Sunday, 3 October 2021

Vegan Nkwobi or Isi Ewu

 

Nkwobi and Isi Ewu are traditional igbo delicacies. While the latter is made using cow leg, the former is made with goat head. The base preparation, spices and garnishes are similar for both dishes. In this vegan alternative, my protein of choice is soybean and wheat-based meat alternative VChunks made by Nigerian-owned company Veggie Victory. Be sure to check them out if you are based in Nigeria or the UK. 

I was blown away by the taste and texture of this meat alternative. As you will see in the video above, it's easy to prepare and extremely versatile. Perfect for adding to all types of soups, stews and as a replacement for meat in any dish. 

The full recipe for this will be in my upcoming cookbook (release date tba). To get notified when it's out, you can sign up for updates here.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Health Benefits of 5 Nigerian Leafy Green Vegetables

UTAZI LEAF

1. It balances circulation: normalises blood pressure by strengthening the heart and lowering high blood cholesterol and triglyceride level.

2. It prevents arteriosclerosis, platelets aggregation and blood clot formation within the blood-carrying vessels.

3. It is antimicrobial (antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and antiviral), antipyretic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory.

4. Utazi leaves stimulate the flow of bile and appetite for food, it also enhances the stimulation and activities of the pancreas, regulates blood sugar, and promotes the detoxification activities of the liver.

5. It neutralises the intoxicating properties of alcohol and its harmful effect on the liver.

6. The leaves and the stem are used in the home treatment of digestive problems such as loss of appetite, dyspepsia, colic and stomach ache, constipation, dysentery, and intestinal worms.

7. It helps in the relief of cough, wheezing and asthmatic attacks.

8. It helps in the management of diabetes.

9. It cleanses the womb and prevents abdominal pain after childbirth

10. The antioxidants present in utazi leaf help to effectively eliminate free radicals in the body. Free radicals could damage cells and turn them into cancerous cells; utazi leaves prevent cancer by getting rid of cancerous cells.


OKAZI LEAF

Botanical name: gnetum africanum 

English name: wild spinach

1. The high dietary fibre content in okazi leaf helps in weight loss and increase metabolism. It also improves digestion, acts as a laxative and prevents constipation.

2. It helps the heart by supplying it with good cholesterol which in turn replaces the bad cholesterol. Okazi leaf also manages blood sugar and blood pressure.

3. Pregnancy: it prevents nausea (morning sickness usually experienced by pregnant women). When eaten, it can also reduce pains during childbirth.

4. It can be eaten raw to prevent menstrual cramps.

5. Promotes reproductive health.

6. Strengthens bones and teeth: okazi leaves are rich in calcium, which helps in the development of strong healthy bones. It also prevents and fight osteoporosis and rheumatism.

7. Antifungal properties: okazi leaf is traditionally known to be used in the treatment of measles in children, it is also used in the treatment of boils and warts.

8. Okazi leaf has an appreciable amount of iodine, which is necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and this iodine helps to prevent tooth decay.

9. Prevention of scurvy: The presence of vitamin C in Okazi leaf helps to prevent scurvy. In addition, it helps to detoxify the blood.


UZIZA LEAF 

Botanical name: p.guineense

English name: guinea pepper

1. Fertility improvement: with the combination of lemon and uziza leaves blended, it is a good step of improving fertility within men and women. 

2. Relieves coughs: this can be achieved by pouring some dried or grounded uziza leaves into a cup, adding boiled water, resting it for about 10 mins, and drinking it while still warm. This will help clear your throat and the respiratory tract.

3. It relieves pain: uziza contains alkaloids, which are known to act as pain killers for ailments such as headaches, toothaches, painful joints and menstrual pain.

4. Prevention of cancer: the presence of antioxidants in uziza leaves helps in the prevention of cancer. 

5. Prevents constipation: uziza leaves contain a high amount of fibre, which aid digestion. This fibre helps to actively improve bowel movement which greatly helps to avoid constipation.

6. Promotes uterine contraction after childbirth: uziza leaves are added to soups and given to women after childbirth, it has been proven to reduce or shrink the uterus, cleanse the uterus and promote milk supply.

7. Treatment of infection: fresh leaves or dried fruits of uziza leaves can be suspended in alcohol and used as an infusion to treat bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. The leaves and seed extract of uziza show antimicrobial and anti-fungal activity against several human pathogens.


AKWUKWO ANARA 

Botanical name: p.guineense

English name: garden egg leaves

1. It helps to lower eye pressure in people with glaucoma without side effects (even with high consumption).

2. It is high in potassium, a necessary salt that helps in maintaining the function of the heart and regulate blood pressure.

3. Akwukwo anara can serve as a natural blood tonic in anaemic patients.

4. The leaves provide women with micronutrients which helps in improving blood level.

5. Akwukwo anara provides the body with both fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins which are rich in thiamine (Vit B6) required for normal growth and proper functioning of the heart and nervous system.

6. The presence of Vit K in akwukwo anara leaf helps to foster or enhance bioflavonoids which strengthen the capillaries.

7. When consumed, helps in detoxifying and cleansing the kidneys. This promotes the proper functioning of the liver and helps prevent kidney failure.


OHA/ORA LEAF 

1. Oha/ora leaves contain iron, calcium, amino acids, iron, potassium, fibre, vitamin K and vitamin C.

2. Diarrhoea management: ora leaf is a rich source of the mineral zinc, which is important for a healthy immune system.

3. Helps treat anaemia: ora leaf contains iron which plays an important role in red blood cell formation to create haemoglobin. The presence of vitamin C also helps in the absorption of iron.

4. Helps maintain healthy joints and prevents arthritis: ora leaf contains an appreciable amount of manganese, which helps to play an important role in cartilage formation and lubricating fluid in the joints. The presence of manganese helps to prevent and alleviate joint diseases like arthritis.

5. Good for heart health: the presence of potassium in ora leaf helps to maintain the normal contraction of the heart.

6. Reduces muscles cramps: it contains magnesium, which is a muscle relaxant; it helps to reduce muscle cramps.

7. Improves brain function: glutamic acid in ora leaves is an important non-essential amino acid that helps to maintain the normal function of the brain as a neurotransmitter.

8. Helps build muscle mass: ora leaves can help build muscle mass with the presence of cysteine amino acid content. Cysteine helps the body to build protein which is used for the development of muscle mass.

9. Helps with blood pressure: ora is a low sodium vegetable that is beneficial for hypertensive people and individuals with high blood pressure.

10. The potassium in ora leaf can also help to control blood pressure through its mechanism in regulating muscle contraction.

11. Improves eye health: oha leaves contain an appreciable amount of vitamin A which helps to maintain better sight and a strong immune system.

12. The presence of vitamin B group present in ora leaf helps protect nerves from damage.

13. Boost energy: the presence of lysine ora leaves helps to boost energy, especially for athletic performance.

14. Maintain alkaline level: the leaves of ora balances the entire body's PH level.

15. Helps with collagen formation: ora leaves contain the mineral copper in good amount to help with collagen formation, which helps to give a healthy glowing skin.

Monday, 2 August 2021

Vegan Red Pepper Dip

This quick and simple recipe is sweet and smoky and perfect as a dip, or served on the side with just about anything. 

Guest post by Louise Palmer-Masterton, founder of Stem & Glory.

Ingredients

Serves 2-4

1 red pepper cut into strips

1 red onion sliced

1 large whole clove garlic

1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt & pepper

Method

Mix all the ingredients together so everything is lightly coated with olive oil. 

Place into a shallow baking tin and roast at 180C for 25 mins.

Allow to cool slightly, then blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper to your taste. The dip should be sweet, smoky and very tasty!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Louise Palmer-Masterton is founder of multiple award-winning restaurants Stem & Gloryhip and trendy but accessible plant-based restaurants, serving delicious gourmet vegan food from locally sourced ingredients. Stem & Glory also offers click-and-collect and local delivery in London and Cambridge. In addition, Stem & Glory offers a range of ready meals, finish at home pizzas, and recipe kits available for delivery across the UK.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Vegan Pineapple and Ginger Loaf Cake

I was testing a ginger beer recipe recently and found myself with some leftover pineapple and ginger pulp. In a bid to limit food waste, this loaf came to mind. 

Even if you don't have leftover pulp, this recipe can be recreated by blending a cup or two of pineapple chunks and some fresh ginger with water or plant-based milk to make a smoothie. This will be the liquid element in the cake, along with the sunflower oil. Simple, delicious and perfectly moist. You'll want to serve this alongside a glass of fruit punch or a steaming cup of tea - whatever takes your fancy.

I topped my loaf with some crushed peanut brittle (ground peanuts mixed with a sugar syrup) that I had lying around. But this is entirely optional. Feel free to use any topping of your choice such as mixed nuts, seeds or fresh fruit.

Ingredients

(Serves 8)

- 2 cups self-raising flour

- 1 cup caster sugar

- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

- 1 and 1/4 cup blended pineapple and ginger 

- 1/2 cup sunflower oil

- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Method

Preheat the oven to 170 C.

Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and use a wooden spoon or spatula to gently fold and combine until you have a thick cake batter.

Pour the batter into a lightly greased and flour-dusted loaf tin and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. A skewer/toothpick stuck in the centre should come out clean.

Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin and serving.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Red and Processed Meat Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Disease

Globally coronary heart diseases (caused by narrowed arteries that supply the heart with blood) claim nearly nine million lives each year1, the largest of any disease, and present a huge burden to health systems. Until now, it has been unclear whether eating meat increases the risk of heart disease, and if this varies for different kinds of meat. Researchers at the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health have conducted the largest systematic review of the prospective evidence to date, including thirteen cohort studies involving over 1.4 million people. The study participants completed detailed dietary assessments, and their health was tracked for up to 30 years. The results are published today in Critical reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

Overall, the evidence from the analysis indicated that:
  • Each 50 g/day higher intake of processed meat (e.g. bacon, ham, and sausages) increased the risk of coronary heart disease by 18%.
  • Each 50 g/day higher intake of unprocessed red meat (such as beef, lamb and pork) increased the risk of coronary heart disease by 9%.
The findings may be because of the high content of saturated fat in red meat, and of sodium (salt) in processed meat. High intakes of saturated fat increase levels of harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, whilst excess salt consumption raises blood pressure. Both LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure are well-established risk factors for coronary heart disease.
Previous work from the same research team has also indicated that even moderate intakes of red and processed meat are associated with increased risk of bowel cancer2.
Dr Keren Papier (Nuffield Department of Population Health), co-lead author of the study, said: ‘Red and processed meat have been consistently linked with bowel cancer and our findings suggest an additional role in heart disease. Therefore, current recommendations to limit red and processed meat consumption may also assist with the prevention of coronary heart disease.’
Dr Anika Kn├╝ppel, from the Nuffield Department of Population Health and the other co-lead author of the study, added: ‘We know that meat production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and we need to reduce meat production and thereby consumption to benefit the environment. Our study shows that a reduction in red and processed meat intake would bring personal health benefits too.’
Currently in the UK, about 10 in 100 people would be expected to eventually die from coronary heart disease.3 Based on the findings from the present study and current red and processed meat intakes in the UK,4 if all these 100 people reduced their unprocessed red meat intake by three-quarters (for example from four times a week to one time a week), or if they stopped consuming processed meat altogether, deaths from coronary heart disease would decrease from 10 in 100 down to 9 in 100.
The studies involved in this analysis were mostly based on white adults living in Europe or the USA. The research team say more data are needed to examine these associations in other populations, including East Asia and Africa.
-----
References:
  1. Source: World Health Organization; https://www.who.int/news/item/09-12-2020-who-reveals-leading-causes-of-death-and-disability-worldwide-2000-2019
  2. https://www.ndph.ox.ac.uk/news/moderate-meat-eaters-at-risk-of-bowel-cancer
  3. https://www.bhf.org.uk/-/media/files/research/heart-statistics/bhf-cvd-statistics---uk-factsheet.pdf
  4. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/ndns-results-from-years-9-to-11-2016-to-2017-and-2018-to-2019

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

12 Vegan Chocolate Recipes for World Chocolate Day

Celebrate World Chocolate Day with this selection of delectable vegan chocolate recipes. These treats are sure to sweeten your day. I dug through my blog archives to retrieve some of my favourites, so I hope you give them a try. Simply click on the recipe name or image to access the full recipe!

1. Chocolate and Peanut Muffins



2. Double Chocolate Garri Cookies



3. Chocolate Mousse Pots



4. Four Layer Chocolate Cake



5. Chocolate Fudge Cake



6. Peanut and Ginger Hot Chocolate with Marshmallow Cream



7. Mocha Plum Upside Down Cake



8. Bounty Chocolate Bars



9. Chocolate Almond Mousse



10. Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes



11. Vegan Flake Chocolate Bar



12. Plantain Waffles with Melted Chocolate and Strawberries



 

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

How Tracye McQuirter Helped 15,000 Black Women Go Vegan

 

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Tracye McQuirter on Instagram Live. Tracye is a nutritionist, best-selling author (By Any Greens Necessary; Ageless Vegan) and founder of 10,000 Black Vegan Women - a program designed to support black women to go vegan for 21 days and beyond. 

Having admired her work since the early days of my vegan journey, it was such a treat to chat with her and find out more about her latest project. Have a watch of the video above and be sure to subscribe on YouTube!

Friday, 4 June 2021

Vegan Nigerian Meal Plan | Healthy, Alkaline

Figuring what to cook or eat on a daily basis can be a challenge, especially if you're new to veganism or if you're looking to make healthier food choices.

In this 4-week alkaline meal plan, all the hard work has been done for you. You'll gain access to a printable shopping list and at-a-glance weekly menus that can be pinned to your fridge for easy reference. That's a whole month of varied meals that are good for your health and will leave you feeling energised. Join 1000s of others who have benefitted from this meal plan.

Still got questions? See below for some frequently asked questions and responses!

What do you mean by alkaline?

A predominantly alkaline diet places an emphasis on fresh and unrefined fruits and vegetables, while restricting heavily processed and junk foods. The aim of eating this way is to promote optimal health and reduce your chances of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and certain cancers. All this just by basing majority of your meals on whole, plant-based foods.

Why should I get this meal plan?

The meal plan is designed to take the stress out of thinking of what to eat on a weekly basis and makes choosing healthy food options a breeze. It includes a printable ingredient list and 'at a glance' weekly menus that can be pinned to your fridge for easy reference.

Will the recipes be Nigerian?

There are several alkaline meal plans available online but many are written through a euro-centric lens. In writing this guide, I drew inspiration from my West African heritage, including ingredients and meals that are typical to that part of the world. If you're new to Nigerian food, you'll gain a lot of insight into our style of eating. If you're a veteran West African foodie, you'll appreciate the healthy take on some of your favourites. All the ingredients are easily accessible wherever you live and can be found at your local supermarkets, African/Caribbean shops or online. 

How can I access the meal plan?

You can download the meal plan from HERE for as little as £9.99 (approx. N5,800). You will immediately receive a copy of the meal plan via email, which you can download onto your laptop, desktop, or print out if necessary.