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Healthy Meat Snack

6,000 Miles in 16 Days: A Healthy Road Trip

6,000 Miles in 16 Days: A Healthy Road Trip-Wild Zora

Wild Zora on the Road

We’re Adam and Kathryn, also known as Adventures of A+K, and there’s nothing we love more than adventuring. Since moving from Texas to Washington a couple years ago, we have gained a huge love for traveling and the outdoors. On the weekends you can often find us hiking up mountains, chasing waterfalls, driving along the coast, exploring local coffee shops and restaurants, and enjoying everything else that the diverse and beautiful Pacific Northwest has to offer. We’re always thinking of our next big adventure and for the holidays we had a crazy idea. What if we drove to Texas and back?


As we dreamt about the idea more and more, we started planning out a route and made it happen! Over 16 days we drove 6,000+ miles from Seattle to Texas and back, stopping in California, Arizona, and New Mexico and at multiple national parks. It was the adventure of a lifetime and we made some of the best memories along the way!


However, one of our concerns before the road trip was how we were going to stay healthy while being away from our kitchen and gym for over two weeks. We try to stick to a very clean diet and with some portions of our trip being in more rural areas, it can be hard to find a healthy meal on the road, so we knew we had to bring Wild Zora along for the ride!


And we’re so glad we did! Wild Zora was a lifesaver and kept us full and healthy during some of our favorite adventures of the trip. Here are a few of the highlights:

Big Bend National Park


We lived in Texas for 16 years (Kathryn) and 28 years (Adam) and both of us had never made it to Big Bend National Park. It was a big reason why we did the road trip and it was definitely worth the wait! To celebrate finally getting to experience the park, we enjoyed our favorite meat and veggie bars, the Mediterranean lamb, at the top of the Lost Mine hike, which has a crazy view of the mountains. It was truly a special moment for us former Texans!

Guadalupe Mountains National Park


When we arrived to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, we were greeted by an unexpected surprise: snow! Despite leaving our microspikes back in Washington, we hiked to Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at 8,751 feet. After slipping and sliding our way to the top there was nothing better than a hot and fresh Wild Zora backpacking meal. Not only was it delicious, but it kept our hands warm, which was a huge added bonus!

Big Sur, California


We left our campsite near San Luis Obispo around 4 AM one of the last mornings of our trip (it was rough!) and drove 2.5 hours to Big Sur. We arrived just as the sun was beginning to rise and were starving, so we made two Paleo Meals to Go on the side of the road as we watched a beautiful sunrise illuminate Bixby Bridge. Breakfast on the road (quite literally) has never been so easy or tasted so good!


We have been loving Wild Zora for almost a year now and are so thankful for healthy fuel to do what we love. From the Hoh rainforest in Washington, to the Oregon Coast, to the deserts of Utah, to our road trip, Wild Zora has made adventuring easy and healthy. Here’s to more healthy adventures in 2019! If you’d like to follow along on our adventures, you can find us at @adventuresofaplusk on Instagram, on YouTube, and on our site adventuresofaplusk.com.

 

 

 

The Tale of The Taco Pork Bar

The Tale of The Taco Pork Bar-Wild Zora

Yes, close your eyes and you can taste the carnitas (braised Mexican shredded pork).  But unlike carnitas or tacos, the Wild Zora Taco Pork bar fits in your pocket.  It’s not messy or sticky.  Did we mention it was tasty?

Wait, there is more.  It’s healthy!  Did you know jalapeño and cilantro have medicinal properties?


Are jalapeños good for you?


Just like any of its cousins in the pepper family, jalapeños are rich in vitamin C, helping boost your immunity, fight free radicals, and support healthy bones, teeth and gums.  You will find a hefty dose of vitamin A in jalapeños, too.

 

                    Source: draxe.com

The compound that makes jalapeño a health powerhouse, however, is capsaicin.  It is the naturally occurring chemical that gives peppers their heat.  Capsaicin is a stimulant, similar to caffeine, without the unpleasant side effects, like caffeine “jitters” or heart palpitations.  

Capsaicin is also known to have pain-relieving properties.  It is used in natural ointments to help combat arthritis and muscle pain.  There are studies that suggest that capsaicin can help curb your appetite and as such, can be helpful if you are struggling with portion control.

Not ready to bite into a raw jalapeño?  Try our Taco Pork bar.  The jalapeño is carefully blended with other spices and aromatics, creating a pleasant warmth.



Health Benefits of Cilantro

Many people hate cilantro with a passion.  It’s rarely a love at the first bite, but if you're not a cilantro fan, you might want to give it one more chance.  If you're already a cilantro fan, then you'll definitely want to eat more!

Cilantro, or coriander leaves, is rich in vitamins, fiber, and minerals.  It’s one of the best sources of vitamin K.  It has antiseptic properties and also eases digestive issues, namely excess gas.  It supports kidney health and it is believed to be a powerful aid in body cleansing.

                         Source: organicfacts.net

Still can’t get over the flavor?  Start small; chop a few leaves and add them to your salsa.  Or, grab a Taco Pork bar  the cilantro is present in the blend, but it's very subtle.



Wait! What about the meat? Is pork healthy?


Pork is rarely considered to be “healthy food”, which is unfair: pork is rich in B vitamins, selenium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.  Unfortunately, pork is often consumed in the form of sausages, bacon, and other cured meats, which tend to be high in salt, nitrates, added sugar, and preservatives (things that Wild Zora would NEVER use)!  

On top of that, the majority of commercially produced pork is laden with antibiotics because the pigs often live in horrible conditions.  The pigs are forced to live in confined spaces, sometimes in their own filth.  Such environments don't  produce healthy animals, as you can imagine.  Pigs are not picky eaters and some "farmers" will feed them all sorts scraps, including rendered pig flesh.  Doesn't sound healthy, does it?

Luckily, there are farmers who are determined to raise pigs in the way nature intended, and because Zora insisted, we found pig farmers who raise their pigs naturally, with respect to their needs and health.

Our piggies have plenty of space, fresh air, and fresh, clean straw for bedding.  The farmers feed them a vegetarian diet, rich in protein.  They are healthy, so they don’t need antibiotics.  We take animal welfare seriously and we were happy to find farmers whose standards match ours.  We were delighted when we tasted this pork!   With just the right marbling, it's succulent and rich tasting.  And because we know the hogs were living healthy lives, we know this is healthy meat.  Try it for yourself!

 

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Choosing a Healthy Meat Snack

Choosing a Healthy Meat Snack-Wild Zora

You probably still remember where you were when the World Health Organization announced that eating processed meats increases the risk of colorectal cancer. The announcement that likened bacon consumption to smoking in terms of cancer risk caused mild panic among carnivorous Americans.

As you know, we at Wild Zora make meat snacks.  Should you be worried about eating them?  

Here are four things you need to know:
 

1. Processed Meat

The WHO defines processed meat as "meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation.  Most processed meats contain pork or beef, but processed meats may also contain other red meats, poultry, offal, or meat by-products such as blood.  Examples of processed meat include hot dogs (frankfurters), ham, sausages, corned beef, and biltong or beef jerky as well as canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces."

How are Wild Zora bars different?

The big difference here is that some companies “bake” or “cook” their meat protein-based products at high heat in order to dehydrate them more quickly, which then causes the formation of the compounds that are suspected to cause cancer.  The worst offenders would be grilling, frying, and broiling, but baking too, if it causes a browning action, does the same.  At Wild Zora, we DO NOT do any of these things. We use a more time-consuming (and to be honest, more expensive) low-heat slow-dehydration method which does not cause any browning at all, and so formation of these dangerous compounds is avoided.  

Summary: Look for meat snacks that have been dehydrated slowly, at lower temperatures.
 

2. What chemicals are found in processed meat?

In the previous section, we mentioned harmful chemicals that develop during high-heat processing.  The main suspects include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic aromatic amines.  In laboratory tests, they were shown to alter the DNA and increase the risk of cancer development. This doesn't mean that they wreak the same havoc when they actually enter your body but because DNA mutation is irreversible, it's a good idea to limit your exposure to these chemicals.  Because Wild Zora bars are NEVER processed in high heat, they don't contain any of these chemicals.
 
Other chemicals commonly found in processed meats include MSG, nitrites, and nitrates. Let's take a closer look at them:
 
MSG
You are probably familiar with this flavor enhancer.  It is still deemed safe to use despite growing anecdotal evidence linking MSG to a host of health problems.  Why is that?  The scientific evidence is inconclusive, so far.  Lab studies on rats showed no negative effects of MSG.  There are no large scale human studies, only case studies and anecdotal evidence.  Although MSG is deemed as "safe" the growing number of individuals who report health problems after ingesting MSG led us to create and MSG-free meat snack
 
Nitrates and Nitrites
Nitrates occur naturally in meat and vegetables.  Our digestion system or other chemical processes break them down into nitrites.  Nitrites then can form either nitric acid, which can be beneficial in small doses or a nitrosamine, which can be harmful and potentially support cancerous growth.  Nitrosamine needs high temperatures to develop.  So again, when meats
are processed at high temperatures and contain added nitric acid or nitrites, they are likely to raise your cancer risk. To stay safe, look for meat snacks with no added nitrites or nitrates, like Wild Zora bars.
Summary: Although we need more research, we already strongly suspect that MSG and added nitrates and nitrites in processed meats are harmful to your health.  Read labels carefully and avoid meat snacks that contain MSG, nitric acid, nitrites, or nitrates.
 

3. Cancer Prevention

Scientists agree that eating diets rich in fiber that include a variety of fruit and vegetables can lower your risk of colon cancer.  Maintaining a healthy weight, regular physical activity, and lowering your alcohol intake can also help your odds. 

Not only are the Wild Zora bars processed in a safe way and contain no potentially harmful additives, they also contain about vegetables and fruit, giving your body added nutritional benefit.

Summary: Look for meat snacks that also contain fruits and vegetables.

 

4.  Some Meats Are Healthier Than Others

The overwhelming majority of processed meat start with the cheapest ingredients, which means commercially produced meat.  At Wild Zora, we only use 100% grass-fed meats, or in the case of turkey and pork, meats that come from naturally raised animals.  Commercially produced meat is typically full of antibiotics and growth hormones.  That type of meat doesn't meet our standards and we never use it. 

We found that grass-fed meat tastes better and is better for you.  If you are worried about colon cancer, you should definitely make sure you eat beef and lamb that is 100% grass-fed.  Grass-fed meat has significantly higher levels of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid), which has been linked to lowering the cancer risk, particularly in the colon area.

Summary: Choose meat snacks made with naturally raised meat, 100% grass-fed, with no antibiotics or growth hormones, like the meat used in Wild Zora bars.

 

Ready to try a healthy meat snack?  We have seven delightful flavors - pick a favorite or try them all!



 

 

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