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Navitas Organics Blog

Superfoods 101 with Miranda Hammer: Maca

Posted by Miranda Hammer on Apr 11, 2018 2:16:41 AM

Maca is in the spotlight today in this next installment of my Superfoods 101 Series. This series was created with the intention of diving into some of my favorite superfoods, discussing their nutritional benefits and showcasing a simple recipe to highlight the versatility of superfoods.

If I had to label the current trendiest superfood, I would for sure say Maca. It started appearing on the wellness scene a few years ago and has quickly gained momentum as one of the "it" superfoods. Like Goji Berries, Maca has been around for thousands of years and was a staple in the diet of Inca warriors.


What is Maca?
Maca is the powdered form of Maca root. Maca is one of the most durable and resilient plants on earth. It can withstand intense sunlight as well as high winds, freezing temperatures and high altitude. Maca is part of the family of adaptogens, which have been garnering a lot of attention, especially as of late. An adaptogen is a type of plant that helps balance the body's hormones, reduce stress and anxiety in the body, and may help achieve equilibrium by supporting the endocrine system.

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Topics: wellness, adaptogens, blog, eating, food, foods, health, healthy, Maca, superfoods

The Pretty Zen Journey

Posted by Navitas Organics Insider on Apr 5, 2018 2:11:03 AM

Hello! My name is Jules Aron and I’m a holistic wellness and nutrition coach, and four-time plant-based cookbook author, including the brand new Pretty Zen duo of books: Fresh and Pure & Nourish and Glow, which celebrate vibrant health, and inner and outer beauty using the healing power of plant foods.


My Fresh Start
I grew up around the kitchen table. My father owned and managed several restaurants, while my mom worked as a chef in some of the most prestigious international hotels. Between the frequent dinner parties they loved to host and the quality of food they chose to serve, they taught me that the best food involves basic techniques, fresh ingredients and a whole lot of love.

 

My Relationship with Plant-Based Foods
I moved to New York for college and went on to work at many bars and restaurants myself, all the while embracing an active lifestyle as a martial artist. I ate what I thought was a fairly healthy diet at the time, but all the late nights and long hours started catching up with me. I was perpetually tired, got sick frequently and developed other symptoms of adrenal fatigue. That’s when I stepped away from my fast-paced life in the city and began exploring natural healing modalities, such as yoga, Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It was during this personal journey that my own relationship with plants and superfoods blossomed. I made it my mission to find simple, fun and delicious ways of enjoying life and celebrating food. It took several more years before I was pushed to share my passion with the world.

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Topics: wellness, goji, blog, eating, food, foods, health, healthy, superfoods

Superfoods 101 with Miranda Hammer: Goji Berries

Posted by Miranda Hammer on Apr 4, 2018 3:00:41 AM

Superfoods is a term which is frequently used but not always understood. To help clarify what exactly a superfood is and what its sources are, I am launching a mini-series: "Superfoods 101." I plan on diving into some of my favorite superfoods, discussing their nutritional benefits and showcasing a simple recipe which highlights the versatility of superfoods.

 

What is a Superfood? 
Superfoods are nutrient-dense foods which promote health and wellbeing. They can range from Chia Seeds to blueberries to spinach to Cacao. A healthy individual should integrate traditional superfoods into their diet such as dark leafy greens, legumes, berries, nuts, seeds and cruciferous vegetables for optimal health. For added nutritive benefits and functioning, integrating more specialized superfoods such as Chia Seeds, Maca, Cacao and Goji Berries aid bowel regularity and immune functioning, improve skin clarity, reduce inflammation, and increase energy and optimal wellness. When purchasing superfoods, you want to look for products that are organic, fair trade and sustainable since most of the specialized superfoods come from various countries around the world.

 

Why Goji Berries Top My List
Goji Berries are one of my favorite versatile superfoods that can easily be integrated into granola, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies or trail mixes. You can also rehydrate them for a few minutes in warm water - the taste resembles a sweet tomato - and mix them into a grain or serve on top of a soup. All berries are considered superfoods in my book due to their antioxidant power. However, Goji Berries contain higher amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which help with immune function, boost collagen production and protect against premature aging. Goji Berries have high amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and iron, and also contain all essential amino acids, making them a complete protein.

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Topics: wellness, goji, blog, eating, food, foods, health, healthy, superfoods

Why Turmeric is the Superfood Hero of the Wellness World

Posted by Julie Morris, Navitas Organics Executive Chef on Mar 27, 2018 2:14:30 AM

If you blinked, you may have missed it! Yes, we're talking about Turmeric's rise to healthy fame. Turmeric has gone from an uncommon spice to a must-have superfood, and now enjoys a premium spot in the cabinet of just about every wellness guru and in-the-know restaurant alike. But aside from giving every food it touches an illustrious golden glow, does this special spice really live up to the hype? A quick look at its nutrition and you may find yourself on the Turmeric train, too.

Ancient Roots
Turmeric is a truly ancient food. With its use reported for thousands of years in India and Southeast Asia – and still among the most popular spices today – Turmeric is used frequently in both cooking and Ayurvedic Medicine. Although most people consider it a root, the edible portion of Turmeric is actually considered a rhizome, which is a root-like part of a plant that grows above ground. The papery skin on the exterior of the Turmeric rhizome is mostly comprised of tasteless fiber, but peeling it away reveals a vibrant orange interior. The distinctive color inside is primarily due to the presence of a phytochemical called Curcumin, which is at the core of Turmeric's health benefits.

Health Benefits
Curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory nutrient, which has increasingly gained attention for its healing potential in arthritic conditions and movement-related stress (whether from lifestyle or exercise). Traditionally, Turmeric and its Curcumin concentration have been used to support liver health, aid circulation, lower cholesterol and build the blood. As a powerful antioxidant, Turmeric also fights free radicals, and has impressive antibiotic and anticancer properties, too. Some Turmeric is better than others, with the value really found within the Curcumin concentration. Navitas Organics specially sources a Turmeric Powder with an immensely high saturation of the antioxidant to amplify the superfood's benefits naturally. And lest we forget that Turmeric is a whole food and not a supplement, the beautiful superfood contains many other “bonus” micronutrients as well, such as beta carotene, caffeic acid, Vitamin C and potassium.

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Topics: wellness, turmeric, blog, eating, food, foods, health, healthy, superfoods

Chia Chat: How the Trend-Setting Superfood Made its Claim to Fame

Posted by Julie Morris, Navitas Organics Executive Chef on Mar 23, 2018 2:22:26 AM

For some, Chia's history jumps from a present time of culinary celebration and extends back to the 1980s, when Chia was nothing more than a decorative component of “pet” terra cotta figurines covered in Chia sprouts. But all joke gifts aside, Chia has enjoyed a drastically more significant usage and much longer narrative than just a desk ornament!

Historical Treasure
From a botanical standpoint, Chia is considered an herb, and is a member of the mint family. It is native to central and southern Mexico, including the region of what is now Guatemala. A hearty plant that thrives in heat, the first cultivation of Chia was by the Aztecs around 2600-3500 B.C. From that point onward, Chia was highly treasured, often incorporated into religious gatherings and even considered a valued form of currency.

Dietary Staple
Beyond celebratory rituals and trade deals, Chia was first and foremost a staple food crop that was used as regularly as maize and beans in the Aztec diet. Chia Seeds were eaten whole or ground into a fine flour and used in a variety of ways: mixed into water as a drink, made into a gruel, incorporated with other grains and baked into flatbread, and even used as medicine. Although Chia was commonplace in the Aztec diet overall, it was most famously consumed by warriors and athletes as a go-to source of energy and endurance. Often consumed in competitions and situations of extreme perseverance, it was purported that an athlete could sustain intense physical output by eating nothing more than a tablespoon of Chia every few hours.

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Topics: wellness, chia, chiapudding, chiaseeds, blog, eating, food, foods, health, healthy, superfoods

Six Superfoods to Stock Up on This Spring

Posted by Julie Morris, Navitas Organics Executive Chef on Mar 20, 2018 2:38:25 AM

Each month, we have the exciting edible opportunity to take advantage of nature’s freshest and most special produce: the foods that are truly seasonal. But there’s more to eating seasonally than just buying what’s on sale at the grocery store. This activity is dependent upon a combination of utilizing the newest crops, and eating the foods that most support our body during specific weather patterns and times of transition. For example, you probably wouldn’t crave watermelon much during winter since it’s a cooling food that is packed with electrolytes…not something most of us need when it’s jacket weather. Here are some of the foods that are best to take advantage of in the spring, both in flavor as well as in function:

Radishes – Make your spring dishes really sing with colorful confetti made of fresh radish shavings. Ready to top your next sandwich, pizza, salad or avocado toast? This peppery root is available all year round, but it’s at its prime in the spring. Radishes are well known for their beautifying, antibacterial, antifungal and detoxifying properties, all of which make them an excellent addition to your clean diet line-up. Try to include radishes of all types, including purple, black, ninja and watermelon for a delicious variety.

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Topics: wellness, spring, blog, eating, food, foodie, foods, health, healthy, superfoods

The Real Deal on Functional Foods

Posted by Julie Morris, Navitas Organics Executive Chef on Oct 24, 2017 2:11:54 AM

 

If you look at the diet of any creature on the planet, you'll notice one big commonality: every bite of consumed food has a purpose. Animals don't eat because they're having a craving. Rather, they seek out very specific food sources that will help them gain energy, reproduce and better respond to their environment. Consider bears, for example, which in addition to a plant-rich diet, also seek out easy proteins like insects and fish to help them store protein and fat for the long winter. You may know dogs to be primarily carnivorous (or at least high-protein omnivores), but canines also enjoy chewing on grass or raw vegetables on occasion to help enhance their digestion. Even gorillas will occasionally consume soil – yup, just some raw dirt! – to add additional minerals to their normal sugary fruit- (albeit vitamin- and fiber-rich) based meals. The cardinal rule of a natural animal diet is eating on a need-to-nourish basis.

The Non-Functional Exception
The one exception to this purpose-driven diet is…you guessed it…humans. Beyond just hunger, we eat for many different reasons, ranging from nostalgia to boredom. And nobody knows our weaknesses better than food manufacturers, who have created all kinds of food products that tap into our deepest emotional cues. Crunchy corn puffs colored with red spicy “fire” powder anyone? Or creamy ice cream studded with flecks of cookie dough? How about pickle-flavored popcorn? Are you hungry yet? Our diverse cravings are tested every time we walk into a grocery store. With such an abundance of tempting options, it's no surprise that many of us often fall victim to eating foods that are super low on the nutrient density scale – in other words – foods that are high in calories, but don't offer much in the realm of actual nutrition or benefits.

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Topics: wellness, livelifepositive, blog, foods, functional, health, healthy, superfoods

A Guide to Navitas Organics’ Updated Nutrition Facts: Part 2

Posted by Arthur Mullin on Jun 4, 2017 2:16:00 AM

A common question I hear from Navitas field team members as well as our customers is, “Can you tell me more about the benefits that superfoods provide?”


This is, of course, a fair and reasonable question to ask. After all, our organic superfoods are 1) ‘super’ and 2) sold at a premium price compared to some conventional alternatives. Shouldn’t our products list all their outstanding nutritional and health benefits? Don’t we want to inform our customers that these foods have high nutritional value? Let’s revisit an important distinction made in A Guide to Navitas Organics' Updated Nutrition Facts: Part 1: we are proud to offer our superfood products as food rather than supplements. This means that we display a Nutrition Facts label on our packaging, and conform to FDA Nutrient Content and Health Claim Guidelines.

 

Navitas Organics superfoods have some remarkable properties with regards to nutrient density, nutrient complexity and rare nutrients. They are also associated with an extensive list of impressive health benefits. However, the FDA is very clear on what can and cannot be stated about food.


For instance, nutrients that are not included on a list that the FDA recognizes (declared as Daily Values or DV%) cannot be specified as having a particular function or benefit (i.e. antioxidants including flavanols, resveratrol, ellagic acid and catechins). The only antioxidants that can be identified as such include vitamins A, C and E, and there must be a minimum of 10% recommended DV% reflected on the Nutrition Facts label to include them (more on this later). Still, nothing can be stated about the benefits of these antioxidants – only that they are contained within the food. Supplements, on the other hand, can purport almost any benefit of both nutrients and compounded products. These claims should be substantiated by scientific research but are often not. Again, referring to part one of this blog, supplements are not reviewed by the FDA for safety or effectiveness.

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Topics: education, hemp, FDA, foods

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