If you’ve ever been to a good ramen shop, you know that nothing compares to the silky-smooth broth, bouncy noodles, and mouthwatering flavors you’ll find there. It’s a borderline magical experience that basic instant ramen recipes, consisting of basically nothing but powdered broth, can’t beat.
But if you don’t have a way to taste those delicious, succulent flavors right now, fear not. There are some secrets these noodle shops have been keeping in the kitchen. Luckily for you, not all of them require years of cooking experience to master.
In fact, some of the key components to an excellent bowl of noodles can be recreated in your own kitchen, using ingredients you can find in your own neighborhood.
These easy instant ramen recipes can elevate a drab bowl of prepackaged noodles to heights that neither you nor this instant noodle’s manufacturer ever dreamed of. But that’s mainly becasue they’re mass produced and meat to be quick. Quick is everywhere from instant coffee to minute rice.
This recipe imitates the classic Tokyo-style ramen bowl that’s come to be beloved all over the world. Featuring delicate flavors, fresh vegetables, and hearty pork, it’s sure to satisfy your ramen cravings.
two 3-5 oz packages instant ramen, with flavor packets
4 cups water
¼ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tbsp dry sake
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch peeled and grated ginger
3 stems scallions
You’ll want to plan ahead for this recipe a little. At least half an hour before you’re ready to eat, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, for the pork. At the same time, soft boil an egg. It will need to cook for 4-6 minutes at a rolling boil.
When the oven’s preheated, cover the pork in the sesame oil, salt, and pepper, and put it in the oven for 15-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145.
Gently make cracks in the surface of the eggshells. You don’t want to break them completely. Then place them in a small container with ¼ cup of the mirin and one tbsp of the soy sauce. If the eggs are not completely submerged, add water until they are.
Put your noodles on to boil. Do not let them boil for longer than a few minutes, unless the package directions say otherwise.
While the water heats, add the dried mushrooms. Add the minced garlic, grated ginger, and the flavor packets.
“Shoyu ramen” is simply ramen that heavily features soy sauce, especially as a finishing ingredient. That’s why, in addition to using soy sauce flavored ramen, you’ll want to use soy sauce in the “tare,” a sauce added just before the ramen is cooked. Make the tare by combining the remaining soy sauce and mirin with the sake, and add it to the pot.
Transfer the finished noodles and broth to two separate bowls. Once your pork has cooked and rested for at least ten minutes, slice it into small strips. Place those on top of the noodles.
Retrieve your eggs from their container and remove the shell. They should have a marbled pattern on their surface that will add to their flavor. Cut each one in half and add them to the surfaces of the bowls. Cut the scallions and sprinkle them on top.
Please note: Sapporo Ichiban Miso Flavor may have traces of non-vegan ingredients.
Two 3-5 oz packages of instant ramen, with flavor packets
Four cups water
Two oz enoki mushrooms
1 tbsp sesame oil
Three stems scallions
One small bunch cilantro
½ oz pickled bamboo shoots, thinly sliced
1 inch stem ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ tbsp lime juice
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 ½ tbsp miso paste
Sauté the mushrooms briefly in the sesame oil, until they are soft. Set them aside.
Boil the noodles for 3-5 minutes or according to the package directions. As they boil, prep the scallions by trimming the roots and chopping the rest into small pieces, and pick the cilantro leaves from the stems.
Skim a little hot water from the boiling noodles and combine it with the miso, then stir them together until there are no lumps and the mixture is smooth and runny. Add it back into the pot.
Add the flavor packets to your noodles. As soon as they dissolve, add your mushrooms, bamboo shoots, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar and lime juice to the broth.
Separate the ramen into two bowls and top with the cilantro and scallions. Serve immediately.
Two 3-5 oz packages instant ramen, with flavor packets
4 cups of water
3 large chicken thighs
2 tbsp peanut oil
2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 oz bok choy, rinsed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp chili oil
1-2 whole dried D’Arbol chilies or 1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp rice vinegar
¼ cup chopped peanuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the chicken with peanut oil, paprika, and the salt and pepper. Roast the chicken thighs for 45 minutes, flipping them halfway.
Once the chicken is out of the oven and resting, heat the sesame oil in a pan on medium high heat. Add the garlic and brown it slightly.
Once it’s browned, add the chili powder or whole chilies and the coriander powder to the pan and toast your spices gently. Separate your rested chicken meat from the bone. Turn the heat down to medium low and add your chili oil.
You can make your own chili oil, but if you don’t have the time, your local supermarket or import market most likely carries some. Once it’s added to the pan, add your chicken meat and your bok choy and saute them with the spices until the bok choy is wilted.
Boil your noodles for 3-5 minutes or according to the package directions, and add the flavor packets. Tip your pan full of bok choy and chicken into the pot and add the entirety of the contents to the ramen, including any leftover oil or whole chilies.
Separate the ramen into two bowls and top with chopped peanuts. Serve immediately.
While it’s nearly impossible to make restaurant quality ramen out of the instant stuff, it is possible to capture some of the magic you’d find in ramen that was made by a professional. The key to great instant ramen recipes is, above all else, creativity.
With a few tweaks and the addition of fresh meat and vegetables, you can have a delicious dinner budget-friend dinner ready without spending the time and money on rich and traditional broth and noodles.
When cooking’s off the table—some healthy takeout while sipping on your favorite breakfast smoothies could be the way to go when you’re not in the mood for this tasty Japanese meal.
The best restaurants in Portland, Oregon, are some of the best in America, period. Why? Chefs and restaurant owners come to Portland to take chances and innovate. Its eclecticism is owed to the city’s eager embracing of broad, diverse cuisines.
Whether you’re hunting for one of the 500 food carts open at any single moment in the city, or a more formal brick-and-mortar dining experience, these restaurants in Portland will give your tastebuds as thrilling an experience as the rest of the city.
Folks are downright serious about their chicken. Original, baked, crispy, smoked, grilled…and, of course, classic nuggets.
What’s the secret to a great-tasting, lip-smacking chicken dinner? Some opinions state the marinade or brine makes it perfect, while others argue white or dark meat seals the deal. There are also theories that salt and sugar rubs make a palatable difference.
As one of the very best restaurants in Portland, Bae’s combines all these opinions to craft, hands down, the best fried chicken you’ll ever find in this city.
The menu has chicken selections for every appetite. Traditional sides include mac-and-cheese, collard greens, Texas toast, waffle fries, skillet corn, and coleslaw.
Bae’s also makes a fantastic chicken sandwich that warrants an article all its own. Remember when people got in fights at the Popeye’s Drive-thru…for a chicken sandwich? Shoulda gone to Bae’s.
One-Hit Wonders: Best Restaurants in Portland with Limited Menus
With two decades under its belt as a Portland food lover’s staple, Whole Bowl has expanded its locations to include Brooklyn, New York, and Cincinnati, and Ohio.
The original site, a small pushcart on Glisan Street in the Pearl district, has grown into over a dozen stores.
The menu consists of one item: a bowl. It includes brown rice, black beans, cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro, avocado, and any combination thereof.
But what really makes this dish is its generous layer of Tali sauce, named after the owner and inventor.
The temptation to know more about Tali sauce will envelop your curiosity, but gentle warning, fair foodie: all you’ll get out of your Bowlista when you ask what the sauce is, is “it’s a lemon-garlic sauce.” There are actual websites dedicated to mastering Tali sauce, but alas, the secrets will remain elusive.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter what it is. It’s simple, it’s delicious and healthy—and it’s remark-a-bowl.
Nong’s Kao Man Gai
Similar to Whole Bowl’s approach of the one-item menu, Nong’s keeps things simple, but adds a protein into the mix.
Kao Man Gai gets its name from a Thai dish consisting of chicken and rice. Nong’s prepare their version by poaching organic chicken breast in their bombastic homemade stock until the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Served with fresh cooked white rice, Kao Man Gai is wrapped in butcher paper and tied with a string. A small side of their fantastic chicken broth with tender jewels of steamed zucchini accompanies the order. And of course, a sauce made with ginger, garlic, and chiles that makes it Nong’s.
Support one of Portland’s most famous eateries by checking out all things Nong’s here: the menu, the kickin’ apparel, and their off-the-chain Bloody Mary and Lychee Margarita mixes. Best of all: they ship.
How would some designer ramen sound?
You design your own bowl of ramen at Boke Bowl. This affordable pop-up-turned-restaurant is affordable, environmentally friendly, and heavy on flavor and texture. And everything edible that goes in your customized bowl is locally farm-to-table fresh.
You start by choosing from slow-smoked pulled pork, aromatic duck dashi, caramelized fennel, and nuggets of Asian-inspired fried chicken.
The tantalizing deep broth is earthy and robust. Choose a rice bowl or noodles and add avocado, poached egg, pork belly, fried pears, pickled cucumbers, and a host of other housemade delights.
Discover Boke’s entire selection of steamed buns—including PB&J—and you’re hooked! Curry bowls are available to order too.
On Thursday nights from 4-8 pm, it’s Boke Bird: you can add Korean fried chicken or tofu to your designer ramen.
The bun is pillowy and cradles your choice of Galbi Short Rib, Cured Smoked Salmon, King Oyster Mushroom, Tofu, Pulled Pork, or Honey Gochujang Chicken.
Then they stuff the borders of your protein with cucumber bon chan, sesame seeds, and a choice of one of four homemade Kim Jong sauces.
Best “I Feel So Worldly” Restaurants in Portland
With 2 locations in the Northeast and Southeast quadrants of Portland, Hat Yai is the Portland restaurant to visit when you’re craving Thai street food.
You can’t go wrong with an order of the signature Hat Yai fried chicken with a side of sticky rice. Definitely add extra pickles, garlic sauce, and a side (or two) of Roti, their superior warm flatbread.
The chicken is notably crunchy and a bit caramelly. Fried shallot curls are incorporated into the batter for maximum flavor. As for texture, the chicken’s garlicky-sweet coating will deliver pure joy to your mouth.
The Brisket Curry is Nobel Prize-worthy, and the Muu Hong—braised pork belly and shoulder with a fried egg—will have you shouting, “How was I unaware of this pairing of texture and flavor? Where have you been all my life?”
When it comes to Thai restaurants in Portland, the legendary Thai Peacock is the Holy Grail.
Serving dishes like their praise-worthy Larb, Pad Thai, and Marinated Beef Salad, the endless selections are tantalizing to the last bite. Save room for crispy banana rolls with coconut ice cream.
Thai Peacock hand-mixes each signature cocktail using fresh, exotic juices and premium spirits. The Tamarind Whiskey Sour includes Even William White whiskey, Chinese 5 Spice, and fresh lime.
And the Bangkok Mule (yes, served in a copper mug) blends Thai rum, coconut sake, ginger beer, and fresh lime.
For the non-spirited, ask for a refreshing Peacock Thai Iced Tea. It’s the best version of this iconic drink on the planet.
Without a doubt, Luc Lac is the spot to grab a late lunch—or an even later dinner—after some weekend clubbing.
Under normal operational hours, doors remain open until 4:00 am on dancehall nights. Needless to say, Luc Lac is packed until the bouncers wrangle its patrons to the front door come closing time.
Yes, Luc Lac’s Vietnamese street food is that good.
So good, in fact, that when Luc Lac underwent a full renovation in 2014 and covered its windows, it sent people into a panic. Only later would the hangry PDX “Luc Lackers” find out their beloved Portland eatery wasn’t closing for good, but simply making the place roomier to seat more of the masses.
Luc Lac has remained one of the best restaurants in Portland since its doors swung open in 2011. One bit of Luc Lac’s generous and ingredient-centric selection of Banh Mi sandwiches, Pho, Rice Plates, and Vermicelli Bowls will explain the restaurant’s mantra: “Often imitated, never duplicated.”
By the way, it’s always good to order the Blood of Tiger cocktail with tiger prawn tequila, Can Chua mix (tamarind soup), lime, High Life, and a dried shrimp rim.
Or you can get busy slurping on the jumbo Sunday Service Slushee, a frozen mimosa with sparkling rose cognac and watermelon-mandarin juices. Take Monday off.
If you get a taste for Beijing food, swing by Danwei Canting at the intersection of SE Stark & SE Division near SE 8th Avenue.
This Portland eatery’s name translates to “Work Unit Restaurant,” a tribute to where Chinese workers ate their meals up until around the mid-1990s.
The owner’s impetus for Danwei Canting was to introduce PDX food lovers to a snapshot of Beijing’s food and energy, and they do not disappoint.
Get your heat on with an order of The General’s Chicken. Wok-fried chicken with garlic, scallions, ginger, and chili sauce, served with sticky rice, is a standout starter.
You’ll have to remember what your parents told you about fairness and sharing if you order the Pork Roll starter with scallion pancake, braised pork, sweet chili sauce, radish, and cucumber. Actually, you’d better order two.
Pair Danwei’s Cumin-crusted Lamb Burger with an order of Street Fries (crispy potatoes tossed with Sichuan peppercorn, chilies, cilantro, and scallions) piping hot from the fryer.
Wash it all down with a frosty glass of Yanjing, Master Gao, or Tsingtao beer on tap. Then ask your friends to leave you be until it’s time for a Honey-Lavender Ice Cream Sandwich with Lemon Cookies.
Danwei Canting also has a baijiu library. Not quite a vodka, not quite tequila, this fruity and somewhat nutty “clear liquor” is a Chinese distilled spirit. Danwei Canting offers a wide selection, including popular baijiu from Vinn, Ming River, Moutai, Red Star Erguotou, and Mianzhu Daqu distilleries.
Also, flight tastings are available for those who need to be in the know.
The open kitchen at Grassa, a Portland eatery for all things Italian, is always bustling with pasta makers and chefs working in tandem to create tasty and authentic dishes.
First and foremost, sink your teeth into Grassa’s Carbonara. It’s got the perfect culinary chemistry: bucatini pasta (tubular spaghetti), pancetta, fried egg, and pecorino cheese.
For a heartier balance of flavor, attempt the Texas Stroganoff with burnt brisket ends, crimini mushrooms, buttered noodles, and mustard crema.
And if you’re in a going-all-the-way mood, the Pizza Pocket Ravioli blends whipped ricotta and mozzarella tucked into miniature pasta pillows, garlic knot breadcrumbs, and spicy tomato sauce.
All the pasta is homemade and hand-cut. Hand-picked wines fully complement the cuisine, and the cocktails are sublime.
Get in line early; Grassa attracts a crowd. Be prepared to make new friends, since the open picnic-style seating forces you to strike up a conversation with strangers. Saluti!
Best Portland Americana Eateries
Breaking Fast, Instead of Bad: Breakfast Joints
Pine State Biscuits
Picture it: a hot, steaming biscuit, fresh from the oven. Are you the butter-and-eat-it type? Apple butter or marmalade? Or perhaps you’d prefer a mountain of piping hot white sausage gravy, generously ladled overtop.
Now, what about adding a piece of fried chicken, pickles, and some melty cheddar cheese to that biscuit?
Meet Pine State’s signature breakfast sandwich, the Reggie—pictured above.
But it’s the homey feel of this Pint State Biscuits that will really mesmerize your senses. The irresistible scents of fresh biscuits and coffee have made it a favorite Portland eatery since 2006.
Grilled marinated steak and onions biscuit? Yes! Pulled pork and Carolina slaw? Mm-hmm. Over-easy egg with braised greens and hot sauce? That’s Reggie’s friend, Regina.
Ever had a wedge salad on a biscuit? You can eat one at this innovative breakfast joint.
And vegans, rejoice: the meatless sausage patty, tofu bacon, and plant-based cheese biscuit topped with shitake mushroom gravy will blow your mind.
Pine State Biscuits also offers biscuit meal kits so you can have the perfect football brunch kick-off party or cozy holiday breakfast with the family.
If the line at Pine State Biscuits is too long and you’re on the verge of slapping somebody from hunger, walk across the street to Genie’s!
Voted numerous times as the must-stop for breakfast, Genie’s is a quaint slice of yesteryear.
Omelets, classic tw0- and three-egg breakfasts with the meats, huevos rancheros, benedicts, a kick-ass breakfast sandwich with a phat checklist of options, and griddle goodies to satisfy all the pancake lovers…if it’s Genie’s, it’s breakfast.
And brunch! Bottomless coffee and the full bar features house-infused vodkas galore. Doors open at 8:00 am, close at 3:00 pm, seven days a week.
Fuller’s Coffee Shop
Long before the food revolution began in Portland, Fuller’s was on the scene starting in 1947.
It has moved location once, but nothing else about this beloved restaurant has changed. It serves a standard breakfast and lunch in the style of classic bygone American diners.
Fuller’s is a place to sit a spell, read the newspaper, and have a coffee. Pony up to the counter—by the way, the whole restaurant is one big counter—and relive the classics.
The chicken fried steak, club sandwich, Monte Cristo, Pigs in a Blanket, blueberry pancakes, and Georgia’s Potatoes Deluxe are continually rotating from the kitchen to the customers.
Order breakfast all day, starting at 7:00 am. The loaves of bread are homemade, but make sure to be in a seat by closing at 3:00 pm. Avoid visiting on a Monday; Fuller’s closes up shop for the entire day.
Best Midday “Take My Hunger Away” Restaurants in Portland
Little Big Burger
The burger market, saturated with the fast-food giants, is a hard nut to crack. But every once in a while, a concept arrives on the scene that smashes the glass ceiling, ratchets up the flavor profiles, and gives the “big box” burger competitors a run for their money.
Such is the case with Little Big Burger. The play on words is intentional. Imagine your perfect burger, stacked high with ingredients but reduced to four bites.
Would you like a hamburger or cheeseburger? Choose the former, and LBB will make it using 1/4 lb of fresh Cascade farms natural beef, lettuce, pickle, red onion, and Camden’s Catsup on a freshly baked brioche bun.
Choose the latter, and you’re guaranteed a flavor explosion. Chévre, crumbled bleu, Tillamook sharp cheddar, Tillamook Swiss, or Tillamook pepper jack: you choose which cheese you want dripping down the sides of your LBB.
As far as taste, every LBB burger is scratch-made. So when they scream your name and hand you the greasy brown paper bag, expect a hot, mouthwatering burger.
Always leave extra room in your paper bag for LBB’s signature Truffle Fries. LBB crams as many shoestring skin-on potatoes, tossed in white truffle oil and kosher salt, into the paper carton as possible.
Each order also comes with LBB’s homemade Fry Sauce. Ask for extra: it’s the perfect companion for every crunchy Truffle Fry bite you’ll experience.
Can you handle a Root Beer Float with Tillamook vanilla bean ice cream and Barq’s root beer? LBB makes those too!
Ask the staff about The Firebird, The Chicken Burger, and The Beyond (plant-based) Burger if you’re in the mood for an upgraded LLB experience.
Since opening in 2010, Little Big Burger has been an exemplary part of Portland’s eatery culture. Move over, Mickey D’s.
A Google reviewer stated the following: “You know when food is so good, you just can’t talk for a moment?” Enough said.
First bites include their wedge salad, deviled eggs, and fries with gravy. For entrees, good luck choosing between their pulled pork, brisket, smoked salmon, chicken, hotlinks, brisket burnt ends, or spare ribs.
Meals are served with pickles and onions, white bread, and your choice of two sides. And don’t think the hard decisions stopped with the meats. Side options include macaroni salad, braised collard greens, potato salad, mac and cheese, baked beans, coleslaw, and cornbread with honey butter.
Don’t take too long to decide: Smokehouse Tavern is only open from 3 to 9 pm, and is closed on Mondays.
Remember “profane and curmudgeonly” detective William “Bunk” Moreland on the critically acclaimed television show The Wire? Bunk restaurants in Portland honor his name.
As to the why, it isn’t all that clear. But that doesn’t matter. All hail, Bunk!
Bunk is famous for their Pork Belly Cubano. Their selfie-worthy sandwiches have garnered national media attention from The Food Network, Food & Wine Magazine Travel + Leisure.
Rainier beer tallboys can be seen dotting every table, and Bunk’s signature ICEBERG, a pint of Rainer with a float of a homemade frozen margarita, is a showstopper sipper.
Bunk also offers a kid menu, making it fun for all ages.
An Amazing Indian Joint: Swagat
The best thing about Indian food is its remarkable ability to provide the mind and body with a sensation of comfort that other international foods can’t quite attain. Swagat raises the bar, and does so in three locations.
The Tandoori mixed grill arrives sizzling hot to the table, combining lamb, chicken, shrimp, and halibut marinated in yogurt and herbs. The piping hot naan comes non-stop.
Swagat’s dosa (lentil flour crepes) are stuffed with curries or vegetables and served with chutney and sambar, a tamarind-based stew. Vegan versions are also available.
Save room for the house dessert, gulab jamun, a fried pastry ball smothered in honey and rosewater.
Off-the-Chain Mexican Restaurants in Portland
When it comes to some of the best Mexican food, you might think of cities in SoCal like Los Angeles or San Diego, but you can definitely find it in Portland too. You’re going to have to go day-tripping, however, down to a town called Woodburn for Mexican food. Woodburn is home to Oregon’s infamous outlet mall, about 45 minutes south.
There’s also Lupita’s, Los Cabos, and Los Machetes…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the authentic Mexican cuisine Woodburn offers.
And, after you’ve gotten your taco on, rest easy: there’s a Day’s Inn at the heart of the town.
Best Pizza Parlors in Portland
When you think of pizza, you may think of New York, Chicago, maybe even Italy, but, to be honest, the list for best pizza eateries in Portland would stretch the length of the 187-mile Willamette River.
That said, there are five standouts for fantastic pies and slices. Each restaurant has a specific claim to fame that gives them a leg up on other pizzerias.
Nestled in the heart of Portland’s warehouse-turned-urban-chic Pearl District, The Star offers award-winning deep-dish pizza.
Not just any deep-dish pizza, though: transformative, old-style, Chicago deep-dish pizza.
The Star also serves up a thin crust pizza that will have you questioning how every bite is more delicious than the next.
Design your deep-dish pizza, or choose the Little Star with fresh spinach blended with ricotta and feta cheeses, mushrooms, onions, and roasted garlic.
If you’re more of a “thin cracker crust” pizza lover, holler for a Hoyt Street pie. It has a walnut-pesto base with zucchini, fresh tomatoes, and balsamic glaze.
The bar is mad stocked, so you’ll have no issues finding a cocktail, local craft beer, or wine with your name on it.
Happy Hour with banging bites and drink selections, lunch specials, loyalty rewards program, and delivery available puts The Star at superstar status.
One of the unique features of Virtuous Pie is their respect for plant life. Navigate the menu based on your diet. The expansive allergen, vegetarian, and vegan filters allow you to customize a diet-centric pie, or order a Virtuous Pie specialty pizza worry-free.
The Super Funghi pie introduces the mouth to cashew mozzarella, herbed-potato cream, and a day of foraging for wild mushrooms.
Alternately, the Stranger Wings offers up a unique combination of Bianca, spicy buffalo cauliflower, crisp fried shallots, blue cheese drizzle, and scallion.
Or try the Ultraviolet: walnut and arugula pesto, cashew mozzarella, oven-dried tomatoes, kale, caramelized onion, and pine nuts.
East Glisan Pizza Lounge
About six minutes just outside of Portland’s city limits, on the corner of NE 81st Avenue and NE Glisan, sits an old-time pizza parlor you’ll regret missing.
From their specialty pies to the Detroit-style Sicilian pizza, to the most delicious handmade cocktails from some of Portland’s finest mixologists, there is a slice for all the carnivores and herbivores alike.
Funnily enough, what makes East Glisan Pizza Lounge such a top-tier pizza place isn’t even pizza: it’s their homemade lasagna.
While Papa Haydyn is also a full restaurant, it’s the dessert case that creates a stir when you arrive.
The vast array of treats and sweets quickly distracts you, and will have you thinking about dessert before dinner. And after.
Do not pass on The Cherry Forest, Bourbon Ball, Carrot Cake, and Georgian Peanut Butter Mousse Torte. And then order every other dessert, just because.
This frozen treat palace deserves a spot in your itinerary of the best restaurants in Portland for two reasons.
First, they offer an ice cream named Chocolate AF. As you can imagine, it is loaded. With. Chocolate. Ganache, chocolate swirls, dark chocolate add-ins…if there was such a thing as too much chocolate, this dessert would be it.
The second thing that makes Fifty Licks one of the best restaurants in Portland is the owner, Chad Draizin.
A self-proclaimed nerd on a mission to combine his love of food science with ice cream, he’s dominating the gourmet ice cream market in Portland.
Mango Sticky Rice and Golden Milk not only taste like their names, but are also 100% vegan. French Toast, Horchata, Hood Strawberry, and (for the purists) Vanilla AF: it doesn’t matter what Chad scoops. Fifty Licks is terrific AF.
They’re small and bite-sized, but still feature a center hole. You can get them rolled in or stuffed with cinnamon sugar, raw honey and sea salt, Nutella and sea salt, or even candied maple bacon.
Beyond the doughnuts, their selection of Chai is something to behold. Smokey Robinson Campfire Chai elicits a smoke flavor, along with cinnamon, clove, and vanilla. Warm up with Heart of Gold; toasted coconut, turmeric, ginger, clove, and green tea.
Can’t decide? Try 6 ounces of each with a flight of Pip’s Chai for $12.95. Dip and pop those Pips.
Experience the Best Restaurants in Portland
There is an old German proverb which defines the Portland eatery scene to a T: “Eating and drinking holds body and soul together.”
For decades, Portland restaurateurs and entrepreneurs have found unique, interesting, and delicious formulas with which to strengthen the bond of body and soul, and bring the community together to feast.
The best restaurants in Portland offer a vast and eclectic selection of foods from around the world, from small pop-ups, to food carts, to comfy full-service brick-and-mortars.
Head out and enjoy all the rich complexities that dining in the west coast’s weirdest city has to offer.
Cooking at home is the healthiest and cheapest way to enjoy meals, but it’s not easy. Between running out of recipe ideas to spice up your ramen, enduring the madness of grocery stores during peak hours, or endless kitchen clean-up after cooking your favorite budget meal, or maybe you’re feeling just plain lazy, it’s often just easier to order out.
Thanks to meal delivery services like UberEats, DoorDash, and GrubHub, there’s no shortage of restaurants to choose from. But what should you order when you want easy and nutritious?
To shake that laziness, be sure to get in some of these best exercises while you’re waiting for your delivery to arrive at your door.
Here are some healthy takeout options to consider the next time you want delivery without the guilt.
Panera Bread has been around since 1987. Although they are a chain, they offer seasonal local options when possible. They serve some of the following:
There is an option for most people with all the variety, including vegetarian dishes.
Established in 1993, Chipotle is known for using fresh, healthy ingredients.
From crisp veggies and quality meat to perfectly steamed rice, Chipotle’s Mexican cuisine covers a wide range of dishes that are both tasty and filling.
Choose from burritos, bowls (a burrito sans tortilla), or salad, and start your order with the star: grilled chicken, steak, carnitas, or grilled veggies. Extras include house-made guac, pico, corn salsa, and more. The best part of Chipotle is everything is up to you. You can even “hack” the menu to make something unique.
With the slogan “Eat Fresh,” Subway’s stood apart from competitors since its beginnings in 1965 with quality sandwiches, mouth-watering flavors, and baked bread sure to lure you into any food court in a heartbeat.
Nothing at Subway is fried, and many of the menu items are healthier than typical fast food fare. New options include flatbread and breakfast sandwiches, and more are added regularly.
That said, Subway knows when to keep customer favorites; some have a permanent place on the menu, while others are strictly seasonal.
Much like Chipotle, Costa Vida is a Mexican-style restaurant offering a vast menu of salads, power bowls, burritos, enchiladas, and more.
Their selection includes meats, beans, house-made tortillas, pico, queso and chips, and guac. As the self-proclaimed “fresh Mexican grill,” Costa Vida may just become your next lunchtime go-to.
This restaurant has a few locations throughout California and was founded in 1995. It is basically a massive “make your own insanely delicious salad” restaurant, though sandwiches are also available.
Noodles & Company
You can definitely guess this restaurant’s specialty!
Founded in 1995, this Colorado-based company offers classic pasta dishes, twists on old favorites, and even veggie noodles made of zucchini (zoodles) or cauliflower (caulifloodles).
Served in the build-your-own style of Subway and Chipotle, the dishes at Noodles & Company are made exactly how you want. The hard part is deciding whether to stick with an old favorite, or try something new.
They also offer a wide variety of soups and salads, in the unlikely event you’re sick of pasta.
Smoothie lovers, rejoice: you can drink your meal, or add it on the side of a granola or oatmeal bowl loaded with fresh fruit. Try the Vanilla Blue Sky (blue spirulina with vanilla coconut milk, blueberries, strawberries, and more), or some classic oatmeal alongside the “Whirl’d Famous” Mango-a-Go-Go smoothie.
Everything is made fresh and in-house, and smoothies can be upgraded with energy boosts, vitamins, protein powders, wheatgrass, and more.
With a slogan like “Healthy for Everyone,” Just Salad offers what you’d expect: a wide variety of options everyone in your house will love, with nutrition you’ll feel good about.
That’s where the expectations end, though, because Just Salad serves way more than salads. With wraps, bowls, avocado toast, soups, smoothies, and more on the menu, this chain covers the health food spectrum in every way imaginable.
Founded in 1971, nationwide sandwich Togo’s uses the freshest veggies, meats, and cheeses, and bake all bread on site. Customize your sandwich, or select a menu classic for a masterpiece with premium ingredients and taste you won’t find elsewhere.
More Healthy Takeout Options: Shop Local
Finally, you can’t beat local selections when it comes to healthy and delicious takeout. Delis, small restaurants, and cafes often thrive because customers appreciate the attention to quality some large-scale chain restaurants lack.
Bonus: you’re supporting local businesses and your community, which makes eating well feel even better.
If you’ve wondered what the difference is between vegans and vegetarians, you’re not alone. Many similarities exist between the two diets.
They do have one glaring difference, though. While vegetarians do not eat meat, they do consume animal byproducts like eggs, cheese, or butter.
Vegans, on the other hand, consume neither animals nor their byproducts.
In other words, if an animal died to make the product (a steak, for example), neither group eats it. If an animal was involved in its production in any way (like dairy-based ice cream), vegetarians can eat it, but vegans do not.
As an aside, including animal byproducts in your new vegetarian diet will ensure a smoother transition away from meat. Eggs and milk are good sources of protein, and make useful meat substitutes in recipes like fried rice, protein bowls, and more.
If you’re interested in becoming vegan, consider a gradual approach: vegetarianism first, with a slow decrease in animal byproduct consumption as time goes on. This will make veganism less of a shock to your system.
“Vegetarian” Does Not Automatically Mean “Healthy”
This is a big and understandable misconception about this lifestyle.
Due to occasionally low sources of protein, iron, or other nutrients you used to receive from meat, you can feel hungry a lot. When you’re not sure what to eat, you tend to grab whatever is around and whatever is easiest.
The product may be vegetarian, but it’s almost always packed with sugar and carbs, too. Be sure to portion out your intake of these snack foods into appropriate amounts.
If you find yourself gorging on food after becoming vegetarian, it’s possible you’re deficient in certain vitamins or minerals. The same goes if you experience lethargy or mood swings. Consult a doctor to get some basic lab work done for anemia and other deficiencies.
Alternatively, you might find yourself rapidly losing weight, now that so many of your favorite foods are off-limits as a vegetarian.
Keep a food log to track your caloric intake, and make sure you’re getting the right amount for your height, weight, and lifestyle.
Beware of Hidden Animal Bases
Some folks who won’t eat meat have no problem consuming fat-based flavorings. They may even take supplements with bases like cod liver oil.
If you choose to make exceptions to your vegetarianism like those, that’s entirely your call. If, however, you want to avoid hidden animal bases, watch for these items on food labels:
Gelatin. This substance consists of animal skin, tendons, and bones. It’s boiled down to form a gel-like substance, and is found in Jello (obviously), candies, marshmallows, and even vitamins.
Lard. Simply put, lard is fat from pigs. It’s found in many baked goods and anywhere you’d expect to also find butter.
Rennet. This enzyme is found inside the stomachs of animals (usually calves) and is used to make a lot of different cheeses. Many don’t require rennet, however. A lot of cheese production companies have recently switched over to vegetable options.
Beef/chicken stock, bacon fat, and bone broth. Usually added for flavor, these ingredients can still affect your body the same way meat would. Slowly consuming less of these might be ideal for brand-new vegetarians looking to ease into the lifestyle, but if you want to steer clear of meat completely, watch for these in most products. These products can typically be found in soups and ramen. Although, ramen ingredients are largely vegetarian, it is possible to have a vegetarian broth made so that the whole dish can be perfectly vegetarian.
How to Get Your Protein and Iron as a New Vegetarian
There are probably more sources of natural protein and iron sources than you have ever imagined. Some excellent meat substitutes and protein sources include:
Seitan. A gluten product that has a similar texture to meat that also contains iron and other nutrients.
Tofu, tempeh, or edamame. All made from soybeans and packed with protein and amino acids.
Lentils. Delightful little bean-like things that are packed with protein and fiber.
Beans and chickpeas. There is a huge variety of these, so you are bound to find one you like. Hummus, for example, is made of chickpeas, and makes a great dip for vegetables.
Nuts and seeds. Full of protein and healthy fats.
Mushrooms. Not as protein-packed, but they are rich, diverse, and delicious. They also contain a lot of B-vitamins.
Dark greens. Veggies like spinach, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and the outlier potatoes (or sweet potatoes) are high in protein, iron, and vitamins.
Dark fruits. Nectarines, blackberries, and blueberries are all vitamin-rich and delicious.
Gold Standard Whey Protein. If you’re struggling to meet your protein goals, adding some protein powder to your diet can definitely help. The only animal-derived ingredient in this powder is whey itself which comes from cow’s milk.
Benefits of Becoming a Vegetarian
Lower Food Bill
If planned in advance, eating as an herbivore is insanely inexpensive. Including foods like those listed above will keep your grocery budget low. There are a ton of budget friendly recipes out there as well!
The pricier options include plant-based replacements (like Impossible Burgers or other burger substitutes), and vegetarian-branded snacks. You can choose to include these in your weekly shopping trips, but watch out for creeping costs.
Grocery shopping as a vegetarian isn’t all that different from most shoppers’ experiences. The more whole goods and ingredients you buy (to cook with yourself), the cheaper it will be. If, however, you go for more premade options and snacks, that total will look a lot higher at the register.
Easier Mealtime Cleanups
No more fat or grease caked to baking sheets and pans, no more strict clean-up after handling raw meats…the kitchen is a very different place after you switch to a vegetarian diet!
Simple Meal Substitutions
One of the best parts about becoming a vegetarian is how simple it is to substitute meatless options for your favorite meals.
You don’t have to give up your beloved spaghetti; just ditch the ground beef or sausage from your favorite sauce (or make your own from scratch). Substitute mushrooms for some extra flavor, if you’d like.
Bean tacos or quesadillas are just as delicious as the original versions. Your lunchtime salad will be even more delicious with hardboiled eggs or tofu in place of grilled chicken. Get creative! You might find your new vegetarian recipe is even better than the original.
Best of all, of you find that you’re struggling to meet your daily protein goals, you can easily add some protein powder to your favorite smoothies, yogurts, or even water. As an added bonus you can even cook with protein powder by adding them into your favorite pastries making you feel a little less guilty about eating them.
Restaurants Almost Always Have Options
Unlike other diets (veganism, for example), vegetarianism is common enough and lighter on the restrictions that make cooking such a challenge for other dietary needs. This means restaurants will be more apt to include a vegetarian option or two.
And, in the event your establishment of choice doesn’t have a vegetarian option, you can always ask for a customized meal made with ingredients most places already have on-hand, like rice and vegetables. Chipotle is one of the best on-the-go restaurants for vegetarian options.
Keep in mind that some cultures eat more vegetables than others. This means places like Indian, Thai, Mexican, or sushi restaurants may cater to vegetarians more easily than many American chains.
Live a Healthier Lifestyle and Feel Better
Perhaps the biggest benefit of becoming a vegetarian is how much better you’ll feel. When you plan your food intake wisely, you can meet all your required vitamin and nutrient levels, dramatically lower your fat consumption, and still get plenty of protein.
Some people turn to vegetarianism for a dramatic dietary overhaul, while others just want a little more plant-based food in their normal diets. Whatever your reason is for becoming a vegetarian, you can absolutely succeed in it with good research, planning, and dedication. Bon Appétit!
Gold Standard Whey Protein by Optimum Nutrition is the most popular brands of whey protein on the market. Their protein blend is powerful yet tasty, which is way more than most protein blends can offer.
Learn about the nutritional details of Gold Standard Whey Protein, as well as which flavors are the best—both in terms of taste, and health.
If you’re just here for the flavor rankings, here’s a quick summary of consumer favorites:
Nutritional Information about Gold Standard Whey Protein
One of the things that Gold Standard advertises most about its protein product is that it is based on whey protein isolates (WPIs), which are the purest whey protein that currently exists. The cost for WPIs can be high, but they are the ideal whey for serious athletes.
All of Gold Standard’s whey flavors use the same blend, which is a mix of whey protein isolates, whey protein concentrate, and whey peptides to promote speedy recovery and lean muscle growth.
The rest of the ingredients in each bottle or bag of Gold Standard Whey Protein powder are specific to the flavor you purchase.
Best Liquids to Mix with Gold Standard Whey Protein Powder
There are many possibilities for mixing Gold Standard protein mix into your beverage—or even food—such as:
Vanilla Ice Cream isn’t bad, assuming you don’t mind the taste of artificial vanilla. Many reviewers on Amazon and other sites were disappointed to find that Sacralose is one of the ingredients, claiming that the artificial sweetener ruins the flavor of the mix.
Home-cooked dinners shouldn’t be expensive. They should be delicious, straightforward, and, above all else, affordable. Additionally, many recipes are able to be tweaked to accommodate vegetarians or vegans. Here are four delicious budget dinner recipes to cook when your wallet (and stomach) is nearing empty, and that gas station snack or your favorite ramen just won’t do the trick.
When looking for a quick dinner, most people immediately think of ordering pizza. Sure, that $5.99 deal sounds enticing, but the total adds up quickly after delivery fees and tip.
You could always buy the dough and make a pizza from scratch, but let’s be honest: the convenience factor goes way down with a messy endeavor like that.
That’s where this tortilla pizza comes to the rescue. So versatile, incredibly quick, and requiring very little cleanup, this recipe will become a budget-meal staple in frugal households.
All you really need are 3 ingredients: tortillas, pizza sauce, and shredded cheese. That’s it! If you’re looking to get fancy, though, you can add toppings or spices for a personalized pizza that’s sure to satisfy.
8-inch flour tortillas
Shredded cheddar cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Oregano, salt, and pepper to taste
Turn the oven broiler on and place a cast iron skillet on a burner over medium-high heat.
While the burner is heating up, place your flour tortilla onto the skillet. Take a spoonful of pizza sauce and spread it over the top of the tortilla, leaving about a half-inch from the edge for the “crust.”
Take a half-handful of shredded cheddar and a half-handful of shredded mozzarella and spread it evenly around the pizza.
Place the entire skillet and pizza in the oven for about 90 seconds to let the cheese melt and allow the tortilla to crunch up.
Remove pizza from the oven. Sprinkle with oregano, salt, and pepper to taste.
Buttered Egg Noodles
Pastas (and carbs in general) are a great choice for a budget dinner. Egg noodles are some of the cheapest pasta out there, but have a delicacy and flavor that makes them an ideal match for almost any sauce, soup…or even some classic butter and salt.
16 ounces of egg noodles
¼ cup (half stick) of butter
Salt and pepper
Boil about 4 quarts of water in a large pot over high heat. Add a dash of salt and stir.
When the water is boiling, add the egg noodles and cook until desired firmness – usually around 8 to 10 minutes.
Drain the water, but do not rinse the noodles! Add the butter to the hot egg noodles and toss until the butter is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in a bowl and garnish with parsley.
Oven-Baked Chicken with Rice Pilaf
Don’t assume you have to break the bank to include some meat on the menu. Chicken can be inexpensive and elegant, for savvy shoppers who know where to score good deals.
For this dish, bone-in chicken thighs are recommended: they’re a great value for the price, particularly when paired with a cheap but fancy rice pilaf.
1 lb. bone-in chicken thighs with skin
Salt and pepper
Near East Rice Pilaf Mix
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat the bottom of a metal pan in olive or vegetable oil.
Pat dry the chicken thighs and season both sides generously with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Make sure to season underneath the skin!
Place the chicken onto the pan, skin-side down, taking care to not overlap the chicken.
Insert the pan into the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip the chicken and insert for another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F and the juices run clear.
Turn the broiler on until the chicken’s skin reaches desired crispness.
Prepare the Rice Pilaf Mix according to the box over the stove or in a microwave. Serve the chicken and rice pilaf together.
Without a doubt, fried rice is one of the best budget dinner recipes to cook at home. Entirely customizable to your tastes and ingredients, it’s a bit of a “catch all” dish. It allows you to use those wilting veggies and random leftovers nobody seems to want. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can pair your fried rice with a hot bowl of ramen.
It’s also convenient, cooked in a single pan or wok and served in bowls (and less dishes is always a good thing).
Keep in mind that creativity really makes this dish. That last bit of rotisserie chicken or leftover steak from Tuesday don’t have to wait out the clock until trash day: toss them in and fry them up!
3 cups of cooked, day-old white rice; can also refrigerate fresh rice on a cookie sheet until cold
1 bag of frozen vegetables (peas, carrots, and corn); can substitute fresh or canned, if drained completely
2 tbsp minced garlic
The day before you make the fried rice, cook your white rice and throw it in the refrigerator to dry it out. You can skip this step and use fresher rice, but beware: your fried rice may get sticky!
In a large skillet over medium heat, drizzle sesame oil. Add minced garlic and stir until fragrant.
Add the rice in clumps and stir.
Continue frying the rice for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until the rice is warmed and very slightly browned.
Mix in the frozen vegetables, then pour in about a 1/3 cup of soy sauce. Stir.
After about 3 minutes, push the fried rice to the edges of the pan to create an opening in the middle. Add the eggs and beat. Stir the rice into the eggs and continue mixing until the eggs are thoroughly cooked.
These budget dinner recipes leave plenty of room for creativity, so the next time you’re watching your favorite food documentary and your creativity strikes, or even if you’re just feeling a little bored and you’re looking for something to do, feel free to substitute ingredients and add others when the pantry and fridge aren’t as well-stocked as you’d prefer.
Whether steeping a nice cup of English Breakfast or quenching cotton-mouth from that hit of Unquestionably OG, you should always take your drinking water seriously.
These days, almost everyone knows the importance of staying hydrated, and that the average adult body is comprised of about 60% water—even more for those with lots of lean muscle—but too few actually think about the quality of their drinking water.
This guide will help you find the best-tasting and healthiest drinking water to stay hydrated…and explain why tap water ranks dead last.
These are the best sources of drinking water, ranked from worst to first.
5 . Tap Water
You’ve likely already consumed tap water whether you were making your favorite kombucha flavors or freezing it for the ice in your smoothie—and that’s perfectly fine.
Despite all the confusion and debate surrounding tap water, it is still good enough to drink or cook with. However, it does contain certain chemicals you might not want circulating through your body. So, if your put off from cooking with it for the meantime, grab some healthy takeout while you asses these options.
These include chlorine, fluoride, or possible contaminants from compromised water systems.
Additionally, most water treatment methods remove minerals crucial to your health and wellbeing—but more on that below.
4. Home Water Filters
One way to make tap water healthier—and tastier—is to use a water filter. You can use a pitcher system, like this one from PUR, or a large dispenser that sits on your counter or in the fridge, such as this option from Brita.
There are also faucet systems that allow you to filter one sink in your home, or whole-house systems that deliver clean water to every single faucet.
The drawback to filtration systems of any kind, however, is the price. Generally speaking, the more you want filtered out of your water, the better filter you’ll need…and the more money you’ll spend on it.
There’s also a time and effort factor involved, since you’ll have to replace filters regularly to keep particle-reduction optimal. Lastly, refilling pitchers or tanks can be tough to remember.
3. Bottled Water
Bottled water is good for on-the-go hydration or cooking while camping, and is usually clean with a pleasant taste.
The cost adds up, though, as does the plastic. Filling landfills with that stuff is far from ideal, especially since it takes over 400 years for a single bottle to degrade.
What’s more, that plastic could be harming your health, one sip at a time.
A 2018 study found microplastic contamination in 93% of the bottled water brands it tested, sourced globally from multiple sources.
In terms of health consequences, experts continue to disagree about the effect these particles have on the human body. Most deem the research inconclusive thus far, but some studies indicate cumulative exposure can lead to toxicity, oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, and neoplasms that may or may not become cancerous.
With that in mind, bottled water is generally fine to consume, and it’s certainly preferable to dehydration. Exploring more eco-friendly drinking water options, however, is a smart move.
2. Water Store Refills
While some might scoff at the idea of a water store, it’s a wise investment for your health.
Many use multiple processes, which allows you to select the kind of drinking water you’d prefer: alkaline, mineral, oxygenated, and more.
Each type of drinking water has unique benefits or purposes, and even a difference in taste.
As for price, this varies largely by establishment and state. Generally, water stores cost much less compared to purchasing comparable filtration systems for your home.
1. Aquifers and Wells
Undoubtedly, this is the best way to get your drinking water: straight from the source.
Aquifers provide clean water from underground sources, untouched by man and stocked with healthy minerals. Getting it can be a challenge, however.
Wells are the most common method for extracting water from an aquifer. Additionally, the water leaves an aquifer over time and goes into springs or streams.
Groundwater is usually safe, given how little interference and exposure it receives, but contamination is still possible. Oftentimes, trace amounts of fluoride, heavy metal, or household waste can sneak their way inside.
Runoff pollutants can also seep into the groundwater supply—even if you live in an isolated area.
These include pesticides, contaminants found in snow- or rainfall, and medications from yourself or any nearby humans, from anti-inflammatories to antibiotics.
While these usually exist in extremely small amounts, it’s a good idea to test well water periodically.
The United States is far from the best, however, among countries with mass filtration systems. Switzerland, Norway, and several others have America beat on both water taste and quality.
Unsurprisingly, part of this comes down to pollution. The more pristine an environment is, the less runoff seeps into the groundwater, which means fewer contaminants overall.
What’s more, cleaner groundwater allows for less processing to clean it for consumption.
Another component is how, exactly, the United States cleans its tap water.
Most water plants utilize chemical filtration at some point during the purification process. Then chlorine or chloramine are added, along with fluoride, before it passes through your pipes.
Chlorine is a bit of a double-edged sword when it comes to tap water.
On the one hand, it keeps waterborne pathogens out of your drinking water. These can include hepatitis or dysentery, among others.
On the other hand, when chlorine mixes with even trace amounts of natural organic matter in a water supply, it can produce Trihalomethanes, or THMs. While boiling water can eliminate THMs, common filtration systems like pitchers or faucet systems cannot.
THMs are harmful to your health because they produce free radicals in your body, which can lead to cellular damage. This can cause inflammation, cardiovascular disease, neurological issues, and even cancer.
Most of the chlorine added to public water supplies will dissolve once it’s pushed through your faucet, however. Furthermore, a high-quality aerator will help remove it even more efficiently.
Chloramine is a chemical produced when chlorine and ammonia combine. It puts a coating on the inside of pipes, which reduces the amount of lead that is leached into the water.
It sounds like a good idea on the surface—but if you’ve ever smelled cat urine, attempted to buy ammonia and bleach at the same time, or watched King Of The Hill, you already know how volatile ammonia can be.
Chloramine exposure can result in respiratory issues such as coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, or even pneumonia. One study found asthma and reduced pulmonary function were particularly common among indoor pool workers.
It’s important to emphasize that those results involve heavy chloramine exposure. Drinking tap water isn’t likely to carry the same risk, since the amounts are far smaller.
Still, the studies for long-term, cumulative effects of chloramine via tap water are sorely lacking—so it might be preferable to err on the side of caution.
There’s a great deal of mixed info out there regarding fluoride, and you’ve probably wondered if it’s actually beneficial to your health…or if it’s made your drinking water a ticking time bomb.
Rest assured: like most elements in your tap water, fluoride is regarded as generally safe. Unless you’re part of the population segment that’s allergic or sensitive to fluoride, a few glasses here and there won’t hurt you.
With that in mind, it’s important to objectively decide if fluoridated water benefits your overall health.
Fluoride Vs. Fluorine: What’s the Difference?
First and foremost, take note that fluoride is not the same as fluorine, a highly reactive electronegative element. It’s often used in nuclear power plants, and used to be prevalent in everyday objects like fire extinguishers and refrigerators.
While fluorine gas on its own is explosive and possibly quite dangerous, compounds containing this gas form many substances you can probably still find throughout your home: Teflon-coated pans, certain rain or snow boots—and, of course, the fluoride in toothpaste, mouthwashes, and most areas’ drinking water supplies.
Fluorine occurs naturally in the air, so you’re exposed to this gas in minute amounts regularly.
In large amounts, though, the gas can be deadly.
Fluoride is different from fluorine—it’s the negative ion of that element, and therefore isn’t as reactive. In trace amounts, it can be beneficial to dental health, and most people get some naturally through other means.
Simply put, toothpaste or some tap water isn’t going to kill you.
Where the concern arises, rather, is in how much fluoride you’re getting…and whether or not you actually need so much.
Does Fluoride Really Help Your Teeth?
The simply answer is yes: fluoride helps prevent cavities and tooth decay.
Additionally, although fluoride may aid in the remineralization of bones and enamel, its cavity reduction comes down to bacteria inhibition.
This sounds like a good thing, of course…assuming it’s only affecting bad bacteria.
Recent studies show that your mouth, just like your stomach or skin, has a unique microbiome that not only impacts your oral health, but your gut and overall health, as well.
Since neurotransmitter synthesis begins in the gut, the health of your mouth directly impacts your gut-brain axis. Anything that throws that out of balance—from antibiotics, to mouthwashes…and yes, possibly fluoridated water—can affect your mental state and moods, in turn.
Other studies have shown a clear link between fluoride and impaired thyroid function. In fact, it’s recommended that individuals with hypothyroidism filter their tap water to remove the fluoride.
Even if you don’t have hypothyroidism, your levels can be negatively impacted by the fluoride in your drinking water: perhaps you’re in the “normal range,” but higher than your personal baseline.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Lastly, it’s important to remember the old adage: too much of a good thing…is a bad thing.
While dental fluorosis is very difficult to get, since fluoride simply doesn’t sit on the teeth that long, the skeletal version of this condition results from repeated, cumulative exposure to fluoride.
If your tap water is over fluoridated, that excess could build in your system over several years and cause stiffness, joint pain, or even ligament calcification.
Furthermore, some studies such as this one have linked fluoridated drinking water to increased osteosarcoma in adolescent boys.
Note that no clear-cut, consistent links exist between fluoride consumption and cancer risk. Generally speaking, conclusively determining fluoride’s long-term effects on health requires more research.
So when it comes to your drinking water, you might choose to forgo the unknown, or consume it and hope for the best—or even some of each, if you still want the dental benefits of fluoridation, but with less overall exposure.
Despite all the filtration methods, both physical and chemical, tap water can still be contaminated.
Like groundwater, runoff is a concern. Any pesticides, herbicides, or industrial waste that touches the earth can later seep into nearby water sources.
Similarly, pollutants in the air can result in contaminated rainwater, snow, or ice. These can enter water supplies, as well.
Although most filtration methods will eliminate these, there are always exceptions.
This is especially true when the filtration systems or pipe networks become compromised in some way.
Lead or mercury can enter water through natural sources in the ground, too, or from improper disposal of hazardous materials like batteries or paint.
Finally, bacteria and parasites can contaminate tap water if it comes into contact with animal or human feces.
Because pipes run underground, diagnosing a compromised system is tough. All too often, people don’t notice a problem until their water supply is polluted.
Removal of Important Minerals
Typical tap water filtration removes more than the bad stuff from our drinking water.
Three of the most common minerals filtered out of water—and three of the most crucial minerals the human body needs to function properly—include calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Magnesium alone is responsible for hundreds of enzyme reactions in your body. Most people don’t get enough through their diet, and have little to no knowledge of its role in overall health.
Besides nerves and muscle function, magnesium helps regulate your heartbeat, blood sugar, and bone and protein synthesis. It might even help people with anxiety.
Calcium is also critical for bone and nerve health, while iron helps our bodies store and utilize oxygen efficiently.
Of course, the verdict is still out on whether drinking tap water really matters when it comes to these minerals. A study by the World Health Organization noted that, even when these minerals are in drinking water, they aren’t chelated—which means they aren’t easily absorbed by the body.
In other words, try to get your mineral intake through a healthy, balanced diet, no matter what kind of water you drink.
The Final Word: What’s the Best Drinking Water for You?
Once more, it should be emphasized that any source of decontaminated water is probably generally safe for consumption.
Staying hydrated is critical to your health and wellbeing—so when you’re thirsty, it’s okay to drink what’s on hand, even if it’s not your usual preference.
But overall, well water or filtered sources are best for your everyday water consumption.
Kombucha is a hot trend these days, and with good reason. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also believed to promote good health and naturally energizing. It may be a better morning alternative for some than instant coffee.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn key information about kombucha and its health benefits. It also covers the most popular brands and flavors, as well as how to brew your own.
Kombucha is a beverage made by fermenting bacteria and yeast with black or green tea, as well as sugar. While alcohol is usually present due to fermentation, the amount tends to be minimal.
It is enjoyed around the world for its health benefits and unique flavor, which is highly adaptable to personal tastes and preferences.
Health Benefits of Kombucha
Kombucha is rich with probiotics that aid the digestive process, as well as antioxidants.
It contains polyphenols and acetic acid, which help to prevent growth of undesirable bacteria.
In some studies, it has been shown to improve cholesterol levels.
What Is a SCOBY?
SCOBY stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.”
It is sometimes referred to as a mother, mother culture, kombucha culture, pellicle, pancake, or mushroom.
This gelatinous mat of bacteria and yeast is a living body, similar to a coral reef in the ocean. You can often see pieces of the SCOBY present in both homemade kombucha, as well as store-bought, although some manufacturers filter it out.
This great video by YBK explains SCOBY in more detail:
How to Make a SCOBY
Boil 1 gallon of water in a large clean pot.
Once the water is to a boil, remove it from heat, and add / mix in 1 cup of sugar.
After the sugar is evenly mixed into the water, drop in the 8 bags of black or green tea, and let the tea steep into the hot water. You only need to steep the tea for 3 to 4 minutes. While steeping for longer is OK, the blend might become bitter.
Allow the sugary tea to cool until it reaches room temperature.
Transfer 3 1/2 quarts of the tea mixture into an empty 1-gallon jar.
Add 2 cups of unflavored and unpasteurized kombucha. This can be store-bought, or reserved from another batch.
Place the woven cloth, or two layers of a paper towel, over the jar. Secure it using a rubber band.
Set the jar out of direct sunlight, then let it sit for 2-4 weeks.
Wait for a 1/4-inch gelatinous disc to form near the top of the jar.
Inspect the new SCOBY. Make sure the jar doesn’t smell rancid or off-putting. If it does, restart the process.
Popular Kombucha Brands
GT’s Living Foods
GT’s makes a variety of “living beverages” besides its organic and raw kombucha, including adaptogenic tea, water kefir, non-dairy coconut yogurt, and probiotic shots.
Their kombucha comes in several varieties:
Enlightened Kombucha: This is brewed with living cultures, yielding a light and smooth tasting probiotic powerhouse.
Enlightened Synergy: This is brewed with living cultures, and contains fresh-pressed organic juice or fruit puree, making it the smoothest of their offerings.
Classic Kombucha: This combines their Organic & Raw Kombucha with complex blends of vegetable juices, spices, herbs, and botanics. It is brewed with heirloom cultures to bring the same signature, small-batch taste that GT’s first introduced in 1995. This is for kombucha drinkers 21 and older, because the fermentation gives this an alcohol content above 0.5%.
Classic Synergy: This combines their Organic & Raw Kombucha with fresh-pressed organic juice or fruit puree. Like the Classic Kombucha variety, its alcohol content is above 0.5%, so it’s for ages 21 and older.
Best GT’s Kombucha Flavors
Kevita’s flavors are not as pungent as others on the market. For that reason, don’t go reaching for your favorite smoothie just yet! Kevita is a great gateway for new drinkers who haven’t quite acquired the taste for kombucha yet.
Additionally, the bottles typically contain no SCOBY. Their flavors are more like flavored sparkling water, rather than a probiotic beverage.
Best Kevita Kombucha Flavors
Health-Ade is a very popular brand, brewed in Los Angeles, California. You can likely find this brand anywhere from large supermarkets to your local gas stations while your grabbing your favorite snacks.
The company boasts that their brewing process is “All Glass,” meaning they don’t use any metal or plastic containers to prevent leaching of the materials into the brew.
Health-Ade also brews in 2.5-gallon batches. This small size yields quality results for every serving.
Best of all, they use high-quality ingredients, and cold-pressed juices from organic produce.
Best Flavors of Health-Ade
Founded in Bend, Oregon, Humm is a brand built on inclusion and communication, with a vision of peace, mutual respect, and equality. It’s available in all 50 states, as well as Sweden and Guam.
Best Flavors of Humm
How to Make Kombucha at Home
Brewing your own kombucha sounds far more complicated than it really is, once you’re accustomed to the process.
Many drinkers prefer their own brews in both taste and quality, in fact, and rarely—if ever—purchase store brands again.
Gallon of water
1 cup of sugar
8 bags of black or green tea
2 cups of starter kombucha tea (unpasteurized/neutral flavor; can be store-bought, or reserved from a previous brew)