Precise Portions Launches A Spices Line

Ann-Marie Stephens and her husband, Ed, created Precise Portions divided plates so people could easily see what a healthy portion size looked like.

About half the plate is designated for non-starchy vegetables – and that throws veggie haters off, said Ann-Marie Stephens, who started the company with her husband in 2010.

“It’s a huge barrier because most people don’t know how to make vegetables taste great,” she said. “That is why they try to fill that spot with other things….We want to make it easy to add more vegetables to the plate.”

The couple have expanded their Precise Portions line, adding five spice blends they are calling Precise Spices. Used with a basil-infused olive oil that is also new to the Precise Portions line, the spices give vegetables a flavor boost whether roasted, stir-fried or steamed, she said.

“We are from the Caribbean. We really created the line based on recipes we grew up with,” said Stephens, a former executive at the now-defunct Circuit City chain.

“We have something we call a green seasoning which is a staple in almost every home, at least in Trinidad and Tobago, which is where I’m from. We created that as a dry spice. That features lots of celery and thyme and chives and oregano.”

The other spice blends are jerk, Himalayan seasoning salt, coconut-curry and tropical.

“We’ve had a request for at least one spice people can use for baking,” Stephens said. “The more people cook at home, the happier and the healthier everyone will be.”

The couple, formerly of the Richmond area, have relocated to Hampton Roads.

Precise Portions’ new spices line was among the Virginia-made products on display at the recent Virginia’s Finest conference presented by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and partners/sponsors in Richmond. The Virginia’s Finest program has promoted Virginia-made products for 30 years.

“It is so incredibly satisfying to share in the joy of Virginia specialty food and beverage producers bringing their products from kitchen to market to the delight of our community. Buying local is a win-win and we thank everyone for supporting Virginia agriculture,” said Olivia Wilson of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Find a list of Virginia-made products at and check many specialty stores for products, including Birdie’s Pimento Cheese, Homestead Creamery milk and ice cream, Edwards hams, Route 11 Potato Chips and Virginia peanuts.

Precise Spices are sold by mail order. Reach Stephens through

(804) 649-6572

5 Ways to Making A Healthier Sandwich

Americans love sandwiches. On any given day, most of us consume a sandwich for lunch. A new study conducted, however, states that this meal may, in fact, be hurting our diet.

A study brought forth by the Journal of Public Health have discovered that on the days a sandwich is consumed, more calories of fat, sugar & salt are consumed by individuals.

Dietary intake data were analyzed by researchers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign of over 27,000 US adults from a bulky federal national survey. It was found that daily, nearly a quarter of total calorie intake together with a third of total fat consisting of saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol was contributed by consumption of sandwiches.

On the day’s individuals did consume sandwiches, an additional 100 calories were ingested compared to days where consuming a sandwich was skipped. In addition to the aforementioned, it was also evident that individuals also consumed an additional 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of sugar and 268 grams of sodium as opposed to days when a sandwich was not consumed.

This was a result of the sandwiches consumed being categorized unhealthy. It was also reported by the research that the most sought-after sandwiches were prepared with cold cut, chicken & burgers.

The researchers also concluded that on days people consumed sandwiches, they ate slightly fewer fruits and vegetables as opposed to days consuming a sandwich was skipped.

As nutritionists, we do acknowledge the fact that people love sandwiches. Especially during lunch time, sandwiches are an easy go-to meal. Believe us when we say that a sandwich can be a very healthy lunch if attention to what goes inside is heeded to.

The following are a list of easy tips to pave the way for a better sandwich.

1. Drop the bun.

Though one can still consume bread, you may want to avoid the white bun and all refined products of white bread. Instead, settle for whole grain bread either oat, whole wheat or rye bread. Another great choice would be a whole grain pita or wrap. While choices are plenty, gluten-free whole grain bread made with brown rice flour, buckwheat flour or whole grain amaranth also are great ingredients to include.

2. Choose a healthy filler.

You could choose a lean protein such as grilled chicken, fish or turkey breast as a protein choice. If you still crave a burger, switch the hamburger for a veggie burger, a vegetarian sandwich comprised of tempeh, tofu, white beans or hummus. Go easy on cold cuts and avoid adding cheese atop your meat to avoid the additional sodium and fat.

3. Size matters.

Portion size does matter. A sandwich which isn’t fattening is simply a half sandwich. Aim for 3-4 ounces of protein the size of a deck of cards or your palms. While its ok to go a little overboard, you need to make note that most deli’s serve sandwiches with a pound of meat, which comprises of enough protein for 4 individuals.
If portioned correctly, a mid-day sandwich could indeed pave way for a weight loss option too.

4. Pile on the veggies.

Adding vegetables such as tomato, shredded carrot, lettuce & peppers onto your sandwich ads flavor, nutrients and color together with a flare of crunch and volume without adding too many calories.

5. Order the topping on the side.

A little goes a long way when it comes to toppings. Ketchup and mustard are high in sodium whereas cheese sauces, mayonnaise, and creamy salad dressings are high in fat and should be ordered on the side. An all-time favorite topping could be a thinly sliced avocado which contributes to healthy fat, moisture and flavor to your preferred sandwich.

Melt Body Fat While You Reduce Inflammation!

Raw Turmeric

Discover the natural supplement that can really boost your health!

This superior supplement is probably inside your pantry right now. It targets your fat storage system to increase your body’s natural fat-burning abilities! And, if you’re one of the 50 million American’s that suffer from arthritis or inflammation of any degree, this spice can reduce your symptoms so you can get back to living a better quality life.

The do-it-all spice we’re talking about is turmeric. It’s in all the health and weight loss articles lately, and it’s no wonder: not only can it promote weight loss, but it also aids your body with loads of other health benefits like eliminating inflammation, improves memory, boosts energy, and even ramps up your sex drive!

Dr. Mercola, a well-known best-selling author, has noted that studies have found this supplement to be an effective method of treatment for arthritis, swelling, and joint pain. He has also said that turmeric, “…is effective even in small quantities.”

Slim Down Naturally.

It has been found to have more than 650 active compounds, beneficial for your health, and over two dozen of them directly target inflammation. This yellow spice has a key nutrient, called curcumin which is a powerful fighter for inflammation which can also contribute to weight gain and other health issues including an irregular appetite, cravings, aches and stiffness, heart and blood sugar issues, poor memory, sleep issues, and so much more.

Researchers have found that by using curcumin regularly, can reduce the formation of fatty tissue, which basically means your body won’t be open to adding excess fat like it used to. They noted, “Our results clearly demonstrate that curcumin at the cellular and whole organism levels displays remarkable potential health benefits for prevention of obesity and associated metabolic disorders.”

It helps your fat cells respond properly to insulin, reducing insulin resistance that your body may have created over the years of consuming too many delicious carbs. And when your body utilizes insulin, it can digest food properly while maintaining healthier blood sugar levels, which are key to weight loss and a healthy weight maintenance.

Relieve Inflammation Caused by Diabetes.

If you, or someone you love, lives with diabetes, then you probably have experience the sometimes painful inflammation that can occur. The inflammation can have negative effects on diabetes management, as well as causing insulin resistance which is the primary reason of Type 2 diabetes.

As experts have found, turmeric is very powerful for relieving inflammation. It can be added to many meals, and when taking the time to pay attention to what you’re eating and how much, then your body will really respond faster!

Raw Turmeric

An easy method of controlling your healthy food intake is to utilize the popular diet plates for portion control. Now, you don’t have to have these special plates that help you eat proper portions as a “diet.” Even if you don’t have to slim down, they are superior for boosting your overall health from the inside-out by simply stabilizing your blood sugar levels, helping your body easily digest the food, and spike your energy levels so you can feel better all day long.

If you have diabetes, then you know that measuring your food consumption is vital to your success with managing symptoms. So diabetics can benefit from portion control plates as well with proven results of healthier eating, reducing health issues and symptoms, and boosting overall vitality.

Your Daily Dose.

Now, you are probably wondering exactly how much turmeric should you take in order to reap the fat-burning, anti-inflammatory benefits? Health professionals recommend taking 1,200-2,000mg, split into three times per day. You will also feel and see more benefits if you choose fewer carbs and more veggies. And of course, doing some form of regular exercise!

Here’s what turmeric can do for you:

  • Promote easy fat loss
  • Maintain lean muscle mass
  • Controls your appetite
  • Reduces water weight
  • Ease pain from inflammation and achy muscles
  • Diminish ageing signs like wrinkles
  • Improve cognitive functions
  • Boost energy levels
  • Improves sexual hormones
  • Ramp up your metabolism
  • Help support lean muscle
  • Increase your health, happiness, and confidence

Benefits of Tumeric

Image from Met First Living

In addition to a healthy diet and portion control plates for optimum benefits, by taking a daily dose of turmeric, whether you add it to your meals or in capsule form, you can expect to start feeling results within 2-3 weeks.

Stay healthy now!

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How to be organised in your health & wellness business

The problem with most small health & wellness businesses, is a lack of business acumen.

Let’s say you’re a chiropractor. Perhaps even a really good one.

You have your own practice. Your clients adore you.


Being good at what you do doesn’t mean you’re going to succeed in your business.

Because growing a business requires business acumen.

Part of that necessary business acumen, is being organized and systemizing your business. If you’re not organized, your business is not going to grow.

What does being organized achieve?

When I talk about being organized, I actually mean business systemization.

Business systemization is the act of getting a written, organized flowchart of your business with checklists and procedures for every position and task.

How does being organized, aka systemized, benefit you?

  • You and your team will get more done
  • You will save a huge amount of time
  • The customer service experience you provide will improve because it will be consistent, especially if you have other team members
  • Your business will grow
  • You will feel more peace of mind about having others do the things you usually do
  • It’s good for team morale because everyone knows what’s expected of them

These are just a few of the benefits. Trust me, there are way more.

How to get organized with business systemization

Start by listing the processes in your business that are the most painful.

In a software application like, or on a piece of paper, map out the current process.

Now think of ways that you can make the whole process easier and faster. You may need to think out of the box. Think in terms of “wouldn’t it be great to be able to have this…” so that you don’t limit your creativity.

Often, if you can imagine having some kind of application, you’ll find it on the Internet, and often it is free.

If your business revolves around appointments and clients, you may want to consider getting organized by using helpful applications like Insightly (free Customer Relationship Management online application) and Acuity Scheduling (scheduling application). If it’s only you using it, it’s free.

To manage or track projects, use Asana or Trello.

Keep client records to remind you of conversations with them and any treatment or suggestion, etc. Create a system that will help you check the client’s record from previous consultations (imagine your client’s delight when you ask him how his daughter’s wedding was), and record anything relevant every time you meet. It may simply be notes kept in a client folder.

Whatever will work best for you. But whatever system you use, it must work for you.

For instance, if you don’t sit at your computer often, an Internet-based scheduling system is not going to work for you.

The next step is to document the new procedure you’ve come up with. For more help on this subject, Wikihow gives a step-by-step guide to compiling a standard operating procedure.

Finally, test the new process and keep improving it as you go.


Getting organized can take some time, but honestly, the peace of mind, resulting productivity and ultimately the growth of your health & wellness business, is worth the effort.

6 health benefits of dark chocolate

Chocolate comes from cacao, one of the most important gifts from Mexico to the world. Cacao is originally from Mesoamerica. Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztecs were the first civilizations who used cacao to prepare drinks. Cacao beans were very important for these cultures. It was used as currency to buy and sell products.

The origin of the word chocolate comes from “Xocolatl” (Nahuatl language, native of the Aztec civilization before the Spanish conquest). Aztecs used to prepare a traditional drink made with cacao beans, water, and spices. It was very different of what we consume nowadays because natives didn’t add sugar or milk.

6 health benefits of dark chocolate:

  1. Flavonoids: Chemical substances that are beneficial for our health. Flavonoids protect the heart and can prevent some types of cancer, are potent antioxidants, and analgesics.
  2. Percentage of cacao: The higher the better. Enjoy chocolate with 70% of more of cacao and avoid the sugary ones. Eat small portions (1-2 squares no more than 3 times a week).
  3. Stress control: Small amounts of dark chocolate can decrease stress levels in women.
  4.  Diabetes prevention: 1 ounce of dark chocolate for 15 days could decrease insulin resistance by 50%.
  5. Natural sunburn protection: Polyphenols are substances we can find in dark chocolate. Polyphenols facilitate blood to flow closer to the skin, protecting the contact with ultraviolet rays.
  6. Theobromine: Natural antitussive. Theobromine can block the activity of the vagus nerve and thus stop coughing.

Now that you know Shahzad Memon don’t forget to include small portions of dark chocolate in your regular diet to enjoy an amazing flavor and obtain the benefits.

5 documentaries that will make you think about what you eat

Nutrition, food, healthy, organic, non-GMO, light, fat-free, sugar-free, vegan, etc, are words we hear everywhere on a regular basis. One of the goals of nutritional education is to promote the truth behind the myths. That’s why I will talk about 5 documentaries that will make you think about the kind of power we have today regarding what we eat.

1. Hungry for change
If you’re a fan of diet products, shakes to lose weight, you follow different types of diets, or even if you wonder why you don’t lose weight if you eat super healthy? I recommend you to watch Hungry for Change.  It will help you to reflect about the food you eat. It will also motivate you to improve your habits.

2. Food Inc.
Food Inc. reflects and analyzes about the quality of the food we eat.  It also critiques the current production systems and the reasons why this negatively affects our health.

3. Forks Over Knives
What are the negative effects of food in our health? Chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc reduce our life quality. Forks over Knives explains the relationship between our food and these diseases.

4. Fed Up
Inadequate food availability is related to poor public policies that sooner or later will need to be modified to bear the consequences caused by obesity, and to make it clear we FedUp.

5. Meat the Truth
The consequences malnutrition in health are obvious, but have you thought about the environmental consequences? Meat The Truth opens our eyes from a very different perspective, which certainly will make you think next time you use your fork.

Detox diets, the good, the bad and what you should know

What you should know:
What is a detox diet?
It is a type of diet consisting in the consumption of shakes and smoothies made of fruits, vegetables, and herbs used for a certain time with the belief that you can get health benefits.

Before this trend started the word detox was related to medical practices to refer cases of alcoholism, drug addiction and poisoning that put lives at risk.
Nowadays the term detox is used to refer home methods that claim can eliminate swelling, headaches, joint pain, weight loss, reduce fatigue and even depression. None of the products require a prescription.


The bad
The popularity of detox diets has grown exponentially recently, however, there is little evidence that detox diets remove toxins from the body. Our kidneys and liver are responsible for filtering out most toxins.

People usually express that they lose weight by following these diets and this occurs because they consume fewer calories than their bodies need. Unfortunately there is no institution that regulates the term detox.
Detox diets should not be followed for long periods of time because they do not provide enough amounts of protein, and can cause vitamin deficiency, minerals and essential fatty acids.

Some stricter followers even recommend the use of enemas (colon cleansing) but repeated use of these can cause an electrolyte imbalance.
Due to the increasing popularity of this term, many companies admit that they have changed the names of products we already know for “detox” or “cleansing” to increase sales.


The good
Detox diets basically eliminate the consumption of highly processed foods which are high in sugar, salt, unhealthy fats, additives, and preservatives. The use of many of these ingredients is widely debated due to health problems resulting therefrom, such as obesity, diabetes and much more.
Detox diets also encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Most people do not consume even half of the daily recommendation of 5 servings a day (3 vegetables and 2 fruits).

Only one shake or smoothie can provide those 5 portions easily and if is not strained it can also provide a good amount of fiber.


The consumption of smoothies and shakes can be part of a healthy life if you follow a personalized diet and exercise regularly.

Before starting a program of this inquiry ask your dietician or healthcare provider.