September is a seasonal transition for most of us, and that includes the mayhem of Back-to-School. Convenient, healthy snacks are important this time of year for busy families, and our sweet, energizing mulberries are a natural choice. These chewy "Turkish delights" are an antioxidant powerhouse, and are a rare food source of resveratrol. This month, use coupon code mulberry30 to get 30% off our dried organic Mulberries.
The delicious taste and chewiness of these dried whole-fruits are akin to dried figs and raisins. They're an energizing snack, and just like other tasty dried fruits, mulberries can instantly boost any recipe including granola, yogurt, trail mix, desserts, smoothies and baked treats. Our Executive Chef Julie Morris mixes them in a Sesame Mulberry Slaw and provides a yummy Mulberry Coconut Bites recipe.
Mulberries contain an abundance of antioxidants. In particular, they are a rare food source of resveratrol. This nutrient is best known as the 'anti-aging' nutrient found in red wine. New studies this year have discovered even more health benefits. The Journal of Physiology reported that resveratrol may positively affect exercise performance. In Nutrition Research, scientists reported that resveratrol improved glycemic control and risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes. This week, research presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society noted that resveratrol may improve mobility and decrease life-threatening falls among older people.
Other noteworthy antioxidants found in mulberries are anthocyanins. Mulberries also have a very high concentration of Vitamin C (130% RDA per serving), and they're among the few fruits that are considered a good protein source – boasting a respectable 3 grams per serving! Mulberries also contain an impressive amount of iron, calcium, vitamins A&E and fiber.
Chef Matthew Kenney is the world's foremost expert in Raw cuisine. In this interview, the award-winning chef shares a bit about himself, his brand, and the benefits - and deliciousness of Raw food. His impact extends far beyond the walls of his restaurants and culinary academies in Santa Monica, Oklahoma City, and Chicago. Kenney has written 10 cookbooks, and his academies train professional chefs for careers in Raw cuisine.
Navitas Naturals (NN): What inspired you to become a Raw food chef?
Matthew Kenney (MK): My first experience with Raw food was a visit to a small restaurant in New York with a vibrant crowd and really fresh cuisine. It was a light bulb moment where I realized if someone could develop this kind of Raw food in a very contemporary and creative way it would define the future of what people perceive as great food.
NN: I heard that you're opening a new raw cuisine restaurant in Santa Monica, how would you characterize it and how does it compare to your other recent restaurant projects?
MK: It's been a long-term goal of mine to open a restaurant in Southern California. I'm excited about the integration of local products with the work that we do. I'm also looking forward to having our students experience the coming together of innovative techniques with the best ingredients the country has to offer. It's a little different than our other concepts because we are having a full tasting menu along with our menu of more classic and well-known dishes. Even though the food will be very cutting-edge and refined, the setting will be a little more casual.
NN: When did you first start teaching classes to others about plant-based food techniques, and can you tell us the latest news about the Matthew Kenney Academy?
MK: I started teaching classes in New York almost 10 years ago, but I started the professional classes in 2009. The Matthew Kenney Academy has grown to 3 locations, and we now have students from more than 35 countries. We are always refining our techniques and equipment, and since we work with a lot of strategic partners we're always able to provide students with the most advanced tools available.
We have had over 200 graduates thus far and they range from published cookbook authors to private chefs for professional athletes and others who need help in their home to restaurant owners, product developers, consultants, and teachers. They are working all over the world spreading the word about the benefits of plant-based cuisine. Our newest project is our online academy launching in January.
NN: You've written several popular books about plant-based cuisine. Which book do you recommend that would provide our readers with the most comprehensive and useful information for pursuing raw culinary arts in their own kitchen?
MK: Everyday Raw is a really good book for people who want to learn how to do things in a little bit of a simpler way. For people who don't have a lot of time, Everyday Raw Express is very user-friendly. I'm working on my newest book now which is a lifestyle book that will really define what Raw food is today and how to incorporate it into your lifestyle
NN: What is your favorite raw food recipe?
MK: At the moment, my favorite is Kimchee Dumplings with Black Sesame Foam that we have here on our menu in California.
NN: How would you describe the Matthew Kenney PlantLab, and when did you launch it?
MK: PlantLab is an experimental kitchen. Its goal is to further our pursuit of new methods and new techniques and to continue to redefine the opportunities within plant-based cuisine to reach a broader audience. It's a beautiful test kitchen that we built in Maine and completed in June of this year. PlantLab is fully equipped with all of the latest equipment, and the best ingredients. We use it as a testing ground and a launch pad for products that we develop.
NN: What are the most important tools and kitchen gadgets for a raw food chef, and which ones are essential and available for home chefs to use?
MK: The most important thing for any Raw food chef is a good sharp knife, a great high speed blender - we recommend Blendtec, and a dehydrator- we use Tribest Sedona dehydrators. Of course there's a lot more to it, but if you have those basics you can do most Raw food recipes.
NN: I heard that you have a digital app for plant-based food recipes, what is its best feature?
MK: Matthew Kenney's Raw Express is available on iTunes and provides recipes that take 30 minutes or less. The app is great because we have shopping lists, nutritional information, and it's very easy to navigate- a little easier to follow than a cookbook. It's also a compilation of simpler recipes that don't take a lot of time so it's really good for people as an introductory, people who need a little help with what ingredients to buy and what plant-based food does for them. I think it's a good stepping-stone for people getting into the more serious gourmet side of it.
NN: What is your favorite superfood, and how do you most like to use it in recipes?
MK: I like maca because of the energy it gives me, but I also like the taste – that kind of malty flavor. I really prefer it with cacao, in a smoothie.
NN: We're launching our Back-to-Basics Smoothment on September 8 to inspire people to add a superfood smoothie to their daily routine. Do you have any smoothie tips or favorite recipes to share?
MK: One thing that I love is replacing ice that a lot of people use in smoothies, because it dilutes the flavor of the smoothie. Making ice cubes from frozen fruit or from coconut water is a great way to introduce more flavor while still cooling down the smoothie and not diluting that flavor.
In the spirit of the Back-to-School season, get your blender ready for the Navitas Back-to-Basics Smoothment. With a seasonal change underway, now is the perfect time to go to Smoothie school! Each day from September 8 through September 14, to those that sign up we'll send you a helpful 60-Second Smoothie recipe video by superfood chef Julie Morris. Whether you're a smoothie pro or a beginner, the Smoothment's creative recipes, superfood tips, prizes and product discounts will make your smoothie experience more simple, effective and enjoyable.
To maximize a smoothie's desired health benefits, it's important to understand the nutritional building blocks contained in various superfoods. The new Back-to-Basics recipe videos and emails will highlight the fundamentals of smoothie-making, and will provide tips about how to best use various superfoods to meet different nutrition and health needs.
As a reward for your commitment to better health via the Smoothment, we are providing a discount of 30% off many of our most popular superfoods that are featured during Back-to-Basics week. Sign up now and we'll send you a coupon code.
We also have 2 ways that you can win prizes by participating in the Back-to-Basics Smoothment, answer the daily question for a $25 gift certificate or upload your favorite smoothie-related photo for a chance to win including $300 in superfoods. We want to spread the smoothie love, so be sure to share photos of your Smoothment creations with us on our Facebook contest, (not just our wall) or send them to email@example.com.
Alternative sweeteners are an important topic for many people these days, due in part to the ongoing epidemic of diabetes and obesity in the U.S. This month, Bon Appetit Magazine wrote a round-up of the Healthiest Sugar Alternatives that was published in Yahoo! Shopping. The chef and nutritionist for Bon Appetit highlighted Navitas Naturals Mesquite Powder as one of her favorites, along with Coconut Palm Sugar.
The rising popularity of superfoods grabbed the attention of a couple of leading business publications. The San Francisco Business Times profiled Navitas Naturals in their latest edition, and the Nutrition Business Journal ran a story too.