Counter intelligence: fall harvest edition
Once the temperatures begin to drop and fall sets, it’s common to have conflicting thoughts—the physical, common-sense need to eat things that boost immunity and the psychological need to eat comforting (but not always healthy) things. However, if you know what’s out there, you can definitely enjoy a balance of both, along with some fun new gadgets that make having it both ways a (chill) breeze.
BlendJet 2 (US$49·95)
What is it?
Even if you have a blender or juicer at home, there’s something to be said for a gadget the size of a small thermos that not only allows you to blend and drink your breakfast, but also be able to do that at the office or elsewhere if things get busy in the morning. The BlendJet 2 improves on the original BlendJet formula with 33 per cent more storage space than its predecessor along with the convenience of a waterproof USB-C port that delivers 15-plus blends per charge. On the blender base, a luminous ring of light around the power button indicates the blending mode (blend, pulse, or lock mode) when in use as well as battery level while charging.
The BlendJet 2 comes in 16 vibrant colours as well as designs such as camo, marble, walnut and leopard print. It also has a companion line of JetPack smoothie mixes to start one out, in such flavours as Banana Blueberry, Mocha Chia, Green Peach Ginger, Raspberry Dragon Fruit, Mango Matcha and Tropical Blue.
How it works
Perhaps its patented TurboJet technology is rocket science. Over the summer, it was the first blender used by astronauts to make smoothies in space. This new blending technology leverages offset stainless steel blades to create a tornado effect that blasts ingredients into the back of the jar 275 times per second, resulting in dramatically faster and better blending.
As it charges with a USB cord, it does not need plugging in, which makes it a perfect camping or ski-trip companion. It also does double-duty for holiday season entertaining as, above and beyond smoothie-bar-quality beverages, users can whip up top-shelf mixed drinks, creamy frozen lattes, baby food, dips, dressings, sauces and soups.
Cheribundi Immunity (US$40, 12-pack)
What is it?
Created by a company specializing in tart cherry juice products, Cheribundi Immunity is naturally extracted tart cherry juice infused with other benefits to boost immunity as well as enhance fitness performance and improve sleep.
How it works
It is the first beverage on the market to combine tart cherry juice with echinacea and B vitamins, three natural immune system enhancers that together provide a simple yet powerful solution for anybody looking to improve their resistance to common wintertime illnesses, have better workouts, speed up healing for minor injuries during workouts, and improve sleep.
Numerous independent studies published in renowned medical journals over the past 15 years have proven the health and fitness benefits of tart cherry juice, including its ability to speed recovery and repair of muscle tissue, minimize exercise-induced muscle damage and muscle soreness, decrease inflammation, inflammatory-related conditions and upper respiratory tract infections, prevent joint pain and gout, and significantly improve sleep quality and duration. Cheribundi Immunity is already a favourite with professional athletes in the US and abroad, and if they can count on it to provide superfood-like powers, anybody can.
Aloha Plant-Based Iced Coffee (US$11·99–19·99, four-pack; US$36·99–39·99, 12-pack)
What is it?
A creamy, satisfying ready-to-drink organic and vegan beverage with Fair Trade-certified Columbian coffee and coconut milk that can be chilled and enjoyed on its own for a quick snack or meal replacement or a nutrition-boosting creamer for your favourite coffee.
Iced coffee, chocolate sea salt, vanilla, coconut. Variety packs available.
How it works
Aloha Plant-Based Iced Coffee drinks include 20 g of organic plant-based protein (pea protein, brown rice protein) and only 5 g total sugars, 3 g of fibre, and 5 g fat per 170 calorie drink. It’s also effective for what the recipe doesn’t have: excessive sugar content, gluten, soy, stevia, GMOs or sugar alcohol.
Each bottle offers drinkers a healthful buzz through electrolytes, prebiotics, and MCT oil. The coconut flavour is derived from Fair Trade coconut milk. The company also makes a variety of nutrition bars and plant-based protein powders.
NomadiQ portable propane gas grills (US$299 and up)
What is it?
The new look in backyard and camping trip barbecue dining, perfectly designed for our minimalist lifestyle. As many medical experts agree, grilled meats and vegetables are preferred over deep fried and other preparations. One can create smoky, savoury and satisfying comfort food in any outdoor setting.
How it works
Each grilling side can be controlled individually by the knobs positioned on the front. This feature is ideal for foods that require different cooking temperatures, or for simply keeping food warm. Switching one side off is always an option, which is convenient if you’re running low on fuel or only cooking a simple meal for two on date night.
Unlike most portable propane-powered grills, the NomadiQ features two independent grilling surfaces. It also has a comfortable carrying strap and its size going for it, weighing 5·6 kg (12·3 lb), making it easy for anyone to carry. Sporting one of the largest grill surfaces of any portable grill, the substantial cooking space of 1·46 m² (226 in²) can fit about ten hamburgers.
Who is she?
Chef Kela Hunte is trained and credentialed pastry and culinary chef, who offers both live and interactive cooking and baking classes (via her Keii Events division), as well as complete baking kits to bring warmth and professional results to any kitchen.
How she inspires
Along with useful instructions and trouble-free baking sessions, she offers her own inspirational story of how baking became her salvation at a time when she experienced financial and personal struggles when she became home-bound when her son was critically injured and underwent his long recovery. Starting a new business based on her passion, combined with relocating to Texas, helped her cope emotionally while helping her financially support her family. This led to her competing on Food Network’s Bake-away Camp with Martha Stewart and writing a book.
Whether you’re planning a girls’ day in, a family gathering or a corporate retreat event, the ‘sweet and savoury’ classes offered by Chef Kela are designed to teach comprehensive baking and dessert decorating skills, and are customizable, with gluten-free, vegan, or dairy-free options. By working with the company, you can ensure perfect results, with everybody cooking and eating happy.
Paru Teas (US$29–279, tea subscription packages and kits, US$10–32)
What is it
A women-owned San Diego-based tea company founded in 2017 known for curating inspired flavours and healing creations. The collection consists of staple and seasonal specialty loose leaf teas, modern tea blends, matcha, and tisanes (herbal teas) from around the world. One can buy with confidence as the collection is sourced from family-owned tea gardens in east Asia and southeast Asia.
Signature flavours include Blue Chamomile, Cocoanut Chai, Okinawa Sugar, Moriuchi’s Sencha, Chiang Rai White and Pandan Waffle.
Couple Amy Truong and Lani Gobaleza not only have a shared passion for rare and unusual teas, but also an insatiable thirst for knowledge about teas’ origins, sourcing, healthful properties, and uses. Despite rigorous schedules in start-up and food and wellness worlds in the Bay Area and SoCal, the pair travelled throughout Japan where they learned more about tea production, sourcing, and preparation before applying that knowledge to a shop to share it with both novice and experienced tea fans. Paru was also inspired by the founders’ international backgrounds, via Amy’s family ties in Vietnam, Japan, and France and Lani’s maternal family ties to the Philippines, where coffee and tea were grown for the local community.
Plant Perks Vegan Cheeze Spreads (US$6·99)
What is it?
The solution to your weekday cheese cravings and holiday season party platter concerns. Based in Montana, this woman-owned company produces cashew-based non-dairy ‘Cheezes’ and dips made in sustainable, good-for-the-earth ways!
Cheeze Spreads are available in Garlic-Havarti, Buffalo Blue, Smoked Gouda, Sriracha Cheddar, French Onion Dips and Dill Havarti.
One can feel good about this cheese alternative as the flavours truly appeal to omnivores, vegetarian and vegans. Unlike dairy cheeses, this alternative is virtually guilt-free, as the cashew cheezes and dips are fermented in their formulation and have added probiotics for better gut health. This brand also uses MCT oil in the mix, which offers numerous health benefits and provides a nutritious source of fats that your body flourishes off. On an ethical level, it’s nice to know that the cashews they use are sourced from a small, Fair Trade farms, which ensures the farmers are receiving fair wages and comfortable living situations.