Showing posts with label nutrition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nutrition. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and Seed Quilts Review

Image: collage of Hamama microgreens photos with superimposed title, "The EASIEST Way to Grow Your Own Microgreens"
With a Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and the company's proprietary seed quilts, growing and harvesting fresh, delicious, and nutritious microgreens is nearly effortless!

Fresh, crisp microgreens are colorful, refreshing, and extremely nutritious. Since last year, when I committed to making healthy lifestyle changes, including a special focus on healthy food choices, I have been adding microgreens to salads, sandwiches, soups, eggs, and other dishes as often as possible.

Although buying packaged microgreens at our local Whole Foods is an expensive and frustrating proposition, growing my own hadn't seemed like a viable option, given my poor track record with keeping even healthy plants alive, much less growing them from seed.

Then, four months ago, I found out about an innovative microgreens growing system from a company called Hamama, which was designed to be as as simple, effortless, and low-maintenance as possible, so that even container gardening newbies like me could grow these healthy, tasty, nutrient-dense greens year-round.  

The proprietary, patent pending Hamama Seed Quilt Growing System is the brainchild of co-founders Camille Richman and Daniel Goodman, who met when they were mechanical engineering students at the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following their graduation from MIT, they worked together full-time at the MIT Media Lab, researching high tech indoor agriculture. After growing food both in the lab and at home for several years, they wanted to make it possible for more people to experience the benefits of growing healthy food at home.

In May, I decided to order a Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit, including three seed quilts and a reusable grow tray. I was surprised and delighted by the results, and a few weeks later,  I ordered two more growing trays and 18 more seed quilts. Although I've skipped a week here and there, I've successfully grown and harvested around more than a dozen seed quilts at this point. Now, I'm anxious to share my experience, and perhaps inspire others to try growing their own healthy, delicious, superfood microgreens, even if they have never had any experience, or luck, growing vegetables in the past.

P.S. Make sure to read all the way to the end of this review to find out how to get a 10% discount off the purchase price of your first order of a Hamama Microgreens Starter Kits, Seed Quilts, or other microgreens growing accessories!

Microgreens Are Superfoods That Pack a Powerful Nutritional Punch

Increasing our consumption of nutritious, dark leafy greens is an important part of healthy eating. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating more fruits and vegetables, including dark leafy greens. For those of us who have chosen a low carb, ketogenic approach to eating, dietary restrictions make it even harder to get enough nutrients from the foods we eat, rather than from supplements.

Adding more microgreens to our diets, in particular, provides even greater health benefits. A 2012 research study found that microgreens contain between four and 40 times higher concentrations of essential nutrients than their mature counterparts!

These nutrient-dense, immature plants can be excellent sources of key vitamins such as C, E, K, and also carotenoids including lutein and beta-carotene (a precursor to Vitamin A aka retinol), two important antioxidants provide a wide range of health benefits, including helping to protect our eyes against macular degeneration. 

Photo of a large, colorful, salad topped with Hamama microgreens
We enjoy a large, colorful, salad with a generous helping of freshly harvested microgreens every day!

Why Not Just Buy Packaged Microgreens Instead of Growing Them?

Unfortunately, many supermarkets and grocery stores either don't sell them, or run out of them quickly. Even when I've been lucky enough to find one or two containers, those commercially grown microgreens have cost a pretty penny. Far too often, the expensive organic microgreens we've bought at our local Whole Foods Market have become not just limp but slimy and inedible after just one or two days in the vegetable drawer of our fridge. Most are also sold in single-use, plastic clamshell packaging, which is bad for the environment. 

Finding organic microgreens or ones that have been grown from non-GMO seeds can also be a challenge. 

Unfortunately, since March, these problems have been further exacerbated by the widespread negative impact of the current, unprecedented health crisis.

The Pros and Cons of Using Hamama Seed Quilts vs. Growing Microgreens From Seed

Buying packets of loose seeds and growing them on a bed of moistened potting mix, soil, or coconut coir is, without question, the cheapest way to grow microgreens at home. However, it also requires watering the seeds once or twice a day, and monitoring their progress daily, from the the time they are planted until they are ready to be harvested, usually takes somewhere between 9 days and a few weeks. And they do best with 4–6 hours of direct sunlight, or natural light supplemented by a grow light(s).

While this may be a good option for experienced container gardening enthusiasts, not everyone was blessed with a "green thumb," or enjoys growing things from seed. Some of us just want to have convenient and consistent access to a variety of microgreens and enjoy them when they are at their freshest, tastiest, and most nutritious, and are happy to pay more for an approach that requires significantly less time and effort than growing these immature greens from seed.  

That's why Hamama developed its proprietary seed quilt system, which makes growing fresh, delicious, nutrient-rich microgreens indoors as easy, effortless, and care-free as possible. 

Anatomy of a Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt

Each seed quilt consists of three layers (excluding the seeds):

  1. The bottom layer is a loosely woven coconut coir mat (aka coconut fiber mat or coconut husk pad).
  2. The middle layer is a thin sheet of white felt
  3. The top layer is some type of unbleached paper.

The seeds are sandwiched between the white felt layer and the light brown paper cover, divided into 20 long, narrow, rectangular, "quilted" sections that hold the seeds in place in a fairly even distribution.

Key Benefits of the Hamama Seed Quilt Grow System for Microgreens

  • By combining the seeds, the growing substrates, and the papery cover into a single, compact unit and pairing it with a perfectly-sized growing tray, Hamama has removed as many variables as possible.
  • The Hamama Starter Kit contains everything you need to grow microgreens, except the 24–26 ounces of water for the initial soak. (Depending on the quality of your tap water, I recommend using filtered water.)
  • Starting a new seed quilt takes as little as 1–2 minutes! After that, you can basically ignore it for the next 4–6 days, until the seeds have germinated.
  • This bottom-watering and self-watering growing system is the closest thing to "set-it-and-forget it." Once you pour water inside the grow tray up to the fill line and briefly submerge the seed quilt to get all 20 sections evenly moistened, you shouldn't have to mist the seeds quilt or seedling, or top up the water. (Toward the end of the growing period, I try to check the water level every couple of days, if I remember. just in case it drops below the midpoint of the coconut coir mat.) 
  • The brown paper cover helps to filter the ambient light during the initial 4–6 day germination period, then it peels off easily to provide the seedlings with full exposure to the ambient light.

Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilts Are So Effortless, They Practically Grow Themselves!

Growing a Hamama microgreens seed quilt is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Do the brief initial "soak." Add water to the growing tray's marked fill line (no higher) and submerge the seed quilt for 10–30 seconds, just until all 20 sections have uniformly changed to a darker shade of brown.
  2. After 3–5 days, when the seeds have germinated, pushing against the paper cover and causing the sections to puff up or balloon, peel the paper cover.
  3. Approximately 7–10 days after the initial soak, harvest your microgreens!

You can harvest the entire seed quilt at once and store whatever microgreens you won't use immediately in the refrigerator, if you wish, or harvest a few sections at a time over the next few days. 

Photo of Hamama Earthy Clover and Super Salad Mix seed quilts and are puffed up and ready to peel
I often grow more than one Hamama seed quilt at a time

What's Included In the Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit?

  • One reusable Grow Tray.
    • Black plastic or white ceramic
  • Your choice of three Hamama Seed Quilts (choose all one variety, or mix and match up to three different types) 

  • Easy growing instructions.

Choose From 10 Different Types of Microgreens Seed Quilts

Hearty Broccoli, Refreshing Cabbage, Spicy Daikon Radish, Super Salad Mix, Sweet Wheatgrass, Zesty Mix, Energizing Kale, Earthy Clover, Hot Wasabi Mustard, and Fragrant Fenugreek. All the seeds in Hamama's microgreens seed quilts are non-GMO Six are also organic (Energizing Kale, Fragrant Fenugreek, Hearty Broccoli, Spicy Daikon Radish, Earthy Clover, and Sweet Wheatgrass). The company is working on making the switch to an all certified organic line.

Save 10% on Your First Hamama Order!

Use my Hamama shopping link (or click on the image below), add the products you want to the shopping cart, then use the discount code SUPERGREENS during checkout to get 10% off your product total.


Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and Seed Quilts Review by Margaret Schindel


Posts Related to My Keto Diet Journey

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

My First Year on The Keto Diet


Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


Read more Gardening Reviews from our Review This Reviews Contributors




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Saturday, September 7, 2019

Reviewing National Fruit and Veggies Month!

Did You Know That September Was National Fruit & Veggies Month?

Image adapted by Lou16 from a Pixabay image

I must admit it took me by surprise, but it's great that we have months where we can check out healthy eating habits.   March is National Nutrition Month and now we are encouraged to be good in September and make sure we eat all of our fruit and veg.

I'll be honest some days it's hard to get all of those serves of fruit and veg - do you find the same?   I do have a few sneaky ways in which I increase my vegetable intake though and I'm going to share them with you here.

  • Greens Balance
  • Spiralized Veggies
  • Hidden Veggies
  • Bulking Out Meals

Greens Balance - My (not so) Secret Weapon!


I love this product it's a powder that provides a serve of fruit and veg in one scoop and it's from 37 different fruit and veg which means you're eating a rainbow.

I usually take mine mixed in a drink, but I know some parents will put a scoop in things such as Bolognese to ensure that fussy children will get some fruit and veg.   I'm actually thinking of making some muffins or pancakes with the Greens Balance on St Patrick's Day next year!

Find out more about this super nutritional booster on my post - Reviewing Arbonne's Greens Balance.


Spiralized Veggies - Reducing Carbs & Adding Veg!


I first heard of spiralized zuchinni/courgette and thought it was an awesome idea and a great way to get my half a plate of vegetables when I just wanted to eat some Spaghetti Bolognese!  Once I brought my own spiralizer I discovered that you can use it on any number of vegetables.

My daughter is all grown up now, but I can imagine her wanting to eat her veggies (especially if she helped spiralize them) when they were in spirals as they just seem more fun!

If you're trying to cut back on eating pasta it is certainly a great compromise, check out my full review - Reviewing A Vegetable Spiralizer.


Hidden Veggies - Sneakily Getting the Veggie Count Up


There are lots of ways in which you can sneak vegetables into your diet from muffins to meatballs and so much more.   These are ways designed to get vegetables past picky eaters, but I love it as just ideas to increase my vegetable intake.

Check out some of these links:


Another way of disguising both fruit and vegetables is by making smoothies or even smoothie bowls.


Bulking Out Meals with Vegetables


Did you know that beans, lentils and chickpeas count towards your serves of vegetables a day?  I tell you that because I love using beans, lentils and vegetables to bulk out my meals.

When my daughter was young and we were a one income household I looked for ways to bulk out our meals, this budget inspired move also had healthy consequences as our vegetable intake increased!

Ideas I implemented included: 

  • Adding a tin of white beans to tomato soup and blending it up (this could count as a hidden veggie).
  • Adding green beans to lamb satay.
  • Adding chickpeas to a chicken curry dish my husband liked.
  • Adding frozen mixed vegetables to tuna pasta bake.
  • Adding spring onions and corn or onion and peas to potato bake.
  • Adding extra beans to chili (I have some recipes that call for black beans in which case I will also add white beans as they take on the flavor nicely and I have some recipes that don't ask for black beans, but I add them anyway!).
  • Adding zucchini to a number of different dishes (if it's in season it goes into just about anything from bakes to chili, shepherd's pie to stews).
  • Soups and stews can be a great way to add lots of vegetables to including any vegetables that are in the fridge (to avoid waste), any frozen veg or tinned veg.

There are countless ideas that can be used to get your vegetable intake up so let me know what your 'secret' way to increase your vegetable intake is.




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Saturday, June 15, 2019

The How & Why of Chia Seeds

why to add chia seeds to your daily diet and how to do so
Adapted from a Pixabay image
Today I"m going to review how I use chia seeds and why I use these powerhouses of nutrition (a slight hint there) in my daily diet.   First though, what exactly are chia seeds?   They are actually the seeds from the chia plant (Salvia hispanica) which is a plant native to Mexico and Guatemala.   The name chia is in fact the ancient Mayan word for strength and they were a staple food for both the Mayans and Aztecs.

The chia seeds 'strength' comes from it's nutritional contents.   For such a little seed it packs a mighty nutritional punch.  They contain a large amount of fibre, quality protein, omega 3 and several essential minerals and antioxidants.

It certainly seems like something cool to add to your diet right?  The only question now is how.   I brought some chia seeds to use last year, but before I got a chance to use them my husband brought me home a chia pudding to try.   I did NOT like it!   I then left the chia seeds in the cupboard unopened, I'm sure some of you can relate to that happening!

So what changed?   As many of you know beginning January 2018 I embarked on a journey to reset my health, fitness and lose some of my excess weight.   At the beginning of the year I was looking at the chia seeds and thought - I'll pop a teaspoon into my morning protein shake.   This was upped to 2 teaspoons in my shake.

Now to be honest I couldn't tell you if it was helping my health at all, but it certainly wasn't hurting it and you can't really beat good nutrition.

Around this time my daughter was following a fitness guru on Instagram and brought home some chia seeds because she was going to put a tablespoon into a liter of water every day and drink them.  Her face when I opened the cupboard and showed her that I already had chia seeds was priceless (any mom to a teen will appreciate that moment!)

Last month I was on holiday and at the hotel they offered a buffet style breakfast - one of the offerings was a small bircher muesli in the bottom of a shot glass filled with yogurt and topped with chia seeds (about a teaspoon of them).  I had one with my breakfast every day I stayed there and it was delicious - might be time to try chia pudding again!

We are now entering winter here in Australia which means porridge season and this past week I have been adding a couple of teaspoons of chia seeds to my oats and almond milk before cooking it.   It tastes delicious.

If you're baking for a vegan, chia seeds can also be used as an egg substitute (I haven't tried this yet).   You simply add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to 3 tablespoons of water and leave to sit for 20 minutes.

Now you know both how to use chia seeds in your diet and why to use them - will you be getting some anytime soon?


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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Reviewing Greens Balance by Arbonne

greens balance - adding nutrition to your day the easy way!
Greens Balance
We all know that we need to eat lots of veggies, most of our moms would tell us to eat up our greens when we were growing up and I know I used to challenge my daughter to eat a rainbow every day when she was younger (I made sure to let her know M&Ms did NOT count!).  Sometimes it is hard to get as many serves of fruit and vegetables that we should have into our daily lives though.

It can't just be a problem for me can it?  I didn't used to have any veggies with my breakfast until I discovered green smoothies, which meant I had to up my game come lunch time.  Dinner has always been easy to fit lots of vegetables into and fruit can be consumed as a snack, but I would still have days when I came up short on my 5 serves of veg and 2 of fruit.

Next I heard that instead of 7 a day we should be eating 10 a day and I must admit my first reaction was to throw my hands up in the air and give up!

Now some readers will know that I embarked on a healthy weight loss journey in December 2017 and this has been successful in both weight loss and health benefits - I have so much more energy it's like I've rediscovered my inner spark!  My journey uses Arbonne's 30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond plan and it was through this plan that I was introduced to Greens Balance.

So, What is Greens Balance?


Greens balance is a deep green powder that reminded me (in color and smell) of spirulina when I first saw it.  This is hardly a surprise when you look at the ingredients and see that it contains this nutrient dense algae along with wheat and barley grass and an array of different fruits and vegetables.

Eat a rainbow made easy - Arbonne's Greens Balance
Greens Balance - the easy way to 'eat a rainbow' from Arbonne


In just one scoop of this powder you really can say you're eating a rainbow!  A few of the fruit and vegetables that are in this powder are kale, broccoli, pomegranate, tomato, pumpkin, mango, blueberry and purple sweet potato.   As well as containing all the nutrients different colored fruit and veg provide, this powder also contains a powerful prebiotic fibre to help support a healthy digestive system.

How Do I Use Greens Balance?


As it's in powder form this makes it very easy to use, some people mix it in a little water and drink it like a shot of wheatgrass.  When I first saw and smelt the Greens Balance I thought people were crazy taking it this way so I did the following ...

I like to add a scoop into my breakfast smoothie, when I add cacao powder or a handful of berries I find that I can't even taste the greens balance and yet I'm getting all of that goodness.

I usually only have the one scoop a day, but when my family (and a number of work colleagues) were sick with a flu virus earlier this year I actually added a scoop to my lunchtime shake as well.  I'm not a doctor or nutritionist, but I always believe that a good immune system requires good nutrition which is why I did this.   It may just be a coincidence, but I never got the virus despite being surrounded by all the germs!

After I had been adding it to my shakes for several months I did try it as a shot and I quite liked it that way, until I discovered something called the Green Ogre Drink and now that's the way I like to take my shot of Greens Balance every day!

You can also add the greens balance to dishes when cooking to increase the vegetable content, I haven't personally tried this, but it sounds like a great idea.

Does It Really Help Though?


"It sounds good, but how do I know if it's doing anything for me?"  This is often a problem when you're doing lots of things to improve your health and you're not sure which ones are really necessary, but I will NOT be giving up my greens balance ......

I am feeling a lot healthier this year and my energy levels are fantastic, my immune system is awesome, my hormones are balanced, my rheumatoid arthritis is not only under control, but I wake up to no pain or stiffness at all.   Let's just say that what I'm doing is working really well.   Of course everyone is different and you should always contact a medical professional. 

A few weeks ago I actually ran out of greens balance (I thought I had another tub, but didn't), my order was delayed and I went 1 day with only half a scoop and 3 days with no greens balance.   Now I didn't think much of it until I got home from work on the 2nd day of not having any and I was really tired.   When I said to my husband how shattered I felt his first response was have you eaten enough?  I had eaten plenty, but that's when I realized that what was missing was the greens balance.

I am not letting the tub get too low before re-ordering again!

Do I Need Greens Balance if I Have a Good Diet?


I think I have a good diet, I have at least half a plate of vegetables with my main meal every night, lunches have been a problem in the past, but the past couple of years they have usually included either a salad or a vegetable soup (depending on the season).  Breakfast would often be my downfall, in the summer I would have some fruit and occasionally some veg included, but in winter when I used to have porridge there wouldn't be any fruit or veg. 

I still feel I need greens balance.   Only you know how much you eat, but I personally don't think you can ever have too much good nutrition.  I seriously am now considering it to be as important as my health insurance.

Where to Get Greens Balance?


You will need to purchase your greens balance online through any of the links I've provided, but if you want to contact me via my facebook page (Louanne Cox Business) then I can let you know how to get 20% off the standard retail price   Well worth looking into if you're planning on taking this every day.

How Long Does the Greens Balance Last?


At one scoop a day a tub of greens balance will last you 30 days.


Have More Questions?


If you want to know the full list of ingredients or have any questions that I haven't covered here then go straight to the website - here - and look at the product sheet.  Alternatively comment below or message me privately (via my facebook page or instagram).

Another Fun Way to Increase Vegetables in Your Diet


If you're not a fan of adding a nutritional supplement to your diet then you have to get creative with ways of increasing your veggie count and one way I do this is by using a spiralizer ...

easily increase your vegetable intake with a spiralizerEasily Increase Your Vegetable Intake with a Spiralizer
A fun way to increase the vegetable content of your meal is to turn vegetables into noodles. This is really easy to do with a spiralizer.



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