Posted by: TTCLauren | April 16, 2011

Recipe for Disaster? OR Food for thought?

Today’s consumers are speaking VOLUMES about what they want (and don’t) in their food choices! 

INC Magazine in their 2010 list of fastest growing companies in America (in today’s economy) ranked Wildtree’s All Natural Cooking Products 1201 out of 5000.   Another popular (but NOT all natural) home tasting party company with far fewer products was awarded spot number 4603 (a dip down from their rank of 4471 last year).  

Wildtree was actually the 4th fastest growing party plan company (of ANY product type) in America according to this list.    To take it one step further, Wildtree ranked #27 out of 154 companies included in the Food  & Beverage category!     The “other”  home tasting company ranked #141 out of 154 with 15% growth during the last 3 years (down $7 million in a year).   Hmmm…    where are those customers going, and WHY?

Wildtree showed 248% growth over the past 3 years!!     Why?     See for yourself….

  • Natural Foods Merchandiser printed, “Consumers are more interested in food and beverages than in vitamins and supplements for health benefts.” 
  • Consumers want good taste, but also want to know more about their food. In a recent survey by Ketchum, 63% of consumers want to be able to recognize all of the ingredients on a food label and 34% want foods to be made with as few ingredients as possible.
  • Sixty-five (65%) of consumers surveyed said that “improving human nutrition” would be their top priority if they were CEO of a global food company. “Making food that is safer” is a a close second (64%); and “making foods that taste great” is the third-highest priority (52%)
  •  More consumers are learning that they can control sodium, fat and preservatives by cooking at home.  And that’s not likely to change!  A survey commissioned by ConAgra questioned adults nationwide about their grocery shopping and eating habits, and found that many consumers intend to continue cooking at home even when the economy rebounds.
  • “Food Marketing Institute” wrote in their grocery shopping trends that the recession is changing consumer behavior as they are finding that their meals are healthier at home, plus they cost less!   They say that the recession has brought consumers home — 55 percent of people surveyed say they are preparing more meals at home than last year,” said Sarasin. “Preparing meals at home is the best way to control food costs and ensure healthy eating.” 
  • Fitness Together, a national chain of gyms offering one on one personal trainers, posted on their website the “Healthy Food Trends for 2011”.  They cited that sodium and added sugars are the new trans fats, blacklisted by health organizations.  In addition, their list said “Processed foods are out.  Local foods are in.”   The list says that consumers want to know what they’re eating, and are pushing for nationwide regulations for better labeling.   Boomers aren’t interested in fad diets–they want food that tastes good and is nutritious too.
  • Nearly three out of every four Americans prefer to eat their meals at home today, compared to approximately half of those who reported doing so seven years earlier, according to a new report issued by the American Dietetic Association Foundation.
  •  A new Rasmussen Reports survey conducted in January reported 73 percent of adults saying they enjoyed a good home-cooked meal more than dining at a fine restaurant. The survey also reported an increase over the previous year in the number of times families sit down to share dinner together. They reported that in addition to what is happening financially, people are more health-conscious and get pleasure cooking at home.

According to the KETCHUM study,  today’s consumers want to have a greater say about food ingredients, safety and quality, and believe food companies should be responsible for keeping people healthy and addressing societal nutrition issues.   75% of the respondents say they would like to see food companies place a great emphasis on creating foods that reduce the risk of major health issues in the future.    

Pretty much every article I viewed told the same tale…that the economy has caused frugal customers to shift away from dining out in favor of cooking at home and that today’s savvy consumers are demanding healthier choices.  The companies that LISTEN to that, are the companies they shop with.    As Wildtree is certainly seeing in spades!  The numbers don’t lie!
 
A survey by marketing research firm The Nielsen Company found that 46 percent of American households say they are eating out less.  The study showed that the top five motivations driving dinnertime consumer food and beverage choices are taste (44.9 percent of dinner occasions), ease of preparation (41.6 percent), hunger satisfaction (39.8 percent) and pleasing to everyone (34.2 percent).
 
Advantages of Eating at Home — Healthier Meals and Costs Less

Consumers say they are concerned about the nutritional content of their food, and 92 percent say they eat healthier when dining at home.

Shoppers admit  foods prepared at home are better for them. 

Consumers seek time-saving, affordable and healthy choices for mealtime. They are most interested in:

  • Easy-to-make recipes (48 percent).
  • Recipes for cooking a meal for $10 or less (44 percent).
  • Convenient

Since Wildtree meets all of those objectives, it might explain why our growth has EXPLODED in the past 3 years and why we are blowing away the “competition”  (although as an apples and apples comparision, other home tasting party companies truly are NOT seen as competition, given that their products and focuses are vastly different). Wildtree is the only all natural food party company as well as the only one that manufactures all of their own products.   Our quality-controlled products are 100% NUT FREE, with NO additives, NO preservatives, NO MSG, NO dyes, NO anti-caking agents, NO GMOs, NO irradiation, NO trans fats, and NO HFCS… with ingredient labels that are short and easy to read!    In short, taking out the junk and just leaving the taste!    Food CAN be delicious, nutritious, easy to prepare, and economical all at the same time!  Wildtree proves it every day.

If you know of someone who wants to make healthier choices in their home cooking, bringing their family back to the dinner table, send them to my website at www.Lauren.MyWildtree.com.

If you know of someone who would relish and appreciate a lucrative income opportunity that is 100% targeted to what today’s consumers are LOUDLY saying they want, I’m hiring full time, part time, and seasonal representatives for my nationwide Wildtree team.  Why fight the tide?  I invite you to be part of our explosive growth as a customer, a host (free groceries!), or a representative.

Today’s consumers are speaking, and Wildtree is a home tasting home party plan company that is LISTENING!   Come to where the ACTION IS!

Lauren

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Posted by: TTCLauren | April 10, 2011

Federal Dietary Guidelines…changing?

Caught this on CNN …thought I’d pass it on…..

The federal government unveiled new dietary guidelines Monday that urge certain people to cut down on salt.

The guidelines, which are updated every five years, recommend that people over age 51, African-Americans and people with a history of hypertension, diabetes or kidney problems limit their daily salt intake to a little over a half a teaspoon. For everyone else, the daily recommendation remains at 2,300 milligrams — about one teaspoon of salt.

But that could be tough. A cup of spaghetti and meatballs has approximately 1,000 milligrams of salt in it, and an average frozen meal can have up to 1,500 milligrams in just one serving.

“Most of that salt comes from processed, packaged pre-prepared foods,” said Cheryl Achterberg, dean of the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. “So, cutting back a little bit on that and doing some more home-food preparation will make a big difference.”

“I think it is attainable,” Achterberg said of the guideline. “It’s within reach of many, if not most Americans.”

The guidelines also recommended that Americans consume less than 10 percent of their calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. They also should limit their daily dietary cholesterol to 300 milligrams or less.

People should reduce their intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars and cut down on foods that contain refined grains, especially refined grain foods that contain solid fats, added sugars, and sodium, according to the guidelines.

“We are asking people to think about calories in and calories out, what exactly are you eating and how much.” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who joined Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to formally announce the guidelines at a news conference Monday in Washington.

And if people drink, the guidelines state that alcohol should be kept to one drink a day for women and two for men.

“The new guidelines recognize that obesity is the No. 1 public health nutrition problem in America and actually gives good advice about what to do about it: eat less and eat better,” said Marion Nestle, a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. ” For the first time, the guidelines make it clear that eating less is a priority.”

The guidelines form the basis for the food pyramid, which guides Americans in their daily eating habits.

(courtesy CNN.con)

Posted by: TTCLauren | March 28, 2011

Grapeseed Oil…a gift for the heart!

 

Is it time to change your cooking oil? Diets low in saturated fats and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease and improve blood cholesterol levels. If you watch The Oprah Winfrey Show, you may be familiar with Dr. Oz, the renowned heart surgeon who is a frequent and popular guest. In one such visit, Dr. Oz discussed his 90-Day Live Longer, Feel Younger Plan, and the ingredients necessary for a healthy lifestyle. When asked about cooking with Olive Oil, he stated, “If you’re cooking food, I recommend you use Grapeseed Oil.”

Versatile, delicious, and good for you, Grapeseed Oil is a signature item in the Wildtree product line.

Ecologically friendly, made from grape seeds after wine production, Grapeseed Oil has nearly half the saturated fat of Olive Oil, with no sodium and no cholesterol and no trans-fats. There are also medical studies confirming that it has a positive effect on blood pressure and cholesterol.  Researchers at the University of California tracked patients with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of problems that increase heart disease. The groups getting grapeseed extract experienced reduction in blood pressure, and also had a drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol.   Dr. David Nash, a cardiologist of the State University of NY Health Science Center in Syracuse conducted two studies for the Official Journal of the American Heart Association. He recruited men and women with elevated serum cholesterol levels, and added 1 ounce of grapeseed oil daily for four weeks to their already low-fat diets.

It elicited a 14 percent increase in HDL (good) cholesterol and a 15 percent decrease in triglycerides, an independent risk factor in heart disease. He told Science News, “Grapeseed Oil’s ability to raise HDL appears unique.” Nash states that until now, no foods and only a few drugs have demonstrated the ability to raise HDL cholesterol. That’s important, because long term study data from the Helsinki and Framingham Heart Studies, (performed on 4,081 men between the ages of 40-55 over a five year period) indicates that for every 1 percent increase in serum HDL, the risk of adverse cardiac events, such as heart attacks, drops by 3 percent. This translates to a significant 39 percent to 56 percent decrease in risk of cardiovascular disease. Every 3 months the study patients were tested for signs of heart disease. Over the 5 year period there were 34% fewer incidents of heart disease in the treated group. During the fifth year, the treated group had 65% fewer heart attacks than the placebo group.

Grapeseed Oil also contains proanthocyanidin (PCO), a natural bioflavonoid. PCO is the most potent antioxidant ever discovered. Linoleic acid (Omega 6) is an essential fatty acid, which studies indicate is sadly deficient in most diets. Grapeseed oil is 76 percent linoleic acid. The presence of Vitamin E graces grapeseed oil with a shelf life of nearly two years. Patients on Coumadin, a blood thinning agent, are advised to avoid Olive Oil, as its Vitamin K can counteract the effects of Coumadin. Grapeseed Oil, with NO Vitamin K, is the ideal replacement.

Grapeseed Oil is prized by chefs for its versatility, as its high smoke/flash point (419 degrees versus the 375 of Olive Oil), makes it possible to control the amount of fat absorbed by increasing the frying temperature. Your food absorbs less oil, and cooks faster, which locks in moisture. Grapeseed oil also expands when it cooks, which means you use less overall. Not having the heaviness of other oils, it brings out the flavor of the food, and does not leave a greasy after-taste, making it also ideal for salad dressings or bread dipping. Substituting grapeseed oil for your usual cooking or salad oil is an easy way to lower the amount of saturated fats in your diet.

However, not all grapeseed oils are created equal. The quality of the grape seed and the method of oil extraction are key factors, as well as the age of the oil, and the bulk container handling. Look for grapeseed oils that do not contain preservatives (such as TBHQ or BHT) and are free of solvents. Bargain priced grapeseed oils most likely have been made from older grape seeds that are starting to deteriorate or rot. If the seeds have not been dried properly, the rotting can begin quickly. This causes the seed shell to be compromised and the seed oil to become rancid. Processors will take these seeds, crush them, extract the oil and then bleach it thru fine filters until all signs of the rancid properties have been removed.

Another method used is solvent extraction, generally using a petroleum product called N-Hexane to dissolve the oil. This heat extraction is cheaper and faster, but requires the extracted oil to be boiled to eliminate most of the solvents. Further refining such as  bleaching, deodorizing and heating to high temperatures cleanses the oil, but results in a product that has very little of the original flavor, aroma, or nutrients contained in the seeds before processing.

The grape seeds used in Wildtree’s grapeseed oil are of the highest quality, obtained from FAIR TRADE vineyards that do not use any chemical processing.  Our oils are NEVER chemically extracted. Wildtree’s oil is EXPELLER PRESSED, created in small batches for freshness, and shipped in small containers that do not expose the oil to air for prolonged periods during our local infusing and bottling.

In comparing store-bought oils, watch for the words EXPELLER PRESSED on the ingredients list. As expeller processing is higher quality oil, chemical-free, and nutrient rich, manufacturers WILL proudly call it out on the label. If those exact words are not present in the ingredients listing, you can be quite sure that it is chemically extracted or solvent-processed grapeseed oil.  I printed an article off Whole Foods website a while back extolling the virtues of Expeller Pressed grapeseed oils for all the reasons I have already mentioned.  They went on to say that “chemically extracted oils are the fat equivalent of white sugar and should never be used in any kitchen application!”   However, my FAVORITE part said that “at Whole Foods Market, all cooking oils are expeller pressed, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF GRAPESEED OIL which is not readily available expeller pressed.”   Oh Yeah!  It was in print right on their website!  So it seems that Wildtree’s grapeseed oils are a quality that even organic food giant Whole Foods cannot get for their customers!    I framed that article and display it proudly beside my oil samples at every home tasting party that I do.

In addition to plain/natural flavor, Wildtree offers several infused flavors of its expeller pressed grapeseed oil, such as garlic, butter (non dairy), jalapeno, zesty lemon, hickory smoke, and basil pesto, in addition to four shake & pour bread dipping versions, garlic, tuscan, balsamic, and hot chili.

For questions regarding Wildtree’s high quality, expeller pressed, locally infused grapeseed oils, visit: www.Lauren.MyWildtree.com or call me toll-free at 877-WILDTREE.

Posted by: TTCLauren | March 14, 2011

Can Food Be Fatal?

 I read an article written by Irene Levine, PHD, about food allergies. Dr Levine wrote that “food allergies occur in 6-8 percent of children under 4, and in about 4% of adults. Reactions from mild rashes to difficulty breathing account for 30,000 Emergency Room visits a year, while tens of thousands of other reactions are treated at home. Food allergies cause approximately 150 deaths each year from food-induced anaphylaxis, a sudden, severe,potentially fatal reaction.“ 

 

 

So yes, for some people, food certainly CAN be fatal! Since the Wildtree product line was founded by a RI mom whose child had food allergies, preservative intolerances,  and food dye sensitivities, I personally try to learn as much as I can, in order to help our customers who suffer from this serious problem find compatible foods in our product line. Experts identify more than 160 different foods which have been linked to allergies, but amazingly, it has been determined that 90% of these allergic reactions are caused by just eight food items, commonly referred to as “THE BIG EIGHT”:

  1. Peanuts,
  2. Tree Nuts,
  3. Fish,
  4. Shellfish,
  5. Eggs, 
  6. Milk, 
  7. Wheat 
  8.  Soy

Readers Digest reports that “allergic reactions are never expected, and you never know how bad it will be. Most common reactions are hives or a rash. Others can develop swelling of the tongue and throat, coughing, difficulty breathing, cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, serious drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, or death. This can happen within minutes or as long as two hours after the offending food has been eaten. Unfortunately, none of the diagnostic tests are 100% accurate for a true food allergy. Skin-prick tests can yield false positives half the time.”

The most publicized allergy, and possibly the most serious, is the allergy to peanuts. We’ve all heard the horror stories in the media about children at school being sent to the emergency room for simply SMELLING peanut butter. An acute allergy to peanuts can have dire consequences for even the slightest exposure.

A New York woman’s throat closed up at a wedding reception because while dancing, she touched the hand of a guest who had eaten nuts earlier, and then inadvertently touched her face. The ER doctor recognized the signs of anaphylaxis and gave her an injection which probably saved her life.  And there are many similar stories.

One of our home party competitors has the following disclaimer on their product boxes: “Manufactured in a facility that processes tree nuts.” Similar warnings can be found posted in grocery stores, bakeries, and on prepackaged food labels.  I even see the same type of warnings on the drive-thru window at my local Dunkin Donuts!  Cross-contamination is a very real risk for those with food allergies and they must look for these disclaimers and take their warnings seriously.

Wildtree not only creates their own products, they manufacture them as well. Because we make everything ourselves, we know exactly what goes into each product and the processing facility as a whole. We maintain 100% quality control. So we need no such disclaimers about nuts. Wildtree is proud that NO nuts of any kind, including peanuts are allowed in our factory, and are not used in any of our mixing machines.  So we can assure our customers that there will never be a danger of accidental nut contamination.      I love the big smiles and expressions of relief I see from customers with nut-allergic family members when they learn the extreme care Wildtree takes to protect them and those they love.

Besides the group that suffers from food allergies, Celiac Disease (a gluten and wheat intolerance) affects 1 out of 133 people in the United States. Wildtree makes over 100 products with no gluten added.   Ingesting MSG (monosodium glutamate) is also a very real problem for many, causing headaches, respiratory, cardiac, and digestive problems. There is NO MSG in any Wildtree product, including our flavorful Asian sauces such as Teriyaki and Asian Ginger Plum.

At my taste testing parties, I personally have a handy check list of the most common allergies, and which of our products contain those ingredients (such as soy, wheat, eggs), to make shopping quick and easy for our allergy-conscious customers.

Our entire product line boasts NO  additives, preservatives, MSG, anticaking agents, GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, irradiated ingredients or food dyes.  If you, or someone you know suffers from a food allergy or product sensitivity, let me introduce you to Wildtree’s all natural cooking products. Whether it is a personal shopping appointment, a catalog purchase, a fundraiser, or a home tasting & recipe sharing party, I’d be happy to share Wildtree with you. Our Reps and customers have ultimate confidence in the innate goodness and safety of our all natural products. And we feel really good about that!

Food shopping CAN be fun again!

Lauren

Posted by: TTCLauren | March 12, 2011

Mystery Ingredients…what’s really in your food?

There have been 12 million new packaged foods introduced to the market in the last few years. Food manufacturers are trying to compete with fast food companies by making quick and easy products. But what do these ‘time saving products’ really contain? Let’s take a look… (we have some fun with this at my Wildtree taste testing home parties)

When you dig into a strawberry Yoplait yogurt, do you ever contemplate where the pretty pink color comes from?  Would your breakfast taste as yummy if you knew that the answer was crushed bugs? Yes, bugs! The female cochineal beetles and their eggs, to be exact.  According to the a recent article in Business Week, these infamous beetles also give red coloring to Good & Plenty candies, Tropicana grapefruit juice and other common foods. Companies cleverly call it ‘artificial color’ without giving further details. Look for “cochineal extract” or “carmine extract” on the label next time you open a Mango Snapple! Yes, Snapple is advertised as an ‘all natural’ product. But so are bugs!

How about that bright white color of Betty Crocker icing? You presume it comes from cream or egg whites, but what if you knew it actually came from “titanium dioxide,” a mineral also used in house paints? Would you still want that coveted corner piece of cake with all the extra frosting on it? I tend to doubt it. As the article went on to say, even Jello isn’t immune! Gelatin, the main ingredient, is actually a hydrolyzed animal protein. What’s that? A protein created from the prolonged boiling of animal skin, tissue, and bones.  How large a bowl would you like now?

Next time you reach for that packet of Old El Paso chili mix to make a quick dinner, look at two things—first the sodium content, which makes up 20-25% of the serving, at a whopping 550 mg. Second, the ingredients…one that stands out is Silicon Dioxide, which is found in most powdered mixes. Before you run for the dictionary, let me save you some time—you know exactly what it is already! Do you recall those little white packets in shoeboxes, pocketbooks, or leather goods that is stamped “Silica Gel – Do Not Eat?” BINGO! The chemical compound Silica has 13 crystalline forms, one of which is Silica Gel, and another is the anti-caking agent commonly found in powdered foods, called Silicon Dioxide.

Another mystery ingredient on that same label is Ethoxyquin. Check that one out on-line, and you will find it is listed in the US Dept of Agriculture’s farm chemical handbook as a pesticide, and that the container has a skull & cross bones on the label.

By comparison, Wildtree’s chili mix contains NO sodium, no silicon dioxide, and no ethoxyquin (all of our products are 100% all natural, with no additives, preservatives, MSG or food dyes), and can be made just as quickly and easily as the store brand, and tastes great! So given the choice, why wouldn’t you choose the healthier version that you don’t need the internet or a dictionary to translate the ingredients of?

I’m sure your next question is, how can the food companies put these items in our food? Well, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has a category called GRAS in their labeling, which stands for ‘generally regarded as safe,’ meaning they have decided that certain chemicals are safe for consumption in small, controlled quantities.

But my question is this…is that ‘safe quantity’ threshold the same for a 3 year old as it is for a 250 lb adult? And what about the cumulative effect if you were to ingest chemicals like this in at least one meal a day, 365 days a year? No one talks about that. But it does give one pause, as to why there are so many diseases and syndromes in this day and age that did not exist when our grandparents and great-grandparents lived. Coincidence? Or not?

There are so many more interesting ingredients contained in the foods sitting in your cabinets, and in future articles we’ll look at some more. Meanwhile, if you’re thinking about tossing out half of your pantry after reading this article, call me! I’d love to show you some healthy alternatives for quick & easy meals with ingredients you don’t need a dictionary to decipher!

~Lauren

 

Posted by: TTCLauren | March 6, 2011

Grocery Shopping on a Budget

All it takes is a little bit of creativity and you, too, can feed your family more nutritiously for less.

Shop Healthy and Save Money

PLAN: Take 30 minutes to plan a week’s worth of meals and make a grocery shopping list and another hour to grocery shop, then the family can be good for a week,” says Shelley A. Rael, RD, a registered dietitian and health education consultant at the University of New Mexico’s Employee Health Promotion Program in Albuquerque. This is a win-win situation as food prepared at home is generally healthy and less expensive.

I take the weekly grocery flyers, see what’s on sale, and plan my meals around it. And, at this time of year, the crockpot is my best friend! I love to toss some concoction or other into the pot and come home to a delicious smelling house, and dinner ready to serve!

BUY IN BULK: Choose a “family size” pack of skinless chicken breasts at BJs or Costco along with a package of ziplock freezer bags. Divide the breasts into bags of 2, 3, 4, or whatever a meal’s worth is for your family, and pop them in the freezer. One thing that I do to save time and money is to pre-season those breasts before I freeze them. For example in one bag I may pour a couple tablespoons of Wildtree’s thick, rich, Teriyaki Sauce (with NO MSG and a fraction of the sodium of a Kikoman’s type). In another bag I may drizzle some of our Zesty Lemon Grapeseed Oil and sprinkle in some of our Dill Blend or Lemon Rosemary blend. For the third bag I may slice the chicken breasts into strips, and then add some of our Jalapeno or Hickory Smoked Grapeseed Oil, along with our Fajita seasoning. Then, I pull out whatever meal I want for the next day, and let it defrost in the freezer overnight. While it defrosts it marinades and tenderizes! The ultimate in multi-tasking. When I get home, I can toss the seasoned breasts in the oven, or onto the grill, or sautee those fajitas! Pre-seasoned meats in the store are pricey, and you can’t control the sodium, sugar, or chemical content. Doing your own is easy and cost-effective.

Do you buy yogurt? Buy one large container of plain nonfat yogurt instead of individual servings, for big savings. Then, each day you can dish out your portion, and sprinkle with one of our flavorful cheesecake blends (very berry, strawberry, lemon lime, pumpkin, etc). You can have a different flavor every day, or each person in the family can have a different flavor! Much cheaper than the individual containers, fewer calories, and no dyes!

STAY ON THE EDGES:  Shop the perimeter of the store. Most stores are organized with packaged foods in the middle. As much as possible, stick to the outer areas where you can find the healthier fruits and vegetables, meat, and dairy.

Eat “IKEA” STYLE:    That means “some assembly required,” says Ashley Koff, RD, a registered dietitian in private practice in Los Angeles. “Rather than buying the salad already made, buy the pieces and assemble it yourself. Instead of the ready-to-eat pasta dish, buy the sauce, the cheese, the meat, and some organic frozen vegetables.” Not only is it less expensive to purchase items individually, but you will also be avoiding the preservatives used to increase a packaged food’s shelf life.

Be creative. Whether it’s trying a new recipe with ingredients bought using coupons or putting a new twist on an old favorite, shopping and preparing different foods can be fun.   If you’re looking for new recipe ideas, visit my website, or attend one of my monthly meal prep workshops!

Posted by: TTCLauren | February 20, 2011

Surprisingly sneaky high salt foods

You may be surprised by some seemingly healthy foods that are high in sodium — some aren’t even thought of as salty. For example, which has less salt? Potato chips or pancakes? You would think that potato chips have more salt than pancakes, right? You may be surprised to learn that Aunt Jemima’s Original Pancake Mix actually has more salt per serving than Wise Potato chips!

Consuming salty foods can increase your risk for serious health conditions, like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. The obvious fix is to cut some of the salt from your diet, but sodium is sneaky — it can lurk in many seemingly healthy foods. Here are some of the worst offenders.

Breads can be very high in sodium. A six-inch pita, has roughly 300 milligrams of salt. It can add up. Kelly O’Connor, a registered dietician, nutritionist and certified diabetes educator at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore says that most adults are advised to keep their salt intake below 2,000 mg of sodium per day. Wildtree’s Whole Wheat Beer Bread has 170 mg of sodium (just 7% of the recommended daily allowance).

Low-calorie frozen meals help control portions, but most contain way too much salt. Some of them contain more than 500 mg per meal, which is one-third of your recommended daily intake if you are following a low-sodium diet. A leftover meal made from last night’s healthier Wildtree homemade dinner or crockpot meal can serve as a low-sodium, quick-lunch alternative. And you save money from takeout or the company cafeteria.

You may feel healthy when you choose a salad over a burger, but pay attention to the add-ons. One tablespoon of commercially prepared French dressing, for example, has 214 mg of sodium. “This is not a red-flag amount of sodium per serving, but think of how many people pour the salad dressing on their salads directly from the bottle, serving themselves several tablespoons and maybe 800 to 1,000 mg of sodium,” O’Connor says. Wildtree’s heart-healthy NO SODIUM grapeseed oils can make a flavorful oil & vinegar dressing, or use our 5 calorie Italian Seasoning blend (added to our grapeseed oil and some red wine or balsamic vinegar).

You probably don’t think of breakfast cereal as a salty food, but many of the “healthier” cereals on the market, like corn flakes and toasted-oat cereals, have almost 300 mg of sodium per cup. Again, the problem isn’t the sodium per serving, but the small amount that counts as a serving size. “A typical cereal bowl can hold one and a half to two cups of cereal, if not more (which doubles the sodium! ) If you use a larger bowl, it’s even higher! So watch that portion size! As an alternative, Wildtree’s Hearty Morning Granola Mix contains NO SODIUM!!

Some people choose beans to gain protein while they reduce their fat and cholesterol intakes, but the canned versions often have too much salt. One cup of plain baked beans has a whopping 1,008 mg of sodium, which is half of an adult’s recommended daily salt intake. “A roasted chicken breast [without the skin] would be an all-around better choice, with less than 100 mg of sodium and minimal fat and cholesterol content,” O’Connor says. If you’re a vegetarian, try cooking dried beans — one cup of boiled navy beans has only 2 mg of sodium. So many of Wildtree’s savory spice blends and rubs have NO calories and can add flavor to fresh/frozen/steamed vegetables, or that chicken breast!

On average, ONE CUP of jarred spaghetti sauce weighs in at over 1,000 mg of sodium. Better yet, curb your salt intake by making your own sauce in 15-20 minutes by combining a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (or garden fresh if you have them) with 1-2 tablespoons of Wildtree’s Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend, (created by Italians for authentic flavor!) which has just 95 mg (4%) of sodium. As a time saver, make extra, and freeze the finished sauce for future convenience.

While diet colas don’t have the sugar and calories of regular, they actually have more sodium — 28 mg for a 12-ounce can compared to 15 mg for regular. Not a lot, but again, the key is volume. Several cans or glasses of diet cola over the course of a day can add up to far too much salt.

Those cans of minestrone and tomato soup may make for a comforting meal, but they’re major salt-fests. One cup of canned chicken noodle soup contains 1,106 milligrams of sodium. Wildtree offers many easy soup and stew mixes, several that are crockpot compatible. For example, our cajun Jamblaya has just 35 mg in the mix. Our Hearty Turkey & Barley has just 55. Add some low sodium broth, and enjoy the true flavor of the food, rather than the salt! Our Chili Mix has NO SODIUM at all! There are many delicious flavors to choose from, and what’s better on a cold winter day than coming home to the aroma of homemade soup in your crockpot?

So, watch your labels! And why not consider replacing some of your favorite pre-packaged (boxed, canned, frozen) foods with Wildtree’s no/low sodium alternatives? Your heart, your blood pressure, and your family will thank you! Visit my website at http://www.Lauren.MyWildtree.com to check out our 160+/- tasty offerings!

Posted by: TTCLauren | October 14, 2010

What are you serving for dinner?

The end of October will hold a mixed bag of emotions for me–on October 30th, my husband and I will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary, but October 31st marks the one year anniversary of my mother’s major stroke and heart attack, which has left her, sadly, as a very different person and one who now needs a high degree of care. It certainly reminds me of how precious life is, and how there are some things that we just cannot control.

One thing that we CAN control, however, is what we eat, and how well we treat these bodies of ours. The New York Times reported, “For the first time in two centuries, the current generation of children in America may have shorter life expectancies than their parents.” Isn’t that sad? The chemicals and preservatives are extending the shelf life of the food, but shortening the life of the people eating it. All of the advances in medicine and technology that we have experienced, yet we become more and more unhealthy to the point that the chemical-laden food choices society is making, and their love of ‘convenience foods’ to save time, is ironically cutting time OUT of today’s children’s lives. It’s a contradiction totally beyond words.

If we as consumers take a stand and STOP buying those jarred, boxed, canned, freeze dried, frozen, microwaveable ‘convenience foods’ in the “middle” of the grocery store, and insist on HEALTHIER CHOICES, these food manufacturers will eventually have to listen.

Wildtree’s founder created our products because she had children with juvenile diabetes, ADHD, Kawasaki’s Disease, intolerance of any dyes, chemicals, and preservatives, as well as peanut allergies. To take all the “junk” out of food (this junk that is making us sick as a society) and still make it easy, economical, and delicious!

Wildtree can give you the same 10-15 minute meals, with 2-3 ingredients, just like your current ‘time saving’ convenience foods. But with one HUGE difference….QUALITY! Low to no salt and sugar content, lower calories, no dyes, preservatives, trans-fats. Food the way it was meant to be–flavorful and natural! Check out a few examples:

Dinty Moore beef stew has 222 calories, 28% saturated fat, and 970 mg sodium (41%). And that is only for 1/3 of a can.

Why not try this? Shop around the outside perimeter of the store. Pick up a package of stew beef, a package of baby carrots, a package of small round potatoes, and a bag of frozen peeled pearl onions, and dump it all in a crockpot with a jar of Wildtree’s Home Style Beef Stew sauce. When you come home from work, there is no need to open that can of Dinty Moore, because a hot, fresh, HOME MADE beef stew is ready for you! This stew has just 40 calories, NO saturated fat, and 8% sodium.

Do your kids love Sloppy Joes? One can of Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce will give them 410 mg of sodium (17%), 6 grams of sugar, and 40 calories (PROVIDED you make 12 sandwiches with that one can since that’s how many servings those numbers are based on, and I’ll bet yours are bigger than that, which increases the salt, sugar, and calories accordingly!)

OR, you can buy a jar of Wildtree’s Sloppy Joe seasoning. You will get multiple batches from each jar. Just add some to a can of tomato sauce. The result? Just 8% sodium, NO fat, NO sugar, 5 calories, and just 9-cents per serving! Not one minute longer in the kitchen!

Even so-called “diet foods” aren’t as healthy as you might think. Case in point,

Lean Cuisine Chicken Marsala. This ‘healthy’ dinner gives you 620 mg SODIUM (36%), 9 fat grams, and 250 calories.

Yes, you just have to open the box and press the button on the microwave. But honestly, is it so much more difficult to sautee a chicken breast in a pan? It takes what? 5 minutes? Open a bottle of Wildtree’s Marsala or Piccata sauce, pour some in the pan, wait a minute for it to warm, and then you are ready to eat. Fresh and flavorful. With NO sodium, NO fat, 10 calories, and just 75-cents per serving plus a chicken breast.

Remember, your children don’t choose what they eat for dinner. YOU DO!

The decision is yours. I vote for a longer life. How about YOU?

Posted by: TTCLauren | August 1, 2010

Shake the Salt Habit

Some of you know that I care for an elderly mother who had a stroke and a heart attack several months ago. In cleaning out her fridge, freezer, and cabinets recently, eliminating outdated food, I was amazed to find out what she had been buying/eating. She had been on blood pressure medication for nearly 50 years, yet the salt content in her canned and frozen foods was alarming!

For example, one of her favorites, Vegetable Beef Soup had a whopping 890 mg of sodium per serving (a half can). I know she would eat the entire can (it’s not that big) as a meal, which means almost 1,800 milligrams of sodium in that ONE bowl. Before she salted it or added salted crackers! Something tells me the cardiologist who is currently treating her for the high blood pressure as well as the stroke and her congestive heart failure would so NOT approve!

My late dad was a diabetic with heart failure, high blood pressure, and renal failure (dialysis patient) and one of the things I always watched when feeding him was sodium. Read any health related articles and you will hear that excess sodium can lead to serious health problems.

The Mayo Clinic writes, “If your kidneys can’t eliminate enough sodium, the sodium starts to accumulate in your blood. Because sodium attracts and holds water, your blood volume increases. Increased blood volume makes your heart work harder to move more blood through your blood vessels, which increases pressure in your arteries. Such diseases as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis and chronic kidney disease can make it hard for your kidneys to keep sodium levels balanced. Some people’s bodies are more sensitive to the effects of sodium than are others. If you’re sodium sensitive, you retain sodium more easily, leading to fluid retention and increased blood pressure. The extra sodium can even lead to high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and congestive heart failure.”

What else was in the freezer? Lean Cuisine dinners. Have you ever taken a look at the sodium content in those ‘healthy’ dinners?

Chicken Parmesean….660 mg sodium
Lemon Garlic Shrimp….830 mg sodium
Shrimp scampi…..690 mg sodium
Balsamic Glazed Chicken….660 mg sodium
Chicken Teriyaki Stirfry…..570 mg sodium

I visited their website and tried to see what their lowest sodium content was. However, you could only sort by calories, fat and carbs. Sodium was not an option to sort by. Wonder why?

I checked out the Wildtree equivalent sauce or spice in my cabinet, and I would be happy to give you recipes to make each of the above 5 entrees. Here is the difference in sodium content…

Chicken Parmesean…117 mg sodium (including the tomato sauce)
Lemon Garlic Shrimp….NO sodium! (Using our Lemon Grapeseed Oil and Garlic Herb blend)
Shrimp scampi…..90 mg sodium (including our Scampi Blend and Garlic Grapeseed Oil)
Balsamic Glazed Chicken…..80 or 95 mg sodium (w/European Balsamic Oil or Balsamic Vinaigrette)
Chicken Teriyaki Stirfry…..270 mg sodium

So remind me again, why aren’t you cooking with Wildtree?

Posted by: TTCLauren | August 1, 2010

It pays to read the labels!

Shared on a News Channel 5 special…

“You want your back to schooler to eat a healthy lunch, so you pack a ‘wheat’ bread sandwich and tuck a ‘juice’ drink in her brown bag lunch. But did you know that loaf labeled ‘wheat’ may be just white bread with added coloring? And the juice drink may be more water than juice?”

Andrea Giancoli, registered dietician for the American Dietetic Assn says people in grocery stores trying to make healthy choices actually may fall into pitfalls. They see ‘wheat’ or ‘multigrain’ and it may not be as healthy or nutritious as consumers think. She suggests consumers “read between the lines and turn the package around.” The front of the package is all marketing. Smart consumers need to turn it over and read the ingredients. “Unless it says “whole grain’ or ‘whole wheat’, it probably isn’t.”

There are sometimes confusing label requirements. The FDA says if a package is labeled “juice” it must be 100% juice. HOWEVER if it is a juice BLEND, it can use the WORD juice, such as ‘juice drink’ or ‘juice cocktail’, but that does not mean it is 100% juice. It may be primarily added sugars and water. The ingredient list will tell the true story.

Earlier this year, the FDA sent letters to 17 food manufacturers warning them of problems with labels, ranging from unauthorized health claims to products saying they had no transfats without noting that the product was actually high in saturated fat.

Michael Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods, who is reponsible for food safety and nutrition labeling, said “going after manufacturers one by one is a little like playing Whac-a-Mole with one hand tied behind your back.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, based in Washington DC, is calling for more enforcement of labeling laws as well as revamped nutrition labels that alert buyers to products high in fat and sugar. Right now, the situation is ‘buyer beware.’

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