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24
OCT

A Guide to Natural Sweeteners

Filed Under: Health Foods,Nutrition at 8:00 am | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor

 

Most of us know that sugar is bad for us, but sometimes we just can’t help but succumb to our sweet tooth. Not only is it OK to treat yourself every now and then, you can still make smart choices when doing so. Check out the following list for some natural sugar alternatives, as well as a few ingredients you should always try to avoid.

Look For:

Maple Syrup – This natural sweetener is made using a two-step process. While here are several grades commonly found in most food stores, Grade B is the darkest and has the strongest maple flavor.

Raw, Local Honey – Packed with amazing health benefits, this natural sweetener easily trumps refined table sugar. Plus, honey has immune strengthening properties, as well!

Stevia  – A plant-derived herb that has been used around the world for thousands of years. Keep in mind that stevia is 30 times sweeter than sugar, so tread lightly when substituting in baked goods.

Black Strap Molasses – A strong flavored, sugarcane sweetener full of vitamins and minerals. Use a small amount of black strap molasses when replacing with sugar in recipes.

Xylitiol/ ErythritolThese are common sugar alcohols that have few calories and little aftertaste. Xylitol and Erythritol do not raise blood sugar but may cause digestion issues when over consumed.

Steer Clear Of:

Stay away from products that contain the ingredients below, and remember that, as always (even when indulging!), moderation is key.

Agave

Refined White Sugar Cane

Aspartame

HFCS

Sucralose

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21
OCT

Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Filed Under: Nutrition,Supplements at 8:00 am | By: Jeremy Michael, Contributing Author

 

Fall is the time for carving pumpkins and making Jack-O-Lanterns to illuminate your front steps.  You’ve just finished cutting open the top of your pumpkin. The newspaper has been laid out on the table; a trash can next to you and all of your carving accessories handy. As you begin to reach into the pumpkin to scoop out the insides, you might be considering whether or not to get rid of all of its contents. What if I told you those seeds on the inside may actually have some healthy properties? Today we are going to look at some of those benefits.

Cucurbita pepo more, commonly known as pumpkin, contains many physiologic health benefits. The majority of its salubrious assets come from the seeds and include anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, diuretic, and anthelmintic properties. Besides having actual physiologic benefits, pumpkin seeds are also very nutritious. One-quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half the recommended daily amount of magnesium. Pumpkins seeds are also full of zinc, fiber and healthy fats like ALA, which together all play a key role in supporting your body.

Pumpkin seeds’ anti-inflammatory properties make it useful for inflamed, boggy, irritated prostates as seen in Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH).  In a randomized double blind study, it was found that pumpkin significantly improved urinary flow, micturition time, residual urine, as well as frequency of micturition.  Another study showed that a combination of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto were both clinically safe and effective as complementary treatments for BPH.

In addition to its benefits for BPH, pumpkin seed oil has also been researched for its role in preventing calcium oxalate kidney stones. Two studies performed in Thailand looked at pumpkin seeds snacks and their role in preventing kidney stones in children with a high risk for developing them. Research found that pumpkin seeds increased the level of inhibitors of crystal formation in the urine suggesting a preventive effect, but did not look at the actual reduction in stone formation.

This fall don’t just get rid of all of the “guts” of your pumpkin. Clean and wash off the pumpkin seeds, add a small amount of salt and bake for not only a delicious, but also nutritious snack.

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14
OCT

Forget the Franken-Candy for Halloween

Filed Under: Food Politics,Nutrition at 8:00 am | By: Jeremy Michael, Contributing Author

 

 

Boo! Didn’t mean to scare you, but now that summer is over Halloween isn’t too far away.  The temperatures are dropping and pumpkins are popping up everywhere. This Halloween don’t be just the coolest house in the neighborhood, be the healthiest. LuckyVitamin has a great selection of candy made with organic, non-GMO ingredients to help you stand out from the rest of the houses on the block.

Many of the candy ingredients on the market are made with artificial dyes, food coloring agents, artificial flavors and other ingredients that can throw off your children’s nervous system. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), one of these ingredients, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, is no longer “generally recognized as safe” and should eventually be phased out of the production of food. A great health benefit to our all-natural sweet treats is that they do not contain hydrogenated oils.

Chocolate is a staple of Halloween. LuckyVitamin carries top selling delicious treats like Chocolove Mini Organic Chocolate Bars that come in flavors like Dark Chocolate, Raspberry, Orange Peel, and Toffee Almond.  Another delectable treat you will find is the Lara Bar Jocalat Chocolate Mint Bar. This yummy bar is non-GMO, organic, and free of artificial calories, dairy, gluten, and preservatives.

Are you worried about not having Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in your candy bucket this fall? Don’t worry; LuckyVitamin has you covered with Justin’s Nut Butter Peanut Butter Cups. Not only is this enjoyable candy organic, it is also free of dairy and gluten.  Now it wouldn’t be Halloween without M&M’s; however, a tasty and healthier alternative is SunSpire Sun Drop Original Chocolate Candies.  These candies are organic, vegetarian, and free of preservatives, trans fat, and artificial flavors. On top of all that they are also a quality fare trade product.

Other great alternatives to satisfying that sweet tooth with include Yummy Earth Root beer candy drops, Surf Sweets All Natural Gummy Bears , Yummy Earth’s Organic Gummy Bears and All Natural Lollipops. This Halloween don’t be frightened by the candy on you super market shelves; shop LuckyVitamin for all natural and organic candy to hand out to those witches, goblins, princesses and super heroes.

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13
OCT

If Betty Crocker was a Vegan

Filed Under: Nutrition at 10:48 am | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor

 

Vegan baked goods. To most people, that may sound like an oxymoron. How can something that feels and tastes like cardboard really be “good”? The answer is, of course they can be, provided you have the tools and know-how to whip up some delicious vegan goodies the right way. This Halloween, “trick” your friends and family into eating delectable vegan booked treats! The shocked look on their faces will be all the reward you’ll need for ditching animal fats and proteins.

Replace the Egg           

Replacing the egg isn’t so hard. There are plenty of healthier egg alternatives at your disposal. Here are just a few…

For the equivalent of one egg, grind up chia seeds to a mealy consistency. Mix three tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon of ground chia. Let this dissolve for about five minutes or until that classic, goopy egg-like texture develops. You can also use flaxseed meal to replace an egg by mixing one tablespoon of ground flax seed with 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of water. One-quarter cup of mashed banana plus 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder equals one egg. Bananas work best for muffins, pancakes and cakes.  You can also work applesauce in a recipe by using 1/3 cup of applesauce for each egg. However, if you end up needing more than a cup, try using another egg substitute unless you want to wind up with a mushy mess. Ener-G Egg Replacer simplifies baking and allows you to enjoy a variety of delicious egg-free baked goods. Used strictly for baking, not only is Ener-G Egg Replacer 100% egg-free (contains NO eggs or animal protein), it is also gluten-free, wheat-free, casein-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, peanut-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free, and it’s low in protein.

Replace the Butter

Earth Balance creates natural buttery spreads that provide the taste of butter without the dairy. These plant-based buttery products are vegan, lactose-free, non-GMO and use expeller-pressed oils.

Replace the Milk

This is the easiest replacement out there. Every grocery store sells either rice, soy, hemp or almond milk nowadays. All of these substitutes will work but my favorite is almond milk due to its nutty flavor and slightly thicker consistency.

 

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9
OCT

7 Essentials for the Gluten-Free Baker

Filed Under: Gluten Free,Health Foods,Nutrition at 8:00 am | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor

 

Attempting to bake without gluten can be quite the challenge, not to mention just a little bit terrifying. But it doesn’t have to be. Follow these seven pantry essentials to master the art form of gluten-free baking.

1. Whole Grain Flours – It’s necessary to have several different flours on hand including brown rice flour, chick pea flour, quinoa flour, teff flour and millet.

2. Starches – Arrowroot flour, Cornstarch, Potato Starch and Tapioca Flour

3. Baking Soda and Baking Powder – You’ll need to increase the amount of these leavening agents by 25% when adapting a recipe to one that is gluten-free.

4. Thickeners –Xanthan Gum is added to gluten-free baked goods to bind, stabilize, emulsify, thicken or lend structure or suspension to your baked treat.

5. Buckwheat Flakes – These are a wonderful substitute for anyone avoiding oats.

6. Ener-G Egg Replacer – This is for anyone with a food allergy that needs to avoid gluten, as well as dairy.

7. Gluten Free Mixes – Try saving time with some pre-made blends of most baked goods, including everything from pizza crusts to cupcakes.

Bonus Tip: When creating your own gluten-free flour blend, use a ratio of 60% starch with 40% whole grain flours.  Keep in mind that these rations may vary depending on what you’re baking. If you’re converting grandma’s cookie recipe, a great tip is to substitute 140 grams of your gluten-free mix for every cup of “regular” gluten all-purpose flour.

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23
SEP

#ExpoEast – Bring More Health to More People

Filed Under: Announcements & News,Health Foods,Nutrition,Personal Care at 8:00 am | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor

The natural products industry is on the rise. With so many choices and niches to explore, it’s no wonder that people are becoming more enlightened and inquisitive about what ingredients are in their food and personal care items.

Here at LuckyVitamin, we want to be your go to for all things natural and organic. In order to keep up with the trends, we attended the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, MD to learn about new products and hot trends in the industry.

Here’s what’s new from the brands you love:

Badger Balm – Coming this November, Badger’s men’s line of personal care products. USDA Certified Organic & 100% natural grooming products for men. Soothe, refresh, restore and improve your skin and hair naturally.

Ways Out Wax – Just in time for the holidays, Way Out Wax’s Buddha Beeswax Ornament is perfect for setting your intention and practicing mindfulness. Their waxes are 100% natural and biodegradable. Plus, they use 100% soy wax in all of their container candles.

Nutiva   – O’Coconut snacks from Nutiva are crafted from lightly sweetened organic coconut flakes and have only 60 calories each. You can start noshing on these tasty treats in late November.

New brands coming soon in 2015:

Cultures For Health – A wide selection of starter cultures and supplies available including those that can get you started on making traditional foods such as kefir, yogurt, sourdough and more.

Ocean’s Halo Seaweed Chips – Made from only sustainably grown, organic seaweed and other real, gluten-free ingredients, Ocean’s Halo Seaweed Chips are baked, taste great, and are packed with six grams of protein and loads of Vitamin A, B12, Folic Acid and essential minerals like potassium, manganese and iodine.

Beard Balm – Beard Balm makes beards happy. Good for your face, good for the earth, quality-controlled and endurance-tested on real beards. Warning: May cause excessive beard. Natural. Local. Awesome. Handcrafted in Detroit!

Mediterra – Mediterra has created a healthy option to complement the accelerated pace of modern life. Inspired by the time-tested Mediterranean Diet, Mediterra’s savory nutrition bars are made from all-natural ingredients such as nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables and fiber-packed grains and seeds. Healthy and delicious. What’s not to love?

Follow us on social to keep up-to-date with the newest brands and products!

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24
JUL

Birthing Mama Prenatal Yoga & Wellness

Filed Under: Announcements & News,Baby and Child Health,Exercise and Fitness,Nutrition at 8:00 am | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor

Pregnancy is a progressive adventure — a time of profound inner and outer growth. It is also a time to examine who you are and how you relate to all living things. Birthing Mama is designed to be your companion during this transformational time, offering six weekly areas of interest to nourish yourself and your growing baby.

Through online, holistic forums for weeks 14-42, along with a series of DVDs, Birthing Mama gives you valuable tools and support to connect deeply to the spiritual process of childbirth.

Birthing Mama is an offering from the heart, to support your pregnancy in being as transformational for your inner-self as it will be for your physical body.  Let yourself be guided through each offering, from a state of openness, curiosity, and awareness. Tune in to your inner voice and follow it within yourself, wherever it leads.

The inspiration for this childbirth companion came from Corinne Andrews, who, when pregnant with her second child, was inspired to launch Birthing Mama to give other expectant mothers a framework for experiencing their pregnancy as a sacred and transformative life event.

A weekly companion offering holistic support for each week of your pregnancy from weeks 14-42

  • 30 Prenatal Yoga Videos – over 6 hours of videos!
  • Recipes & Nutritional Guidance
  • Developmental Benchmarks
  • Inspiration & Education
  • Creative Activities
  • Self-Care Recommendations

 

Also included are product recommendations from other online retailers, access to a media library bursting with articles, guided meditations, yoga nidra and live prenatal classes.  Members also receive exclusive discounts with the Birthing Mama team, (for long-distance subscribers, phone or Skype appointments are available) including: Yoga & Mindfulness, Nutrition, Herbs, Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine and Family Photography.

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22
JUL

Small But Mighty: Chia, Flax & Hemp Seeds

Filed Under: Nutrition at 10:32 am | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor

You might think eating seeds is for the birds but superfood seeds are making their way into pantries everywhere. Once you learn about all their nutritional benefits; they might end up in yours too!

 

Chia Seeds

Long used by the Aztecs, Mayans and Incans as a a staple food along with corn and beans, chia seeds are enjoying a large resurgence in the health food community due to their impressive nutrition profile.  Chock full of healthy omega fats, proteins and antioxidants and dietary fiber. The little chia seed goes a long way to earn it’s qualifier of “power.” With a mild and nutty flavor, you can sprinkle chia seeds in your oatmeal, mix into a salad dressing or dip or soak them in water or juice to form a gel and use as a thickening agent for soups and a variety of recipes.

Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are a nutrition wonder and are considered the most concentrated source of lignans, a polyphenol that supports digestive, reproductive, prostate, breast and heart health – and even promote beautiful skin and hair. Its high content of alpha linolenic acids has made the ancient flax seed become our modern miracle food.  Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is a type of plant-derived omega 3 fatty acid, similar to those found in fish such as salmon. Flax Seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, trace minerals and protein. Add some flax seeds to your shakes or sprinkle on top of a salad or add to soups, stews or casseroles.

Hemp Seeds

With rich nutty flavor and a tender crunch, hemps seeds re so easy to use! Sprinkle them in salad, cereal or yogurt! Hemps seeds are packed protein, providing 10 grams of complete plant-based protein per 3 tablespoons. They are also a great way to add omegas or EFAs to your diet. Hemp is truly a superfood providing a perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids in each serving. These fatty acids promote heart health, lower triglycerides, work to reduce inflammation, promote brain health, and support the immune system. Low in carbohydrates, hemp seeds are ideal for those following the paleo diet or who need to be carb conscious for their health.

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12
JUL

Eat Your Greens

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Nutrition,Vitamins and Minerals at 8:00 am | By: Jeremy Michael, Contributing Author

 

Greens are the talk of the town right now. Adding one of the healthiest foods to your diet can improve overall health and well-being. Let’s face it though, not all greens are the same.  Today we are going to look at some of the nutrients and health benefits we can receive by adding greens into our diets.

First off, we’ll talk about one of the trendiest greens right now, kale. Kale is the nutrition All-Star: the “LeBron James” of greens.  Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and contains zero fat. One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It contains vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, vitamins A, C, and K. Kale is also a great anti-inflammatory food because it contains 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids.

The next green everyone is aware of is mostly because of the gigantic muscles and amplified strength it gave to Popeye. But there are a lot more health benefits to consider when it comes to spinach.  Spinach is full of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.  Spinach is packed with vitamins A, C, K, folate, iron, magnesium and much more. Spinach is a good source of dietary fiber and proteins. The folate in spinach is good for a healthy cardiovascular system, while the magnesium helps lower high blood pressure.

One green that not many people are aware of, but is a nutrition powerhouse is collard greens.  This cruciferous vegetable, used commonly in southern cooking, has one of the greatest abilities to lower cholesterol by binding bile acids.  Collard greens are a good vegetable to add to your diet if you want to improve detoxification, increase antioxidants, fight against cancer and lower inflammation. Besides the previous health benefits mentioned, collard greens are also high in vitamins K, A, C, B2, B6 as well as manganese, fiber and calcium.

Fresh vegetables are the best source of nutrients; however, a great way to make sure that you are getting all your daily servings of greens is by adding in greens formulas to you daily routine. Green Formulas are a good option to keep on hand when fresh isn’t available or when traveling. They are also great for people on the go with work and active lifestyles. Lucky Vitamin is proud to carry a wide variety of certified organic green formulas.

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