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Monday, April 29, 2019

3 Good Reasons why you should Include Mushrooms in your Mediterranean Diet Eating Plan

Mushrooms are fascinating, invisible one day, pushing their way up through the earth the next day ready for eager mushrooms enthusiasts to pick. There are hundreds of different types of mushrooms: some are more exotic than others, some wild growing in wooded areas while others are cultivated. But, even if you add the simplest most common mushrooms to your soups, casseroles or side dish, you'll still get that delightful flavor. 

Mushrooms are easy to work into a Mediterranean diet, voted by the US News and World Report this year to be ‘the best overall diet. It’s easy to understand the popularity of the Mediterranean dietMediterranean cooking allows you to cut down on red meats, increase your healthy fats and respect your daily calorie intake.  

Chopped and well-seasoned mushrooms will combine well with seafood, tomatoes, herbs de Provence and olive oil, the basis for Mediterranean cuisine.

Mushrooms are different from ordinary plants, in that they grow and get their energy without photosynthesis -- their nutrients come from the soil. Sometimes referred to as a vegetable, this delicious, mysterious food is really a fungus which has been around for age. The ancient Egyptians reserved them only for the Pharaohs while the Romans fed mushrooms to the warriors to give them extra strength.

The medicinal, unusual properties of mushrooms are not part of a new plan devised by health fanatics to get us to eat healthier. There are many reasons why you should consider mushrooms more seriously.

Here’s what you might not know:

Mushrooms for Weight loss

Mushrooms are low in calories, with an earthy sweet texture and flavor. With obesity on the rise, mushrooms are a healthy option with only 15 calories in a cup of raw sliced white mushrooms (70 grams) Cooking will add some more calories to your dish but, because they’re high in fiber, mushrooms are filling when served with a meal. 

A 10 day research study aimed at comparing the difference of satiety ratings between meat and mushrooms showed that participants felt less hungry and more satisfied after meals of white button mushrooms rather than ground beef.

One thing to remember though is that mushrooms have lots of different flavors and a lot depends on how it’s cooked. If you’re looking for a low-calorie diet choose your cooking method and oil carefully as in the recipe below.

Antioxidants and Vitamins

The Mediterranean diet is a balanced approach to food, based on unprocessed home cooking with high consumption of fruit and vegetables. These are good sources of antioxidants which will give you a healthy heart and help fight infection.

Mushrooms are packed with antioxidant properties: attributes which scientists and mycologists (mushroom experts) say will help us to live a healthier longer life. Mushrooms, they say contain two super antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione noted for their anti-aging properties.

Anticancer properties

Mushrooms contain the antioxidant selenium in substantial quantities. Scientists say selenium is an anti-cancer nutrient which plays a protective role in the prevention of cancer. Not all mushrooms are alike, some offer more health benefits than others.  Shiitake Mushrooms, in particular, have been touted by scientists to have the ability to fight cancer cells and to help chromosome damage caused by anticancer treatments. Reishi mushrooms are another type of medicinal mushroom proved to be effective in many health conditions including cancer and during chemotherapy.

A word of warning before you go mushroom foraging. Mushrooms might look exotic, colorful, and full of promise in the fields but it’s best to choose a foraging companion who is thoroughly familiar with the local species in your area. Some mushrooms are poisonous.

Most important though - don’t think of mushrooms as small insignificant vegetables -- mushrooms are fabulous fungi worth getting to know.

Saut̩ed mushrooms in olive oil Рsimple and satisfying


700 g fresh button mushrooms
90 ml olive Oil (around 6 tablespoons)
2- 3 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper
45 ml of herbs de Provence (3 tablespoons of parsley and thyme)

Remove the tips of the stems and clean the mushrooms using a damp cloth. Heat the olive oil and cook the garlic for a minute or so. Add the mushrooms and cook occasionally stirring until they are cooked. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence and continue cooking for two to three minutes.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Olio Nuovo Days: Celebrating New Virgin Olive Oil Harvest in Paris

Olio Nuovo 2019

Gourmet olive oil producers, specialists, chefs and foodies gathered in Paris for the fourth international Olio Nuovo Days Congress which took place 15 to 19 of January. Just as wine lovers in France celebrate the harvesting of the Beaujolais Nouveau, so do olive oil lovers.

Olio Nuovo takes place in January, the season for olive oil, as the oil is new. Oil that has recently been harvested and bottled is what connoisseurs like:  the olive oil is fresh and full of antioxidants.  Organizers made the Olive Oil celebrations more gastronomically delightful this year by adding two master classes of Extra Virgin Olive Oil at a prestigious Parisian hotel.

Olio Nuovo is a special time for proud olive oil producers; it’s a time to showcase their best freshly pressed oils and to compete with other olive oils in the Northern Hemisphere.
The event kicked off with the main competition where quality oils from Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, Greece, Japan, and France were presented to the jury to be blind tasted. This year’s best olive oil came from Magic House Farm in Sicily with their ‘fruity green’ extra virgin oil called Valle deli Inferno. The jury awarded second prize to the Japanese extra virgin Takao.

Olio Nuovo 2019

Deciding if oil is exceptional is not an easy task.  Professional olive oil experts analyze the olive oil samples by looking, smelling and tasting. They first check the aroma. After deciding if the oil is intense medium or delicate oil they then taste for the fruitiness, bitterness and pungency, the three positive attributes of olive oil.  

Best Readability of the Label and Best Packaging Design

Winning the title of the best label at Olio Nuovo 2019 was the Tunisian exhibit Oleastra. The Best Packaging prize went to Bona Furtuna Farm.

Master Classes

Olio Nuovo 2019 was not just about judging the best olive oil. The general public was able to discover, appreciate and cook with the green nectar.  On the first day, participants learned how to choose and taste the oils with the olive oil experts while on the second day renowned French chefs took over allowing participants to learn more about the flavors of extra virgin olive oil at the legendary Ritz Hotel.

Teaching participants how to cook with olive oil is a broad subject, but the great thing about this Extra Virgin Class was the sharing of practical information, recognizing the different flavors and discussing the qualities of extra virgin olive oil.

The Tasting and Cooking with olive oil was a splendid experience for both beginners and culinary professionals at Olio Nuovo 2019.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

4 Tips For Keeping Your Face Healthy with Olive Oil

You don’t have to splurge on expensive makeup products.  Discover some healthy olive oil options.

                                                 Healthy Olive Oil for Beauty  

With so many beauty products on the market you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing your face. Some of them though are way too expensive and often contain harmful chemicals and preservatives.
If keeping healthy is one of your New Year’s resolutions, don’t ignore your face. Include natural doable olive oil ways to keep your face healthy this year.

  1.    Olive Oil for Removing make up

Taking off makeup is less fun than putting it on. If you don’t remove all the foundation, mascara, and eyeliner, it’ll clog up your skin causing smudges around your eyes.

Olive oil, similar in structure to the oils used in makeup, removes all makeup without damaging the skin. And, it will even get rid of waterproof mascara.

Simply dab a little olive oil on a cotton ball and apply over your face and eyes. Rub gently until all the makeup is removed. Rinse with lukewarm water to remove any residue.

     2.    Olive Oil for Shadows and Dark Rings

We sometimes refer to these as bags under the eyes; stress, hereditary factors, and lack of sleep can cause these dark circles under your eyes. You’ll come across home remedies such as cucumber and tea bags, but did you know you can use a mixture of olive oil and lemon as well?

Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the juice of half a lemon. Using a cotton ball, apply on the eyes; press lightly on the dark circles for about five minutes, then rinse. Lemon is known for its skin- lightening properties, while olive oil hydrates the skin.

     3.     Face mask

We know how important it is to cleanse the face every evening; we do it to remove all the grime and dirt from the day as well as makeup. Every so often, though, we need to go deeper to pull out those impurities lurking beneath the top layer of the skin.

Using a face mask once a week will do this. It will also unclog our pores and get rid of any pimples caused by bacteria. This healthy, nutritious homemade mask does not take long to prepare; your skin will feel rejuvenated after the treatment. And you get to relax for fifteen minutes while it does its magic.

Mash half an avocado with some olive oil and make into a paste. Smooth it onto your face and leave for about fifteen minutes or so, then rinse.
     4.     Natural Exfoliant

Our body naturally gets rid of dead skin, but sometimes it hangs on too long, giving us a dull, tired-looking complexion. Exfoliating removes dull, tired, dead cells and rejuvenates the skin. Use this natural scrub twice a week to help keep your complexion clear and healthy.

Make a paste with 2 teaspoons of sea salt and 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
With the tips of your fingers, rub the mixture on your face, neck, and body using circular movements paying special attention to the T zone area of your face

What you must remember though that if you want the best results then use the best olive oil.  Scrutinize the label and make sure you’re buying extra virgin olive oil, the best guarantee that you are getting the real thing.

Want more tips and tricks?

Check out Chapter 3 of 7 Wonders of Olive Oil.

Photos: Pixabay