Baagan: Fresh Healthy Vegan Cafe - Healthful Information
Baagan - Company Message


Coconut Palm Sugar, Agave Nectar, and Stevia come from indigenous cultures that provide multitudes of curative herbs/foods. Unlike refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup, agave and coconut palm sugar break down slowly during digestion, avoiding the sugar spike that invites the development of diabetes. Palm Sugar’s glycemic index is 35, Agave Nectar’s is 27, and Stevia’s is 0 – all far less than most sweeteners; sugar/glucose(100), honey (55-60) and high fructose corn syrup (62).  They are also lower than almost every fruit, for example: grapes (47), oranges (42), and papayas (59).   Unlike highly-processed sweeteners that offer no benefits to health-conscious and environmentally responsible consumers, both agave and palm sugar are grown and processed in ways that are truly healthy for us and for our planet.   

Coconut Palm Sugar  “Local populations can easily turn the nectar into coconut blossom sugar. It is a way to solve the world's poverty. It is also an antidote against misery.” Ghandi, 1939   This staple of Southeast Asian culinary heritage and herbal medicine has become the most requested sweetener in global health communities as a nutritious, sustainable, satisfying sweetener. It has earned its spot in our hearts!   Coconut Palm Sugar delivers a rich storehouse of nutrients: B  vitamins; minerals, including phosphorous, potassium, protein,  magnesium, and calcium.   Cocos Nucifera trees yield 50-75% more sugar per acre than sugar cane and use 1/5th the soil nutrients and water – and can produce nectar (then granulated into sugar) and coconuts for water and meat simultaneously, thus making it an incredibly sustainable crop.   In fact, The UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization called palm sugar the world’s “most sustainable  sweetener.  It even comes recommended by Dr. Oz!  

 Agave Nectar  Traditional Mexican medicine makes use of agave for antifungal, antibacterial, blood pressure lowering and anti-inflammatory purposes.  Agave nectar is extracted from the blue agave plant, a succulent that that grows chiefly in Mexico.  The nectar is rich in calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamins E, C, D,  and E. It is 1.3 times as sweet as cane sugar.   For a full report of the agave-making process, including a rebuttal to the "agave controversy":    

Stevia  Stevia has a 1,500 year history of medicinal use in South America, and at 28% growth rate since 2008, it is clearly in high demand. Stevia has no calories or carbohydrates, its glycemic index is 0 (!)  and nutrients found in stevia leaves such as chromium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, zinc and niacin are known to help regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.  Its leaves are 30-45 times as sweet as ordinary table sugar.  It's best used in moderation as it's sometimes known for leaving a bitter taste.  It can be found as a powder or concentrated liquid.

What and Why Organic

What exactly is organic food? 
Why are organic products better? 
Organic foods are grown or raised without the use of synthetic (chemically formulated) pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or fertilizers. Organic farming allows foods to grow in nature as they were intended.  Conventional farmers in the United States alone spray approx. 2 billion pounds of pesticides a year on crops. And those pesticides end up in our food supply!
The foods that become your meal can only be as good and as healthy as the food that it was fed (in the same way that you can only be as healthy as the food you eat: You are what you eat!)
Anything that is toxic to the body overwhelms the liver, and an overwhelmed liver becomes clogged.  This makes it difficult to maintain a healthy weight.  Pesticide residues not only clog the liver but also build up on the intestinal walls, inhibiting the absorption and digestion of nutrients from the food you eat.
Value of Going Organic!
Some people ask whether organic food is worth the money.  The real question should be, “Is my health worth the money?”  Organic food can be more expensive than conventional food for several reasons.  On average, organic farmers have lower yields and higher production costs than conventional farmers because they don’t use herbicides; some crops are weeded by hand, which is labor-intensive. Also, organic farmers don’t receive the many agricultural subsidies and other perks available to conventional farmers. You must weigh the extra cost in the short term with the long-term health benefits of sparing your body from all of the chemicals. Consider our society’s current state of health:  The more chemicals and toxins we are exposed to, the worse our health becomes.  If your doctor told you that you had a disease that required you to pay for a special drug or treatment to feel good every day, would you do it?  We can confidently tell you that you can do something to protect your future health, prevent illness, and lose excess weight at the same time: buy organic foods. You may find that when you spend less on packaged foods, any additional amount spent on organic food won’t increase your overall grocery bill significantly. In addition, you will find that organic vegetables and fruits actually taste better than conventionally farmed ones.  
Simply put, purchasing organic foods is an enjoyable investment in your health.
Buying organic foods “selectively”
The following foods have been shown to have the highest levels of pesticide residue, so they should be purchased organic whenever available*:


Sweet Bell Peppers
Grapes, imported
Blueberries, domestic
Kale/Collard Greens
These foods tend to be lower in pesticide levels and can be purchased conventional if necessary*:


Sweet Corn
Canteloupe, domestic
Sweet Peas
Sweet potatoes

* per's 2011 Shopper's Guide 

At Baagan, our vegan and mostly gluten-free restaurant, we obtain as many organic ingredients as possible and are mindful about which are the most important to obtain organically, for our customers' health.

What is ORAC plus ORAC Values

What does ORAC mean? 
ORAC means Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. According to the University of Michigan, Comprehensive Cancer Center, the measurement of ORAC is just a fancy way of saying, “How well does a certain food help my body fight diseases like cancer and heart disease?”  The higher the number….the more that food will help you. What are Oxygen Radicals? Oxygen Radicals are chemicals that are constantly inside our bodies. They are a normal everyday part of living.  However, these oxygen radicals can damage our cells. They do this damage by a process called Oxidation. If our bodies can neutralize or cancel these oxygen radicals before they do damage, then they won't hurt us.  

What is Oxidation? 
Oxidation is a natural process that occurs around us all the time. One example of oxidation is rusting.  For instance, you can think of a metal bridge that is rusting. Rusting is oxidation. What happens when metal rust?  It becomes weak and flaky. It can't support the weight of the bridge. It doesn't do what it's supposed to do, because it is damaged, old, and weathered. This same process happens in your body!  Just like a rusting bridge, the cells, organs, and other parts of your body can be weakened by oxidation. This can lead to diseases like cancer and heart disease. 

Is there anything I can do to stop this oxidation damage from happening in my body? 
YES! One of the best way to stop oxidation is choosing the right foods to eat. In other words; foods that are high in anti-oxidants. This is where ORAC is important. ORAC is a way to measure how many oxygen radicals a specific food can absorb. The more oxygen radicals a food can absorb, the higher its ORAC score. The higher its ORAC score, the better it is at helping our bodies fight diseases. 

Some of the items you may find at Baagan that have very high ORAC values: 

Cumin Seed        503     1g
Ginger, ground      390     1g
Cloves, ground      2902   1g
Cinnamon, ground    1314   1g
Turmeric, ground     1270   1g
Black Pepper        340   1g
Mustard Seed, yellow 292     1g
Raw Cacao Powder    28,000 100g
Golden Raisins      10,450  100g
Goji Berries        3290    100g
Kale             1770    100g
Blueberries         2400    100g
Beans, red kidney     8606    100g
Beans, black       8494    100g
Lentils           7282    100g
Cilantro, raw       5141    100g
Pomegranate, raw     4479    100g
Almonds, raw       4454    100g
Medjool Dates      2387    100g