Super Healthy Super Bowl!
January 31, 2014

This Sunday is the big game and we’re determined to make this year’s Super Bowl party healthy and guilt free! For those of you who don’t know much about the game, here is a little info:

The Super Bowl holds nine of the ten spots for the most watched TV broadcasts of all time in the U.S.
111 million viewers watched in 2011, making it the most watched television program in American history.
It costs $4.5 Million to run a 30 second ad during the game
Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest day for food consumption in the U.S. Thanksgiving Day is the first.
On Super Bowl Sunday there are approximately 8 million pounds of guacamole eaten. To dip in the guacamole, approximately 14,500 tons of chips are consumed.
With all of those game day snacks, it can be hard to keep it all healthy. We have a few tips to turn you Super Bowl party into a super healthy event!

First, pass on all of the things that you would normally pass on. This basically means that you shouldn’t use Super Bowl Sunday as an excuse to eat the things you know you shouldn’t. Instead, keep to your normal diet; just make it more game day friendly.

Traditional Super Bowl cuisine tends to focus on savory snacks rather than sweets, but it is always good to have some variety. Instead of cookies or candy, have plenty of fresh fruit on hand to satisfy those sweet tooth urges.

Chips and dip is an easy snack and probably the most beloved on game day. The unhealthiest party of this combo, by far, is the chips. Fear not, we’ve got you covered. Our new Superfood Chips can take the place of normal tortilla chips, giving you a great healthy alternative to the usual grease bomb of chips and dip. Just be sure that you are serving healthy dips.

Guacamole is very popular on Super Bowl Sunday, and can be very healthy when made right. Always buy fresh ingredients and make it yourself, instead of opting for pre-made guacamole, which is usually loaded with preservatives and other nasty chemicals. Here is a great recipe, if you don’t already have one.

Instead of canned bean dip, try serving hummus. It is similar in flavor and consistency, but in general is much healthier. If you are making your own hummus, try using black beans, as in this recipe, so that it looks and tastes more like the bean dip your guests know and love.

7-layer dip is a staple for the big game, but it can turn unhealthy quickly with the addition of fatty ingredients like sour cream. This Sunday, try making this “Guilt-free 7-layer dip” using Greek yogurt for a healthy alternative. It’s just as good if not better than the classic recipe, but a lot healthier.

Chili is another usual dish for the big game, and it can be quite healthy if made with the right recipe. We’re partial to this “Black Bean and Quinoa Chili” recipe from Fit Foodie Finds.

One more tip that has nothing to do with food: If your whole day is revolving around football, get out and play a little! A great way to get everyone in the football-watching mood is to split into teams before the game starts and play the first half of a touch football game in the yard. When halftime rolls around, get out there and play the final half! Name your teams after the two playing on TV and use the game as a fun way to predict a winner.

We’re Trendy!
January 27, 2014

On January 19th through the 21st of this year, we went to San Francisco to promote our products at the Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show 2014. We had a blast and met tons of amazing people, including other vendors as well as retailers interested in our chips. Then something really awesome happened: the show’s all-star trendspotters, which consisted of a panel of experienced food writers and journalists, spotted us!

We are so excited to have been grouped in with some of the best names in the specialty food world as part of the Winter Fancy Food Show 2014’s Top 5 Food Trends! Our Superfood Chips got named as one of five products at the show making up the “Crunch Time” trend, which is described as “Snacks [that] have evolved well past the common potato chip as the specialty food world continues to seek out and deliver exciting flavors and ingredients for more mindful snacking choices.”

Here’s the quick overview of the Top 5 Food Trends for 2014 from Winter Fancy Food Show:

After searching the exhibit halls at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco since the show opened on Sunday, a panel of food writers and journalists have picked the top five food trends.

Here are the trends with product examples of each:

Sriracha’s Homecoming

Sriracha, the fiery Thai chili sauce, was one of the biggest flavor trends – showing up in snacks, chocolates, and jams.

The Jam Stand, Not Just Peachy, Sriracha Jam
Hope Foods, Hope Hummus Organic Sriracha Hummus
Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks, Simply Spicy Sriracha Tortilla Chips
The Popcorn Factory, Lite Works Popcorn! Sriracha
Crunch Time

Snacks have evolved well past the common potato chip as the specialty food world continues to seek out and deliver exciting flavors and ingredients for more mindful snacking choices.

Vintage Italia, Pasta Chips
Simply 7, Quinoa Chips
Simply Sprouted Way Better Snack, Pitaaah Chips
479˚ Popcorn, Toasted Sesame + Seaweed Popcorn
Rhythm Superfoods, Super Food Chips
Low-Sugar Sips

Shoppers will be seeing more low-sugar beverages – a switch from the trend in recent years towards alternative sweeteners.

Califia Farms, Pure Unsweetened Almond Milk
Xumma, Xumma Semi Sweet Cola
Bruce Cost Ginger Ale, Bruce Cost Ginger Ale “66”
Numi Organic Tea, Indulgent Tea, Chocolate Earl Grey
Big Tree Farms, Coco Hydro
Commit to Mint

After years in the background, mint is taking a leading role as a popular flavor in a number of treats, reflecting a turn towards the revival of simple, familiar tastes.

Torn Ranch, Dark Chocolate Mint Mélange
Silk Road Soda, Cucumber with Mint, New Brands on the Shelf
GoodPop All-Natural Frozen Pops, Hibiscus Mint
Seely Mint, Mint Patties
Victoria’s Kitchen, Mint & Licorice Almond Water
Condiments Dressed Up

Some classic items like ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise are getting a makeover with unexpected ingredients.

Victoria Amory, Fine Herbs Mayonnaise
Stonewall Kitchen, Truffle Ketchup
Fischer & Wieser, Salted Caramel Mustard Sauce
Amoretti, Premium Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil infused with Kalamata Olives
Lillie’s Q Barbeque Sauces & Rubs, Ivory
In selecting the trends, this year’s panel of trendspotters carefully explored the show’s thousands of products. The trendspotter panel included: Ashley Koff, RD, founder of The AKA List; Nancy Hopkins, Better Homes and Gardens; Kara Nielsen, CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights; Denise Purcell, senior director, content, for the Specialty Food Association; Jerry James Stone, blogger at Cooking Stoned; and Joanne Weir, host of PBS’s “Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence.”

Reasons to Plant a Garden Right Away
January 21, 2014

There was a time when having a home garden and growing most of your own food was the norm, not so much for environmental reasons, but because it was the absolute cheapest way to produce the food your family needed. Later still, it became a symbol of patriotism to grow your own victory garden, which would reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by WWI and WWII. It has been a long time since those days, and home gardening has all but disappeared. Nevertheless, producing your own food is still a great idea. Here are three reasons why you should plant a home garden right away!

Eating local

If you have ever bothered to read the labels on the produce at the supermarket, then you already know that it usually has traveled thousands of miles to get to you. It’s a hard truth to face for many people, but when you buy apples that come from New Zealand, you are persuading the store and anyone else in the supply line, that picking fruit before it is ripe so that it doesn’t spoil and then shipping it several thousand miles is a viable business model. Just think how many tons of carbon is pumped into the air to get food from the farm to our doors. When we buy food that must be shipped that far, we become part of the reason it is being shipped in the first place. Farmers markets are great because they allow you to get fresh produce that is, for the most part, locally grown. Still, the farmers have to drive sometimes hundreds of miles just to set up shop at your local farmers market. It’s important to remember that when you buy your kale from a farmer who drove 200 miles to get to you, and will drive another 200 to get back to his farm, you become part of the reason that those mile get driven. Eating local is a great way to reduce your contribution to carbon emissions caused by shipping. Just keep in mind that you cannot possibly get any more local than your own back yard.

You have total control

When you are the person in charge of growing your food, you will inevitably be more considerate of the final product. You know everything about the food you grow yourself, like whether it’s a GMO (it won’t be) or if it is organic (it will be). You have total control over the final product, because you are the only one involved in the supply line. The nature of large farming is why we have things like GMOs and non-organic farming in the first place, but by growing only five or six pepper plants, you have the luxury of tending to each one individually. A traditional farmer must treat all of their plants as a single crop. It’s much harder for them to keep pests at bay when they have acres of a single plant attracting them from miles away. They also have to worry about weeds infiltrating the unnatural eco system that is a farm and ruining their profits. This is why many farmers feel they must use pesticides and herbicides, as well as herbicide resistant GMO seeds. When you are the grower and the consumer, you don’t have to worry about that. You just have to make sure the critters who’ve manage to find your little garden get taken care of before they can do too much damage. Even if you do lose a few plants to garden pests, you’re not really losing money. You’ll just have a few less ingredients in your salad.

Gardening teaches us about food

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you know that all tomatoes are bright red perfect little spheres with absolutely no blemishes. Except that’s not really true, is it? Over the course of the last century, farmers have realized that tomatoes that are bright red and even in color and shape sell the best. You have probably found yourself taking part in this situation by choosing one fruit over another because of minor discoloration or a few spots. In all likelihood, that produce was just as good as what you ended up with. We don’t blame you for choosing what looks the best, but here is a secret that farmers would probably rather you didn’t know: looking the best has nothing to do with tasting the best! Just because a fruit or vegetable looks perfect, doesn’t mean it tastes better than other varieties, and in fact, it is usually the opposite. Breeding tomatoes to look the best has taken precedence over breeding them to taste the best. The varieties we have today at the grocery store may look far better than they would have 75 years ago, but their taste absolutely pales in comparison. Growing your own food teaches you that not every fruit or vegetable ends up looking perfect, but the flavor remains unchanged, and better than anything you’re likely to find at the supermarket.

Awesome Non-Animal Sources of Protein
January 16, 2014

Anyone who is vegan knows that the number one question they get asked constantly about their dietary choice is inevitably: “Where do you get your protein?” It can be exhausting trying to explain day in and day out that there are, indeed, many other sources of protein than animal products. Most vegans are already well aware of the following foods along with their nutritional stats, but many omnivores just don’t realize the huge number of alternative protein sources out there. Before you become one of the countless people to immediately jump to that same old question, check out this list of 11 of the best vegan protein sources.

Quinoa

While technically a seed, quinoa is often treated like a grain in recipes. It is unique in that it contains over 8 grams of protein per cup, and includes all nine essential amino acids that the body needs for growth and repair, but cannot produce on its own. It’s also incredibly versatile: Quinoa can be added to stews, soups or vegetarian chili during winter months, tossed with vegetables and a vinaigrette to make a refreshing summer salad, or sweetened and served with fruit as a hot breakfast cereal.

Nuts and Nut Butters

Nuts contain healthy fats and protein, making them a valuable part of a plant-based diet. Because they are high in calories, you should choose varieties that are raw or dry roasted. Nut butters, like peanut and almond butter, are also a good way to get protein, just make sure to look for brands with as few ingredients as possible.

Beans

There are many different varieties of beans, black, white, pinto, heirloom, etc. One thing they all have in common, however, is their high amounts of protein. Two cups of kidney beans, for example, contain about 26 grams, which is one more gram than a big mac!

Chickpeas

Also known as garbanzo beans, these legumes can be tossed into salads, fried and salted as a crispy snack, or pureed into a hummus. They contain 7.3 grams of protein in just half a cup, and are also high in fiber and low in calories.

Tempeh and Tofu

Foods made from soy are some of the highest vegetarian sources of protein: Tempeh contains around 15 grams per half cup and tofu is even higher at 20. They are very nutritious and can stand in for meat or eggs in almost any recipe.

Seitan

Another popular meat substitute is seitan, which is made from wheat gluten, seasoned with salt and savory flavors and loaded with protein. At 36 grams per half cup, it has more than either tofu or tempeh. It looks a little like duck meat and tastes a little like chicken, and so can be used in any recipe that calls for poultry.

Edamame

If you’re not crazy about meat substitutes, you can get your servings of soy in its natural state: straight from the soybean, still in the pod. Boiled edamame, which contains 8.4 grams of protein per half cup, can be served hot or cold and sprinkled with salt. The beans, once out of the pods, can also be tossed into salads or pasta dishes.

Green peas

Foods in the legume family are well known sources of vegetarian protein, and peas are no exception. Though often overlooked, the humble green pea boasts 7.9 grams of protein per cup; about the same as milk!

Leafy greens

Vegetables don’t have quite as much protein as legumes and nuts, but some do contain significant amounts, along with lots of antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals, and heart-healthy fiber. For instance, one cup of chopped kale contains 2.9 grams of protein as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, and over 100% of your daily vitamin A and C requirements.

Chia seeds

These seeds are an easy way to add protein and fiber to almost any recipe. At 4.7 grams per ounce (about two tablespoons), chia seeds can be sprinkled over salads, stirred into yogurt or oatmeal, or blended into smoothies. They can even take center stage: when soaked in a liquid, they plump up and take on a gelatinous texture forming a rich and creamy pudding-like treat!

Sesame, sunflower and poppy seeds

Don’t discount the other seeds in your pantry. The more familiar varieties are also high in protein and healthy fats. Per volume, sunflower seed kernels contain the most protein at 7.3 grams per quarter cup, followed by sesame seeds and poppy seeds at 5.4 grams each.

7 Metabolism Revving Foods
January 7, 2014

Whether you’re just coming off of a holiday sweets binge or you stuck to you guns and kept it healthy this season, learning about the benefits of certain foods should help to keep you on the right track in the new year. Your metabolism is a very important component in a healthy diet; it regulates how your body converts food into energy. While everyone has a natural metabolic rate, there are plenty of things that you can do to get yours up and moving. This week, The Huffington Post wrote a great article about which foods will actually speed up your metabolism. Here’s how author Alessandra Bulow breaks it down.

The article starts with some great advice from registered dietician, Sarah-Jane Bedwell saying:

“Your metabolism is like a fire: If you don’t add wood, your metabolism will die down. If you don’t eat regularly, your body doesn’t have fuel and your metabolism will slow down.”

She goes on to give an example of a good breakfast to start your day, and says that to continue feeding that metabolic fire, so to speak, we need to be sure to eat every three to four hours. She then explains that there are actually foods that will speed up our metabolism. Check out this list of metabolism boosting goodness!

Green Tea: “Studies have shown that people who drink about 24 ounces per day of green tea burn 70 to 100 more calories per day due to the antioxidants called catechins.”

Coffee: “Research shows that the caffeine in one cup of coffee can temporarily increase metabolism by 15 percent.”

Whole grains: “High-fiber foods take your body longer to digest, which helps speed up metabolism due to the thermic effect of food. Whole grains like brown rice, oats, quinoa, and barley are very high in fiber.”

Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are especially high in fiber. “Your body works hard to digest all vegetables, which ups your metabolic rate.”

Raspberries: “Any fruits with edible seeds or skin like raspberries, blackberries, and pears are especially high in fiber. Don’t worry about the sugar in fruit because it’s a natural source of sugar.”

Chiles: “Spicy foods from hot peppers to chili powder have capsaicin, which has been shown to increase the release of adrenaline and raise body temperature. When your body temperature goes up, it speeds up the metabolism.”

Cold Water: “Drinking five to eight glasses per day of very cold water helps speed up the metabolism because your body has to use energy to warm the water back up to your normal body temperature, 98 degrees.”