Is It Time to Kick a Nasty Smartphone Habit?


Yesterday two things happened that really got me thinking. The first was what I noticed when I was at a restaurant. I passed a table where a family of five was seated. Every single one of them was on a smartphone and completely disconnected from one another. It was very sad and said much about where we are as a society today.

It all makes one wonder if humans are going to rapidly lose the ability to socialize in the way we have for thousands of years.

I didn’t pass judgment because my own phone was in my pocket – but the scene was nonetheless disturbing. Of course, smartphones have some valid uses ranging from being able to make emergency calls, to being used as a GPS, to keeping up with work emails, to sending an important text to a friend or family member.

However, what percentage of the time we spend on our phone is spent actually engaging in something important? “Nomophobia” is a modern age phobia that’s a byproduct of the interaction between people and mobile information and communication technologies, especially fear of not being able to use a smartphone. It also means fear of losing the “connectedness” that we believe smartphones allow.

That brings me to the second thing that I noticed yesterday, I happened to spot an old telephone booth on the side of the road. It quite surprisingly looked to be still operational. I was reminded of the days when a payphone was how you communicated with people if you weren’t home. It sounds inconvenient today but there weren’t constant distractions and life was simpler

Okay so let’s get to the point. I think you should do something you think you could never do –and that is reduce the amount of time you spend on your smartphone by 90% within one week.

Start with Facebook. If you still think you need it just to keep it in order to stay in touch with family, than at least get rid of about 90% of your “Friends.” If we’re honest, things like the emotion controlling Newsfeed are no good for us. There are also constant efforts to persuade you to click into a video with a title such as “What happens next will shock you.” These are just attempts to further control people and then get them to click into some crazy page like the “Ten most horrifying celebrity derrieres.” In other words, the goal is to take you straight to Internet hell and trap you in ads.

So how about we control our smartphone instead of it controlling us for a change?

Here are a few suggestions for do’s and don’ts that will take you to the 90% reduction.

Don’t– keep checking your phone 100 times or more each day just to see if you got a text.

Do– send a few strategic texts to people you’re responsible for when absolutely necessary.

Don’t – go on Facebook just to scroll endlessly through energy sucking posts or into Internet hell.

Do– check work emails to the extent that you’re up to date and responsive if you’re out of the office during working hours.

Don’t– keep your phone on your desk or visible in your car.

Do– shut the phone off as much as possible and instead try socializing with the people around you or taking short walks.

Remember, most of the time we spend on our “smartphones,” we are being controlled by those who are making money off of us without our consent.

I’m happy to help you get there so feel free to contact me with any questions. Oh, and let me know how you’re doing as you kick the smartphone habit!  Learn more here.

Darren Hunter is a storyteller with SAP, a leader in the Health and Wellness industry and a Forbes contributor. He’s also the author of the new book The Million Day Forecast.

Follow him on Twitter


Four Simple Changes to Live a Healthier Lifestyle

Tower14Most of us strive to live a healthier lifestyle. Finding the right place to start is a challenge. Eating right, exercising regularly, and still making time for family, friends and our own needs can seem like overwhelming goals. Instead of attempting to conquer our health all at once, what if you started by setting more manageable goals? Making small changes today can lead to great health benefits down the road.

So what are you waiting for? Start your journey to better health with a few simple changes.

Most of us strive to live a healthier lifestyle. Finding the right place to start is a challenge. Eating right, exercising regularly, and still making time for family, friends and our own needs can seem like overwhelming goals. Instead of attempting to conquer our health all at once, what if you started by setting more manageable goals? Making small changes today can lead to great health benefits down the road.


Don’t tackle a healthy diet all at once. Start by replacing empty calories with whole food options. Whole foods include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. It won’t be long before you realize just how good “good food” feels. Before you know it, your cravings will change from greasy burgers and fries to healthful nutrition. Learn more about the next best thing to fruits and vegetables.


We don’t function at full capacity when we’re dehydrated. The Institute of Medicine recommends roughly 13 cups (3 liters) of water per day for adult men and 9 cups (2.2 liters) per day for women. There are many simple ways to make sure you and your family are drinking plenty of fluids each day. Remember, food provides about 20 percent of water intake as well and many fruits and vegetables are more than 90 percent water by weight. Make an effort to monitor your fluid intake and you’ll be functioning better in no time.


Most people look at exercise as a means to burn energy and lose weight. Instead, think of exercise as a great way to gain energy and stimulate your body and mind. With so many demands fighting for your attention every day, it may be a challenge to find time for an hour trip to the gym. Start with simple activities you can incorporate into your daily routine. One simple change can make a big difference in how you look and feel.


When was the last time you felt you had great, quality sleep on a regular basis? Getting a good night’s sleep can greatly impact your outlook on life and, in turn, your health and wellness. Simple changes, such as getting a good night’s sleep or taking time for a relaxing hobby, are easy ways to help manage stress and improve your well-being in the long-term.

Are you ready to reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle?  Don’t forget to bring your families along on your journey!


Why You Should Heart Cranberries

Red is the color of the heart!  So, I’m taking this opportunity to highlight the small—but mighty—cranberry. These berries are packed with nutrients and phytonutrients that research has associated with good heart health.
Vitamin C
Cranberries are near the top of the food chain when it comes to fruits high in vitamin C. This antioxidant blocks some of the harm caused by the free radicals that may play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other conditions.1A cup of chopped cranberries contains 24% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin C.
Diets higher in fiber have been associated with reduced risk of developing various conditions, including coronary heart disease, hypertension, and stroke.2 That same cup of chopped cranberries gives you 20% of your DV for fiber.
The cranberry’s rich red color comes primarily from phytonutrients called anthocyanins. These compounds have antioxidant properties that have been shown to help fight inflammation and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.3
It’s clear I love cranberries—and even better you can too since they’re part of the Orchard and Vegetable Blend capsules and chewables, as well as the Complete Cranberry Nutrition Bars. If you already take JP+, that means you’re probably already enjoying some of the cranberry’s benefits. And rest assured that they use non-GMO ingredients, which is great for your peace of mind, too.
Feed Your Heart
Even if you’re getting their benefits in Juice Plus+, cranberries lend themselves to a host of heart-healthy dishes. Whether you’re in the mood for a breakfast treat, salad or side dish, here are a few recipes to get you started.
Feed Your Heart
Cranberry-walnut quick bread (via
Fruit salad with cranberry poppy seed dressing (via
Wild rice pilaf with cranberries and apples (via Mayo Clinic)

How a Café Owner Doubled Her Business in a Month Using Vegetables

Eatery on Main is a breakfast and lunch café nestled on Main Street in the quaint Pennsylvania town of North Wales.

From her perch near the busiest intersection of town, café owner Lisa DiVincenzo has become a mainstay of the community with her charity work, and by offering a respite from workaday
tower7cares within a setting she describes as a place “where local food & art brew perfectly together.”

Lisa says business has been good the last few years, helped by the use of locally grown food and gluten free options. A weekly book club, art from local artists that adorns the walls, and WIFI have also helped keep Eatery on Main going.

However, in the last month, Lisa says business has literally doubled! Obviously that’s no small feat for a restaurant or any other type of business for that matter. Well by now you’re wondering how after all this time in business did Lisa double her clientele in one month?

Clues to this remarkable growth can be found on the café’s Facebook page where you will find almost daily mentions of a new indoor vegetable growing tower located right in the window. Incidentally, the growing lights of this 5 foot vertical farmer’s market illuminate Main Street in the evenings and one can’t miss it in the front window when walking or driving by.

A recent post to the Eatery’s Facebook page seemed to capture some of the excitement:

Here is the wonderful Indoor Garden!!! We have added Swiss Chard, amazing and heavenly fragrant Lavender!!! Stop in and check it out and taste our delicious Lavender Honey Ice tea!
Also you can create an indoor Garden Omelet! You choose what fresh herbs or veggies too would like from the garden and we add it to your Organic Omelet!!! Now that’s YUM!

Clearly, plenty of new folks have taken Lisa up on the offer to come in and choose produce right from the tower garden for their omelet or salad, or even herbs for their ice tea.  You can view a tower garden at this site.


As word spreads, moms that are trying to get their kids to eat better have found that the indoor tower offers something fun for them to do. Lisa noted: “My little indoor farm has changed everything at the cafe. So many people interested in organic food have asked me how to get their own. Someone that had never been in before just told me that last night she saw it lighting up Main Street and she said she just had to come in for lunch today”.

The best way to experience the food, the art, the books, and yes the indoor garden of Eatery on Main in North Wales is to stop by and take it all in, in person.

Where: 104 S. Main Street, North Wales, PA 19454

When: M-F, 7:00am, Sat and Sun 8:00am

A Movie Review of “The Chef” Starring Jon Favreau

If you’re making a big soup with many different and seemingly contrasting ingredients, there’s a good chance it could go very wrong. Well “The Chef”, which was written by and starring Jon Favreau does throw together a plethora of genres and story lines into one big steaming pot but the result was a sort of inspirational culinary surprise.

Of course, at times “The Chef” requires some poetic license like suspending enough belief to accept that an overweight and at times incendiary chef, could have characters portrayed by both Sofia Vergara and Scarlett Johansson smitten by him.

Additionally, if you’re looking for a movie with deep hidden meanings and heralded by the art house crowd you’re going to be as disappointed as the food critic in the movie is at the menu that the restaurant owner, earnestly played by Dustin Hoffman, refused to yield on is. But the gourmet delights in the movie are cooked up by Favreau himself as he begins to allow creativity and artistic freedom give him his soul back, albeit often maniacally in the middle of the night.

Some actors are lauded for performing their own stunts, similarly Jon Favreau’s slicing and dicing skills are extraordinary and by the way so is the cast. The chef is also a divorced dad in the movie with a 10 year old son portrayed by Emjay Anthony, who in many ways steals the show. In addition to his helpful Twitter and Vine tutorials, the kid can flat out act without acting and absolutely commands his scenes.

The relationship between he and his dad the chef really takes off during a great American road trip within a rollicking food truck where they are joined by a fellow crew member portrayed by John Leguizamo who was dynamite and perfectly cast.

The movie is also peppered with sights of Sofia Vergara in tight dresses and heels often while awesome traditional Cuban music is performed live. In fact, the entire soundtrack will keep you dancing in your chair.

Favreau has cooked up summer gold with “The Chef” aka el Jefe. It’s Rocky, Swingers, Hell’s Kitchen and the feel good movie of the summer all rolled into one.  Catch it while you can still find it on the big screen for maximum food and music impact, oh and don’t go hungry!

Darren Hunter is a Storyteller with SAP and also leader of vegetable believers Team DRN.

Follow him on Twitter


Can You Really Get Whole Food Nutrition in a Capsule?

We enjoy the juicy burst of an orange, the sweet nectar of an apple, and the succulence of a red, ripened tomato. But, remove the H20 from fruits and vegetables and what do you have left? Nutrients – including healthful antioxidants in the form of juice powders that can be put into a capsule. Today capsules are available that contain juice powders from 25 fruits, vegetables and grains that offer whole food based nutrition right from the source.

Whole food based nutrition delivers powerful antioxidants that provide your body protection, because it relies on fruits and vegetables. According to the National Cancer Institute, antioxidants are “substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Examples of antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamins C and E and other substances. Many of these antioxidant substances come from fruits and vegetables.”

Whole food based nutrition starts in orchards, gardens and vineyards. A product called Juice Plus+ combines the latest dietary guidelines and clinical research findings to create convenient whole food based nutrition, while consistently emphasizing that people need to eat more fruits and vegetables to improve their chances of living long and healthy lives.

Eating fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer disease, cataracts, and some of the functional declines associated with aging.  A diet rich in real foods contains other meaningful benefits as well:

 More complete nutrition from whole foods loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

  • Absence of preservatives from processed foods such as excess salt, fat and simple sugars. 
  • Lower cost by satisfying your hunger with less. Real foods are dense with fiber and filling nutrients, which is more likely to fill you up faster than junk food.

 Clinical research has showcased the benefits of adding whole food nutrition from a capsule to your diet. More than 20 research studies have been conducted in leading hospitals and universities around the world. 

In addition to fruit and vegetable nutrition, the Juice Plus+ Company offers whole food based nutritional products for an on-the-go with protein, balanced diet through the “Complete” line of products. The “Complete” shake mixes and nutrition bars have the nutrients, protein, and fibers of whole foods but with vegetable protein.  Learn more about “Complete shakes” and nutrition bars here.

Clearly, eating fruits and vegetables right from farm or ideally the vine of a Tower Garden is the ultimate way to get nutrition.  However, as the studies provided above have shown, you can get also whole food based nutrition in a capsule and chewable form, containing juice powder concentrates from 25 different fruits, vegetables and grains.

This helps bridge the gap between what you should eat and what you do eat, and provides the starting point for a healthier way to live.

Stay tuned for upcoming stories describing my door-to-door adventures in wellness education! 


How Some Restaurants Are Taking Farm-to-Table to New Heights

Lately there has been a palpable and rapidly growing movement in sustainable agriculture towards “farm-to-table”

Farm-to-table can generally be defined as the certified traceability from production to consumption. It’s also associated with locally grown organic fruits and vegetables.

There are many reasons people today are identifying with this movement including universally acknowledged concerns about sustainability, nutritional quality and food safety to name just a few.

Well some restaurants are taking the concept of farm fresh to a whole new level. In fact your dinner may now be growing not just nearby but right next to your table!

Just how is this accomplished? With a unique and inexpensive growing system that uses “aeroponics” and a little sunlight.

Dozens of these Tower Gardens have found their way into area restaurants and restaurateurs are reporting that it’s drawing in new customers. One local chef told me that not only is the on the spot growing system attracting new business due to the desire for more reliable “farm-to-table” eating but her customers are getting involved.

“My customers are actually asking for specific, fresh vegetables direct from the vine, it’s making their dining experience not just more comfortable but also more fun.”

Chef Hannah also said that not a night goes by that customers don’t ask where they can get a Tower Garden. You can do your own due diligence and learn more about these same vertical growing systems that restaurants are employing by clicking here.

Chef Hannah also noted: “My indoor garden is attracting new customers and in fact so many customers were asking me where to get one that I became a distributor!”

(Information about becoming a distributor yourself can be found by clicking on the “Virtual Franchise” tab at the link above.)

My own personal journey towards helping make healthier eating and farm-to-table more accessible will find me in many restaurants across a multiplicity of fares in the coming days and months. That’s a good thing because visiting great restaurants is arguably one of the most enjoyable things we do am I right?

If you’re interested in discussing a Tower Garden in your home or place of business contact me.  As part of your due diligence, I can also put you in contact with others who already have a Tower Garden including Chef Hannah.

Additionally, some of my upcoming blogs will feature stories of meeting interesting restaurant owners and celebrating great food at their establishments with friends new and old.

Remember there are kaleidoscopic sources of inspiration all around us and putting a farmers market right ontower17 your porch should surely be one of them!



Darren Hunter Wellness Educator

Soil-free system means there is no weeding, kneeling, or getting dirty
. No gardening experience is necessary
. Fits easily on urban patios, decks, porches, balconies, terraces, or rooftop gardens
. Grows many fruits and almost any vegetable, herb, or flower
. With an extension kit you can grow up to 28 plants in one Tower
. Uses as little as 10% of traditional growing nutrients & water
. Can produce crops in less time than it takes to grow in soil