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Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

Going more toward a plant-based diet could have a positive impact on your health. Research shows that plant-based diets, done correctly, can lower your risk of some health problems. Plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean giving up meat, milk, or eggs. Adding more plant-based foods and reducing other foods can go a long way to better health. Here is more about plant-based diets, possible health benefits, and how to get started with getting more plants in your diet.

What Is a Plant-Based Diet?

A plant-based diet is any diet where the majority of food comes from plants. Technically, it is not a diet, but a different approach to food. You don’t have to make major changes to your lifestyle or philosophy to follow a plant-based diet. You can still eat meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy if you prefer. However, you may wish to reduce your consumption of these items to make room for more vegetables, fruits, beans, and grains.

How Is a Plant-Based Diet Healthy?

Research shows that plant-based diets can have some positive health effects, especially with diet and obesity-related health issues. Here are some reasons why plant-based diets may have health benefits.

Plant-Based Diets Tend to Be Lower in Calories

Vegetables and fruits are often lower in calories with less saturated fat and sugars than many animal-derived foods. However, don’t assume all vegan or plant-based food is low calorie. Be sure to do your research and know your ingredients to ensure you don’t overeat.

Plant-Based Diets Are Often High in Nutrition

Plant-based diets can have a higher nutritional profile. This is especially the case if most of the foods you incorporate are complete or as whole as possible. For best results, try to use low or non-processed foods in your diet as much as possible.

Plant-Based Diets Have More Fiber

When you add more beans, whole grains, or lightly cooked or raw vegetables, you increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Fiber helps the digestive system and also helps you feel full. This, in turn, could result in fewer calories consumed.

How Is a Plant-Based Diet Environmentally Friendly?

A plant-based diet can benefit the environment in several ways. Many plant-based foods use less water and take up less space than many animal-based products. Plus, a large amount of land is reformed to make way for animal feed crops. In many places in the world, whole forests are destroyed to grow food solely for livestock.

Domestic animals also take up a lot of space on their own and emit their own harmful emissions. Plus, a lot of resources are used to raise and maintain the animals. When people consume more plants than animal products, it reduces some of the burden on the land.

What Are Some Ways to Start a Plant-Based Diet?

Most people can start a plant-based diet by exchanging animal-based food with plant-based ones you like. You can also research how to replace animal proteins and nutrients with plant-based ones. One way many people start is with a meatless meal or day once a week. Try a new vegetable or vegetable recipe every month. If you suffer from a health condition, talk to your doctor or nutritionist before you go all-in on a plant-based diet.

Plant-based diets can have a positive effect on most people’s lives. You can participate in this change whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or still want meat in your diet. If you want a quick and easy plant-based food you can use on the go, consider Jeca Bar. We make our bars with quality plant-based ingredients that are packaged up and ready to go with you.

Our bars are available at many stores in various New York locations. You can also order online from our website.

Why Healthy Snack Bars Are Growing in Popularity

Lots of research from food industry reports continue to suggest that Americans are making healthier food choices and having more snacks throughout the day.

The idea of having three meals a day is beginning to fade, and the age of snacks is moving in. The trend of healthy snacks is predicted to have increased sales within the next five to ten years, and this growth is driving healthy snack bars to include healthier and high-protein ingredients.

For example, a report by Packaged Facts showed that “healthy-ingredient snackers are 90% more likely to live in households consuming energy/diet snacks and bar options.” With the growth of snackers in America, top industry leaders are making new and improved snack bars. Companies from Kellogg’s to Starbucks are exploring the opportunities in making healthy snack bars. With so many new players, originality in new flavors and ingredients has increased in order to keep customers interested.

Sales of snacks like bakery snacks, biscuits, confectionery, ice cream, snack bars, yogurt, and savory snacks grew by a whopping 17.4 percent to $145bn in the five years to 2015, according to Euromonitor. This growth is being pushed by-products which are seen as more healthy, analysts and executives say. And they are confident that the trend will continue.

Flavors of snack bars are also getting wilder, providing new varieties for hungry folk.

Companies are proudly taking advantage of health-seeking shoppers by clearly labeling snack bars gluten-free. Little do consumers know, most snack bars are naturally gluten-free. But, this small form of advertisement is pushing brands into the top of healthy snackers’ choices.

What Customer are Saying about Jeca’s Healthy Snacks

Facebook Reviews: Get the Social Media Scoop
Customer feedback is very important to Ree and the team at Jeca.

We keep busy creating new delicious snack bars and finding more and more locations to stock them for the happy and healthy masses but, without your feedback, we couldn’t adapt and tailor our tasty energy snacks to best suit what you really want.

Here are some of the latest comments and feedback from happy customers.

Rohan S: “Very high quality snacking bars! My favorite is the Coconut Curry, the dash of spices really wakes you up, followed by the almond and dates.”

Erica T: “I tried Jeca bars for the first time and love them! I am always looking for whole food, sustainable energy bars that taste good and these REALLY taste good! They also kept me full which is what I’m looking for when I’m on the go and don’t have time for a meal. The coconut curry is my favorite so far but can’t wait to try them all!”

Kurt K: “I tried a Jeca bar for the first time the other day. It was amazing! It had a great taste and was very filling. It was the perfect mid-day snack.”

Lacy C reviewed “Great flavors! Very unique and exotic.”

Kyle B: “No Oil! It’s fulfilling and keeps me light during my workout. Finally, a no oil protein bar… that actually tastes great!”

Katie M: “I just tried the almond and date bar. It is absolutely delicious ! I feel full of energy and very satisfied after eating it. I can’t wait to try the other flavors!”

Brian B: “These bars are truly amazing, it gave me a nice boost of energy for my day and tasted really good.”

Kara O: “I love the energy cookies so much! I eat them right before the gym so I’m not starving before working out and it gives me a little energy boost! Favorite flavor is the Seoul cookie .. little bit of Asian persuasion stuffed in a cookie.”

Joe V: “Jeca energy bars and cookies are amazing! It is nice to grab a healthy snack when headed to the gym. This product is delicious and actually gives me energy when working out. Great product!

Got things to say to the Jeca Bar team? Why not add a review of our healthy, vegan-friendly snacks on Facebook?

The Rise and Rise of Energy Bars

Energy bars are considered an acceptable snack or even meal replacement by many. Walk into most convenience stores, gas stations, or supermarkets in America and you will see lots of options of bars from high protein to “healthy” candy-like energy bars. This all seems natural and normal to us.

Energy bars were the creation of the Pillsbury Corporation, who in the 1960s, capitalized on the popularity of the national space program by introducing the Space Food Stick. Since then, energy bars have become their own food type. While the Space Food Stick was more or less a novelty, things exploded in the mid-1980s with the introduction of the first energy bar for athletes, Power Bar.

Since that time the energy bar market has skyrocketed and the statistics are staggering. The current energy bar market in the United States is around six billion dollars and has more than doubled in the past decade. The energy bar sector continues to be red hot and shows no sign of slowing down. For the past ten years, the energy bar market has grown at nearly three times the rate of the packaged foods sector. The USDA estimates that we now get a third of our daily calories from snacks.

Nowadays you can find a bar for everyone, from elite athletes to diet bars for people looking to lose weight. There are high protein bars, vegan bars, all-natural low ingredient bars, and meal replacement bars. Indeed, there’s a bar for everyone. And many of them taste delicious as well. After all, these bars are food – theoretically.

Searching For Healthy Energy Bars

Are Energy Snack Bars Healthy?

There’s a good reason you see so many energy bars on your grocery stores shelves. As well as providing energy for your workout, they can be a super tasty and convenient snack. Promising a plethora of nutritional benefits, it’s no wonder that they’ve become a diet mainstay for those of us who want to keep our energy levels up between meals while staying healthy.

But, and there’s a BIG BUT, the majority of energy bars you’ll see piled up in student cupboards or floating around your coworker’s desk are little more than candy bars. Some bars contain as much saturated fat and sugar as the mars bars we would avoid on a daily basis as unhealthy one-off treats.

If you want a healthy energy bar that packs a nutritional punch, you need to look for something made from balanced, natural ingredients (not chock full of words you can’t pronounce). Plus, if your energy bar is actually going to do its job and provide energy and satiate you, it should contain a decent amount of protein (7 grams is great) and fiber (at least 4 grams) while not going overboard on the sugar content (more than 15g is too much) or saturated fat (look for less than 5 grams).

A word on sugar: many energy bars on the market contain high fructose corn syrup (a cheap and unhealthy sugar). While others replace sugars with sugar alcohols such as xylitol and maltitol which can be equally bad causing diarrhea and gas. The healthiest bars are sweetened with natural sugars such as those from fruit, agave or maple syrup.

Another thing to bear in mind when considering how healthy your energy bar actually is, is to consider what purpose they are serving. If they are a snack to tide you over between meals, you don’t want them to be overly calorific – around 200 to 250 grams is perfect. However, if they are being used to fuel your workout, you might want to consider something with a higher protein and carb count. Lastly, an energy bars as a meal replacement once in a while when you are on the go is one thing. But if you are replacing meals with energy bars on a regular basis, you may not be getting enough calories and should add some other sources of whole grains, nuts, fruit and vegetables to boost your calorie intake.

Our all-natural, Jeca Energy Bars are made with high quality ingredients and small batch techniques. So stock up and enjoy as a snack when you’re on the go, a supplement to your meals or to power your workout!

Why Eat More Fiber and Whole Foods?

We’ve all heard many times that eating a diet rich in fiber and whole foods is good for us, but why? Is it merely because it keeps us, ahem, regular?  Well actually, the benefits of fiber and whole foods diet are a lot more than merely aiding digestive health. Here’s more on the benefits of fiber and whole foods.

What is Fiber?

Fiber is the part of plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and beans) that passes through the body undigested. Because of this, eating fibrous rich whole foods keeps your digestive system clean and in good working order. Fiber flushes out cholesterol and harmful carcinogens in addition to easing those bowel movements. In general, the more unprocessed the food, the higher it is in fiber which is why eating a diet rich in whole foods is greatly beneficial.

It’s important to understand that there are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble.

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble does not dissolve in water — the type that helps prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber is found in whole foods such as whole grains, wheat cereals, and vegetables like carrots.

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber as the name suggests does dissolve in water. Because of this it helps reduce cholesterol and control blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber is found in whole foods such as oatmeal, beans, barley, nuts, apples, citrus fruits, berries, and pears.

Benefits to Digestive Health

As noted, dietary fiber normalizes bowel movements. It does this by bulking up stools and making them easier to pass thus helping relieve and prevent both constipation and diarrhea. Eating plenty of fiber can also reduce your risk of gallstoneskidney stoneshemorrhoids, and relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Benefits for Weight Loss

Eating a diet rich in whole foods and fiber adds bulk to you meal and can aid weight loss since this bulk makes you feel fuller sooner. On top of this, fiber stays in the stomach longer than other foods, so that fullness stays with you making you feel satiated and likely to eat less. High-fiber, whole foods like vegetables and fruits are often low in calories, meaning you’re likely to consume less calories overall.

Benefits to Heart Health

Soluble fiber, in particular, can help improve your heart health. It can lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome (risk factors linked to diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke). Fiber can also help to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and shed excess weight around the abdomen, or visceral fat, which has been shown to be the most dangerous area for weight gain.

Benefits to Blood Sugar Levels

Insoluble fiber from cereals can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. If you are already diabetic, it can improve your blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar.

Benefits for Cancer Prevention

Studies show that eating a high-fiber diet can help prevent colorectal cancer. There are also some links (though not all studies show this) between high-fiber diets and a lower risk for other digestive system cancers, such as stomach, mouth, and pharynx.

Be Good To Yourself! Why Finding Time for Self Care is Important

How many times has your hectic lifestyle meant you’ve skipped lunch, dropped your workout or canceled social plans? Too many, I’ll bet. When we’re crazy busy (like so many of us always are) too often the first things to go from our day to day lives are the things that relate to self-care. The problem is that when this happens, rather than make us more productive we actually get more stressed and make our situation even worse. Here’s why finding time for self care is important and how you can find time to be good to yourself.

Reason #1: Self Care Gives You Greater Focus

One of simplest ways to look after yourself is knowing when to take a break. Sometimes self-care can be as simple as stopping what your doing, standing up and stretching your legs for a few minutes.. Or better yet, grabbing a cup of tea!  Studies show that breaks actually help you gain greater focus and perform better. So next time you’re too busy to take a break because that project just has to get finished, why not take a break — you’ll probably find that when you return to your desk you’ll get things done much quicker.

Reason #2: Self Care Lowers Stress

Most of us know deep down that eating properly and getting regular exercise reduce our stress levels and make us happier and more productive people. So why is it that when we’re feeling stressed, eating right and working out are the first things we stop doing? It’s probably because we tell ourselves that we’re “too tired” or “just don’t have the time.” But this really is counter-productive. When you’re stressed your mind and body don’t perform at optimal levels meaning that you feel sluggish and lack concentration. So while you might feel as though you’ve gained an hour because you didn’t go to the gym, that extra hour you just spent working? It probably wasn’t that productive at all.

Reason #3: Self Care Prevents Burnout

When all is said and done, perhaps the greatest argument in favor of self care is the fact that without it, it’s only a matter of time before we crash and burn. We’ve all been there, you take on so much until you get to the point where you just can’t go on. This isn’t good for you, your work or the people you care about most. Taking time to eat well, do some physical activity, take a break, socialise with friends and family or talk about your feelings really can make all the difference in how well you cope during hectic, high stress periods in your life.

One of our favourite ways to refocus and recharge is to take time to share some healthy, tasty treats with friends and family. How do you find time for your own self care? Let us know in the comments!

What to Eat to Fuel a Workout

Workout Energy Boosting Foods

At Jeca, we believe in balance. As busy as we are, we know that finding time to work out is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.  What you eat before and after you exercise is key to staying energized. Here’s some tips on what to eat to fuel a workout and keep your engine running smoothly!

Fueling Up: What to Eat Before a Workout

Ideally, you’ll have time to fuel up around two hours before you start your workout session. Your body needs adequate energy so you can keep your performance high.  Slow release carbs from natural whole food sources such as natural energy bars, whole-grains, brown rice, natural yogurt, fruits, and vegetables will give you a steady release of energy. Of course, staying hydrated is extremely important so be sure to drink lots of water. If you’re out of time and have to eat something in a rush right before you start exercising, a piece of fruit such as an apple or banana will provide you with a burst of quick release energy.

Avoid foods with a high saturated fat content – even if it’s from a healthy source as this will be digested slowly and take away oxygen and energy-delivering blood from your muscles. Though it may sound counter-intuitive, avoid eating too much protein before a workout because although it helps build muscles, it too takes longer to digest and is better saved for your post-exercise refuel. You’ll still want some protein and healthy fat in moderation, however (especially if you’re doing weight training); great options for a little protein boost include nuts, eggs, or milk.

Refueling: What to Eat After a Workout

What you eat and drink after you put your body through its paces is equally important – you need to strike the perfect balance between protein, carbs, and fat. Keeping hydrated is again key but after a workout, you might want to add some fruit juice to your water to give you some much needed extra carbs to replenish your glycogen stores. Other sources of carbs to chow down on include leafy vegetables, quinoa, sweet potatoes, oatmeal or brown rice.

Protein comes into its own after a workout because it helps repair and build your muscles. Look for lean protein sources such as chicken or salmon. Other protein ideas include eggs, greek yogurt or cottage cheese.

Some suggest that fat after a working out is a no-no, but studies have shown that healthy fats like full-fat milk can actually help promote muscle growth. Still, you’ll want to keep the amount of fat you eat lower than the carbohydrate and protein you consume.

With their high-quality,all-natural ingredients and perfectly balanced protein, carbs, and healthy fats, Jeca Energy Bars are a great pre or post-workout snack choice! Try one and see for yourself!

Energy Draining Food to Avoid

Do you find yourself constantly feeling tired or lethargic? Or maybe your energy levels are like a roller coaster each day, veering from bouncing off the walls to slumped over your desk? Of course, fatigue can be down to a variety of factors but did you know that many of the foods we eat every day can drain our energy? In fact, lots of supposedly “energizing” foods, actually do the exact opposite.

Here are some everyday foods that drain your energy without you knowing it.

Energy Drinks

While most people are now aware that energy drinks are far from healthy (in 2014, the World Health Organization warned that they may pose a threat to public health), not everyone is aware that they can actually drain your energy rather than boost it. The stimulating effects of these drinks come from the large amounts of caffeine and sugar they contain. All this added sugar causes your energy to spike (hence the boost) but then drop sharply, causing you to feel more tired than before. Plus, drinking too much caffeine can interrupt your sleep duration and quality, meaning that you will have reduced energy levels the next day. It’s a vicious cycle.

Fast Food

You may have noticed that after consuming an unhealthy (albeit delicious) fast food meal that you feel incredibly tired. This is because the combination of high fat, low fiber ingredients means that you digest the food more slowly and it takes longer for what little nutritional content the food contains to reach your organs. Plus, whereas foods high in nutritional quality boost your energy, low-nutrient fast food is a big drain.

Low-Fat Foods

In our quest to be healthy, many of us reach for prepackaged low-fat, “healthy” snacks such as low-fat salad dressing, low-fat cookies or bars, and low-fat yogurts. However, the manufacturers of these products have often replaced the fat content of these foods with sugar, meaning that they will once again give you that quick energy spike followed by the large energy crash. Far better to eat full-fat versions in moderation or less processed alternatives.

White Bread, Pasta and Rice

Carbohydrates are our body’s main source of energy. However, not all carbs are created equal. Chowing down on processed white bread, pasta and rice will leave you feeling sluggish and tired. Why? High carbohydrate containing foods such as these boost the production of a neurotransmitter known as serotonin, which can make us feel content and sleepy. The body does this so that it can conserve energy for digestion. Eating carbs in smaller portions can help, as can switching to whole wheat versions which are digested more slowly.

Red meat

Red meat is another food stuff that requires a great deal of energy to digest and so makes you feel tired. While it does provide iron, an energy booster, red meat is also high in fat which is more difficult for the body to break down. Eating a large amount of red meat will definitely leave you tired after a meal.

Cherries

Rounding off the list is a somewhat surprising one: cherries. Though delicious and healthy, cherries drain your energy because they are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone known to improve the quality of sleep and which can have a slight sedative effect. So of course, enjoy your cherries but perhaps after-dinner rather than after-lunch!

Energy Boosting Foods to Eat at the Office

Jeca founder, Ree Dolnick, was recently published in business magazine, The HR Gazette. Read a snippet from the post below then check out the full article here.

It is vital that your employees are happy, healthy and focused. Providing the right snacks can fuel your colleagues with the best nutrients and minerals to achieve and succeed.

Healthy snacks at office

Here are 10 super-healthy vegan-friendly office snack options.

1. Flavored Nuts

When you’re feeling a little sluggish or low on energy in the office consider snacking on options such as Joe’s thai chili lime cashews or sesame cashews for more energy than chips would give you. The great benefit of flavored nuts is that you can mix them into your other office snacks like oatmeal, popcorn, or on a tasty salad.

2. Kale or Lettuce

Got an office fridge? Why not consider buying a bag of lettuce and veggies to keep you fueled through the working week? Healthy, delicious and cost-effective. Yum!