Goji berries are one of nature's most potent superfoods. The little red berries are rich in free radical-fighting antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. But did you know that goji berries may also support healthy brain function, and can even help get you in a good mood? As summer starts its slow wind-down to crunchy leaves and shorter days, it's a perfect time to begin prepping your mind and spirit for the shift. Adding goji berries to your diet may be a powerful tool in that transition. That's why we're offering 30% off our organic Goji berries this week! (Offer is for purchases made 8/7-8/14, is not valid on any other offers and does not apply to bulk items or previously placed orders.)
Revered for centuries by Tibetan and Chinese monks for their meditation practice, the goji berry has traditionally been eaten sun-dried or steeped in hot water as a tea. The unique array of antioxidants in goji berries can protect the brain from amyloid beta peptides, which have been connected to an increased risk of Alzheimer's. The berries also help to calm the brain, boost the mood and improve sleep cycles.
The many other benefits of goji berries are helpful year-round. The nutrient-dense fruit can support immune function, improve your eyesight (thanks to all the beta carotene) and even provide a protein boost!
Add the sweet and chewy cherry-berry flavored goji berries to your favorite trail mix, granola, cereal, salad, or raw food recipes. Gojis are also ideal to blend into smoothies, or add them to lemonade for a fabulous summer superfruit drink like our Goji Fresh-Ade.
Jenny Kalmbach is one of the leading Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) racers in the world, and we're glad that she's a big fan of our organic superfoods. We interviewed Jenny while she was training for the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships. Jenny won the women's event in 2009, and she placed 4th this year. Read our interview with her to get advice for new SUP enthusiasts, training and nutrition tips, and inspiration to help prevent plastic pollution that is harming oceans.
Navitas Naturals (NN): When did you first get on a standup paddleboard?
Jenny Kalmbach (JK): I first learned to standup paddleboard back in 2006. I work at a beach club in Hawaii and we had a couple standup paddleboards lying around and one day I decided to try it out. At that time, standup paddling was pretty new but it was really fun and I was instantly hooked!
NN: When did your SUP hobby evolve into racing?
JK: I entered a couple local races in 2007 and enjoyed competing but it wasn't until the inaugural Battle of the Paddle in 2008 that I began to get serious about racing. I went on to win that event and it spurred me to pursue paddling as more than just a hobby.
NN: What is your typical race-day nutrition routine?
JK: Before the race I usually eat oatmeal with cacao nibs and mulberries or almond butter on an English muffin. Throughout the race I drink a mix of water, electrolytes and carbs. A smoothie makes for a great post-race recovery drink. My favorite recovery smoothie is banana with cacao powder, peanut butter and cacao nibs!
NN: Is there a strength and fitness technique on land to practice that can help with SUP performance on the water?
JK: Having strong shoulders is really important for paddling. There are some great exercises that can be done in the gym to strengthen the shoulders and prevent injury. Check out this article about a shoulder strengthening workout that I did for SUP the Mag earlier this year.
NN: By the time our readers get this newsletter, you will have competed in the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships (July 29, 2012). Do you have a special nutrition and fitness program to train for a big race like that?
JK: I try to cut out sugar from my diet as much as possible in the months leading up to the race. As far as the rest of my nutrition program, it's pretty simple. I like to have a fresh juice or smoothie in the morning and throughout the day I eat lots of small meals. It's important when I'm training hard to eat well and stay hydrated. As for fitness, I have a paddling program that I start 4 months out to Molokai and a gym-based program that changes every 3 weeks.
NN: What is your favorite superfood, and do you have a special smoothie recipe?
JK: My favorite superfood right now is Chia seeds. I love sprinkling them on fruit and yogurt for breakfast or mixing it into a post-workout smoothie. My favorite recipe right now is a tropical fruit smoothie, which has frozen tropical fruit with maca powder, dates, chia and hemp seeds. It's so delicious!
NN: What is your background with superfoods, and have you always had an interest in nutrition?
JK: I got into superfoods a year ago when a friend recommended I try out maca powder. I found Navitas Naturals at the local health food store and when I got home I started researching Navitas products and what they are all about. I'd say that I'm a relative newbie to superfoods, but I'm enjoying learning about how they play a role in my performance as an athlete.
NN: I have heard about Destination 3 Degrees. What is it like out on a board so far from land that you can't see shore?
JK: Destination 3 Degrees was an amazing experience. The 82-mile Oahu to Kauai paddle was definitely a highlight of the trip. It was strange setting out toward an empty horizon but exhilarating at the same time. When the sun set and we had to paddle at night things got really interesting. I was surprised at how comfortable I felt, I wasn't afraid or anxious. My favorite memory was taking a break and stretching out on our boards during the middle of the night. All around us were stars, and I remember being in awe and thinking to myself how crazy it was that we were floating in the middle of the ocean.
NN: Can you tell us about causes that you are passionate about?
JK: I'm really passionate about raising awareness about plastic pollution in our oceans, and that is what Destination 3 Degrees is about. Most people don't realize how much of an impact plastic pollution has on marine life and what a toll it has on our health as well. Despite the growing plastic epidemic, there are things we can do. Limit your use of one-time plastic like plastic bags, bottles, straws, etc. Carry your own bags to the store and use a reusable bottle or mug for your drinks. It's all about changing our habits! For more information check out the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
NN: Where is your favorite place to go paddling?
JK: I've been fortunate to paddle in some beautiful places around the world but I'd have to say that my favorite place is right here in Kona, Hawaii. The water is a gorgeous aqua/turquoise color, the reef and marine life is amazing and most days when I paddle out, there are dolphins swimming in the bay.
NN: Any advice for those of us that want to try SUP?
JK: First off, learning to standup paddle is easy, which is why so many people love it. So if you've been thinking of trying it, go for it! Find a local shop that rents boards or gives lessons, and you're set to go. Calm water is a good idea for first-timers but not a necessity. Most importantly, keep your eyes on the horizon to help with your balance, and HAVE FUN!
Since goji berries are the Product of the Month in this newsletter, we thought you would enjoy some advice on how to use them in a delicious recipe. Click here to learn how to make a Goji Immunity Smoothie. This 60-Second Smoothie video by chef Julie Morris highlights the immunity-supporting benefits of goji berries, and also features the many merits of our Pomegranate Powder and Camu Powder.
For many centuries throughout China, goji berries have been enjoyed as a traditional medicine and food to strengthen the immune system. The berry's immunity benefits are credited to its high levels of antioxidants, including vitamins A and C, which help our bodies fight off pesky pathogens and diseases.
The Navitas Naturals Pomegranate Powder in this smoothie gets its sweet tang and tartness from its high concentration of free radical-fighting vitamin C. Camu Berries are another tart and tangy immune-boosting source of vitamin C. In fact, camu contains more vitamin C than any other food!
Our Back to Basics Smoothment kicks off September 8th. This free online program offers seven daily smoothie recipes from Chef Julie Morris to help you upgrade the nutrition of one meal a day with a superfoods smoothie. Smoothies are all about options and creativity, but it's important to understand the nutritional building blocks found in superfoods to maximize a smoothie's health benefits. The new Back to Basics series highlights the fundamentals of smoothie-making, and clarifies how to use different ingredients to create tasty, balanced blends that meet various functional needs.
Get started by signing up, experimenting with past recipes from our New Year's and Earth Day Smoothments and sharing them with friends and family. In advance of the Smoothment, you'll receive a special discount code and a Shopping List of superfoods that are featured in the videos. We appreciate your feedback from past Smoothments, and we've added a list of Nutritional Facts for each smoothie video in the Back to Basics Smoothment, including calories-per-serving.
Knowing where foods come from and how they are produced is important to our customers, and that's why Navitas Naturals makes the extra effort to visit our supply partners. Navitas Naturals' CEO and Founder Zach Adelman recently returned from meeting our maqui berry partners in Chile. Read the article below to learn about how we import this amazing organic superfruit from the Patagonia region of South America.
Zach Adelman (ZA): Our Maqui Berry partners are located just outside Chile's capital city of Santiago. The organic maqui berries come from a network of small family farmers that handpick them in the Patagonia region.
Our partners collect and bring the berries to their state-of-the-art facility to be freeze-dried into a powder and prepared for shipment to our packaging facility in Novato, California. Their facility near Santiago is only about 4 years old, and it is very modern. As a nation, Chile has a very strong agricultural economy and is a large exporter of fruits and vegetables. Our organic freeze-dried Maqui Berry Powder is just one of many organic foods that our partner's facility produces.
NN: How long has Navitas Naturals sold Maqui Berry Powder, and why did you add it to the Navitas Naturals line?
ZA: We introduced our maqui berry powder last spring (2011). Maqui's amazing level of antioxidants captured my attention. ORAC analyses (the lab method for measuring antioxidants) of maqui berries have found that it contains more antioxidants than any other berry. It's a great source of vitamin C and potassium, and I love the flavor and its overall culinary appeal.
NN: Is there an education and awareness challenge to overcome when you introduce new superfoods, like maqui?
ZA: We take pride in being pioneers that bring new superfoods to the North American marketplace, before they become the next big thing. Maqui is an example of this. Sales of our maqui powder are off to a good start and are growing slowly but steadily, despite the initial lack of public awareness. I believe in the product, and I know it may take several years to become popular, like acai and chia. Our team is out there informing people of maqui's benefits by doing store demos and handing out samples at events. We have nice recipe videos featuring maqui berry, and we've also been sharing samples and information with nutritionists, chefs and other industry leaders to have them experience it and spread the word.
NN: Are maqui berries a common food in Chile?
ZA: Maqui berries have a long history of traditional use as a food and medicine by the Mapuche, an ancient native culture in Chile that is known for their longevity. I understand that the berry has only recently gained more mainstream popularity in the rest of the Chilean population.
NN: What does it taste like?
ZA: Maqui has a slightly tart taste with flavor tones similar to blackberry, acai and blueberry. It has a dark purple color that's ideal for smoothies and other drink recipes, and we also blend it with yogurt, oatmeal, jam and dessert recipes.
NN: Were you able to scout out any new superfoods in Chile on this trip?
ZA: For this visit, most of our time was spent with our partners touring and inspecting their operations in the Santiago region. In addition to maqui berries, our partners freeze dry a wide variety of other local organic fruits and vegetables, and we are considering some of those for future new products.
We believe nutrient-rich whole foods are at their best when produced by organic agriculture and minimal processing methods. That's why all our products are certified organic, and use methods such as freeze-drying to ensure maximum nutrition. Since our origins in 2003, we've been committed to socially responsible business, and our direct purchasing partnerships create and expand fair trade opportunities for farming communities around the world. We offer a vast selection of organic superfoods and information on how to enjoy them in a diet that can help energize an active and healthy lifestyle.
Offers not valid with any other offers and do not apply to previously placed orders.