Review: Numi


teabag

Disclosure Agreement: Review was due to compensation from the company’s whose products were reviewed. We Dish Nutrition tested each product thoroughly and gives high marks to only the very best. Opinions expressed at We Dish Nutrition are our own. 

By: Nikki Nies
Whether you like it warm,  iced or chilled, tea can meet any drinker’s needs. While the brother and sister duo Ahmed and Reem Rahim agree that tea is fitting for any occasion, they recognized the need and market for more quality teas. In 1999, in a 750 square foot apartment in Oakland, California, the tea brand Numi was created with super premium, organic 100% real ingredients.
Curious as to what’s behind the Numi name?  As children, the founders of Numi, Ahmed and Reem would drink an Iraqi dried lime teasan, called Numi. In Arabic, it means citrus and is known as an oasis of health.  In other regions of the world, the resonant syllables mean:
• In Shaman lore, Num is the chief celestial spirit; Num has also been referred to as an ecstatic state.
• In Latin, Numi refers to a collector of coins.
• In Hindi, Numi means taste or fragrance.
• In Chinese, Numi means sticky rice
With various meanings that encompass Numi, it’s fitting that Ahmed and Reem would choose Numi to represent their brand.
Ahmed and Reem’s partnership has elevated the line of teas, with Ahmed’s artistic skills and sustainability efforts a central aspect of the production and creation of Numi’s teas. Now as the largest premium, organic, Fair Trade Certified tea company in North America, Numi’s Alchemist, Ahmed Rahim travels the ends of the earths to find unique flavors and pairings while forming partnerships with farmers and to learn about respective cultures and communities.
The great aspect of Numi is that there are flavors for every palate.  Again, Numi uses 100% fresh, real fruits, flowers and flavors, with variations of green, white, black, herbal teasans, pu•erh, indulgent teas and savory teas. Check out their catalog for an extensive overview of all the flavors offered!Personally, I can’t get enough of the new line of indulgent teas, specifically the chocolate mint tea! Beyond the fact that it tastes exactly like the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, pairing the chocolate mint tea with milk to make my own iced latte has been an awesome flavor opening adventure!
Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 9.58.04 PMBy using organic herbs and teas, this not only protects the health of farmers, but is more consumer and environmentally friendly.  The use of natural, biodegradable, filter paper bags and use of 85% post consumer waste for the tea boxes, allows Numi to lower and offset carbon emissions.  Since 2007, Numi has used soy based inks for the printing of its cartons and materials and has decreased landfill usage by more than 82,000 pounds yearly.By celebrating people, planet and pure tea, Numi encompasses all that’s good in the world! As of 2013, Numi introduced its Fair Labor Practices program, which provides adequate labor and workplace conditions throughout foreign supply chain.  In addition, all of its pu•erh tea blends are Verified Fair Labor™.  On the bottom of each tea box, Numi’s Eco Responsibility Audit shares the environmental footprint.
Since 2009, Numi Foundation has focused on acknowledging and addressing the challenges of health, nutrition and education  within inner city Oakland, California. The initiative A Creative Transformation In Our Community (ACTION), helps leverage the work of thousands through volunteer project days and encouraging movements.
In the future, it’d be great if all of Numi’s boxes of tea came with perforated openings. Only some of the boxes provide perforated openings and it’d be great if all of their products were consistently easy to open.  Not sure, but I’m curious if Numi’s teas are in the works to be K cup compatible.
I’m impressed by Numi’s dedication to people, profits, planet and product. With its short life span, it’s already a multi award-winning and has left a footprint, don’t worry, it’s small, in the world of tea! I can’t wait to see what new variations of flavors Numi comes up with next!
Check out Numi’s Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter | Eco Awards | Foodservice Items pages!

Photo Credit:Numi

Health Tips When Traveling To China


China_table_settingBy: Nikki Nies

To truly immerse yourself in a culture, especially one that is far removed from your own is the true definition of traveling. Whether you travel to the exhilarating Machu Pichu or soak up the rays in Turks & Caicos, there’s one factor in vacation destinations that can be not be ignored, the food. Depending on one’s taste buds and food preferences, that can dictate travel excursions. No matter how much you   factor in food, China should be at the top of your list of travel destinations!

You should head to China with at few ideas of where you want to go and how to best enjoy the food. I have provided first hand tips of how to best eat in China.

With many carbohydrate sources, such as rice, noodles, steamed buns as entrées themselves or accompanying the entrees, it can be easy to carb overload. However,

  • Eat with chopsticks. Not only will it slow down intake, but locals will be more likely to give you menu and meal suggestions when they see you immersing in the culture
  • Try a bit of everything, but don’t eat everything. Having a couple bites can help limit overindulging while getting the exposure to different flavors
  • Cold beverages are deemed harmful to digestion of hot foods, so hot tea or hot water are served with meals. Tea is believed to help with the digestion of greasy foods
  • Food is often prepared and served on small plate, “family style”, be ready for direct pick up and communal eating

    Image by rayand goo.gl/5mSWbf
    Image by rayand goo.gl/5mSWbf
  • While China can be divided into 57 cuisine regions, below are some of the more popular regions:
    • Szechuan (Sichuan): known for spicy, hot flavor; uses a great mixture of poultry, pork, beef, fish, vegetables, tofu in combination with pepper and chili; fast frying is most commonly used method
    • Cantonese: characterized by tender, slightly sweet taste; sauces are often light and mellow, including hoisin, oyster, plum and sweet and sour sauce; often see spring onions, sugar, salt, rice wine, corn starch, vinegar and sesame oil used; garlic can be heavily used; prefer stewing, sautéing or braising food, which helps to preserve the flavor
    • Hunan: “land of fish and rice”; fresh vegetables cooked “al dente”; favors steaming, stir frying, smoking and sautéing; special seasonings include soy sauce, tea seed oil, Chinese red pepper, fennel and cassia bark and spicy oil
    • Jiangsu: moderate saltiness and sweetness; places emphasis on the making of soups; abundant in freshwater fish and seafood from the Yangtze River and Yellow Sea
  • Desserts less common, with sweet foods introduced during meal. For example, basifruit, sizzling sugar syrup coated fruits are eaten with other savory foods
    • Beware, there are fried desserts that incorporate red bean paste
    • If dessert is served at the end of the meal, often times it is fresh fruit
  • Soup is often served at the end of the meal to satiate appetite

For any of you that have traveled to China, what other tips can you share? It’s hard to give specific “restaurant recommendations” as a lot of the great food is on the street kiosks and depending on what flavors you’re looking to try! Remember, when traveling, go in with an open mind and have fun! What regional cuisines are must eats for you

Sources: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/healthy-living/use-your-noodle-the-real-chinese-diet-is-so-healthy-it-could-solve-the-wests-obesity-crisis-873651.html

The Forgotten Health Benefits of Chinese Food

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/top-10-tips-healthy-chinese-cooking

http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/2013/2/7/chefs-reveal-how-to-find-authentic-chinese-food

Making Matcha Tea


By: Nikki Nies

Original Image by Jigme Datse Rasku via Flickr
Original Image by Jigme Datse Rasku via Flickr

In an article written by Kristen Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, she discusses the 15 Foods to Add to Your Diet in 2015. Since I’m always interested in learning about the latest food trends and current recommendations, I had to learn more! The first food listed was matcha tea. While, I’m a fan of green tea ice cream, which contains matcha powder, the health benefits of matcha tea has eluded me. Therefore, today we’ll be discussing matcha!

Matcha tea, also spelled as maccha, is finely milled or fine powder green tea. This type of tea derives from Japan, ubiquitously present in tea ceremonies. Prior to the milling of matcha tea, it’s shaded for at least a month to increase chlorophyll production. The entire tea leaf is used, with increased chlorophyll content found in matcha tea is exorbitantly healthier than water that is brewed and diluted from a tea bag or strainer.

Original Image by Rowan Robinson via Flickr
Original Image by Rowan Robinson via Flickr

To obtain all the benefits of matcha tea, opt to keep it plain. It naturally contains vitamin C, potassium, iron and fiber. Additionally, it can boost one’s metabolism, fights against bacteria and virus, does not raise insulin levels and does not raise one’s heart rate or blood pressure. 10 glasses of green tea is equivalent to 1 glass of matcha tea. When one adds milk to matcha tea, it slightly decreases catechin, which is an antioxidant rich component of cancer fighting properties.

Presently, matcha is commonly used to add flavor and dye to foods–mochi, soba noodles, green tea ice cream and a variety of wagashi, a confectionary sugar, yet in its purest form, as tea, one can obtain optimal benefits!  The flavor of matcha tea can vary, depending on the strength of the amino acids used.

What’re you waiting for? Put down the black, jasmine and oolong tea and get yourself some matcha!

Sources: https://www.yahoo.com/health/15-foods-to-add-to-c1418437164158/photo-1-matcha-tea-photo-1418436495156.html

http://www.matchasource.com/matcha-tea-health-benefits-s/14.htm

http://www.teavana.com/the-teas/green-teas/p/matcha-japanese-green-tea

Green is the New Black!


healthy green tea cup with tea leavesBy: Nikki Nies

If you’ve ever been in a Teavana or any other tea speciality stores, if you’re like me, you’ve been bombarded by the many different forms, flavors and names of teas.  While tea has been around for thousands of years, it’s not right to clump all teas together.   Yes, it may be obvious to be able to identify that English tea does not reap the same benefits as green tea.  Yet, can you differentiate green from oolong? or jasmine?  I’m no tea aficionado, so if you know the difference, kudos!

You’ve probably heard tea is great for you! There’s an ongoing debate if the type of matter really matters.  It does! Green tea is a liquid you should incorporate in your diet.  Again, if you’re like me, your follow up question would be why?  Having an inquisitive mind not only often reaps a better understanding of why an action should be taken, but can help increase the likelihood of said action remains part of daily routine.

With that said, here’s a breakdown of why green tea trumps other teas.

  • Unlike black tea, green tea goes under minimal processing–meaning green tea is not fermented
  • With a high fluoride content, supports healthy bones
  • Source of 4 catechins, which a type of antioxidant that may protect against cell damage.  This include EGCG, which have cancer protecting effects.  EGCG has been found to inactivate genes that are needed for colon cancer metastasis
  • Promotes autophagy: a physiological process that protects one’s cells from stress
  • Helps control cholesterol levels–boosting HDL
  • If you have coronary artery disease, green tea can improve blood vessel function
  • Contains 9-50 mg of caffeine!
  • May boost metabolism and/or extract fat
  • Can help prevent hypertension and/or heart failure
  • May help block the formation of plaques that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease
  • Can help stabilize blood sugars
  • Most importantly, can help you slow down and relax! Green tea contain theanine, which has a natural calming effect.

**Beware, drinking tea can impede the absorption of iron.  By adding lemon to your tea, this can hinder such action!**

As you walk away from this post, I hope you get the sense all teas have some beneficial impact to a degree.  If you have the option, tea is always a better alternative to pop!  Yes, green tea has been found to have the most health benefits, but we won’t penalize you if you opt to try the orange zinger once in a while!

Photo Credit: Halls 

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-benefits-of-green-tea

http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/benefit_of_drinking_green_tea

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/green-tea

13 Reasons Tea Is Good for You

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/960.html

Blender Optimization


By: Nikki Nies vmgroup3-e1365207715890

When you’re in a rut in your weekly meal planning, I bet you’re not using your blender to its full potential.  I say this because after much research, I was humbly shown I don’t use my blender for 3/4 of its uses.

For an appliance that I use on the reg., I was surprised to learn it’s only been around since 1992.  It was created by  Stephen Poplawski with the intention of making soda fountain drinks. Yes, the technology has been upgraded through the years, but for such a “young” appliance, it definitely shows it worth compared to other single use appliances.

Suggestions:

  • Gazpacho
  • Hollandaise Sauce
  • Smooth and silky salsa: Depending on your desired consistency, pulse or puree salsa
  • Mousse or Pudding: such as Avocado Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse
  • Ic cream, sorbet or gelato:such as Chocolate Hazelnut Blender Gelato
  • Cocktails: such as Strawberry Sriracha Margarita
  • Baby Food: Puree your own so you know exactly what you’re eating!
  • Grate fresh coconut
  • Breadcrumbs: Use stale bread for dry breadcrumbs and soft bread for soft breadcrumbs
  • Peanut Butter or Nut Butter: such as Toasted Coconut Butter
  • Fluffy Omelettes
  • Homemade Tea: Blend, Strain and then Heat
  • Crushed Ice
  • Ground Coffee Beans: A blender can be a great substitute for other appliances.  No need to fork over more money for a coffee grinder if you’ve got your blender
  • Flour: Grind up your flour in a blender instead of searching for your sifter
  • Sauces
  • Puree Fruit
  • Slushies
  • Grind Peppercorns: In actuality, you can grind a lot of different spices with a blender
  • Broth: After adding all the ingredients you want to blender, blend and then make sure to strain it
  • Salad Dressings or Condiments: such as mayo

Using your blender will remind you how easy it is to whip up your own meals.  Plus, it doesn’t hurt you’ll save a buck or two!

If you’re in the market for a blender, no matter your price range, there’s one out there for you!

Sources:http://calmmindbusybody.com/50-things-you-can-make-with-a-high-powered-blender-saving-time-money-and-your-health/

http://noshon.it/blog/2013/07/ten-creative-ways-to-use-your-blender/

http://voices.yahoo.com/ten-uses-blender-343563.html

http://blenderdude.com/articles/vitamix-models/

Diarrhea 101


By: Nikki Nies

Diarrhea can be caused by a variety of instigators (i.e. parasites or poor water).  It can also be indicative of an underlying disease.  Either way you look at it, when diarrhea is present, it’s worth looking into.

The definition of diarrhea is relative and is individualized to situations.  Although, the determination of diarrhea often includes the talk of frequency and consistency of one’s stools.  Absolute diarrhea is defined as having more bowel movements than normal.  Among healthy individuals, the maximum number of bowel movements is three.

Why are you having more than 3 bowel movements you ask?

Potential Causes:diarrhea

  • Stomach Flu–viral gastroenteritis: will go away in a matter of days
  • eating or drinking products that have bacteria or parasites
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Chemotherapy for cancer
  • Laxatives containing magnesium
  • Celiac Disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Malabsorption syndrome
  • Nerve Disorders that supply the intestines
  • Radiation
  • Gastrectomy

Without proper treatment of diarrhea, it can lead to dehydration, which can then lead to orthostatic hypotension. Electrolytes, such as potassium or sodium, may become lost with water, leading to electrolyte or mineral deficiencies.

Treatment: Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS) are a mixture of carbohydrate (glucose) and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride, citrate or bicarbonate). The glucose forces the small intestine to quickly absorb the fluid and electrolytes.  Name brands of ORS includes Rehydralyte, Pedialyte or Resol.  Infants with diarrhea should not be given antibiotics, but be seen by their pediatrician to identify underlying cause.  For older children and adults, should drink diluted fruit juices, sports drinks (i.e. Gatorade) and water.

Caffeine and lactose containing products should be limited with diarrhea as it can exacerbate the situation.  If there is no nausea or vomiting, solid foods can be continued to consumed.  It’s suggested to consume rice, bananas, toast, tea, cereal and/or lactose free products to calm one’s stomach.

It’s important to gauge diarrhea’s appearance.  If you’re finding black, blood or pus in stool, stomach pain that isn’t relieved after a bowel movement, diarrhea worsens or does not get better after 2 days, moderate or severe dehydration, diarrhea with a fever greater than 101F and/or you’ve developed diarrhea after visiting a foreign country,  contact your primary care physician (PCP).

Prevention of bacteria can include the regular consumption of probiotic rich foods, such as yogurt.  Also, frequent hand washing and hand gels, before eating and after using the restrooms can be a great way to limit germs.  When traveling outside of the country, especially those underdeveloped, only drink bottled water, do NOT consume dairy products, raw shellfish or raw meat and/or fruits and vegetables without peels.

Diarrhea is inevitable at least in once in a lifetime, yet hopefully you’re confident in the passing of stool.  Pun intended.

Photo Credit: Gena Livings

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-diarrhea

http://www.medicinenet.com/diarrhea/article.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diarrhea/basics/definition/con-20014025

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/understanding-diarrhea-basics

http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/DDISEASES/pubs/diarrhea/index.aspx

http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/diarrhea/overview.html

10 Starbucks Drinks that Won’t Blow Your Diet


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Source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/465278205225821587/

Sugar It Naturally!


All-natural-sweeteners1

By: Nikki Nies

I’ve had many posts on sugar, the impact of sugar, high blood glucose levels, etc.  And yes, here’s another one for you.  As many of you know, sugar is a very real, valid addiction and having information on sugar is needed to keep the sugar intake at bay.  High intakes of sugar can not only lead to obesity, but diabetes, sugar crash, dental caries, hyperactivity and many other preventable issues.

I know it’s unrealistic to cut sugar out of your diet, it’s important to be reminded from time to time that there are some great sugar substitutes.  As with anything, moderation is key.  Using natural sugar doesn’t mean dousing your meals with syrup, but you can feel better about what you’re eating instead of opting for those artificial sweeteners.

Natural Sugar Description Suggested Used
Agave Nectar Tastes similar to honey; contains high fructose content, so use moderately Great for hot or iced tea;
Maple Syrup Comes directly from plant sap; contains over 50 antioxidants Granola, waffles
Lemon  Provides a nice squeeze of acid  Use in hot tea or iced tea
Honey Antioxidant rich Hot tea, homemade salad dressing
Applesauce Naturally sweet Use applesauce in substitution for white sugar;  great dessert
Erythritol Sugar alcohol; 0.2 kcal/g; white powder from a plant occurs naturally in fruits; doesn’t lead to tooth decay Use in chocolate baked goods (i.e. brownies)
Raisins Antioxidant and fiber rich Use in any baked goods
Cinnamon No calories included, adds a subtle taste of sweetness, boosts immunity Great in coffee, baked goods and tea
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder Use a splash in warm milk or hot water; add in vanilla as well
Reb A Derives from South American, natural extract from stevia plant, GRAS A lot goes a long way, put a few drops in the a bowl of oatmeal
Cranberries Tart antioxidants Replace sugar with cranberries in muffins or scones
Dates Have low glycemic index, antioxidiant rich Substitute 2/3 for 1 cup of regular sugar; use in granola bars or brownies
Grapefruit Provides a sweet and sour kick to dishes; provides daily dose of vitamin C Add to a cocktail over soda or tonic water
Coconut Sugar Made from sap of coconut flours; comes in block, paste or granulated form; loaded with potassium Add in to smoothies
Brown Rice Syrup Comes from brown rice; more nutritious than high fructose; buttery nuttery flavored syrup Works well in granola bars and baked breads
Rapadura Made from sugar cane, but skips the refining stage; retains vitamins and minerals lost when white sugar’s proceeded Keep 1:1 ratio when using instead of sugar
Lime Provides a tangy taste without extra sugar rush Perfect for a glass of sparkling water
Pureed Banana Eliminates the sugar Naturally becomes sweeter as it ripens, so no need to add extra sugar
Milk Natural sugar can add a touch of sweetness A little can go a long way in a cup of coffee
Yacon Syrup Sweetening agent extracted from yacon plant; has hints of apple and ½ the calories of cane sugar; sweet just like honey Works well in raw fruit smoothies or baked goods

We’re born with a natural liking for sweet foods.  If you keep on hand some natural sugars, hopefully over time you’re sugar intake from unnatural sources will decrease and you’ll limit your intake of artificial sweeteners, which can pack on additional calories.By the way, the sugar in fruit is one of the best sources of natural sugar.

Sources: http://greatist.com/health/30-sugar-substitutes-any-and-every-possible-situation

http://positivemed.com/2013/01/07/day-6-natural-sweeteners/

“Super” Foods


By: Nikki Nies

Original Image by nick mote via Flickr
Original Image by nick mote via Flickr

Any time the word “super” is placed in front of a word, it makes the following concept that much grander.  The Super Bowl, superlatives and supermarket, etc.  All of those nouns indicate a sense of grandeur above the regular bowl, laxatives and markets.  Foods that have been deemed “super” fit within the esteemed category as well.

While the concept of superfoods have been thrown around a lot, it’s not a concept that’s always quickly understood.  What’s a “superfood” you ask?  Besides holding up claims of being able to stave off chronic diseases (i.e. heart disease, diabetes, cancer and/or cholesterol), super foods can provide more variety and color in one’s diet. While our society has evolved into heavily leaning on supplements and prescription and OTC to treat ailments, an introduction to superfoods may be the solution to many of your struggles.

Super Foods Benefits Recommended Serving
Bananas
  • Contains resistant starch
  • Provides satiety
 4-6 a week
Barley
  • Top source of beta glucan, which is a fiber that lowers cholesterol and helps control blood sugar
Beans
  • Great source of fiber and protein
Blueberries
  • Antioxidant and phytoflavinoid rich
  • High in potassium and vitamin C
  • Can help lower risk of heart disease and cancer
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Boosts brain’s communication amongst cells
  • “The more color, the more antioxidants”
  • Improves memory
  • ½ cup daily
Dark Chocolate
  • Anti oxidant rich
  • Can help lower blood pressure
  • If content is 60%+ cocoa content
Fish—i.e. salmon, sardines, mackeral, herring
  • Contains omega 3’s—heart healthy, helps with arthritis and may help with memory loss
  • May help reduce depression
  • 2-3 servings per week of 3 oz.
Lentils
  • Meat free protein
  • ½ cup provides ½ day’s needs of folate, which can prevent neural tube defects in pregnancies
  • ½ cup daily
Oranges
  • one orange supplies more than 100% of vitamin C needed daily
  • Good source of calcium and folate
Peanut Butter
  • Protein packed
  • Contains arginine, an amino acid that helps maintain healthy blood vessels
Pumpkin
  • Contain alpha and beta carotene—which inhibit cancer
Soy
  • In combination with other super foods, has been found to help lower cholesterol
  • Great source of vegetable protein
  • Can be found in edamame, tofu and/or soy milk
  • Contains tons of fiber and folate
  • Contains cholesterol lowering phytosterols
  • 1 cup daily
Spinach and dark leafy greens (i.e. broccoli, kale, collard greens, swiss chard)
  • Potassium rich, which can help with blood clotting and building strong bones
  • Contain zeaxanthin, vitamin A and lutein, which can keep eyes healthy
  • ½ cup daily
Tea—black or green
  • Anti oxidant rich
  • Prevents hardening of arteries
  • Can help lower cholesterol levels
  • May inhibit growth of cancer cells due to ECGC found in green tea
  • If used as a replacement for soda, win-win
  • 1-2 cups daily at least
Walnuts
  • Contains alpha linoleic acid, an omega 3 found to improve memory and concentration
  • 14 walnut halves daily
Yogurt
  • Protein packed

An added plus, there aren’t any side effects to eating superfoods and one doesn’t have to worry about consuming processed products! Even if you’re not struggling with a particular food, superfoods can provide preventative benefits as well as all around great nutrients.   You can’t get much better than that!

Sources: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/health/2012/10/10/top-5-super-foods-for-your-grocery-list-right-now/

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/superfoods-everyone-needs

http://www.beveganmakepeace.com/healthy-living/the-top-10-superfoods/

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20475957,00.html

http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/eat-healthy-america-52-superfoods-25519

50 Superfoods – The Ultimate Shopping List