Undo Food the “Root Way”

Good morning to you! I hope your weekend was a pleasant one filled with lots of relaxation and happiness! This time of year, any weekend (or weekday, for that matter) is a positive one that is snow and storm free, in my opinion, for more reasons than one. Never a real fan of the cold and inclement weather that often accompanies it, the Spring, Summer and often times, Autumn, are times of year I look forward to for the warmer/sunny weather and the abundance of flowers and crops sprouting. That being said, recently, I was provided with the opportunity to experience a taste of the warmer months and the gardening that often accompanies it within the comfort of my very own home! At this point, you might be wondering, what in the world could she be talking about?! A garden within her own home? Keep in mind, I live in a relatively small condo/townhouse development where the grass and backyards are anything but plentiful. Yes, there is a small lawn the condo association takes care of, but there is minimal, if any, room for a garden of my own, much to my chagrin. Therefore, the opportunity I was presented with was appealing, exciting and a project I couldn’t wait to dig into (literally!):

ALL the “Root“WAYS: Learn How to “Undo Food” with Back to the Roots:

Back to the Roots Founders 2

A relatively new company, Back to the Roots (www.backtotheroots.com), having formed several years ago is well on its way to revolutionizing the food, nonprofit, science community and beyond! Founded and based out of Oakland, California, two friends and former roommates at UC Berkeley, Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez, made the choice to forgo a career in the corporate world and focus on the unique and innovative ways/methods of nourishing the public. Having learned in a college class of the ability of mushrooms to grow entirely on “spent coffee grounds,” they made it their goal to investigate further and ultimately transformed their careers in the midst of their experimentation. Identifying themselves as “full-time mushroom farmers,” Arora and Velez operate under the philosophy they refer to as “Undoing Food.” According to their website, they “undo food,” with the goal of “reconnecting families back to where food comes from through fun and delicious ready-to-grow and ready-to-eat products.”

Back to the Roots Founders

Back to the Roots History/Mindset:

  • According to the official Back to the Roots website (backtotheroots.com), they are a multi-faceted company aspiring to meet the changing and evolving needs of families and people in general.
  • They fully operate under the belief that “all food comes from the kitchen, not a lab; and where Research & Development teams aren’t biochemists, but our grandparents”, so to speak.”
  • Community-Based: Heavily community-based and oriented with a strong interest in education and youth, as whole, emphasizing the importance of food and natural fuel. They stress the importance of making learning fun and enjoyable within the classroom through incorporating their full product lines and philosophy.

Back to the Roots logo

Back to the Roots Website/Social Media Platforms:

  • The Back to the Roots website is filled with a vast array of resources – everything from recipes incorporating their products, links to their curriculum, a Press page featuring all of their recent awards/accolades/interviews, a tour of their facility, and an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the founders and their team.
  • Online Ordering: All products are available for online ordering, with free shipping provided for orders of $25 or more, PLUS, if you subscribe to their newsletter, you’ll be entitled to a one-time discount of 15% off your next order.
  • The team at Back to the Roots is always open and welcome to feedback and encourages new customers, fans and those who are curious in learning more to reach out via their website, or social media pages.
  • Social Media: Come interact and follow Back to the Roots on their assortment of social media platforms – Twitter: @Backtotheroots Facebook: Back to The Roots Pinterest: @Back to the Roots & Instagram.

Back to the Roots PRODUCT LINES: Having familiarized yourself with the company, you might be wondering, so what exactly are these products? Well, take a tour of the products below and prepare to be intrigued and amazed:

Back to the Roots Product Line                 Back to the Roots Product Line 2

READY TO GROW Products: (http://backtotheroots.com/collections/ready-to-grow & http://backtotheroots.com/collections/ready-to-eat)

  • Mushroom Farm: Grow gourmet, organic Oyster mushrooms out of the box in 10 days! Lasts for months in the box, unopened. Simply open the box, mist with water and harvest days later (as stated on their website); non-GMO, 100% home-grown.
  • Garden-in-A-Can Set (4-pack): organic seeds and soil – plant, water and grow on your windowsill! Available in Basil, Cilantro, Sage and Dill.
  • Water Garden: A self-cleaning fish tank that grows food! It uniquely creates a “closed-loop ecosystem” – the fish feeds the plants and the plants clean the water! The garden comes with a fish tank & gravel, organic seeds/grow stones, natural fertilizer, coupon for Betta fish, fish food and a silent, submersible water pump.

Back to the Roots Garden in a Can

READY-TO-EAT Products: (http://backtotheroots.com/collections/ready-to-eat)

  • CEREALS: No bag-in-box (sold in recyclable cartons with non-toxic vegetable inks, 18% less paper and 25% less plastic than traditional cereal boxes). Available in the following varieties:

Back to the Roots Cereal Line

California Whole Wheat Stoneground Flakes: 100% whole wheat from Califiornia; organic cane sugar from Florida and sea salt from San Francisco Bay)

Cocoa Clusters: 100% organic stoneground whole wheat from California, pure-non-alkalized cocoa from the Dominican Republic, organic cane sugar from Florida, sea salt from San Francisco Bay)

Purple Corn Flakes: 100% non-GMO purple corn from Minnesota; organic cane sugar from Florida; sea salt from San Francisco Bay.

  • Organic Breakfast Toppers: add flavor, texture, variety and color to your favorite cereal (hot or cold), yogurt, pudding, and/or other recipes/foods. Available in the following varieties:

Back to the Roots breakfast toppers

Raisins, Sunflower Seeds and Buckwheat

Blueberries, Almonds & Buckwheat

Dates, Coconut and Chia Seeds

My PERSPECTIVE/Experience:

As I previously mentioned, much to my chagrin, my living space does not allow for much of a garden or growing environment for plants, flowers or other crops. Therefore, Back to the Roots provides the unique opportunity to fully grow my own herbs, mushrooms, and other plants right from the comfort of my own home! It is a company like no other and one that is truly dedicated to providing wholesome, safe and nutritious foods for all. The herbs grown in the can are fresh and flavorful and it takes a short period of time to grow them!

As the daughter of a teacher, their strong belief and presence in the world of education is one I fully support and appreciate and am glad to see their full integration.

From the mushrooms sprouting from the mushroom farm, to the ready-to-eat cereals like the Cocoa Clusters (my favorite – I’m a huge fan of the crunchy, cocoa taste, which is sweet, but not overly so with the right amount of texture, holding up well in milk and yogurt!), the possibilities are endless. The concept of the breakfast toppers is one I’ve never seen before, either, and one I truly appreciate, especially the variety with blueberries, given blueberries are relatively pricey this time of year! With Back to the Roots, it’s hard to be disappointed!

Now, let’s take a trip back into the different projects and initiatives Back to the Roots incorporates into its culture:

Back to the Roots education

Back to the Roots within the Classroom (http://backtotheroots.com/pages/curriculum):

As a unique facet of the company, Back to the Roots offers a fully-developed curriculum which accompanies each Back to the Roots Ready-to-Grow-Product. The curriculum helps children understand each product while still enforcing the common core for science. The curriculum is comprised of three units:

  • Unit 1: Mushroom Farm
  • Unit 2: Water Garden
  • Unit 3: Garden-in-a-Can

On the website’s curriculum page, teachers/educators can find and download the curriculum, associated activities, and other teacher resources for each unit. Plus, teachers/educators may be able to receive discounts on the product line and are urged to contact the appointed point person on their website. Plus, as an added bonus, for each photo Back to the Roots receives of the crops grown in classrooms, Back to the Roots will proudly donate a Ready to Grow product to the classroom of their choice!

“Grow One, Give One & Pour it Forward” Campaigns/Initiatives:

  • After buying a Ready-to-Grow or Ready-to-Eat product, simply take a photo with a product or recipe you created with the product(s) and upload it onto the Back to the Roots website and a product donation will be made in your honor to a classroom of your choice! When purchasing and enjoying Back to the Roots products, it is truly an opportunity to both enjoy and contribute to your community or a community in need!

Well, there you have it! I’d like to give a world of thanks to Morgan and the entire team at Back to the Roots for providing me with this incredibly unique and eventful opportunity to sample all the Back to the Roots products! It was one I thoroughly enjoyed and was impressed with; they truly are “undoing food,” in all the “root” ways!

Back to the Roots mushrooms

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Wisdom in Quote Form

What an interesting week it has been: from digging out from the impromptu snowstorm that arrived without abandon last week, to meeting new neighbors who tremendously helped with shoveling, and running errands around unshoveled roadways, I’m more than ready for the weekend. That being said, quotes I recently stumbled upon carried me through the rough times this week and therefore, I thought what better than share this wisdom than whomever might be reading? Perhaps it will provide you or someone else you know with inspiration, reassurance and the acknowledgement that despite how tough life can be, it can also be wonderfully surprising. At any time, life can provide us with seconds chances, opportunities and promise:

Help Quote

“Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.”

“Sometimes we don’t notice the things other people do for us until they stop doing them.”

“Close some doors today, not because of pride, incapacity, or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere.”

“Reading: That place where you are by yourself, but you are never alone.”

“There is always a way.”

“Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.”

“If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.” (A side note to mention: I feel particularly strong about this quote, especially as of recently. When I was younger, I was hesitant to ask for a lot of what I needed, or what would have helped me, because I was afraid, ashamed and embarrassed. Today, as an adult, it’s something I attempt to do each day – asking for what I need, but still respecting if the answer is no – at least I asked and took a chance. So if you’re doubting whether or not you should ask for something you feel would help you, I encourage you today and everyday, to take that chance and ask, because if not, what could be so simple could turn out to be much harder than it has to be.)

 

 

Believe It When you Feel “It”

Good Morning from an east coast with an apparent winter storm fast approaching! Given the weather reports, it sounds like my fellow east coast neighbors (and possibly elsewhere within the U.S.) will be snowed in this impending weekend. Not the biggest fan of snow or inclement weather in general, I’m hoping it will end up being more on the milder side, versus the opposite. That being said, it’s been a rather tumultuous week, to say the least.

When it comes to my car, one that I purchased from a three-year-lease last year, I’m always checking to ensure it is working properly. Bringing it in regularly for service appointments, checks and constant self-monitoring is always key and something I do on a consistent basis. For the past couple weeks, when starting my car, I began to notice something didn’t seem or “feel” right. It wasn’t a feeling I could easily describe and had difficulty placing it into words and explaining it to my family. Given I don’t drive a significant amount, when I was outside of my car, I pushed aside my worries and concerns over it and let it slide, believing it was probably just my irrational fears getting the best of me.

All the same, when it came time for me to drive my car, the fears and worries would re-generate and I would ruminate about potential problems with my car, anticipating the worst. Still, it failed to convince me to bring to the mechanic or auto center and I tried my best to privately silence the thoughts in my mind. Then yesterday, it all changed without much warning and the choice was no longer mine.

Monday morning the call I was hoping for came in: an invitation for a second interview for a career opportunity. I was surprised, excited and nervous. The interview was to happen yesterday, at 10:15am. Since the opportunity is only about 10 minutes from home, it was something I could easily manage, despite the short notice. I readied myself for the interview, making it out to my car to briefly warm up it (or so I intended to) around 9:45am and pushed the start button in my car (note: my car is a push start). The engine churned and churned and then… nothing. Nothing at all. I sat in my frigid car, with the temperature registering barely in the teens, wondering what I had done to deserve this outcome. Of all the times, I was home, with nothing to do, or no plans for the day, my car was always fine and yet, when something of a rare occurrence, a job opportunity of this magnitude surfaces, my car decides to fail. It was easy for me to begin the blame game (thinking I should have followed through on my concerns, I shouldn’t have let it go, I should have told someone), but I couldn’t have really known when I really think about it. Sometimes, these things happen without warning and they are beyond our control. As a 2012 vehicle, the end of this month signals it’s fourth year. I try to rationalize and reason with myself, that the battery was reaching it’s retirement, as they often last about 4-5 years, I’m told.

The best I could do, was focus on what needed to be done (i.e. getting to the interview on time, or within a reasonable timeframe and then working on dealing with my car issues afterwards), though it was challenging and all near impossible to silence the concerns and upset circulating within my mind. I had little time to fret about my car; I needed to quickly mobilize and plan for the impending ten minutes I had left to spare before the interview was set to commence.

Life sometimes gives us blessings in little ways, for whatever reason. With every unfortunate event, there is always a silver lining, hidden somewhere, no matter how small or minuscule it can seem. Yesterday, I was afforded a blessing: my sister, my best friend, my confidante, coming to my rescue. With a call and quick explanation, within minutes, she arrived. Words can never truly begin to express the feelings surfacing within my heart and mind as I spotted her SUV making it’s way down my street into the parking lot, quickly stopping in back of my car; she was here and somehow, through the ways life has ways of somehow working, we made it to my interview at 10:15 on the dot, without a moment to spare and when I found myself inside of the building, seated in a chair listening to the interviewer, I could all but pinch myself, wondering how it was all possible and how it is evidence that truly every second can bring change, either positive or negative. Life constantly catches me off-guard and though it may often feel or seem monotonous, it has its moments that truly make me question everything I’ve ever believed.

My family and I (specifically my sister and I) have an often unspoken relationship and what I mean by that is we can easily understand each other with or without spoken words. All it takes is a facial expression, a gesture, or really anything, to trigger a question, an action or a decision. Instead of wallowing in the “why me” attitude and feeling sorry for myself, I chose to operate under the belief of gratefulness. How grateful I was for my sister, coming to my aide. Sometimes things happen to us that are unfortunate, but we are NOT what happens to us; we can make the choice to see the bright side, no matter how dim it may seem at the time. Yesterday, I worked through not only the sadness and regret in not investigating my initial concerns about my car, the fact that it happened to me right before an interview and trying to not reason that it was an “omen” of some sort, and also the guilt of tearing my sister away from her day, wreaking havoc on her morning and overall day.

Help Quote

Instead, I chose to focus on my intention, as I so often to. If I’m not mistaken, I’ve spoken fairly frequently on here, in previous posts, about my concept of intention and strong belief in it. When I start to doubt myself, my decisions and actions, I choose to focus on my intention. I ask myself, when the self-defeating thoughts start to mount: what is my intention? Was my intention to do no harm? Was my intention to help others, including myself? In this instance, was my intention to solely travel to my interview as quickly and calmly as possible on my own? YES. The fact of the matter was and is, my intention was to travel to the interview independently, as I did the first time. Sometimes though, life throws obstacles our way that causes us to have to ask for help. In this instance, help was the equivalent of one of the most important people in my life arriving in her trusty SUV, with minutes to spare and today, I’m looking back on yesterday, thankful to have gotten through it and grateful for the incredible family in my life who make each day all the more worthwhile.

Though words can never truly express it, I hope my family knows how truly grateful and fortunate I am for them, each and every day.

Intuition Quote

 

16 for “Sweet 16”

Happy New Year! We’re currently five days into the new year and for me, it’s been off to a rather tumultuous start. Coupled with the malfunctioning/breaking of certain household appliances (i.e. heater, garbage disposal, water heater, and washer), it’s been a challenge to stay positive and ultimately convinced this year will be a sweet one. That being said, I decided that to keep in line with the affectionate nickname of 2016 as “Sweet 16,” I would compile a list of 16 goals/aspirations for this new year. They are simply what I’d like to adhere to or keep my focus on for these next 12 months, or ideally, permanently. So without further adieu, I give you:

16 goals for a “Sweet 16”

New Year

  1. Remind myself it’s okay to be where I am in life right now. There is no need to compare myself to where other people my age are in their lives. It’s like the well-known quote says, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” Someone else my age who is married, a mother, and has a fulfilling career might have already weathered something significant I have yet to encounter. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense, or benefit me in any way to compare myself to someone else’s current life situation. We all have our own experiences, situations, sentiments and relationships that color and shape where we currently are in our lives; it’s what makes us unique and gives us a story to tell.
  2. Remain as calm as possible even when live seems to be in disarray. This sentiment applies to when I experience technology issues (such as my laptop malfunctioning, iPhone issues, and beyond). It’s quick and easy for me to react with worry, fear and anxiety and the immediate, “IT NEEDS TO BE FIXED NOW,” train of thought. Rather than react immediately, I’ll try to take a step back and reframe what it is going on, then plan accordingly. Getting myself worked up and upset will only make me ineffective in dealing with the situation and drains me of my energy and strength.
  3. Pursue all that is important to me, no matter how far-fetched, or out-of-my reach it seems and feels. Helping others, writing and someday owning my own business are goals and accomplishments I’d love to someday meet and feel would complete a void once filled by volunteering and contributing to the community.
  4. Travel more, even if it is a day trip to somewhere minutes away. Sometimes our greatest discoveries and destinations can be only a short distance from our homes and we never once realized they existed.
  5. Be patient with myself. It’s easy for me to leave a situation or experience when it becomes uncomfortable, so this year, I’d like to feel those uncomfortable emotions and stay. Of course, this is within reason, but includes learning new technology and allowing myself be vulnerable in meeting others and taking chances. Allow myself the chance to ask questions, make mistakes and learn from them. It’s okay to need extra help, especially when learning something new. There is no shame in asking for clarification or for someone to simply lend a helpful hand or watchful eye.
  6. Stay in the moment. So often, I’ve looked back on experiences I’ve had and wished I would have been solely there, instead of envisioning where I would be in 10 minutes, or next year. The present moment is where I need to stay. If I am constantly looking towards the next moment, then I miss out on what the current one has to offer or might teach me.
  7. Eat an ice cream cone coated in sprinkles in the summer, while my hair flows around me in its natural form, unbrushed and unstyled. How freeing it would be, to allow myself to enjoy something as simple as an ice cream cone without worrying about how my hair looks or whether or not I’ve managed to smooth out every wave. It’s time to be kind to myself and realize my wavy, thick hair is not a curse, but just part of my DNA and what I was meant to have.
  8. Publicly sing again, whether it is through karaoke, or some other form. When I was younger, I was convinced I would pursue singing as a career. In short, I loved everything about belting the latest songs, singing in the school choirs, and thinking about what song I’d sing next. I’d like to take the chance this year, to sing in public and do so without regret or harshly judging myself.
  9. Start to write down all the thoughts for books that freely circulate within my mind. So often, ideas for novels will pop into my train of thought and I’ve let countless concepts slip away into oblivion, because of my fear in getting started. Instead of procrastinating and fearing “it won’t sound good,” take a chance and freely write, accepting whatever surfaces, no matter how “wordy,” it may be.
  10. Spend more time outside, enjoying nature. So often, I’ve watched the most beautiful of days slip away in favor of staying in, typing on my laptop, or reading. Instead of doing this indoors, why not read outside, or take a couple minutes to take a leisurely stroll and breathe in the fresh air?
  11. Reach out to someone, if I am thinking of them. Countless times through the week, I’ll think of someone I haven’t spoken to in awhile and have the urge to write to them and instead of taking a chance and acting on my feeling, I overthink it and opt not to.
  12. Buy fresh flowers in the spring and summer and display them.
  13. Go strawberry picking in the spring. The only fruit I’ve ever picked are apples and it’s always been a wish of mine to pick something else and create homemade recipes with them.
  14. Visit the beach and simply relax. It’s been years since I visited the beach, but this year, I’m determined to take a trip.
  15. Most importantly, reduce my negative “self-talk,” – too often, I find myself talking down to myself or about myself, chastising myself for things I did or didn’t do, instead of accepting mistakes I’ve made and learning from them. Let this year be the year I become a friend not only to others, but also myself.

New Year quote

Happy New Year! May this year be one filled with happiness, success and love.

A “Forever” Broken

Happy Holidays! It’s been awhile since I last posted, but I hope your holiday season has been a pleasant and enjoyable one, thus far. These past couple weeks have left me feeling nostalgic, given the arrival of old friends in the area for the holidays and past memories and sentiments starting to surface. From the latter portion of my middle school years through high school, I had a solid and defined group of best friends. It was always the 5 of us, with several of our other friends occasionally mixed in. It felt good to be apart of a close knit gathering of friends, people I could turn to in both the pleasant times and the less-fortunate occurrences, or so I thought at the time.

The holiday season for my friends and I always culminated at one of our house’s, where we would trade gifts and laughter, watching our favorite movies and eating all of “our” snacks (typically the much-loved Goldfish crackers, Oreo’s, Doritos, and a bunch of other packaged goods). Prior to our holiday gathering, my mom and I would scour the mall for what seemed like hours, trying to select the “perfect” gift for each of my friends without emptying our wallets. It was an annual shopping event I almost enjoyed as much as the actual holiday gathering. Often when we finished shopping, I would count down the minutes until I could finally present my friends with their gifts and cards, eager to show them how much they meant to me. To be honest, back then, I operated under the impression that we would all be best friends forever. I envisioned rooming with one of my friends in college, having wonderful adventures and escapades traveling through Europe and beyond. I believed all would work out and we would have a life filled with nothing but fun and excitement. Back then, it all seemed so simple and like a puzzle that could be easily solved with little difficulty.

My senior year of high school, or truly, the end of junior year, my friendships started to fall apart. Broken down by stress and my own self-defeating thoughts, my priorities and focus started to change. The same friends who I shared so many laughs, parties, and adventures with, began to fade from my life. Sometimes, it’s embarrassing for me to admit, given it’s been over 10 years at this point, but their absence still hurts. Given the outpouring of social media today, (in particular, Facebook), I will occasionally spot photos of them (the few who are still friends), planning their bridal showers and weddings, seeing their adult lives mold together. It’s hard to not search for myself in some of those photos, as I can easily step into my basement and retrieve scrapbooks created for me by two of those friends, showcasing all of our smiling faces huddled together. On occasion, I’ll even see one of my former friends in the area, in a store, and they will avert their eyes, pretending like we are two random souls simply shopping in the same store and maybe in a sense, that is what we are now. It’s often hard for me to reconnect to the teenager I once was, or truly believe it was me. Cognitively, I know it was me, but given all the life experiences since adolescence, it’s hard to establish that emotive connection to my former self.

Friendship Quote

In reading this, one might wonder, well, if I truly feel such sadness and remorse about these former friendships, then why not reach out? The simple answer is, I have. There have been through the years, many unsuccessful attempts via Facebook – messages that have been read, but ignored, and perhaps there is a reason for it. If they have moved on, then it is their prerogative to remain silent.  That being said, we all make choices for whatever reasons we do. Sometimes, we make decisions/choices for self-protection, wanting to shield ourselves from future emotional and/or physical pain. Other times, we make choices or decisions because we truly feel it is what is best for us in that moment.

Given how much has changed in my life these past 10 years, it’s often difficult for me to even believe these friendships even existed and weren’t figments of my imagination. Though, I know, it is only steps to my basement where those scrapbooks sit, crafted for me by those very friends, holding all the memories and moments I once held so close to my heart. It is a part of my past and though it can be hard to reflect back on it, I’m still glad it happened.

Sips from the Farm: Hydrate the Califia Way

Good Morning! I hope your Wednesday is off to a pleasant start! If you’re like me, one of my favorite meals is breakfast. When I was much younger, (think middle through high school years), I was not a breakfast-eater by any means. In the mornings, I was cranky, tired and eager to return to sleep and therefore eating a healthy breakfast was the furthest thing from my mind (of course, I often regretted this mid-day when I was ravenous and gobbling crackers, etc). That being said, nowadays, breakfast each morning is a staple and one I look forward to! Complete with a steaming mug of coffee and a banana, I tend to rotate my morning meal between cereal (a various assortment of types for variety and flavor!) with milk or yogurt (either non-fat Greek or nonfat traditional style).

Choosing the type of milk I add to my cereal and/or cook/bake with is one that can be rather involved, or at least one that requires some choice and thought. On any given day, a trip to the grocery store dairy department affords shoppers with a plethora of milk options. There is everything from traditional dairy (i.e. cow’s milk), coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, soy milk, combinations of almond-coconut or almond-cashew, and the list continues. Not only are there different flavors and types, but also an extensive brand list.

A couple months ago, while browsing the dairy department at my local grocery store, a uniquely-shaped, sleek, long-necked bottle caught my eye, reeling me in. Within minutes, I was opening the glass door, removing the intriguing bottle from the case. I was pleased to see it was almond milk (though there was an array of other types, as well) by the brand, Califia Farms. It was a brand I’d never heard of before, but given the claims imprinted on the bottle (unsweetened, non-GMO, environmentally-friendly, etc), I was sold and placed the bottle in my shopping cart, eager to return home to try it!

Califia Farms Logo                Califia Farms Almond Milk

Soon after trying it in my cereal bowl, the Califia Farms line of milks were instantly added to my milk repertoire, making a point to place it in my cart the next time I shop. With a vast array of product lines and offerings, each experience with Califia Farms is bound to be a unique and exciting one!  Thus, as I began to try more Califia Farms‘ products, I was thrilled beyond belief to be provided with the unique opportunity to sample one of their new holiday beverages (other holiday options includes: Peppermint Mocha, Holiday Nog, etc) – Pumpkin Spice Latte made with almond milk! As one of the biggest pumpkin fans around, their new Pumpkin Spice Latte combines nearly all my favorites; pumpkin, coffee, and almond milk! It is truly a one healthy treat in a cup! Plus, it is naturally-sweetened, low-calorie and refreshing. Upon trying it, I was instantly delighted, envisioning all I would enjoy it with (on its own as a refreshing, hydrating beverage, cooked into oatmeal for subtle pumpkin-java notes, added to smoothies, milkshakes – the possibilities are truly endless!). Plus, the flavor of pumpkin truly shines through with a subtle sweetness. It is a taste of the holidays in a glass! 

Califia Farms Holiday Drinks

As a brand, Califia Farms (www.califiafarms.com) is dedicated towards the community and it’s customers, operating as a transparent company who is honest in their practices and geared towards providing healthy, nourishing beverages. They are consistently active on several forms of social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter – @CalifiaFarms, Pinterest, Instagram and also maintain their own blog- http://www.califiafarms.com/blog/ where they publish recipes featuring their products!).

Califia Farms Logo 2

Company Background: (accessed via http://www.califiafarms.com)

  • A grower-owned company based in San Joaquin Valley, California, according to their official website (www.califiafarms.com), Califia Farms was founded by Greg Steltenpohl, with a goal of “creating the most remarkable company of the future, powered by plants.”
  • The unique name, Califia Farms, comes from the warrior queen, Califia, who ruled over California, as an earth goddess, storyteller and mother. The warrior queen is identified as an icon of California’s “heritage and healthful bounty.”
  • 100% of coffee in their beverages is grown on Rainforest Alliance Certified Farms (meaning farmers follow more sustainable agricultural practices, protecting forests, rivers, soils and wildlife. Workers are also afforded respectable/better wages and living conditions)
  • Community Oriented – Supports Xerces Society to support Bee Biodiversity; works with BOXSMART to reduce waste and recycle up to 20,000 lbs of paper per month.
  • All cartons of Califia Farms‘ products are 100% recyclable, so not only can you feel good about what you’re drinking, but you can also help in keeping the environment beautiful!

Califia Farms CEO      Dairy Free symbol

General Califia Farms‘ Product Information/Facts:

  • All products are non-GMO, with forthcoming plans for organic versions, as well.
  • Products are acceptable for cooking and can be used in identical ways as cow’s milk.
  • All are Gluten-Free.
  • 50% more calcium than cow’s milk (added by calcium carbonate)
  • Fresh for 7-10 days within opening.
  • Califia Farmsjuices are freshly-squeezed and bottled at their own juice plant.
  • Sweeteners used = pure cane sugar and/or monk fruit concentrate.
  • By the end of 2015, Califia Farms will have an entire carrageenan-free portfolio.

Califia Farms Almond Milks:

Califia Farms Horchata   Califia Farms Almond Milk

  • Unsweetened
  • Vanilla
  • Unsweetened Vanilla
  • Original
  • Coconut Almond Milk
  • Chocolate Coconut Almond Milk
  • Barista Blend (coffee-creamer)
  • Classic Cinnamon Horchata (new)
  • Vanilla Coconut Horchata (new)
  • Holiday Nog (new)

Califia Farms Single Serve Versions:

Califia Farms Single Serve

  • Vanilla Protein
  • Chocolate Protein
  • Chocolate Almond Milk
  • Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk

Califia Farms Coffee Creamers:

Califia Farms Creamers

  • Original Almond Milk
  • Pecan Caramel
  • Hazelnut
  • Vanilla

Califia Farms Cold Brew Coffees:

Califia Farms Iced Coffee

  • Peppermint Mocha (new/seasonal)
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte (new/seasonal)
  • Concentrated Cold Brew (new)
  • Cafe Latte
  • Double Espresso
  • Mocha
  • Salted Caramel
  • XX Espresso
  • Mocha Mexica (new, single serve)
  • Dirty Chai (new, single serve)
  • Triple Shot (new, single serve)
  • Cocoa Noir

Califia Farms Aqua Fresca (fruit drinks):

Califia Farms Aqua Fresca

  • Cranberry Cocktail (new, seasonal)
  • Mango Chili Lime (new)
  • Pineapple Ginger (new)
  • Watermelon Ginger Lime
  • Strawberry Basil
  • Kiwi Cactus Lemonade

Califia Farms Citrus Juice:

Califia Farms Juices

  • Tart Cherry Lemonade
  • Lemon Limeade
  • Lemonade
  • Orange Juice
  • Tangerine
  • Limeade

So, there you have it! With an extensive product line, Califia Farms truly offers a beverage for everyone! To find out where Califia Farms is offered nearest you, be sure to check out their store locator via their website (califiafarms.com/store-locator). Happy Sipping!

Notable Reflections

Perhaps it is because it’s what I’ve been subconsciously searching for, or maybe it is simply a coincidence, but recently I’ve noticed numerous articles, quotes and pieces of advice centered around the concept of fear. Fear is something I’ve battled throughout my life on many occasions and it is only when I make a choice to act in spite of it, I feel a surge of confidence and comfort. Shying away because of the fear we harbor within us is one of the easiest ways to feel overwhelmed and ultimately, trapped. Acting and making choices in spite of fear is not an easy feat by any means, or at least to me it isn’t, but when I summon bravery and courage, most of the time, I end up feeling at piece with my decision.

Courage quote 2

Sometimes, the occasions when I’ve experienced fear were simpler and less significant than others. For instance, when I was about 17, my sister and I traveled to Disney World for a quick spring break vacation. I was excited and eager to ride an upside-down roller coaster for the first time. Though I’d been to countless amusement parks in the past with numerous opportunities to ride upside-down roller coasters with friends, I’d always opted out and chose to wait on the sidelines as my friends squealed with excitement over the largest, complex roller coasters around. In some instances, I was frustrated with myself and my fear of riding the roller coaster, or rather, by my decision to not experience it at least once. My fear and worry continued to get in the way, leaving me curious to what it might feel like to be upside down. On that particular trip to Disney World, I made the decision to ride the Rockin’ Roller Coaster, one of Disney World’s only upside-down roller coasters, in spite of the fear I still harbored within me. When the moment of truth arrived, I stood at the foot of the coaster, with the ride employees urging me, “You need to make a decision now.” My fear was piquing at that moment, but when a ride employee volunteered to ride along with me and talk me through the ride, I took a chance. Some of the ride is blurry to me now, since it has been 10 years since that moment, but what stands out to me, is my courage and ability to ride that coaster in spite of the fear still pulsating through me. Though it might sound so simple to some, for me, it was a feat proving I could still make choices and take action in spite of fear. Fear does not have to completely dissolve within us in order to make a choice or take action.

Courage 3

In hindsight, what I’m attempting to say is that I’ve missed out on many opportunities, chances, friendships and relationships because of fear. As I grow older and I reflect on these instances within my life that stand out to me, I realize how fear is something we can control. Sometimes, it feels as though fear may control us, but we are the ones creating that fear and are in the driver seat of that fear; we determine the direction the fear charges towards. Perhaps my perspective is flawed, but it is what I feel most resonates with me and my particular experiences.

Life Quote

That being said, here are some quotes I recently stumbled across that I hope will bring you some perspective and comfort this rainy Tuesday (if it is rainy where you are today; here in Pennsylvania, it is a rainy, chilly day!):

“I could conquer the world with just one hand… as long as you were holding the other.”

“Sometimes we don’t notice the things others do for us until they stop doing them.”

“If you live in fear of the future because of what happened in your past, you’ll end up losing what you have in the present.”

“Fear is not your enemy, it is a compass pointing you to the areas where you need to grow.”