Micronutrient Requirements March 28 2015
11 Ways to Re-Use Coffee Grounds September 05 2014
If you're addicted to coffee like we are, there's no shortage of coffee grounds that are typically tossed into the garbage, or into the compost bin if you're an environmental pro. That's right...
#1. Give them to your plants! While a compost heap works fine, the grounds can be added directly to the plant soil as well to add nitrogen. Plants that have been shown to respond well include roses, azeleas, hydrangeas and evergreens.
But did you know you can make your coffee beans (we sell some great ones) go even further? By finding creative uses for your used coffee grounds you can not only save money on other products, but make the planet a little healthier.
#2. Natural insecticide. Avoid store-bought chemicals by using coffee grounds to deter ants near your house, or snails in your garden. Neither insect likes coffee, though it shouldn't be a surprise for snails.
#3. Floor cleaning. The oils and moisture in the coffee beans after brewing make it great at picking up dust, as well as leaving a nice sheen on hardwood. Sprinkle some grounds before mopping and you'll prevent dust from being kicked up. The smell is just a bonus.
#4. Natural skin rejuvination. The left-over caffeine content in addition to other anti-oxidants make it great for your skin. Just add a cup of boiling water to the grounds, let is cool, then apply to your skin for 10-15 minutes. Because the skin absorbs chemicals so well, we recommend using organic coffee for this.
#5. Exfoliate! Similar to #4, you can also use coarse grounds (without the additional water) as an exfoliant for your hands, removing dead skin cells while rejuvinating them from the caffeine.
#6. Abrasive scrub. Coffee grounds can be used on cast-iron cookware to remove excess grease and scrub away left-overs naturally. The presence of natural coffee oils will help balance and maintain the oily protection cast-iron requires to cook well. No more throwing away perfectly good dish soap!
#7. Meat Marinade! You can use fresh grounds from espresso or strong-brewed coffee to add smokey flavour when sitting overnight.
#8. Colour wood scratches. Use coffee stains to your advantage by applying small amounts to scrapes and scratches in wood furniture with a q-tip - be sure to test for colour consistency first.
#9. Dessert flavour enhancer. Coffee naturally compliments chocolate and can be sprinkled into chocolate desserts like brownies to add extra kick that will leave your friends and family wondering what your secret is.
#10. Add shine and growth to your hair. Pre-mix fresh fine-coffee grounds with your conditioner and apply to your scalp, letting the coffee oils add shine to your hair. Coffee can actually help hair growth! Be careful if you're not a brunette or have otherwise dark hair (or dyed!) as the coffee may affect your colour.
#11. Natural soaps. Coffee is becoming a popular ingredient in high-end soaps with its anti-oxidants and caffeine. Add some grounds to your own soap recipe!
There's a great list of possible uses we hope you find helpful. Have your own recommendation on a way to up-cycle your used coffee grounds! Feel free to share with us.
Phytic Acid Content in Nuts July 16 2014
We had a question from a customer about the risk of phytic acid hurting nutrient absorption and what kind of risk there is. The answer (as is to most things): everything in moderation. An ounce or two of nuts daily, between meals won't cause rickets in people with healthy diets.
Here's a list of the top foods in terms of phytic acid content (by 100g dry weight, nuts in bold):
Brazil nuts 1719
Cocoa powder 1684-1796
Oat flakes 1174
Almond 1138 – 1400
Peanut roasted 952
Brown rice 840-990
Peanut ungerminated 821
Peanut germinated 610
Hazelnuts 648 – 1000
Wild rice flour 634 – 752.5
Yam meal 637
Refried beans 622
Corn tortillas 448
Entire coconut meat 270
White flour 258
White flour tortillas 123
So yes, nuts generally have high phytic acid content. But what's important to remember is that you're not consuming as many nuts as you would say, oat flakes or brown rice. While you may eat a handful of nuts a day, other foods are eaten by the plate and multiple times a day.
Just how big of a risk is it? Studies have shown that cultures where grains like brown rice and legumes like lentils and refried beans are staples of the diet do have lower absorption rates of minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, chromium and manganese.
The risk is a little higher if you go for a "paleo" style diet comprised more of naturally grown foods like nuts and legumes, but people following these diets are generally more health-conscious overall and more likely to eat more nutrient-dense food. And that's the key. Simply replacing the nutrients lost through binding to phytic acid with a diet filled with solid, healthy food is a simple and elegant solution that will let you enjoy nuts as part of a regular diet.
Nutrient timing can play a factor here too, since phytic acid needs to physically be in contact with the minerals to bind them. Simply separating the time you eat nuts (snacking between meals) from the actual meals can help.
You can reduce the amount of phytic acid in the nuts by either soaking, sprouting or fermenting them. While not always an option (or palatable), it's definitely a possibility for things like almonds which are more flavourful and easier to eat when soaked for 8 hours.
It's Not All Bad
Phytic acid does have it's upsides in moderation:
- Phytic acid can inhibit calcium crystallzation and reduce kidney stone development.
- If you have hemachromatosis – a tendency to absorb too much iron – you actually want to reduce your iron absorption, and dietary phytic acid can (famously) do just that. It’s also one of the only iron chelators that does not induce lipid peroxidation or the formation of reactive oxygen species (PDF). If you’re trying to absorb more iron – maybe you’re pregnant or anemic – taking some vitamin C with the phytic acid will inhibit its iron-binding ability (PDF).
- Phytate may also be an effective anti-cancer agent with the curious tendency to ignore the healthy cells and focus only on the cancerous ones.
So - enjoy your nuts! As long as you're eating in moderation (1-2 ounces for nuts), focus on eating healthier foods and exercising properly instead of sweating the small stuff.
Healthy Snack Ideas for Work July 07 2014
Making lunch and snacks isn't just financially sound, it's also better for your health when your only options are to buy fast food and sugary vending machine snacks. We all hit that 3pm wall where we need something to top up our energy to get through the rest of the day - Bulk Nuts Canada is here to help you make the best choice for your waistline and your wallet!
Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds
Almonds are a super healthy snack, and the dark chocolate adds endorphin-releasing cocoa that will last you through the day. Filled with fiber, protein and anti-oxidants, these will pack a punch, but be careful not to overdo it on the calories.
Just 1/4 cup of dried apricots gives you a serving of fruit. This easy-to-snack-on option is high in dietary fiber, keeping you regular as well as helping to lower cholesterol. Related to almonds, nectarines and peaches, apricots aren't commonly found in a Canadian diet but contain ample potassium and carotenoids (anti-oxidants). When trying to fill your day with different coloured fruits and vegetables, apricots are a quick and easy way to fill in the orange/yellow group.
Dried Banana Chips
Bananas are great to start with, but dried banana chips take it to the next level with bite-sized portions that don't need to be peeled. Crunching on a couple of these chips saturates your taste buds and gives you some texture and mouth-feel that will break the monotony of the day. High in potassium, they help to balance your sodium levels for better intracellular and extracellular water levels for better hydration. Not very well publicized, but bananas stimulate the lining of your stomach to create more mucus, which can help with stomach aches and heartburn!
Dried fruits, seeds, nuts are held together with natural sugars like honey or brown sugar to create a medley of flavour and nutrition that can't be beat! Take rice-crispy squares, add back in the nutrients and some more variety and you have energy squares - a great snack that will boost your energy levels. Really want to try something new? Check out the energy squares with real cacao nibs and yogurt chips.
Baker? Check out our Almond Flour Muffin Recipe.