Features

Tortilla Vegetarian

Tortilla has always looked out for their vegetarian customers by providing a menu that is easily customisable but in recent months they have joined the Vegetarian Society – the only legally licensed vegetarian trademark registered globally.

If you don’t know who Tortilla are yet, here is a quick overview:

Tortilla started on 2007 after the owners saw a gap in the market for good burritos and tacos. More than just burrito producers, Tortilla take special care to ensure that they operate sustainably. They use grass fed beef and higher welfare chicken and pork, minimise ‘food miles’ by purchasing most of their ingredients from within the UK, prioritising organic food and providing recycling in their restaurants.

Tortilla work hard to keep the customer first by offering healthier options like the lower carb naked burrito and providing nutritional information for their meals so that customers can make informed decisions.

By the time you add free guacamole for vegetarian diners to their list of attributes, it makes it hard to not want to at least give them a try.

For locations click here

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*Guacamole is a additional cost for non-vegetarian customers

 

Mandira Yoghurt Bar 4

Covent Garden is set to be home to London’s first ever fresh yoghurt bar.

Not to be confused with the frozen yoghurt joints that have popped up with force over the past few years, Mandira  yoghurt bar serves fresh yoghurt bowls with a light fruit or vegetable topping, making a healthy snack or a deliciously simple standalone meal.

Although this is a new concept in the UK, in Turkey, “mandıra” are traditional shops selling artisanal dairy products which are found all across the country. The Mediterranean inspiration is evident in menu options like Hummus & Za’atar, Cucumber & Mint, Aubergine & Tomato Puree and the yoghurt bowls will be presented in a classic Mediterranean style with olive oil, pepper and salt.

Mandira Yoghurt Bar 2

There will also be options more suited to a Western palette such as Raspberry & Walnut, Granola & Strawberry and Blueberry & Green Apple.

Mandira Yoghurt Bar 3

Other menu items are also inspired by the Mediterranean such as their homemade, hearty soups and sandwiches served on traditional Turkish simit bread.

What’s more, Mandira uses only the freshest ingredients, including yoghurt sourced from a handful of small farms just outside the capital. Due to open end of April/beginning of May 2017, the Mandira yoghurt bar will be open seven days a week, for eating in or take away. In the meantime you can get your yoghurt fix via Deliveroo.

More info

www.mandiralondon.com

ambience
ambience
Image credit: Shutterstock

We think it’s wonderful that so many restaurants are either featuring healthier products or specialising in healthy niches. However, as the market grows, is simply serving up a quirky latte enough or should more attention be paid to a restaurant’s ambience and environment?

A few months ago we visited a café in West London based on a recommendation from one of our readers. The menu boasted artisan coffees and classic meals made with the best ingredients so we were certain this was going to be a great visit.

Unfortunately, the background music of choice for the day was hip hop and every track was littered with f-bombs and the usual controversial terminology that is synonymous with hip hop music. For us it was nothing short of awkward but looking around no one else seemed bothered by it, so it was bottoms up for us and over the road for a latte from a high street chain who played no music.

Fast forward to the other day when we travelled to a café in East London that also came highly recommended from a reader.

Everything about the place was a win for us: a menu that had low carb options, gluten free options, offered breakfast all day and their interior invited people to chillax with play areas for children and a number of books scattered around for you to flick through. Unfortunately when it came time to pay the bill we noticed that we had been accidentally charged for an extra coffee. No biggie right? Wrong! After flagging the discrepancy at the till, the member of staff who dealt with us said ‘well, I remember making two decaf lattes’. Fair enough (sorta), so we caught the attention of the waitress who served us to ask her to confirm how many coffees she served and she put her hands up in the air defensively and remarked that it had nothing to do with her. The member of staff at the till eventually subtracted the extra coffee from the bill… after going through every single ticket.

It’s understandable that a business would want to watch the pennies, but surely you would believe the customer for the sake of the cost of a coffee, no?

These experiences led us to wonder whether if some of these healthy restaurants are relying on their food to attract the punters and giving little attention to the other factors that make a great dining experience.

Are busy bodies willing to sacrifice good service or pleasant ambience for meals that are tailored to their dietary requirements or do busy bodies want their (gluten-free) cake and want to eat it too? Let us know in the comments below!

Five Reasons to Drink Coffee

Five Reasons to Drink Coffee
Views on coffee are mixed – some say don’t, some say do – but according to Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, coffee is a do – as a matter of fact, he reckons it’s one of the healthiest drinks you can consume. So here are 5 good reasons to drink coffee:

1 Coffee Slows Down the Effects of Ageing

Research undertaken at Stanford University, discovered an inflammatory mechanism in older people that acted as a driver of cardiovascular disease and other noncommunicable diseases.  The team also found that the inflammation levels were lower in people who consumed caffeine, so your daily espresso could be protecting you from certain ailments in later years.

2 People Who drink Coffee Live Longer

Which makes sense given the findings in reason number 1. A review of studies conducted over nearly 50 years and involving nearly one million participants concluded that those who backed as many as 4 cups of coffee a day lowered their mortality by 16 percent!

3 Coffee Can Lower the Risk of Diabetes

In a review of nine studies on coffee and type 2 diabetes, it was found that those who said that drank six or seven cups of coffee a day were 35% less likely to have type 2 diabetes than people who drank less than two cups a day. Experts think it has more to do with the antioxidants and minerals than the caffeine, meaning that your decaf cuppas could be offering the same benefits.

4 Social responsibility

Choose your source well and you could be contributing to any number of socially and ethically responsible causes. According to Fairtrade,  ‘certified coffee producer organisations are guaranteed to receive at least the Fairtrade Minimum Price for their coffee, which aims to cover their costs of production and act as a safety net when market prices fall below a sustainable level’. Because of Fairtrade, farmers in countries like Tanzania, Nicaragua, Paua New Guinea, Colombia and others receive a fair price for their coffee.

5 The smell

Admittedly if you are not a fan this reason may not sway but if you are you’ll know about how the aroma of a full bodies coffee gives you a gentle jolt. Science also backs this up, and early studies indicate that the mere whiff of coffee can reduce the effects of sleep deprivation.

So there you have it, five perfectly valid reasons for indulging in one of life’s small pleasures!

 

Sources

Why This Is The Healthiest Beverage You Can Drink: A Harvard MD Explains, http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-24980/why-this-is-the-healthiest-beverage-you-can-drink-a-harvard-md-explains.html

Coffee Slows Down the Effects of Ageing, http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/35099/20170118/coffee-slows-down-effects-aging.htm

Coffee and Your Health, http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/coffee-new-health-food#1

Fairtrade Foundation, About Coffee, http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/farmers-and-workers/coffee/about-coffee

Coffee’s Aroma Enough to Stir Brain?, http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20080613/coffees-aroma-stirs-the-brain

11 Amazing Benefits of Coffee (#7 Will Surprise You), https://www.healthambition.com/benefits-of-coffee/

Waitrose has launched a new range of healthy foods which have been inspired by the ever increasing trend for nutritious foods that are innovative, trendy and of course good for you. Look out for breakfast salads, sorghum and new vegan products from the popular supermarket.

We know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and the new Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine (269 kcals and 281 kcals respectively) breakfast salads are a great source of protein and make a change to the typical ‘busy’ breakfasts of porridge or toast. The breakfast salads contain spinach, red rice, quinoa, egg and dollop of hollandaise.

Waitrose Eggs Benedict Breakfast Salad Waitrose Eggs Florentine Breakfast Salad
Soghum, a grain that is being tipped as the new quinoa can be found in Waitrose’s Vegan Grains and Raw Vegetables Salad which as the name implies ticks a few other health trends too. The low fat salad contains raw shredded butternut squash and beetroot and mixed with a vegan raw carrot and miso dressing.

Waitrose Vegan Grains and Raw VegetablesWaitrose Wholewheat Noodles and Vegetable Stir Fry

According to Simona Cohen-Vida, Product Developer at Waitrose, ‘What healthy eaters consume in the US, British shoppers will usually follow. There’s a movement towards not cutting down or taking things out of your diet. The best way to keep health intentions on track is to add new ingredients to dishes. By adding this variety, mealtimes remain interesting and help you get natural goodness from your food, with the vegetables making it easier to reach your five a day. All of our new range is either ready-made or ready to cook so they’ll save time in the kitchen too’.

In addition to breakfast salads and sorghum, Waitrose have also responded to customer demands by adapting their stir fry meals with runner beans and broccoli cut into noodle shapes to make dishes lower in carbs. They also now sell quinoa fried rice and are the first UK supermarket to sell fresh wholewheat noodles.

Well done, Waitrose, well done.

Charcoal Bagel 2017 food trend

2017 Food Trends

By BBB

2017 food trends

A New Year wouldn’t be complete without a new food trend to follow. So just to make sure you aren’t caught on the back foot, here are some of the 2017 food trends you should be on the lookout for:

Purple Foods

Purple Broccoli 2017 Food Trend
Image Credit: Bruce S

It looks like purple is the new black. According to Whole Foods, who monitor consumer food behaviour, richly coloured foods are the ones to watch in 2017 so we can expect foods like purple cauliflower, black rice, purple asparagus, and purple corn to start popping up on menus and in supermarkets near you.

Flexitarianism

flexitarianism 2017 food trend
Image credit: Med.com.au

Also known as semi-vegetarianism, this trend sees people reducing their meat intake and even potentially restricting it to certain times such as weekends. Whether or not you see it as vegetarians eating meat occasionally or meat eaters eating more plant based foods, is six of one and half a dozen of the other. What this trend does show is that plant based meals are becoming a priority for many.

Turmeric Lattes

turmeric powder 2017 food trend
Image Credit: Steven Jackson

Turmeric which began to gain some ‘trend traction’ seems likely to remain popular in 2017 so expect turmeric lattes to become more of a staple and less of a trend. Known for its many benefits, turmeric combined with warm milk and the sweetener of your choice may seem ‘unconventional’ but makes for a great hot drink.

Charcoal

Charcoal Bagel 2017 food trend

Yep, the black stuff. Normally reserved for balancing an upset stomach, charcoal is gradually muscling it’s way onto the food scene. Waitrose currently stock some products such as charcoal and sesame biscuits, a charcoal and chia seed-topped bagel and cold pressed charcoal juice. The jury is still out on whether or not this is a useful new trend but it will certainly make for some cool Instagram snaps.

Vegetable Crisps

vegetable crisps 2017 food trends

Alternative crisps look set to be on the rise as well. While a few brands have ventured into the world of kale crisps and root vegetable crisps in recent years, alternative crisps are also likely to become more of a trend in 2017. So look out for your favourite (or least favourite veg) to be served in a handy portable crisp packet.

Ultimately, these trends show that the restaurant industry listens to what we want. According to the results of a recent survey among catering specialists and restaurants about food trends, we should be seeing more gluten free options, healthy alternatives, locally sourced food, vegetarianism and veganism.

If anything, these trends show that we are becoming more and more health conscious which can only be a good thing. So here’s to a healthy (and balanced) 2017!

Conscious Cake Higher Heart Chakra Vanilla & Gold

The Conscious Cake Company Higher Heart Chakra Vanilla & Gold

What do you call a sugar-free, nut-free, wheat-free and gluten free cake? A Conscious Cake!

In addition to being the healthy, these cakes are also a movement for political, social and economic change in the food industry.

These Conscious Cake Company’s artisan cupcakes are not just the healthiest cupcakes money can buy – they are also a movement for political, social and economic change in the food industry and business in the UK and around the world.

Owner Danica Apolline started making healthy cakes for her young son, these cupcakes are organic, vegan, and free from cane sugar, wheat, gluten, nuts and GMOs. Passionate about the science behind blessing food with love, each has a wish for health, happiness and love for everyone who eats one.

The Conscious Cake Company Mini CupcakesYou’ll find flavours such as Root Chakra Chocolate Orange, Higher Heart Chakra Vanilla & Gold and Solar Plexus Chakra Lemon. Mini cupcakes can be purchased in boxes of 12 or 24 or you can opt for a chocolate or chocolate orange cake.

The Conscious Cake Company goes beyond their cakes when looking at how to challenge the status quo – they have also created a business environment free from toxic chemicals used in cleaners and air fresheners, challenged the wage disparity between employees and introduced a Kindness Policy across the business.

If you want to try their cakes for yourself you can order them from Yumbles (free delivery in London).

More info:

www.consciouscakecompany.com

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Turmeric Latte

Turmeric Latte

By BBB

Turmeric Latte

Turmeric lattes (also known as golden mylk, golden milk and turmeric milk) have been a bit of a cult favourite for a little while, but now that the weather is beginning to get cooler, it feels like the right alternative to the mainstream spiced latte.

Often associated with cooking, turmeric is a dried powdered spice whose benefits have been long appreciated in India.  Initially lauded for its anti-inflammatory benefits and impact on cancer risk later studies on the golden spice have indicated its potential for regulating blood sugar balance and improving cognitive and kidney function amongst other things. It’s list of health benefits are lengthy and impressive – it’s a wonder it’s taken the west so long to catch on!

Although traditionally made with cow’s milk, you can make a turmeric latte with your milk of choice. If you aren’t up for making your own at home, here are a few places you can find a turmeric latte in London:

Planet Organic

Various branches

Crussh

Various branches

Tiosk Broadway Market, Hoxton

33 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH

Nama, Notting Hill

110 Talbot Road, London W11 1JR

The Mae Deli

21 Seymour Place, London, W1H 5BH

Parcafé

The Dorchester Hotel, 53 Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1K 1QA

If you know of other places in London that serve turmeric lattes, please let us know so that we can update the list!

 

Balance is Best

By BBB

Healthy eating

The term healthy eating is subjective. Despite the term popping up on a range of products, we are all different people with different requirements for a healthy lifestyle.

The landscape for the various nutritional requirements is very broad now: there are people who follow a paleo diet, clean eaters, flexitarians, pescatarians, carb cyclers, intermittent fasters, people who follow a ketogenesis  diet and the list goes on.

So we couldn’t help but chuckle when we saw an article the other day reporting findings from an Ohio State study which showed that ‘during times of stress, a healthy meal of steamed chicken prepared with sunflower oil is as bad for your heart as deep-fried wings’. Based on these findings, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s better to relax and enjoy a few more carbs than get yourself into a tizzy by double checking the calorie count of everything you have planned to eat for the day.

If nothing else the post made us feel even more convinced that the truly healthy approach has to be a balanced approach taking not just physical health into account but mental health also. There is also an argument for considering the impact our choices have on the environment.

We will continue to try and cover as many healthy restaurants and products as we can but we know that what is healthy for one is not healthy for another so bear with us. At the moment we are on the look out out for restaurants that either specifically cater to people with certain dietary requirements, and / or restaurants that make a commitment to prepare meals using only the best ingredients. We ultimately want you to have even more choice when it comes to your personal dietary needs.

So this is just a short post to encourage everyone to strive for balance – ‘cause there’s no point eating a healthy meal that has no benefit because you are stressed.

Kebabs Get a Bad Wrap

By BBB

…and understandably so considering what you’re sometimes met with when you walk into a kebab shop.

Kebabs

How ‘healthy’ your kebab is boils down to two things: your choice of meat and your choice of sauce.

The doner kebab – the preferred option for a lot of post ravers – has a shaky nutrition reputation. According to a BBC report in 2009 ‘Trading Standards officers have found doners with up to 22% fat, and up to 12g of salt – that’s two heaped teaspoons, double the recommended daily intake’.

Shish kebabs are definitely the way to go if you like Mediterranean tucker without the extra fat, sodium and general aggro of trying to figure out what is actually in your meal. If you’re keeping an eye on your fat intake, chicken is the leaner option.

Sauces are where people usually stumble. Chilli sauce and garlic sauce are the typical choices for kebabs, but house sauce, ketchup and burger sauce are alternative options.

If you can handle it, chilli sauce is the way to go. Although recipes vary from shop to shop, chilli sauce is basically a combination of tomatoes, onions, garlic, mint sauce, vinegar and chillies. No fat and all the benefits that come with chillies – vitamin C, vitamin A and capsaicin.

Garlic sauce is a bit more of a wild card –  traditional recipes only list yoghurt, minced garlic and lemon as ingredients. Unless your local kebab shop is prepared to let you read the label on their garlic sauce, it may be best to ask for it on the side or pass on it all together.

Burger sauce, house sauce and ketchup are definite wild cards. Burger and house sauce tend to use salad cream as a base while ketchup is generally loaded with sugar.

Regardless of the meat and/or sauce you choose, you can notch up the healthy factor by piling on the veggies: cabbage, onions, tomato, cucumbers and peppers.

The bottom line – a kebab is only as naughty or nice as you make it.