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Recipes, Research

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A Mango Stew To Be Grateful For

A few weeks ago we went to Nordstedts publishing house to interview a doctor named Dr. Rangan Chatterjee for our podcast. Dr. Chatterjee is one of the UK’s most talked-about family doctors and is the author of the book “The 4 pillar plan”. According to him there are four components of your life that must be in balance to find health balance in life: stress, food, movement and sleep. The goal is not to strive for perfection and do everything in a single category but instead about creating balance between all four and doing a little of each.

Dr. Chatterjee also says that even very small changes are enough to achieve results – he is singing our song! Here are a few of the many concepts he has introduced to the mainstream – daily rest, five different vegetables each day and a gratitude game at the dinner table, because research shows that feeling gratitude automatically increases our quality of life. The gratitude game is played as followed: you go around the table and ask each person 3 questions – what is something kind that you did today, what is something kind someone did for you today and what have you learned today.

What a lovely dinner topic! According to Dr. Chatterjee, the game has been rewarding for everyone, not least the parents. A few days later we decided to try it. We looked at one of our children and asked cautiously if he had done something for someone else today, after which he immediately replied, “no, I have been at home sick”. We said ok and then asked if someone else had done something kind for him, whereupon he replied, “No, you never got water when I asked for it”. Lastly, we asked if he had learned something during the day, he answered “no”.

When we laid our heads on the pillow that night, we thought that perhaps the gratitude game wasn’t something for us. But… fortunately we gave it a few more tries. And now, after almost a month, we have not only become more aware of everything we have to be grateful for but the level of conversation and the mood around the table have been positively influenced. We humans certainly have a tendency to focus on the negative, but thanks to Dr. Chatterjee we go from the table most days now with a chipper feeling.

And tonight when we come home and get the question “what is something kind that you did today?”, we will proudly say that we shared a recipe for the best mango stew to all of our readers.

Family Mango Stew
(4 servings)

1 yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 inch piece fresh ginger peeled
1 1/2 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon cold pressed coconut oil
1 can crushed tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
¾ cup natural cashew nuts (preferably soaked)
1 can of coconut milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 mango (or 250 g frozen and thawed)
1 package solid natural tofu (about 270 g)
1 small package of plum och cherry tomatoes
a handful of baby spinach
1/2 package of fresh cilantro for garnish

Peel and chop onion and garlic. Heat the onion, ginger and turmeric in a pan with the coconut oil over low heat. Pour into a blender along with everything on the recipe list up to the mango. Pulse several times until combined (still slightly chunky).

Pour the sauce into a pot, and heat until it is warm. Cut the mango and tofu into pieces and add to the stew. Split the tomatoes and garnish along with the spinach and cilantro. Serve with boiled durra, quinoa or buckwheat.

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Food Pharmacy, Research

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Mice With Access to Soil Have Greater Resistance to Allergies

In recent years, the style of Scandinavian interior design has become immensely popular across the globe. Its main ingredient is white, but it’s also characterized by simplicity, functionality, and minimalism. Keeping your space clean and uncluttered is great, but to be completely honest, we’re tired of having to spend so much time cleaning. We also can’t help but wonder, have we become too clean for our own good?

According to a new study from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and Helsingfors University, mice with access to soil have greater resistance to allergies. It appears to be the close contact with microorganisms in the soil that triggers anti-inflammatory genes in the mice, and stimulates their gut microbiota. Interesting!

In the study, recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers compared the allergic inflammation in mice that live in cages with an added earthen floor, with that in mice that live in clean cages with sawdust. Both groups of mice developed allergic inflammations, but the mice that lived with access to soil developed a considerably milder inflammation. The study also suggests a direct connection between the inflammation and the composition of microbes in the intestinal tract.

According to Noora Ottman, a researcher at the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Karolinska Institutet, allowing more greenery into our daily environment, such as in offices, schools and homes, could positively affect our health.

We say it’s time to embrace nature! And let’s start by adding some greenery to the heart of our homes. No time to lose, leave the vacuum in the closet and visit your local florist! Flower power!

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Food Pharmacy, Research

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Let’s Talk About Food Choices and Climate Change

One of the climate goals that seven of the eight political parties in the Swedish parliament have agreed on is that, by 2030, the climate impact of Sweden’s transport sector should be 70 percent lower than in 2010. The goal is to become one of the world’s first fossil-free welfare nations. However, it’s no secret that the food we eat creates a significant portion of our carbon footprint. The meat industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world, and in Sweden and Norway, giving up meat would actually reduce the carbon footprint more than giving up cars.

Researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet is the best way to protect the planet. Apparently, impacts of the lowest-impact animal products exceed those of the highest-impact vegetables products. The new study, published in the journal Science, is one of the most comprehensive analyses to date of the effects farming can have on the environment.

According to lead author Joseph Poore, adopting a vegan diet is the best way to protect the planet and the single biggest way to reduce the environmental impact.

– It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car, he says, which would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Our eating habits in Sweden give rise to significant emissions of greenhouse gases – 1.8 tonnes per capita every year. A vegan diet would reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from 1.8 tonnes to 500 kg. Yes, that’s right. From 1.8 tonnes to 500 kg. Wow. Reading this, we can’t help but wonder why eating habits isn’t the main topic of all climate change meetings around the world.

For most people, avoiding all animal products might be too much of a change. But switching to a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, in which you can eat eggs and dairy products, but not meat, poultry, or fish, would result in a 25 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. From 1.8 tonnes to 1.2 tonnes every year. And if that also seems like too big a step, even a slight change in what we eat can have a big impact on the environment. Researchers say that we should start by cutting down on beef, since the environmental impact of beef production is significantly worse than that of pork, dairy and eggs.

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Food Pharmacy, Research

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Probiotics: Yay or Nay?

Definitely yay! Probiotics have been part of our everyday routine for years, and it’s just as important as brushing our teeth when we wake up in the morning. Probiotics are commonly known as friendly, good, and healthy bacteria that live in the human gut.

The gut flora has received considerable attention in recent years and scientists are constantly trying to learn more about the connection between gut bacteria and both mental and physical health. A couple of days ago, we found this very interesting study carried out by researchers from the University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden. The study, recently published by the Journal of Internal Medicine, found that dietary supplements with friendly gut bacteria may affect the human skeleton and help to maintain healthy bone density among older women. Amazing!

The study involved 90 elderly women, and they were randomised to receive either a probiotic supplement or an identical-looking placebo every day for a whole year. After a year, researchers measured the women’s bone loss in their lower legs and compared it with measurements from when the study began. The women who received the probiotic powder had lost only half as much bone compared to those who received inactive powders. Yes, you heard it right. The use of probiotic supplements resulted in a 50% reduction in bone loss.

Brittleness of the bones, or osteoporosis, is a bone disease that occurs when the bones become porous and weak, which can lead to increased risk of fracture. It’s the most common reason for a broken bone among the elderly, especially among elderly women. Unfortunately, a majority of women over 80 years of age have the disease. Osteoporosis is often first diagnosed after the first fracture occurs, and since the risk of fracture increases after the first break, preventative treatment is needed. Amazingly, this study opens the door to a new way to prevent fractures among older women. What a great discovery!

And you know what? The treatment was well tolerated by the patients! The women who received the probiotic powder did not produce more side effects than those experienced by the women who received the placebo. This is such great news! Probiotics for president!

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