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Family Central: Lucini Artisan Vinaigrette

The salad season is upon us. The sunshine is in place, fresh greens are abundant and I’m already coming up with a flock of excuses to delay the dreaded swimsuit shopping session!

My dear friend, George in produce, has an extraordinary variety of leafy greens and colorful fruits and veggies to craft your perfect salad. However, you will need a grand dressing to pull it all together. May I suggest Lucini Italia’s Artisan Vinaigrettes?

According to their website, “The Lucini Italia Company was founded on the philosophy that great tasting food comes from only the most cared-for, high-quality ingredients. (Their) passion is creating authentic, handcrafted gourmet foods inspired by the culinary traditions of Italy. Prepared in small batches using 100% natural ingredients, Lucini Italia products offer both exceptional taste and culinary performance.”

These Artisan Vinaigrettes are full-bodied and bursting with all-natural flavors. These artisanal dressings are specially blended to provide a versatile dressing that adheres well to greens, adds punch to sandwiches, and brings new depth to meats and poultry when used as a marinade. The unique flavor profiles range from sweet to savory and showcase a range of tastes from earthy, roasted nuts to sweet and tangy summer cherries.

Made with honest, all-natural ingredients, this gourmet collection will delight any food lover!

The flavors you can find at FRESH include Cherry Balsamic & Rosemary, Bold Parmesan & Garlic, Tuscan Balsamic & Extra Virgin, and Fig & Walnut Savory Balsamic.

Well and Good: Take My Breath Away

While winter is one of our favorite seasons, it’s also famous for giving some not-so-fun gifts. Dry, cold air can cause airway inflammation and congestion, causing coughs and even runny or stuffy noses. If winter has left an unwelcome gift at your door, the Wellness department here at FRESH has what you need to get well. Our knowledgeable partners can help you find just the right remedy to have you feeling better in no time. Here are a few options you’ll find on your next FRESH wellness visit:

Olbas. This line of respiratory aids is based on essential oils and menthol to clear stuffy nasal passages. One of our favorite Olbas products is the inhaler. Safe for children age 2 through adult, this nifty tool uses vapors of eucalyptus and menthol to clear up the stuffiest of noses. Olbas other offerings include lozenges and bath oil. Olbas brings the power of nature to your nose!

Congest Away. Based on herbs–this offering from Rainbow Light is well known for its ability to clear congested airways. With a combination of Yerba Santa, Xanthium, peppermint and antioxidants like vitamins A and C, this easy-to-swallow tablet will have you breathing easy in no time.

Air-Power. This expectorant, packing a hefty 200 mg of guaifenesin, is known for its ability to loosen stubborn phlegm. From Enzymatic Therapy, Air-Power is free of artificial colors and flavors, corn, dairy, wheat and other common allergens. Enzymatic Therapy is an established, trusted company and a FRESH favorite. It’s a go-to for whatever ails you… and Air-Power is no exception.

Whatever remedy you choose, your FRESH Wellness team is here for you. Stop by and let us show you why we offer the best supplement service in the region!

We’re not doctors! If your cough persists or gets worse, please consult with your physician.

Well and Good: Mix It Up!

With work and kids and extracurricular activities, we are busier than ever these days! And with all these things calling for our attention, it’s hard to keep focused on a sound diet. Many times it seems that driving through the fast food restaurant is the best choice. While that’s not necessarily a bad option some of the time, it’s not a good habit to develop!

Here at FRESH, one of our favorite on-the-go options is Mix One, a meal replacement protein shake. It’s not your run-of-the-mill protein shake: each Mix One contains powerful antioxidants to protect your body and keep your mind powering through the day. And, with great flavors like orange twist, mixed fruit and blueberry vanilla, everyone is sure to find something they love. It won’t break your calorie bank, either: some flavors have as little as 90 calories.

It’s a great idea to keep a couple of these on hand… because skipping meals can not only defeat your weight maintenance efforts, it can affect your cognitive skills as well!

Well and Good: Eat Cleaner this Summer

Here in Texas, the arrival of summer means heat, the lake, family, friends and … barbecue. Over the summer, you’ll probably attend dozens of barbecues.

Traditionally, grilling food has been associated with lighter fare. Grilled chicken, for example, can be a great healthy option at your next gathering.

If you’re trying to slim down or just eat a little cleaner this summer, you probably know that traditional barbecue food is not as healthy as some may think. From potato salad to pasta salad to fried potatoes and more, the majority of fat and calories at a barbecue can be found in the… salad. Who knew?

To help us all avoid the diet disasters waiting at the next family gathering, here are a few tips when preparing your favorite summer dish:

  1. Replace the mayo. There are several ways to cut down on calories from mayo. Greek yogurt is one of my personal favorites; it’s thick and creamy like mayonnaise so it’s a great stand in. Use fat-free or low-fat plain Greek yogurt in place of some or all mayonnaise. If you just can’t stand the flavor of yogurt, use reduced fat mayonnaise. You’ll still be cutting out a significant amount of fat and calories.
  2. Ditch the yolks. Many summer salads (like potato salad) call for boiled eggs.  Using half whole eggs and half egg whites is a great way to reduce fat. Make sure you use an extra egg white for every yolk you ditch.
  3. Low fat dairy. When possible, use low fat dairy in your recipe. For instance, when making a broccoli salad with cream cheese, use the reduced fat version. Your family and friends will not miss the creamy texture and flavor of cream cheese and they won’t miss the calories either!
  4. Lastly, give them an option. If you feel that your guests would not be happy without the traditional versions of the foods they are accustomed to, give them a choice! Offer a made-over version (using the tips above) and a traditional version (for instance, if you’re making home-made ice cream, make a frozen yogurt version too): I’d be willing to bet that a majority of your guests will choose the lighter version.

Well and Good: Thirsty yet?

Did you know that thirst is one of the first signs of dehydration? As the summer approaches, it’s important to keep hydration at the forefront of our minds.

You might be surprised to know one of the most common things we hear in the wellness department… I just don’t like water!

While this is a valid statement, it doesn’t change the fact that out bodies are 60% water, and in the summer, it’s important to replace fluids we lose by sweat and other loses due to increasing temperatures. If you can’t stand to drink one more drop, here are a couple solutions for you:

  1. Water isn’t the only choice for fluid. Did you know that many foods contain water? Fruits, vegetables, soups and frozen yogurt (in moderation) can help you reach your fluid goals. Including a variety of these foods every day, especially during the summer, will help prevent dehydration.
  2. You’re active… Your water should be too! Try using Nuun tablets. One of our most popular items, nuun tabs are portable and easy to use. And, they come in great flavors like strawberry lemonade and citrus fruit! Sugar free and refreshing, Nuun is a great way to replace electrolytes lost by sweat.
  3. Kick it up… Add fruit to your water. Many people have gotten over their dislike for water by adding fresh fruit like sliced oranges, lemons and limes. A sprig of fresh mint is good too! This punches up the flavor and adds vitamin C too!

No matter what you choose, it’s clear… You’ve got to stay hydrated in the summer, especially if you want to stay active. If you and water aren’t on speaking terms, try these options. Don’t get caught in summer without a hydration plan!

Family Central: Original Sprout Kid Care

If you avoid unnatural chemicals and synthetic ingredients when choosing your own skincare and hair care products – why would you choose such products for your children?

The stylist and salon owner who founded Original Sprout thought the same thing. So about 10 years ago, when she couldn’t find a shampoo gentle enough for her new daughter, she started creating her own. Today, Original Sprout has a full line of conditioners, body washes and lotions – all natural and aimed just for babies, toddlers and kids.

Gently scented and highly concentrated, so they last a long time, Original Sprout products tick all the boxes you’d expect for a natural product: No parabens, no formaldehyde, no petroleum oil. No animal products or animal testing.

But these products _ including shampoo, conditioner, detangler, baby wash and even baby hair gel – take even more precautions than that.

  • Citing research that links cancer and early puberty to a disruption of hormones, Original Sprout avoids even many natural ingredients that may contain phytoestrogens, including lavender, yucca, pomegranate, red clover, verbena, tea tree and wild yam.
  • The company is hyper-aware of allergies and sensitive skin – so gluten, soy, dairy, honey, peanuts, grapefruit oil and bitter orange oil are avoided too.
  • They don’t use honey (it can attract insects) but they do use natural, soothing scents and infusions like rosemary, basil and calendula.

Based in California, the company has a long list of testimonials from celebrity parents, including Cindy Crawford, Diane Lane, Debra Messing, Laura Dern and Brooke Shields. Look for the line in our Healthy Living section.

Well and Good: Dr. Hauschka Holistic Skincare

I really like Dr. Hauschka’s approach to skincare. This German company not only believes in all-natural, holistic skincare products, but it believes that beauty is more than skindeep.

Rare among beauty companies, Dr. Hauschka actually recommends that to get the best out of their skincare products, you should follow a healthy lifestyle, with a wholesome diet, plenty of exercise and meditation/relaxation.

It’s a practical approach, and it is in keeping with this company’s roots. Dr. Hauschka was founded in 1967, as the beauty and skincare division of a holistic medical company called WALA Heilmittel. To this day, their products are all made with all-natural, organic ingredients, including wild-harvested plants and herbs, and natural minerals. They do not use artificial preservatives, and they package everything in a no-nonsense, user-friendly way. (Many of the creams come in a metal tube that you can tightly squeeze to get every bit of product out; they even sell a tube wringer to help you use every drop.)

Plus, these products just feel good on the skin. The Dr. Hauschka lotions, cleansers and toners smell fresh and natural, and feel light and non-greasy on the skin. I have several favorite products in this line:

Toned Day Cream – This tinted moisturizer blends beautifully into the skin, and helps balance and even out skin tone. It’s sheer enough to work on many different skin tones, and but blends well enough that you may be able to skip your foundation makeup. I use this every morning!

Lip Care Stick – A non-greasy moisturizer that keeps lips soft and supple; I use this one every day, too.

Daily Face Care Kit – This combination of travel-sized products is a good way to try out new products; the kit includes small containers of cleanser, toner, and several kinds of day cream. But the neat design and carrying case also make it ideal for travel; the whole tin will fit in one of those quart-size plastic bags that you can toss into your carry-on.

Well and Good: Seaweed Bath Co – Skin Relief

Seaweed has been used for generations in Asia and parts of Europe to battle itchy, dry, distressed skin. But the founder of Austin-based The Seaweed Bath Co., Adam Grossman, stumbled across it almost by accident.

He was looking for a more natural treatment for his own psoriasis. He discovered spending time in the ocean helped. Trying to recreate an ocean environment, he began researching the  soothing effects of seaweed.

Grossman literally started as his kitchen table, mixing seaweed with other natural ingredients, like argan oil from Morocco, Dead Sea salts, and soothing scents like lavender and eucalyptus. His skin irritations began improving dramatically. So he sought help from a lab to create his full line of bath powders, body creams, lotions and hair care products, getting them to the marketplace just over a year ago.

Seaweed Bath Co. products are free of dyes, parabens and harsh chemicals. They’re gently scented, and I love the way the creams and body butters massage so easily and smoothly into the skin. These are good products for anyone with dry, scaly, or distressed skin.

But what really is interesting to me about this company is the seaweed component. Unlike many other natural products utilizing seaweed, Seaweed Bath Co. sources a particularly hard-to-harvest type of seaweed called bladderwrack.

Bladderwrack contains fucoidan, a natural anti-inflammatory agent which contain essential amino acids, nutrients and vitamins that soothe and hydrate the skin. These amino acids help alleviate the flaking, scaling, and redness experienced by those with skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.  Bladderwrack also contains iodine, which offers many of the same benefits. (Kelp, which is the kind of seaweed often used in other products, has a higher level of iodine, so one must be careful about how much kelp one uses.)

Bladderwrack is also a highly sustainable type of seaweed. Grossman sources his bladderwrack seaweed off the coast of Maine – helping to create jobs in an economically depressed area, and avoiding the high carbon footprint created when importing seaweed from Europe.

Grossman is careful to note there are no true cures for conditions like psoriasis. But he’s his company’s own best testimonial: In the three years he’s been using seaweed-based products, he has stopped using any other prescribed topical medications like steroids. He now manages his skin condition with just seaweed products and a gluten-free diet.

Well and Good: Divine – DeVita Skin Care

With all the skincare products on the market, and all the claims that are made on their behalf, it can be hard to know what might work for you.

That’s one reason I like the DeVita Natural Skin Care line. It was developed by a woman who actually had problem skin – so she had a vested interest in making products that work.

Devita’s founder, Cherylanne DeVita, PhD., has explained that as an adult, she suffered for years with adult acne and, later, sun-induced aging. She bought lots of chemical-laden, expensive, department-store products that often just made things worse.

But DeVita happened to be a chemist, and at the time was operating a small essential-oils company. She began dabbling with natural ingredients, including organic aloe vera, and creating cleansers, moisturizers and toners that were free of harsh chemicals. She started just using them for herself, but by 1998, a new company was born.

All DeVita products are all-natural, vegan, and contain absolutely no parabens. (Parebens are preservatives widely used in cosmetics. Though many researchers believe they are safe, other researchers have suggested they may be linked to cancer, particularly breast cancer, so more consumers are now trying to avoid them.) The company also has strict guidelines regarding animal testing. If an ingredient has been tested or retested on animals for cosmetic usages after  Dec. 31, 1990, the company will not buy it – even if it means they have to reformulate a product rather than use that ingredient.

DeVita products are gentle, effective and safe for mature skin, as well as for younger consumers. At FRESH, we carry a wide selection of DeVita products, including eyelift cream, brightening serum, an aloe vera cleanser, cucumber toner, and a gentle aloe facial scrub. One of my favorites is a unique shea butter lotion. It offers the richness and moisturizing properties of shea butter, but in a creamy, light formulation that’s much easier to apply, and for your skin to absorb, than the typically hard, solid forms of shea butter.

Find DeVita products in our Health and Wellness section.

Well and Good: Andalou Naturals Skin Care Revolution

California-based Andalou Naturals is a new company from a couple of veterans of the organic/natural beauty industry, who between them have worked for some of the biggest names in natural beauty, including Alba and Avalon.

With Anadalou – a name the founders say means “Path of Light” – they’re trying to establish a company that’s not just good for your skin, hair and body, but good for the planet.

And their new line of cleansers, moisturizers, scrubs and other essential products is capitalizing on one of the newest, buzziest technologies in natural skin care, fruit stem cell science.

Fruit stem cells come from the skin of the apple and were originally developed in Switzerland, where they have been researched and documented to help decrease DNA damage and accelerate new cellular growth to repair, renew and protect your skin from the natural signs of aging. As they help regenerate healthy cells, this in turn helps protects the longevity of the skin and hair stem cells for continued regeneration at the cellular level.

Andalou Naturals has combined their stem cell culture with a potent group of super antioxidants to support cell turnover, fight environmental stressors, increase collagen and elastin and strengthen the skin’s immunity with an all-star list of organic ingredients. The list includes many ingredients sought after by natural-product fans: acai berry, aronia berry, bearberry, bilberry, black elderberry, goji berry, rosehips berry, sea buckthorn berry and bilberry fruit stem cells.

These ingredients are suspended in a base of certified organic aloe vera gel, providing the optimum delivery of the active ingredients.

I have personally used these products and have been impressed with how my skin feels and looks. The fragrance in these products is from organic essential oils. It is very light, so those people who are sensitive to chemical fragrances may find this to be a pleasant alternative for them.

Beyond that, I like the socially responsible manner in which the company works. Andalou Naturals is committed to natural and fair-trade ingredients, with a minimum 70% certified organic content in each product. They know where their ingredients come from, the farmers who grow them and the hands that make every product. Because of their desire to champion sustainability and meaningful pursuits, the owners of Andalou Naturals give back to socially responsible projects.

Find the Andalou Naturals line in the Health and Wellness Department.

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