Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth the Healthy Way!

For those with a sweet tooth, the last three months of the year may well be the worst. Temptations are everywhere, as brick and mortar shops display sweets galore and we’re bombarded online with images and recipes of holiday dessert. What’s a body to do!

Here are some practical tips to ease cravings for sweets while staying on an Active Wellness regimen:

  • For a quick sugar fix, eat a piece of fruit or a sweet vegetable. Crunchy textures seem to help satisfy cravings, so choose carrots, beets, apples and persimmons. Fruit that is high in natural sugar also satisfies cravings more quickly—for example, grapes, mangoes and pineapples.
  • Berries are delicious and when you freeze them, they take on the characteristics of sorbets. Try blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and any combinations. They’re high in fiber and actually low in sugar. A healthy combination of exotic berries is the basis of Kenzen Super Ciaga®(link shop cart), a great replacement for sodas when blended with seltzer water.
  • Watermelon is wonderful as a base for smoothies and other blended beverages. Add some mint or even basil, and it’s scrumptious.
  • Healthy sweeteners include monk fruit and stevia. They have zero calories and none of the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners—that’s why monk fruit is the sweetener in Kenzen Vital Balance® Meal Replacement Mix and stevia is in Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix.
  • Are you a chocoholic? amirali-mirhashemian-RCVIlSXhYI0-unsplashThe good news is that dark chocolate (with 70% or more cocoa) contains healthy plant compounds known as polyphenols. It still contains sugar and fat, so eat a couple of squares and savor it—no bingeing allowed.
  • Dates! They’re nutritious and very sweet, naturally. They’re also rich in fiber, potassium, iron and a source of antioxidants. As a dried fruit, they contain a lot of natural sugar, so eat three or four, not too many.

To keep sugar intake low, here are some habits to develop:

  • Read labels! Hidden sugars lurk in unexpected places. For example, packaged instant oatmeal has virtually no fiber but contains lots of sugar and artificial flavoring. Condiments such as ketchup, barbecue sauce and sweet chili contain a lot of sugar—a single tablespoon of ketchup may contain as much as four grams of sugar, which is about one teaspoon.1
  • It may be counterintuitive, but when trying to decrease sugar intake, go for full fat rather than low-fat or non-fat versions of beverages and desserts. This is because low-fat and non-fat drinks and desserts add more sugar to compensate for the lack of fat. For example, an 8-ounce coffee made with whole milk and no added sugar, contains 2 grams of naturally occurring milk sugar and 18 calories.2 The same amount of a low-fat mocha drink contains 26 grams of added sugar and 160 calories.3
  • Minimize consumption of processed foods. Go natural and organic. Processed foods contain 90% of the added sugars in the average American diet.4 For example, one serving, or approximately 128 grams, of canned pasta sauce can contain nearly 11 grams of sugar.5
  • Choose nutrient-dense whole foods whenever possible. It takes a little more time, but preparing desserts with dried fruit, nuts and seeds provides healthy fats in addition to fulfilling your sweet tooth.
  • Be a good role model for your family. Start your children on an Active Wellness regimen as soon as they can eat solid food. Mashed roasted yams and smashed bananas are great starter foods.

 

1 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/14-ways-to-eat-less-sugar#section1

2 http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/69/2

3 https://starbucks.com/menu/drinks/espresso/white-chocolate-mocha-?foodzone

4 https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/3/e009892

5 http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/soups-sauces-and-gravies/131612

 

Healthy Food That Also Reduces Your Carbon Footprint

Most of us know there are benefits to going organic and going “green.” Although both are beneficial in the pursuit of Active Wellness and for planet Earth, there are differences. Going organic is health-centered while going green requires sustainable practices that impact economic, social and ecological factors that help protect Earth and its resources. In other words, sustainable food is virtually always organic, but not all organic food is sustainable.

Choosing sustainable food helps reduce an individual’s carbon footprint, which is the “amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide.”1 The Food andAgriculture Organization of the United Nations claims that by switching to organic agriculture farmers can reduce up to 66% of carbon dioxide emissions.2 Large agricultural companies argue that some organically grown produce have a higher overall energy consumption and land use. This discrepancy presents the most obvious difference between simply organic, and actually sustainable, food.

The rule of thumb is that the less processed the food is, the more sustainable it is. Look at it this way: when you eat a raw organically grown vegetable or fruit, you are eliminating the carbon footprint of the power used in cooking by gas or electricity. Also, some vegetables have a carbon footprint nearly as serious as meat, because they are grown in greenhouses that use a lot of heat and light—for example, hothouse tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Therefore, the approach to reducing your carbon footprint with what you eat requires multiple behaviors:

  • Eat locally produced organic food. An estimated 13% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions result from the production and transport of food. Transporting food requires petroleum-based fuels, and many fertilizers are also fossil fuel-based.3
  • Reducing your consumption of non-grass fed red meat and dairy is not only environmentally friendly but also heart friendly. Livestock is responsible for 14.5% of manmade global greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from feed production and processing, and the methane that beef and sheep emit. Every day without meat and dairy reduces your carbon footprint by eight pounds or 2,920 pounds a year.4
  • Research which fruits and vegetables are most carbon-friendly. For example, lentils require very little water to grow. They actually clean and fortify the soil, making it easier to grow other crops. Beans in general (including kidney, black, pinto, etc.) have a low carbon and water footprint. These legumes also have high nutritional values because of their protein and fiber content. Rice, on the other hand, is water intensive.
  • Mussels are harvested on long collector ropes suspended in oceans, and while growing, they eat naturally occurring food in the water. In the process, they filter and clean the water, even extracting carbon to make their shells. They have very little environmental impact.5
  • Buy fish in season from local farmer’s markets or fisheries that practice sustainable fishing. As people become more educated about overfishing, the island of Palau is leading the way in protecting its oceans from poaching and has outlawed bottom trawling. In 2015, Palau established the largest no-take zone in the world, 193,000 square miles of ocean that cannot be fished, mined or drilled.6 Palau now has a range of partners from commercial, non-profit and governmental organizations, including U.S.-based SkyTruth, a nonprofit that monitors and reports poaching to the police.
  • Buy food in bulk when possible. The less packaging, the more sustainable the food. Use your own recyclable and reusable containers.
  • Eat what you buy. Reduce food waste by freezing excess and repurposing leftovers. Teach your children early in their lives to develop eating habits that are not only healthy but also helpful to planet Earth. Waste not, want not.

As you reduce your carbon footprint, Kenzen Vital Balance® Meal Replacement Mix can help you with the transition to being more plant-based in your diet. It’s made with organically grown ingredients that provide a nutritious source of vegan protein.

1 https://timeforchange.org/what-is-a-carbon-footprint-definition

2 https://www.terrapass.com/eat-your-way-to-a-smaller-carbon-footprint

3 https://cotap.org/reduce-carbon-footprint/

4 https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2018/12/27/35-ways-reduce-carbon-footprint/

5 https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/environment-food-cooking-sustainability/

6 https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/how-a-tiny-island-is-showing-the-world-how-to-prot/

 

Do You Eat Plant-Based Protein to Help Sustain Planet Earth?

How many of you eat veggie burgers? Have you discovered the versatility of tofu? Are you trying to eat a “plantcentric” diet? Are you aware of your carbon footprint?

Food’s carbon footprint, or foodprint, is the greenhouse gas emissions produced by growing, rearing, farming, processing, transporting, storing, cooking and disposing of the food you eat. Transport, housing and food have the three largest carbon footprints. Food produces about eight tons of emissions per households or about 17% of the total. Worldwide, new reports suggest that livestock agriculture produces around half of all man-made emissions.1

Meat, cheese and eggs have the highest carbon footprint. Fruit, vegetables, beans and nuts have much lower carbon footprints. If you move towards a mainly vegetarian diet, you can have a large impact on your personal carbon footprint.2 It can help reduce pollution, preserve the environment and slow global warming. Many of these changes may also save you money, improve your health and even keep you fit!

Consumer knowledge about carbon footprints, sustainable products and maintaining an Active Wellness lifestyle has contributed to the explosive growth of the market for plant-based protein. With carbohydrates and fats, there is ongoing debate about their pros and cons. With protein, the general perception is that not only is it necessary for maintaining health but it can also improve overall well-being. This generally held belief adds to the growing popularity of plant-based proteins.

From children to seniors, the entire range of ages is joining body builders in recognizing the importance of eating enough protein but many do not want to eat meat. According to “The Protein Report: Meat Alternatives” that was published in January 2017, roughly 66 percent of U.S. consumers believe meat alternatives are healthier than meat.3 And it’s the younger generation that is leading the way: according to the February 2016 report entitled “Food Formulation and Ingredient Trends: Plant Proteins” from Packaged Facts, millennials are the top age group cutting down on meat consumption, primarily due to social consciousness about health, the environment and animal welfare.4

Plant-based proteins find their way into beverages as well as food in the form of snacks, nutritional supplements and meat replacements. Protein powders that used to be consumed largely by athletes have now made their way into the mainstream diet. Pea protein is found in 80% of plant protein powders because it has been found to deliver high marks both in taste and nutrition. 5

Since 2013, Kenzen® Vital Balance Meal Replacement Mix has been a trendsetter with its formula of high-protein, plant-based organic pea powder. Easily made into a shake or smoothie when combined with PiMag® water, plant-based milk or dairy milk, KVB in more recent years has taken quality to an even higher level by producing an improved version sweetened with zero-calorie monkfruit, KVB also helps planet Earth by using organic ingredients. Organic farming methods have a much lower impact on the environment than conventional methods, because it requires natural methods for soil fertilization, weed prevention and pest control. Organic ingredients cannot be genetically-modified or irradiated, processes which are not proven to be safe for the food chain.

From now through March 31,2019, take advantage of our special on chocolate Kenzen Vital Balance® at 33% discount—Get 3 for the price of 2! Chocolate KVB is formulated and manufactured in the USA.

 

 

1, 2  http://www.greeneatz.com/foods-carbon-footprint.html

3, 4, 5 https://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/functional-foodsbeverages/plant-based-protein-market-deep-dive

What are MCTs?

MCTs are medium chain triglycerides. That’s the scientific name for a group of partially man-made fats. These fats deserve attention because they’re good for us and as more research continues to be conducted, MCTs are being used more frequently for their therapeutic value.1

MCTs are most commonly derived from either coconut or palm kernel oil that is extracted in the laboratory. Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic contend that they have been shown to lower weight and decrease metabolic syndrome, abdominal obesity and inflammatory markers. Their value in weight management is attributed to their unusual chemical structure that allows the body to digest them easily. Absorbed intact, MCTs are taken straight to the liver and used directly for energy. In this way, they are processed more like carbohydrates than like other fats. 2 The result is that instead of being stored as fat, the calories contained in MCTs are efficiently converted into fuel for immediate use by organs and muscles.3

MCTs have also been shown to suppress appetite. In one 14-day study, six healthy male volunteers were allowed unlimited access to one of three diets: a low MCT diet, a medium MCT and a high MCT diet. Caloric consumption was significantly lower on the high MCT diet. The researchers noted that substituting MCTs for other fats in a high-fat diet “can limit the excess energy intakes and weight gain produced by high-fat, energy-dense diets.”4 

These findings are of particular interest to nutritionists and dieticians who work with clients in need of weight loss. Calorie-restricted diets are often associated with lethargy or a decline in energy. Studies support the benefits of using MCTs in weight loss programs to boost energy levels and increase fatty acid metabolism to help in reducing fat deposits. In one eastern European study, researchers had 60 obese patients consume MCT oil. They concluded that MCTs offered benefits that “improve the long-term success of diet therapy of obese patients.”5

In recent years MCTs have gained in popularity with athletes who want to increase energy levels and enhance endurance during high-intensity exercise. These athletes are generally on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. According to webMD, athletes sometimes use MCTs for nutritional support during training, as well as for decreasing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass.1

Another promising use for MCTs is in support of cognitive function. Here’s how: When brain cells lose their ability to process glucose, the main source of energy, those brain cells die. PET scans show that areas of the brain that are weak in breaking down glucose, are able to use ketones (what the body produces when it breaks down fats for energy) as an alternative source of energy. Ketones easily cross the blood-brain barrier to provide instant energy to the brain. MCTs conveniently raise blood levels of ketones!6

MCTs are fats that are our friends. And we’ve made it easy to access these valuable fats by making it our second ingredient in the high-protein, low-carb Kenzen® Vital Balance Meal Replacement Mix. MCTs are usually high in calories, but in our nutritional shake, they’re part of a 125-calorie serving, so you reap big benefits with a great low-calorie formula and enjoy the Nikken Active Wellness lifestyle.

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-915-medium+chain+triglycerides.aspx

2http://www.clevelandclinicwellness.com/Features/Pages/MediumChainTriglycerides.aspx

3 Kaunitz, H. ,Dietary use of MCT in “Bilanzierte Ernaehrung in der Therapie,” K. Lang, W. Fekl, and G. Berg, eds. George Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart, 1971.

4 Stubbs RJ, Harbron CG. ,“Covert manipulation of the ratio of medium- to long-chain triglycerides in isoenergetically dense diets: effect on food intake in ad libitum feeding men,” Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1996 May;20(5):435-44.

5 Hainer V, Kunesova M, Stich V, Zak A, Parizkova J. ,“The role of oils containing triacylglycerols and medium-chain fatty acids in the dietary treatment of obesity,” “The effect on resting energy expenditure and serum lipids,” Cas Lek Cesk 1994 Jun 13;133(12):373-5.

6 Constantini, Lauren C, Barr, Linda J, Vogel, Janet L, Henderson, Samuel T, “Hypometabolism as a therapeutic target I Alzheimer’s disease,” BMC Neurosci., 2008; 9(suppl 2): S16.