I think we all know that when we pull an all-nighter or don’t get sufficient sleep (fewer than five hours), our performance and decision making the next day are not up to par. Some of us walk around feeling tired pretty much all the time, while saying, “I can sleep when I’m dead.” Well, lack of sleep is more harmful to your health than the day-to-day results.

Three years ago, I learned about the link between getting enough sleep and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease during a meeting at the University of California, Irvine. The presentation highlighted the work being done at UCI MIND: Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders.

UCI Mind is doing research which involves testing and monitoring people of all ages to see how their memory changes over time. This extensive research maps the participants’ brains and brain functions.

In one of the presentations, a doctor who is doing the primary research told us it is important that people get at least seven and a half to eight hours of sleep each night. Why that number? That is the amount of time it takes for the human brain to “clean out” amyloid plaques. In lay terms, amyloid plaques are goopy stuff in the crevices of our brains. When we go to sleep, our bodies naturally clean out all the goopy stuff, effectively clearing the toxins from our brains. And that takes about seven and a half to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. If we do not get enough sleep to complete the “cleansing cycle,” then the goopy toxin remains. And it is that buildup of amyloid plaques that causes the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Click to read more about how our brains “self-clean” during sleep every night.

 So you can imagine what I did immediately after I listened to that doctor.

Yep, I decided to begin monitoring my sleep. I started going to sleep earlier each night. Early enough that it allowed me to set my alarm for eight hours after I went to bed.

It was an adjustment. No more late nights watching television. I put on my orange sleep glasses, do my reading, and get a good night’s sleep. I moved many of my early morning meetings back an hour or two, so I could complete my sleep cycle.

And you know what happened? I started feeling better, sharper when I first woke up, and I had more consistent energy all day long.

When I was younger, it was always fun to brag about how I burned the candle at both ends. I would stay up late and get up early. Sometimes I would exist on three to four hours of sleep. If you’re one of those people who almost wears as a badge of honor how little sleep you can function on, I would encourage you to read this.

It is doubtful that adequate sleep will eliminate the chance of memory issues. There are many other factors like genetics and inflammation in your body. (I will share some insights on this in a future post.) But the number of hours of sleep you get is 100 percent within your control. I encourage you to start monitoring your sleep. Go to bed earlier and feel better.

Good night!

Karen

Peak season of shoppers’ favorite, high flavor, red-fleshed dragon fruit begins in early July

Los Alamitos, CA – (June 2018) – Enter the red dragon…fruit! Grown with care in Nicaragua, this flavorful red dragon fruit is two weeks away from its high-volume launch in July, and will be available through November.

“Our grower continues to focus on the best, most flavorful varieties of red dragon fruit and we are expecting excellent volume this season,” said Allen DeMo, director of procurement and sourcing at Frieda’s Specialty Produce. “The season is just starting, and we will have several large flushes of fruit late June through July, which will give retailers the opportunity to build large displays.”

This non-irradiated dragon fruit is grown in rich, volcanic soil and is known for its sweet, flavorful, deep magenta flesh.

“We receive requests daily from shoppers asking for red-flesh dragon fruit because they have seen them on Instagram in smoothie bowls and beverages,” said Alex Jackson Berkley, assistant sales manager at Frieda’s. “We have developed new tools to help retailers build large displays that move volume. We also know that sampling will make a huge difference for red dragon fruit sales. Showcasing the bright color will create impulse sales.”

Call Frieda’s sales team today at 714-733-7676 to slay your summer sales.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit to dragon fruit and from Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes to habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

I attend a lot of events each year. Big events. Small events. Events in an auditorium. Events in a classroom setting. Events with a keynote during a meal. And I’ve seen a lot of masters of ceremonies, moderators, panelists, and speakers. All with different speaking styles and public-speaking skills.

Nothing drives me crazier than speakers who are ill-prepared. And I don’t mean just scrambling to get their speech together at the last minute. I’m talking about people who know they have to give a speech and yet do not put in the work to learn anything about public speaking.

You know the signs. Mumbling. Speaking softly. Monotonous. Rushing through things. A lot of “ums.” Reading the notes instead of speaking. Not making eye contact with the audience. Using jargon not familiar to the audience.

Not doing your homework about your audience, not practicing beforehand, or just plain ol’ not learning how to publicly speak before your speech: To me that is an ill-prepared speaker.

I would like to offer what I’ve learned over the years, as both a trained speaker and a member of the audience, on how to get the most bang for your buck at your next speaking opportunity.

What's on Karen's Plate? - Karen Caplan - Bitten LA
Me speaking at Bitten LA conference

Nail down the time

Pro tip: It’s never “as long as you want,” even if that’s what they tell you. Ask the organizer differently: “What’s the optimum amount of time? Five minutes? Fifteen minutes? How long did your best speaker ever talk?”

Know your audience

Get clear on your topic and who the audience will be. Are they C-level executives? What is their job function: buying, selling, HR? Is it a mixed group? Maybe you’re there to speak as a sponsor of the event. If you talk about your new product, does that even apply to your audience? Is anyone present the decision maker on buying your product?

Practice, practice, practice!

First, outline what you are going to talk about, then fill in the blanks. Time yourself while saying it out loud, preferably in front of a mirror, multiple times. If you are given 15 minutes, don’t ramble on for 20 minutes. Edit your remarks until you are a little under your time limit.

You can use your notes while you practice. I type out every single one of my speeches, no matter how short it may be. I use at least a 14-point type, triple spaced, and I number the pages. These steps make it much easier to rehearse and give my speech. When you have that down, practice in front of a few people and get their feedback.

Slow down, pause, and breathe

Speak more slowly than your normal speed. You may think you’re not going that fast, but in public speaking, you probably are. Slow it down so your audience can absorb what you are talking about.

Also, pauses are not a bad thing. Don’t feel the need to fill the silence. Take a beat at the end of sentences and breathe. Not only does it calm your nerves, but it gives the audience a moment to catch up and pay attention as well.

Don’t skip the sound check

Get to the venue early to do sound and technical checks before guests start arriving. That’s when you stand at the podium you are going to be presenting from and adjust the microphone so you can be heard. Get the host or a coworker to stand in the back of the room to verify that you are loud and clear. If you’re using a PowerPoint presentation, make sure you run through every slide.

Smile and stick to your script

Give the presentation or remarks that you rehearsed. Don’t ad lib! You got this.

Take a few deep breaths before you begin, find someone in the audience to make eye contact with, and smile. Smiling at your audience will make the audience smile back at you, and you can connect with them that much more.

Follow these steps, and you’ll get compliments on your presentation, and reduce the number of people texting or reading their emails during it!

I didn’t make up all these pointers on my own. Early in my career, I met the late Judith Learner, a former newscaster from Milwaukee and a professional speaking coach. I hired her to work with me for over a year. She videotaped me multiple times while giving presentations and I had to watch myself during the playback. Nothing breaks you of bad habits—flipping your hair, adjusting your shoulders, filling the silence with “ums”—better than seeing yourself on camera! Plus, I had a professional right there pointing out every one of my flaws and opportunities to be more polished.

I used to get so nervous before I gave a speech. Now, I actually look forward to it, thanks to Judith for having been a great teacher and mentor.

I hope that my pointers can help you the way Judith helped me. I’d love to hear whether these suggestions help you with your next speech. Good luck!

Karen

So, the first question is: Who needs business cards? The second is: When should you carry your business cards with you?

The answers are: everyone and everywhere.

Two groups of people look at me cross-eyed when I say this—students and the recently retired. So I have a few recommendations for both.

Students: If you are looking for a job or an internship, how is your potential employer going to get your contact information so they can offer you a job if you don’t have a business card? They are not going to write it down. And they may not want you to text it to them as that would mean giving you their cell phone number.

Recently retired: It cracks me up when I ask you for your business card, and you look at me like I’m crazy, and say, “But I‘m retired. I don’t need a business card.” How are people going to reach you? We don’t have your personal cell phone number or email address because we’ve only used your work contact info, even though we’ve become personal friends.

Both of you: Order yourself a stack of business cards. Vista Print has business cards for just $10. You can also pop by your local office supply store or even Costco. (Students: If you want something with more creative flare, try Moo.)

Make sure the font is easy to read. Include your cell phone number and email address. Students don’t need to include a mailing address, but the recently retired should.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - What's on Karen's Plate? - Business cards

And both groups need to have a respectable Gmail address like firstname.lastname@gmail.com or something that matches your professional personal brand. You can have that email address forwarded to your current, not so professional, email address if you don’t want to give up your old accounts. (Students: Definitely let go of your SoccerSux@hotmail.com or QTPie1994@CableProvider.com type of email addresses.)

Another email address option is a forwarding address offered by your college. Many offer one free so you can put yournamehere@alumni.yourcollege.com on your card with pride.

And, yes, take your business cards everywhere.

I cannot tell you how many times in the last month I have been at a social event, or even a work event, and I’ve met someone I want to be in touch with. You wouldn’t believe how often I’ve heard: “Oh, crap. I don’t have my business cards on me!” So I give them my card and they promise to send me their contact information, which they do about 50 percent of the time.

Just imagine: You are at a social event and you meet someone who would be a great contact for your next career move, for your business network, or who could support a charity that you love. And, oops, you don’t have any business cards on you. How disappointed would you be to miss that connection?

I always have at least three to four business cards in my wallet and in just about every bag I use—even a tiny evening clutch. Keep a few in your cell phone case. Leave some in your car. These cards have never failed to come in handy. You never know when you will meet someone interesting!

Next time you are getting ready to leave your house for anything, even a grocery run, check your wallet for business cards. You will thank me later.

Karen

This hulking tropical fruit continues to smash sales records nationwide especially on the East Coast

Los Alamitos, CA – (June 2018) – Jackfruit is gaining popularity nationwide as it is becoming more familiar to mainstream shoppers, especially on the East Coast.

“Who knew you could sell so much jackfruit in upstate New York?” said Alex Jackson Berkley, assistant sales manager at Frieda’s Specialty Produce. “What we have now is the perfect storm of demand from the growing Asian population, from vegetarians and vegans seeking a meat substitute, and from shoppers who now have heard enough information to give this big fruit a try. Retailers realize they can capitalize on such demand, and start to stock jackfruit.”

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Jackfruit

New York-based Tops Friendly Markets is one of many retailers answering the demand. Working with Frieda’s team, Tops produce managers are trained on the secrets of selling jackfruit. One Tops location is selling 100 cases of these tropical giants per week!

“Shoppers have been asking for fresh jackfruit for quite some time, and once we started to stock them, they were flying off the shelf,” said Scott Tyo, Category Business Manager for Tops. “Our overall sales have gone up with jackfruit as the main draw in the produce department. Curious shoppers are also drawn to the fragrant, giant fruits on display, and with Frieda’s label and signage, they have enough information to take the fruit home to try.”

Berkley adds, “Summer is the perfect time to promote jackfruit for backyard barbecues, luaus, and tiki parties. Shoppers have heard about jackfruit ‘pulled pork’ sandwiches and tacos, so you can merchandise with barbecue sauce and salsa, or make it the center of your tropical fruit display.”

Call your Frieda’s account manager today to learn about ways to smash your summer sales with jackfruit and other tropical favorites like dragon fruit, lychees, and rambutans.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit to dragon fruit and from Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes to habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

About four years ago, I stopped watching the nightly news.

It seemed like no matter what channel I turned on, the only news was about the floods, the fires, the murders, corruption, and bad behaviors. It was just so depressing.

And the news magazines and papers I used to pick up at airports when I traveled weren’t much better.

While still keeping up with daily news briefs, I started reading more books, listening to most of them on Audible, and I still subscribe to a few magazines that keep me current on innovation and thought leadership.

Once in a while, on a whim, I pick up a few new magazines during my travels. They provide a bit of balance to my “always reading work publications” credo. This time around, I ended up subscribing to O, The Oprah Magazine.

The June issue arrived with the headline, “Are you ready for some good news?” I was intrigued enough to turn the pages.

The opening paragraph really got my attention because it felt like the author was in my head.

“If you’re feeling like the world is tilting on its axis, like the center cannot hold, like this country is hell-bound in the proverbial handbasket, you’re not alone.

But is it possible that reports of our impending doom have been greatly exaggerated? Why, yes it is!

In the interest of helping you sleep better tonight, we’re about to debunk a few of your most urgent worries…and give you…hope.”

Some of the issues explored in the multi-page article:

Yep, that pretty much sums up many of the things on my mind, and on the minds of many people. But to my delight and surprise, the information I read shed a positive and hopeful light on every one of those subjects.

What would happen if more networks, newspapers, and publications spent more time talking about how we can fix things, or make positive change, vs. fearmongering, or telling us about all the terrible things going on?

If they don’t or won’t change, then we have to find publications or media that will do that, and stop supporting the ones that won’t.

If you want to read about and hear good news, you can find it, but you may have to look in new places.

And that’s the positive change I chose to make. Many others have as well, which is probably why so many people are sharing positive messages on social media.

Positive messages make us feel good. They make us do good. And they promote more kindness in the world.

Let’s do more of that.

Karen