Healthy & Easy Home Baked Vegetable Pizza

4
10 minutes
  • 4 large (100% whole grain) tortillas (I love Ezekiel sprouted wheat) or pitas
  • 2 cups pasta sauce, no salt added or low sodium
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 10 ounces frozen broccoli florets, thawed and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded nondairy mozzarella-type cheese * (optional)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (for super crisp). Place tortillas or pitas on two baking sheets and warm for 5-10 minutes. Once tortilla has started to slightly crisp on edges, remove from oven.Spoon on the pasta sauce and place the garlic on the crust first. Sprinkle evenly with the mushrooms, onion and broccoli. Add a light sprinkle of cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.

* Daiya brand is a good choice

How To Make Indian Vegetable Khichdi

This simple South Asian recipe is delicious, easy to cook and is easy to digest. This is a very good option if you want to cook something fast but do not have lot of options. The combination of herbs and spices will fill your kitchen with a wonderful fragrance, and reward your tongue with spiciness that isn’t overly hot.

Serves: 6 (makes 9 cups)

Ingredients

  • 3½ cups water
  • ¾ cup dry brown basmati rice
  • ¾ cup dry red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (10 ounces/2 cups chopped)
  • ½ tablespoon minced garlic (2 large cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly minced ginger
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato, diced into small cubes (8 ounces, about 1-1/4 cups)
  • 1 medium yam, diced into small cubes (8 ounces, about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 large ribs celery, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1¼ cup green peas (thaw first if frozen)
  • 4 cups roughly chopped curly kale (about 3 large leaves)

Instructions
1. In a large soup pot, stir together the water, rice, lentils, and spices (cumin, coriander, red pepper, turmeric, cardamom, clove). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 45 minutes. While the rice and lentils are cooking, chop and prepare the remaining ingredients.
2. About 15 minutes before the rice and lentils are done cooking, place a large skillet or saucepan on high heat with 2 tablespoons of water. Once the water starts sizzling, add the chopped onion and sauté for 3 minutes (adding water as needed to prevent sticking). Add the garlic and ginger, and sauté for another 2 minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic, adding water as needed.
3. Add to the onions, garlic and ginger: 3 cups water, potatoes, yams, and celery, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for 7 minutes. Stir in the peas and kale and cook an additional 3 minutes (still covered). (The potatoes should now be tender.)
4. Add the onion-potato mixture to the pot of rice and lentils and stir well. Serve immediately.

Note: Instead of potatoes and yams, you can use beans, cauliflowers or carrots and if you want to replace brown rice, try Quinoa or Oats.
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Tips On Making Healthy Food Choices At Restaurants

veganMany people think that when they begin eating nutrient rich, they can no longer eat out in restaurants or socialize, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Not only are more and more nutrient-rich-friendly restaurants popping up, but nutrient-rich choices can be made most anywhere, by utilizing a little First-Class knowledge whenever you sit down to dine.

Our goal is to help you make a nutrient-rich lifestyle work in any situation because eating out and socializing are an important part of a well-rounded and balanced life, and because many joyous occasions are feted with food. Most of us are also living fast-paced lifestyles, working long hours and feeling like we don’t have time to cook meals at home on a regular basis. Knowing how to eat nutrient rich anywhere is the key to accomplishing your goals and gaining all 7 of the Success Results.

Your goal is to eat 90% or more plant-based, nutrient-rich foods. Remember that the more nutrient-rich plant foods on the plate, the less room there is for animal and highly refined foods. By filling up on the good stuff, you won’t have room or desire for the unhealthy stuff.

Some restaurant menus feature “diet,” “low fat,” “low-carb” and “gluten free” items, but you don’t need to pay attention to any of that. Instead, you are just going to apply your nutrient-rich knowledge about vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds and grains, and seek out the items that meet the nutrient-rich criteria

ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE

When you see a menu item that could be made healthier by asking for some modifications, don’t be afraid to ask! Most restaurants want to accommodate their patrons, so you’ll come back again and again. Here are some easy modifications you can request:
• A specific ingredient on the side of The plate, e.g., Salad dressing
• A specific ingredient omitted altogether, e.g. cheese on salad
• Vegetables steamed instead of sautéed in oil
• Brown rice instead of white rice
• A side salad instead of French fries
• Whole wheat bread instead of white bread

NUTRIENT-RICH FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS

When it comes to dining out, all restaurants are not created equally—from a health perspective that is. The good news is that certain types of restaurants will always be health-friendly choices, and many of them are establishments you can find in both large cities and small towns. Ethnic cuisines tend to be great choices that will provide you with a lot of variety and diverse taste sensations.

Here are some of the tips on making healthy food choices at restaurants- Go Ahead Be Adventurous!

ASIAN CUISINE

Some traditional Asian populations, such as the Okinawans of Japan and certain rural Chinese, are known for their health and longevity. This is no coincidence—these were the people who were consuming a heavily plant-based diet, and they simply did not get the heart disease, strokes, cancer and diabetes that are epidemic in America.

At Asian restaurants, white rice is everywhere. As you’ve learned by now, white rice is a refined food that has been stripped of its fiber and nutrients. But, the solution is simple: Just ask your server for brown rice instead—the vast majority of Asian restaurants will be able to accommodate you. We’re sure you know this by now, but it’s worth repeating—no fried rice! That would be like eating french fries, and we all know those aren’t healthy! On the plus side, most Asian restaurants also have a vegetarian section of the menu and this section can be quite long! We seriously doubt you’ll feel deprived as you try to choose between the vegetables and tofu, the vegetable curry and the vegetable Pad Thai!

CHINESE

Chinese restaurants typically have a bunch of good options to choose from, including vegetarian dumplings, vegetarian spring rolls, stir-fried or steamed vegetables, and vegetables with tofu. NOTE: Steamed vegetables are of course healthier than those than have been stir-fried, due to the oil, but you can decide whether the oil will be your 10% non-nutrient-rich portion of the meal. In that case you’ll just want to make sure the rest of your meal fits the 90% guideline.

JAPANESE

At Japanese restaurants, you can start with an order of edamame, which is boiled soybeans. If you’re lucky, they’ll come in the pods and you’ll get to pop the beans out (its fun!). Edamame is also typically very salty, so ask them to hold the salt. If you like sushi, choose the vegetarian sushi, such as the California or cucumber rolls. Since sushi is served with white rice, it’s not exactly a health food, but it’ll offer some of the healthier options on the menu. Japanese restaurants also offer vegetable-only dishes. Some offer an option of brown rice too.

TAI

If you like Thai food, there are typically many vegetable-based dishes to choose from—curries, Pad Thai, tofu and more. Remember that brown rice is healthier than noodles.

KOREAN

At Korean restaurants, it’s also easy to get vegetable dishes. For example, Bi Bim Bap is a popular Korean dish that comes with chopped vegetables over rice in a sizzling hot stone pot—you can order it with tofu instead of meat. It also typically comes with an egg over top, but they’ll leave it off if you ask.

VIETNAMESE

Vietnamese restaurants are known for their soups (pho)—and vegetarian options abound. They are also known for noodle dishes. Noodles are a refined food, but you can usually get brown rice instead. If you do decide to get noodles, make sure rest of your day is 90% or more nutrient rich, and you’ll be fine.

INDIAN

Indian cuisine is another wonderful option for eating nutrient rich. There are so many plant-based dishes to choose from! There are all kinds of curries, dishes made with vegetables and lentils or chickpeas, stir fries and more. The spices in Indian food make for an endless array of delectable taste sensations. The classic Indian bread is naan—if you can live without it, you’ll be better off. If you feel like Indian food isn’t the same without it, see if you can get whole wheat naan, or at the very least naan without butter. NOTE: Some Indian sauces are made with cream or ghee (clarified butter). We recommend that you ask your server which dishes come without dairy. You may think it doesn’t matter, but those sauces can be loaded with saturated fat and hundreds of calories—which, trust us, your body doesn’t want!

ETHIOPIAN

Ethiopian food is becoming more and more popular with restaurants popping up in many cities. The menus at Ethiopian restaurants are loaded with nutrient-rich options—including dishes made with collard greens, lentils and mixed vegetables. Like Indian food, Ethiopian cuisine makes heavy use of spices, creating dishes that tantalize the senses and delight the taste buds. Ethiopian bread is called injera, which has a spongy texture and comes in sheets. It’s made out of teff, which is an ancient and nutritious grain. In bread form, it has become somewhat refined, but not as much as white bread. Because injera is used as a scoop for the food, feel free to have some; just don’t make it the bulk of your meal.

MEDITERRANEAN—GREEK, MIDDLE EASTERN, ISRAELI

Some of the classic foods of Mediterranean cuisine are pretty health friendly! Salads abound, as do plates of grilled vegetables. You can always order a hummus or baba ghanoush (eggplant dip) plate with veggies for dipping. Grape leaves are stuffed with rice and herbs, and tabbouleh is made with cracked wheat (bulgur), cucumber, tomatoes and chopped parsley, which goes great, stuffed in a whole wheat pita.

ITALIAN

While Italian restaurants don’t necessarily top the list of nutrient-rich restaurants because of the heavy focus on pasta—which is not a health food—even there you can create a delicious meal for yourself. The antipasto plates come with vegetables—just ask your server to leave off the meats and cheeses. You should also have several salad options to choose from and be able to request grilled vegetables as well.

If Italian food means pasta to you, seek out restaurants that offer whole-wheat pasta and order the pasta primavera, a vegetable dish. For sauce, you want a simple marinara (tomato) sauce. You definitely want to avoid Alfredo sauce, which is a heavy, fat- and calorie-laden cheese sauce, as well as sauces with cream, sausage or prosciutto (Italian thin- slice ham).

MEXICAN

There are certain regions of Mexico where the people are healthy and long-lived. Unlike the Mexican food we’ve become accustomed to; Mexican cuisine is not inherently about disease-promoting cheese! For many Mexicans, simple rice and beans is a staple of their diet, along with nopalitos (cactus), vegetables and fruits. At Mexican restaurants, look for tacos and burritos that are made with rice, beans, potatoes and vegetables and ask them to hold the cheese. (Refried beans can be made with lard—ask for whole or black beans. Corn tortillas are better for you than flour.

Are You Buying The Healthiest Bread In The Market?

First of all I would like to say:

Yes, I eat bread- I don’t want to live without it and you shouldn’t have to either.

Bread is a really hot topic and is targeted as the root of many health problems. Overall, bread gets a bad reputation because grains are not easy for your body to digest, can overwork your pancreatic enzymes, contain the anti-nutrient phytic acid and an abundance of dreaded gluten. Also, our wheat crops in this country have been through some serious genetic manipulation to make them profitable for the food industry and less healthy for us.

The main problem with wheat (unless you have a gluten sensitivity) is that we as a culture eat too much of it in general. Just take a look at the typical American diet – a bagel for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and rolls or pasta for dinner. That’s a lot of grain in just one day. Even larger amounts would be consumed if we take into consideration common snacks like crackers and desserts like cookies. Additionally, commercially available grain-based products that line grocery store shelves and are served at restaurants are unhealthy. They are full of ingredients that are not food, like azodicarbonamide (the same chemical in yoga mats and shoe rubber), other chemical dough conditioners, added sugars, artificial flavorings or coloring and GMOs. Flour can be treated with any of the 60 different chemicals approved by the FDA before it ends up on store shelves – including chemical bleach! Also, the industrial processing destroys nutrients, such as Vitamin E and fiber. Remember, it only takes 4 ingredients to make bread – flour, yeast, water and salt, there’s really no need for all that other nonsense.

Here Are some Of The Health Wrecking Ingredients in Bread:

Dough Conditioners – these are unnecessary in traditional bread making and only make the process faster and cheaper for the food industry to make bread in big machinery. Many dough conditioners like azodicarbonamide (which is banned all over the world), DATEM, monoglycerides, diglycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate are linked to health issues. Many dough conditioners start with manipulating fat – like soybean oil or corn oil, which is also most likely GMO. Nature’s Own, Arnold, Wonderbread, Martin’s, Sara Lee, and many other popular brands are guilty of using dough conditioners.

Preservatives – Bread is supposed to be fresh and eaten within a few days from baking unless frozen. If you see preservatives like calcium propionate, which is linked to ADHD, put the bread down and keep searching. Warning: Pepperidge Farm uses this ingredient to “retard spoilage.”

GMOs – Most commercially available breads contain one or many genetically modified ingredients like soy lecithin, soybean oil, corn oil, corn starch or soy flour. GMOs have not been tested long term on humans, however we know that the pesticides sprayed on them are absolutely toxic and considered to be poisonous. Some GMOs are created by inserting a toxic pesticide into the seed itself to make an insect’s stomach explode when they try to eat it.

Added sugar – This is where you really need to watch out. There’s nothing wrong with a little honey to bring out the sweetness in whole wheat bread, but most manufactures are using high fructose corn syrup, GMO sugar made from sugar beets, or some other artificial sweetener like “Sucralose” that are not the best forms of sugar and can pose health risks. Almost all commercially baked brands have some form of added sweetener – especially watch out for “light” breads, which often contain more added sugar like “Arnold Bakery Light.”

Artificial flavors and coloring – These ingredients are made from petroleum and are linked to several health issues like hyperactivity in children, allergies and asthma. They are easy to spot on the label because the FDA requires it. However, ingredients like “caramel coloring” can fool you into thinking this ingredient is a real food. Most industrial caramel coloring is created by heating ammonia and is considered a carcinogen when created this way. Martin’s potato rolls have Yellow #5 and Yellow #6, and Thomas’s English Muffins have caramel coloring.

Now before I share my top recommendations for the best (and healthiest) breads on the market – I should tell you the truth about how much bread I actually consume on a monthly basis. My diet consists of 90% plant based foods like fruits, vegetables, seeds, beans and nuts along with the occasional less than 10% meat or bread product. However, when I travel – I like to enjoy. My diet is about eating more plant-based nutrient rich foods and choosing the most nutritious choices whenever I can, but I do like to live a little and have my bread on occasion! At the grocery store, I buy the best of what is available for my body and here are the choices I feel good about buying.

There are many healthy bread options available – if you just know what to look for!

The Healthiest Breads On The Market

healthiest breads

Sprouted Grains – I love sprouted grains because they are technically vegetables. To sprout a grain, you just soak it until it begins to sprout into a little plant. These sprouts are then ground up to make bread. When you eat a grain that has been refined into flour, your body quickly metabolizes it like a sugar, which causes your insulin to spike. This can make you gain weight and contributes to diabetes and inflammation. For all of these reasons, I don’t buy bread that is primarily made from flours, especially “wheat flour” which is really just white refined flour. The sprouts are much more easily digested than starchy flour, and contain more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than whole grains. Phytic acid is destroyed when the grain sprouts, so your body is able to absorb the nutrients in these grains – which makes them that much better for you!

My favorite sprouted grain bread is the classic – Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread by Food for Life – it’s made up from six different organic sprouted grains and absolutely no flour! This combo of sprouted grains contains all 9 essential amino acids, which makes up a complete protein.

There are no preservatives in these breads, so I keep them in my freezer and take out portions as I need them. I also love the sesame seed bread, whole grain tortillas, corn tortillas and english muffins by Food for Life. Hands down – they are the healthiest breads on the market. They are available in most health food stores and some conventional stores in the freezer section.

Other good sprouted breads are Manna’s Sunseed bread and Dave’s Killer Bread Sprouted Wheat, which are both a healthy combo of organic sprouted wheat and seeds.

Ancient Grains (spelt, quinoa, amaranth, millet, sorghum) & Gluten-Free – Unlike wheat, these grains are called ancient because they haven’t changed for thousands of years. They are packed with nutrients and many of these grains can be used to make gluten-free bread. Just make sure that the bread you are buying is labeled as “gluten-free” if you are trying to avoid gluten – because not all ancient grains are gluten-free and they may be blended with wheat. Manna makes a good gluten-free bread with brown rice, sorghum, millet, amaranth, quinoa and chia seeds.

Please note, almost all gluten-free breads contain added sugar in the form of honey, molasses, agave nectar or evaporated cane juice.

Here’s A Quick List Of Healthier Breads:

Sprouted Grain Breads

• Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread – Food for Life (all varieties – 7 grains, sesame, genesis, flax, cinnamon raisin, tortillas, muffins)
• Sunseed Bread – Manna
• Banana Walnut Hemp Bread – Manna
• Sprouted Multi-Grain Bread – Rudi’s (contains added sugar)
• Sprouted Wheat Bread – Dave’s Killer Bread (contains added sugar)
• Sprouted Wheat Multi-Grain Bread – Alvarado St. Bakery (contains added sugar)

Gluten-Free Breads

• Buckwheat Bread – Happy Camper’s (contains added sugar)
• Gluten-Free Rice Almond Bread – Food for Life (contains added sugar)
• Gluten-Free Exotic Black Rice Bread – Food for Life (contains added sugar)
• Gluten-Free Super Chia Bread – Nature’s Path (contains added sugar)
• Good Morning Millet Toaster Cakes – Ancient Grains Bakery (contains added sugar)
• Gluten-Free Deli Rye Style Bread – Canyon Bakehouse (contains added sugar)

Ancient Grain Breads

• Gluten-Free Ancient Grains Bread – Manna (contains added sugar)
• Spelt Ancient Grain Bread – Rudi’s (contains added sugar)
• Good Seed Spelt Bread – Dave’s Killer Bread (contains added sugar)

Last – but NOT LEAST – Remember to always choose bread that is made with real certified organic ingredients. The wheat that is used to make most bread is heavily sprayed with pesticides and by choosing certified organic products you will avoid exposure to GMOs.

Now, let’s go break some bread with our loved ones and share this article with them. Everyone deserves good bread without chemical additives that can wreck their health.

Zucchini Carrot Pasta with Mushrooms

I have been wanting to try and make zucchini ribbons or ‘noodles/pasta’ for ages now, because they are a healthy and fun alternative to whole wheat or bean pasta, and plus they just look really neat. But here’s the thing, despite the fact that I have a million kitchen gadgets, I can’t say I own a mandoline for julienning these types of vegetables. And while I do work hard in my kitchen, you can bet I am not about to slice these up by hand (I am far too accident prone for that). So what is a girl to do?

Well, turns out all I had to do was go to Bed Bath and Beyond and I found this amazing product called the Veggetti™ Spiral Vegetable Cutter. And voila this has now become my favorite gadget. Even though I love my bean pastas but this makes pasta go a whole new level. Seriously this is the best thing ever. You’ll get delicious pasta with rich veggie flavor, and without the carbs and totally great for zucchini, squash, carrots, potatoes and more.

Zucchini Carrot Pasta with Mushrooms
Though you can certainly slice the zucchini and carrots into ribbons by hand, a julienne-style peeler or mandoline will also do the job in case you don’t have Veggetti. If you want to use a peeler to julienne the squash, it is best to choose medium to small zucchini and summer squash – they should be no wider than the width of the peeler.

Ingredients:

3 zucchini

1 carrot

2 cups chopped mushrooms

½ cup of cashews slightly roasted

1 chopped large red bell pepper

1 chopped large green bell pepper

1 chopped medium onion

4 chopped garlic cloves

1 or ½ cup of corn depending on your like (I used frozen for this recipe)

1 tbs of No Salt gourmet seasoning

Instructions

1. Prepare the zucchini and carrot pasta by using a mandoline or by using a peeler designed to julienne vegetables if you don’t have Veggetti. When using Veggetti you will find your pasta strands are way longer than usual strands, so don’t forget to cut them into smaller lengths using kitchen scissors.

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2. Chop rest of the ingredients expect for cashews and corn and keep it ready.

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3. Slightly roast the cashews separately for 5 minutes without letting it burn.

4. Heat the pan with 3 tbsp of water and add onions.

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5. Once the onions start getting brown, add in the chopped vegetables (red and green bell pepper, corn), garlic and mushrooms. Stir-fry for another 5 minutes. If you feel the vegetables are sticking to the bottom of the pan add in some more tbsp. of water and stir.

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6. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of No-Salt Gourmet seasoning and stir for another 5 minutes. Avoid over cooking it.

7. Once the vegetables are slightly cooked, add the pasta.

8. Mix all the ingredients together nicely.

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9. Throw in the cashews.

10. Stir for another 5 to 10 minutes. If you like little crunchy taste to your pasta then do not let them cook for too long.

Highlights from Natural Products Expo West

 

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There are few things I look forward every year- birthdays, July fourth, Halloween and Christmas; NATURAL PRODUCT EXPO EAST AND WEST are two of them. Though I have been attending these shows for a few years, this year’s Expo West has probably been the best years so far.

Natural Products Expo West continues to be the leading trade show in the natural, organic and healthy products industry, attracting over 60,000 industry professionals and 3,000 exhibits to the Anaheim Convention Center. Rated as one of the top 200 trade shows in the US by Trade show Week, Natural Products Expo West continues to help attendees reach their business goals and positively change the way the world eats.

They are the food and products meccas of the natural products world, where the latest and greatest products — many of which have not even been released yet – come out to shine. International companies specializing in organic foods, non-GMO foods, gluten free foods, vegan foods, Paleo foods and any possible sub-genre of these categories are represented at this food and drink event of massive proportions.

This year, all three floors of the convention center could barely contain this year’s event, not to mention every single one of its parking lots nearby (hour long search for super far parking anyone?). This is probably due to the fact that this billion dollar industry is growing by a large percentage each year because people are changing the way they eat and businesses want a slice of that sweet gluten free, vegan, BPA-free, sugar free etc. business pie.

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If you’re the type of person that eagerly looks forwards to grocery shopping and spends time reading labels before buying food, consider this a marathon made just for you! This is basically the place where your favorite almond milk, soy free veggie burger and vegan cheese… cold press juice line or steamed dried fruits or salt free hummus… got their start and this is your one chance a year to taste the future of nutrition and natural products in one place.

Oh yeah, over 3 days you only have six to seven hours per day to taste everything so the key is going hungry. So start practicing nutrient rich eating, prior to next year so that you going in primed for the event.

This last weekend I attended, for the second year in a row THE NATURAL PRODUCT EXPO WEST. Before leaving I had promised myself that I would not sample every power bar and gluten free pizza thrust into my hands. I failed. I did a lot of sampling. But for the sake of you, our readers, I ate every known power bar, sports beverage and processed soy/hemp/chia /low sodium products so you won’t have to. I washed this massive amount of food down with a hundred different “natural” beverages, all variations on a combination of hemp or soy flavored with the latest, weird rain forest berry. I may never have to eat again.

Rise of plant based proteins:

Proteins derived from grains, seeds, nuts and beans are not new to the natural foods industry. But the phrase “plant-based protein” popped up often as a value proposition, often alongside paleo and/or gluten-free claims. Love Grown Foods blends beans into its brown rice-based O-shaped cereal. Kind Bar makes “plant-based” a key message in its Strong line of savory nut bars featuring Jalapeno and Hickory Smoked flavors.

Ground-Based Nutrition’s Superfood Protein Smoothies were one of our favorites. The meatless meats segment had a strong presence, particularly in Mexican flavors. The Beyond Meat booth offered samples of tacos made with “beef” crumbles made from pea protein and amaranth. Soy-free Neat uses pecan meal and garbanzo beans in its gluten-free meatless mix. Hodo Soy aims to sway meat-lovers over to the vegetarian side with its spicy organic tofu-based sofritas, which Chipotle restaurants offer as a vegetarian option in its burritos.

Our only recommendation for them is try to bring the sodium content more down and some of these entrepreneurs were interested in hearing us. And one to our surprise finally didn’t add any additional sodium to perhaps one of the most adored natural products there is – hummus. See below.

Craze for Gluten and GMO free

Most of the products at the expo are highly processed. Just because something is labeled “gluten free” or “Non-GMO” does not make it healthy.  Only 1 or so % of the population is gluten intolerant, even less has celiac disease, so you while the product may be better than the SAD Standard American Diet fare, you do have to be careful navigating the natural products market place.

Matter of fact, one of the facts revealed at the Expo by several of the speakers was that the most meaningless word in the industry is “natural” itself, surpassed by more meaningful descriptors such as organic…

There is always a challenge when it comes to natural products. People in general are so used to eating foodstuffs with so much refined and added salt, oil and sugar that natural product developers, who no doubt create better food product, still load them up with added salt, oil and sugar.

Out of the hundreds of products I tasted and reviewed at the expo there were several superfoodie ready products that were amazing! Most were made by small independent entrepreneurs willing to take a risk on something new.

OUR FAVORITE PRODUCTS FROM NATURAL PRODUCTS EXPO WEST

Premium Rezealiant Living

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Rezealiant Living has stepped up and already good game with the release of their premium line of 100% plant based, nutrient rich products including a new protein powder that will give you the ability to change the flavor.

We have been promoting Rezealiant Living products for some time, and even we are impressed with how many great new advances our company had made.

I think we offer one of the most advanced, modular nutrition systems in the market, enabling people to completely customize their nutritional experience with products that surpass all others in how they are produced using a geothermal heat drying process to maintain nutrient integrity, and the way the product line has been developed.

You are going to love em’

 Ground-Based Nutrition

ground based

 

This is a really cool company, offering not just plant based nutrition, but “ground-based” nutrition. What a cool concept. After all, plants come from the ground.

They put out a superfood protein smoothie in a convenient all in one nutritional shake which contains a blend of plant based proteins, greens, fibers, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes.

They had a bodybuilder out in front, that gives a whole new look the kind of muscle mass people are used to seeing at a booth promoting plant based protein. This was good and was reminiscent of a front man you would see at the ARNOLD Expo, not Natural Products Expo. But the message was clear; you don’t have to consume whey, or animal protein to put muscle on.

All Protein comes from plants!

Fruit Bliss

bliss

In Europe, it is easy to find delicious dried fruit snacks, with no added sugar. Here, not so much. Which is why Susan Leone—and her Turkish husband—decided to launch Fruit Bliss, plump little pouches filled with delicious organic apricots, plums, dates and figs (our favorite!), sun-sweetened and lightly rehydrated with water, which makes these juicy snacks perfect for lunchbox or travel.

What’s so unique about this products is that the dried fruits are steamed, leaving them rich in moisture. Have you ever had dry or super sugar rich dried fruit and afterwards your mouth feels anything but refreshed?

Well, Fruit Bliss uses a steaming process that leaves the dried fruit moisture rich and literally you feel refreshed after you eat them.

Raw Organic Coconut Water by Harmless Harvest

raw coconut water

I am no stranger to drinking green coconut water right out of the coconut.  I was pleasantly surprised at how this coconut water had that SAME taste.  You may find that many of the different brand coconut waters are very sweet.  If you have not had fresh green coconut water then you may not realize there is a BIG difference in the taste.  After tasting this coconut water I was sold and grabbed a couple bottles.

The 100% Raw Coconut Water is the original product from Harmless Harvest, a company that prides itself with its ability to create unique, innovative and healthy products while sustainably sourcing ingredients from small, agroforestry eco farms. The coconut water is pure, raw and USDA certified organic for optimum flavor, texture, fragrance and nutrition.

When they ran out at the end of show, we refused to leave (lovingly) without one to go. And they delivered. Once you taste raw coconut water you will chase it down whenever you can. It’s that good.

DIPIN

dip in

 

Do you love all things Mediterranean? Why not try DIPIN Dips which are packed in a handy 4 oz. retail tray offering ‘all natural’ deli-style dips including a hum-believable Hummus; added Salt FREE.

I can’t tell you how excited I was to see this. Most commercial hummus adds hundreds of mg of sodium to their recipes and this one didn’t and you will love it!

This truly is classic hummus.

 

Nii Bar

Nii

Named after its founder Shanaii, Nii bars are organic energy bars that are loaded with high-quality ingredients, such as raw organic nut butters, raw organic hemp seeds, organic sprouted quinoa and organic rice protein.

Furthermore, the bars are sweetened with coconut nectar, and not processed agave.  This makes for an incredibly nutrient-dense bar, high in omega-3s, low in sugar, high in fiber and protein, making for sustainable energy.

Soapboxsoap

Soap Box

OK, granted this is not something to eat or drink but this product has not only won the award for pitch slam but is one of the new emerging companies that is promoting social movements to improve the world.

Great product + Great Mission = makes it a Great Company in our books.

Righteously Raw

Raw

“Righteously Raw” is a decadent line of raw chocolate treats by Earth Source Organics that will have you feeling like royalty–they’re that amazing. Not only do I love Earth Source for making the most delicious (and healthy!) raw treats of your dreams, but I also love that they stick to their ideals and beliefs and are putting out truly good chocolate without compromising standards, health, or taste! Earth Source Organic’s standards are as important to them as it is to you, which is why they maintain allergen-free products and impressive certifications over every process of production; certified Organic, certified Kosher, certified Wheat & Gluten Free, and certified Vegan.

What you won’t find here is preservatives, chemicals, dairy, soy, gluten, nuts, or refined sugars. What you will find is a delightful explosion of flavors, chocolate in its pure form, sweetened only with sugars from fruits, and superior health benefits.

Closing Comments…

Of course we Nutrient Rich Superfoodies tend to go after only those foods that are micronutrient rich, don’t include any substantial amount of what we don’t need that are as close to their natural state as possible at least 80-90% of the time or more.

So, while we followed the basic rule in the book, Switch to Rich, which is to make real food your health food and health food your junk food, let’s just say we ate allot more “health” food than usual this trip. And it was fun!

We expect by the next Natural Products Expo you will see the Nutrient Rich® brand in full form. But I will need to leave you with that tease. You’ll see soon,

 

Win The War on Cancer

The Bad News: We All Have Cancer

One of the most common public misconceptions about cancer is that people assume that if their doctor gives them a clean bill of health, that they don’t have cancer.  Right?  Wrong. The truth is that all of us have microscopic cancers growing in our bodies all the time. These tiny tumors form because, although the human body is pretty amazing in its ability to stay healthy, our cells do make mistakes occasionally.  All it takes is for one of the more than 50 trillion cells in our bodies to make a single mistake while dividing and, presto, a potential cancer is born.

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The Good News: You can Prevent Cancer from Growing

Fortunately, these tiny cancers don’t usually stay around very long, because they are fragile and short lived.  Our immune system usually roots out and destroys microscopic cancers when they are spotted.  Healthy tissues also contain a wealth of natural anti-cancer substances that make it very difficult for microscopic cancers to grow. An important group of these substances are cancer-starving molecules called ‘angiogenesis inhibitors’. Angiogenesis is the process our bodies use to grow new blood vessels.  Cancers can hijack this process to recruit their own private blood supply to feed themselves. Without these blood vessel lifelines, cancers remain tiny and can’t become dangerous.

The only way to win the war on cancer is by eating 90% or More plant based nutrient rich diet and prevent it from occurring in the first place.

 

If the cancer is caused by environmental or life – style factors, then it potentially can be prevented. Eight percent of cancer cases can be prevented. Thirty percent of cancers are due to tobacco. Avoid smoking and lung cancer becomes very unlikely.

But the number one and the greatest single factor in the epidemic of cancer, particularly for cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate is Diet.

Did you know, we all have cancer cells that will pop up in our bodies, but there are certain types for foods that “feeds” the cancer and fortifies it is, and among them is animal protein. How is that? Because animal protein (meat, dairy and eggs) alters the mix of hormones and modifies important enzyme activities, causes inflammation and cell proliferation and creates an acidic atmosphere in the body—all of which create and ideal environment for cancer to thrive.

Several studies published this spring clearly demonstrate the link meat and dairy products have to cancer. According to new data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, participants who ate the most red meat and processed meat increased their risk of dying by 14 and 44 percent, respectively, compared with those who ate the least. Other recent research found that men drinking more than a glass of whole milk per day had double the risk for fatal prostate cancer, compared with men drinking less. And the National Cancer Institute found that women who consumed one or more servings of high-fat dairy products per day, compared with none to less than half a serving, were at a 49 percent increased risk for dying from breast cancer.

Fortunately, the foods we eat can also help protect our bodies. The American Association for Cancer Research found that beyond the reduced risk for overall cancer, plant based diets significantly reduced the risk of gastrointestinal cancers (stomach, colon, pancreas, etc.) and female-specific cancers (breast, uterine, ovarian, etc.), respectively.

Protective against cancer, plant-based diets are lower in fat and higher in fiber than meat-based diets. They are also full of foods that have phytochemicals, cancer-fighting substances. This might explain why the countries that consume more plant based diets have low rates of lung or prostate cancer. A varied, plant-based nutrient rich diet is a protective diet—sufficient in amino acids for protein needs; high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals; and low in saturated fats.

Farmer's Market

I realize this is a lot of information, and it may be contrary to the very diet you are used to eating. But with this knowledge under your belt, it should be easier and more exciting to upgrade your diet knowing the profound effect it can have; it also gives you more control over the future of your health, knowing that what you eat really does make a difference. If you aren’t sick right now, lean into the change.

 

Whether you are looking for how to change the way you eat or need some creative nutrient rich recipes or need support or lean vigorously, you might want to check out our PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP-to get into this new and joyful way of eating.

cancer

Menopause and Weight Gain

“Menopause Does Not Result In Weight Gain”

 

The most common concerns expressed by many women as they get older is menopause and that how easy it is to gain weight. While individuals vary, the average woman gains about 5-7 pounds. As part of the hormonal changes that come with this period in the life cycle, women also tend to experience a change in body shape, with weight accumulating around the waist, rather than at the hips and thighs. It’s a real challenge, so much so that many women believe menopause causes a shift in the body that makes it impossible to lose weight.

 

But is this really the case?

 

Is weight gain inevitable during menopause?

menopausal-weight-gain

Approximately 1.5 billion adults are overweight worldwide – 300 million of them are obese females. Since 1980, obesity rates have increased two-fold, mostly in industrialized nations. Experts say the obesity epidemic is caused by lifestyle changes, physical inactivity, and eating habits. A higher percentage of females are obese than males; probably because women are more susceptible to hormonal imbalances.

Experts examined findings regarding weight gain during menopause and discovered that surprisingly, increase in weight is due to non-hormonal factors, rather than the actual menopause.

The researchers found that the way fat is deposited during the menopause changes significantly; this is the main reason for rising obesity rates among women in this age group. Regardless of whether women gain weight when they hit middle-age years, they do undergo a change in the way fat accumulates in their bellies.

 

Non-Hormonal Factors

 

As women age, they experience a gradual decrease in muscle mass (which burns more calories) and an increase in body fat (which burns fewer calories), resulting in a gradual reduction in metabolism. Consequently, the number of calories needed to maintain body weight is reduced.

Most women also become more sedentary as the years go by, which further reduces the number of calories needed for weight maintenance. In fact, many studies have found that lack of physical activity is one of the most important factors contributing to weight gain during menopause.

Negative thought patterns and moods that are common during the menopausal years may also contribute to weight gain. A study from the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine found that middle-aged women who reported high levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety, were more likely to experience greater amounts of weight gain.

Because weight gain is mostly related to the aging process, not changing hormone levels, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) does not appear to have an effect on weight changes during menopause. Most studies have shown no significant differences in weight gain among those women receiving HRT and those receiving a placebo.

What this translates to in real terms is that women going through the menopause should begin to try to control their weight before it becomes a problem, so if you have not been looking after yourself before the menopause, you should certainly start to do so when it arrives.

There is no magic pill or formula to deal with this issue, but you can take control of your health by changing the way you have been eating. The food changes that work best to get weight off naturally and help keep it off, are plant based nutrient rich fruits and vegetables.

 

Eating 90 % or more plant based nutrient rich superfoods is the only way to go.how-to-lower-cholesterol-naturally-fruit-and-vegetables

I know you’ve probably heard this before. But now it’s a proven fact. And so is the reality that increased weight affects most menopausal women, and that this increases the chances of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, particularly of her hips and knees.

 

Here are five steps you can easily take to lose weight in menopause and keep it off.

  1. Eat 90% or more plant based nutrient rich fruits and vegetables that means include leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables and super fruits and berries etc.
  2. Make time to exercise daily. You don’t have to run a marathon. Just 30 minutes daily walking or gardening or dancing. It doesn’t even have to be at the same time — add the times together for a total of 30 minutes.
  3. Get the support you need. Find out the real insight and help, You’ll be amazed to find out at the stuff in your refrigerator and cabinets that you thought were healthy isn’t actually good for you and that they can be swapped out for healthier nutrient rich choices.
  4.  Keep the soda and sweetened juices out of the house. Try plain water with a lemon or lime, orange wedge. So refreshing!
  5.  Keep fruit in a bowl in plain view. You’ll be amazed at how it encourages snacking on them (and keep sugary sweets out of view or better out of the house). I love to snack on sliced apples flavored with cinnamon.
  6. Pick a partner to exercise or walk with and pick a time to do it. It will become part of your schedule and, therefore, much more likely to do.

 

Bottom line – Weight gain is a major risk factor for a variety of diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is by far the number one killer of postmenopausal women, and this risk is increased by excess weight. We women need to be aware of this, especially at the menopause when estrogen levels drop. A woman needs to adjust her lifestyle to ensure a healthier life after the menopause. In fact, I would say that every woman should consider using the menopause as a marker, a reason to review her overall health and make necessary decisions as her life moves on forward.

 

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

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Quick-cooking, high in protein, easy to digest, and with a superfood label to boot, it’s no wonder that quinoa’s (pronouced KEEN-wah) popularity has surged in recent years.  You can use it as a replacement for rice with stews, stir fries, or even better as the base for a filling, grain-based salad.

This quinoa salad is a toss together of black beans, fresh garden tomatoes, corn, red onions, cilantro, and lime. Yum! It will last for days chilled which makes it a great make-ahead salad for picnics and gatherings. Enjoy.

Here is a tip:You can toss in scallions, peppers, nuts or any fruits like mango or mandarin oranges for garnishing, the point is you can never go wrong in a salad dish.

Ingredients:quinoa-corn-bean-salad-265x196

1/2 Cup soup stock or water

1/4 Cup quinoa, well rinsed

1/2 tsp cumin

2 Tbls lemon juice

1/4 Cup soup stock

2 Tbls minced cilantro

1/2 Cup cooked black beans

1 Cup fresh corn kernels (2 ears)

1 medium medium tomato, diced

2 Tbls chopped red onion

Instructions:

In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the liquid, quinoa, and cumin to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low; cook for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat and uncover. In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, stock, cilantro, beans, corn, tomato, onion, and cooked quinoa, and stir well.

Chill at least 2 hours, and serve as is or over a bed of lettuce.

Do Nuts Make People Fat?

“Ninety percent of the published studies on this topic suggest that nut consumption does not lead to weight gain.”

Nuts are packed with nutrition, yet they are also packed with calories–lots of them, even more so than extracted oil, margarine, or butter! We’re talking like 3200 to over 4000 calories, per pound, depending on the nut. So, the nutritional research question is, “Why don’t nuts the make people fat–or do they?”

According to Michael Gregor MD, there have been 18 clinical trials reviewing nuts and weight after adding, in some cases, entire handfuls of nuts to peoples’ daily diets, and people gained a few pounds in only two cases.

Of course, if you sit in front of the TV munching on cashews (a whole bag of cashews is like a whole tree’s worth of nuts that would have naturally taken you hours and hours of energy to procure), you will get fat. But, that’s not what we are talking about here.

According to the other 14 studies, participants did not gain weight , nd in 3 of these studies, they actually lost weight!

How is that even possible?

First of all, I was not surprised by this information. In fact, I have been eating nuts and seeds for a very long time. And, already know this to be true myself, having learned it from one of the pioneers on the subject of eating nuts, Joel Fuhrman, MD, who advocates nut consumption, in the face of so many other doctors warning against doing so because of fat content.

But how is it possible to eat such a high-calorie food and not gain weight?

It is important to keep in mind that these were clinical trials where people added nuts to their eating styles for only a few months. So, what about the long-term effects, after years of eating nuts?

Well, this has been studied in 6 different ways, in studies lasting from one year to eight years. One of these studies, called the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, found no significant change, and the other 5 studies, showed a decrease in weight gain from eating nuts.

The reason I know is to be true is simple. Nuts are a nutrient-rich food. They are packed with fiber, nutrients and healthy fats. And, you don’t need to eat many of them to shut off any existing hunger and become pretty full. In addition, if the rest of your eating style is 90% or More Plant-Based, Nutrient Rich, and is optimized for nutrient density and volume, then your desire to eat too many nuts, even if you have a bag of them in front of you (hopefully not) becomes diminished.

Nonetheless, there is also discourse that says that nuts do not promote weight loss, and instead will cause you to gain weight. In fact, Jeff Nelson, of VegSource, who is someone I highly respect, just wrote a recent article on this —  http://www.vegsource.com/news/…

There seems to a “gotcha point,” in this article, when it is not in fact really a “gotcha” at all. Nut consumption, as with any food we consume, will have an effect on weight/health. After all, food intake from any source is always related to energy (calories) management.

There is nothing “gotcha” about that. Rather, what matters most is whether the food (in this case nuts) should be part of the eating style to begin with, and for what reason it should do so. “How much” becomes secondary, and then becomes the main point–and is an individual thing, even though there are guidelines, which you’ll learn when you begin making the Switch to Nutrient Rich Healthy Eating.

I think that the VegSource article, which offers a great deal of insight, has a mistaken premise, which is the point that nuts promote weight loss, or weight gain. They can in both instances, but it depends on all of the other factors, and that is very difficult to ascertain and communicate in media.

We have to understand the population (one or many) being studied, before taking any statement as being fact. It is context (circumstance) dependent.

Without going into depth rewarding all of the benefits and nutritional reasons why nuts are an essential component of a nutrient-rich eating style, in this post (phytochemicals, lignans/fiber, antioxidants, phytosterols etc, not to mention 15-20 percent protein, healthy fats including omega 3’s, etc.) the bottom line, on a calorie basis alone, is this–you will gain weight, if you overeat eat nuts at anywhere from 3200 to over 4000 calories, or more, a pound.

I don’t think the question is “Do nuts cause weight gain?” The truth is that they can and will cause weight gain, if you overeat them, but so will starchy vegetables, grains, beans and fruit, if you overeat them beyond your need for calories. However, it may not happen as quickly as it does for refined foods because of resistant starch, and fiber etc., and because they don’t contain refined and added salt, oil and sugar, which causes weight gain far beyond actual calorie content..

Does the above mean eating starchy vegetables, grains, beans and fruit will cause weight gain? No, but just like nuts, they could, when they are eaten beyond one’s need. The same is true for fish, chicken and steak. It doesn’t matter what the food is, eating to much of any food can cause weight gain.

In the nutrient-rich healthy eating style, we are only talking about 1-4 oz., a day, (that does not mean you have to eat nuts every day) with most people eating only 1-2 oz. a day because they are already carrying around too much excess weight, or don’t have the activity levels to support eating more. Nuts are 200+ calories an oz.!

So, again, I think that saying, “Don’t eat eat nuts because they cause weight gain,” is short sighted. To say they don’t cause weight gain also misses the point. They can do both.

The real questions are: “What is their nutritional value, why should I eat them, and how much of them should I eat? OK, it is really a 3- part question. 😉