After meeting the phenomenal Julie Morris at Whole Foods a few months ago, I’ve been following the young company she represents, Navitas Naturals. Navitas, the Latin word for energy, has a simple mission statement: Sustainable, organically grown, nutrient rich whole foods are best. As such, they have dedicated themselves to making the most nutrient rich, sustainable foods on the planet available to the average consumer. (They lovingly refer to their product as superfoods). All of their products look to enhance health and increase energy.
I do not think you need to include “superfoods” into your diet to be healthy. Nor do I believe that the inclusion of superfoods into an otherwise unhealthy diet will greatly change your overall health. That said, if you already eat a healthy array of plant-based foods, Navatis Naturals’ superfoods are an excellent way to greatly boost your antioxidant and phyto-nutrient intake.
Recently, a large box arrived at my doorstep. I was delighted when I opened it up!
Now just to be clear, they did send me these products for free with the expectation that I would do a blog review of their products; however, the agreement was for nothing more than a serious and honest evaluation of their products. That said, I freely admit that I am biased. These were in my pantry when the box arrived:
I also buy Navitas Naturals chia seeds, however I keep them in a glass jar instead of their package. When the box arrived I was happy to see some old favorites but I was really excited to try a few products which I have not yet sampled.
Product One: Maca Powder!
I love this stuff. A root vegetable similar to turnips which grows in mineral rich volcanic soil of the Peruvian highland, maca has been a staple of native Peruvians for thousands of years. While I’ve never tasted fresh maca, the raw maca powder from Navitas has a sweet, almost vanilla taste. Among its many benefits, maca helps the adrenal glands find balance. When the body becomes stressed either from the chaos of every day or from a hard workout, the adrenal glands respond by releasing corticosteroids such as adrenaline but also release serotonin which helps the body feel relaxed and calm. When the body is stressed frequently, the adrenal glands become over worked. This will result in the bodies’ decreased ability to deal with stress and can lead to hormonal imbalances, exhaustion, and disease. Because modern day life is so hectic, this is not an uncommon problem. As if reducing your stress load wasn’t enough, maca is also a rich source of a steroid-like substance called sterols which promote the regeneration of muscle tissue! By incorporating a small amount into a smoothie after a workout, (or by making some of Julie’s amazing Maple-Maca Ice Cream) the body is better able to recover after hard workouts or long stressful days. Raw Maca powder is one of my favorite staples from Navitas and I especially love to mix it with just a little bit of vanilla extract, cinnamon, some raw cocoa and some soaked almonds for a delicious post-workout recovery smoothie!
Product Two: Chia Seeds
Okay, so I’ve blogged about Chia seeds in the past and for good reason. These tiny seeds have eight times the Omega 3s as salmon, five times the calcium as milk, three times the iron as spinach, three times the antioxidants as blueberries and are twenty percent protein! They effectively replenish minerals used in muscle contractions and are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, helping to sustain high energy levels. I sprinkle these things on pretty much everything I eat, from salads to steamed veggies to lentils. Sometimes I even just toss a tablespoon into water and drink them straight. The downside of chia is it can be expensive. Navitas offers a pretty great deal, often a few dollars cheaper than the other brands on the shelf and to top it off, they are certified organic and always completely raw!
Product Three: Twister Blend (goji, acai, and pomegranate)
This product is new to me. It is a blend of goji berry powder, pomegranate powder and acai berry powder As you can see in the picture above, I have each of these guys individually, however buying them in a blend seems like a great way of saving some money and not having to choose between the various benefits of each powder. It is hard to tell the color, but I was surprised to find a cayenne pepper color with dark purple sprinkles mixed in.
Goji berries have long been trumpeted as one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods on the planet! In fact, I typically bring a bag of Navitas Naturals Goji Berries with me when I travel. Goji’s are an excellent source of protein, antioxidants, all of the essential amino acids and over 20 other vitamins and minerals! There is a reason why these tiny red berries are held in such high esteem in Asia! Navitas Naturals’ Pomegranate Powder is particularly special. They freeze-dry the entire pomegranate skin, pulp, juice and pod and then blend it into a fine, sweet light pink powder preserving all of the fruits' amazing nutrients. Particularly high in Vitamin C and potassium, it has also been proven to be an antioxidant powerhouse containing phytoestrogens and polyphenols. These two compounds are remarkably capable at fighting free radicals, helping to prevent the breakdown of cells and inhibit viral infections. The juice of the pomegranate has also been linked to good heart health. Finally the Twister contains acai, a dark purple berry, native to South American palm trees. Becoming increasingly popular among westerners (in juice form) acai contains monosaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids as well as flavonoids, which have been linked in early studies by UCLA to reduce the risk of lung cancer in smokers. Hesperidin, a type of flavonoid have also been shown to have beneficial effects on capillary permeability, making blood flow more easily throughout the body.
Obviously, this powder was created to be mixed into smoothies; however I find it is also great in oil-free salad dressings, as a sweetener in tea or can easily be added to flours to add an extra antioxidant boost when baking. Simply put, I was really impressed with this mix. I even started mixing a teaspoon of it into my breakfast quinoa, buckwheat and oatmeal mix!
Product Four: Power Snack (three varieties)
Besides offering amazing products, Navitas Naturals is committed to sustainable growing methods as well as human welfare. Their products are all certified organic. Their cocoa products are not only organically grown, they are fairly purchased as Navitas really demonstrates their commitment to a food revolution by only sourcing their products from certain places. Often times, small companies source their products, particularly cocoa and other forms of chocolate, from all of the global making the growing and laboring conditions difficult to trace. Navitas Naturals however has received a seal of approval from the Food Empowerment Project. On top of that, their website is filled with delicious and nutritious recipes using superfoods! They really are a feel good company!
Now for the part you are all waiting for. I am happy to announce Navitas Naturals has the distinct honor of being BYOL's first blog giveaway (a bag of dried lentils didn't seem as exciting!) They agreed to send a small package of goods to the winner of this contest! Here are the rules. First, the winner needs to live in the United States (sorry international readers, no disrespect). Second, you must be a subscriber to the blog. There are two ways to gain entry. First, leave a comment on this blog post about which product you most want to try. Second, “like” Navitas Naturals Facebook page. Doing both will increase your chances of winning. The contest will end Friday, October 10, 2012. Good luck and cheers!
Obviously, I owe a huge thank you to Navitas Naturals for the goodness they have provided me as well as for agreeing to do the giveaway. I also want to thank Julie Morris and Mic LeBel of Navitas Naturals and finally Gena Hamshaw of the blog choosingraw. She helped me set up the contest rules and is a huge inspiration to me.