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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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Immunity Boosters: How to Stay Healthy This Winter

If you’re traveling to visit with family and friends this holiday season, the last thing you want is to miss out on good times because of a cold or illness.  Stay healthy this winter season and enjoy the holidays to the fullest.  Here are our immunity boosting tips.

 

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

At Organic Avenue, we are big fans of hydration. Staying properly hydrated aids in pretty much every bodily function, it gives you an energy boost, and improves your overall sense of wellness.

Air travel is especially dehydrating so be sure to drink at least 8 oz. of water per hour on a flight. Avoid dehydrating foods such as alcohol, caffeinated coffee, and anything with an abundance of sodium. Pack your own snacks like fresh fruit and/or vegetables.

 

Nutrient BoostDragon's Breath Shot

One of the best ways to avoid getting sick and stay healthy this winter is to fill up on micronutrients through cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and salads. Research healthy eating options located in the city you are visiting before your trip.

If you won’t have access to organic goodness where you are heading, consider ordering an immunity building booster shot 6-pack. This is one of the most efficient ways to add essential vitamins to your day.  The packs can be delivered to your destination (we ship nationally). They also make great gifts!

 

Get Fat!

When we are on vacation, we tend to indulge our sweet tooth on sugary treats and processed foods. Refined added sugars and processed food are extremely hard on your body and make fighting off illness more difficult.

A simple trick to curb a sweet tooth is to focus on eating more fat. It may seem counterintuitive but healthy fats like those from avocados, coconuts, nuts and seeds nourish and energize our bodies without weighing us down.

Our most important tip to stay healthy this winter? Don’t stress! Stress can weaken our immunity more than anything. Plan ahead, stay calm and enjoy your time of rest and relaxation…you deserve it!

>Best Organic Gifts 2014

It does not matter what occasion you are shopping for; you can never go wrong with giving organic gifts. Most people hear the word “organic,” and immediately associate it with food. Giving an organic gift opens the receiver’s eyes to see just how vast the organic movement has become. Plus, it is good news for the environment, and of course, it makes you feel (and look) pretty cool. Below are some of the best organic gifts for 2014.

 

BooksRecipes for Life made with Love cover

Books are appropriate for any occasion, especially if you choose a book that will get shared with family and friends. “Organic Avenue: Recipes for Life, Made with Love” is one that will be put to good use. Organic Avenue’s founder, Denise Mari, shares her most coveted recipes and juice cleanse programs. “The Fresh Energy Cookbook” and “Crazy Sexy Diet” are great options, too.

 

Tata Harper giftBeauty Items

Those who shop for organic beauty products are always amazed at how big the selection is. Much of the populations do not know you can buy organic shampoo, conditioner, skin care, cosmetics, deodorant, and much more. The Rahua Jet Setter Kit Hair & Body includes travel size bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and shower gel. Tata Harper also offers a gift set called Purely Powerful: Best of Natural Skincare Set that addresses various skincare concerns.

 

Jumpsport trampolineHealth and Well-being

Giving a treatment of a bath, massage, or ritual at AIRE Ancient Baths New York is a gift anyone can appreciate. One can never have too many yoga mats either. Your friend who purchased a cheap mat a few months ago to get started with yoga would likely be quite thrilled to receive an environmentally-friendly mat by JadeYoga. They are made with natural rubber, and offer better cushioning and grip than other mats. The JumpSport Fitness Trampoline is another option that makes our best organic gifts for 2014 list.

 

icelandic-moonflower-petal-topped_candle-red-flowerHome Goods

Most people stay clear of buying home goods for gifts, but there are organic gifts in the home goods category that you don’t have to worry about matching the gift receiver’s current décor. The Icelandic Moonflower, Petal Topped Candle by Red Flower or the Gentle Organic Dark Gray Sheet Set from the abcDNA collection are perfect for anyone.

 

fort makers LARGE RECLAIMED WOOD CUTTING BOARDCooking/Kitchen

Whether the person you are shopping for eats organic or not, they can still put organic kitchen products to good use. Your gift just might inspire them to take a closer look at their grocery cart when they shop. A few ideas include a Vitamix, Blendtec, Chemix, Soma, and also on our list of best organic gifts for 2014 is this Modern Reclaimed Wood Cutting Board by Fort Makers, and Orgreenic Kitchenware.

>Which Vitamins Are Good for Hair Growth?

girl with faux mustache Every day, folks just like you are asking, “Which vitamins are good for hair growth?” Some have thinning hair; others have undergone medical treatment that they are recovering from. Of course, there are always some who simply had a bad haircut and are looking for a magic potion to grow it back faster. If you had a meltdown with a pair of scissor before work one morning then you are probably shaking your head right now. You are not alone. Everyone has forgotten that hair shrinks when dry, at some point.

 

Maybe you have even signed up for the 30-day Movember challenge, and need your moustache to come in quick and thick. If you are not familiar with Movember, it is a men’s healthy charity dedicated to bringing back the moustache to raise funds and bring awareness to testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and mental health problems. Ladies you can get involved, too, by raising awareness and funds.

 

Start with a Cleanse

If you are going to increase your vitamin intake, it is smart to start with a cleanse. Cleaning your body will allow it to better absorb the healthy nutrients you are introducing. Organic Avenue’s Love Easy is a great cleanse to get you started.

 

Evaluate Your Diet

You don’t have to rely solely on vitamins in supplement form. You can get all the vitamins you need in your daily diet. Foods that are rich in protein, iron, fatty acids, sulfur, and vitamins B and C are ideal. A few include beans, tofu, dark green leafy vegetables, dates, raisins, walnuts, sweet potatoes, blueberries, and avocadoes.

 

Vitamins

Biotin is often called the “hair vitamin” for very good reason. It promotes growth and prevents breakage. Niacin improves scalp circulation, vitamin D is essential for healthy hair follicles, and vitamin A promotes sebum production. Additional nutrients associated with healthy hair and quick growth include iron, zinc, and vitamins B12 and E.

>Healthy Snacks for Work

Almond nuts and pieces of chocolateStaying healthy at work can be a serious challenge. From workplace stress catapulting you into an emotional eating binge to happy hour drinks and steak dinners with clients, work can feel like Public Enemy No. 1 when it comes to sabotaging your healthy eating plans.

The best strategy?

Plan ahead and stock your desk with an arsenal of healthy snacks for work. The items below will help keep you satiated and alert throughout the day.

 

Nuts

Optimize your brain power and energy to accomplish tasks, all while making yourself less tempted to take a piece of office birthday cake.  Fill up on trail mix or nut butter packets. Be sure to avoid nuts and mixes that contain sugary ingredients and stick to unsalted nuts with a few superfoods like goji berries thrown in.

Avocados

An avocado a day will keep the workplace vending machine away!  These water-rich fruits are packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats that keep you feeling full and satisfied. Sprinkle each half with a little high-quality salt and eat with a spoon.  Need a carb vehicle to get an avocado down?  Spread on top of toast for a filling breakfast or snack option.

Chia Seeds

Legend has it that Aztec runners sustained their energy and controlled hunger by consuming only chia seeds and water, making these super seeds a perfect addition to any marathon work week. Simply add two tablespoons into a large bottle of water, let sit for 10 minutes, shake and drink. Chia seeds are high in anti-inflammatory Omega 3’s, fiber, and protein, so by adding them into your workday, you may even have energy for a happy hour workout.

Tea

While caffeinated coffee can cause energy slumps late in the day as well as cyclical cravings for salt and sugar, certain teas can help you relax and focus while supporting the health of your body. Yerba Mate is a popular South American tea that has a smoky flavor and affects your body in similar ways as coffee — energy boost and slightly suppressed appetite — without any of the side effects. Try adding lemon to your daily green tea to boost the antioxidant benefits or sip on peppermint tea to make you feel more awake.  There’s pretty much a tea for everything. Do your research!

Chocolate

Birthdays. Promotions. Tuesdays. Isn’t it amazing how the workplace always finds a way to celebrate? When there’s an endless parade of brownies, cupcakes and donuts ,then you must accept the inevitable — chocolate happens. Chocolate, without all the unhealthy fat, flour, and added sugar can actually be extremely healthy and even help you feel calmer at work. Stock up on high-quality dark chocolate (70% or higher but the darker the better) and you will find only a few squares are needed to satisfy your craving.

 

One of the keys to success is to keep these healthy snacks for work on-hand on a regular basis.  Try designated a shopping day and build replenishing these snacks into your weekly routine.

>Group Cleanse: The Benefits of a Support System

Cleansing has become the topic of conversation these days. Every time you turn around, you probably hear someone else say they are doing one. You can’t even stand in line for your 760-calorie Venti White Choco Blended Crème Frappuccino without feeling guilty after overhearing someone on their phone talking about starting a cleanse. Maybe, just maybe, it is finally time to give your body what it desperately needs, and it’s not extra whipped cream on top of your drink!

 

Why Cleanse?Love Deep cleanse

Before you try to recruit a few buddies to join in with a group cleanse, you may be wondering why you should even cleanse to begin with. Environmental factors contribute to at least 80 percent of all cancers. All of the toxins you are exposed to every day mutate the process of healthy cells. Food additives, chemicals, pesticides, refined food, etc., are all to blame.

Stress is another toxin that damages the body. Over time, your body becomes a very toxic environment that welcomes disease.

A cleanse cleans out all the built-up impurities and gives you a new perspective. You will have renewed energy, and you will actually think twice about what food you are putting in your mouth when you are done.

 

Why Do a Group Cleanse?

Okay, you are probably thinking that doing a cleanse should sort of be personal, right? Well, group cleanses are very beneficial and have become quite popular for many reasons.

  • Accountability – It is easier to cheat or just quit when you have no one to answer to but yourself. When other people know you are cleansing, you are more likely to stick with it.
  • Motivation – Having others offer words of encouragement is more helpful than you know. While others are trying to tempt you with junk food, your group is motivating you to stay strong.
  • Stress Relief – Sharing your emotions relieves a little weight from your shoulders. This means your body is producing less cortisol, which is a stress-related hormone.
  • Fun – Getting a few people involved puts everyone on a path toward a healthy lifestyle. They will want to exercise, eat at healthy restaurants, etc., with you moving forward.

 

Organic Avenue offers group cleanses with as little as three people, but you get a discount with 10, or more in your group. There are a variety of three- to five-day classes available to get you started on your new lifestyle.

>Movember Has Arrived – The Best Vitamins and Minerals for Men

Wcycling outdoors man on bike, golden autumn in parkhenever a conversation starts regarding a man and his diet, it typically revolves around protein intake. Protein is a vital macronutrient, necessary for building muscle tissue—which most guys care about. However, what many dudes don’t realize is that there are also essential micronutrients—vitamins and minerals—found in plants, which can give a man that extra edge in all facets of his life, including sex and reproduction.

The results of a major study published in 2013, illustrates that people, particularly men, who eat a vegetarian diet live longer than meat eaters. All the more reason to load up on micronutrients from delicious plant-based foods like leafy greens, quinoa, nuts and seeds.

 

Here are 5 best vitamins and minerals for men:

1. Vitamin A

Good for: Vision, skin and immune health

Found in: Carrots, sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, kale, mangoes

OA Fix: Carrot Juice, Green Love, Kale Quinoa Salad, Lite Weight Smoothie, Root Vegetable Hash Wrap

2. Vitamin C

Good for: Increased sperm count, boosted libido, immune health

Found in: Blueberries, grapefruit, oranges, lemon, kale, broccoli

OA Fix: Nirvana Smoothie, Grapefruit Juice, Big Kale Salad, Broccoli Slaw, Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Wrap

3. Vitamin B9 – Folate

Good for: Brain health, colon health, reproductive health     

Found in: Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, cabbage, lentils, chickpeas

OA Fix: Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Big Clean Salad, Medicinal Green, Lentil Soup, Middle Eastern Salad

4. Potassium

Good for: Muscle recovery, heart health, blood pressure control

Found in: Bananas, avocados, spinach, rutabaga, potatoes

OA Fix: Power House Smoothie, Spicy Avocado Soup, Mellow Love, Potato Salad, Rutabaga Reuben Wrap

5. Selenium

Good for: Prostate health, heart health

Found in: Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, mushrooms

OA Fix: Farro & Brazil Nut Salad, Matcha Chia Glo, Brussels Sprouts & Apple Slaw, Mushroom Quinoa Bowl, Sunflower Falafel

 

Whether you are looking to get all manly for Movember, gain more lean muscle, or improve your overall health, be sure to bookmark this page and consult it often!

>5 Healthy Comfort Food Swaps

Healthy comfort food. Sounds impossible, right? It’s not!  It is possible to eat well and get that warm satiated feeling that you thought only the fattiest, guiltiest bites would deliver.

Comfort food cravings can often lead to a spiral of guilt where you avoid your favorite foods and feel deprived (not a good recipe for overall happiness!). Ultimately, many people end up indulging in their guilty pleasure and feel guilty after.

At Organic Avenue, we LOVE cravings because they teach you what your body needs from your food. Cravings for chocolate, peanut butter and ice cream (or all three) can mean that your body is lacking in essential macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. So don’t deny your cravings, instead adapt!  Here are a few of our favorite comfort food swaps.

 

Peanut butter and jelly on multigrain breadCraving: Peanut Butter and Jelly

Healthy Comfort Food Swap: Ants on a Log

Spread raw almond butter on celery and top with dried cranberries. You will still be getting the salty-sweet taste of PB&J and it’s easier to digest. Almond butter is higher in magnesium, iron, and Vitamin E, and most brands avoid added sugars, preservative, and stabilizers. Cranberries contain quercetin which can inhibit the growth of certain cancers.

 

Craving: Cheese
Healthy Comfort Food Swap: Avocado with Salt

If you find yourself always craving cheese, your body is in desperate need of fat and sodium. While cheese is fattening and hard to digest, avocados are simple healthy fats that your body will love. They are high in fiber and generally contain 4 grams of protein. Top an avocado with a pinch of good-quality salt like mineral-rich pink Himalayan salt for a quick and healthy treat.

 

Craving: Chips

Healthy Comfort Food Swap: Popcorn

You can never just have one for a reason — potato chips are one of the most nutritional-void foods out there which means they do little to satiate hunger. Air popped popcorn is a much healthier choice as it is a whole grain that will provide your body with fiber as well as satisfy your hankering for something salty and crunchy. Avoid pre-packaged microwave popcorn packs that are coated in chemicals and instead use brown paper bags sealed with tape to air pop your own kernels in the microwave. Top with healthy coconut oil for a rich and deliciously comforting treat.

 

Craving: Ice Cream

Healthy Comfort Food Swap: Sweet Potatoes

Very little explanation is needed on the pitfalls of eating too much ice cream. Eating starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes is a little-know trick for curbing sugar cravings. Top a nutrient dense sweet potato with coconut oil to get a healthy dose of fat that your body is telling you it needs from fatty ice cream. Sprinkle on some cinnamon to help regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day.

 

Craving: Tuna Melt

Healthy Comfort Food Swap:  Lunchbox Salad Wrap

There’s nothing quite as comforting as the foods mom used to make us as kids, but tuna fish is something we try to avoid these days.  Over-fished seas, the risk of pollutants and high Mercury content, are all solid reasons to avoid this childhood favorite. Organic Avenue’s new Lunchbox Salad Wrap is made from almonds instead of fish, but packs the same delicious flavor that reminds us of home. It comes in a traditional whole wheat wrap version as well as a raw vegan collard wrap version, making it our new favorite lunchtime staple.

 

Do you have a healthy comfort food swap you’d like to share? Tell us on Twitter!

>5 Nuts to Incorporate Into Your Balanced Diet

Whether you’re vegan, paleo, or flexitarian, nuts make a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet. Nuts are so versatile that at we use them at Organic Avenue in just about every form. From our Cashew Hemp Mylk to our Sunflower Falafel Wrap – we are simply nuts about nuts!

Almonds, cashews and pistachios in glass on white background.

Not only can nuts be transformed into your favorite dish or dessert, they are  also delicious on their own and make an easy on-the-go snack. That’s why we decided to come out with organic nut snack packs for our customers who like to stay healthy, even when life says “go, go, go!”

Nuts contain a good balance of healthy fat, protein, and are high in fiber. Many different components of nuts contribute to better heart health–from Vitamin E that inhibits arterial plaque growth to unsaturated fats that can help lower bad cholesterol. According to the Harvard School of Public Health , “people who regularly eat nuts are less likely to have heart attacks or die from heart disease than those who rarely eat them.”

There are thousands of nut varieties to choose from, so here is a breakdown of our favorites:

 

Almonds

Almonds are the most popular nut of the health world– and with good reason! These nuts are relatively low in calories yet contain more fiber and protein than other tree nuts. A private study funded by the Almond Board of California found that eating nuts increase healthy gut bacteria that aids in digestion and overall health – making them perfect prebiotic companions to probiotic foods like our Fermented Veggies and Kombucha.

 

Cashews

The creamy taste of cashews makes them one of the most culinarily versatile nuts; but did you know that cashews are also high in minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium? This makes them great for stronger bones and a stronger mind.

 

Walnuts

Walnuts are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, meaning they can help reduce inflammation in the body and protect your cells from free radical damage which causes disease and aging.

 

Pistachios

As long as you skip the heavily salted versions, these nuts make a great snack! They are extremely low in calories (50 pistachios is still under 200 calories), but high in potassium and vitamin b6 for a healthy immune system, nervous system, and even a better mood.

 

Brazil Nuts

It only takes one of these nuts a day to ensure you’re getting 100% of the selenium your body needs. Selenium is an antioxidant that may inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells. It can also protect your eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts.

 

Now it’s time for you  to go nuts and incorporate these healthy nuts into your daily menu!

>3 Tips to Make Eating Occasional Junk Food AOK

At Organic Avenue, we believe balance is the key to a healthy lifestyle. While eating lots of alkaline-forming fruits and vegetables is a surefire way to promote optimal health, treating yourself to an indulgence on a regular basis is also part of taking care of yourself.

Luckily, there are high-quality treat options like dark chocolate and kale chips, both which contain lots of nutrients. But if you decide to go “off the rails” and indulge in something delicious that is not comprised of nature’s finest, here are a few healthy eating hacks:

Big Kale Salad and Fine & Raw chocolate

Eat the treat after eating something healthier.  The best options are raw salads or any dish with raw vegetable components. The enzyme-containing water content and fiber of the veggies will help you digest the heavier food that follows (burger, slice of pizza, scoop of ice cream, etc.)  Filling up on the nutrient-dense vegetables first will help you feel fuller faster, and you may end up craving a smaller portion of the treat.

- Consume the treat after dinner or as dinner.  Eating the treat closer to bedtime will give your body the needed time to digest the indulgence overnight before another meal enters the system for processing in the morning. For those concerned with weight management, some studies have shown that eating in the evening has no impact on weight gain or loss (when compared to eating earlier in the day), and may actually promote fat loss.  Consuming less than ideal food in the middle of the day may rob your body of the energy it needs to function optimally, hence the midday food coma so many folks suffer from.

- Eat the treat slowly. Take your time with each bite. Savor each as it is the last. Be sure to chew thoroughly as this will not only stretch out your “reward,” giving your brain a chance to catch up with your stomach, but will help your body process the treat faster as well.

All things in moderation leads to a happier life.  Be sure to eat well the majority of the time, but when you feel like indulging, do not deprive yourself. Use these healthy eating hacks and get the best of both worlds.

>Healthy Oreos Are the Perfect Halloween Treat

Healthy oreosHealthy Oreos sounds like an oxymoron.  After all, store-bought Oreos are constructed with processed wheat, dairy, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils and a laundry list of other confusing ingredients. No wonder these gluten-ridden cookies can be as addictive as cocaine!

 

I am here to tell you that you can not only replicate America’s most popular cookie (100 years and running!), but you can create a delicious version that contains more protein and fiber, with considerably less calories, fat, carbohydrates and sugar. Plus, my healthy Halloween version uses unprocessed plant-based ingredients, contains no preservatives, additives, GMO’s, or added colors or flavorings. They are delicious, relatively easy to make and easy on your digestive system.

 

Here’s how to make healthy Oreos for Halloween.

(high raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, soy free)

Yields 24 Cookies

Cookies:
• 1 cup of raw walnuts
• 1/2 cup of dates
• 1/4 cup of raw cacao powder

Filling:
• 1 tbs raw coconut butter
• 2 tbs pumpkin purée
• 1 tsp alcohol-free vanilla
• 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
• stevia to taste

Steps:

1. Soak the walnuts for at least eight hours. Drain walnuts and let air dry.

2. Pulse walnuts in a food processor until resembling tiny pebbles.

3. Add in dates and cacao powder and pulse until combined.

4. Place ‘dough’ between two sheets of parchment paper and flatten until you have a sheet approximately 1/4” thick.

5. Using a small cookie cutter, cut out cookies (I used the plastic top off of an Organic Avenue juice bottle). This should yield around 24 Oreo-sized cookies. Optional: place ‘dough’ in the freezer for an hour to make it easier to work with.

6. Mix filling ingredients with a fork. Add enough stevia so that this mixture is almost too sweet — just like the filling of a real Oreo.

7. Sandwich the filling between two cookies and twist to seal.

You can store these healthy Oreos in the fridge or wrap them up and give them out as gifts to your friends. And just like real Oreos, these wash down wonderfully with milk; Cashew Hemp Mylk, of course!