About Me

I am a certified Educator from the Living Foods Institute in Atlanta, Georgia and I'm here to share information on health and wellness. We are all on a lifepath and my path involves working each and everyday to become a more conscious eater. It is very important to know where your food is coming from and I feel it's time we get back to basics. Learning how to grow our own food, whether it is an herb box in your window or a garden in the yard, is all it takes. I will be sharing recipes as well as ideas that I feel need to be shared as I experience my raw, vegan and living foods lifestyle. Support is key, so I am here for you and I hope that I can help you on your journey. Please feel free to leave a comment or ask questions.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Chlorophyll: The Blood of Plants

Many of us think about chlorophyll and we think about how boring science class was in 8th or 9th grade.  I certainly did, until I started taking wheatgrass as a supplement for healing internal and external tissues and experiencing the maximum absorption of nutrients that I had no idea existed.  Every day I find another reason to add chlorophyll to my water and I know that for each ailment, there is always room for cleansing the blood. 

Chlorophyll isn't just the green pigment found in plants or just a process of photosynthesis, it is a healer through and through.  Having the power to push oxygen through the blood, it alkalizes and neutralizes any acidic environment and stagnant cells that need nourishment.  You will find chlorophyll rich plants such as wheatgrass, spirulina, blue green algae are some of the most potent, healing agents on the planet.  For those that aren't ready to go down the highly detoxifying and rejuvenating path of healing with these particular plants, chlorophyll rich veggies include your dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and collards.  Eating foods with high amounts of chlorophyll will not only give you a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals that we need but will also help heal you from the inside out!

Technically speaking, chlorophyll has the closest chemically structured molecule to our red blood cells of anything else on the planet.  The difference lies in one atomic molecule at the center of each structure.  Our red blood cells have one atom of iron and chlorophyll has one atom of magnesium.  Other than that, they are nearly identical.  It is also interesting to note that respiration from humans results in carbon dioxide which is what the plants breathe and we breathe oxygen that comes from the plants.  What a beautiful coexistence this is and let's not forget the energy from the sun.  Plants, more specifically the chlorophyll from the plants, absorb the sun's energy through photosynthesis and this allows for a transfer of that energy when we consume plants.  The sun's energy is then absorbed through every cell in our bodies thus making us alive and full of radiant energy!

Some health benefits of consuming chlorophyll rich plants or supplementing with liquid chlorophyll include (but certainly not limited to!) healing internal tissues and organs, cancer treatment and healing from chemotherapy, it is an internal deodorizer so you can throw out that tube of toxic deodorant.  It helps raise iron levels for those of you who have issues with anemia.  Your energy levels will definitely skyrocket because chlorophyll can rejuvenate every cell in your body and leave you feeling on top of the world. 

Supplementing with highly concentrated amounts of chlorophyll can help you with bad breath, constipation and odor in urine due to bacterial or fungal infections. It also can heal wounds.  I cut myself pretty bad with a serrated knife one day while cutting an onion.  The cut was very deep and the blood was flowing. Instead of the typical first aid administration of elevating and applying pressure, I grabbed my bottle of Chlorophyll and dropped a couple drops on my thumb.  Within seconds the bleeding stopped; it was almost as if the Chlorophyll acted as a band-aid.  My thumb was green for a couple of days but I didn't mind, the wound was healing faster than I had ever seen.

A quick reminder however when searching for liquid chlorophyll in supplement form. Be aware that alfalfa is not necessarily a good source anymore, because the USDA has allowed genetically modified alfalfa to proliferate and contaminate other, organic crops.  Please refer to a previous blog that I have written about the definition of Organics and where we stand with regulations and deregulations.  I have found a couple brands that use other sources such as mulberry leaves.  You will still enjoy all the benefits from the chlorophyll but it is important these days to know where the source of your food and supplements are coming from.

Through experience and observation, as well as personal stories from many people about their health improving just by adding a little chlorophyll in their daily routine, makes me a firm believer in the healing power of plants.  We live symbiotically alongside these organisms and if we just take the time to recognize how important our relationship is with the plants, we will see how necessary it is to take care and respect the Earth and all her children.   Please take an hour or two and watch the film, The Secret Life of Plants. Below is a link to watch on Youtube. The message is life changing.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Oil Pulling: Ayurvedic Therapy for Oral Health

I discovered Oil Pulling a while back when I was searching for home remedies to help with my brother's reoccurring cysts. The website suggested using a vegetable oil to suck through the teeth for a time and all the toxins would eventually be 'pulled' out through the gums. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this therapy was swept under the rug by my brother and we tried other remedies instead. One year later I had to visit a Periodontal Specialist for a receding gum line and bleeding gums along with some halitosis.  Unfortunately I never took great care of my mouth with just brushing and occasional flossing.  This had become a very painful and unpleasant situation. I had my first oral exam ever, which was also not very pleasant. 

I was preparing to head to the Living Foods Institute so in the back of my mind I knew I was going to cure any 'dis-ease' the dentists were going to say that I had.  She didn't share my enthusiasm of my healing plans with wheatgrass and living foods.  Instead she ordered 24+ x rays of my face and proceeded to dig at my gums with a very sharp device that made me cry and bleed. 

After a consultation that cost a couple hundred dollars and intended plans to have more work done for my 'periodontitis' which was going to cost me a couple thousand dollars, I came home with a burn mark on my face where the xray machine had been.  That was the straw for me.  I knew those machines were no good and I knew there had to be a better way.  The next week I left for Atlanta to start classes at LFI and I had the ultimate faith that I would never go back to that periodontal doctor.

Of course the Living Foods Lifestyle was a win win situation for me and my health and when Oil Pulling came up in class one day, I was so intrigued.  After learning about what wonders this therapy could do for anyone, I hopped on that train as soon as I got back to the hotel.  So how does Oil Pulling work exactly?

Ayurvedic practitioners recommend using a vegetable oil such as sesame or sunflower oil. In my opinion I have found that coconut oil is by far the best and I will discuss this in further detail.  First thing in the morning before you drink, eat or brush your teeth, take 1 tbsp of oil and draw it through your gums in a sucking or pulling method. Be careful to not gargle or swallow the oil, there is a ton of nasty bacteria in there.  It is recommended for optimal health to pull for 20 minutes; obviously it may be difficult to start this long but you can work your way up and try at least 10 to 15 minutes at first.  Then discard of the oil and saliva mixture in a bag; do not spit it down the sink or toilet as this can cause clogging of the pipes not too mention how much bacteria is coming out.  Rinse your mouth out with water and you may want to drink a glass of water afterwards. I continue with brushing my teeth and I will be completely honest with you. I have never felt my mouth so clean. Ever. 

I have been oil pulling for over a year now (off and on) but I cancelled my dentist appointment that I knew was going to be just torture  because my gums stopped bleeding, in fact, they tightened up around the tooth and my gums lightened up from red to pink.  The halitosis was definitely gone and there was no more pain. As for the remedy that I had researched for my brother's cysts, apparently the longer and more dedicated you are to this therapy, you will experience many detoxifying scenarios. 

The reason why I use Coconut Oil is because it is anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti fungal by nature so it just makes sense to treat the issue with the proper remedy.  I started with sesame but the coconut oil is far superior in my opinion. I recommend trying both so you can see the difference, however if you start this wonderful morning ritual whether it's with olive oil, sesame or sunflower, you will see a difference in just 7 days. One week is all it took to experience such a turn around for me and I recommend it to all my customers at the shop now. They all come back for their next jar of coconut oil with the most amazing stories! This is not an infomercial I promise, I just want to spread the wealth of healing from a far too common ailment such as gum disease. Just try it, what do you have to lose?  Below you will find a link to directions and reference for Oil Pulling Therapy. Here's to Good Oral Health!!! Enjoy :)


**Note: If you have a major infection, abscess or any other painful oral ailments you can add a drop or two of essential oils such as myrrh, clove or frankincense to add a little more herbal assistance to your oral health regimen. I've been using one drop of oil or oregano (25%) to my toothbrush afterwards for extra anti bacterial assistance and my mouth feels clean as a whistle!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Doctrine of Signatures: Celery and Bone Health

Lately I have been focusing on which foods are healing foods based on their characteristics such as color, size and shape, just to name a few.  I came across a video awhile back that introduced me to The Doctrine of Signatures which has drastically changed how I look at food. I know it's cliche to say "You are what you eat" however being conscious of what we are eating is very important. Taking time to connect with our food can really bring about many changes in our health and well being. I work in a local herb shop and many people come in for supplements and advice on what to do for different ailments. First and foremost I always think of food. For many moons people have adhered to the idea that food can be your medicine and medicine can be your food.  Of course it is fuel and sustenance among other things, however if you look closely, certain foods resemble body parts and organs. This is known as the Doctrine of Signatures. 

It has been widely thought that because these traits that foods have (size, colors, shapes, etc...) they can help not only support specific areas in our bodies but help the healing process run its course more efficiently.
Lets take celery for example, it's my personal favorite.  The majority of people that come into the shop have bone issues to various degrees, such as arthritis, bone spurs or osteoporosis.  Whether they are looking for a supplement such as a single herb or a mineral that they may be deficient in, I always have celery in my mind. Those that are willing to listen to the idea that foods can heal, can open their minds to the possibility that just maybe if they increase their consumption of celery in this example, a particular dis-ease can be eliminated. So what about celery? What are the benefits with this food for bone health? You might me surprised to learn that celery has many healing and supporting properties.

Celery is awesome for one, because it helps alkalize the body.  Neutralizing any acidity the body may have accrued, celery is primarily made up of water.  It restores electrolytes back to the body so it's really good to consume this veggie after working out or hot sunny days where you are bound to lose some minerals through natural detoxification and sweat.  Because celery is high in potassium and sodium "natural salt", it is a great diuretic which will alleviate any urinary issues and water retention in certain areas therefore it is good for inflammation as well. This natural sodium is important to help break down stones specifically in the gallbladder or kidney, as well as calcium deposits on the bones.  As for bone health, celery is very high in calcium so it certainly helps protect against osteoporosis.

Occasionally you will find that some people have accumulated a build up of inorganic calcium deposits.  This happens due to toxic build up and a not so healthy diet. These deposits have been known to be very painful and many people resort to surgery and medication to relieve the symptoms.  Behold the power of whole foods! The sodium in celery actually breaks down these deposits and moves them through a solution in the body to store in the kidneys for release when it is time for elimination via urination.

I hope this little bit of information has been a good example of how certain foods can help with healing and preventative measures with health and wellness. Of course I highly recommend organic fruits and vegetables as well as juicing them to get the most nutrients you can.  I have attached a small video that I think is very nice about the Doctrine of Signatures as well as some links that I thought were interesting on bone health. Here, I have primarily focused on celery however there is an array of foods that can be of assistance in your health and well being.  Within the video below you will see a few examples of these foods.
You will also find directions on how to regrow celery!!! Yes, celery regenerates itself; the wonders never stop.

Links of Interest:


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ROY G BIV: A Rainbow of Flavor Energies

During my most recent visit to my acupuncturist, I was having some anxiety issues and we discussed the fact that I should be eating more red foods, which could help some blood related problems I may be having. During my session I was trying to relax and meditate but I couldn't help but think about all the different colors of various foods. During my meditation, I was focusing on the colors and each related chakra. Was there a connection with foods and my energy centers?  Did certain foods have qualities that represent bodily functions? 

 I was ultimately inspired to eat a salad with a food from every color on the rainbow, as well as to consume mass quantities of beets (since my blood stream obviously needed a boost). I started to contemplate how each of these foods serve me naturally and nutritionally. I did a little poking around and here is what I found...below you will find a list of foods from each color of the rainbow. I also tried to relate them to each of our chakras. If you are unfamiliar with these energy centers I recommend watching this video. It helped me understand them a little better.  Please note the infinite possibilities of green foods and understand their extremely important role to us as a species who depend on them and the planet as well. I only listed a few of the greens but the list is endless.

By the way, after my acupuncturist suggested beets I have been eating them like crazy. I love them and yes even the greens, which I have juiced before. I experimented with sauteing them in garlic and onions just like collards and made a meal out of them.

Red Foods:  are associated with vitamin A or beta-carotene. Red colored foods are known to strengthen the blood, regenerate energy and rebuild the immune system.  These are typically foods that are high in antioxidants, and also support heart and memory functions. While the color red represents warmth and energy, it also speaks clearly from our grounding first chakra (The Root Chakra) located at the base of our spine. This is where our primal strengths such as survival and safety originate.
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cherries
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Peppers
  • Kidney Beans

Orange Foods: assist in the improvement of blood circulation and digestion. They seem to stimulate the appetite and are super high in antioxidants. Antiviral and antibacterial, orange foods help destroy toxic cells and help repair cellular damage. This is typically found in foods rich in vitamin C, carotenoids (foods with red/yellow pigments) and bioflavonoids(water soluble yellow compounds typically found in citrus fruits).  The color Orange represents balance, energy and unity as well as our second chakra (The Spleen Chakra) focusing on creativity and intuitive gut instincts. It also is an important sexual center for women.
  • Oranges
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
  • Peaches
  • Cantelope
Yellow Foods: are important for the nervous system which is directly related to the digestive system (the liver and the intestines).  They contain antioxidants such as vitamin C, help maintain a healthy heart, stregthen the immune system and aid in vision. The color yellow represents the sun, uplifting feelings and warmth. The third chakra (The Solar Plexus) is ultimately personal empowerment, what it is that you are meant to do with self respect.
  • Bananas
  • Pineapples
  • Lemons
  • Peppers
  • Squash
  • Onions
  • Corn
Green Foods: are healing foods all the way! They detoxify and cleanse the body using chlorophyll (green pigment found in plants). Green foods balance the body's metabolism and are helpful in the prevention of heart disease and high blood pressure. The color green represents the heart, the color of nature as well as harmony and peace. It just so happens that the fourth chakra (The Heart Chakra), has to do with compassion, empathy, the love of all things natural and above all true healing.
  • Limes
  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Kiwi
  • Pear
  • Spinach
  • Onions
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Brussel Sprouts
Blue Foods: help with throat problems, fevers, heart palpitations, inflammations and headaches. They help maintain urinary health and assist in memory function. Asthmatic symptoms can be addressed here. The color blue represents truth and understanding while encouraging exhalation which induces relaxation and calmness. The fifth chakra (The Throat Center) is the center for communication, as well as having the ability to talk and speak clearly.
  • Blueberries
  • Blue Potatoes
  • Rosemary (Flowers)
Indigo Foods:  assist with treatment of eye disorders as well as ear, nose and lungs. Mental disorders included here are schizophrenia, nervous conditions and insomnia. During Color Therapy these disorders are treated with indigo because this color represents focus and visualization.  It is calming and soothing and tends to feed spirituality or the quest for inner guidance. The sixth chakra (The Third Eye Center) is open for higher intuition and spiritual guidance meanwhile not being attached to material objects.
  • Egglplant
  • Endive
  • Mushrooms
  • Grapes
  • Lavender
Violet Foods: stregthen the nervous system by treating pain, epilepsy and healing bones. They are believed to maintain urinary health and memory function.  High anxiety is usually addressed with this color which represents knowlege, creativity, spirituality and intuition. The seventh chakra (The Crown Chakra) deals with power and reason, as well having total access to the conscious and the subconscious.
  • Purple Cabbage
  • Purple Onions
  • Raisins
  • Plums
  • Purple Basil
All this information is available online or at your local bookstore. I have been interested in Color Therapy for a number of years now and this is where I gained insight for this blog. If you would like to research more I recommend visiting your local library, look into local shops or groups and attend related seminars.            

Friday, February 11, 2011

CSAs and the Importance of Local/Seasonal Food

Prior to World War II our food system was structured around a more localized and communal distribution. It was not uncommon for families to have a garden or small farm in which to feed themselves.  In fact, before the interstate highway system was developed, it would have been nearly impossible for the transportation of food to travel not much farther than say, 50 to 100 miles.  These days it is not too extreme to say that our food can come from 1500 to 5000 miles away.  California to China, everything from seafood to produce is moved around the globe using a finite supply of fuel and energy to come to your plate.

There are a variety of issues being discussed about why it is very important to focus on a more sustainable way of getting food on our tables, more nutritious food I may add.  One solution to the question 'Where and how is my food produced?' can be found in community supported agriculture or CSA for short.  I wanted to discuss this topic for many reasons. For one, the growing season is upon us and what better time than now to educate people on CSAs so they can get signed up and start receiving fresh vegetables and fruits. I also wanted to focus more attention on the importance of knowing your local farmers since I will be discussing this frequently.

The idea for community supported agriculture came about in the 1990's as a way for urban dwellers to reconnect with the land and have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This, in turn has paved the way for urban community gardens to become increasingly popular.  Basically CSAs are set up in such a way that the consumer pays the farmer directly for the upcoming harvest season and receives a box of seasonal vegetables and fruit each week throughout the growing season(s).  For example, my family has been involved with our local CSA for a few years now. We pay the farmer roughly $300 at the beginning of the year and when the first week of April arrives we start picking up our box each week throughout July. That is 16 weeks of food, enough to typically feed a family of four. The first year we split the box with another couple because we felt it was so much food, we didn't want any to go to waste. The next year was the year I was going towards the raw and living foods direction so we decided to get the box on our own.

If you do the math, this price equals out to about $18.75 each week.  During the winter months I can spend $20 a day at the store trying to get organic produce, and that produce is being shipped from all over.  Not only does it dramatically reduce our grocery bill, but if I care to eat seasonally (whatever foods are growing/harvested each season) the only thing I'm buying at the store are grains and staple items. In a perfect life I would have all my herbs and spices growing in my yard, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way.  So, I am fortunate to have a regular Farmer's Market in town that I can get those particular items and as luck would have it, my CSA farmer is there as well! Usually I do consume certain produce such as tomatoes more than other items each week so I can always buy more on the weekends to last me until the next pick up.

The wonderful thing about CSA is that it the most transparent form of farming opposed to the big corporate farms that would rather you not see what goes on with their agricultural techniques.  With my local farmers, I can visit the farm, get to know the farmer's ethics, and how they grow the food whether organically or with the use of pesticides, fungicides, herbacides, etc.... By the way, just because a farm isn't certified organic by the USDA doesn't mean they aren't organic. Get to know your farmers, it costs a lot of money to take part in that business and sometimes the farmer just can't afford to pay for the label.  That doesn't mean he/she is using the conventional growing methods.  Also, the feeling of handing the money to the man or woman who grows your food opposed to handing over your money to a chain grocery store or farm that is 2000 miles away, is liberating.

I'm writing all this so you can do some research and look into your local farms to see whether or not anyone is involved with CSAs in your neck of the woods. You can look at http://www.localharvest.org/ and find a directory with not only regional CSAs but also Farmer's Markets in your area.  Some farms put a cap on the number of boxes they distribute depending on the size of the farm, and other aspects such as taking into consideration any crop failure or disease. These are just some things to keep in mind when going this route for your food sources.  It is with these factors that we keep in communication with the farm by website to see what will be in our box each week. Honestly I like to be surprised and there are times that I have no idea what a particular item is and it is always a learning experience.

 Some farms allow you to order specifics depending on what part of the country you live in and whether or not some crops can grow all year long.  My family has had the blessing to join and be a part of Black River Organic Farm here in the southeastern part of North Carolina for a number of years and you can find their link as well as Local Harvest on the side of my blog. There are a number of other farms in this area for those of you interested, but the season is upon us so the faster you sign up, the better your chances for getting in before they cap the number of recipients.

RECIPE: During our growing/harvesting season I get an assortment of produce but usually in May/June I will get potatoes and leeks together in some boxes and this recipe just seemed to fit well since it is still cold outside and it's a good hearty soup. Enjoy!

Potato and Leek Soup
You will need:
5-7 Potatoes, washed and diced
3-4 Leeks, washed and chopped (whites and greens)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil (first cold-pressed)
1 cup veggie broth
1 1/2 cup Original Hemp Milk

Bring water to a boil in a nice sized pot and cook potatoes until tender. In separate pan, saute garlic in oil and add leeks until tender.  Drain potatoes and set aside a cup of potatoes and some of the leeks for a chunkier soup. Add all ingredients except the remaining potatoes and leeks to the blender and puree until creamy. Transfer back to pot and add extra potatoes and leeks with some sea salt to taste. Serve warm.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Organics and GMOs

With the recent, not so surprising decision to deregulate Monsanto's genetically engineered alfalfa crop by the USDA, I thought it best to bring some light on the subject and maybe even offer an opinion or two. This actually fits right in place with people waking up and realizing that cows eat grasses not corn, hence the new market for 'grassfed' beef.  What a coincidence that the cattle will be fed this genetically altered grass now. They are gonna get those GMO's in you one way or another! For those of you who are unaware of this idea of genetic manipulation within our food supply, I will attempt to explain. As if you didn't have enough on your plate to think about while shopping for ingredients, in order to prepare your family's meal. (No pun intended).

Genetically Modified Organisms 101
Unfortunately this issue is such a whirlwind of politics and first amendment rights, that it has become illegal to ‘criticize’ a company for their quality and practices of the industrialization of our food supply. Veggie Libel Laws or Food Libel Laws are in effect throughout 13 different states that make it okay for a company to sue any individual or group for libel. These states include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, & Texas. These particular corporate entities feel that by even someone like me talking to you about these practices and issues, this may or may not dissuade you from purchasing their product resulting in decrease of their profit. Since I personally feel that we are human beings and not just consumers, these issues need to be talked about. You deserve to have a choice whether or not you would like to be part of the biggest human experiment in history.

Genetically engineered foods are nothing new and you don’t have to be a geneticist to understand how this works. Basically, genes from one animal or plant have been spliced and transferred to another organism’s DNA strand to produce a whole new species, for example scientists can take Arctic fish genes and inject them into strawberries to prevent frost from killing those strawberry crops. Now we can have strawberries all year long right? What is so wrong with that? Well I’ll give you a couple reasons why this is not going to fly with me and many others that care about what is going into our bodies as well as our children’s bodies.

Aside from this being just another way for man to control nature, take the example above with strawberries; being a vegan in that I have chosen to not eat any animal flesh or ingest animal by-products, I now will not be eating those strawberries. Keeping with this example, it brings up another point; how do I know that this new organism is healthy and not going to make me sick or kill me? You will not know because there has not been enough research in the laboratories, or any research for that matter, on human subjects. We are it. Any and all research that has been done with laboratory animals has shown nothing but negative, sometimes deadly effects. With this research, governmental agencies have ‘overlooked’ any detrimental factors and along with the Big Agribusiness have pushed their corporate agenda on the supermarket shelves anyway, without you even knowing.

The FDA does not require labeling beyond the typical nutritional facts that you will see printed on the side of all your processed foods. The cloning of animals for meat and dairy productions has been out on the market for some time now. Once again the FDA has decided that these products are safe for human consumption even though no animal that has been cloned stays alive long enough to promote sufficient research. Now honestly tell me, if your meat in the market was labeled ‘cloned’ would you choose to buy from that company or would you search elsewhere?

There are some brands out there that will display the ‘organic’ or ‘non-gmo’ labels to provide you with some information; to make the decision to purchase and consume, that is yours. However, I am very skeptical of so many brands and labeling; which I encourage skepticism (of everything) even what I’m writing at this moment. I’m so skeptical that I take the time to find out who owns who in the corporate world. I have found that some of the brands that you probably think are small independently owned businesses are actually sub companies from larger corporations with bigger plans to fatten their bank accounts. So yes there is a market for organic and non-genetically altered foods. And yes those CEO’s are becoming richer for being a part of that market.

What are my options, knowing that food has become such a commodity instead of being the sustenance of life with what nature has given me? First of all, Educate Yourself.  If anything that I have just written makes you more curious, please do further research on your own. Second, start growing your own food. This is not anything new. This is getting back to nature and relating to the symbiosis of the food chain. I am amazed that some kids don’t even know where food comes from. It does not come from the grocery store. Teach your kids how to plant anything. If you don’t have a yard, don’t worry; all you need is a window or a porch. A small herb garden is a start; anything. Third, meet your local farmers and have conversations with them. Find out their practices with growing. Ask them what pesticides they use, are they natural or chemical sprays? They are more than happy to talk with you. They need support no matter what because they are a dying breed. If they use chemical fertilizers, find out why they feel that is sufficient. Ask if you can visit the farm; take your kids on a field trip one Saturday afternoon. These are just a couple of ways to start your food revolution. Remember don’t try to be able to do everything at once. It is all about your comfort level with action. Every little step matters and with that comes other steps. I up the ante every day; I’m always learning new things and am happy to share them with others that care. You should vote with your wallet and your fork every day!
This intro was taken out of my book Veganize: Changing Your Food to Becoming a More Conscious Eater.

In my opinion we are under attack from these chemical and fertilizer companies that are controlling our food supplies.  I find it necessary to talk about this with everyone who will listen.   Government agencies disguised as protectors of our health and well-being seem to me to be unacceptable.  A lot of people are at least waking up to the fact that a select few in political power are the same folks working in these companies that are making us sick. Once you see that, you understand where the money trail leads. Click here to see what the revolving door looks like.  By the way, European citizens have been battling with companies that are playing with our food for awhile and they stood up and said Hell No! Therefore they get labels on their food.

With all these shenanigans taking place, I have always been skeptical of the USDA Organic Label. So once this deregulation ruling passed, (which you can find here),  I went through some troubling issues which involved thoughts of whether or not I should continue to support that organic label. This new battle brings up many, many questions that the USDA should rightfully be responsible to answer.  I said to myself, 'Doesn't Organic by definition require that no ingredients in said package are of genetic manipulation?' And if that is so, 'How does this issue of deregulating GM Alfalfa fit into the labeling of any organic products that contain it?'  So I did some research and here is what I found.....

After reading the entire list of guidelines for organic certification by the USDA, I was reminded of the importance to eat organic versus conventionally grown food when reading the variety of chemicals not allowed in the organic process.  According to the National Organic Program regulations, genetically modified organisms are excluded and not considered compatible with organic production. You can find this statement along with other methods listed that do not qualify under the certification program here. 

My first question has been answered, GMOs are not compatible with the term certified organic. However it seems to me that there are ways for agribusiness to backdoor GMOs into 'organic' products by certain allowable percentages listed in the USDA guidelines. Click here if you wish to read more. My dilemma now meant that I was torn between buying anything with that USDA Certified Organic Label out of mere boycotting.  But that hurts the farmers that spend so much money and strife to get their products on the market, it hurts me because I want/choose to eat organic over conventionally grown food. It seems that the only organic foods in the market is USDA certified. So what do I do? Well, ultimately I can grow my own food but in the meantime I still have to eat. Fortunately there are products that are labeled with NO GMOs, which I will obviously choose over the alternative. If not labeled such, I will look up the company and check out their values on the topic. I will get to know my local farmers who grow my food through CSAs and Farmers' Markets and find out their stance on the issues. To make conscious decisions about what we are eating, we have to look in these directions now.

As stated in an earlier post, I would like to contribute at least one recipe for each topic i post. This is very simple and nutritious recipe, granted you are getting organic ingredients.
Kale and Avocado Salad
You will need:

1 Bunch of Kale
1 Avocado
6 Grape Tomatoes
3-4 Sundried Tomatoes (soaked for about an hour and drained)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil (First Cold Pressed)
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 Tbsp Himalayan Rock Salt
1 Jalapeno (finely chopped) or 1/2 Tbsp of Cayenne (optional)

Wash and cut kale into bite-sized pieces. Kale is very fibrous so i like to take sissors and cut fine pieces. Massage oil and salt into the leaves; then do the same with the avocado. Add remaining ingredients and toss; Let sit for at least 30 minutes for flavors to blend.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sprouts and Sprouting

Sprouting is a very important area of my life.  On any given day, you will find various sprouts growing at my place.  It could be the beginning of the sprouting process over the kitchen sink, I could be eating those sprouts, or planting them. You can sprout just about anything, from legumes to grains. I will explain the sprouting process for you which is so easy a second grader can do it.  Certain sprouts are more nutritious than others even though it’s hard for me to put any particular one on a pedestal.  Broccoli sprouts and wheatgrass, for example are considered ‘superfoods’ because they contain so many nutrients that help fight cancer cells from becoming malignant.  Think of it this way… if one vegetable comes from one seed, and you eat a handful of those seeds or sprouts, you are eating a handful of that particular vegetable!  That, my friend, is a ton of good stuff.

 Try not to get frustrated when just starting out, you cannot mess this up! Don't worry, you will get it. I always find it so exciting everytime I see them grow. It's a magical experience each time and they are so tasty and jam-packed with energy because they are a living food. You will also see your role in the cycle of life, how it is so relevant and everything is all connected.  In this section I will discuss how to sprout and all the things you can do with them, maybe even a recipe or two!  First I would like to share some amazing facts and stories about sprouts.

Sprouts are living foods and living foods are essentially, whole, unprocessed, organic plant-based foods which are full of vitamins, minerals,enzymes and essential fatty acids.  Eating food that is alive promotes a healthy mind, body and soul.  To me, it makes perfect sense that when you eat things like sprouts or raw foods that haven’t been heated to lose their nutrients, you will feel more alive!  A seed is considered the "storehouse" for all the nutrients that we need to stay healthy and feel great.  The sprout is where the seed starts to multiply and develop those vitamins and minerals.

In my opinion, learning how to sprout and continuing that practice is of the utmost importance. Not only will sprouts give you more than you need with nutrition, but it jump starts the process with learning how to plant and create a garden. Place any of these little guys in some good soil and watch them grow, grow, grow! http://www.sproutpeople.org/ is a wonderful website with more information about sprouts than any human being could possibly know. Check em out! There is also a nutrional chart that may be of interest if you click here.


All you need is a jar with a lid and a mesh screen for air circulation and drainage.

1. Choose what seed, bean, nut, or grain that you want to sprout.

2. Fill the bottom of the jar (about ¼ inch) with your chosen seed. Remember the sprouts will multiply when they start to grow.

3. Fill the jar half-way with filtered water, cover with the mesh screen and a rubber band. I use the ball jars that have the lids to hold the screen on. Let the seeds soak overnight or for 8-12 hours.

4. Drain the seeds and rinse with filtered water. Let them continue to drain at a 45 degree angle. This can be done by placing a rack in the sink; I usually just tilt the jars over the side of the sink but it’s important for the seeds to not sit in water. This could result in the seeds not germinating or rotting.

5. Rinse a couple times a day with filtered water and drain thoroughly; shake the water out if you feel like it. Continue this process and within a couple of days you will have sprouts! For storage, just place the lid on the jar and keep in the refrigerator.

Storing your seeds and sprouts:

Seeds can be stored for years, even centuries. I read that when King Tutankhamen’s tomb was opened they discovered kamut seeds that were stored for over 3,000 years. Guess what?! They sprouted. There are many ways to save and store your seeds. I use ball jars with the air tight lids and temperature is an important factor. You want to keep them in a cool, dry place.

Once your seeds are sprouting, you can usually keep them fresh in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks, or you can plant them and watch them grow! Happy sprouting!

Sprouted Quinoa Salad
You will need:

2 cups sprouted quinoa (white/red)
1/2 cup white/red grapes (quartered)
3 stalks of celery, finely diced
1 bunch of cilantro
1 handful of mint
1 handful of basil
1 green onion (including the whites)
1 cup of cashews (soaked for 4 hours)
1/2 fresh lime juice
2 Tbs. olive oil (first cold-pressed)

Soak and sprout the quinoa. Your choice for red or white, I love them both.
When quinoa is ready, stir in oil and lime juice. Let sit for an hour for flavors to absorb. Then add remaining ingredients except the cashews. In a food processor or coffee grinder, crush the nuts for a garnish on top of salad.
** For those of you who would like, feel free to steam the quinoa. It is a hit both ways!
** If you're wondering why the need to soak the cashews, I always soak my nuts because they are easier to digest :)