Gear up for National Nutrition Month with 5 Surprising Super FoodsWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Monday, March 6th, 2017

Mocha Espresso Smoothie  Tart cherry, apple and cabbage slaw made with Made In Nature organic dried tart cherries, red cabbage, green cabbage, apple, and carrot, with an apple cider vinegar, honey, and lime juice vinaigrette.  vegan-sweet-potato-toasted-coconut

Does anyone else have Spring Fever? As the sunlight lingers a little longer each day and a certain chill leaves the air, we can’t help but look forward to summer. Luckily, we know it won’t be long before shorts and flip-flop season is upon is. To gear up for making the most of the warmer weather to come, we’re putting special attention on health by teaming up with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for National Nutrition Month. For the month of March, look here and on our Facebook page and Twitter feed for specific ideas on how you can  “put your best fork forward” to nourish mind, body and soul.

To get things started on the right foot, below are 5 favorite recipes we hope may inspire your menus this month. You may be surprised by the super food ingredient that makes them stand out. Who says healthy and delicious are not synonymous?

 

Mocha Espresso Smoothie
Super ingredient, Cacao:
Contains 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries and is the highest plant-based source of iron. Cacao is also rich in magnesium and calcium.

 

Stuffed Breakfast Tomatoes
Super ingredient, Roasted Tomato: Cooking tomatoes dramatically boosts beneficial lycopene.  Lycopene is an antioxidant that is a shown cancer fighter and also supports eye health.

 

Tart Cherry Apple and Cabbage Slaw
Super ingredient, Cabbage: This rainbow salad is rich in many healthful ingredients including carrot, apple and tart cherries. We love that it uses both red and green cabbage, which contain glutamine, an anti-inflammatory agent shown to reduce joint pain, fever and even help manage allergies.

 

Cranberry and Plum Stuffed Turkey Burgers
Super ingredient, Turkey: Aside from being a low-fat source of protein, regular turkey consumption is connected with a decreased risk of pancreatic cancer. Be sure to select, free-range, organic meat if possible.

 

Double Baked Sweet Potato and Toasted Coconut
Super ingredient, Sweet Potato: Did you know that sweet potatoes contain more Vitamin A than any other food? Vitamin A plays a key role in maintaining vision and supporting brain function. It’s also a known immune booster.

Is Your Child Stressed? Know The SignsWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

When you’re stressed, you may reminisce about the care-free days of childhood. Everything was much simpler then, right? Actually, maybe not. Though we may not remember all the challenges we faced while growing up, or now consider such fears silly, at the time, these issues may have had a significant impact on our lives. Stress can impact anyone at any age. Separation from parents can cause preschoolers anxiety. As we get older, academic and social pressures can lead to stress. Kids are also particularly attuned to the stress of parents. If the news, work pressures, or general feelings of overwhelm have you frazzled, kids may pick up on and also experience these feelings.

Because our ability to name feelings develops with age, young children are not able to communicate when they are stressed. Instead, parents must be attuned to physical and emotional clues that can be indicators.

stress-children

The U.S. Library of Medicine lists the following signs of childhood stress:

Emotional Symptoms:

  • Anxiety, worry
  • Not able to relax
  • New or recurring fears (fear of the dark, fear of being alone, fear of strangers)
  • Clinging, unwilling to let you out of sight
  • Anger, crying, whining
  • Not able to control emotions
  • Aggressive or stubborn behavior
  • Going back to behaviors present when a younger age
  • Doesn’t want to participate in family or school activities

Physical Symptoms:

  • Decreased appetite, other changes in eating habits
  • Headache
  • New or recurrent bedwetting
  • Nightmares
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Upset stomach or vague stomach pain
  • Other physical symptoms with no physical illness

The next step is to help your child understand and manage whatever is arising for them. Consider the following tips from KidsHealth.org to help your child identify and manage stress.

Notice out loud. Tell your child when you notice that something’s bothering him or her. If you can, name the feeling you think your child is experiencing.

Listen to your child. Ask your child to tell you what’s wrong. Listen attentively and calmly — with interest, patience, openness, and caring.

Comment briefly on the feelings you think your child was experiencing. For example, you might say “That must have been upsetting,” “No wonder you felt mad when they wouldn’t let you in the game,” or “That must have seemed unfair to you.”

Put a label on it. Many younger kids do not yet have words for their feelings. If your child seems angry or frustrated, use those words to help him or her learn to identify the emotions by name.

Help your child think of things to do. If there’s a specific problem that’s causing stress, talk together about what to do.

Listen and move on. Sometimes talking and listening and feeling understood is all that’s needed to help a child’s frustrations begin to melt away.

Just be there. Kids don’t always feel like talking about what’s bothering them. Sometimes that’s OK. Let your kids know you’ll be there when they do feel like talking. Even when kids don’t want to talk, they usually don’t want parents to leave them alone.

Be patient. As a parent, it hurts to see your child unhappy or stressed. But try to resist the urge to fix every problem. Instead, focus on helping your child, slowly but surely, grow into a good problem solver.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests reaching out to a professional if your child:

  • Is becoming withdrawn, more unhappy or depressed
  • Is having problems in school or interacting with friends or family
  • Is unable to control his or her behavior or anger
  • Offering these techniques early can set children up to know how to healthily deal with stress in adulthood.

Offering these techniques and resources early on can set children up to learn how to healthily deal with stress in adulthood.

Could Cutting Calories Slow the Aging Process? Here’s the Latest ScienceWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

vegetables-fruit-calories-aging

From tales of The Fountain of Youth to modern day serums and creams that promise to smooth and plump, humans have long been interested in arresting the aging process. Naturally, a healthy diet and active lifestyle can go a long way towards promoting life and fostering a youthful glow, but this may not be the only key. A recent study published in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics suggests that how much one eats may actually slow the aging process.

In the study, one group of mice were given unlimited access to food, while the other consumed 35 percent fewer calories. Results showed that the mice eating a calorie-restricted diet lived longer, experienced more energy and fewer diseases. According to scientists of the study, “the restriction caused real biochemical changes that slowed down the rate of aging.”

 

What is the calorie, aging connection?

The study authors found that when ribosomes – the cell’s protein makers – slow down, the aging process slows too. The decreased speed lowers production but gives the ribosomes extra time to repair themselves.

“The ribosome is a very complex machine, sort of like your car, and it periodically needs maintenance to replace the parts that wear out the fastest,” said Brigham Young University biochemistry professor and senior author John Price. “When tires wear out, you don’t throw the whole car away and buy new ones. It’s cheaper to replace the tires.”

Reduced calorie consumption was the key to slowing ribosomes, at least in mice.

 

Hmmm … but what about in humans?  

These findings aren’t entirely shocking. Another study conducted in 1972 found that residents of the Japanese island Okinawa naturally consumed 17 percent fewer calories than the average Japanese person. The Okinawans lived an average of a year and a half longer than those on the mainland and were 60 to 70 percent less likely to die of heart disease, cancer and cerebral vascular diseases.

Still, before you start diligently counting calories, the study authors warn that calorie-restriction has not been properly tested on humans and suggest instead that their findings impart the importance of a healthy diet. “The essential message is understanding the importance of taking care of our bodies,” study authors told Science Daily.

 

What is a “healthy” diet?

We like Michael Pollan’s Three Simple Rules for Eating:

  1. Eat Food: That means food that is unprocessed and doesn’t come from a factory. Shop primarily from the perimeter of your grocery store.
  2. Not too much: One key to not overeating is making sure your meals are satiating. Protein and fat send signals to your brain that you’re full faster than bread, pasta and fruit. Make sure your meals include both.
  3. Mostly Plants: Make plants the superstars of your diet. Rather than thinking of protein as the main, consider meat and fat as the side dish.

Beyond Meatless Monday: 5 Tips to Be a Weekend VeganWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Thursday, February 16th, 2017

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Trying to health up your diet? Cutting animal products may be one way to do it. Research consistently shows that people who eat a vegan diet, that is refrain from all foods that contain animal products and byproducts including eggs, dairy and sometimes even honey, have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes and many other health ailments. If the thought of permanently cutting meat from your diet makes your stomach growl, there’s more good news. A recent Harvard study found that just swapping out one daily serving of beef for nuts could reduce the risk of dying early by as much as 19 percent. Cutting out meat periodically is also shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 20 percent according to Consumer Reports. Not only that, eating more veg is better for the environment. Did you know you can save more water by not eating a pound of meat than from refraining from taking a shower for 6 months?

While Meatless Monday is a great way to dip your toe into plant-based eating, going animal-product free for a full weekend is a more powerful way to reap the benefits of this better-for-you lifestyle. We know the thought of adopting a new diet – even for just a few days – can be a lot to swallow. Here are some easy and gentle tips to get started. Who knows, you may just find that the bevy of delicious and healthy options ahead of you lead your weekend veganism to stretch into Monday and beyond.

 

Start with an open mind

Going vegan does not mean salad is your only option – though fresh greens topped with organic ingredients are pretty tasty. Almost any dish can be made vegan with a few clever substitutions. Still, when you first start eating vegan, we caution against trying to replace your favorite recipes with their vegan counterparts. You’re much more likely to enjoy your new diet when you’re not reminiscing about the meals you used to eat. Take your palate around the globe and consider new ingredients, preparation methods and spices. We’re particularly fond of this vegan tagine. For inspiration, collect recipes from vegan bloggers. Here’s one of our favorites.

Stock up

Tofu? Tempeh? Nutritional Yeast? Greens?  Rice? Quinoa? After selecting the vegan recipes you’d like to prepare, hit the grocery store the day before your vegan-eating start date to purchase everything you’ll need. This way, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running come Saturday morning. What’s worse than realizing you’re short an ingredient when you’re in the middle of cooking?

 

Consider exotic produce

Let curiosity be your guide. Never had a particular fruit or vegetable? Bravely, give it a try. At worst, you can spit it out and never buy it again. At best, you discover a new favorite and impress your friends with your produce prowess. Here’s a guide for how to use less common vegetables.

Budget extra time

Starting any new endeavor requires an initial investment of time before feeling confident and comfortable. A new diet is no exception. Begin gently by allowing yourself extra time for tasks like grocery shopping and cooking. Get in the kitchen before you’re starving to allow for leisurely food preparation. This will also minimize the likelihood of grabbing something unhealthy when hunger strikes.

 

Cut convenience foods

Sure, Oreos, bagels and brownies are vegan, but that doesn’t mean they’re good options for your vegan weekend. It may be tempting to opt for convenience foods when eating vegan – especially if cooking your own meals seems daunting. But the health benefits of a vegan diet are quickly diminished by indulging in foods that contain excess sodium, hydrogenated fats and sugar. If cooking your own meals makes you nervous, remember to start simply. A roasted sweet potato topped with sautéed veggies or roasted chickpeas is delicious, simple and packed with nutrients. Here are 30 easy and filling vegan recipes to get you started.

7 Fabulous Ways to Love Yourself This Valentine’s Day (and Everyday)Written by Kelsey Blackwell | Monday, February 13th, 2017

figgy-pops-valentines-heart

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance, ”said Oscar Wilde. Why not then, show yourself how much you care this Valentine’s Day? Whether this holiday finds you solo or with a partner in crime, any healthy relationship starts by realizing you’re the apple of your own eye. Here are 7 ways to treat yourself right this V-day and everyday.

Get Your Glow On
That is, your post-workout glow. If you’ve never been to the gym on Valentine’s day, you’re in for a treat. It’s usually gloriously empty. Don your red, white and pink workout gear, queue up your favorite beats and enjoy the options before you. Not a gym rat? Grab some friends for a V-Day run, snowshoeing adventure or impromptu dance party.  Or, if you’re not crowd adverse, pop into any of the Valentine’s Day-themed yoga, spin, or dance classes in your ‘hood.

Take Yourself On a Date
No date? No problem! Sometimes your own company truly is the best company. Plan some quality time for just you. Maybe that’s sitting in a café with a new book and a steaming mug of something? Or, maybe it’s setting up your own one-night stand in a fancy hotel, enjoying a leisurely bath and room service.  The only requirement is that your date makes you excited. To avoid crowds and a likely sea of couples, steer clear of restaurants and movie theaters — or not. You’re in the driver’s seat!

Enjoy a Day Off
Take a day to love yourself in all the ways that make your heart pitter pat. This is the time to engage all the senses. Break out the candles, essential oils, and your softest, comfiest clothes. Start the morning with breakfast in bed, then maybe an afternoon message and nap. From there, let pleasure be your guide.

Write Yourself a Love Letter
How do you love thee? Let thee count the ways, literally. Set aside some time to wax poetic on all the ways you love yourself. Don’t hold back; the beauty is in the details. Recount times when you displayed compassion and/or were of service to another. Think about your traits. How do you crack yourself up? How do you take care of yourself? What goals have you achieved? What goals are you working towards? Think about the special people in your life and how you nurture those relationships. Keep your letter in a special place and refer to it often – especially those days when you’re feeling not so top notch.

Surround Yourself with Beauty
Beauty is as beauty does. Let yourself soak it in in a special place that makes you come alive and awakens your creativity. Maybe that’s watching waves crash at the beach, or smelling the sweetness of a redwood forest? Perhaps it’s viewing art at a museum or seeing a ballet? After your beautiful experience, set aside some time to reflect and create your own expression of beauty.

Go Tech Free For a Day
What if you were out of communication for a full day? No phone, no email, no Skype or Zoom? What might you do with that deposit in time? Allow yourself to go analog, if not for a full day at least a few hours, and connect with the physical world beyond the screen. Research shows that cutting screen time is not only beneficial for improving our social interactions but also calming the nervous system. Who knows, you might decide to adopt some tech-free time everyday.

Get Mindful
Spend some quality time with yourself in a meditative way. Meditation has several benefits including helping to promote feelings of wellbeing and reducing stress. If you’ve never tried meditation before, here are some general instructions to get you started. Don’t be surprised if during your first time, focusing on the breath is particularly difficult. Learning to tame the mind improves with time.  Follow up your meditation session with a walk outside using your senses to tune into your environment. What do you see, hear, smell and feel?  How might you carry this experience into your day-to-day?

14 Valentine’s Day Recipes that Beat a Box of ChocolatesWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Valentine’s Day is all about indulgence. While we love a heart-shaped box filled with sweets and treats as much as anyone, there are many more delicious ways to show your sweetheart you care – especially if your Valentine is you. Ditch the crowded restaurants and chocolates filled with mysterious ingredients and whip up your own indulgence at home. We have you covered for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

valentines-day-recipes-raw-truffle-balls

A Lovely Way to Start the Day


Save some dough and the long lines of V-day brunch and enjoy more cuddle time at home. Any of these recipes is sure to get your loved one in the mood, or eat them in bed yourself while watching a movie featuring your celebrity crush.

Potassium-Protein Morning Shake
More energy on Valentine’s Day is a good thing, and this shake delivers with dried bananas, oats and almond butter. What will you do with that extra boost? That’s for you to decide.

Ricotta & Greek Yogurt Pancakes with Goldenberry Basil Syrup
Nothing spells I love you like a stack of pancakes made just for you. Go the distance with these extra-fluffy, extra-tasty Ricotta and Greek Yogurt Pancakes with Goldenberry Basil Syrup. Yum!

Honey Date Loaf
Ask your honey on a date with a sweet slice of Honey Date Loaf made in their honor. Bake this breakfast the night ahead and be one step closer to impressing your date come V-day morning.

Banana Coffee Crepes
Who’s not wowed by crepes? The pancake’s sophisticated French cousin is light, airy and often filled with things that make people happy. This recipe infuses the favorite with coffee (yes coffee!) and organic dried bananas.

Black Mission Fig & Goat Cheese Hard Boiled Eggs
Everyone loves deviled eggs, so why not enjoy them for breakfast? This spin on the hors d’oeuvre classic brings sweet mission figs and tangy goat cheese into the fold for a decidedly delicious (and unexpected) morning meal.

Treat Yourself to a Fancy Dinner

Everyone knows that dinner out on Valentine’s Day can crowded, pricey and underwhelming. Save the time and get cozy in your own kitchen. Nothing spells foreplay like chopping, stirring and tasting together.

Cuban-Style Paella
Shrimp, scallops and chorizo, oh my! While paella can sometimes be a time-consuming affair, this recipe makes it a snap, though just as scrumptious.

Dried Cranberry & Apricot Braised Lamb Chops
Who wouldn’t swoon over this festive garnet braise featuring tender lamb shoulder and dried apricots and cranberries made plump from any favorite pinot? The recipe calls for one cup of wine. What will you do with the rest of the bottle?

Squash and Fig Stew
It’ll be hard not to get comfortable when the smells from this stew of butternut squash, grass-fed beef, onions and dried figs, begin wafting from the kitchen. A kick from a hint of jalapeno will make it even easier to lose a layer.

Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza
Everyone loves pizza, and here’s a way to make it V-day worthy.  Fancy figs, goat cheese, arugula and thyme come together in a snap for this delicious vegetarian meal.

Say Yes, to Healthy Indulgence

Be sweet on your sweetheart or give in to your cravings with impunity. The most delicious desserts are naturally guilt free because they use only the highest quality, organic ingredients.

Goji Berry Truffles
Sweetened with maple syrup and infused with nutrient-rich Maca (which, ahem, is shown to support sexual function) these dark cacao truffles are easy to make and so packed with healthy ingredients it’s easy to forget they’re dessert.

Raw Truffle Balls
You really can’t have too many truffles on Valentine’s Day, and these little delights are free of refined sugar and surprisingly made with fiber-rich dates, apricots and raisins. Go ahead, have two or five.

Warm Chocolate & Coffee Figgy Pudding
It doesn’t get sexier than this dark, decadent, sophisticated, warm winter dessert. For the full experience, we strongly suggest you pair your pudding with cognac while sitting by a roaring fire.

Fig & Port Gelato
We think ice cream is a welcome treat any time of year. Rather than reaching for a pre-purchased pint, let Valentine’s Day be your inspiration to try your hand at the churning wheel. This recipe brings together Golden Calimyrna Figs and ruby port for fabulously pink, gourmet scoops.

Chocolate Dipped Candied Apricots
Double dipped chocolate apricots are easy, healthy and fun. We like to cover ours in nuts and seeds, but we won’t tell if you pull out the heart-shaped sprinkles.

Before you go gluten free ask these 5 questionsWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

gluten-free-toast-coconut-chips

Perhaps you know many people who’ve adopted gluten free diets. Maybe you’ve even had a nutritionist advise you against eating gluten or dabbled with ditching it yourself. If you’re considering going gluten free, you’re not alone. In a recent survey, roughly 30% of Americans said they were trying to cut back or avoid gluten in their diet. Meanwhile, only 1% of the population has actually been diagnosed with Celiac Disease – the condition that can cause intestinal damage from eating gluten. Those without a Celiac diagnosis who cut gluten are considered PWAGs (people without celiac disease avoiding gluten) — a group that’s steadily risen over the past five years. In fact, though rates of Celiac Disease have remained flat since 2009, the number of PWAGs has tripled to nearly 3.1 million.  Why are so many keen on cutting out this protein which is found in wheat, rye barley and many other foods?

According to the non-profit organization Beyond Celiac, a gluten sensitivity is associated with symptoms such as headache, foggy mind, joint pain, and numbness in the legs, arms or fingers. By ditching gluten, those issues presumably disappear.

Still, according to a recent article in Forbes, “the benefits of following a gluten-free diet remain uncertain for people without gluten-related health issues while nutritional concerns have also been raised about resulting deficiencies in iron, calcium and fiber consumption.”

How do you know if going gluten free is right for you?

  1. What is your motivation?
    Are you experiencing health challenges associated with gluten sensitivity? Do you want to lose weight? Are you trying to eat healthier? A gluten-free diet is not supportive of weight loss nor is it necessarily healthier than diets that contain gluten.
  2. Do you experience signs of gluten-sensitivity?
    Are you symptoms indicative of having trouble digesting gluten, or could it be something else? Read more about gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease.
  3. Have you tried heirloom grains?
    Processed white flours are particularly hard on the gut and shown to lead to inflammation. There is evidence that some ancient grains lack the toxicity of modern wheat grains. You might find that switching out white-flour products for heirloom or sprouted carbohydrates reduces inflammation and other symptoms.
  4. Have you spoken to your doctor?
    Your doctor or a registered dietician can help you determine if a gluten-sensitivity is a likely factor in the health issues you’re experiencing, or if another food, or lifestyle habit may be at the root. A professional can also advise which nutrients may need to be supplemented with a change in diet, and help you monitor your symptoms over time. Plus, you’ll likely be more successful if you’re not going it alone.
  5. How dedicated are you?
    It takes roughly 23 days for the body to recalibrate after eating harmful foods. That means that to accurately assess how your body behaves without gluten, you must strictly cut gluten for at least this period of time. Because gluten is in many foods, that means getting comfortable reading food labels and being extra cautious when dining out. Dipping in and out of eating gluten will not give you a clear picture of how your body behaves without it – even if it’s just a small amount.

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

winter-walk-seasonal-depression

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.

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

conscious-cleanse-real-food

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?

Every time 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.

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.
cranberries-dried-organic-yogurt-toppings

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

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

 

Quick Workout Routines You Can Do From HomeWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

HIIT, Strength Training, and More At-Home Exercising

Sometimes, I really don’t feel like leaving my house to get in a workout. Thankfully, there’s no need for a fancy gym or tons of equipment because an awesome workout can be found right in your own home. I like to switch things up with these three exercises and routines — they’re great because they’re super customizable, so it’s easy to tweak them to create a routine that’s best for your lifestyle and fitness goals.

1. HIIT at home

High intensity interval training, or HIIT, is one of the best ways to pack a huge punch in a short amount of time. By alternating high intensity bursts of work with periods of rest you’ll give your metabolism an extra boost, too. HIIT helps you continue to burn calories hours after you’ve finished your workout. But, here’s the best part — HIIT can be anything.

Quick Workouts from Home

Try doing some jumping jacks in your living room. For 45 seconds work as hard as you can. Follow up with 15 seconds of rest or walking in place. Congrats, you’ve done high intensity interval training! For a full-body HIIT experience give this intense, 7-minute workout a try. It’s killer!

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New Uses for Kale Chips!Written by Susan Thanavaro | Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Put Down the Bowl and Try Kale Chips in Your Favorite Recipes

Kale chips are fantastic and there are so many different ways to prepare them: with some extra heat from spices or sprinkled with parmesan and garlic, to start. But, you don’t have to eat them straight from the bowl every time a craving hits (though we wouldn’t blame you if you did).

Kale Chips - Great for Snacking and Cooking!

I love it when people get creative with their food, thinking outside the box to create delicious new combos – and lately I’ve seen tons of interesting ways to eat kale chips. Surprisingly, there are plenty of alternative uses for kale chips that you may not have thought of before, and I’m so excited to share them with you!

If you’re running low on time or just want a hassle-free way to turn kale chips into your next power snack, we’ve got you covered. Personally, Made In Nature’s Bedda Than Chedda and Sriracha Chili kale chips are two of my favorite flavors.

Using kale chips as a snack topping

Once you’ve spiced your kale up and dehydrated the fibrous leaves into a crunchy chip (or bought your favorite kind from the store), try using them as a topping on some of your favorite snacks:

  • Crumble your kale chips and toss them in with some air popped popcorn. Chips flavored with salt and olive oil taste great, but don’t be afraid to get creative.
  • If you’re like me and tend to cover your pizza in parmesan and red pepper flakes, try making some kale chips with those same flavors. Then, you guessed it – use those kale chips as your new favorite pizza topping.
  • Who doesn’t love toast smothered in creamy avocado? Personally, I’m a huge fan. Switch up the flavor of your avocado toast by adding crispy kale chips as a topping.

Kale chips as a topping for pastas, soups, and chili

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Fall FavoritesWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Monday, September 15th, 2014

The autumn season always gets me excited for baking. Something about the cool, crisp air and the change in color on the trees inspires a warm and alluring-scented kitchen. However, as much as I love to bake, I don’t like the affects of consuming heavy baked goods. Most recipes are filled with sugar and butter and I feel weighted down afterwards. I want to be able to eat something tasty and feel good afterwards. So, here are a few recipes that we enjoy at Made in Nature using our Organic Dried Fruit, which keeps those Fall cravings happy, healthy, and satisfied.

1.) Sweet and Spicy Cranberries & Pumpkin Seed Mix: A great snack for anytime of day, and it makes the house/office smell amazing! Also, a great recipe for using pumpkin seeds from carving Halloween pumpkins or making Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie!

cranberrypumpkinseed

2.) Honey Date Loaf: Everyone loves banana bread, but what about a honey date loaf? This sweet and healthy bread is perfect for dessert, breakfast, or anytime you’re craving that luscious Fall flavor. For some extra protein and a little crunch, throw in some walnuts!

 

3.) Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: For a little more indulgence and to enjoy a true dessert, these cookies are it! The savory flavor from the oatmeal paired with the tartness of the cranberries and sweetness from the chocolate chips make this a balanced treat!

 

I can just imagine having a lovely fire with all these delicious snacks around for family and friends to enjoy!

What to Drink This Week: Figs and BourbonWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Monday, July 14th, 2014

Black Mission Fig Old-Fashioned

Our test kitchen, and office, is always on the search for a delicious and balanced cocktail. Figs are in season for a short period of time and our Dried Organic Black Mission Figs are full of flavor and provide the perfect substitute to fresh figs. Naturally, fruit and bourbon pair together. So, we thought, why not try a spin on the traditional old-fashioned cocktail? It was 10 in the morning and we started muddling, shaking, and pouring. Everyone agreed that is was not only worthy enough to enjoy at home, but to also share with friends. So here you go friends! Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup Organic Made in Nature Dried Black Mission Figs
  • 1 1/2 oz Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice
  • 1/4 oz Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:

  1. Chop 4 Organic Made in Nature Dried Black Missions Figs and place in the bottom of a glass.
  2. Add Maple Syrup and muddle into a paste.
  3. Add the bourbon, orange juice, and balsamic vinegar, and fill the glass with ice.
  4. Shake and strain into a glass with ice.

Made in Nature Announces Two New Key Positions!Written by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Made in Nature® announces Two New Key Positions to

Amplify Market Development and New Product Introductions

Made In Nature has announced the appointment of two new key additions to their management team. “With the rapid growth and diversification of our product portfolio, we are thrilled to have Brian Ross and Dan Heiges join us as we continue to introduce innovative, new products to the North American marketplace,” said Doug Brent, CEO of Made In Nature. “Made In Nature has a longstanding commitment to 100% real food made from the finest quality organic fruits and vegetables. Our new products will continue to raise the bar for great taste and nutrient density without asking consumers to sacrifice convenience.”

Brian Ross will assume the newly created position of Chief Innovation Officer, where he will be responsible for establishing new distribution strategies, business opportunities, product lines and packaging technologies to fuel the company’s growth into the future.  Ross brings 20 years of experience and a proven track record of leading innovation at several successful startup companies including Oregon Chai (now owned by the Kerry Group), Izze (now owned by Pepsi), and most recently as the CEO of Cheribundi, where Brian expanded distribution across natural, conventional and mass-market grocery channels and launched 4 new product lines into the market place.

“I am delighted to be joining Made In Nature,” Ross said. “I embrace the opportunities that we have to make an impact on the health and wellness of consumers by delivering great tasting, organic products. I feel privileged to have the chance to work on such an inspirational and timely goal.”

Dan Heiges will join the team as the VP of New Product Development.  With a strong eye on providing “real food” to consumers in convenient ways, Dan will work with Made In Nature’s Development Team to deliver delicious and nutritious organic foods to our customers. With a background in Food Science from the University of Maryland and over 25 years experience in Food Safety and Product Development, Dan has been responsible for launching or reformulating over 1,000 Natural and Organic products during his career including the first Certified Organic Product in the State of Texas. Prior to joining Made In Nature, Dan launched many successful new products for brands including Sprout Foods and Altar Herbal Martinis, and served as the Director of Research & Development, Quality Assurance and Corporate Standards at Wild Oats Markets.

“This is an incredible opportunity to expand into new categories with innovative products, while at the same protecting the core values set in place 25 years ago by Made In Nature as an organic pioneer,”” said Heiges. “I’m excited for the challenge of spearheading our product development efforts.”

Ross and Heiges will work closely with Made In Nature’s Marketing, Sales and Operation teams to advance ideation and help shape the company’s organic innovation platform across all segments and businesses.  Ross and Heiges will both join the executive management committee and will be based in our new headquarter offices and test kitchen in Boulder, CO.