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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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>The Magic Elixir: Cold-Pressed Juice

For years, you thought ditching the soda and drinking store-bought juice was doing something healthy for yourself. Then, you started reading labels and researching ingredients, and were mortified by what you were finding. So, you bought a high-speed blender, and started making your own smoothies and juices with fresh ingredients. You definitely noticed the difference! So, now you are hearing all this discussion about cold-pressed juices, and your curiosity is piqued. Are they really so much better than what you are already drinking?

 

What Is Cold-Pressed Juice?

green love and chlorophyll booster shot

“Elixir” is definitely the word you are hearing floating around juice bars and in the lobby of your yoga studio. You have probably heard cold-pressed juices associated with cleansing and detox, weight loss, immune boosting properties, and liver enzymes. Sounds great, but are they really worth their price tag?

Fruits and vegetables are oxidized in the creation of traditional juices. The grinding action literally destroys enzymes. There is a reason why you can throw a bunch of ingredients in a Vitamix, turn it on high for 5 minutes, and have hot soup. The blades heat while they cut. As soon as you slice a fruit, nutrients are lost.

True to their name, cold-pressed juices are just that: pressed! This allows all the nutrients and enzymes to stay intact, thereby fueling your body with the absolute healthiest juice possible.

 

Benefits

  • Balance – Cold-pressed juices are especially essential during the holiday season because they will help balance out those heavy meals and drinks.
  • Digestion – Minimal digestive energy is required to process juice pressed from raw fruits and vegetables. It is essentially pretty much digested already, so it’s easy on your system.
  • Nutrients – You are at a holiday party, and all your favorite indulgences are staring you in the face. So, you skip your salad and pass on the vegetable tray to make room for the special treats that only come around once a year. This is the season when people are most prone to illness. You need your nutrients. Drink them down in a single shot, like what you get in our Booster 6-Pack.
  • Liver Cleansing – The liver is probably the most overworked and unappreciated organ in the body. All the toxins you are exposed to every day end up in your liver. Doesn’t it deserve to be cleaned out occasionally with a cold-pressed juice cleanse?
  • Feel Great – “You are what you eat!” is a saying you probably laughed at when you were young. Once you fuel your body the right away, you see just how good you are capable of feeling mentally and physically. You will have increased energy and better mental clarity. Your stress will be reduced, and you will just feel better all around. Once you start drinking cold-pressed juices, you will agree that they are worth every penny, and then some. If you don’t invest in your health, who will?

>Heart-Warming Winter Foods

Winter foods conjure up visions of heavy meats and rich sauces. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many fruits and vegetables grown in your local climate that will serve your body’s needs and keep you energized – warding off the winter blues.

While there are undoubtedly more farmer’s markets held during the warmer months, your local farm is likely selling items all throughout the year.  Buying directly from the farm cuts out the middleman, helping you save money.  It also has the benefit of being picked in a riper state because it travels a shorter distance, making these foods more nutrient dense than their well-traveled counterparts.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite winter foods for lasting health throughout the coldest season of the year.

 

root vegetables on white background

Root Vegetables

Grown underground, many Eastern cultures value the grounding aspects of heartier winter vegetables such as beets, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, and turnips.  These starchy veggies provide our bodies with powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Looking for a quick home-cooked meal? Chop up a variety of root vegetables, coat with coconut oil, and roast in the oven at 450 degrees. Rather let someone cook for you? Stop into Organic Avenue for a heartwarming cup of hot Carrot Ginger soup that will help you through a cold or flu thanks to anti-inflammatory ginger and immunity-boosting Vitamin C.

 

Spices

Spice up your winter foods by skipping the salt and seasoning your meals with a variety of medicinal spices.

At any Organic Avenue, you will find complimentary hot sauce and cayenne pepper to give your plant-based dish a hot kick of medicinal flavor. Capsaicin found in hot peppers helps increase your circulation, keeping your extremities warmer on frigid days.

Turmeric, found in curry dishes like our Shredded Curried Cabbage, is a strong anti-inflammatory that can help improve digestion, joint pain, and even soothe your weatherworn skin.

 

Fermented Foods

Keeping a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria is a powerful tool to overall wellness. A healthy supply of probiotics helps improve your digestion, which in turn can increase energy levels, clear skin, and keep you healthy during cold and flu season.

Drinking green juice every day provides a healthy dose of prebiotics which can help your healthy gut flora flourish.

Incorporating these winter foods into your diet this season, served hot or cold, will help you come out of the next polar vortex healthier and happier.

>Holiday Cocktails

The holiday season is officially upon us, and whether you’re a teetotaling CrossFitter or a downright party animal, you’ve probably already indulged in a cocktail or two (or ten)!

Before you officially throw in the towel on your 2014 wellness goals and start main-lining eggnog for the next month, consider these tips for healthier holiday cocktails.

holiday drinks

It’s crucial to drink water before and after parties as well as between alcoholic beverages. Hydrating will often help slow your pace of imbibing and ease your next-day hangover symptoms.

If going for wine, look for biodynamic wines from small producers. Not sure what to look for? Your local wine shop sommelier can point you in the right direction by telling you more about how the wine was produced.

Avoid mixing hard liquor with soda or packaged sugary mixers that contain added preservatives and colorings. All of those questionable ingredients, along with the extra sugar, can burden your liver — even more than a regular alcoholic beverage will anyhow.

For your next holiday soirée, pick up delicious and healthy cold-pressed juices from Organic Avenue to use as mixers for crowd-pleasing cocktails and mocktails. Your drinks will taste better and your party attendees will feel better.  Some of our staff-favorite combos include Palomas, made with our cold-pressed grapefruit juice and organic tequila or bubbly mimosas, made with our deliciously sweet organic orange juice.

If you’re feeling more ambitious try out our take on a classic holiday cocktail…

Hot Turmeric Toddy

Serves 2

 

In a saucepan, heat the Turmeric Tonic and Lemon Shot until simmering. Pour into two glass mugs and add whisky and a spoonful of honey to each glass. Sprinkle a pinch of cayenne pepper on top before serving.

Hot Toddy’s are a winter classic — traditionally given to those suffering from coughs and colds. Our version is even more medicinal with the addition of anti-inflammatory turmeric and circulation-increasing cayenne pepper.

Stop by any Organic Avenue this season to pick up party supplies.  While you’re there, ask any of our amazing advisors how to cure a hangover and they will get you started with a Coconut Water and an E3 Live Shot – just be sure to get enough for your loved ones, too!

 

>Healthy Holiday Eating: Dealing With Dietary Restrictions

Holiday Table Setting. CelebrationHealthy holiday eating is a challenge for everyone, so when you’ve adopted a specific dietary regimen such as vegetarian, vegan, paleo etc. — or have a food allergy or sensitivity such as gluten, dairy, etc. — dining at a social gathering can feel downright overwhelming.

The dilemma: you want to be respectful to the host and feel connected to the group, but at the same time you want to eat foods that promote good health, not compromise it.

No need to worry! Healthy holiday eating is possible.  Using these tips you can have fun and stick to your dietary protocol.

 

Plan Ahead

As soon as you know where your gatherings are taking place and who’s in charge of the menus—call or text ahead. Find out what they’re planning on serving and ask how you can contribute. Rather than bring food just for yourself, arrive with a couple of your favorite dishes to share with all of the guests. Not only will you be nourishing your body, but also inspiring the other guests to usher in healthier habits for the New Year. We can’t tell you how many times our simple massaged kale salad has been the first bowl empty on the Christmas Eve buffet table! Times are a-changing. People want to be healthier. You may be surprised by the influence your commitment to wellness has on those around you.

No Judgment

It should be clear that your decision to commit to healthy holiday eating, is in no way a criticism of some of the dishes your family and friends will choose to enjoy. You’ve simply made a very personal decision to respect your body.  If someone at the party (even your loving Grandma) questions your choice of eating (or not eating) a particular food, simply respond, “I feel better eating this way,” or “This is what I’ve found works for me.” If that doesn’t do it, perhaps “I’m allergic to xyz ingredient” (even if you’re not technically allergic). What you don’t want to do is get defensive or start an argument—not the ideal way to spread holiday cheer. Those who are supportive may even be open to learning a thing or two about healthier eating—just make sure to let them initiate.

Find Balance

If you don’t have a legitimate food intolerance, perhaps you can make a conscious decision to be more flexible with your dietary regime around the holidays. This will allow you to indulge, while establishing a “home base” to return to after every dinner and cocktail party. The focus can then be on enjoying the company of friends and family. Bring a dish you know you’ll be able to eat, and let your intuition take care of the rest.

 

Healthy holiday eating comes down to desire and commitment. But it’s not for everyone. Ask yourself what is important to you AND what makes you happy. With the right attitude and planning, these two things can happily coexist.

 

>Bread Doesn’t Have to Be a Diet Killer

WStacked Organic Avenue sandwicheshen you were a child, your nightmares probably consisted of the Abominable Snowman chasing you home from school or clowns hiding under your bed (blame the parental units for that one). As an adult, your nightmares are a little different. You merely look at a piece of bread and it’s like kryptonite. You can’t look away, and even though you don’t give into the temptation to devour it, you watch your waistline grow before your very eyes as the bread suddenly disappears. After all, if Maggie Burroughs was able to pull Freddy Krueger out of the dream world when she woke up, is it so unthinkable that the bread haunting you in your sleep is ending up on your hips?

So, what do you do? You avoid bread like the plague. Push it out of your mind, so you forget what it looks like. Turn the channel when there is a sandwich commercial on TV. You might even actually tell yourself you hate bread over-and-over, hoping to convince that inner voice.

Stop it! Just stop trying to hate something you are always going to have a deep love for. Bread does not have to be the enemy. You simply need to eat the right bread. Yes, there really is such a thing!

 

Bread Alone

Okay, that loaf of white bread in the grocery store should haunt you in your sleep. It’s toxic, and it’s definitely scarier than clowns (maybe tied). If you are going to treat yourself to bread, it should actually be good for you. Bread Alone makes loaves that are hand-crafted, healthy, and organic. Local produce and fresh grains are used and the bread is cooked in wood-fired ovens. These breads make you feel like you are cheating even though you’re not, which is why Organic Avenue will be offering four drool-inducing sandwiches with bread by Bread Alone.

 

Your Taste Buds Will Thank You

You are going to want to try all four of these sandwiches. We just launched an almond butter and cranberry sandwich (our AB&J), along with our version of the classic tuna salad and egg salad sandwiches on nine-mixed grain bread. We already serve the vegan tuna salad on wheat and collard wraps, and it is one of our best sellers. These are sandwiches that will take you to your happy place. Who says bread has to break a diet!

>Holiday Party Survival Guide

holiday decorations for party

Sticking to your health and wellness goals between now and New Year’s seems like an impossible feat.

However, as your inbox starts filling up with holiday party invitations, there are things you can do to stay in control of your own health. After all, it’s your life!

 

Eat before you go.

Before the party starts fill up on a nutrient-dense meal. For example, the Organic Avenue Big Kale Salad topped with a whole avocado will give you 25 grams of protein but is still light enough not to bring your energy level down. Ensuring your body is filled with nutrient dense foods and is properly hydrated will help you be pickier about which holiday snacks you indulge in.

 

Pack your own.

If you want to stay healthy at a holiday party, never show up empty handed. Since many holiday foods are on the heavier side, a large light dish to share, such as quinoa or a seasonal salad, will be greatly appreciated by all. Even if it’s not, it gives you a viable eating option.

Carry nuts and dark chocolate like Fine + Raw to give you that extra bit of willpower to turn down a second (or third) slice of pecan pie.

 

Choose your mixers wisely.

We don’t think alcohol in moderation is the devil.  The major unhealthy trap many fall into when it comes to holiday drinking (aside from overindulging) is not liquor itself, but what it’s mixed into it.

Avoid heavier drinks like eggnog and punch packed with added sugar and preservatives. Instead, indulge in Organic Avenue’s Mix & Match package of cold-pressed juices to make sure you and your friends enjoy the best tasting detox/retox cocktails this season.

 

Be picky

It may be tempting to say yes to each and every invite that comes your way, but we all know that not all parties are created equally.  Be selective on where you go and how you feed your body once you’re there.  Your goal should be to end the holiday season as healthy and happy as you were before they started.

>The Benefits of Pre-Holiday Juice Cleanse Delivery

cleanse with cooler bagThanks to juice cleanse delivery, today, it couldn’t be easier to do a juice cleanse. Delivery makes it convenient and effortless! However, if you have never done a cleanse, or if you simply haven’t done one in a really long time, you might be thinking a better time would be after the holidays. After all, you already know you are going to be snacking your little heart out. In all actuality, the best time to do a cleanse is before the holidays for quite a few reasons.

 

  • Reduced Cravings – A juice cleanse rids your body of all those loud-mouthed toxins that literally scream at you as you are walking by the table of holiday cookies. It is challenging enough to turn down high-fat food without your body telling you that you need to binge on everything in sight. You already know that once you eat one sweet, you crave it again. If your body is rid of these triggers then you won’t have such a hard time passing them up.

 

  • Make Better Food Choices – After you have committed to juice cleanse delivery, like our Go Green cleanse, which is comprised of all green juices, your mind will tell you it wants healthy food. You become significantly more aware of what you are putting in your mouth. Without cleansing, you are more likely to give into a craving and go back for seconds, even if you are already full. After cleansing there is a greater chance that you will recognize when you are full and resist the urge to finish your plate just because it’s there. You will look at the plate of fudge and the platter of raw veggies, and you will make the right decision.

 

  • Stressful Time – Stress wreaks havoc on your health. The more stressed you are the more toxins your body will collect and store. The holidays are an overly stressful time for most people. You don’t want to enter the season already full of toxins. This will affect your sleep quality, mood, skin, etc.

 

  • Increased Energy – There are never enough hours in a day during the holiday season. Toxins accumulated in your system make you sluggish. Then, you turn to caffeine for a pick-me-up. When this happens, you are more likely to turn to sugary sweets. Juice cleanse delivery ensures that goodness arrives right at your front door.

 

  • Stronger Immune System – Stress, lack of sleep, toxins, and a poor diet all weigh heavily on your immune system. Now, you are more likely to get sick when you are in contact with friends, family, and even strangers who have an illness. Think about all the people you come in contact with at parties, restaurants, and shopping malls. You need your immune system to bring its A-game to get you through the season.

 

  • Convenient - If you are going to do a juice cleanse, delivery is definitely the way to go. You are more likely to stick with it, and it’s the easiest way to be sure you are getting all the important nutrients you need. This is already a busy season. No one has time to prepare juice several times a day. That’s where juice cleanse delivery comes in. Thankfully, you don’t have to!

>Healthy Eating During the Holidays

Vegetable platter with hummusWe’ve all been in this situation before. We’re working hard to achieve a health goal—eating the right foods, cutting back on refined sugar and processed foods—and then the holiday season hits. All at once, we’re faced with social events that involve large quantities of food, including cake, cookies, and other treats made from less-than-desirable ingredients. Let’s face it, healthy eating during the holidays can feel impossible.

Here are a couple of practices to help navigate the seemingly never-ending buffets and large spreads of holiday food:

 

1. Find the veggies

To ensure healthy eating during the holidays you will need to seek out the crudité platter, vegetarian dish or any veggie-based salad available.  Odds are they are there, sitting mostly untouched.  Be sure to give them the love they need – and they will love you back.  These choices ensure you fill up on nutrient-dense goodness, making those dessert cookies easier to resist. We also know the fiber and water in the vegetables (especially when raw) will help you better digest anything that follows. The “veggies first” protocol will minimize any food coma symptoms, keeping you energized for the next party!  And if you are concerned there will not be a good veggie option, make that your contribution.

2. Eat a healthy meal before the event

Another key to healthy eating during the holidays is to never go to a social gathering ravenous, especially when you are unsure of the menu. That’s why it is imperative to eat a healthy and satisfying meal prior to leaving home. You can even stop into Organic Avenue on your way and nosh on a nutritious dish, like our Farro & Brazil Nut Salad. Farro is a low-gluten grain that contains an abundance of protein and fiber, keeping you feeling satiated longer. The hearty Brazil nuts are a great source of monounsaturated “good” fat for brain function. They also contain the minerals selenium and zinc for a strong immune system—essential for navigating the demands of the holiday season. You’ll arrive at the event less dependent on nourishment from the unhealthy hors d’oeuvres and sweets, and instead enjoy the one or two treats that you truly desire. After all, life is not about perfection. Remain true to your long-term goal, but allow yourself the freedom to enjoy all of life’s pleasures in a balanced way.

>Let Them Eat (Faux) Cake!

Sweet Peach CrumbleYou can’t help but wonder if Marie Antoinette had any idea the impact her famous words would have centuries later. Although, scholars argue that the quote was attributed to her even though it was a great princess actually spoke the words upon learning the peasants had no bread. It doesn’t really matter who said it. What does matter is that dessert has become an expected part of a meal, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! With so many awesome organic desserts available these days, you can indulge with less guilt.

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “dessert?” Sugar, chocolate, pie, butter, tight pants, bloating, and weight gain? It is amazing how the thought of dessert is automatically associated with a negative consequence. Who said dessert has to be unhealthy? There is no rule that says you need to cancel out all the healthy nutrients you just ate with garbage. Opt for organic desserts, and your perception of this simple word will change drastically.

 

But, It’s the Holidays!

Just because it’s the holidays does not mean you need to eat unhealthy, high-calorie food that will make your brain fuzzy and leave you feeling like you are in desperate need of a nap. Either that or you will end up with a headache from artificial ingredients. How is this dessert? Dessert is a treat, so shouldn’t it make you feel good? Don’t use the excuse of tradition to pollute your body. Make new traditions! Skip the fudge and eggnog and opt for organic desserts and cold-pressed juices. This would be a true gift for your body!

 

Pleasing Guests

You are probably saying that you could not possible serve organic desserts at your holiday gathering because you want to please your guests. Your guests simply want something delicious, so this is what you will give them!

Organic Avenue has a Chocolate Mousse and a Sweet Peach Crumble that will make your toes curl. The Chocolate Mousse has avocado, cocoa, vanilla bean, cold-pressed coffee, coconut sugar, and maple sugar. It actually has antioxidants and will give you an energy boost.

The Sweet Peach Crumble has peach, walnuts, dates, maple syrup, chia seeds, and maple sugar. It’s 100 percent indulgent, but completely guilt-free.  Who said organic desserts can’t be delish!  Rock on, Marie Antoinette!

>What to Eat the Day After Thanksgiving

Homemade Thanksgiving Turkey on a Plate

Thanksgiving is a day to spend quality time with family and friends.  And in modern America, quality time often includes food; Thanksgiving being the mother of all feasts! Many of the foods we will all indulge in may not be optimal for our health. But hey, it’s one day out of the year.  If you do throw caution to the wind for the holiday, it’s essential to use the day after Thanksgiving to get back on track.

Rather than completely shock your system with a restrictive diet, the best approach is to ease back into healthy eating. The simplest way to rebalance is to find a way to incorporate vegetables into every meal.

Green juice is an excellent way to start each morning. It will bring your blood pH back to an alkaline state and is easy to gulp down if you’re in a hurry.

The day after Thanksgiving should also include a big, colorful salad for lunch.  Since the extended holiday weekend often brings along additional socialization, this approach allows you to save less-than-perfect foods for the evening.

On the Monday following Thanksgiving, after reintroducing healthy plant-based foods into your diet, you may be ready for a more regimented program to accelerate the achievement of your health goal. Whether you strive to have more energy, improve your digestion or shed a few unwanted pounds, Organic Avenue has a variety of cleanse options that can help you in the process.

LOVE EASY and LOVE FAST both contain plant-based entrées, like our famous Big Kale Salad. Even our all-liquid programs LOVE DEEP and GO GREEN include a satisfying blended meal at the end of the day, like a Cashew Hemp Mylk. You’ll be consuming a nutrient-dense item about every 2 hours, from the moment you start your day until about 2 to 3 hours prior to bedtime, so you’ll never feel deprived.

No matter which program you choose to start the day after Thanksgiving, replacing heavier meals with organic, plant-based juices and foods will lessen the amount of work required of your digestive system. Lightening the digestive load frees up extra energy for your body to detoxify and rejuvenate its cells and tissues, potentially taking you to a place of even greater health than before the Thanksgiving holiday.