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Baobab tree - Health Benefits of Baobab Fruit

Health Benefits of Baobab Fruit

By | Blog

Sometimes the greatest health innovations aren’t innovations at all. The health benefits of baobab fruit have been utilized for ages by native cultures in Africa, Madagascar, and Australia, but the rest of the world has only just begun to enjoy the many health benefits of baobab fruit within the last decade.

The hard-shelled baobab fruit is fairly large and heavy at about 7-inches long and three pounds. The fruit grows on the Adansonia Digitata tree, known in native regions as the “Tree of Life,” which can grow to approximately 98 feet high and 36 feet wide. The baobab tree can hold up to 120,000 liters (31,700 gallons) of water, accounting for much of its density and size.

So, it’s big and heavy, and it comes from a giant, water-filled tree, but what are the health benefits of the baobab fruit itself? We’re glad you asked!

Baobab Health Benefits

  • Currently rated with the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) score of all superfoods at 1,400
  • High in antioxidants that bolster immune system health
  • Supports nervous system health
  • Promotes electrolyte balance and hydration
  • Provides a natural energy source
  • Prebiotic effects for good digestive health (which also positively affects immune system health)
  • High in important nutrients like vitamins A, B6, and C, riboflavin, calcium magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, phytosterols, and carbohydrates along with both soluble and insoluble fiber

The high fiber and prebiotic elements of the baobab fruit have made it popular with native populations in Africa, where it’s long been used to relieve gastrointestinal issues like constipation and diarrhea. The full benefits are even more expansive than just digestive health, and the agreeable taste makes it perfect to be mixed in supplements like RawFusion Complete.

This nutrient-dense superfood is growing in popularity and is further proof that the most powerful health-promoting ingredients in the world are found in nature, not in a lab.

Soy beans and soy milk - Drawbacks of Soy

Drawbacks of Soy

By | Blog

Soy-based products have been in use for centuries in Asia, but at some point in the late 1990s and early 2000s, soy suddenly became a new health food craze. Unfermented soy products like soy cheese, soy milk, and tofu became more and more popular. Soy-based meat alternatives and soy protein powders followed, and a huge industry was born. Does that mean it’s time for you to jump on the ole soy bandwagon? Not necessarily. In fact, there are many drawbacks of soy use.

How Soy Got Popular

So, despite the drawbacks of soy, how did it get so popular? Well, there was positive information coming out regarding soy’s health benefits in the late 1990s, and that was followed by a big push within the health market.

Even with the positive effects that were being touted, the benefits became debatable as time went on. It was reported that increased soy intake could fend off breast and prostate cancer, yet arguments seem to hold weight stating the opposite to be true. There are also mixed reports of soy being beneficial for post-menopausal women in that it may help reduce bone loss, but there’s not a lot of proof to go along with that claim.

Soy-based foods were billed as being great for weight-loss diets, but that mostly seems to boil down to reduced calories thanks to soy replacing meat-based foods. You could eat meat-like soy products, enjoy soy cheese, have a big glass of soy milk, or splurge on some soy ice cream for dessert once in a while. Unfortunately, because of the potential hormonal issues as one of the drawbacks of soy, the weight may not be so easy to lose, and you may be doing more harm than good.

The Drawbacks of Soy Use

If there was so much positive push behind soy, what are the drawbacks? Soy foods contain isoflavones, or phytoestrogens. As the name implies, phytoestrogens relate to estrogen in that they bind to estrogen receptors leading to higher estrogen levels. That’s rarely a good thing. While other legumes also contain isoflavones, they’re much more concentrated in soybeans and soy-based products.

Negative effects of Soy

  • Increased estrogen levels
  • Impaired immune system response
  • Digestive issues
  • Thyroid issues (hypothyroidism)
  • Reproductive/fertility issues
  • Allergic reactions
  • GMO – most soy in the U.S. is genetically modified

Does this mean you need to stay away from soy at all costs? If you have a known allergy to it, that’s a given (hence the “may contain soy” warning on food labels). Otherwise, it’s still probably a good idea to avoid it, especially in high quantities.

Limiting Soy Intake

Limiting soy intake to one serving per day is probably okay to get a little bit of protein and additional fiber in your diet, and edamame can be a pretty tasty snack once in a while, but there are alternatives for most soy products.

Soy milk is appealing to many, but it’s easy to get too much soy that way, so rice milk, almond milk, or coconut milk may be better alternatives. Whatever soy you do ingest, try to make sure it’s organic. That will be tough, though, since most soy in the United States is genetically modified (for crop yields and pesticide resistance, not for improved nutritional value). That’s another big tick mark against it.

Regardless of your dietary needs, it’s not hard to find quality protein and food sources that are healthy and free of any animal products. If there’s one great thing about the soy revolution, it’s that the whole health food industry expanded its offerings of foods for health-conscious people.

Fruit bowl - Healthy Snacks for Vegans

Healthy Snacks for Vegans

By | Blog

Choosing healthy snacks can be surprisingly difficult at times, but that’s especially true when you follow a vegan lifestyle. Regardless of what sort of nutritional plan you follow, healthy snacks for vegans are healthy snacks for everyone.

Whether you’re single or have a household with a big family, quick and easy snacks are crucial throughout the day. And while pre-packaged items can be bought just about anywhere, the nutritional value is often in direct conflict with a healthy lifestyle, let alone if you follow a plant-based diet.

While it may seem difficult to plan for, keeping your fridge full of fresh fruits and vegetables is relatively simple and means that you’ll always have healthy snacks ready to go for anyone and everyone.

Keeping your pantry stocked is even easier, since most seeds, nuts, and other dry foods last much longer. Plus, they’re often a bit more calorie-dense, so they tend to fill you up a bit more.

The right pairings of snack foods can be incredibly nutritious and delicious, and they can leave you feeling completely satisfied. Below is a list of the quickest and easiest healthy snacks for vegans.

Common Healthy Snacks for Vegans (or Anyone)

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables – apples, berries, grapes, pears, bananas, or citrus fruits are always nice to have on hand, and celery, snap peas, carrots, broccoli, or cucumber can be just as simple and tasty
  • Nuts and seeds – a handful of your favorite nuts or seeds can be one of the quickest snacks as well as one of the most satisfying, thanks to the higher calorie count
  • Nut butter combos – whether homemade or naturally-sourced, a bit of your favorite nut butter on certain fruits, vegetables, rice cakes, or whole-grain bread can be as satisfying as a full meal

The key to snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables is that you have to keep them on hand, so it takes a bit of planning. It rarely makes sense to buy more than one week’s worth at a time, but it’s worth the weekly effort to always have something fresh and tasty ready to go. Of course, with a bit more planning, you can also add a bit of variety and fun to your at-home health snacking.

Fun Snacks & Tasty Treat Varieties

  • Trail mix – easy to make in small or big batches, this makes for great snacking while you’re lounging around or on a road trip, and you can add just about any combination of healthy snacks you like
  • Dried fruits and legumes – this takes a little time if you’re doing it yourself, but it’s worth the effort since drying foods will make them last longer, and they can be used on their own as simple snacks or added to your trail mixes and other treats
  • Roasted nuts and seeds – easy enough to do at home where you’re in control of the whole process, this can take a little bit of time but brings out new flavors and textures that turn your already-favorite nuts and seeds into super snacks
  • Chips – no, typical store-bought chips won’t likely fit the health bill, but baking your own chips out of potatoes, yams, or kale can be equally as satisfying and tasty with the benefit of being genuinely good for you
  • Dips – if you’re going to be baking your own chips, you’ll probably want something to dip them in, so homemade guacamole or hummus are always great, but you can experiment with just about anything in your food processor
  • Frozen fruit – not only will freezing fruit extend its life, but frozen fruits like grapes, bananas, and berries (or even cherry tomatoes) are extra satisfying when you need a cold treat
  • Smoothies – the typical fallback sweet surprise, but these are always a great treat that can be made with just about any fruits or vegetables, and experimentation can lead to some delicious surprises
  • Popsicles – smoothies can be turned into great summer treats when frozen into popsicles, but so can just about any of your favorite fruit juice combinations, and kids love them
  • Muffins and cookies – these take the most effort and planning since you need to research good recipes and make sure you have the needed ingredients, but everyone loves fresh-baked treats
  • Flavored water – not exactly a snack, but you can use citrus, frozen berries, sliced apples, sliced cucumbers, or just about any of your favorites to add a little excitement to a pitcher of ice-cold water

Most of these healthy snacks for vegans require minimal effort, but don’t be afraid to get creative with mixing, blending, or trying out-of-the-ordinary combinations. You never know when you might create a new favorite snack by accident.

Fresh produce - Top 5 Benefits of Raw Food Diets

Top 5 Benefits of Raw Food Diets

By | Blog

It should go without saying that eating all-natural raw foods is one of the healthiest things you can do for your own health and longevity. Not everyone is fully aware of all the health benefits, or many are at least unaware of some of the basic high points of ridding your body of processed and laboratory-created foods. Although there are countless reasons to go all-natural and raw, we’ve put together a list of our top 5 benefits of raw food diets.

Benefits of raw food diets

  1. Nutrition the way it was meant to be The most obvious benefit to going to a raw food diet is that you’re getting your nutrients from their original source and in the purest way possible. There’s no need to add additional vitamins and minerals to the food because none of them have been lost through processing. Plus, digestion is quick and easy, and that can lead to improved gut health which can play a huge role in overall health, a strong immune system, and disease prevention.
  2. Eliminate allergies and inflammation – When you’re eating processed foods, it can be nearly impossible to track down the foods that cause allergies and inflammation. In fact, there’s a good chance you may not even realize you have bad reactions to certain foods until they’re gone from your diet and you realize just how incredible you feel without them. That can include joint pain, skin issues, gas, bloating, and even weight gain.
  3. Feel the energy you didn’t realize you were missing – One of the most noticeable benefits we hear about from people making the transition to a raw food diet is the amount of energy they have. It’s not a big caffeine-like boost, obviously, but most people will no longer feel lethargic during the day and will just have an overall improved sense of well-being and higher energy – particularly if they’ve been eating processed and/or fast food on a regular basis.
  4. A more health-conscious outlook – If it’s a big transition from your current diet, it can take a bit of time to adjust, but one of the biggest benefits of changing over to a raw-food diet is that you end up being more conscious of your overall health from multiple vantage points. The more you concentrate on what’s going into your body, the more you notice how good you feel, and that ends up creating an environment where you make healthier choices in every aspect of your life.
  5. Flavor! – This one’s a benefit many people don’t think of or they think it will turn out to be exactly the opposite. Eating raw foods is anything but bland, however. Sure, it will take your taste buds a little bit of time to adjust to the chemical-free and reduced-sodium food intake, but after a few days, you start to truly appreciate the natural deliciousness and explosive flavor in raw foods. In fact, you’ll find that after a couple of weeks of eating well, a quick taste of processed foods you used to eat will likely leave you grimacing and wondering exactly how you used to eat that way all the time.

Keep in mind, you don’t need to go to a fully vegan diet to enjoy the benefits of raw food diets. Eliminating processed food, especially fast food, and being sure to incorporate plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, as well as sprouted grains, nuts, and seeds into your daily diet can change the way you look and feel, and it can add years to your life.

Green landscape & trees - 6 Simple Steps to Start Living Green

6 Simple Steps to Start Living Green

By | Blog
Rawfusion Bar ground cutaway

Taking care of the environment is just as important as taking care of yourself. In fact, it could be argued that it’s even more important because of the long-term effects on global health. It’s never too late to start caring about your health, your environment, or the future of our planet. There’s a lot you can do to ensure the longevity of our planet and yourself, but below are 6 simple steps to start living green.

Simple Steps to Start Living Green

  1. Reusable water bottles – It’s estimated that 80% of plastic water bottles end up in landfills, despite being recyclable, and that doesn’t take into account the resources used up and waste created when producing new bottles or recycling the old. Luckily, reusable water bottles can be found just about everywhere now, and you have your choice of glass, aluminum, or stainless steel in a variety of designs and colors. All easy to wash and reuse as needed.
  2. Environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies – While there are several store-bought versions of green cleaners available now, you can also make your own at home without much fuss. Rather than adding contaminants and toxins to the water supply, green cleaners can do a surprisingly effective job and are easy to find, though you probably have many of them in your home already. Vinegar (diluted and not), lemon juice, and baking soda can go a long way toward cleansing and sanitizing your home.
  3. Eat less meat (or none) – Sure, if you eat meat on a regular basis, quitting cold turkey (so to speak) probably won’t work for you. That’s not to say you can’t cut down to eating meat just a couple/few times per week while you taper off, though. Why would you want to stop? Well, industrial livestock production plays a big role in global climate change. The fact is, we eat too much meat. That won’t be sustainable in the long-term, so reducing your intake now can help, and you’ll be surprised at how good you feel when eating less meat. And don’t worry about your protein intake. With a balanced diet and plant-based nutrition, it’s incredibly easy to get your daily protein requirements from non-meat and non-dairy sources.
  4. Buy organic whole foods – This one really goes without saying. Buying and eating organic whole foods whenever possible is incredibly beneficial to your health, but it also supports the environment. When you eat naturally-sourced, local foods, you help reduce your carbon footprint as well as the number of chemicals and pesticides polluting the air, ground, and water supply. Eat well, be well.
  5. Turn your lawn into a garden – This may not work in your front yard, depending on your neighborhood, but if you have the space, it’s better to grow than mow. A nice lawn can look great, but it’s a bit pointless beyond that, especially when you could be growing your own organic foods instead. With a little bit of effort to get a nice garden prepared, it doesn’t take much work after that. Plant your seeds, water them, and get ready for a personal harvest of your favorite fruits and vegetables. Once you get the hang of it (or simply find and follow online gardening plans), you can essentially have fresh, home-grown greens almost year-round.
  6. Walk or bike – Why drive when you can walk or bike? Aside from the obvious environmental impact, this is a great way to get exercise, enjoy the world around you, and simply slow down. Depending on where you live, you can often change your shopping and social plans to allow yourself to get things done on foot or by pedaling your way around town. No, it may not be realistic to completely remove a vehicle from your life, but every little bit helps. Start with one day a week and work your way up from there.

These are just a few simple steps to start living green, but there’s no limit. Once you’ve gotten a knack for thinking about your health and the environment ahead of convenience and quick gratification, you can start sharing what you’re doing and spreading the word to help inspire others. The more people who live green, the happier the world will be.