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Interesting and Healthy Facts About Okra; Plus, 9 Delicious Recipes for You to Try

Interesting and Healthy Facts About Okra; Plus, 9 Delicious Recipes for You to Try

Because of its inherent slimy texture, okra doesn’t appear at the top of most people’s “favorite veggies” list. However, okra is a wonderful and nutritious food, and when prepared well can come out completely non-slimy. Read on for some interesting facts about okra and then check out some delicious recipes that will convert even the most ardent okra haters into okra lovers.

1. Okra is actually a fruit. A fruit is defined as anything that contains seeds. Okra has seeds and is therefore a fruit, but because it lacks the sweetness of a pineapple or an apple, it is regarded as a vegetable.

2. Okra is also called ladies’ fingers. Perhaps if the vegetable went by it’s alternate name, it would have more fans.

3. When storing okra for later use, never wash it as the moisture will cause it to become slimy. Instead, put in a paper bag and refrigerate.

4. When okra is cooked it can turn into a slimy, gooey unappetizing mess. This can be remedied by either roasting it or preparing it with vinegar or lemon juice beforehand.

5. Okra doesn’t have to be cooked to be eaten. It tastes great raw in salads.

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6. Step aside, kale! Okra is a superfood. It is low in calories, but high in calcium, protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, and magnesium. It also contains a good dose of vitamins C, K, and A, and can enhance the immune system.

7. Okra has many health benefits. It has been found to reduce asthma symptoms, prevent diabetes, relieve constipation, and help those suffering from exhaustion and depression.

8. Okra can keep skin smooth and help prevent pimples. It also can rejuvenate hair. Just slice okra horizontally, boil until it becomes very slimy, cool the brew, mix with a few drops of lemon, and then rinse your hair out with it.

9. Really mature (old) okra is used to make rope and paper, so avoid those when shopping for okra to eat.

Now, on to the good stuff. Who knew there were so many tasty ways to cook okra?

Delicious Okra Recipes

1. Bacon Wrapped Okra Poppers

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bacon-wrapped-okra-poppers

    Everything tastes better with bacon…including okra!

    2. Crock-Pot Sausage Gumbo

    crock-pot-sausage-gumbo

      A flavorful and delicious recipe that is super easy to make and a crowd pleaser.

      3. Okra Pilaf

      okra-pilaf

        A South Carolina okra pilaf with okra, rice, bacon and green bell pepper. This tasty dish also goes by the name of Limpin’ Susan.

        4. Creole Chicken Okra

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        creole-chicken-okra

          Hearty, healthy and filling, this recipe uses tons of vegetables and spice, but comes together quickly to make a great weeknight meal.

          5. Okra Parmigiana

          okra-parmigiana

            A delicious southern take on Eggplant Parmigiana using okra instead of eggplant. Okra never tasted so good.

            6. Okra and Corn Maque Choux

            okra-and-corn-maque-choux

              A classic Cajun dish of sautéd fresh vegetables. FYI, Maque Choux is pronounced “mock shoe.”

              7. Shrimp, Andouille Sausage, and Okra Gumbo

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              shrimp-andouille-and-okra-gumbo

                This authentic shrimp, andouille, and okra gumbo recipe is simmered for hours and is like a true taste of New Orleans in your kitchen.

                8. “Gumbo-laya” Stew

                gumbo-laya-stew

                  Full of zesty flavors, this “Gumbo-laya” Stew is the best of gumbo and jambalaya in one with spicy sausage, chicken, shrimp and okra over fragrant garlic rice.

                  9. Baked Popcorn Okra

                  baked-popcorn-okra

                    Okra tossed in chickpea flour batter, coated in spiced breadcrumbs and baked until crunchy crisp.

                    Do you have an appetite for okra after reading this article? Which recipe are you most excited to try?

                    Featured photo credit: ***Karen/Flickr via flickr.com

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                    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

                    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                    At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

                    Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

                    One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

                    When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

                    So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

                    Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

                    This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

                    Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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                    When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

                    Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

                    One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

                    Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

                    An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

                    When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

                    Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

                    Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

                    We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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                    By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

                    Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

                    While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

                    I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

                    You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

                    Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

                    When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

                    Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

                    Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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                    Con #2: Less Human Interaction

                    One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

                    Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

                    Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

                    This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

                    While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

                    Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

                    Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

                    This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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                    For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

                    Con #4: Unique Distractions

                    Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

                    For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

                    To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

                    Final Thoughts

                    Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

                    We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

                    More About Working From Home

                    Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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