A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
~ AN ONGOING COMMITMENT ~
Living a healthy lifestyle requires having a balance between nutrition, fitness, physical, emotional and psychological well-being. It isn’t one thing, but a compilation of many things ~ balanced. In my articles, I’ve tried to regularly feature topics of achieving a healthy lifestyle, whether that included skin and body care products, therapeutic spa treatments, healthier food choices and products, greener homecare and household products, or interviews with individuals who represent key aspects of this topic. I’ve also tried to attend trade events that feature trends and innovation in these areas. Over the years, I’ve written a number of articles that cover all of these topics. This article is no different, and continues this theme by focusing on healthy food choices.
I recently attended the 93rd National Restaurant Association Show (May 5-8, 2012; McCormick Place, Chicago). There were over nineteen hundred exhibitors showcasing the latest trends and innovation in food, foodservice, equipment, technology, environmental, safety, nutrition, education and business. It featured some of the brightest and best in this industry's manufacturing, farming, packaging and production segments. Over sixty-one thousand attendees from all fifty states and over one hundred countries attended this year’s trade-only show. Biggest trends within the industry this year include healthier alternatives, gluten-free items and food trucks.
While I wasn’t able to take in the entire show due to its enormity, I managed to peruse the organic and natural food sections, which would prove somewhat difficult, since the aisles were always crammed with attendees; it was tough getting to the front of the fray to chat with any of the exhibitors to learn a bit more about their products. I was keen on connecting with a few of the exhibitors and was fortunate enough to have scheduled interviews prior to my arrival; my interviews were with Linda Appel Lipsius, CEO and Co-Founder, Teatulia Tea, and also Chef Big Shake, Shawn Davis, creator of the Original Shrimpburger. I enjoyed speaking with both of them and definitely gained a better appreciation for their passion and commitment to offering healthy and delicious items.
Chef Big Shake ~ At the age of twelve, Shawn Davis was becoming a young man on the tough streets of Long Island, New York. His devoted mother knew that once school was out for the year, spending summers on those streets wouldn’t be “healthy” for him, nor help mold him into becoming a productive man. So, she gave him some tough love and opted to send him to Fire Island to spend his summer, participating in a special program for youth; she knew he’d enjoy the program, because it involved something he always enjoyed doing at home, and that was cooking alongside his grandmother and mother. The summer program involved studying and being mentored by chef and restaurateur, Giovanni Palmero, who had a very successful fine-dining Italian restaurant on Ocean Beach, Fire Island, “CJ Palmero’s”. For seven summers, Chef Palmero would teach Shawn everything about the business, from the bottom up; no task was too menial or too great for him to experience and master, including cooking. Within three years and at the age of only fifteen, he would rise to become the restaurant’s head chef. Through the devoted mentorship of Chef Palmero, Shawn learned to love the creativity and business of cooking and restaurants and was inspired to pursue a career in cooking. He would go on to work at numerous hotels and become a personal chef for many of Hollywood’s celebrities.
In time, he’d marry and have a daughter that would eventually inspire him further with his passion for food. At the age of ten, his daughter decided to become a vegetarian, and eliminate all meat and poultry from her diet, except fish. Being a wise and loving father, he supported her fully, but also applied his knowledge of food; he wanted to make sure that whatever she ate, it would be healthy and not another fad diet or short-lived trend. This would catapult him into developing food recipes of just fish and seafood, and were nutritionally balanced, high in protein, low in fat and calories, delicious tasting and fast and easy to prepare.
In 2007, Shawn formed his own company, which would eventually become a multi-million dollar business, and continues to grow. His main creation is The Original Shrimp Burger, a premier gourmet all-vegetarian burger was the perfect item to begin his mega company. Before his company CBS Foods, Inc. was getting started once he realized his original recipe was a winner, he was a realist and recognized that in order to grow a business successfully, an entrepreneur also needed more capital investment to help grow that business; in time, he’d make an appearance on the popular ABC television program “Shark Tank” to pitch his products and ask for investors; unfortunately, there weren’t any takers. Not easily disappointed, he knew he was on to a great product and wasn’t going to be discouraged by a few millionaires who turned him down in front of millions of viewers. Shortly after his appearance, he began getting numerous offers from other interest investors and companies that wanted in on his product. And like they say, the rest is history.
CBS Foods, Inc. is now a multi-million venture and growing. The full product range is available online, at Costco and other select retailers, and is also a featured product on QVC; the entire line is also available for foodservice. The full product range includes the The Original Shrimp Burger, Jalapeño Shrimp Burger, Cajun Shrimp Burger, Teriyaki Shrimp Burger, Chesapeake Bay Burger, Lobster Sliders, Lobster Pot Pies and Lobster Mac and Cheese. I had the pleasure of trying the Original Shrimp Burger, Jalapeño Shrimp Burger and Teriyaki Shrimp Burger. I loved how they quickly cooked and could be eaten with or without a bun; I also found the simpler the toppings the better, which allow the delicious sweet taste of the Louisiana Gulf shrimp to shine.
It was a real delight spending time with Chef Big Shake, Shawn Davis and hearing about his story and his love and passion for his family, his products, his company everything he does. Most of all, he absolutely loves how his products have been received and how much enjoyment people have derived each and every mouthful. I hope our paths cross again; meeting him was like seeing a friend you hadn’t seen in many years. And, I love his burgers ~ they certainly don’t make me miss the meat! http://www.chefbigshake.com
Lifeway Frozen Kefir ~ Kefir, a cultured and fermented milk drink has been around for centuries and has its origins in Turkey. I’ve always enjoyed the taste of Kefir and consider it a drinkable yogurt; it’s a bit on the tart side, but always refreshing. Lifeway Kefir is made from grass-fed cows milk that’s also free of bovine growth hormones (rBGH) and antibiotics. Each fluid cup is packed with live and active cultures, or good probiotic bacteria, our digestive tract needs for optimal digestive and intestinal health and is naturally high in protein and calcium. Lifeway recently announced the addition of Frozen Kefir products. I had the pleasure of trying Frozen ProBugs, the kid-friendly version of this “health” drink in a kid-sized squeezable container. Flavors like Goo-Berry Pie, Strawnana Split and Orange Creamy Crawler not only had cute names, but the packaging would put a smile on any kid’s face, regardless of their age. The Goo-Berry Pie was “berry-licious”, and the Strawnana Split didn’t even matter it hadn’t any chocolate sauce, whipped cream, nuts or cherry on top, and the Orange Creamy Crawler reminded me of a creamy orange “dreamsicle”; each flavor was delicious. The other product I tried was the Tart and Tangy Chocolate, Tart and Tangy Dulce de Leche and Tart and Tangy Pumpkin. Packaged in a pint container, each flavor was definitely tart and tangy, but also very refreshing. The flavors were all rich, creamy and delicious; the Chocolate was subtle and tasted like mocha (would love to see a dark chocolate version); the Dulce de Leche reminded me of a vanilla sundae, minus the caramel sauce and nuts; the Pumpkin reminded me of Thanksgiving, and I didn’t even miss the pie crust or whipped topping. Both of these new lines are a definite hit and with the spat of heat waves hitting most of our regions, each is a vacation for the mouth. Be sure to check out their website and read their Corporate Social Responsibility, which includes aspects of sustainability and going green, giving back to the community, and other key missions. http://www.lifeway.net
Teatulia Tea ~ I think this is one of the best-certified organic tea varieties I’ve ever tasted. Teatulia Tea is the only Bangladeshi tea farm to have ever been certified as organic by the USDA. No matter which variety I tried (white, green, black or tisane), each brew always tasted clean and refreshing; the purity of the brew held up whether it was steeped and consumed hot, or steeped and allowed to chill and then consumed; each flavor remained true and never diminished; those varieties that were infused with other ingredients were subtle and never over-powering. The tea varieties I tried included White, Green, Black, Benghal Breakfast, Earl of Benghal, Neem Nectar, Tulsi Infusion, Peppermint, Ginger and Lemongrass. I also enjoy the videos on their website; each is informative, inspiring and touching, but especially the video under their About Us drop down, http://www.teatulia.com/about-us.htm. This clip tells the remarkable and uplifting story about the Teatulia Tea Garden, its philosophy, its people and their purpose. Teatulia Tea lives its mission of social responsibility by caring for the land and its people, who are the caretakers of these wonderful teas. Speaking with Linda Appel Lipsius at the show was enjoyable. Her passion and commitment to the brand and its caretakers was evident throughout our conversation; she emphasized the unique aspect of their Single Garden tea farm and how it is overseen and maintained by a community that is committed to growing, nurturing and cultivating the teas; she is also proud of the fact that only sustainable growing procedures are adhered to, including using rainwater irrigation; at the same time, the tea farm’s caretakers are also benefiting from this tea, as their livelihoods are derived from it. The entire cycle of growing, harvesting and even its packaging is organic and made of recycled materials. My culinary tips suggestions on how to enjoy these varieties even more include combining some of them, like Ginger with Lemongrass, or Ginger with Earl of Benghal; or, try using Ginger or Lemongrass for poaching fish to subtly infuse and perfume the fish with these pure culinary flavors; you can even be creative by making a refreshing frozen granita using the Ginger, Lemongrass or Peppermint varieties individually, or combined with each other, or altogether. http://www.teatulia.com
~ Worth Mentioning ~
Braveheart Premium Black Angus Beef ~ This company is the only one I know of that has a patented and trademarked DNATraceBack registry that not only traces lineage of their livestock of natural grass-fed beef cattle, but can also detect other stocks that aren’t naturally grass-fed, or DNA traceable, or in their registry; this company offers some of the industry’s most rigid safety and testing standards. http://braveheartfoods.com
Copa Di Vino ~ This is the first-ever company to offer premium wine varietals “bottled” in hygienic, pre-measured and vacuum sealed individual glasses (100% recylced plastic); varieties include Merlot, Cabernet, White Zinfandel, Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. http://www.copadivino.com
Healthy Dining Locator ~ Ever wonder which restaurants in your area, then this website is just what you need to feel safe about where you and your family choose to dine. http://www.healthydiningfinder.com
Pumice Scouring Stick ~ A must-have in the kitchen to scrub away the hard-crusted food residue without having to use harmful or toxic chemicals; surfaces not thoroughly cleaned, where any residue remains on the cooking surface, bacteria will accumulate and lead to illness or cross-contamination; great in the bathroom as well. http://www.uspumice.com
Raaw Fresh Juices ~ Using 100% all-natural fruit and vegetable juices, no sugar, no preservatives, non-GMO verified, gluten-free, vegan and Kosher certified; varieties include Pineapple Cucumber, Passion Fruits Wheatgrass, Raspberry Lemongrass, Carrot Lemonade, Better Beets and Cranberry Ginger. http://www.raawfoods.com
SPE Certified ~ Latin for “Sanitas Per Escam” or “Health Through Food”, this new culinary certification program will elevate a restaurant’s integrity when it comes to its menu food items. The program will certify ingredient sourcing, cooking techniques that optimize the nutritional aspects of ingredients and enhanced nutritional synergies of ingredient combinations. http://www.specertified.com
~ My Perspective ~
There are many cynics who challenge the food and restaurant industry for its lack of commitment and interest in social issues that include food safety, food health, nutrition, food education, sustainability and community. Unfortunately, many of these individuals are making ill-founded conclusions based on clique-based misinformation and negative media-hype. For those naysayers, please take some time and check out this industry’s website, and familiarize yourself with their stated commitments on Food & Healthy Living and Sustainability & Social Responsibility and the many programs they offer to its members that strengthen their commitment to these areas of concern. The Restaurant Industry is deeply committed to all of these important social issues, which impacts us all. http://www.restaurant.org
That’s it for this edition. Until the next one, remember to take care of yourself and those you love.
By Terry Herman
Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. She also serves on EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Journeys In Retreat To Wellness Advisory Board, which is comprised of ten international experts in various fields of wellness and spa. She also serves as a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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(Photo credits ~ introductory, www.womenover40health.com; all others, as represented by the specific brand.)