Mind, Body
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deskside dining

Give Your Lunch Some Love: The Art of Deskside Dining

Here at Covet, we are snackanistas, gourmet goddesses, and foodtrepreneurs. So, naturally one of our favorite times of the day is lunch time. The clinking of forks, sharing of recipes, and laughter amongst colleagues is music to our ears! Gathering in the kitchen to retreat from our desks is much needed after those first few demanding hours of the day filled with catching up on emails, calls to New York, and tackling any pressing matters that may have popped up in those few hours while we were sleeping the night before. Are we alone in our love affair with this magical midday meal? The majority of the American workforce has put lunch breaks on the back burner. NPR reports that only one in five office workers are taking the time to step away from their desks to take a lunch. Are we intentionally starving ourselves of necessary nutrients needed to focus and recharge? Are we suddenly a culture of breakfast buffs who have finally realized it actually is the most important meal of the day? Are we trying to get brownie points with the boss by logging the most hours in the office? Thankfully, no. The fact of the matter is a majority of people are simply eating their lunches at their desks. Whether it is because it’s affordable, convenient, or because we are so insanely busy, the art of deskside dining has become a thing, and we are embracing it. And this isn’t just because our office is stacked with delicious and nutritious products from our amazing food and beverage clients. We love deskside dining because it gives us a chance to get to know our coworkers more personally and create amazing dishes in the comfort of our second home. Obviously, your goal should not be to stay inside all day. Multiple studies show that getting out of the office — even for a few minutes a day — boosts creativity, lowers stress, and reduces the likelihood of physical ailments associated with sitting in front of a computer all day. Give those eyeballs a break and stretch those legs! If, for whatever reason, you are one of the 80% of people opting to dine deskside, do yourself a favor and stow away some luxe food items to give your lunch a gourmet touch. Just because you are dining in, doesn’t mean your meal has to be boring! Below are some creative ideas from some of our own office gourmands on what you can keep in your drawers to punch things up at lunch. “I am a big fan of spice, so I always have some hot sauce on hand. I also keep organic soups and oats at my desk for when I am in a pinch. And when they’re in season, I usually bring a big bag of avocados from the tree in my yard to top off any dish. I always need caffeine on hand for crunch time, so Chameleon Cold Brew Concentrate is what I usually have hidden in the back of the fridge.”
  • Leah Brown, Senior Publicist
  “I find that sometimes I pack a lunch that sounds great in the morning, but come lunchtime I am over it. I always keep a container of Bitchin Sauce in the fridge - it makes everything taste amazing. I also can’t stand the ingredient panel on most bottled dressings, so I always have a small mason jar with some EVOO, vinegar, dijon mustard and chili flakes mixed up and ready to go for when I am in the mood for salad. I also keep GoRaw Watermelon Seeds at my desk to sprinkle on salads or eat by the handful when I am craving something salty.”
  • Casey Blatt, Operations Coordinator
  “I am big on dining in, so I always keep easy snacks around to keep my energy up. Health Warrior Chia Seeds are great with my morning yogurt, oatmeal, or even in water. Trader Joe’s raw, unsalted almond butter is another go-to, just on a spoon when I need something really quick. Spiceologist’s Spice Cave Fire Blend is great to sprinkle on just about anything, and I always have some salsa hiding in the fridge to dip carrots in, or use as a topper on salad or a bowl. Oh, and hot sauce on everything!
  • Holly Sweat, Publicity Assistant
  For even more ideas on what you can keep in the office to make your meals more enjoyable, take a look at Bon Appetit’s rendition of the Art of Deskside Dining.
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5 Healthy Ways to Kick Off Your Day

Here at Covet, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is KEY. Not just because we represent some of the healthiest brands one the planet, but also because in order to be PR bosses, we need to take time to care for our minds and our bodies to ensure we are firing on all cylinders at any given time.   That's why we we’re so inspired when we came across this article on PopSugar outlining 5 Things You Should Do Every Morning If You Want to Be Healthy. It is so important to constantly check in with yourself and make sure you are doing everything in your power to improve your overall health, life is too short to trash our bodies and not treat them like the temples that they are. Lucky for us, some of these tips and tricks are things we are already doing on the reg. But some of these are actions we are excited to put into motion and think you should too!   1. Oil Pull - This can be a daunting task for some, but what great dental hygiene practice isn't? Oil pulling - which gained popularity a couple of years ago - can do wonders for your grill. From filling cavities, to relieving toothaches and whitening teeth, to alleviating cold symptoms and jaw pain associated with nighttime grinding, this is a wonderful morning practice to help you look and feel your best. We like Kopari's Coconut Melt for our morning pulls.   2. Stretch - Waking up to the thought of how crazy your day is going to be can be a buzzkill. That's why we take time every morning to stretch, meditate and pump ourselves up (if you are really shooting for the moon, you can use this time to oil pull too). Take a couple minutes to set an intention or a grounding thought to come back to throughout your day. Not only does it help you keep a sound mind among the endless calls, meetings, tasks and reports, but it also will help bend your body before you get in that desk chair for the whole day.   3. Drink Lemon Water - This has been one of the best tips we have ever gotten. When we first heard about this ages ago, we suspected it was a diet fad that was as effective as the Master Cleanse. But you have to try it out to see the results, and there are lots! No more morning tummy aches, or cranky hunger induced mood swings if you skip breakfast. Brighter skin and mood, instant hydration and metabolism. What more could you ask for to get your day started off right?   4. Taking Vitamins - There are SO many amazing natural supplements out there you can work into your daily routine to improve health all-around. There is a vitamin for everything... B12 for energy; vitamin E for skin, hair and nails; vitamin K for good circulation; vitamin C for an immune boost. An easy way to get an array of vitamins quickly is with a multivitamin each morning, or adding a vitamin-rich plant-based protein supplement to your morning smoothie. We like Beaming's Superfood Protein Blend.   5. Hydrate - And we aren’t just talking about drinking more water - although that is a great start! Staying hydrated is the key to everything. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of wrinkles, and as we age, it becomes increasingly more difficult for our bodies to retain water. And when we fail to properly hydrate, our bodies must prioritize its use of water. Compared to your vital organs, your dermis - the largest organ in the human body - takes a backseat. Beyond drinking half of your weight in ounces in water, moisturizing your skin directly with rich hydrating creams is another way to get a direct supply of hydration into your pores. We love SkinClinical’s Extreme Healing line, which is super luxe on the skin and also utilizes their patented SBD-4 anti-aging ingredient technology.
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Striking Gold at Expo West

Ahhhh, Natural Products Expo West. Where the kombucha flows like wine and health-nuts flock like the Salmon of Capistrano. Some view this insanely jam-packed weekend as chaos at its finest. However, at Covet, we see it more as Oscar Weekend, where all of our most coveted foods, beverages, beauty products and more, are all dressed up for the big award show. Natural Products Expo West is where the who’s who of health and wellness brands all convene in one place, chugging cold brew, revealing new innovations, bouncing wild ideas around and putting faces to a year’s worth of emails and conference calls. This year, we took the whole team up to Anaheim for the weekend to set up camp in our amazing lineup of client booths (and get some much needed R&R in the Suja Press Room). I think it is safe to say that we have finally recovered from our four-day hangover, following the biggest Expo West in history, and are just buzzing with excitement over the bubbling trends we noticed since last year’s Expo, all of the fun new brands in the health and wellness space that we tried, and the success of our incredible clients. Below is a recap of all the madness from the big show!   Tradeshow Trends   Greener than Ever: Several brands are taking reduce, reuse and recycle to the next level with creative uses of ingredients that were likely previously thrown away. For example, Hawaiian Ola has taken coffee leaves - a potent source of antioxidants - and created a refreshing ready-to-drink tea, which also creates an added value to Hawaiian coffee farmer's efforts. Meanwhile, dehydration is proving an effective technique to pack nutrients into foods while preserving.     Puppies & Babies: It seems like both pet and baby food have begun to follow in the footsteps of our very own nutritional trends, incorporating more fresh ingredients into their products and using innovative new modes of processing and packaging to preserve the nutritional integrity of those fresh ingredients. Once Upon a Farm has put an HPP-spin on fresh fruits and veggies and infused healthy fats tailored to infants’ key nutritional phases, all packaged in neat little shelf-stable pouches that don’t sacrifice taste or quality. Meanwhile, The Honest Kitchen - who’s dehydrated pet foods have sparked a revolution among pet food manufacturers big and small - has disguised superfoods to look like pet kibble with its new Proper Toppers product launching in April, made only with chicken or turkey, blueberries, pumpkin and chard.   Odd Couples: Functional ingredients have stepped out of the box and off the spice rack with unique ingredients like rosewater and saffron being infused in a beverage called H2Rose that claims beauty from within along with mood-enhancing and stress-relieving benefits. Royal jelly, found in Bruce Tea, was the Kung-Fu legend and brand namesake's special ingredient in his tea (which was created by his daughter), and the queen bee's pollen touts a plethora of health benefits.   Protein of the Future: Protein has become more and more important, in light of the many intolerances to other food groups like grains, dairy and sugars. Much like Once Upon A Farm’s fresh baby food, Smashpack is the solution to every busy body’s chaotic schedule. Their BPA-free pouches are packed with real fruit and a healthy fat to give you a delicious, paleo-friendly, gluten-free, high protein snack while you’re on-the- go. And just when protein products couldn’t get more outside the box, we found Exo, who makes protein bars packed with a gluten-free flour alternative made solely out of crickets (yes the bug). Think they’re crazy? Cricket protein is catching like wildfire, and brands like Exo and Bitty -maker of cookies made with cricket flour - are just the tip of the insect-iceberg.   Bike Powered Energy: Forget solar power, this weekend was powered by our two-wheeled roadside companions. Pitaya Plus & Stonyfield Organic both utilized stationary exercise bikes to power blenders to make smoothies-to-order with their delicious superfood packets and organic yogurts, respectively.   Watermelon World: Beyoncé was one step ahead when she was drinkin’ that watermelon… our favorite summertime fruit has become one of the biggest trends in food and beverage we’ve seen this year, for it’s ultra-hydrating properties. Maple water top dog’s DRINKmaple used Expo West as a launching pad for their newest product, DRINKmelon. Unlike high pressure processed watermelon beverage brands like WTRMLN WTR and H2Melon, DRINKmelon is pasteurized and shelf-stable. Hot on the watermelon trend, sprouted snack brand GoRaw has soaked, sprouted and dehydrated watermelon seeds to create a powerful protein source on its own and in a bar.   Most Buzzed About Booths   Siete, an emerging tortilla brand, has used cassava and coconut flour for a delicious gluten-free tortilla that mimics the feel of a flour tortilla with an amped up taste. The brand's breakfast tacos were the tastiest treat on the show floor.   Aside from having killer branding and top notch protein snacks to keep us going on hour 2783910 of the show, EPIC hosted Bone Broth Latte’s on Saturday morning that sparked a fan-crazed line longer than that of a Bieber concert.   Exclusively on Friday, NFL pros and Health Warrior investors and ambassadors Arian Foster, Glover Quin, and EJ Manuel were at the chia seed snack line’s booth to provide powerful nutrition and inspiration through superfoods. Visitors snapped selfies with the stars starting around noon, while checking out the brand’s all-new look and tasting the new Dark Chocolate Chia Bar (an office staple!)   What we were probably most excited and curious to check out was the Barnana booth. About a week before the big event, the potassium packed banana-snack purveyors announced their newest product: Gorilla Milk - a nutritionally dense milk from Western Lowland Gorillas. By purchasing Barnana Gorilla Milk you would be directly contributing to efforts to save and repopulate the wild habitat of the gorilla. Crazy amazing, right? We weren’t the only ones who thought so. After making the trek to Barnana’s post, we soon discovered that the hair-brained idea was nothing more than a publicity stunt. We don’t know what we felt more… totally stupid for buying into the gimmick heard round Expo, or hilariously entertained by the fact that everyone in attendance did too. Well done, Barnana. Well done, indeed.   Favorite New Products   Banza Chickpea Pasta – pasta can finally be enjoyed guilt-free. And don’t even get us started on their new Mac N’ Cheese…. Project 7 Gourmet Gummies – the brand that has brought joy to chewing gum fanatics nationwide launched their brand new line of gummies. With flavors such as Birthday Cake and Grapefruit Melon – it takes just one bear to be transported back to childhood nostalgia. Ruby Rockets – when we thought we literally couldn’t eat one more thing, and were feeling the expected Expo-bloat from all the samples, Ruby Rockets came to the rescue with their 35-calorie Galaxy Green veggie popsicle, made only with kiwi, avocadoes, spinach, banana and green apples. Pop & Bottle – not only did their almond milk taste insanely good, but we felt cool just holding one of their gorgeous bottles.   Covet Client Achievements   NEXTY Best in the West: Suja’s Raspberry Probiotic Water   NEXTY Best New Condiment: EPIC Duck Fat Cooking Oil   NEXTY Best New Pet Product: The Honest Kitchen’s Bone Broth    
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covet_beach_bag

What’s In Our Beach Bag??

We may not have hot sauce in our bag, but there is certainly no shortage of swag. With the summer heat still going strong, we are soaking up every bit of bikini season! Lucky for us, our favorite time of the year is almost 6-months-long in ‘sunny’ San Diego, so we have lots of experience nailing down the key essentials for our long days spent laying on the sand and swimming in the sea. First and foremost, every item must serve a purpose. There is nothing worse than having a bunch of unnecessary junk in your bag and subjecting yourself to hauling a huge pack to and from the beach. You are here to relax, so lighten your load, kick back and enjoy that sunshine. Secondly, they should be good for you! You want to keep that bikini bod intact, right? You didn’t work this hard for nothing. Leave the chips, beer, and tanning oil (yuck!) at home and opt for healthier choices that will keep you hydrated and energized while you savor your day off. Third, they should be able to withstand the elements. Certain products - like chocolate, makeup, and some beverages are simply not made for the sun. Having available shade like an umbrella will greatly increase your options, but keep in mind it’s still hot in the shade, and you don’t want anything to spoil or explode. Now, you may be bumming because some of your fave beach items didn’t make the cut, but fear not! There are still plenty of fab items that are Covet approved to pack for your next outing to the shore. Whimsical tapestry Sure, towels are great, but sometimes they can be a bulky addition to an already full bag. Tapestries are thin enough to pack easily, and come in a variety of cool prints and colors to bring a level of beauty to your beach set-up that is unparalleled by any standard towel. Hydrating beverage We are big fans of Suja’s Probiotic Waters because they are super refreshing, hydrating and have 2 billion colony-forming units of vegan probiotics, won’t spoil in the sun. We are loving the tropical vibe of the Orange Ginger Pineapple flavor! Light snack Snacks are tough to pack, but if you are like us and worship the sun, packing fuel for your bronzing session is key to prolonging your stay. Health Warrior’s Chia Bars are good for you, easy to toss in any sized bag, and will hold you over until you can hit the taco shop. Face sunscreen Sunscreen is a no brainer, but this particular type deserves its own shout out because so many of the sun care products we use on our body can cause breakouts on our face. There are a handful of super high quality options out there, but our favorite is the Surface Face Stick. Like Zinc, it is super protective and lasts all day, but is in a convenient mini-stick form that ensures it won’t melt in your bag and is always easy to apply to the hot spots on your forehead, nose, and lips. Good Reads There is nothing more calming than reading your go-to magazine or a good book when you are listening to the waves crashing. Right now, we are all about work/life balance, so we are reading a TED book, “Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes,” by Margaret Heffernan. In between chapters, you can find us cruising the latest editions of SHAPE, InStyle, or People. Other beach accessories we are a fan of:
  • Umbrellas & Hats
  • Mobile Phone Charger
  • Mini-speakers like the Boom Swimmer
  • Surfbort
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The Benefits of Bone Broth

Bone broth is making a comeback. While everyone has been told by their moms, grandmas and even doctors, that chicken stock does a body good, does anyone really know why? And what the heck is even considered bone broth?  The widely accepted definition of bone broth is the liquid that remains after animal bones are boiled in water for anywhere from 12 - 48 hours in order to break the bones down and allow all the nutrients and minerals to be released.   Bone broth has been rumored to do the following, taking it from just liquid to liquid gold:   -- Reduce inflammation -- Help alleviate joint pain -- Be a useful tool for weight loss -- Stimulate hair and nail growth -- Improves memory & sleep patterns -- Has anti-aging properties -- Boost the immune system -- Great for gut health by sealing holes in the intestines   Now, some skeptics may say that bone broth is just dressed up soup. And if we believed all the hype surrounding newly acclaimed superfoods that seem to be popping up in our newsfeeds daily, we wouldn’t be doing our due diligence as health and wellness advocates. And as much as we want all of these benefits to hold true, the fact of the matter is that there is very little scientific backing to many of these claims.   Easy cynics… before you start blasting I told you so comments on your friends Facebook posts about bone broth, take note that there are some very notable pluses to consuming this age-old comfort food.   Just like grandma told you, a homemade bowl of broth will bolster the immune system. It is also true that bone broth (especially that made from the bones of poultry) is a great natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin to support joints - both in humans and pets!   Bone broth also happens to be a great sports recovery drink. Don’t believe me? Ask Kobe Bryant. He and his LA Laker teammates have a special dietary regimen that bone broth is one of the three founding pillars of. In addition to hydrating the body and replenishing electrolytes lost while exercising, the amino acids in bone broth will help the body rebuild muscle.   And on top of it all, from an efficiency standpoint, bone broth really makes use of the entire animal. According to Epic Provisions, who just launched the first-ever refrigerated bone broth, they strongly feel we should be honoring the animals providing for us anyway we can. That it is our responsibility as carnivores that live on a planet with limited resources. Epic embodies this value by using up to 70% of the entire animal in their product line. And just to give you some perspective, most meat snack companies cap off around 8%.   So just because you decide to start drinking a cup of broth a day on top of your 3,000 calorie diet of pizza and beer, does not mean you are suddenly going to be rid of all of your health issues and concerns. But adding bone broth to your routine has the potential to improve general health, especially if you are feeling sick or fatigued. What making and consuming bone broth will do - without question - is get you in the kitchen, making your own food, and opening your consciousness to what you are putting into your body. And for those of you that prefer to skip to the fun part of eating without the hassle of cooking, pick up Beef Jalapeno Sea Salt, Homestyle Chicken, or Turkey Cranberry Sage broth at your local Epic retailer.
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Weighing in on Employee Wellness

We have all heard the business buzzword “work/life balance” and wondered where that magical place exists. Is it at the end of rainbow? Do you teleport there? With the increasingly competitive job market, there lies an exceeding pressure to give 110% all the time, resulting in a big imbalance of these two poles. Far too often we are - as a culture - guilty of neglecting our health in pursuit of the next deadline, or that big report. We have begun to get caught in the hamster wheel of the overachieving adage, who has time for life when there is so much work to be done? Work/life balance is like regularly scheduled car maintenance. Sure we can skip a couple routine checks when we are pressed for time and/or money…until that fateful morning when your car suddenly sputters to a stop on your way to work and some neon doodle starts blinking like crazy on your dashboard. Only then, when it is too late and costly to undo the damage of neglecting our cars’ health maintenance, do we realize the importance of proactive measures for our valiant steeds. In a day and age where time is money, how can we encourage employees to slow down their day-to-day responsibilities to make sure they are taking care of themselves? Think outside the box. It is time to get creative with our policies and procedures and go above and beyond what once passed as acceptable. The only way to attract new talent - and keep those we already have happy - is to spice things up. The Huffington Post put it best in a recent article on Why Ignoring Employee Wellness is a Mistake: “Success in this new world will depend on an employer's ability to maintain older, experienced workers, keep healthcare costs down, and satisfy the ideals of the incoming generations.” It is time to view employee wellness as a necessity, not a luxury. Behind us are the days where gym memberships, healthy office snacks and team retreats are deemed irrelevant. Now, more than ever, we are seeing employers offering programs and initiatives that address employees’ total well being (Stephen Miller, SHRM, 2016). Investing in efforts to keep your staff happy and healthy shows in the numbers, increasing employee performance, productivity and profits. In a recent study conducted by University of Warwick economists, productivity spiked by 12% in happy employees, while dropping 10% in those who claimed to be unhappy (Ravesencio, Fast Company, 2015). Research also shows that when team members are happy at work, they are better collaborators, more willing and energized to work toward common goals, and develop more creative ideas. (Zwilling, Forbes, 2014) So treat your staff to a pass for a free spin class. Order smoothies for your team to kick off a brainstorming session. If you have noticed someone logging a ton of extra hours, offer them a mid-week comp day to recharge their batteries so they don’t burn out when you need them most. Or on the most basic level, take a little time each week to give an employee or colleague some praise for something they did a great job on. All of these are examples of newer practices that make up great company culture, and will undoubtedly attract the right people to your team to help take your business to new heights.
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Daily Dose of Chia

The origins of chia seeds go well beyond that of your chia pet from 1991 (yes, this is the same chia you see in everything from water to pudding these days). In fact, you would be surprised to discover that before they became a means of growing hair on a terra cotta Homer Simpson’s head, chia seeds fueled the Tarahumara Indians for their legendary long-distance runs, as well as provided pre-battle nourishment for the Aztec Warriors. And now, centuries later, chia has created a tidal wave of hype surrounding it’s many benefits - all of which have legit scientific support.   So how much good stuff can a tiny grain of sand-sized seed pack in? Here is what one serving size (28g) of chia seeds can do for YOU:        11 grams of dietary fiber, about a third of the recommended daily intake for adults      18 percent of the recommended daily intake for calcium, 27 percent of your daily value for phosphorus, and 30 percent of your recommended intake of manganese; all of which bolsters bone and oral health, and helps to prevent osteoporosis      Chia seeds contain more Omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram (these fats are important for brain health and give you glowing skin)      They are a great source of protein for vegetarians and don't contain any cholesterol      Chia seeds have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar and also fight insulin resistance which can be tied to an increase in belly fat      Chia is being studied as a potential natural treatment for type-2 diabetes because of its ability to slow down digestion      This seed also contains tryptophan - the same component responsible for your post Thanksgiving snooze - which helps regulate appetite, sleep and improves mood      A review of 67 separate controlled trials found that even a modest 10-gram per day increase in fiber intake reduced LDL (the harmful type cholesterol) as well as total cholesterol. Recent studies have shown that dietary fiber may even play a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation, consequently decreasing the risk of inflammation-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity (Medical News Today)   So how can you get your daily dose of chia? They can be consumed raw or cooked, on their own or in some other yummy snack. You can simply sprinkle them into your water, smoothie or yogurt (heads up: they have a jelly-like texture after soaking), or you can add them to your overnight oats or make a delicious chia pudding for dessert.   If you simply don’t have time for chia treat creation, or don’t want to commit to a whole bag, plenty of nutritious snack lines are integrating them into their most popular products. From tortilla chips and sliced bread to kombucha and bottled drinks, you can get chia in just about every snack from your local health food store.   Our favorite chia snack is Health Warrior’s line of chia bars. The gluten, dairy, and soy-free bars come in five tasty flavors - apple cinnamon, mango, chocolate peanut butter, banana nut, coconut, coffee, acai berry and dark chocolate cherry.   How do you ch-ch-ch-chia??  
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