The Organic Heart Cookbook and an Interview

Our health is everything, and while we can all do the best by eating right and exercising, sometimes the unexplainable happens and people get sick. Breeana Pooler, creator of the popular Instagram account @the_organic_heart and the food blog,, experienced this in her life, when at only 26 her husband, Jason, was unexpectedly diagnosed with severe heart failure. Following his diagnosis, she set out to regain his health by throwing out everything in the refrigerator and dedicating 100 percent of her time, energy, and passion to creating healthy, nutrient-filled recipes. Now, he no longer needs a needs a heart transplant and is healthier than he has been in his entire life, and his heart is within normal range—all due to a healthy diet.

She recently launched The Organic Heart Cookbook, a book that shares how she helped to cure her husband through healthy eating, plus 75 clean and delicious gluten- and dairy-free recipes that helped her do so. This includes delicious recipes like Sweet Potato Breakfast Sliders, BBQ Chicken Zucchini Noodle Bowl, Mango-Mint Salsa with Cucumber Chips, Shrimp and Kale Fettuccine in a Cauliflower Cream Sauce and tons more! To learn more about her journey and this book, we had the chance to chat with Breena who shared more about their path to healthy eating. Read on to learn more:

Breeana Pooler Interview on The Organic Heart

The Organic Heart Cookbook and an Interview

Wellness Patterns: Tell us about the Organic Heart.

Breeana Pooler: The Organic Heart started back in 2014 when my husband, Jason, was diagnosed with heart failure caused by a rare virus. We met with a naturopathic doctor who recommended we go on an anti-inflammatory diet to bring down the inflammation in his heart and this consisted of gluten and dairy-free, clean, un-processed organic foods. I created an Instagram account to share the recipes I came up with for Jason and share our journey of Jason’s recovery and I quickly gained a following on my Instagram account. Flash forward a few years later I then decided to come out with a cookbook filled with all the healthy and healing recipes that saved my husbands life. Jason’s heart fully recovered and I am now determined to share our story and my recipes with the world.

Wellness Patterns: Can you really regain your health by changing your diet?

Breeana Pooler: Yes, you can 100%. I saw my husband go from nearly dying and us being told he needed a heart transplant to just a few months later (after going on this all organic, anti-inflammatory way of eating) feeling so much better and no longer needing a heart transplant. Food truly turned his health around and saved his life and I got to see the amazing results first hand.

organic heart cookbook interview

Wellness Patterns: What did you learn about health and food after your husband’s heart issues?

Breeana Pooler: My view of health and food completely changed. Before his diagnosis, I never thought of how chemicals in our food actually effect or bodies or how if our system is constantly inflamed from the toxic foods we consume it’s more susceptible to disease and sickness. Jason’s diagnosis of heart failure caused us to take a magnifying glass on our food choices and really put thought into what we put in our body and in turn how that food can nourish and actually heal you.

Wellness Patterns: What are some of your favorite heart-healthy recipes?

Breeana Pooler: My favorite go-to weekly recipes are my turkey Asian lettuce wraps, Italian meatballs with spaghetti squash, Collard green wrapped fajita burritos, apple-cinnamon oatmeal with almond-coconut drizzle, tropical green smoothie and homemade chicken broth for different soups. And all of these recipes can of course be found in my cookbook!

Wellness Patterns: Tell us more about the community you grew on Instagram?

Breeana Pooler: My followers on Instagram have been such a support system through out the years. At times when I felt like giving up they always lifted my spirits and inspired me to keep going and fulfill my dreams of having a cookbook. I’ve had followers all the way from South Africa to Australia to Mexico tell me how our story and my recipes have changed their life and this has meant so much to me. I feel such a connection with my Instagram community and I’m so grateful for each one of my amazing followers.

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Quick and Healthy Food Options with Quinoa Meals

Quick and Healthy Food Options with Quinoa Meals

Quinoa has exploded on the health scene for some time now. I love it as an alternative to rice where I create my own quinoa bowl, complete with veggies, beans and some avocados, for a satisying and quick dinner option. But this isn’t always the easiest thing to make when I’m out and about, so you could say that I was pretty psyched when I learned about the new Quinoa Meals from Cucina & Amore: Kitchen & Love.

Quick and Healthy Food Options with Quinoa Meals

A family-owned company,Cucina & Amore: Kitchen & Love offers Italian meals where they quickly expanded to offer new products like their innovative Quinoa Meals. The kicker with this product is that it’s a ready-to-eat healthy meal option that comes complete with a cup of fully cooked Quinoa, a sauce to mix in, and a spork for extra convenience. There’s nothing to prep or cook and it doesn’t even need to be refrigerated that can be enjoyed cold or hot. Amazing, right?!

Quick and Healthy Food Options with Quinoa Meals

And as if that’s not enough: there are also tons of varieties to enjoy such as basil pesto (my fave!), mango jalapeño, spicy jalapeño and roasted peppers, and artichoke roasted piquillo that’s a crowd pleaser for kids and adults.

Being a quick and easy product, all you have to do is unwrap the packaging, mix in the sauce (with all of it or a little bit), mix, and enjoy! It really doesn’t get any easier than that! I also love that it’s gluten-free, GMO-free, preservative free, and vegan (except pesto flavor). They are also awesome for travel where you can bring them on planes, road trips, and my personal favorite: an easy lunchtime option that’s compact, mess-free and healthy.

Check out Quinoa Meals at your local grocer; it’s such a great and very easy way to eat healthy when you’re on the go!

Quinoa Meals are available at Wegman’s, Shop Rite, Fairway Market, Stop & Shop, and many more. Our Quinoa Meals are available nationwide at Cost Plus World Market, Super Target, The Fresh Market, select Whole Foods Market regions, and select Costco regions. They are also available online at Thrive Market, Naturebox, Vitacost, and Amazon. Retail price is $3.99-$4.19 depending on the store and possible sale promotions.

For more information, please visit:

We were provided with samples for review. All opinions, as always, are our own.

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Dr. Smood: Healthy Boutique Cafe Popping Up in NYC

Dr. Smood: Healthy Boutique Cafe

dr. smood coffee

With the focus on health and well-bring becoming increasingly mainstream, the options to purchase organic food and drinks have far surpassed the options solely found in your local health food store. Restaurants and even cafes are ‘getting it,’ offering health-conscious consumers tons of nutrient-rich options to feed their mind, body and souls. During a recent press preview, I had the opportunity to check out such a cafe when I attended the opening of the Lexington Avenue location of Dr. Smood, an organic boutique café that features food and drink items to benefit your mood.  With four locations currently open in New York (a fifth is coming in the fall), the cafés focus on offering nutrient-rich super foods and beverages to the health-conscious consumer. This includes convenient grab-and-go options, a full coffee and juice bar, organic food options, and a “Smood Market” filled with dry goods and supplements.

dr. smood kale salad

dr. smood supplements

Awesome, right?!

This includes backing by scientists, nutritionists and doctors who spent three years developing the nutrient-rich foods to enhance performance of the body, mind and soul. Each product is color-coded and tailored to boost one of six categories: Immunity, Energy, Health, Beauty, Detox and Power. All of the food and drinks are USDA-certified organic, kosher and are made without GMOs, preservatives, dairy, chemicals, HPP, pesticides or refined sugar.

dr. smood values

dr. smood drink

Menu items include organic coffees and teas, green juices, cold pressed juices that are targeted by your mood, organic pastries, power sandwiches made from Performance Bread—which helps to stabilize blood sugar—and salads loaded with bio-available protein and organic super foods. Another unique aspect of Dr. Smood’s is that nutritionists and Smood Operators are available on-site to help customers choose products that are tailored to their needs and that will boost their health. A latte with health benefits? Now, that’s something we can totally get behind.

Dr. Smood locations in New York include 40th and Madison, NoMad, SoHo, 46th and Lexington and the Lower East Side. First launched in Miami, where there are currently five locations, Dr. Smood will continue to open new locations in 2017 and beyond with international expansion plans underway.

For more information, please visit:

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Interview with virtue + vice: Women’s Sustainable and Ethical Clothing Brand

There are so many factors that go into how our clothing is made. From where it is sourced to what materials that are used, the production of fashion has changed over the years to offer consumers cheaper items that are made a faster rate. This has a direct impact on the environment has more clothing is making its way to our wastelands–not to mention creating a new culture focused on cheap, fast consumerism. However, there are also many brands that are adhering to both ethical and sustainable practices to change the industry and thus how we consume. One such company that we recently learned about is virtue + vice, a women’s sustainable and ethical clothing brand.

Started by Melanie, who used to source and develop clothing for some well-known big box and fast fashion American retailers, wanted to do things differently and created virtue + vice. As a new clothing brand, virtue + vice provides eco-conscious women with style that promises to produce the smallest possible carbon footprint, while offering a safe work environment and living wage to artisans in India. With a focus on consumer education, virtue + vice gives a ‘behind the seams’ look at how the clothes are made, showcasing each piece’s unique story and the people behind it.

The debut collection, features a gorgeous collection prints, like oversized palm leaves, vintage florals, and scalloped mermaid scales is perfect for hot, sunny days, tropical getaways, or even just trying to bring a beachy bohemian vibe to your regular happy hour. To learn more about their styles and how the clothing is made, we spoke with Melanie who gave the insider scoop on this exciting new brand:

Interview with virtue + vice

virtue + vice ethical fashions dresses

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea for virtue + vice come about?

virtue + vice: I have worked in the fashion industry for over seven years, and lived and worked throughout Asia. During that time I have seen a lot places and a lot of things. I wanted to create a brand that pulled back the glamorous curtain of the fashion industry; and educated consumers on what it really takes to create shiny editorial magazine photos and pinterest porn. I wanted to do this while creating an ethical and sustainable brand with real 100% transparency, as a model for what the industry should strive to become.

Wellness Patterns: How is your production model important for the retail industry?

virtue + vice: Most retailers produce too much. They do this for a couple of reasons. Sometimes it is actually cheaper for them to make more (you get better prices the bigger the order) and to have left overs, than it is to make less. Crazy, right? They also produce to discount. They make the markup ridiculously high because they are planning for most of it to sell on sale. We don’t believe in either of those practices. We make what we believe we can sell, even if we don’t meet lower price minimums, and we price fairly. It’s less wasteful this way and better for the customer.

Everything we make is also ethically and sustainably made. We believe in paying more for quality products and factories with safe working conditions and fair wages.

virtue + vice ethical fashion skirts


Wellness Patterns: What can someone expect from the collection?

virtue + vice: Easy to wear day to night pieces. Most of the clothes are easy transitions from a day at the beach or a bbq, to going out at night. It’s a cute relaxed look, without trying too hard to be trendy.

clothing production at virtue + vice

Wellness Patterns: How are the clothes made?

virtue + vice: Everything is made in Gujarat India right now. I used a lot of khadi, which is hand spun and hand woven fabric. It doesn’t use any electricity or water to make, and each spinning machine and loom that is replaced by man power creates 150 jobs. I use low impact non azo digital printing on the khadi. Digital printing uses less water and electricity than typical industry printing, and creates less air emissions. I live at my factory usually for about 3 weeks during production times, to ensure fair practices and quality.

virtue + vice ethical fashion shorts

Wellness Patterns: What is your favorite piece?

virtue + vice: My favorite pieces are the VADA khadi shorts. I LOVE khadi, and the waist band is super stretching and comfortable.

Wellness Patterns: What are your plans for the future?

virtue + vice: I plan to introduce a lower price point line for spring 2018 using commodity fabrics, to make sustainable and ethical fashion even more accessible to everyone.

Excited to check out virtue + vice! They are also hosting a 48-hour private flash sale. Check out the details below to save big on their stunning sustainable fashions:


virtue and vice 48-hour private flash sale

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Healthy Smoothie Yogurt Bowl with Chia Seeds

I’m really trying to be better about having breakfast. Dubbed forever as ‘the most important meal of the day,’ I notice that I get super cranky or my stomach has a life of its own if I don’t eat something in the AM. With three kids, I try to make sensible options (for both of us) by making a weekly homemade smoothie with spinach, berries, bananas, avocado, and coconut water that gives them some veggies at the start of their day. For myself, I’ve been upgrading the smoothie a bit by creating something more substantial in the form of my own smoothie bowl. In addition to the smoothie, I’ll add in some yogurt, OatBox granola and chia seeds for the perfect combo of nutrients, antioxidants and fiber. Check out one of my go-to recipes, featuring Oatbox, a new monthly breakfast subscription company that delivers monthly-curated boxes of natural, healthy and delicious granola mixes and Carrington Farms Chia Seeds, one of the highest plant-based sources of protein, fiber and Omega 3s.

Smoothie Yogurt Bowl with Chia Seeds

Smoothie Yogurt Bowl with Chia Seeds


1/3 cup blueberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1 cup homemade smoothie (combo of coconut water, avocado, frozen berries, banana and spinach)
1 Tbsp + 1/4 tsp Carrington Farms Chia Seeds
1 cup of Oatbox 

healthy Smoothie Yogurt Bowl with Chia Seeds


Place frozen berries, frozen spinach, 1/2 avocado, 1 banana and around two cups of coconut water into a blender. Blend until you reach your desired consistency. Pour into a bowl and layer up your ingredients, which includes fresh berries, yogurt, nuts, granola and chia seeds. So easy and so good!


We were provided with some samples for review. All opinions, as always, are our own.

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Interview with Portraits for Good: Online Art Gallery that Gives Back

It’s so important to have something to believe in. No matter what our work may be, giving back is a way to support those in need. One such company that is doing their part a quite an impactful way for both consumers and artists is PORTRAITS FOR GOOD, an online gallery that sells artwork and prints while simultaneously donating to the charity of your choice.

PORTRAITS FOR GOOD, an online gallery that sells artwork and prints

Created by Alix Greenberg who realized that while artists have long stood for important causes, they lacked a way to directly impact the causes that mattered to them most. She created PORTRAITS FOR GOOD, a unique business that donates proceeds from every purchase to a non-profit of the customer’s choice. Since launching the site, PORTRAITS FOR GOOD has helped support organizations like JDRF, Doctors Without Borders, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and ASPCA.

PORTRAITS FOR GOOD art that gives back

PORTRAITS FOR GOOD pictures that give back

Not only an incredible way to give back, you can expect to receive a beautiful print or painting that arrives wrapped, framed, and ready to hang. To get started, customers choose a limited-edition print or commission a custom piece from one of their artists, then choosing a charity of their choice from which a portion of the proceeds will go towards. To learn more about this company and how it works, we spoke with Alix Greenberg who shared more about how the idea started and her goals for the future of PORTRAITS FOR GOOD.

Interview with Portraits for Good Founder, Alix Greenberg

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea of Portraits for Good come about?

Alix Greenberg: A few years ago I realized that, while artists have long stood for important causes, they’ve lacked a way to directly impact the causes that mattered to them most. I created PORTRAITS FOR GOOD; in 2015 a unique business that donates 10% of proceeds from every purchase to a non-profit of the customer’s choice. Since launching the site, PORTRAITS FOR GOOD® has helped support organizations like CodePurple Now, JDRF, Doctors Without Borders, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and ASPCA.

Wellness Patterns: Why was it important for you to tie in a charitable component to your company? How do you pick the charities you want to work with?

Alix Greenberg: The first part of this question is answered above! It started with me picking my favorite charities, and as I brought artists on, and more customers purchased, they also had ideas of charities to add. I am happy to add non-profits locally and abroad as long as they are benefiting us for good.

white girl rose portraits for good

Wellness Patterns: How do you select the artists to work with?

Alix Greenberg: PORTRAITS FOR GOOD partners with several artists who create original art or limited edition prints that showcase their unique artistic style. Since this is a fine art venture, I carefully acquire artists who have a strong aesthetic style and based on their social media presence. The site is curated and as I grow the business, I plan on bringing on 1-2 artists a day, then more! I want to make sure the site is showcasing the best.

 Portraits for Good, an online gallery that sells artwork and prints while simultaneously donating to the charity of your choice.

Wellness Patterns: How does the process work to purchase a piece of art?

Alix Greenberg: It’s easy!

1. Customers pick an artist from the “Artists For Good” dropdown menu and view the selection of limited-edition prints or upload an image and commission the artist to create a customized piece.

2. At checkout, consumers can choose their cause from a dropdown menu of numerous charities we partner with and have donated to in the past. Consumers who want to give to an organization not currently offered on the site, can contact us and we’ll happily add it as long as it is a 501(c)3!

3. Once purchased, the art will be delivered framed and display ready!

Wellness Patterns: What are some of your goals for the future of Portraits for Good?

Alix Greenberg: I am currently scaling the business and will be relaunching a brand new website in a few months optimized to bring on more artists and more charities – I want to bring 1-2 artists a day to start! I see this as a platform that aggregates both professional and dabblers alike and sells their work to charitably minded individuals. It will remain that PORTRAITS FOR GOOD is the seller and is the operational, shipping hub!

For more information, please visit:PORTRAITS FOR GOOD

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Healthy, Gluten-Free Pancakes to Start the Day

While I love breakfast, it’s not always the healthiest option, or if there are healthy alternatives, they tend to take time to prepare. I just discovered an awesome way to meld both of those needs after sampling some delicious pancakes from Simple Mills Pancake & Waffle Almond Flour Mix. A gluten-free, grain-free, paleo-friendly, and non-GMO blend, the Simple Mills pancake and waffle line was so easy to create where I simply needed oil, milk (or water), eggs and the mix. After whipping it all together, the pancakes cooked within minutes and were ready to serve my hungry family. After plating them with some fruit and maple syrup, my family dug in and loved the nutty flavor or this reinvented morning meal that also happens to be low in sugar and made with seven simple whole food ingredients!

kids cooking  Simple Mills Pancake & Waffle Almond Flour Mix

simple mills gluten-free pancakes

simple mills gluten-free pancake box

Founded by Kaitlin Smith, who started by creating the mixes in her home, Simply Mills wants to change the way America bakes to help people live healthier lives. This includes a providing a range of wholesome and convenient products that aren’t processed or contain grain, soy, artificial flavors or fillers!

Healthy, Gluten-Free Pancakes to Start the Day

And there’s even more reason to celebrate eating healthy this summer with August 24 being National Waffle Day where you can whip up a batch of Simply Mills waffles to commemorate this 148 year ‘holiday.’ Additionally, you can combine their gluten-free Pancake & Waffle almond flour mix to create a variety of delicious recipes including: Chicken ‘n’ Waffles, Pumpkin Spice Waffles, Savory Veggie Waffles with Herbed Kefir Cheese and more.

For more information on Simple Mills and their product line, please visit:

We were provided with a sample for review. All opinions, as always, are our own.



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Find the Perfect Meal in the New FoodFaves App (and an Interview!)

We all have our food cravings, that on a given day, can be heightened when we scroll through social. Most food apps work to get food quickly and conveniently to you, but for the most part, that’s it. Most apps don’t know what your food likes and dislikes are or allow you to search for what you are craving (via images) in your area.

Enter the new FoodFaves App, a crowdsourcing tool that finds the best food pic content in your area, using pictures to cue up your food cravings and help you find the best eatery to satisfy that craving. Created by Sydney Epstein, a New York City television editor, who figured out that people respond to pictures of food more than menus or even good reviews. She created her app to be the ultimate personal dining assistant to help people achieve the battle to find the ultimate meal.

FoodFaves App ice cream

This ingenious new app works to identify what you’re craving, find the best possible version of what you’re craving, figure out where to go get it and provides the tools for you to get out of your office/home and be social. To learn more about this app, we chatted with Epstein about how it works and her goals for the app in the future.

Interview with Sydney Epstein about FoodFaves App

Interview with Sydney Epstein about FoodFaves App

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea for the app come about?

Sydney Epstein: I had just graduated from Emerson College and moved across the country to start a new job in Los Angeles. As a food-obsessed millennial, one of the very first things on my “to-do list” upon settling into a new city was to research my new “go-to” restaurants/takeout joints (#priorities). Within the first few minutes of my research, my computer screen became flooded with endless tabs of yelp pages, websites and reviews, and it was impossible to comprehend/keep track of which restaurants matched/catered to my personal taste. That was when I had that “there’s got to be a better way” moment and the idea for Foodfaves was born: an app that’s not just a personal dining assistant, but a “personal portal” to the foodie community!

Wellness Patterns: Tell us more about how it works?

Sydney Epstein: FoodFaves was designed as a personal dining assistant with a visual-heavy interface that capitalizes on cultural trends in how people seek to satisfy hunger. There’s an emphasis on convenience and reliance on digital media and smartphones in everyday decision-making.

FoodFaves offers several features to help users “organize” their food preferences, their favorite restaurants and dishes, while encouraging them to try new foods. Its core feature is a unique “Crave Quiz” that presents the user with sequential photos of delicious dishes based on their preferences and location, interpreting user responses (swipes) to each photo to determine what will satisfy their crave. Using the user’s Crave Quiz results, the app matches the user to a local restaurant that serves their crave. Think of the FoodFaves app as an intelligent “Tinder of Food.”

Through other FoodFaves features, you can easily thumb through pictures of your favorite dishes, or pictures people share with you that all appear in your personal newsfeed. Scroll through your favorite restaurants and menus with the option to save restaurant profiles that catch your eye and revisit them later. Found that perfect meal or snack? Share them with your followers while discovering delicious dishes and treats from others in the FoodFaves community.

It’s fun and it’s social. Finally, a personal dining assistant, right at your fingertips!

FoodFaves App cravings


Wellness Patterns: Why target cravings through an app?

Sydney Epstein: FoodFaves is a picture intensive application that capitalizes on the growing cultural attraction to visual images of food, often referred to as “food porn.” It’s digitizing a daily thought process that we all have, in order to reveal your craving. FoodFaves is made up of features which were all designed to help direct users to the restaurant most likely to “match” their craving within their desired location radius. Our app is a unique product with competitive differentiation in a market whose potential lies in its enormity, fascination with food, and increasing reliance on technology.

Wellness Patterns: What has been the response like so far?

Sydney Epstein: User feedback has been extremely positive, mainly about how it’s crazy that this idea has never been done before! Our FoodFaves database of users and food image uploads continues to grow every day. There are currently 30,000 tagged photos of dishes from restaurants all over the country (even some from overseas) uploaded to our app. The majority of food photos uploaded within the app are of dishes served in and around New York City, as that is our first test city. However, more and more food photos are posted every day of dishes served all across the U.S. Many of our users also run successful foodie Instagram accounts, so they came to the FoodFaves app as food influencers. But what is great about FoodFaves is that anyone can be a food micro-influencer within their own social circle. It’s the perfect forum for these users to not only show off drool-worthy dishes, but help other users discover new restaurants in their area! And obviously restaurants greatly benefit too, from the social sharing component of their dishes.

Wellness Patterns: What are some of your goals for the app?

Sydney Epstein: To be a leader in the social media-driven universe of food. FoodFaves provides a feature-rich program that creates unique appeal among users seeking convenience, while providing the restaurant community an easy, cost efficient means of targeted advertising. For restaurants, its visual advertising with a key social component. In addition to bringing users and restaurants together in commerce, we hope the application will provide an active social media forum for users who wish to share food photos with each other, and restaurants who seek to leverage social media for advertising. At the end of the day, our main mission is for FoodFaves to help users search for the perfect answer to satisfy their cravings and where to find it, by digitizing a daily conversation we all have – “What do I (we) want to eat today/tonight?”

For more info about the app, please visit: the iTunes store.

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Interview with Family-Owned Karen’s Naturals (Formerly Just Tomatoes)

Interview with Family-Owned Karen’s Naturals (Formerly Just Tomatoes)

You can pretty much go into any grocery store these days to discover aisles dedicated to organic and healthy snacks. What was once a niche category that you could only find at a health food store has now grown to $43.15 million dollar (2015 stats) industry with more people seeking out these healthy alternatives. One such company that was at the pioneer of this movement was Just Tomatoes. Conceived in 1985 by Karen Cox who envisioned a brand that would utilize dehydration and freeze-drying technology to bring farm fresh fruits and vegetables to the public year-round in the most nutritious, convenient, cost-conscious and flavor-packed manner possible. Working with her husband, Bill Cox, a fourth generation family farmer, they created Just Tomatoes – initially selling dehydrated tomatoes from their farm, then quickly outgrowing their name by adding apples, persimmons, berries, corn and mix to their line of naturally-fresh, chemical-free products.

During a recent chat with Bill Cox, we learned that the process starts by using fruits and vegetables directly from farms, ranches and orchards where they’re allowed to ripen naturally before being picked at the peak of flavor. The produce is then washed gently, and cut into bite-size pieces before being flash frozen. All water is then extracted by vacuum. Since the temperature never exceeds 90ºF, freeze-dried foods are considered a raw food (the company’s dehydrated products are dried at 125ºF). Whether freeze-dried or dehydrated, Karen’s Naturals’ fruits and veggies always maintain their color, nutrients and natural flavors without the use of any additives or preservatives.

karen's naturals freeze-dried line

karen's naturals freeze-dried line

Sadly, Karen passed but her family continues to honor and legacy and recently re-branding the company as Karen’s Naturals, to both honor her and continue her mission to create healthy, farm-fresh freeze-dried fruits and vegetables. This includes an expansion of their product line and retail distribution where you can now find Karen’s Naturals in 37 distinct fruit and vegetable variations, along with their new line of 100% natural fruit powders. Available in all-natural and organic versions, some of Karen’s Naturals products include: Just Apples, Just Bananas, Just Strawberries, Just Blueberries, Just Grapes, Just Peaches, Just Mango, Cherries, Just Raspberries, Just Tomatoes, Just Corn, Just Peas, Just Hot Veggies, Fruit Powders and more. Additionally, all of these products are naturally free of gluten, dairy, wheat and nuts.

A pioneer brand in the industry, Karen’s Naturals is a great way to snack on healthy veggies and fruits without having to worry about added any sugars, preservatives or GMOs.


Available online at, through and other online retailers and at such health food stores as Whole Foods, Karen’s Naturals offers individual “on-the-go” snack bag versions of its freeze-dried and dehydrated fruit and veggie products (all under two dollars each), as well as bulk packages and Variety Packs. 

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New Yorker Jay Asparro to Run 75 Miles for Alzheimer’s in Grandparents Honor

Running is powerful form of exercise. In the great game of you vs. you, it’s all about the strength, power and focus that comes from within. Fellow New Yorker, Jay Asparro will be embarking on these challenges when he will run a collective 75 miles this November (48.8 miles from Jones Beach to Teddy Roosevelt Park in Oyster Bay and the next morning he will run 26.2 miles at the New York City Marathon). This intense endeavor is driven by his passion to raise money for The Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation, a disease his grandmother, Ann, battles everyday. Last year he completed this same run, finishing 90 miles, tired yet inspired by how the awareness of his run had raised $38,000 for the Foundation. This year, the 75 miles represents what would have been his grandparent’s 75th wedding anniversary. Leading up to the run, Jay partners with local business to help raise money and awareness for his cause. This has included family bowling events to selling purple bagels at a Long Island based deli to the first annual Ann Asparro 5K. We had the pleasure to learn more about this run and the incredible cause during our recent interview with Jay. Read on to check out more about him and his cause-driven run.

New Yorker Jay Asparro to Run 75 Miles for Alzheimer's in Grandparents Honor

Interview with Jay Asparro on Running, Causes and Inspiration

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea to raise money through running come about? Why running?

Jay Asparro: I feel as though most people do not like running. If I am going to run an Ultra-Marathon, I believe I’ll be able to grab the attention of these people. Everyone knows the NYC Marathon but I don’t think anyone has heard of someone running 48.8 miles the day before the marathon. Then there are those people who love running. Most do not run more than a marathon, so I felt with an Ultra-Marathon, I could grab the attention of these people as well.

New Yorker Jay Asparro to Run 75 Miles for Alzheimer's in Grandparents Honor

Wellness Patterns: Your goal is 75 miles for this upcoming goal! How do you train for that?

Jay Asparro: I’ll be running 48.8 miles on Sat. Nov. 4th and 26.2 miles on Sun. Nov. 5th at the NYC Marathon. I hired my running coach, Patrick Hammond, from Educated Running and he puts my running schedule together for me. Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle in March and have a torn ligament in my ankle. So I swim, bike, and take hot yoga classes on top of my running 4x a week.
For recovery purposes, I take Epsom salt baths, go to Cryotherapy at Cryofit in Syosset, NY, go to Physical Therapy, get massages, and I do push-ups, sit-ups, stretch and roll everyday.

Nutrition is extremely important as well. So I’m constantly on top of my food intake eating good carbs (brown rice, sweet potatoes), protein (chicken and fish) and drinking at least 100 oz of water a day.

Wellness Patterns: What has been the reaction to your run?

Jay Asparro: When I tell people about my 75 mile run, their eyes get big and they tell me I’m crazy. Then I explain to them that I am running in honor of my grandmother to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, then they understand. 90% of the time I tell someone I’m running to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, they begin to tell me someone they know who is living with Alzheimer’s.

As for media attention, I believe it is still too early to get their attention. I’m hoping when the run gets closer- TV, Radio, and any other media outlets will give me an opportunity to speak about Alzheimer’s and the impact it has had on my family.

jay asparro running

Wellness Patterns: Why was it important for you to do this for your Grandmother?

Jay Asparro: Unfortunately, my grandmother doesn’t know who I am anymore. I know who my grandmother is and I refuse to have Alzheimer’s define my grandmother’s life. My grandmother lived with Faith, Joy and Love for her Family. That is what I run for and I always appreciate an opportunity to talk about my grandmother. She has three sons, who married three great women, she has seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren that she loves and is very proud of. I run all of these miles with love for my grandmother and my family.

Wellness Patterns: What’s something you’ve learned first-hand about Alzheimer’s?

Jay Asparro: I’ve seen the toll it takes on the caregivers. My parents, Aunt and Uncle are the caregivers for my grandmother. I also run for them because I know how much they have sacrificed to be there for my grandmother everyday. Their strength and love for my grandmother is something that helps me train when I don’t want to train.
Again, when I talk to people about Alzheimer’s, I’ve met caregivers and I see the stress and pain they have gone through or going through. I not only run for my family but I run for families living with Alzheimer’ and families who have lived through Alzheimer’s.

Wellness Patterns: How can someone help out if they aren’t a runner?

Jay Asparro: I’m raising money for the Long Island Alzheimer’s foundation, so donations would be greatly appreciated. They can go to and click on the donate link. If people want to help me promote the run, that would be great as well. They can email me at

Below is more information about the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation:
For 29 years, LIAF has been providing supportive community-based services to Alzheimer’s families on Long Island. LIAF offers critically needed social adult day programs for individuals facing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their caregivers. LIAF takes considerable pride in its pioneering role in the development of cutting edge services that foster the independence, dignity, well-being and safety of individuals with Alzheimer’s. LIAF is pleased to announce that the organization’s headquarters have relocated to a new state-of-the-art facility at 1025 Old Country Road in Westbury. The more centrally-located facility will provide the opportunity to bring services and programs more easily to those who need them. A special community open house and grand opening celebration is planned for spring 2017. For information call (516) 767-6856 or visit


You can also follow along with Jay’s fitness and fundraising journey on Instagram- jayasparro7, The Ann Asparro Run Face Book Page as well as on

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