meat is a common ingredient. But, it wasn’t always this way. The increase in meat consumption is linked to European colonialism.

“The unfortunate thing that happened to us a people was colonization which led to a massive change to our food production, access to land, and the emergence of processed foods,” Chipara explains. “We now have a high number of the population being affected by lifestyle-related issues such as type-2 diabetes. So I am very passionate about Zimbabwean plant-based cuisine because it is medicine.”

Chipara adds that a few traditional plant-based Zimbabwean dishes include muriwo une dovi (leafy greens with peanut butter), mupunga unedovi (short grain red rice with peanut butter), and sadza reZviyo (porridge made from sorghum or teff).Africa’s Vegetarian Roots Are Deeper Than Most of the World’s

Plantains and legumes are staple ingredients in many West African cuisines. | The Vegan Nigerian
Source: Live Kindly
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Be Generous With Spices

Tomi Makanjuola, founder of The Vegan Nigerian blog and author of the “Plantain Cookbook,” is a Lagos, Nigeria-born entrepreneur living in London. She explains that “a couple of traditionally plant-based Nigerian dishes include yam pottage and stewed beans with plantain.”

She adds that both dishes are “absolutely delicious.

Other common ingredients in Nigerian cuisine include yam (also referred to as African yam, which has rough brown skin and off-white flesh), cassava, okra, egusi (melon) seeds, and cocoyam (taro).

Makanjuola enjoys making vegan versions of meals that traditionally include meat, such as pepper soup. Yam and scotch bonnet peppers are the key ingredients in this spicy dish. Egusi soup, which features leafy greens, ground egusi seeds, tomato, pepper, and onions, is another favorite recipe.

For these, Makanjuola prefers whole food, plant-based substitutes like mushrooms, eggplant, beans, and lentils. “As long as the meals are spiced well, it won’t seem as though you’re missing out on anything,” she says.

“Nigerian cuisine is wonderfully diverse and big on flavour,” she adds. “It lends itself well to a vegan diet because it is so rich in plant foods that can be cooked and enjoyed in ways that do not require meat or any other animal products.”Africa’s Vegetarian Roots Are Deeper Than Most of the World’s

Nigerian-born blogger Fatimat Adelabu uses mushrooms instead of meat in dishes like jollof rice. | Je Gbese
Source: Live Kindly
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Replace Meat With Mushrooms

Fatimat Adelabu, the author of the blog Je Gbese, which means “eat credit/debt” or “trouble” in Yoruba, an official language of Nigeria, says that she grew up eating many meat-heavy dishes. Goat, cow tripe, oxtail, and fish were common additions to stewed dishes. She transitioned to plant-based in 2017 after watching the documentary “What the Health” on Netflix.

“I started off watching it with a bowl of chicken and rice, by mid-way I had placed the half-eaten bowl next to me, and at the end,” says Adelabu. “I was in the kitchen bagging meats from my fridge and freezer and tossing them into my garbage can.”

She moved to New York City from Nigeria at age four and has always lived near supermarkets that carry West African produce. This is due to Nigerian, Ghanaian, Senegalese, Guinean, Beninese, and Malian immigrant communities.

“One of my favorite dishes is efo riro, stirred spinach in Yoruba,” she says. “Efo riro is largely spinach and blended stew, with seasonings like locust beans, thyme, and bouillon cubes to bring out the flavors of the stew. The addition of meat is usually to get more of the flavors of the meat to infuse with the stew.”

Adelabu is a fan of replacing meat with mushrooms as well. She also uses them to replace meat-based stock. “For stock, I boil mushrooms, bell peppers, garlic and onion with a dash of soy sauce or mushroom bouillon,” she says. This works well for jollof rice, a one-pot dish made with tomato and onion.

“Nigerian cuisine is very versatile,” she adds. “I encourage everyone to attempt to make jollof rice or efo riro to try out the different flavors of the country. If you see a dish with meat, leave it out or replace it with mushrooms.”The Best Vegan Meat for BBQ Grilling In the UK

Demand for vegan burgers is on the rise.
Source: Live Kindly
Shidonna Raven Garden and Coo

The Future of African Cuisine

But it’s not just Africa’s past that’s plant-based. It’s future is looking that way, too.

Like the rest of the world, meat consumption has increased across Africa. But so has a rise in vegan and vegetarian options. South African vegan meat brand Fry’s is a staple in supermarkets, offering plant-based versions of many classic dishes.

Leading Nigerian agribusiness Chi Farms is the first Nigerian company to bring vegan burgers to the country.

Veganism in Nigeria is popular among the Indian-born minority and among Nigerians returning to Nigeria from abroad,” Johannes Flosbach, Head of Performance Management Group at TGI Group of Companies (Chi Farms’ parent company), told Vegconomist.

Older Nigerians are also shifting away from meat for health reasons, as meat-heavy Western diets can increase the rates of diseases including heart disease and stroke.

Rwanda is now on the brink of creating a “Silicon Valley” that’s aimed at “transforming the continent.”

The innovation destination will be located in the capital city of Kigali. It will work with domestic and foreign universities, technology companies, biotech firms, agriculture, healthcare, and financial services. Like other tech-heavy regions across the globe, this could bring more plant-based food (think Impossible Burgers or JUST vegan egg) to Africa. It could also bring another hot food tech category to the continent: lab-grown cell-based meat.

This is already happening nearby in Israel, where Future Meat Technologies is working on the world’s first pilot production facility for growing cultured meat.

Veganism is also making a name for itself in Africa’s wild, as anti-poaching rangers, including an all-female troupe called Akashinga, are vegan. The troupe is part of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation run by former Navy sniper Damien Mander.

“We need an armed component,” he told the BBC in 2018, “but we need to start moving more and more of our resources into communities, and the best people for that are women.”

Kat Smith, Live Kindly
Kat Smith, Live Kindly

Managing Editor | New York City, NY Kat writes about susainable food, fashion, and food technology. They have a BA in Cinema and Culture Studies from Stony Brook University.https://twitter.com/livekindlykat

How has meat consumption impacted your health? How has food production practices including the use of chemical pesticides impacted your health? Why? Why not?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today. All Rights Reserved – Shidonna Raven (c) 2025 – Garden & Cook.

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Parsley & Pasta

Shidonna Garden and Cook Parsley and Pasta

There are few things that go together like parsley and pasta. Some of us love cheese and others do not. But, nothing goes better than a cheese based Italian sauce / dish and parsley. We brought our parsley plant indoors for the winter and she has been doing even better than when she was outside. Her stems are very tall as she reaches for the resources of the sun. We will have to remember to turn her so she does not lean to one side causing her stems to weaken. Our parsley plant was already in the pot and ready to go. She had been sitting on the porch.

As one can see this pasta dish is tomato based and our parsley was used as a garnish. Parsley typically has a very mild flavor and is often used as a garnish. Despite its mild flavor a nice cheese based Italian sauce really brings at its mild notes. We used garlic in our dish. Garlic is typically difficult to avoid when cooking Italian dishes particularly tomato based ones. Keep reading to learn more about the medicinal benefits of the great garlic! What plants have you been growing indoors? How have the been doing in the winter? Are the fruit bearing plants? What type of dishes would you like to see and what are their health benefits?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today. All Rights Reserved – Shidonna Raven (c) 2025 – Garden & Cook.

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It’s a long way to Donegal and the best roast chicken

Source: Berkshire, The Edge

I decided to roast two chickens, which provided us with most of the main courses for our lunch and dinners over the next three or four days. The other advantage was this savings allowed us to enjoy more pints of Guinness at the local

pub.BY BOB LUHMANN
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About 12 years ago, not long after Lois took me in and saved a wretch like me, we made our first trip as a couple to the cottage I’d inherited in County Donegal, Ireland. That year, the dollar to euro exchange rate was a gruesome $1.65 or so. Irish petrol being consistently three times higher than here, on top of the terrible exchange rate, limited the length of our car trips exploring that beautiful island, so we took more than our usual long walks to be found in the immediate area.

This was hardly a hardship, as the surrounding area has some of the most starkly dramatic scenery to be found anywhere. This was confirmed by National Geographic Traveller awarding Donegal, and specifically the area in Donegal along The Wild Atlantic Way where we happen to be located, as number one on their “Cool List” in 2017. While we love this most remote county of Ireland, I’m not sure all of Ireland would term it “cool.” In fact, there was a time when I was searching for my rental car at Dublin Airport, and a man who worked there asked if he could help. Since most of Ireland needs to know where you came from, where you’re going, and any other bits of personal information you’re willing to offer and I’m essentially an open book, we struck up a conversation. When I told him, we were headed to Donegal, he replied cheerily, “Oh! You mean the arsehole of nowhere?”

It was my mother who pointed out to me early on while discovering Ireland, that when first meeting someone from Ireland they’re exceptionally good at finding out everything they can about you, but give up little information about themselves until they’ve got to know you better. Not to diminish the fact that the people of Ireland are typically genuinely friendly, extremely helpful, and generous to a fault, it was interesting how often I found that characteristic to be true. I attribute this to centuries of harsh British rule, when survival often meant keeping as low a profile as possible while being hyperaware of strangers and their business.

At any rate, a big thank you to my parents, Dave and Katie Luhmann, for being ahead of the cool, and we will be back as soon as it becomes safe to travel again. Also, thanks to them, it gave us comfort to know the cottage was there as a safe haven if Trump had been reelected.

For Irish music fans, Donegal may be best known as the birthplace of Enya and the groups Altan and Clannad, but there’s so much more. Most of Donegal is designated as a Gaeltacht region, which are officially designated areas of the country where Irish Gaelic is primarily spoken and so much of Irish culture is preserved, including traditional Irish folk music, or trad as it’s called locally. During non-COVID times, there’s a pub hosting a trad music session, simply referred to as a session, somewhere within driving distance from anywhere in Donegal, which is not uncommon anywhere in Ireland. These are generally loosely organized sessions in which musicians gather and play trad music in a corner of a pub, however I’ve heard songs such as “The Tennessee Waltz” played, as well.

Photo courtesy Bob Luhmann
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Traditional Irish music is also played live for social céilí dances, where a form of Irish folk dancing takes place. In our area of Donegal, céilí dancing can be found on most nights somewhere, but because of the space requirements for céilís, they are found in large pubs or community halls. At the risk of being severely admonished by my merciless Irish friends, I’ll take a crack at describing céilí dancing as I understand and observed it. The Irish folk dancing at céilís has similarities to our square dancing, which, of course, to put a circle on that square, has roots in the folk dances found at céilís. Two big differences are céilí dancing is more intricate than typical square dancing and there’s rarely a caller. It was fascinating watching my first céilí, as I couldn’t comprehend how everyone knew what to do, especially since the dances are so intricate and generally fast paced. I found it much too dangerous for all involved for a dancing bear like me to participate.

The music played at céilí dances is predominantly Irish folk music involving jigs, reels, and hornpipes, but because it’s dance music for a formalized style of dance, it’s much more structured and has somewhat different roots than the more improvisational trad music. In Donegal céilís, which are the only ones I know, you’ll often hear a good dose of waltzes and American country music, with its roots in Irish/Scottish folk music. Much of Donegal of a certain age is mad for American country music, with New York, Boston, and Nashville being three of the most popular East Coast destinations when visiting America. I still remember on my first trip to Ireland in 1973; I turned on the radio after I checked into my Dublin hotel to hear what Irish music sounded like and was surprised to hear a tremendous amount of American country-pop music. The first song I heard was “Paper Roses” by Marie Osmond, which I would hear ad nauseum during that first trip.

While speaking of Irish music, it should also be noted that the classic spiritual, “Amazing Grace,” sung so brilliantly by so many artists and at church services across the land, including so poignantly by President Barack Obama in his eulogy for Reverend Clementa Pinckney in 2015, has its roots in Donegal. It was originally written as a hymn by the Anglican clergyman John Newton, in 1773, inspired by his having been involved in a violent life-threatening storm off the coast of Donegal while captain of a slave ship in 1748. It was during that storm he called out to God for mercy despite having no particular religious conviction at the time. Surviving that storm and finding sanctuary in Donegal after his call for God’s mercy began his spiritual conversion, eventual path to the clergy, and becoming an active abolitionist.

While in Ireland on our trip 12 years ago, the question of food arose, which is usually my first thought when I wake up in the morning no matter where I am. However, due to the terrible exchange rate, our food budget received far greater scrutiny than normal, so I decided to roast two of Ireland’s consistently excellent chickens. Those comparatively inexpensive chickens provided us with most of the main courses for our lunch and dinners over the next three or four days. Beyond the first night’s roast chicken dinner, there were sliced chicken sandwiches on wonderful Irish wheaten bread, chicken salad, and a big pot of chicken soup. The other advantage was this savings allowed us to enjoy more pints of Guinness at the local pub.

Photo courtesy Bob Luhmann
Shidonna Raven and Garden and Cook

This was a predictable rambling way to get to the point of this article, which is a recipe for roast chicken. However, since this story begins in Ireland, where the longest stories are told, it’s altogether fitting. Since most of us are pinching pennies and missing our friends and extended families while huddling in our homes during this COVID winter, why not turn to a healthy inexpensive comfort food to ease what ails you, such as an excellent roast chicken and medicine-for-everything chicken soup? Just as it did for us in Ireland 12 years ago, a roast chicken provides for a delicious dinner, and what’s left of it makes a glistening, rich stock for an equally delicious pot of soup. As far as the food budget is concerned, one four-pound chicken provides the Lovely Lois and I not only a roast chicken dinner the first night, but soup for dinner two nights later, followed by as many as four bowls of soup for lunch. It’s hard to beat the combination of comparatively easy preparations providing soul-satisfying, comforting nutrition while causing such a small dent in the food budget.

I’ve tried many methods for roast chicken over the years and have settled on the method first described by the wonderful cookbook author, master chef, and culinary teacher Marcella Hazan. I’ve made a couple of minor, but meaningful, adjustments including tweaking roasting temperatures and timing, but otherwise follow it exactly.

My first meaningful adjustment is salting and drying the chicken, uncovered, overnight in the refrigerator, which guarantees a crispy skin and acts as a dry rub, aiding the chicken in remaining moist. If you’re salt sensitive or don’t care much about crispy skin, skip this step. If you do salt the chicken, be careful salting it any further before serving. In addition, I deglaze the roasting pan by adding white wine to the pan juices and reduce, before enriching the reduced juices with butter, while Marcella simply pours the pan juices over the chicken meat. However, I believe everything’s better with butter. No matter whether you incorporate my adjustments or not, you’ll serve a delicious chicken as I’m sure Marcella did many times for her family and guests.

Roast Lemon Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 approximately 4 lb whole chicken
  • 1 large lemon, washed and pierced all around with a fork
  • 2 Tbl kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 or 2 sprigs of rosemary (optional)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbl butter, cut in half

Method:The day before your meal, remove any giblets and any extra fat from the chicken, dry the chicken thoroughly inside and out with paper towels, and rub the chicken all over with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Store uncovered in the refrigerator overnight to dry.The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Dry the chicken inside and out with paper towels again, stuff the washed and pierced lemon into the cavity with the rosemary, if using. Close the cavity with a couple of toothpicks and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. It’s not necessary to close the cavity or tie the legs together tightly.Place the chicken breast side down in a cast iron skillet or any pan which can withstand a 400-degree oven temperature and is able to be used over direct heat. There’s no need to add any oil or butter to the pan or chicken, as the chicken is self-basting. Place on the oven rack in the upper third of the oven and set your timer for 30 minutes.After 30 minutes, flip the chicken breast side up and put back in the oven for 20 minutes.After 20 minutes, turn the oven temperature up to 400 degrees F and roast the chicken for 20 minutes longer before checking the internal temperature of the chicken, at the thickest part of the thigh, with an instant read thermometer, which should register 165 degrees F when done. Depending on the size of the chicken, it could take another 10 minutes longer.After removing the chicken from the oven, using a combination of folded paper towels and a spatula, remove the chicken from the pan and, while holding the chicken tightly, tip to drain the juices from the cavity into the pan. Allow the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes on a cutting board. During this time, you can deglaze the pan over medium heat by adding the white wine to the chicken juices in the pan and scrape up the brown bits with a whisk. Make sure to drink the rest of the bottle with dinner. A shot of good Irish whiskey after dinner doesn’t hurt either, just to ward off the chill of winter, mind you.Reduce the liquid in the pan by half and whisk in the butter until it’s fully incorporated, then remove from heat. Thickly slice the chicken and plate with butter-enriched, deglazed juices poured over the meat.

My chicken stock and soup routines:

My routine after we’ve had our chicken dinner is to remove as much meat as possible from the chicken that night, to be reserved separately for adding to the soup later. I’ll put whatever is left of the chicken in a pan large enough so the bones and chicken skin can be covered with water by 2 inches or so. I’ll store the pan and its contents overnight in the refrigerator to be used to make stock the next day.

The next day, I’ll cover the contents of the pan by about 2 inches of water and, over medium heat, bring it to a slow simmer, adding water as necessary to keep the contents of the pan covered. I let the stock barely simmer for about 4 or 5 hours or until, when stirred, the bones fall apart. There’s no need to add carrot, celery, and onion to the stock as I use all the stock for soup which contains those vegetables. I’ll strain the stock and refrigerate to use the next day. There’s really no reason it can’t be used for soup that day, but this is my routine and I like my routines.

You should have about 6 cups of rich, glistening stock to use. For the soup, begin by sautéing until lightly browned, add about 1½ cups each of diced onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot large enough for the soup; a Dutch oven is a good choice. At this point, it’s up to you to add whatever vegetables, herbs, pastas or rices strike your fancy or need to be used. Add the stock and simmer the vegetables until they reach the desired consistency. I often end up putting in leftover vegetables from previous meals, a bag of baby spinach, and the reserved diced chicken meat in at the end. Once the spinach has wilted, add water if necessary. Turn off the heat after the soup has just returned to a boil. Once again, if you pre-salted the chicken as I suggested, taste your soup before adding any additional salt.

What are your favorite meats? What are ways you can introduce more vegetables and fruits into your diet? How could this help your over all diet?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today. All Rights Reserved – Shidonna Raven (c) 2025 – Garden & Cook.

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12 Proven Health Benefits of Avocado

Source: Health Line
The avocado is a rather unique fruit.

While most fruit consists primarily of carbohydrate, avocado is high in healthy fats.

Numerous studies show that it has powerful health benefits.

Here are 12 health benefits of avocado that are supported by scientific research.

1. Avocado Is Incredibly Nutritious

Source: Health Line
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Avocado is the fruit of the avocado tree, scientifically known as Persea americana (1Trusted Source).

This fruit is prized for its high nutrient value and is added to various dishes due to its good flavor and rich texture. It is the main ingredient in guacamole.

These days, the avocado has become an incredibly popular food among health-conscious individuals. It’s often referred to as a superfood, which is not surprising given its health properties (2Trusted Source).

There are many types of avocado that vary in shape and color — from pear-shaped to round and green to black. They can also weigh anywhere from 8 ounces (220 grams) to 3 pounds (1.4 kg).

The most popular variety is the Hass avocado.

It’s often called alligator pear, which is very descriptive, as it tends to be pear-shaped and has green, bumpy skin like an alligator.

The yellow-green flesh inside the fruit is eaten, but the skin and seed are discarded.

Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals.

Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving (3):

  • Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value (DV)
  • Folate: 20% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
  • Potassium: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
  • It also contains small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin).

This is coming with 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. Although it contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber, so there are only 2 net carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.

Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat. This is why they are favored by some experts who believe these substances are harmful, which is a debated topic, however.

SUMMARY

Avocado is a green, pear-shaped fruit often called an “alligator pear.” It is loaded with healthy fats, fiber and various important nutrients.

2. They Contain More Potassium Than Bananas

Potassium is a nutrient that most people don’t get enough of (4).

This nutrient helps maintain electrical gradients in your body’s cells and serves various important functions.

Avocados are very high in potassium. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving packs 14% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), compared to 10% in bananas, which are a typical high-potassium food (5).

Several studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure (6Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Potassium is an important mineral that most people don’t get enough of. Avocados are very high in potassium, which should support healthy blood pressure levels.

3. Avocado Is Loaded With Heart-Healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

Avocado is a high-fat food.

In fact, 77% of the calories in it are from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence.

But they don’t just contain any fat. The majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid — a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the major component of olive oil and believed to be responsible for some of its health benefits.

Oleic acid has been associated with reduced inflammation and shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer (7Trusted Source8Trusted Source9Trusted Source10Trusted Source).

The fats in avocado are also rather resistant to heat-induced oxidation, making avocado oil a healthy and safe choice for cooking.

SUMMARY

Avocados and avocado oil are high in monounsaturated oleic acid, a heart-healthy fatty acid that is believed to be one of the main reasons for the health benefits of olive oil.

4. Avocados Are Loaded With Fiber

Fiber is another nutrient that avocados are relatively rich in.

It’s indigestible plant matter that can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes and is strongly linked to a lower risk of many diseases (11Trusted Source12Trusted Source13Trusted Source).

distinction is often made between soluble and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber is known for feeding the friendly gut bacteria in your intestine, which are very important for optimal body function (14Trusted Source).

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of avocado packs 7 grams of fiber, which is 27% of the RDA.

About 25% of the fiber in avocado is soluble, while 75% is insoluble (15Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Avocados tend to be rich in fiber — about 7% by weight, which is very high compared to most other foods. Fiber may have important benefits for weight loss and metabolic health.

5. Eating Avocados Can Lower Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels

Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world (16Trusted Source).

It’s known that several blood markers are linked to an increased risk.

This includes cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood pressure and various others.

Eight controlled studies in people have examined the effects of avocado on some of these risk factors.

These studies showed that avocados can (17Trusted Source18Trusted Source19Trusted Source20Trusted Source21Trusted Source22Trusted Source23Trusted Source):

  • Reduce total cholesterol levels significantly.
  • Reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%.
  • Lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22%.
  • Increase HDL (the good) cholesterol by up to 11%.

One of the studies found that including avocado in a low-fat, vegetarian diet significantly improved the cholesterol profile (24Trusted Source).

Though their results are impressive, it’s important to note that all of the human studies were small and short-term, including only 13–37 people with a duration of 1–4 weeks.

SUMMARY

Numerous studies have shown that eating avocado can improve heart disease risk factors like total, “bad” LDL and “good” HDL cholesterol, as well as blood triglycerides.

6. People Who Eat Avocados Tend to Be Healthier

One study looked at the dietary habits and health of people who eat avocados.

They analyzed data from 17,567 participants in the NHANES survey in the US.

Avocado consumers were found to be much healthier than people who didn’t eat this fruit.

They had a much higher nutrient intake and were half as likely to have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that are a major risk factor for heart disease and diabetes (25Trusted Source).

People who ate avocados regularly also weighed less, had a lower BMI and significantly less belly fat. They also had higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.

However, correlation does not imply causation, and there is no guarantee that the avocados caused these people to be in better health.

Therefore, this particular study doesn’t carry much weight.

SUMMARY

One dietary survey found that people who ate avocados had a much higher nutrient intake and a lower risk of metabolic syndrome.

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7. Their Fat Content May Help You Absorb Nutrients From Plant Foods

When it comes to nutrients, your intake is not the only thing that matters.

You also need to be able to absorb these nutrients — move them from your digestive tract and to your body, where they can be used.

Some nutrients are fat-soluble, meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilized.

Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble, along with antioxidants like carotenoids.

One study showed that adding avocado or avocado oil to either salad or salsa can increase antioxidant absorption 2.6- to 15-fold (26Trusted Source).

So, not only is avocado highly nutritious, it can dramatically increase the nutrient value of other plant foods that you are eating.

This is an excellent reason to always include a healthy fat source when you eat veggies. Without it, a lot of the beneficial plant nutrients will go to waste.

SUMMARY

Studies have shown that eating avocado or avocado oil with vegetables can dramatically increase the number of antioxidants you take in.

8. Avocados Are Loaded With Powerful Antioxidants That Can Protect Your Eyes

Not only do avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves.

This includes the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are incredibly important for eye health (27Trusted Source28).

Studies show that they’re linked to a drastically reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common in older adults (29Trusted Source30Trusted Source).

Therefore, eating avocados should benefit your eye health over the long term.

SUMMARY

Avocados are high in antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients are very important for eye health and lower your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

9. Avocado May Help Prevent Cancer

There is limited evidence that avocado may be beneficial in cancer treatment and prevention.

Test-tube studies suggest that it may help reduce side effects of chemotherapy in human lymphocytes (31Trusted Source).

Avocado extract has also been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells in a laboratory (32Trusted Source).

However, keep in mind that these studies were done in isolated cells and don’t necessarily prove what may happen inside people. Human-based research is unavailable.

SUMMARY

Some test-tube studies have shown that nutrients in avocados may have benefits in preventing prostate cancer and lowering side effects of chemotherapy. However, human-based research is lacking.

10. Avocado Extract May Help Relieve Symptoms of Arthritis

Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries. There are many types of this condition, which are often chronic problems that people have for the rest of their lives.

Multiple studies suggest that avocado and soybean oil extracts — called avocado and soybean unsaponifiables — can reduce osteoarthritis (33Trusted Source34Trusted Source).

Whether avocados themselves have this effect remains to be seen.

SUMMARY

Studies have shown that avocado and soybean oil extracts can significantly reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis.

11. Eating Avocado May Help You Lose Weight

There is some evidence that avocados are a weight loss friendly food.

In one study, people eating avocado with a meal felt 23% more satisfied and had a 28% lower desire to eat over the next 5 hours, compared to people who did not consume this fruit (35Trusted Source).

Should this hold true in the long term, then including avocados in your diet may help you naturally eat fewer calories and make it easier for you to stick to healthy eating habits.

Avocados are also high in fiber and very low in carbs, two attributes that should help promote weight loss as well, at least in the context of a healthy, real-food-based diet.

SUMMARY

Avocados may aid weight loss by keeping you full longer and making you eat fewer calories. They’re also high in fiber and low in carbs, which may promote weight loss.

12. Avocado Is Delicious and Easy to Incorporate in Your Diet

Avocados are not only healthy, they’re also incredibly delicious and go with many types of food.

You can add them to salads and various recipes or simply scoop them out with a spoon and eat them plain.

They have a creamy, rich, fatty texture and blend well with other ingredients.

A notable mention is guacamole, which is arguably the most famous use of avocados. It includes avocado along with ingredients like salt, garlic, lime and a few others depending on the recipe.

An avocado often takes some time to ripen and should feel slightly soft when ripe. The nutrients in avocado can oxidize and turn brown soon after fleshing it, but adding lemon juice should slow down this process.

SUMMARY

Avocados have a creamy, rich, fatty texture and blend well with other ingredients. Therefore, it’s easy to add this fruit to your diet. Using lemon juice may prevent cut avocados from browning quickly.

The Bottom Line

Avocados are an excellent food, loaded with nutrients, many of which are lacking in the modern diet.

They’re weight loss friendly, heart healthy and, last but not least, taste incredible.

What did you learn about avocados? How could they contribute to your health? How can you introduce them into your diet?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today. All Rights Reserved – Shidonna Raven (c) 2025 – Garden & Cook.

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THE HUNGRY SWIMMER: WHAT I EAT IN A DAY AS A ‘SWAMMER’

If you’re still lost on what to eat as a former swimmer, check out some meal ideas below as I walk you through what I eat in a typical day as a swammer! Current photo via Zoe Gregorace

The Hungry Swimmer: What I Eat in a Day as a ‘Swammer’
Source: Swim Swam
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

TW: disordered eating  

Swimmers are notorious for being big-time eaters. I mean, grueling practices and dry-land workouts definitely work up a massive appetite! And of course, as a high performance athlete, it’s imperative to give your body the fuel it needs to complete all that yardage. But, what happens after you hang up the goggles?…

Throughout my 16 year career as a competitive swimmer, my relationship with food was complicated. Food was constantly on my mind and my thoughts revolved around what and how much I would eat before practice, after practice, before the meet warm-up, in between prelims and finals, etc. It is also worth noting that as an athlete, my relationship with food not only evolved but was shaped by a variety of factors. From middle school to high school and well into college, this relationship looked completely different. The accumulative pressure of societal expectations, peer comparison and anxieties associated with growing up took a major toll, impacting the quantity and quality of food I consumed and affecting my performance as an athlete.

After I hung up the goggles in 2018, I was confronted with the single most dreaded thought of (most likely) every swimmer: Am I going to get FAT?!?

Well, I am here to report that this is certainly not the case, in fact, I am excited to share some newfound wisdom with you all as an almost 3-year swammer. After shedding my identity as a swimmer and leaping into a completely new world with a lot less chlorine, I will be the first to admit that the swammer road was quite a difficult one to navigate. Yes, I felt lost at first, but was excited to continue exploring my passion for competitive physical activity (think cross fit, spin and boxing). And while my career in the pool had come to an end, I was able to think more about my relationship with food and rebuild. I’ve learned to appreciate and listen to my swammer body, discover the foods that make me feel my best and avoid peer comparison. It is important to remember that every person is unique and the corny saying rings true, comparison IS the thief of joy.

So, you’re still lost on what to eat as a swammer? Check out some meal ideas below as I walk you through what I eat in a typical day as a swammer!

Breakfast

Soure: Swim Swam
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

9:30 AM: Right now, I am on a HUGE avocado toast kick and I’ve been loving sourdough bread. I like to toast the sourdough until it’s nice and crispy then mash the avocado on top and add a tiny drizzle of olive oil on top before adding my seasoning. My avocado toast seasoning preferences are always changing, but I can promise you that the Everything But the Bagel seasoning and red pepper flakes will never go out of style. As for the eggs, I alternate between preparing them over easy or sunny-side up. I also love adding some greens to boost the nutritional density of the meal- today I sauteed a big handful of baby spinach along with the eggs. If you want to spice things up, I highly recommend topping your toast masterpiece with a generous drizzle of your favorite hot sauce. Along with this beautiful plate, I had two cups of drip coffee with a splash of almond milk.

Lunch

Source: Swim Swam
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

1:00PM: I’m not a huge fan of lunch, but when I’m feeling it, I like to make a vibrant greens bowl with filling healthy fats and added nuts or berries for a burst of flavor. For this bowl, I combined baby spinach, sliced cucumbers, drained and rinsed chickpeas, a few slices of avocado (can you tell, I’m addicted!), some pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds. I mostly went for the leftover produce I had in my fridge and took advantage of this opportunity to exercise some culinary exploration! And to my surprise, this flavor combination “slaps”, as the kids say. I finished the bowl off with a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked black pepper.

Snack

Source: Swim Swam
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

3:30PM: This limbo time between lunch and dinner is what I like to call snack time! If you know me, you know thatI have a serious sweet tooth. So, instead of daydreaming about chocolate and completely cutting it out of my diet, I allow myself to enjoy it without going overboard. I typically like to make a snack mix and munch on this a few hours before I make my dinner. For this mix, I combined my favorite gluten-free pretzels (the crunch on these are INSANE), pumpkin seeds, roasted chickpea snacks and dark chocolate chips.

Dinner

Source: Swim Swam
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

6:30PM: Salmon and a bunch of roasted vegetables is one of my favorite dinners to prepare! It’s easy, quick and nutritious. I’ll either plate the salmon and veggies or, layer this on top of a big bowl of greens if I have them on hand. For this bowl, I started with a base of baby spinach and added roasted bell peppers, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and salmon. I also added some feta cheese, hummus, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika on top.

After dinner, sometimes I’m still hungry. And even if it is “late” or close to bedtime, I will listen to my body and eat if I’m hungry! I typically go for a yogurt bowl, some form of nut butter on toast or reach for a sweet-tooth satisfier I have on hand (the Chewy Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Cups are my favorite!)

Check out my page for more recipe inspiration and be sure to share your swammer eats with me @whatzoeeeats (https://www.instagram.com/whatzoeeeats/).

Avocados are one of our favorites too. What did you think of Zoe’s meals? What did you like? How could this be beneficial to your diet?

<strong>Zoe Gregorace</strong>
Zoe Gregorace

Zoe Gregorace is currently studying Nutrition Policy at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and recently graduated from Tufts University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and was a proud member of the Tufts Swimming and Diving team (Go Jumbos!). During her 16 year career as a competitive swimmer, she developed a passion for sports nutrition. She enjoys writing on the topic of nutrition, health and wellness and posts her meal creations on her Instagram page @whatzoeeeats. As a former college swimmer, she strives to share recipes and nutrition tips to promote balanced eating and optimize sports performance.

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today. All Rights Reserved – Shidonna Raven (c) 2025 – Garden & Cook.

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Are Raisins Good for You?

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Raisins Grapes

Source: Healthine
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Leander Neumann

What are raisins?

The shriveled yellow, brown, or purple morsels known as raisins are actually grapes that have been dried in the sun or in a food dehydrator.

Raisins are commonly used:
  • as a salad topping
  • mixed into oatmeal
  • in yogurt
  • in granola or cereal

You also may have eaten them baked into delicious cookies, breads, and muffins. Despite their small size, raisins are packed with energy and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Raisins are naturally sweet and high in sugar and calories, but they’re beneficial to our health when eaten in moderation. In fact, raisins can aid digestion, boost iron levels, and keep your bones strong.

So the next time you’re craving candy or sweets, consider munching on some raisins to satisfy your yearning. Your body will reap the healthy benefits.

The nutrition of raisins

There are several factors to consider about the nutritional benefits of raisins. Read on for a breakdown of what raisins have to offer, both good and bad, to determine if the benefits outweigh any risks.

Sugar and calories

One-half cup of raisins has about 217 caloriesTrusted Source and 47 grams of sugar. For reference, a 12-ounce can of soda has about 150 calories and 33 grams of sugar, depending on the brand.

For this reason, raisins aren’t exactly a low-calorie, or low-sugar treat. It’s no wonder they are sometimes referred to as “nature’s candy.”

High amounts of sugar and calories are pretty typical of dried fruit, which is why keeping an eye on how many raisins you are eating in one sitting is key.

Raisins are often sold in small, single serving boxes, each containing roughly 100 calories. If you have problems with portion control, try purchasing these prepackaged raisins to keep your intake in check.

For endurance athletes, raisins are a great alternative for expensive sports chews and gels. They offer a quick source of much-needed carbohydrates and can help improve your performance.

2011 studyTrusted Source found that raisins were just as effective as a brand of sports jelly beans in improving performance for athletes engaging in moderate- to high-intensity endurance exercise.

Fiber

One-half cup of raisins will give you 3.3 grams of fiberTrusted Source, or roughly 10 to 24 percent of your daily needs, depending on your age and gender.

Fiber helps aid your digestion by softening and increasing the weight and size of your stool. Bulkier stools are easier to pass and can help prevent constipation.

Fiber also helps keep you full for longer because it slows down the emptying of your stomach. If you’re trying to lose weight, eating fibrous foods may help.

Fiber also plays a role in cholesterol levels. Dietary fiber is known to decrease levels of the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) type of cholesterol.

Iron

Raisins are a good source of iron. One-half cup of raisins contains 1.3 milligrams of iron. That’s about 7 percent of the recommended daily amountTrusted Source for most adult females, and 16 percent for adult men.

Iron is important for making red blood cells and helping them carry oxygen to the cells of your body. You need to eat enough iron in order to prevent iron-deficiency anemia.

Calcium and boron

Raisins have about 45 milligrams of calcium per 1/2-cup serving. This translates to about 4 percent of your daily needs. Calcium is essential for healthy and strong bones and teeth.

If you’re a postmenopausal woman, raisins are a great snack for you because the calcium helps prevent the development of osteoporosis, a disorder characterized by bone loss that usually occurs as you age.

To add to that, raisins contain a high amount of the trace element boron. Boron works with vitamin D and calcium to keep your bones and joints healthy. It also plays a role in treating osteoporosis.

Antioxidants

Raisins are an exceptional source of naturally occurring chemicals called phytonutrients, such as phenols and polyphenols. These types of nutrients are considered antioxidants.

Antioxidants help remove free radicals from your blood and may prevent damage to your cells and DNA. This can lead to diseases like cancerheart disease, and stroke.

Antimicrobial compounds

2009 studyTrusted Source noted that raisins contain phytochemicals that could promote healthy teeth and gums. Phytochemicals present in raisins, including oleanolic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid, fight the bacteria in your mouth that lead to cavities.

In other words, eating raisins in place of sugary snack foods can actually keep your smile healthy.HEALTHLINE NEWSLETTERGet our weekly Men’s Health email

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How to eat raisins

Raisins can be enjoyed right from the box, or they can be thrown into a variety of dishes. From breakfasts to desserts to savory dinners, there are countless possibilities. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate more raisins in your diet:

  • For a healthy take on classic oatmeal raisin cookies, try this flourless version. View the recipe.
  • Raisins add excellent flavor to just about any type of sweet spread. Try making this cinnamon raisin cashew butter if you’re in the mood to try something new. If cashews aren’t your favorite, you can substitute another nut. View the recipe.
  • Spice up chicken salad with raisins and sweet apples. View the recipe.
  • Contrary to popular belief, granola is easy to make at home. Raisins are always an excellent addition to your standard granola recipe. This recipe for cinnamon raisin granola can also be made vegan or gluten-free. View the recipe.
  • Pumpkin, raisin, and flaxseed muffins are full of healthy fiber. View the recipe.
  • It may seem strange to add raisins to your pasta. This pasta dish from the staff at the Mayo Clinic includes spinach, garbanzo beans, and raisins. It’s high in iron, protein, and fiber. View the recipe.

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Make your own raisins

Want to try making your own raisins? It’s simple:

  1. Get some grapes.
  2. Remove the large stems.
  3. Wash them in cool water.
  4. Place them on a tray, and set the tray outside on a dry, sunny day (it works best if the tray has holes or cracks for air circulation).
  5. Rotate the grapes to ensure even sun exposure.

In just two or three days, you’ll have your own raisins.

Next steps

Raisins contain healthy vitamins and minerals. They are also fat-free and cholesterol-free, high in antioxidants, and an excellent source of fiber. Raisins may help you:

  • relieve constipation
  • prevent anemia
  • build and maintain strong bones
  • protect your teeth
  • lower your risk of cancer and heart disease

Raisins contain enough sugar to give you a burst of energy and are a great addition to a healthful diet for most people. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, consider replacing unhealthy, sugary snacks with raisins.

Of course, like any dried fruit, eating too much can be borderline unhealthy because of their high sugar content and calories. While you shouldn’t be afraid to include raisins in your diet, make sure to keep it to a handful at a time.


Jacquelyn Cafasso
Jacquelyn Cafasso

Jacquelyn has been in a writer and research analyst in the health and pharmaceutical space since she graduated with a degree in biology from Cornell University. A native of Long Island, NY, she moved to San Francisco after college, and then took a brief hiatus to travel the world. In 2015, Jacquelyn relocated from sunny California to sunnier Gainesville, Florida, where she owns 7 acres and 58 fruit trees. She loves chocolate, pizza, hiking, yoga, soccer, and Brazilian capoeira. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

What medicinal benefits can you reap from raisins? Have you considered eating raisins as a quick and health snack? How could your health and diet benefit from eating raisins?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today. All Rights Reserved – Shidonna Raven (c) 2025 – Garden & Cook.

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FOOD STUDY PEELS BACK HUMAN HISTORY 1,000 YEARS EARLIER THAN THOUGHT

Source: Inverse
Photos Source: Inverse

“We are now starting to understand how and when the diverse components of iconic cuisines came to be.”CLAIRE CAMERON, 12.21.2020 8:00 PM

CONSIDER THE HUMBLE BANANA: The ubiquitous fruit arrived in the United States a mere 150 years ago, in the 1870s and ’80s. Since then, it has ascended to become Americans’ most beloved fresh fruit, and one of the most affordable. At 55 cents a pound on average, bananas grace fruit bowls across the socioeconomic spectrum. Bunches hang at mega grocery stores in the exurbs; they rest on the counter at corner delis in the urban core.

Though America’s bananas now come from Central America or the Caribbean, they originally came from half a world away — South Asia. They are labor-intensive to pick and difficult to transport, but with globalization in food production and trade, they started as a delicacy for the privileged and have ended up a staple.

The modern story of the banana in America mirrors a much older — ancient, even — tale of how humanity shaped its culture around food.

Philipp Stockhammer, a professor at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, tells Inverse the prevailing belief ancient humans only ate food grown near their home is all wrong.

“We need to get rid of the assumption that people in the past only ate what grew in their immediate surroundings,” Stockhammer says. “From early on, humans were interested in different tastes, exotic food, and elaborate cuisine, and took a lot of effort to get access to a variety of food.”

As early as 4,000 years ago, these exotic fruits had already made their way onto plates far beyond the Indian Ocean.

For decades, the best evidence archaeologists had to understand what ancient humans ate lay in their preserved goods. The pots of honey stored in ancient tombs or remnants of cooking ash found ingrained in discarded pottery, for example.

OLD TEETH TELL A NEW STORY — Thanks to new techniques involving the analysis of the dental pulp preserved in the teeth of 16 ancient Mediterraneans, archaeologists are slowly reconstructing the daily diets of these peoples — discovering their tastes and desires may have been far closer to our modern-day eating habits than we previously thought.

The new analysis, which takes a close look at the food proteins locked in Bronze Age humans’ dental pulp — essentially, the plaque built up on their teeth — was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

WHAT THEY DISCOVERED — Stockhammer and his colleagues discovered the earliest evidence yet for the consumption of turmeric and soybeans in the prehistoric Levant — an area of the Southern Mediterranean that today includes Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Turkey.

The evidence pushes the entry of these foods into the Mediterranean diet back by 1,000 years, Stockhammer and his colleagues learned.

“WE ARE NOW STARTING TO UNDERSTAND HOW AND WHEN THE DIVERSE COMPONENTS OF ICONIC CUISINES CAME TO BE.”

They also found some of the earliest evidence yet these foods were consumed in processed forms — oils, spices, and dried goods — hinting at an ancient culinary scene far more diverse and sophisticated than we had previously imagined.Ad

Further, the study reveals how ancient peoples interacted with one another. Turmeric, bananas, and soybeans are staple foods in South Asia, not the Mediterranean — even sesame, a food considered essential to these cuisines, was an import, the study shows.

Christina Warriner, assistant professor of Anthropology and study co-author, tells Inverse one ingredient that we think of as quintessential was actually a foreign delicacy.

“Our findings indicate that the ancient societies of the Eastern Mediterranean and South Asia were engaging in trade and communication during the 2nd millennium B.C.E.,” Warriner says. “Today, it is hard to imagine Levantine cuisine without sesame-based foods like tahini, but sesame was originally an import.”Ad

“We are now starting to understand how and when the diverse components of iconic cuisines came to be,” she adds.

HOW THEY DID IT — The researchers used a combination of microscopy and protein analysis to analyze food remains in the dental calculus of 16 individuals who once lived in the region between 1688 B.C.E and 1000 B.C.E. Some, like individuals found buried in Megiddo, now in Israel, appeared to be of wealthy stature judging by the objects they were buried with. Others, like those found at Tel Erani, another site in what is now Israel, did not appear so wealthy. But they all had one thing in common: Bad dental hygiene.

“Dental calculus, also known as tooth tartar, is a form of calcified dental plaque,” Warriner explains.

3D reconstruction of one of the grave sites found at Megiddo
A 3D reconstruction of one of the grave sites found at Megiddo, an area near to the modern Israeli city of Haifa.The Megiddo Expedition

“The plant microfossils we studied included phytoliths — a form of plant glass that forms especially in grasses and cereals — and starch granules,” she says.

These microfossils revealed the trace remains of dates and wheat — both expected, as they were locally grown foods and known staple crops.

But when they dug into the proteins contained in 14 of the individuals’ teeth (2 skulls’ teeth were not well-enough preserved to perform this analysis), they found plant proteins indicating a rich and diverse food culture.

“ONLY NOW WE HAVE BECOME SUFFICIENTLY AWARE THAT FOOD WAS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THIS EARLY GLOBALIZATION.”

“These included proteins found in wheat, sesame, turmeric, soybean, and banana,” Warriner says.

“We show that protein analysis can be used to detect processed and prepared foods, like oils and spices, that otherwise leave very few diagnostic traces behind,” Warriner adds. “This is exciting because oils and spices were likely among the earliest goods traded over long-distances, but they are among the most difficult foods to identify archaeologically.”

Curiously, the distribution of dietary proteins changed over time, suggesting the abundance of food available to people from different realms of society also changed — becoming increasingly accessible over time.

“What we can see is that in the early 2nd millennium, it were the high-status individuals from Megiddo that had access to foreign food,” Stockhammer says. “Whereas in the late 2nd millennium, the Tel Erani man who ate banana was definitely not of elevated status.”AdThe researchers’ imagined market scene.Nikola Nevenov

WHY IT MATTERS — By digging into what these ancient peoples ate, the paper provides a window onto the past, revealing how ancient human societies, separated by great distances, communicated with one another with food — and the individuals responsible for driving the changing, expanding palates.

Lebanese cuisine today features Sfouf, a turmeric cake. Ras el hanout, a spice blend that also includes turmeric, is one of the flavors most associated with Levantine cuisine. Entire shops are dedicated to sesame-based halva. And what would a falafel wrap be without tahini?

“Only now we have become sufficiently aware that food was an important part of this early globalization — very similar to our present-day situation, where food is one of the most global goods!” Stockhammer says.Ad

“The finding of both turmeric and soybean protein in the dental calculus of one of the individuals from Meggido was especially exciting,” Warriner says. “This individual was buried in a wealthy tomb and there are several archaeological hints that he may have been a merchant or long-distance trader.”

“Although we cannot be sure, he may represent someone who was directly involved in establishing the long-distance links between the Levant and distant trading centers in South Asia or beyond,” she says.

megiddo grave site excavation
One of the sites excavated at Megiddo. Analysis of individuals discovered at Megiddo revealed how Bronze Age people living in the region ate.The Megiddo Expedition

WHAT’S NEXT — Although the study expands our ideas about how ancient humans in the Mediterranean once lived and ate, the study is limited by the small sample size of just 16 individuals. Only further research can fully reveal the culinary dynamics at play in the ancient Levant.

“From our findings, it is difficult to say what role communication about exotic food played in the past,” Stockhammer says.

The study also doesn’t shed light on how ancient traders conveyed their wares from one corner of the globe to another, or how local traders would have distributed these foods once they made it to market.

“It is very difficult to describe such markets, as we are lacking visual as well as textual sources. We assume that they were similar to present-day markets in the Mediterranean with market stalls offering fruit, vegetables, and spices,” Stockhammer says.

Today, our diets rely on international trade. The idea of not being able to access foods like bananas, curry spices, or tofu is anathema to many of us in the western world. But one thing we can identify with these ancient traders about is the lengths we will go to get that one variety of chili, that spice blend from that area of Thailand, that cheese from that region of France. Ultimately, these findings connect us with our ancestors — revealing our desires are not so different.

The efforts ancient humans made to get the foods they coveted was “very similar to what people do today,” Stockhammer says. “Although nowadays the effort is definitely less and the speed much faster. I do not need to wait anymore for a ship from India bringing more pepper or turmeric.”

Abstract: Although the key role of long-distance trade in the transformation of cuisines worldwide has been well-documented since at least the Roman era, the prehistory of the Eurasian food trade is less visible. In order to shed light on the transformation of Eastern Mediterranean cuisines during the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, we analyzed microremains and proteins preserved in the dental calculus of individuals who lived during the second millennium BCE in the Southern Levant. Our results provide clear evidence for the consumption of expected staple foods, such as cereals (Triticeae), sesame (Sesamum), and dates (Phoenix). We additionally report evidence for the consumption of soybean (Glycine), probable banana (Musa), and turmeric (Curcuma), which pushes back the earliest evidence of these foods in the Mediterranean by centuries (turmeric) or even millennia (soybean). We find that, from the early second millennium onwards, at least some people in the Eastern Mediterranean had access to food from distant locations, including South Asia, and such goods were likely consumed as oils, dried fruits, and spices. These insights force us to rethink the complexity and intensity of Indo-Mediterranean trade during the Bronze Age as well as the degree of globalization in early Eastern Mediterranean cuisine.

What can we learn from ancient foods and diets? Why? Why not? What would it be like to cook foods the Pharaohs ate? Get the book: The Pharaoh’s Kitchen.

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Dig of Pompeii Fast-food Place Reveals Tastes

Source: By Associated Press
December 26, 2020 08:58 PM
Photos Source: Associated Press

ROME – A fast-food eatery at Pompeii has been excavated, helping to reveal dishes that were popular for the citizens of the ancient Roman city who were partial to eating out.

Pompeii Archaeological Park’s longtime chief, Massimo Osanna, said Saturday that while about 80 such fast-foods spots have been found at Pompeii, it is the first time such a hot-food-drink eatery — known as a thermopolium — was completely unearthed.

A segment of the fast-food counter was partially dug up in 2019 during work to shore up Pompeii’s oft-crumbling ruins. Since then, archaeologists kept digging, revealing a multisided counter, with typical wide holes inserted into its top. The countertop held deep vessels for hot foods, not unlike soup containers nestled into modern-day salad bars.

Plant and animal specialists are still analyzing remains from the site, with its counter frescoed with a figure of an undersea nymph astride a horse. Images of two upside-down mallards and a rooster, whose plumage was painted with the typical vivid color known as Pompeiian red, also brightened the eatery and likely served to advertise the menu.

Another fresco depicted a dog on a leash, perhaps not unlike modern reminders to leash pets. Vulgar graffiti were inscribed on the painting’s frame.

Excavations in Pompeii
A fresco depicting two ducks and a rooster on an ancient counter discovered during excavations in Pompeii, Italy, is seen in this handout picture released Dec. 26, 2020.

Valeria Amoretti, a Pompeii staff anthropologist, said “initial analyses confirm how the painted images represent, at least in part, the foods and beverages effectively sold inside.” Her statement noted that duck bone fragment was found in one of the containers, along with remains from goats, pigs, fish and snails. At the bottom of a wine container were traces of ground fava beans, which in ancient times were added to wine for flavor and to lighten its color, Amoretti said.

“We know what they were eating that day,” said Osanna, referring to the day of Pompeii’s destruction in 79 A.D. The food remains indicated “what’s popular with the common folk,” Osanna told Rai state TV, noting that street-food places weren’t frequented by the Roman elite.

One surprise find was the complete skeleton of a dog. The discovery intrigued the excavators, since it wasn’t a “large, muscular dog like that painted on the counter but of an extremely small example” of an adult dog, whose height at shoulder level was 20 to 25 centimeters, Amoretti said. It’s rather rare, Amoretti said, to find remains from ancient times of such small dogs, discoveries that “attest to selective breeding in the Roman epoch to obtain this result.”

Also unearthed were a bronze ladle, nine amphorae, which were popular food containers in Roman times, a couple of flasks and a ceramic oil container.

Successful restaurateurs know that a good location can be crucial, and the operator of this ancient fast-food eatery seemed to have found a good spot. Osanna noted that right outside was a small square with a fountain, with another thermopolium in the vicinity.

Pompeii was destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which is near present-day Naples. Much of the ancient city still lies unexcavated. The site is one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions.

Human remains were also discovered in the excavation of the eatery.

Those bones were apparently disturbed in the 17th century during clandestine excavations by thieves looking for valuables, Pompeii authorities said. Some of the bones belonged to a man, who, when the Vesuvius volcano erupted, appeared to have been lying on a bed or a cot, since nails and pieces of wood were found under his body, authorities said. Other human remains were found inside one of the counter’s vessels, possibly placed there by those excavators centuries ago.

Did you know they had fast food in ancient times? Explore the food and culture of the infamous Pompeii. Read: The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found. Pompeii was the ocean side get away from the Roman elite frozen in time by the volcano eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24, 79 CE — that destroyed it. What can we learn from the ancient Pompeii? Why?

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This coconut rice with salmon and cilantro sauce deserves a spot in your regular recipe rotation

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Cilantro and Salmon

Total time:

40 mins

Servings:

By Ann Maloney Recipes editor
August 26, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. EDT
Source: The Washington Post
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Sebastian-Coman

One of the most gratifying experiences I can have as a food writer occurs when readers send an email to tell me that a dish I’ve shared in Dinner in Minutes is now part of their regular recipe rotation. I do a little happy dance in my desk chair.

Inevitably, that recipe already is on repeat in my own kitchen because it comes together quickly and is delicious, but also has that little something extra — a surprisingly bold flavor, a touch of elegance or a sauce or component that I find myself carrying over to other dishes.

People who love to cook inevitably talk about food — a lot. If we make something delicious, we have to tell someone about it, to bring them a taste or at least share the recipe.

So, it wasn’t surprising that right after I started at The Post in December, my new colleague Olga Massov shared a recipe with me that she frequently served to her family: Coconut Rice With Salmon and Cilantro Sauce from “The Kitchen Shelf” by Rosie Reynolds and Eve O’Sullivan (Phaidon, 2016).AD

Olga lent me the cookbook, and as I read through the recipe, I thought this little number checks all the boxes. Yes, it has three parts: the rice, the fish and the sauce, but each of those parts is easily executed.

The cookbook’s full title includes this phrase: “Take a few pantry essentials, add two ingredients and make everyday eating extraordinary.” The idea is that you use common pantry ingredients with just a couple of fresh additions — in this case cilantro and fish — and you can put a scrumptious meal on the table.

Although it was written four years ago, the cookbook fits in perfectly with the way we are cooking during the pandemic — from our pantries, with minimal extra shopping.

The cookbook authors offer time-saving tips. For example, in this recipe, they suggest two ways to cook the salmon. The faster and easier way is to steam the fillets atop the rice as it cooks. If, however, you prefer a crispy salmon skin, you can allow the rice to cook on its own and pan-fry your salmon.AD

For me, however, the salmon is the least interesting thing here.

The rice cooked with softened onion, garlic and a pinch of sugar in full-fat coconut milk is creamy and divine on its own. The cilantro sauce — a whole bunch of the herb leaves whirred in a food processor with a syrup made of water, sugar and crushed red pepper flakes — goes over the rice, but I could just eat that up with a spoon.

When I realized that I have now made this dish several times and have made the rice and cilantro sauce to go with other kinds of fish, broiled shrimp and pan-fried skirt steak, I knew it was time to share it with you, too.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE RICE AND SALMON
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (about 4 ounces), finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 cups white basmati rice, rinsed until the water runs clear
  • 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 (3- to 4-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
  • FOR THE SAUCE
  • Scant 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, plus more as needed for serving
  • 1 large bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems, coarsely chopped
  • 4 lime wedges, for serving (optional)

Step 1

Make the rice: In a large, lidded skillet or pan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens and just starts to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat it in the oil. Add the coconut milk, then half-fill the empty can with water and add it to the pan. Add the salt and sugar, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low so the mixture is at a simmer and cover the skillet.AD

Cook for 5 minutes, then uncover the pan. Carefully place the salmon fillets on top of the rice, re-cover the pot and cook until the rice is just tender, the salmon cooked, and the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes more. (If the rice is not tender, but the salmon is cooked, remove the fish, re-cover the pot and continue cooking for a few minutes more.)

Step 2

Make the sauce: While the rice and salmon are cooking, in a small pan over high heat, combine the water, sugar, salt and crushed red pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer the sauce until slightly reduced and syrupy, about 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Place the cilantro in a food processor and pulse to chop. Gradually pour in the syrup and pulse the cilantro until very finely chopped, and the sauce is combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings; the sauce should be slightly sweet, with a hint of heat. Add more crushed red pepper, sugar or salt, as needed.

Step 3

To serve, transfer the salmon off the rice to a plate. Gently stir the rice and divide the rice across 4 plates. Top with a salmon fillet and drizzle the sauce over. Sprinkle with additional crushed red pepper flakes, if desired, and serve with a wedge of lime, if using.

Step 4

Alternative for the salmon: If you prefer a pan-seared salmon fillet, cook it separately from the rice. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles when it hits the surface. Add the fillets, skin side up, and cook until just lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the fillets over and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the salmon looks almost cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes; you can check using the tip of a sharp knife. You should see a slightly darker center. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fillet.AD

With either fish preparation, if you prefer to serve the salmon without the skin, it is easier to remove it after cooking the fish.

Adapted from “The Kitchen Shelf” by Rosie Reynolds and Eve O’Sullivan (Phaidon, 2016).

Tested by Ann Maloney; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Browse our Recipe Finder for more than 9,000 Post-tested recipes at washingtonpost.com/recipes.

Nutrition

Calories: 619; Total Fat: 30 g; Saturated Fat: 20 g; Cholesterol: 47 mg; Sodium: 332 mg; Carbohydrates: 65 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 6 g; Protein: 24 g.

This dish is a quick, easy and delicious way to incorporate cilantro and its many medicinal benefits into your diet not to mention the other ingredients. What are your dietary needs? How can you eat healthy on the run? What other ways can you incorporate herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables and other whole foods into your diet?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today. All Rights Reserved – Shidonna Raven (c) 2025 – Garden & Cook.