If You’re Vegan You May Be Deficient In One Of These 5 Key NutrientsWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Monday, January 30th, 2017

plant-nutrients_supplements

While a vegan diet is certainly beneficial for your health – numerous studies show plant-based eating prevents a number of diseases including Type II Diabetes and heart disease – vegans are often low in many key nutrients needed to truly thrive. These deficiencies can result in depression, lethargy, headaches and more. Below we take a closer look at 5 key nutrients all vegans should ensure they’re getting enough of. While we’ve provided recommended doses, if you suspect a deficiency, consult with your doctor to assess your levels and determine what amount is right for you.

B-12

What it does: B12 is needed to make red blood cells and prevents anemia. The body cannot make B12 on its own and relies on animal-based foods, fortified foods and/or supplements for this nutrient.
Signs of deficiency: weakness, tiredness, lightheadedness, pale skin, constipation or diarrhea, nerve problems like numbness, depression
Vegan sources: In addition to supplements, there are many vegan foods fortified with B12. These include non-dairy milks, meat substitutes, breakfast cereals, and one type of nutritional yeast.

Recommended dose: The National Institutes of Health suggests women and men 14 years of age and older receive 2.4 micrograms daily. Go here for complete dosing recommendations by age.

Calcium

What it does: We all know that calcium is integral for strong bones and teeth, but calcium is also needed to support blood clotting and regulate nerve fibers in muscles. Muscles can cramp and even fail without enough calcium.

Signs of deficiency: muscle cramps, difficulty swallowing, fatigue, course hair, chronic itching, numbness or tingling in the extremities. Find a full list of calcium- deficiency indicators here.

Vegan sources: Blackstrap molasses, collard greens, tempeh, turnip greens, calcium fortified plant-based milks. This guide includes the amount of calcium found in each of these foods plus additional sources.

Recommended dose: The National Institutes of Health recommends that adults age 19-50 years and men 51-70 years receive at least 1000 mg of calcium per day. An intake of 1200 mg of calcium is recommended for women over 51 years of age and for men over 70.

Iron

What it does: Iron plays a key role in the production of red blood cells, which are essential for carrying oxygen throughout the body.

Signs of deficiency: exhaustion, pale skin, shortness of breath, restless leg syndrome, headache, anxiety
Vegan sources:
Beans, broccoli, raisins, wheat, tofu and iron-fortified cereals. Getting enough iron can be especially challenging for vegans because plant-based sources of iron aren’t as easily digested as iron from meat. Foods rich in vitamin C, such as mulberries, can help your body absorb iron.

Recommended dose: The National Institutes of Health recommends that women age 19-50 years receive at least 18 mg of iron daily; men 19-50 should receive at least 8 mg.

Omega-3 fatty acids

What it does: Omega-3 fats support heart health. These fats, which the body does not produce, have been shown to be helpful for lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving blood vessel function, and, at higher doses, lowering triglycerides and easing inflammation.
Signs of deficiency:
dry skin and hair, soft brittle nails, difficulty paying attention, anxiety, difficulty sleeping and inflammation. Read more here.  

Vegan sources: Hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, flaxseed oil, mustard oil, seaweed and leafy vegetables. You may also consider a vegan omega-3 supplement.
Recommended dose:
The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults eat at least two servings of oily fish per week, which equates to roughly 500 mg.

Vitamin D

What it does: Nearly every cell in the body interacts with Vitamin D. It’s shown to reduced inflammation and play an important role in bone health by helping the body absorb calcium.

Signs of Deficiency: exhaustion, difficulty thinking clearly, frequent bone fractures, muscle weakness.
Vegan Sources: The body produces its own vitamin D in response to sunlight. Getting outside for just 10 minutes of sunshine 3 to 4 times a week is a good place to start, though it’s challenging to satisfy your vitamin D needs from the sun alone. Foods that contain vitamin D include shitake mushrooms and fortified oatmeal, breakfast cereals, almond milk and tofu. In many cases supplementation is also helpful but be sure to select a supplement that’s vegan. Many are made with fish oil or lanolin, a waxy substance secreted by glands found in a sheep’s skin.

Recommended dose: The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults over age18 receive 1,500 to 2,000 IUs Daily. Go here for complete dosing recommendations.

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

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?

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.

super-berry-fruit-fusion-blend

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.

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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3 Everyday Steps Toward Healthy LivingWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

A Healthier Lifestyle is as Easy as 1-2-3!

Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be too terribly difficult — the smallest changes can actually make a huge difference in your healthy living quest.

If you’re trying to lead a healthier life give these three simple, everyday steps a try. Your body will thank you and you might even be inspired to keep making changes. Don’t worry, the suggestions I’m going to share aren’t monumental… but you’ll feel monumentally better!

Limit the amount of unhealthy snacks that you eat

Healthy Living is just a few steps away!Most of the unhealthy foods I eat come in the form of snacks… oops. One of the easiest ways to clean up your diet is to watch your snacking and replace unhealthy snacks with healthier foods.

Let’s start with chips. You can easily replace them with kale chips. I’m also a big fan of easy veggie snacks like carrots and hummus. If you have a sweet tooth like me try snacking on Made in Nature’s Tart Cherry Fig FiggyPops or a few Made In Nature Dates with nut butter.

Of course, everything is best in moderation. You don’t have to completely cut out all of your favorite treats (that’s a surefire way to bring on a junk food binge.) Indulge in those snacks mindfully, pay attention to your portion sizes, and then get back to the healthy snacks.

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Brain Friendly Foods to Help You ConcentrateWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Thursday, March 31st, 2016

These Foods Can Help You Stay Focused

There are tons of supplements on the market that promise to help improve memory, and you may have heard that certain foods can help you concentrate. While there isn’t a magic pill or snack that can automatically help you focus with laser-like intensity, there are certain “brain foods” that can help your mind function at peak capacity, and I’m going to share some of my favorites. As you read, try to think about how you can incorporate these brain-friendly foods and drinks into your regular diet — they’re tasty, so it shouldn’t be too difficult!

Eat fish to keep your brain healthy

Eating fish is good for the mind.

Improve your brain health with these foods Why? Fish is full of omega-3s, and it turns out these fatty acids have a huge positive impact on our brain health. Dr. Cyrus Raji, a resident radiologist at UCLA, explains, “If you eat fish just once a week, your hippocampus—the big memory and learning center—is 14 percent larger than in people who don’t eat fish that frequently.”

It doesn’t matter what kind of fish you eat, but the preparation is important: baked or broiled, and never fried. For a unique and refreshing way to enjoy fish, try Made in Nature’s seafood ceviche banana chip recipe.

Snack on walnuts for a better memory

In 2015 researchers at UCLA found that people who ate more walnuts performed better on a series of cognitive tests. Even more surprisingly, the cognitive functions of the group increased markedly across different demographics, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity.

Why are walnuts so good for the brain? Well, they’re high in antioxidants and a number of important vitamins and minerals that all keep your mind healthy.

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Must Have Kitchen Items & UtensilsWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Saturday, March 26th, 2016

Seven Useful Kitchen Tools That Will Transform Your Cooking

You already have the basics: pots, pans, baking sheets, spatulas. But, what if you could completely transform your cooking and baking with some new utensils and gadgets? Here are 7 awesome kitchen tools that you might not have — some of them I’m already obsessed with, and others are high on my list of “wants.”

1. Silpat baking sheets

Move over, parchment paper. Silicone is durable, resistant to extreme temps, transfers heat evenly, and is inherently nonstick. That’s why Silpat baking sheets are so useful, even when it’s time to bake flaky pastries and gooey cookies. Plus, you can use them over and over again.

2. Immersion blenders

This tool changed my life, because it meant I never had to transfer my roasted red pepper soup to the blender for pureeing again. Now I can puree soups straight from the pot, thicken sauces right on the stovetop, and easily mix up ingredients with a hand-held immersion blender.

Kitchen Items and Untensils

3. Salad spinner

Veggie prep can be a pain, especially if you need to wait for your washed broccoli and lettuce to dry. That’s where a salad spinner comes in handy. Don’t let the name fool you, because this amazing tool can wash all sorts of produce. Some can also be used as colanders, which is helpful for pasta.

This larger tool can take up a bunch of space in your cabinet, which is why I love this collapsible model by Progressive International. (more…)

Stay Hydrated !Written by Susan Thanavaro | Friday, March 25th, 2016

Why Hydration is so Important for a Healthy Lifestyle

If you want to live a healthy lifestyle you’ll need to make sure you’re properly hydrated. Up to 60% of an adult human’s body is made up of water, so it’s pretty darn important!

H2O also regulates your body temperature, helps cushion your spinal cord, and lubricates your joints… and that short list is just the beginning. There are tons of health benefits of drinking water — and learning more about them might be the motivation you need to up your daily intake!

Water helps flush out your organs

Water plays a vital role in helping our organs, particularly the kidneys, clear out toxins and other waste. If you’re regularly drinking enough water then your kidneys should be able to easily  cleanse your body of those toxins.

Stay Hydrated

How can you tell if your kidneys and other organs aren’t getting the fluids they need? Well, let’s chat about urine. Ideally, it should flow freely, be light in color, and be free of odor. Your skin is another thing to check — sometimes, dull and dry skin can be helped by drinking more water.

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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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Welcome! Now sit back and relaxWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Life should be more like a bowl full of cherries, don’t you think? Let us help.

We know you’re busy. Between shuttling the kids between practices, figuring out what’s for dinner and maintaining your own health and wellness goals, who couldn’t use a few resources to boost sanity?  We hope to be that extra hand that helps you keep it all together. That’s why our 100-percent organic dried fruits use only the best tasting, most mouth watering ingredients. How do we do it? We work with the most dedicated family of farmers to grow the highest quality fruit – fruit that shines with the ‘taste of place’ like no other. So, when you support Made In Nature, you’re doing your part to nourish not only your family but also the planet. And of course, we’re always striving to offer more. We’ve been brainstorming in what other ways we can connect with and be a resource to you, and  we think our new blog is just the ticket.

To make life just a little less hectic we’ll provide quick tips (gleaned from our many trial and errors) and information to motivate, empower and streamline how you approach your day-to-day. We’ll keep it short, sweet and fun, so you can easily absorb and implement what works best for you. Here’s a sneak peak at what we’ll be covering:

Quick and easy recipes. Impromptu dinner party? No problem. Nutrient dense kids snacks? We got you covered. Our quick and easy recipes will streamline mealtimes and make you look like a whiz in the kitchen. Don’t worry, we don’t need the credit.

Tips to promote balanced living. Why you should buy organic bananas if they have such a thick peel? How can you easily manage clutter to make your space a true sanctuary? Get the answers to inform your decisions in the home, kitchen, grocery store and more.

The down low on free stuff.  We love getting free samples and suspect you do as well! Our contests and giveways will be announced here, so check back often. We promise to make it worth your while.

We love any excuse for a celebratory treat so to kick things off, and keep cool in June’s heat, we’d love to share this festive and easy freezer staple to sustain you through the summer.

Look for a new post each week and please submit any feedback. We’re here for you!

Fruit-infused Ice

 Ingredients:

1/3 cup Made In Nature Organic Pineapple and/or Made In Nature Organic Mangos (diced)

Ice Tray of your choosing

Water (or juice, i.e lemonade, punch or lime juice)

 Directions

1. Dice the mangos and/or pineapple. Make sure the pieces are small enough to fit in your ice tray mold

2. Drop diced fruit pieces into the ice tray mold

3. Fill ice tray with water (or juice)

4. Place the tray in the freezer for about 8 hours or until frozen

5. Serve with your favorite drinks and enjoy!