Winter Blues? 5 Things To Help With Seasonal DepressionWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Monday, January 9th, 2017

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In the winter, long nights and, in many places, inclement weather make many hunger for the warm rays of summer. We’re especially prone to feel a little low post holiday season when it can feel that there’s not much to look forward to but months ahead of more cold and grey. If you’re finding that winter weather has got you feeling tired, irritable and hungry for comforting high-carb foods, you may be experiencing SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder. This condition impacts roughly 4 to 6 percent of the population. Another 10 to 20 percent have mild SAD, and if you’re a woman, you’re 4-times more likely than a man to experience it. If the winter doldrums have got the best of you, consider the following activities, which may help boost your spirits until spring comes along. While these suggestions may be helpful for anyone experiencing a mild case of winter blues, if your condition is more serious or persists beyond a few days, consult a physician.

1. Simulate the sun. Experts agree that winter depression is often caused by lack of exposure to sunlight. If your city is under cloud cover for several days at time, consider a sun substitute. Light therapy, where participants sit in front of a prescribed light for a specific duration of time, can be an effective treatment for SAD. If you suspect light therapy might be helpful for you, speak with your doctor first who can help you choose a light box and suggest a duration of time.

2. Get outside anyway. When temperatures drop, motivating yourself to get outside isn’t easy, but if you do, you may experience significant benefits. Getting a few breaths of fresh air is shown to improve focus, reduce symptoms of SAD and reduce stress.

3. Establish a routine. “Anyone can benefit from a morning routine, whether you have depression or not,” said Renee Garfinkel, PhD, in an article published by everydayhealth. “When you’re living with depression, establishing a morning routine may need to be more of a conscious choice. Depression can make you wonder why you should bother getting out of bed at all. Having a routine that feels automatic can give you less time to dwell in that mindset.” Make your first task something that’s easy to accomplish such as 5 minutes of stretching or drinking a glass of water. Here’s an example.

4. Kick the carbs. Recent research shows that eating refined carbohydrates – white bread, white rice and sodas – may raise your risk of experiencing depression. What’s more, when we are depressed we’re more likely to reach for these comfort foods. “Luckily, the opposite also appears to be true,” according to an article in Health. “Those who ate lots of whole grains, vegetables, fruits and dietary fiber appeared to see their risk for depression drop.”

5. Plan a vacation. Dreaming of a warm sandy beach? Make that dream a reality, and soak up some surprising benefits, by starting your vacation planning during the dead of winter. Research shows that just thinking about your next getaway can significant boost your mood.

Say yes, to these healthy snacks for kidsWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Thursday, January 5th, 2017

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Milk and chocolate-chip cookies may be a classic, but for all its appeal this pair often comes up short on nutrition. Instead, consider one of these tasty healthy snacks for kids, which put a healthier spin on snack time and also offer key vitamins, minerals and healthy fats for growing bodies. We’ve divided our go-to snacks by those that take a little preparation time and those that can be enjoyed straight from the bag. Don’t worry, all are long an enjoyment, short on prep time and super healthy– which we think is exactly what any snack should be.

No assembly required:

Choco Crunch Figgy Pops. Got a chocolate lover in the house? Instead of reaching for a bar, consider this healthful treat. Organic cocoa and cacao nibs, dates, figs, seeds and coconut combine for a decidedly indulgent snack that you can pass out with impunity. These Figgy Pops are sweetened with just a touch of organic apple juice concentrate and are an excellent source of fiber. Try all 5 delicious flavors.

Cinnamon Citrus Nut Fusion. Who doesn’t love cinnamon? This kid-approved spice pairs with citrusy orange, walnuts, cashews, almonds and dried apples and cranberries in this taste-bud tempting mix. Even better, all our Fruit and Nut Fusions are free from refined sugar and packed with protein-rich nuts, which can help anyone feel full longer. Translation, fewer, “mom, when’s dinner” interruptions.

Maple Vanilla Coconut Chips. Meet the humble and astonishingly delicious coconut chip. Kids will love this crunchy delight, which is kissed by vanilla bean and just a touch of real maple syrup. Go ahead and let them indulge. Coconut is packed with the good kind of fat. And don’t forget there’s more where these came from. Our coconut chips come in 5 other delicious flavors including kid friendly Spiced Cacao and Toasted Cinnamon.

Smyrna Figs. Fig-filled cookies? Who needs ‘em? These kid favorites are often loaded with unhealthy ingredients including high-fructose corn syrup. Yuck! If your tots like getting figgy with it, consider giving them the real deal instead. Our Smyrna Figs are truly nature’s candy offering flavors of honey, butterscotch and a slight nuttiness from the seeds. What’s more, they’re entirely free from added sugars and naturally high in fiber.

Some (painless) assembly needed:

Banana Date Pineapple Granola Bars. Make your own granola bars and avoid the unknown and unhealthy ingredients that often wind their way into this lunchbox staple. This recipe delivers, soft, chewy bars stuffed with tasty (and perhaps undetected) healthy ingredients.

Goji Berry Truffles. These dark cacao truffles are totally delicious, super easy to prepare, and packed with healthy fats, antioxidant-rich cacao and vitamin A-rich Goji. Yum! The only trouble will be keeping them around.

Sweet and Salty Popcorn. Making popcorn on the stove is fun for kids (under adult supervision, of course), plus popcorn is a good source of fiber and who doesn’t love it? Add some sweet coconut chips for a nice flavor balance and to boost this snack’s hunger-curbing power by delivering satiating healthy fats.

3 Tips to Painlessly Adopt Any Healthy HabitWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Happy New Year!
We’re just one day into 2017, which may mean you’ve got one day under your belt of adopting whatever positive habit you’d like to cultivate in the New Year. Maybe you rose a little earlier this morning? Packed a colorful salad for lunch? Took a few minutes of your day to simply be? Whatever healthy habits you’re bringing into your life, we support you and want to help you stick to your goals. Here are some tricks to keep you going strong.

Find a buddy. It’s much easier to show up for your workout when you know a friend will be sweating alongside you, right? Research shows that sticking to any habit is easier with support. One reason is that roping in a friend makes you accountable. Another is that finding a partner usually makes activities more fun (ahem, burpees) and can bolster your relationship.

new-years-resolutions-habitMake it attainable. Ah, the sweet taste of success. Achieving whatever you desire is much easier when it doesn’t feel like work. Rather than biting off one big goal, (say,
achieving Inbox Zero) start with a smaller more achievable step (perhaps, only checking email during a predetermined time window). Research shows that approaching our goals from this perspective can build momentum toward painlessly achieving bigger projects down the road. “Harvard researcher Teresa Amabile found that the single most powerful workplace motivator was small, daily progress,” according to Entrepreneur magazine. “Her research also uncovered that the most damaging thing to results was experiencing setbacks. If you can facilitate progress you facilitate better results.”

Stick to it. Though many believe that it only takes 21 days to form a new habit, the scientist who shared this theory (back in the 1950s) in fact, said it takes a minimum of 21 days. Many self-help gurus picked up the idea but changed it to a total of 21 days – whoops! According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, on average it takes more than two months – 66 days to be exact – before a behavior becomes automatic. Rather than being discouraged by the time it takes to sink into a routine, let it be a motivator. If you find you drop the ball one day, or are having difficulty sticking to it after a month, you may just need more time. Remember, 66 days is an average. For some it can take as long as 254 days. Be kind to yourself, take a deep breath and stay the course.

Happy New You with Conscious Cleanse & Made In NatureWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Saturday, December 31st, 2016

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We’re excited to announce that a few of us at Made In Nature are taking part in the next Conscious Cleanse, which starts on January 4th. The New Year, New You January Cleanse is a 2-week program that helps you hit the refresh button and establish healthy habits that will keep you feeling great all year long.

We’ve partnered with Jo of the Conscious Cleanse because like us, they’re all about real, whole foods that make you feel good. Plus, our Supersnacks are cleanse-approved! We sat down with them to get the lowdown on the cleanse, along with their favorite healthy habits.

 

What inspired you to create the Conscious Cleanse?

When I was younger, I can remember wanting to help people heal and for a very long time, I thought I would be a doctor. In 2004, I was hit by a truck going 70 mph on my bike and was told that I would be disabled for the rest of my life. That was a huge turning point because I thought I would never be able to live a normal life, let alone fulfill my dreams of becoming a doctor. After much trial and error, I realized that I could use nutrition to help heal my body and with life changing results. I reduced my chronic pain, lost 40 pounds, and had hope for the first time since my accident. For me, the Conscious Cleanse was born from the idea that everyone can heal and everyone can feel good. I feel inspired everyday to get out of bed and team up with people who are ready to make a change in their life.

What’s your advice to people who haven’t ever done a cleanse before, and are a little unsure if it’s for them?

For the sake of clarity, when we’re referring to the Conscious Cleanse, we’re not referring to a juice cleanse or the master cleanse. On the Conscious Cleanse, you’ll eat real food and lots of it! Our program is designed to help clean out your digestive systems, remove allergens and ultimately help guide people towards healthier nutritional choices.

Our goal through the program is to make long-lasting change that stick! While you will lose weight, it’s not the focus of our program. Over the course of 2 weeks you’ll make healthy changes that will become part of your daily routine, so that when the cleanse is over, you won’t go back to your old ways.

What’s your favorite healthy snack to enjoy when you’re in cleanse mode?

We love kale chips! They’re salty and crispy and satisfy unhealthier cravings. We believe that cleansing isn’t about depriving yourself of your favorite treats, rather it’s about learning to find a healthy alternative to what you crave.

Since this isn’t the first cleanse you’ve led, can you let us know what you’re most excited about this New Year, New You January Cleanse?

Everytime we run a cleanse, we feel inspired by the people who come to our program. Typically people come to lose weight and feel healthier and we love that! But, what’s even more incredible is when cleansers start to see changes happening in their body, they get inspired about other areas in their life. Participants get empowered to do things they’ve never done before- to put themselves outside of their comfort zone and open to new possibilities. We tear up at the end of every cleanse seeing their incredible transformations.

Join us! Click here to register for the cleanse by January 3rd.

There are 3 different packages available, with an option to add on one-on-one wellness sessions with Jo or Jules! The Made In Nature team will be blogging about our cleanse journey, and we’d love to hear about your experience too.

7 Healthy Ways to Ring In The New Year in 2017Written by Kelsey Blackwell | Thursday, December 29th, 2016

healthy-new-year-2017Donning your finest threads and popping a bottle (or two) of champagne, is not the only way to bring in 2017. While we enjoy a festive party just as much as anyone, we also love stepping into a new year feeling refreshed, renewed and ready for anything. Overindulging and/or staying out well past bedtime (no matter how fancy your dance-floor footwork) is just no way to start the subsequent morning on solid ground. Still, hitting the lights well before the first firework isn’t the way to go either. You’ve got to live a little, right? Here are 7 healthy ways to have your cake, ahem, coconut, and eat it too this year.

 

  1. Host a vegan potluck. During the New Year people are often thinking about stepping up their health regimen. This can translate to more openness around considering dietary changes. Introduce friends to a healthier way of eating, and show them how satisfying and delicious going vegan can be. When the clock strikes midnight, celebrate with a kombucha toast to really get into the spirit.
  2. Dance the night away – sans booze. Did you know dancing can burn upwards of 350 calories an hour? Don’t let your slick moves go to waste by ingesting just as much as you’re burning. A glass of champagne has roughly 95 calories per 4 oz., which can quickly add up.
  3. Give yourself drink tickets. Only you know how much alcohol you can reasonably consume without feeling “off” the next day. Make a plan before the big day by giving yourself a drinking budget and sticking to it even at the height of festive revelry.
  4. Do a new class. How long has that intro capoeira class been on your to-do list? Hot Yoga? Blues Dancing? What’s more empowering than starting the New Year literally in the act of crossing off one of your resolutions?
  5. Celebrate like an 8 year-old. Rather than scouring for a sitter or dropping the kids off with grandparents, make them the center of your celebration. Create your own New Year’s ritual by lighting candles and sharing aspirations. They’ll likely be delighted, and you’ll enjoy a low-pressure evening. Board games? Check! Mac & Cheese? Check! Lights out by 10? Check!
  6. Volunteer. The holiday season can be a tough time for many. Help brighten another’s day, (and, perhaps find a warm internal do-gooder glow) by offering your time at a local shelter, food bank, senior home or anywhere else your heart is called. Being in service to others is the ultimate reward.
  7. Meditate. Breath in, breath out and find your Zen during an evening of meditation. Many meditation centers offer open sits to the general public on New Year’s Eve and Day. If the holiday season left you feeling scattered, anxious and exhausted, or you simply want to experience a real break during the holiday break, sitting for a full day in a quiet space may be just the medicine you need.

Detox After The Holidays: 3 Easy Steps To Get Back on TrackWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Monday, December 26th, 2016

If excess sugar, fat and alcohol have got you feeling more naughty than nice post holiday season, you may be gearing up for a diet detox – No more candy! No cocktails! No more fatty foods! Right? Not so fast according to research, which shows that taking drastic measures to get back on track can actually wreak more havoc on the body causing symptoms similar to those experienced during drug withdrawal – think, anxiety, depression and general malaise. The good news is that there are ways to shape up – gently. Here are three tips to reclaim your healthy glow.

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Find your balance.

Make sure you’re getting a rainbow of nutrients in each meal. This often means leaning more heavily towards lean protein and vegetables and limiting starches, which are often overly consumed and often spike blood sugar, says health expert and doctor Mark Hyman. Opt for alkaline-forming foods, such as dark leafy greens, pears and lemons, which help to balance the body’s pH levels, reduce inflammation and balance blood sugar levels. If you’re not sure where to start, consider making a meal plan using some of the protein-rich, alkaline recipes found on our website.

Start each morning with a glass of water.

Dry winter weather, and our tendency to indulge in more alcoholic drinks this time of year means the body can be dehydrated. Fuel your system with the H20 it needs to detox the toxins and waste materials it may be storing from weeks of overindulgence. That’s 64 to 80 ounces a day for men and women and 40 to 64 ounces for children 5 to 12. Front-load consumption by putting a glass of naturally alkalizing lemon water on your nightstand table and drinking upon waking.

Get your magnesium.

Adding this miracle mineral to your diet can go a long way towards supporting your overall wellbeing. Magnesium is shown to boost energy, calm nerves, support digestion, ease constipation, relieve muscle aches and spasms, prevent migraines and more. Snack on magnesium rich foods throughout the day such as pumpkin seeds and almonds. You may also consider a magnesium supplement before bed, which can support a restful sleep.

Make It Vegan! 8 Easy (and Delicious) Ingredient SwapsWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Vegan Avocado Toast Hummus Kale ChipsSo, you’re adapting a classic recipe to be 100-percent plant based? No problem! There are vegan substitutions for pretty much every ingredient these days. Whether you need the perfect whipped topping for a festive pie, or simply to cut a few eggs from a recipe, we’ve got you covered. Here are our favorite foolproof vegan ingredient swaps.

 

1. Replace Whipped Cream with Aquafaba

If you’ve never heard of aquafaba it may be time to get better acquainted. This oft-overlooked vegan ingredient can work wonders on the dessert table. Aquafaba is the liquid in your can of chickpeas. Because the legumes are cooked in this liquid it contains protein and carbohydrates, which allow it to be whipped into stiff peaks like heavy cream or egg whites. Just add cream of tarter (for stabilization) and sugar and voilà! Expect light, airy and totally pie worthy results. Here’s a recipe.

2. Replace Butter with Sweet Potato

We get it, butter is tricky to replace – especially in baked goods which often suffer mightily from its lack. Fortunately, whipped sweet potato, believe it or not, can come shockingly close to imparting buttery-like benefits. That’s because the tuber is dense, subtly sweet and super moist. Hmmm … that does sound like butter. Even better, sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A and beta-carotene.

3. Replace Butter with Coconut Oil 

Coconut oil is another great vegan replacement for butter. We love a pat of coconut oil on warm muffins just out of the oven and in any other baked good that traditionally calls for butter. Research shows that the naturally occurring saturated fats in coconut oil not only help baked goods stay moist but also may help boost the metabolism and support the immune system. Wow!

4. Replace Eggs with Flax or Chia Seeds

Did you know, ground flax or chia seeds can be used to replace eggs in baked goods? That’s because the naturally occurring polysaccharides of these ingredients, when combined with water, form a gel that can give structure to quick breads and muffins. Simply combine 1 tablespoon of ground seeds with 3 tablespoons of warm water for every egg you need to replace.

5. Replace Cream with Canned Coconut Milk

Oh, the wonders of coconut milk! It’s delicious, versatile and perhaps the ultimate convenience food since popping open a can requires very little work. We like it instead of milk or cream in soups and desserts like this one.

6. Replace Sour Cream with Silken Tofu

We’ve all likely experienced the highs and lows of tofu. But when it’s good, it can be oh, so good since it virtually disappears into a dish and takes on the flavors of other star ingredients. Our favorite tofu applications this time of year, and where it’s rarely detected, are dips, puddings and desserts where it’s substituted for sour cream.

7. Replace Cheese with Nutritional Yeast

Sprinkle nutritional yeast on popcorn, salads, soups or anywhere else you might add a touch of cheese. This inactive yeast imparts an addictively cheesy, salty taste to any food in touches. Even better, it’s also an excellent source of fiber, protein and several B vitamins. Nutritional yeast helps us achieve that rich cheddar flavor in our Bedda Than Chedda Kale Chips, without having to use cheese!

8. Replace Cream Cheese with Cashew Cream

Cashew cream is another versatile, and addictive cheese replacement. Make this cream yourself by simply pureeing cashews with water in a blender. And, just like cream cheese, this delight can be used in savory or sweet dishes depending on the ingredients you add. We like it for pasta sauces, soups and (honestly) simply licking from the bowl.

3 Reasons To Eat More Cranberries (You’ll Be Surprised)Written by Kelsey Blackwell | Monday, December 19th, 2016

Sure, cranberries are good, especially when they’re not gelatinized into a formidable side dish, but do you know exactly how good? Recent research suggests that the humble cranberry could pack more of a punch than you know. This holiday favorite may offer a host of unexpected benefits beyond its already impressive nutritional profile. Here are a few reasons why we love delicious, organic cranberries.

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Cranberries fight bacterial infections.

This may not come as news since cranberry pills and juice are commonly used to treat the bacterial infection that leads to uncomfortable urinary tract infections. Now scientists are discovering that the berry’s bacterial-fighting powers could be beneficial for treating other types of bacterial infections (think, strep throat, food poisoning caused by e. coli and meningitis). The phytochemicals in cranberries disrupt pathogens’ ability to move about the body and adhere to other cells.

Cranberries can protect your pearly whites.

Proanthocyanidine, a compound found naturally in cranberries, is shown to prevent plaque. This is the sticky substance that naturally collects on teeth, traps acid and leads to tooth decay and gingivitis. Proanthocyanidine is so beneficial for dental health that doctors are currently working on a mouthwash featuring the compound. Consider adding 100 percent cranberry juice to your diet to reduce plaque by up to 50 percent.

Cranberries contribute to gut health.

If you’re not familiar with the gut microbiome, it may be time to get better acquainted. This mini-ecosystem in the body is made up of thousands of microbes, which play a big role in regulating the health of the immune system and brain. These microbes also help the body balance energy and use carbohydrates and fat. Research shows that cranberries may support microbiome health by strengthening gut defense systems and protecting against infection – meaning they can help keep many important systems running smoothly. That’s big!

To get the most out of your fruit, avoid cranberry products that contain high-fructose corn syrup or unhealthy sweeteners.  Made In Nature Organic Cranberries are moist, sweet and free of refined sugars. We add just a touch of apple juice concentrate so you can snack in confidence.

If you need suggestions for cranberry snacking beyond grabbing handfuls from the bag, here are our favorite recipes.

Cranberry Mole
Granola with Cranberries and Raisins
Dried Apple Cranberry Conserve
Dried Cranberry & Apricot Braised Lamb Chops
Cranberry, Oatmeal & White Chocolate Cookies

Vegan Holiday Recipes To “Wow” The Whole FamilyWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Vegan Holiday Recipes

Preparing a holiday menu that the whole family will enjoy can be a challenge – especially when not everyone eats the same way. Perhaps your vegan household will be entertaining guests more accustomed to traditional holiday recipes? Maybe you’ll be the lone vegan at the table but would like to offer a dish that’s not quickly categorized as the healthy, vegan option i.e. “fibrous and flavorless”? Whatever your situation, adding crowd-pleasing vegan holiday recipes to your table is a worthy effort.

As you know, many dishes this time of year are laden with excess fat, oil and sugar. Our tendencies to overindulge during the holidays can lead to urgent and drastic measures to get back on track come the New Year. Conversely, a diet rich in plant-based foods can leave eaters feeling light, bright and energized. In fact, research shows that a vegan diet contributes to a host of health benefits including reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and more – but we know we don’t need to convince you. These indulgent holiday recipes emphasize healthful ingredients AND (most importantly) flavor. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if many don’t realize they’re entirely plant based.

Appetizers

Start the party with these festive appetizers that pack a tasty dose of heart-healthy nuts, fruits and seeds.

Avocado and Cranberry Hummus
Spicy Coconut Mango Popcorn
Sweet and Spicy Cranberries and Pumpkinseed Mix

 

The Main Attraction

We like to offer a spread of several main dishes to suit different palates. Give the classics a twist by adding a new salad or perhaps a few ethnic influences.

Mango Farro Pilaf
Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
Plum and Sweet Potatoes Anna

Kale Apple Salad
Cranberry Spinach Salad
Double Baked Sweet Potato & Toasted Coconut

Dried Cranberry and Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad

 

Dessert

You’re sure to leave a lasting impression on your guests with coconut oil, fair trade cacao and organic dried fruit.

Dessert Tamales with Coconut Sauce
Goji Berry Truffles
Forbidden Black Rice Pudding
Raw Truffle Balls
Chocolate Dipped Candied Apricots

Immune System Boosting Holiday Hacks For Busy MomsWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Monday, December 12th, 2016

 
No time is a good time for catching a cold, but if ever there were a season to diligently strive to keep your immune system strong and the sniffles at bay, it’s now, right? With the holidays just around the corner, life is likely everything but simple. There are cards to send, shopping lists to cross off, parties to attend and flights to catch. Unfortunately, all that time out-and-about means you’re exposed to more germs.
Immunity Booster Hydrating Lemon Water

In fact, it’s not the cold weather that makes winter prime time for getting sick, but our preference for staying indoors when temperatures dip. More time inside means more potential for interacting with others, and it’s not just the germ-y handshake you’ll need to craftily dodge. You’re also more likely to be breathing in recycled air (think, air that someone else has exhaled), which may contain viruses. Gross! We know adding something else to your mounting to-do list may be the last thing you want to consider, but luckily keeping you and your family healthy is simple with these easy tips.

Catch your Zzz’s

Make hitting the hay priority numero uno. Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Children need more depending on their age. You’ll know you’re getting enough if you feel fully rested upon waking – before that mug of coffee. Not getting enough sleep impacts the immune system by lowering the number of killer cells that fight germs. Also, without a full recharge your body doesn’t have the fuel to properly run all systems, often at the expense of the immune system. Be diligent about lights off, even on weekends, holidays and days off. Doing so will reinforce your body’s sleep cycle and promote better sleep.

Drink up

Dry winter weather, and our tendency to indulge in one or two, ok, a few, more alcoholic drinks this time of year increases the risk of dehydration. Without enough H2O, your body can’t eliminate toxins and waste materials. Additionally, not getting enough water can cause energy dips and negatively impact sleep. The recommended intake is 64 to 80 ounces of water a day for men and women and 40 to 64 ounces for children 5 to 12. Front-load consumption by putting a glass of lemon water on your nightstand table and drinking upon waking. You’ll get the additional power of cold-fighting Vitamin C and potassium from the lemon. Plus, this much-touted elixir has a host of other health benefits including helping your skin glow.

Junk the junk food

We know it’s tempting, especially during the holidays, to give in to cravings. It’s just once a year, right? But indulging can be a slippery slope, especially when you’re surrounded by temptation, stressed and exhausted. Before you know it you’ve polished off the box when you only meant to eat one or two. There’s a reason you might not feel so amazing after being bested by sugary, salty, fatty urges, and it has nothing to do with guilt. Research shows that the health of our immune system is directly related to the nutrients we receive in our diet. While one or two indulgences won’t have dire effects, a week or month of unhealthy eating may keep you under the covers. Prepare for sticky situations by carrying healthy snacks that deliver immunity-boosting protein, Vitamins A, C, E and Zinc. Here’s our favorite party treat.

Carry a pen

Invest in your own supply of ballpoints and you may just save yourself from getting a cold. Just think of the number of places you may use a communal pen throughout the day – at the bank, doctor’s office, yoga check in, restaurants, retail stores – and the number of other hands that were likely there before you. It’s a wonder we’re not sick more often. Germs are most easily spread from hand-to-hand (or, object-to-hand) contact. Avoid touching items that are not sanitized often. Think, menus, grocery carts, condiment dispensers and bathroom handles. Also, wash your hands at least 7 times a day. It’s not as difficult as you may think.

Have a good laugh

Go ahead, click that Funny or Die link that your best friend just sent you. Fire up Tina Fey on the DVR. When we laugh, research shows we decrease stress hormones and increase the number of killer cells that fight germs. As you may imagine that means added stress has the opposite effect. Getting serious about lightening up may be the best thing you can do to light up your immune system.

#SnackOutside and Win!Written by Susan Thanavaro | Thursday, August 18th, 2016

This summer, we’re fueling your adventures with Made In Nature Supersnacks.
Whether you’re climbing up a mountain or spending the summer practicing your favorite yoga pose, we want to see where our organic Supersnacks take you!

Made In Nature #SnackOutside Contest

Enter our #SnackOutside sweepstakes for your chance to win a prize pack that includes:

  • A Topo Designs backpack of your choice
  • A $500 REI gift card
  • Our favorite Made In Nature Supersnacks

Here’s how to enter:

1. Get outside and go on an adventure (don’t forget to bring along your favorite Made In Nature snacks). Snap a picture of how our #Supersnacks fuel your adventures.

2. Share your photo with #SnackOutside and tag @madeinnature for your chance to win!

3. Make sure you follow @madeinnature on Instagram!

 

Sweepstakes entry 8/10/16 through 9/5/16 11:59pm. Official rules and restrictions can be found here.

Made In Nature Unleashes Its Full Line of New Organic Supersnacks™Written by Luke Rizzuto | Friday, June 24th, 2016

 PRESS RELEASE UPDATED: JUN 23, 2016 15:01 MDT

Boulder, CO , June 23, 2016 (Newswire.com) – Taking on the Snack Category With Products That Fuel You Up! Made In Nature™, the leader in healthy, organic snacking is unleashing a new line-up of Organic Supersnacks™ in new bold packaging at the Fancy Food Show in NYC this week. Finally, consumers will not have to make the choice between what’s healthy and what’s delicious when it comes to filling the void between meals. Their organic, ready-to-snacks include a new line of Figgy Pops, Toasted Coconut Chips, Dried Fruit Fusions, Fruit and Nut Fusions and Kale Chips.

“We are a snacking nation. Over half of all US consumers snack more than three times a day to stay nourished. Our mission is to satisfy that hunger with delicious, ready-to-eat snacks made from real fruit and real vegetables, without compromising flavor or fun,” said Doug Brent, CEO of Made In Nature. “We’re taking on chips and bars and all those other so called “better for you” snacks that are merely masquerading as nourishment. Our Supersnacks don’t just fill you up, they fuel you up.”

As part of their attack on the healthy snack category, Made In Nature is launching an entirely new package design. Andy Nathan, CMO of Victors & Spoils who led the design process said, “The new packaging was a great opportunity to reintroduce Made In Nature to the world in a bold, new way. Inspired by their ‘Nature Unleashed’ brand positioning, the packaging design is strong and vibrant, highlighting the beauty of their unadulterated product. And because they’re so grounded and authentic, we were able to juxtapose that with a very cheeky tone in a category that sometimes takes itself a little too seriously.”

Life is too short to waste on sub-par snacks. The NEWEST addition to the Made In Nature family is their line of Organic Figgy PopsTM ($9.99 for 16 oz., $4.99 for 4.2oz.) These unbaked energy balls are real Supersnacks, bursting with flavor. Figgy Pops are a blend of organic figs and other luscious fruits with nuts and power seeds — covered in coconut with the crunch you crave. These delectable morsels are made with certified USDA organic, Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients and NO refined sugar, allowing consumers to power through their day the healthy way.

Made In Nature’s Organic Toasted Coconut Chips are anything but ordinary! These zealously snappy, perfectly crunchy coconut chips ($3.99 for 3 oz.) are made from pure organic ingredients with NO refined sugars or artificial flavors. It’s a snack that’s energy packed and comes in a variety of exotic flavors like Maple Vanilla, Italian Espresso, Toasted Cinnamon, Ginger Chai and Spiced Cocoa. Permission to snack, granted.

Embracing the flavorful exotic food trend, Made In Nature also offers a line of Organic Fruit Fusions. Inspired by authentic, healthy flavors from around the world, the Fruit Fusion product line encompass both 1oz Single-Serve Dried Fruit Fusions (MSRP $5.99 for 5-pack and $1.49 for 1oz packets) and Fruit and Nut Fusions (MSRP: $6.99 for 5-oz bag).Both of these delectable products offer the perfect pairing between organic dried fruits and blends of seeds, spices and flavors. Fruit Fusions flavors include: Apple Cinnamon, Superberry, Tropical, and Mediterranean blends. Fruit and Nut Fusions flavors include: Maple Balsamic, Cinnamon Citrus, Pomegranate Ginger and Rosemary Harissa blends.

And Made In Nature really breaks the mold with their new line of dried, NEVER fried,Organic Kale Chips (MSRP $5.99 for 2.2oz). The perfect Supersnack to fuel your next adventure, these Kale Chips will light up your taste buds with a combination of organic kale and unique and outrageous spice blends. Flavors include: Bedda Than Chedda, Sriracha Chili, Olive + Sea Salt, Rosemary Truffle, and Stumptown.

Made In Nature is available nationwide at Costco, Safeway, Whole Foods Market, Walmart, Target, Meijer and wherever organic, healthy snacks are sold. To find out more about all of the Supersnacks from Made In Nature or to visit their store, please visit MadeInNature.com

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Made In Nature is a trailblazer in the organic food industry with a 25-year history of sourcing and creating snacks from real food with bold, vibrant and surprising, new flavors. The same old, same old has never been their style and that means kicking refined sugar to the curb and going all-out organic in everything they do. Made In Nature’s Organic Supersnacks™ are made without the use of GMO ingredients, sulfur synthetic preservatives, color or flavorings. Go to www.MadeInNature.com to view the company’s full product line of Supersnacks™ and Supersides™.

Note From Pacific Superfood Snacks Founder, Sarah PoolWritten by Sarah Pool | Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

 

pacific superfood snacks kale chips

To Our Incredible Pacific Superfood Snacks Customers and Family:

In 2012, Pacific Superfood Snacks launched as a young, scrappy, hair-on-fire company with a mission to change the world by creating the absolute healthiest, conscience-driven snacks on the planet.

As often happens when you are working tirelessly in pursuit of a goal, the right people or circumstances come into your life at the right time. In our case, those people and circumstances were a team by the name of Made In Nature, a family that emulated everything we wanted to become as a small company. Things like: an unwavering commitment and ability to provide the absolute best organic, non-gmo, real food snacks found anywhere; an uncompromising responsibility to its customers, team, suppliers, and the planet; and a culture that thrives on adventure, innovation, and fun.

In 2014, our team at Pacific Superfood Snacks rolled up our sleeves and went to work on creating a kale chip for Made In Nature that embodied the spirit, flavor, and excitement their company is known for. The result was an organic banana coconut kale chip, so unique, so flavorful, and so nutrient-dense that we all knew we had achieved something special. The synergy between Pacific Superfood Snacks and Made In Nature served everyone’s highest values, vision, and goals, and we had the incredible opportunity to join the Made In Nature family of brands.

Since joining Made In Nature, Pacific Superfood Snacks has grown from a small, regional brand to being found in stores across the country. We have gone from producing just kale chips to innovating myriad dried vegetable snacks, complimenting the incredible line-up of organic healthy snacks found at Made In Nature, such as Coconut Chips, Figgy Pops, and Nut Fusions (my favorite is the Maple Balsamic).

Made In Nature Kale Chips

We are now taking the next exciting leap, transitioning the Pacific Superfood Snacks brand to the Made In Nature brand (check them out here!). We couldn’t be more thrilled for what is to come as it means we get to provide you a level of service and a quality of product that’s bigger than ever. We have no intentions of slowing down in providing everyone, everywhere access to the best tasting, healthiest snacks on the planet.

 

We want to thank everyone for their unbelievable support of Pacific Superfood Snacks. We have always felt that our customers, suppliers, staff, and vendors have been one big team, and we look forward to keeping the tradition and fun going. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Please keep in touch — you know we love your feedback, comments, questions, and suggestions! You can follow all of the exciting news and updates here:
Facebook
Instagram: @madeinnature
Twitter: @madeinnature
Pinterest

Sarah PoolOur sincerest thanks from the team here at Pacific Superfood Snacks and Made In Nature,

Sarah Pool
Founder, Pacific Superfood Snacks

 

Tart Cherry Lemon Muffin RecipeWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Saturday, May 21st, 2016

Delicious, and Healthy, Tart Cherry Lemon Muffins

Spring is in the air and that means it’s cherry season! I modified this delicious muffin recipe from Real Healthy Recipes using Made In Nature Organic Tart Cherries and let me tell you… these muffins are good. I love baking as healthily as possible and this recipe definitely ticks that box. You’ll use ingredients like coconut flour, maple syrup, and coconut milk. They’re even gluten, grain, dairy, and cane sugar free!

Ingredients

Tart Cherry Lemon Muffins

  • ⅔ cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 omega-3 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon zest from one lemon
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract
  • ½ teaspoon cherry extract
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup Made in Nature Organic Tart Cherries, chopped into small pieces

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While it’s heating up lightly grease a 24 count mini muffin pan with coconut oil or your other favorite cooking oil. Grab a medium-sized bowl and whisk the coconut flour, salt, and baking powder together.

Using a second medium-sized bowl combine the eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, coconut milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon extract, and cherry extract. Mix it all up add in your finely chopped tart cherries. Then, add your cooled and melted coconut oil, whisking it into the batter. Keep whisking until the batter is smooth and lump-free.

Bake for 25 minutes, basking in the ahh-mazing smell that’s filling your kitchen. Be sure to give them a check every so often since cooking times can vary. You want the muffins to be a light golden brown color. Remove them from the oven, let ‘em cool, then gently remove each muffin to continue cooling on a wire cooling rack.

And that’s it! This healthy tart cherry lemon muffin recipe couldn’t be easier.
Are you going to give this recipe a go? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Brownie Recipe with Coconut Chips to Satisfy Your Sweet ToothWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Delicious, Gooey Brownies with a Tropical Coconut Twist

Once the weather starts teasing me with warmer temperatures my mind immediately turns tropical. And, there’s nothing I love more than taking advantage of that tropical state of mind by incorporating more coconut into my recipes.

I don’t know about you, but I also have a pretty ravenous sweet tooth. When I’m craving some time on the beach and something sweet, I whip up these amazing brownies using a combo of Made in Nature coconut chips and shredded coconut flakes. I like my brownies rich, fudgy, and sinful. If you feel the same way, let’s get baking!

Fudgy Coconut Brownies with Coconut Chips

Toasted Coconut Chips from Made in Nature

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups cocoa
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 4 large eggs gently beaten
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened, fine flaked coconut
  • 1 package Made in Nature Maple Madagascar Vanilla Toasted Coconut Chips

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Amazing Snacks On The Go – Fruit Bar RecipeWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

You’ll Love These 3-Ingredient Dried Apple Energy Bars

Like many a health-minded foodie, I love fruit bars. Lärabar is probably one of my favorite brands, but you know what kind of fruit bars I love even more? My own homemade organic dried apple fruit bars.

If you need a quick snack for your workday commute, or just want to avoid midday hanger, give these guys a try. Oh, and before I forget… you’ll only need three ingredients! Mind = blown.

Ingredients

1 cup nuts (use mixed nuts, almonds, cashews, or any other nut you enjoy)
1 cup Made In Nature Organic Dried Apples
1 cup Made in Nature Organic Deglet Noor Dates

Organic Dried Apples from Made in Nature

Directions

Whip out your food processor and toss in the nuts, dried apples, and dates. Pulse a few times to break everything up and separate the dates by hand if they start to get clumpy. Then, you want to process the mixture until a ball is formed. This should take a minute or two and you may want to scrape the sides of your food processor to make sure nothing is sticking to the sides and blade.
Put some wax paper on your countertop and then plop your ball down. Press the mixture into a thick square, making it as thick as you ultimately want your bars to be. Wrap that lovely square up in the wax paper and let it chill in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, unwrap your square and place it on a cutting board. I usually cut mine into 8 – 12 bars depending on how large I want my fruit bars to be.

… And that’s it! Your bars can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks at a time. If you’re anything like me, there’s no way they’ll last that long. I think they’re best right out of the fridge, but I also like wrapping them up to go. They’ll get a bit soft eventually, but it doesn’t impact the amazing taste.

Do you enjoy making your own homemade energy bars? What are your favorite ingredient combinations? Swap recipes and ideas in the comments!

7 Healthy and High Protein FoodsWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Healthy Foods That Pack a Protein Punch

Whether you’re training for a big event like a marathon, or simply want to up your strength and muscle, a high protein diet can be a huge help. Protein helps repair and rebuild muscles, but remember — if you don’t also eat enough carbs or fats to satisfy your energy needs protein will be converted into energy, meaning fewer calories go to muscle repair. That’s why a balanced diet is so important!

Are you ready to up your protein intake? Give these 7 healthy and high protein foods a try!

1. Hard boiled eggs

Eggs - A high protein food and snack
Hard boiled eggs are one of my favorite high protein snacks to prep ahead of time. I generally boil a dozen, then they’re ready and waiting for me whenever hunger strikes. One large egg contains about 6 grams of protein.

2. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds pack a surprising amount of protein… there’s nearly 10 grams in just a quarter cup. You can add them to trail mix, sprinkle over salads, or eat ‘em plain. Just be sure to watch your portion sizes, because a quarter cup also contains 180 calories.

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6 Delicious Fruits You May Not Have TriedWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Friday, May 13th, 2016

Apples are Great, But You’ve Gotta Give These Unique Fruits a Try

I love apples and bananas as much as the next fruit-obsessed person, but I also love trying new and unique fruits whenever I can. These six fruits aren’t your usual standbys but they’re just as delicious.

If you haven’t tried these fruits before you’ll definitely want to sample them all. And if you have tried them, I’d be willing to bet this post will have you craving a repeat experience!

1. Goldenberries

Goldenberries are well-known throughout South America, and they’ve even been classified as a superfood. Their tart flavor will wake up your taste buds, but these chewy berries are an excellent source of fiber and a good source of Vitamin C. I like eating them on salads, in my oatmeal, and straight out of the bag.

2. Goji berries

Another superfood to add to our list of tasty fruits you need to try, goji berries are grown in certain parts of Asia, like Tibet. Dried goji berries are soft and chewy with a subtle sweet-tangy flavor that’s quite addicting. These berries also make a good topper, but if you find you aren’t a huge fan of the flavor, blend them up in a smoothie to reap the nutritional benefits. Goji berries are a great source of Vitamin A.

3. MulberriesFresh Mulberries

If you’ve noticed that I have a bit of a berry obsession, you have a keen eye. I can’t help it — there are so many unique berry varieties to try!

Dried mulberries are tender and soft, and you can include them in tons of different recipes. Give these ricotta and grilled mulberry peaches a try for a truly unique (and mouth-watering) flavor combination.

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4 Healthy Appetizer Recipes For Your Next Dinner PartyWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Prepare These Quick and Easy Appetizers in No Time

Every great party needs tasty appetizers, right? I’m a firm believer in that statement, so skip the potato chips and try one of these four good-for-you appetizer recipes instead.

1. Fig and goat cheese appetizer

Whipping up this appetizer is so incredibly simple, and the taste payoff is huge.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Made In Nature Calimyrna Figs or Black Mission Figs
  • ¼ cup of red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (soft Brie cheese also works well)
  • 16 crackers
  • 16 pieces of fresh arugula or mixed mesclun greens

Directions:
Add the oil and onion to a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions until they begin to soften.

Fig and Goat Cheese Appetizer
Trim the stems off your figs and slice them into 1/4″ slices (about 4-5 per fig).
Add the figs and balsamic vinegar to your skillet. Saute for 2 – 4 minutes until the figs soften and are nicely coated with oil and vinegar. Remove from heat.
Spread cheese on crackers so that they’re lightly covered.
Add one small piece of arugula or mixed green on top of the cheese. Place fig topping on greens and serve.

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Healthy Snacks For Kids School LunchesWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Monday, May 9th, 2016

Try Adding These Healthy Snacks to Your Child’s Lunchbox

There’s more to a school lunch than the main meal, so what are some healthy snacks that you can pack in your child’s lunch box? These healthy snacks are all kid-approved and will keep their energy levels up throughout the school day.

Homemade fruit salad

You’ll never want to pack sugary, syrupy fruit cups once you try making your own homemade fruit salad. All you have to do is slice up your child’s favorite fruits like apples, bananas, and blueberries, then squeeze some lemon over the top to keep things fresh.

Dried fruit

Unsulphured Apricots from Made in Nature

If you’re concerned about keeping snacks cold dried fruit is a tasty and healthy snack alternative. While I’m not a kid, I am a kid at heart, and I think these juicy Made in Nature Organic, Unsulfured Apricots would be a real crowd pleaser. Made in Nature’s Organic Tropical Fusion is another one to try!

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