Foods That Help Digestion: Expert Tips from Organic Avenue

Organic Avenue is now serving up a healthy array of fresh menu items. We talked to their culinary experts about how to improve digestion, just in time for the holidays!

SM140325-03

If you haven’t yet heard, Organic Avenue, one of the city’s favorite green juice destinations, is now serving up a menu of seriously delicious and nutritious alternatives to your typical grab-and-gos. Soups, salads, sandwiches and even desserts have now made their way into the health-conscious establishments across NYC, and when we learned about the impressive healing properties some of the new recipes have to offer, we had to learn more.

At Organic Avenue, every item on the menu is carefully crafted to maximize both flavor and nutritional benefits for the body. Since the holidays are in full-swing, we were particularly impressed to learn that many of the meals actually aid in digestion – something we could all benefit from this time of the year.

Below, Organic Avenue’s Director of Culinary Development, Michele Di Pietro and Assistant Training Manager/Digestive Health Extraordinaire, Ryan Neller, reveal exactly what you should (and shouldn’t) be eating this holiday season; and shell out some expert advice to get your body functioning in peak condition just in time for the new year.

On the ultimate ingredient that helps digestion…

“Our shot of pure ginger juice is the perfect boost to any fruit or green juice for optimal digestion and nutrient assimilation. You can even down a Ginger Shot on its own 20 minutes before a meal to ensure digestive success. Ginger is a powerful digestive aid due to its active compounds, gingerol and shogaol, which stimulate the flow of saliva, bile and gastric secretions through the digestive tract.”

On what foods are the most common poor digestion culprits…

“Carbonated beverages (aside from fresh kombucha) hinder digestion big time. Soda, champagne, beer, tonic water, etc. create excess gas pressure in the body—leading to bloat and discomfort. Dairy products are extremely mucous-forming and clog the digestive tract—avoid whenever possible. If you’re a milk and cheese lover, there are many nutrient-dense nut and seed alternatives that the body can easily process.”

On pairing ingredients to improve absorption…

“One of our favorite pairings is a leafy green, such as kale or spinach, with a vitamin C-rich fruit or veggie, like lemon or red bell pepper. Leafy greens are rich in non-heme iron, which aids in the production of red bloods cells that circulate oxygen throughout the body. This form of iron is best absorbed into the system when consumed in tandem with vitamin C. Easy ways to create this synergy at home are to add lemon juice to your salad dressing, or to blend spinach into your fruit smoothie. When you pop into an Organic Avenue store, make sure to try our best-selling Lite Weight Smoothie, which does just that.”

On healthy holiday swaps…

“If you’re going to indulge in alcoholic beverages, definitely swap the champagne and beer for organic, sulfate-free wine or triple-distilled vodka. Carbonation equals gas and bloating. When you’re surveying the spread of appetizers, skip the chips—and dip with crudité instead. Bonus points for the hosts who serve guacamole or hummus instead of dairy-based dips.”

On the one ingredient to AVOID this holiday season…

“It may be difficult to avoid completely, but it is possible to limit consumption of refined, white sugar during holiday festivities. Steer clear of those dinner rolls and layer cakes. Instead, load up the majority of your plate with salad and cooked veggie sides, and allow yourself to enjoy the one or two indulgences you truly love.

We believe that dessert is essential during the holidays, so bring your own healthy treat for everyone to enjoy. Some of our favorites are brownies made with whole grain flour and coconut sugar, or gluten-free cookies made with coconut flour and dark chocolate chips. There are many simple and delicious healthy recipes in the blogosphere to experiment with, or you could always bring a bundle of OA Chocolate Mousse for all to share, and possibly get hooked on!”

What are your favorite foods to eat that promote proper digestion? To check out the delicious-ness that Organic Avenue is serving up, click here.

Noelle Chehab is the Senior Writer of Spa Week Daily.

Immune Boosting Orange Smoothie Recipe

Boost your immune system with this super-satisfying orange smoothie recipe from the Minimalist Baker.

smoothie

As the holidays fast approach, there’s tinsel to be hung, presents to be wrapped and parties to be planned. So it’s no wonder why so many of us find ourselves feeling run-down, stressed out and far from our usually energized selves during this time of the year.

You probably already know that Vitamin C is one of the body’s best defenses against cold and flu germs, and it’s especially important to get a hearty helping during the bitter winter months when our systems are struggling to keep us warm. So when our friends at the Minimalist Baker concocted an Immune Booster Orange Smoothie recipe, we couldn’t get to our blenders fast enough.

There’s another key player in this tart and tasty winter smoothie – sweet potato. Packed with beta carotene, Vitamin A and Vitamin C, sweet potatoes are somewhat of a superfood when it comes to protecting your health. Plus, with 4 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber per potato, this ingredient is crucial in making you feel full and nourished longer.

To get the satisfying Immune Booster Orange Smoothie recipe, head over to minimalistbaker.com. We promise you won’t be disappointed.

What ingredients do  you eat to keep your immune system strong? Let us know in the comments below, and your recipe may be featured next!

Noelle Chehab is the Senior Writer of Spa Week Daily.

 

Best Holiday Wine & Food Pairings

Raise a glass with the best holiday wines of the year, plus find out what foods they pair well with!

iStock_000014063903Small

There’s no shortage of celebrations during the holidays, and when it comes to raising a glass with family and friends, wine has been shown to be a heart-healthy option. Yet, with so many different wines on the market, picking the perfect bottle can be more overwhelming than indulgent.

To solve this dilemma and lessen your holiday stress, we decided to take the fuss out of choosing a crowd-pleasing bottle of vino this season. Whether you prefer red, white or rose, there’s a wine on our list that you’ll love, and we even included some pairing suggestions that make every glass one to savor.

Rioja Montecillo Reserva – This deep red wine crafted in Northern Spain is made from Spanish indigenous grapes that age beautifully. Interesting spices, vanilla and black fruits are married with notes of liquorice and mint that adds an interesting element to every sip. Pair this wintery red with prime beef and hearty stews. Available at us.riojawine.com.

Jordan Winery Chardonnay – The 2012 Jordan Chardonnay is crafted in the Russian River Valley, and aged in French oak for more than six months. The crisp and clean wine emits aromas of fresh Fuji apple and Asian pear, while subtle hints of vanilla sweeten each sip. This wine is best paired with mild, fresh seafood like halibut and crab. Available at jordanwinery.com

Rosa Regale Sparkling Wine – This sweet, light rose wine is ideal for picky drinkers who steer clear of heavy reds and dry whites. Infused with delicious raspberry and strawberry flavors, this gorgeous pink drink is nice and bubbly, making it great for holiday toasts. Pair it with a cheese platter and fresh fruit plate for a simply sweet appetizer or post-dinner treat. Available at rosaregale.com.

PS – We teamed up with Rosa Regale to treat one lucky winner to the ultimate spa and culinary experience! Complete with world-class wine, farm-to-table cuisine, and luxuriously long spa treatments, this is a giveaway you don’t want to miss! Click here for easy entry!

Noelle Chehab is the Senior Writer of Spa Week Daily.

Top 5 Foods That Cause Bad Breath

Clear out your refrigerator! Celebrity periodontist Dr. Nicholas Toscano reveals which five foods are the main culprits behind bad breath.

unnamed

It’s no secret that certain foods can leave a foul odor in your mouth. But when consuming several meals a day, it’s not always easy to identify which ingredients truly bring about bad breath. So we called in the expert.

Periodontist to the stars, New York City-based Dr. Nicholas Toscano knows a thing or two about maintaining a mouth that’s healthy, flashy and, most importantly, odor-free. (Did we mention he’s behind Bill Clinton’s million-dollar smile?) We sat down with Dr. Toscano to find out which five foods should always be accompanied by a toothbrush.

By: Dr. Nicholas Toscano

Garlic  – Garlic is the king of all smelly food. It contains a gas that can’t be metabolized by the liver, so that gas comes back out through your mouth, giving you bad breath. The main source to blame is allyl methyl sulfide, which is passed into the blood during the digestive process. It then leaves your body through your pores. This is why the stench can linger for long after the garlic is gone.

Garlic also promotes the growth of microbes in your mouth, which further exacerbates the bad breath problem. If you’re eating a meal with a lot of garlic, counter it with plenty of vegetables, especially carrots, mushrooms or mashed potatoes (all of these can improve your breath). 

Coffee- Everyone loves the smell of coffee, until it hits their mouth. Coffee neutralizes the acid in your stomach, which then causes gastric juice reinforcements to be sent up to your mouth. The caffeine in coffee also slows down saliva production, which is another cause of bad breath. Saliva kills bacteria and helps you digest food before it gets to your stomach. Without saliva, the bacteria and food particles remain.

Horseradish – In its plant form, horseradish has no smell. Once it’s grated, however, various enzymes from the plant break down a glucosinolate called sinigrin, which produces ally isothiocyanate. Isothiocyanate is a chemical compound in the plant whose purpose is to scare away animals. That compound is now on your breath!

Onion – Onion, when cut, turns to propenyl sulfenic acid, which is a chemical that makes your mouth smell rotten. (It’s also thought to be the chemical responsible for the vegetable’s eye-watering effects.) It is a particularly sticky molecule that adheres to the tissues in your mouth. This is why you get bad breath so easily from onions.

Tuna Fish Sandwiches – Garlic may be the king of all smelly food, but tuna is the king of all smelly sandwiches. There are various molecules in tuna fish that give it its distinct smell—including one that smells like stale peanuts, one that has a cucumber odor, another that has the stench of baked potatoes and soy sauce, and one that smells strikingly similar to cooked cabbage.

Elle Fure is the Editorial Director of Spa Week Daily.

3 Creative Holiday Cocktails

Alyssa Rapp, Founder and CEO of Bottlenotes, Inc. shares three of her favorite holiday cocktails that will impress all your guests this season!

pair

It seems hard to believe that the holiday season is already here. If you are interested in adding a little flair to your entertaining and celebrating, why not do so with some cocktails or spirit-infused accoutrements to your holiday season?

At Bottlenotes’ newest publication, The Proof, where we talk about all things cocktail culture, we have a few mantras this holiday season (and recipes to go with them!)

bourbon

We’re “Bullish on Bourbon” this Holiday Season

Bourbon nuts are a great item to nibble on- and perfect pairing for any holiday cheese board or in a candy dish on their own. Find the recipe here. Bourbon apple cider is a fabulous way to warm up on a chilly winter night. Served in small tea cups with a cinnamon stick, it also makes for a festive welcome to any holiday event. Find out how to make it here.

wines

Serve a “Signature,” Wine-Based Cocktail to Your Friends and Family.

Channel your inner “Martha” and serve a signature wine-based cocktail this holiday season! Recommendations for Apertif Wines from The Proof here. Recommendations of How to “Dress Up” Your Champagne Cocktails from The Daily Sip®.

pair

Make Your Own Pear Liqueur

Looking to impress your guests and serve up something spicy, sweet, and delicious? All it takes is two tasty pears, two quarters of vodka, some secret ingredients, and three days of waiting. Find the recipe here. Cheers!

alyssaAlyssa J. Rapp is the Founder & CEO of Bottlenotes, Inc., the leading interactive media company in the U.S. wine and craft beer industries. The Proof covers everything you need to know now about the world of artisanal spirits in short weekly servings. From the best producers to cocktail recipes, entertaining tips to spirits basics, this newsletter is your guide, whether you want to be dressed up for Derby Day or drinking on the front porch with your friends.