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Lean matcha green: Unilever’s Pukka Herbs launches new tea


Unilever’s Pukka Herbs has introduced a new tea called lean matcha green which ‘naturally boosts metabolism and balance blood sugar levels’.

In a statement, Pukka Herbs said: “This new blend in Pukka’s green tea repertoire also includes spices such as cinnamon which helps to balance blood sugar levels and turmeric which acts as an anti-inflammatory, reducing any irritation, heat or pain within the digestive tract.”

The latest tea from Pukka Herbs has been blended by co-founder Sebastian Pole.

“Lean matcha green has been blended to lend metabolism a helping hand by naturally boosting it, whilst supporting digestion,” he said.

“We think that every Pukka cuppa should not only be good for us, but should taste good as well. That’s why lean matcha green is made using the finest FairWild organic herbs to create a deliciously bold and boosting cup of herbal bliss.”

Lean matcha green will be available in the UK from January 2018 with a recommended retail price of £2.79 per pack.

Unilever acquired Pukka Herbs in September as it aimed to ‘address as gap’ in its portfolio. The British brand has a turnover of over £30 million and growth of around 30%.



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Chef John Foster: Herbs, an acquired joy of cooking; used fresh or dry, they matter (though fresh is best!)


Let’s be honest here, no one expected snow to fall before Halloween. True, there wasn’t much in the way of accumulation, but the fact that it got cold enough to see the flakes fall literally sent shivers up my spine. I’m not ready yet to give up on fall and slog through an early winter, but as is always the case with Mother Nature, it seems she has other plans. Now we may be left with hustling to bring in the last of our plants, crops and herbs before we lose them entirely.

In our haste to glean quickly there may be lots of unintentional casualties, plants that could go a bit longer, herbs that don’t mind a bit of frost. Of course it’s always a crap shoot at this time of year, and to clarify my decision making process it usually comes down to what needs to look best on the plate and taste best to the palate. Some farmers say that a bit of frost is good for spring and fall greens that is jump starts the sugars in the leaves. Root vegetables and hard squashes will shrug off that first snow, and usually not suffer until the cold settles into the actual soil. Tomatoes wilt, chilies wither, and herbs, fall somewhere into the grey area.

It’s herbs I worry about the most.

One of the acquired joys of cooking, is the growing realization as a young cook to experienced chef, of the use of fresh herbs. Once I only concentrated on speed and quantity, fresh herbs were my kryptonite then as I struggled to stop, clean, and chop enough herbs to equal what would have been the dry equivalent. Three times the fresh herbs to dry is the standard ratio, so imagine a young, impatient cook automatically reaching for one cup of dried basil when he would have needed three cups of chopped fresh herbs.

The result was often quick enough, but never really good enough. While dried herbs are essential for rubs and some marinades, the tendency for some cooks to use them at all times, and for every recipe speaks to the issue of ease over impact. When weighing whether or not it makes sense to use fresh herbs, those two opposites should never be the deciding factors. Rather you should plan your prep to utilize the full benefits of each product. And in doing so realize that sometimes, even if it puts you behind, the benefits of fresh herbs are worth the trouble.

Take for example the question of texture. Most of the time we pick the leaves from the fresh herbs and ignore the stems. On certain herbs like oregano, rosemary, savory and thyme that is a given. These herbs are far hardier and have a woody stem that is best discarded or used as an additive to a sachet or wood chips that might be used to smoke a product. In parts of Asia the entire herb is used, stem and all to enhance texture and give more moisture to the dish. The stem also carries flavor, and can be included in vegetable stocks to enhance the standard mire poix. One of the elements of a classic sachet for French stock making is parsley stems, full of the fresh greenness missing from a dried parsley flake. Using dried herbs for our stocks presents less of a problem than using them for a finished sauce. Because the dehydration process firms up the herb by removing the moisture it is almost impossible to completely soften the herb. Placed in a sauce in the same way as a fresh herb might be it gives flavor but also an unyielding texture, something the palate will not appreciate.

When comparing the flavor of the two types of herbs the difference is just as striking. Dried herbs by virtue of their drying process will concentrate the flavor. That in no way means that fresh herb flavor is not concentrated, but that it takes more of the fresh herb to “equal” that of the dried. I put that term in quotation marks to highlight what I believe to be a subtle but important difference; our ideas of flavor. Imagine dried cilantro in a fresh salsa and then again, with fresh. Doesn’t the fresh cilantro pack a punch? Doesn’t it add to the moisture and the color and even the texture? Fresh parsley in a tabbouleh salad adds those same elements, something which dried parsley would fall flat on.

Grow your own herbs

So, is there a time and place for each to be used?

Being the snob that I am, I often tell people to toss out their dried herbs if they’ve had them past a month. Given that most companies package herbs in containers that could last a year, this is not unreasonable, but is unrealistic. After spending a small fortune on dried herbs and spices, you’d like to think you’ll have them for a while. I advocate some simple ground rules for the use of fresh and dried and it begins with the seasons. For approximately 7 out of the 12 months here in Kentucky, most herbs can be found fresh.

Use them. Use a lot of them and the plants will continue to give. Cilantro goes quickly to flower and seed so stay on top of those leafy herbs. Parsley and mint are volunteers, popping up in patches all over an untilled home garden. Basil is a warm weather herb, but it’s ability to produce many times its area in fresh herbs makes it an ideal tri-season plant. Once the first real cold hits though, basil blackens and gives up. Oregano, sage and thyme should all winter over, provide we cut them back at the frost and in extreme cases cover them until the worst of winter is over. What to do with the trimmings? Dry them of course! Here is a direct line from your garden or farmers market to the container in your kitchen. Harvesting and drying your own herbs is far more efficient and satisfying than a container from the supermarket. Date your containers, keep track of the rotation so the herbs stay relatively “fresh” and use them on a regular basis.

Still confused?

Here’s a tip. Use fresh herbs with fresh foods (salsas, potato salads, pasta salad, etc.) and to finish a dish. Use dried at the start, if it sits, or if it’s dry. This way you play to the strengths of both types, allowing them to do the work they were meant to. Get out of the habit of reaching for the dry, and diversify.

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John Foster is an executive chef who heads the culinary program at Sullivan University’s Lexington campus. A New York native, Foster has been active in the Lexington culinary scene and a promoter of local and seasonal foods for more than 20 years. The French Culinary Institute-trained chef has been the executive chef of his former restaurant, Harvest, and now his Chevy Chase eatery, The Sage Rabbit.

To read more from Chef John Foster, including his recipes, click here.



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Herbs for Weight Loss


It is no surprise that ladies always want to look slim and smart and in this craze, their first and foremost preference is to start from home remedies. Herbs have traditionally been used from a long time ago for losing weight and in the treatment of various other diseases.

Some herbal supplements work directly while others induce weight loss by affecting the body mechanisms or biological pathways. Their incorporation and contribution in any plan for weight loss work in weight reduction.

The significance of any particular herbs appears depending on its possible impacts on the body. With research, the confidence over using herbs for weight reduction has increased. This advancement has also led to knowledge about how herbs work.

RELATED: Smoothies for Weight Loss

The benefit of using herbs for weight loss appears when the loss is permanent. According to Cleveland Clinic, the herbal products are not effective in this regard and they don’t cause weight loss permanently.

There are various mechanisms through which herbs induce this change. Some of the products having diuretic and laxative effect act to stimulate the serotonin level in the body. It helps to feel full ending urge for more food.

Some other herbs like Guarana, Dandelion, and Cascara may cause water-weight loss instead of fat loss from the body. Such herbs are also known for their diuretic or laxative effect. The digestion process slows down with the action of Dandelion.

As a result of slow digestion, there is a lesser urge for food and you don’t feel hunger quite earlier after eating any whole food. In contrary, Guarana and Yerba stimulate the metabolism process due to the presence of stimulants in it.

Caffeine is a major stimulant present in herbs. It causes a temporary increase in metabolism for a shorter period of time, thus causing a digestion at a relatively rapid rate. 

RELATED: Atkins Diet-Best plan for weight loss

Major Herbs for Losing Weight

•    Ginger

Ginger possesses a high nutritional value containing all essential vitamins, macro, and micronutrients. Being rich in dietary fiber, ginger contributes a lot in reducing weight. It also contains some important active phytochemicals. They play a role to impart medicinal properties to it. 

Ginger also improves the digestion by increasing the metabolic activity by 20% than normal. The essential nutrients are absorbed rapidly in the body. The energy expenditure of body also increases driving the process of digestion, as a response burning up more of the fats stored in the body.

It reduces hunger to a greater level. By less intake of food, the net calorie gain is also low. All food that has been ingested, tailors the body energy requirements to carry out body functions. Also, prefer eating low-calorie food instead of heavy one.

•    Dandelion

The list of potential benefits associated with dandelion makes it an important herb for various medical purposes. Being rich in essential nutrients and vitamins, this flowering plant is perfect to use as a herb for making tea.

Dandelion is also available as supplements in form of dried leaves, roots, or tincture. For using it against increasing weight, it is preferred to prepare dandelion tea with dried leaves.

The main precursor found in dandelion is the phytochemicals it contains including beta-sitosterol, taraxacin, caffeic acid, alkaloids, and pectin. They are known to impart its diuretic and laxative properties.

The dandelion also stimulates the bile secretion from liver and aids digestion. Its diuretic action increases the weight loss by increasing the volume and frequency of urination to get rid of extra weight water.

•    Garcinia Cambogia

Have you ever heard of inhibitors? Garcinia works to inhibit the action of digestive enzymes in the body. The phytochemicals which are derivatives of citric acid like hydroxycitric acid (HCA) inhibits the function of citrate lyase.

You can easily find them at medical health care centers in form of supplements as tablets, capsules, and powders. The hydro citrate acid content makes them good to use for weight loss as it suppresses the appetite and blocks the assimilation of carbohydrates and fats.

•    Guarana

Burn your stored body fats by using guarana. The caffeine content of guarana makes it a good stimulant for weight loss because of the diuretic effect. It results in weight loss due to water but fats are at their place.

The presence of caffeine also makes it a stimulant, and fats are burned this way due to increase in physical activity. So care must be taken while combining it with other herbal remedies or stimulants. It may result in high blood pressure.  

RELATED: Nutrisystem Lean 13 for managing your weight loss

•    Green Tea

Green tea is among most common teas of all time and is now grown in various parts of the world. Green tea is characterized by high level of anti-oxidants including polyphenols and Vitamin C.

Slightly oxidized leaves of Camellia sinensis are used to prepare tea. Its thermogenic properties stimulate the metabolism and burn body fats rapidly if taken regularly. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition carried out research to find its potential in weight loss.

In an experiment, green teas caused significant weight loss in individuals when 690 mg of green tea extract was given them over 3 months period. It showed positive impacts in removing body fats and water weight. So don’t wait and add green tea bags on your grocery list. 

•    Cocoa

Have you ever thought of using raw cocoa beans for making tea? Raw cocoa is known to contain no fats and is also rich in nutrients thus making it good for health. Cocoa works to inhibit the digestive enzymes in a body including lipases and amylases.

Cocoa beans also act to increase the release of adiponectin which is a protein hormone produced in adipose tissues. This hormone is released into blood reducing the number of fats which get stored in the body, thus reducing the weight.

•    Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate is herbal extract which reduces the body weight by suppressing appetite. Caffeine, theobromine and other phytochemicals act as a stimulant to reduce weight. The alkaloids reduce the body weight by reducing the appetite.

Along with suppression of appetite, it also promotes increased metabolism causing diuresis. This double action increases the fat loss and eliminates water from the body causing weight loss. Don’t be sentimental over your increasing weight, use it in a controlled amount.

Herbs act as a potent stimulant and increase the physical activity by stimulating muscles. They may reduce the cravings for food. Some act as thermogenic agent and increase the thyroid functioning which in response increases metabolic rate.

Prevention of fat accumulation and fast fat metabolism burns the fats and generates energy for carrying out various daily activities. This results in immediate release of energy and elimination from the body by conversion of carbohydrates to stored fat.

Herbs reduce triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein level in the body. They are referred to as bad cholesterol, while most of the herbs increase the high-density lipoprotein level in body referred as good cholesterol.

Besides the potential list of benefits be cautious about the dosage of herbs. Herbs also have their associated side effects which may cause threat when taken in high doses. Elderly, children and pregnant women should be careful while using herbs.

 

Consult a medical practitioner before using herbal supplements. Always follow the prescription to avoid their reaction in a body or with drugs if taken.

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Littleton Country Gardeners to host herbs, flowers lecture – News – Littleton Independent


The Littleton Country Gardeners will host a program presented by Betsy Williams at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 14 at the New England Forestry Foundation, 32 Foster St., Littleton.

Williams is a teacher, lecturer and author of articles and books on the uses and stories of herbs and flowers. Her gardens and floral work have been featured in books and national magazines.

Williams will present a program and a workshop on the Festive Table: decorating for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays using fruits and vegetables, gathering and preparing seasonal plant materials and sharing ideas for centerpieces and decorations.



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Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs for bloating


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Even when you do your best to avoid dairy, greasy food, and anything carbonated, bloat can still happen. You’d think ordering a kale salad would be safe, but even that can sometimes lead to feeling ballooned. It hardly seems fair.

Thankfully, Traditional Chinese Medicine has some insightful reasons as to why unsuspecting foods might be the culprit. “When the stomach is running too hot or too cold, you can feel bloated,” explains Vie Healing founder Mona Dan, an acupuncturist, herbalist, and TCM expert. “That’s why both spicy food, which is hot, and salad, which is cold, can make you feel bloated.”

Incorporating spices and herbs can help bring balance to a dish—and your body. And the good news is that if the damage is already done, you can use an herb blend to neutralize the problem that’s already occurring. The key is knowing what to use. “In Chinese medicine, a single herb doesn’t make a big difference because a tiny amount can get lost, but if you have a blend, it creates a stronger force,” Dan says.

“When the stomach is running too hot or too cold, you can feel bloated. That’s why both spicy food and salad can make you feel bloated.”

Dr. Eric Karchmer, Ph.D, has studied TCM for over 20 years and is in complete agreement. Drawing upon a popular herb blend that has been used in Chinese medicine for hundreds of years, he created an anti-bloating powder for DAO Labs with eight different ingredients, which work in harmony with each other.

Here, both experts share TCM’s all-star herbs to mix into your meals or sip afterwards as a tea to combat bloat.

Keep reading to get in on the remedies that have long been known to work.

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Photo: Stocksy/Gabi Bucactaru

Warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg

Both Dan and Dr. Karchmer say ginger is great for making you feel less stuffed. “It’s a really important herb in Chinese medicine,” Dr. Karchmer says. If you’re having something that could lead to gut problems—such as cool dishes like a kale salad, smoothie, or sushi—one tip is to add ginger right into your meal to prevent bloating altogether. “On its own, sushi could cause bloating because it’s cooling, but adding ginger and wasabi help balance that out,” Dan says.

Since ginger is warming, it’s a good one to pair with other warming spices. Cinnamon and nutmeg are two of Dr. Karchmer’s favorites. “We tend to like them because of the taste, but they actually have a medicinal benefit too,” he says. 

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citrus to reduce bloating
Photo: Stocksy/Gabi Bucataru

Citrus zest

There’s a reason celebs love drinking lemon water or starting their day with hot lemon tea: Citrus is a great bloat buster. “There are a bunch of citrus fruits used in Chinese medicine,” Dr. Karchmer says. “Things like lemon and lime aren’t as common there, but they use orange peel, which has similar properties, in helping with digestion.”

One he used in the DAO Labs tea blend, red tangerine, has been known to support the spleen. “In Chinese medicine, we talk about the spleen and the stomach,” Dr. Karchmer says. “The spleen controls digestion, taking out the essences of foods and distributing them to the rest of the body, and the stomach puts things into the rest of the digestive system, moving things down,” he explains. “Herbs that support the spleen help get rid of dampness, which in Chinese medicine refers to fluids getting stuck.”

Dan explains it this way: “You know how it’s harder to move when it’s humid out and you’re just slower? The body is like that, too—everything moves slower and that can lead to bloat.” That’s why citrusy zests can help, well, get things moving. They help get rid of that dampness.

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berries for bloating
Photo: Stocksy/Pixel Stories

Red berries

If you want to get a little more exotic with your TCM herbs, Dr. Karchmer recommends incorporating hawthorn berry, known as shan zha in Chinese, which is linked to helping with blood flow. Dan has her fave red berries too: goji and juju beads. “Anything that can help get the blood flowing more reduces bloating, which is why antioxidant-rich red berries are great for that,” she says. Looking for tea blends with a few red berry powders together can help knock out that full feeling after one too many helping at dinner.

The most important way to use TCM to get rid of bloating is to think about what will make your body feel more balanced. And then, mix your concoctions accordingly.

If you’re looking for more ways to use Traditional Chinese Medicine, here’s how it can help clear up your acne. Plus, what to do when food isn’t the cause of your bloat.



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