INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT: YACON ROOT

Via The Shakeology Blog

In keeping with our previous theme of “rooting” out what sets Shakeology® apart from the competition, today’s ingredient spotlight focuses on the uniquely sweet and nutritious yacon root!

The country of Peru is not only our source for the maca root found in Shakeology (see previous Ingredient Spotlight); it’s also where we get another of our superfoods—yacon! In case you didn’t know, Peru is more than 1,000 miles long and 500 miles across at its widest point. The country has a variety of microclimates and sudden changes in geography, hence many diverse agricultural opportunities.

WHAT IS YACON?

yacon-root-stock

The yacon is a perennial plant traditionally grown in the Northern and Central Andes from Ecuador to Argentina. It is known for its crisp, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots. Its texture and flavor are very similar to jicama, except that yacon has slightly sweeter undertones, attributed to a sweet substance called inulin. Until as late as the early 2000s, yacon was hardly known outside of its limited native range, and was not available in urban markets. However, press reports of its use in Japan for its low-glycemic properties made the crop more widely known in Lima and other Peruvian cities. And the word has continued to spread; we are now seeing product offerings such as yacon syrup, juices, jams, and teas. All products are popular among diabetics and those trying to manage their weight.

Fun fact: Another name for the yacon is the “Peruvian Ground Apple.”

KEY BENEFITS: WEIGHT LOSS AND DIGESTION

Magen-Darm-Trakt 2

These edible tubers are composed primarily of water and fructooligosaccharides, an indigestible natural sweetener. Fructooligosaccharides (or FOS) taste sweet, but break down slowly, passing through the digestive tract unmetabolized, and thus have very low caloric value. As an additional nutrition bonus, these FOS have a prebiotic effect, meaning that they are used by “friendly” bacteria (probiotics) that favor colon health and digestion. Probiotics are the good, healthy bacteria strains that live in your intestines, help to digest food, and help keep you “regular.” These healthy bacteria need special nutrients called prebiotics to grow and thrive. Yacon is known to contribute to better digestion, colon health, and healthy immune function. It’s a powerful antioxidant, and studies show that yacon may help support ideal blood sugar levels and healthy cardiovascular function. An Argentine study following daily intake of yacon syrup by women with high blood cholesterol levels over a 120 day period showed a significant decrease in body weight, waist circumference, and body mass index among those tested. The consumption of yacon syrup was shown to increase frequency of elimination and satiety sensation.

HOW OUR YACON IS SOURCED

Hand handle Yacon root

The pure ingredient used in Shakeology is found near Huanuco, a mountain town known for the most extraordinary yacon. Huanuco is located in an area called Canchacalla at about 8,000 feet in the Andes. The farmers we work with are some of the more progressive growers in the area, who consistently do investigation into the best varieties. They work with academic experts who regularly run “variety trials” to select the best variety with the highest content of FOS. These farmers also do a lot of investigation into the best organic practices including using microorganisms and beneficial bacteria to stimulate the plants’ growth and disease resistance, so that pesticides are unnecessary. Our farmers use only the root portion of the yacon plant, and the rest of the green material is tilled back into the ground as green compost. This increases crop yields, which is also a sign of good quality.

THE BOTTOM LINE: DOLLARS AND (COMMON) SENSE

So let’s break it down in terms of cost to you:

  • Yacon powder (8 oz.):                $12

  • Dried Yacon slices (4-oz. bag):   $9

  • Yacon tea (30 servings):             $10

  • Jar of yacon syrup (9 oz.):          $13

Sure, that’s not a lot to spend, but consider how unlikely you are to know how that yacon was sourced or how potent it is. If you were to separately attempt to purchase Shakeology’s 70+ healthy ingredients from whole food sources from around the world (including antioxidants, phytonutrients, adaptogen herbs, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, vitamins, and minerals) and match the benefits and nutritional content of Shakeology, you would easily spend over $300 every month—that’s two and half times the cost of Shakeology, the Healthiest Meal of the Day®.

There are fewer published studies on the health benefits of yacon than on maca root, due to its more recent “discovery” and commercialization. Here are a few highlights:*

  • Numerous studies pinpoint yacon as a prebiotic (also known as soluble fiber) that can stimulate the growth and/or activity of the body’s natural defenses in the digestive system.

  • Yacon syrup has been shown to have beneficial effects on obesity and insulin resistance in humans.

  • A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, conducted by the Institute of Organic Chemistry, suggested that four different components of yacon each provide their own “potent antioxidant activity” and have been shown to reduce blood glucose levels in rats.

*For general information and education purposes only.

All trademarks, products, and service names are the property of their respective owners.

Posted in Nancy Marcello , “Ingredient Spotlight: Yacon Root” Shakeology Blog

Buy-Button

Boost Your Hydration with Himalayan Salt

via The Shakeology Blog

Minerals, including salt, are essential to life. We can’t live without them. Sadly, today’s common table salt (sodium chloride), found in most homes and restaurants and in all processed foods, contains none of the trace minerals that make salt good for us.

Himalayan salt, which can be found in Tropical Strawberry Shakeology®, contains pure crystal salt that is minimally processed and contains up to 84 natural minerals and elements. These elements promote stable pH, aid with the absorption of food particles through the digestive tract, regulate water content through the body, prevent muscle cramps, and help support cellular function.

So, how can you use Himalayan salt in your diet?

him latest-green-home-trends-organic-himalayan-salt

It’s easy! You can always drink Tropical Strawberry Shakeology but if that’s not your chosen flavor, fear not—we recommend substituting the current salt you’re using for Himalayan anyways! It tastes similar and is WAY better for you. That part is a no-brainer, but another insider tip that Darin and Isabel (creators of Shakeology) have been doing for years is adding Himalayan salt to distilled water for extra hydration.

Hydration is a huge part of the health equation, and drinking distilled water is the best way to hydrate your body. Distilled water is the purest water available; unlike tap, filtered, or bottled water, distilled water is stripped of everything except for its oxygen and hydrogen molecules. In order to get the minerals you need, Darin and Isabel recommend you add a pinch of Himalayan salt to your distilled water to supply you with the essential minerals and electrolytes your body needs for optimum health.

Recipe: Add half a teaspoon of Himalayan salt per gallon of distilled water, or a pinch (0.8 grams) to each 12 to 32 oz. glass of distilled water.

What water to drink:

  • First choice: distilled water with Himalayan salt added.

  • Second choice: tap water filtered through a reliable reverse osmosis or carbon filtration system, not a pitcher filtration unit.

  • Last choice: bottled water, preferably smartwater® or Penta®. (Bottled water comes last because most of it isn’t better than tap water.)

Where to find Himalayan salt: Trader Joe’s®, Whole Foods Market®, online.

Happy hydrating!

Buy-Button

My Top 10 Workout Songs April 2012

It’s a new month, which means a fresh top 10 list of workout songs are about to be unleashed on you! If you ever need a “pick me up” or want to make your workout more enjoyable, don’t drink a 4 hour energy, just add these tracks to your music playlist.

Here is my top 10 for April 2012:

10- Black Kids – “I’m Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You”: This upbeat infectious pop song is so much fun to sing along to. It doesn’t hurt that the lead singer Reggie Youngblood has a similar sound to Robert Smith of The Cure. Listen to this song for a nice pick me up during your workout, then dance all night long to it.

9- Kid Cudi – “Cudi Zone”: I started to really get into Kid Cudi after seeing him perform live last November at Orlando Calling. He’s not your typical rapper, his music is not directed toward violence; his music actually makes you feel good! I love working out while singing the lyrics “I’m feelin’ alright..I’m feelin’ alright”.

8- The Strokes – “You Only Live Once”: The Strokes are known for having the most bad-ass guitar riffs; guitar riffs make me go hard in the weight room, this track is no exception. Frontman Julian Casablancas punctuates each line with an “uh-huh” or “uh-oh” in such a way that’s very enjoyable to listen to.

7- Cranberries – “Zombie”: This song is a CLASSIC; it has entered my SHREDFAT workout playlist recently and has gotten several plays.  The bass is vicious, and the guitar really captures the heaviness that The Cranberries want you to experience.

6- The Naked & Famous – “Punching In A Dream”: This song is a superb slice of indie-poptronica; it has euphoric mix of synths and distorted guitars contrasting with the melancholic lyrics that results into something very enjoyable.

5- Grouplove – “Tongue Tied”: You might have heard this song during a commercial for Apple. I saw Grouplove perform live (met them too) a few weeks ago, and man they were so energetic! During the show I was thinking to myself that I needed to add some of their songs to my workout playlist. This track feels like it belongs on the dance floor and is currently my go to song from them when I need a pick me up. Enjoy.

4- Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – “Phenomena”: This song is a fist pumping rocker! I start stomping my feet as if they have a mind of their own. Karen O’s vocals are seductively special, a real pleasure to listen to.

3- The Black Keys – “Howlin’ For You”: This song is an absolute blues rock-infused trip that will keep you coming back for more and more. Catch me singing along “Da da,da da,da” during my workout; it’s fun, you try it!

2- Passion Pit – “Sleepyhead”: This song is the epitome of pop bliss! Anyone who hadn’t heard it before would love it, and anyone who already had would nod appreciatively. The delicious hooks and slabs of melody is exactly what you want to hear when working out.

1- The Naked & Famous “Girls Like You”: This song is on heavy rotation during my workout sessions. I love how it starts off slowly and builds brightly. I love this band because they clearly have an electronic edge but they are approaching its music from more of a rock than electronic angle. The chorus is powerful and catchy, it’s everything you would want in a workout song. Check these guys out, enjoy!

You can view, listen and subscribe to my entire SHREDFAT workout playlist below. How cool is that!