Friday, October 1, 2010

My New Blog Design

I'm so excited about my new design. It's not done yet, but it looks great already. I have the best designer ever! :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What is the ORAC Scale?

The oxygen radical absorbance capacity or ORAC scale measures a food’s ability to protect against free radicals. A high ORAC score means that a food or other compound is high in antioxidants. The ORAC scale was first developed by Dr. Guohua Cao at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

Health professionals recommend that we eat at least 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC points each day. Research reveals that eating a diet rich in antioxidants may protect cells from oxidative damage and therefore prevent cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.

You can check out the current database: USDA Database for the Oxygen RadicalAbsorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2

Example: 100 grams (3.5 oz) of blueberries ranks at around 2,400 points on the ORAC scale and a ½ cup of cooked broccoli is about 1,900 points. I have a feeling we’ll hear more about the ORAC scale in the near future!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Elusive Tart Cherry of Northern Michigan

Picture taken with my Blackberry Storm (I'm not talented like Matt Armendariz)

When he was by, the birds such pleasure took
That some would sing, some other in their bills
Would bring him mulberries and ripe-red cherries

--Shakespeare, "Venus and Adonis," ll. 1101-3

The Cherry Marketing Institute invited me to attend an educational cherry immersion event in Traverse City, Michigan. The Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI) is a nonprofit national promotion organization that is funded by U.S. tart cherry growers. I was joined by some pretty amazing bloggers, photographers, professional chefs and dietitians. I loved that we were there during the National Cherry Festival.

We all learned a great deal about cherries from our guide Phil Korson, President of the Cherry Marketing Institute. The wonderful team from Weber Shandwick enriched our time in Traverse City by being generous hosts who took us to the most beautiful places in Northern Michigan. I am very grateful to them all.

The Boathouse Restaurant

Our table at the Boathouse Restaurant overlooking Bower's Harbor

Our welcome dinner was at the Boathouse Restaurant. Owner Doug Kosch makes sure his restaurant uses the "farm to table" concept. He grows most of the restaurant's vegetables, fruits and herbs with his wife on their farm .

We were treated like royalty by Chef Eric Nittolo. Every dish he created had a cherry theme. It was exquisite and something I will never forget! It was after 8 pm and the sun was still shining above Bower's Harbor.

My cherry martini

We began with cherry cocktails and I had the perfect cherry martini. We then started our four course dinner! The servers brought out plates with duck, cheese and a fresh salad with goat cheese, walnuts, apples, spinach, beets and cherry vinaigrette dressing. Then, we had a main course choice of ahi tuna or filet mignon. I selected the filet mignon even though I rarely eat red meat! It was so tender and had a tart, but slightly sweet cherry sauce.

Filet Mignon

Chef Eric made cherries jubilee for dessert. It was like a work of art, plus it tasted so good! (Remember - Everything in moderation! Yes, you can eat it.)

Cherries Jubilee

Cherries Have a Wide Array of Health Benefits

Dr Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, MA, RD talks about the health benefits of cherries

Dr. Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, MA, RD, helped us understand the science behind the succulent red fruit. Her presentation taught us that cherries are a homegrown super fruit with a wide array of health benefits.

I will post about the health benefits of cherries soon, but here are a few quick facts:

- Tart cherries contain at least 17 antioxidants.

- Anthocyanins 1 and 2 are important antioxidants found in cherries. They can block enzymes (COX-1 and COX-2) that are involved with the pain and inflammation of arthritis and gout.

- Anthocyanins are the plant pigments that give cherries their rich red color.

- Anthocyanins also have anti-inflammatory properties and may inhibit the growth of colon cancer tumors.

- There are 30 to 40 mg of anthocyanins 1 and 2 in 100 grams of fruit. Anthocyanins 1 and 2 are not found in blueberries or cranberries.

- Tart cherries also are rich in the antioxidants kaempferol and quercetin.

- Research shows that tart cherries contain high levels of melatonin, a powerful antioxidant that can eliminate free radicals. (free radicals are toxins involved in diseases such as cancer, heart disease, etc.) Melatonin also helps regulate natural sleep patterns!

- Montmorency cherries contain almost 6 times more melatonin than Balaton cherries.

- Tart cherries contain 19 times the beta carotene of blueberries and strawberries.

- Cherries are also rich in fiber, vitamin C, iron, folate. potassium and magnesium.

*I'll also talk about ways to add tart cherries and tart cherry juice to your diet in a future post.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pure Bar Review –Delicious and Nutritious Organic Fruit and Nut Bars

I had the opportunity to try Pure Bars a few months ago and I’ll admit that I’m now a Pure Bar addict!

The Facts About Pure Bars:

- USDA certified organic – All ingredients are free of pesticides and herbicides

- Vegan

- Raw – Made with cold-processed fruits and nuts, which retains most of their antioxidant content, vitamins and minerals.

- Dairy free

- Certified gluten free

- No refined sugar or preservatives

- 4-5 grams of organic fiber

- 6-7 grams of organic protein

- 1 ½ servings of fruit

- 400 mg Omega-3 - Omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent blood clots that can cause heart attack and stroke

- GMO free

- Kosher

The Pure Bar was created by Veronica Bosgraaf for vegetarians. (For everyone else too!) It took her a few hundred hours in the kitchen to concoct the Pure bar. She wanted to use only organic and whole ingredients. Vernoica achieved her goal because Pure bars are pure and delicious!

The 6 Flavors:

Apple Cinnamon – Tastes like apple pie! Yum!

Chocolate Brownie – Rich and decadent. You won’t believe it’s healthy!

Trail Mix - Nutty and full of fruit with a little chocolate

Cherry Cashew – Tart, sweet and decadent. One of my favorites!

Cranberry Orange – Tart cranberries with a nutty and citrus flair

Wild Blueberry – Wild Oregon Blueberries make it taste fresh and satisfying!

The bars taste purely decadent! All 6 flavors are naturally sweet, moist and have a satisfying crunchiness due to the natural nuts. I really enjoy the overall texture of the bars. The bars are sweetened with Agave nectar. Agave nectar is the sweet sap from succulent plants. Agave is low on the glycemic index, which means it won’t raise blood sugar as fast as regular sugar. I haven’t come across any clinical studies as to agave’s safety in Diabetes.

Pure Bars are a great snack that will keep you full and energized. I recommend them!

Nutritional Values

Pure Bar Store Locator

Friday, April 2, 2010

Organic. It's Worth It in Schools!

“Organic. It’s Worth It In Schools.”

Want to join Nutritious Feast in helping schools access and offer students more organic food? The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is calling on teachers, parents, students, educators and others to join the “Organic. It’s Worth It In Schools.” initiative and vote for their favorite school to win an organic garden complete with seeds, soil and expert gardening support; or a fully stocked vending machine, featuring items like milk, fruit, cheese, yogurt and organic snacks.

Through May 1, 2010, when you visit you can “vote” for a school by signing up for an electronic newsletter featuring organic tips, recipes, news and more. Your school must receive a minimum 1,000 votes (or newsletter sign-ups) to win. Full details on rules and regulations are available at

Monday, March 29, 2010

I will be guest tweeting for PureVia tomorrow at 12 PM CST/ 1 PM EST!

Please join @PureVia and @NutritiousFeast on Twitter on March 30th 2010! We are celebrating National Nutrition Month and will answer all your nutrition questions.