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Why I'm going vegan

Why I'm going vegan

Today, I received this email from a good friend:

"I guess I'm pretty much vegan now. I'll still be rocking leather boots, but no animal products go into my body anymore! I'm so happy to be back to real foods. It's been pretty easy for me. I never really ate red meat or dairy, so it's more a matter of not eating chicken and eggs. I really haven't missed them. I feel better, think more clearly and I'm not giving my money to that system anymore."

This friend has struggled with digestive and health issues since I've known him. He's seen multiple doctors to treat chronic back pain, and though I'm not surprised, not one suggested dietary changes. He did his own research, decided to try a vegan lifestyle, and while it's only been a few months, already he's noticing health improvements beyond what he did while taking medication.  

His story is just one of many that I've heard while researching and writing stories for Natural Foods Merchandiser. Working on a feature for our December issue, I was struck by the number of dietitians, doctors and even retailers who now also support a plant-based diet. Take for example Whole Foods Engine 2 Campaign. For 28 days customers can sign up to eat a vegan diet following Rip Esselstyn’s book, The Engine 2 Diet (Wellness Central, 2009). When the program debuted in 2009, more than 5,000 people signed up, and since its inception it continues to gain steam. Can you imagine such a program taking off during the days of  Atkins?

According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarians and vegans have lower rates of cancer, lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels and fewer instances of obesity. The research is so convincing, I've decided to try ditching animal products myself.  While I do cook most of my meals at home, rarely eat meat and regularly enjoy a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, I'm intrigued with what veganism may offer. Who couldn't use more energy and increased focus, not to mention fewer pounds before swimsuit season?  

This weekend I picked up Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook (Da Capo, 2007) and began scanning recipes. Some call for curious ingredients such as vital wheat gluten and textured vegetable protein. I opted to make the baked potato soup with kale as it sounded the most like something I'd find in a Deborah Madison cookbook.  I tested my creation this afternoon and while pleased with the result, couldn't help but think, all this needs is a little sour cream.  I may need a little help. If you're vegan, I'd love to hear what you serve non-vegan friends, and how you've managed to stick to the diet.

derma e featured on NBC’s The TODAY Show

derma e featured on NBC’s The TODAY Show

On Monday, November 21, 2011, derma e® Natural Bodycare was featured on NBC’s The TODAY Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda.  Beauty Director of Natural Health Magazine, Melissa Foss, highlighted derma e®’s Tropical SolutionsAnti-Aging Eye Crème in the segment, Which Beauty Product is Best For You?  This is the second time derma e® has been featured on The TODAY Show in the last two months.     

In discussing the winners of Natural Health Magazine’s 2011 Best in Natural Beauty Awards, Melissa reinforced that natural beauty products are affordable and effective, and that “green is glamorous!”  As an Editor’s Pick award-winner, the Tropical Solutions Anti-Aging Eye Crème was recommended by Melissa because she mixes this formulawith her concealer for day-time use, “and it really works!”

derma e®’s Tropical Solutions Anti-Aging Eye Crème, rich in tropical Tamanu Oil, antioxidants Green Tea and Pomegranate, wrinkle-fighting CoQ10, skin-softening Avocado, soothing Aloe and nourishing Vitamins A, C and E, helps protect, soften and smooth the delicate skin around the eyes.  Ideal for those who are looking to help prevent or diminish the visible signs of aging, this pineapple-mango scented formula nourishes and hydrates for younger-looking eyes.   

“derma e® strives to make affordable, high quality natural products that work and we are so pleased to see the results of our efforts gain national media exposure,” says Dr. Linda Miles L. Ac., D.O.M., Vice President of derma e® Natural Bodycare.

For over 27 years, derma e® Natural Bodycare has pioneered the development of high-performance antioxidant skincare solutions. This award-winning, comprehensive line offers over 90 SKUs that are free of parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfates, mineral oil and lanolin, and are cruelty-free, 100% vegan and manufactured with wind energy [wind energy certificates purchased to offset all electrical use].  derma e® can be found in over 5000+ retail outlets across the U.S., with additional distribution in 36 countries internationally and on Find us on Facebook and Twitter too. derma e® is family owned and operated and dedicated to serving the natural products retailer.


Delicious Living

Reduce carbon footprint through carpooling

Reduce carbon footprint through carpooling

Carpooling may conjure images of little league baseball games and minivans, but a new innovative website is on a quest to connect travelers, the eco-conscious, and the car-less together., the Europe-based brainchild of co-founders Michael Reinicke, Matthias Siedler, and Stefan Weber, is an online rideshare site where users—whether offering a ride or in need of one—can post carpooling schedules online. With over 3.4 million registered users and 2 million unique visitors per month, is a low-cost, tangible alternative to European public transportation. An added plus? The website connects 45 countries, and has led to thousands of new friendships (not to mention ten weddings!).

“The convenience and privacy of a car is always attractive versus public transport, but the cost can sometimes be prohibitive,” said Weber in an interview with Organic Connections magazine. “Carpooling can reduce transport costs by up to 75 percent, which naturally makes it an affordable and viable option. Since its inception, we have helped save 323 million liters [just over 85 million gallons] of fuel and prevented 630,000 tons of COfrom entering the atmosphere.”

Can the United States expect to use in the future? Perhaps. Rumblings of internationally expanding the site are brewing, especially with increasing concerns of pollution-induced diseases. Weber continues, “In some states, traffic congestion is very high and public transport is quite unreliable. The USA also embraces innovative ideas when they make sense.”

Read more in Organic Connections.

NPA urges industry to continue fight against adulteration

NPA urges industry to continue fight against adulteration

Natural Products Association (NPA) Executive Director and CEO John  Gay responds to a report by the Government Accountability Office on  economically motivated adulteration. NPA is the leading representative  of the dietary supplement industry with over 1,900 members representing  more than 10,000 manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers of vitamins and  other dietary supplements.
"The GAO report reminds us that the issue of economically motivated  adulteration, or EMA, has been with us for as long as there has been  commerce, and that it persists to a greater or lesser degree in a number  of segments, including dietary supplements and other foods. NPA  supports government and industry efforts to combat this illegal  practice.
For example, NPA joined forces with the other trade associations in  supporting the Food and Drug Administration in its efforts to eliminate  drugs masquerading as dietary supplements. This coalition backs FDA’s  actions to hold accountable those who violate the law by illegally  marketing such products.
In addition to NPA’s education efforts, we also support other  industry programs in this area. Most recently, NPA endorsed a program by  the American Botanical Council that would educate the dietary  supplement industry about ingredient and product adulteration. We  appreciated the opportunity to discuss these efforts with the GAO  investigators.
It’s important for all government and industry to work together to keep these products from the marketplace.”
Natural Products Association
The Natural Products Association (NPA), founded in  1936, is the largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the  natural products industry. NPA represents over 1,900 members accounting  for more than 10,000 locations of retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers  and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary  supplements, and health/beauty aids. As the leading voice of the natural  products industry, the NPA’s mission is to advocate for the rights of  consumers to have access to products that will maintain and improve  their health, and for the rights of retailers and suppliers to sell  these products.

Chr. Hansen launches L. Casei 431® Juice probiotic

Chr. Hansen launches L. Casei 431® Juice probiotic

Long glancing at the sweeping success of probiotic yoghurt the international beverage industry has been wishing for a probiotic which is capable of surviving in fruit juice throughout the juice product’s shelf life.

Well, look no further.

After months of research and product development Chr. Hansen—already a leading supplier of documented probiotics for the international dairy and dietary supplements industries—enters new probiotic territory with the launch of ‘L. Casei 431® Juice’, a probiotic developed to survive in low pH environments such as chilled juice and juice drinks.

Proof of concept

“L. Casei 431® Juice contains Lactobacillus paracasei 431®. This probiotic strain has very strong scientific documentation as well as a long history of use in yoghurt and dietary supplement products,” explains Marie Brenoee, Global Marketing Manager, Probiotic Cultures, Chr. Hansen.“With a survival of eight weeks, thus securing long shelf life for the beverage product, L. Casei 431® Juice outperforms competitive products in the marketplace.Further, L. Casei 431® Juice has no side effects in the beverage such as unpleasant off-flavor or gas formation. We simply consider the strainthe probiotic juice category’s ‘proof of concept’.”

To tackle traditional production risks associated with adding live probiotic bacteria to juice after pasteurization—risks such as molds, yeasts and cross contamination of the juice plant—Chr. Hansen teamed up with Swedish processing and food safety expert Tetra Pak. Together Tetra Pak and Chr. Hansen has developed a unique inoculation system which guarantees safe production of probiotic juice.

Consumer interest

“As consumers familiarize with the benefits of probiotics new food applications are being tested by the F&B industry and we are confident that consumers are will welcome juice with added health benefits, the carrier being something as natural as probiotics. We are looking forward to supporting beverage producers who wish to explore the opportunities of the probiotic juice category – or as we say: add the good life to juice,” ends Marie Brenoee.

Visitors to Chr. Hansen’s stand at Food Ingredients Europe 2011 taking place in Paris, France on November 29 – December (stand number 2D31 in hall 2)are invited to taste a range of juice products containing L. Casei 431® Juice and hear more about this landmark innovation.

Carotech presents “Natural Vitamin E Tocotrienol in Neuroprotection and Against Stroke” webinar

Carotech presents “Natural Vitamin E Tocotrienol in Neuroprotection and Against Stroke” webinar

Carotech, the largest and only GMP-certified palm tocotrienol complex producer, is pleased to announce that a webinar, presented by Prof. Chandan Sen will be held on December 6th, 11am, EST. The webinar is now open for registration.

Prof. Chandan Sen is a Professor and Vice Chair of Research of Surgery at the Ohio State University Medical Center. He is the author of the most cited work in tocotrienol, in his research on tocotrienols and neuroprotection, since 2000. With over 250 publications under his name, Prof. Sen is also cited over 900 times a year in the literature. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the #1 rated journal in redox biology - Antioxidants & Redox Signaling (impact factor 8.209).

Prof. Sen was the first researcher to study tocotrienols and neuroprotection and has spent more than a decade studying tocotrienols’ potent neuroprotection properties against stroke-induced injuries.  He receives research funding from the NIH (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) and uses Tocomin® and Tocomin SupraBio® full spectrum palm tocotrienol complex in his studies.  

Prof. Sen’s webinar topic is entitled “Natural Vitamin E Tocotrienol In Neuroprotection And Against Stroke”.

The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) is the sponsor of this webinar session, which is a part of the palm fruit bioactives educational series launched since 2010. 

“As a continuous effort to provide research updates and education about the beneficial effects of Tocomin® and Tocomin SupraBio® in preventing stroke-related neurodegeneration, Prof. Chandan Sen will present a detailed and highly informative webinar on December 6th at 11am Eastern Standard Time. Everyone - from consumer, researchers to members of the nutraceutical industry, must grab this opportunity to register (free registration) for this webinar in order to learn first-hand how Tocomin SupraBio® provides unique protection against stroke-related neuro injuries,”says Mr. WH Leong, Vice President, Carotech Inc.

Do not miss out on this highly informative webinar session. Register now at:

Nutrition 21’s assets acquired by an investment group with experience in pharmaceutical industry

Nutrition 21’s assets acquired by an investment group with experience in pharmaceutical industry

The assets of Nutrition 21 have been acquired by an investment group led by Phillip and Michael Satow.  The Company will continue to operate as Nutrition 21.

Michael Satow will serve as President and Chief Executive Officer and Phillip Satow as Chairman of the Board.   Phillip and Michael together have almost 50 years of experience in the healthcare industry.  Most recently, they founded and built JDS Pharmaceuticals, LLC (“JDS”), a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the psychiatric and women’s health markets.   JDS was sold in 2007 to Noven Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for $125 million. 

Prior to JDS, Phillip was Executive Vice President of Forest Laboratories, Inc. and President of Forest Pharmaceuticals. Phillip also served in senior positions at Pfizer and Carter Wallace.  He has served on the boards of directors of public companies, including Forest Laboratories, Inc. , CrucellInc., Eyetech, Inc., and Noven. 

Prior to JDS, Michael founded and/or served as CEO of several venture backed companies as well as being a practicing attorney for five years.  Michael currently sits on several private companies’ and non-profit boards.

Michael Satow commented, “I am very excited about the acquisition of Nutrition 21’s assets.  As CEO, I am committed to maintain the highest standards of quality and customer service that you have enjoyed in the past.  I intend to invest and grow this business as well as expand the Company’s range of offerings.”

Phillip Satow stated that, “The nutraceutical and functional food sectors are undergoing significant regulatory and market change.  Our knowledge of the healthcare space, combined with the deep experience of Nutrition 21’s personnel will position us well for growth in the future.”

The GMO debate from Boulder to Washington

The GMO debate from Boulder to Washington

I live in a strange, and somewhat surreal, place. Boulder, Colo., is considered the happiest and fittest place in the country. I’d be willing to bet we have more natural products retailers and natural products sales per capita than anywhere in the country, with three Whole Foods Markets, Vitamin Cottage, Alfalfa’s Market, Sprouts Farmers Market,and Sunflower Market all within close proximity, not to mention the Safeway and Kroger stores that are also laden with ample organic and natural offerings. Pharmaca is headquartered here, too, and Justin’s Nut Butter, Horizon, Silk, Good Belly, Celestial Seasonings, Rudi’s Organic Bakery and Pangea Organics are just a few companies that call Boulder home.

So why in the world would this town, this county, that prides itself on being the happiest, healthiest, most organic and natural product-focused in the country allow GMO crops to be grown on Boulder County Open Space agricultural lands?

Dozens of countries, including the European Union, China, Japan and Australia have banned or restricted GMOs because of the lack of testing or long-term studies covering the effects of GMOs on the environment and human health. A friend recounted to me recently how when he lived in England, he first became aware of GMOs when the checkout clerk at his local food store separated all of the GMO vs. non-GMO foods he was buying. She just wanted him to “be aware” that he was buying GMO foods.

My friend called this his “aha" moment. He realized then he should start paying closer attention to this issue. He now works for Silk, whose products are all Non-GMO Project verified. England, like many European countries, since has mandated the labeling of GMO foods.

But GMO labeling is optional in the U.S., and that labeling is largely implemented through the Non-GMO Project. The “Just Label It!” campaign, driven by industry advocates, has filed a legal petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration calling on the FDA to label genetically engineered foods. In my mind, labeling GMO foods is simply our right to know what is in our food.

How GMOs contaminate the food supply

GMO products start with GMO crops and companies like Monsanto, whose “Roundup Ready crops” are at the heart of the issue. Monsanto and a few other companies, such as Syngenta and DuPont, have been driving the infiltration of GMO crops in part by their ownership of seed companies. The Independent Professional Seed Association estimates that there are probably only 100 seed companies left, down from more than 300 companies13 years ago.

Not only are there questions surrounding the safety of GMO foods, the existence of GMO crops put non-GMO crops at risk. If you happen to have an organic farm next to a farm that grows GMO crops, the onus is on the organic farmer to keep GMO drift off of his land and prove the purity of his crops. GMO crops threaten our choice for organic, or really, our choice for non-GMO, organic or not.

While private farmlands face the GMO versus organic crops challenge, why escalate the problem by allowing more GMO crops on public lands? To be clear, GMO corn has been growing on limited public lands for about a decade. The current issue came into the spotlight in 2008, when six farmers asked to grow GMO sugar beets on Boulder's public lands. A decade ago, GMO was not in the headlines, little was known about it, and Monsanto’s move to gobble up seed companies was happening with little public awareness. But since 2008, the general public has become more aware and more vocal. As a result, the 2008 request was stalled until now.

Boulder's GMO policy

The Boulder County Open Space decision is not fait accompli. Boulder County has now developed a cropland policy, which outlines that GMO crops should be allowed with limitations, only if the benefits outweigh the risks. But who decides benefits over risks? Especially when we need time to truly understand the risks of GMOs (think Agent Orange or BPA).

There will be a session for the public to comment on this proposed policy on Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. in the Longmont Conference Center. In the meantime, a local group, GMOKnow, has developed its own Citizens Cropland Policy [PDF], which calls for a GMO ban, and outlines ways to manage the land with a sustainable future in mind.

To me, allowing more GMOs on public lands in Boulder is akin to watching a car wreck in slow motion. You can see the destruction happening before your eyes. Some people choose to look the other way, some people scream, others watch in awe, not able to process what is happening fast enough.

No matter, the damage is irreversible. The damage is done. Sadly, the damage here, in this happy, healthy place, is but a glimpse at what is happening in the rest of the country. It threatens the health of our land. In the larger context, as an unknown entity, GMOs place at risk the health of our food system, and therefore, our health, not to mention that of our children. I prefer the happy, healthy Boulder, and I appreciate everyone in who continues to raise their voice to say "No" to GMOs in Boulder County

Who needs health claims, asks new Taura Fruit Ingredients & Snacking Report

Who needs health claims, asks new Taura Fruit Ingredients & Snacking Report

The Taura Fruit Ingredients & Snacking Report 2012 says that fruit and vegetables already have an overwhelmingly positive image in consumers’ minds – presenting a major advantage in a market where the EU’s Nutrition & Health Claims Regulation is set to make it more difficult to promote products with specific health benefits.

In the new report Taura, which produces market-leading Ultra Rapid Concentrated® (URC®) fruit and vegetable ingredients, says:

“Europe’s exacting, near-pharmaceutical requirements for scientific substantiation have taken the use of many health claims off the table for marketers for now. But for fruit – unlike many healthy ingredients that manufacturers could choose to use in snacks, bakery, breakfast cereals or confectionery – this will be no obstacle.”

The report includes data from a survey conducted by Ipsos, in which researchers asked consumers in France, Germany, Spain and the UK what lifestyle changes they felt they should make to improve their health or stay healthy. In each country, ‘eat fruit’ and ‘eat vegetables’ appeared in the top 5 responses.

Mattias Van Uffelen, Head of Sales for Europe & UK at Taura, said: “The findings from the Ipsos study show that most people already recognize fruit and vegetables are good for them. And in a world following full implementation of the EU’s health claims regulation, where companies are severely restricted in terms of the messages they can use to communicate the benefits of their products, this level of embedded consumer awareness will be an extremely valuable asset.”

Other highlights of the report include:

• An exclusive column from leading European nutritionist Béatrice de Reynal de Saint Michel, who writes: “It is imperative that manufacturers are able to offer to consumers naturally healthy snacks which are rich in fruits and/or vegetables, are flavourful and in-step with current trends so as to be appealing to all ages. The future of food lies with innovations that carefully combine pleasure, flavour and nutrition.”

• Detailed data illustrating why fruit and vegetable ingredients are a key growth trend and opportunity. In 2011, for example, the European market for 100% fruit ingredients has grown 20% to a value of €40-€45 million (source: New Nutrition Business).

• An insight into why the launch of Taura’s new URC®Inclusions™ range signals that products combining 100% concentrated fruit and ancient grains such as quinoa, amaranth and chia could be the next big thing in snacks, confectionery and breakfast cereals.

All journalists attending Food Ingredients Europe are invited to stop by at Stand #1E47 to meet Taura’s European team and find out more about the company’s wide range of groundbreaking concepts and innovations, all based on its URC®technology.

URC®is a unique process of concentrating the taste, texture and natural goodness of fruit and vegetables into pieces, flakes and pastes for use in applications such as snack bars, fruit snacks, baked goods, breakfast cereals and confectionery.

POM Wonderful introduces ready-to-eat package of fresh pomegranate seeds

POM Wonderful introduces ready-to-eat package of fresh pomegranate seeds

POM Wonderful, the largest US grower of fresh pomegranates and producer of pomegranate juice, makes enjoying pomegranates easier this season with the launch of POM POMS, a convenient, ready-to-eat package of ruby red arils from California-grown Wonderful variety pomegranates available nationally in the fresh cut-fruit section of most major grocery stores now through February.

POM POMS are available in two convenient sizes: a 4.3oz. size that includes its own spoon for easier snacking and a larger 8oz. size ideal for the whole family to enjoy any time of day.

The introduction of POM POMS provides easy access to the fruit while expanding pomegranates to a wider market of consumers.

"POM POMS makes enjoying pomegranates easier than ever especially for time-starved consumers who are always on the go," said Laurie McCartney, CMO of POM Wonderful. "With the pop of a lid, POM POMS eliminates the need to understand how to open the fruit and offers a simple, fun way to enjoy all the benefits of Wonderful variety pomegranates."


The 4.3oz. size of POM POMS is a deliciously healthy on-the-go snack and complements packed lunches of young and old alike. Bursting with sweet-tart pomegranate juice, Wonderful variety arils also contain vitamins, minerals and polyphenol antioxidants.

Every day Enjoyment

With their surprisingly sweet-tart taste, Wonderful variety pomegranates offer a culinary versatility that adds sweet overtones to a savory entree or zest to a dessert.  Drop the gem-like arils into glasses of champagne for an extra special holiday toast, toss spoonfuls of arils in salads for added color and texture or sprinkle them over cereal and yogurt for a delicious start to the day.

Holiday Feasts

Due to their culinary versatility, ruby red Wonderful variety pomegranate arils can be enjoyed in a variety of holiday dishes. Unlike other fall fruits available, fresh arils can add a burst of sweetness to a holiday sauce or stuffing and also provide zest to a holiday dessert.

POM POMS are available nationwide through February, and have a suggested retail price of $3.99 for the 4.3oz. size and $5.99 for the 8oz. size. 

About POM Wonderful

POM Wonderful is the largest producer of California Wonderful pomegranates and the company exclusively grows and sells this variety.  POM Wonderful's pomegranates grow in central California, in the sunny San Joaquin Valley.  Fresh pomegranates are in season from October through January and November is National Pomegranate Month.

Through its proprietary technology, POM Wonderful is able to use its fresh pomegranates to make its delicious, all-natural POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and extract POMx, an all-natural, ultra-potent concentration of polyphenol antioxidants.  POMx is available exclusively in POM Tea, POMx Pills, POMx Liquid and POMx Shots.  POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice, LITE POM and POM Tea are available year-round in the refrigerated section of produce departments in supermarkets nationwide.  POMx Pills, POMx Liquid and POMx Shots are sold online exclusively at To learn more, visit