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Navitas Organics Blog

3 Superfoods to Beat the Winter Blues

Posted by Julie Morris, Navitas Organics Executive Chef on Jan 4, 2019 8:07:59 AM

The “winter blues” aren’t just a hypothetical idea or something you hear about in country songs. Wintertime depression can be a very real and devastating condition, and many people find themselves affected when the days are shorter, drearier and colder. In fact, it's estimated that at least 10 million Americans experience some form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and an additional 10 to 20 percent of people have mild symptoms of SAD. These symptoms may include feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite, a dip in energy levels, avoiding social situations and weight gain.

Luckily, there are many ways to alleviate seasonal depressive symptoms and a nutrient-rich diet is certainly high among these remedies. Here are three foods you can incorporate into your everyday meals to help treat the winter blues, benefiting both your mind and body in the process.

1. Acai
One particularly tasty way to fight the symptoms of SAD is to incorporate more Acai into your winter diet. Acai is one of the healthiest berries on the planet, best known for its high content of antioxidants, which also support and protect the brain. These special antioxidants have been shown in numerous studies to improve mental function, boost energy, reduce irritation and even encourage a healthy libido. All these benefits contribute to better mental health in the winter and throughout the year, for that matter! Some winter Acai Powder recipe favorites include Acai Berry Truffles for a sweet after-dinner treat and Acai Energy Bowls to get a super start to the morning.

2. Maca
Hormones also play a key role in mental health and really affect how you feel emotionally during the winter season, which is why the adaptogen Maca is such a great ingredient to eat in the winter time. Maca helps balance your endocrine system, thereby encouraging your body to achieve a natural state of hormonal equilibrium and overall health. Maca Powder is rich in micronutrients that aren’t found in most other foods, including trace minerals and protective flavonoid compounds. Some scientific evidence even suggests that Maca is an effective anti-anxiety supplement, and even boosts your brain’s capacity to learn and remember new things. Regular consumption of Maca is also helpful in maintaining a healthy libido in both men and women! Try packing some of these tasty Protein Bars in your travel bag this winter or create a Cacao Maca Energy Elixir to warm up on a cold winter’s day.

3. Chia
Chia serves as a mood-improving hero because of its high amounts of omega-3s and important minerals, such as iron and magnesium. These nutrients are essential for brain health and a better brain translates to lowered risk of depression and happier days ahead. Meanwhile, both Chia Seeds and Chia Powder are high in fiber, which helps to support a healthy gut – yet another essential component of maintaining a positive mood. Best of all, Chia is such a versatile superfood that it’s impressively easy to incorporate more Chia into your daily life: simply toss it into soups, oats or smoothies for a recipe-free boost. For a special winter indulgence, try making a loaf of Zucchini Protein Bread, which contains a quarter cup of Navitas Organics Chia Powder to treat yourself and your loved ones to better mental health this winter!

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Topics: wellness, chia, chiaseeds, hacks, mood, nutrition, blog, health, Maca, science, superfoods, tips, plant based, healthy living, healthy choices, Navitas Organics, SuperSwaps, clean eating, acai, depression, research, medicine

If 2018 Was the Year of the Vegan, 2019 Will Be Known as the Year of Sustainable Nutrition

These days, it seems as though nutrition recommendations are as polarizing as the political climate permeating the country. There is cause for celebration that we have finally reached peak awareness about the human and environmental health benefits of turning to a more plant-based and organic diet. With over 25 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions being generated from agriculture worldwide, small changes towards eating plant-based will significantly reduce environmental impact, while simultaneously curbing the escalation of chronic metabolic disorders. But regardless of its recent popularity, the vegan diet will likely never become the reigning dietary choice due to significant cultural and economic contributions of animal proteins throughout our nation’s history. While the notion that we should eat more plant-based proteins invokes panic for many, perhaps there is an important common ground we are more likely to achieve in the short term.

Pick Your Favorite Moniker: Flexitarian, Reducetarian or Go All In
It’s not surprising that cattle and dairy ranchers get fearful and back into a corner when the idea of reducing meat consumption comes up in conversation. The scientific evidence favoring reduced reliance on animal proteins has grown substantially and finally, a strong argument can be made that plant-based diets provide a viable solution to a variety of health problems. But, with this knowledge, a very important distinction must be made – not all vegetables offer the same contribution to health, and not all vegans and vegetarians fare better than people who eat proper proportions and modest amounts of animal protein. Conventional vegetables and grains used in processed foods doused in pesticides are equally detrimental to health as consuming animal proteins raised by unnatural and unethical practices.

Not to Sustain but to Regenerate
Therein lies the critical importance of a compromise towards Sustainable Nutrition, an inclusive approach that will be far more effective in improving population and ecological health worldwide. Sustainable Nutrition refers just as much to production as it does to consumption and provides a guideline to eating behavior that holds the value of regenerative agriculture and disease reduction paramount over personal, individual dietary preferences. Organic and sustainably cultivated crops and animals raised as nature intended them to be raised is the best option to improving human and environmental health. With the knowledge that reduced reliance on animal proteins can significantly lower GHG emissions, so can rotational grazing and carbon sequestration practices for the cattle industry. The truth is, we desperately need both in order to disrupt the progression of the environmental decay we are witnessing! Grasslands are critical to a healthy ecosystem, prevent soil erosion and provide large areas where carbon can be pulled from the atmosphere and returned to the soil. Thus, we have to allow ruminators to care for the land as they have been evolutionarily designed to do.

Five Simple Rules
So, while my personal dietary philosophy honors a plant-based diet, there is enormous potential in coming together for the common goal of revolutionizing our food system to ensure optimal health equity for the future. These simple five rules will get us there:

1. Organic, all day, every day
2. Buy Local – Support farmers markets and local ranchers
3. Eat free-range, grass-fed, sustainably and ethically raised animals
4. Support ranchers doing the work of regenerative agriculture and carbon sequestration
5. Eat mostly plants! Meatless is not just for Mondays anymore, it’s critical for survival!

The best part is there are plenty of recipes to round out a plant-based diet that address nearly every type of craving. Click here to visit our Recipe Library for ideas of how to get started.

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Topics: wellness, hacks, nutrition, blog, health, superfoods, tips, plant based, healthy living, healthy choices, Navitas Organics, SuperSwaps, clean eating

10 #SuperSwaps to Make Your Fridge a Healthier Place

Posted by Julie Morris, Navitas Organics Executive Chef on Dec 26, 2018 7:24:34 AM

Orchestrating a complete overhaul of your diet can be overwhelming, time-consuming and downright impractical. That’s why Navitas Organics is such a big believer in #SuperSwaps.

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Topics: wellness, hacks, nutrition, health, superfoods, tips, plant based, healthy choices, Navitas Organics, SuperSwaps, clean eating

3 Healthy Hacks for Fall (Using Snack Bars!)

Posted by Julie Morris, Navitas Organics Executive Chef on Nov 12, 2018 7:59:26 AM

They've saved you during a long car ride. They've been there for you at the start of a busy morning that's running late. And they've helped you summit your favorite hike feeling even better than when you started. Yep, the healthy convenience of energy bars is pretty awesome. But, as it turns out, these versatile snacks are even more useful than meets the eye!

When you choose a good energy bar, such as the Superfood+ varieties, which are made with clean ingredients and top-tier superfoods, you're getting an excellent array of nutrition in the form of a very delicious snack. Yet, this snack need not be destined to a lifetime of a la carte enjoyment. Believe it or not, energy bars make an ideal addition to all kinds of recipes – saving you time and boosting your nutrition in the process! Here are three of our favorite recipe hacks using Navitas Organics Superfood+ Snack Bars to create some new-and-improved meals.

Pump Up Parfaits
Everyone loves the layered, scoopable nature of a good breakfast or dessert parfait, but the empty-calorie cereals or high-sugar granolas that are layered into the mix can make quick work of short-changing your healthy efforts. Instead, using crumbled energy bars in their place, helps to compliment the yogurt and fruit often used, and efficiently ensures your creation is more nutritionally balanced: offering protein, good fats and bonus micronutrients. You can use almost any flavor of snack bar to create this effect, simply crumbling it into little bits by hand. One favorite is any chocolate-inclusive variety like Cacao Cranberry, which can give the most wholesome recipes an almost brownie sundae-like effect.

Sprinkle onto Salads
You wouldn't always think of putting something sweet with something savory like vegetables, but these opposite flavors are often used in tandem in fresh combinations like salads. Along the same lines as a sprinkle of dried fruit or candied nuts, breaking down an energy bar into small pieces and using it as a kind of chewy crouton can add loads of flavor, making your vegetables truly irresistible while sneaking in the superfoods, too. This is clearly a case where chocolate doesn't work as well, but all kinds of fruity varieties are particularly welcome! Try a salad of baby greens, quinoa, shaved carrots or beets, mixed in your favorite vinaigrette and finished with a Goji Acai bar sprinkled on top – shockingly good!

Create Cookies
This is one of my favorite hacks around the holidays and I've become accustomed to doing it every year. Instead of holiday cookies (or at least, in addition to an obligatory batch), take several snack bars and just roll them out into a quarter-inch layer with a rolling pin. Use small cookie cutters to stamp them into fun shapes and serve your snack-bar “cookies” alongside any holiday spread – a no-guilt way to get in the festive spirit while keeping your food choices as clean as they can be! With its malty flavor and Cacao-Nib studded texture, the Maca Maple Superfood+ Bar was practically born to become a “cookie.” And the Hemp Peanut variety makes a superior substitute for peanut butter cookie lovers, too!

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Topics: goji, hacks, nutrition, blog, health, Maca, superfoods, healthy snacks, Navitas Organics

6 Healthy Hacks to Try This Thanksgiving

Posted by Julie Morris, Navitas Organics Executive Chef on Nov 22, 2017 1:50:27 AM

If you love food, chances are you're a big fan of Thanksgiving as well. With its copious seasonal dishes (aka stuffing AND bread rolls), crowd-pleasing culinary methods (the more butter, the better) and emphasis on leaving with a fully belly (going for seconds is greatly encouraged!), it might seem that health has no place in this holiday so famous for its traditional feast. Yet, even cooks bent on following customs may be surprised at how much of an enhancement a few healthy tweaks can create – both in flavor and salubrious benefits. Here are some new simple ways to make this year's spread a little more healthful, or in other words, a little something extra to be thankful for.

Shift the Sugar: When it comes to Thanksgiving, sugar…well…sugar happens. But there's no need to reach for the white stuff. Instead, you can make a 1:1 swap of Coconut Palm Sugar in place of cane sugar, which instantly slashes the glycemic index in half (and is especially good in pies, I might add!). You can also use other natural sweeteners like maple syrup and molasses to add flavor and trace minerals.

Spoon in the Superfoods: There may be no easier way to amp up the nutrition of your fancy feast than adding superfoods to your dishes. While we have plenty of recipes on our website to inspire you, the truth is that you can actually just adapt recipes you currently use and fold in extra nutrition. Making yams? Sprinkle Chia Seeds on top. Have a great vegetable side dish? Fold in some fresh pomegranate seeds and Hemp Seeds. Even things like cranberry sauce can be enhanced with a spoonful of Acai Powder or a Daily Superfood Boost to sneak in an array of extra antioxidants.

Add a New Vegetable: Not everything on the Thanksgiving buffet has to be traditional. Instead of looking to take away something from your spread, why not add something hyper-healthy instead? Introduce a new, additional vegetable side – it doesn't need to be complex, just something along the lines of some roasted cauliflower or steamed broccoli with sesame seeds. Give guests the opportunity to fill an inch or two of their plates with something healthy instead of something unhealthy – it's a small effort that genuinely makes a big difference.

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Topics: wellness, hacks, blog, health, healthy, superfoods, Thanksgiving

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