5 Ways to Use Honey in Your Diet

Honey is an extremely versatile food, known worldwide for its numerous health benefits; so versatile is this rich, golden liquid that its usage extends beyond dietary purposes! From food spreads and skin potions to illness remedies and beauty applications, the utilities of honey seem boundless.

Honey possesses hygroscopic, antibacterial, antioxidant and nutritional properties that make it a power food for the whole family. Since honey is an adaptable food, serving multiple purposes, one can include honey in the daily diet in several ways.

1. In your beverages:

Kickstart your day with a tall glass of warm water, two tablespoons of honey and one tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. This honey-water-lemon concoction is known to help aid faster burning of fats, when coupled with an active lifestyle. You can replace sugar and other calorie-heavy sweeteners. Opt for honey in milk, instead of sugar. You can also whip up your very own, healthy power drink to immediately feel refreshed and energized. Mix two cups of water, one-fourth cup of fresh lemon juice, one-eighth teaspoon of salt and two and a half teaspoons of raw honey in a water bottle. Consume as and when needed to rehydrate yourself, instead of consuming unhealthy sports drinks and mixes.

2. As a bread spread:

Using honey as a breakfast or bread spread is a smart and healthier alternative to the sugar-packed conventional bread spreads available in the market. Generously spread honey onto your morning toast for a delicious breakfast; remember to have some fruit portions as well. Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder and apply it on bread as a spread, instead of jams and jellies. You can also make a honey-mustard spread for sandwiches in a trice – just blend one-fourth cup of prepared mustard, one tablespoon of honey and one tablespoon of mayonnaise, and spread the mixture between bread slices. Alternatively, you can use honey as a great dip to go with breakfast rotis or chapatis. A popular way in some rural ways is to dip freshly made Dosas in a mix of honey & ghee.

3. As a salad dressing:

Salads taste great when married with the right dressing! You can use honey to up your salad dressing game, and turn snack time into a delicious, healthy daily routine. Simply add equal parts honey, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil into a jar; add a sprinkling of your favourite herbs and a pinch of salt to taste. Close the jar tightly with a lid and shake thoroughly, or simply use a spoon to mix the contents well. Add a generous portion of the dressing to your salads, instead of using mayonnaise or other calorie-rich salad dressings.

4. As a power snack:

For a quick and nutritious snack, mix your favourite dry fruits, a cup of raw toasted oats, a little warm milk and three tablespoons of honey in a bowl. This muesli-like snack bowl is super-nutritious and packs quite the punch in filling you up; it works perfectly as a light tea-time snack, thus preventing you from binge-eating salty, fried or processed snacks.

5. In your soups:

Honey is an excellent ingredient in soups such as bisques, broths made with carrots, squash, sweet potato of certain fruit, and in soups or curries seasoned with ginger. Just a drizzle of honey works to add more complexity and balance to soups. In case of soups that work on the bitterness angle such as cauliflower or parsnip based soups, honey makes the soup softer on the palate. Spicy soups gain a slightly sweet dimension when honey is added. Moreover, the natural viscosity of honey helps in adding more body and thickness to soups.

Honey works wonderfully in various food preparations, both as an additive and a key ingredient. Experiment with honey by using recipes for whole-cooked meals with honey. But do note that Ayurveda warns against heating honey. If you want to keep it simple, go the easy route and add honey as a table ingredient in your daily meals such as beverages and snacks.

Organic Food for Kids and Its Advantages

Eating healthy and eating right are key pillars of a healthy life; it is essential that we make the right nutritional choices for ourselves and our families. That is why organic foods have been gaining tremendous popularity, primarily because of their clean farming and rearing practices, making them safer for consumption than conventionally produced foods.

They command a premium in the market. However, the advantages they bring to the table more than make up for the price premium. In light of the nutritional requirements of children, organic foods are better and safer for their overall health and development.

1. Organic is a safer bet:

“Organic” refers to produce and ingredients cultivated minus the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, genetically modified organisms, sewage sludge or radiation. In case of animals and livestock that produce meat, eggs or dairy, they are not given antibiotics or growth hormones. In short, organic foods are a great choice for kids, considering their increased susceptibility to the negative effects of chemical and synthetic additives. Switching to organic foods reduces the level of food-driven pesticide ingestion by kids. Moreover, organic food consumption significantly reduces ingestion of chemicals that have been linked to cause certain types of cancer.

2. Reduces your kids’ exposure to harmful hormones:

Prolonged exposure to chemicals and hormones in food, be it in low or high concentrations, can result in damaging effects in children. Typically, non-organic meats are injected with hormones and endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as oestrogen to aid quicker development of the animal. These artificially induced hormones and chemicals can result in early onset of puberty in children, thus hampering their natural development. Organic foods are devoid of any artificial or synthetic additives, thus reducing such risks by a significant margin.

3. Prevents chemical induced neurological disorders:

It has been observed that a switch from conventional foods to an organic diet reduces kids’ exposure levels to organophosphates. These are a group of pesticides that include toxic chemicals such as chlorpyrifos and malathion. These chemicals are known to negatively impact nervous system and hamper nervous system development in children. Switching to a diet consisting of organic food results in a drastic drop in organophosphate levels, thus fostering normal development of the brain and nervous system.

4. A conscious choice to make kids more conscious:

Besides the obvious health advantages that organic foods have on your kids’ health, it is important that children know where their food is coming from. Informing them about the right foods and why organic is right for them creates a consciousness in them towards a healthier meal choice. Moreover, organic farming and rearing practices are ecological and environment friendly. Inculcating eco-friendly practices in children at an early age fosters their appreciation for and acceptance of clean and green practices, thus ensuring that they will opt for organic foods when it comes to them making a choice over what foods they would like to eat.

Organic foods are the right choice for your whole family, if you seek wholesome, safe and chemical free options at your meal table. While they do cost more than conventionally grown foods, they more than compensate it through safety and nutrition. This factor is particularly vital for children, as they are more susceptible to the negative effects and potential dangers that chemical and synthetic additives and hormones present. Going organic is safe, healthy and kid-friendly!

How to Choose the Temperature Controller for Brewery

For craft brewers or for those involved in Homebrewing, the temperature monitoring is one of the crucial stages for obtaining a good beer. There are several steps in the brewing process, which include malting, mashing, lautering, boiling, fermenting, conditioning, filtering, and packaging.

In particular, there are two phases in which the temperature level should be controlled: the mashing (mixing the milled malt with hot water) and the fermenting (the higher is the temperature, the faster and the more turbulent is the fermentation).

According to the different needs it is possible to choose between two paths: the home made devices based methods or the professional devices based methods.

For example, with the open-source electronic platform “Arduino”, it’s possible to create an home made temperature controller simply with a temperature sensor and a relay module (and, of course, some programming skills).

The integration with Raspberry PI regarding the project “BrewPi” allows more advanced algorithms and real time interactive graphs. In the near future the device may support mash control (BIAB, HERMS or RIMS).

On the other way, for more professional uses it is recommended to purchase a specific temperature controller, in order to facilitate the whole process automation. For instance, we consider the need to control two electric boilers with different time/temperature steps.

If you want to use electric resistances controlled by contactors or on-off static relays and you need to independently manage two boilers (with different time/temperature steps and start times), we suggest a brewing temperature controller enabled to program at least 15 cycles. Hence, the device shall be designed to program cycles/curves with control of the process variable in relation to time. A useful feature may consist in recovery the controller status after a power cutoff, in order to avoid the reset process.

Instead, if you want to manage two boilers with one master controller (where a second slave controller is related to the setpoint value of the first controller, by managing the output independently from the detected temperature), we suggest two programmable controllers, connected with serial interfaces. In industry there are two serial interfaces: RS422 and RS485; check the two controllers have the same interface before buying them. The best thing to do is, of course, purchasing two temperature controllers from the same manufacturer.

Notice that programming an industrial thermoregulator can be easier that you might think: just check if the manufacturer has provided some inherent video tutorials, or ask the numerous PID/PLC communities that may help you about temperature controller using microcontroller.

Some Vital Information to Take Note Before You Brew Your Beer

Beer brewing requires basic skills and complete equipment to make a successful formulation. For many, they see beer brewing at home too difficult to carry out. This may be true but with all the right tools and complete recipes, as well as your ability to formulate, you can end up producing a tasty product.

But before you start the process, it is important to take note some vital information. Maintaining good habits and learning the basics can help the procedure become easier and enjoyable eventually.

1. Always apply sanitation around your brewing area

Sanitation is an issue which needs to be noted. Before you start, the wine bottles, buckets, and other equipment to use must be cleaned thoroughly first. The most crucial stage for sterilization is the time immediately after you cool down the wine, because bacteria will likely to take place while the yeast hasn’t fermented yet.

2. Cool the wort as fast as possible

By fast cooling your beer, you can avoid any infections to spoil it. One solution to this is to get the fermentation process initiated right away. Other brewers are even doing their own technique by putting the beer fermenters in the ice baths, just to turn it cold immediately. Also, instead of using plastic or glass fermenter, use a brew pot because it will cool the beer faster than using other mentioned materials.

3. Fresh ingredients are necessary

To craft the best beer, fresh ingredients are necessary just as you want to eat delicious cooked foods. High quality hops, malt, yeast, honey, and other required mixes should be well understood by brewers, as how to store them in the freezer without affecting their freshness. Keep in mind that there are some ingredients that can be stored in the freezer, but malt and grains for instance can’t. This is because they usually end up oxidized and will only ruin the flavour.

4. Boiling process

In the process of boiling the wort, there are some crucial functions taking place. The wort must be sterilized because there are lots of unwanted compounds to vaporize, the hops, proteins, and tannins bitter oils will be also released from the grains; they can fallout in the cooling stage. For desirable boiling process for lighter beers, the recommended temperature is 60 – 90 minutes.

5. Consider darker beer

With its flavour and structure, darker beers can help cover your mistakes in your first brewed batch. As if it can’t dishearten you. Try the stouts or porters flavour. After all, dark beers are tasty with its loads of flavour.

Yogurt Wars – What You Need to Know

An organic yogurt company recently had a TV commercial highlighting 2 competitors and their not so wholesome ingredients. Now, if you’ve followed me, you’ll know random chemicals shouldn’t be in your food. Yet, the competitors are stating that it’s perfectly OK.

On of the ingredients, potassium sorbate, was confirmed by the CEO to kill bacteria and yeasts. They purposefully add it to destroy bacteria.

Wait, hold on… You eat the yogurt for the probiotic bacteria, right? So, why would you eat a yogurt that has a chemical designed to kill bacteria? It doesn’t make sense, until you realize that the company is more interested in money than providing a quality product.

The other has a chemical sweetener that was downgraded to ‘use with caution’ recently. Enough science made it through the bureaucracy to force the government to recognize it as something potentially unsafe. Why would you eat something that is needs to be eaten with caution? It’s directly saying that this poison is OK as long as you don’t eat too much of it.

You need to make healthy choices. One of those healthy choices is to avoid any food product with chemicals, colors, sugars, and things you just don’t know what they are.

Let’s face it, these things may make life easier now, but they will make life harder later on.

There are better alternatives. One is to make your own yogurt. It’s actually really easy. First, you need whole milk (not low fat or all you get is runny mush) and a good, organic yogurt starter. For me, I buy a starter from one of the several companies that put quality ahead of high CEO salaries.

As a side note, I purchased a starter pack with 6 different kinds of yogurt for less than $20. It will produce about 30 gallons of yogurt, maybe more if I carefully keep tending the base to produce new flavors.

Then, you add the yogurt starter to the milk, keep it warm, and wait. In a day, you have lots of healthy, delicious yogurt. You can add any flavor you want: berries, jams, maple syrup (odd, I know, but I know several people who do this), nuts, seeds, granola, and the list goes on.

You can make as little as a quart to several gallons at a time. Me, I make 1 gallon at a time and it lasts about a week for 3 people.

The best part is I don’t have to worry about chemicals, residues (I use organic milk), or unwanted things. When it is finished, with the yogurt starter, milk, and additions, I make 1 cup of yogurt for about $0.25. For me, it’s worth it. How much is your health worth to you?