Hungry Haley

it's more than food

Probiotics vs. Prebiotics

Haley HansenComment

Wait - what's a prebiotic? I asked myself, the first time I heard it. Thinking it was some sort of typo, I just shrugged it off and assumed someone meant to say "probiotic". Oops! 

Last quarter in my food-processing class, we briefly touched on prebiotics, but mainly for the sole purpose of identifying their role as food additives. Naturally, I just had to find out exactly what they do in my body. Soooo let's get started, eh?

Probiotics - 

  • What are they: 
    • live bacteria and yeasts beneficial to the digestive system (WebMD)
    • also known as "good bacteria", a.k.a. the kind the body needs in order to regulate digestion
    • can be found in the body and in certain foods
    • Lactobacillus - the name for the probiotic found in yogurt and fermented foods, like kimchi and sourdough bread (one of my favorites in the entire bread basket) 
      • used for common digestive issues, as well as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease, urinary tract infections (UTI's), and some skin disorders
      • aids in digestion (breaking down and absorbing food to obtain nutrients) and the body's fight against disease-causing bacteria 
      • more information here from WebMD
    • Bifidobacteria - the name for the probiotic typically taken in the form of medication as means of restoring healthy bacteria killed off by disease
      • can be used against antibiotics, which unfortunately destroy good bacteria while they target the bad guys
      • commonly used for those suffering from diarrhea, lactose intolerance, and some cancers, or those undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation
      • more information here from WebMD
  • Where to find them (plant-based sources):
    • Fermented foods - fermentation is a cellular process that turns carbohydrates (starches or sugars) into acids or alcohols
      • sauerkraut - fermented cabbage 
      • kimchi - the Asian version of ^
      • sourdough bread 
      • kombucha - fermented tea 
      • tempeh - fermented soybeans, pressed into a patty 

Prebiotics - 

  • What are they: 
    • carbohydrates (fiber) that serve as food for probiotics (WebMD)
    • soluble fiber fermented in the digestive system
    • stimulate the growth of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria (NCBI)
    • can also be found in many whole foods 
    • Inulin - naturally occurring fructose-based carbohydrate in plants
      • not digested, but goes straight to large intestine to be fermented by probiotics mentioned above 
      • then produces gas and organic acids (i.e. lactic acid and short-chain fatty acids); these are excreted from the body by, well, you know...
      • more information here from Research Gate
    • Fructooligosaccharides - 
  • Where to find them (plant-based sources): 
    • bananas 
    • raw garlic 
    • raw onion
    • wheat flour 

As always with "This vs. That" posts, I never pick one or the other and point it out as superior because each one serves a unique purpose in the body. We need both pre- and probiotics - one is not more important than the other. 

Thank you for reading and I hope this post provided some beneficial information! If you still have questions and/or any research or findings you'd like to contribute, leave them below or send me an email. 

Superfood Powders vs. Whole Food Superfoods

Haley HansenComment

I regularly include three different types of food "powders" in my diet: plant-based protein powder, cacao/carob powder, a greens superfoods powder (specifically from Athletic Greens), and occasionally a drizzle of PB2 (powdered peanut butter), and I used to be totally against all three of those. While whole foods do take priority in my diet, I've learned that their powdered substitutes aren't necessarily something we should always shun. Here's why: 

  • Protein powder (I prefer plant-based): My nutritionist first recommended protein powder to me because, when I was going through my ED, I could squeeze in more calories and nutrients when they were all blended into an easily drinkable shake rather than separated on a plate. I continue to use it almost everyday because...
    • high-protein smoothies/smoothie bowls are pretty much the only thing I crave after a workout and, by adding a scoop or two of protein powder, I can double or triple the amount of protein I consume. My favorite brands have somewhere between 12-15 grams per scoop. 
    • it gives me a head-start when it comes to protein intake. Without protein powder, I'd have trouble meeting my protein goal of about 70-80 grams per day, and the extra boost in the morning keeps me fuller all morning and throughout the day. 
  • Cacao/carob powder - CHOCOLATE :) let's be honest - we all love it, but the fat and sugar content even in a bar of the darkest kind is enough for almost an entire day. To keep my cravings satisfied, these are my favorite ways to use the two...
    • adding a tablespoon or two to my smoothie bowls in the morning - it tastes like chocolate ice cream!
    • on the mornings when I need a little extra help waking up, I use cacao powder, which has caffeine, to make hot chocolate.
    • hint: click here for the difference between cacao and cocoa. Carob is cacao's caffeine-free best friend. Click here for more information.
  • Greens superfood powder - First, let me say that this post is NOT sponsored in any way by Athletic Greens. I added a sample of their superfoods cocktail to my smoothie bowl and fell in love! This powder is full of vitamins and minerals many college students like myself struggle to afford/find/keep on hand on a regular basis, like spirulina, rosemary leaf extract, kelp whole plant powder, and a variety of others. Here's my go-to recipe...
    • frozen bananas + fresh greens (spinach or kale) + plant-based protein powder + greens superfood cocktail + PB2 (optional) 
    • then add any other toppings you like! granola, shredded coconut, chia seeds, dates, etc. 
  • PB2 - I must admit, I thought this stuff was w e i r d when I saw my roommate spreading it on her toast ( and everything, for that matter) last year. Why not just eat the actual peanut butter? I thought. During my first few weeks of being vegan and trying different products like this, I researched PB2 and saw that it's much lower in fat than the traditional kind. While I don't typically find that particular fat - the healthy kind - a concern, I did still try some. So, what hooked me? 
    • easier to digest than traditional peanut butter - who doesn't love a chocolate peanut butter protein shake? I'm all for it, but I've always gotten stomachaches after drinking thick peanut butter like that. When I added PB2 instead, I found the shake much lighter, but still with all that to-die-for peanut butter flavor!

If you've read one of my This vs. That posts before, you know I never end by choosing one over the other, and this post is no different. Yes - I believe whole, plant-based foods should be the foundation of one's diet, but superfood powders can definitely find their place. They shouldn't replace the whole foods, as in using protein powder and greens superfoods powder at every meal, and a square or two of dark chocolate is worth the fat content here and there, but they are useful in obtaining vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients hard to find elsewhere. 

Leave more suggestions for This vs. That posts below! And as always, thank you for reading :) 

Sweet Potato vs. White Potato

Haley HansenComment

Sweet potatoes are orange (or off-white or purple) and sweet and white potatoes are white and not sweet. Done. 

Hahahahaha just kidding. Let's get more into this, yeah? 

Sweet Potatoes - 

  • Benefits: (more info here
    • beta-carotene - reduces risk for certain cancers; improves skin clarity and eyesight 
    • fiber - keeps you feeling fuller longer and improves digestion 
    • fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie 
    • anti-inflammatory pigments 
  • How to cook them: 
    • boil - Cut them into 1" pieces, cover them with water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook until tender when pierced with a fork (about 10 minutes). 
    • bake - Pierce a whole potato with a fork or slice gently with a knife a few times, wrap in aluminum foil, and bake at 400-425 degrees F for 45 mins, or until tender when pierced. 
    • "fry" - Cut into french-fry-shaped pieces, toss with a teaspoon of coconut oil and bake at 425 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through. Top with cinnamon and coconut sugar for a sweeter twist! 

White Potatoes - 

  • Benefits: (more info here)
    • potassium - small potato has ~ 750 mg 
    • vitamin C and folate 
    • fiber-rich, low-calorie, fat-free, cholesterol-free
  • How to cook it: 
    • boil - Cut them into 1" pieces, cover them with water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook until tender when pierced with a fork (about 10 minutes). 
    • bake - Pierce a whole potato with a fork or slice gently with a knife a few times, wrap in aluminum foil, and bake at 400-425 degrees F for 45 mins, or until tender when pierced. Top with nutritional yeast, vegan cheese, tahini or hummus! 
    • "fry" - Cut into french-fry-shaped pieces, toss with a teaspoon of coconut oil and bake at 425 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through. 

So, which should you eat more of? Drum roll please... 

EAT THEM BOTH! They're both bursting with nutritional benefits like carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. Who doesn't love potatoes?! Get outta' here. 

Soy Milk vs. Almond Milk

Haley HansenComment

Put down your cow milk! Two other options are gaining lots of popularity today - soy milk and almond milk. Neither one is derived from animals, so they're naturally free of cholesterol, saturated fat, and lactose. They've got protein and plenty of vitamins and minerals. And, yes, you can still dip cookies in them! 

Soy Milk - 

  • What it is: dried soybeans soaked in water and ground into liquid/milk.
  • Benefits: (more info found here)
    • dairy milk alternative 
    • low-fat (same as 2% in dairy) 
    • 7-10 grams of protein per cup
    • can be fortified with vitamin B-12 and calcium

Almond Milk - 

  • What it is: almonds soaked in water and ground into liquid 
  • Benefits: (more info found here)
    • dairy milk alternative 
    • low-fat (about 2 grams per cup)
    • good source of calcium and vitamin E
    • 30 calories per cup for unsweetened versions

Typically, I reach for almond milk (the unsweetened version) over soy milk, because I consume enough soy in my diet already. Soy and almond milk both come packed with nutrients, so you really can't go wrong if you pick the unsweetened versions. Dairy-free milk is an everyday thing for me - I blend it into smoothies (or nice cream, duh), bake with it, and ask for it in chai lattes. 

Try them both and find your favorite :) cheers! 

Tofu vs. Tempeh

Haley HansenComment

While these are both essentially just rich sources of vegetarian/vegan protein made from soy, there are some differences worth pointing out. if you've never tried either of these, let this be your starting point - you'd be surprised at their versatility, texture, and flavor possibilities! I cook with both tofu and tempeh four to five times a week because they're quick, affordable, and full of protein. 

Tofu - 

  • What it is: soymilk that has been curdled and pressed into a cube. 
  • Benefits: click here to read more.
    • high-protein and fiber
    • low-cholesterol and fat 
    • good source of calcium and other vitamins and minerals 
  • How to use it: 
    • stir-fry w/ veggies 
    • bake, pan-fry, or grill 
    • blend into smoothies 
  • Note - I usually try to find organic/non-GMO soy products, just to be safe. 

Tempeh - (my personal favorite) 

  • What it is: cooked and fermented soybeans pressed into a patty.
  • Benefits: 
    • high-protein and fiber
    • low-cholesterol and fat 
    • fermented - good for digestion 
    • vegan
  • How to use it:
    • stir-fry
    • grill
    • bake
    • pan-fry
  • Note - tempeh usually has grains like brown rice, quinoa, farro, or barley pressed into the patty as well, so read the ingredients and avoid those grains if you need to. 

If you still haven't tried either, TRY THEM. Here's some inspiration and recipe ideas to get you excited, because you most definitely should be. 

Any suggestions for the next post? Tell me below or email me! Thanks for reading :) 

Cacao vs. Cocoa

Haley HansenComment

CHOCOLATE. Let's talk about it, yeah?

Before Hungry Haley, my family always bought cocoa powder, mostly because if someone would've suggested cacao powder, we'd have been like, "uhh, what? We just want to make brownies, dude." BUT after much reading and self-educating, I know who the real winner is and which type you should reach for when chocolate baked goods are on the agenda. Shall we? 

Cacao -

  • What it is - the purest, most antioxidant-rich form of chocolate we can buy. It's the raw foundation from which all chocolate products are made. This is the process in my head...
    • Cacao pods give us cacao beans, then those beans are fermented and dried. From here, we can get cacao nibs and cacao powder. 
  • Benefits - click here for more in-depth information from OneGreenPlanet
    • it's raw 
    • it's fermented 
    • it's additive free 
    • it's loaded with antioxidants
  • How to use it: Anywhere and everywhere! Sub cacao powder for cocoa in your favorite brownie, cake, or cookie recipes, mix it with some peanut or almond butter for a chocolatey twist, or add a tablespoon to a banana smoothie for milkshake-like treat. 

Cocoa - 

* At this point, you probably understand that cacao is clearly superior to cocoa, but here's the deal with the latter anyway.

  • What it is - the heated, more processed version of cacao powder. The heating process kills most of the benefits and makes cacao > cocoa. 
  • Benefits - click here for more information from LiveStrong
    • low-calorie
    • some antioxidants
    • about 3 g fiber per tablespoon
    • iron and magnesium 

Always reach for cacao in the baking aisle - the less processing, the more benefits. Craving brownies? Try my chickpea brownies or these paleo ZUCCHINI brownies from MyWholeFoodLife!

Olive Oil vs. Coconut Oil vs. Almond Oil

Haley Hansen1 Comment

These are the three oils you'll find in my house, and I've been experimenting with each of them in different recipes. Yeah, that's mostly been just for fun and for taste-purposes, but I've also gathered tons of information regarding which oils are best for certain cooking methods. If canola oil and vegetable oil are the only two greasers in your pantry, it's time to head to the grocery store! 

Olive oil - 

  • Benefits: Yes, it's high in fat, but this kind is actually essential for our bodies. Olive oil is referred to as "monounsaturated", and has been shown to reduce the risk for certain types of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, among other diseases. It also contains lots of vitamin E, which plays an important role in the body's antioxidant function.
  • How to use it: Olive oil can often become the most commonly used oil in cooking, but it is highly susceptible to heat damage and should mainly be used to dress salads, brush on toast, etc. where it isn't exposed to high heat. 

Coconut oil - 

  • Benefits: Coconut oil is classified as a saturated fat because it is composed of medium-chain fatty-acids. These MCFAs can be easier to digest and are not as readily converted into fat by our bodies, so they can increase our metabolism. The list of benefits goes on and on, so click here for the whole thing!
  • How to use it: Unlike olive oil, coconut oil can withstand high heat, so use it to roast veggies (herby potato "fries", anyone?) or sautee them, or grease the skillet with it for pancakes, and enjoy the subtle sweetness it adds for breakfast! 

Almond oil - 

  • Benefits: The most recent HansenHouse discovery, almond oil has become our favorite for cooking. It's benefits range from hair moisture and growth, to skin hydration, to aromatherapy. Of course, it carries with it the benefits of it's whole, nutty sister, too! 
  • How to use it: This is another heat-friendly oil, and is perfect for sauteeing, roasting, and grilling. I'm not big on fried foods, and I never let my foods drown in oil when I cook them, but adding a little extra almond oil to the pan is the perfect touch to crisp up my pan-seared cauliflower and healthier falafel burgers

Any suggestions for what you'd like me to compare next? Leave comments below, email me, or tag me on instagram! 

Whole Wheat vs. Whole Grain vs. Gluten-Free

Haley HansenComment

With all the confusion about which name we want written on our bread/pasta/cereal labels, it seemed necessary to open up this section of my blog with a little help regarding whole wheat vs. whole grain vs. gluten-free. I've purchased products under each category, and some purchases have left me happier than others. Since then, I've researched and discovered tons of information, and I'm ready to share it with you guys! 

Whole-grain - 

  • Includes: quinoa, brown rice, barley, buckwheat, oats, wheat, cornmeal, popcorn, etc. 
  • What does it mean? When a product is labeled "whole-grain", that simply means that the grains used to make it have not been refined. In other words, the kernel is left whole and includes the bran, germ, and endosperm.
  • Should I eat it? Go for it! Since the grain is left completely, well, whole, all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals are still packed inside. Depending on the grain used, it might even be gluten-free! Of course, the best whole-grain products are the grains themselves, like the ones listed above, but some whole-grain pastas, tortillas, and breads are good purchases, too. My favorite whole-grain brand is Food For Life Baking Co. - I buy their bread (cinnamon raisin has my heart), tortillas, and english muffins, and lovvvvvve them! 
  • Click here for Whole Foods Market's guide to everything whole-grain.

Whole-wheat - 

  • Includes: buckwheat, farro, wheat berries, bulgur, barley, rye
  • What does it mean? This label means that the wheat kernel has not been stripped of its beneficial nutrients, but unlike some whole-grain products, whole-wheat products are not gluten-free.
  • Should I eat it? I do, sometimes, because my stomach can tolerate it without sending me to the hospital. I always aim for whole-grain products, but whole-wheat is the next best thing. Wheat products are a treat for me - desserts, especially - mostly because I get freaked out by the talk about what gluten can do to my body
  • This is my favorite buckwheat pancake mix, and one of my favorite chocolate-chip pancake recipes!

Gluten-free - 

  • Includes: any wheat-containing product that has been stripped of the protein gluten
  • What does it mean? And this is where things can become a little foggy. Just because a product is labeled "gluten-free" does not mean it's healthier than its gluten-containing counterpart. For example, gluten-free packaged cookies, unless otherwise labeled, are only gluten-free because of a more intense manufacturing process that pulls the gluten out of the wheat kernel. Basically, they've been processed even further than the regular cookies - just look at all the ingredients... scary stuff. 
  • Should I eat it? Well, no. When a product must be labeled GF, it typically means that it's been more processed to remove the gluten. As a result, more vitamins and nutrients are lost, too. Focus on foods that are naturally gluten-free, like quinoa, brown rice, and uncontaminated oats. If your body doesn't hint to you that it can't handle gluten, then it's up to you if you'd like to avoid it or not. Tons of studies dissect what gluten is, what its effects are, and whether or not we should eat it