Friday, December 30, 2011

The Last List of 2011

2011 you've been really really good to me. I graduated college, had a wonderful "summer" internship, got into a dietetic internship and am now a little over a month away from having my RD. I've met some amazing new people, tried new things, hopped from Boston to Portland, to Wyoming, to San Francisco, to New York, to Las Vegas, to Austin, to Houston (not all in one weekend-don't worry!)

There are a few more things I wanted to share with you before this year comes to a close:
  • Yes prices got a little steep at the gas tank this year, but it wasn't all bad. Be sure to read the good food news of 2011!
  • Before we start 2012 read this list of things to Stop Doing To Yourself. I think we all need to stop being afraid to make mistakes, stop comparing ourselves and our bodies to others, and stop dwelling on the past without moving forward. But Marc and Angel put this very eloquently.
  • And last but not least, let's master the art of living
I have a good feeling about 2012. I get to ring it in with one of my favorite people, then I get a visit from Jessica and the last 4 weeks of my dietetic internship which will be spent with two women I respect in the nutrition world- Penny Wilson sports-dietitian-extrodinaire and Ali Miller- RD at LifeLongWeigh. Then I'm moving back to Boston to find a job and (hopefully) become a "real person" . I've got my big girl boots on.


Hope you're wishing 2011 farewell and 2012 brings much joy!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Vega Sport Winner

You guys all really wanted to try Vega Sport! I wish I could share the love with all 58 of you!Link
I used random.org to pick a winner:

Entrant #8: @bonniesilva

Congrats Bonnie! I will contact you for shipping details and hopefully get that to you before the new year!

Thank you to all that entered and even if you didn't win this lil' giveaway I highly recommend you check out the line at a store near you!
Happy Holidays!

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas.....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Recipe Redux: Lentil Almond Dip

I love the creative themes that Recipe Redux has been coming up with. This month Nicole @Whole Health RD decided to Put the P(ea) in Potluck. Being a huge fan of all legumes I decided to try a twist on hummus, with the lentils and almonds I had on hand, winding up with....

Lentil Almond Dip
16 oz green lentils
1 cup raw almonds
5 garlic cloves
fresh thyme
2 T Mirin (sweet sake vinegar. can be omitted if you don't have on hand)
2 T Miso
2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp Tamari soy sauce
Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.
  • Add lentils in 4 cups water, bring to a boil and then simmer for 20-30 minutes-until all liquid is absorbed.
  • While the lentils are simmering roast the raw almonds on a baking sheet for 5-10 minutes
  • Saute sliced garlic and fresh thyme until garlic begins to brown and your kitchen smells like heaven.
  • Once lentils and almonds cool down, add both to the food processer with Mirin, Miso, Vinegar, Soy Sauce and blend until the dip is the smooth texture of hummus.
  • Add sea salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
  • Serve with raw carrots and celery, crackers, chips or spread until bread.

Best brought to a holiday party or if you're like me a study party. Which is what my holidays are resembling

Want to see some more legume love? Check out what these other RDs whipped up!




Friday, December 16, 2011

Vega Sport:: My New Workout Obsession and a Giveaway!

While I try to rely much more heavily on whole foods to meet my nutrition needs, rather than the likes of shakes, protein powder, and bars, there is one product on the market that continually exceeds my expectations when it comes to sports recovery. Sometimes you just want or need a quick source of protein and calories, and no one does it better than Vega. Most plant-based protein powders either a. taste horrible (I can not stand hemp) or b. fall very short
nutritionally-either with too much added sugars, too little protein and not enough vitamins. Vega beats out their competition in both categories.
I've been a long-time fan, and sometimes tell people my goal in life is to move to Vancouver and work for both them and Lululemon. But in the meantime I'll keep enjoying their delicious, nutritous products. I was delighted before my birthday with this amazing package of Vega goodies- their newly launched Vega Sport Line. This line launches off their regular vegan supplement line with increased emphasis on timing of nutrients and increasing recovery time-two things essential to all athletes. Brendan Brazier is a vegan world-renowned triathlete who worked with Vega to develop this line. I'm a huge fan of his books- Thrive Fitness and Thrive and recommend them for their quality nutritional information and recipes. But this line is superb and I just couldn't wait to share it!

Note: You probably won't need Vega Sport if you're walking or going to yoga (which are both excellent forms of activity), but rather for sweat-dripping-down-your-forehead-rawrrrrr exercise.

Pre- Exercise- 20-30 minutes prior to exercise your body needs simple carbohydrates-sugars-to gear up and give you that instant energy you need.
Vega Product: Pre-workout energizer: brown rice syrup gives your body the sugar it needs, with additional green tea and yerba mate for an extra boost. The lemon-lime flavor taste great. I grab this if I'm doing a long workout immediately after getting up-when it's super easy to grab while still half-asleep and if I'm in a rush.

During exercise:
If your physical activity is less than an hour, you don't need to worry about eating or drinking anything besides water during exercise. However if you are working out for over 60 minutes your body is going to need additional simple carbohydrates (sugars) to help maintain energy levels, and prevent you from relying just on muscle or liver glycogen. Usually liquids or gels are easiest (unless you're an ultra marathoner no one really wants a pb&j while working out).

Vega Products: Electrolyte Hydrator. A non-calorie electrolyte supplement that uses stevia instead of aspartame or splenda. I prefer lemon-lime to pom-berry.
For longer workout there is the Endurance gel. With sugar from dates, and fat from coconut oil this is great for endurance events like half and full marathons. This is was the one product that I did not like-the taste is not something I would want mid-exercise. But I tend to shy away from anything berry flavor so it could just be me.... for now i'll stick to the Clif gels....
Post Workout: The correct post-work out meal-eaten within 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise will help to reduce recovery time. A 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, as well as additional compounds like antioxidants, electrolytes and omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation is the ideal meal to help muscles heal and increase in strength faster.

Immediately after exercise-Your window of opportunity for optimal muscle recovery is within 30 minutes of ceasing activity. If you work out away from your kitchen, it's important to remember to pack something. Again you want a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carb to protein (PB & J meets this one. Or look at the nutrition label. 30g carb to 10g protein, etc). You need more protein than carbs to give your muscles glycogen to store, but some protein facilitates better glucose
absorption
Vega product: Recovery accelerator: 4:1 ratio of carb to protein, and I loved the tropical flavor. This powder also has turmeric and cayenne which are super anti-inflammatory spices!

After exercise: within 1-3 hours is when you want to replenish your protein stores to help build back muscles. Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) are the best type of protein to aid in muscle re-synthesis.
Vega Product: Chocolate Sports Protein Powder is a blended plant based protein of brown
rice, pea and hemp. I like this much better than a whey or soy protein because it's more whole food-not just isolated compounds. It's also extremely allergen friendly and easier to digest. BCAA. This protein powder has a delicious creamy taste that i have been unable to find in any other vegan powders. It even passes the "boy-test". I made my "lil" brother try the smoothie:
(14 years old, but has surpassed me in height and activity level. He's currently in both basketball and hockey and spends 16 hours a day running around)
I blend 1 scoop with 1 banana, almond milk as a base and mix in any combination of: espresso shot (for the morning), peanut butter, almond butter, frozen dark cherries, mint oil, cayenne powder.
Chocolate coconut protein bar. This is the most delicious vegan protein bar I have ever tasted. I'm obsessed with it. 240 calories, 15 g of protein (pea, and whole grain brown rice), 4 g of fiber, gluten free.

The only downfall to Vega? Their price tag may make this product not an option for a lot of people. But I truly believe that you get what you pay for, and this is definitely one instance where they have pulled above and beyond their competitors and are well worth the splurge.

But because I love Vega and all of you oh so much there's a Giveaway!
I want to share the Vega love, so will mail one winner an assortment of products from the Vega Sport Line (shown above). Entering is very simple:
  • 1 entry for commenting below on your favorite way to refuel after exercise
  • 1 entry for tweeting "Enter @ElizabethEats #giveaway of @VegaTeam Sport http://tinyurl.com/7gzm4gt #vegan #athlete"

I'll pick a winner next Friday, December 23rd-right before Christmas Weekend and will have it out to you before the New Year-that's my little way of saying thank you this holiday season! Here's to you and yours!

Full Disclosure: Vega in no way shape or form asked me to write positive review or giveaway. They sent me product samples no questions asked. I will only post things that I stand behind 100%. You have my promise.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hungry

I received a bittersweet email in my inbox the other week and I just had to share Amy's story. This inspirational young woman is currently working in Antigua Guatemala at a volunteer program at Casa Jackson, a hospital for malnourished infants and children.
Before hearing from Amy I had no idea how high the levels of malnutrition were in Guatemala-almost 50% of all children under the age of 5 are chronically malnourished. The statistics on malnutrition in Guatamala are staggering; despite not being the poorest Latin American country (Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Haiti have lower incomes), They are 2nd only to Haiti in the highest rate of chronic malnutrition in this hemisphere. The problem is rampant in rural, mostly-indigenous areas, where people have limited access to health services, clean water and sanitation, and little or no formal education. The rising price of basic food staples—particularly beans—places an adequate diet financially out-of-reach for over half of Guatemalan families. Poor or nonexistent infrastructure means no electricity or running water—certainly no clean water—for rural communities, making childhood illnesses like bronchial pneumonia, gastrointestinal diseases and chronic diarrhea compounding factors in the malnutrition problem. People like Amy are doing helping these children receive the medical attention they need.

And this isn't just a problem in Guatamala. 1 in 5 children in America will go hungry today. That's more than 16 MILLION.

As I sit here, pleasantly secure with money, a safe home, and food, it's hard not to feel a twinge of pain. But I'm a person of action rather than a worrier so here are some things we can all do this holiday season to help those in need:

How you can help:
Read Amy's blog for much more information and check out God Child program
Volunteer with an international service team
Donate to a National or International Hunger Relief Organization such as Share Our Strength or Project Bread
Donate your time to Share our Strength or a local food bank
Donate food items to a local food bank

Here's to wonderful, hopefully hunger-less week for you ahead!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Life of a Dietetic Intern: Supermarket Savvy


wait, I get to try foods, write and create a social media plan? Of COURSE that’s what I’d love to do during my dietetic internship! One of the things I love about the University of Houston dietetic internship is the wide range of internship sites available, that show all the different aspects of the nutrition field. My 4th rotation was with the wonderful RD Linda McDonald, owner of Supermarket Savvy-a monthly newsletter for health care professionals that aims to provide them with news and facts on food items to assist them in helping their clients make healthy choices in the grocery store. With 10 newsletters a year that go out to over 600 medical professionals, she spends a lot of time researching and writing about food products, trends and health topics. The first step was to brainstorm a newsletter topic that would a. interest me and b. hadn’t been done before. A was easy-B not so much. Just two months ago vegan and vegetarian foods were featured, but gluten free hadn’t been touched for several years, so I decided to highlight gluten free vegan and vegetarian foods, nutrients of note, and trends.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation 1 in 133 people in the US have Celiac disease, for which the treatment is complete elimination of gluten from diet. An additional six percent of the U.S. population, or 18 million people, may be classified with gluten sensitivity, according to the Center for Celiac Research, University of Maryland. Currently in the United States this is a $1.3 billion industry that is expected to grow to $1.68 billion by 2015.

One of the questions I get a lot about BOTH gluten free and vegan diets is whether they are effective in weight loss. There is no scientific evidence that restricting gluten is an effective weight loss tool. Processed gluten-free items are most often no healthier or lower in calories than those with wheat. In fact most have higher fat and lower fiber, folate and iron content. Similar things can be said about processed vegan or vegetarian items. The best approach for overall health is to choose those foods that are naturally gluten-free and vegetarian, such as vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds.

In my quest of foods to highlight in the article I spent a lot of time in the grocery store, pouring over food labels. I have to admit-I was quite disappointed by what I saw. Yes, the availability and selection of gluten-free items has DRASTICALLY improved in the last several years. But the quality-and nutritional profile of many items are severely lacking. It was difficult to find products that met the FDA and American Heart Association’s guidelines for a healthy food-one that is high in fiber, low in sodium and low in saturated fats. Moral of the story-no matter what your dietary restriction, it’s usually best to stick to the edges of the supermarket, and buy fresh, whole food in their natural state.

The one product that I did praise and am a huge fan of is the Food Should Taste Good chips.

If you haven’t tried these yet, run (don’t walk) to your nearest grocery store (they’re nationwide, in almost all outlets). These chips are created without trans fats, cholesterol, artificial ingredients or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). All are whole grain (15 g), certified gluten free, Kosher, low in sodium (80 mg), and a good source of dietary fiber (3 g). But the best part is the delicious, unique flavors they come in- Sweet Potato, Lime, Olive, and Jalapeño aren’t flavors you expect to find in the chip aisle, but each chip has an intriguing and unique flavor. Grab a bag, just try not to eat it in one sitting (oops).

I learned a lot from Linda about running your own business, which I hope to be able to use within the next couple of years. She was a great mentor and I will definitely be subscribing to the newsletter in the years to come! Next: Back to Clinical. 5 more weeks of hospital work. And 9 more weeks in Houston. Not that I’m counting…..

What’s the newest food you’ve tried and liked?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thankful List

This Thanksgiving I have a whole lot to be thankful for. I had one of the best birthdays of my life in Boston this past weekend, and thanks to being able to do my current dietetic internship work via the computer, I'm home in Wyoming with my family for the first "real" Thanksgiving I've had in years. I am thankful to have amazing people in my life, to be surrounded by love, and doing what I love each and everyday. I'm 9 odd weeks away from completing my dietetic internship which means I'm oh so close to becoming a RD I can almost taste it. Then it will be back to Boston to start "real life" (gulp). And I couldn't be happier!
my sister's puppy i'm obsessed with. I need a dog in my life

Here's some links I'm lovin' today:
What are you thankful for this year? Have a lovely Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Buckwheat Pancakes

We've been experimenting with more gluten free foods in mi casa lately. My lovely roommate is transitioning, and I am currently on a plane to home, home, and can't wait to share these with my gluten-free, vegan mother! So when I saw that this month's Recipe Redux was on trying new Whole Grains, I knew I had to share my latest favorite recipe: Whole grain, Gluten Free, Vegan Pancakes! This recipe is adapted from Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair, a great cookbook filled with delicious, whole food recipes. I haven't tried one thing i didn't like!

Buckwheat Pancakes (Gluten Free and Vegan)
Step one (the night before you want pancakes)
Soak 1 cup buckwheat groats with 3/4 c soy yogurt (unsweetened plain Whole Soy gets my vote) and 1/4 cup water in a blender for 12 hours. You can also sub 1 cup non-dairy milk (almond is my favorite) but the soy yogurt adds some protein and probiotics! 1/2 c pumpkin
soakin'
Morning of:
Add 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk, 1/4 t sea salt, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp vanilla and blend until pancake batter consistency.
nice n smooth
Heat a non-stick pan with coconut oil and begin to make your pancakes!
Remove when golden!
I think we got 15 small pancakes outta this batter-enough for 2 breakfasts for both of us!
I highly recommend eating them with banana, homemade syrup (thanks Mom!), peanut butter, and a latte. But that's just me...

Want to figure out what to do with other Whole Grains? Check out these RD-approved recipes!





Wednesday, November 16, 2011

No More New: Project Repat

You might remember my lil post about Project Repat earlier this year. This awesome little start-up is on to even bigger and better things 6 months later. They had a successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year which resulted in our unique social enterprise being featured in Good, Thrillist, Boston Magazine, and, somewhat ironically, a live interview on Fox National News, Project Repat was founded to raise awareness about the billions of dollars in used clothing that is dumped on the developing world each year, disrupting local markets in Africa and adding to global waste. Instead of filling the world with even more clothing, we're helping small businesses in Kenya repurpose the millions and millions of t-shirts that already exist on this planet and creating one-of-a-kind products with an amazing story to tell in the process.


Yesterday they launched a "No More New" product line, just in time for the holiday season. For just $25, backers get their choice of one of the amazing items they're bringing back from Kenya as they work to standardize their product line with our small business partners on the ground in Nairobi. Since the holiday season is fast approaching, why not give those you love something eco-friendly and socially responsible?!

Learn more about Project Repat here



I Didn't Dance My Ass Off at Josh's Bar Mitzvah from Project Repat on Vimeo.

So this holiday season, give back to the world when giving gifts to your loved ones! Donate to Project Repat's No More New Kickstarter! Which definitely should have been included on this list of 30 gifts that give back!

What's your go-to holiday gift for friends and family?

Monday, November 14, 2011

New Bar on the Block: NuGo

A new bar is in town. I saw it first in the JFK airport of all places and decided some dark chocolate protein was all I needed to keep from melting in between delayed flights. Then I started to see it popping up in Whole Foods, right next to good ol' Luna Bars. So when they asked if I would like to try some more of their vegan dark chocolate protein bars I said 'Of Course.' And I found a new vegan protein bar-NuGo!
Dark Chocolate Pretzel with Sea Salt rocked my socks off after a define body class. The sea salt was something you never see in a protein bar, and it definitely enhanced the flavor. 10g of protein is nothing to shake your head at either.
Yup, sea salt flakes
Mocha chocolate tasted better than any Starbucks creation, the perfect blend of dark chocolate and coffee. And peanut butter tastes better than any rice krispie treat I've ever made. Plus you're getting the additional flavonoids from dark chocolate-anti-oxidants that not only taste delicious but elevate mood, improve skin and may lower cholesterol. Unlike many other bars NuGO is made from REAL dark chocolate-not palm fruit oil or "chocolaty coating."

For those with allergies, NuGo also makes a line of "Free" bars that are Gluten and Soy free as well as Vegan, using Rice protein as their main ingredient. They also have a Larabar-esque bar called the NuGo 10-with only 3 nuts, 3 fruits and 4 seeds. which can be bought for on their website (with free shipping!) You can see all their products and how they might fit into your lifestyle on their website.


In case you're curious, I eat bars when I'm in a pinch and forgot to pack a meal or snack, or if I would like a special treat. At least I'm getting extra protein right?! While I think whole food bars like Larabars are the top of the line, sometimes I crave something chocolatey. I just make sure it's a product where I will enjoy every bite! You can find NuGo bars in most natural foods stores, whole foods, or buy them online.

Want to make your own protein bars? Runner's World posted a recipe for Chocolate Chia energy bars are that look delicious, and packed with nutrition! Perfect post workout snack to make at home.

How do you feel about bars? Have you ever tried NuGo? Any other favorite bars?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mom's Split Pea Soup

This soup is not fancy, is not complicated, is not crazy. It is simple, and easy, with no frills attached, but to me, it tastes like Love. It's my mother's recipe, and it reminds me of the love she shares with my siblings and I, of the hours she's spent caring for us, healing us, and feeding us. My amazing mother is also an amazing cook, and our house is a favorite hangout for my hometown friends, because there is always something delicious waiting for them there. The more mouths to feed the better. I'm counting down the days until I get to spend Thanksgiving with my family and those friends, something that hasn't happen in over 4 years. There will certainly be some wonderful meals and even better conversation.
So today I'm channeling my nostalgia for sweater-weather Novembers and snow covered grounds with this soup. 80-degree-thunder-storm-pouring-rain will just have to do. It's not bad, just different.

Mom's Split Pea Soup
  • 1lb organic split peas
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3 carrots and 2 parsnips
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp each sea salt, dried basil, thyme.
  • 6 cups water or vegetable broth
First rinse the split peas well. Then in your soup pan, brown the chopped onion and garlic in olive oil. Add in split peas and water (or broth) and bring to a rolling boil. Let simmer for 1 hour. Add in chopped carrots and parsnips (potatoes are tasty too) and the sea salt, thyme and basil. Let simmer for another 30 minutes. Serve!

It feeds many mouths. But if you're dining solo or with one other, it freezes beautifully. Wait until it's cool and then pour into individual tupperware containers and pop into the fridge. Then when you need a lunch or dinner you can set it out in the morning, reheat and voila-Love.
Do you have any favorite recipes that evoke special memories? Please do share!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Guest Post: Healthy protein bars?

Today I have the pleasure of sharing a great post on protein bars, and why there's still room for improvement, by Michael Shaw. Michael is a writer who tracks alternative health products, including gluten-free healthy pancake recipes, and refined sugar-free goods, at his website No Flour, No Sugar Diet.

I like to eat just as healthily as the next guy or gal, and that of course means a good daily dose of fruits and veggies, healthy grains, and limited processed and/or packaged foods. When it comes to afternoon snacks, fresh fruit and some nuts and raisins or dates is a good way to go, but every now and then I like to mix it up a bit and have a healthy protein bar, or ‘health bar,’ as they’re becoming known more recently. They’re definitely more exciting than dried fruits and nuts every day.

As I’ve written about in my protein bars reviews, a lot of the offerings on the market these days amount to nothing more than glorified candy bars. There are very few exceptions to this standard…one of them is Lärabar, which has more than 20 varieties of bars, most of which are limited to a handful of ingredients, just dried fruits and nuts, maybe a little coconut or lemon as well. But no chemicals, preservatives or additives (a few of their bars do contain Fair Trade Certified chocolate chips, but if you want to avoid refined sugar, most of their bars are free of it).

So how does one improve upon such simplicity? It doesn’t really seem possible. Good Greens, meanwhile, which is a recent entrant into the health bar arena, is bypassing the simplicity route in favor of the wellness route: they’ve injected their health bars with so many superfoods that each bar claims to provide “100% of Your Daily Fruits & Vegetables.” And indeed, each bar is packed with so many vitamins - A, C, and E (100% D.V.), Iron (20%), and Niacin/B3 (100%) - that you may feel like eating whatever you want for the rest of the day. But that would be just a tad silly, wouldn’t it?

A guy I knew several years ago would joke how he always started his day off with a vegetable smoothie full of healthy greens such as spinach and kale and the like. He hated the taste, but rationalized that he could eat donuts(!) the rest of the day. I was never sure if he was kidding or not. Here’s where Good Greens one-ups my friend with their health bars: they provide an impressively wide variety of vitamins and minerals (Magnesium 20%, Selenium 20%, Chromium 60%), all delivered in a sweet-tasting bar. Their flavors include chocolate raspberry, chocolate peanut butter, chocolate coconut, and wildberry.

But there’s a downside to that delivery system: the sugar. While Good Greens bars are gluten-free, vegan, and 72% organic, the first ingredient of the chocolate raspberry, chocolate peanut butter, and chocolate coconut bars is dairy free dark chocolate, whose own first ingredients is, brace yourself: evaporated cane juice. So yes, while you do get to all those great superfoods (which come in the form of their Z-52 formula), you get them by way of what is nothing more or less than a refined sugar, which is pretty problematic in my recipe book.

The Wildberry bar, meanwhile, is just a tasty, in a fruitier way, but avoids the ‘dairy free dark chocolate’ treatment. Its first ingredient is Fruitrim, a fruit juice and natural grain dextrin (whatever that is) mixture, followed by sunflower butter and the Z-52 Superfood Powder. Whereas the other Good Greens bars have 14 grams of sugar out of 50 total, the Wildberry bar has 12. Some of that sugar comes from the Fruitrim, and others come from agave syrup, whose qualities as a sweetener I discuss in my Unrefined Sugar guide.

While Larabars do have more grams of sugar per bar – anywhere from about 18 to 24 grams per 48 gram bar – they come only from unrefined sugars, and while I am excited about the taste and the full range of nutritional boosting one gets from a Good Greens bar, I’m a little less than charmed by the agave syrup, the brown rice syrup and the ‘natural dextrins,’ not to mention the evaporated cane juice.

For their next generation of bars, I’d like to see Good Greens look into developing a healthier delivery system for their superfoods powder- maybe by using stevia, or some luo han? Or perhaps organic maple syrup? On the other hand, if you’re not a no-sugar purist, maybe 12 or 14 grams of sugar – from whatever source – is a very reasonable price to pay for a filling snack with a panoply of nutrients. On paper it seems fine. But sugar as the first ingredient? To me that’s still a red flag.

Thank you Michael for this great post! I definitely would love to see more bars that use stevia or just plain dates as their sweetener. Perhaps Don't White Sugar Coat It and No Flour No Sugar should collaborate more often! Be sure to stop by Michael's blog for more great content!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Java Pura: Purely Heavenly


When I found out that there was 1 coffee company in Houston that roasted its beans within city limits, I knew I had to take a field trip. Since working from home creates a wonderfully flexible schedule, I ventured to the Java Pura headquarters in a very nondescript part of Htown.
I nervously rang the buzzer and was greeted warmly by co-owner Fielding Cocke. He and his team kindly took time out of their busy roasting day to show me around, treating me like I was a partner and friend, despite my being a complete stranger.
Fielding and his business partner Richards started Java Pura four years ago and it is obvious this is a labor of love. The way he describes the beans, the flavor nuances and roasting process is beautiful. He showed me the art and science behind bean roasting, starting with the fruity smell of fresh, clean beans, the smooth roasting smell, and importance of loud CRACKS as the beans heat and expand.
I also learned that coffee should NEVER be drank past 2 weeks of roasting (!!!! have you ever thought about how long beans in the grocery store sit? From roasting to distribution and the hundreds of miles they trek), freezer is where they should live, and it must be ground finely right before brewing. For the first 48 hours after roasting the coffee is still expelling CO2, but after that it starts to absorb other scents and tastes, reducing it's quality. After 2 weeks, forget about it!
All Java Pura coffees have their roasted date right on the label-something you'll never find on other brands. Plus you can only buy their coffee in their headquarters, or in Central Market, guaranteeing utmost freshness.
I got to experience a "cupping" as we tasted coffees they are considering purchasing in bulk.
cupping
Also Fielding ran back and forth between keeping a close eye on his roasting beans and making me a latte.
It was delicious. I am still working on training my palate to taste the subtle nuances of cucumber...

After seeing and smelling and taking in the Java Pura headquarters I have been officially converted. I bought beans straight out of the roaster and I'll be stocking up bi-weekly. Some of you will probably be receiving it in your stocking this year. Coincidentally Fielding's wife is also a RD-small world!

So look for the mustang and rooster, a clever take on Colt & Cocke Inc. and know that what you'll find in that bag is of the highest quality, and roasted with love and care.

I'm going back to sipping my espresso now. Have a lovely Friday!

Find Java Pura
5250 Gulfton Suite #4G
Houston, TX

Central Market Houston
3815 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77027

At the Med Center-BRC Rice
6500 Main St.
Houston, TX 77005