Artificial Sweeteners: Not all that Sweet

Artificial SweetnersArtificial sweeteners have been masked with mystery ever since their creation. They were discovered back in the 1870s in a laboratory at Johns Hopkins University by two researchers who were working on coal tar derivatives. When one of the researches mistakably sampled some of their product while smoking a cigarette and found it to be incredibly sweet.

If that doesn’t get your taste buds watering, I don’t know what will.

Artificial sweeteners are an extended hangover from the introduction of processed foods. They were created during the low-fat, no-fat, calorie-free days, when we believed calorie-free chemicals to be superior to whole foods. Over the years, we have learned much more about what the human body needs to thrive and have discredited the belief that fake foods are any substitute to real, whole foods. But yet we still find many today clinging to their blue, green, pink or yellow packets.

Artificial sweeteners were heralded for their ability to add sweetness without impacting blood sugar. This was of particular attraction for anyone looking to decrease their odds of developing diabetes later in life. However, the science behind artificial sweeteners has been anything but promising and we may have just uncovered that they are in fact doing just the opposite.

In a recent findings, scientists have discovered that artificial sweeteners may actually be disrupting the bodies ability to regulate blood sugar. Meaning that overtime, our body is becoming less able to stabilize our blood sugar levels causing our blood glucose levels to rise higher after a meal and come down slower. Leading to an overall high blood glucose.

Why didn’t we discover this association earlier? The cause of this disrupt was occurring in a different pathway of our body all together.

What researchers found:

They found that artificial sweeteners may be altering the population of bacteria present in an individuals digestive tract. Our gut bacteria is involved in the breakdown of glucose, which impacts the rise and fall of blood glucose levels. What research found was that when artificial sweeteners were introduced into the diet of both mice and humans, it altered the population of bacteria present changing the pathway in which glucose is metabolized. This ultimately leads to a state of glucose intolerance. Meaning that our blood glucose levels rise higher after eating and decline more slowly.

In a nut shell, the consumption of artificial sweeteners leads to higher blood glucose levels overtime. The very condition we were hoping to avoid by using artificial sweeteners in the first place.

What does this mean for you?

In light of this research, it is a good idea to take inventory of how much artificial sweeteners you use in your daily life. Here are some areas to think about:

Do you add it to your coffee or tea?
Do you chew gum with artificial sweeteners?
Do you drink diet drinks of any kind; soda, sports drinks, energy drinks or juices?
Look at the nutrition label, if it has artificial sweeteners in it they will be listed in the ingredients.
Here are some key words: Sorbitol, mannitol, saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K), neotame. 

Now, I am not proposing you swap out artificial sweeteners for regular sugar one for one. It depends on how much artificial sweeteners you are taking in in the first place. Sweet things, both regular sugar and artificial sweeteners, have shown to increase our propensity for sweet things, so the more regularly you eat or drink sweet items the more your taste buds crave that sweetness. It might take you hitting the reset on your taste buds to begin reducing your preference for sweet tastes.

A great way to reset your taste buds is through a Ripe Stuff Cleanse or a whole foods diet that does not include in refined sugar.

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Moral of the Story:

We should all be eating more whole foods and looking for sweetness from natural sources that also contain fiber to help our bodies naturally balance our blood sugar. Think about quenching your sweet tooth with things like berries or other fruits, dates or even try adding some sweet spices like cinnamon and vanilla to your dishes. An occasional sweet treat is also never shunned, just make sure it’s worth it!

Artificial sweeteners aren’t going anywhere. Ultimately it is your choice in the matter to consume them or not.AS US Population Graph

I will leave you with this…Artificial Sweeteners have not been around long enough for scientists to conduct any longterm research on how they affect human health. The US is the largest consumer of artificial sweeteners in the world. Therefore, the US is the largest science experiment on what the longterm effects of artificial sweeteners are on our health. I don’t know about you but I’m not into being a guinea pig. Know what you are putting into your body.

In Health & Happiness,

Abby

Keep Calm & Dine On: Papagayo

Keep Calm & Dine On:
Ripe Stuff’s RD on Healthy Dining in Boston

After a long day, nothing says Happy Hour to me like a good margarita (skinny, on the rocks, no salt…incase you were wondering). Like any good happy hour, you plan on staying for one and suddenly you realize…after your second or third…that it’s late and your starving. Bring on the Mexican feast.

Now, let’s pause for just a minute. You can (a) dive head first into this happy hour and allow the Margs to do the ordering OR (b) you can take a deep breath, remember this post and order a delicious meal that won’t have you doing back to back Recycle spin classes to make up for it…unless thats your thing.

Enter Papagayo.

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Moral of the Story:

Keep Calm & Dine On, because life is meant to be enjoyed at every hour!

In Health & Happiness,

Abby, Ripe Stuff RD

Nutritional Breakdown: Selenium

Ripe Stuff is mixing up the nut milk aisle, introducing Healthy Heart Milk made with brazil nuts.

brazil nuts

What’s the buzz about brazil nut milk?

Brazil nuts are a great source for healthy fats, protein and contain a plethora of important nutrients such as phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that support our overall health.

In particular, brazil nuts are one of the highest sources for dietary selenium, a naturally occurring mineral that is an essential nutrient involved in many processes in the human body. Selenium is a tricky nutrient, as the amount of selenium found in foods depends on the level of selenium in the soil. So depending on where a specific food is grown it may be a good source of selenium or it may lack selenium. As you can imagine, this makes it pretty challenging to figure out just how much selenium we are getting from specific foods.

Enter: Brazil Nuts!

The soil in Brazil contains a high level of selenium. This makes brazil nuts a consistent source for selenium. So much so that you only need to eat 1-2 brazil nuts a day to get the recommended daily intake for selenium in adults.

What does selenium do in the body?

Selenium plays a crucial role in many anti-inflammatory pathways in the body. In particular, selenium is a key player in forming over two dozen selenoproteins, which are complex compounds that support the optimal function of many systems and pathways in the body.

Inflammation is the root of so many disease and dysfunction in the body.

Selenium is a significant piece of the anti-inflammatory puzzle. This little mineral has a hand in supporting multiple systems in the body.

The quick & dirty list of Selenium’s Anti-inflammatory Benefits:

- Heart Health -

- Improved Immune Function -

- Thyroid Health -

- Skin Health -

Enjoy Ripe Stuff Heart Healthy Milk as part of a Ripe Stuff cleanse this Fall!

In Health & Happiness,

Abby Hueber, RD

Be Active, Be Healthy: The Ripe Stuff 3-Day Eating & Juicing Program

Happy Autumnal Equinox…or first day of Fall as it is more commonly known!

Today is the start of a new season. A blank slate. The perfect opportunity to begin a new healthy routine!

Fall is a wonderful time of year to get outside and enjoy New England. Whatever you enjoy doing, make it a priority to move your body. Take walks, find a new running route, try a different workout class or partner up with a friend to find that motivation! Get on top of your fitness now in order to cruise into your Holiday season feeling strong.

But don’t forget, fitness is just one side of the health coin. Changing the foods we put into our bodies is just as important, if not most important. Make healthy eating a part of your new routine to ensure results when it comes to your health goals.

Kick off your healthy eating this Fall Equinox with The Ripe Stuff!

A juice fast might sound great in theory, but are you someone who cannot imagine not eating solid foods for three whole days? 

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Introducing: Ripe Stuff 3-Day Eating & Juicing Program

 A 3-day program that combines the incredible benefits of our cold-pressed juices with a specifically designed, plant-based meal plan. The program is specifically formatted to propel your fitness goals, your body and your overall health with a balance of nutrient-rich juices and delicious meals and snacks.

How does cold-pressed juice benefit a workout?
- Fruit and vegetable juices are packed with electrolytes that balance hydration.
- Vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients are key components in our bodies energy systems. Flooding our body with these nutrients ensure that our energy systems are working at their most efficient level.
- Timing is everything. Small, frequent fuel is key to keeping our energy levels up and our body working at it’s peak abilities.

Not a fitness buff? This program is not only for those who have a fitness routine. Supplementing juice in place of a meal or two a day is a great opportunity to explore the incredible benefits of a juice cleanse with the added security of having healthy, solid foods throughout the 3-days.

Get the best of both worlds, drink your greens and eat them too! 

The Ripe Stuff 3-Day Eating & Juicing Program

- 10 cold-pressed Ripe Stuff juices specific to your bodies needs

- 3-day meal plan designed for optimal health, detoxification and fuel.

- Grocery list, meal plans and easy to prepare delicious recipes.

APB Sandwich Fully Loaded Portobello Pizzas Chia Seed Banana Bread Pudding Nori Veggie Wraps

8 Incentives to kick off your Fall with The Ripe Stuff

It seems to be true that for many of us, Summer is not our healthiest season of the year. With jam packed schedules, most of us spend the early part of each week recovering from one weekend getaway before we jet off to the next weekend wedding or event. Not to mention all of those weeknights spent catching up with friends over a cold, crisp, happy hour beverage and enjoying the warmer weather! No wonder those healthy meal plans and scheduled spin classes are temporarily interrupted!

It’s ok, it happens to all of us. Now let’s take advantage of fresh start as we begin a new season and there is motivation to start fresh!

Here are 8 incentives for you to kick start your HEALTHIEST FALL YET with Ripe Stuff…

(1) All things Pumpkin.

Pumpkin lattes, scones, muffins, breads and every other pumpkin-based baked creation are EVERYWHERE. It is an epidemic. But no one is complaining. The popularity continues even in light of Starbucks‘ refusal to disclose the real ingredients. Disturbing. While an occasional pumpkin indulgence is a welcome Fall treat, I do advise against becoming a daily pumpkin groupie!  To recover from your pumpkin binges, our cold-pressed Apple Picking juice is sure to hit the spot. Ingredients: Apple + Pears + Fall Happiness.

(2) The return of cozy clothes, layers…and the dreaded post-Summer skinny jeans.

Bring on the layers. But hold the jeans. Skinny jeans can be a rude transition from Summers flowy sundresses. Feel good in your body, feel good in your Fall favorites and avoid the dreaded skinny jeans lunge-dance…

(3) Cold & Flu season is around the corner.

Now is the best time to give your immune system a boost! Cold and flu season begins in October and overstays its welcome lasting as late as the end of May. Talk about an unwelcome house guest. Build your defense against the sniffles with the power packed Immunity Booster. A delicious concoction of immune rich vitamin C packed citrus, warming cayenne spice and antioxidant rich turmeric. How’s that for D.E.F.E.N.S.E.?

(4) Reset your taste buds for healthy comfort food cravings.

Fall welcomes back the oven with open arms. Cool, crisp evenings beg for warm cooked meals. This is a slippery slope into the world of comfort food. Jump start your taste buds with a little Ripe Stuff loving to tune them into the lighter side of comfort foods this Fall. You will be inspired to whip up roasted veggies, spaghetti squash and hearty soups in no time.

(5) Holiday season starts early.

It is a marathon, not a sprint. Best start warming up now.

(6) New Years is overrated.

There is no time like the present to make a healthy resolution. Looking for a longer term goal? Check out Ripe Stuff Nutritional Support with our in house RD, ME! Ease into and out of your Ripe Stuff Cleanse with a Fall meal plan. Make a commitment to yourself and get the guidance you need to achieve your goals!

(7) Focus on you. Slow down. Make a plan.

Use this transition into a new season as an opportunity to choose how you will move into the next chapter of your year. Slow down, take some walks, enjoy the season. Let Ripe Stuff do the “cooking”.
Get inspired to dive into Fall foods, and use some of your down time to browse some of our favorite blogs for some seriously delicious Fall eats!

Sprouted Kitchen
My New Roots
Domesticate Me
The First Mess

(8) The Ripe Stuff Cleanse is offering 15% for the last 2 weeks of Summer!! Offer ends 9/23.

Talk about wiping the slate clean. Step into Fall with a fresh perspective…a 15% off fresh perspective is even better.
Check out Ripe Stuff NEW Fall juices in the a la Carte section!
Promo Code: ENDOFSUMMER

In Health & Happiness,

Abby Hueber, RD

Keep Calm & Dine On: Papagayo!

Ripe Stuff’s RD on Healthy Dining in Boston

Spring brings warmer evenings, lighter layers and later sunsets. If that doesn’t make happy hour a whole lot happier, I don’t know what does.

This Spring, don’t let your happy hour get the best of you.

After a long day, nothing says happy hour to me like a good margarita (skinny, on the rocks, no salt…incase you were wondering). But like any good happy hour, you plan on staying for one and suddenly you realize…after your second or third…that it’s late and your starving. Bring on the Mexican feast.

Now, lets pause for just a minute. You can (a) dive head first into this happy hour and allow the Margs to do the ordering OR (b) you can take a deep breath, remember this post and order a delicious meal that won’t have you doing back to back Recycle spin classes to make up for it…unless thats your thing.

Enter Papagayo.

A Boston staple for Mexican. Papagayo is a lovely blend of casual, cool and comfortable. A perfect post-work destination to sip, savor and unwind after a long day. Their guacamole table service is reason alone to dub this joint happy hour friendly.

Keep Calm Papagayo 1

 

Keep Calm Papagayo 2

 

Moral of the Story:

Keep Calm & Dine On, because life is meant to be enjoyed at every hour!

In Health & Happiness, Abby, Ripe Stuff RD

Our Green Juice, Broken Down

We all have that moment; the one where you fall in love with green juice. Gone are the days when people look at your green filled cup with disgust on their face. Today, green juice is the cat’s meow. If you haven’t picked up on this healthy trend, stop waiting and jump on. We think we have nailed creating the perfect balance of health and taste in our green juice; combining all the right ingredients for that pick me up, feel so good burst of nutrition. Let’s break it down and tell you why each ingredient is so important!

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  • The flavonoids and antioxidants found in spinach, particularly the antioxidant beta-carotene, help combat many cancers, including breast, prostate and ovarian cancer.
  • Spinach boosts eye health and has strong anti-aging properties.
  • A recent study found a bowl of spinach every day increases muscle efficiency. Think Pop-eye!
  • Spinach is a good source of vitamins A, B2, C and K, and also contains magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium and potassium.

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  • Kale is high in Vitamin K. Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers. It is also necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions including normal bone health and the prevention of blood clotting.
  • Kale is a great detox food. Kale is filled with fiber and sulfur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.
  • Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders

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  • Folate is a B vitamin which is found in romaine lettuce. Folate is important for energy and it also regulates mood. Folate has been implicated in the prevention of neurological disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Folate can also decrease depression and anxiety.
  • Carotenoids are antioxidants which protect your cells from damage. Carotenoids are especially important for the health and protection of your eyes. Romaine lettuce specifically contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • Romaine lettuce contains 24mg of vitamin C per serving. This essential antioxidant found in romaine lettuce protects your body from foreign invaders and promotes healthy tissue growth.

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  • Green Apples contain a lot of fiber, which helps clean the system and increases the metabolism.
  • The iron in apples is a trace element and it helps in raising the levels of blood oxygen and helps in increased metabolic rate.
  • Apples contain anti-oxidants which help in cell re-building and cell rejuvenation.
  • Green apples are rich in Vitamins A, B and C, so apart from protecting the skin from harmful effects of free radicals; it also helps one in maintaining glowing skin from inside.

cucumberpolaroid

  • Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins which are great energy boosters!
  • Cucumbers are 95 percent water, keeping the body hydrated while helping eliminate toxins.
  • Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
  • Cucumber juice contains a hormone which is needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin which has been found to be beneficial to diabetic patients.

celerypolaroid

  • Celery reduces inflammation. If you are suffering from joint pains, lung infections, asthma, or acne, eating more celery will bring much-needed relief.
  • Celery for stress-relief? Oh yes! The minerals in celery, especially magnesium, and the essential oil in it, soothe the nervous system.
  • It regulates the body’s alkaline balance, thus protecting you from problems such as acidity.
  • The high water content of celery, combined with the insoluble fiber in it, aide in digestion.
  • One large stalk of celery can deliver up to 10 percent of your daily need for Vitamin A, a group of nutrients that protects the eyes and prevents age-related degeneration of vision.

gingerpolaroid

  • Eat fresh ginger just before lunch to stoke a dull appetite and fire up the digestive juices.
  • Ginger clears the ‘microcirculatory channels’ of the body, including the pesky sinuses that tend to flare up from time to time.
  • Feeling airsick or nauseous? Chew on ginger, preferably tossed in a little honey.
  • Ginger, with its anti-inflammatory properties—can bring relief. Float some ginger essential oil in your bath to help aching muscles and joints
  • lemonpolaroidThe lemon is a wonderful stimulant to the liver and is a dissolvent of uric acid and other poisons, liquefies the bile
  • Lemons are acidic to begin with but they are alkaline-forming on body fluids helping to restore balance to the body’s pH.
  • Vitamin C in lemons helps to neutralize free radicals linked to aging and most types of disease.
  • Lemons have powerful antibacterial properties; experiments have found the juice of lemons destroy the bacteria of malaria, cholera, diphtheria, typhoid and other deadly diseases.
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Ask the RD: Thyroid Issues

A recent blog post for the New York Times caused quite the stir surrounding green juice.  Food and nutrition are tricky.  It seems that every day there is a new “rule” relevant to what we are consuming and often one contradicts another.  Today, Abby is answering an important question: Is kale making my sluggish thyroid even worse? I thought kale was suppose to be a “super green”?!

 

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Those of you who are dealing with thyroid issues and seeking a juice cleanse, don’t throw up the white flag just yet! There are an abundant amount of articles talking about “The Dark Side of Kale”, they are not totally off target. That being said, their gloom and doom tactics are not helpful to anyone looking to clean up their health and get their thyroid back on track.

I am here to tell you, juicing with a thyroid issue is absolutely ok and is a great remedy to get your glands back in action! With some slight modifications, like swapping out the kale for other healthy greens (sorry kale groupies), you will be on your way to a healthy does of the nutrients your body needs without anything it does not.

Now, let’s get technical. Your thyroid is a gland located near your vocals cords that produces thyroid hormones which impact your metabolism as well as many other processes and systems throughout your entire body. This tiny, butterfly-shaped gland runs a pretty big show, so we do want to pay attention to its demands. Thyroid issues can affect both men and women and can develop from a number of reasons. They can often we associated with nutrient deficiencies. The most common type of thyroid problem is hypothyroidism, meaning your thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormones and thus is under active. This creates a slowed metabolism, weight gain, dry skin and nails, fatigue and even impact our cognitive function.

In the case of juicing there are chemicals called goitrogens. These chemicals are found in specific vegetables and can interact with your thyroid gland to actually block the mechanism by which our thyroid hormone is made, thus decreasing its ability to function. For someone who already has a compromised thyroid hormone, we want to avoid a diet high in goitrogens.

So what vegetables should be avoided? Cruciferous vegetables, the family of our beloved kale, should be avoided in their raw form. Cooked kale and other cruciferous vegetables are fine, as the chemical is made inactive when exposed to heat. Other cruciferous vegetables include: broccoli, cauliflower, radish, brussels sprouts, bok choy and watercress. The list is quite long!

So is juicing off limits? No way! Your thyroid needs specific nutrients to function properly. A juice cleanse can be very beneficial to clean out your diet of processed foods that negatively impact your thyroid and start a clean slate to helping get your thyroid back in line. After your juice cleanse is a great time to rebuild your diet with the nutrients your thyroid needs to get back on track. Most beneficial would be to focus on foods high in iodine, selenium and avoiding some other thyroid sticky foods.

If you are struggling with a thyroid condition and looking to get back on track with a juice cleanse you may consider working with our in-house RD Abby! She can help to modify the ingredients in your juice cleanse so that you will get the most benefit for your body and guide you back into eating with a meal plan that boost your thyroids most needed nutrients!

Check out the Ripe Stuff RD Healthier You program and feel great!

Cheers to a Happy & Health Spring, Abby Hueber, RD

Healthy Habits: Goldie Kaufenberg

We all like to think we are our healthiest selves 24/7, but sometimes we all need some inspiration. Here at The Ripe Stuff we are always seeking advice, tips and lifestyle changes that will ultimately benefit our health. From a new workout to adding a new veggie to our plate, we know that there will always be new and powerful ways to fuel our bodies, minds and spirits.

Welcome, Healthy Habits. Pieces of knowledge gathered from health professionals in our local Boston community. We start with a woman we all know and love, Ms (soon to be Mrs.) Goldie Kaufenberg. This trendsetting, beautiful yoga goddess is a walking beacon of health, fitness and cool. We asked GK what keeps her waking up each day to lead her inspirational lifestyle that inspires so many around her.

GK

“I start my day by rolling over and smiling at my fiancé; instantly perspective checking about how good life is. Every single morning I’m woken up with a cup of java and water handed to me at my bedside by my lovely. After an hour of slowly waking up, I take a 9am yoga class, and go to November Project on Wed/Fri. It’s extremely powerful to start each day with a real, legit smile, java and sweat. It sounds cheesy and cliche, but without these three things, life wouldn’t be as sweet and balanced. My balance is provided by my practice, my ability to look inward, and my loving, supportive life partner.”

 

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Keep Calm & Dine On: First Stop, Stella

Welcome to our first installment of Keep Calm & Dine On where our in-house RD gives us the lowdown on Healthy Dining in Boston!

Let’s face it, dining out makes eating healthy a challenge regardless of where you dine. Portions are large, tastes are decadent and we all have that little voice in our head saying, “hey, just let this one slide…after all, you don’t eat here all the time!”. Not to say that there isn’t a time and place for decadence. But, if your looking to eat clean, slim down or stay on track that little voice may be barking up the wrong tree!

We mentioned in our previous post that on average, a meal eaten out of the home clocks in at a whopping 1,128 calories! That is well more than half of a days worth of calories, not to mention sodium, unhealthy fat and cholesterol. The story was no more uplifting here in Boston. Researchers at Tufts University surveyed 40 of the most frequently purchased dishes from independent, small chain eateries. There findings: a dinner or lunch entree with sides contained on average 1,327 calories! Whew. We may be eating local, organic and hormone free, but those calorie counts are high.

These statistics may be disheartening, as many of us consider ourselves foodies that are thrilled with the idea of trying a new restaurant or sampling a new dish at an old favorite. I am in your shoes.

As a self-proclaimed restaurant junkie, I want my cake (or cedar planked salmon with quinoa and roasted potatoes) and I want to eat it too. Preferably paired with a crisp Pino Noir. I am here to tell you that all is not lost. With a little forethought, creativity and an ounce of restraint; we can reclaim our dining experience and keep our waist lines where we want them to be.

Boston’s restaurant scene is thriving and continues to grow each day. Here at Ripe Stuff, we want to set you up for success on and off your cleanse. Join me, Ripe Stuff’s RD, each month as we navigate our way through Boston’s top restaurants highlighting what to have and what to think twice about for a night out without the guilt!

Need some general guidelines, check out our Restaurant Survival Guide to be in the know, whereever you go!

First Stop:

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