Tag Archives: healthy eating habits

Eat Healthy with the Incomparable Vegetarian Mamma!

Vegetarian cooking can sometimes be a daunting task to people trying it for the first time; “how can it be tasty without meat,” they ask. Well, Vegetarian Mamma has shown just how fun and easy-to-prepare vegetarian dishes can be. Through her website, blog, and cookbooks, Cindy Gordon provides a bounty of recipes and techniques that the whole family can enjoy.

Photo Source: Vegetarian Mamma
Photo Source: Vegetarian Mamma

We’re proud to say that many of these mouth-watering meals make use of our very own Jeff’s Naturals line of all-natural non-GMO products, such as this Mediterranean Rice Bowl recipe (seen above) and a Roasted Tomato Sauce Pasta (see below- yummy!!).

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Trust us, you have to try these recipes for yourself.

All recipes featured on Vegetarian Mamma’s site are vegetarian, and the site offers giveaways of gluten-free, allergy-friendly products so you can test the delicious products she uses!

If you’re looking for a good place to pick up some vegetarian-friendly recipes, Vegetarian Mamma’s recipe page is of course the natural place to start. But why stop there? When you enter our 2017 Fresh Start Sweepstakes, you can win a copy of Vegetarian Mamma’s cookbook Gluten Free Fork!

Photo Source Vegetarian Mamma
Photo Source Vegetarian Mamma

Vegetarian Mamma strives to create an atmosphere of positivity and helpfulness to welcome anyone looking to improve their diet. She says it best herself:

This website is meant for everybody! If you are seeking information on recipes, products or just want to be part of a community, this site is for YOU! While we do share some humor within our posts, we try to keep it classy and supportive of all who visit. We try to stay encouraging and welcoming. While some recipes and products may not fit for some, they may be perfect fits for others. At Vegetarian Mamma, we are here to encourage one another and to keep things positive.  We are not here to try to dictate what you should and shouldn’t consume. You know your body, you know your beliefs and you can act upon them.

Cooking is, at its core about love, both for the food itself and the people you are cooking for. This guiding principal is clear in Vegetarian Mamma’s site, blog, book, and recipes. The amount of care and consideration, both for the meal itself and the eater, is palpable and most importantly tasted in the recipes she provides. Be sure to visit her website often for the latest and best in vegetarian recipes and giveaways!

How to Prepare the Perfect Pasta Dish

Mama Mia! Since October is National Pasta Month, we wanted to give a salute to one of America’s favorite foods! In recent years, pasta has gotten a bad rap (think no carb diets) but we think that pasta dishes can actually be a healthy and filling meal, especially with some help from Jeff’s Naturals all natural line of olives, peppers, capers and sun ripened tomatoes.

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What’s the secret to pasta perfection? It begins with cooking pasta itself. The National Pasta Association recommends the following steps to cook pasta perfectly every time:

1. Boil 4 to 6 quarts of water for one pound of dry pasta. (You can divide this recipe depending on how much pasta you are cooking.)

2. Add the pasta with a stir and return the water to a boil.

3. Stir the pasta occasionally during cooking.

4. Follow the package directions for cooking times. If the pasta is to be used as part of a dish that requires further cooking, undercook the pasta by 1/3 of the cooking time specified on the package.

5. Taste the pasta to determine if it is done. Perfectly cooked pasta should be “al dente,” or firm to the bite, yet cooked through.

6. Drain pasta immediately and follow the rest of the recipe.

Reheating Pasta

To reheat cooked pasta, portion out the amount you need and place in boiling water. For extra-easy draining, you can place the pasta in a stainless steel colander or strainer and then submerge in boiling water. Count 40 to 60 seconds of re-heating time for a four-ounce serving. Drain the pasta well, toss with sauce and serve immediately. Pasta can also be reheated in the microwave oven. Reheat single servings on high for 45 seconds at a time, checking between intervals for doneness.

To create the perfect pasta dish, you must also pair it with the right sauce. The National Pasta Association recommends pairing thin, delicate pastas (like angel hair or thin spaghetti)are better served with lighter, thin sauces. If it’s a heavier sauce you crave, it’s better to stick with thicker pasta shapes, like fettuccine. Pasta shapes with holes or ridges, like mostaccioli or radiatore, are perfect for chunkier sauces.

Now that you know the basics, grab a fork and dig into our newest pasta recipe using Jeff’s Naturals!

Jeff’s Naturals Mediterranean Pasta

Prep Time: 5 min.Total Time: 10 min.Serves: 4

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3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced diagonally
1 cup Jeff’s Naturals Sun-Ripened Dried Tomatoes, drained, julienned
2 Tablespoons crushed garlic
1 pound angel hair pasta, fresh
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 jar (6.5 ounces) Artichoke Hearts, drained
1/2 cup Jeff’s Naturals Organic Sliced Greek Kalamata Olives, drained
6 ounce crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
PREPARATION

Boil water for pasta. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken strips until no longer pink in the middle, about 3 minutes on each side. Add sun dried tomatoes and crushed garlic to skillet. Sauté for 2 minutes. In the meantime, add the fresh pasta to the boiling water, cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.

Add the basil, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives and crumbled feta cheese to the skillet. Sauté 1 minute. Stir in cream. Strain pasta and transfer to a large pasta bowl. Add the chicken sauté to the pasta and toss.

Season with oregano, salt and pepper before serving.

Visit National Pasta Association to see these and other great pasta cooking tips!

Vegetarian Recipes

Two Vegetarian Recipes You Will Actually Want to Make

Summer is coming and that means our selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables are even better! We all know there is overwhelming evidence that people who follow a diet high in fruits and vegetables tend to enjoy benefits such as lower blood pressure, lower risk of death, lower chance of life threatening disease (i.e. cancer, heart disease, diabetes), and a much lower risk of obesity.

The more simple and delicious meat-free recipes you can learn the better off your diet will be in the long run.

Here are two recipes that you will actually enjoy vegging out on:

Zucchini Ribbons with Kalamata Olives & Sundried Tomatoes

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INGREDIENTS
2/3 cup fresh ricotta
1 fresh lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced on mandolin
2 shallots, thinly sliced on mandolin
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper chili flake
5 medium zucchini, thinly sliced on mandolin
½ cup julienned Jeff’s Naturals Sun-Ripened Dried Tomatoes, drained with some oil reserved.
½ cup Jeff’s Naturals Organic Pitted Whole Greek Kalamata Olives, drained and rough chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper

PREPARATION
In a small mixing bowl, combine the ricotta with the lemon juice and zest and set aside.

In a large skillet on medium high heat, add the olive oil and heat until hot. Add the garlic, shallots and chili flake and cook 5-7 minutes or until onions and garlic are softened.

Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper, and toss frequently for about 5 minutes until zucchini is tender. Turn heat off and add the ricotta, sundried tomatoes and kalamata olives. Toss to mix.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a little sundried tomato oil drizzled over the top.

Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini, Capers & Peppers

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1 large cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons Jeff’s Naturals Imported Non-Pareil Capers, drained
½ cup diced Jeff’s Naturals Roasted Bell Pepper Strips, drained
Tahini sauce
½ cup tahini
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
½ cup water
PREPARATION
Preheat oven to 500ºF

Toss cauliflower with olive oil. Season with S & P, toss again. Roast at 500ºF for about 15 minutes or until slightly charred and tender. Check the cauliflower frequently and stir on the sheet tray to get even roasting.

Remove cauliflower from oven, and place in a mixing bowl. Toss with capers, red peppers and add enough tahini sauce to thoroughly coat the cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Great served hot or room temperature.

Bagel and Capers

Jeff’s Naturals Makes Breakfast Even Better

This recent headline certainly caught our attention: More Than Half of Americans Skip Breakfast at Least Once a Week, Study Says

How can this be? Doesn’t everybody know that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day? Hasn’t everybody heard the old saying “Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dine like a Pauper”?

There are countless reasons to take a few minutes in the morning to enjoy a healthy breakfast, but overall health and wellness tops the list. This recent Consumer Reports article states “Breakfast eaters tend to have better diets overall, consuming more fruit, vegetables, milk, and whole grains than non-breakfast eaters.”

Therefore, in celebration of National Breakfast Month, let us please remind our readers to eat a healthy breakfast. Not only will you feel better, you’ll be more productive and your body will thank you. Here are some ideas we found to make your first meal of the best.

Jeff's Naturals for Breakfast

Omelets & Eggs
For an out of this world scramble, add diced Sun-Ripened Dried Tomatoes or Roasted Bell Pepper Strips and grated Parmesan cheese to your morning eggs.

Try giving your morning omelet a Mediterranean flavor by adding a few of these ingredients:

Quiches & Fritatas
Add about 4 oz of diced Jeff’s Naturals Sun-Ripened Dried Tomatoes to liven up your favorite quiche recipe.

Add Jeff’s Naturals™ Roasted Bell Pepper Strips in your quiche, fritatta, or scrambled eggs

Bloody Marys
Use Jeff’s Naturals™ Jalapeño Stuffed OlivesPeperoncini or Spicy Italian Olive Antipasto to spice up your favorite Bloody Mary (on the weekends of course)!

Bagels
Bagels with lox and cream cheese are event better topped with sliced onions Capers & Roasted Bell Pepper Strips.

Bagel and Capers

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INGREDIENTS
Crêpe Batter:
1 c. flour
2 eggs
6 Tbsp. melted butter (plus more for coating pan)
1 ½ c. whole milk

Filling:
½ c. ricotta cheese
¾ c. whipped cream cheese1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
8 oz. smoked salmon
4 oz. Jeff’s Naturals Imported Non-Pareil Capers
½ sm. Red onion, thinly sliced

Directions:
Add all crepe ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. In a large non-stick sauté pan on medium-high heat, add just enough butter to coat the pan. Slowly pour in crepe batter while holding pan off the heat and swirling the crepe batter in a circular motion to get a thin layer of batter on the bottom of the sauté pan. Cook for about 1 ½ minutes or until loosened from the bottom of the pan and lightly browned. Flip the crepe and cook another minute until lightly browned. Remove from pan and place on plate and continue process until batter is gone.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, cream cheese, lemon juice and zest, and dill. Season with cracked pepper.

To assemble the crepes, spread a small amount of the cheese and dill mixture over one half of the crepe. Add a thin layer of smoked salmon on top of half of the cheese, generously sprinkle with capers, add thinly sliced onion and fold crepe into quarters and serve.

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breakfast_sandwich_web
INGREDIENTS
4 slices pancetta
2 eggs, cooked over easy
2 tablespoons Pesto
½ cup Jeff’s Naturals Roasted Red Peppers, drained and patted dry
2/3 cup arugula

PREPARATION
Preheat panini press.
Place pancetta slices in panini press and cook about 3 minutes or until crispy. Remove from press and set aside.
To assemble the paninis, add a tablespoon of pesto on the top inside slice of each sandwich. Add the eggs to the bottom slice of bread. Top the egg with arugula, pancetta, and a layer of roasted red pepper. Top the sandwich with the pesto bread slice and place into the panini press for about 5 minutes or until slightly crispy and golden.

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breakfast_burrito

INGREDIENTS
6 eggs
1/4 c. milk
2 c. frozen Potatoes O’Brien hash browns
Oil to coat pan for frying
6 oz. raw breakfast sausage
½ c. Jeff’s Naturals Roasted Red Peppers, chopped
½ c. shredded cheese
1 avocado
Jeff’s Naturals Diced Tamed™ Jalapeño Peppers to top
4-6 tortillas
Optional: Sour cream, salsa and sliced green onion to top

PREPARATION
Crack eggs into a mixing bowl add milk, a pinch of salt and fresh cracked black pepper and whisk.

In a large sauté pan on medium high heat, add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add hash browns and fry for about 5 minutes until slightly golden in color. Add breakfast sausage into the pan, break up with a wooden spoon and cook another 7 minutes or until sausage is done. Add egg mixture and chopped roasted red peppers and stir occasionally, lower heat to medium while cooking the eggs for about 6 minutes or until eggs are done. Turn heat off, sprinkle cheese on top to melt.

Assemble the burritos with the egg and hash brown mixture, top with your desired toppings and add the jalapeño peppers for some heat and crunch.

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Zucchini and Olive Breakfast Cake, French-Style on the kitchn

Frittata with Avocado, Roasted Peppers, Olives and Feta

photo credit: feministjulie via photopin cc

Featured Natural Foods Store: Lamb’s Nature’s Choice Market

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We know that everyone loves to find a great sale or bargain, so we are happy to let you know that Jeff’s Naturals is part of the It’s Only Natural sale at Lamb’s Nature’s Choice Market stores during the month of February!

That means that this is the perfect time for consumers to stock up and save up to 25% off of their favorite Jeff’s Naturals items at all Lamb’s Markets!

Jeff's Naturals
This is the time to stock up on Jeff’s Naturals!

Castelvetrano Olives

Lamb’s Nature’s Choice Market operates a number of independently managed food stores in the Pacific Northwest including

  • Nature’s Choice Market in Lake Oswego, OR
  • Garden Home in Portland, OR
  • Stroheckers in Portland, OR
  • Nature’s Choice Market in Wilsonville, OR

Our all-natural line of Mediterranean pantry staples can be found in all the above Lamb’s Market stores and in addition to Cutsforth Marketplace Thriftway in Canby, OR and Shop n Kart in Chehalis, WA.

Consumers with food sensitivities and allergies will appreciate “Free From” at Lamb’s, an Allergen Awareness Program developed to help their customers find appropriate foods for their special dietary needs. The store even offers a Gluten Free store tours with a local Gluten Free Lifestyle expert who offers suggestions for replacing old favorites with new ones. For more information on Lamb’s Market, please visit www.lambsmarkets.net.

Jeff’s Naturals can be found in natural food stores all over the country. To find a store near you, try our new store locator.  You never know when you’ll find a great sale! Happy Shopping!

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5 Reasons to Follow a Mediterranean Diet in 2015

Mediterranian Diet

Is eating healthier part of your plan for the New Year? Why not consider following a Mediterranean diet? Combined with physical activity, the Mediterranean diet could improve not only your health, but your overall quality of life!

A traditional Mediterranean diet consists of large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, and less red meat and dairy. Replace processed foods and refined sugars and flour with natural ingredients, and your body and taste buds will thank you.  Click here to see some of our wholesome Mediterranean recipes.

Here are 5 more reasons to consider switching!

1. More and more studies are linking the Mediterranean diet with disease prevention.
Numerous studies have linked the Mediterranean diet to reduced heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other conditions. Refined breads, processed foods, and red meat are discouraged in a Mediterranean diet, and it encourages drinking red wine instead of hard liquor, which have all been linked to heart disease and stroke prevention.

2. It’s Budget Friendly.
Not only is this way of eating good for your health, it’s good for your wallet too! If you stick with meals that emphasize vegetables, whole grains and legumes, you may discover that the Mediterranean diet to be less expensive than serving dishes with larger portions of meat, cheese, and processed foods.

3. It’s not just what you eat, HOW you eat your meals could make you healthier and reduce stress.
Though food choices play a large factor, you might enjoy adjusting your habits to reflect the Mediterranean lifestyle. Rather than rushing through your meals or eating in front of a television (or even worse, a car!); sit down for a relaxed, leisurely meal with others. It could be as important for your health as what’s on your plate.

4. Fewer cravings = weight loss.
A Mediterranean diet is rich in fiber, which makes you feel fuller longer by slowing down digestion. A fiber rich diet has also been shown to prevent huge swings in blood sugar, which can curb your appetite and reduce cravings for sweets and other processed foods.

5. It could help you age gracefully.
The nutrients and high levels of antioxidants associated with a Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of developing muscle weakness and other signs of frailty. Researchers speculate that the Mediterranean diet may improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels and overall blood vessel health. When there is a reduction in developing heart disease or cancer, as in the case when you follow a Mediterranean diet, there is a 20% reduced risk of death at any age.

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Mediterranean products that have been enjoyed for generations are now available in an all-natural line. We, at Jeff’s Naturals,  are passionate about healthy eating and are pleased to offer a line of Mediterranean products that are free of preservatives, stablilizers, artificial colors, flavors and sulfites.  Click here to learn more about our 100% natural line of olives, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, capers and more!

Article Sources:
www.hsph.harvard.edu
www.helpguide.org/life

photo credit: flippinyank via photopin cc

12 Ways to Enjoy Jeff’s Naturals Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions

Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions

When it comes to gourmet toppings, warm Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions are one of our all time favorites! Nothing perks up a dish quite like the sweet smokey flavor of this dynamic duo, and now you don’t have to roast, slice and caramelize because it’s already done for you!

Jeff  (of Jeff’s Naturals) says he enjoys cooking with Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions and recommends rinsing the peppers and onions in cool water, then lightly sautéing them and enjoying them on top of sandwiches, burgers, steak, etc.

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We recently asked our Facebook fans for their suggestions, and here is what a couple of them had to say:

I have always been an onion lover!!! For me, I would butter and lightly brown a Ciabatta roll on the grill, then add lettuce, a grilled hamburger patty, a slice of cheese, some Jeff’s Naturals Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions, and top it off with a dollop of barbecue sauce!!! Now that’s the good life!! –Sue Harp

I would warm them in a saucepan, make some veggie meatballs and brown them in a fry pan. Use a slotted spoon & add the peppers and onions to the meatballs. Take a grinder or a Kaiser roll, fill the roll with the mixture. Top with a bit of provolone cheese, and pop in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes (or until cheese melts. For non-vegetarians, you can use ‘real’ meatballs). -Karen Goodwin Delaney

These are some great suggestions!  Here are 9 more delicious ways to enjoy Jeff’s Naturals Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions:

  1. Serve warm Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions on top of a heaping bowl of hot and creamy polenta.
  2. Top a plain cheese pizza with Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions, goat cheese and julienned fresh basil and bake at 400° for 10 minutes (or until cheese is nice and bubbly).
  3. Toss warm Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions with cooked pasta, marinated Artichoke Hearts, sliced Kalamata Olives and red wine vinaigrette for a colorful and satisfying pasta salad.
  4. Add a drained jar of Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions to fajita-style beef or chicken and serve with flour tortillas, spicy salsa and fresh guacamole.
  5. Make a delicious Greek omelet with diced Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions, sliced Kalamata Olives and feta cheese.
  6. For a special soup, add a drained jar of Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions and garlic along with broth and a diced potato. Simmer until potato is soft, puree until smooth, add heavy cream and season to taste.
  7. Use Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions as a gourmet topping for hot dogs.
  8. Combine Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions with farro, kale & cannellini beans make for a rustic minestrone to warm your soul. Click here for our recipe.
  9. Turn spicy Italian Sausage into a meal by topping it with Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions. Click here for our recipe.

Our peppers and onions are locally grown in California, roasted, sautéed and packed within 24-hours of harvest.  Jeff’s Naturals Roasted Bell Peppers & Caramelized Onions can be found in natural food stores across the country and are Certified Kosher, Gluten Free, Non-GMO Project Verified, and Certified Vegan. You can also find them online at VitaCost.com.  Enjoy!

Fajita photo credit: jeffreyw via photopin cc

When it Comes to Flavor and Fun, a Little Peperoncini Goes a Long Way

“Ugh…Pasta for dinner again?”

Does this sound familiar? If so, may we suggest adding a little twist to your regular quick weeknight dish? Why not throw in some Jeff’s Naturals sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini to liven things up! A little bit goes a long way to bring plenty flavor and fun to the table!

The possibilities are endless, you just have to get creative!

For instance, did you know you could liven up any sandwich or wrap with a hearty helping of our peperoncini? You can also toss peperoncini into a mixed green salad or top it on a pizza for an extra punch of flavor!

Pizza

How about creating a plentiful antipasto platter with our Whole Golden Greek Peperoncini, Kalamata Olives, marinated Artichoke Hearts, Roasted Bell Pepper Strips and assorted meats and cheeses? Or add some peperoncini & feta to your mac ‘n cheese for a spicy kick to the traditional recipe!

Who knew there were so many ways peperoncini can save dinner?

Here are 3 easy recipes that just may become an instant classic for you and your family! And with so little prep or need for a clean up, these dishes also made an ideal weeknight dinner (very helpful as the kids head back to school!).

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranian Salad

1- 16 oz. package of dried rotelle pasta
8 oz. Jeff’s Naturals sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini, drained & chopped
8 oz. Jeff’s Naturals Organic Sliced Greek Kalamata Olives, drained
8 oz. Jeff’s Naturals Sun-Ripened Dried Tomatoes, not drained
8 oz. Jeff’s Naturals Roasted Bell Pepper Strips, chopped
2 Jars (4 oz) marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper

Preparation
Boil Pasta according to the directions on the package. Rinse under cold water and drain thoroughly. Add pasta to a medium sized bowl along with the remaining ingredients. Blend together. The pasta salad may be served immediately or stored covered in the refrigerator for the following day. Enjoy!

Jeff’s Kickin’ Turkey Meatball Sandwich

Meatball Sandwich

2 c. prepared turkey meatballs
1 jar gourmet pasta sauce, (We like Tomato Basil- YUM!)
1 medium red onion
4 soft sandwich rolls
1 c. Jeff’s Naturals sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini
4 oz. provolone cheese, sliced

Preparation
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Heat 1/4 c. olive oil and prepare turkey meatballs according to package directions. Add pasta sauce and simmer on low. While meatballs are cooking, slice onion and cook in a skillet on medium high heat with remaining olive oil until edges are caramelized.

Open sandwich rolls and place on a baking sheet. Place onions on one side of the sandwich rolls. Place peperoncinis on the other side and top with provolone cheese. Heat in oven for five minutes, or until cheese melts. Remove pan from oven and add turkey meatballs to sandwiches. Serve with remaining sauce.

Best Ever Greek Salad

Greek Salad

1 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 c. feta cheese, diced
8 oz. Jeff’s Naturals sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini, drained & chopped
2 jars (15 oz.) Jeff’s Naturals Roasted Bell Pepper Strips, drained & sliced
3 green bell peppers, seeds and membranes removed, sliced
3 large cucumbers, preferably seedless, peeled and sliced
1 jar (16 oz.) jar Jeff’s Naturals Organic Sliced Greek Kalamata Olives, drained and roughly chopped
2 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1-1/2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation
Combine all of the ingredients together in a stainless or non-reactive bowl, and toss together. Allow to marinate 15 minutes. Toss again before serving. Serve on nicely arranged lettuce leaves.

photo credit: mhaithaca via photopin cc

Find Your Favorite Jeff’s Naturals Products & More on Vitacost.com!

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Photo Credit (bottom 2): Vegetarianmamma.com

Since we are all about living healthy lifestyles without sacrifice, we’re going to let you in on a little secret:

Wholesome living doesn’t have to be costly or inconvenient.

It’s true!  Having trouble finding your favorite natural foods products in your area code? No problem.  You don’t have to travel miles and miles out of your way just to find a specific brand or product.  Look for your favorite natural brands, like Jeff’s Naturals, on Vitacost.com!

Vitacost.com is a leading online retailer of healthy living products, including dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals, herbs and other botanicals, amino acids and metabolites, as well as cosmetics, organic body and personal care products, pet products, sports nutrition and health foods.

With more than 40,000 health and wellness essentials from top brands, chances are you will find just what you are looking for and then some! For instance, you can find many of your favorite Jeff’s Naturals products including our Peperoncini, Sliced tamed Jalapenos, Stuffed Olives, Castelvetrano Olives, Peppers, Sun-Ripened Dried Tomatoes,  Organic Kalamata Olives and Capers!

Here’s the kicker: you won’t spend more when you shop on Vitacost.com, in fact, you just might save money…..AND they deliver them to your door. We aren’t saying not to support your local natural foods retailer (local businesses = better communities), but if this is not an option for you due to distance or lack of time, Vitacost is a great alternative.

The company is celebrating their 20th Anniversary this year and was recently awarded the 2014 Silver Stevie Award for Innovation in Customer Service. Vitacost.com, Inc. strives to offer its customers the broadest selection of healthy living products, while providing superior customer service and timely and accurate delivery.

We love the Vitacost Recipe Center, a great resource for people “on the go” who do not wish to sacrifice the wholesome and clean food they deserve.  Next time you are in a pinch for time or having trouble finding what you are looking for, we encourage you to visit their site and give them a try!

9 Simple Ways to Start a Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle

pic_Italian-Summer-Palette-SaladIf your goal is to improve your overall health and lifestyle in 2014, we want to help! Last month, we shared five reasons to follow the Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean lifestyle is not a fad nor does it have a catchy title. It is simply a common sense approach to eating and living that has been shown to improve well-being and quality of life. The best part is, the Mediterranean diet does not ban any major food groups and is not difficult or expensive to follow.

Health organizations like Oldways are a great place to begin. The organization provides resources to help consumers understand what the Mediterranean Diet is, why it is good for you, and how to shop for and cook healthy Mediterranean meals. For more information Download their 8 simple steps you can start following a Mediterranean Diet today.

Here are some additional suggestions on how to get to started. You may find these simple steps to be easier and more manageable than you thought.

1. Print out a copy of the Mediterranean diet pyramid and post in your kitchen.

It helps to visually to compare and contrast the Mediterranean diet pyramid to the USDA Food Pyramid we are all used to.  In a nutshell the Mediterranean diet pyramid emphasizes fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and flavorful herbs and spices; eating fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week; enjoying poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt in moderation.

Compared to the USDA, the Mediterranean Pyramid contains much smaller amounts of red meat, sweets (fruits are eaten as sweets) and dairy but allows for more in-take of healthy fats and oils.

Another difference is that the Mediterranean Food pyramid is structured to demonstrate what is recommended on a monthy, weekly and daily basis while the USDA just describes the daily intake.

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2. Eat breakfast every day no matter how busy you are.

You have heard it before but breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The reasons to eat breakfast every day are seemingly endless. Studies have linked a healthy breakfast with lower rates of obesity, more energy throughout the day, and better productivity. A breakfast packed with fruits, whole grains, and other fiber-rich foods are a great way to start your day, just do it.

3. Understand the difference between healthy fats and unhealthy fats.

Monounsaturated fats found in ingredients such as extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, sunflower seeds, olives, and avocados and polyunsaturated fats found in sunflower, safflower, soybean, and corn oil are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health.

Overconsumption of saturated fats and trans fats can increase your risk of disease and elevate cholesterol, so consume these in moderation. Click here to learn more about the differences in fats.

Join the millions who have adopted “Meatless Mondays” into our weekly meal planning or simply pick a day where you build meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables. Once you are comfortable with making vegetarian meals, try two nights a week. Don’t substitute cheese for meat- this defeats the purpose!

5. Pack in as many vegetables as possible into your meals.

Load up sandwiches, omelets, soups, pizza, etc with fresh herbs and vegetables. Look for recipes packed with vegetables like this Italian Farro Minestrone soup made with our Roasted Red Peppers and Caramelized Onions, or Indian Summer Palette Salad with mixed greens, red onion, basil, Kalamata Olives, Garlic Stuffed Olives, and Roma tomatoes.

6. Reduce your meat intake. 

Numerous reports have shown that Americans eat more meat than any other nation. In fact, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR)  says the average every America consumes nearly 200 pounds of meat each year.

We are not saying NO MEAT, but reducing the amount of saturated fats and trans fats found in meat products could have a positive impact on your health.  The Mediterranean diet allows you to have meat, but it encourages smaller amounts and leaner cuts. Save the red meat for special occasions.

7. Eat seafood twice a week.

Fish such as tuna, salmon, herring, and sardines are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, and shellfish like mussels, oysters, and clams have similar benefits for brain and heart health. Try new fish recipes like this one for Encrusted Salmon with Olive Pesto using our Kalamata Olives.

8. Make it a goal to sit down at the family table for dinner on a consistent basis.

In most cultures, meal time is a pleasurable experience with good foods and drinks, well prepared and consumed with pleasure, in the company of family and friends.

For many of us, the demands of our schedule make it difficult if not impossible to enjoy regular family meals together.…however it is important for our health and the health of your children. In recent years, researchers have linked regular family dinners with lower the rates of obesity and eating disorders in children and adolescents, lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression, as well as higher grade-point averages and self-esteem.   Visit thefamilydinnerproject.org for tips on how to bring your family  back to the table for dinner.

9.  GET MOVING.

Go for a walk even if it just around the block.  Play with your kids, go dancing, do yoga, go for a run, do a zumba class, go hiking, ride a bicycle, lift weights…whatever your exercise preference is..DO IT!  Commit yourself to getting at least 20-30 minutes a day!  Get off the couch or the computer and move!

Mediterranean products that have been enjoyed for generations are now available in an all-natural line. We, at Jeff’s Naturals, have been working for years striving to perfect this product line and we finally have it. We are pleased to offer a line free of preservatives, stablilizers, artificial colors, flavors and sulfites. Browse our collection of recipes created exclusively to highlight our all natural line of products. Some are old family favorites and others are modern takes on Mediterranean classics. Jeff’s Naturals products are convenient and add color and loads of flavor to any meal.

Article resources:
oldwayspt.org
health.usnews.com