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Health and Nutrition

Think global – cook local !

Why roam far afield, when good things are so close at hand! Conjuring up delicious dishes with local foodstuffs… As a vegan cook, artist, photographer and blogger, I explore the question about how we could drastically reduce the industrial consumption of animals. Through creative projects and by thinking about sustainability and cruelty-free eating. Let’s share opinions, facts, ideas and recipes and grow together. My basic idea when developing this Mediterranean-inspired, three-course, late-summer menu is to use exclusively plant-based ingredients organically grown in Portugal. The ingredients currently offered to us by the season and the local market underlie my menu planning. …

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Herbal health solutions

Maureen Robertson  I have been getting stomach aches recently, maybe for two or three months, every time after a meal. The ache comes on about 30 minutes after I’ve eaten and I can’t seem to eat any spicy food lately. Are there foods I should stay away from, and which herbs may be beneficial? It sounds like you might be suffering from inflammation of the stomach mucosa lining and, when the stomach acids and other digestive juices and enzymes are released on the introduction of food into the stomach, the resulting relatively acidic environment will be aggravating the sensitive stomach …

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Maureen Robertson, “There is vital energy in nature”

Did you know that calendula (marigold) is a plant that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory, heals wounds, and has properties that treat psoriasis or female hormonal balance? Or that borage is extremely rich in Omega 3 and effective in the treatment of gout, and respiratory and skin disorders? Are you aware of the beneficial effects of parsley and coriander? Maureen Robertson has devoted her life to the study of plants and, after completing a degree in pharmacology at King’s College, London, she quickly gave up laboratories and the production of medicaments to immerse herself in nature. “Anything that is green …

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A full meal of edible wild plants

Edible plants, such as simple leaves and foliage from the fields, contain the nutrients necessary for the human body. A diet based on wild plants has its origins in the earliest days of our species. The ecologist Bernd Gerken, aged 66, was born in Germany and came to live in Portugal in 2006. Over the years, he has always researched the edibility of wild foliage from different types of field. According to Bernd Gerken, “there is an excellent variety of plants and plots in Portugal, which are Mediterranean in character, and there is a range of aromatic and green herbs …

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The problem is “contemporary, healthy nutrition” and it’s to do with farming, harvesting, conservation, transport, preparation, with foods that are too fatty, with too much meat and not enough time. Have I forgotten anything? What about excruciating industrial livestock farming, the use of hormones and antibiotics, genetic manipulation…? There is so much you can do wrong, and there is only one correct way to live healthily. From the outset, ECO123 decided that it would look for solutions to problems. Often, there is a solution right on your doorstep, sometimes even in your own garden and you run the risk of …

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Kombu seaweed – the power of a secret foodstuff

Even though seaweed has featured in people’s diets in Europe in some way or another owing to the fact that there is a lot of it in the Atlantic Ocean, this product has not been a normal component of the Portuguese diet. However, in recent years, this superfood has been becoming more common on our tables. This change is not just a consequence of cultural globalisation and the speed of information, it also comes from people’s growing concern about their diet, and consequently about their health. Seaweed has a number of known benefits, such as its great nutritional value, specifically …

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Autumn Flavours

After a scorching summer, the freshness of autumn brings us pleasant and more moderate temperatures. It’s time to put away your short clothes, pull one or two jackets out of the drawers and rediscover some recipes for warming, comforting dishes. Chef Tiago Lopes’s vegetarian suggestions include autumnal colours and intensity, in a perfect combination of flavours for an early evening with friends or family. Use fresh ingredients, whenever possible bought from local, organic producers. Autumn is ideal for good conversations – talk to the farmers, ask for tips for cooking their produce, and perhaps you’ll discover an old family recipe …

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Organic food for the skin

Every day, thousands of cosmetic products are consumed, the majority of which contain some kind of chemical agent which tends to affect one’s health. It was with this concern it mind that the sisters Rita and Cátia Curica founded Organii, the first Portuguese company dedicated to organic cosmetics with personalised solutions for each skin. Products are cultivated without any use of pesticides and produced without the addition of any artificial ingredients. Organii’s idea is to obtain purer and more active extracts, and in parallel reduce their environmental footprint. It is not only that the products were not tested on animals; …

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Arroz Integral

A forgotten super food

At present, when people think about rice, it is not often in its whole-grain form. However, since the beginnings of agriculture it was whole-grain cereals that traditionally formed the basis of human nutrition. It was only when the rate and patterns of consumption changed that the factor of convenience forced a change in eating habits, with refined foodstuffs regularly being used. Whole-grain rice is one of the most complete and balanced foodstuffs, promoting the stability of insulin and glucose levels in the blood. The fibre it contains can also contribute to the lowering of cholesterol (1) and the risk of …

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Carob, the fruit of the carob tree, is part of the history and traditions of certain regions in Portugal, especially the Algarve. These days, despite its huge potential, its use is practically limited to animal fodder. Characteristics of carob Carob is recognised as being very rich in anti-oxidants, with a 2011 study (1) having found them in carob flour. It also has anti-carcinogenic activity, and has shown a capacity to attack cervical cancer cells and to assist in repairing damage caused by free radicals. Another investigation (2) dating from 2010 compared two groups of people with high cholesterol; one group …

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