Tips for eating healthier this summer

Editor's Journal, Editorial, Featured, News

Summer is possibly the easiest time to stick to a healthier lifestyle. It’s warm outside so we’re more likely to be active, plus there’s plenty of good, fresh produce available. With the recent focus on organic ingredients and the farm-to-table approach, home cooks and anyone interested in a healthier lifestyle are looking for ways to boost their health through better food choices.

Fortunately, there are more ways than ever to eat healthier.

Grow your own vegetables, fruits or herbs

Summer is a great time to get into gardening. Even if you don’t have much of a yard or a lot of time, you can grow just one vegetable, or even herbs like basil or oregano, in a planter, indoors or out. Some neighborhoods even have communal garden spaces available. Plenty of fruits and vegetables are not that difficult to grow, depending on where you live, from berries and melons to lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and beans. Whatever you decide to grow, you’ll feel good knowing exactly where your food came from.

Use farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture

You can support your local, organic farmers by shopping at farmer’s markets or signing up for community-supported agriculture (CSA) in your area. The benefit to you is that the quality of the produce will be high, and you’ll have access to all kinds of fresh, organic ingredients for your cooking.

Shop organic

Buy your cooking ingredients from companies certified as organic by the leading third-party organic certifier, Quality Assurance International (QAI). For example, Simply Organic offers a wide variety of delicious organic spices, seasonings, sauces, cooking mixes and packets for making marinades and dips that are all certified organic products.

Cook healthier

When you’re preparing meals, using fresh, organic ingredients means that you’re providing the best quality, healthful food for yourself and your family. Cooking food with plenty of nutritional content, like high-quality proteins, fresh vegetables, fruit and legumes, along with organic spices and flavorings, will ensure that every meal you make contributes to the overall health of your family. Look for recipes that are not only delicious, but that use lots of nutrition-packed ingredients.

Try making these Spicy Guacamole Stuffed Potato Skins for your next party.

1/2 teaspoon Simply Organic Black Pepper Medium Grind
Simply Organic Spicy Guacamole Mix Sauce 4.0 fl. oz.
8 medium-sized yellow potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup quartered grape tomatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Wash potatoes to remove dirt from skins. Cut potatoes in half. Using a melon baller or small cookie scoop, remove center flesh from potatoes.
Place potato halves on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and rub oil over flesh and skin of each one. Sprinkle with salt, coating the flesh and skins. Sprinkle on pepper.
Bake, flesh-side down, for 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork.
In a medium bowl, mash avocados. Add guacamole mix sauce and stir to combine.
Let potatoes cool for 5 minutes, then fill each skin with guacamole (about 1 teaspoon per potato). Top with tomatoes, sour cream, green onions and cilantro (if desired). Serve warm. Makes 16 servings.

Whether by growing some of your own food or becoming more selective about the sources of your food, everything you cook and eat will be more nutritious. By putting extra thought into the quality of ingredients you use in your cooking, you can ensure that you and your family will be eating healthier not just this summer, but throughout the year.

Reset, realign and repeat for a healthy beach-ready body

Featured, News

Summer is coming — and swimsuit season will be here before you know it. Now’s the time to do a quick assessment and create a routine to get your body ready for sun and fun.

By following three easy steps — reset, realign and repeat — you can commit to making changes to create a healthier you in time for summer.

Reset

Do a self-health assessment. Take time to reevaluate your goals and set new milestones. Achieving desired health goals requires you to be honest with yourself in regard to where you are at and what you want to achieve.

Are you just beginning a weight-loss journey? Or perhaps you’re looking to drop a few pounds? Once you’ve identified your goals, find a program that aligns with your everyday routine and empowers you to make healthier lifestyle choices.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to go at it alone. Find a program that uses technology to provide support and encouragement that helps you maintain healthy habits and routines. A digital solution can help you track progress and provide 24/7 accountability.

Realign

Now that you’ve identified your goals, hold yourself accountable! It’s easier to keep up with a routine that aligns with your lifestyle and doesn’t require drastic modifications. Using the right tools and technologies can also help in achieving your health goals. Amway’s BodyKey SmartLoss program, developed in collaboration with Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, makes it easy to integrate smarter, healthier lifestyle choices into your everyday routine. The program provides continual personalized feedback and support without the pressure of calorie counting.

“Weight-loss solutions are not one size fits all, so to achieve and sustain your weight-loss goals, it is important to use strategies that best fit into your everyday lifestyle,” said Kerry Grann, Principal Research Scientist, Amway Research & Development. “This might involve eating less, making better food choices, or a little bit of both. Using tools such as the SmartLoss Graph, step tracking and logging what you eat can make you more aware of the choices you are making, empowering you to identify what works and what doesn’t work in your journey to a healthier you.”

Repeat

Once you’ve found the right solution, then what? Consistency is the key to achieving and maintaining your goals. Keep track of your progress on a daily or weekly basis to see how much you accomplish in shorter spans of time. BodyKey’s program has a free mobile app to help you track your journey and offers advice and guidance to keep you motivated to hit your daily goals. The app is available for anyone to download on the iTunes Store and Google Play.

The program helps users develop daily habits throughout their entire weight-loss journey. It offers a personalized eating plan that tracks weight loss and provides customized recommendations to help you every step of the way. With the convenience and accessibility of this program it’s easier to keep up your routine beyond the summer months.

“Accessibility and convenience are important when it comes to programs that assist with weight-loss management,” said Grann. “Having a digital program that tracks your progress can help you maintain daily habits beyond your desired summer goals.”

This summer take your health into your own hands by resetting, realigning and repeating healthy habits throughout the season and beyond. Proper weight management and discipline, supported by educational tools, will help you transform your everyday routine and help achieve a healthier you. Programs such as BodyKey SmartLoss can help you take control of your weight-loss journey so you can look and feel your very best this summer.

Three ideas to freshen up your favorite summer treats

Culture, Featured

Summertime brings lots of picnics, barbecues and pool parties, along with tasty treats everyone loves to share. Want to make yummy desserts your friends will rave about, but with your own unique twist?

Add exotic new fruit.

Whether you’re making a fruit salad, a pie or another tasty fruit-forward delight, consider making a colorful statement with exotic fruits. Why settle for the usual grapes, oranges or bananas? There’s a world of amazing fruit out there!

Adventurous fruits to try: the bright pink dragon fruit, juicy passion fruit, orange and spiky horned melon, yellow Buddha’s hand or large green jackfruit. You can find these types of fruits more easily than you might think, but if they’re not at your usual grocery store, check your local specialty grocery stores and farmers markets or order them online.

Simple ingredient swaps can be your best-kept secret.

Consider creating a better-for-you version of your summer favorites with a few ingredient swaps. These tried-and-true simple substitutions will boost nutrition and even enhance the flavors of your favorite recipes.

For sugar (or artificial sweetener) use natural options like honey, agave, maple syrup or applesauce instead. You can substitute unsweetened (about 100 calories) applesauce for sugar (about 770 calories) in a 1:1 ratio, but for every cup of applesauce you use, reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup.

Boost nutrition and texture of home-baked bread or muffins by swapping out some flour with oat bran. Rich in fiber and protein, oat bran will help keep you full, and the fiber can also help lower cholesterol; your guests will have no idea, because oat bran holds moisture well so your baked goods won’t be dry.

Top it to the next level.

Elevate your dessert with a dollop of deliciousness. To make your creation even better, use a topping that’s so good, everyone will think it’s homemade. To upgrade a classic dessert, try a whipped topping like truwhip original, truwhip skinny or truwhip vegan. Use it to top your fresh fruit salad, dip your favorite cookies or swap it for old-fashioned whipped cream.

For a fresh summer recipe using truwhip, try this Blueberry Ginger Vegan Cheesecake.

Blueberry Ginger Vegan Cheesecake (Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

Crust:
1/2 cup coconut butter (NOT coconut oil)
3 ounces (approximately 1 cup) fresh blueberries

Filling:
2 cups cashews, soaked in water for a few hours
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
3 ounces (approximately 1 cup) blueberries
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping:
1 container truwhip vegan
Blueberries for garnish

Directions:

1. Spray cake pan with cooking spray. Completely line the bottom and sides with plastic wrap, letting excess plastic wrap hang over the sides of the pan. Spray a little more cooking spray on bottom and sides and line with parchment paper.

2. Make crust. In a food processor, process coconut butter and blueberries until they form a paste. The mixture doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth; a little texture is good.

3. Press crust into bottom of cake pan and up sides. Make sure to create a smooth and even bottom. Set in freezer while you make the filling.

4. Using a blender, add filling ingredients. Puree mixture for a few minutes to be as smooth as possible.

5. Pour filling into the cake pan on top of crust. Set cheesecake in freezer for three hours, or until completely hard.

6. Once the cheesecake is frozen, pull it out using the plastic wrap overhang. The cheesecake should come out easily.

7. Place on cake plate or stand. Top with vegan truwhip and blueberries. Enjoy!

To find truwhip products in a store near you, use the store locator at truwhip.com.

Three ways to empower women in your community and worldwide

Editor's Journal, Featured

Female entrepreneurs make up approximately 1/3 of all entrepreneurs worldwide, and it’s always a great time to highlight, support and applaud women in business, in your community and across the globe.

Here are a few easy ways you can celebrate and support businesswomen and female entrepreneurs.

Shop women-owned businesses. Know about a restaurant, shop or service-oriented business in your area that’s owned and operated by women entrepreneurs? (If you don’t, do a little online research to find some.) Go out of your way to shop at their location, refer friends and family members to their businesses and be sure to let them know that you support their efforts in your community. Give them a boost by posting a positive review of their business on social media. Helping female-owned businesses thrive is a great way to empower women in your own backyard.

Mentor women and girls in your industry. Find ways to offer female students and younger employees a chance to learn more about educational and employment opportunities in your own field. Contact career counselors at high schools or local colleges and offer to let students shadow you at work, or give them a chance to do an informational interview with you to learn more about your business. Help them get connected within your business network and share your experiences. If your employer is willing, develop an internship or on-the-job training program to encourage and empower up-and-coming women in your industry.

Support companies actively involved in projects that empower women. Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S. and Dove Chocolate have pledged $1 million to CARE, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty, specifically to empower women in West Africa. Dove Chocolate and CARE partnered to empower women in the cocoa growing communities of Cote d’Ivoire after an assessment of women’s involvement in West African cocoa farms found that women were not benefiting from cocoa production, even though they participate in more than half of cocoa-farming activities. The first stone was recently laid on a new marketplace for women-led businesses in the village of Gueyo, a centrally located commerce area nestled among the cocoa fields of Cote d’Ivoire. Consumers can help support these efforts, as $5 will be donated to CARE with every online purchase of qualifying Dove Chocolate Promises.

This year, find special ways to celebrate and support the women in your neighborhood and around the world who are working hard to create better lives for themselves, their families and their communities.