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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 Methods of Cleansing: Why, How and When Should I Cleanse?

Most people have a very narrow definition of cleansing – a 3 or 5 day program of cold-pressed juices. While this is the most common way to cleanse, cleansing can actually take many forms and should be much more than just a 3-day change to your daily habit.

A better definition of cleansing is any break from your usual routine, which incorporates more organic plant-based food and juice into your diet. Simply adding one green juice into your everyday diet can be considered a cleanse. Mosy importantly, cleansing is not a finite activity. It is a holistic program that involves setting wellness goals with specific pre- and post-cleanse plans. The before and after is just as important as the cleanse itself.

Love Deep cleanse

Cleansing is good for your body for many reasons. First, it gives your digestive system a chance to rest and recharge. Our air, water, food and cosmetics can contain substances that are harmful. Replacing regular meals with cold-pressed juices and whole foods floods your body with healthful vitamins and nutrients, allowing it to release toxins. As Alejandro Junger, M.D. explains, “Humans have always instinctually known that a regular period of resting and recharging the body will let it shed the accumulated toxins and waste materials that tend to build up in all of us simply from living.”

Cleansers report feeling refreshed with greater energy, mental clarity and an overall sense of “feeling better.” Some report modest weight loss and glowing skin. Finally, cleansing also reinvigorates your taste buds. By removing chemicals, pesticides and processed food from your diet, your taste buds will fully taste what you are ingesting, once again making healthful eating more pleasurable.

Most people are unsure of how frequently they should cleanse. Cleansing is different for everyone and can be beneficial at many different times. For some, cleansing is the kick-start to a new health routine. For others, it can be a way to regain balance after a period of unhealthy eating. And still for others, it is a monthly or seasonal tune-up.

Cleansing is different for everyone and your body will tell you what is and isn’t working. There is no “one cleanse fits all.” Meeting yourself wherever you are on your health journey ensures success, even if that means starting out with a green juice every day and building up to a balanced daily habit of plant-based food and juice. No interim diet can accomplish what a long-term commitment to healthy eating does.

>Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

Organic produce on wood tableA diet rich in plant-based foods provides many health benefits.

First, minimally processed plant foods are richer in “good things” like essential fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.

Second, plant-based diets are linked with a decreased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cancer and other chronic diseases. According to the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, “The higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease.”

Third, many plant-based foods like chia seeds, hemp seeds and quinoa are complete proteins, which provide all 9 essential amino acids to build muscle tissue that our body cannot produce itself.

Finally, healthy weight management is also made possible by consuming a diet rich in minimally- processed, whole plant foods. Research suggests that vegetarians tend to consume fewer calories and have lower body mass indexes than non-vegetarians. As Michael Pollan explains, “…by eating a plant-based diet, you’ll be consuming far fewer calories, since plant foods (except seeds) are typically less “energy dense” than the other things you might eat.”

>Why Cold-Pressed Juice?

Fruit and vegetable juices can now be found almost anywhere, but juice produced using the cold-press process is nutritionally superior and, in the opinion of many, more delicious than juice produced using other methods. There are two common types of juicers used to extract the nutrient-dense liquid from fruits and vegetables: the centrifugal juicer and the cold-press.

Green love in bottle on tableThe centrifugal juicer, your standard home juicer, is also found at many commercial establishments where juice is made to order. The centrifugal machine uses a flat cutting blade at the base of a rapidly spinning strainer—powered by electricity. Heat, static electricity and large amounts of air are drawn into the juicer. Nutrients can be destroyed as oxidation occurs. Essential enzymes in fruit and vegetable juices, which aid in the body’s nutrient assimilation, break down at temperatures exceeding 118° Fahrenheit. Any juice extractor using a high-speed blade or centrifuge creates more heat-producing friction and can destroy the good stuff. This is why centrifugal juice must be consumed immediately in order to receive any of its benefits.

Organic Avenue uses a cold-press juicer, which applies 9-tons of hydraulic pressure to extract the juice from organic fruits and veggies. Negligible heat is produced, better preserving the vital vitamins and minerals living in the water content of the produce. We are also able to extract a higher yield using the cold-pressed process—which means more nutrients end up in your juice, and not left behind with the pulp and rind. The hydraulic press is notably more efficient than the centrifuge in extracting the liquid component of dark, leafy greens—essential for optimal health.

In Become Younger, Dr. Norman Walker, the inventor of the hydraulic cold-press explains, “If the extraction is not virtually complete, then of course the juices are correspondingly deficient and we will have to take larger quantities of them over a much longer period of time. If the juices are properly and completely extracted, however, the benefits and results which we may obtain from them are almost phenomenal.” While centrifugal juice pulp may still be wet post-juicing (there are still nutrients in there!), pulp from a cold-press is essentially sawdust, indicating that the vast majority of the vitamins and minerals from the produce are living in your juice bottle. You’d have to drink a much greater quantity of centrifugal juice to get the same amount of nutrition from just one bottle of cold-pressed juice.

Because little oxidation occurs from the application of pressure, cold-pressed juice is shelf-stable with much of its nutrient content in tact for days after pressing. OA takes our cold-pressing a step further by extracting our juice in a refrigerated room in our kitchen. This extra care ensures the ultra-freshness of our organic produce, minimizing loss of nutrition during the pressing.

>Get Energized With our Matcha Chia Glo

The powerful combination of ingredients in our signature Matcha Chia Glo provides a host of daily health benefits.

Energizing matcha is a premium green tea powder from Japan, rich in nutrients, antioxidants and chlorophyll. According to some sources, one glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of regular green tea in terms of nutritional value and antioxidant content. Antioxidants aid in the prevention of cell damage, giving you healthy glowing skin.Matcha Chia Glo

Protein is also prevalent in our Matcha Chia Glo, ideal for workout enthusiasts. Not only does the base of pumpkin seed mylk pack a punch, but the whole chia seeds also provide significant protein, a complete protein, at that. Complete proteins are foods that contain all nine essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that our bodies cannot produce. Animal products are widely known as complete proteins, but we can also obtain all nine essential amino acids from plants such as chia, hemp seeds and quinoa. Chia seeds are said to have twice the amount of protein as any other seed or grain in an easily assimilated form. All the more reason to replace that processed whey powder in our gym bags with chia.

Just a small amount of chia can sustain us for long periods of time. In fact, the ancient Aztec and Mayan runners would load up on chia before long runs for steady energy and sustenance. In the Mayan language, chia means “strength.” Chia absorbs up to 12 times its own weight, which keeps us feeling full and hydrated when mixed into a liquid, like our pumpkin seed mylk.

Energizing, hydrating and protein-packed, Matcha Chia Glo is the perfect meal replacement to sip at our morning meeting, an ultra-healthy pre or post-workout beverage, or afternoon pick-me-up to fuel the rest of your busy day. And you’ll look good while doing it too—with that antioxidant-activated glow!

 

 

 

 

>What’s the Difference Between a Juice and a Smoothie?

green smoothieJuice is the liquid part of fruits and vegetables made using a juice extractor, like our hydraulic cold-press. When you are making juice, you are extracting the liquid (where all the nutrients live) from the fiber. Smoothies are blended meals. The fruits and vegetables are pulsed in a blender with their fiber, unlike cold pressing, still present.

Juice and smoothies can coexist in your diet–as one is not better than the other, but have different purposes. Wellness expert Kris Carr explains in Crazy Sexy Diet, “Both are terrific, but juice gives you instant energy while smoothies take a bit longer to assimilate and require more work from your body… Juice makes me feel lighter and more hydrated first thing in the morning… But I don’t want to give green smoothies a bad rap. They are definitely more filling and stick with you longer…” Because of the fiber, it will take longer to digest a smoothie, but it will keep you feeling satiated longer as well.

Juice is a great way to start the day while smoothies can be added after, as a snack or meal replacement. Juice should always be ingested first to make sure all nutrients are absorbed properly.

 

>Summer Hydration

Summer is a time for relaxation, fun, and sun. It’s also a time to pay extra close attention to hydrating your body.

Proper hydration is essential for every single cell in your body. Keeping hydrated can aid in multiple bodily functions to ensure you stay healthy and energetic during the warmer months. Hydration can give you healthier teeth, bones, and skin as well as helping to improve your digestion and energy levels. Additionally, hydration is an essential part of building muscle and reducing water retention and bloating in the body.

Drinking enough water and eating water-rich foods is important all year round but requires a little extra attention during the warmer months. When temperatures rise, our bodies sweat to cool the surface of our skin. You may not even know you’re sweating since it’s just a small amount indiscernible and constant throughout the day, but our bodies need to hydrate that much more.

Exercise at the gym or being active outside can dehydrate our bodies further. Signs of dehydration include sleepiness, headaches, and urine that is darker than normal. More severe symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, and fever than can put you out when you want to be enjoying the weather the most.

Other factors such as the foods and drinks we consume, can affect how dehydrated our bodies become. Too much coffee or alcohol can have a dehydrating effect on the body as well as common processed and salty foods found at a summer BBQ.

Friends on the beach

The good news is, with a little attention, it’s easy to stay hydrated every day and reap the benefits of hydration all summer long.

Each body is different, but a good rule of thumb to start with is dividing your body weight in half to get the approximate number of ounces of water you should be drinking every day. Add more water to this baseline depending on factors such as exercise, time in the sun, and dehydrating foods and drinks consumed.

For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, you should aim to drink at least 65 ounces of water every day. If you then play beach volleyball for an hour and follow that up with a margarita and chips, you’ll want to drink several glasses more to compensate for the fluids lost.

Make sure to get your water from a good source — spring water is ideal. At Organic Avenue, our water is naturally alkaline Spring Water with a 7.8 pH to support your healthy system.

Add a booster shot to your water suck as alkalizing lemon, soothing aloe, or oxygenating chlorophyll for added benefits.

>New Product We’re Juiced About – Broccoli Slaw

broccoli slaw

Our broccoli slaw is the newest thing since sliced Ezekiel bread.

Shredded broccoli is tossed with cashew mayo, walnuts, and cranberries for a sweet, smooth and crunchy flavor. Here’s some fun facts to why so many people love broccoli (in addition to the amazing taste)!

This cruciferous vegetable contains phytonutrients which can aid in helping a host of ailments. It has high levels of vitamin C, fiber, vitamin A, K (which can help metabolize vitamin D from those sunny summer days) among others. Just make sure to enjoy it raw or lightly steamed to receive the best of what broccoli has to offer.

 

 

>Grilling with LOVE: 7 Tips For Perfectly Grilled Vegetables

Summer is in full swing, and grills everywhere are fired up for dinner parties and outdoor social events. While some consider the grill to be a meat-only zone, a wide variety of plants can be deliciously prepared on the grill, and still maintain many of their health benefits.

Grilled Veggies on foil

Research suggests that traditional grilled cuisine—red meat, poultry and seafood, may actually release carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that damage our DNA. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, consumption of HCAs are linked to cancers of the colon and stomach. Good news for veggie lovers, grilling vegetables and fruits produces no HCA. Plant-based foods are associated with lower cancer risk.   This is potentially due to the powerful phytonutrients found in plants that may counter the effect of HCAs.

However, it doesn’t mean that we should completely char our veggies on the ‘cue. Lower temperatures and less grill time are always better for maximum nutrient retention and optimal digestion.

Here are 7 helpful tips for healthy (and mouthwatering!) grilled plant-based foods this summer:

1.  Make sure the grill is completely clean before adding the veggies. Our favorite trick is to rub half a lemon over the grates to remove any excess residue.

2. Avoid grilling directly over the flame. To prevent burning, place vegetables on high heat temporarily, then move to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking.

3. Instead of using olive oil, try avocado oil or coconut oil to lightly coat your veggies. These oils have a higher smoke point and will not become rancid under the intense heat. Save the EVOO for your accompanying raw salad dressing.

4. In addition to, or in lieu of, a brush of oil, create a marinade using antioxidant-rich ingredients for additional health benefits. Some of our faves include lemon juice, anti-inflammatory garlic, and fresh herbs like rosemary and parsley. Don’t forget a dash of metabolism-boosting cayenne pepper!

5. No need to peel hearty root veggies such as beets, sweet potatoes and squash. Slow cook them directly on the grates in their whole form, or slice into ¾ inch wedges for a quicker grill time.

6. We’ve all tasted barbeque staples such as zucchini, asparagus and eggplant, but even dark, leafy greens can make an appearance on your grill. You can “steam” greens such as kale and Swiss chard by placing them with herbs, spices, and oil in a packet of folded parchment paper. Cover the parchment paper with aluminum foil, and the veggies will cook seamlessly away from direct heat—preventing nutrient loss. Instant “Big Grilled Kale Salad!”

7. For a guilt-free indulgence this summer, grill firm, semi-ripe fruits such as watermelon, bananas, pineapple and peaches on low heat. Brush with a touch of coconut oil to prevent the fruit from sticking to the grates, and be sure to keep a watchful eye, as they’ll be ready for devouring in no time. We like to add a scoop of our Coconut Yogurt to craft an extra-special treat for a warm summer evening.

>Our Manifesto

organic avenue store
For 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!