In this issue:

1) Nutrition and the Teenage Brain

2) Q and A: Juice Plus vs. Juice Plus+ing

3) Recipe: Holiday Lentil Soup

Dear Reader:

Happy New Year! Now that the holidays are over, many of you have likely made resolutions about how 2012 will be different and better. It’s easy to pretend that all of the temptations of the holidays have passed, and that it’ll be much less of a challenge to focus on healthy eating, but that’s almost never true. Temptations are all around us, as are excuses to eat poorly: every family celebration, every party, and every lunch date are times when we’re offered food that isn’t nutritious.

I’d never suggest giving up celebrations or occasional indulgence foods, but I do suggest that you make a concerted effort to eat at least two healthy meals a day, regardless of what you’re celebrating. My family has a practice of eating a large bowl of vegetables or a big Green Drink before we eat at a restaurant or attend a party. In this way, I know that my daughters have had decent nutrition, and I’m less worried about what they eat for the rest of the day. This month’s recipe comes from a reader who tells us about her own holiday soup tradition, and it’s a great example of how we can cook the food that we want to eat, whether or not it’s a holiday or party.

As my children are entering adolescence, I find myself ever more concerned with how their nutrition affects the growth and development of their bodies and brains. National Geographic recently ran an article that discussed stunning and impressive research about the growth of the human brain. They left out what seems to me to be a critical piece however, which is that nutrition is as important to the brain as it is to the rest of the body. You can read my comments and thoughts on their fascinating article, below.

After my Q and A last month on the difference between Juice Plus and other nutritional supplements, I’ve received some questions about how Juice Plus is different than other whole-food-based supplements, and why it’s any different than regular juicing. I went right to the source and asked Liza Pepple, Manager of Product Quality at NSA, to comment. She answers this question (with an amazing photograph!) as our guest expert!

Here’s to your health,

Dr. Mitra Ray