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3 Things Edible Educated Eaters May Not know

asulia blog 3 things edible educated eaters may not know

I could feel the energy in the room at the New York Times building right when I walked into TEDxManhattan: “Changing the Way We Eat”. Conversations about food buzzed around me. Everyone I met cared deeply about food and the way that it impacts people and the planet.

By the time the event was over, I was overwhelmed with the excitement that our world is at a tipping point and that it’s not only food justice–the belief that everyone should have access to healthy and affordable food–but also social justice that’s at stake. If you eat, you have a say in the way our social systems are run. Food justice and social justice are two sides of the same coin. Consider exercising democracy and take action by choosing what products you support and letting your voice be heard in Washington, D.C.

Understanding the issues that are currently brewing will help you vote with your fork. 2015’s TedxManhattan’s line up of speakers helped me to dive deeper into my edible education by tackling core topics in the food industry and made me more aware of how my meal gets to my plate:

  1. Organic Food: The organic market has grown threefold since 1997 and demand is growing faster than supply. This is the real reason that organic cost more. The process farmers undertake to convert to organic can take up to 3 years and farmers can’t grow anything on their land during this transition period. Organic farming practices, however, are often more efficient and cheaper. For example, did you know that “sheep don’t like asparagus? Sheep can graze on asparagus farms by eating weeds and fertilize the soil at the same time, lowering overall costs without using harmful chemicals.” Ali Partovi
  1. Factory Farming: Since factory farming is so prevalent, it must mean that it’s cheaper and more efficient, right? Actually, no. Regardless of where you stand on eating meat, factory farms are hurting the land, water, and people in the communities that live near them.
  • Women who live near industrial farms are ⅔ as likely to have children born with autism as a result of heavy pesticide use and other airborne chemicals.
  • Animal excrement is so bad that residents in a town near a chicken factory farm couldn’t open their windows not only because of the smell, but also all the flies that swarmed the community.
  • “I quit my job at the EPA because I couldn’t do my job. Now I sue them. Even a loss in court can catalyze change.” said Michele Merkel of Food and Water Watch.
  1. Small changes can make big differences: I can’t wait and neither should you-start a personal campaign for responsible food now:
  • Use your edible education to share more responsible eating habits with family and friends.
  • When you dine out, ask if anything is local. Just keep asking.
  • Rethink ugly. Fruits and vegetables that don’t look like model specimens still taste good. France ran a brilliant campaign about the beauty of ugly produce.

Resources:  Below are some of my favorite websites and apps I discovered at TED and from my own research over the years that can help with your edible education:

  • Farmstand App — over 8,700 of the world’s farmers’ markets right at your fingertips. Find a market closest to you and share photos with the Farmstand community.
  • Food Policy Action — hold legislators accountable on votes that have an effect on food and farming.
  • Food Tank –spotlights environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity, and poverty and create networks of people, organizations, and content to push for food system change.
  • Food and Water Watch — a nonprofit that champions healthy food and clean water for all by standing up to corporations that put their bottom lines before the needs of the people.
  • Sustainable Table — your edible education starts here with invaluable articles about sustainable food and agriculture.
  • Milk Not Jails — a volunteer-run, grassroots campaign working on building a new urban-rural alliance in New York state by ending the dependency on the prison economy and revitalizing agriculture.
  • Socially Responsible Agricultural Project — a one-stop toolbox for concerned individuals organizing against factory farms and other industrialized agriculture.
  • Tree of 40 Fruits — exactly what it sounds like: hybridized fruit trees developed through grafting that grow over 40 types of stone fruit. They preserve heirloom stone fruit varieties that aren’t commercially produced or available.
  • Real Food Films — a center for collaborative media projects aimed at spreading stories of sustainable food and farming around the country.
  • Center for Science in Public Interest — an independent organization focused on sound science in order to counter Big Food’s influence on public opinion and public policies; CSPI advocates for nutrition and health, food safety, and alcohol policy.

Seeing and meeting so many like-minded people who are trying to better our food system gives me hope for our future. We are collectively healing people in our community and the environment. I’m excited about the ways we’ll continue to work together to change the way we eat.

From Foodie to Food Maker

asulia blog tedxmanhattan changing the way we eat

A few years ago, I considered myself the average food obsessed eater. I took excessive food photos, day dreamed about what to cook or bake next, stalked the latest restaurant openings, was an expert at securing reservations at the most coveted restaurants, devoured book, magazines, documentaries, TV shows on food, grocery stores and markets far and wide were staple must visit destinations during my travels. While I still do all these things, my story as an eater took a different path because my life changed and so Asulia was born.

I now see food from a different perspective because of Asulia. I went from foodie to food maker.  I’m more aware of where our food comes from and ultimately how food ends up on shelves and on our plates and forks. To say it’s complicated is an understatement to say the least. Soil and air quality, pollution, waste water, GMO, non-GMO, nutrients, plant based foods, super foods, humane animal practices, packaging, the case for plant based foods for our cardiovascular health, adult and childhood obesity, sourcing ingredients, food manufacturing, relationships with small farmers and big agriculture and food companies, USDA, FDA, food labeling, endangered seeds, food distribution and logistics. The list goes on. Although these are not the pretty words associated with drool worthy food photos, it effects all of us in ways we don’t necessarily see.

This week on March 7th, 2015 TEDxManhattan is hosting “Changing the Way We Eat“. I’ll be in the big apple ready to learn and talk with fellow attendees and speakers about food!  This event brings people together who care about food to take action year-round. I can’t wait to share my experience with you.

The full list of speakers is here. I believe like Brian Halweil, editor of Edible East End, and co-publisher of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan that “what we eat is not the problem; it is the solution.”   

This year, viewers can expect discussions on family farming, organic food, local food distribution, and ugly vegetables.” Danielle Nierenberg, President Food Tank

TEDxMANHATTAN will be broadcast live on Saturday, March 7, 2015 from LIVE from 10:30am – 6:00pm EST HERE or sign up for a reminder. Last year there were 150 viewing parties around the world. Host your own viewing party or find one to join on this map!


Banana Coconut Bread

asulia blog banana coconut bread

We’ve been living the snow globe life in New England. The Boston blizzards of 2015 dumped snow everywhere! I’ve been coping by catching up on my baking and cooking. It keeps the house smelling homey and warm.

I love banana bread. The depth and intensity of banana and coconut flavor in this quick bread is always comforting and feels like home. I especially love a piece of banana bread lightly grilled on a skillet with a spat of butter. Yum!

The key is having super ripe bananas and not over mixing the batter. I leave bananas out to ripen in my kitchen until they turn black and then hoard them in freeze until there’s enough to work with. Weigh out key ingredients. Use the right sized pan. If you don’t, the baking time will change. This is especially important when baking breads with yeast, which impacts the rise. Even without yeast, you can see in the photo above the difference in texture in using the right pan versus using a slightly bigger pan. 

You can use an egg substitute and margarine if you’re trying to avoid eggs and dairy. If you like nuts, add in 1 cup of toasted walnuts, macadamia, or your favorite in with the dry ingredients.

Banana coconut bread
Yields two 8-inch loaves

4 ¼ cups, 22.5 oz all-purpose flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar in the raw
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
6 large ripe bananas, mashed (3 cups)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut(toasted)
1/2 cup coconut milk with cream
4 large eggs at room temperature
1.5 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 sticks, 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position. Grease two 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch loaf pans with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, raw sugar, flaxseed, almond meal, shredded coconut, baking soda, and salt together. In another large bowl, whisk mashed bananas, zucchini, melted butter, eggs, coconut milk with cream, and vanilla together until well mixed. Carefully fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients in the first large bowl until just combined.

Pour batter into pans. Bake for about 55 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean with a few crumbs when inserted into the middle of each loaf. Cool before serving. Enjoy!

Welcome our newest family member FoodyDirect!

asulia blog foodydirect  partnership announcement

Starting today, you can order Asulia vegan and vegetarian dumplings online nationwide!

We’re excited to announce Asulia’s new partnership with FoodyDirect, the best mail order gourmet food company.

Everything seems available online, so what’s the big to do? Well first, shipping frozen anything comes with ridiculous shipping rates since it has to be 1 or 2 day air. I wanted to make sure we give our valued customers rates that make sense and partner with the best in the industry. For a low flat shipping rate of $9.95 or $24.95, you can get our shiitake kale, curry chickpea, and taro root dumplings sent straight to the comfort of your home.

We’ve joined a family of amazing specialty foods. Entertain like a pro and order for your next meal or party with foods your family and friends will love.

From Oprah’s favorite cookies to Emeril Lagasse deli favorites, and now Asulia’s healthy and delicious dumplings, FoodyDirect’s got you covered.

Have you signed up for e-news? Psst, subscribers will receive $10 off their first FoodyDirect order.


MLK day: A day of dignity and equality



I often take for granted the freedom we have as Americans. Being able to say what I want and pursue my dreams freely is something many people do not have the opportunity, or even the right, to do. I watched Selma yesterday. I highly recommend the movie and can understand why it’s won so many awards. It’s a powerful, beautifully depicted movie about the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches.

People gave their lives to be able to vote and it’s easy to let the true meaning of a holiday be lost in favor of having a day off to enjoy. As great as a long weekend is, today should be about dignity, equality, and being a human being to other human beings. Make a conscious effort to love your neighbors as you love yourself. Show hospitality. Stand up for what you believe in. Staying silent is just as damaging as letting ignorance speak. Do something today to make things better; if we all do a little, we can make a big difference together.

The past year brought into perspective that our Civil Rights past isn’t all that past. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. It’s our responsibility to keep the conversation and actions going. The generation before us took to the streets so that Americans today wouldn’t have to, but fast forward 50 years from Selma and we are at another tipping point. It’s up to all of us to tip over onto the right side: I know we can do it.

Happy MLK Day! Thank you Dr. King for pushing forward and showing us that a dream isn’t just a dream: it can be a reality.



Happy holidays! Warm Wishes to You and Family.

asulia blog happy holidays! warm wishes to you and your family

Happy holidays! 2015 is just around the corner, which means New Year’s resolutions are coming. Get ahead by taking a few minutes to write down professional and personal goals. Think about the year ahead and also further out. What are your five and ten year aspirations? Little steps can help along the way: here are 5 startup secrets to help you get started.

Looking for tips to stay fit and get more healthy during the winter? Well, look no further. We’ve scoured the web for you: here’s a list of 10 tips to keep healthy and shed unwanted pounds. Our personal favorites are drinking lemon water, apple cider vinegar water, and incorporating turmeric in our daily routine to ease inflammation and for better sleep. In this season of hustle and bustle, take time to take care of yourself. Self care is not selfish, it’s considerate to those around you! It’s necessary in order for you to be who you really are and fully engage with the world around you.

The winter solstice tends to ease me into a time of reflection. As I look back at 2014, we’ve come a long way–from growing into more stores, finishing the 2014 MassChallenge Accelerator Program, and new packaging, to building a stronger foundation for the future.

I’m particularly excited about projects we’ve been working on and can’t wait to be able to share more soon. All of this would not be possible without you. Thank you for your continued support and belief in our work at Asulia.

With love and gratitude,


Happy National Kale Day!

WTK with Asulia brand

Seems like Kale’s been in our lives forever! It’s hard to imagine, but there was life before kale (“B.K.”). We didn’t try to put other leafy green vegetables in everything–we kept our lettuce strictly in the salad bowl, not in our nail polish, donuts, or soda just to name a few odd finds. Take romaine lettuce, for instance: its high water content and crunchy texture makes it a great lettuce for almost any salad, but baking it into a chip isn’t an option. No one was running to blend romaine into cocktails or desperately trying to add it to sauces, spreads, or soups. Another example: arugula is delicious, but it has a slightly bitter and spicy taste which rules it out of even the most creative dessert recipes (see: kale fudge pops–they’re definitely a thing).

The rise of kale has other vegetables seeing green, so much so that Portlandia filmed an episode on the “Celery Incident”. Steve Buscemi’s character paces restlessly across his living room after stammering to come up with fresh celery ideas at a board meeting of successful vegetable salesmen (heirloom tomatoes, brussel sprouts)–”WHY DON’T PEOPLE LIKE CELERY?” He bellows, throwing the bunch of fibrous stalks he has in his hands on the floor and sinking down in a helpless heap.

Which brings us to life after kale (“A.K.”), or are we really A.K.? Everywhere we look, we still seem to be under this superfood’s super spell. It’s in our lemonade, our guacamole, even our waffles! We don’t see other vegetable superfoods being put in the national spotlight–artichokes aren’t making their way onto t-shirts and tote bags, pureed broccoli isn’t being served up with a swizzle stick. No, it seems kale is here to stay and I, for one, welcome our nutrient-dense, leafy overlord.

Though kale has been grown for over 2000 years, its mindboggling popularity in the U.S. and its many devotees has been a relatively recent development. Talk about rags to riches: despite packing 134% of your daily Vitamin C needs, 684% of your daily Vitamin K needs, and 204% of your Vitamin A needs, for a long time kale’s status in the States was about equal to that of the flimsy, fake, cutout grass you find in supermarket sushi boxes–a forgettable garnish. Before 2013, Pizza Hut was the largest consumer of kale. They used it as decoration for their salad bar! Fast forward to the 2000s and we have kale being the toast of daytime television and celebrity lifestyle blogs–salad has never been so hip.

It’s only natural, with this veggie royalty’s meteoric rise, that we’re celebrating the second annual National Kale Day! The Kale Day team is working towards making the celebration official, but in the meantime, the first Wednesday of October has been set aside to bring awareness to not only how this veggie packs a healthy punch, but also its culinary versatility and ways to build communities around a shared love for this superfood.

Today and always, we ask WTK “Where’s the Kale?” And don’t forget to share your love of kale loud and proud today, whether it’s with #KaleDay2014 on Twitter or making your family and friends some kale dishes they won’t soon forget.

Kale is the new kale.


Drink your way to healthy and lean

asulia blog drink your way to healthy and lean

A Simple Detox

You know that sluggish, gross feeling you get when you eat foods that you know are not good for you? I’ve been feeling it recently, even though I’m obsessed with vegetables and eating healthy. I’m constantly running around between events and sometimes find it  hard to eat well. I love all kinds of food and I work in the food world, so it’s hard for me to say no when I’m short on time and there’s food front and center. Especially if it’s free and already ready to eat!

When I feel like this, I know it’s time to clean it up. How am I doing that, you ask? Lemon and apple cider vinegar water. I start my morning with fresh juiced lemon water. I love switching between this and apple cider vinegar water. The taste took me some time to get used to, but now I miss it when I don’t  have it. After you consistently do this for 1-2 weeks, you’ll notice that you’ll feel better, your skin will glow and your appetite is suppressed. I love it so much, I try to drink lemon and apple cider vinegar water everyday now.

While both lemons and apple cider are acidic, they actually help to balance the PH levels in your body. The more alkaline your body is, the more readily it can absorb nutrients, process what we eat and flush out the not so good things. I also have acid reflux and ever since I started my lemon and apple cider vinegar regime, I haven’t any flare ups. This can also help you shed unwanted pounds along with other amazing benefits. I’ve been doing this for the last few weeks, and my fellow startup friends I see regularly at MassChallenge have noticed I look slimmer and my clothes are telling me the same!

I’m bootstrapping a startup. In addition to being simple, this is also economical and budget-friendly. Save money on fancy detox plans and prepackaged juice cleanses and get yourself some lemons and a bottle of  Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, which still has the mother in it. Make sure to gentle shake the bottle before you use it though!


  • Apple cider vinegar: Use cold or room temp water with 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Or take a swig straight up without diluting it with water. Just don’t use hot water. The heat will eliminate all the live natural properties of the apple cider vinegar.
  • Lemons: Use a regular lemon or Meyer lemon for a little natural sweetness. Use hot, cold or warm water. I use about ¼ to ½  a lemon for each drink.
  • Keep lemons and a bottle of Bragg’s apple cider at work with you for a quick refresher during the day.
  • Fill up bottles ahead of time and stash them in your fridge so you can grab and go in the morning.

Happy detoxing friends! Stay tuned for more healthy living posts to come.