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Four Healthy Food Trends the Food Processing Industry is Embracing

Food & Beverage Processors are listening to consumer demands for ‘clean’ foods and taking action to make their nutritional labels more appealing.

Foodprocessing.com is an eMagazine that bills itself as the information source for the Food & Beverage Processing Industry. They recently published an e-Handbook, “Food Processing: Food & Beverage: What’s next with Clean Label Ingredients?” in July 2016. They advised those in the industry to focus on providing consumers with ‘clean and compelling nutritional labels’ in order to drive increased sales.

What is ‘clean’ eating and how does the industry go about ‘cleaning’ up their foods and nutritional labels?

Person in White Shirt Holding Red Apple

According to EatingWell.com, ‘clean eating’ focuses on choosing more of the “best and healthiest options in each of the food groups while eating less of the not-so-healthy ones”. It includes eating “whole foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains, plus healthy proteins and fats. It also means cutting back on refined grains, added sugars, salt and unhealthy fats.”

Cleaning up a nutritional label, according to the e-handbook, may be done by including trending ingredients and ‘super foods’ while taking out others that are no longer appealing to the consumer. Based on industry studies, these up and coming ingredients (see list below) make nutritional labels and products more palatable to those who are embracing cleaner eating.

I mentioned in a previous post about Health Claims by the Food Industry that the information coming out of foodprocessing.com should be mandatory reading for all North American consumers who are interested in eating healthier diets.

Here are four trending ingredients the food & beverage processing companies have been advised to use in making their nutrition label compelling to you, the consumer:

Sweet potato: This ‘super food’ will be making its appearance in cereals, nutrition bars, artificial sweetener replacements, condiments, sauces and desserts. Dehydrated sweet potato flour may be included as a component in gluten-free quick-breads, and used in just about any food segment to add fiber and other vitamins and minerals.

Turmeric: Turmeric and its active ingredient curcumin (the natural phenol that lends that bright yellow color) are known for their “cognitive health maintenance and anti-inflammatory properties, healing abilities and support of joints and muscles”.

According to the e-Handbook, in April 2016 Kraft Foods announced it would “replace artificial colors or preservatives in its Original Macaroni & Cheese Boxed dinner in the US and switch to using turmeric along with annatto and paprika, also derived from natural sources.” Also look for turmeric in beverages.

Ancient Grains: These are grains such as quinoa, flax, farro, chia and teff which have been around for thousands of years. They are making a resurgence because they are whole grain, gluten free, non-GMO, high fiber, high protein and vegan.

Sprouted ingredients: this includes sprouted grains, bean and seeds.

Download your free e-Handbook Food Processing: Food & Beverage: What’s next with Clean Label Ingredients?” (be prepared to hand over your email address and some profile information).

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Mojitos to make your Halloween Party a Smash

We planted “Minty” (the name my kids bestowed upon our Mojito mint plant) in early spring. A friend of mine had mentioned that mint is an invasive plant and can be difficult to control. But Minty was so little and endearing, we watered and tended it with loving care. Now, Minty is taking over the entire raised garden bed and going strong.

It’s alright because our lime tree is growing some limes which are getting bigger by the day. This confluence of fortunate events points to only one thing – Mojitos – and just in time for Halloween.

Here is a recipe for all those who like a good Mojito. This is my favorite recipe that I have been using for years. From my mint drink loving heart to your, cheers!

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Recipes

Mojito Mint

2 shots white rum

0.5 shots of simple syrup (see recipe below)

0.5 shots of triple sec (optional)

juice of 1 lime

3-4 mint leaves (spearmint/peppermint)

1. With a wooden spoon, muddle the mint until it becomes fragrant

2. Juice the lime into a cocktail mixer

3. Add alcohol and simple syrup

4. Add ice and shake

5. Pour into a tall glass and serve with fresh mint/lime

Simple Syrup Recipe

(this is the same stuff we feed our Hummingbirds)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

1. Combine water and sugar

2. Simmer over medium heat until the liquid becomes slightly syrup-like

3. Cool and decant into clean containers and keep in the refrigerator

 

If you are looking for further inspiration for your cocktail repertoire, here is a lovely resource from Garden & Gun Magazine:

  • Southern Cocktail Guide a la Garden & Gun Magazine is a treasure trove of cocktail classics such as the Mint Julep and, of course, the Mojito.
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‘Functional Foods’ & ‘Health’ Claims by the Food & Beverage Industry: A Closer Look

The typical North American Diet is rife with processed foods that are driving the health of the population into the ground and the cost of healthcare up. Last week, our local newspaper in Central Vancouver Island ran an article titled ‘Health Care Premiums Increasing’. Health care premiums are expected to rise in British Columbia due to the overall increased demand on the system. The president of the Canadian Medical Association, Dr. Granger Avery, is asking for action on a ‘renewal’ of the health care system to change from an archaic ‘acute care’ hospital model to a ‘chronic care’ model. Demands are shifting toward the management of chronic conditions, addiction, and mental health.

Statistics cited by the World Health Organization, Public Health Agency of Canada and the Center for Disease Control & Prevention all paint the same picture of escalating chronic health conditions across the population.

However, their calls to action are often stymied by the influence of the Food & Beverage Industry and their lobbying efforts. And now here come ‘health claims’ on the very same food that has taken us down the wrong path. Not that health claims are new, but the new fervor with which the food & beverage industry is embracing them (once again) makes me pause and reflect.

Are they truly making efforts to improve the health of the population? Are ‘health claims’ made by the food & industry true?

According to naturally savvy.com, big food companies are changing for the better due to consumers’ efforts. They are cutting solid fats, sugars, sodium, and artificial colors from their products. And, of course, they are pledging to either label or cut out GMO ingredients altogether.

At last count, more than 70 bills have been introduced in 30 states (in the USA) to require genetically engineered (GE) food labeling and/or to ban GE foods outright. Kellog’s, Nestle, Mars and General Mills are jumping on the wagon, just to name a few.

The exclusion of GMOs, removal of artificial colors and flavors, as well as the removal of BPA is a start to making these products somewhat pass-able as “food”. There is long way to go for improvement.

Free stock photo of food, healthy, meal, cereals

What about the ‘health’ claims made by these companies? Cleaning up nutrition labels is the new trend in the processed food and beverage sector (more about this new trend soon).

Next time you go shopping, take note of the burlap sack labels on cereal boxes claiming the product to be “Simply Good! No Artificial Flavours or Colours”.

The processed food industry is definitely aware of this “wave” of consumer demand for more ‘functional’ (health-enhancing) foods and is working closely with marketing teams to “ride this wave” as smoothly as possible.

Read more about effective marketing of processed foods at Food Processing E-zine. This online magazine for food processors should be mandatory reading for the North American consumer.

In her blog, Food Politics, Marion Nestle often writes about food industry trends and keeps them honest. She breaks down a recent study of packaged foods with and without health claims and whether those ‘health’ claims are true.

A ‘health claim’ can be defined as the following:

“…a health claim for food is considered to be any representation in labeling and advertising that states, suggests, or implies that a relation exists between the consumption of foods or food constituents and health.” (1)

This study involved a cross-sectional survey of prepackaged foods sold in Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia and the UK in 2013. A total of 2034 foods were randomly sampled from three food store types (supermarket, a neighbourhood store and a discounter).

Nutritional information was taken from nutrient declarations present on food labels (that either did or did not make health claims) and assessed through a comparison of mean levels, regression analyses and the application of a nutrient profile model currently used to regulate health claims in Australia and New Zealand.

Their results are summed up succinctly by Marion Nestle in her post Food Products with Health Claims: only marginally better (no surprise).

It begs the question: Why buy food that requires ‘health claims’ at all?  Grow your own and buy organic close to home as much as possible.

This 2 minute video by Woody Harrelson sums up what we need to do as consumers to change the behavior of the food industry. Well said.

 

Further Reading on Health Claims:

 

(1) Health Canada: Health Claims Assessment

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Be the ‘Clean’ Dream Ice Cream Machine Today

It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, ice cream is always in demand at our house. Homemade ice pops, smoothies, ‘ice cream’ cakes or sorbets are big hits. It was my four-year-old daughter’s idea to try ice cream on pancakes. As we were driving home, she said to me, “I’m starving for pancakes and ice cream.” Resistance was futile and really, who cares.

When I posted the above photo on Instagram, my phone buzzed and kept on buzzing with comments and love. Here is the recipe for those who are also ‘starving’ for pancakes and ice cream.

I sampled this combination after photographing it. From now on, this is the only way we are serving pancakes in this house. Strawberry Ice Cream and Fluffy Pancakes. Fresh strawberries and cream are fantastic but I would venture to say that pancake + home-made ice cream are far better. You be the judge.

I ran across the idea of ‘healthy ice cream’ on eatClean.com. No ice cream are involved here AND there are only 4 to 5 ingredients – no preservatives, dairy or carrageenan.

Now you may be wondering about the kind of ice cream this recipe makes. I have been making this recipe since January 2016 and so far, all taste testers, even the hard-core creamy ice cream aficionados, have agreed that this recipe is indeed “tasty”.
The key is the coconut cream (cream from a can of coconut milk).

The first time I made this, my kids inhaled 4 bowls of ice cream each and I certainly didn’t skimp on my servings.  I am in love with this recipe – simple, super fast and smashingly delicious. It is so easy to make-it-your own with a variety of frozen fruit and fresh picked fruit.Smooth and creamy like soft serve and exceedingly better than the regular stuff. You have to try it!

Recipe

Ingredients

1/3 cup coconut cream from a can

2 tbsp honey/maple syrup/organic coconut nectar

1 tsp of vanilla

2 cups of frozen fruit of your choice

How To

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender jar and blend/pulse for up to a minute until the texture is smooth.

2. Serve right away or cove and freeze for later.

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Make Pancakes from Scratch and Never Ever Look Back

Once you go scratch you never go back!

Although I like to include ‘clean’ recipes on this blog, I can’t help but include one of our family favorites. These pancakes are made with buttermilk, eggs, and flour and they are delicious. You could definitely whip up a batch of Frozen Fruit Ice Cream from my Top 5 Desserts eBook and use it as the  most decadent pancake topping ever! The eBook is free and you don’t even need hand over your email address. But why not follow Recipes of My Home by filling out the form in your bottom right hand corner?

Don’t do gluten or dairy? Don’t worry. When making these pancakes for myself, I substitute cashew milk and an equal mix of tapioca, amaranth and brown rice flours.

Buttermilk Pancakes

This recipe is tried and true in our home. It is a go to on weekend mornings, for gatherings and sometimes even for dinner when I have run out of ideas.
I have been making these pancakes for some time. They are easy to whip up so you could definitely teach someone younger and much more keen at 5 o’clock in the morning than perhaps yourself to whip up the ingredients and await your assistance at the stove or griddle.

Last Christmas, we indulged in a Christmas Brunch with our wonderful friends and these fluffy clouds of deliciousness were on the menu. It was hilarious to see seven children and four adults fastidiously gobbling up these pancakes quicker than they were coming off the stove.

Who doesn’t love enthusiastic and committed eaters of comfort food around the breakfast table?

Here are some fun ideas for taking these pancakes and dressing them up just for the fun of it:

1. Good To Know – 24 Weird and Wonderful Things to Make this Pancake Day
2. BBC Good Food –Top 10 Pancake Fillings: Sweet & Savoury  (Yumminess)
3. Food Network Blog – 10 Ways to Eat Pancakes for Dinner

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite comfort food cookbooks by Ira Freehof,  The Comfort Diner Cookbook.

Product Details

This book is a comfort food lover’s paradise. The pancake recipe comes with a warning! Warning: you’re about to eat some of the best pancakes New York has to offer! Indeed, his pancakes were voted the best in New York by a readers’s poll in Time Out New York.
This cookbook is well worth having in your arsenal since the recipes are fantastic.

Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted and cooled) or 1/2 cup coconut oil (whatever is easiest)
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of sugar (I usually leave this out)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup of whole milk (such at 2% but 1% works just fine)
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
2 large eggs

How To

1. Melt butter or coconut oil in microwave and set aside to cool.

2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and buttermilk; whisk in eggs; slowly add the melted butter or coconut oil – make sure it’s cooled or your eggs will cook.

4. Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk until JUST mixed (don’t over do it).

5. Melt some butter or coconut oil on your nonstick griddle, skillet or pan on medium heat.

6. Scoop some batter onto the surface and cook for about a minute  or until small air holes appear on the pancakes’ surface. Flip the pancake over and cook for another minute, until cooked through.

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, try putting some lemon juice into your milk!

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Who needs Noodles when you have Spaghetti Squash

My Squack’n Cheese Comfort Food Recipe

October is all about simple, comfort foods that are just good, ‘clean’ fun.

I hope that you have had a chance to download and check out my first ever eBook, “Top 5 Desserts”, featuring the 5 most raved about no dairy, no flour, no refined sugar desserts from Recipes of My Home.  This book is for the whole family – ice cream, cake in a cup, lemon tart, strawberry pie AND chocolate coconut balls!

Just in case you haven’t, download it here. It’s Free and you don’t even need to share your email. My mission is to spread the word about #realfoodistheingredient. Although it would be great if you followed Recipes of My Home (just fill in the pop up form in the bottom right corner of your screen) as I have a lot more great gifts and ideas coming soon.

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By following Recipes of My Home, you get the latest blog posts directly to your inbox.

Once you have the eBook in your hand, you can make a delicious dessert to go with your Squack ‘n Cheese. As far as I am concerned, dessert is always in style and on the menu, especially when it has no refined sugar, flour or dairy. I know that you will find a dessert or five you will love.

In the mean time, I have been busy testing simple, nourishing recipes over the last little while and posting some pictures on Instagram. It is now time to serve up the recipes.

Squack ‘n Cheese is my version of Macaroni and Cheese, which I love and used to gobble by the box slathered with ketchup.

Roasted spaghetti squash keeps well when refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for up to 3 months.  This means that you can make the spaghetti squash ahead of time and use it as needed for a quick, healthy supper any time of the week. Heat and serve – it doesn’t get any easier then that.

Recipe

serves 2

Ingredients

1 medium spaghetti squash

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup nutritional yeast (available at your local health food store in the bulk bins)

pinch of fine sea salt

1 teaspoon of olive or avocado oil

2 to 3 Brazil nuts

Add your favorite topping

How To

A video is worth a thousand words. I really like this 4.5 minute video on how to roast a spaghetti squash and get those ‘noodles’ onto your plate. It is well worth watching.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F: Preheat the oven while you prep the squash.
  2. Slice the squash in half: Use a chef’s knife to cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise from stem to tail.
  3. Scoop out the seeds: Use a soup spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy bits of flesh from inside the squash. Why not roast the seeds for a healthy snack.
  4. Place the squash in a roasting pan: Place the squash halves cut-side down in a roasting pan.
  5. Pour in a little water (optional): Pour a little water in the pan, enough to cover the bottom. Your squash will roast just fine without it – the water helps the squash steam and become more tender.
  6. Cook the squash for 30 to 45 minutes: Transfer the squash to the oven and cook for 30 to 45 minutes. Smaller squash will cook more quickly than larger squash. Check the squash after 30 minutes.
  7. The squash is done when tender: The squash is ready when you can easily pierce a fork through the flesh all the way to the peel. The flesh will also separate easily into spaghetti-like strands. Taste it – if the noodles are still a bit crunchy for your taste, put the squash back in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Scrape out the squash: Use a fork to gently pull the squash flesh from the peel and to separate the flesh into strands. The strands wrap around the squash horizontally — rake your fork in the same direction as the strands to make the longest “noodles.”
  9. Serve the squash: Serve the squash immediately or let it cool before freezing it.
  10. Dress it up: drizzle with avocado oil or olive oil, sprinkle on nutritional yeast and salt, combine. Finish off by grating Brazil nuts over top. I like to use grated Brazil nuts as ‘cheese’. Or, whip up  and serve with some Hummus to give it that extra ‘cheesy’ taste and texture.
  11. Add your favorite topping. Try this Bruschetta or even this Salsa.

Please Enjoy and let me know how yours turned out.

 

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Fastest, Freshest Salsa Recipe – Guest Blog by Carolyn Herriot

Maybe you have a favourite salsa recipe but have you tried making salsa with a food processor? It’s so fast and easy and the resulting sauce will keep well for a week in the refrigerator.

Simply throw two peeled cloves of garlic and a medium onion into the food processor and pulse to chop; throw in six (skinned and cored) salad tomatoes, two jalapeno peppers (with seeds if you like it hot and maybe roasted for extra flavour), and a bunch of stemmed cilantro. Pulse a few times to a coarse texture of your liking, but do not over process to mush. Strain the salsa through a sieve to remove excess juice, then add the juice of one lime and salt to taste. Leave in the refrigerator for flavours to meld – so refreshing!

Our field grown heritage tomatoes are so abundant and flavourful that I make lots of salsa throughout the summer. I use it as a dip for tortilla chips and often as a sauce for pasta or rice dishes. It tastes wonderful with free range eggs as this zingy salsa livens up any dish.

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Last summer, after discovering this quick and easy way to make salsa, I introduced a ‘salsa kit’ at my farmers’ market booth. The $5 kit consisted of a bag with all the necessary ingredients for the customers to go home and make their own salsa. Not surprisingly, this idea took off really fast and soon I had customers returning weekly for more salsa kits. ‘Best we’ve ever tasted’! And so it should be.

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Carolyn Herriot is author of The Zero-Mile Diet and The Zero-Mile Diet Cookbook. Available at your local bookstore. She grows IncrEdibles! in Yellow Point on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

www.incredibles.vision

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Make Awesome Hummus Today with this Easy Recipe & Put it on Everything

When eating plant-based foods, hummus is an absolute necessity. Why? Because it goes with everything and makes everything taste amazing. For example, I love macaroni and cheese but because gluten and cheese make me extremely bloated, I have replaced the regular macaroni with rice macaroni and the cheese with hummus. Now you may think this combination is gross but the mouth feel and taste of  noodles mixed with hummus is very similar to, yet much more appetizing and healthful, than KD. You can put organic ketchup on it like I do and voila…

I have been using store bought hummus mainly because it has been a challenge to find a great recipe. However, the Food Babe has given me a bit of a complex about eating the factory made stuff since it contains all kinds of GMOs. After perusing through many cookbooks and trying various versions of hummus, I have finally hit THE one.

The cookbook Raw Food for Real People by Rod Rotondi is a refreshing, no nonsense guide to eating real food fast. His book features his many amazing recipes that are staples for all. It is in this book that I have finally found the inspiration for a great hummus recipe.

You can use sprouted chickpeas to make the hummus which is readily available where I live thanks to the dedicated inhabitants of Salt Spring Island or make it yourself. Rod has a very handy chart on Sprouting Basics.

To get 2 1/2 cups of chickpeas, soak 1 cup of chickpeas in water for 8- 12 hours.

To sprout it, soak one cup of chickpeas in water for 2-3 days. Easy!

Sprouted chickpeas makes a delicious snack on its own. Tossing it with some spices and roasting it in the oven makes a  lovely savory snack.

This recipe makes a lot of hummus, but it will last a week or so in the refrigerator. It barely lasts a week in our house. I mix it in with noodles, dip my vegetables or pizza in it, spread it on toast, or slather it on vegetable wraps.

Recipe

Ingredients

6 cups of chickpeas or white kidney beans (soaked/sprouted/or rinsed from a can) – I often use white kidney beans as it yields a much smoother texture – a combination of the two also works well.

2 medium lemons, peeled and cut up and quartered

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered

1-3 medium garlic cloves (adjust it to taste)

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves or basil

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tsp sea salt (adjust to taste)

How To

1. Put chickpeas in a food processor and blend well. Remove to a large bowl.

2. To make the Tahini Sauce: put the lemon in first, then the remaining ingredients, in a blender and blend well.

3. Pour the Tahini Sauce into the bowl with chickpeas and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Enjoy the taste of fresh, homemade hummus!

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Love Up this Simple Bruschetta Recipe & Use it On Everything

Bruschetta is one of those simple, clean dishes that anyone can make and easily make it their own. With 5 simple ingredients, this is a perfect lunch, dinner or appetizer. I love to eat this refreshing concoction atop a garlic rubbed, olive oil slathered crostini!

Here is one of my favorite summer recipes for Bruschetta which takes advantage of all those local and seasonal ingredients.

When you go to the farmer’s market, pick up tomatoes, red onion, garlic, fresh basil, and a loaf of ciabatta bread. This is such an amazing way to enjoy locally grown food.

Andiamo a mangiare! 

Recipe

Bruschetta

4-5 tomatoes, diced and lightly drizzled with extra virgin olive oil

1 red or white onion, finely minced

1 to 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 bunch of fresh basil, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar (optional)

salt/pepper to taste

Crostini

baguette or ciabatta

1 clove of garlic, sliced in half

extra virgin olive oil

  1. Toast or grill slices of baguette or ciabatta.
  2. While crostini are still hot, rub them gently with the cut side of garlic and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Finish with your favorite topping.

 

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3 Simple Ways to Keep Your Food ‘Clean’ & Resources for Switching to a Plant-Based Diet

September has flown by and we are now onto cooler weather in the Northern Hemisphere. Our garden is no longer producing the vegetables that we so enjoyed over the summer, but all that squash we grew and bought from a local farm store is doing nicely in the cool basement.

I am excited to use up that squash and create all kinds of delicious dishes – a serendipitous venture when it comes to our kitchen. September was ‘Eat more plant-based food’ month, October is quick and clean month (I didn’t say quick & dirty). This means a focus on nourishing meals that are put together quickly with just a few, quality ingredients.

3 Simple Ways to Keep Your Food ‘Clean’

  1. Ignore misleading marketing terminology on labels (e.g., excellent source of…, free of, ‘natural’)
  2. Focus solely on the ingredient list and ignore the rest of the packaging
  3. Strive to purchase foods with:
  • only recognizable ingredients
  • few total ingredients listed
  • absence of artificial colors, flavorings, sweeteners, refined sugars, preservatives, stabilizers, thickeners, or any unrecognizable names.

Source: Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

Nutrition Resources

www.nlm.nih.gov

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov

http://vegetariannutrition.net

http://nutritionfacts.org

www.pcrm.org

www.brendadavisrd.com

www.veganhealth.org

http://plantbaseddietitian.com

www.theveganrd.com

www.vrg.org/nutrition/

https://fnic.nal.usda.gov/lifecycle-nutrition/vegetarian-nutrition

www.vegansociety.com