Thursday, August 25, 2011

All About Anthocyanins: What they are, why they are good for you, and how to incorporate them into your diet

We’ve all seen ‘buzz’ about antioxidants in the media. Whether it’s for cancer prevention, free-radical wrinkle fighting, heart health or anti-aging, antioxidants have been deemed necessary for optimum health and wellness. How come? Antioxidants prevent oxidation of cells, which means they fight abnormal cell growth and changes, often related to cancer and illness, which is why they have become known as great cancer fighters. While these miracle compounds have been talked about a great deal, what we haven’t really heard is that there are thousands of different types of antioxidants found naturally in the foods we eat. One type in particular that has proven to be specially beneficial is the anthocyanin, which has a laundry list of health benefits all its own. Why? Let’s find out.  

From a biochemistry standpoint, anthocyanins are any of a class of water-soluble pigments that give flowers the colors ranging from red to blue. When it comes to food, these pigments are reflected in dark red, blue and purple colors found mostly in berries, cherries, plums and grapes. A flavonoid, or compound of nutrients found in food that have been shown to be beneficial for health, anthocyanins have been shown to offer protection to body systems through inflammation fighting properties, prevention of tissue oxidation, decreasing of ‘bad’ ldl cholesterol, diabetes treatment and improvement in eyesight.

Because of the ability of anthocyanins to combat so many health ailments and everyday occurrences, incorporating these antioxidant rockstars into the diet is essential for wellbeing and longevity. In addition, anthocyanins have been dubbed ‘the color of youth,’ offering beauty boosting benefits, including reduced skin inflammation and stabilization of collagen. Anthocyanins have also been shown to alleviate symptoms of photoaging caused by the sun’s UV rays, providing a more youthful glow to the skin.

Fortunate for us, the super antioxidant anthocyanins are not hard to come by. Found in foods that have a dark red, purple or blue pigment, anthocyanins can be incorporated into any diet. Cherries contain some of the highest amounts of anthocyanins compared to some other foods, and are a delicious way to get your daily dose of anthocyanins. Tart cherry juice is another way to consume your anthocyanins, as well as offer many other health benefits.

As the saying goes, you truly “Are what you eat” when it comes to anthocyanins. Eat up, and your body (and skin) will thank you!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What you need to know about healthy eating

Nutrition is to your body what gas is to a car – the fuel it needs to function. Without gas, a car will not run, and will sit idly in your driveway. Without proper nutrition, your body will not have energy to perform at its optimum level, and you may feel tired, fatigued, and impaired at work, in physical activity, or in everyday functions. Similar to filling up a car with premium fuel, providing your body the proper nutrition it needs will not only allow your muscles, organs and systems to function smoothly, but you will feel great, look great, and have the energy you need to put your best food forward, everyday.

When it comes to nutrition and healthy eating, there are many differing beliefs and ‘fad’ diets out there. However, if you follow a few simple basics, you will be sure to cover the major food groups and hit your daily nutritional needs. Here are some healthy eating basics, courtesy of WebMD, that will help you begin your path to nutritional rockstar status:

How do you get started on healthy eating?

Healthy eating starts with learning new ways to eat, such as adding more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and cutting back on foods that have a lot of fat, salt, and sugar.

A change to healthier eating also includes learning about balance, variety, and moderation.
  • Aim for balance. Most days, eat from each food group-vegetables and fruit, grain products, milk and alternatives, and meat and alternatives. Listen to your body. Eat when you're hungry. Stop when you feel satisfied.
  • Look for variety. Be adventurous. Choose different foods in each food group. For example, don't reach for an apple every time you choose a fruit. Eating a variety of foods each day will help you get all the nutrients you need.
  • Practice moderation. Don't have too much or too little of one thing. All foods, if eaten in moderation, can be part of healthy eating. Even sweets can be okay.

Why pay attention to what you eat?

Healthy eating will help you get the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It will help you feel your best and have plenty of energy. It can help you handle stress better.

Healthy eating is one of the best things you can do to prevent and control many health problems, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Some types of cancer

Is healthy eating the same as going on a diet?

Healthy eating is not a diet. It means making changes you can live with and enjoy for the rest of your life.

Diets are temporary. Because you give up so much when you diet, you may be hungry and think about food all the time. And after you stop dieting, you also may overeat to make up for what you missed.

Eating a healthy, balanced variety of foods is far more satisfying. And if you match that with more physical activity, you are more likely to get to a healthy weight-and stay there-than if you diet.

How do you make healthy eating a habit?

First, think about your reasons for healthier eating. Do you want to improve your health? Do you want to feel better? Are you trying to set an example for your kids?

Next, think about some small changes you can make. Pick ones you can keep doing.
  • Don't try to change everything at once.
  • Set an easy goal you can reach, like having a salad and a piece of fruit each day.
  • Make a long-term goal too, such as having one vegetarian dinner a week.

Where can you get support?

Having support from others can be a huge help. The more support you have, the easier it will be to make changes. Ask family and friends to practice healthy eating with you. Have them help you make meals, and share healthy, delicious recipes and cooking tips.

If you need more help, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. Look online for groups that support healthy eating and share success stories.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fall Into Cherries: Preserving these precious stone fruits all year long

One of the greatest gifts of summer is fresh, deliciously ripe and juicy cherries. Whether tart or sweet, summertime is primetime for these mouthwatering little stone fruits. As summer nears its end and fall comes into sight, cherries season may begin to dwindle, however, there are many ways to preserve nature’s bounty of fresh cherries to enjoy them all year long. Whether you freeze, dry, can or make something tasty with your summer cherries, it’s guaranteed that you will be glad you did!

There are several ways to pack cherries for freezing. The best method selected will depend on how you want to use the frozen product.
  • Sugar pack. Mix 2/3 cup sugar per quart of sour cherries; or 1/3 cup sugar per quart of sweet cherries. To package, fill freezer containers to within 1/2 inch from top. If pint or quart freezer bags are used, fill to within 3/4 inches from the top. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Seal and label.
  • Unsweetened pack. Without liquid or sweetening, pack cherries into containers to within 1/2 inch from top. If pint or quart freezer bags are used, fill to within 3/4 inches from the top. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Seal and label. The fruit may be sweetened at the time of serving.
  • Loose cherry pack. Spread whole sweet cherries in a single layer on shallow trays or cookie sheets and freeze. Remove and quickly package in labeled freezer bags or containers removing as much air as possible from containers. Seal and return promptly to freezer.
  • Syrup pack. A light syrup is recommended for sweet cherries and medium syrup for sour cherries. Allow 1/2 to 2/3 cup of syrup for each pint of fruit.
Frozen cherries should be used within 1 year.

Wash fruit. Cut in half and remove pits. Cherries can be dried safely without any pretreatment, but pretreating may preserve the natural color and speed drying.

To pretreat: Ascorbic acid, available at drug stores, may be used. Prepare a solution of 1 to 2 1/2 teaspoons of pure ascorbic acid crystals to 1 quart cold water. Vitamin C tablets can be crushed and used (six 500 milligram tablets equal 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid). One cup treats about 5 quarts of cut cherries. Dip cut cherries in ascorbic acid solution. Soak for a few minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and drain well. Commercial antioxidant mixtures are not as concentrated as ascorbic acid but are more readily available in grocery stores.

Arrange fruit on drying trays in single layers, pit cavity up. Cherries will dry in 24 to 36 hours in a dehydrator, in the sun from 12 hours to four or five days, and in the oven from six to 24 hours. Properly dried cherries are leathery and shriveled.

Wash jars. Prepare lids according to manufacturer’s directions.

Prepare sugar syrup, if needed:
  • Sugar Syrup Recipes
  • Light: 1.5 cups sugar to 5.75 cups water
  • Medium: 2.25 cups sugar to 5.25 cups water (recommended for sweet cherries)
  • Heavy: 3.25 cups sugar to 5 cups water (recommended for Sour Cherries)
Stem and wash cherries. Remove pits if desired. If pitted, place cherries in water containing ascorbic acid to present stem-end discoloration (1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid or 3 grams in 1 gallon water). If canned unpitted, pricking skins on opposite sides with a clean needle will prevent splitting. Cherries may be canned in water, apple juice, white grape juice, or syrup. If syrup is desired, select and prepare preferred type as directed above. Medium syrup works well for sweet cherries and heavy syrup for sour cherries.

Hot pack– In a large saucepan add 1/2 cup water, juice, or syrup for each quart of drained fruit and bring to a boil. Fill sterilized jars with cherries and cooking liquid, leaving 1/2" headspace. Wipe the sealing edge of the jar with a clean, damp paper towel. Adjust lids. Process in a Boiling Water Bath: 10 Minutes for pint jars or 15 minutes for quart jars. Turn off heat at the end of processing and allow the kettle to sit for an additional 5 minutes before removing jars.

Raw pack– Add 1/2 cup hot water, juice, or syrup to each jar. Fill jars with drained cherries, shaking them down gently as filled. Add more hot liquid, leaving 1/2" headspace. Wipe the sealing edge of the jar with a clean, damp paper towel. Adjust lids.  Process in a Boiling Water Bath: 20 Minutes for pint jars or quart jars. Turn off heat at the end of processing and allow the kettle to sit for an additional 5 minutes before removing jars.

Canned cherries should be used within 18 months.

Select ripe or slightly overripe fruit. Wash, pit, and drain well. Puree cherries in blender. Sweetener may be added in the form of honey, or sugar. Honey is best for long storage because it doesn’t crystallize. Sugar is good for immediate use or short storage. Sweeten to taste.  Bring cherry puree to a boil. Line a plate or cookie sheet with edges with plastic wrap. Smooth out the wrinkles. Pour the pureed fruit onto the cookie sheet in a 1/4 inch thick layer. Spread evenly.
  • To dry in an oven- Place the tray on the center rack in an oven at lowest setting and prop oven door slightly open. Approximate drying time may be up to 18 hours.
  • To dry in a dehydrator- Use specially designed dehydrator trays or plastic trays. Line with plastic wrap. Pour pureed fruit on the trays in a 1/8 inch thick layer. Spread evenly. Approximate drying time is 6-8 hours.
  • Leather that is dry can be easily pulled from the plastic wrap. Fruit leather can be left on plastic or pulled from plastic wrap while still warm. Cool and re-wrap in plastic if needed.
Dried cherries and cherry fruit leather should be used within 1-2 years.

Make Pie Filling


Read more about it at,1937,152184-225198,00.html
Content Copyright © 2011 - All rights reserved.
4 quarts chopped fruit
10 c. water
4 c. sugar
1 c. cornstarch or Clear Jel (recommended)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. almond or cherry liqueur (if canning cherries)
Combine ingredients in a stainless steel or enamel lined pot. Bring to a boil and boil 10 minutes; pack hot into hot jars. Leave 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust 2 piece lids.
Process pints 15 minutes, quarts 20 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.
Note: Cherries may be packed cold into jars and covered with water or liqueur or a combination of the two; process both pints and quarts in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes.
Makes 3-5 quarts, depending upon fruit used.

How do you preserve your fresh summer cherries?

Preserving instructions from  and,1937,152184-225198,00.html

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Upgrade Your Life: Great tips for a better night’s sleep

According to the Center for Disease Control, more than two thirds of Americans aren't getting enough sleep, and a fifth of us may have major sleep disorders. No matter what our fast-paced culture says, this is a serious health problem, even an epidemic. This week's episode of Upgrade Your Life, Yahoo! News' Becky Worley shows us some of the newest ways to improve our sleep.

The basics
Your body's natural sleep rhythms are related to the amount of light in the room. So make sure to turn out the lights, cover the windows, and even use an eye shade or sleep mask if necessary. Also, don't drink anything for at least two hours before bedtime if you can help it. Those bathroom breaks can interrupt your deepest, most restful sleep.

Having trouble with noise in your sleeping area? Try earplugs; the cheap silicone variety for swimmers are the best at blocking out noise and staying in your ears all night.

New Sleep Products
Here's a new tip: According to a multi-university study, the natural antioxidants in tart cherry juice help regulate your sleep-wake cycle. The 15 older adults in the study had fewer night time wakings when they drank at least two cups a day, and they spent more time asleep, too.

Finally, lower back pain is a common complaint amongst adults, and a culprit responsible for nighttime waking and trouble sleeping.  Becky's found that using a foam roller helps stave off lower back pain in the night. It's like massaging your back ... and it works! Stretching the hamstrings before bed can help, too.

Smartphone sleep disruptions
According to a Pew Research study, 65% of us sleep with our cellphones next to the bed, and that number goes up to 90% for people age 18-29. It's true that phones make good alarm clocks, but they can wake you up when someone sends you a text, and they present a temptation to check your email and social networks. Engaging in work email or using Facebook can stimulate you just as you are falling asleep, and set your mind racing when you should be quieting it.

If you must keep your cellphone or smartphone nearby, try leaving it where you can't reach it. That way you'll have to get up to turn off the alarm, anyway. And smartphone apps can help you get to sleep by playing relaxing sounds.

Laptop-induced insomnia
Even worse than keeping a smartphone nearby are those late-night computer sessions. Again, your circadian rhythms are based on light, and the blue light that's put out by computer screens makes your body think it's still daytime. That keeps it from producing melatonin -- the sleep-inducing antioxidant that the tart cherry juice contains.

Talk to your doctor
None of the products Becky discussed this episode will cure your sleep apnea, or any other potentially life-threatening sleep disorders. There are no quick fixes for these. Talk to a doctor about them ... and sleep tight!
Article courtesy of Yahoo!

Thursday, August 4, 2011



August 4, 2011 (New York, NY) -- Cheribundi tart cherry juice, along with ultra-marathon runner Scott Jurek, have announced the winner of their Cheribundi Marathon Challenge. Jordan Flowers, a resident of Oregon City, OR, has been chosen as the winner after he garnered over 200 votes on the Cheribundi Facebook page with his inspirational story.

Flowers wrote an impassioned statement about how he has achieved many personal goals through running, including weight loss: “I'd love to work with Scott Jurek and compete in the Rock ‘n' Roll. I'm a barefoor runner who took up the sport about a year ago in an effort to lose some weight. I have lost about 145 pounds to date and am living life every day with new purpose and energy. I just ran my first half-marathon last week and am looking for new challenges.His blog,, chronicles Jordan’s journey.

Flowers will receive an all expense paid trip to Las Vegas to run in the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon, including air and hotel fare, training packets, professional tips and pointers from Scott Jurek, fitness gear and of course, Cheribundi. Scott Jurek is a celebrated ultramarathoner who is prominently featured in the New York Times bestseller "Born to Run," and is the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run and Badwater Ultra-marathon champion. Flowers will also document his experience for the Cheribundi blog.

The Rock & Roll Marathon “Nighttime Running Event” will take place on December 4, 2011 in Las Vegas, NV.

Cheribundi created this challenge to underscore the serious health benefits from tart cherry juice, which has shown to act as a natural pain reliever, alleviate aches and pains, produce speedier athletic recovery, increase energy levels and assist in better sleep. Several professional and college football, hockey and basketball athletic teams as well as runners use the product during training.  More information can be found at

How the Cheribundi Marathon Challenge worked:
  • Participants logged on to the Cheribundi Facebook page at www.facebook/cheribundi to explain on the “Wall” why they deserve to be selected to run in the marathon.
  • Then the voting began; contestants encouraged family, friends, and colleagues to vote for them via the “Like” feature on the Cheribundi Facebook page.
  • The Cheribundi Marathon Challenge ended on August 4th.

“Cheribundi is all about health and reaching your fullest fitness potential,” says Cheribundi CEO Brian Ross. “We are thrilled to help Jordan reach his goal of running in a marathon, and who better than Scott Jurek to help guide his on this journey.”

“I’ve always had the desire to guide people toward a path of wellness and optimal health,” says Jurek. “Whether they are a first-time marathon runner or an experienced ultra-marathoner, this is an exciting opportunity to help an individual reach their ultimate goals.”

About Cheribundi
Cheribundi comes in three great tasting varieties. Tru Cherry™, the original juice packed with the juice of 50 cherries. Drink 8 oz daily to get 2 servings of fruit and powerful benefits that no other fruit offers. Skinny Cherry™ has all the powerful nutrients and benefits of the original juice, but fewer calories and is sweetened with all-natural Stevia. Drink it daily if you're limiting calories and sugar, but still want that great antioxidant punch. Whey Cherry™, with 8 g of whey protein in 8 oz of juice, provides the proper mix of carbohydrate and protein for maximal repair and recovery. It has all the powerful nutrients and benefits of the original juice, but with the extra advantage of protein for those who want to stay competitive.

About Scott Jurek
A Boulder, CO resident, Scott Jurek is a world renowned ultramarathon champion and the 24-hour American record holder of 165.7 miles.  His wins include the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run an unprecedented seven consecutive times, the 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley, Hardrock Hundred Miler in Colorado, and the 153 mile Spartathlon in Greece.  Scott powers his body on a plant-based diet and is a passionate cook, physical therapist and running coach.  Scott prominently appears in two New York Times Bestsellers “Born to Run” and “The 4-Hour Body.”   His awards include Running Hero 2005 by Runner’s World magazine, USA TODAY Athlete of the Week, Running USA Ten Best Moments in Distance Running, and multiple Ultrarunner of the Year by Ultrarunning Magazine. He has been featured in the The New York Times, CNN, EPSN Magazine, Outside, Men’s Journal, Runner’s World, Yoga Journal, Veg News and many other media.  For more information visit