Broccoli May Improve Your Gut Health

The following article was written by Janissa Delzo on 10/14/2017 and published by Newsweek.  You can find the original article here.

Broccoli is one of those veggies that people seem to either love or loathe. Although we all can’t agree on whether it’s tasty or not, there’s at least one thought that’s universal: it’s healthy. The green veggie has been the subject of many studies, which have touted its antioxidants and cancer-fighting properties. Now, new research says broccoli may also help improve gut health.

In a study, published in the Journal of Functional Foods, researchers examined the effects of broccoli on genetically modified mice with digestive disorders similar to colitis—a common long-term problem that affects more than one million people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The team found that the mice who ate a diet supplemented with broccoli, compared to those who indulged in their regular diet, were able to better handle their digestive intolerances.

Although the research was done on mice, it may have some implications for humans.

“The addition of cruciferous vegetables will activate the Ah receptor in your gut and help maintain gut homeostasis. Humans would need to eat about 31/2 cups of broccoli for the protective effect seen here,” Gary Perdew, a professor at Pennsylvania State University and one of the study’s authors, tells Newsweekvia email.

Vegetables like brussels sprouts and cauliflower—which are also part of the cruciferous family—may have the same benefits on the gut, Perdew and his colleagues discuss in their published paper. Their findings suggest that these types of vegetables contain an organic compound that breaks down, then attaches and activates a specific receptor in the lining of the intestines.

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America recommends patients to avoid cruciferous vegetables because they contain too much fiber, which can lead to gas and stomach irritation. But, the researchers believe their new findings suggest otherwise.

“Our results suggest that broccoli may be of preventative benefit in cases of heightened intestinal inflammation, such as Crohn’s disease and colitis,” the authors write.

In the future, Perdew hopes to study whether eating broccoli can help with long-term effects of taking aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

“We are interested in examining the ability of broccoli to enhance our resistance to damage from NSAIDs that the aging population often take,” Perdew said in an email. “These drugs can cause gastrointestinal damage.”

Cover image source:

The Art of Stillness: The Case for Off-Days

Things keep changing. The clock ticks, the day unfolds, trees grow, leaves turn brown, hair turns gray, children grow up and leave home, attention skitters from this to that, the cookie is delicious but then it’s all gone, you’re mad about something for awhile and then get over it, consciousness streams on and on and on.

Many changes are certainly good. Most people are glad to put middle school behind them. I’m still happy about shifting thirty years ago from single to married. Painkillers, flush toilets, and the internet seem like pretty good ideas. It’s lovely to watch grass waving in the wind or a river passing. Fundamentally, if there were no change, nothing could happen, reality would be frozen forever. I once asked my friend Tom what he thought God was and he said “possibility.”

On the other hand, many changes are uncomfortable, even awful. The body gets creaky, and worse. We lose those we love and eventually lose life itself. Families drift apart, companies fail, dictators tighten their grip, nations go to war. The planet warms at human hands, as each day we pour nearly a billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. Countless species go extinct.  As William Yeats wrote: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”

And change itself is often—maybe innately—stressful. When you really open to the fact always in front of our noses that each moment of now decays and disappears in the instant it arises—it can feel rather alarming. Life and time sweep us along.  As soon as something pleasant occurs in the mind’s flow we reach for it but whoosh it passes away right through our fingers leaving disappointment behind. Inherently, anything that changes is not a reliable basis for enduring contentment and fulfillment.

Yet it is also true that some things remain always the same. In their stillness you can find a refuge, an island in the stream of changes, a place to stand for perspective and wisdom about events and your reactions to them, a respite from the race, quiet amidst the noise. Perhaps even find a sense of something transcendental, outside the frame of passing phenomena.


Stillness, a sense of the unchanging, is all around, and at different levels. Look for it, explore its effects on you, and let it sink in.

For example, it’s not the ultimate stillness, but there is that lovely feeling when the house is quiet and you’re sitting in peace, the dishes are done and the kids are fine (or the equivalent), and you can really let down and let go. In your character, you have enduring strengths and virtues and values; situations change, but your good intentions persist. In relationships, love abides—even for people who drive you crazy!

More subtly, there is the moment at the very top of a tossed ball’s trajectory when it’s neither rising nor falling, the pause before the first stroke of the brush, that space between exhalation and inhalation, the silence in which sounds occur, or the discernible gap between thoughts when your mind is quiet.

In your mind there is always an underlying calm and well-being that contains emotional reactions, like a riverbed that is still even as the flood rushes over it (if you’re not aware of this, truly, with practice you can find and stabilize a sense of it). There is also the unchanging field of awareness, itself never altered by the thoughts passing through it.

More abstractly, 2+2=4 forever; the area of a circle will always be pi times the radius squared; etc. The fact that something has occurred will never change. The people who have loved you will always have loved you; they will always have found you lovable. Whatever is fundamentally true—including, ironically, the truth of impermanence—has an unchanging stillness at its heart. Things change, but the nature of things—emergent, interdependent, transient—does not.

Moving toward ultimate matters, and where language fails, you may have a sense of something unchangingly transcendental, divine. Or, perhaps related, an intuition of that which is unconditioned always just prior to the emergence of conditioned phenomena.

Wherever you find it, enjoy stillness and let it feed you. It’s a relief from the noise and bustle, a source of clarity and peace. Give yourself the space, the permission, to be still—at least in your mind—amidst those who are busy. To use a traditional saying:

May that which is still
be that in which your mind delights.

The above article was originally written by Rick Hanson, Ph.D and published by Psychology Today.  You can find the original article here. // Cover image source: Open Door Yoga

The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Healthy

It’s not easy to eat healthy.  From work schedules to weekend warrior-ing, finding the time to shop, cook, and eat nutritious food (let alone eat delicious food) can feel tough.  At Freshly, we understand busy, which is why we want to share some of our favorite hacks for getting all the good stuff on a crazy schedule.  It’s possible!  The right amount of nutrients will help you to boost energy, improve productivity, look better, feel better, and be the best possible version of yourself.

#1 Use your microwave

While common belief has it that nuked food is toxic or stripped of its nutrition, there really is no solid evidence to show that microwaved food can harm your health.  We think greasy takeout and food with many added ingredients are far, far worse.  When you’re strapped for time, your microwave helps you heat and prep food faster, giving you more time and energy to do the things you love.

#2 Cook once (in batches), and eat many times

On weekends, cook larger portions of meals that you can store in the fridge (but not too large that you’ll waste food!) and eat them throughout the week so that you have home-cooked, prepared meals already waiting for you.  It’s all in the timing.

#3 Set aside time

Speaking of timing, it’ll help to set aside half-hour increments to eat three meals a day.  Make it intentional.  Write it in your schedule.  Re-positioning mealtime as a necessary, important activity rather than a grab-and-go kind of deal will help you avoid snacking on unhealthy “impulse” foods throughout the day.

#4 Carry snacks

Everyone needs to snack once in awhile, and we’ve got nothing against it.  It’s the bad snacking we don’t like.  Our hack: carry your own healthy snacks with you wherever yougo, whether it’s a piece of fruit, nuts in a ziplock bag, a hardboiled egg, or a healthy protein bar so you don’t have to waste time hunting around for food you might later regret.

#5 Embrace better takeout alternatives

We’re here for you! Food tech has given rise to meal services that prep, cook, and deliver meals fresh to your doorstep.  Hi.  At Freshly, we like to call ourselves your personal chef and your nutritionist, since we take care of making sure your meals are packed with all the essential body-loving nutrients you need, while still keeping our signature, high-quality taste.

Bon appétit!

All credit for the above article goes to Freshly as the original author and publisher.  Cover image credit to

7 Better Ways to Eat Quinoa

We won’t lie: On its own, quinoa can seem a little boring, a little basic. But when you start thinking out of the box (example: rice crispy treats made from quinoa) there’s tremendous potential for the gluten-free superfood packed with protein, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. We found seven of our favorite creative/healthy/tasty/not-basic ways to cook quinoa, borrowed from healthy bloggers around the web. We put them all together so you don’t have to. After all, we’re pretty keen on quinoa in our Freshly meals, too – it’s one of our favorite go-to ingredients for staying healthy and light. Go crazy!  –> This post was originally created by Freshly and copied here because it’s just so darn good!


We’re big egg fans, and there’s nothing quite like a runny poached egg on top of a semi-crunchy quinoa cake to fuel your morning. You’ll get double the protein, double the deliciousness, and double the freshness. We love this recipe from blogger Sonia at the Healthy Foodie. Find the full recipe here.


Then again, runny eggs aren’t for everyone. We’re obsessed with these on-the-go quinoa breakfast bites from Ambitious Kitchen. We tried mixing little prosciutto crisps into this mixture before baking and loved the added salty taste. Make these on Sunday evening, throw them in the fridge, and grab them to go throughout your week. Find the full recipe on Ambitious Kitchen.


We couldn’t talk about quinoa without mentioning our own favorite way to use the ingredient. If you’re looking for something a little lighter and without egg, our Paleo Quinoa porridge is for you. We make this seed-based bowl with quinoa, chia and flax seeds, coconut milk, maple syrup, and a topping of pecans and roasted apples. Perfect for an early morning or to wind down at the end of the day. Try it today on our menu!


Why eat a ham and cheese sandwich if you can eat these bite-size ham and cheese quinoa bites? Actually, why not eat both? This hearty, comfort food-style recipe from blogger Iowa Girl Eats make a wonderful snack. They’re a great way to incorporate veggies into your daily snacking routine and can be eaten either hot or cold. Convenient, if you ask us. Full recipe here.


We know. We thought these “asian quinoa meatballs” were kinda weird at first, too. But they’re also damn delicious. We tried this recipe from the blog, Damn Delicious and loved that they were a lighter alternative to regular meatballs, while still providing a good dose of protein. Some ingredients include ground turkey, Sriracha, garlic, and onions. (Skip on the soy sauce if you’re cutting back on soy.) Find the full recipe here.


Why didn’t we think of this ourselves? Crispy quinoa with sweet cacao , kind of like those crispy rice treats you ate when you were a kid but definitely a lot healthier. This recipe belongs to plant-based blogger Ella Woodward from Deliciously Ella, and they literally take just five minutes to make and 10 minutes to set. Find the full recipe here.


Finally, a dinner recipe using quinoa that’s full of flavor. We love this lighter take on an enchilada bake and the fact that it blends avocado, black beans, quinoa, fresh veggies, and cheese together. Again, it’s damn delicious and comes from the blog Damn Delicious.

What’s Gluten & Where Does It Hide?

GLUTEN. Maybe you’ve heard of that misunderstood little protein with a bad-boy reputation. Maybe you’re a little confused as to why he’s still on his 15 minutes of fame.

Gluten is what makes your pizza dough chewy, your pastries puffy, and processed foods shelf-stable. It binds bread, thickens sauce, and ties medicine like acetaminophen and vitamin supplements together. It’s found in wheat, barley, rye, and a whole host of other places. And it’s also a difficult protein to digest – it can damage the small intestines of those with celiac disease and the stomach stability, energy, and mood of gluten-sensitive people.

Sure, you could live a pretty healthy life eating foods with gluten if you have the tolerance for it. But most people can also reap tons of healthy benefits by limiting their gluten intake in the right way. That’s because the diet emphasizes meats, fruits, and veggies rather than crackers, bread, and pasta (whose carbs can spike blood sugar and drive cravings). It can – by default – cancel out a lot of processed and fried foods you shouldn’t be eating, anyways. (Yes, we’re looking at you, beer-battered, gravy-slathered fried chicken.) And whether directly or indirectly, it can improve cholesterol problems, cardiac health, and even your weight. (Goodbye, gluten-ous maximus.) It’s all about choosing whole, fresh, and naturally gluten-free foods rather than all that refined-sugar fare.

Now, common belief holds that gluten is a straight-up-grain sort of fellow, but it can lurk in more uncommon places. This list is by no means comprehensive, but here’s a start:

Common: Wheat, barley, rye, bread, crackers, pastries and cakes, couscous, pasta, pretzels, pizza, orzo, cereal, deep-fried or battered foods.

Uncommon: Soy sauce, salad dressings, barley malt (in coffee syrups, sweeteners), spice mixes (dried herbs and other single-ingredient spices are fine), licorice and candy, pickles, hot dogs and processed cold cuts, ramen, seasoned potato chips, imitation seafood, imitation meats, vitamin supplements.

Happily Gluten-Free (and all-natural): Dairy without any add-ins (milk, plain greek yogurt, butter), fresh meats, fish, beans, legumes, eggs, all vegetables and fruits, quinoa, buckwheat, flax, chia, amaranth, teff, nuts, rice, potatoes, coffee (yay), wine (yay), vodka. Oh. And Freshly!

The above article was written and published by Freshly.  You can view the original article here. // Image courtesy of Medical News Today.

5 Diet Rules You Can Break, Guilt Free

Here’s a little healthy eating secret between us: You don’t have to count every single calorie or cut every carb to lose weight. In fact, you should probably avoid all those fad diets you keep hearing about, too. From the latest study claiming red meat ups your cancer risk, to this season’s must-buy superfood, the guidelines for eating “healthy” can feel tighter than your old jeans. You don’t have to feel guilty about keeping up with the nutrition headlines when it comes to eating healthy on a busy schedule: Nutrition research is just learning you can’t have a one-size-fits-all prescription. Your best bet: Consistently stick to simple, classic, and time-tested ingredients, and know what rules were meant to be broken. Here are the top 5 diet myths you can skip, and what you should do instead.


It’s easy to think that the more calories you eat, the more weight you gain. But not all calories are created equal. All foods (yes, even that fruit smoothie) have calories. And some low-calorie foods also come with a ton of sugar, making them pretty unhealthy. But we’re not saying calories don’t matter because they do. So how do you decide what foods will help you drop pounds and which will just add more?  Well, it’s not how many calories you consume, but where those calories are coming from. Good calorie sources come with nutrients. Bad calorie sources don’t. An ice cream bar with 200 calories and no actual nutrients probably won’t be too nice on your waistline. But a chicken and broccoli dish with the same 200 calories and protein, healthy fats, and vitamins will fuel your body, curb cravings, and help you stay trim.


Not all fats are bad. Healthy fats, like the kind in nuts, avocado, and salmon, can actually help you lose weight rather than gain it. These foods keep you full while lowering your bad cholesterol and boosting your brainpower at the same time. Healthy fats are essential for fueling your body and keeping it running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. What’s the fat you do need to avoid? Trans fats, which you’d most likely find in fried and frozen foods, potato chips, and pre-packaged snacks. Unlike healthy fat, trans fats are added to foods to make them taste better or last longer, and they lead to weight gain, energy crashes, and health problems down the road. // New tip: Avoid trans fats, not healthy fats.


You don’t have to default to salad for every meal if you’re trying to lose weight. While they’re definitely a healthy choice when done right, not all salads will properly fill you up, leaving you hungry and craving other foods. Some salads are also piled with unhealthy ingredients on top of the standard lettuce, like sugary dressings. The bottom line? Watching what actually goes into your salad is more important than just ordering any leaf-and-crouton combo with a low-calorie count. Stick with low sugar dressings and skip the croutons. And as with all meals, look for natural, whole ingredients: Salads with dark green leaf bases (think spinach, arugula, etc.), a variety of different colourful veggies (nothing fried, please), and a solid amount of lean protein, like eggs, salmon, chicken, turkey, tempeh, or steak will always fuel your body right.  // New tip: Pay attention to the actual ingredients in your salad, rather than “salad” as a whole.


Just like calories, not all carbs are made equal. You don’t have to avoid all carbs, just the ones that are bad for you.  Refined carbs –  the kind found in sugary foods, highly-processed pastries, soda, and cake – are what you should try to eliminate, since they don’t have the necessary nutrients to help your body digest properly. Instead, these carbs can spike your blood sugar, get you hungrier, and contribute to ugly mood swings. Meanwhile, good carbs  – like non-starchy veggies and a moderate portion of legumes (beans) – are filled with nutrients that keep you full for longer, since they’re slower and generally easier for your body to digest. // New tip: Cut refined carbs, and eat nutrient-rich, low-glycemic veggies, and other carbs in moderation.


You don’t have to rigorously measure out everything you eat. At Freshly, we follow a paleo-inspired diet that focuses on high-quality, whole ingredients and trusting our bodies to do the rest. But one ingredient that we absolutely think you should measure? Sugar. Just cutting out sugar alone will do a wealth of good for your body, brain, skin, and energy. Once you’ve done that, focus on delicious proteins, heart-healthy fats, and nutrient-dense carbs. Your body will burn fat, get stronger, and cleanse out all the toxins itself. // New tip: Focus more on the kind of food going into your body, rather than restricting your portions.

The above article was written and published by Freshly, an amazing company and team of people who provide healthy, natural food and deliver it right to your doorstep. Here’s a link to the original article.

Image source: jmecc

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