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    real food

    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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    Why Grass-Fed Beef?

    Why Grass-Fed Beef?

    Good food starts with good ingredients.  That's exactly what you get whenever you take a bite of a Wild Zora bar.

     

     

    Wonderful taste and nutritional value are important to us, but we go even further.  The ingredients we use are grown and raised with minimal environmental impact. That's why we make our bars with organic fruits and veggies.  Our meats are locally sourced, to avoid the carbon footprint of international transportation.
     

    Is your beef organic?

    People often ask whether we use organic meats.  The answer is shocking to some: No.  We use animals from local farmers, which means we know how the animals are treated and what they eat.  Why not just go with organic?  Organic fruits and vegetables are pretty straightforward: you know they were grown naturally, without pesticides or other harmful chemicals.  Meat production is a bit more complicated.  Let's take a closer look at beef, for example.  The organic label doesn't mean that the animals are grass-fed or raised on a pasture.  For example, they can be raised in a feedlot, standing in their own you-know-what, eating "organic" grains (and getting the same metabolic diseases that we humans get when we eat too much grain!).  So because the "organic" label didn't meet our standards for beef quality, we decided to visit local farmers and find meat that comes from pasture-raised, grass-fed, grass-finished, well tended and healthy animals.
     

    The Label Confusion

    "Organic" label is not the only one that can be misleading. When you shop for beef, you will notice there is grass-fed, grass-finished, natural, 100% grass-fed... what does it mean?

    Beef Labels

    Definitions vary, but unless the grass-fed beef is AGA certified, you can't be sure that the animals were raised solely on grass.  USDA grass-fed certificate is based on written description of farming practices submitted by the farmer; the USDA does not visit the farms!  To muddy the waters even further, farmers can choose to use the grass-fed label (as long as it doesn't say "certified") even when their cattle is grain-finished.
    All US cattle start their life grazing on a pasture. However, the majority of them get "finished" with grain on a feedlot.  With grain, they put on weight (and, unfortunately often get sick) quickly, resulting in a lower price of meat.  But that meat can still be sold as grass-fed at a higher price point!  What this means for you: if you want to eat truly 100% grass-fed beef, look for 100% grass-fed/grass-finished beef, like the kind used in Wild Zora beef bars
     

    What's the problem with grain-fed beef?

     Grass-fed vs Grain-fed Beef

     
    It's not healthy for the animals
    Cows are meant to eat grass. Eating grains is hard on their digestive system. They are more likely to get sick and require antibiotics.  Also, the delivery of the feed matters.  Grain-fed cattle stand in a feedlot instead of walking and grazing on a pasture.  It is natural for them to walk and to be able to lie down.  The crowded feedlots don't allow for that and the animals are often uncomfortable and stressed.  At Wild Zora, we like using meat from farmers we know:  We know they treat their animals with respect and care.  Clearly, a feedlot is not a humane environment for cattle, even if the grain they eat is organic.
     
    It's not healthy for you
    Commercially produced grain-fed beef is likely to contain antibiotics and growth hormones.  And even if you choose meat labeled as "no antibiotics", you are still missing out: Grain-fed beef is significantly lower in Omega-3 acids and vitamins A and E.  Eating 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef will provide your body with CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, which is a powerful nutrient. CLA is thought to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
     

    How about environmental impact?

    You might have heard that grass-fed cattle produce more methane, which is a greenhouse gas.  Articles pushing this outdated claim tend to overlook all the benefits.

    Grass-fed Beef

     
    Carbon dioxide reduction
    Well managed pastures contain a variety of green plants which use the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere far better than farmed grain fields. 
     
    Less dependency on fossil fuels
    Because animals pick their own food, farmers need to use less gas-powered machinery and electricity than when they harvest, process and deliver the grain. The animal waste is dispersed on the pasture, so there is no need to use machinery to move it.
     
    Biodiversity
    Unlike a grain field, a pasture is a diverse ecosystem with native plants.  Grazing cattle also provide natural fertilizer, encouraging a healthy plant growth and improving the soil quality.
     

     

     

    Did we mention that grass-fed beef also tastes better? To see for yourself, try some today!

                      

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    Health Benefits of Rosemary

    Health Benefits of Rosemary

    Rosemary adds its woodsy, crisp flavor to lots of popular dishes.  Today, we use rosemary mostly as a seasoning, but you can take full advantage of its health benefits by using it in a variety of ways. You can inhale its scent, clean with it or eat it.  If you need a quick rosemary snack, grab one of our Mediterranean Lamb bars.  The new Apple Pork Wild Zora bar combines rosemary with the familiar notes of parsley, sage, and thyme.

    Throughout history, rosemary was prized for its many qualities, beyond culinary use.  Ancient Greeks and Romans believed rosemary improved memory; when preparing for exams, students wore rosemary wreaths on their heads.

    In Medieval and Renaissance times, rosemary was used to ward off plague and as a deodorizer.  It was still believed to help memory and later it became the symbol of remembrance and faithfulness.  As such, it was often used at both weddings and funerals.

    Here are three easy ways rosemary can boost your health:

     

     #1. Plant it for mental clarity

    Wearing a rosemary wreath while studying might seem silly, but rosemary stimulates brain activity.  If you struggle with "foggy brain" every afternoon, try diffusing rosemary essential oil or rub a fresh rosemary sprig between your hands and inhale deeply.

    Potted Rosemary

    Rosemary is easy to grow in pots, so try keeping a small plant close to your work space.  You can grow it outside, too. In warm climates, rosemary is a perennial and will grow into a nice shrub.  If you live in an area with cold winters, you will have to replant your rosemary every year, or you might keep it in a large planter that can be moved indoors during the cold months.

     

    #2 Spray it to kill germs

    The medieval beliefs that rosemary will ward off plague were not without merit.  Rosemary has strong antimicrobial properties.  If you like to clean your home without toxic chemicals, rosemary will be your best friend.  By killing bacteria, it neutralizes odors and leaves your home smelling fresh and clean.  Use fresh rosemary, lemon and vinegar to make a simple all-purpose cleaner.

    DIY Lemon Rosemary cleaner

     Photo by Mick Telkamp

     

    #3 Eat it for your digestive health

     It's not a coincidence that rosemary is often paired with pork or  lamb.  It tastes wonderful, but more importantly, rosemary helps you digest those meats.  Because it stimulates the bile flow, rosemary is crucial to digestion of fatty foods.  Like other herbs in the mint family, it helps with indigestion, excessive bloating, and stomach cramps.

    When cooking with rosemary, try to use it fresh.  Simply strip the leaves off the woody stem (if the stem is soft, you can skip this step), and give them a rough chop before adding them to your dish. You can add whole sprigs to stews, soups and sauces, but be aware that the leaves will fall off and you might need to strain them.  If you use dried rosemary, crush it well, because the dry leaves stay hard and are not pleasant to eat.

    Try this recipe:

     

    Not in the mood for a large meal?  On the go?  Traveling?  Get the wonderful benefits of rosemary from a healthy snack, like Wild Zora Mediterranean Lamb Bar.  Don't forget about the new Apple Pork bar!  It combines pork with rosemary, parsley, sage and thyme for your taste buds and your digestive health.

    How do you like to use rosemary? Let us know in comments!

     

     

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    Love Your Body Challenge

    Love Your Body Challenge

    We live in a culture that promotes perfection. Perfection portrayed by a lean, well toned body. The multi-billion $$ weight loss industry is thriving. There are so many new and improved diets and challenges that claim to lead to a new and better you. And yet, eating disorders and obesity are epidemic. We know something isn’t right.


    This Valentine's Day, we present you with a new 30-day challenge. Or a 3-day challenge. Or a new lifestyle. You decide. We challenge you to simply love your body. Stop counting calories, points and steps.

     

    Could LOVE be the solution?

    Who do you love? Your significant other. Your family, your friends, your pets. Thy neighbor. But do you love yourself? Do you love your body?

     

     

    Loving your body is easy. Take a deep breath and let’s get started:

     

    Your words are powerful. Use them  wisely.

    If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. We’ve heard the adage so many times, it became a cliche. Still, most of us apply it only to people we love. How do you talk about your body? So often, people talk about what they hate about their bodies. Be mindful of that. Talk about your body as if it were your dear friend. Embrace it, flaws and all, the same way  you embrace the people you love.

     

    Listen to your body.

    You listen to your best friend. Treat your body the same way. Pay attention. How do you feel  after eating sugary treats? How do you feel after taking a walk? You will start making healthier choices if you follow your body’s lead.

    If you feel hungry, eat. Eat slowly and pay attention to tastes and textures.

    When you feel tired, rest. We know that seems like a luxury not always available. But even closing your eyes for a moment and taking a few deep breaths can make a difference.

     

    Treat yourself.

    Your amazing body deserves only the best fuel. Eat well, but instead of trying to ban yourself from unhealthy foods (or shaming yourself after you do eat them), just try to think about treating yourself to healthy ones. Stay away from ingredients you cannot pronounce. The most important ingredient, however, is your mindset. Drop the guilt and the “I should” attitude (don't "should" yourself). Instead, think about your new friend, your body.

    The simplest way to start eating well is to choose real food. You don’t have to start munching on kale while dreaming of donuts. But what if you treated yourself to a handful of berries instead of candy? Read labels. Think about what you eat. Is this the food you would want to give to a dear friend?

    Eating real food is simple. People are often intimidated by cooking or feel pressed for time. But you can find many easy recipes or quick snacks. Eat as much as you need. Don’t count calories or points. Just let your body enjoy good and wholesome food.

     

    Celebrate!

    If the idea of weight lifting or a Zumba class doesn’t excite you, don’t despair. We often feel like we need to use exercise as a punishment for our dietary sins. Here is your challenge: Celebrate your body’s amazing ability to move! Stretch, jump, and dance. It’s a party honoring your body!



    Go ahead. Love your body. It will love you back.

     

     

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    5 Reasons to travel with Wild Zora

    5 Reasons to travel with Wild Zora

    Why do you like Wild Zora?

    We asked and you answered. The number 1 reason people like Wild Zora bars is for travel and those times in-between meals when they can't find or have time for some REAL FOOD.

    Here are the top 5 reasons why you need Wild Zora on your next trip.

    1. Real Food

    Oftentimes when traveling,  you will find yourself in a nutritional void known as the Food Desert. Access to healthy food is limited or non-existent.  You feel stuck, trying to choose a lesser evil.   Luckily, that Wild Zora in your bag provides balanced nutrition with less sugar, grains, and starch than conventional snacks.  With organic fruits and veggies and responsibly raised meats, Wild Zora has your back. 

    2. Handy

    What better way to get some healthy sustenance than with easy-to-handle meat and veggie bars made from minimally processed meat, mixed with organic veggies and no artificial ingredients?  The bars are not sticky and although they resemble jerky, they are tender and easy to chew.  You can take a Wild Zora bar with you and enjoy only the highest quality food ingredients on-the-go wherever you go.

     

    3. No Chemicals or Allergens

    Wild Zora contains NO chemical preservatives or ingredients that you can't pronounce.  We also have NO added sugar or processed sweeteners, hormones or antibiotics, gluten, nuts/peanuts/tree-nuts, soy, MSG, or milk (except for our Parmesan Beef flavor). On top of that, we provide flavors that have NO nightshades and are AIP-friendly (our Lamb flavor and soon, the new Apple Pork).  That's a lot of NOs that we're awfully proud of. 

     

     4. Energy

    Wild Zora bars use only low Glycemic Index carbohydrates such as healthy, high-fiber, organic fruits and vegetables which provide you with longer lasting energy without the sugar high and inevitable crash. This comes in very handy while traveling, wouldn't you say?

     

    5.Tasty!

    Oh, and did we mention that Wild Zora Meat & Veggie bars are extremely tasty? That's the most important part! With five globally inspired flavors, it's hard to pick a favorite.


    So there you have it. The top 5 reasons why Wild Zora is your new favorite travel buddy.  Which one will accompany you on your next adventure?

     

     

     

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