Health Mix: A Superior Sugar Alternative in Just Date Syrup

The term “healthy” is often applied haphazardly when it comes to food. While so-called healthy ingredients are increasingly becoming the norm in the food and beverage industry, it can be hard for consumers to determine what is truly fresh, quality food that nourishes the body.

In this episode of Health Mix, host and brand consultant Yareli Quintana chats with Sylvie Charles, M.D., the founder and CEO of Just Date Syrup. Just Date Syrup is a nutritional, natural sugar alternative extracted from organic California Medjool dates. Featuring a low glycemic index, these dates are filled with antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, and a number of other vitamins and minerals.

“After doing some exploration, I realized that date syrup has been around for thousands of years,” says Charles. Growing up in a “food-centric” Indian household, dates were absolutely essential as a sweetener for meals. The ingredient, however, “just hadn’t made its way into American pantries.”

Just Date Syrup ultimately aims to help consumers be more conscious of and care about the food they put into their bodies every day. Using alternatives like date syrup and cutting back on sugar in general can help prevent a number of diet-related illnesses, including diabetes.

However, Charles is quick to remind consumers that regardless of its nutritional density, date syrup—like all other sugar alternatives—is still a sugar. “You should in no way be consuming an excessive amount.” For decades, notes Charles, “companies were actually funding scientists to hide research that sugar was behind a lot of our diet-related illness, and not fat.”

Check out the podcast above to learn more about the benefits of date syrup, the importance of nutritional education, and some great recipe possibilities with this unique ingredient.

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Darisha Beresford

Production Manager / Sr. Producer


Health Mix: Bringing Jackfruit to the Global Market

The term “plant-based” is associated with healthy, nutritionally-dense food. And as the plant-based movement has expanded and become a billion dollar industry, more and more companies are debuting their own plant-based foods to join the trend. However, many of these plant-based products are as highly processed as their predecessors, and similarly lacking in genuine nutritional value.

In this episode of Health Mix, host and brand consultant Yareli Quintana sits down with Annie Ryu, the founder and CEO of The Jackfruit Company. Native to India, jackfruit is considered the “meatiest” plant on the planet. It is drought-resistant, naturally organic, a high source of fiber, low in calories, contains no saturated fat and cholesterol, and filled with vitamins and minerals.

“We’re partnered with over 1,000 farming families and buying all of the jackfruit that they want to sell,” notes Ryu. Jackfruit is available in excess supply throughout India, and a single jackfruit can weigh up to 100 pounds. “We’re estimated to be contributing 10 to 40 percent of the annual income of all the farming families we’re working with. It’s a transformative additional income for them.”

In the recent past, jackfruit was not readily available in the United States or worldwide markets. Jackfruit is not well-researched and has a short shelf life once harvested, so distributors tended to assume it would be impossible to work with the genetic diversity of the plant and establish a supply chain. The Jackfruit Company is working to change that.

“We’re dying earlier now in the United States than we used to be,” says Ryu. Part of her mission for The Jackfruit Company is to educate people worldwide on changing their day-to-day habits to better their lives as a whole. “What are we doing to our bodies every single day? What are you doing across the entire span of your life to put yourself in the best position to live a long life?”

“We’re supposed to be eating more plants, more fruits and vegetables,” adds Ryu. “And we need to be eating less of highly processed foods.”

The Jackfruit Company’s products are now available in over 8,000 stores across the United States. Check out the podcast above to learn more about jackfruit, organic certification concerns, and the future of the company.

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Olivia Aleguas


Health Mix: Reimagining Plant-Based Foods and the Rise of Kombucha

Thanks to ever-increasing consumer demand, foods with healthy, cleaner, and less processed ingredients are becoming more and more accessible throughout the industry. Hosted by brand consultant Yareli Quintana, the Health Mix podcast is committed to exploring all things “healthy” and unpacking what the term truly means in relation to emerging brands, foods, and lifestyles.

In the podcast’s opening two episodes, Quintana chats with Tyler Lorenzen, the CEO and president of plant-based food producer Puris, and Melanie Wade, the founder of kombucha and fermentation company Cultured South.

First founded in the 1980s by Lorenzen’s father, Puris supplies other brands that sell plant-based products in stores with nourishing, high quality pea protein. The company also helps participating brands with crafting product recipes.

Lorenzen describes Puris as part of the “intel” behind the plant-based movement.

“At the heart, we’re a seed company,” says Lorenzen. For him, the concept of the company has always been “that if we’d design better seeds, people will grow more organic and non-GMO crops. And if they could grow them, we’ll buy what they grow back and then make them into great tasting food. And that great tasting food will feed people the nutrition they need.”

The ultimate goal for Puris is to rework the system from feeding plants to animals and feeding animals to humans to simply having people eat healthy and delicious plants that fully meet the nutritional needs of humans.

As a former athlete, Lorenzen is particularly excited by the growing movement in athletics and sports nutrition toward plant-based products. “Athletes are choosing plant-based for performance reasons,” says Lorenzen, adding, “Can you sustain human life and have a highly nutritious life by plant based proteins? The answer is unequivocally yes.”

Listen to the podcast above to learn more about the history of Puris, the company’s current goals, and the future of the plant-based industry.

Cultured South is the offshoot creation of Wade’s original kombucha company—Golda Kombucha, the first and only kombucha company in Atlanta. The concept was inspired by Wade’s Grandma Golda, an avid kombucha maker and drinker. Golda Kombucha products are currently featured in over 100 Kroger and Whole Foods markets.

Cultured South is essentially a marketplace for local healthy southern food. The marketplace is also adjacent to a 1,200 square foot tap room that offers twelve different types of kombucha on tap, a vegan cheese tray, local crackers, pickles, and jam, and local vegan and dairy gelato.

“I wanted to create a space where people in Atlanta could come together over a love of kombucha and fermented things,” says Wade. The goal was “to experience and educate and not necessarily have to have alcohol in play to coordinate and connect with one another.”

Kombucha enthusiasts highlight the drink’s benefits for your gut and gastrointestinal tract. The drink is nutrient-dense and filled with probiotics. For Wade, the drink is the perfect alternative to the sugary and syrupy sodas currently available in today’s market.

Sustainability is a key element of the company’s mission. Cultured South recently switched from glass to cans, as Atlanta does not recycle glass.

“It’s really changed our business for the better,” notes Wade. “We can produce a lot more. It’s the most sustainable way that we’ve ever made kombucha because our product is 100 percent recyclable.”

Check out the podcast above to learn more about the benefits of drinking kombucha, the numerous flavors Golda Kombucha and Cultured South offers, and about water kefir—the probiotic beverage Wade terms the “mellow cousin” to kombucha.

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Darisha Beresford

Production Manager / Sr. Producer