Seriously the HEALTHIEST and Most DELICIOUS Brownies in the World!

Dear all,

Yes, it is true. These brownies are proof that a dessert can be sweet, healthy and super delicious at the same time.


They are rich in fiber, antioxidants and nutrients. Even the oat flour has been activated to substantially reduce the amount of phytic acid that are abundant in oats (therefore you should NEVER EVER eat non activated oats! In case you are not up for the activation process, use another flour that has less phytic acid like wheat flour or use more buckwheat. Even refined white flour would probably be better than non activated whole grain flour. Read more on my post about activation You will not even ind a trace of so called “healthy” sugars like raw sugar (still refined), coconut sugar (yep, refined) or way worse- agave syrup (highest fructose content of all sweeteners!).

The best natural sweeteners are: DATES!

Buy dry dates in bulk, add them to a high speed blender, cover them with hot water, then puree into date paste. Store the paste in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three weeks.

Easy and cheap. 

To make the brownies, simply whisk together the moist ingredients, stir in the dry ingredients, then fold in the frozen berries.



Then bake in the oven until done… (click here to view the recipe



This recipe is perfectly suited for someone who is following a low fat reversing heart disease plant-based diet.

Have some fun with the recipe by using different frozen fruits, chickpeas instead of red beans, cinnamon instead of vanilla, prune puree instead of date paste and so on. 

Enjoy the brownies!





Yoga, Breathing, Coding and Risotto

Dear all,

This morning, we all got up a few minutes earlier than usual (which is hardly a challenge given the fact that our kids wake up with the Australian sunrise at about 5am!) to start our day outside with a series of yoga sun salutations followed by some relaxing breathing exercises (great stress management technique!). Afterwards, we enjoyed bowls of activated cereal (if you are not sure what I mean by activated read this post ) with homemade soy yogurt, fresh fruits, and almond milk.


And- of course- a slice of one of Burleigh Baker’s long fermented sourdough bread– toasted, with a bit of vegan butter and jam. What a wonderful morning!

I wish our children were taught yoga in school on a regular basis. It’s so important for their wellbeing. In fact, here are the subjects I think are absolutely essential for our lives nowadays and should be part of every school curriculum: 

  1. yoga
  2. meditation and stress management techniques
  3. nutrition and sustainability (finally getting rid of old myths like the benefit of dairy and the importance of animal protein and swapping them with the healthiest diet, which has been proven to be a plant-based diet))
  4. coding (computer programming)

Until these subjects are being introduced at schools (and I have still hope that eventually, they will find their way into our curriculums), it’s up to us to teach our children. That’s why we started with yoga and breathing this morning. We’ll do it about three times a week for about ten minutes, either in the morning or in the evening. Sometimes the kids like to spend a few minutes with a guided meditation for kids (a few minutes is enough usually but they can extend this time if they feel like it). There are plenty of wonderful resources online. On and off I stop them when we are out and about to remind them to listen to their breathing and the sounds from their surroundings, feel the wind/ the sun etc, and taste the salty air (depending on where you live). It’s really just about being mindful and feeling connected. These are very calming moments and only take a couple of minutes. Another very powerful tool is visualization– tell your kids (or try it on yourself) to imagine taking a lemon out of the fridge, smelling it, letting it fall onto the cutting board (hearing), scraping the skin with their fingernail (touching), cutting it in half and tasting it (tasting)- who wouldn’t be salivating like crazy at this point? This little experiment shows kids how powerful their imagination is. Now they can visualize themselves swimming, practicing an instrument, ballet etc in their minds. Professional athletes use this tool to prepare for their training and competitions. You can also visualize yourself being happy and smiling or simply lying in bed, breathing in a relaxed way. It’s amazing how well it works!

If you are interested in coding, I have found some sources online that have worked really well for our kids: lightbot (free app), swift (free app form apple) with free in-store workshops for kids, (not cheap online tutorials, but incredibly good- look for coupons online!) and (for older kids and adults).

In order to be happy, centered, lean and fit, you also have to eat the right foods. So yesterday’s dinner consisted of a fruity kale salad (one of our kids’ favorite salads) with oranges and pomegranate seeds (see recipe here


mushroom risotto as an entree and fresh seasonal fruits for dessert. 


You might wonder why I used white arborio rice for the risotto instead of brown rice. When it comes to rice, you basically have two choices:

  • you activate brown rice. That means that you have to soak it with a bit of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice for at least 12 hours. Even better to keep the water you soaked the rice in for the next batch of rice, which will increase the amount of phytase (the enzyme that breaks up phytates- complexes of phytic acid bound to zinc, phosphorus, magnesium and iron). Rinse the rise well before cooking it. You will get all the important minerals and fiber. 
  • you use white rice. No need to activate it, because most of the phytates have been remove. White rice lacks nutrients including fiber. But at least it lets you absorb the nutrients form the food that you eat with the rice. The worst you can do is consume whole grains that have NOT BEEN ACTIVATED. Not only do they cause stress on your digestive system, they also interfere with the absorption of nutrients that you eat at the same time. 

Therefore, for yesterday’s risotto, we had white rice and lots of nutrients! Preparing foods properly might sound difficult at first, but as soon as you know a few basic facts is really easy. last but not least, here is the recipe for the risotto:



Special Post: Exam Food for my Students

Dear Students,

You are having a busy time ahead of yourselves with tons of exams, late night studying and high stress levels. Just a word of solace- we’ve all been there and you’ll be fine! Just keep breathing!


With little or no time or nerves to shop or even thinking about cooking, I expect a lot of you will feed on processed unhealhty foods over the next week. Does that help you do well? I doubt it. As we all know though, our minds work best in healthy bodies (“mens sana in corpore sano”). The intended meaning is that only a healthy body can support a healthy mind, so we should strive to keep our bodies in top condition.

So here is a list of very easy and quick to prepare snacks and a few words of advise (you would probably not listen to your moms, but hopefully to your tutor):

  • Eat alkaline foods (plant-based foods) which do not cause or enhance inflammation in your bodies (animal products do). You don’t need your bodies being busy fighting inflammation when you’re already stressed!
  • Limit your shopping trips by buying a lot of healthy plants and freeze them (kale leaves, banana, berries, etc)
  • Make a large batch of snacks once and freeze them (raw balls or goji squares for example)
  • Chop various vegetables once a week and store them in the fridge. That way, you can throw salads together in no time. 
  • Stay away high fructose energy drinks, they are poison (like other poisons, fructose can only be metabolized by the liver which will slowly lead to a fatty liver; high fructose concentration releases 100 times the number of oxygen radicals and can cause pancreatic and arterial damage. Instead, have a moderate amount of coffee, exercise moderately (you can always squeeze in a short run which will give you an immediate energy boost and releases endorphins- “happy hormones”) and meditate for a few minutes (I use a great app called “calm”). Above all: Keep your calm!
  • If possible, and I know you might think “WHAT???” activate your nuts, seeds and grains. Soak quinoa, brown rice etc overnight in water with a splash of lemon juice before you use them the next day (rinse well before using them). Soak large batches of nuts and seeds at the same time overnight, then dry them for a few hours on low temperatures in the oven. Store them in the fridge. They make a fabulous snack. The reason behind all this effort? Phytic acid in the foods bind to important minerals like phosphorus, calcium, zinc or magnesium and prevents your body form absorbing the nutrients. So try to stay from raw nuts and seeds thinking these are healthy foods. They are only healthy if prepared properly. And believe me when I say this takes very little time!!! One minute to throw nuts in a bowl with water, another minute to transfer them to the oven and turn it on… and don’t forget to turn if off ūüôā


I hope you’ll enjoy some of these –or other– healthy foods!


Raw Cacao Balls

Totally addictive! 


Klick on the title below for the recipe  

Raw Chocolate Balls


Turmeric Ginger Latte

A soothing, relaxing anti inflammatory drink


Klick on the title below for the recipe

Almond Milk Turmeric Latte


Soba Noodles with Avocado

Seriously, they are prepared in 12 minutes


Klick on the title below for the recipe

Soba Noodles with Creamy Avocado Sauce


Raw Black Forest Cake Balls

OMG, soo delicious! 


Throw 1/4 cup each pecans and almonds, about the same amount dates and cherries and about tablespoons of raw cacao powder in a food processor. Add a bit of water and blend until you get a sticky mixture. Start off with just one teaspoon of water, then add a bit more if needed during processing until the mixture starts to stick together. If you like, you can coat the balls with raw cacao powder.


Goji Squares


Klick on the title below for the recipe  

Yummy Goji Squares


3 Ingredients Chia Pudding

Stir 1/4 cup chia seeds and 1/2 tbsp maple syrup into 1 cup almond milk. Refrigerate for a few couple of hours. Enjoy!


3 Ingredients Wrap

Green leaves, banana, almond butter (activated, if possible). No recipe needed ūüôā



Very Berry Smoothie

Seriously, anything will do. Choose a plant milk (activated almond form Pure Harvest or coconut milk or coconut water), throw in banana chunks for sweetness, greens (kale gives you the most nutrients), a couple of dates (sweetness and energy), any type of fruits (berries, mango, watermelon) and any superfoods you might have at home (hemp seeds, maca powder, acai powder, bee pollen etc). Swap juices with smoothies. Juices don’t contain much needed fiber and will cause sugar spikes (followed by sugar lows). 


Simple Avocado Toast


Almond Butter Banana Toast

sprinkle with seeds and nuts (chia, pecan, almonds- activated if possible)


Klick on the title below for the recipe

Wholegrain Toast with Almond Maple Butter and Banana Slices


Good luck on your exams and TOI, TOI, TOI!!


Sip Turmeric Latte and Snack on Black Forest Cake Balls while checking out our NEW KIDS¬ī WEBSITE !!!!

Dear all,

First, I have to apologize to my subscribers for the amount of posts you have received within the last few weeks. In the wake of improving the website, I had to convert every single recipe format. I apologize for any inconvenience you had. I was not aware that all these posts would go out to you. Here is my new post:

I can hardly believe that I was almost too busy to tell you about our new website!! Almost too busy… so let me proudly announce the birth to our new children’s website


dsc_0449(Click on HOME to connect to our site)

You gotta check it out! It has cool and entertaining cooking videos for kids, a ton of information and –the coolest part– an online plant-based cookbook for which children from around the world can submit their favorite recipes. Woohoo!!


Our goal is to show kids how easy it is to prepare delicious, sustainable and healthy foods. It¬īs so much fun to be involved in the cooking process and it feels so good knowing that you are eating sustainable and healthy foods. Our kids are often times surprised by how little their friends and peers know what consequences their food choices have- on all living things and our environment. The only way to change that is by educating people, including kids. Sadly, we cannot rely on our schools to teach our children these vital informations. With our websites we hope to reach out to –hopefully– a lot of families and children to encourage them to make more conscious food choices every day, not just on Mondays (meatless Monday haha). Please support us by liking, sharing, posting about our website and telling your friends and family about it. 

While you are browsing through plantbasedhappykids, you might want to sip on a warm turmeric latte (after all, temps on the Northern hemisphere are dropping as winter approaches, see recipe here


and snack on a couple of delicious raw “black forest cake” balls made with activated nuts (don¬īt know what I am talking about? Check out this post about activating foods:


For these amazing balls, all you need are:

  • activated nuts (avoid eating raw, nonactivated nuts- you¬īll miss out on important minerals and nutrients)
  • pitted dates and cherries
  • raw cacao powder

For this type of recipe you don¬īt need to with or measure the individual ingredients. I threw together about 1/4 cup each pecans and almonds, about the same amount dates and cherries and about tablespoons of raw cacao powder. Add a bit of water and blend it in a food processor. Start with just a teaspoon of water, then add a bit more if needed during processing until the mixture starts to stick together. If you like, you can coat them with raw cacao powder.

And now I won’t keep you any longer from checking out our new website  …

Enjoy plantbasedhappykids!!!



Recipe of the Day

Dear all,

As you may have noticed, my website has undergone a significant makeover during the last few weeks and I am very happy to see how it has evolved. We’re still trying to fix a couple of things (like transferring the recipes into the drop down menu) so please bear with me for a little bit longer. I can assure you that we’re working hard to finish it as quickly as possible. While changing this website, my webdesigner Grant and I have also set up our children’s website which we are super excited to launch shortly. I’ll keep you posted about the date but until then will not spill any secrets!!

asparagus8x10_grandeI am very pleased to offer you some videos on my new site and I truly hope you’ll enjoy them. You’re feedback is always important to me so please let me know what you like or dislike on the new blog and whether you have any suggestions. All the hours spent at the computer working on the videos and websites have NOT kept me from preparing new plant based dishes though.

le-chef-alain-passard-sent-tomate-jardin-fille-sarthe-9-juillet-2014_0_730_341A lot of my late inspirational burst stems from watching a new episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table featuring Alain Passard, a three michelin star French chef and owner of L’Arp√®ge

After years of preparing meat and fish dishes, he took a break for a year, completely redefined his way of cooking and returned to his restaurant offering a pure plant based cuisine. He owns two enormous gardens on the countryside where he and his gardeners produce a huge variety of high quality vegetables, fruits etc. I was deeply touched by the passionate way he speaks about plants and it made me look at foods more closely, taste them more often in different states (raw, cooked, steamed etc) and pair different textures. 

Here is my humble variation on soft and crunchy textures, greens and yellows, slight sweetness and saltiness:

New Potatoes, Pesto, Peas, Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas (without the “vertical Passard asparagus!), 



The sprinkle of pecorino cheese is -of course- optional but is is rich in LYSINE, an essential amino acid that especially growing children need (you also find in in legumes, bee pollen and seeds but in lower quantities than in egg, dairy and meat. Therefore, children benefit from eating eggs and some cheese on and off) and therefore parmesan and pecorino are used often times on our pasta dishes.

Find the entire recipe under Main Dishes in the recipe folder 

New Potatoes, Pesto, Peas, Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas

This is such a simple yet truly delicious recipe that reminded me of my childhood when my grandmother fed me steaming, slightly mashed potatoes with butter and salt in her kitchen. There is hardly a more basic food than potatoes but so satisfying and tasty. My grandmother was a great cook and took great pleasure in amazing us with her creations but –sadly– was not one to share her recipes or teach her children or grandchildren how to cook. We were only expected to clean up after one of her enormous feats but not get in her way preparing the foods. On and off, I was “tolerated” in her kitchen and would sit on the side of her kitchen counter (as to not get in her way) and watch her prepare different foods (while being fed a slice of dark bread with a spread of butter and honey mixed together with a knife). My grandmother had a huge vegetable garden, grew all the ingredients that I used in this recipe herself and I am pretty sure she would have enjoyed this potato dish- an it would have been even better with the freshest produce straight from her garden. 

I tried my best to get the freshest and cleanest ingredients and at least succeeded in buying organic sugar snap peas and organic asparagus. Isn’t it sad that this is actually an accomplishment? Just two organic ingredients out of… how many, twelve or thirteen? Shouldn’t organic, chemical free produce be a human right? I strongly believe so!

Now let’s see- maybe the taste and smell of this simple dish will bring back dear childhood memories for you too. 

xx ursula

The Story of Lysine

Dear all,

Our dear friend Geoff, artisan baker and former hotshot manager, is taking great pleasure in throwing smart and challenging nutritional questions at me whenever we see each other. buggingLately, he has bugged me with the potential dangers of a LYSINE deficiency while adhering to a plant-based diet. This, according to his account, is especially grave when it comes to our GROWING children. Over and over, I have reassured him that our LYSINE intake is absolutely sufficient, but he still loves to tease me about our avoidance of meat and about the necessity to reintroduce it into our diet (he does, however, acknowledge the negative effects of animal products on our health and our environment. As I said he loves to tease and challenge me!).

Anyway, does he have a point? He does! People adhering to a plant-based or vegan diet might not get enough LYSINE.

What is LYSINE and why is it such a big deal??


Lysine is an essential amino acid. Essential means that our bodies cannot produce it and we need to absorb it from our food. Lysine is important for proper growth and it plays an essential role in the production of CARNITINE, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and thereby helping to lower cholesterol. It also seems to help the body absorb calcium and plays an important role in the formation of collagen, a substance essential for bones and connective tissue such as skin, cartilage and tendons.

Most people get enough lysine in their diet. People at risk of becoming lysine deficient are:

  • vegans who don’t eat legumes
  • athletes
  • patients suffering from burns

Symptoms of lysine deficiencies are:

  • fatiguefatigue
  • dizziness
  • bloodshot eyes
  • nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • agitation
  • slow growth (children!!)
  • anemia

Luckily, there are enough plant-based foods that contain sufficient amounts¬†of lysine. Every diet has to be balanced in order to be healthy. What one¬†doesn’t eat is as important as what one¬†eats.

Lysine rich foods are:

  • legumes (beans, peas, lentils etc)
  • nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds etc)
  • quinoa (please don’t forget to soak overnight)
  • soy products like tofu, tempeh

I found an excellent website with lists the amount of lysine in different foods as well as the necessary daily intake. It makes it easy to see how many servings of lysine rich foods should be consumed. Here is the link:

So Geoff, you can now officially stop worrying about our lysine intake ūüôā

We love you for always looking out for us!


Natural Remedies to Help You Fight Colds and Flu

Dear all,

I was working on a post on yet another delicious cake recipe that I had made last weekend, but all around us people are falling sick with the flue and are spreading their germs. Rhinoviruses (see image below) might look amazing under a microscope but are the main cause of the common cold.


Not surprisingly, our daughter has gotten the sniffles too. There was no need to worry though, because I knew how to give her immune system an extra boost.

So let me share some plant-based advise how to get well soon- or avoid contracting a cold in the first place:

  1. Gut health I: make sure you eat fermented foods (kombucha, fermented coleslaw, sauerkraut etc, living foods (plant-based yogurt, cream cheese with live cultures).
  2. Gut health II: Consume mostly activated ingredients (nuts&seeds, grains and legumes. see post on activation)
  3. Stay away from “acidic” foods (animal foods) and consume alkaline foods (all plant-based foods). Acidic foods enhance and lead to inflammation.
  4. Consume natural anti inflammatory foods/ spices like turmeric, cinnamon, rosemary, blueberries, dark leafy greens, garlic, green matcha tea etc.
  5. Consume foods that warm your body- think ginger tea or almond turmeric latte instead of organ juice.
  6. High vitamin c foods– highest amounts in camu camu powder, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, pomegranates, kiwifruit etc. Try to get your hands on liposomal vitamin c.
  7. Rest and sleep as much as you can.

This is more or less the protocol that I followed with Vivian- in the evening, before dinner, she got a dose of liposomal vit c, a pomegranate kombucha drink accompanying her dinner and a potent anti inflammatory turmeric milk after dinner. By the way, this milk tastes so delicious that I ended up making a cup for everyone.

Our immun system is usually in excellent condition because of the fermented and activated plant-based foods that we consume on a regular basis. And sure enough, the next morning, Vivian was already feeling much better. Yay!!

If you stick to the above described¬†foods on a daily basis, your immun system will be so strong that you¬īll very rarely fall sick at all. The human¬†immun system is heavily based on gut health; the healthier we eat, the better our immun system. ¬†The Greek physician Hippocrates realized¬†this important relationship¬†as soon as¬†400 B.C: “Let the food be your medicine and your medicine be your food”.¬†What an¬†amazing insight he had! It feels sometimes as if we have been walking¬†backwards instead of forwards and are just recovering the tight connection of food and health. Well, better late than never!

So try our delicious almond turmeric latte– I have even started swopping coffees for turmeric latte. Here’s the recipe:¬†


Turmeric is arguably the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. It has so many healing properties that currently there have been over 6000 peer- reviewed articles published proving the benefits of turmeric and one of its renowned healing compounds curcumin. The most powerful aspect of curcumin is its ability to control inflammation.


The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that aspirin and ibuprofen are least effective, while curcumin, is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world.


Hope you¬īll get better soon too! And if¬†this post finds you well and happy, maintain your health! And I am talking¬†gut health.



Aquafaba and Cherry Clafoutis

Dear all,

Last week, I stumbled upon something I had never heard of…Aquafaba. Does this name ring a bell? Have I lived under a rock for the past years??It seems that this aquafaba has become quite popular without me even knowing about it.

aquafaba_whipping_btyAnyway, let me enlighten you, if you are as oblivious as I was. Aquafaba is the liquid that is produced when beans/ chickpeas are cooked in water. The opaque, brownish water that does not look appealing in the least. Naturally, I store my cooked legumes in a glass jar WITH their liquid, but as soon as I use the beans/ chickpeas I discard the water. Well, not anymore. Because this protein rich water is just amazing- it behaves just like egg whites and can be whipped it into fluffy white peaks!!!

To do that, strain the aquafaba through a mesh, then beat it- it’ll take a bit longer than egg whites, about 3 minutes. The good news is that you cannot overbeat it, so just turn on your food processor and walk away.

My first attempt in using aquafaba, did not result in¬†stiff peaks, but resulted in a white, more soft texture. Nevertheless, I used it to make a French Cherry Clafoutis, which turned out incredibly delicious. I think¬†that the consistency¬†of whipped aquafaba depends on the protein content of the liquid. The results are¬†great with liquid found in canned chickpeas, but I refrain from using canned¬†legumes because of their high amount of physic acid (see previous post on activation I’d rather try to modify my own aquafaba to get the same stiff white peaks!¬†A good way to start is to cook¬†the aquafaba until it has been reduced by half (start out with 1¬†cup, cook until¬† there¬īs 1/2 cup left). Let it cool off and store it in a fridge. Only beat it when it¬īs cold! That does¬†the trick!

But back to the cherry cake- a clafoutis is a baked French fruit dessert….¬†cherries are usually¬†the fruits of choice¬†and are¬†covered with a batter.


Cherry desserts are always on the top of our dessert list, partly because cherries keep their shape and firm texture even during baking. The only downside is pitting ¬†them. But the flavor of the cake makes up for the hard work ūüôā

click here for the recipe


Cherries are a powerhouse of antioxidants and are well¬†known for their anti-inflammatory benefits, but they are also¬†the only natural source of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the body’s internal block and sleep-wake cycles.


A¬†handful of cherries might help me to get over the¬†jet lag on my next trip to Europe? As kids, we¬†would hang cherries on our ears and pretend to have earrings…and, of course, competed in¬†a¬†“spit the pit the farthest” contest. I still play that game with my kids. So much fun!!



OMG Best Salad Ever!

Dear all,

Oh My Goodness, we had THE best salad ever! So good, that we had it two evenings in a row! Where? At home! Difficulty level? Level “super easy”. Rich in nutrients? Oh yeah!!!


The secret? The combination of activated whole grains, fruits, fresh herbs, legumes and lettuce… and a wonderful¬†light and fruity dressing!

Even though I am repeating myself for the gazillions time and might bore you out of your mind, I have to mention– again– that THE most important aspect of this salad (or any dish, for that matter) is to use ACTIVATED grains and legumes (and nuts and seeds if you want to chuck some in). You are new to my blog and don¬īt know what I¬īm talking about? Please refer to my post on activating foods (

I¬īll tell you what I used but feel free to swap the grains with whatever grain you happen to have soaked overnight (brown rice, quinoa etc).¬†A couple of days ago, I made a barley risotto and had soaked more barley than I needed; and that’s what I used.

Here are the ingredients:

  • grains: pearl barley
  • legumes:¬†chickpeas (I always keep a glass jar of soaked and cooked chickpeas in my garage fridge)
  • fresh herbs: cilantro, chopped
  • lettuce: rocket mixed with green lettuce leaves
  • fruits: pomegranate seeds
  • seeds: activated pumpkin seeds
  • dressing: extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, salt and pepper
  • optional: strips of fried halloumi. Yes, that¬īs cheese, made from goats milk which originated on the¬†island of Cyprus. Every now and then,¬†my husband loves to have a bit of parmesan cheese (which is, by the way, packed with protein, calcium and Vitamin A) or halloumi. The cheese is definitely¬†not essential¬†for the salad but adds a nice¬†flavor that pairs really¬†well with pomegranates.

Next time, I’ll make¬†twice as much salad and take the leftovers in a mason jar to work. Can’t wait… (click here for the recipe¬†



Might phytic acid cause iron deficiencies?

Dear all,

Have you ever wondered why so many of us suffer from¬†chronic iron deficiencies? It’s so widespread nowadays¬†that everybody seems to accept the fact that it’s kind of a normal thing to have. But is it really? Yes, women are more prone to iron deficiencies for obvious reasons but our ¬†iron storage ¬†should not be affected permanently. Do you know why iron is such an important essential mineral for our bodies? Iron is involved in various bodily functions including:

  • Oxygen transport ‚Äď red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a complex protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Hemoglobin is partly made from iron, and accounts for about two thirds of the body‚Äôs iron.


  • Myoglobin ‚Äď a special protein that helps store oxygen in muscle cells. Myoglobin contains iron and is responsible for the red colour of muscle.


  • Enzymes ‚Äď many enzymes throughout the body contain iron, including those involved in energy production. Enzymes are catalysts (they increase the rate of a chemical reaction) that drive many cell functions.
  • Immune system ‚Äď proper functioning of the immune system relies, in part, on sufficient iron. The immune system helps us fight infection.

There are animal sources and plant sources for iron. Heme iron, which is found in animals, is easier to absorb than plant non-heme iron. Still, a lot of people are diagnosed with iron deficiency. How come? If you have an iron deficiency, but you eat red meat or seafood the problem probably isn’t too little iron, it’s poor absorption. The reason can either be attributed to reduced stomach acid or to a chronic inflammation of the intestinal lining.


Though many plants are high in non-heme iron they often times contain iron-absorption inhibitors, such as polyphenols and oxalates. Both substances, at levels found in food, can prevent 90% or more of the iron in those foods from being absorbed. Plant sources of iron include whole grains, legumes, nuts& seeds, spinach, kale and other leafy greens or kombucha.


The secret therefore lies in the preparation of the particular plant foods!

Whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes are all high in iron but contain phytic acid which has a high chelating activity, binding to iron (and also to zinc and calcium) and preventing absorption.


The good news is that rather simple processes can reduce the amount of phytic acid significantly…¬†these¬†are soaking, sprouting and fermenting. Soaking grains and flour in an acidic medium at warm temperatures, as in the sourdough process, activates phytase (the enzyme that breaks up phytic acid; see my post on activation and reduces or even eliminates phytic acid.

However, the story is a bit more complicated than that, because phytic acid also has a number of health benefits including antioxidant effects and protective effects against cancer and kidney stones. Once again, it seems that the quantity of this particular chemical plays an important factor and will determine whether phytic acid is a “friend or foe”.

Spinach, for example, like broccoli or carrots, contains oxalic acid, an organic substance that can interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients like calcium and iron. Oxalic acid binds with calcium, making it unavailable for use by our bodies. It also attaches to quite a few other vital nutrients, and long-term consumption of foods high in oxalic acid can lead to nutrient deficiencies. The good news is that oxalic acid is broken down upon heating, so there is limited or no loss of nutrients in steamed or sautéed spinach.

The take home message for today:

  • Know how to prepare your food and make sure you reduce phytic acid as much as you can by soaking your grains/nuts/seeds and legumes.
  • Know what to eat raw and what to cook.

The recipe that I am sharing today is a great example for a nutrient rich food- if activated prior to consumption. Buckinis, activated and flavored buckwheat groats that make a great addition to fresh fruits, yogurts or other breakfast bowls.


The soaked and rinsed buckwheat groats are mixed with cinnamon (has a plethora of other impressive health benefits) and maca powder, which not only gives it a delicious taste but has also positive effects on hormone balance, energy levels, and boosts overall health. Maca is rich in vitamin B vitamins, C, and E. It provides plenty of calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids. Click here for the Buckini recipe

Hope you’ll enjoy these little tasty¬†powerhouses!