In Conversation: Danae Dade; Owner & Head Baker of Cookie&Biscuit


This Friday we have the pleasure to share with you our latest {in conversation} interview with Danae; the  founder of Cookie&Biscuit. We love their inspiring Instagram account and delicious, healthy vegan treats! Read on to find out what first inspired Danae to start up the business and why veganism is such an important part of Cookie&Biscuit. 


Hi Danae! Tell us a bit about your childhood and how you feel that has influenced you today?

I grew up in Buffalo NY, with my twin brother, older brother and my amazing mother. Although my mom worked loads, she always prepared healthy fresh meals for us. I learned from a young age that the kitchen is truly the heart of the home. We were a very veggie-friendly family, which I think was the biggest influence on me regarding food and the importance of whole foods.


When did you decide to start up Cookie&Biscuit and why?

I started cookie&biscuit while on maternity leave with my daughter. I wanted to avoid the sugary, overprocessed treats that were on the shop shelves, but also wanted a delicious, sweet treat every now and again. It wasn’t completely vegan at first, but it was only a matter of months till I mastered baking without eggs/butter. And it was the best decision ever!



What sets Cookie and Biscuit apart from the competition?

Being just a wee bit homesick, I wanted to create healthier vegan versions of some of my favourite American treats. But what really sets us apart is that Cookie&biscuit uses mostly organic ingredients, and I steer clear of white flour/sugars, using primarily spelt flour, raw cacao and coconut palm sugar. Our treats often incorporate vegetables and fruits as main ingredients, beetroot brownies are a big favourite!

 

Once I conquered adapting my recipes over using vegan ingredients, there really was no turning back. My customers welcomed the switch which only reaffirmed my decision.


Tell us why you first decided to go vegan?

I am vegan and it has been a slow and steady transition over the last few years. At first it was for health reasons, then I stopped ignoring the bigger issues surrounding the environment, animal cruelty and general compassion for living beings and I became more immersed in the lifestyle.



What’s your one health tip?

Eat your veggies and MOVE your body!


Whats your favourite Cookie&Biscuit recipe?

That’s like asking me to choose which child is my favourite! But I do favour the rye chocolate chunk cookies because they are the closest I can get to Tollhouse soft batch cookies (American cupboard staple, but way too sweet I can’t even enjoy them if I wanted too!)


What’s it like being vegan in London where you live? London is amazing for vegan food! I just wish there were more restaurants and shops closer to where I live in South East London. My current favourites are the usual suspects: Cook Daily, Fed By Water and next on my list is Mooshies burgers!



Why do you think there has been such a rise in veganism over the last few years?

I think there are several reasons; including the greater awareness of climate change and the environment in general. Social media also now means awareness is spread in a more visual, community based way, there are so many more documentaries out now that help educate people on the reality of the meat/dairy industry. It’s hard not to be vegan!


What inspires you?

My husband and my two children, Frankie age 5, Bowie age 1. I have always been a self motivated person, but my family really inspires me to be the best version of myself! (Not to say that we don’t have bad days!)


What’s your average day like?

For a non-market day I wake up around 7am, get the kids breakfast, and make power smoothies for everyone. I check my emails while they eat and then get everyone ready for the day. I go on the school run and then head home to bake/test recipes/post office runs/work on social media updates. I also try my best to fit in a quick workout before midday, whether it’s a short run, or 30mins of yoga. Lunch is usually my biggest meal of the day, full of leafy greens, grain base roasted veggies, and all the toppings (seeds, nuts, dressings, herbs etc). My afternoons are usually spent networking/meetings/running errands before school pick up. Between 3:30-8pm I try my best to put the work away and focus on the kids. By 8:30 I am on the sofa with my laptop planning the next day! I am usually tucked in bed by 10:30-11.



Do you think you have a work/life balance?

It really depends on the day! But my family LOVES food, and we manage to balance it all somehow.


What’s the best part of your job?

Doing events and feeding people delicious food!


What words do you live by?

Thoughts become things.


What’s next for you and Cookie&Biscuit?

I am developing a cookbook with savoury and sweet recipes, and few other top secret projects I can’t really spill the beans on just yet. I also put on a monthly vegan supper club and yoga brunches (with Serena Lee of Vegans of LDN) under the name The V Spot which have been going really well, so always looking for new locations to pop up in!


If you loved hearing from Danae just as much as we did and starting feeling hungry reading this article check out Cookie&Biscuit treats here.  If you are a vegan individual or business then please get in touch to be a part of our {in conversation} interview series at contact@theveganedition.com.

All images via Danae Dade.

The Benefits of Organic Food


Surprisingly, despite information now being widely available, a lot of the population is still confused about organic food and its superiority. Organic food is simply defined as anything that conforms to organic farming standards. These vary worldwide of course, but in the United Kingdom they are set by organisation such as the Soil Association. A study conducted by this association shows that half of the people buying organic food do it for the health benefits and lack of chemical residues, while others do it to protect the environment and support animal welfare.

 

Apart from all the potential health benefits due to its increased nutritional value, the first thing that springs to mind when talking about organic fruit and vegetables is flavour. Nothing tastes quite like strawberries bought at a Farmer’s market in June or Cox’s apples in October. When grown organically, fruit and vegetables are only available at certain times of the year due to their natural cycle. Eating seasonably ensures you get the most natural nutrient packed food that hasn’t required excess energy to grow, which also happens to significantly improve the carbon footprint. The reason organic food taste better might be down to lower crop yields and higher levels of antioxidants. There is more nitrogen available in the soil for fewer fruit and vegetables resulting in crops densely packed with flavour and nutrients.

 

By eating organic you are also taking part in preserving the wildlife. Due to restricted use of synthetic herbicides and pesticides, organic farms are safe havens for a variety of local species. Organic farmers go that extra mile in helping preserve the natural habitats by maintaining hedgerows, planting flowers and managing grasslands and ponds. By supporting these fragile ecosystems, they are ensuring that important species of bees, butterflies, birds and small animals are not driven to extinction.

Organic food is sustainably farmed. This means resources are recycled to minimize waste. This is becoming increasingly important in a world where finite resources are disappearing by the minute. There are a lot of problems associated with large scale industrial farming such as soil erosion, chemicals leaking into biosystems and use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Organic farmers avoid all these issues by using natural fertilizers (like manure produced by farm animals) and choosing crop varieties with natural resistance to particular pests and diseases. They also rotate crops to keep soil full of nutrients. Despite popular belief, soil is a non-renewable resource and preserving it for future generations is of paramount importance. 

There are other less obvious factors to consider when buying food. The amount of time required for your dinner to arrive at your table is often measured in “farm-to-fork” hours or food miles. A lot of fruit and vegetables; especially out of season, are imported to the UK which is not surprising given the climatic conditions. The transportation this produce requires, however, is what contributes to the carbon footprint. Think of all the mile’s bananas travel from countries like Africa and Dominican Republic and the emissions cargo vehicles produce. Although buying local seasonal fruit and vegetables is normally the answer to the food miles’ problem, certain fruit like bananas do not naturally grow in the UK. In cases like these look out for the Organic certification on the packaging. Not only will this food be nutritious and flavoursome, it would help economy and environment in other countries. We are all in this together after all!


Joe is the latest contributor to join The VE team! He is a UK based writer who focuses on health and nutrition, sustainability and environmental issues. He is a firm believer that a healthy lifestyle is the platform for a happier life. Raising awareness of healthy living, how to maintain disease-free and support the environment are his passion. 

Image via Shutterstock.

5 Ingredients You Need for a Healthy Hormone Salad


Over the last decade, a lot has been published about hormones, and how important their balance is to your overall health and wellbeing. They control your body on the most basic level, so even small imbalances can throw things off. This is especially a problem during menopause – everything changes and your body naturally starts producing less estrogen. But that’s not the only hormone menopause affects. According to the North American Menopause Society, progesterone stops completely after your last period, and testosterone also declines with age.

Fluctuating hormones are usually to blame for menopause’s unwanted symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, headaches, insomnia, fatigue, and bone loss. Sometimes they can seem unbearable, and many women consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to cope.

HRT isn’t the only solution to ease symptoms of your crazy hormones. Trying natural supplements for menopause might be safer, and just as beneficial. Actually, you may not even need supplements at all – some natural, and vegan foods perfect for a healthy salad can help encourage healthy hormones as well.


1.    Pumpkin seeds or tempeh

Pumpkin seeds and tempeh can easily be incorporated into any salad and may be an important factor for balancing hormones. According to the BBC, these foods contain phyto-oestrogens, compounds that act very much like estrogen. They’re so similar, in fact, they bind to estrogen receptors, which may help keep your hormones in balance. Actually, people who have plant-based diets have fewer menopausal symptoms compared to others, and some think it has to do with all those phtyo-oestrogens they’re consuming.


2.    Cruciferous veggies

Many women with hormone imbalances after menopause lack estrogen, and may need more of it to feel their best. However, sometimes estrogen works against women. Studies show  excess estrogen can cause tumors to grow and contribute to breast, cervical, and other cancers. Fortunately, studies indicated that indole-3-carbinol helps offset that growth and may prevent cancer from developing by metabolizing estrogen. Some people take indole-3-carbinolin in supplement form, but it’s a naturally occurring ingredient in cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts. Try shredding green and red cabbage, grating in some carrots and drizzling lemon juice and olive oil on top for a healthy hormone salad.


3.    Walnuts and flaxseed

Add walnuts to your salad, which are rich in omega 3s. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health explains that our bodies don’t make omega 3s on their own, but they’re absolutely essential to cell and hormone health. They are necessary for your body to make many hormones, especially the ones that control clotting and inflammation. It’s harder for the body to digest omega 3s from plant-based sources, so don’t be stingy with your salad. To get their benefits, grind up flaxseeds first. You can mix them into your dressing to get their slightly nutty, subtle flavor throughout the salad.


4.    Avocados

Avocados are packed full of amazing vitamins and nutrients, and one of them just so happens to be B5 or Pantothenic acid. According to the University of Maryland, among its many functions, B5 helps regulate stress and sex hormones produced in the adrenal glands and small glands. You can even turn an avocado into a cute little salad bowl – just toss out the pit and stuff with greens and goodness.


5.    Beans

Meat-eaters never tire of reminding us just how important protein is, and although they probably don’t have beans in mind, it’s true that protein is essential to healthy bodily functions. In her book Supercharged Hormone Diet, naturopathic doctor Natasha Turner emphasizes that protein is necessary for pretty much everything, including healthy hormones. Protein encourages growth hormones, and helps you process fats and calories, and regulates your blood sugar. Add chilled beans to your salad or try tofu or tempeh to get the protein you need.


These ingredients are completely natural, healthy, and easy to use in any salad, so they just might be the safest solution to hormone imbalances yet!


Daisy Grace is our lovely Health & Beauty Consultant and Independent writer from Oklahoma, USA. Daisy specialises in writing about womens health, nutrition and health breakthroughts and is truly passionate about providing the most up to date research and information to readers on health. 

Image via Shutterstock.

Top 5 Superfoods and Their Health and Beauty Benefits


Superfoods are the latest buzzword on the health and beauty scene, but few people know what exactly makes these staples superior compared to other ingredients. Simply put, superfoods are fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and grains, which contain high quantities of nutrients (such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients) that have a positive impact on health and well-being and can help in prevention or treatment of an array of diseases.

Want to take your health and looks from average to superb? Try this vegan superfood quintet!


Avocado

A common ingredient of many skincare products, avocado is laden with flavonoids, antioxidants, carotenoids, potassium, folate, and vitamins that nourish the skin and give it a healthy, glowing look. In addition to its superior nutrient content, avocado also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it can reduce swelling and redness of irritated skin.


Image Avocado


Although some people avoid the fruit because it has a high percentage of fat, avocado promotes rather than hinders weight loss as it packs soluble and insoluble fiber and monounsaturated fats – and the combination of these makes it a tummy-filling snack. What’s more, avocado is efficient in prevention of heart disease, cancer, eyesight problems, and arthritis, and it has the potential to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides.


Blueberries

Delicious and low in calories, blueberries are a chockful of health – and beauty, too! Rich in C Vitamin, antioxidants, fiber, and cancer-fighting compounds, a cup of blueberries a day will help keep premature skin aging and DNA damage at bay. In addition to their anti-aging properties, blueberries are also beneficial for cognitive function and can serve as deterrent to high blood pressure, cancer, memory problems, cholesterol, heart disease, and urinary infections.


Image Blueberries


 Grapefruit

High in bioflavonoids and phytonutrients, grapefruit is a potent detoxifier which cleanses the liver and helps preserve a skin-healthy look. On top of its beneficial effect complexion-wise, grapefruit helps promotes synthesis of keratin (fibrous protein which constitutes the outer skin layer). This is because it contains high amounts of Vitamin C which encourage the production of collagen, a protein naturally synthesized in the body; essential to keratin function.


Image Grapefruit


Grapefruit is also a go-to for weight loss, heart health, and prevention of high blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer, and digestive problems.


Kale

A superfood in the dark leafy green category, kale packs more antioxidants than most other fruit or vegetables, and it also touts high amounts of phytonutrients, iron, calcium, copper, fiber, as well as Vitamins A, C, B6, and K. This makes kale a great anti-aging food which gives the skin a youthful and radiant appearance, but its beneficial effects go deeper than skin level. Kale is also one of the best osteoporosis foods and it helps counter excess weight, high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, urinary infections, and eyesight problems.


Image Kale


Walnuts

A powerhouse in a nutshell, walnuts pack high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, manganese, copper, phosphorous, and Vitamins B6 and E, which makes them ideal for ladies who want to add a rosy sheen to their skin. But there is more to a walnut than meets the eye: the list of walnut’s health benefits includes improved heart, blood vessel, and brain health, lower LDL cholesterol, and improved resistance to cancer. Some studies have shown that dietary fat found in walnuts can also help improve metabolic parameters and fasting insulin levels in patients diagnosed with diabetes type 2.


Image Walnuts


Superfoods do have superpowers, and they can help keep a whole host of grave conditions out of your system. For bonus points, many foods that have a super- label are also rich in compounds that can delay aging and prolong youthful looks of skin, hair, and nails, so if you are not eating a few daily portions of fruit, veggies, and nuts, you’re missing out on super-gains in terms of health, beauty, and flavour.


Sophia Smith is our wonderful new Australian-based beauty, lifestyle and health blogger. She is super passionate about yoga, organic food and a healthy lifestyle. Sophia is regular contributor at Ripped and High Style Life sharing her thoughts and advice on how to lead a healthier life.

Find her on: Facebook  Twitter  Google +


All images are via Unsplash and Pixabay, 

7 Reasons Fresh Fruits Minimize the Risk of a Heart Attack


Fruits and vegetables are the most natural foods you could eat, which is why the CDC recommends eating about 2 cups of fruit a day. However, most American’s don’t manage to get enough, in fact, a 2015 report for the CDC showed 76 percent didn’t get the daily intake, which could be having some surprising and very significant impacts on your health.

There’s a lot you can do to improve your heart’s health, but it seems like one of the simplest things might just be eating more fresh fruits. A recent study of over half a million people in China showed that eating just 100 grams (or about one serving) of fresh fruit a day cut participant’s risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease by 33 percent according to the University of Oxford. How can something so tiny as a fruit have such a powerful effect


Fruits are low in calories to help manage weight

According to the American Heart Association, being overweight or obese can increase your risk of having a heart attack. Since part of the problem of weight gain comes from consuming more calories than you burn, the CDC recommends eating more fruit throughout the day. Just to put things into perspective, compare USDA calorie counts for eating these common medium sized fruits with other common snacks:

  • An apple is 95 calories
  • 100 grams of pretzels is about 380 calories
  • A banana is 105 calories
  • 5 round crackers are 81 calories
  • A pear is 102 calories
  • An 8 oz. bag of potato chips is 1,217 calories
  • A peach is 59 calories
  • A plain granola bar has between 99 to 132 calories


Fruits can reduce blood pressure

Many fruits are high in potassium citrate, which helps lower blood pressure according to Harvard Health Publications. Sometimes people take a different form of potassium as a supplement, but eating fruit is a potentially more cost effective and natural way. It’s not just potassium that helps, a 2004 review found that increasing fiber, also found in fruits, could help lower systolic blood pressure by 3.12 mmHg and diastolic by 2.57. More recent research shows the most promise – consuming Montmorency cherry juice has the capacity to significantly lower blood pressure, as much as prescription medications.


Some fruits reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol

Many fruits work in a variety of ways to lower bad cholesterol, which clogs and hardens arteries according to the American Heart Association. Fruits like apples, grapes, strawberries, and citrus fruits contain pectin or fiber, which can lower bad cholesterol writes Harvard Health Publications.


Other fruits boost “good” HDL cholesterol

Studies show fruits like olives and avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, which can help increase HDL cholesterol. Actually, many tout the Mediterranean diet as the best diet plan partly because it is high in this type of fat. Research into the diet has shown people who eat healthy fats, whole grains, and lots of fruits and vegetables have longer and healthier lifespans as well as a decreased risk of heart disease.


Antioxidants in fruits may help as well

Antioxidants fight free radicals that damage DNA and cells, but it’s unclear whether antioxidants really help heart health. Most studies have given participants antioxidant supplements, which isn’t the same as getting them from whole foods, and they haven’t been very long-term studies, either. Antioxidants can certainly help maintain healthy cells, so although there hasn’t yet been a direct link to heart attack prevention, there’s still a lot of potential.


Fruits are high in fiber, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease

A 2013 analysis of several studies published in the BMJ found that diets high in fiber could significantly improve heart health. Specifically, the results showed that eating between 5 to 8 grams of fruit a day, or two to four servings, reduced the risk of heart problems.


Many fruits have magnesium, essential to the cardiovascular system

The USDA estimates that a cup of blackberries, a medium banana, an avocado, and a cup of raisins all contain 7 percent or more of the daily recommendation of magnesium. According to the Berkeley Wellness Center, magnesium is necessary for the cardiovascular system, helping regulate blood pressure and nerves that, ultimately, help the heart. They recommend getting 320 milligrams a day for women and a hundred more for men.

If you want to improve your heart’s health, prevent heart attacks and increase your lifespan, the solution might be easier than you think. Although you should never forget just how important exercise can be in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system, fruits also have numerous benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. Try to incorporate more fresh fruits into your diet by including them in your meals, packing them as snacks, or substituting them as desserts.


Article by Adonia Dennis.

Adonia Dennis (@adoniadennis), is a professional Health, Beauty and Skin Care adviser focusing on solutions to health and beauty problems. She is a passionate blogger and writer also contributing to the Huffington Post and She knows publications. She was also recently selected to work as a content coordinator for Glozine latest lifestyle news. To know more about Adonia, follow her on LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.