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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Vegan Mushroom and Green Peas Masala

Ingredients

• 2 tablespoons avocado oil or plain water
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1 small red onion, grated (using the large side of the box grater)
• 2 cups of thickly sliced button mushrooms (about 8 oz.)
• 1/2 teaspoon powdered coriander
• 1/2 teaspoon powdered cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup of green peas (I used frozen)
• Fresh cilantro to garnish

Instructions

1. Heat the oil or plain water and add in the cumin seeds and wait until the seeds begin to sizzle.
2. Add in the grated onion and cook until the onion begins to turn softly golden.
3. Add in the the mushrooms and mix well.
4. Stir in a pinch of sea-salt (if needed), powdered coriander, cumin, red cayenne pepper and the black pepper with the green peas and mix well.
5. Cover and cook for five minutes.
6. Stir in the cilantro and serve.

Red Lentil Pumpkin Dal

 

Ingredients
• 1 cup red lentils
• 1 1/2 cup water
• 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
• 2 tablespoons avocado or sesame oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 teaspoons garam masala
• 1 tablespoon curry powder
• 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
• 1/3 cup coconut milk
• 1 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
• 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced

Instructions
1. Rinse lentils to remove any debris. Place lentils, water, and broth in a stockpot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Lentils will break apart and get mushy as they cook.

2. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add spices and let them toast in the oil for 30 seconds.

3. Stir in tomato paste and pumpkin puree. Let mixture sit for a minute. Fold in coconut milk until combined and just heated through.

4. When lentils are cooked, add pumpkin mixture, salt, and cilantro Fold all ingredients together and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.

5. Serve alone or with quinoa or brown rice.

Plant Based Solutions Submits Comments on USDA Dietary Guidelines

by David Benzaquen Founder & CEO Plant Based Solutions

As we write this, representatives of the nation’s largest food companies are lobbying the United States Department of Agriculture to weaken food policy recommendations made by its panel of the nation’s top medical and nutrition professionals. Earlier this week a coalition of plant-based food companies led by public health lawyer Michele Simon submitted a letter to the USDA asking them to maintain the call for Americans to eat more plants and less meat in the final guidelines (Read that letter here). You can submit your comments in support of the dietary guidelines by 11:59pm on Friday, May 8th by going to the USDA’s website here. Below are the comments submitted by our CEO.

Dear Secretary Vilsack et al at the USDA:

I applaud the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee for its scientifically-grounded recommendations that Americans should reduce their intake of meat products and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. The evidence shows that the consumption of animal proteins leads to an increased risk of ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain forms of cancer when compared with a plant-based diet. Coming from a family plagued by heart disease, and as a former teenager who personally faced the dangers of high LDL cholesterol, a high BMI and dairy-induced (nearly chronic) bronchitis, I have seen firsthand the benefits of eliminating meat, dairy and eggs from my diet over the last 15 years.

I also applaud the committee for recognizing the significant impact of our dietary choices on the sustainability of our planet and the benefits of eating a more plant-based diet to improve water/land/feed efficiencies, reduce pollution and reduce the astronomical level of greenhouse gases emitted by animal agriculture.

In making official food policies based on the recommendations, I call on the USDA to do the following:

1) Specifically mention the variety of healthful plant-based foods that can be offered as alternatives to animal products. Many of these offer sufficient levels of protein (which most Americans currently consume in excess), high levels of other essential nutrients not found in animal products, no cholesterol, and significantly less saturated fat.

2) Specifically identify and recommend healthy alternatives to the milk and dairy components of My Plate. Animal-based milks are high in fat and cholesterol, have been shown to cause the body to leech calcium (despite industry marketing that implies otherwise), and are not digestible by the majority of the world’s population (particularly in non-Caucasian communities). Dairy alternative beverages offer equivalent or improved nutritional benefits without the cholesterol and provide a solution for the majority of Americans who cannot properly digest animal milks.

3. Stand up for the health of Americans, rather the interests of industry, and retain the scientific advisory committee’s recommendations for Americans to decrease consumption of meat. Please do not weaken these recommendations by encouraging Americans to eat “lean” meats when in reality no meat sold in this country meets your legal standard for “lean meat,” and even if these products did exist, they would not address many of the carcinogenic and heart-disease-related risks associated with meat products.

I thank you in advance for doing what’s right and advancing the sound science that has been presented to you by the nation’s leading medical and nutrition experts.

Sincerely,

David Benzaquen
Founder & CEO
PlantBased Solutions

How To Buy Organic Foods Without Going Broke

Step into any supermarket these days and you’re sure to find a wide variety of organic foods on the shelves. From produce, milk and meat to breakfast cereals and snack foods, consumers have their pick of certified organic products—a far cry from the time when you could only find organic items in natural foods stores. The demand for organic foods continues to grow. According to the Organic Trade Association, organic food sales have grown about 20 percent in the past five years, with 2006 sales expected to exceed $15 billion. More than half of Americans have tried organic products, and this number is expected to increase as more people become aware of the long-term effects of pesticides and chemicals.

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DEFINITION OF ORGANIC
An organic product is raised, grown, and processed without the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, antibiotics or hormones. Only farmers who produce food according to USDA organic standards and become certified by an independent third-party accredited agent can label their product as “certified organic” (with the exception of very small farms with sales under $5000 annually). The term “conventional” describes non-organic farming practices.

People buy certified organic foods because they believe organics are healthier than conventionally farmed foods. Take a look at these top reasons why many people have started to buy organic foods:
1. Eating organically grown foods is the only way to avoid the cocktail of chemical poisons present in commercially grown food.

2. Organically grown foods have more nutrients—vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and micronutrients—than commercially grown foods because the soil is managed and nourished with sustainable practices by responsible standards.

3. Organically grown foods generally taste better because nourished, well balanced soil produces healthy, strong plants.

4. Genetically engineered (GE) food and genetically modified organisms (GMO) are contaminating our food supply at an alarming rate, with repercussions beyond understanding.

5. Agricultural chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers are contaminating our environment, poisoning our precious water supplies, and destroying the value of fertile farmland. Certified organic standards do not permit the use of toxic chemicals in farming and require responsible management of healthy soil and biodiversity.

However, living an organic lifestyle can be expensive despite the drop in prices of organic foods. I want to share the top organic money saving ideas on how to buy organic foods that many have tried and proven. And let me tell you, I learned a lot myself while putting this list together.

FIND AND USE ORGANIC COUPONS

  • Check the websites of your favorite companies for coupons and special promotions, almost all of them have some.
  • Join your favorite company’s social media pages for special coupons and deals.
  • Check out various organic coupon sites. Some of my favorite examples include Mambo Sprouts, Saving Naturally, Organic Deals, Organicfoodcoupons, Healthesavers, Organic Deals and Steals for organic food/natural living coupons, and money savings ideas.
  • Whole Foods has coupons here every week for various products throughout the store.
  • Most stores take each others coupons, so don’t be afraid to use them all in one shopping trip at your most convenient or favorite store.

AT HOME AND IN THE KITCHEN

  • Stay organized. Plan out your meals for the week according to organic foods that are on sale and/or that you have coupons for.
  • Budget. Write out a weekly and monthly budget to help you keep track of both erratic spending and responsible spending. This will allow you to see your spending habits and help you prioritize purchasing organic food within your budget.
  • Do it yourself, rather than buy it. Make your own organic granola bars, kale chips, smoothies, juices to replaced store-bought with more overhead.
  • Check out the book “Wildly Affordable Organic” for organic menu planning on $5 a day or less.

USE YOUR FREEZER

  • 9 times out of 10 the organic frozen produce at the store is cheaper than fresh, especially if the fruit or vegetable is out of season.
  • Freeze all left overs using inexpensive mason glass jars or silicone ice molds for smaller portion.
  • Buy local produce when in season and freeze to save for out of season, for example in the spring and summer spread berries on a sheet pan and freeze overnight and then store in jars for the fall and winter.
  • Double recipes and freeze leftovers, this works great with soups and stews.

BUY IN BULK

  • Take advantage of the ‘buy one get one free’ sales or buy one get the other for a discounted price. You never know when it will go on sale again, so make sure to take advantage of it and store for later use. (This trick only works if you really love the product and it is a staple at your home – otherwise this could lead to wasted food)
  • Always buy packaged staples on sale
  • Buy unpackaged foods from bulk dispensers – I personally save a ton of cash by doing this, I buy everything from oat groats, to nuts, to dried fruit and lentils.
  • Bring measuring cups with you to the grocery store if you are buying from bulk containers. That way you can get exactly the amount you need for a specific recipe and you won’t be paying for extra.
  • Buy smaller organic spice packets or jars, old spices lose their medicinal qualities so it is smarter to buy in smaller quantities. For example, Earth Fare has little pre-portioned tiny ziplocs with herbs and spices available at the fraction of costs compared to a whole jar.
  • Find out what foods are in season and buy those in bulk, as they are significantly cheaper.

CHOOSE ORGANIC BRANDS THAT SAVE YOU MONEY

  • Choose more inexpensive grocery store brand products like Trader Joe’s, Earth Fare, 365 brand, ShopRite, Wegman’s, Kroger, Publix, Harris Teeter. Regardless of the brand, they are all required to follow the same guidelines set forth by the USDA organic certification program if they contain the USDA organic seal and chances are that you won’t be able to tell the difference between a brand name and store brand.
  • Join grocery store loyalty programs for discounts. For example, if you join Earth Fare’s tomato bank program, you get a dollar back for every 100 points you earn.
  • Use your rewards cards always. Most convenient stores, grocery stores, and drug stores allow you to sign-up for a rewards or savings card that will help you save money on a few of your items at the checkout counter. Even if this time of purchase does not contain organic food, the extra money that you are saving on your items can be put towards buying it when need be.

BUY LOCAL

  • Local food can be significantly cheaper than food shipped from miles away.
  • Find a farmers market near you through LocalHarvest.org or the USDA – get to know your local farmers, create a personal relationship and negotiate prices.
  • Ask your farmer about his farming practices. Some farmers do not spray pesticides on their crops but do not seek USDA certification to keep prices lower.
  • Be the last person to leave the farmer’s market. Farmers will likely cut their prices at the end of the day, so they do not have to take their produce back to the farm.
  • Buy a share in a community-supported agriculture CSA program. It’s nice to contribute to a local farm’s operating expenses while getting a weekly box of fresh fruits and vegetables.

 GROW YOUR OWN FOOD

  • Plant an herb pot in your kitchen or somewhere convenient so you can always have fresh herbs on hand. Organic herbs are one of the most overpriced items at the grocery store.
  • Follow these tips from The Organic Consumers Association to grow organic food inside your home year round.
  • Once you start growing produce, give herbs, fruits and vegetables as gifts to family and friends (saving money on other material objects they might otherwise not use or collect).
  • Remember to buy non-GMO seeds, check out Sow True Seed for lots of options.

TRAVEL WITH ORGANIC FOOD

  • On a road trip use EatWellGuide.org to find out where to buy local, organic and sustainable foods from point to the other.
  • Remember, a pricey restaurant doesn’t equal organic or quality food – going to a grocery store and picking up some organic food will save you money and your health.
  • Bring your food with you in a cooler – even if you are flying. Did you know you can check a cooler?
  • Bring organic tea with you and ask for hot water. A cup of tea can cost up to $5 dollars, vs. $1 dollar you would tip the barista or server.
  • Bring filtered water with you wherever you go in a reusable safe water bottle so you never have to buy expensive bottled water.
  • Always carry snacks like homemade trail mix in your purse or bag for emergencies.
  • At the movies, bring your own organic popcorn and snacks if they do not offer them. There is no reason to pay a premium for conventional food.

STOP WASTING FOOD

Quick fact: Americans waste an estimated 1,400 calories of food per person EVERY SINGLE DAY.

  • Raw nuts and flours should be kept in the refrigerator to last longer without going rancid.
  • Line your refrigerator’s crisper drawer with paper towels to absorb excess moisture. They’ll absorb excess moisture which will help keep produce longer.
  • To repel bugs, place a bay leaf in containers of rice, flour and pastas.
  • Buy and keep bananas separated from one another, they spoil slower.
  • Repurpose vegetable pulp from juicing to add fiber to soups, smoothies or make crackers or bread.
  • Placed limp celery, baby carrots and radishes in water with a slice of potato to make them crunchy again.
  • Keep all organic citrus fruits in the fridge – they will last up to 1-2 weeks longer.
  • Do not wash organic dark leafy greens or berries until they are ready to consume.
  • Store herbs, spring onions, asparagus upright in a large glass filled with an inch of water
  • If you know you will not have a chance to eat it, freeze food before it goes bad.
  • Choose to eat less, use a smaller plate to help you control the amount of food you might eat or end up wasting.
  • Compost all food waste to put nutrients back in your garden (you will spend less on fertilizer).

If you know someone who’s struggling to buy organic because of cost, or that needs a little extra cash (like most of us!), please share this post with them. Have any more tips on how to save more on organic shopping? Please share them in the comments below.

Superfoods for Better Immunity and Slow Down Aging

Anti-Aging-Super-FoodNo special diet can make you younger or stop you from aging. We all know we have to age one day, but how and what we eat makes a huge difference in how healthy we are going to be on the journey, and how long it will take. But there is a crop of food and herbs that medical experts believe can improve vitality and extend life. These foods that are nutrient rich superfood, in conjunction with living a healthy lifestyle, can delay or ward off age-related aches, pains and diseases.

But if you still eat fast food regularly, adding a berry or few leaves of spinach to your diet won’t make much difference. Along with a plant-based nutrient rich superfood eating style, we recommend avoiding foods that accelerate the downside of aging, including sugar, salt, oil and saturated fats.

Experts agree that it’s never too late to eat to ward off the diseases associated with aging. Begin taking baby steps, slowly replacing age-accelerating nutrient poor foods with those that slow down aging and fight disease. The way you eat is the foundation for better health, a longer lifespan. Nutrient rich Superfoods have the power to heal and change lives at any time in our lives. And that’s why we recommend a 90-10 balance, with the bulk being nutrient rich superfoods and the remaining “anything you want to eat.” The reason being few of us can eat right all the time, but if you eat right most of the time, you will have an edge, protecting your heart, brain, eyes and joints against the diseases associated with aging.

Said that won’t adding superfoods to your life be worth it, because who doesn’t want to look younger. Just consider the size of the U.S. market for anti-aging products — a whopping $80 billion. But now you can find your way to a younger, healthier you just by visiting the grocery store. What’s even better? You can get a double anti-aging dose by enjoying these powerful superfood pairs below. Here are some of superfood combos for Better immunity and slow down aging.Have your own ideas? Let us know in comments

Fresh vegetable

COMBINATION: Red Bell Peppers and Black Beans

PROVIDES: Better Immunity

They look good at the veggie market and are expensive. But here’s a good reason to buy them. You’ll absorb more immune-boosting plant iron by adding in some red bell peppers on your plate. Iron in black beans is hard for the body to absorb, however, adding a dose of Vitamin C-rich produce like red peppers converts the iron into a type that’s easier for the body to use. Red peppers are also heavily laced with pesticides so opt for either green house or organic peppers.

DO IT RIGHT: There are great recipes online that show you how to mix your beans with red bell peppers and make the meal a tasty one too.

 

COMBINATION: Broccoli and Tomatoes

PROVIDES: Protection against cancer

Both are individually known to have cancer-fighting properties, but research has shown that together they are the Hulk of cancer fighting foods. Scientists found consuming tomato and broccoli at the same time was more effective at slowing the growth of cancerous prostate tumors than eating either vegetable alone.

DO IT RIGHT: Have one-and-a-half cups of broccoli along with two and-a-half cups of fresh tomato.

 

COMBINATION: Garlic and Onions

PROVIDES: Full-body protection

Both these veggies contain a number of organosulfur compounds and heart-healthy plant chemicals that help keep arteries free of plaque. Some of these compounds have even been studied for their power to detoxify carcinogens in the body.

DO IT RIGHT: Most Indian cooking combines the two, however if you are in the mood for something else, the combination works well for soups and sauces.

 

COMBINATION: Pink Grapefruit and Avocado

PROVIDES: Cell protection

Grapefruits are great on their own: They’re rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that’s been shown to reduce inflammation and prevent cell damage. But when you pair grapefruit with avocado, the avocado’s healthy fats actually help increase lycopene absorption, making it more available for your body to use.

DO IT RIGHT; Try eating the grapefruit and avocado combo 1-2 times a week, using about half of each. Incorporate them into your meals by cooking citrus-glazed shrimp tacos with avocado and grapefruit for a zesty, creamy treat, or simply toss them together in a salad.

 

COMBINATION: Kiwi and green leafy vegetables

PROVIDES: Neutralizes free radicals.

Try green leafy vegetables to hydrate your skin and help diminish wrinkles. And kiwi is good because it neutralizes free radicals associated with cancer and heart disease. It also boasts more potassium than a banana and more vitamin C than an orange, meaning kiwi is also good for your skin.

 

COMBINATION: Carrots and broccoli

PROVIDES: BOOSTS IMMUNE SYSTEM

Just a one cup of broccoli a day can make you feel energized while also boosting your immune system. Why? Because broccoli contains more than 2/3 of the daily recommended dose of vitamin C. For their part, carrots may protect against skin cancer while also packing a lot of beta-carotene, which not only helps with skin-cell renewal, but acts as a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are great for getting rid of free radicals that can make your skin age faster.

 

COMBINATION: Green Tea and Black Pepper

PROVIDES: A slimmer waistline

Forget crash dieting. After your next meal sip a cup of green tea with a little black pepper thrown in. The combination boosts the absorption of EGCG, a key antioxidant in tea tied to calorie burning, by 130 percent. Experts say the compounds in green tea can affect the hormones that regulate hunger and fullness.

DO IT RIGHT: Studies say as little as a half-teaspoon of black pepper can increase the absorption of tea’s beneficial compounds.

 

 

 

Are You Really Eating Healthy Salads

< See Part 1 of the are you really eating healthy series. 

For most people healthy salads, aren’t really healthy. 

How many times have you been out to lunch or dinner and ordered a salad as a “healthier” alternative? Now think back and consider Is Your Salad Really a Salad.how many of these “salads” were actually heaping bowls overflowing with hundreds of calories of chicken and cheese, with a salt and oil-laden dressing on top of maybe 10-20 or so calories of lettuce, spinach or romaine with a few present tomatoes and carrots.

When you think that one pound (16 oz) of micro- nutrient-rich leafy / green vegetables is only 100 calories, and grilled micronutrient-poor chicken is weighing in at 250 calories for only 4-5 oz (approx.)… then consider the added calories of cheese and oil at a whopping 120 calories per tbsp., both of which contain saturated fat and cholesterol that our bodies do not need from dietary sources, which can clog our arteries and veins, and the added sodium which only increases our blood pressure, which promotes heart attacks and strokes (2 of the top killers in the US, to the tune of over 1 million people per year [2]; that typical salad doesn’t seem like such a healthy alternative any more, does it?

Ordering that salad pictured on the right, at a restaurant, whether you put the dressing on the side, or not, is a prime example of a trick we have all fallen for, at one time or another, that makes us think we are eating “healthy,“ when we’re not.

So what do healthy salads really look like? 

Here is a black bean mango salad that is considered “nutrient rich.” It does not need to be vegan or even vegetarian, and can include smaller amounts of animal products, but it does need to be mostly nutrient rich, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts or seeds, and maybe some intact whole grains. This would be a salad that follows the top 3 golden rules of healthy eating.

healthy salads

When we talk about the chicken above being “nutrient poor” food we are coming from the standpoint that animal-based foods are rich in some nutrients but are missing whole categories of others. They also contain substances like cholesterol and saturated fat that the body does not need from dietary sources. When these foods form the basis of your salad, at the end of the day is’t not going to be one of the healthy salads we are talking about below.

It is recommended that healthy salads be 10% or less animal foods by calorie, if you eat them. Like a condiment.

Examples of micronutrient-poor foods include:

There is a another class of foods that are actually nutrient barren, which is why small amounts of animal products, even though micronutrient poor, are likely ok because they at least include some vitamins and minerals. “Nutrient poor” does not mean nutrient barren. But it also explains why you don’t want so-called “healthy salads” to be based on chicken and cheese, and no one of course, would ever make a salad out of junk food.

You want healthy salads to be based in leafy and green vegetables. That’s what makes healthy salads, super healthy!

When we are talk about eating nutrient rich healthy salads, what we are really saying is that healthy salads are based on plant foods that are rich in virtually all of the nutrients your body needs to function, stay healthy and perform well, including protein. They also have fiber and phytochemicals, and they do not contain substances your body does not need. It is recommended that you maintain a diet that is made up of at least 90% or More Plant Based Nutrient-Rich foods, meals and menus for the best all around healthy results.

Examples of these superfoods include:

Part 3 is coming up.

2 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

55 Nutrient Rich Foods To Eat This Spring

Fresh fruits and vegetables abound during the spring, which makes cooking and baking so much fun and exciting. Here is a seasonality chart that shows 55 nutrient rich foods to eat this spring; they are high quality, and reasonably priced produce.  While I try to shop organic as frequently as possible, I am on a budget so sometimes it is just not an option to buy everything organic.  For those times I make sure to buy those vegetables and fruits on the dirty dozen lists organic. I have attached both seasonal chart and the dirty dozen lists that will provide the necessary information for you to use it as a reference.

 

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The Dirty Dozen

Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducts studies to identify which fruits and vegetables contain consistently high amounts of pesticides. The Dirty Dozen is meant to help guide us at the grocery store or farmer’s market so that we can make informed purchases with our food dollars. For many of us, we don’t have access to 100% organic fruits and vegetables, or can’t afford to buy exclusively organic – and we really don’t need to.There are many items that make the Clean 15 list that are shown to contain low levels of pesticides which are less harmful to us so it’s ok to buy  non-organic in these cases. These are typically foods with a skin or layer of protection to keep the bugs out: onions, corn, pineapple, and avocados.

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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,

 

Are You Sacrificing Your Health For Success

In the classic O. Henry story The Gift of the Magi, the wife has beautiful long hair, the husband a treasured pocket watch. She cuts and sells her hair to buy him a watch chain. He sells his watch to buy her a hair comb. Many people make a similarly well intentioned, but ultimately futile and unwise sacrifice. They mistakenly believe that by compromising their health, they can promote the health of the business. They routinely overextend themselves and disregard their own essential needs, all in the name of success.

And I was just like one of them.

A while back I was running a company that I built from zero in my younger days. Had offices and partners around the world, I was riding high. I made lots of mistakes and crashed.

One of the mistakes when it comes to working we think entrepreneurs are ‘supposed’ to work 24/7. I worked full straight months, zero days off, and averaged 16 to 18 hours a day. At the time, I was proud of that, wore it like a badge of honor.

However, it took a massive toll on my health. I went to lots of nutrient poor food – I was never home to eat, I was eating for stress. Burned out and constantly in energy debt.

And one day I realized I was sacrificing health for success. I decided to make the necessary changes. The point is this. Your success is not worth your health. Don’t end up sacrificing your own health on your path to success.

In recent study conducted it was found out that 40 percent of Fortune 500 executives are obese and 73 percent have a sedentary lifestyle, placing them at risk for diabetes, coronary disease and other life-threatening conditions. Many also have elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure. One-in-five employees worry about their boss’s health.

Human Assets

prescription-drugs-wellness-programs

There’s no business case for sacrificing your health. Even a company that views its people as business assets would want employees to take good care of themselves. Healthy people perform better and cost less. As the company’s most expensive human assets, whether you are leader or a entrepreneur you should be in peak condition.
When you neglect your health, you are actually vastly increasing the odds that you can’t perform at your best—or at all—at a critical time. That puts the business at risk. The best leaders view taking care of themselves as a business priority.

Maintaining your health is very vital and a must in this performance oriented world. We are constantly driven to push ourselves hard here. If we don’t get enough sleep or we’re not in shape or laden with nutrient poor foods, we’ll get fatigued more easily and likely won’t think as clearly. When you commit to keeping physically fit and eating healthy nutrient rich superfoods, it brings a rigor and a focus to everything you do.

I love to bike and take part in bike tours which is very physically demanding. So I need to stay in shape. And when I am in that mode, I have to concentrate completely on what I’m doing. It’s about the only time I’m not thinking about something business related. It cleanses my mind and gives me a total break from the everyday stress of running a company. I believe it makes me a sharper CEO.

Performance Lifestyle

As you take on stressful responsibilities, you need to develop habits that prepare you to deliver high performance over time and that can only happen when you bridge the gap between optimize health and success known as Performance Lifestyle.

Here are some keys to staying healthy, while working a high-stress, demanding job:

• Don’t sweat the small stuff : Having a lighten perspective is very important . This is just business, so let’s be smart about it. Most decisions aren’t about life and death.”

• Moderation. Common activities that are benign in moderation can sap your vitality if carried to excess. Avoid compulsive use of computers, mobile phones, and social-networking sites. If you use alcohol, be very conscious of how much you consume, and why.

• Alertness. Pay attention to mild symptoms like heartburn, headaches, blurred vision or sluggishness.

• Energy. Your energy isn’t inexhaustible. It must be managed and replenished. Take responsibility for managing your exertion. Heed the signals your body sends. Maintain sufficient reserves to care for yourself as you respond to your work’s ceaseless demands.

• Exercise. Exercise for 30 minutes at least, do what works for you. Then, lock it into your schedule. Consider it essential maintenance on a precious asset: your body. You can also build many forms of mild exercise into your daily activities even sitting at your office desk. Stroll rather than cab to that meeting across town. Take the stairs. Get in the habit of doing mild isometric exercises and stretches while you’re talking on the phone. Experiment with gentle movement practices such as Tai Chi and yoga to keep toned and flexible.

• Diet. Eating 90% or more plant based nutrient rich superfoods is the best way to prevent any type of lifestyle induced chronic diseases. Business dining is an important—and often unhealthy—part of many executives’ days. Search for restaurants that offer the right atmosphere and menu items that are good for you which have options to customize your meals. Try shifting some of your business conversations from the dining table to the golf course, tennis court or athletic club. Make sure healthy snacks are available in meeting rooms.

• Weight. If you need to drop more than five pounds, craft a realistic plan for making it happen, just as you would when pursuing any important goal. Using energy drinks or getting trapped in another weight loss only program isn’t going to help you nor will endless hours of working out.  The only way to lose weight naturally and in healthy way is by switching to 90% or more plant based nutrient rich eating style

• Rest. Insufficient or irregular sleep compromises mood, performance, and alertness, while cumulatively wearing down your body’s defenses. Commit to giving your body the rest it needs.

• Values. Make maintaining your physical health as much a priority as fulfilling quotas and meeting deadlines. If you sacrifice your health, no one wins.

 

Invest in Your Future

The best reason for caring for your health is that the body is a temple—a wondrous, irreplaceable gift. You need not sacrifice your health to fulfill your leadership obligations. It’s your solemn duty as a person and as a leader of others to proactively safeguard your physical well being.

Watch for these danger signs: Out-of-control diet, constantly feeling tired, trouble sleeping, sudden weight gain or loss, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, inflexibility or immobility, prolonged lethargy, frequent heartburn, chronic pain.

Ask yourself: What signals is my body sending? What consequences might I suffer if my health fails? Do I conscientiously safeguard the investment my business makes in me?

For more information on what is PERFORMANCE LIFESTYLE CLICK HERENeed our help or interested in our coaching programs CLICK HERE