NorthStar Nutritionals Blog

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  1. How to Enjoy Good Sugars this Halloween

    sugars goodHere’s our secret – we haven’t eliminated sugar from our diets completely.

    The occasional treat is simply too delicious for us to get rid of it completely.

    After all, have you seen our BenVia Gold brownie recipe?

    Have you tasted it? So no, we haven’t given up sugar completely.

    The key, though, is that we use good sugars the majority of the time, and save traditional sugars for very occasional indulgences.

    Which makes Halloween tough, because there are chocolates, candies, and desserts everywhere this time of year.

    And none of those bags you see at the grocery store are sweetened with good sugars, you just know it.

    We aren’t, however, willing to throw away our occasional taste of traditional sugar on the mass produced stuff that will fill trick or treat bags later this month.

    Luckily, we don’t have to – and neither do you. Not with these good sugar desserts that taste just as good as anything made with traditional sugar!

    4 Good Sugars

    While there are plenty of good sugars to choose from, each with their own flavor profiles and uses, this article will focus on four…

    Honey. The original good sugar, honey is sweeter than traditional sugar, so you don’t need as much of it to flavor a recipe. Since it adds liquid to any treat, it’s not the best for crunchy or crispy desserts (think a crispy cookie), but can be a delicious addition to breads and sauces. You can also try granulated honey that works much like traditional sugar.

    Honey Caramel Apples

    Ingredients

    • 1 ½ c honey
    • ½ c heavy cream
    • 1 T butter
    • 1 t pure vanilla
    • 1/8 t salt

    1. Combine honey and cream in a heavy saucepan.
    2. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches 238°F. Do not let cream scorch.
    3. Stir in butter, vanilla and salt.
    4. Let cool.

    Serve with sliced apples for dipping.

    Maple Syrup. Don’t think this is the pancake syrup you grew up with. Pure maple syrup has a richer, less artificial flavor, and for good reason. You can even swap it for traditional sugar in recipes. Just use ¾ cup maple syrup for every cup of sugar called for in the recipe. As with honey, this swap works best with softer baked goods.

    Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars – While this recipe is mostly good sugars, it does have a bit of traditional sugar.

    Crust:

    • 10 graham cracker sheets
    • 2 T butter

    1. Crush graham crackers until fine, but not dust.
    2. Mix with softened butter until stuck together.
    3. Press into the bottom of a baking pan lined with parchment paper.

    Cheesecake filling:

    • 12 oz cream cheese, softened
    • 1 c pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie filling
    • ¼ c pure maple syrup
    • 1 T sugar
    • ¼ t cinnamon
    • ¼ t pumpkin pie spice
    • 1 ¼ t pure vanilla
    • 2 t cornstarch

    1. Preheat oven to 350 F
    2. Stir together all ingredients until just blended. Overblending will cause cracking.
    3. Pour the batter into the crust, smooth out evenly, and place on the middle rack of your oven.
    4. Bake 25 minutes.
    5. Turn heat off completely but do not open the oven door. Let sit in closed, turned-off oven for five minutes.
    6. Remove bars from the oven. They will be underdone. Let them sit at room temperature for one hour.
    7. Refrigerate for at least four hours before slicing into bars.

    Coconut Sugar. In spite of its name, coconut sugar doesn’t actually come from coconuts. It’s the dried sap from the flowers of the coconut palm tree – and it’s a totally unique, but delicious, sweet flavor. Plus, it’s very low on the glycemic index, which makes it excellent for avoid spikes and crashes.

    Ginger and Molasses Cookies

    Ingredients

    • ¾ c chickpea flour
    • ¾ c oat flour
    • ¾ t baking powder
    • ½ t baking soda
    • ¾ t fine sea salt
    • 1 t ground ginger
    • ½ t ground cinnamon
    • ¼ t ground cloves
    • 2 ½ coconut oil, soft
    • ¾ c coconut sugar
    • 2 T unsulphered blackstrap molasses
    • 1 egg
    • 1 t pure vanilla
    • 2 T almond milk
    • Large grain sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

    1. Preheat oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices; set aside.
    3. In another large bowl, cream the oil and sugar with an electric mixer, then beat in the molasses.
    4. Add the egg, vanilla, and milk, and beat until combined.
    5. A little at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine with electric mixer on medium-low until all flour is combined and no lumps remain (batter will be thick and sticky at this point).
    6. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.
    7. Remove the dough from refrigerator. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop balls of dough out onto prepared baking sheet, spacing each cookie 2 inches apart.
    8. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until they darken a bit and are fragrant.
    9. Sprinkle with large grain sugar, if desired.
    10. Place cookies on a rack and let them cool before eating. Cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 or 4 days.

    Stevia. This extract from the stevia plant may seem new, but as a good sugar, it’s been valued in South America for hundreds of years. 200 times sweeter than traditional sugar, it comes in liquid and powdered form, so you can use it in just about any recipe.

    Homemade Chocolate Bars – Because what’s Halloween without a chocolate bar?

    Ingredients

    • ½ c plus 1 T cocoa powder
    • 4 T unrefined coconut oil, melted
    • Stevia drops to taste (vanilla stevia is particularly tasty in this recipe, if you can find it)
    • Optional extracts, cocoa nibs, or other add-ins (shredded coconut, nuts, etc.)

    1. Combine coconut oil with the liquid sweetener or stevia drops. Stir.
    2. Add the cocoa powder, any extras, and stir vigorously until it thickens.
    3. Pour onto baking sheet lined with parchment and smooth.
    4. Freeze until solid.
    5. Break into pieces, and store in the freezer.

    Sure, these treats take a little more time than just throwing a bag of candy into your grocery cart, but enjoying good sugars at Halloween – along with the occasional traditional sugar indulgence – is worth the extra effort!

  2. 8 Rules for Defeating Anxiety That Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You

    anxiety defeatingAlthough defeating anxiety is one of the most important things you can do, it’s also one of the most intimidating.

    After all, part of anxiety is the feeling that you can’t ever get better.

    How are you supposed to defeat anxiety when the very fact that you have it makes you feel like you can never defeat it?

    First, it’s vital that you lose the stigma about having anxiety.

    Talk to your doctor. Admit you’re struggling with it. There are ways your doctor can help.

    But your doctor isn’t the only one who can help with defeating anxiety.

    You have a powerful ally where you might not expect it: yourself.

    In spite of what the anxiety may have you believing, you really can help manage, control, and defeat it.

    1. Accept the moment. As strange as this one sounds – and it does sound strange, who wants to accept anxiety? Doing so is key to defeating it. Anxiety is made worse when you try to fight it. Judging yourself, thinking you’re a bad person for having these feelings, trying to force yourself to “just get over it”… all of these exacerbate the anxiety rather than alleviate it. Instead of beating yourself up and trying to force your way through it, try to acknowledge it. Sit with it. You know what anxiety is, you know what it feels like, and most importantly, you know it will end. So, don’t judge and don’t fight. Let the moment be what it is. This one takes practice, but once you get the hang of it, it can become one of your most powerful tools for defeating anxiety.

    2. Distract yourself. Some people consider distractions a cheat. They believe that if you’re just distracting yourself, you aren’t really defeating anxiety. But if a distraction calms your nerves and makes you feel less anxious, that counts! A good distraction is any healthy alternative that makes you focus on something else rather than your anxious feelings and negative thoughts. Listen to music. Call a friend. Play with a dog. It really doesn’t matter how you distract yourself, so long as you do. Just don’t get spun up thinking about the things you feel like you can’t do. Revisit #1, accept that you’re not up to it, and find a distraction that you can manage. Which leads us to…

    3. Make a cup of tea. First, the act of filling the kettle, getting out the teabags, finding a mug, all the steps you take to make a cup of tea can be excellent distractions. But then, the tea itself can help defeat anxiety if you choose wisely. Chamomile and green teas both contain compounds that can help relax you and defeat anxiety. Valerian and lemon balm can also be brewed into tea, just be sure to follow the directions. And all four can be taken as supplements, if tea isn’t, well, your cup of tea.

    4. Learn your own triggers. Anxiety is different for everyone, so defeating anxiety has to be different for everyone. It’s not a cookie cutter condition. As soon as you’re able, make notes about what was going on leading up to the anxiety attack. Was it a slow build of stress? Was it one particular person? Or anticipating a specific event? Wait until you’re calm to try to address this one, because it’s easy to get caught in the emotion of the moment and not be able to identify a cause – which can make you feel even worse and more anxious. Once you’re calm, you’ll be able to see more clearly. And then, you may be able to find a pattern.

    5. Eat a healthy diet. Let’s be honest – fruits and vegetables aren’t going to defeat anxiety on their own. However, it’s easier to deal with what’s going on in your mind when your body is up to the challenge. And researchers have known for years that diet can affect mood. So give your body the healthy food and nutrients it needs to help you take care of your mind.

    6. Exercise daily. When it comes to defeating anxiety, daily exercise can help on two different levels. Anxiety can be caused or exacerbated by an abundance of stress hormones that build up in your system. Exercise can help burn them off. By exercising daily, you help prevent them from ever building up to the point that you end up with anxiety. But also, when you are feeling anxious, getting out and getting moving helps purge your system of the hormones that are contributing to your feelings. It takes about 21 minutes for exercise to help ease anxiety once it has kicked in, so get moving as soon as you can.

    7. Breathe deeply. When most people breathe, they only get oxygen into the upper parts of their lungs, which is a shame because deep, belly breathing is necessary for defeating anxiety. It has to do with the fight or flight response that can trigger anxiety. Once that physical response has started, unless you do something with those chemicals, they have nowhere to go. Deep belly breathing can help slow your heart rate, and bring your body back into a calmer, more relaxed mode. Inhale deeply, expanding your diaphragm, not just your chest, for four seconds. Hold for four seconds, then release for four seconds. Repeat several times while you’re anxious and throughout the day to stay calm. And speaking of the fight or flight response…

    8. Take care of your adrenal glands. These are the glands that control the fight or flight response. When they’re activated, you get a rush of adrenaline, secondary bodily functions are slowed, and you get a burst of energy that will allow you to fight or flee for your life. It’s an involuntary physical response from when our very lives depended on being able to escape from predators. Fortunately, in everyday life we rarely need the fight or flight response. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t know the difference between a saber tooth tiger attack from history and the stress of the modern world. Which means your body is always in fight or flight mode, just from the stress of living in the 21st century. This means your adrenal glands are tired. Think about how you feel when you’re constantly on the go. That’s how they’re feeling, so they aren’t functioning any better than you do when you’re exhausted.

    Defeating anxiety isn’t easy. It isn’t simple. There are no sure-fire steps that will make everything better immediately.

    But with practice, these guidelines really can help. And combined with your doctor’s advice, they can make a real difference in your life.

  3. BP Complete 120 Ingredients: What’s in the BP Complete 120 Formula?

    Ingredients BP Complete 120When you take your health seriously, you’re not willing to trade one unhealthy condition for another.

    You’re not willing to trade worrisome blood pressure numbers for worrisome blood pressure remedies.

    So instead of jumping blindly on the bandwagon of the next new thing, you do your research. You ask questions.

    We get that. We respect it. Which is why now that we have a new blood pressure support supplement, we want to ask – and answer – your questions before you ever have to.

    What are the BP Complete 120 ingredients? How do they help keep your blood pressure where you want it?

    And what makes the formula so special? Continue reading

  4. 14 Dull Skin Remedies Your Ancestors Used

    remedies dull skinThere are commercials for wrinkle reducers and skin tighteners, but you rarely see dull skin remedies.

    Which doesn’t make sense because wrinkles and sags aren’t the only skin issues you deal with as you age.

    At some point, most people are going to look in the mirror and see something…different. It’s hard to identify what’s changed at first.

    There are no new wrinkles. Nothing’s sagging more. But your skin seems duller. Gray. Flat. It’s not your imagination. Your skin does lose its glow the older you get.

    And that’s why you need dull skin remedies, as well as wrinkle reducers and other anti-aging suggestions.

    Luckily, there are dull skin remedies. Ways to counter the dullness and reclaim your youthful glow. And many of them have been around for centuries… Continue reading

  5. Nutrient-Rich Sweet Treats and Desserts

    rich-nutrientEating empty calories just to sate a sweet tooth is so outdated. But does that mean that you have to give up desserts entirely?

    Not if you follow a few simple guidelines and focus on nutrient-rich sweet treats! Continue reading

  6. BP Complete 120 Benefits: Help Improve Your Blood Pressure in 3 Steps

    Benefits BP Complete 120When we set out to develop our new blood pressure supplement, BP Complete 120, we knew exactly what we wanted the BP Complete 120 benefits to be.

    We wanted natural blood pressure support, based on cutting edge research, with no off-putting or frightening side effects.

    And if we could happen to make the last BP Complete 120 benefit be a tightly focused formula that only uses the best ingredients, well, that would be ideal. Continue reading

  7. Fight a Cold With These 5 Ultra-Nutritious Drink Recipes

    cold fightYou wash your hands regularly, use tissues when you sneeze, and make sure to get plenty of sleep.

    But with winter upon us, it’s sensible to wonder if you’re doing everything you can to fight a cold and stay healthy.

    If you’re looking to go the extra mile and supercharge your immune system – and who isn’t this time of year? – try these ultra-nutritious drink recipes, the easy and delicious way to fight a cold. Continue reading

  8. The Ultimate All-Natural Ear Wax Treatment

    treatment ear waxLet’s be honest – ear wax is not something people talk about.

    It’s hardly something people think about.

    But if you’re looking for an ear wax treatment, suddenly you wish more people would talk about it!

    Because even if you’ve never thought about it a day in your life before now, by the time you need an ear wax treatment, you’ve probably been thinking about it a lot! Continue reading

  9. Clean Your Lungs Naturally in 12 Easy Steps

    lungs clean yourDetoxing is all the rage these days.

    You’ll find articles on how to clean your liver, your kidneys, your digestive tract...

    But did you know you could also clean your lungs? And doing so is important!

    So many people smoked when they were younger, before society knew just how bad it was for your health.

    But even if you’ve never smoked a day in your life, you’ve inhaled pollutants, toxins, and chemicals. There’s just no way to avoid them all.

    Luckily, it’s easier than you may realize to clean your lungs. Simply follow these steps, and you’ll clean your lungs naturally, in just three days! Continue reading

  10. 8 Ways to Improve Night Vision At Any Age

    night vision improveMost articles that talk the talk about vision only address daytime vision.

    And they always seem to ignore ways to improve night vision. Why?

    You still need to see once the sun goes down, after all!

    Which is why in this article, we’re going to break out of the usual routine and look at how to improve night vision, so you can still see in the evenings.

    You may learn some new tricks – and be surprised to find out that some of the steps you’ve taken to protect your daytime vision are helping improve night vision, too. Continue reading

  11. Tasty Beauty Recipes Revive Your Skin’s Glow

    recipes beautyTopical ointments can only do so much to help revive your skin’s glow, so it’s important to work from the inside out, too.

    Which means diet, beauty recipes, and supplements are vital to looking your best.

    But what if you’re not the greatest in the kitchen? Or just don’t enjoy making elaborate meals?

    That’s when it’s important to know which foods work to help protect your skin – and have a few simple, delicious beauty recipes you can reach for.

    Mix and match any of these foods to create your own beauty recipes, or try one of ours, as is or for inspiration. Continue reading

  12. What Does Your Tongue Say About You and Your Health?

    health tongueYou can’t always tell much about your health just by looking in the mirror – unless you’re looking in the right place: your tongue.

    That’s right. You may be able to tell what’s going on with your health by paying attention to your tongue!

    Look for any of these tell-tale signs, because your tongue could be telling you more than you ever imagined. Continue reading

  13. Shrink Your Stomach Naturally with 10 Quick Techniques

    stomach shrink yourIf you’ve already turned your health around, or if you’re just looking to start, there tends to be one stubborn area that seems hardest to shrink: your stomach.

    Belly fat has a reputation for being some of the hardest to lose – which is even more frustrating because it’s also some of the most detrimental to your health.

    However, there are ways to shrink your stomach, even if you’ve already changed up your diet and embraced crunches! Continue reading

  14. The Mysterious Link Between Wine and Sex

    sex and wineEverybody knows there’s a mysterious link between wine and sex.

    After all, even when the restaurant’s overcrowded and the meal is mediocre, all it takes is a little wine and the evening can take a decidedly romantic turn.

    And it’s more than just the liquid courage that comes from a couple of cocktails, because hard liquor doesn’t have quite the same effect.

    In fact, at least one study showed that red wine has a greater effect on sexual desire and arousal than other liquors or abstaining completely.

    So why do wine and sex go so well together? Researchers are finally beginning to figure it out… Continue reading

  15. What Does Your Eye Color Say About Your Health?

    You and your doctor use several markers to predict your health, but you may not even be aware of this one – your eye color.

    As it turns out, eye color can indicate health risks you may be facing.

    Now, eye color isn’t a diagnostic tool – just because your eyes are a certain color doesn’t guarantee you’ll have any of these conditions – but it may help you understand and take precautions. Continue reading

  16. Get These 9 Essential Brain Nutrients in Everyday Foods

    nutrients brainNo one thinks about brain nutrients when they’re younger.

    Memories are sharp, decisions are easy, and learning is a snap.

    Then you have your first “senior moment” and you realize that maybe it’s time to start thinking about brain health, specifically, along with overall health in general.

    Those brain nutrients become a little more important.

    Luckily, the brain nutrients you need to stay sharp for years to come are easy to find, and come wrapped in delicious packages! Continue reading

  17. How Much Exercise is Enough Exercise?

    exercise enoughEveryone talks about the fact that staying active is vital to maintaining overall health and independence.

    Nobody talks much about what that means, though.

    How much exercise is enough? What kind of exercise do they mean?

    What’s the difference between exercise and activity? The list of questions goes on and on.

    So we’ve compiled all the information you need in one place.

    From activity to exercise to avoiding over exercising. You’ve got questions. We’ve got the answers… Continue reading

  18. The Foolproof Plan to Stop Dieting for Good

    dieting stopLosing and gaining, and losing and gaining again – there’s reason to believe yo-yo dieting is as unhealthy as being overweight.

    And yet it’s a cycle so many people have fallen into.

    Luckily, others are finally coming to realize the dangers of fad diets and are trying to stop dieting for good.

    If you’re ready to get off the diet roller coaster, you can.

    There are ways to be healthy, lose weight, and stop dieting. Continue reading

  19. Improve Blood Flow in 60 Seconds

    blood flow improveOften, when men are looking to improve performance in the bedroom they focus on two things: stress levels and diet.

    These are essential factors to an exciting sex life, but they aren’t the only ones.

    Too often, men forget about the need to improve blood flow in order to get the physical response they’re looking for.

    Don’t be one of these men!

    Blood flow is the key to a strong, powerful, long-lasting erection.

    But you can’t just focus on what’s going on between your legs.

    Improve blood flow throughout your entire body, and blood flow will increase where you need it most.

    Remember, poor blood flow in any part of the body probably means poor blood flow in every part of the body. Continue reading

  20. Why Am I So Thirsty?

    thirsty soBeing thirsty occasionally is normal.

    Everyone goes too long without a drink of water.

    But if it seems you are just so thirsty all of the time, then you may be wondering what’s going on.

    Let’s look at seven common conditions that might cause you to be thirsty.

    Then, you can deal with them appropriately, instead of guessing! Continue reading

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