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FEED YOUR BRAIN is our phrase for everything we do to inspire and enable a healthier generation through learning and information. In our stores, we have Feed Your Brain menus, Feed Your Brain wallpaper and now we have our first online example – our Feed Your Brain blog!

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>Our Manifesto

organic avenue storeFor the vegetarians & the vegans. For the omnivores, the herbivores, the flexitarians and the undecided.  For the early risers and the late nighters. For the marathon runners and the marathon workers. For the 9-to-5’ers and the freelance wanderers. For all the red eyes and all the green thumbs, the yogis and the worker bees. For the bachelors, the bachelorettes, the star-crossed lovers and the serial monogamists. For the introverts and the extroverts. For the right brains, left brains, the hipsters and the hippies. For the thinkers and the doers and the innovators and trail blazers. For the eco-conscious, style-conscious, health conscious and health nuts. For the divas, the fashionistas, the runway models and the role models. For the control freaks and the idealists. For the free spirits and the well-informed. Organic Avenue is for us all. Because we all need to eat. And we are what we eat.

#organicavenue

 

>Fat v. Fattening

Tell me this hasn’t happened to you or your customers — you scan the shelves for something healthy and spot a something you like. After you read the nutrition label, you’re left with eyes bulging, slowly backing away from the high-fat entrée in fear of airborne calories.

Why is it that seemingly healthy dishes have so many calories or grams of fat? To answer this question, you must consider the difference between “fat” and  “fattening.”

Fat is an essential macro-nutrient needed to sustain human life. It comes in a few different forms and that’s where it gets confusing. Food contains different types of fat that, as Mark Bittman explains in VB6: Vegan Before 6:00 behave differently during digestion and metabolism. On the other hand, foods that are fattening are difficult for your body to break down and end up as stored body fat which leads to weight gain in the long term.
Avocado

In other words, some fats are healthy and others are unhealthy. For example, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as healthy fats because they are good for your heart, cholesterol, and overall health. Examples include olives, olive oil, avocados, and almonds. Polyunsaturated fats include pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds. These are easy for the body to break down, use as energy; and help our skin, hair, nails, joints, and ease digestion.

Dissimilarly, trans fats, or hydrogenated oils, found in processed foods, vegetable shortening, stick margarine, fried foods, and commercially packaged baked goods can be harmful to your body by increasing the risk of illness and elevating cholesterol.

Finally, saturated fats, usually found in meat and dairy are harder to categorize since they’ve been found to have both harmful and healthful properties. Plant-based foods containing saturated fats, like coconuts, have been shown to be extremely beneficial for the body.

Did you know that a food can be fattening and contain no fat at all? Popular fat-free foods adjust their recipes by adding in more sugar. For example, consuming a fat free yogurt that’s high in sugar causes your liver to convert all that fructose into stored body fat, contributing to weight gain in the long term.

Alternatively, Organic Avenue Coconut Yogurt contains saturated fat made up of medium-chain fatty acids that are easily broken down and used as energy. Lauric acid found in the fat of coconuts can actually help your body burn fat and increase your metabolism, too!

It’s safe to say that grams of fat or calories alone won’t tell you whether your food is fattening. Next time a customer is contemplating eating a Sunflower Falafel Wrap or even a delectable Chocolate Mousse, let them know they contain healthy fats that can nourish and energize you! In other words, they contain healthy fat but are not fattening!

>InStyle: Hollywood’s Favorite Juice Fasts

Instyle article

InStyle highlights the most popular juice fasts in the country, highlighting the Love Easy fast as a celeb-favorite combination of fresh-pressed juices, raw foods and soups.

>Ch Ch Ch Chia seeds – what to know

Adding new ingredients to your diet can be intimidating and confusing. Luckily, the latest nutrient-dense superfood du jour – chia seeds — can make a simple addition to any menu.

 

Where Do Chia Seeds Come From?

Chia is an ancient superfood that has increased in popularity due to its energizing and healthful properties. They come from a flowering plant that belongs to the mint family native to Latin America. In Mayan culture, the term “chia” means strength, and legend has it that Aztec runners would sustain themselves solely on water and these tiny chia seeds that they carried with them on long treks.
chia seeds

What Makes Chia Seeds So Healthy?
Chia seeds may be tiny but they pack a huge nutritional punch. One ounce of chia seeds, which is around 2 tablespoons, contains 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of essential omega 3 fatty acids. The complete protein found in chia seeds contains all nine essential amino acids. Diets rich in high fiber and high protein foods like chia seeds can help control cravings and aid in weight loss.

Chia seeds are also high in essential B vitamins, potassium, and zinc — all of which can help energize your body further to sustain you through a workout and a work day.

How Do You Ingest Chia Seeds?
When added to liquid, chia seeds expand up to ten times their size and become almost gelatinous in texture. They are tasteless which means they can be added to just about any food like smoothies, yogurt, salads, energy bars, and baked good. You can even add them to a bottle of water or iced tea to give your daily hydration an extra boost on the go.

Chia seeds are high in teeth-and-bone-building nutrients like calcium, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous. Gram for gram, chia is higher in calcium than most dairy products making it ideal for people avoiding dairy or sticking to a plant based diet.

At Organic Avenue you’ll find chia showcased in some of our customer favorites like the Matcha Chia Glo, an energizing and delicious green tea smoothie. The unexpected fun texture of chia seeds make this smoothie more satisfying and nutrient dense.

Our Chia Berry Tapioca mixes chia seeds with probiotic coconut yogurt and strawberry making it an energizing snack and a great source of healthy fats. Omega 3 fatty acids in the chia seeds can reduce inflammation while lauric acid found in the fat of coconut can increase your metabolism and help your body burn off stored fat.

Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants that protect your body’s cells from free radical damage. We use ground chia seeds in our Cashew Hemp Mylk, the base for many of our smoothies. We recommend adding some to your morning coffee to reap the delicious benefits of an antioxidant rich classic that will rev up your system in the morning.

There’s no need to fear this exotic superfood, it’s easy to add into any day. Whether you’re a newbie to healthy eating or a long time health fanatic, your body will appreciate the benefits of the nutritionally powerful chia.

>Top Hydrating Fruits for Summer

At Organic Avenue, we know how important it is to take advantage of seasonal produce that’s only available for a limited amount of time, which is why we try our best to stay in tune with each season. Summer is one of our favorite times because the seasonal foods available to us are not only vitamin rich and nutrient dense, they are also ultra-hydrating! Two of our favorite hydrating summer fruits are melons and berries.

watermelon

Watermelons

When it comes to hydrating summer fruits, melons reign supreme. Watermelons are not only a delicious summer classic; they contain almost 92% water which helps your body stay hydrated in the heat. Lycopene – a skin cancer preventing antioxidant – gives watermelon its bright pink color. Watermelons are higher in lycopene than even the reddest tomatoes and your body can assimilate these benefits faster by drinking a cold-pressed Watermelon Juice; the perfect treat to keep you hydrated while enjoying the sun.

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe is a low calorie melon that’s not only hydrating, but high in beautifying Vitamins A and C. Our new Minted Melon Salad is a delicious new take on a fruit salad mixing seasonal cantaloupe and honeydew melons with a bite of mint and jalapeños that contain capsaicin that can help increase circulation in the skin.

Berries

When you think of summer, you can’t help but think of berries. Berries may be tiny, but they pack a huge, healthy punch. Berries contain a high amount of water that, along with their high fiber content, helps your body stay hydrated and feel fuller longer. Berries also contain powerful antioxidants that can decrease signs of aging such as memory and eye sight loss, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. Hydration, antioxidants, and nutrients like folate and Vitamins B and C help you feel and look younger.

Take a bite of juicy antioxidant-rich hydration with our newest seasonal salad, The Bean and Berry Salad, or reap the benefits of berries in a refreshing smoothie like Nirvana that combines berries with medicinal flowers and hydrating Coconut Mylk.

Staying hydrated in the summer doesn’t have to be a chore as long as you know which deliciously sweet seasonal fruits are best to fill up on.

>Why We Love Plant Walls

Park Avenue South plant wall

The beautiful plant wall at our Park Avenue South location

Plants aren’t just delicious, they’re also beautiful. When we thought about our new store design, we knew plants had to be a main focus. What else could better celebrate our earth and healthful living? We searched far and wide for a way to incorporate plants into our stores and fell in LOVE with vertical gardens. Not only are they absolutely gorgeous, they are also functional. For starters, they improve our air quality by actively trapping dust and other air toxins. Cleaner air means more calm… and fewer headaches! The gardens also improve the acoustic sound in our stores by absorbing noise. And as if that weren’t enough, our green walls decrease our energy use in the summer by keeping our store cooler. We all want them in our homes now too!

>Feel Beautiful From the Inside Out With Aloe Vera

aloe

Aloe vera is known for its topical healing properties—a go-to herbal sunburn and wound-healing remedy. What many do not know is that drinking aloe may have similar properties internally, soothing the intestinal lining and promoting healthy digestion.

A review published in the British Journal of General Practice asserts that aloe may decrease irritation and enhance healing and repair of ulcers in the stomach and intestines. Additionally, aloe vera may also increase the population of healthy bacteria in the intestines that aid in digestion. While aloe can have a gentle laxative effect, it is not habit-forming and does not irritate the bowel, unlike some synthetic laxatives. Before experimenting with aloe vera internally, just make sure the concentration is suitable for ingestion.

The internal benefits of drinking aloe may also have a direct connection to its beauty benefits. Not only super-hydrating, aloe contains a variety of vitamins and minerals that aid in skin’s collagen and elastin repair. According to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, aloe vera contains Vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E, which are antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and promote cellular regeneration. Essential minerals such as calcium, potassium, sodium and zinc are found in aloe, which help to regulate the body’s metabolic functions.

>New York Post: “Forget Pizza and Subs – Midtown suits are lining up for veggies”

New York Post article

Healthy eating isn’t just a trend, it’s a way of life for all New Yorkers. This New York Post story notes that businessmen are lining up for the healthy food options at Organic Avenue.

>People: “See Victoria’s Secret Model Behati Prinsloo’s Daily Diet”

People article

Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo (aka Mrs. Adam Levine) tells People that the Kale Quinoa Salad at Organic Avenue helps her incorporate healthy eating into her day.

>A day in the life of a Wellness Concierge

OA's own Wellness Concierge - Ellie Scully - on the cover of Kiwi magazine with her son Lukas

OA’s own Wellness Concierge – Ellie Scully – on the cover of Kiwi magazine with her son Lukas

My son’s favorite drink at any time of the day is water, but if there’s an Organic Avenue coconut water in the fridge first thing in the morning then I get extra hugs. Sometimes we make a smoothie from juice and nut mylk ice cubes and often I sneak things into the blender that he would never eat.

After the seemingly insurmountable wrestling match of getting him to eat breakfast, get dressed, put down Angry Birds, and agree that school is not a terrible place, I drop him off with his class and head to my first appointment at our Park Avenue South store.

I know that I’m in one piece and ready to face the day due to my efforts to fuel my body well. If I didn’t consume good foods then I might have a weaker immune system which is something I don’t have time for. This is a newsflash that I’ll be sharing with my first consultation of the day, in case she isn’t already aware of this concept.

Walking into our handsome store is a great feeling! Finding elbow room and positive vibes in the city is not an easy feat! I spot my consultation the moment she arrives because she has that I’m-here-to-talk-about-my-health-but-don’t-want to-be-sold-anything look, but despite the fact that we’ve never met before, the consultation moves along swimmingly and lasts 45 minutes. Our face to face chat unfolds from what’s going on in her daily food routine, to other topics such as what’s really going on.

After our meeting I’m once again reminded that I’m not the only person in the world who has been through challenging hurdles that affect my well-being. I check in with my fellow Concierge to send her agenda ideas for our meeting later. She is at our Bryant Park store; status is very busy lunch traffic. I remain in the buoyant Park Avenue store for a few hours of in-store concierge assistance, where I basically acknowledge customers when they arrive and therefore feel comfortable with helping them make some of the important decisions they will make today. What food will they eat, what drink they will drink, how are they choosing to feel as they tackle the rest of the day. They’ve already chosen to not feel cruddy because nobody ever walks out of our stores empty handed. Will they feel level? Together? Sturdy? Bright-eyed?

A meeting follows at the office where we converge to compare notes, discuss some upcoming events and more ways to get involved.  Emails take over for a while like a child having been pent up at school and now needing to run wild. My co-concierge and I luckily have each others back, and we do an adjustment where I pick-up a rescheduled consult for tomorrow and she takes over some in-store hours that I was slated for. We reminisce about meeting Michael Pollan, a leader in our wellness field, at a book-signing, then she suggests a reflexology place in Chinatown that we may consider adding to our database of wellness spas.

OA Wellness Concierges Ellie and Tiye

OA Wellness Concierges Ellie and Tiye at an ABC Kitchen event

Out the door again, tomorrow our arms will be weighted with gift bags, pretty pamphlets and business cards that we will distribute to some neighbors. But today the act of walking while carrying little more than a juice is a welcome simplicity.

I have one more consultation, I meet with a man and his fiancé who will be doing a cleanse together before their wedding. He wants to lose weight, and will be completing a cleanse right before his bachelor party where “partying will be had by all.” She wants to look glowing and claims to be completely unaffected by caffeine, drinks a few cups per day but is often tired. They both seem committed to cleansing with individual goals. I can definitely lead them both to juice, and it seems they are ready to drink! I enter the order and make sure they know that I’m available for any questions before, during and after their cleanse experience.
As the day dims, I look forward to heading home where I will make dinner and juice, and my son will practice staying seated at the table, even while chewing!

Organic Avenue Wellness Concierges are available by appointment at your convenient Organic Avenue location.
To set up an appointment, email concierge@organicavenue.com.