Thursday, June 21, 2012

Orgain - Creamy Chocolate Fudge

In my continuing quest to lose weight I recently began considering adding more protein to my eating regimen.  I am not talking about a “high-protein” diet; I just want to add a little more protein to keep my metabolism running and help keep me satiated.  There are numerous reports that indicate starting your day with a good amount of protein will get your metabolism going.  I am not a big breakfast eater on the average day.  I usually have my coffee and a greek yogurt for breakfast.  So I decided to add more protein as a “snack” or post workout.  My goal is to maintain lean muscle tissue while burning fat for fuel.  I also want the right combination of nutrients for overall health.

I tried a few whey protein powders, none of them were something I looked forward to drinking.  After a few weeks of research, I have found what I call the miracle protein shake, Orgain.  This shake is packed with protein and all the nutrients from fruits and veggies it can possibly handle.  Not only is it good for you, it is organic and it actually tastes DELICIOUS.

“Orgain is the world's first doctor developed ready-to-drink nutritional shake. Orgain uses only the highest quality organic ingredients to provide perfectly balanced nutrition by blending organic whey protein, organic brown rice, omega-3's, fiber, organic green tea and pomegranate extracts as well as 24 vitamins and minerals. If that wasn't enough, Orgain has the antioxidant equivalent (ORAC value) of 10 servings of fruits and veggies.”
Besides all of the nutrition, Orgain is convenient.  I normally do not buy convenience foods because there are all kinds of junk in them.  This one convenience food is now a regular part of my daily routine.   In one 11 ounce serving of Orgain, you can drink 255 nutrient dense calories with a perfect 2:1 complex carbohydrate to protein ratio that gives you a delicious, organic meal anytime, anywhere.
Orgain offers three flavors Sweet Vanilla Bean, Iced CafĂ© Mocha, and Creamy Chocolate Fudge.  I have only tried the Creamy Chocolate Fudge.  It very similar to an under sweetened chocolate milk.  It is creamy and chocolaty; I love it because it does not give you that protein after taste you get from most protein shakes.

“Orgain was formulated to provide perfect, organic nutrition for anyone's health needs. If your desire is to lose weight, simply replace an unhealthy meal with a serving of Orgain. With only 7 grams of healthy fat and 16 grams of organic whey protein, Orgain can keep you full and satisfied with balanced nutrition.  Orgain has no saturated fat or excess sugar, helping you reach your weight-loss goals organically.  Orgain provides 255 nutrient-dense calories with a perfect 2:1 ratio of organic complex carbohydrates to organic protein, giving you sustained energy without the sugar crash associated with energy drinks. With no caffeine or stimulants, Orgain is the natural and healthy way to increase your energy levels.  Post workout at the gym, replenish your body with antioxidants, fruits, vegetables, and the highest quality organic whey protein to help you build lean muscle and keep you going through your day. Just chill, shake and drink a serving of Orgain to provide a perfect post-workout recovery drink that will help nourish your muscles and keep you performing at your peak.”

Orgain’s nutritional value is extraordinary and their list of ingredients does not disappoint either.
INGREDIENTS: Water, Orgain Organic Protein Blend (Organic Whey Protein Concentrate, Organic Milk Protein Concentrate), Orgain Organic Complex Carbohydrate Blend (Organic Brown Rice Dextrins, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Brown Rice Syrup), Organic High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Organic Cocoa Powder, Organic Natural Flavors, Cellulose, Carrageenan Gum, Xanthan Gum, Soy Lecithin, Tricalcium Phosphate, Sea Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Inulin (from chicory root)
Orgain Vitamin Blend: Tocopherol Acetate, Sodium Ascorbate, Zinc Sulfate, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Chromium Citrate, Biotin, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenate, Potassium Iodide, Cholecalciferol, Cyanocobalamin.
Orgain Organic Veggie Blend: (Organic Kale, Organic Beet, Organic Spinach, Organic Carrot, Organic Tomato) 50mg
Orgain Organic Fruit Blend: (Organic Blueberry, Organic Banana, Organic Acai, Organic Apple, Organic Raspberry) 50mg
Orgain Organic Antioxidant Blend (Organic Pomegranate Extract - 50% polyphenols and Organic Green Tea Extract - decaffeinated, 90% polyphenols, 45% ECEG) 30mg

Orgain was developed by Dr. Andrew Abraham who is a cancer survivor and practicing physician that has dedicated his life to improving the health and well-being of others.  Dr. Abraham spent years searching for a healthy, nutritious drink made with only high quality organic ingredients only to come up disappointed.
"I created Orgain with the intention of developing a drink that would far surpass any product on the market. The truth is, a majority of drinks offered today are filled with sugar, corn syrup, and very low quality non-organic ingredients in order to keep costs low and profits high."  Dr. Andrew Abraham

After being diagnosed with cancer, he learned firsthand the importance of organic, wholesome nutrition and the vital role it plays in supporting the body in times of stress. Not only did he want a drink that would support those fighting an illness, but he wanted a convenient, delicious organic drink for people like himself as a post-workout shake or a healthy meal on the run.  He spent years formulating and re-formulating a drink that finally met his very strict standards. It had to be low in sugar, high in organic protein, have complex carbs, fruits, veggies, omega-3's, fiber, immune boosters and be in a ready to drink, delicious package free from artificial sweeteners, preservatives and colorings. He wanted a drink where people would actually feel a difference in their health. After exhaustive work and research, he finally developed the perfect formulation that would later become Orgain.

None of the protein shakes or meal replacement drinks on the market come close to Orgain.  I sincerely hope you decide to give it a try.  You can purchase Orgain online at  It is a little more expensive around $42 for a case of 12.  I purchased my case of Creamy Chocolate Fudge at the Vitamin Shoppe it was on sale for $30.  The Vitamin Shoppe sells cases online as well.  Other retailers who carry Orgain include Whole Foods and Fairway Supermarkets.

Let me know what you think.

Healthy eating…

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta

 Recently the health community has recognized wheat intolerance as a serious health concern.  There have been more cases of Celiac disease diagnosed than ever before.  With all this new information more people are becoming gluten-free to be healthy.  If you stroll the aisles of the supermarket you will see the growing selection of gluten-free products.

I wanted to try some gluten-free options after reading the book Eat Right for Your Type.  I discovered that my family’s blood types do not agree with wheat products.  So while searching for gluten-free items to begin including in our diet I came across pastas made from brown rice.  Sounded like a dream, only the reviews on brown rice pasta said that it tended to be mushy.  My health food store carried Tinkyada Brown Rice which claims right on the bag that it does not get mushy.

I bought a bag of Tinkyada Brown Rice Spiral Pasta.  I cooked according to the instructions and it came out perfect.  It cooked up nicely and still had that slight bite we love in our pastas.  So I decided to overcook the bag of spaghetti I purchased to see if it then became mushy.  Even when overcooked the pasta still did not become mushy, there was less of a bite but it still held its form.  I highly recommend Tinkyada Brown Rice for those who are gluten-free.  You will not miss regular pasta at all.

The ingredients in this pasta are very simple, brown rice, rice bran and water.  It's also cholesterol free and low in fat and sodium.  Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta is manufactured in a wheat-free factory premise.  The bag itself boasts being wheat free, gluten-free, cholesterol free, low fat, low sodium, trans fat free, and Kosher certified.  Tinkyada have several pastas to choose from including spirals, spaghetti, spinach spaghetti, penne, elbows, fettuccini, and fusilli.

In mainstream supermarkets and health food stores a bag of this pasta can cost almost $5.00.  I did find it at a bargain in Fairway Supermarket for $3.89; however the best price I have seen was on  Their prices vary from $2.59 to $3.69 for the organic pasta.

If you are trying a gluten-free lifestyle give a bag of this pasta a try.  Share your recipes with us.  Let me know how you like it.

Healthy eating…

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sugar Addiction

I began researching sugar addiction about a year ago.  My son, who is 13, is a bright, loving, outgoing child.  I noticed when he turned 11 his behavior began to change.  He would have a hard time focusing, sleeping and his behavior was becoming more and more aggressive.  Everyone said it was just his hormones.  That did not sit right with me.  Of course the next thing was that he had ADD/ADHD.  That did not make sense either because this behavior came on all of a sudden.

At the time I was attending school for holistic nutrition and we began looking at sugar and the effects it has on your body.  So I did some further research on my own and discovered that sugar addiction is a real problem.  I then began to look at my son’s eating habits.  As I traced back his eating habits I realized that the problem started when I lost control of his breakfast, lunch and snacking.  In the sixth grade he began eating school lunch and breakfast which consisted of sugary cereals, refined carbohydrates and processed foods.  After school he would hit the store for candy, soda and juices.  So the only balanced meal he would get would be dinner.

All of the sugar in his diet was causing a lack of focus, making him hyper and causing very bad, sometimes violent, mood swings.  I sat him down and explained what I believed what was going on with him.  I honestly told him that he was addicted to sugar just has a drug addicts were addicted to their drug of choice.  He did not like that and jumped on board with the new program.  I took him completely off of sugar.  I made sure he had whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and got plenty of protein.  He replaced soda with flavored seltzer, and I must say he stuck with it.  Within two weeks time he was a completely different child.

After a few months I allowed him minimal products with sugar substitutes, but his main diet remained the same.  Now almost a year later I allow him some sugar products, as close to whole foods as possible.  I still keep him very limited on highly refined sugary products.  He is still maintaining to this day.

Sugar addiction is not a joke or a fad.   Most people chalk sugar addiction up to lack of willpower or discipline. Sugar addiction is actually about biochemistry, you were born with a body that is sugar-sensitive.  If you are sugar-sensitive your body responds to sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrates differently than other people. When you are sugar sensitive, sugar acts like a drug in your body. In fact, it affects the very same brain chemicals that morphine, heroin and amphetamines do.  When you have a sugar-sensitive body, you are prone to be addicted to sugar. You can’t not eat it.  Because you are sugar sensitive, the “high” you get from eating sugar is actually heightened.   Life circumstances can also make you reach for sugar to make you feel better.  Depression and high level of stress will make you reach for that feel good “fix”.

Being sugar sensitive means you have unstable blood sugar, low serotonin and low endorphin levels, all three are out of balance.  If you are sugar sensitive, what and when you eat has a huge impact on how you feel. Eating a diet high in sugar, refined flour, alcohol and junk foods affects your moods giving you a “high” and then an extreme low until your next “fix”.

Some people develop candida, which is an overgrowth of yeast in their gut, because of the sugar in their diet.  Candida revs up the body's craving for more sugar.  This condition again is treated with cutting out the sugar in your diet and strong probiotics.

Because your sugar sensitivity is part of your biochemistry I do not believe there is an actual cure.  However, there are ways to control your addiction.  The best way to control this addiction is to control your blood sugar levels.

Eating regularly plays a huge part in blood sugar levels.  Eat three meals and two snacks or five small meals a day. Also, include protein and healthy fats at every meal.  This will keep you satiated and keep your blood levels from dropping.  When you don’t eat regularly, your blood sugar levels drop, you feel hungry and are more likely to crave sweet sugary snacks.
Whole foods are key.  Choosing foods closer to its original form means it contains less processed sugar. Whole natural foods: fruits, vegetables, some whole grains and meat from animals that are fed grass (not grains and antibiotics).   Include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Begin to include a good quality multivitamin/mineral supplement and omega 3 fatty acids. Nutrient deficiencies can make cravings worse.  Vitamin B3 and magnesium seem to improve blood sugar control.  Replace sodas with club soda, seltzer and sparkling water or try tea.
Very important begin to read your labels looking for hidden and added sugar content.  Below is a list of types of “sugar” used in a variety of products.  Try to avoid products with any of the sugars listed below especially if that sugar shows up within the first five ingredients.  Remember that most of the “complex” carbohydrates we consume like bread, bagels and pasta are highly refined and have the same affect as sugar in the body and should be avoided. 
Agave nectar
Agave syrup
Barley malt
Beet sugar
Brown rice syrup
Brown sugar
Buttered syrup
Cane sugar
Cane juice
Cane juice crystals
Carob syrup
Confectioner’s sugar
Corn syrup
High fructose corn syrup
Corn sugar
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup solids
Crystalized fructose
Date sugar
Diastatic malt
Evaporated cane juice
Fruit juice
Fruit juice concentrate
Glucose solids
Golden sugar
Golden syrup
Grape sugar
Grape juice concentrate
Invert sugar
Maple syrup
Raw sugar
Refiner's syrup
Sorghum syrup
Turbinado sugar
Yellow sugar

Clean out your kitchen throw out all of the products that contain hidden or added sugars, including any juice, soda, candy, sweets and seemingly healthy snacks like granola bars, fruit and grain bars, instant oatmeal and sports drinks.

I know that trying to avoid sugar can be a daunting task.  It is very important remove all sugar in the beginning so that your blood sugar levels can be controlled.  You will notice that after a few weeks your taste for sugary treats will diminish drastically.  Once you believe you are ready, you can begin to use “sugar substitutes” to replace regular sugar.  I don’t recommend the chemical sugar substitutes, but you can use sweeteners with a low glycemic index, my favorite is agave nectar.  A lot of people love stevia, which is an all-natural sweetener, but I find it very bitter.

Begin to look at what effect sugar is having in your body.  If you believe that you are a sugar sensitive individual start taking some of the sugar out of your diet.  Remember as you are taking out the sugar replace it with whole natural foods.

Let me know what you learn from your body.

Healthy eating…


Monday, June 4, 2012

Apple Pie Baked in the Apple

I am in love with this—Apple Pie Baked in the Apple.

You will need 6 granny smith apples, 1 pie crust, 1/4 cup sugar and 1tablespoon brown sugar. Cut off the top of 4 apples off and discard. Remove the inside of each apple with a spoon very carefully, as to not puncture the peel. Remove skin from 2 additional apples and slice very thinly. These apple pieces will give you filling needed to fill the four apples you are baking. Mix sliced apples with sugars and cinnamon in a bowl. If you prefer more or less cinnamon and sugar, make adjustments as desired. Scoop sliced apples into hollow apples. Roll out pie crust and slice into 1/4 inch strips. You can also add a strip of pastry inside the top of the apple almost like a liner to add a little more texture/sweetness to the pie. Cover the top of the apple in a lattice pattern with pie crust strips. Place apples in an 8×8 pan. Add just enough water to the cover the bottom of the pan. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and sliced apples are soft.  Recipe from Ultimate Women’s Expo.

Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale

Here in New York City there has recently been a huge uproar because our Mayor wants to ban the sale of large size sugary, syrupy soft drinks.  While I know it is unhealthy to consume soda, I believe it is unconstitutional to be told what you can and cannot consume.  Instead of treating people like children and taking things away, I believe you can educate people so that they can make better choices.  (Sorry about the rant, this is a sore spot for me.)  I personally gave up soda about a year ago.  Even after a year I sometimes get the yearning for something sparkling.  I do drink a lot of seltzer water but sometimes you want a little extra treat.  Well I have found a soda that I feel good about drinking and it is actually good for you, Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale!

So what is soooo special about this Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale, it is made with only fresh ginger and pure cane sugar. There is no ginger flavoring, extract or oil.  The ginger ale is unfiltered and the bottle contains about half an inch of finely ground ginger in the bottom.  They have a few different flavors but the basic formula remains the same.  This stuff even provides iron, calcium and a little vitamin A and C.

I was in an Asian market in Brooklyn actually looking for the ingredients for my Irish Moss recipe.  While my husband was diligently looking for my moss I stumbled upon an unassuming bottle of liquid with some form of sediment at the bottom.  Well my curiosity took over and to my delight I realized that this beauty was all natural and that was actual ginger on the bottom.  So of course I bought two of every flavor, one for me and one for my daughter.  As soon as we got back to the car the taste testing began.

Before opening you have to GENTLY turn it upside down a few times to mix.  Please do not vigorously shake or you will have a ginger facial.  It was pleasantly sweetened, light, crisp and gave you that familiar slight ginger burn in the back of your throat.  To my surprise the ginger is not overpowering and it is not syrupy sweet.  My daughter was my second opinion.  I chose her because she absolutely HATES ginger.  So I knew she would give me an unbiased opinion.  She absolutely loved them, so much that we were fighting over the last few bottles.

Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale currently has four flavors; Original Ginger, Jasmine Green Tea, Passionfruit and Pomegranate.  They are all delightful!

Original Ginger is made with only fresh ginger and pure cane sugar, this is a fundamentally simple and delicious, spicy beverage. Unfiltered-the ginger particles settle as it sits---it is the natural pale yellow-green color of fresh ginger.

Jasmine Tea ginger ale is infused this with a fine, whole leaf green jasmine tea from Taiwan.

Pomegranate and Hibiscus is added the fresh ginger and cane sugar of the Original.  Two popular antioxidants, Pomegranate and Hibiscus, rendering it a natural ruby red. Less spicy with a subtle lemon and floral dimension.

Passion Fruit has a distinct tropical tang of passion fruit with our original ginger ale. Turmeric, called "yellow ginger" by the Chinese, is added and brightens the yellow of the drink.

Not only is this ginger ale delicious it has several health benefits.  Using the whole fresh root, captures the health benefits of ginger.  Ginger is great for alleviating nausea, aiding in digestion, and fighting colds.  By leaving the beverage unfiltered, this ginger ale contains 2 mg of iron (about the same as a cup of leafy green vegetables), some calcium and vitamins A and C.

Bruce Cost created Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale, he wrote the book on ginger literally.  Bruce wrote "Ginger East to West", a small, award-winning cookbook that traced ginger's origins and its journey around the world.  Bruce is an authority on Asian food, a writer and restaurateur.  His recipe for fresh ginger ale made its debut on the premises of 11 restaurants.   His handmade ginger ale became a signature item that has since sold an estimated 3 million drinks, outselling all soft drinks.

After I fell in love with this ginger ale the realization hit me that I may have to travel to Brooklyn to replenish my stash.  I was relieved to discover that Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale is available in several stores including FreshDirect, Fairway Supermarket, and Whole Foods Market.  I usually purchase a four pack from Fairway Supermarket for about $6, $1.50 per bottle, a bargain.  Sold separately in stores it can run for about $2.

Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale will be a delicious and healthy addition to your diet.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Healthy eating…