Green Superfoods

Greens are good, Green Superfoods are even better! Green superfoods have the highest concentrations of easily digestible nutrients, fat burning compounds, vitamins and minerals to protect and heal the body. They contain a wide array of beneficial substances including proteins, protective photo-chemicals and healthy bacteria helping you to build cleaner muscles and tissues, aid your digestive system function and more effectively protect you against disease and illness.

Green superfoods are extremely rich in chlorophyllthe pigment that gives plants their green color. The molecular structure of chlorophyll is very similar to that of human blood and studies show that when this is consumed, the production of hemoglobin in blood is increased. Higher amounts of hemoglobin in the bloodstream means more oxygen-rich blood, the first and most important element that cells need to thrive.

Wheat grass
wheatgrass Wheat grass is the sprouted grass of a wheat seed. Unlike the whole grain, because it has been sprouted, it no longer contains gluten or other common allergic agents. Wheat grass is super alkalizing and is excellent for promoting healthy blood. It normalizes the thyroid gland to stimulate metabolism thus assisting digestion and promoting weight loss due also to its high enzyme content and cleansing effect.

Barley grass
Barley grass has 11 times more calcium than cows milk, 5 times more iron than spinach and 7 times more Vitamin C and bio-flavonoids than orange juice. It contains significant amounts of Vitamin B12 which is very important in a vegetarian diet. Barley grass juice has anti-viral activities and neutralizes heavy metals such as mercury in the blood.

Wild blue-green algae
Algae was the first form of life on Earth and its power is immense. Wild blue-green algae is a phyto-plankton and contains virtually every nutrient. With a 60% protein content and a more complete amino acid profile than beef or soy beans. It contains one of the best known food sources of beta carotene, B vitamins and chlorophyll. It has been shown to improve brain function and memory, strengthen the immune system and help with viruses, colds and flu.

Spirulina is a cultivated micro-algae which has been consumed for thousands of years by the indigenous peoples in Mexico and Africa. It is one of the highest known protein sources on Earth and contains 70% complete protein, towering over steak which consists of only 25% protein once cooked. Studies have shown that spirulina can help control blood sugar levels and cravings thus making it a key food for diabetics, and can be used to assist in weight loss and as a general nutritional supplement.

Chlorella is a fresh water algae and like its other algae cousins contains a complete protein profile, all the B vitamins, vitamin C and E and many minerals. It is amazing for the immune system and for reducing cholesterol and preventing the hardening of the arteries, a precursor to heart attacks and strokes.

Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables Green leafy vegetables are so readily available and so highly nutritious, however most people do not eat enough of them. Studies continuously confirm that populations that eat a diet high in green leafy vegetables run a far lower risk of heart disease and cancer. Fresh raw green leafy vegetables contain high doses of chlorophyll, easily digestible proteins, enzymes and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. These particular vegetables act as mini-transfusions for the blood, a health tonic for the brain and immune system and a cleanser of the kidneys. Try any of the following: rocket, spinach, dandelion greens, kale, watercress, parsley, lettuce, endive, chicory, broccoli sprouts and mustard sprouts.


9 Health Benefits of Chocolate

Why You Should Eat Chocolate

Superfoods don’t just come from your supermarket’s produce aisle. In fact those chocolate candy bars next to the gummy bears now qualify. Study after study proves that dark chocolate—sweet, rich, and delicious—is good for more than curing a broken heart.

The secret behind its powerful punch is cacao, also the source of the sweet’s distinct taste. Packed with healthy chemicals like flavonoids and theobromine, this little bean is a disease-killing bullet. The only problem? Cacao on its own is bitter, chalky, nasty stuff.
Enter milk, sugar, and butter—good for your taste buds, not always good for your health. Besides adding calories, these can dilute the benefits of cacao. So snack smart: Stick to healthy chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao (or cocoa, which is cacao in its roasted, ground form). As long as the content is that high, says Mary Engler, Ph.D., a professor of physiological nursing at the University of California at San Francisco, you can reap the benefits from eating only small amounts. Because of its high fat and sugar content, limit yourself to 7 ounces, or about four dark chocolate bars, a week.

A Healthier Heart

The latest research backs up claims that chocolate has cardiovascular benefits: In a 9-year Swedish study of more than 31,000 women, those who ate one or two servings of dark chocolate each week cut their risk for heart failure by as much as a third.

Wish that was a serving each day? Another big, long-term study in Germany this year found that about a square of dark chocolate a day lowered blood pressure and reduced risk of heart attack and stroke by 39 percent. Most of the credit goes to flavonoids, antioxidant compounds that increase the flexibility of veins and arteries.

But since those antioxidants come with a generous portion of sugar, milk, and butter, chowing down on chocolate isn’t an excuse to skip your workout. Chocolate and exercise actually work surprisingly well together: Another recent study, out of Australia this time, showed that eating chocolate high in healthy antioxidants reduced the blood pressure-raising effects of exercise on overweight individuals. So go ahead and reward yourself. A chocolate bar has five times the flavonoids of an apple, after all.

Weight Loss

If you’re wondering how you can add dark chocolate to your diet plan without putting on pounds, the good news is that it should be easier than you expect.

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that dark chocolate is far more filling, offering more of a feeling of satiety than its lighter-colored sibling. That is, dark chocolate lessens cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods. So if indulging in a bit of healthy dark chocolate should not only make it easy for you to stick to the small portion recommended for optimal health, but it should make it easier for you to stick to your diet in general. Jackpot!

Happier Kids

Women who ate chocolate daily during their pregnancy reported that they were better able to handle stress than mothers-to-be who abstained. Also, a Finnish study found their babies were happier and smiled more. Hmm, so your options are popping a piece of premium chocolate or sticking a pacifier in your screaming baby’s mouth?

Diabetes Prevention

Candy as a diabetes foe? Sure enough. In a small Italian study, participants who ate a candy bar’s worth of dark chocolate once a day for 15 days saw their potential for insulin resistance drop by nearly half. “Flavonoids increase nitric oxide production,” says lead researcher Claudio Ferri, M.D., a professor at the University of L’Aquila in Italy. “And that helps control insulin sensitivity.”

Reduced Stress

UC San Diego researchers recently confirmed what your fat pants could have told them back in college: When times get tough, people tend to dip into the chocolate stash more often than they might otherwise.

And as it turns out, that kind of emotional eating might not be such a bad thing. You know what kind of havoc stress and its sneaky sidekick cortisol can wreak on your body. Swiss scientists (who else?) found that when very anxious people ate an ounce and a half of dark chocolate every day for two weeks, their stress hormone levels were significantly reduced and the metabolic effects of stress were partially mitigated. After a breakup, break out a dark chocolate bar rather than a pint of ice cream.

Sun Protection

London researchers recently tested chocolate flavanols’ sun-protecting prowess. After 3 months eating chocolate with high levels of flavanols, their study subjects’ skin took twice as long to develop that reddening effect that indicates the beginning of a burn.

Subjects who ate conventional low-flavanol chocolate didn’t get the same sun protection. Watch for brands boasting high levels of the healthy compounds.

Higher Intelligence

Next time you’re under pressure on a work project, don’t feel so guilty about grabbing a dark chocolate bar from the vending machine. Not only will it help your body ward off the effects of stress, but it’ll boost your brain power when you really need it.

A University of Nottingham researcher found that drinking cocoa rich in flavanols boosts blood flow to key parts of the brain for 2 to 3 hours, which could improve performance and alertness in the short term.

Other researchers from Oxford University and Norway looked at chocolate’s long-term effects on the brain by studying the diets of more than 2,000 people over age 70. They found that those who consumed flavanol-rich chocolate, wine, or tea scored significantly higher on cognitive tests than those who didn’t.

Cough Relief

One study found that chocolate quieted coughs almost as well as codeine, thanks to the theobromine it contains. This chemical, responsible for chocolate’s feel-good effect, may suppress activity in a part of the brain called the vagus nerve.

Maria Belvisi, a professor of respiratory pharmacology at the National Heart and Lung Institute in London, says, “It had none of the negative side effects.” Codeine makes most people feel sleepy and dull—and doesn’t taste anything like fine chocolate.

Diarrhea Relief

Both South American and European cultures have a history that dates back to the 16th century of treating diarrhea with cocoa. Modern-day science has shown they were onto something.

Scientists at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that cocoa flavonoids bind to a protein that regulates fluid secretion in the small intestine, potentially stopping the trots in their tracks.

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New Year’s Resolutions for 2014: 6 Healthy Changes You Should Make This Year

With the new year just around the corner many people start thinking about their diet downfalls of this past year, and some start planning on being healthier and more diet conscious. Fitness and eating habit changes are common for many. The problem is that many people try and change everything all at once, which oftentime leads to failure, and more often than not, old eating habits are resumed by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around. “Gym managers say memberships increase about 30 percent this time of year. January is the busiest month, followed by February, which oddly enough is the slowest,” according to WJHG Channel 7 News. Before venturing into a full-on body makeover, try a few small changes and progress from there. Here are a few healthy tips to make 2014 your best year yet:

1. Drink More Water

The entire human body is mostly composed of water, unfortunately, many Americans do not consume as much as their body needs. According to a study conducted by Boston College, “at least two-thirds of Americans pull up a quart short according to survey data.” Making it a priority to drink water is important. By setting reminders for yourself or carrying your favorite water bottle with you might be the push you need in order to become more hydrated.

2. Walk At Least 30 Minutes A Day

Instead of spending a ton of money on a gym membership that will probably go to waste, doing a simple task like walking can improve your overall health substantially. “Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance,” according to the Better Health Channel, “It can [also] reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers.” Also, walking is free, and it doesn’t require any type of skill or training — so anyone can do it at his or her convenience.

3. Get To Bed A Little Earlier

Many health professionals emphasize sleeping and getting enough sleep as a means to being a more productive and happier human being. Sleep is a way for the body to self-heal and replenish lost energy for the next day. According to, Rafael Pelayo, M.D., an associate professor of Sleep Medicine at Stanford University, sleeping earlier leads to morning productiveness. “Even if you swear you’re the polar opposite of a morning person, no one is biologically programmed to stay up late,” Dr. Peyalo tells Glamour magazine.

4. Replace Your Other Oils With Coconut Oil

In recent years, coconut oil has made its way into the kitchens of many Americans. As a staple ingredient in many countries, this sweet-smelling oil has a number of health benefits, including improving heart health, boosting metabolism and supporting a healthy immune system. Baking, cooking, and even moisturizing with coconut oil can be beneficial.

5. Have A Daily Green Juice

Drinking a handful of greens a day allows the body to obtain a sufficient amount of chlorophyll. “Chlorophyll can help to increase the quality and quantity of your red blood cells, improving the efficiency of oxygen transport and, as a result, giving you more energy and improving your well-being,” the Daily Mail reports.

6. Don’t Forget The Sunscreen

No matter what your skin shade is everyone should slather on some sunscreen daily. According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., with two million people being diagnosed annually. And the myth that darker-skinned people do not need to wear sunscreen is debunked as Dr. Maria Peredo owner of the Spatique Medical Spa in Smithtown, N.Y., and clinical professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said “everyone should wear sunscreen, no matter what your skin color is.”

[Article Credit Sabrina Bachai]
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5 of the Healthiest Winter Foods

Keep healthy this winter by including plenty of these 5 foods in your diet.

Although there are fewer foods that are in season in winter than in summer, winter boasts some surprising health superstars. Here are 5 of the healthiest winter foods you should be eating.

1. Pomegranates

Chances are you’ve tasted pomegranates in their newly popular juice form. And from a heart-health perspective, that’s probably a good thing. Pomegranate juice is rich in antioxidants (more so than other fruit juices)—just a cup daily might help to keep free radicals from oxidizing “bad” LDL cholesterol, according to a preliminary study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Oxidized LDL contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries. Another study showed that drinking pomegranate juice might improve blood flow to the heart in people with myocardial ischemia, a serious condition in which the heart’s oxygen supply is compromised because the arteries leading to it are blocked.

2. Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens, such as kale, chard and collards, thrive in the chill of winter when the rest of the produce section looks bleak. In fact, a frost can take away the bitterness of kale. These greens are particularly rich in vitamins A, C and K. Collards, mustard greens and escarole are also excellent sources of folate important for women of childbearing age.

3. Citrus

Citrus fruits, including lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit, are at their juiciest in the wintertime and can add sunshine to the dreary winter. Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C—one medium orange delivers more than 100 percent of your daily dose. As Karen Ansel, M.S., R.D., writes in the January/February 2012 issue of EatingWell Magazine, citrus fruits are also rich source of flavonoids. The predominant flavonoid in these fruits—hesperidin—is credited with boosting “good” HDL cholesterol and lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

4. Potatoes

Potatoes sometimes get a bad rap for being a white starch, thrown into the same category as white rice or white bread. But unlike those other starches, which have indeed been stripped of healthful nutrients, potatoes are a whole food that contain several beneficial nutrients. They are an excellent source of two immunity boosters—vitamins C and B6, delivering 25% and 29% of your daily needs per medium potato, respectively. They are also a good source of folate, which is especially important for women of childbearing age, and they deliver fiber (4 grams in a medium potato; women need 25 grams daily and men need 38 grams). If you can find purple potatoes, you’ll get an added health boon—they are rich in anthocyanins—antioxidants that are linked to a host of health benefits, from lowering cancer and heart disease risk to quelling inflammation.

5. Winter Squash

There are many varieties of winter squash—including butternut, acorn, delicata and spaghetti squash—and they are all excellent choices in the winter. One cup of cooked winter squash has few calories (around 80) but is high in both vitamin A (214 percent of the recommended daily value) and vitamin C (33 percent), as well as being a good source of vitamins B6 and K, potassium and folate.

[Article Link]

[Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D., Associate Nutrition Editor of EatingWell Magazine]


Shorter days, crisp air, bundling up in sweaters, harvest fairs and simmering pots of mulled cider, all remind us of the joys of autumn. It is a time when we seem to have a minute. We make pies, start a fire and sit down as a family for a meal. As Americans one of the tastes we are sure to enjoy each fall is that of the cranberry. Like the rest of us, most farmers are slowing for the year and readying their land for winter. For cranberry farmers, fall is the height of their season.

While varieties of cranberries are harvested in Europe, Africa and Asia, the cranberry is a taste unique to American cuisine. The American cranberry grows wild on vines in sandy marshes and bogs throughout North America. Generally considered a cold weather crop, this fruit has been found as far south as the Appalachian mountains of Georgia and as far north as the Canadian Maritimes.

Cranberries were first harvested by American Indians who used them to make a cooked sauce with honey or maple sugar, which was then used as a condiment for meat. These tart ruby-colored berries quickly became an essential part of the Pilgrims’ diet. Cultivation of the cranberry began in the area of Massachusetts known as Cape Cod in the early 1800s. Success led to the industry spreading to New Jersey in the 1830s, Wisconsin in the 1850s, and by 1880 the Pacific Northwest.

Unlike any other crop known to agriculture, cranberries rely on water and sandy soil for their cultivation. A high watertable and coarsely textured sand provide an area where cranberries can thrive. In 1816, Henry Hall of Dennis, Massachusetts watched as high tide from a storm washed over his cranberry bog, bringing in sand. This caused the berries to grow much better and faster. Hall’s observations are the cornerstone of how cranberries have been farmed to this day.

While water is the crucial ingredient in a successful cranberry operation, cranberries are not grown in water. Dikes, ditches and tile drainage are used to control the water level in the bog. In the winter, bogs are very often flooded to protect the plants. In spring, cranberry plants blossom and water is essential in protecting the blossoms from frost. The berries are initially small and green, taking between 75 and 100 days from flowering for the fruit to mature and turn their dark red color. As the cranberries are maturing over the summer months, water is again used as a method of protection from heat.

During harvest there are two methods used to pick fruit. Cranberries which are going to be processed immediately are wet harvested. During wet harvesting the bogs are flooded. Ripe cranberries float to the surface of the water and are herded together in a ring. For fruit that is sold fresh, cranberries are dry harvested using a manually pushed machine that separates fruit from the plant by ‘combing.’ Only about 10% off all cranberries harvested each year are sold fresh. All cranberries are sorted by color and size according to government requirements.

Cranberries are first mentioned in the history and recipe books of the early 1700’s. Captains of the early sailing ships would supply sailors with cranberries as a method of preventing scurvy. A cousin of the blueberry, cranberries contain only 47 calories per cup. They are filled with vitamins A and C, potassium and dietary fiber. This fruit is reputed to be a great source of bioflavonoids, which are phytochemicals that act as antioxidants. Current studies suggest they may offer protection against kidney disease, certain cancers and infections.

There are approximately 1,200 cranberry farms in North America today. Presently Wisconsin is largest producer. Massachusetts, New Jersey and Washington are also major cranberry producers. More than 100,000 tons of cranberries are harvested in the United States each year, with residents of the US and Canada consuming the majority of them. Record profits for farmers in the 80s and 90s led to the creation of new bogs and a surge in start-up operations. Increased production over the past two years has caused the price of cranberries to plummet.

Today the open market price of a bushel is 1/3 of the cost of production. Fiscal uncertainty has prompted many farmers to look to new ways for marketing their fruit.

The tart flavor gives it versatility far beyond the cranberry sauce and cranberry juice cocktail we are all so familiar with. Through products such as dried cranberries and fashionable drink recipes like the “Cosmopolitan,” the cranberry is gaining in year round popularity. With this in mind, Craig Canning, a second generation cranberry farmer, and his wife Martine, a gourmet cook, are dedicated to ensuring cranberries are not just for turkey and breakfast anymore.

A French Canadian, Martine notes, “preserving is part of my heritage.” She was brought up learning to make the fruits of her family’s garden last through the winter. After meeting her husband seven years ago and moving to Cape Cod, she found herself inventing new ways to conserve the bushels of cranberries Craig would bring home from his bogs each fall. During the holidays Martine and Craig would give friends and family baskets full of their cranberries in one form or another. With recipes like Cranberry Butter and Cranberry Garlic Pepper Jelly the receivers were often asking for more. As word got around, people Martine did not know were calling to find out where they could find some of her creations.

Eventually demand grew to such an extent that Craig and Martine decided to start “Old County Farms” as a venue for selling his fresh cranberries and her unique recipes. After not quite two years in business their cranberry products can be found throughout New England and New York and shortly in selected West Coast Locations. They have also been selected for a Thanksgiving promotion at Harrods department store in London.

Fresh cranberries can be found in most grocery stores during the fall and early winter. Fresh berries will be a bright scarlet color, with tight smooth skin. Occasionally you may find white berries; these have had little exposure to the sun and probably come from lower branches of the vine. Unless they are wrinkled, soft or leaking their juice they will have the same taste as the red berries. If you are still uncertain, an old wive’s tale suggests really fresh berries will bounce.

Refrigerated cranberries will last for up to two months. Frozen they’re good for at least a year. If you’re freezing cranberries to make use of them throughout the year, Martine suggests halving or chopping them in a food processor. By doing this they will take up less room and be ready for cooking when you need them. Another of her suggestions is to freeze them by the cup, which is how most recipes call for them. Fresh cranberries are usually sold in 12 ounce bags, which are equal to 3 cups of whole berries or 2 1/2 cups chopped. When needed, add cranberries to your recipes in their frozen state, rather than thawing them. Martine warns “thawed cranberries are more difficult to work with and like frozen strawberries, tend to leave red juice stains.”

While renowned for her harvest pie, which is made with apples, pears and cranberries, Martine makes use of the cranberry’s tart flavor in non-traditional ways too. “Adding chopped cranberries deliciously enhances meatballs and tomato sauce,” she says. When preparing a roast Martine often makes a marinade using crushed cranberries, rosemary and orange pulp which blends nicely with meats such as pork and beef. Cranberries also lend themselves well to salsas, chutneys, compotes, and ketchups.

Cranberry vinegar is easy to make and perfect for gift giving. To make it, simply find a pretty bottle and some good white wine vinegar. Take a 1/4 cup of fresh cranberries, poke holes in them with tooth picks and drop them into the bottle. Fill the bottle with hot white wine vinegar. The cranberries will float to the top and color the vinegar with their juice as they rise. Cap the bottle with a cork or plastic lined top and let sit for 2 weeks. This vinegar is great on salads and as a marinade for pork, chicken or white fish. If you’re cooking fruit, a drop of this vinegar will help to bring out the natural sweetness of the fruit. Try adding a teaspoon to your dough for chewier cookies and flakier pie crusts. Additionally a sprig of rosemary or a slice of orange rind work wonderfully to accent cranberries in this gift.

For those interested in decorating their holiday table, during the fall the Canning’s dining room table is often adorned with a simple yet elegant centerpiece made from fresh cranberries and autumn leaves. Martine also uses stringed cranberries as garland, which is “a great activity to keep children busy.”

One of the fruits of the land Indians shared with our forefathers on that first Thanksgiving, Cranberries are a viable part of American cuisine. For over 300 years we have structured our autumn menus to make the most of the cranberry. Regardless of today’s realization of their nutritional value and healing properties, or the number of new year-round uses we find for them, one certainty remains: As the hours from dawn to dusk grown shorter and we search for foods to comfort a chill, cranberries will always be the color, scent and flavor of harvest time.

Julie T Cecchini
[Article Credit Julie T Cecchini]
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Superstitions Based in Foods

Ever wondered why you throw salt over your shoulder or why we put candles on a birthday cake? Superstitions are as old as the human race, and many of them revolve around food. Many of these beliefs make little sense because they were born out of a fear for the unknown or a belief in magic and chance. Whether or not you are superstitious, here’s a look at some food superstitions in honor of Friday the 13th. See how many you know.

Garlic: It has long been associated with warding off evil spirits and vampires. Supposedly, carrying garlic in your pocket will prevent anyone from bestowing bad luck with the “evil eye.” Garlic was often hung in a baby’s room to keep evil away.

Salt: Spilling salt is thought to bring bad luck. Alternately, throwing salt over your right shoulder is said to bring good luck. It’s believed that this blinds the devil and keeps him from sneaking up on you and taking your soul.

Onions: To get rid of a wart, rub the wart with the cut edge of an onion and then throw it over your right shoulder and don’t look back. If you carry an onion in your pocket, it is supposed to prevent heat stroke.

Eggs: Cracking an egg that has two yolks means that there will soon be a marriage. If the egg yolk has a black spot, that is an omen of bad things to come. Farmers would plant an egg in their field to ensure a good harvest.

Bread: It was often marked with the sign of the cross to chase away the devil. If you cut into a loaf of bread and find a hole, this is said to represent a coffin and someone will die soon. It is bad luck to store a loaf of bread upside down.

Tea: There are many superstitions involving tea. Two people pouring from the same pot is thought to be bad luck. Adding milk before sugar to tea is crossing the path of love and you will never get married. If the tag falls off the teabag, you will lose something within a week. If you spill tea while preparing it, you will have good luck. You should always stir your tea clockwise for luck. Undissolved sugar in tea means someone has a crush on you.

Bananas: Never take a banana on a boat if you are trying to catch fish. You should always break a banana, instead of cutting it, to ensure good luck. A careless discard of a banana peel means you will suffer a painful death.

Coffee: If you have bubbles in your coffee cup, try to scoop them up with a spoon and eat them before they burst — you just may receive money from an unexpected source.

Fruit: Oranges symbolize luck and love. Peaches give you wisdom and bring long life. Seed rich fruits promote fertility. Grapes symbolize abundance. Looking for your true love? Peel an apple in one long peel. When it breaks, toss it to see what letter it forms. That is the initial of your true love. A single apple left on a tree means there will be a death the following spring.

Rice is strong symbol of health, prosperity, and fertility. That’s why we throw it at the bride and groom. Noodles symbolize a long life and should never be cut.

Ever pull the wishbone of a turkey or chicken when you were a kid? Using pinky fingers, two people are to pull the wishbone and whoever gets the longest piece will get their wish granted.

Cake: Candles are placed on birthday cakes to keep away evil spirits that like to invade celebrations. If you blow out all the candles on your birthday cake, your wish will be granted. Just don’t eat the last piece of cake unless you never want to be married.

Peanuts: Some NASCAR drivers shun peanuts in the shell because they feel they bring bad luck. There are many origins for this superstition, but it probably relates to the fact that early races were often held at fairgrounds, and teams would work on the cars underneath the grandstands. As they worked, the fans in the stands would drop their peanut shells which would fall onto the cars and crew. Fatalities in auto racing were common in the early days, and because peanut shells were frequently found in the wrecked cars, the superstition that peanut shells equaled bad luck was born.

Whether you believe the superstitions, it might be worth trying a few if you are looking for a little good luck!

Anita Marlay, R.D., L.D., is a dietitian in the cardiac rehab department at Lake Regional Health System in Osage Beach, Mo.
[Article Credit Anita Marlay, R.D., L.D.]
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The Importance of Breakfast

Now that the kids are back in school, breakfast becomes more important than ever. Let Tropical Smoothie Café help with the breakfast time rush.

Start your September mornings with a hearty Triple Berry Oat, Health Nut or an energizing Get Up and Goji smoothie. All of our smoothies offer “a feel-better way to start your day”.


This month’s article from Everyday Health contributor Julie Davis, helps us with tips to start the day off right.

The Importance of Eating Breakfast
Eating breakfast gets your morning started on the right track. It helps you keep your energy up and make healthier eating choices throughout the day.

People always say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is that really true?

“There’s some physiology to it — eating breakfast prevents you from bottoming out and getting too hungry,” explains Susan Kraus, MS, RD, registered dietitian at the Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. “Psychologically, you know you started the day off right. When eating breakfast becomes part of your regimen, you start having ownership of it, become more consistent, and feel that you’re making a change for the better. Nutritionally, when you have breakfast, there’s more of a guarantee that you’re getting the nutrients you need every day.”

The Importance of Breakfast: Starting Off With Better Nutrition
Eating breakfast gives you a mental advantage. When you start off your day, your body needs fuel. “Glycogen stores start to deplete. If you haven’t had any food, by lunch you’ll start to feel fatigued,” says Kraus, adding that cognitive studies, particularly on children, tell us what happens if you don’t eat — you lose focus and concentration as well as the ability to think and problem-solve.

“Without eating breakfast, you’re more vulnerable to cravings and less likely to make healthy choices in the morning and throughout the day,” says Kraus. That’s a disaster — whether you’re on a diet or just eating for good health.

One study that tracked nearly 10,000 young people from adolescence into their twenties found that not only did skipping breakfast lead to being overweight, but people who missed out on their morning meal also increased their eating at fast food restaurants, and both unhealthy behaviors caused them to gain weight.

The Importance of Breakfast: Focused Thinking
Recent research also suggests that there are advantages to both eating breakfast and choosing certain foods in particular. “Studies have shown that kids do better in school when they’ve eaten a high-fiber, low glycemic index breakfast like oatmeal, rather than a sugary cereal. The same approach should work for adults who go to work early and have to make quick decisions,” says Kraus. “It’s anecdotal, but at lectures, we always say the worst thing to serve attendees in the morning is the typical pastry — it’s only a temporary filler. Couple that with a cup of coffee and you have a big surge of energy, but by midmorning your audience is sluggish or sleeping — everyone bottoms out.”

To make eating breakfast a habit or to give your breakfast a nutrition makeover, rethink your meal. “Breakfast just means breaking the fast; it doesn’t mean you have to eat specific foods. Breakfast food alternatives just don’t come to mind because they weren’t taught to you,” says Kraus. “For sustainable energy, partner high-fiber foods with proteins that promote alertness, like egg whites, turkey, chicken, fish, and lean meats.”

“Breakfast can also be a smoothie, a slice of pizza, or waffles with fruit,” suggests Kraus. “It can be a homemade high-fiber muffin made with added egg whites and milk, nonfat dry milk powder, or whey powder instead of water to embellish the protein content.” Besides hot cereal made with milk, other ideas to try are smoked fish or hummus on whole-grain or rye bread or on half a whole grain bagel.

The Importance of Breakfast: Getting on the Fitness Track
“There’s no right or wrong time to eat breakfast,” says Kraus, who admits that her morning routine has her heading to the gym before breakfast. “I exercise early in the morning and can’t eat beforehand — I have to do it this way because it’s the difference between getting to the gym or not.” However, Kraus says she is quick to refuel afterwards before starting her workday.

“Everything we know tells us that for people to keep themselves going, to keep from craving foods and going off the right track, you have to eat in the morning,” says Kraus. And the words of clients who make the lifestyle change are like music to her ears. “They say, ‘I never was a breakfast person, but now I actually look forward to it. I can’t leave home without having breakfast or bringing it to work.’”

[Article Credit Julie Davis Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH]
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Hydrating Foods

When you’re truly parched, a tall glass of water really can’t be beat. But water’s not the only place where we get our hydration — turns out, high water-volume foods can also provide our body with fluids.

In fact, fruits and vegetables are composed of 90 percent water, said Roberta Anding, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and director of sports nutrition at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Even though the portions of fruits and vegetables we eat are likely not big enough to minimize the need to actually drink our fluids, they’re still a good source of “time-released” fluid, said Anding, who also works as a sports dietitian for the Houston Texans football team.

When a person drinks a glass of water, it leaves the stomach and gets into the blood stream relatively quickly, she explained. But food takes some time to be digested, so it’s a delayed fluid response.

For example, Anding makes sure that there are 13 to 17 different fruits and vegetables per meal when she plans out food for the Houston Texans. She’ll make smoothies that have greek yogurt and berries — they may not immediately quench thirst, but “it becomes that add-on hydration that helps you perform,” she said.

Anding said that all fruits and vegetables are hydrating, so it’s good to eat them all to get that “time-released” fluid (so there are no excuses if you don’t like a particular fruit or vegetable!).

[Article credit Amanda L Chan via Huffington Post]

Little Blue Dynamo, the Blueberry

July is National Blueberry month!  According to the US Department of Agriculture, blueberries are grown in 35 states in the US and the United States produces 90% of all blueberries grown in the world. Native Americans believed blueberries were not only good to eat, but that these little blue berries were also good for your health.  When brewed into a tea, blueberries had relaxing properties and as a juice, they were helpful for controlling a cough. Modern medicine agrees, promoting blueberries as being rich in antioxidants, thus helping to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Our Blue Lagoon smoothie can be made without sugar or with Splenda, contributing to the already low calorie properties of the blueberry.  Just 80 calories to a cup of fresh blueberries!

Blueberry Nutrition

With just 80 calories per cup and virtually no fat, blueberries offer many noteworthy nutritional benefits. Here’s the skinny on blueberry nutrition:

Blueberry Infographic: A Handful of Health

Blueberries are packed with vitamin C.

In just one serving, you can get 14 mg of Vitamin C – almost 25 percent of your daily requirement. Vitamin C aids the formation of collagen and helps maintain healthy gums and capillaries. It also promotes iron absorption and a healthy immune system1,2.

Blueberries are dynamos of dietary fiber.

Research has shown that most of us don’t get enough fiber in our diets. Eating foods high in fiber will help keep you regular, your heart healthy and your cholesterol in check. A handful of blueberries can help you meet your daily fiber requirement1,2. What a tasty way to eliminate this worry from your day!

Blueberries are an excellent source of manganese.

Manganese plays an important role in bone development and in converting the proteins, carbohydrates and fats in food into to energy – a perfect job for blueberries3.

Blueberries contain substances that have antioxidant properties

Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals — unstable molecules linked to the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Substances in blueberries called polyphenols, specifically the anthocyanins that give the fruit its blue hue, are the major contributors to antioxidant activity4.

Get the lowdown on blueberry nutrition here, and download more information about the health benefits of blueberries from our dynamic resources.


  1. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Release 23 U.S. Department of Agriculture-ARS 2006.
  2. Medline Plus Medical Dictionary Online. U.S. National Library of Medicine. NIH.
  3. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium and Zinc. (2001) National Academy of Sciences. Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Chapter 10 Manganese.
  4. Prior, R.L. et al J Agric Food Chem. 1998.

Plant Proteins

Plant Proteins

According to, plant sources of protein provide health benefits such as offering higher fiber and having more vitamins and a wider variety of nutrients than other protein sources.  They are also generally lower in calories and have less fat. Plant proteins are also an alternative for those who choose not to eat meat for health or ethical reasons.  For our customers who have asked for more vegetarian options, we heard you and now have a substitute for any of our chicken-based wraps, salads and flatbreads.

Chicken Free

Our new Chicken-Free Strips from the company Beyond Meat are a blend of soy and pea protein and mirror the taste of real, lightly seasoned, oven-baked chicken. The strips are available to replace chicken in any of our menu items at no additional charge.

Tropical Smoothie Café debuts chicken-free strips

In a move to further cement its status as a forward-thinking, health-conscious restaurant brand, Atlanta-based Tropical Smoothie Café has partnered with Beyond Meat, a Los Angeles-based company that specializes in plant-based protein products that look, taste and chew just like chicken, according to a company press release. Tropical Smoothie Café, with 338 locations across the U.S., is the first national restaurant chain to serve Beyond Meat’s 100 percent plant-based chicken-free products.

The Chicken-Free Strips are a blend of soy and pea protein and mirror the taste of real chicken. Tropical Smoothie Café will debut Beyond Meat’s lightly seasoned flavor line, oven-baked with the savory spices of roasted chicken. The strips will be available to replace chicken in any of the salad, flatbread or wrap menu items at Tropical Smoothie Café at no additional charge.

“Beyond Meat’s research shows that nearly 50 percent of the U.S. population is at least open to the idea of eating less or no meat in their diet, and this aligns well with our healthier customer base,” said Mike Rotondo, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Café. “We are excited to offer this additional choice to our customers.”

Beyond Meat, which was founded in 2009, began selling its retail products in Whole Foods Market in the summer of 2012, and is not yet available in any other national restaurant chain. Other flavors in their product line include grilled and Southwest style. Per three ounce serving, Beyond Meat’s Chicken-Free Strips have 18 grams of protein and only 120 calories and 290 milligrams of sodium.

“Tropical Smoothie Café is going to really help us push our awareness and distribution to the next level,” said Beyond Meat Founder and CEO Ethan Brown. “Our product will open up their already-healthy menu to even more options.”


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