BACK TO WHAT WORKED IN THE PAST
LOSE FIVE POUNDS FIVE DAYS
AGAR WORKED, until I stopped using it out of concern that it would block the absorption of necessary nutrients. I read it some place and it set off an alarm, so I quit it. Well, don’t believe everything you read, my mother once said.
Not having exhausted my supply yet, I found it deep in a box in the pantry and decided to give it another try. Nothing else was working. I needed results NOW.
THE RESULT: I lost five pounds in five days. From 12.06.2021 to this morning 12.11.2021.
CALL THAT SUCCESS.
How did I discover that AGAR probably wasn’t blocking the absorption of necessary nutrients in my gut? I put it in my morning black coffee, about 2 rounded Tablespoons of AGAR GEL, stirred, drank and not long after I had the caffeine jitters – just like always. That alone convinced me.
But later I read that AGAR contains lots of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, and is fat-fee and animal-free. Also zero calories or at most negligible. Now why would a food source containing all those beneficial properties also contain a component that blocked their usage by the body when consumed?
About all it slows, not blocks, is explained as follows: “…Eating agar with, or as part of a meal, therefore lowers the overall glycemic index of the meal to prevent blood sugar spikes immediately after eating. This, in turn, helps to control appetite and prevent the body from storing excess fat…”.
And it’s essentially non-allergenic.
HOW DO I USE IT BESIDES IN MY MORNING COFFEE?
First thing is I weigh myself, almost naked. I don’t move around on the scale shifting my weight to see if I can get it to go lower. I step on and off and accept what it says.
In the kitchen I fill a custard cup full of AGAR GEL. I eat with a spoon a couple heaping teaspoons, then put some in my coffee after it brews – about two Tablespoons. This gives the AGAR some time to coat my esophagus and stomach, since coffee gives me heartburn and I don’t take medicines for it, neither prescribed nor over-the-counter. The agar helps.
It also reduces my compulsion to eat first thing in the morning. Later when I do get hungry, because the AGAR keeps me feeling full, I eat in bites – BACK TO THE SPOON FILLS:
NOW I eat everything in smaller amounts. No more full servings of anything. When I stop eating, I don’t go back for more. I simply don’t want it.
Throughout the day and evening when I habitually go to the refrigerator to see what’s to eat, I take a detour to the AGAR and it satisfies temporarily – and temporarily is sometimes all we need to block that habit.
FIVE POUNDS IN FIVE DAYS WAS THE RESULT
It’s supposed to reduced cholesterol, so after Steve’s next doctor appointment and blood work he’ll ascertain where he’s at by his numbers and will probably try an AGAR REGIME to see how well it works for lowering cholesterol and losing fat.
I used the recipe for AGAR GEL on ANIMAL-FREE SOUS-CHEF. Also locate another agar recipe on FAT-FREE CHEF.
Well, I’m off to the kitchen to make another batch of AGAR GEL. This time I’ll cook it on low heat for 15 minutes after dissolving the agar in the water. In the beginning I slow-boiled it for 15 minutes, whisking now and then to kill off any undesirable bacteria.
I think 15 minutes on low heat will do the same – be sure to whisk up from bottom.
12 c. water
2 T. agar agar powder
In large soup pot combine water and agar, whisking agar till dissolved.
Cook about 15 minutes on low heat till very hot, whisking occasionally.
Cool to room temperature, then pack in covered containers or pour using funnel into large bottles. Refrigerate till ready to use.
HELPFUL ARTICLES FROM THE NET:
6 Top Benefits Of Agar Agar
- Aids Weight Loss
Agar agar is very high in fiber which is one of the main reasons for its weight loss promoting properties. When we consume agar agar, it keeps us satiated for a long time thus helping us reduce the overall calorie intake which in turn leads to weight loss. In a 4 week study done on 76 patients, the group that consumed agar agar experienced significant weight loss due to the reduction in overall calorie intake and you can read the study here.
- Relieves Constipation
One of the best home remedies for treating constipation naturally is to include foods that are high in fiber. Consuming agar agar helps relieve constipation as it is very high in fiber. It acts as a natural laxative and adds bulk to the stool and helps relieve constipation effectively. Use agar agar with whole fruit pulps with fiber to make it even more effective.
- High Iron Content
Anemia is very widespread in India, almost 50% of children, 53% of non pregnant women and almost 50% of pregnant women were found to be anemic so consuming iron rich foods is very very important. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, try your best to include iron rich foods in your diet regularly like agar agar. 100 grams of agar agar has around 21 mg of iron. Along with consuming iron rich foods try to increase the amount of vitamin c in your diet to facilitate iron absorption.
- Vegetarian Substitute
Usually for setting deserts, gelatin is used. Gelatin is derived from the bones of animals and the best vegan substitute for it is agar agar as it is derived from algae. Unlike gelatin which needs refrigeration to set, agar agar sets at room temperature which is a huge plus. In fact, vegans and vegetarians should try to include ingredients like agar agar which is rich in iron and calcium regularly in their diet to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
- Rich In Important Minerals
Agar agar is not only rich in iron and fiber, it is also rich vitamins and minerals like zinc, selenium, manganese, calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, panthonic acid, niacin, riboflavin and vitamin k. Usually when we make desserts, we make it with ingredients that are devoid of any nutrients like white sugar and maida. But instead if we can make desserts with fresh fruit pulp and agar agar along with whole fruits, we will be much more healthy.
- Good For Skin and Hair
VEGAN, RAW COOKING WITH AGAR:
Recipe to Replace Egg White with Agar
We recommend the following recipe if you’re looking for a creamy mousse or custard-based dish that replaces egg whites with agar and can be made sweet or savoury:
For each egg white you need, dissolve 1 tsp agar powder in 1 tbsp water. To dissolve, first sprinkle the powder over the liquid, rest for 5 minutes and warm to 90 C over medium heat.
Using a whisk, whip the agar mixture well to help dissolve, then refrigerate for 15 minutes and whip again. Add the agar to the baking mixture as the last ingredient and mix to just combine, do not overwork the mixture.
Using Agar as a Gelatin Substitute
Unlike gelatin, which is an animal-based products derived from the collagen inside animal skin and bones, agar is a vegan, plant-based product produced from red seaweed that has similar properties to gelatin. The benefits of using agar instead of gelatin are:
no animals die in the process of producing it!
It has no taste, no odour, no colour so can sit in the background and let other flavours take center stage
It sets more firmly than gelatin giving you greater control over texture in your cooking. Agar is a more powerful gelling or setting agent than gelatin because it sets at room temperature and stays firm, even in warmer weather or temperatures
When used properly, agar yields a similar texture to gelatin, and once you get it right, you’ll never look back – even if you’re not vegan or plant-based! Read our suggestions for working with agar here. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right – agar is versatile in can be reheated and the recipe amended if you get a less than perfect result!
Agar in Raw Food Preparation
Raw food recipes can present a challenge with getting the texture right, especially when trying to make them low calorie and low fat. Agar offers a great solution! The naturally occurring gel in seaweed-produced agar has no fat and very few calories, while providing texture alongside many essential nutrients and minerals.
Agar is not strictly raw since it needs to be brought to 90°C to dissolve and release its gelling ability, however you can achieve a similar effect by dissolving the agar in a small amount of liquid, then adding it to the other raw ingredients before it sets. To prepare agar for use in raw food recipes, you can follow a general ratio of:
1 tsp agar powder for every 500ml of liquid that you need to set
You can follow the method below (or read our tips here), but note that the amount of agar and the process required for using it will vary from recipe to recipe:
Measure 50ml of the liquid into a small pot and sprinkle the agar powder (and sugar if using) over it.
Let stand for 5 minutes for the agar to ‘swell’ or ‘bloom’ and activate its jellifying properties.
Gently bring the mixture to 90°C (agar melting point) over medium heat, while stirring. Simmer until the agar (and the sugar) is completely dissolved – a few minutes only. The texture will change ever so slightly, making the liquid feel thicker.
Cool slightly and combine quickly with the remaining liquids.
Transfer to a serving dish to set.
Enjoy sweet and savoury sauces, jams, desserts, raw puddings and so much more with agar! If you’re vegan, vegetarian, plant-based or have allergies or intolerances, agar is a must-use kitchen staple.
8 TOP TIPS FOR WORKING WITH AGAR POWDER
1- A little goes a long way – measure your agar!
2- ‘Blooming’ and bringing agar to temperature are key factors in enabling the gelling power – not too hot, not too long!
3- Agar needs to ‘bloom’ or rehydrate in liquid first for 8-10 minutes before applying heat to activate the thickening agent in the agar. Agar must be heated to 85-90°C or it won’t melt, but make sure to not let it boil for too long past melting point as this can harm its gelling ability.
4- Make sure to stir the agar constantly until it completely dissolves to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pot or pan.
5- The acidity of the liquid used will impact the gelling ability of the agar. A more acidic liquid will require more agar powder to set. Agar breaks down and doesn’t set if exposed to the enzymes of certain raw tropical fruits like kiwifruit, papayas, pineapple, peaches, mangoes, guavas and figs, which contain an enzyme (bromelin) that can prevent agar from setting. If you are using these fruits, heat them before adding agar to break down the enzyme and allow the recipe to set successfully.
6- Agar will set at room temperature, so pour the agar mixture into a serving dish while it is still hot or warm, as once agar sets, it will not reset properly once disturbed! But unlike gelatin, agar can be re-melted if necessary, so don’t worry!
7- To test whether your dish will set properly, spoon a small amount on a cold plate – it should set in 20-30 seconds. Add more agar or liquid to fix this.
8- Jelly made with agar may ‘sweat’ when in humid weather. To prevent this, you may dissolve 1 tsp of corn starch (corn flour) with the agar into the liquid that you are cooking it in.
THE SURPRISING HEALTH BENEFITS OF AGAR FROM WEIGHT LOSS TO GUT HEALTH
1- Agar – A “Functional Food‘ to Improve Health and Wellbeing
• Agar is dubbed a ‘functional food’ as it contains bioactive compounds that provide a clinically proven and documented health benefit and are therefore important for the prevention, management and treatment of chronic diseases in our modern age. There are a number of different health benefits offered by agar ranging from weight loss to gut health.
2- Agar is Fat Free and Linked to Weight Loss
• Some cultures strong associate Agar with natural weight loss as well as helping to maintain healthy weight. It’s claimed that some Japanese women use agar every spring to cleanse their bodies (to lose a little extra weight and for general wellbeing), by adding half a teaspoon of Agar to their tea and drinking it 10 minutes before the evening meal.
Agar contains virtually no calories, no cholesterol, is fat-free and is 80% fibre, some of which is transformed into a gel-like substance that bulks up in the gut with some interesting benefits.
It is claimed that Agar:
• Reduces appetite. As a water-soluble indigestible fibre and a hydrophilic colloid, agar absorbs water and increases the bulk of a meal with very few calories, giving a feeling of fullness that helps those who consume it reduce their overall food intake. According to Professor Takako Yasuoka, this creates a feeling of fullness, thus reducing the need for much food.
• Supports the elimination of waste from the stomach and the intestines by stimulating the large bowel muscle contraction. Historically, Agar has been used therapeutically as a daily treatment for chronic constipation because of its mild laxative properties.
• Acts as a natural fat blocker because it absorbs glucose in the stomach, passing it through the digestive system quickly, inhibiting its storage as fat.
• Helps to dissolve cholesterol by calming the liver and absorbing bile. This is important as loosing weight will mobilise energy stored as fat, which will be released into the bloodstream.
• Creates creamy textures in food without the need for sugar or fat, resulting in healthy and satisfying dishes with far fewer calories.
Agar is Beneficial to Lowering GI levels, Supporting those with Diabetes & Cholesterol
Scientific studies have shown that Agar has beneficial effects on glucose intolerance in people with type 2 diabetes. A diet supplemented with Agar can promote better blood sugar and glucose management, although research is ongoing as to the extent of these benefits.
Studies indicate that the benefits of consuming agar are likely linked to lower GI levels because agar is very rich in soluble fibre which bind to sugar molecules in other foods we eat, slowing their absorption into the bloodstream. Eating agar with, or as part of a meal, therefore lowers the overall glycemic index of the meal to prevent blood sugar spikes immediately after eating. This, in turn, helps to control appetite and prevent the body from storing excess fat.
There are indications agar may help to reduce the risk of GI cancer and may lower cholesterol as it is a good source of foliate and choline. Foliate consumption has many benefits but protection against certain cancers (bowel, colon* & other parts of the digestive tract) has been given it lots of visibility recently. Choline has been shown to protect and/or heal the liver from certain types of damage, additionally, it may help lower cholesterol and homocysteine levels associated with cardiovascular disease. This is an area where more research is needed, but there are some positive first signs.
Agar Contains Numerous Minerals & Fatty Acids Essential for Optimal Health
Agar is a good source of many important minerals: manganese, magnesium & iron, and moderate levels of calcium, potassium, zinc, copper, choline, folate (B9), vitamins E and K. In addition, the omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio of agar seaweed jelly is 25:1, which is a major benefit as our typical diets are often too heavy on the omega-6s – for optimal health, we should consume more omega-3 than omega-6 fatty acids.
Additionally agar is low in sodium so a good alternative for those on a low sodium diet.
Agar Can Support Digestion and Gut Health
Because of its high soluble fiber content (~80%), Agar can aid digestion and gut health. Soluble fibers form a gel-like material in the gut that can be readily fermented by the bacteria in the colon*. The fibre in agar absorbs and retains water which sends satiety signals. This is great for keeping us full, reducing appetite and regulating hunger.
Ongoing research into the health and wellbeing benefits of agar indicates that agar has a positive effect on colon health and may be able to be used to treat colon disorders and cancer.
Agar -A Vegan Collagen Source?
The sulphated polysaccharides found in agar, called galactans, may be said to play a role similar to that of collagen in the body by preserving and improving joints, membranes, skin and the gut lining. As collagen production in or body naturally declines with age, supplementing collagen or the galactans found in agar could mitigate the ageing process and deterioration. Research measuring the ability of compounds found in seaweed and agar suggests that it may also help to reduce inflammation – watch this space!
I’ll be back in FIVE MORE DAYS.
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