Gluten-Free Cooking

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Gluten Free recipe cookbookGluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, rye, spelt and kamut. It’s part of what gives certain foods their structure and texture. Think about chewy bread or pizza dough—gluten is what makes that texture. If you’re looking to cut gluten from your diet, we’ve got a few tips as well as a free downloadable gluten-free cookbook packed with great tips and seven recipes you’ll want to try!

Hidden gluten?

Unfortunately, hidden gluten exists. Many processed foods have gluten in them, that’s because food manufacturers use gluten as a stabilizer, emulsifier, thickener and flow agent. This means it can show up in some least-expected places like flavorings and spice mixes, frozen foods, candy, sauces and more.

The Upside

The good news is, more than likely, plenty of what you already eat is naturally gluten free. Unprocessed foods like fruits, veggies, meats and seafood are all great choices. And, cooking gluten-free is easier than ever with the expansive selection you’ll find at Sprouts that fit your diet.

Plant-based Paleo Jerky – Is It for Real?

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Yes it is! A variety of vegetables can be used to make paleo-vegan jerky, including eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, coconut and even jack fruit. Dehydrated and seasoned with spices similar to animal jerky, veggie-jerky is a fun, easy snack to make at home and take on the go.

Benefits of Plant-based Paleo Jerky

  • Provides fiber as well as many vitamins and minerals
  • Is lower in sodium than traditional jerky
  • A great way to add vegetables to your diet
  • No dehydrator needed—make it right in your oven
  • Both paleo and vegan

Try these vegan jerky recipes for the perfect paleo snack while hiking, on-the-go or just about any time!

Chipotle Eggplant Jerky

Chipotle Eggplant Jerky
Photo courtesy of Caveman Foods.

Teriyaki Portobello Mushroom Jerky

Teriyaki Portobello Mushroom Jerky
Photo courtesy of Caveman Foods.

 

Brought to us by our friend, Jill West, RDN, at Caveman Foods.

How to Choose the Best Jerky

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When eating paleo, protein is a priority. Jerky makes a great protein snack for post-workout fuel, to satisfy hunger between meals or for healthy, on-the-go snacking just about any time! As jerky’s popularity has grown, so have the flavors and types of meat. Besides beef, look for chicken, pork, bison, elk, venison, turkey, salmon and more.

Jerky gives you more nutritional bang for your buck. It’s made with lean cuts of meat so it will dry out properly. This makes it a healthy protein choice because it’s low in saturated fat. Paleo jerky has many nutritional benefits over conventional jerky—without sacrificing taste. For example, the sugar content of paleo jerky is usually 2 grams or less, whereas conventional jerky ranges from 5–9 grams of sugar per ounce.

Benefits of choosing paleo jerky over conventional jerky

  • Lower in sugar
  • Lower in sodium
  • All-natural ingredients
  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • Higher meat quality standards (grass-fed, organic, hormone-free)

How do you know which jerky to choose?

Here’s what to look for on the nutrition facts label:

  • Serving size: 1 oz. (about 28 grams)
  • Less than 400 mg. of sodium
  • Less than 5 g. of sugar
  • 9 g. of protein or more
  • Nitrate- and MSG-free; no artificial flavors or colors (i.e. caramel color)
  • Paleo or Paleo Friendly certification logos

This article was brought to you by our friend, Jill West, RDN, at Caveman Foods.

Erythritol

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Healthy Living - ErythritolA bit of a mouthful, erythritol, (sounds like air-rith-rih-tall), is a sweetener you may have seen listed among other ingredients for things like chewing gum, baked goods and beverages. While it sounds new, erythritol was discovered by Scottish chemist John Stenhouse in 1848. This sugar alcohol occurs naturally in some fruits like watermelon, pears and grapes, as well as some fermented foods like wine, sake and soy sauce.

Even though small amounts of erythritol are present in nature, for mass production, it is generally made from cornstarch. It is about 60–80% as sweet as sucrose (sugar) but is nearly non-caloric. And, unlike sugar, it does not cause spikes in blood sugar, because the body doesn’t break it down like a sugar, making it a great option for those seeking an alternative sweetener.

Something to Smile About

Other sugar alcohols you might know include sorbitol and xylitol. Like its sweet brethren, erythritol supports dental health because it can help suppress the growth of bad bacteria and acids, two things that can lead to tooth decay—that’ll give you something to smile about!

 

Did you know: Even though erythritol was discovered in the mid-1800s, it wasn’t used as a sweetener until 1990.

Broad Spectrum Explained

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Sunblock bottles on the beachDid you know that sunscreen that doesn’t say “broad spectrum” on the label is only protecting you from half of the sun’s effects? Two forms of the sun’s radiant energy that affect your skin are UVA and UVB. All sunscreens protect against UVB rays, but not all protect against UVA rays.

UVA and UVB

UVA are the longest of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays—they penetrate more deeply into your skin and are responsible for skin damage and premature aging. The shorter wavelength UVB rays cause a mixed bag of effects. On one hand, UVB helps your body to transform sunlight into vitamin D which is an important nutrient to many of your body’s functions. On the other hand, you may have experienced one of UVB’s other effects—sunburn.

Why broad spectrum?

Too much of either type of ultraviolet light can cause skin cancer, making broad-spectrum sunscreen a healthy choice. Also labeled as multi spectrum or UVA/UVB protection, this designation has nothing to do with SPF which stands for “sun protection factor.” The SPF number only relates to how long it will take the UVB (those rays that lead to sunburn) to redden skin—it doesn’t take the equally damaging UVA rays into account—that’s why you should look for a sunblock that’s broad-spectrum, multi-spectrum or says it protects from both UVA and UVB.

 

Did you know? The sun emits a third ultraviolet wavelength, UVC. The shortest of the three UV rays, it is mostly absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere.

Primal Kitchen Story

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Primal Kitchen founder and New York Times bestselling author, Mark Sisson, reminds us to Eat Like Your Life Depends on It. It means that the power of food can lift you up to new heights to find the greatest amount of pleasure, joy and contentment from every moment possible.

Mark spent three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal health. Once an elite endurance athlete, he lost both health and vitality through an oppressive training regimen and a highly inflammatory diet. He vowed to find a way to be as fit, strong and healthy as possible, with the least amount of pain, suffering and sacrifice required.

After extensive research and years of experimenting, Mark regained his health and enjoyment of life by simply changing how he ate. Blown away by the dramatic shifts in his own health that came from simply rethinking his food choices, Mark started to wonder how many tens or hundreds of millions of others might be suffering the same fate.

Primal Kitchen® delivers on its promise to provide uncompromisingly delicious condiments, dressings, marinades and vinaigrettes, avocado oils, collagen protein bars and protein shakes that are full of heart-healthy, natural fats, clean protein, and ingredients rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

They are also committed to the highest quality ingredients with products that are free of dairy, gluten, grains, refined sugar, soy and industrial seed oils (like canola, sunflower or safflower).

The entire Primal Kitchen collection aims to exquisitely satiate while also packing beneficial fats, high quality, clean protein and nutritional ingredients—like avocado oil, collagen, organic herbs and spices.


With the belief that food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal health, Primal Kitchen founder Mark Sisson, set out to help others regain control of their health. You can start your own journey to regain control with this amazing prize pack offered by Primal Kitchen.

Enter for a chance to win a Vitamix Blender + Collagen Fuel

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Download the Sprouts mobile app and create an account
  2. Log in to your account
  3. Go to the Mobile Coupons section of the app
  4. Clip the Primal Kitchen promotional offer

No purchase necessary to enter or win. The giveaway is open to legal residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older. See official rules for details.

Cookie Ice Cream Bowl

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Give into that sweet tooth craving- thank us later. Pile on scoops of gelato for a sweet, melt-in-your-mouth kind of bite. This is a fun way to get kids involved with cooking and an even better way to save time on dish washing, because you’ll be eating the bowl!

Ingredients:

Tools needed:

  • Wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Set of measuring spoons
  • Mixer (optional)
  • Muffin tin
  • Cooking spray
  • 5-inch round disk cookie cutter

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Using a hand mixer or wooden spoon, blend butter until smooth. Add egg and Organic Chocolate Chippy Cookie Mix and continue blending mixture until dough is formed.
  3. Grease bottom of muffin tin. Roll out dough on floured surface to 1/3 inch thickness. Cut 5-inch round disks from dough. Cover one disk over the bottom of each muffin tin, pressing to form smooth surface.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
  5. Cool on pan for 10 minutes, then carefully loosen bottom edges of cookies from pan using spatula. Allow cups to cool completely on wire cooling rack.
  6. Fill up cookie cups with Sprouts Organic Vanilla Gelato, and drizzle with your favorite chocolate sauce. Enjoy!

Composting: How-to Basics

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Did you know there is a difference between soil and dirt? Soil is nutrient-rich because it contains microorganisms, decaying organic matter, earthworms and other helpful insects. Dirt lacks all of those nourishing and living things. Even earthworms will not thrive in dirt—composting to the rescue! You can turn your dirt into soil with these composting steps.

composting in the back yard1. Pile vs. Bin

Decide whether you’re a super-DIYer and want to build a place for a compost pile in your yard or you’d rather use a bin. There are loads of simple plans for containing a compost pile online as well as various types of compost bins. Choose whichever best suits you.

2. Placement

You’ll want to find a spot in your yard to place your composting bin or pile. Ideally, this spot is not too sunny and easy to access from your kitchen. (The easier it is, the more apt you’ll be to continue your new composting routine!)

3. Save up Stuff

You’ve got your bin or pile space all situated and ready to go, now’s the time to rake your yard for dried leaves to use as the base of your pile. You’ll also want to start saving kitchen scraps of veggies and fruits. (Remember, no animal products can make their way into your compost pile!)

4. Layering

Ideally, you’ll want to have about three times as much dried matter to the wetter fruit and veggie scraps from your kitchen. Put down the dried matter first, then add your kitchen scraps on top. Add a layer of soil and a little water to moisten and there you have it—your beginning compost pile!

5. Turning

You’ll need to turn your compost from time to time. Also, if it is dry, give it a little water. If it smells, it has too much water, add some crushed leaves (not more kitchen scraps), turn it and that should do the trick! If it’s really dry, it needs to be turned and watered, or add more fruit and vegetable scraps.

6. Ready to Use

You’ll know your compost is ready to use when it looks like dark rich soil. Add it to your houseplants or garden—they’ll love you and so will the environment!

Tip: Crushing or shredding your dried yard leaves and cutting your kitchen scraps into smaller pieces will help your compost turn into useable compost more quickly.

 

Did you know? Crushed egg shells are the only exception to the no-animal products rule in composting. Including them in your compost pile adds calcium—an important nutrient in helping plants build cell walls!

Blue Sky Soda

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Girl with Blue Sky

Founded on the admiration for blue skies and open air, Blue Sky Beverage Co. has been crafting soda that’s flavored by nature since 1971. Their sodas are made with real ingredients like pure cane sugar, are always caffeine free and come in a variety of cane sugar, zero sugar and organic flavors.

Shop Blue Sky Soda

Veganism: Where to Start

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If you’re new to veganism, avoiding animal-based products might seem fairly straightforward. However, there are a few things you’ll want to pay special attention to. We’ll help you navigate through these ingredient lists so you can steer clear of some potential hidden animal products that may surprise you.

Whey

Often used in baked goods, whey is one of those words you may or may not be familiar with—it’s the watery part of milk that is leftover after curds are formed in the cheese-making process. Because whey contains much of the lactose and about 20% of the protein in milk, it has become a valued byproduct. (It used to be something that got thrown away!) Whey powder is a mainstay in many non-vegan protein powders. Combined with other ingredients in processed foods, whey conveys a host of desirable properties—for this reason, you might find it listed in the ingredients for baked goods, beverages, dressings and a myriad of other products.

Casein

Another milk-based protein is casein. One of the two primary proteins in milk, it accounts for 80% of the protein in cow’s milk. You may also see casein in the ingredient list as caseinate or lactic acid which sometimes contains casein. Some foods where you might also see casein listed are margarine, non-dairy coffee creamer, cheese-flavored chips and snack crackers, as well as baked goods.

Vegan Marshmallows View RecipeGelatin

Created from the skin, bones and connective tissues of (typically) cows and pigs, gelatin can be found in things like candy (think gummy bears), gum, capsules used for supplements and marshmallows. A vegan substitute for gelatin is agar-agar. A flavorless gelling agent, agar-agar is derived from cooked and pressed seaweed.

Whether you want to gather ‘round a campfire and roast marshmallows, or just sneak a few from the pantry (we won’t tell) you can try this Vegan Marshmallow recipe—you’re friends and family will love them!

Natural and Artificial Flavorings

You might want to err on the side of caution with this phrase when you encounter it in an ingredient list as it can be either animal- or vegetable-sourced. Listed in the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, natural and artificial flavors are both described as able to include “meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof”—a pretty wide window!

Vitamins and Supplements

Vitamins and supplements are a part of many people’s healthy living journey. As a vegan, you’ll want to pay a little more attention to the labeling. Found in many multivitamins, vitamins A, D and B12 can be derived from animal products. Additionally, many supplements come in capsule format, which may be made of gelatin. When shopping for vitamins and supplements, it’s best to check the label and look for those that are labeled as vegan. 

Vegan Worcestershire Sauce View RecipeWorcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce seems to show up in loads of recipes that you may want to convert to your new plant-based diet. The ingredient that will kick this condiment from your fridge, however, is anchovies. But fret not—here is a vegan version you can whip up in no time!

Beer and Wine

It might come as a surprise that some wines and beers may not be vegan. After all, wine is made from grapes, and beer from hops and barley—all plants! Yet, some beers and wines might be made with non-vegan-friendly ingredients like dairy or honey. There is also the question of process: Animal products are often used in the filtering and fining, or clarification process of both wine and beer making. These include things like isinglass (from fish), sea shells, albumen (egg whites) and gelatin. Luckily, this website contains a comprehensive list of well over 35,000 beer, wine and spirits, showing whether they’re vegan-friendly or not.

Carmine

A naturally sourced red dye used in food and drink, the most surprising thing about carmine is its source—a bug! For centuries, red dye has been created from the cochineal bug that lives on the pads of prickly pear cacti. Rich in history, this bug-centric colorant eventually made its way into modern-day food production. Some other names you might also see carmine listed as include cochineal, carmine lake or natural red 4.

 

Did you know? Broccoli, bok choy, chinese cabbage, collards and kale are all great, non-dairy sources of calcium.