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kauai

Caffeine and Body Fat

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Kind of a loaded title but I can’t think of anyone who isn’t interested in losing, or at least not gaining, body fat! And there is something I learned in school many semesters ago and that is that caffeine, through a fairly simple metabolic process, helps our body mobilize fat and encourages working muscles to use this fat as a fuel source. In other words, while exercising under the influence of caffeine, the body derives a greater percentage of energy from fat than from carbohydrate, which is stored in muscles and liver in the form of glycogen. This works for me because I have to start my day with coffee, I am a morning exerciser, and coffee is a great source of caffeine. So there you have it! So simple. And we, at Living Foods, can help you!!

We buy our coffee unroasted from different islands – Kona coffee from the Big Island of Hawaii, a reserve coffee grown exclusively on the North Shore of Oahu, Peaberry Coffee from Maui, and Kauai Coffee from right here on Kauai. Kauai Coffee, with 3,100 acres and 4 million trees, happens to be the largest coffee plantation in the US!! Anyway, we then roast the beans in our store, bag them, and put our Living Foods labels on them.

We also carry roasted and packaged coffee from Kicking Horse Coffee out of Canada and Roger’s Family Organic from the San Francisco Bay Area.

An interesting fact: if you’ve ever heard of peaberry, it’s a coffee where only one of the beans inside the fruit gets fertilized and grows. Normally two beans grow in the fruit, side by side, which is why coffee beans have a flat side. Not peaberry! It gets its name from its round shape that occurs because it doesn’t grow next to another bean. Normally about 5% of beans harvested are of this form.

A few more interesting facts about coffee and caffeine I’ve come across as I indulge my nerdy science brain that loves to read medical journals and scientific studies are:

After you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed in the bloodstream and travels to the brain. From there, it blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which increases the amount of other neurotransmitters, which in turn increases the firing of neurons. This has been shown to improve memory, mood, energy levels (duh), reaction times, and general cognitive function. Who wouldn’t want all that?

  • Coffee contains essential nutrients: Vit B2, Vit B5, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and niacin.
  • Observational studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a 23-50% lower risk of developing Type II diabetes.
  • There appears to be an ingredient in coffee that helps protect against cirrhosis of the liver.
  • In several studies, it has been shown that there is a 32-60% lowered risk of developing Parkinson’s disease in coffee drinkers due directly to the caffeine.
  • Coffee has been found to have protective effects against certain cancers ie. liver and colorectal.
  • And lastly- coffee has been found to be the biggest source of antioxidants in the western diet!!

So brew yourself a cup of coffee and start burning more fat, preventing yucky diseases, and antioxidizing your body!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Mango Story

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My mango story goes like this: I’ve revealed before that many years ago I was a nanny in Switzerland. I have also mentioned that it was my job to be first out of bed to get the coffee on, make the kid’s lunches, and prepare breakfast. The youngest of my charges was Sascha and he insisted on having a mango in his lunch every day. I had never tried a mango because back then they weren’t shipped around the world. However, the family I worked for had the resources ($) to get these juicy treats year around.  Needless to say, it was love at first bite! It was so hard when I came home because it was a few years before I was able to consistently find mangos in the US.  And then we bought a home on Kauai where mangos grow all over! The trees are so beautiful – big, shaggy, majestic trees that look like the fruit is dripping from it. And mango season is now! It started at the beginning of summer and will continue through about October. We have local mangos every day and we also put them in our smoothies.  So a few reasons to eat mangos, besides the taste, are:

  1. They are rich in prebiotic dietary fiber that is necessary for a healthy microbiome.
  2. They are an excellent source of antioxidants that have been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia, and prostate cancers.
  3. Mangos are is a good source of vitamin-A, vitamin-C, vitamin-E, and B-6.
  4. They are also an excellent source of potassium, which is an electrolyte that is important in the control of heart rate and blood pressure.

One last fact that I really like is that apparently mango is the fruit least likely to contain pesticide residue. And finally I want to help with cutting up a mango. I had to be taught how to do it many years ago, and I still do it the same way. Click here for video #1 and here for video #2 that show the best methods to cut up a mango. I included the second one because I thought she was hilarious and I had never seen this method. Enjoy, Liz Sacchini!

4th of July Recipe Ideas

Independence Day is this Saturday and you know what that means…barbecues and beach parties! If you want to keep it simple, you can always come in for one of our prepared salads to accompany your barbecue items, or you can really wow your guests with one of these simple recipes. Everyone loves our fresh Kauai corn and grilling it is always a tasty option. If a cool refreshing salad is your fancy, then this watermelon concoction is sure to please.

Happy 4th of July and bon appetit!

Corn on the Cob

  • 6 ears of raw corn
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter
  • 1 finely chopped jalapeño
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Simply brush the butter and jalapeño mixture onto corn, wrap in foil and grill. Top off with the finely chopped cilantro.

Watermelon Salad

  • 4 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup pitted gourmet black olives
  • 1/2 cup of feta

Toss watermelon, basil and olives with 4 tablespoons of balsamic. Sprinkle with feta cheese and chill.

IN CELEBRATION OF OUR NEW GLUTEN FREE PIZZA CRUST: A GLUTEN FREE COOKIE RECIPE!!!

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For the past couple years, I have made my best effort to eat gluten free but, since I don’t have celiac disease, I give myself the liberty of eating gluten when the situation calls for it.  Like when there are cookies anywhere within reach.  Definitely my kryptonite.  And unfortunately I haven’t found a gluten free cookie I like, probably because they are all made with a funky flour like rice or corn substituted for wheat flour.  But I did find a recipe on the back of my oatmeal from Trader Joes and it contained NO flour at all, just oats.  So I thought I would try it.  So good!!  Not a replacement for an old fashioned, crispy-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside oatmeal cookie or an oatmeal scotchie from my childhood which, by the way, was mouthwatering for 2 reasons- the butterscotch chips and the fact that no one ever put raisins in oatmeal scotchies, but a whole new experience that is equally as perfect.  So if you’re craving a cookie and you’re trying to keep gluten out of your diet, I highly recommend this recipe.  A couple things I experienced- don’t overcook, 12:00 minutes seemed perfect and I noticed the chocolate chips don’t want to incorporate into the dough, which was very weird.  Almost like a science experiment where the dough repelled the chips but I persevered and overcame by pushing them back in to every scoop I put on the baking sheet.  I’ll be curious to see if anyone else has this problem!!

What is Gluten?

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If you haven’t heard of gluten by now, you have definitely been living under a rock. In Siberia. So what is gluten, why is it so bad, and why do people need to be free of it? I hate the term gluten-free. It sounds like you’re being held hostage by gluten. Why can’t we be gluten-less instead of gluten-free? On the other hand, anyone who has a real problem with gluten probably does feel as if they’re being held hostage because the symptoms are very uncomfortable and can be extremely serious, even life threatening for some.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and spelt, and the hard thing is, these grains are found in almost everything with carbohydrate in it. Although spelt not so much. Even if you try to use grains that don’t sound like these ingredients, you will find yourself eating gluten. Examples are couscous, tabbouli (bulgar), and triticale- these, which are all wheat products. Oats are supposed to be gluten-free but there can be cross-contamination in the facility where they are processed. Confusion. So you need to read labels carefully.

Why is gluten “bad”?

Well there is a condition called celiac disease and the simplest way to explain it is 2 different proteins make up gluten and can be identified by your immune system as invaders. This triggers an immune response that involves the digestive tract and can cause irreversible damage to your intestines over time. The symptoms of celiac disease are pretty severe and there are definitive tests to determine if you have it. The other condition that prompts people to go gluten-free is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This condition is much more vague and subjective but seems to be very real nonetheless. There is no real test for this, the best way to see if you might have it is to eat a gluten-free diet for at least 4 weeks and see how you feel. I did this about a year and a half ago and I did notice a difference but I would say it took about 3 months. My family says it’s all in my head but I have suffered from IBS my whole life and I do feel getting gluten out of my diet helped. The problem is, when I’m home in CA, raising our daughter and eating simply, I do fine eating gluten-free but when I go to Kauai, I can’t wait to try all the newest items at Living Foods and that includes pizzas, sandwiches, pasta, etc., all full of gluten! Fortunately we have a whole gluten-free section in the store filled with all kinds of gluten-free options. We’re even working on a gluten-free pizza crust but my absolute favorite gluten-free items are the crepes in the cafe. They are such a treat and they totally satisfy my craving for an ooey-gooey carbo bomb, especially the ham and melted cheese crepe.

The last thing I’ll say about a gluten-free diet is that it doesn’t mean you will lose weight. As a matter of fact, many people gain weight on gluten-free because, for some reason, they think that as long as a food is gluten-free, they can have as much as they want. The only way to lose weight is to expend more calories through activity than you consume. End of story. The other reason people gain weight is due to the fact that when you remove the grain that has gluten in it, it has to be replaced with something and frequently it is replaced with sugar, highly processed rice, potato, or corn flour, and fat. And because these flours are highly processed, they contain less fiber. So in going gluten-free, be sure to read labels to watch for the amount of fat grams, simple carbs, and calories if weight loss is your goal.

For more info on gluten, here are a few articles with easy to understand explanations and interesting information:

http://authoritynutrition.com/modern-wheat-health-nightmare/

http://www.livescience.com/37855-gluten-free-craze.html

http://www.gffoodservice.org/certified-directory/certified-food-services/

This last link is to a website that promises to list national food establishments/restaurants with gluten-free options but they are still working on it so check back!

 

Fieldtrip to Hanalei

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A couple weeks ago, Susan and I drove to the north shore for what I would call one of the nicer adventures I’ve had on Kauai. There was no red dirt, no sand, and no clean up involved. Although we did hit the usual commuter traffic. Isn’t it funny that we have commuter traffic on this small island?! Howard and Jeff thought they were escaping the notorious traffic in California. Not so much. On the East side of Kauai is the town of Kapaa. Pronounced Kapa-a with the accent twice: on both a’s. I think Kapaa is Hawaiian for traffic jam. We drove to the workshop of one of the nicest, sweetest woman I’ve ever met on Kauai and she makes soap by hand. We were only slightly challenged directionally which is huge for me. For some reason, it’s easy for me to get turned sideways and upside down on our teeny island and apparently Susan shares the same affliction. With only one wrong turn, we arrived almost on time. I first met Jenny at The Kauai Marathon Expo. She was picking up her race packet and I was working the info booth. She asked me a question about what time she should leave the north shore to get to the start line on time, taking road closures and traffic into consideration. After coming up with what seemed like a reasonable answer, I asked some questions about life on the “other side” of the island, and in doing so, I learned about her soap-making business. The more she told me, the more intrigued I became. Her daughters and her husband are involved and everything is done by hand. I talked to her a little bit about our store, how we like to support local businesses, and asked her to bring in some samples. I was really curious about her product. The marathon came and went and I made sure to tell Jeff about my chance encounter with Jenny and that she might be dropping some soaps by the store. Fast-forward 4 months to the Xmas holidays. It was my first visit back to Kauai since the marathon and there were some beautifully packaged, amazingly scented soaps in my bathroom and by my kitchen sink. Jeff explained that a really friendly woman from Hanalei had brought them in for he and Howard to try. I don’t think he remembered anything from our conversation during the marathon week. But who cares. He agreed to carry the soap and the rest is history! We can’t keep it on the shelves. Or actually the table because the soaps have front and center placement on the table when you first walk in the door. It is so beautifully packaged and the scents, from essential oils, are like music to my nose. Scents like cranberry and fig, orange blossom, lavender mint, and the requisite mango, plumeria, pikake, and various and sundry other scents. If I’ve piqued your interest but you have no plans to travel to our beautiful island, you can find Jenny on Etsy under the brand KopaKauai. And in keeping with our beliefs, it’s all organic! – Liz Sacchini