Healthy Hydration Hacks

August 23, 2018
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in Blog
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We all know that drinking water is a good – and essential – thing to do.  But how much do we need to drink?  And, besides water, what are the best beverages and foods to hydrate us?  And, what is the most convenient and delicious way to flavor water?  We have you covered in this post – our top tips for healthy hydration hacks!

Healthy Hydration Hack One:  How Much Water Do We Need?  

Your individual water needs depend on many factors, including your health, your age, how active you are and where you live.  No single formula fits everyone. Knowing more about your body’s need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.  The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20 percent of our daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.

Healthy Hydration Hack Two:  Besides Water, What Fluids Hydrate Well?

While water reigns supreme for hydration, and can do the trick almost every time, we all get tired of just drinking water.  There are quite a few additional beverages you can add to your list for hydration helpers.

  • Milk.  Whether you pick dairy, almond, cashew or soy, milk can provide an excellent source of hydration.  Look for varieties with no-added sugar.  Milk is a good post-workout drink as it can provide protein and carbohydrate which is needed for your muscles.  In one study, drinking (dairy) milk helped people retain a third of the fluid they consumed over a two-hour follow-up period, and remain hydrated for over four hours.  In this study the researchers found that milk was better than water for rehydration, and is more effective at countering dehydration.
  • Sparkling Water.  Just adding a little fizz can make water more interesting.  While sparkling water may not be ideal pre, during or post-workout, it is a great option for when you are going out and need to reduce the alcohol you are drinking.  Sparkling water can be great with meals and snacks during the day.  There are some delicious commercial options, and you can DIY at home.
  • Tea.  Whether you like black, green or herbal, tea can help with your hydration goals.  Teas that are caffeine-free are better at hydration versus those with caffeine.  There are countless ways to enjoy tea, you can enjoy a RTD variety like Honest Tea or Pure Leaf (look for the unsweetened varieties), loose leaf or bag teas, and sachets with tea.  Our favorite herbal teas include Yogi Tea’s Lemon Ginger, and Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea.  
  • Coconut Water.  In really hot and humid weather or in a workout when you sweat a lot, you could need a little hydration with some added electrolytes.  Electrolytes are minerals that our bodies need to maintain balance and include sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.  Coconut water provides potassium and sodium.  Look for a brand that has no added sugar varieties like Harmless Harvest and Zico.  You can get electrolytes through fruits and vegetables also like bananas, melon, citrus, green leafy vegetables, and beets.  
  • Juice.  Juice is hydrating, and to lower the sugar content you can dilute with water.  Fresh juice is a good option, and may not have added sugar.  Check out BluePrint for some wholesome juice options.  All foods and beverages can fit into a healthy lifestyle.  If you are not sure how much sugar to be consuming, we can help you.  Email us at info@bkomplete.com to schedule a session with one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.  

Healthy Hydration Hack Three:  Flavor Your Water

Making water more “fun” is easier than ever to do.  You can slice up your favorite fruit – orange, lemon, strawberry – and add to your water bottle or glass.  For a savory twist, try sliced cucumber and lemon in your water – delicious, refreshing, and a little different.  

Another option that we love at B.Komplete is to flavor our water with Stur water enhancer.  Our favorite flavors are Coconut Pineapple and Boldy Blue and Blackberry.  Just a few squirts, and your water will take on a vibrant flavor and color.  Your kids will like this too!  Using Stur is the perfect way to encourage a picky drinker to enjoy water.  And, as a “thank you” to you for checking out our blog, just use the code BKOMPLETE on Sturdrinks.com for 25% off of your first order.

Healthy Hydration Hack Four: Hydrate with a Smoothie

Smoothies are a delicious way to add nutrients and hydration into your diet.  A smoothie can be as simple as throwing some ice, fruit and milk into a blender and blending until smooth – to as complex as adding ancient grains, fresh herbs, and organic protein powder to make a masterpiece (but, will that taste good?!).  Our tips for the most hydrating ingredients to add into your smoothie include: water, any unsweetened milk (dairy, almond, cashew or soy), veggies (try spinach, cucumber, celery or kale), and – of course – fruit (try oranges, berries, and melon).  Check out our recipe for a scrumptious Pineapple Smoothie and visit the Green Blender Recipe Blog for several hydrating smoothie recipes.  

Whichever options you try, let us know in the comments below!  The most important thing is to stay hydrated, in a healthy way, all year round.  If you find it hard to remember to drink water, perhaps add it as a reminder in your calendar/phone each hour.  Healthy hydration is the foundation for physical and mental activity.  

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

 

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256

http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2004/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-Water-Potassium-Sodium-Chloride-and-Sulfate.aspx

Best drinks besides water


 

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What to Expect at a Corporate Health Fair

May 12, 2018
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With Summer right around the corner, Health Fair season is upon us. A health fair is an event where an array of health information is provided to the public. Corporate health fairs are a great way to promote health and wellness to your company in a fun and interactive way for all employees. Everyone, from the CEO to those in entry-level positions, experiences stress and distractions at work. Wellness programs, health fairs included, can provide insightful, educational, and collaborative experiences and activities to help counteract those overwhelming feelings.

There are many steps when it comes to planning a health fair for your company. Start early. Establish a date, time-frame, and location for the health fair. A budget must be developed, and the focus of the health fair, as well as goals and objectives, need to be determined. Many businesses choose to put on a health fair for their employees once or twice a year. Depending on the company, they can be held during business hours on a week day, where others are arranged to be set up on the weekends so that families can participate as well. Companies may also choose a specific theme for the health fair.

It is essential that your health fair is innovative and fun, and gets your employees excited to attend. In order to achieve this, think outside the box for the vendors and sponsors that you would like present at your health fair. Some ideas include: Whole Foods , a Local Farm Share , Community Volunteering Programs , Local Meditation Centers  and Local Fitness Centers. Offering healthy snacks, raffle items, on-going trivia, and other incentives will encourage participation and help to increase motivation. If your company currently provides a wellness program to employees, the health fair is a great place to recognize and encourage employees who are actively participating in regular wellness initiatives. Also, the health fair is a great place to continue to advertise all of the positive effects of corporate wellness programs for your company.

Most importantly, the demonstrations and activities comprising the health fair need to enhance learning and appear exciting for the employees. This can be done through hands-on learning, games, and/or demonstrations. Examples of wellness services that B.Komplete offers for fairs include: Chair Massages, Yoga/Exercise/Pilates Classes, “Ask an RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist)” Tables, Wellness Stations, Custom Gift Baskets and more. B.Komplete has a wide selection of Wellness Stations that we offer as part of our corporate wellness programs and can be used at your health fair. Our focus areas for our Wellness Stations include Nutrition, Exercise, Disease Prevention and Stress Management. When you choose B.Komplete, we will provide all of the management, organization, marketing, information and staff for you for your health fair; it is our job to make your job a bit easier. 

Lastly, promote, promote, promote!!! It is crucial that your employees are aware of and have a reason to be excited for the company health fair. Send email announcements (at least 2-3 months in advance, and continue to send right up to the event), decorate bulletin boards, organize a desk drop…make it fun! And remember the power of in-person announcements, as well as C-Suite participation in the events.  

Here at B.Komplete, we specialize in helping companies implement and manage their corporate wellness programs. It does not matter to us what your company decides, B.Komplete accommodates each clients’ needs in order to put on the best wellness events possible for each client.  Contact us now to discuss our health and wellness fair options, and schedule your fair! 

 


 

References:

Health & Wellness Fairs

https://www.2020onsite.com/blog/13-tips-for-throwing-an-awesome-health-fair

https://www.cdc.gov/women/healthfair/index.htm

 

 

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Why Gardening is Good for Your Health

May 6, 2018
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Have you considered starting a garden? What if you created a garden full of fresh herbs or vegetables? You will get the health benefits from gardening, and an assortment of delicious fresh produce.  If digging up your backyard sounds intimidating, or maybe you just don’t have the space for that dream garden, start small. Even potted gardening has health benefits. Below are some benefits to gardening as well as some tips to get started.

 

How does gardening benefit your health?

Increases your exposure to Vitamin D: Spending sometime outside allows your body to absorb vitamin D which can increase your calcium levels promotes healthy bones and immune system. It can also increase serotonin levels in your brain (a feel-good hormone). Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen and sunglasses!

Mood Boosting: Some studies have indicated that gardening can combat stress better than some other hobbies.

Stress Reduction Through Mental Focus: Gardening is deliberate mental focus in which you can set aside your daily problems and relax. It is so important to be able to “turn off” the stressors at work and your personal life to have the energy to tackle them head on. Reducing stress improves not only your mental health, but physical health as well. By limiting stress, you also decrease your risk of chronic diseases such has cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Improve your nutrition: Growing your own vegetables and herbs will allow you to add variety to your plate and even provide a boost of confidence knowing you grew them yourself. Produce picked fresh from the garden will taste amazing and provide more nutrients than many of the vegetables you would purchase at the grocery store. This will also save you money since you can now check the vegetables and herbs that you are growing off of your grocery list! You may even be more likely to get your family to consume vegetables more if you let them play an active role in the gardening with you.

                                            How do I get started?                                                  

Where do you want to grow your garden? The initial step to gardening would be to decide an appropriate place to put it. If you have a huge backyard, consider finding a spot to designate to a garden. Does your front yard need some sprucing up? Plant some flowers along your house or deck. Both of these options may seem difficult if you live in a city. Fear not! There are plenty of ways to incorporate an indoor garden such as on your windowsill, or even finding lower light plants that can be placed throughout the house.  Many cities have shared planting spaces; you will rent your box/plot/area and be able to plant your vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and pay a nominal fee.  Find a garden near you here.

What do you want to plant? Do you want to surround yourself in beautiful flowers and scents? Look up flowers that will thrive in your chosen area. Maybe you want to start cultivating your own vegetables. Investigate the vegetables that are in season in your location.  Learn more about what is in season here.

What soil should you use? This is very important to successfully grow your plants. There are a variety of soils out there and they are all comprised of different nutrients. When you have decided on the plants you want to grow, research the types of soil they do well in. The soil is their home, and provides food for them.  Learn more about how to pick the right soil here.  

What tools do you need? When starting your first garden, you should begin small. That way you do not get overwhelmed or too out of your budget. Pick up your basic tools such as gardening gloves, a trowel, and a rake.  For community container gardening, check out this list and for larger gardens, larger equipment may be needed.  

How to maintain your garden: Make sure you know how often you have to water your plants. Some can be very temperamental. Spend some of your free time weeding so that your plants do not suffocate from outside intruders. If the weeds are overwhelming, there are fertilizers you can use. The best part is that you get to choose the fertilizers and you know exactly what you are putting on your plants.

As long as you start slow, gardening can be fun, relaxing, and budget friendly! 

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

References:

https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2017/health-benefits-of-gardening-fd.html

http://www.sound-mind.org/gardening-reduces-stress.html#.Wns75ujwbIU

https://www.thespruce.com/gardening-basics-how-to-start-a-garden-1402556

https://boktowergardens.org/calendar/vegetable-and-herb-gardening-for-central-florida/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/224546731395708647/

https://www.bhg.com.au/vass-garden-caddy

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What Foods to Eat in the Winter

February 4, 2018
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Winter means colder temperatures and less hours of daylight. With more time spent inside and little exposure to sunlight, it can become a challenge to stay happy and energized. Because of this, it is crucial to stay focused on the nutrition choices that work for you during this time of the year. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression with seasonal patterns, is very common during the cold months of winter. Changes in mood, energy, focus, appetite, and sleep are normal and expected with this kind of disorder. There are many different ways that you can stay on top of your health and prevent symptoms of SAD. Staying active, eating healthy winter foods, and managing your stress are great places to start. To stay happy, healthy, and energized incorporate these winter foods into your day:

Sweet Potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, fiber. They are also packed with antioxidants. With their sweet taste and bright orange color, adding them to your meal can be fun. Also, they work well in a lot of different recipes. Whether you choose to bake, roast, or mash them, sweet potatoes are a great food to eat to keep you full and energized! Check out more recipe ideas here.

 

Brussel Sprouts are “tiny cabbages” and have a wide variety of health benefits.  When prepared with herbs, spices and some healthy oil, they taste really yummy! Brussels are full of fiber, as well as contain high levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants that can protect your DNA from oxidative damage. Try tossing them in some olive or avocado oil and roasting until lightly browned. Add some herbs like oregano, cumin, or smoked paprika.  Toss with a pinch of salt and pepper, and enjoy! For other Brussel sprout recipe ideas, click here.

Salmon contains tryptophan which is an amino-acid that is a precursor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is associated with positive mood regulation. Salmon also contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown in some studies to help regulate depression. The fat in salmon is heart healthy and helps to reduce harmful inflammation.  Salmon can be baked, broiled, or grilled. Add your favorite marinade or season with citrus like lemon, lime and orange, and enjoy!  Check out this link for more salmon recipe ideas.

Winter Squash is full of Vitamin A and carotenoids, which have been shown to promote healthy skin as well as benefit heart health and immunity. Also rich in fiber and potassium, winter squash is a great option for many! Try all different varieties: Acorn, butternut, kabocha, and delicate squash! To learn more about squash varities, check out Epicurious, and for some yummy winter squash recipes, click here.

 

Clementines are vitamin C and fiber-packed tiny fruits.  This sweet and tart delights are great snacks for just about anywhere, anytime. Full of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium, clementines are easy to pack and delicious to eat, Whether you’re peeling one for your morning snack or throwing them into your salad for lunch, clementines are the perfect addition to your day!  For delicious recipe inspiration, check out Saveur

 

 

Staying happy and healthy can sometimes be a challenge. Life is crazy, and there are always things to be worrying about and stressing over. Take small steps daily to keep your mind at ease and your body strong and energized. Enjoy these winter foods for your mood and overall vitality.  Your health and well-being are important to all of us here at B.Komplete!  Contact us at info@bkomplete.com to book one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists to help you come up with the health and wellness strategies that work, for you.  

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete


References:

https://greatist.com/health/seasonal-winter-produce-guide

http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/cooking-tips-and-trends/the-best-winter-foods-for-kids

 

 

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How to Avoid a Food Coma after Lunch

November 20, 2017
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So you’ve had a busy morning and it’s time for lunch. For many people, work lunches involve buying food from the company cafeteria, or heading out to one of the many eateries that cater to the workweek lunch crowd. Taking your full lunch break is a great way to decompress and prepare for the work in the afternoon (see our blog on how to do the business lunch healthfully), but there is one outcome every productive worker wants to avoid: the food coma.

The “Food Coma” which is so ubiquitous it was added to the Oxford Dictionaries Online in 2014, is that feeling of sleepiness that overtakes people after a big meal. You may know it by a different name like “the itis,” or “after dinner dip,” but you probably haven’t heard of the technical term: “postprandial somnolence.”  We most commonly think of it happening after big holiday meals (like Thanksgiving) but a food coma after lunch can ruin afternoon productivity. So how can we all prevent the food coma…

Don’t go too big: A study in young men tested whether a low or high calorie lunch would have a greater impact on sleepiness during a monotonous drive (don’t worry, the drive was in a simulator). Researchers found that the larger meal caused a much greater lull in attentiveness and trend toward greater sleepiness compared to the smaller meal.

Tip: Pack your lunch the night before, or make sure to exercise your ordering skills at a restaurant to ensure your meal is less calorie dense. Use the Healthy Dining Finder to locate a restaurant with healthy options near you, or check out some of B. Komplete’s healthy ordering tips for business lunches.

Keep those carbohydrates complex: One theory for feeling sleepy after meals has to do with the amount and types of carbohydrates we eat. There is evidence that eating easily digestible simple carbohydrates (like white flour and sugary desserts) causes sleepiness by increasing blood sugar and subsequent insulin production. That increase in insulin production happens concurrently with increases in hormones like melatonin which causes sleepiness, and inhibition of orexin neurons which help maintain wakefulness. Multiple studies show greater sleepiness and earlier onset of sleep with meals higher refined and total carbohydrate.   Tip: Try to keep your post-meal surge in blood sugar slow and controlled by choosing healthy, complex forms of carbohydrates like whole grains. Also be sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables that add healthy fiber and slow the digestion of carbohydrate in the gut.

Avoid high fat meals: A study done in over 700 Australian men found that those who ate diets higher in fat reported experiencing greater daytime sleepiness than those with lower fat intake.  Tip: Keep your lunch light on the grease! Heavier, fatty foods like pizza and burgers might just exacerbate your post-meal lull. Also consider the type of fat you eat. Typical fast food often contains lots of saturated fat, the fat we typically consider less healthy. Instead, choose foods full of healthy unsaturated fats like guacamole, or a salad with a vinegar and olive oil, nuts and seeds.  

 

Get a good night’s sleep: The experience of a “afternoon dip” doesn’t have everything to do with your meal. At least some of this post-lunch sleepiness is due to natural fluctuations of your circadian rhythm which can be exacerbated by the content of your meals. However, another major factor for your desire for an afternoon nap? Sleep debt. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 Americans is sleep-deprived and you’re much less likely to feel energized after lunch if you didn’t get enough sleep the previous night. Poor sleep is also associated with poor food choices, which can exacerbate the food coma, creating a vicious cycle…  Tip: Set an alarm not just for the morning, but for bedtime and hold yourself to it! Ensuring you get enough sleep will not only help you stake wakeful throughout the workday, but will also help you make healthy food choices at lunch!

It might feel great to take a nap after a satisfying meal, but this isn’t an option when you’re busy at work. Prioritizing healthy, light lunches and adequate sleep at nighttime can help you maintain your productivity and prevent the dreaded food coma.

However, if you’re like many Americans, you have a hectic work day and prioritizing healthful behaviors can be difficult. Check out B.Komplete’s post on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a busy schedule!

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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What Foods to Eat in the Summer

June 30, 2017
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Warm days means fresh summer foods. Wondering what foods can help you stay in shape all summer long?  Eating well and keeping yourself hydrated is important to keep yourself ready and energized for summer activities.  B.Komplete Registered Dietitian Nutritionists can help you learn more about these foods for when you’re having fun in the sun!

 

 

Watermelon: The perfect fruit to keep you hydrated without a whole lot of calories. Click here for a watermelon feta mint salad! 

 

 

 

 

Berries: Blueberries. Raspberries. Blackberries. Jam packed with fiber and antioxidants. Toss them in your plain yogurt or oatmeal for some added natural sweetness. Want to try berries in a delicious savory dish? Try this recipe for grilled salmon and blueberry sauce!

 

 

 

Tomatoes: Rich in an antioxidant called, lycopene and perfect tossed in a salad or to simply enjoy alone (especially grape tomatoes).

 

 

 

Avocados: Yes, you should eat fat! Especially the heart-healthy fats in avocados to keep you satisfied as well as add some creaminess to your dishes.  Try swapping out butter or cream cheese for ¼ of a mashed avocado on your toast/bagel. How about making a delicious creamy avocado sauce for your pasta or “zoodles”? 

 

 

 

 

Corn: Get the local grown corn and throw it on the grill for some sweet BBQ crunch! You gain 4 grams of fiber in just ½ cup of kernels.  Click here to learn more about your local farms.  Learn more about eating organic and fresh foods here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zucchini: This vitamin C-rich veggie is perfect for grilling or making “zoodles”. The Food Network has wonderful recipe ideas.  Love Pad Thai?  Try this lighter version that uses “zoodles.”  Click here to purchase for a budget-friendly spiralizer to make your “zoodles”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nuts: A good source of healthy fats, protein, fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Try a small handful of dry-roasted unsalted almonds, cashews, walnuts or pistachio as an on-the go or pre-workout snack.

 

 

Want to try multiple summer-friendly foods all in one dish? Try this grilled corn, watermelon and avocado salad!  Try substituting apple or celery for jicama if you are having trouble finding it.

 

 

 Interested to learn more about seasonal foods and how to enjoy summer food? Below are links to help guide you:

https//snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season-summer

 

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

 

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Creamy, Dreamy Recipes Perfect for Your Summer Body

May 23, 2017
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Creamy, Dreamy Recipes Perfect for Your Summer Body

We all know the cycle – as the weather heats up, our motivation increases to get or maintain a toned physique.  Often times this means giving up some of the foods we really enjoy to eat.  However, these desires don’t need to be mutually exclusive – you can get or maintain a toned physique AND eat food that you enjoy!  Try one of our favorite creamy, dreamy recipes that are both delicious and nutritious.  

B.Komplete Ranch Dip

Makes 8 – 2 Tablespoon Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups siggis Plain Yogurt (Fat-Free)
  • 2/3 Cup Light Mayonnaise
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Dill Weed
  • ½ Teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well blended.  Consume immediately or refrigerate (will keep covered, in refrigeration up to 3 days).  Perfect for a vegetable dip, and used on sandwiches, fish, meat, baked potatoes and whole grain pasta.  Thin it out with a splash of water and you have made your own salad dressing!

 B.Komplete Cheesecake Pudding

Makes 6 – ½ Cup Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz.) Packages of Low-Fat Cream Cheese   
  • 1 (8 oz.) package of Fat-Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup siggis Plain Yogurt (Fat-Free)
  • ¼ Cup Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Instructions

Allow the cream cheese to soften in room temperature (about 30 – 60 minutes).  When the cream cheese has softened, combine in a medium bowl with all other ingredients.  Mix well.  Consume immediately for a creamy treat, or refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours for a more firm texture.  Enjoy with fresh fruit, or add a pinch of lemon zest. 

If you haven’t tried siggis yet – get up and immediately go buy it!  The Icelandic “Skyr” is a thick and creamy yogurt that is high in protein and has a great flavor.  siggis is B.Komplete Approved because the flavored varieties are still lower in added sugar.  Its the perfect breakfast or snack to take with you during the summer!  The B.Komplete Dietitian Team uses siggis in a variety of our Corporate Wellness Cooking Demonstrations.  We love siggis, and we know that you will too. 

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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Savory Ancient Grain Recipe

September 12, 2015
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in Blog
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Looking for a healthier version of a comfort dish? The Ancient Grain Millet is perfect to use in place of any simple carbohydrate (white rice, bread or pasta). Millet will take on the flavors that you add. Try out this B.Komplete Savory Millet Stuffing recipe:

1 TBSP Buttery Spread (Smart Balance)
1/2 Medium White Onion, Diced
1 Medium Sweet Bell Pepper, Diced
2 Celery Stalks, Diced
2 CUPS Millet, Uncooked
4.4 CUPS Low Sodium Broth (Veg or Chicken)
2 Bay Leaves

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the buttery spread, allow to melt and coat the pan. Add the vegetables and the uncooked millet, and coat in the melted spread. Allow to lightly brown. Add the bay leaves. Gradually add the broth, 0.5 cups at a time. Allow to absorb, stir, then add more broth.

Serves: 6 – 8
Cook Time: ~30 minutes

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete!

          B.Komplete Millet Pilaf

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Organic versus Conventional – Which Should You Choose?

July 9, 2015
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PART TWO

Lets continue the conversation on some of the main factors that consumers like you consider when making purchases at the food store. If you didn’t read Part 1 of the series addressing the safety and cost of organic and conventional foods, you can view it here.

 Nutrition

Working to improve your health through the food that you eat? Then you want to eat the MOST nutritious versions available, right? It’s more bang for your buck!  The food & nutrition industry has been testing both organic and conventional foods for many years. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a definitive answer of which type is nutritiously superior.  In the early 2000’s, you could find articles that were claiming a significant nutritional disparity between select organic and conventional foods. Only a few years later, there had been new research saying the exact opposite. In 2009, the American Society of Nutrition posted an article  concluding there is no significant difference between organic and conventional foods. Again in 2012, a hotly debated report from Stanford University stated that there is a lack of strong evidence that organic foods are more nutritious than conventional foods.

 Today’s research deviates from those studies, showing that there IS a nutritional difference in some organic foods. Reports are showing up to 40% higher in antioxidant activity  in organic fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are comprised of nutrients like Vitamin C, carotenoids, flavonoids and minerals like selenium and the health benefits of antioxidants are evident.

 What does this mean? It’s apparent that there is more research needed.

 If good health is important to you, then we suggest continuing to choose your favorites until further solid evidence is discovered. Want better nutrition now? Remember VARIETY! Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat meats and dairy will give you a wide spectrum of your daily needed nutrients.

anti-oxidants

Environmental Impact

Soil erosion, decline in crop production, fertilizer runoff, and pesticide resistance are concerns that some take into account when deciding between organic or conventional foods. The USDA has many resources on how farmers can protect and enhance the environment but there are still problems that worry shoppers.

 Scary reports of lake and river “dead zones” occasionally surface after finding considerable deterioration of wildlife and vegetation. This fuels new environmental studies to identify the true offender and will often include testing of new farming techniques and products that can help protect instead of harm.

Consider this: all types of farming impacts the surrounding environment. Organic farms can use natural fertilizers and pesticides that can cause runoff problems. However, the USDA says that organic farming differs from conventional farming because they strive to preserve natural resources and biodiversity with their farming techniques. There also are organizations like the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania that dedicate themselves to researching and testing better ways for American farmers to grow organic foods without harming the environment.

If preserving the environment is important to you, then you may want to consider choosing organic foods. Environment-friendly tip: buy local! As we mentioned in Part 1, think about supporting smaller farms that are local to your home or workplace. This reduces the need to truck food products all over the country, which can produce a considerable amount of fossil fuel emissions.

 Don’t know where to find a local farmer market? Visit here and input your zip code or download an app for your mobile device (we tried Farmstand).

 

FreshProduce at a local farm stand

So, what should YOU choose?

The bottom line is that, as a consumer, you have to decide what’s important to you. Whether you’re concerned with safety, cost, nutrition, environmental impact or something else that wasn’t mentioned, you should always choose what’s best for you and your family. Watch for new research on the areas that are important to you. And in the meantime, purchase and eat healthy food that you love!

Your Resources

For the Organic 101 series provided by the USDA – http://blogs.usda.gov/tag/organic-101/

Antioxidant Health Benefits – http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/antioxidants/

Market Search: http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/

Farmstand App: https://www.farmstandapp.com

B.inspired, B.educated, B.Komplete!

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Organic versus Conventional – Which Should You Choose?

June 29, 2015
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organic-vs-conventional-640

Deception. Misdirection. Imminent Danger. All characteristics of a villain in the next superhero blockbuster, not the emotions we should have when selecting our next meals.

 With sensational headlines in modern media and new research claims, it’s not surprising that even the most educated shopper can be infused with doubt over what to place in the cart. Shopping at the market should be a pleasant experience filled with delicious options from which to choose.

 Today, there is a wide variety of conventional and organic produce (fruit, vegetables), livestock (meat, dairy, eggs) and multi-ingredient products (breads, pasta, and other processed foods). This is a great success for the US, but it can be very overwhelming for the American consumer.

 Common complications:

  1. We can be inundated with so many choices that it may seem easier to select what was purchased before, without thinking twice.
  2. Organic foods are stigmatized, with some saying that they’re only for the wealthy, for environmentalists, or for parents with young children.
  3. Some food companies have embraced misleading marketing practices to boost sales, touting that their foods are “healthy and natural” or even using “organic” on their packaging. (Other companies are responding to these practices by putting out product lists of their own, encouraging transparency in marketing and making healthy, informed choices.)

 Choosing between organic and conventional foods can be an easier decision. In this two-part series, we’ll address some factors that consumers like you consider when making purchases at the store.

Safety

A concern for some shoppers is safety – safety for themselves, for farmers, or for the animals. Understanding the production of both conventional and organic foods can clear up some apprehension.

 Conventional food products are produced by traditional farming practices used by small family farmers to large corporate farms. This can include using chemical pesticides for pest control and synthetic fertilizers to increase growth margins. For livestock, this includes dosing with antibiotics and hormones to help maintain the health of the animals.

 Governing organizations like the USDA and FDA regulate conventional farming practices and inspect food products for wholesomeness, deeming them as safe for consumption. However, government regulation ends there.

 According to the USDA,  organic operations must use only approved substances and avoid man-made fertilizers, prohibited pesticides, and genetically modified organisms. These practices also promote farm worker health, lowering the risk of inhalation or ingestion of harmful substances.  Furthermore, the USDA organic seal on meat, eggs, and dairy products verifies that producers met animal health and welfare standards, did not use antibiotics or growth hormones, and provided animals with access to the outdoors.

 If safety is your priority, then organic foods may be the best choice. On the fence? Start with the Environmental Workers Group’s “Clean 15” and “Dirty Dozen,”  an annual list distributed to educate consumers on pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables.

Cost

One of the key benefits of conventional food products is their wide spread availability in the US. These products can be found in grocery stores, convenience stores, and schools, to name a few. Simple economics of supply and demand as well as generous government subsidies help explain the lower prices of conventional foods.

organic operations chart

Typically, organic foods are priced higher than conventionally grown foods, which may be caused by the limited availability of organics. America has seen a significant increase of organic operations since 2002 however, so consumers may begin to see reduced prices on certain foods. 

 Consider also the additional fees to the farmers. Farm owners have to pay fees and complete a transition period  before beginning organic operations. To recoup these expenses, additional costs may be incorporated into food prices. Paired with “high-end” public perception and premium upcharges, organic foods will often be more costly than their conventional counterparts.

 If you are concerned about cost, then conventional foods may be best. Still like to buy some organic? Here are some money saving tips:  

  1. Purchase discounted organic “seconds” at your local markets when available. 
  2. Visit local farmers who may follow organic practices but save on operational costs by avoiding the USDA certification process. A few specific questions to the farmer may help save you some money.  eat local

 Don’t know where to find a local farmer market? Visit here and input your zip code or download an app for your mobile device (we tried Farmstand).

 Check back for Part Two of Organic vs. Conventional – What should you choose? We’ll discuss the Nutrition and Environmental Impact of Organic and Conventional foods.

 Resources for you

 

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