Superfoods are a must in our daily diets. See what nutritionists choose

SuperfoodsSuperfoods – those grains, nuts and fruits that are chock full of antioxidants and other critical nutrients we need – have gained a lot of press – and shelf space at the local supermarket. But contrary to common perception, they’re not all super expensive or imported.

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Goldenberry Powder provides natural nutrition from the Andes

Goldenberry-Powder-cmyk-FA-LargeA diet complete with anti-inflammatory foods is important. Noted physicians Barry Sears, author of “The Zone Diet,” and Andrew Weil, author and Harvard-trained natural and preventive medicine physician, agree that an anti-inflammatory diet is ideal for overall good health. Such a diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease, ease arthritic joints, even lower blood pressure.

“Superfoods” — plant-based foods rich in antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, nutrients, vitamins and phytonutrients — are key to this type of diet.

Navitas Naturals, a company that offers a variety of organic superfood products, recently introduced Goldenberry Powder.

To learn more about this highly nutritious and delicious superfood product, see http://bit.ly/Z9n6zU.

Sparkling Ice provides refreshing flavor with no calories, caffeine or sodium

Sparkling ICE PosterNot all juice drinks are created equal. Many contain chemical additives and high sugar and calorie content. I recently discovered in my local supermarket a great healthy alternative called Sparkling Ice.

This combination of lightly carbonated mountain spring water and fruit juice offers refreshing great taste. Certified kosher, these delicious juice drinks contain antioxidants and natural flavors including green tea extract. They have no caffeine, no sodium and zero calories.

To learn more about this healthy juice line with its many delicious flavors, see http://bit.ly/13fI2Nn.

Enjoy the deliciously green side of the holidays

BlissfulBites cookbook CoverThe holidays are synonymous with great food, fun get-togethers and even more fun gift giving. Along with favorite family recipes, here are some suggestions that can help spice up the holiday and perhaps give you some new favorites.

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Chocolate anyone? A different kind of Valentine

Green ValentineWith Valentine’s Day around the corner, I’d be remiss if I didn’t do a few posts about innovative, eco-friendly gift ideas. Not my normal thing, but this holiday brings out some cool products I thought I’d mention. So in-between my usual “new” stories, here are a few fun ones.

Chocolate lovers will love this one. And with a name like “Chocolate Almond Truffle Body Butter”, how an you lose?

As I test out products beforehand, I can safely say this is one smells and feels amazing!

For softness and an amazing aroma, Chocolate Almond Truffle is amazing

For softness and an amazing aroma, Chocolate Almond Truffle is amazing

It’s like wearing chocolate,  without the mess.  Rich in emollients, this just-for-Valentine’s product, from Hothouse Botanicals, is made with organic ingredients, including:

  • Shea Butter
  • Cocoa Butter, which is high in antioxidants and protects from free radical damage
  • Coconut Oil
  • Rose Hip Oil, to help heal cracked skin
  • Organic Sapote Fruit Seed Oil (for a natural almond scent)
  • Cocoa Absolute, giving it that yummy chocolate liquor scent

This delectably-scented product does an amazing job for softening hands, feet, just about anywhere on your body you want to use it.

Retailing at $20 for a 6.22 ounce jar, you’re sure to get hugs and kisses with a gift like this one!

The sweet (green) taste of Hawaii

Royal Hawaiian HoneysWith these cool mornings and longer days, steaming hot coffee or tea helps start the day. For sweetness, instead of sugar, stevia or the pink-or-blue stuff, my favorite is honey.

I recently came across rich Royal Hawaiian Honey, from Tropical Traders Specialty Foods. This artisan product originates from Hawaii’s Big Island. One of only a handful of family-run apiaries in the U.S., these 100 percent raw honeys are certified organic by the Hawaii Organic Farmers Association.

Most commercial honey is heated, blended and filtered, losing its nutritional properties, unique flavor and characteristics. But heat’s never applied to Royal Hawaiian Honey’s raw product – in harvesting or production – and it’s never blended. To preserve its natural enzymes and nutritional values, the unfiltered honey’s harvested by using gravity and centrifugal force, strained, then bottled immediately.

“It’s a simple process, honoring the characteristics and flavors of the honey,” said Rebeca Krones, Tropical Traders’s co-founder.

In Hawaii, Krones’ father, Michael, breeds queen bees. He used to sell the honey by-product to honey packers until 2005, when Rebeca and her partner decided the product was too high quality to waste.

A centuries-old natural remedy, studies show raw honey helps with weight reduction, boosts immunity, and helps burns and wounds heal more quickly, due to presence of hydrogen peroxide. It’s a good antiseptic and anti-bacterial.

I’ve personally experienced honey’s ability to help balance blood sugar. A teaspoon helps me prevent a blood sugar drop, and tastes great!

Royal Hawaiian Honey comes in three varieties – the 3 main blooms on the Big Island. Only one of these isn’t organic – the Macadamia Nut Blossom honey – because no macadamia nut orchards are certified organic. This dark amber-colored honey has a rich, caramel-like flavor I loved.

The Christmas Berry – a pink peppercorn plant with white flowers that bloom in the Fall – is a light amber-colored, slightly grainy honey rich in antioxidants. Its flavor hints at brown sugar and molasses.

The third variety is the Lehua honey, from the lehua flower.

“The Lehua flower is one of the last surviving native species in Hawaii,” said Krones. Known as a “pioneer species”, the lehua’s one of the first plants to put roots down into lava after a lava flow, a regular occurrence in the Hawaiian islands.

Light golden Lehua Honey tastes of a creamy butterscotch with a floral scent.

Hawaii’s the only state to produce certified organic honey, due to being an isolated landmass. But the handwriting may be on the wall.

An aggressive Asian mite was found in 2008 on Oahu. Eradicating it through chemicals would eliminate Hawaii’s organic certification. There are some plant-based remedies, Krones said, but they’d affect both the mites and the bees, and the national organic program won’t allow these yet.

As a queen bee breeder, Krones’ father has been working on genetics and hopes his selective breeding will give him a leg up with this situation.

Tropical Traders is the first U.S. food company to be certified CarbonFree, offsetting their carbon footprint. They pay Carbonfund.org for their carbon emissions – from harvest through production, shipping and distribution. Carbonfund then invests in reforestation, renewable energy and energy efficiency projects around the world.

These delicious honeys range from $12 to $15 and are available at natural food stores in Hawaii and California and Whole Foods in Florida. Costco wholesale will offer them soon in the Bay area. They’re also available online.