Taste For Life Blog

Updated: 08:27 May 14, 2014

2013 Annual Kids' Nutrition Chart

Supplementing you child's diet with vitamins can keep them healthy! Click here to download this super-handy poster! (22" x 34" 4.5 MB PDF)

Stay tuned for an updated 2014 version!

Taste for Life: Kid's Vitamins Nutrition Chart

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Updated: 03:07 May 13, 2014

Gluten-Free Baker's Dozen

Get a "baker's dozen" of 13 tips to turn your kitchen into a gluten-free zone! Click here to download our beautiful poster! (21" x 32" 5.3 MB PDF)

These tips and a whole lot more are also included on our interactive guide to going gluten free! Check it out: www.tasteforlife.com/glutenfree

Taste for Life: Gluten-free Bakers Dozen

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Updated: 11:38 April 25, 2014

3 Products to Destress Your Day

 

Product: MegaFood Women Over 40 One Daily

Why we like it: This product delivers mood-enhancing nutrients, including vitamin D3 and the Bs. It also has a nice blend of herbs for "balancing," including ashwagandha, a known stress buster.

Bonus: Digestive enzymes are included in the formula.

 

Product: Gaia Maca Powder

Why we like it: This tasty ground root from the Peruvian Andes reduces stress and boosts energy. Just mix one teaspoon in water, juice, smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal daily.

Bonus: You can type in the ID number on the bottle at GaiaHerbs.com and find out how the herbs were grown, harvested, extracted, and validated. 

 

Product: Teeccino Dandelion Dark Roast

Why we like it: This herbal coffee  has a rich body and hearty flavor made from roasted dandelion.

Extra bonus: No acidity like you get with coffee!

 

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Updated: 04:53 February 24, 2014

Juicifying Life!

I have friends who swear by juicing, including one who claims he felt almost euphoric for more than a week due to drinking juice breakfasts. I love being able to buy a nice, freshly wrangled juice, especially at our new community co-op where there’s a juice and smoothie bar.

But to make my own juice? That did seem a little high maintenance for me to do consistently.

However, armed with a new juicer—the Tribest Slowstar Vertical Slow Juicer and Mincer—I was ready to give it a try. (Slow-speed juicers are meant to keep down the temperature of the machine while juicing so nutrients aren’t lost to heat.)

Here at Taste for Life, we see lots of juice books and recipes and formulas, and I followed a couple of those to start. I also researched which foods provide juices with the greatest benefit, and which work together (for example, kale juice alone might not cut it for flavor, but a nice fresh apple can add the perfect sweetness to this intensely healthy drink).

Those recipes have been worked out by the experts, and they really can be fantastic. But one of the chores that contributes to all the work of juicing is shopping for the right amount of just the right ingredients, some of which might be a little obscure and others utterly out of season. Since in-season produce is more likely to be green, clean, and fresh, my preference leans in that direction.

So I decided to start experimenting with the items I was getting through my CSA (which runs through the winter with storage crops and tunnel-grown greens and herbs), what was in season at the co-op (apples start in the fall and stay in winter storage, citrus hits its peak during the holidays and thereafter) and, honestly, I was just as happy with what I produced. Try my recipe.  The freshest foods available to me included beets, carrots, apples, oranges and lemons, and lots of kale. I like powerful flavors, so lots of ginger and even some garlic might go in there—but only if I feel like it! For added antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3s, I might whisk in some chia seeds . . . unless I want a smoother drink.

I can’t wait to use fresh cucumbers and tomatoes this summer, along with berries and melons and . . . well, still, kale! Does kale ever go out of season?

You still have to prep the foods and clean the machine, but it turns out not to be such a chore after all.

Donna Moxley is the managing editor of Taste for Life.

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Updated: 10:27 May 19, 2013

What a Meditation Retreat Can Do for You

 

Each year, I give myself the gift of a weekend meditation retreat held in silence.

I go with the intention of starting and sticking with a meditation practice. When the retreat ends, I meditate daily for about a month. Then I get distracted and move on to other things.

But I’ve stopped feeling like a fraud for attending weekend retreats even though I’m not a real devotee. Here’s why.

What meditation can do for you

Meditation can be a tool, whether you incorporate it into your life every day or squeeze it in when you remember to or whether you do it on a yearly retreat for a few days at a stretch.

Silence is nourishing. It’s good medicine, much like taking a walk along the ocean, listening to the waves. It’s primal, and we don’t need to understand its healing powers to know something good is happening.

Of course, this hasn’t stopped the scientists from trying to figure it out. Research shows that meditation lowers blood pressure, relieves stress, and improves mood.

The most recent research shows that the practice—even if only done 20 minutes a day for 2 months—delivers anti-aging benefits at the cellular level, protecting against the chronic inflammation that leads to cancer and heart problems.

But there’s another reason you should consider a meditation retreat. I guarantee you will meet someone you feel a connection to. That person will seem familiar, but you won’t be able to place where you’ve met. You’ll be intrigued by them, though, and feel sure you could be the best of friends.

That person, of course, is you.

Unexpected gifts

Whatever brings you to a meditation retreat, whether it be stress at work or a need to break away from the kids to remember who you are, there is something about silence that delivers the gift of whatever is needed.

I never have the experience I think I will. I arrive with expectations. I’m convinced that I know the types of thoughts that will surface over the hours of meditation that lie ahead.

And yes, these issues do come up. You experience what the Buddhists call “monkey mind,” a storm of thoughts flitting about,  jumping from subject to subject.

Through it all, you learn to notice your thoughts and then let them go. Eventually, you simmer down and the quiet space between thoughts grows longer. The charged issues that made you pay to sit with a bunch of strangers for an entire weekend? Those issues go away. 

And that is when your soul starts talking. Now that it has your attention, it turns out it has a few things to say. These will likely be about issues you thought were long over, processed and dealt with, thank you very much.

Everyone tells themselves stories about their lives and the things that have happened. Sometimes we change a story to turn ourselves into more of a villain than we actually were. Sometimes we make ourselves more of a hero.

I’ve found that the days spent in silent retreat offer a third alternative—the truth. No spin. No hero, no villain. Just life.

The chance to sit with the truth in a state of true acceptance is a profound gift. When you leave the meditation hall on Sunday, you leave more fully yourself than you have been for a long time.

 

Have you had a good experience with a meditation retreat or just meditation in general?

 

 

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Updated: 08:54 May 5, 2013

Better to Be Safe Than to Be Sorry?

The European Union (EU) recently voted to temporarily ban the use of certain pesticides. Many of their scientists believe that the pesticides—called neonicotinoids—may be contributing to the staggering loss of honeybees around the world (known as colony collapse disorder).

Neonicotinoids attack the central nervous system of insects—paralyzing and killing them.

The EU will use the 2-year moratorium to further study the impact of these pesticides on honeybees.

In contrast, a recent U.S. Agriculture Department and Environmental Protection Agency report blames colony collapse disorder on many factors, including loss of living areas for bees and pesticide use. But unlike the EU, the use of pesticides is minimized in the U.S. report, with much of the blame being pinned on a parasitic mite.

What do you think is contributing most to the loss of the bees? 

 

 

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Updated: 07:58 April 26, 2013

30-Day Nature Challenge

Okay, we're on the brink of May. Spring is here, and you know what that means, don't you?

No, it's not time to get bikini ready. It's time to get smarter, healthier, and happier. All for free. 

How do we do this? Well, the David Suzuki Foundation is betting that if you spend 30 minutes in nature every day for 30 days, starting on May 1, you will reap these rewards—and more.

The organization, which aims to protect the diversity of nature by inspiring people to act with nature in mind, is betting that by simply spending more time outdoors, our resolve to protect the planet will grow stronger. Talk about a win-win!

The foundation is Canadian, and this is a "Canadian" challenge, but that doesn't mean other nationalities can't join the ride!

Sign up for the 30x30 Nature Challenge.  You will receive tips on how to get your daily nature fix throughout the month. 

You can fill out a survey (at the start of the challenge and at the end) that the foundation will use to determine if more nature increases people's well-being.

Could it really be that the secret to happiness is just getting outside more often? 

Let's get onboard to support this effort! Sign up and let us know how it goes! 

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Updated: 01:56 April 25, 2013

Read Your Labels Day

Get the 411 on what's in the foods and beverages you're consuming! April 11 has been declared "Read Your Labels Day" by consumer advocacy group, Citizens for Health (www.citizens.org).

Families are encouraged to read the labels on products in their kitchen pantries and refrigerators, and on grocery store shelves. Look for the "Top 10 Ingredients to Avoid," a list of today's most worrisome sweeteners, preservatives, and industrial chemical additives. These include high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and monosodium glutamate. 

Take photos of these products and share them on Instagram using the hashtag #ReadYourLabels.

Through its website FoodIdentityTheft.com, the non-profit organization keeps consumers informed about food safety issues. On its blog, it has provided info on each of these 10 most controversial ingredients that can be found in hundreds of processed foods, including what they're used for and why consumers should avoid products that contain them.

"Harmful food additives can contribute to many serious medical conditions that include diabetes, obesity, and heart disease," notes Harvard MD, Dr. Eva Selhub. "Eliminating these 'top 10' additives from your diet is an excellent start to healthier eating."

While many shoppers scan the nutrition labels on packages looking for such things as saturated fats or sodium content, an independent study published in 2011 by the food and beverage research group Mintel reported that less than half of consumers surveyed read the ingredients labels on the foods they bought in supermarkets.

"The majority of us don't check the list of ingredients on food package labels," said Jim Turner, who chairs Citizens for Health.  "Many of the big food manufacturers are counting on this.  If we don't read or understand the ingredients in their products, they can put pretty much whatever they want to into our food."

 

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Updated: 06:35 March 23, 2013

Stop Junk Mail

Sick of recycling a seemingly endless stream of catalogs and magazine and credit offers?

Take a small green step and stop them from entering your mailbox for five years. Register with the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service and opt out. 

Youll be glad you did!

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Updated: 07:42 March 15, 2013

Embrace Olive Oil!

More good news for the Mediterranean diet! Researchers have found that olive oil increases satiety—that nice feeling of fullness that makes you stop eating sooner.

In a three-month study, people ate low-fat yogurt enriched with one of four different types of edible fats and oils: lard, butterfat, rapeseed (canola) oil, or olive oil. 

The people who ate the olive oil-enhanced yogurt showed the highest amounts of serotonin—a satiety hormone—in their blood. This puzzled the researchers because rapeseed oil and olive oil contain the same level of fatty acids. 

After more research, they found that olive oil has aroma components that help people feel full. These substances in the oil helped slow down how fast people's cells were absorbing glucose. (The faster this process happens, the sooner you feel hungry again.)

Of all the olive oils tested from Spain, Greece, Italy, and Australia, it was the olive oil from Italy that contained the highest concentration of the aroma compounds. So stock up and feel good about it!

SOURCE
"Olive Oil Makes You Feel Full," www.sciencedaily.com, 3/14/13

 

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Latest blog posts

2013 Annual Kids' Nutrition Chart

Taste For Life Blog Supplementing you child's diet with vitamins can keep them healthy! Click here to download this super-handy poster! (22" x 34" 4.5 MB PDF)Stay tuned for an updated 2014 version! Read more

Gluten-Free Baker's Dozen

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3 Products to Destress Your Day

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