Blog: think Sheffa

Sheffa Blog

The Nutrients are in the Bag!

01.28.11    |   Category: Blog, Sheffa Blog    |   Tags:

So many of the foods we eat have been processed to the point of no return, no longer containing any nutrients. So that’s why the food industry, “enriches” refined flours and products with vitamins and minerals. Only then they can claim that a product is a good source of nutrients, but “good” is relative. I recently noticed that a leading soda brand has added a pomegranate flavor to its lineup and states boldly on the label that it contains antioxidants! Maybe so, but come on – that’s antioxidant abuse!

Yes, it’s true that carbohydrates are a macronutrient, but getting our carbs from a lot of refined flours is probably not the most healthful choice, as it tends to play havoc on our blood sugar levels, among other things. And really, carbs are not a nutrient that we Americans have any trouble finding! The wiser choice would be to include more (much more, as in primarily) whole-food carbs that are minimally refined and still retain their naturally good nutrients. And that goes for just about anything, not just carbs. We should choose foods that are not processed or minimally processed, guaranteeing a storehouse of nutrients. That’s really how our bodies were intended to thrive.

Sheffa’s products are minimally processed – ground, roasted, seasoned – and by that virtue, are rich sources of nutrients: whole-food carbs and protein, healthy fats, fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, etc. We don’t add isolated nutrients, like soy protein or fiber, to boost the nutrient profile. We like to keep it as close to nature as possible for your health and ours!

This blog posted by Leslie

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Dietary Fiber – Bulk It Up!

01.13.11    |   Category: Blog, Sheffa Blog    |   Tags:

It’s no secret that dietary fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. Diets naturally high in fiber, both soluble and insoluble, have the following main effects: satiety and better weight management; more stable blood sugar levels and insulin response; better gastrointestinal health, including less constipation; lower risk for colon and breast cancer; and lower risk for heart disease. Dietary fiber is found in plants. Good sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber include vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grain foods. Sheffa’s products are vegan and whole-food based so they have lots of good fiber…that’ll keep you going!

This blog posted by Leslie

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Mix it Up with Vegetarian Protein!

12.15.10    |   Category: Sheffa Blog    |   Tags: ,

Protein performs countless invaluable functions in the body, from metabolism to tissue growth and repair. It’s comprised of amino acids, twenty all together, eight of which our bodies cannot manufacture and are thus considered “essential”. We must get these essential amino acids from the foods we eat. Nearly all whole-foods contain protein, and most animal foods contain all eight essential amino acids and are therefore considered “complete” sources of protein.

Proteins from plant sources are considered “incomplete”, with few exceptions like soybeans, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat. The solution? Combine different sources of protein in ones diet to ensure that all essential amino acids are supplied. Even if combining different vegetarian sources of protein only, like legumes, grains, seeds and nuts, you’re pretty sure to get plenty of complete protein. Sheffa’s products are a great combination of plant-based foods that are a rich source of complete vegetarian protein.

This blog posted by Leslie

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No MSG, No Cheating

11.17.10    |   Category: Sheffa Blog    |   Tags:

Monosodium Glutamate is a unique flavor enhancer with a quite a history. According to Harold McGee in his book, on food and Cooking, it was proven in 2001 that humans have a specific receptor just for MSG, separate from the other four, sweet, sour, salty and bitter! This is nearly a century after Japanese chemist, Kikunae Ikeda, first isolated it as the very unique taste in Konbu, a seaweed traditionally used as the base for miso soup and a many other Japanese dishes. During that century MSG, isolated and sold commercially, achieved great popularity, particularly in Asian cuisine and as an inexpensive additive for commercially packaged snacks and products. Its downfall in the US started in the 60’s when people began to report unfavorable side effects after consuming Chinese food.

While some people are sensitive to MSG, many studies have apparently concluded that it is safe for most people. Though still widely used in Japan and other countries, the FDA requires food manufacturers to clearly label if a product contains MSG. We tend to agree with McGee, that MSG has been “exploited to provide a cheap, one-dimensional substitute for real and remarkable foods.” Sheffa, therefore, uses no MSG, or “cheater powder”, as we like to call it.

This blog posted by Leslie

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No Cholesterol in Veggies

11.10.10    |   Category: Sheffa Blog    |   Tags:

Cholesterol is essential for all animal life and the body manufactures most of what we humans need. The relationship between the amounts of cholesterol a person consumes and his or her blood cholesterol levels is still a scientific debate. According to an article from the Harvard School of Public Health, “a body of scientific studies shows only a weak relationship between the amount of cholesterol a person consumes and his or her blood cholesterol levels (but important for heart disease).” This is true for most people, but some people do appear to be sensitive to cholesterol in foods.

All foods from animal sources like meat, cheese, seafood and egg yolks contain cholesterol. However, plants – vegetables, fruits, legumes – have no or negligible amounts of cholesterol. And a plant centered diet supports healthy cholesterol levels. Sheffa’s line of products is vegan, plant based and free of dairy and any other animal derived ingredients. No cholesterol here!

This blog posted by Leslie

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Keeping Trans Fats on the DL…the LDL!

11.05.10    |   Category: Sheffa Blog    |   Tags:

Not all fats are created equal! We’ve suffered through the low fat craze of the last couple decades, but our bodies need fats. We’re also suffering the consequences of poor quality, modified fats, such as hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. These oils are industrially processed to make liquid vegetable oils more solid and shelf stable. The resulting oils contain trans fatty acids, or trans fats, which are known to raise bad cholesterol (LDL), lower good cholesterol (HDL) and create inflammation. Trans fats are seen as contributing factors in the rise of heart disease, diabetes and stroke, among other poor health conditions. Trans fats are so unhealthy that FDA has recently stepped in to require manufacturers to label if a product contains trans fats.

Good fats, on the other hand, are found abundantly in plant foods, like nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados, and have the opposite effect on health. That’s what Sheffa’s all about – no trans fats, just good healthy fats from nuts, seeds and legumes.

This blog posted by Leslie

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Just Say “No” to GMO

10.29.10    |   Category: Sheffa Blog    |   Tags:

“Genetically Modified Organism” doesn’t sound very appetizing to us. We’re kind of old school here. We thought the plants were tasty and nutritious enough before they were genetically modified, especially corn and soybeans. Selective breeding, as opposed to genetic modification, has been used for centuries to grow heartier, more plentiful and more pest resistant varieties of crops, and it’s a pretty natural process. Genetic modification, on the other hand, involves inserting into or removing genes from an organism, something that doesn’t happen in nature. Politics aside, we’ve chosen to use non-GMO ingredients in Sheffa’s products.

This blog posted by Leslie

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Kosher O-U-What?

10.14.10    |   Category: Sheffa Blog    |   Tags: ,

Kosher, simply put, means that a food is fit or proper as it relates to Jewish dietary laws. These basic laws are of biblical origin, interpreted over thousands of years and applied to contemporary situations. The laws are complex and extensive and include regulation of ingredients, processing and preparation, among other things. For example, only certain animals can be consumed and must be slaughtered in a certain way. Meat is not consumed with dairy, and utensils used in the preparation of both must always be separate.

There is a mistaken notion that natural and organic foods and products are inherently kosher, when in fact, being natural or organic has no bearing on the kosher status.

The average consumer cannot possibly make an evaluation of the kosher status of any prepared or processed food and therefore must rely on endorsement by a kosher agency that strictly supervises the manufacturing process. Sheffa is supervised by the Orthodox Union (OU) and is Pareve (without any meat or dairy ingredients).

This blog entry posted by Leslie

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Low Sodium Sensibility

10.05.10    |   Category: Sheffa Blog    |   Tags:

Sodium is essential to our bodies, but not in the amounts typically consumed with the Standard American Diet (SAD). The idea of using salt in cooking is to enhance the flavors of the food – salt is usually not meant to be a flavor in and of itself! Very little salt is needed to brighten the taste of any food, but the food industry often uses excess salt to compensate for low quality ingredients. Additionally, the quality of salt matters. Ordinary table salt doesn’t have all the great trace minerals, 70 or so, which a good quality sea salt will have. Vegetables are also a very important, but often overlooked, source of organic salts and minerals. Sheffa uses small amounts of sea salt (or none), and all of our products are considered low sodium by the FDA (less than 140 mg per serving). We aim to provide great taste and nutrients without creating a salt lick!

This blog posted by Leslie

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Dairy Free…”Moo-ve” over Milk!

09.27.10    |   Category: Sheffa Blog    |   Tags: ,

Sheffa’s products are vegan and thus free of dairy and any other animal derived ingredients. This is great news for people with dairy allergies, lactose intolerance or for those who keep kosher. We imagine it’s also good news for many cows, goats and sheep!

This blog posted by Leslie

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Wheat Free May Not Mean Gluten Free…

09.16.10    |   Category: Sheffa Blog    |   Tags: ,

Some people, while not on a gluten free diet, don’t eat any wheat. Their bodies might be able to tolerate spelt, barley, rye or other cousin grains that contain gluten, but they avoid wheat itself. Sheffa’s products, by the virtue of being gluten free, also contain no wheat. Swheat!

This blog posted by Leslie

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Gluten Free AND Tasty?

09.14.10    |   Category: Sheffa Blog    |   Tags: ,

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, rye and any cousin grains, like spelt, kamut and faro. People with Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance can’t eat anything that contains gluten. But lately, many people are opting for a gluten free diet or rotating in more gluten free foods and meals as a way of improving their health (many foods we typically consume are naturally gluten free anyway). Until recently, the problem with most gluten free products on the market was that they were made from refined flours, starches and other highly refined ingredients; they had a funny texture and didn’t taste very good. But gluten free is changing for the better. Sheffa’s line of products is gluten free in that natural, whole-foods, delicious kind of way!

This blog entry posted by Leslie

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Vegan…Part-Timers Wanted!

09.08.10    |   Category: Sheffa Blog    |   Tags: ,

The word “vegan” (pronounced “veegan”) was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society, by combining the first three and last two letters of vegetarian. The vegan lifestyle, a practice of abstaining from the consumption of foods or products derived from animals, is one of the strictest forms of vegetarianism. None of the ingredients found in Sheffa’s products come from animals or the labor of animals. But one doesn’t have to be vegan to enjoy tasty vegan foods! Maybe you’ve heard of the “Meatless Monday” movement, where non-vegetarians are adding one or more vegetarian meals to their weekly menus for health and environmental reasons? How about stepping up the challenge by also adding “Vegan Vednesday”? It works if you say it with a Swedish accent!

To learn more about Meatless Monday, check out their website at www.meatlessmonday.com.

This blog entry posted by Leslie

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Simply Natural Says a Lot and Nothing…

08.23.10    |   Category: Sheffa Blog    |   Tags:

The word “natural” is tossed around a lot in the food industry and has become almost meaningless. The FDA does not regulate the word and its application, so there’s a lot of misleading labeling by manufactures. When Sheffa uses the word natural, we go by the USDA’s definition as applied to meat and poultry products: “The product does not contain any artificial flavor or flavoring, coloring ingredient or chemical preservative, or any other artificial or synthetic ingredient; and the product and its ingredients are not more than minimally processed.” It’s not a perfect definition, but you get the idea. We like to keep it simple.

This blog entry posted by Leslie

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Eat Real Food!

08.23.10    |   Category: Sheffa Blog    |   Tags:

We like to think of “real food” as that which sustains good health and energy. It’s the complete opposite from junk food or foods with empty calories – high in calories, or maybe low in calories as with the current 100-calorie trend, but lacking nutrients. “Real food” is also free food – foods free of extensive processing, free of artificial ingredients and free of synthetics of any sort. “Real food” will have a pretty short list of ingredients if it’s a packaged product and a really short list if it’s a freshly picked, sun ripened garden tomato! It’s relative, but Sheffa’s products fit the bill of food that provides healthy, whole-food energy and nutrients without a lot of fuss.

This blog entry posted by Leslie

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What makes Sheffa…Sheffa!

08.23.10    |   Category: Sheffa Blog    |   Tags: ,

On our package, we list some attributes related to our products, like gluten free, non-GMO, etc. We expand upon those on our new website, where we have more space. As we all know, it’s typical in the food industry to list as many things about the product as possible and, in particular, to highlight those things that are on the consumer’s mind because of recent news, studies, trends, etc. When we started Sheffa Foods, we were a bit naïve in many ways. Our first package was beautiful, but it didn’t have a window or a picture of the product. Additionally, we didn’t want to list any trendy attributes or say what we are not. We wanted to focus on what we are – tasty, healthy, and uncomplicated.

The reason for this choice is partly due to our frustration with the food industry. Wouldn’t it be nice, as consumers, if all the foods on the market were made from basically natural ingredients, free from potentially harmful preservative and additives? Shouldn’t that be the standard? Why is it, for example, in the dairy industry a natural milk company has to outright state that they don’t use hormones and antibiotics? Shouldn’t the companies who do use those things be required to sell their milk with a label that says, “We raise our cows with hormones and antibiotics”? Again, we think the basic standards should shift, and perhaps they are.

In any case, we also discovered in our first few months of business, that consumers are extremely busy people and need as much information, as quickly as possible. Thus, we eventually changed our packaging to make it more informative. We thought it would be helpful, however, talk a little about each attribute we list on our website and highlight the connection to our products because this really defines who we are as a company and what’s important to us. So, in some of our very first blog entries, we’ll be doing that and tooting our own horn just a bit!

This blog entry posted by Leslie

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Getting our feet wet with blogging…

08.19.10    |   Category: Sheffa Blog    |   Tags:

We dove into business three and a half years ago; today, as we dive head first into blogging and all the various communication tools available to us, we’ll be getting more than just our feet wet! When my partner, Amotz, and I decided to start Sheffa Foods, we really couldn’t imagine all the details involved in creating a thriving business and the different roles we would each have to take on as we grow. We are both looking forward to this new social media adventure and the wonderful new ways in which we can communicate directly with our customers.

Both Amotz and I love discussing food, health and cooking. Amotz is very into all aspects of business and I have a slightly different outlook as a female owner in a male-heavy industry. Through our communications, we plan to discuss food and nutrition issues, small business topics, and share some of our experiences as owners of a start-up food business – our journey, complete with an occasional misadventure! Our backgrounds, our genders, and our beliefs often give Amotz and I a different perspective on things, and neither of us is shy about expressing our opinions. So, we’ll both be contributing to our blogs and postings. We hope you’ll join in and feel free to let us know what you’re thinking too!

This blog entry posted by Leslie

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