If you're currently using superfoods, you're already in the know of some of the best wellness tricks of the trade. Here's what to look for in the upcoming year and how to make the most out of your healthy efforts.
Simplification with Specialty Blends
Long gone is the dubious time where learning about which superfoods to use – and in what perfect combination – meant locking yourself up in the library with mountain-sized stacks of research books. These days, there's a vast amount of scientific exploration on how various individual nutrients (and the superfoods that contain them) can work together in harmony to produce a greater whole effect…and this summation has been realized in a variety of easy-to-use products. For example, every serving of Navitas Organics Protein & Greens Essential Superfood Blend offers 20 grams of plant-based protein, the healthy benefits of green vegetables, antioxidant-rich superfoods and even probiotics to help you digest everything. It's no wonder they're on the rise: specialty blends make eating healthier simpler than ever with a one-and-done approach to nutrition that's immensely attractive for those with busy lifestyles.
Prioritizing a Happy Gut
As it turns out, your stomach does far more than serve as just a biological fuel tank, alerting you of “empty” or “full” status. Your gut, and specifically the microbiome (which is like the inner environment of your gut), is of increasing interest to many health professionals as a key element of whole-body health, affecting everything from your immunity prowess to your energy to your mood. Furthermore, a healthy microbiome is key to properly absorb and utilize all other foods and nutrients you consume, and without a healthy gut balance, your healthy efforts literally go to waste. That's why you'll often see prebiotics, probiotics, enzymes, as well as fiber – all core components of a happy gut – included in so many Navitas products, such as the Daily Superfood Detox Boost or the Vanilla & Greens Essential Superfood Blend.
Choosing the “Quality Matters” Credo
Marketing can be pretty savvy at times, and while superfoods have become more popular, it's sometimes the uses of these ingredients that have not always been so credible. Often scribbled onto packages of products with high amounts of sugar, additives or other highly processed ingredients, some superfood products certainly don't offer the kind of health benefits most of us would hope for. But consumers are wising up, and there's a significant uptick in truly conscious products that are clean from start to finish and packed with functional foods every step of the way. Of course, Navitas has been a “quality matters” company since day one, which is why you'll find that every ingredient is always 100 percent organic, minimally processed and rigorously reviewed for quality – and without added sugars, fillers or artificial additives, of course!
Food for Thought
Newly emerging is a class of superfoods and healthy ingredients that can actually help improve the performance of your mind. As mindfulness, meditation, productivity, mood and mental health continue to be a more widely discussed point of overall health, new foods are rising to the surface that can help the process of enhancing these cognitive points of interest, too. While many superfoods are considered in the “best-of-class” of brain foods already (such as Acai and Chia), Navitas Organics' Daily Superfood Focus Boost is rapidly becoming a fan favorite for helping build a better mind and enjoying a more optimum state.
Going Beyond Smoothies
If you love superfoods, chances are you're a fan of smoothies, too. And why not? Smoothies are undeniably once of the easiest and healthiest ways to incorporate so many of our most choice power ingredients. But with superfood's rise of popularity, we're also seeing an increase in culinary creativity, and it's safe to say superfoods are no longer just reserved for the blender. The New Year promises an influx in this trend, taking superfoods to new, delicious heights. Look out for irresistible superfood items you can make and buy like bars, lattes, soups, salads, dressings, dips and desserts. We have a feeling superfood cuisine is just getting started!
If you're currently using superfoods, you're already in the know of some of the best wellness tricks of the trade. Here's what to look for in the upcoming year and how to make the most out of your healthy efforts.
Topics: wellness, chia, chiaseeds, hacks, nutrition, blog, health, science, superfoods, tips, plant based, healthy living, healthy choices, Navitas Organics, clean eating, acai, research, medicine, trend, trends
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
Hi! I’m Erin Parekh, Holistic Health Coach, Culinary Nutrition Expert, and plant-based recipe developer.
I believe that being healthy doesn’t have to be hard or complicated — that living a fulfilling life and eating the most beautiful, delicious, nourishing food is well within reach for all of us.
But, in order to do this, we have to cut through the noise (there’s a lot of it) and get back to basics. No diets or programs. No hours spent in the kitchen. No killing it at the gym every day.
Just Real Food. Real Life. Made Simple.
This little mantra is what I strive for personally. It’s how I develop recipes and how I coach my clients. Because at the end of the day, no one (not even a health coach!) is going to stick with healthy habits long-term if they aren’t enjoyable or easy.
I spent the majority of my early adult life struggling with anxiety, low self-esteem, disordered eating, and a 50-pound weight fluctuation. I tried every diet book, workout video, and weight-loss supplement available — thinking that if I could just maintain a certain number on the scale, everything would fall magically into place. But as I’m sure you can guess, that wasn’t the case at all.
It seems that despite a conscious awareness about the need for work-life balance, life just gets busier all the time. Finding enjoyment with work is challenging when resources are scarce and the “to do” list seems endless. While the ultimate goal in life is to do what you love and love what you do, it’s often not that realistic even under the best of circumstances. Fortunately, many employers are searching for ways to make work life more fulfilling due to mounting evidence that employee engagement is a critical component of an organization’s success. This is particularly relevant to building loyalty and fostering creativity within the team. After all, when employees are getting their social and emotional needs met, it brings them closer to the ideal goal of finding joy in the work they do. Now more than ever before, companies are making time to support important causes they care about through volunteerism and community service, which boosts employee satisfaction at the same time. Through corporate social responsibility programs, doing good for others can be an important contributor to the well-being of employees and the organization as a whole.
Today, 79% of Employees Prefer to Work for Companies That are Socially Responsible
A lot has been written about the mental and physical health benefits that come with volunteering, making corporate responsibility programs very attractive to future employees. This is especially true if the causes that are supported reinforce the values and beliefs held by the company. Mental health benefits range from reduced levels of depression and social connectedness to fostering a sense of purpose. But, physical health benefits are also available to those who volunteer their time in service of others. One study in particular reported that volunteering is associated with decreased risk for high blood pressure, a major contributor to cardiovascular disease and the leading cause of early mortality in both men and women. This may have to do with physical labor associated with the volunteer activity or the effect of stress reduction that results from altruistic behavior, but other studies have shown similar results. Some have even demonstrated a relationship to reduced obesity, increased cognitive function and increased levels of dopamine, “the pleasure-seeking” neurotransmitter, in the brain. Most surprising of all is that research with highly engaged working populations shows that volunteering can help employees create better work-life balance, despite being busy in addition to positively influencing health.
The “Happiness Effect” May be the Reason
The “happiness effect” describes that “feel-good” experience from dopamine being released in the brain and this may be the most compelling reason to incorporate volunteerism as a corporate objective. Doing good deeds in the community for no other reason than to help others has the effect of spreading positive energy to everyone around – not just those helping or being helped. This can be thought of the same way as practicing self-care – eating health-promoting, nutrient-dense foods or the feeling after a rigorous workout. The energy that comes from doing good for yourself and for those around you can be infectious, inspiring others to do the same. Community service and volunteerism work in a similar capacity, helping to generate renewed energy and enthusiasm around shared goals within an organization.
Spreading Positivity is Good for Your Health
Navitas Organics is doing our part by sharing the meaning behind our "Live Life Positive" campaign and our commitment to corporate social responsibility is a large part of that story. Just like “the happiness effect,” we believe that making a positive impact in the world creates a ripple effect in all aspects of life. Through innovation of organic superfoods and snacks that have minimal environmental burden, giving back to people in need and supporting the causes we believe in, we aim to help make individuals and communities healthier and more resilient. Through a strong commitment to volunteerism, we hope our employees will benefit from the “happiness effect” and hopefully find additional meaning in the work they do. After all, no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
You're relaxed, soaking up an exciting new environment and crossing off a destination from your travel bucket list. There's only one thing missing from this epic vacation: your healthy lifestyle.
Anyone who's enjoyed the energy, clarity and enhanced glow from a healthier set of proactive measures can attest the rewards (like waking up feeling rested) are far greater than the sacrifices (apologies, double-stuffed pizza crust). But, for all their perks, vacations are notorious for throwing off our rhythm of self-care. As a result, many people return from vacations feeling bloated, tired and even sick.
But, you certainly don't need to sacrifice the wellness you've earned to satisfy your travel bug. With just a bit of foresight, you can keep your healthy priorities in the forefront while fully embracing the experience for which you've set aside valuable time and money. Here's how:
Between airplanes, gas stations, public transportation and questionable hotel remotes, you can definitely count on being exposed to a lot of new germs and bugs while on the road. Think you'll be fine? The average person touches their face 16 times an hour. That's about 16 times too much of dirty handrail-to-face contact, if you ask me. To help keep the bugs at bay, try keeping a travel-sized container of antibacterial spray or gel with you. By applying the solution even just a few times a day, you can reduce your exposure (and your chances of getting sick) tremendously.
Plan for Sweat
Just because you're off the clock doesn't mean you have to fully give up your fitness. While most people don't look to turn their vacation into an epic workout regimen, a little bit of movement thrown into the schedule (or lack thereof) can actually increase your energy, enhance your mood and help you relax even more. So, make sure you pack at least one set of workout clothes to enjoy your favorite sport, such as practicing yoga, heading out for a brisk jog or jumping in some water for a refreshing swim.
Bring Your Own Toiletries! While it can be tempting to just use the hotel's shampoo or pick up a bottle of insect repellent on site, your chances of finding an organic, green product to use are usually rather low. Keep the new chemicals and toxins you will inevitably expose your body to at a minimum by using your own tested varieties – you're much less likely to suffer from allergies and brain fog due to unknown sensitivities.
Pack a Smoothie Stash
Enjoying local cuisine of wherever you're traveling to is more than just a perk of traveling – it's a huge part of the experience! And by no means should you feel the need to give up the opportunity to try the delicious new fare. To keep your digestive system happy though, try to keep at least one meal out of the day similar to the routine you'd enjoy back at home. A great way to achieve this is through bringing a superfood blend – a great mix of balanced nutrient-dense foods – to make a quick smoothie in a shaker bottle. Navitas Organics’ Protein & Greens Essential Superfood Blend is unflavored, so you can easily combine it with whatever beverage you come across in your travels, and it’s lightweight so you can pack a whole bag to cover your entire trip.
…And Maybe Bring a Few Healthy Snacks, Too
The worst feeling on a trip is feeling starving while not being able to find something to eat. Packing a small collection of healthy superfood snacks like Goji Berries, nuts or snack bars can sometimes save the day – or at least, save you from hanger – while giving you a quick dose of healthy sustenance that will energize you on both a caloric and nutrient level.
At first look, happiness may seem like a subjective quality: who's to say that your amazing new pair of shoes doesn't actually make the world seem a little bit brighter? But, while we may all have our individual joyful quirks, some things have been biologically proven to enhance mood.
The meditation-happiness relationship has been long documented, but more recently, it's become science-backed as well. One such study offered 60 employees a seven-week meditation course consisting of 15-20 minutes of mediation a day. In comparison to the non-meditating employees, results showed the meditators experienced an increase in positive emotions that included a clearer purpose in life, a feeling of social support and even a decrease in physical pain from illness symptoms. For such a simple practice that can be done anywhere – free of charge – it's no wonder mediation is quickly rising in popularity in modern society.
2. Exercise Regularly
Have you ever experienced a “running high” or felt particularly elated after completing a difficult session of as many reps as possible (AMRAP) – even while exhausted? You're not alone! The human body was meant to move, and we're actually designed with psychological support to increase biological motivation for activity. Exercise releases all the most prominent mood-related neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine (and epinephrine). This healthy good-mood ride was likely a way to encourage physical activity from an evolutionary standpoint, but today it can be used the other way around, too: getting a little sweat on to promote a better headspace.
3. Eat Some Chocolate
If you've ever made the claim that eating chocolate makes you happy, it turns out you're scientifically right! Many studies have been published that show chocolate's effect on mood, which is due to its unique phytochemical composition, including components like theobromine and flavanols. Chocolate even contains a special compound called anandamide, often called “the bliss molecule.” The result is that chocolate (and in particular, Cacao), stimulates endorphins and provides precursor nutrition for mood-boosting neurotransmitters.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep and depression go hand-in-hand, but the opposite is also true. Of course, you feel better from a great night of zzz's, but your brain actually functions on an entirely new happy level, too. And it's not just duration, it's regularity as well. One 2017 study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that “week-long irregular sleep schedules are significantly associated with lower self-reported morning and evening happiness, healthiness, and calmness during the week even after controlling for weekly average sleep duration,” said lead author Akane Sano, PhD. So, set a bedtime – and stick to it – to naturally broaden your smile.
5. Give to Others
The saying “it's better to give than to receive” is true on many levels, but can include a direct correlation to personal, lasting happiness. Studies have shown that “giving” stimulates the same parts of the brain activated by food and sex, indicating that generosity is a hard-wired component of our brain. Helping others is a short-cut way to not only be of service, but to help yourself in the process as well.
6. Enjoy Your Furry (or Non-Furry) Friends
Why does just looking at a picture of a puppy bring a smile to your face – even on a difficult day? Animals can help improve mental health so dramatically, there's even a medical term for this kind of animal assistance: pet therapy. In one study, as reported by TIME, “a stressed-out group of adults were told to pet a rabbit, a turtle or their toy forms. The toys had no effect. But stroking a living creature, whether hard-shelled or furry, relieved anxiety. It worked for people regardless of whether they initially said they liked animals.” Similar studies even found that having pet crickets helped reduce depression! When it comes to balanced mental health, nature wins again.