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A Delicious, Seasonal Elderflower-Infused Honey

Next time you see an elderflower tree, pick some of the fresh flowers because they add nice flavor to honey + have medicinal benefits. The honey and elderflower combination is an effective remedy for a sore throat, early-season cold, and allergies. Add elderflower honey to tea or simply enjoy it by the healing spoonful. We mix it with fresh lemon juice and carbonated water for a refreshing lemonade.

Choose the size of the jar to determine how much of the flowers and honey you’ll need. You need only enough flowers to fill the jar loosely, followed by the honey. Don’t toss out extra flowers! Dry them and use them for tea.

Makes 8 ounces

¼ cup (or more) freshly picked elderflower heads

8 oz. fresh, local honey, or more as needed

1. Rinse the flowers with water. Remove and de-stem the blooms from the branches and set aside. You should have a pile of lovely small, white flowers, free of bark, stems, and immature fruit.

2. Loosely pack the flowers into an 8-oz. jar with a lid and pour the honey over them. Use a chopstick or knife to stir the honey and elderflowers gently to release any trapped air and submerge the flowers in the honey. If needed, top off and fill to the brim with more honey. Secure the lid and set aside to infuse for 1 week.

3. Strain the elderflowers out of the honey using a small sieve, pouring the infused honey into a second clean jar and sealing with a lid. Store in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry, for up to 6 months.

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Live Superfoods

Recipe courtesy of Sunset.

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We're Celebrating Chocolate Day for the True Purist!

Today we celebrate Chocolate Day! Woop Woop! Not milk chocolate though. I'm talking about the high cacao, rich, dark chocolate we crave and love. Even better, pure cacao is a superfood that contains a lot of beneficial nutrients. Let’s celebrate all things true and pure about chocolate on this well-deserving day.

Chocolate, Cacao, and All Its Parts

Chocolate comes from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao, which has been cultivated for at least 3,000 years, is grown in Mexico, Central America and Northern Southern America. The cacao tree seeds have a very intense, bitter taste that must be fermented to develop the flavor.

Once the seeds have been fermented, the cacao beans are dried, cleaned and roasted. After roasting, the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs. The cacao nibs are then ground into a cocoa mass, which is pure unsweetened chocolate in rough form. The cocoa mass is usually liquefied then molded with or without other ingredients. At this point of the process it’s called chocolate liquor, which may then be processed into two components cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

Delicious and Good For You!

Cacao is incredibly high in antioxidants. Cacao is also is the highest plant-based source of iron, double that of spinach, and is rich in magnesium and calcium, two critical minerals your body needs for cardiovascular, muscular, and skeletal health.

There's also a reason that chocolate makes you feel better; cacao contains the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, anandamide and phenylethylamine, chemicals associated with making you feel happy and blissful. Cacao is also rich in caffeine and theobromine, a caffeine-like stimulant and potent diuretic.

Cacao Liquor

If you’re a chocolate lover, cacao liquor is a must try. As the name might imply, it doesn’t contain alcohol, and if you add a little sweetener, this superfood is transformed into a super good dessert, hot chocolate, snack or treat any time of the day!

This is one of the easiest ways to add nutrient rich cacao to your diet. Cacao has a dark, robust flavor profile due to its unique growing environment.

How to Observe Today?

Go out to your favorite restaurant and indulge in a delicious chocolate dessert or try these delicious cacao berry clarity bars. Make a nice hot chocolate, add cacao powder to your chocolate smoothie, or snack on these dark cacao macaroons.

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

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Aerobic Exercise vs. Strength Training {Infographic}

Have you ever wondered which is better -- strength training or cardio exercise? We have your answers here.

Efficient Exercise

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Paleo-Approved Cinnamon Coconut Latte To Improve Your Gut Health

This hot drink contains collagen and coconut oil, both with contain gut healing properties. Adding collagen peptides to this cinnamon coconut latte is an easy way to improve gut health and give your skin, joints and bones the nutrition it needs.

Collagen proteins serve two main functions in the body: structure and regeneration. It’s the structural component for all tissues in the body, providing the strength and resilience typically associated with youth, beauty, and wellness. Our favorite, NeoCell, contains high quality collagen proteins that support healthy skin, hair, nails and optimal

This lovely drink is Dairy-free, Nut-free, Egg-free & Paleo.

Gut- Healing Cinnamon Coconut Latte

Ingredients in 1 serving

12 oz. organic coffee

2 tsp coconut oil (or coconut oil + 1 tsp coconut butter)

½ - 1 tsp unsalted grass-fed butter (for dairy-free option, sub additional coconut oil)

¼ - ½ tsp cinnamon

¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk (optional but adds more creaminess)

1/8 tsp organic vanilla extract

1 scoop NeoCell collagen peptides

Instructions

1. Brew coffee in a coffee maker or French press.

2. While coffee is brewing, in a saucepan over medium heat (or microwave) melt and heat the coconut oil/butter and optional milk. This keeps your latte nice and hot.

3. Pour 12 oz. coffee in a blender, add the remaining ingredients and blend on high for 10-15 seconds until creamy and frothy.

4. Pour in coffee mug and enjoy.

Nutrition Facts for one latte made with dairy-free milk:

Cals: 155 | Fat: 13 g | Carbs: 1 g | Sugar: 0 g | Pro: 9 g | Sodium: 71 mg

Recipe courtesy of The Real Food RDs.

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Super Trendy Kale and Turmeric Smoothie

This hidden gem is energizing and has the added benefit of turmeric’s renowned anti-inflammatory properties. This is one of those recipes you just have to try yourself to understand how good it really is.

Ingredients

1 cup almond milk

1 banana [Mango or Peach makes a good substitute]

3 leaves kale, large stems discarded and leaves chopped (1½ cups)

¼ cup flax seed meal

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger [You could use ¼ teaspoon ground ginger]

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon stevia [May substitute 1 teaspoon of honey.]

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon black pepper [Increases turmeric’s absorption]

1 tablespoon almond butter

6 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Per 1 1/3 cup serving: 221 cal, 10.9g fat (1.2g sat), 8.1g pro, 29g carb, 8.9g fiber, 113 mg sodium

 

Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.

 

 

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Coconut Turmeric Bites

This versatile spice has been around for thousands of years. Turmeric has a ton of health benefits, but is most notorious as a very effective anti-inflammatory.

If you sprain your ankle, inflammation is a normal and important part of the healing process. However, the inflammatory hormones in our body need to be in balance to work properly and sadly, they’re too often out of balance due to a poor diet, stressful lifestyle, and more. As a result, chronic inflammation with the inability to decrease it is all too common. 

Because turmeric is natural, it doesn't negatively interfere with your immune system, and will more than likely reduce some of that harmful inflammation occuring.

Anti-inflammatory Coconut Turmeric Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut butter (also called coconut cream concentrate or coconut mana)
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut + ½ tsp for topping 
  • 1 tbsp coconut milk (or water)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp honey (optional if you want to cut down on sugar, but it really helps balance the bitter taste of the turmeric) 

Instructions  

1. Add the coconut butter and the shredded coconut to a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. You want the coconut butter to be softened (but not melted), so depending on the consistency of yours, heat it up in the microwave for about 5-10 seconds if needed.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and combine.

3. Begin rolling the dough into balls about 1–1¼ inch diameter, (or you can easily choose whichever size you’d like) and place onto a plate lined with parchment paper.

4. If desired, sprinkle about ½ tsp of shredded coconut on top of the bites.

5. Put the turmeric bites into the refrigerator and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes, or in the freezer for more of a bite.

6. Remove from the fridge and enjoy! Note that these are best enjoyed cold.


Recipe courtesy of Unbound Wellness

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Probiotics Fight BPA

If you missed the xenoestrogens blog (Part 1) about Bisphenol A (BPA) and its health consequences, you can find it here. BPA is everywhere. More than likely, all of us are exposed to BPA fairly regularly. Are there any diet-related remedies for eliminating this toxin already in our bodies? There just may be...PROBIOTICS!

Specific Probiotics

Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei are two beneficial bacterial strains shown to reduce intestinal absorption of BPA by carrying it out of your digestive system (1). This is great news because consuming these probiotic strains may destroy the harmful effects of BPA. These two strains can be found in both foods and supplements, depending on the supplement.

BPA and Pregnancy

BPA is very concerning for parents and soon-to-be parents because some animal studies report ill effects in fetuses and newborns exposed to BPA. This tells me all pregnant women would benefit by taking a probiotic containing Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei on a nightly basis. Why nightly? Because stomach acid is not as strong after dinner so probiotics have the best chance at establishing residence in your digestive tract. You also are not going to eat for about another 8 hours, giving the probiotics time to attach to your intestinal wall and form colonies.

Another reason for parents to be concerned is BPA’s estrogen mimicking effects and its possible link to obesity (2), so infants, toddlers, and children can also benefit by a probiotic supplement to prevent absorbing this incredibly harmful chemical into the bloodstream.

Taking Probiotics during Pregnancy has other health benefits for mom and baby as well. 

Why Take Probiotics Daily?

Levels of beneficial bacteria don’t reside in your intestines forever. In fact, they stay there for only a short time before they’re utilized or excreted. Some reasons beneficial bacteria decrease include not eating whole foods, consuming too much alcohol, salt, and chlorinated water, consuming too many drugs and antibiotics, and they decline with age. A daily probiotic is very helpful to keep levels up.

You’re off to a good start by understanding how these two strains of probiotics, Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei, are beneficial for binding BPA. Replenishing the beneficial bacterial colonies on a nightly basis will keep you healthier today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow.

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Live Superfoods

Kelly H

 







 

 

References:                                                                                                                                                                                

1.  Oishi K, Sato T, Yokoi W, Yoshida Y, Ito M, Sawada H. Effect of probiotics, Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei, on bisphenol A exposure in rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008 Jun;72(6):1409-15.

2.  Trasande L, MD, MPP; Attina TM, MD, PhD, MPH; Blustein J, MD, PhD. Association Between Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration and Obesity Prevalence in Children and Adolescents. JAMA. 2012;308(11):1113-1121.

 

 

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Food Ideas For Your Day Hike

What’s For Lunch? If you’re half way through a 10 mile hike, or any length hike for that matter, it’s an important question. You want food that will nourish you, strengthen you, revitalize you, and taste really good. If you're contemplating how much food to pack, error on the side of taking a little more. Hunger pangs aren’t a good feeling and may distract you from the other joys of a hike (scenery, good conversation with hiking buddies, great workout buzz, etc.)

Rather than take a prolonged break for a midday meal (involving unpacking, preparation, cleanup and repacking), a quicker strategy is to graze on a series of low maintenance, modest energy-boosting snacks throughout the day.

Here are some ideas, but before you read further, I must preface my list with this….always, always have plenty of water. With that said, onto the food ideas.

10 Great Hiking Food Ideas

1. Your Favorite Nut Butter. There are so many different, tasty options when it comes to nut butter, such as a nut butter & jelly sandwich, nut butter & honey tortilla wrap, a bagel smothered in nut butter, and nut butter & banana sandwich. The nut butter squeeze packets are also handy to cram into small pockets. Nut butter provides a punch of healthy fat and protein, and when paired with the necessary carbohydrates from the bread, bagel, or tortilla, you have a great energy-filled food.

2. Energy Bar (see my homemade bar recipe…delicious!). Whatever energy bar is your favorite, they’re a quick, well-balanced, lightweight choice when you’re burning a lot of calories. Clif Bar minis are also handy because they’re smaller, and I often only eat half the normal size bar, so why not buy minis? One downfall, they’re more expensive than other hiking food choices. If you eat them often, consider buying in bulk from a warehouse store or online.

3. Jerky. I’m not talking the convenient store SlimJim, people! Nothing against it, but real jerky is so much better…tastes better and is better for you. There are different types of jerky, such as beef, buffalo, and turkey. It’s nearly indestructible, is nonperishable and lightweight, and is a great protein and salt source. With all that sweating, you want to eat something salty. Ideally, find a nitrate-free brand.

4. Fresh Fruit. Nothing better than a fresh pear, apple, orange or grapefruit, and everyone has at least one fruit they like to eat. It’s a great source of easily digested, natural carbohydrate. I suggest packing a fruit with minimal trash that needs packed out (i.e.: banana peel, and fruit that can take rolling around in your backpack without getting crushed. The last thing you want to deal with is smashed fruit debris on your gear.

5. Fig Bars. They’re filled with carbs and calories, plus they’re slightly sweet, which is perfect when you need a quick pick-me-up along the trail.

6. Gorp, aka: Trail Mix. I love this food because you can do so much with it. Pick and choose just about anything you love! One idea: Combine 1 cup unsweetened whole-grain cereal, ¼ cup nuts, and ¼ cup dried fruit in a ready-to-go container. Other possible additions: coconut flakes, chocolate chips (beware: they may melt), dates, goji berries.

7. Granola. It comes in a variety of flavors ranging from honey and nut to more exotic combinations like blueberry and cherry. Loaded with fat and carbohydrates, granola is an excellent choice out on the trail.

8. Dried Fruit. They pack more caloric bang per ounce than fresh fruit, which is important considering a high carbohydrate snack is what you muscles want when you’re in the midst of a long day hike. Raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, dried bananas, and dried apples are all tasty choices.

9. Hard Cheese and Crackers. Hard cheeses are robust enough to survive on the trail and can take a moderate amount of heat. Sitting on a scenic bluff, eating some cheese and crackers with sliced apple is a pretty stellar way to spend the afternoon.

10. Tuna Fish. Paired with whole grain crackers, or eaten on bread or a bagel, tuna is a healthy, high protein source while out on the trail. Be sure to purchase either the pull-top can (to avoid a can opener) or the tuna in a pouch, and if you insist on adding mayo or mustard, pick up a few of the restaurant size packets.

A fueled body will get you further. Is camping on your agenda? It's that time of year! Mapping out your plan is important because there's more to consider than grabbing an energy bar or a bottle of water. Follow these tips to ensure you have a nourishing and safe food experience on your next outdoor adventure.

Happy Hiking!

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

 

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