There is never a time of year when it does not pay to be eating with healthy habits in mind. However, healthy foods can also have a great taste to them. In turn, there is no shortage of interesting new food and beverage options that manage to be nutritious and delicious – and often fun, too.
On behalf of the Jewish Journal, here are 20 of my most recent food and drink discoveries that fall on the Kosher and Kosher-ish spectrum.
1) Vita Coco
Although relatively new to me, Vita Coco coconut water is generally regarded as the pioneer and leader in coconut water brands. The brand has high-profile investors (e.g. Madonna) and has done ad campaigns with the likes of Rihanna and Chrissy Teigen. Its hydrating and potassium-rich. The brand recently expanded its product line with coconut oil and Vita Coco Sparkling, the latter which was launched this past summer.
BiomeBliss is a powdered prebiotic which aims to help nurture and encourage the healthy bacteria already found in your microbiome. Since prebiotics work in tandem with probiotics, they work to correct the imbalance of unhealthy microbes that potentially cause weight gain, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and other disorders. Its inulin (from agave) helps control hunger, the Beta-Glucan (from oats) protects your digestive tract, the polyphenols and micro-nutrients (from blueberries) help to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine. Meanwhile, the carbohydrates have been removed from BiomeBliss so there are no added calories. You can add BiomeBliss to a shake, protein drink or alcoholic beverage of your choosing.
3) Ugly Flavoured Sparkling Water
Ugly Drinks is the latest entry into the sparkling water market. The British brand has been praised by “Guest Of A Guest,” “PopSugar” and “Bustle” alike. It has been publicly referred to as “millennials’ new sparkling water brand” and “the new LaCroix.” Either way, Ugly’s beverages are sugar-free, preservative-free and calorie-free, while giving you the fruit flavors you were likely craving.
4) Flying Embers Kombucha
Flying Embers, the maker of adaptogenic organic hard Kombucha, recently launched a fermented alcoholic beverage (4.5% ABV) line in partnership with Reyes Beverage Group, one of the nation’s leading beer distributors. Flying Embers is now available with its innovative live brews: Ancient Berry, Lemon Orchard, and Ginger & Oak. Its Organic Hard Kombucha features live probiotic cultures, botanical adaptogens, and functional wellness benefits; each brew is vegan, gluten-free and certified organic. Flying Embers’ Kombucha can be found at many Whole Foods and Safeway locations beyond Erewhon, Berkeley Bowl, Bristol Farms, and Mothers Market.
5) Comvita Manuka Honey
Manuka honey contains unique properties known to support digestive and immune health and help soothe coughs and sore throats. Comvita’s honey is traceable from hive to shelf, and each BPA-free jar of creamed Comvita Manuka Honey is non-GMO, Halal and Kosher-certified. Comvita’s Manuka Honey can be consumed on its own like regular honey, added into tea, used as a mixed-drink ingredient, or even added for flavoring in your kitchen. Sweet, healthy and adaptable.
6) JUS by Julie
JUS by Julie is widely-known as a celebrity-favored, Brooklyn-based juice company. But more recently, JUS By Julie has further expanded with probiotics (including a probiotic coffee offering), soups, meal replacements and cleanses. The ingredients are basic, yet the flavor indexes are complex. The Butternut Squash and Carrot Ginger soups were my favorite offerings from what I tried.
Launched in Chicago in 2012, Chomps was founded by personal trainer Pete Maldonado and business management consultant Rashid Ali. Within months of getting into its stores, Chomps became of the fastest-selling snacks at Trader Joe’s. In 2017, with Maldonado still the company’s only full-time employee, Chomps sold nearly $10 million dollars worth of meat snacks. Last year in 2018, Chomps started selling in retailers like Safeway, Albertsons, Fresh Thyme and 7-Eleven while introducing a new turkey variety. All of the company’s meat-based snacks are non-GMO, while the meat itself is additive-free and grass-fed.
8) Eat Your Coffee
Eat Your Coffee is a delicious line of caffeinated snack bars, made with real ingredients like dates, oats, and nut butter. Taste aside, each bar contains a full cup of coffee – about 80mg of caffeine – from organic, fair-trade coffee. Its flavor offerings include Fudgy Mocha Latte, Salted Caramel Macchiato, and Peanut Butter Mocha. In turn, you have a multi-purpose snack that you can easily take on the go.
A dairy-free creamer alternative, Milkadamia is cholesterol-free, an excellent source of vitamins D and B12, and packs 50 percent more calcium than 2 percent dairy milk. Milkadamia’s creamers are also soy-free and gluten-free, as made from raw – not roasted – nuts. Milkadamia’s products are available in the shelf stable section of over 6,000 retailers throughout the U.S., including the refrigerated section of Walmart stores nationwide.
10) Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter
An alternative to the peanut butter you usually find in stores, Crazy Richard’s is made with 100 percent nuts. It is entirely free of additives like sugar, salts, and oils. From their creamy and crunchy peanut butters to their almond and cashew butters, there is something for everyone when it comes to fans of the all-purpose snack food known as peanut butter.
11) Tea Forte’s Chocolate Rose Tea
Chocolate Rose is part of Tea Forte’s Noir collection, which features teas made from first flush Assam black tea leaves. An awakening chocolate tea with sweet and sophisticated floral aromas, Chocolate Rose is Fair Trade Certified, Kosher-certified, and USDA-organic. And for those not otherwise familiar with Tea Forté, it is the exclusive tea purveyor for the James Beard Foundation. Perfect as an after-dinner indulgence or a sweet treat for any time of day, its notes of rich chocolate come with a light and pleasing floral finish.
12) Bulletproof Coffee
Bulletproof 360 is a leading science-based food and beverage company, as especially known for its widely popular Bulletproof Coffee beverage. Bulletproof’s iconic coffee beverage is not your average latte; it is made with Brain Octane Oil and grass-fed butter to provide a quick and reliable energy source throughout the day. The brand also has an Apple Pie Collagen Protein Bar on the market.
13) Reveri Ice Cream
Reveri is a game-changing alternative to ice cream, as crafted from whole fruits and vegetables. Reveri aims to deliver the sweet taste and rich mouthfeel of super-premium ice cream, yet it contains no dairy, added sugar, sweeteners, or fats. It averages only 82 calories for a 4-ounce serving while also gluten-free and GMO-free. Flavors on the market include Vanilla Almond Blossom, Purple Mint Chip, Chocolate Forest and Strawberry Patch.
14) True Made Foods’ Condiments
Conventional condiments often have more sugar than ice cream. True Made Foods’ condiments not only have less sugar, but are vegetable-heavy, non-GMO, flavorful and paleo-friendly. Every bottle of a True Made Foods sauce has more than a full serving of vegetables. This includes the Kansas City-style Pitmaster BBQ Sauce –which was probably my favorite of what I sampled – the Vegetable Ketchup and the Vegetable Sriracha.
15) Made By True’s Biltong
Biltong is a traditional South African-style air-cured meat, as made with 5 traditional ingredients: beef, vinegar, salt, pepper and coriander. There is no sugar in biltong. Made By True’s Biltong is available in three adventurous flavors: Cape Town Classic (Salt, Pepper and Coriander), South African Savory (Garlic, Herb and Spices) and Little Bit of Spice (Coriander, Chili Powder and Paprika). Its offerings are gluten-free, soy-free, certified paleo, Whole 30-ready and keto-approved, while also high in protein. For those that get hooked on Made By True’s meats, they can be purchased via subscription through the company’s website.
16) Man Crates
Man Crates is an online destination with gift sets for all sorts of folks. Each crate comes with a themed assortment of carefully-curated, high quality and luxury goods. Many of the gift sets come packaged inside a wooden crate, so the recipient gets to pry it open with a crowbar. Its crate offerings include the Pizza Grilling Crate (all that is needed to make great grilled pizza), the Korean BBQ crate (what you need to prepare Korean-style barbeque) and the Jerky Heart (just in time for Valentine’s Day what the site calls “the Ultimate Beefrodisiac”). There are also beverage-based options available through Man Crates, including coffee, wine, beer and whiskey kits.
17) OWYN Protein Shakes
OWYN – which stands for “Only What You Need” – makes plant-based snacks, including bars and packaged soft drinks. Its Protein Shakes are available in 4 different flavors, “Dark Chocolate,” “Cold Brew Coffee,” “Smooth Vanilla” and “Strawberry Banana.” They are all non-GMO, gluten-free, certified vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, and preservative-free. One drink ought to provide you all nine essential amino acids and 20 grams of protein. OWYN sets the bar high when it comes to drinks that are both healthy and sweet.
18) Kumana Avocado Sauce
Inspired by a beloved Venezuelan staple that is traditionally drizzled on grilled meats, sautéed veggies and sandwiches, Kumana Avocado Sauces offer three sauces that effortlessly upgrade many of our favorite dishes. These sauces are crafted from real avocados, fresh onion, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic and just a splash of white vinegar. Whereas most sauces rely on a water or vinegar base, Kumana raises the bar by using real vegetables and fruit purees. Kumana Avocado Sauce is keto-friendly and non-GMO, while arguably the first shelf-stable avocado sauce of its kind.
ChocZero was reportedly started in 2016 with two goals: to make sugar-free chocolate that was truly delicious, and to create a company that cared about its customers. When it comes to ingredients, ChocZero ethically sources South America’s finest cocoa beans. It also uses real Madagascar vanilla beans and only the most premium of GMO-free soluble corn fibers. ChocZero uses a zero-calorie natural plant called monk fruit to create delectable chocolate that’s low-carb and sugar-free. ChocZero’s best-selling Premium Keto Chocolate Bark is also gluten-free and soy-free.
20) Rowdy Bars
Rowdy Bar is dedicated to helping regulate gut health with the use of natural, prebiotic boosting snacks. Using the superfood Yacon Root – which is packed with immune-boosting, skin-clearing, mood-improving prebiotics – Rowdy Bar is aiming to take gut health to the next level. Crafted with 10 or fewer ingredients, Rowdy Bars are low-glycemic and contain no artificial flavorings, while also paleo-friendly, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free. Flavor-wise, the bars currently come in the antioxidant-loaded “Sunflower Butter N’ Berries,” the creamy “Peanutty Dark Chocolate” and the delectable “Chocolate Coconut Cashew.”