Friday, March 6, 2015

Nutrition+Snacks For Athletes=Spring Shape-Up Part One


Turning the clocks ahead an hour means one hour closer to Spring (YAY) where longer days inspire sporty types to spend more time outdoors… working off the winter weight gain that most off-season endurance athletes "earn."

The freezing cold weather experienced by many- has those extra pounds sticking around longer---and so a recent Editor's showcase gathering of health+nutrition companies peaked our interest…curious to see what's new for consumers looking to stay/get healthy…and shed a bit of body fat.


First off…one of our fav foods on Planet Earth was there…we practically cried tears of joy---Wonderful® PISTACHIO NUTS -from Paramount Farms---perfect snack -great taste, nutritious, and paced eating (those shells help). A healthy indulgence.
Get Crackin' indeed...Pistachio nuts have it all-YUMMY satisfying salty ranch taste-nutritious with plenty of Vitamin Bs, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, dietary fiber and protein, is super fun to eat and low in calories as pictured above-a 100 calorie serving =WIN WIN WIN. Only gift our brothers ever really want-lbs of this cashew family nut. Never have enough.

Almonds-are a nut that has been getting loads of positive buzz…packed with vitamin Bs, beneficial fats,  and minerals...with a handful a day linked to benefits ranging from healthier hearts and weight loss. A snack - every nutrition type recommends (except those allergic, of course).
1oz serving serves up 5gr protein, vitamin E, magnesium-25 varieties by Blue Diamond-traditional, bold, honey and oven roasted styles
From Blue Diamond- a company synonymous with almonds including the liquid almond 'milk' products- our friends swear by-instead of using a more calorie dense dairy milk/cream in their coffee (we need to try that-note to self)…BUT what we did try and sorry we did not stop at a handful because they were so good (warning)-the Blue Diamond Almonds BOLD Wasabi+Soy Sauce … an ideal mash-up of savory salt-hot-crunchy and nutritious almonds…fabulous. Serve these to pals gathered to watch the NCAA Basketball Ball Final Four games…instead of the usual peanut mix. So much better.

Yet to try-Blue Diamond coffee and fruit flavored almonds…hmmm…bet they are good too. But different for those addicted to the salty side of life.

Supplements are tricky to buy…and since the FDA does not regulate what is in them, let alone what they claim to do--- imo ---akin to the cure it all snake oil peddled back in the days of our frontier going ancestors. Yikes. Recently- the NY AG tested the contents of popular herbal supplements  purchased from major retailers-with horrific results of cheap fillers with little or no trace of the so-called 'active' ingredients---on board- leading to charges of fraudulence (summary here) .
Consequently, it is critical to look for verification stamps on vitamins-supplments- by recognized institutions (USP, for example)-or what new to us NovaScotia Organics has-the USDA Certified Organic label. And the company is really from Nova Scotia Canada…!
Nova Scotia Organics is a rather complete line of USDA Certified Organics vitamins, minerals and snacks-like dry fruit…very impressive with targeted multi-vitamin supplements and 'solutions' for men, women, kids and 50+ers…and formulas for needs like sleep aid, immune system booster etc.

SO-not only are the ingredients of this company's wide assortment of supplements the real deal-they are organic too-free of pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, synthetics…which shockingly are in other label supplements that are suppose to be good for you. 

What we tried: 
We are big believers in pro-biotics…to help ensure that healthy digestive bacteria - needed in human guts-which ALSO has even been linked to healthy weight loss… are present. 
Cannot vouch for the weight loss bit- but for sure-helped us get over a nasty bout of food poisoning super fast…and is in one way or another- part of our daily intake. 
Nova Scotia Organics has an easy to transport and store (VERY HANDY no refrigeration needed) Pre&Pro-Biotics Chewables -or powder form-using 1tbsp dissolved in 10 oz water (what we had-and already finished our 10.6oz sample 30 servings worth) -2x day REAL fruit flavored supplements packed with good for you microorganisms conjured up by a mix of whole grains, fermented soy, assorted intestinal flora bacteria -15 billion CFU+, fruits, and cultured yeasts…vegan friendly and peanut free too.

Another powder that is a great after work out must: the BERRYSLIM SMOOTHIE MIX---which has protein via Teff grain (gluton free) and chia seed…and is high in fiber-the real kind from real fruit (black currant, anti-inflammatory pineapple, blueberry, raspberry, cranberry, banana), plus anti-oxidant green tea. At 120 calories a serving…it hits the spot after an intense workout---and is easy to mix- we take a water bottle-put in ¼ cup BerrySlim Smoothie powder-+ 8oz water- shake it up VERY vigorously…to dissolve the powder. Tasty.

Another winning company with its pro-biotics loaded products in our fridge-ever since we met them at the last Editor's Showcase-LIFEWAY KEFIR PRODUCTS.

What's New: Lifeway continues to add to its core offerings-now in markets the low cal 110(!) with the no cal Stevia naturally sweetened liquid-y Perfect12 in fruity Triple Berry Tart, Key Lime Pie (great-we tried), Apple Pear Cobbler, and Orange Cream-kefir digestion+immune boosting powers…and Lifeway Oat Kefir-which is breakfast for some-but desert for us-(we actually bought it along with the organic plain low- fat tangy Kefir we use to make cole slaw)---which has healthy oat fiber and kefir-in Cinnamon Apple, Blueberry Maple and Vanilla Plum (our pick).

For kids-ths is a better way of giving them something sweet/healthy to start their day vs sugary processed cereal.
SIGGI'S is very similar to the popular creamy Greek style yogurt. BUT BETTER. The flavored varieties by this company do not have the yech what is this ingredients -artificial preservatives, thickeners, sweeteners, flavors, and coloring, or that growth hormone crap fed to animals in competitor products…yet pretty much has the same calorie count. We even tried the 2% plain by Siggi's-one container was waaay more satisfying than 2  same sized containers of a national brand's whole milk offering. Who knew that the country of Bjork---had this going on too.

Bonus: Active cultures good for digestion-in abundance…and 23grams of protein which is about 60% more than competitors…because it's made the Icelandic way…a process that strains away excess water.

Part 2