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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Coming Soon!!

Exciting things coming up this fall with 3 Healthy Chicks!! Stay tuned to our blog and Facebook fan page as we take our chick bits out on the road. We will be holding the following monthly healthy meet ups:

Explore Your Store: Take a tour of your local supermarket with 3HC to learn how to look for healthy items in conventional stores such as Stop&Shop and Wegmans, or shop health food stores such as Whole Foods and Deans Natural Market.

Healthy Happy Hour: Meet with us to learn how to choose healthy happy hour beverages and healthier bar fare.

Lunch and Learn: Pack your lunch and meet up with us to learn about our healthy topic of the month!

We are working hard (as you can see from our photo above) to get these things up and running for you! We'll keep you posted!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


If you missed our August Newsletter, than you missed a wellness tip regarding one of my favorite subjects: chocolate! Need I really say more? I think it’s safe to say that almost everyone loves to indulge in a little decadent chocolate from time to time. And for good reason... it is delicious! But sadly, the indulgence often is paired with guilt for those of us trying to maintain our girlish figures. So, in true healthy chick fashion, I included in our newsletter a super healthy chocolate recipe that coincidentally utilizes none other than coconut oil. (See below!)

Terra has already filled you all in on the benefits of coconut oil, but this recipe is all natural and full of healthy, beneficial ingredients! Most chocolate bars and candies are loaded with dairy and refined sugars that are no good for us. But the raw cacao bean, the stuff chocolate is made from, is naturally high in antioxidants and essential minerals. So, eating raw cacao or a high quality dark chocolate can actually be really good for us. Thank goodness! Combine it with some fresh seasonal berries and you have an antioxidant-rich healthful, and delicious treat!

Raw Chocolate Covered Strawberries
1/4 Cup of softened coconut oil (soften oil by placing the jar in a bowl of hot water)
1/2 Cup of raw cacao powder
3 Tbsp raw agave nectar
Pinch of sea salt
Whole strawberries

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until soft and rich. If your sauce is too runny, continue adding cacao powder until thick, but still a sauce consistency. Dip your strawberries until well coated and refrigerate on a tray lined with parchment paper. It helps to sit your bowl inside another bowl filled slightly with hot water to keep the sauce from hardening as you work.

I looooove chocolate covered strawberries, but there are so many options with this recipe. You can also use sliced bananas, raspberries, mango, dried fruits or raw nuts! You can also sprinkle your chocolate covered fruit with shredded coconut, raw cacao nibs, ground flax or ground nuts before setting the chocolate too! The possibilities are endless! YUM!

Don't forget to sign up for our
newsletter so you don't miss out on more delicious recipes and information!

Keep it Fresh!
- Jill

I'm Coocoo for Coconuts!!

I'm not sure how General Mills would feel about me doctoring up one of their best advertising campaigns, but I'm not really worried what those sugar peddlers think! Can you imagine if there were advertising campaigns with delightful cartoon characters pushing wonderful things like kale and coconut water? Creating veggie addicts at the ripe ages of 2-5 rather than sugar addicts? Oh what a wonderful world!!

Anyway, I digress. I am coocoo for coconuts!! In all it's beautiful shapes and forms, but specifically two forms; water and oil. Coconut water is quite literally, Mother Nature's energy drink. I always use it in my smoothies for a little added energy. Coconut water contains more potassium than most sports and energy drinks. It has less sodium, and it contains natural sugars where sports and energy drinks contain high amounts of altered sugars. Why bother with sugary drinks like Gatorade, Vitamin Water or Sobe when you can enjoy natural electrolytes from the beautiful coconut?

Who knew a hard shelled hairy fruit could be power packed with so much amazingness!!

For those of you that only recognize the coconut that comes in a bag in shredded form, here's a quick little coconut primer. Coconuts grow in the tropics and are a member of the palm family. The scientific name for coconut is cocos nucifera (nucifera meaning "nut bearing"). Early Spanish explorers called it coco, which means "Monkey Face" because they three eyes on the hair nut resembles the face of a monkey.

Coconut is a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk and oil that has fed and nourished island and tropical populations around the world for generations.

The coconut is super nutritious. It's rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is often classified as a "functional" food because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content.

Coconut oil is exactly what makes coconut a functional food. Coconut oil has been used in traditional medicine in Asian and Pacific populations for years. Pacific Islanders consider it to be the cure for all illness. Recently, modern medical science has begun to "validate" coconuts amazing healing powers. I used the quotations around validate because I find it amusing (frustrating and annoying) that modern science needs to play catch up with traditional medicine - "validating" traditional herbs and whole foods cures that have been in use for thousands of years- but that's a separate soap box in its entirety!

Anyway, back to the wonderful coconut!

Coconut oil is a saturated fat, liquid when warm and semi-solid/congealed when cooled. Now, before you start judging our little coconut with a big fat "bad" for its saturated fat content, remember that not all saturated fats are created equal! The structural make up of coconut oil is unique. While it has the highest source of saturated fat at 92%, it also contains 62% of medium chain triglycerides. Half of these triglycerides are made up of lauric acid, the most important essential acid in building and maintaining our immune system. Other than coconut oil, the only other source of lauric acid in such high concentration is breast milk! Check out all ways coconut oil can benefit your health!

I have had a few friends recommend oil pulling with coconut oil. Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy where you swish with oil to remove toxins from the body. Oil pulling is said to benefit many chronic diseases and illnesses such as inflammation, arthritis, allergies, digestive issues including IBS and constipation, and even PMS! After all of this coconut oil research I think I am going to give it a try. I'll let you know how it goes!

Keep it Fresh!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Produce Labels Explained

Have you ever wondered why all of the produce that you bring home from the grocery store has to have those annoying little stickers on them? While they can be a little irritating they do serve a purpose for grocery stores, and can serve pretty useful to us as well.

The information contained on those labels is called a PLU number, or a
Price Look-Up number. The International Federation for Produce Coding standardizes these codes for grocery stores, making it easier for the stores to charge appropriately when you check out. But the stickers can be advantageous to the consumer as well. They make it easier to know what we are putting into our shopping carts, by differentiating fruits and veggies. Here’s how:

Conventional fruits and vegetables are labeled with four digit numbers that begin with a 3 or a 4. Example: a conventional Granny Smith Apple has a PLU of 4017. Conventional means that it is grown on a farm that uses harmful pesticides and chemicals.

Organic produce has five digit PLU numbers that begin with a 9. Example: an organic Granny Smith Apple has a PLU of 94017. Organic produce is grown on farms using natural fertilizers and without the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals that can be harmful to our bodies.

Genetically Modified (GM) produce also have five digit PLU numbers, but these begin with an 8. Example: a GM Granny Smith Apple will have a PLU of 84017. GM means that the produce's DNA has been modified through engineering, causing possible safety concerns. Many pre-packaged and processed foods contain GM foods, such as soy or corn oils, but fortunately today GM fruits and vegetables in their whole form are rare.

Ideally, we should purchase most of our fruits and vegetables from local, organic farms and farmer’s markets so we know exactly where our produce was grown and how. But, for most of us, this is not realistic and we have to shop in conventional supermarkets. Supermarkets usually designate organic produce with signage, but do not usually do so for genetically modified foods. So, when perusing the produce section of your favorite supermarket, if you are unsure if something is organic, conventional or GM, all you have to do is look at the PLU! Often, the PLU sticker will also include the country or state of origin, helping us identify how far our produce has traveled as well.

Keep it Fresh!
- Jill