Have you heard? March is National Nutrition Month!

2013 is the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is educating and encouraging people to “Eat Right, Your Way, and Every Day”. They are also sharing 13 health tips for this year as well:
• Don’t skip breakfast.
• Fill up on fruits and vegetables
• Be conscious of portion sizes
• Exercise.
• Snack healthy.
• Read your labels
• Get help from an RD.
• Make a home-cooked meal.
• Eat out (occasionally) without ditching your nutrition goals
• Have family meal nights
• Mix it up at lunchtime
• H20 yourself.
Now, these are all great suggestions and guidelines to live by, however depending on your busy work and home schedule how can you make it work for you? Easy……Keep it Simple! You know this, if it takes time we hesitate to try anything new, but this can be done with little notice. I have found good choices are the easiest of changes.

Here are a few suggestions of my own I have found to be useful when I’m traveling.
• Coffee- exchange that full fat, high sugar latte for a regular coffee with fat free milk.
• Soda – Save it for the weekend, water always the best option.
• Fast Food – ask for No cheese or sauces, always ask for extra lettuce and veggies.
• Salads – Not my favorite, but always satisfying and not too filling. Get low or no fat dressing.
• Dinner- Always get a dinner salad, a protein and ask for vegetables instead of that baked potato or creamed side.
• Desert-Skip it. Save it for when you are home or weekend, but not on the road.

These are just a few suggestions. It’s not rocket science, but you will be surprised how many calories you will save in just one week! Add that up for every week of the year and you’ll be amazed. As a result you’ll feel better, have more energy and that’s what National Nutrition Month is all about!!
Give it a try and let me know how it works for you! And send in your healthy tips for travel, I would love to hear them.
Safe and Healthy Travels!

Natural Products Expo West 2013

SPI Group just returned from the Natural Products Expo West, held every March in beautiful Anaheim, California! Natural Products Expo West is the largest trade show in the U.S. dedicated to all things natural – including Food, beauty aids, Pet food, Supplements, and more! The show has more than 3,000 exhibitors and 60,000 participants. We were happy to work at the Briess booth, showing off natural sweeteners such as tapioca syrup and white sorghum syrup. People loved the “Malt-lasses Cookies” featured malt extract – Molasses is a natural sweetener, but the malty, caramel flavors in malt extract really work in this cookie!

This show gets bigger every year, and I always like seeing the newest products in the natural marketplace. I also appreciate the education opportunities, with relevant topics such as “Managing the non-GMO Message,” “Specialty Diets Forum,” and a town hall on “Defining natural.” It goes without saying that there are endless networking opportunities at this show, and they do a great job bringing in relevant speakers.

See you next year in Anaheim!

Total Transparency and Naturally Processed Meat Solutions

Recently attending the Nutrition Industry Update at the Natural Products Expo West, attendees heard the following quote about total transparency by Mr. Greg Page of Cargill:
“In a world where nothing can be hidden, you better have nothing to hide”
This statement is especially true when we think about media and consumer uproar over the use of the ingredient, Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) in fresh ground beef…
So where are we going into the future? Food and nutritional food supplement product sectors are headed in the same direction. “Less processed and more natural alternative processes and ingredients.” Instead of chemical synthesis, nutrients and functional ingredients are being extracted by water or mechanically or derived by fermentation. As an example, we have all observed the growth of “Natural” and “Uncured Cooked Meats” in the deli meat section. These products contain none of the synthetic or chemical preservatives commonly used to extend shelf life and most importantly product safety. But going to a natural ingredient solution is not without some controversy. . Celery powder is used in many natural uncured sausages and deli slices saying parenthetically,”A natural source of nitrates”. Indeed celery extract powder contains a very high nitrate content of 15,000 to 17,000 ppm and is an effective though expensive alternative to sodium nitrates. Showing their concern of this somewhat hidden source of nitrates; the EU does not approve of the indirect addition of nitrates to foods via extracts of vegetables such as celery. Is it better being naturally sourced? Absolutely… Is there a better answer. Possibly.
One natural alternative is the use of Spice and Fruit Extracts from Prosur. Based in Spain, Prosur offers a suite of natural fruit and spice extract blends with antimicrobial properties that provide protection against pathogens while preserving the fresh quality of natural meat,poultry and seafood. Prosur’s products work in a different way to preserve the cure color without containing nitrates and using the naturally occuring polyphenols from the spice and fruit extracts to provide the microbial protection.
If you want more information about Prosur contact your SPI Group representative.