Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip!


Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip that tastes as good or better than the dairy-laden, high fat version!
It even fooled my husband and son who LOVE cream cheese!




Ingredients:

1 large package of frozen chopped spinach

1 large can of artichoke hearts (water or oil packed)

1 T. Olive Oil (use less if using oil-packed artichoke hearts)

1/2 Onion, diced

1 Clove of garlic is optional  (I choose NOT to use it because I often am using oil-packed, flavored artichoke hearts anyway.)

Salt to taste

Black Pepper to taste

Cayenne Pepper to taste

1 T.  Lemon Juice or to taste

1 Cup Raw Cashews

2-3 Cups filtered water


Directions:

In advance, soak the raw cashews (or cashew pieces) in a bowl with enough water to cover them for about 2-8 hours. After soaking time, drain and rinse cashews.

Next add them to a blender with 1 cup fresh water. Blend until smooth and set aside.

Defrost spinach and squeeze out excess water. heat the olive oil and saute the onions until translucent. Add the garlic if you are using it, and stir for an additional minute.

Stir in artichoke hearts, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper- and cook until hot.

Add spinach and lemon juice and cook for 2 minutes.

Mix in cashew cream and serve with veggies, crackers, or bread!



Friday, January 17, 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Bread you can eat every week!

My dear friend Sara introduced me to this recipe, and our family LOVES it so much, that I had to alter it just a bit - I started making it with part whole wheat flour so I could justify serving it all the time!




Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups white flour (add extra as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Instructions:
  1. Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar with the warm water in a very large bowl. Add the yeast without stirring and let it sit until creamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour into the breadmaker. Add the flour on top of the liquid, and then add the olive oil  and salt. Set the cycle for "Dough" and walk away!
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll each half into a large rectangle. For more tight rolls in the bread, roll the dough thinner. For thicker softer rolls in the bread, roll thicker. It’s up to you and it tastes great either way. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle over each loaf. Be generous. Roll up the loaves tightly and let rest for a few minutes before putting in the oven.
  4. Bake on a cookie sheet or baking stone for 30 minutes, or until it sounds hollow. When in doubt, overbake this one. It might look brown on the outside, but that’s okay because the inside really needs to bake all the way to get the layers filled out. And it’s really really helpful to let the bread cool before cutting into it, otherwise it has a tendency to sink down where you cut it.
  5. OUR FAVORITE WAY TO EAT this is toasting it in the toaster, and putting a bit of vegan butter on it. This recipe also freezes well - meaning you can cut a few slices and put in the freezer for another day when you need a quick bite of cinnamon sweetness!

If you don't have a breadmaker, you can still easily make this bread... this recipe was adapted from:
http://pinchofyum.com/homemade-cinnamon-swirl-bread

I have this breadmaker by Rosewill:
 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?gclid=CNeP3obb4rwCFctcMgodTE4ADQ&Item=N82E16896268006&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleAdwords&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleAdwords-_-pla-_-Bread+Makers-_-N82E16896268006&ef_id=UQn0tAAAGQGnpBLI:20140223165313:s

Friday, January 10, 2014

Winter Warm-Up Almond Drink! Try this instead of coffee and see how you feel!


 Recently the Midwest went through an intense cold snap.  You know, the kind that makes you run to the store for ingredients to stock your fridge and cupboards, and then makes you bake and eat nuts and carbs incessantly...  or is that just me? But before all the trips to the store- we have to wake up and get moving, right? Even when the temperature is dropping fast...  everyone was posting all over Facebook about how they were preparing, and a friend of mine mentioned that she might have to leave the house to get strong coffee. 

Someone suggested to her:

"homemade almond milk with date, black or cayenne pepper to get the blood flowing -- no jitters with this and it is so yummy...."
 

First I should say I LOVE everything almond...  almond wedding cookies, chocolate covered almonds,  almonds in savory rice dishes, in rice pudding, in the crowning glory recipe for almonds - marzipan, and even in my favorite almond body cream and almond hand cream!  I keep a big glass jar of almonds on my counter and my four children are always snacking on them.   So her comment sent me right to my kitchen!

In less than 3 minutes I had made my own almond milk (1 cup of raw almonds in the vitamix blender with a couple of cups of water, then squeezed through a "nut bag" and stirred with a pinch of salt and a bit of coconut sugar.  I tasted it and I really liked it. I hadn't made my own almond milk since summer and I realized how much I missed it. 



So for the hot drink, I simply heated up a cup of it on my stove - I made it with cayenne first - since I am in love with cayenne.  Tasty and intense heat, yet creamy!  Then I tried another cup, this time with black pepper.  I cannot say that it woke me up like coffee, but it was yummy! And it was so filling and truly nourishing too!  Later that afternoon I also made a cup of it with chai spices in it and loved that too!

P.S. Thank you Anne Hirsch for your wonderful drink suggestion!

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's Almost Christmas Kale Salad...

There is a story behind this Kale Salad...

I was raised as a Vegetarian from birth by my parents (who actually started the first health food store in Des Moines, Iowa, back in the early 1970's - but that is another story).  Through my 39 years of being a Vegetarian, I have encountered a lot of challenges living in the Midwest, but I am fortunate to live in a tiny town  of 9,000 people, that actually has more restaurants per capita than San Fransciso. (So in my town there is no shortage of good vegetarian and vegan food.)   But traveling in a three state vicinity is tricky.

 My entire family is also from the Midwest.  Let's just sum it up by saying that means everyone is super nice and it also means that the traditional Midwestern food options at all family events are not congruent with a Vegetarian lifestyle- in fact, the idea of a vegetarian diet was confusing. I remember being asked repeatedly, "Do you eat peanut butter?" by several relatives.

On one such event, I traveled with my mom, my four children, and my sister and her son to a family reunion and we mostly subsisted on Subway sandwiches (NOT fresh, I don't care what they say...) and Taco Johns burritos.  By the time of the actual event we were craving real, fresh food so badly. And there were at least fruit plates...  Afterwards, we headed back to our relatives house, and somehow stumbled upon a giant bowl of something dark green. It had been left abandoned in the extra fridge in the garage (along with random bottles of beer and bottled water).  We peered closer at it, and were THRILLED to find that it was KALE!*   We stared at it for a millisecond and started devouring it. We ate almost an entire 16"  bowl of it in one sitting.  It was so unexpectedly delicious with walnuts and raisins in it!  The next morning, we had to come clean about the fact that whomever had prepared that salad had better not be expecting it to still be in the fridge. We said we ate it like fugitives. Fortunately they didn't mind. We did find out which relative made it but never figured out why it wasn't at the family meal table... except that most people did not know what it was. Anyway, there was a normal size portion left over and we took it on the road trip the next day... and it saved us from another day of fast food!  (Which was great because it just so happened that was the day I was taking my oldest daughter to a Justin Bieber concert and I needed the energy to go through with that...)


 It's Almost Christmas Kale Walnut Salad

Recipe:
Thinly chop at least one bunch of Organic Kale
Add a handful of  Organic Walnuts,
A handful of Organic Raisins,
The juice of one small Organic Lemon,
And then Sprinkle with Salt.

This salad gets BETTER if you let it sit in the fridge for a while.... trust me.


* Disclaimer:  Kale is sort of like coffee. It is an acquired taste. The difference is that eating kale can probably prolong your life, and certainly improves your vitality.  Even as a life-long vegetarian, I have only been introduced to it in the past few years. And Kale has definitely grown on me, because of the nutrition and energy it gives- I literally feel healthier after eating it.  I am finding many ways to use it, like adding it to my favorite morning juice... and ways to get my kids to eat it for the fantastic vitamins and minerals... usually easiest in a Blueberry Kale Smoothie / Ice Cream! I use  1/3 of my garden space to grow several varieties of Organic Kale!  I am happy to announce that I make this salad when I serve pizza and the kids willingly eat it, and enjoy it! (Tonight was Pizza night - so I had to post this!)

Friday, November 15, 2013

My Vegan Version of a BLT ~ Vegan BLT Kale Wrap!

Here is a quick and nutritious lunch I made today that even my husband -who is Not a vegan- LOVED!  I took an organic kale leaf from my garden, and filled it with some avocado, grape tomatoes, and cooked some Tofurky brand Smoky Maple Meatless Bacon Tempeh to give it a hearty flavor and lots of protein! Then I ate it folded like a taco (with a bit of Veganaise on it)! Yum!



http://www.tofurky.com/tempehproducts/marinated_strips.html

http://followyourheart.com/products/organic-3/

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

100% Pure Makeup made from REAL FRUIT!

 I can never get enough fruit.  (Or Chocolate, but that is a different story.)  So having even my makeup made of REAL FRUIT is exactly my kind of thing.... The colors are amazing and they smell delicious too! You can click the link to see some of my favorites!

Here is a great link to lots of reasons to eat more Fruits & Veggies too!




Friday, October 11, 2013

Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake and Superheros!

Happy Birthday Brian!  




One of the presents I gave my husband Brian for his 37th birthday!  3 small prints from the Origins series by Ninjabot.  The Origins series is showing the moment that each superhero was made... I chose these three... from left, Superman, Spiderman, The Green Lantern.  It was fun to support a Kickstarter for Ninjabot and get something unique for Brian.  When they came they were almost like postcards, so I framed them myself and now he has this cool piece of unique art hanging above his computer!


VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHERRY CAKE

VEGAN CHOCOLATE CAKE INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups rice (or other) milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt           
     INSTRUCTIONS
  • Preheat oven to 350°F and grease pan, and/or line with baking paper.
  • Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are OK).
  • Pour into pans, filling 3/4 of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely   
VEGAN BUTTERCREAM FROSTING INGREDIENTS (enough to frost in between layers and a bit on top (double if you want to frost the entire cake sides, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
  • 1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer
    INSTRUCTIONS
  • Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes.
  • Add the vanilla and soy milk, and beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.  

CHERRY TOPPING
  • Thaw a 10oz bag of frozen cherries and mix with 2 Tablespoons sugar, cooking for a few minutes
  • Separately, in a tiny bowl, mix 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch with 2 Tablespoons Pomegranate Juice
  • Add this to the cooking cherry/sugar mixture and cook a few minutes, stiring constantly, until thickened. Allow to cool. 
  • Frost between the two layers of cake, then top the cake with the vegan buttercream frosting, the cherry mixture, then chocolate shavings!

Friday, September 27, 2013

National Chocolate Milk Day!



At public schools, they REALLY push cow milk.   The posters of celebrities with cow milk mustaches, the "milk-time",  and of course it is THE drink at lunch.  Given a choice of white milk or chocolate milk, most kids choose the chocolate milk, which is also loaded with sugar. But both cow milks have growth hormones, preservatives, and are pasteurized and homogenized, (which is an unnecessary process that is actually even worse for the human body.)   Plus, did you know that some manufacturers bring back the unsold (white) milk from the grocery stores and mix in the chocolate/sugar to preserve it, then re-bottle and sell it as chocolate milk?  Ewww. Gross. If you want any educational reading (from DOCTORS) on why cow milk is not good for humans, click here, here, here, here, here, or just google....  I would say "Got Proof?"

Solution for our kids lunchbox:   Chocolate Almond Milk in single serve packages! (The brand pictured here is Blue Diamond Almond Breeze.)
We buy a lot of this and also keep it at Natural Selections, our retail boutique store in the drink cooler with the natural sodas and coconut water, because adults love it too! (I think it's a great treat/snack combo, and it even has protein! And have you tried it in coffee or tea? Fantastic!)

And if you are a TOTAL chocolate-lover, you will want to check out the 100% Pure Body Creme and Cosmetics made with real Chocolate!


Friday, September 13, 2013

Cookie Dough Milkshake (Vegan!)


Ok, so really it is not dough.  I baked cookies. A new slightly healthier twist on our favorite vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe.  But the children had their hearts set on a milkshake, and were begging to go to the local soft serve ice cream shop.  Defiantly, I put together this instead, and...
THEY LOVED IT!

Into the Vitaprep blender:
3 frozen bananas
a splash of vanilla extract
approx. 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
Almond/Soy/ Nut Milk of choice - maybe 2 cups?

Blend and taste for texture and sweetness.

Crunch up a couple of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and crumble on top!



Sofia's reaction when she got to the bottom of the milkshake... "Look what is at the bottom!" completely thrilled!  Apparently she forgot there were cookies in it! I love chocolate SO much (that in fact I use a chocolate body cream every day)  and this is just one more wonderful way to have it!  This reminds me I haven't had mine yet...



Thursday, September 5, 2013

Basil Coconut Pistachio Vegan Ice Cream

Many years ago I heard of a Fresh Basil Ice Cream from a small cafe in France.  I started experimenting with the idea, and found it was wonderfully refreshing!  I ended up having my version of the Fresh Basil Ice Cream published in the cookbook Eating for Two by Robin Lim (my amazing midwife and CNN HERO of the Year).



The other day I went to my cook-book shelf and searched and could not find it anywhere. (I like to lend out my overflowing stash of cookbooks.)  So, here I am, 18 years and 4 children later, and I make so many vegan dishes now, I thought, "How hard can it be?  I must try it!"

I ran out to the garden and grabbed a couple of large handfuls of fresh basil (making sure to always take the part of the plant that is flowering, so that it will keep making MORE basil for me!)  Into the Vitaprep I put the basil, 2 cans of organic coconut milk, and some sugar. I blended, tasted, and added a bit more sugar.  I left the mixture in the fridge to chill while I started dinner, and then put it into my Kitchenaid Ice Cream maker attachment, and 15 minutes later, it was done!



My kids and husband liked it, and then I added some chopped pistachios to the rest of it, and put it in the freezer.  Each day I have been enjoying a little bowl of it SO much!
 
There are probably too many words in the name of this treat, but I love the creamy, fresh, slightly surprising taste that it has.  Coconut ANYTHING is fantastic to me (I even use a coconut hand cream!)  Maybe I should come up with an acronym for the name. But I need to sleep...




Monday, August 26, 2013

Get Dressed with the RIGHT Organic Bra

Three years ago, I wrote a blog post about the formaldehyde in Victoria's Secret bras causing welts and rashes. At the time, I felt so sorry for the women experiencing it. I thought about how some people are simply more sensitive and literally become the "canary in the cage" being the first to react to chemicals in clothing.  I felt thankful that I had never had this problem.  But... this year, I tried wearing a bra I got from Victoria's Secret (a satin bra that I bought because I thought it was "pretty"- and how foolish I feel now), and I got a horrible, red raised rash under both arms. I  wore a different bra until the rash went away (which took almost 2 weeks!)  When it was gone, I waited a few months, and then put on the Victorias Secret bra again. By the next day, I had the rash again. That bra cost me: $50,  a lot of guilt over the made-in-China tag, and a ton of pain and itching! At this moment, I am swearing it off forever.

Over the last 19 years I have helped countless people buy Organic Cotton Bras.  I always listen to what each customer likes and does not like, and I tell the manufacturers, and each season we see better and better organic cotton products.

This is far and away, our best-selling organic bra.  It's soft. It's supportive. It has pretty lace. It's adjustable. It even has removeable pads so that you can choose your comfort zone.  Every woman who has tried this bra on in our store goes home with it! (And then they come back and want it in several colors!) And now it is on our website, so you can have it too!




And if you want to see our 12 other very popular and pretty organic bra styles, we welcome you view some on our website: www.TheOrganicCompany.com , or call our retail store:  Natural Selections  641-472-5876, open 11-5 Monday-Friday and 10-5 Saturday, central standard time.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Shaktea Kombucha!

The fantastically delicious (and healthy) local Shaktea Kombucha & Jack's Real Root Beer company is doing a kickstarter! Click on the picture to go see it, and contribute!




http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1230047189/shaktea-kombucha-and-jacks-real-root-beer?ref=live

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

NEW Organic Synergy clothing!


NEW Shipment of SYNERGY ORGANIC Dresses, Skirts, Yoga-wear coming to Natural Selections!
 Natural Selections
104 South Main St
Fairfield, IA 52556
tel 641-472-5876
Mon-Fri: 11-5
Sat: 10-5
www.TheOrganicCompany.com

Monday, June 10, 2013

Vegetarian and Vegan Celebrities!

This is one of the coolest Pinterest boards out there (in my humble opinion)!   A pictorial listing of Vegan and Vegetarian Celebrities, often with info about why they choose that lifestyle! Click the link to visit the full page on Pinterest!



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ancient Asian Tradition Helps YOU Sleep Better! Organic Buckwheat Hull Pillows!


This is our ever-popular Organic Buckwheat Hull Pillow with Lavender and Organic Cotton that we have been making for 14 years. Okay, so that isn't ancient, but it is an Asian tradition dating back more than 500 years.
As for how it FEELS, well to the hand it feels like a beanbag full of lightweight crunchy things. We sold them for over 6 months and they sold WELL before I got the courage to try it at home. The first couple of nights it was odd. It noticed the texture and a little sound when I rolled over to change position. But after a couple of nights I started thinking it was wonderful. I used it for a couple of years and then when the shredded latex pillows became available, I fell in love with them instead. The buckwheat pillow is from an ancient Asian tradition and it is still recommended by chiropractors everywhere today, because it gives ideal support to the head and neck and spine. I have found only a few customers who decided that it wasn't their style to sleep on it every night - and those people say that they use it occasionally when neck pain is flaring up, and it helps. They continue to be super popular!


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Homemade Organic Mosquito Repellant!

It is that time of the year again!  When you are out working in the garden, or just playing with the kids,  here's an easy and pleasant repellent recipe you can make at home to keep the mosquitoes away:

Combine in a 16 oz bottle:
15 drops lavender oil
3-4 Tbsp of vanilla extract
1/4 Cup lemon juice


Fill bottle with water.  Shake. It really is that easy!


Make some extra to gift to your neighbors, family & friends. 

(Trust me.. it'll be appreciated!) 


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Eco Jam Fashion Show in Fairfield, IA

All photos property of Mel Sauerbeck (Navaswan Images)
The fashion show was so much fun! Thank you to all of our wonderful models! Click the link above to see pictures by Mel Sauerbeck!

Click the picture below to see some of the styles on our website, TheOrganicCompany.com



Click this picture to see some of the lingerie that was showcased...


 Click this picture to see some of the fair-trade knits that were modeled...


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Eco Jam Fashion Show 2013



We had a great rehearsal tonight with 12 local models for the Eco Jam Fashion Show, THIS SATURDAY, 7:30 PM at the Sondheim in Fairfield, IA! There are a variety of local designers being represented and we are very happy to open the show with Organic Cotton and Bamboo Yoga Wear by Green Apple Active - much of which was designed by my sister Ananda Bhavani!  You can click her name to see some of her gorgeous, colorful work!  We are also showing Fair Trade Silk/Alpaca Knits from Indigenous Designs. This should be fun!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Organic Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint for Peter Rabbit Party

My 5 year old daughter Alexis had a Peter Rabbit theme party, and I made these to look like little growing plants.  They would be cute in mini flower pots if you can find them!  This is the first recipe of vegan cupcakes that my whole family loved!

Vegan Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients:
 
Cake Flour - 1 1/2 cups ( See how the cake flour can be made in my description below.)
Sugar - 1  cup
Black Cocoa Powder (unsweetened) - 5 Tablespoons
Baking Soda - 1 teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Water - 1/2 cup
Coffee - 1/2 cup (does not need to be strong, and can be hot, it doesn't matter)
Oil - 8 tbsp
Apple Cider Vinegar - 2 Tablespoons
REAL Vanilla Extract - 2 teaspoons (or more if you are like me and really love vanilla)
(FOR CAKE FLOUR, I made my own:
for each cup of flour in the recipe you need to remove 2 Tablespoons of the flour and instead put in 2 Tablespoons of organic cornstarch, then SIFT several times. Very important!)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line 12 cupcake liners.
2.  In a large bowl whisk all the dry ingredients.
3.  In a small bowl, whisk all the liquid ingredients.
4.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Whisk until everything is well mixed. Do not over mix.
5. Fill the cupcake liner about 2/3rd full.
6. Bake for about 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake center comes out clean. (Few crumbs clinging is absolutely fine... as it will be moist)
7.  Cool the cupcakes completely before you frost,  so that they are nicely set.
Frosting Ingredients:
This time, I used these ingredients and  I just mixed them all together in the Kitchenaid stand mixer until the consistency of the frosting was right, and I liked the taste of it - adjusting it as was necessary.   

Vegan Cream Cheese
Powdered Sugar
Black Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
Real Vanilla Extract
Vanilla Almond Milk
Chocolate Cookie Crumbs (made by pulsing chocolate cookies in a food processor or blender)
Mint Sprigs
Blend the frosting, and possibly place in the fridge to cool down and firm up.
Frost the cooled cupcakes.
Sprinkle with Chocolate Cookie Crumbs
Stick a toothpick in (and take out immediately) each cupcake to make a tiny hole.
Stick one Mint Sprig in each cupcake.
Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Vegan Food Pyramid and Special Nutrients

Most Vegans love healthy food so much that they easily get a wide variety of colorful fresh fruits and veggies!  Here, the Vegan Food Pyramid (from http://naturallyfitandhealthy.blogspot.com/) is beautiful too!

 
There are a few nutrients that Vegans need to pay SPECIAL attention to make sure to get...




Vitamin B-12 can only be found in the vegan diet if it includes fortified grains and soy products. Vitamin B12 helps transport red blood cells, which supplies oxygen to the body and without it, you are susceptible to anemia, which is already common because of today’s diet of prepackaged and nutrient-empty fast foods. Vitamin B-12 supplements vary in effectiveness. Sublingual (absorbed under the tongue) seems to me the most effective. This one has a pleasant cherry taste that even kids will like! If your supplement is working well for you, you may notice improved energy.

Vitamin D  10-15 minutes of SUNLIGHT (that is right, sunlight) 4-5 times per week is generally accepted to supply the body with sufficient Vitamin D, but if you don’t think you are getting this, eat Mushrooms and Nutritional Yeast (which is a great “cheese” sauce substitute in pasta dishes.)

Zinc is responsible for proper immune and digestive functions, and seems to prevent colds. Sublingual (absorbed under the tongue) seems to me the most effective. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Omega-3 rich foods assist in brain function which can reduce symptoms of depression and memory loss. They can also reduce inflammation in the body which prevents certain chronic diseases. Eat Walnuts as a snack, sauteed with your veggies, or blended in a smoothie,  and Flaxseeds, or Flaxseed Oil over a salad!





Saturday, March 30, 2013

Walmart

I posted a link to this article on Facebook,

http://truth-out.org/news/item/15404-walmarts-death-grip-on-groceries-is-making-life-worse-for-millions-of-people

 and many people started writing in to comment. One person said she loved Walmart, and could not afford to buy milk at the local grocery store. This person's family has made their considerable living by manufacturing things in Asia for American "big-box" stores for decades.  After she posted, I wrote this:

 It is good to hear people writing... As a person living in a micro-small town for most of my life, I understand that there are some things that are simply not available except at Walmart.  And those are the kind of things I buy there, when I have to. But there is extensive documentation of Walmart's many shocking, and simply wrong, ways of doing business.

1)  Walmart has a complete lack of concern towards "slave-labor" conditions of the places in which many of Walmart's items are manufactured.  Before you think I am whining, consider this:

2) Walmart's tactic of securing a product at a certain price, then forcing the supplier of that product to continue to lower the price the following season by threatening not to sell the item any longer, (which then forces the supplier to meet the new demands, or lose business, is NOT a good business practice because it causes companies to cut corners in SO many ways with quality.)  I know someone who inspected factories for clothing manufactured in India who saw children working every day, except the days the Americans came to inspect.

3)  Walmart is quite well known for poor treatment and severe under-payment of workers.

4) Although Walmart initially appears to be "doing good" it is quite quickly revealed that communities do not prosper from having Walmart.

If you read the entire article, you will see yet more proof of that. This is not simply a matter of "a big box store comes in and secures lower prices by buying mass quantities of something and drives small businesses out of business".  It is not that simple.

Having been in both small business, and in manufacturing for 18 years, as well as having so many friends that have been involved with clothing, food, and product manufacturing and even purchasing for Walmart (and you all know who you are whether you are reading this or not - I won't tag you for obvious reasons), I can say that there is very little good brought to a town by Walmart.  When items are contracted for Walmart directly, they are often using the lowest quality materials possible of something, thinnest fabric, flimsiest metal, whatever. So why are we surprised when the item we buy wears out, or breaks so fast, causing us to need to replace it?

I know many wonderful companies who were contacted by Walmart (and Target) and asked to downgrade their product to fit a price schematic. That is fine if that is what we, as consumers,  know that we are buying.  But representing a product as the same, when it is not the same, is not right, and this still happens with certain items.

What we cannot afford is relative and deeply personal. My choice is to buy the least possible amount of items from Walmart, usually only what I cannot find anywhere else - and I make sure that I FIRST check the local stores.  That way by the time I get to Walmart, I am bound to spend less money there.  It does make a difference.

We might "need" Walmart, but not for everything, like their marketers want us to think. We DO need a real, diverse community that supports itself as much as possible, and some of the time we seem to have that in Fairfield, but every purchase we make is a vote for something. If we want to have the variety and flavors of a unique community, we have to support them.  I love going to all of the locally owned  stores and restaurants in my community, and in others I visit because I love having them here, I appreciate their individuality, and because of what I know, I don't love Walmart.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Juicing vs Vitamix Smoothies


      Carrot~Apple~Celery~Beet Juice from my Breville Juicer
                              making a smoothie in my Vitamix VitaPrep 3 horsepower                                
  

I received a letter I wanted to share with you today...
Dear Loni

I read some of your blog once and thought your juices looked so good.

We are just getting into juicing and I thought you would be the best person to ask a few questions about it . . . an enlightened balanced perspective . . .

Is it better to use something like a Vitamix and also eat the pulp or is it better to just have the juice.  One could also make juice and also take all or part of the pulp after juicing ?

Can a Vitamix really finely puree things like kale, broccoli, or other more dry and tough veggies?

Are there other mixers that will do this better than a Vitamix ?

If juicing, what is the best kind of juicer?  We are thinking to go the Dr. Mercola route of more leafy greens, celery, etc. and less of the sugary things like carrots, apples.

It seems a juicer that produces less heat is also preferable.

Thanks so much for your help. It is deeply appreciated.

JW
And here is my response to her:




Hello!

Thanks for writing! I am very passionate about this subject!  To answer your questions...

We have the Vita Prep 3 (which is a 3 horse power version of Vitamix- which is just 2 horsepower).  But most of my friends have the Vitamix (only 2 horsepower) and are fine.  I know that the other "blender" that compares well is the Blendtec.  I would compare prices on the Blendtec and the Vitaprep 3 and see what you find. Either one would be fantastic!  But in reality, a kitchen needs both a high-power blender AND a juicer, because they do very different things.

In terms of which way, it depends on the desired effect, and also how much you want to put into it (literally)...

Smoothies:


In other words, for a daily, simple way to lose weight, get more fiber, using the VitaPrep 3 (or Blendtec) is great because you are eating the entire item, so there is no waste. You will find that a simple "smoothie" can fill you up for hours. At our house, we regularly put in 1 or 2 apples and oranges (peel removed), 2 or 3 bananas, 3-5 leaves of kale (if the ribs are very firm some people remove them, but I don't), any berries on hand (especially blueberries because they improve the color and taste so much). If you have organic lecithin you can add a tablespoon or so to make the entire thing creamy. You may need an inch or so of water to facilitate blending, or even ice if you prefer, to keep the heat down in the blender.  It is fun to experiment. Just put whatever fruits and veggies you have and keep blending and tasting until it tastes good!  Adding a few dates or raisins (soaked or regular) helps naturally sweeten. I have seen Vitamix demonstrations at Sam's Club and Costco where they put in zucchini or broccoli and yes, it gets blended up!  And don't ever be fooled by smoothies being sold anywhere- they are usually pre-made sugar/dairy packs, and rarely have any raw fruit.

Juicing:

If you are facing health issues, or just want to have a quicker cleanse and an increase of powerful vital micro-nutrients, then juicing is important. With juicing, you are receiving a mega-dose of micro-nutrients all in one glass (because you wouldn't normally sit down and eat a gigantic amount of raw vegetables!)  This repeated dose of micro-nutrients can literally heal your body from many things.  (My father is fond of telling how his brother cured himself of cancer by doing a juice fast for a month.)  As for my juicer, I have a Breville right now and like it, though the pulp is a bit wet (meaning it isn't removing all the juice.  I was using the Champion before and I still have it and like it too- the pulp is much more dry.  My friend who inspires many people to become Vegan has an Omega juicer and it has very dry pulp also. My husband and I and some of our children (whomever agrees) have been drinking fresh juice for breakfast for almost 2 years, (ever since we watched the wonderful documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead-- I know it's a bad title, but it is such a sweet and inspiring movie!)   http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/

As far as what you put in the juicer, you are correct, as with any way of eating, the more green the better!  There is a simple, green recipe in the movie I just mentioned that is all veggie except for 1 green apple.  I just think  that if you haven't juiced before, adding more fruits is actually a great way to make it palatable which will ensure you will WANT to do it.  Here is what we usually juice:  about 8 carrots, 1 beet, 2 ribs of celery, 2-3 apples, 1-2 oranges (peel removed), and about an inch or two of ginger (no need to peel).  A lemon added is nice too, but my husband does not care for the lemon, and prefers if I leave out the ginger.  Recently we have been adding the top part of fennel (supposed to be great for mood) and it makes it interestingly sweet in a different way, yet it is green.

 No matter what you put in the juicer, you will have a lot of pulp.  I save the carrot (or carrot apple) and put it into carrot cakes, carrot muffins, etc.  You can use a lot of pulp for making "crackers" in the dehydrator, but so far in my family I am the only one who likes them!  Still, juicing is a very powerful way to get concentrated nutrients.  If you are facing any kind of disease, or health crisis, juicing is absolutely the way to go.  I did a 10 day juice fast (as did my husband) and although I never thought it would be possible, it was fantastic. We both lost a pound every day, and after the first few days I had plenty of energy and felt great! The weight as stayed off, and I found that I crave HEALTHY foods now, instead of sugar/starch/salt.



The best juicing book I have seen recently is The Juicing Lady's Guide to Juicing for Health  http://www.amazon.com/Juice-Ladys-Guide-Juicing-Health/dp/1583333177   but there are lots of colorful juicing books out there that are GREAT for inspiration. On our 10 day juice fast, a favorite for me was honeydew melon-strawberry. Personally, I wouldn't be worried about fruit. I have even heard of people in the early stages of diabetes that have done juicing and it has helped, even with fruit.

Honeydew Melon ~ Strawberry Juice from my 10 day Juice Fast


Finally, the biggest point for me, which is emphasized in another great documentary with David Wolfe, called Food Matters  (  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1528734/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1a )    is that the more raw food you consume, the better, specifically any amount over 50% raw will show benefits.  There is a lot of research on this, and many great documentaries. It is not necessary to be all raw to reap the benefits. I started my family of 6 by making half of each meal raw, literally half the plate. And then I added in more fruit smoothies as snacks, to tip the balance over 50%.

I generally eat about 80-90% raw every day and that works for my body. In other words, I have either juice at breakfast, and then a big fruit snack before lunch, or I have just a big raw smoothie which keeps me full until lunch.  Lunch is usually a big salad, incorporating whatever fresh, raw, organic veggies I have, (as well as hemp hearts for omegas),  and a bit of apple cider vinegar, so it is all raw except for maybe the chickpeas and black olives I put on it. And dinner is sometimes another salad, or sometime  the salad with a cooked side dish or entree I made.  I am very easy about it, meaning if my family is going out to eat, and they don't have salad, I just eat vegan cooked food. I have found through trial and error that if I eat two cooked meals, and only the raw breakfast, that I don't have much energy. However, if I eat mostly raw (that is two raw meals, and some raw snacks - no more than one partially cooked meal) then I feel fantastic and have tons of energy. One other important thing- if the cooked meals have dairy in them- my energy is zapped.  I don't know if everyone will have this experience, but I keep trying to have some cooked food, and some dairy, and the dairy just wrecks any progress I have made in feeling energetic and healthy.  So I eat Vegan almost all of the time.  It just feels good, and it is a kind way to eat, since the dairy (like the meat) industry is such a nightmare.

I hope what I said helps, that I answered all of your questions, and I look forward to talking to you again, and hearing your experience. In Fairfield, I have lots of friends who are experimenting with healthier ways of eating and it is so fun to contrast and compare what we have learned together!  We also use the Vitaprep 3 to make amazing, raw vegan "cheesecakes" that are incredibly beautiful and decadent- made out of soaked cashews and other nuts.  I have helped other people begin to juice or use smoothies, as well as help other people who are interested in becoming Vegetarian or Vegan.  Even the climate where you live is important because it affects what your body needs to eat. Some people need more heat in what they eat, others do not.  I still think listening to your own body in terms of constitution is very important. When I was on the last day of my 10 day juice fast, I was craving heat, and I put spinach and tomatoes in the VitaPrep 3 with a dash of cayenne pepper and it made a drink that was amazing to me, but my husband (who has a different constitution) didn't care for it. I find my knowledge of Ayurved helps with nourishing my family as long as we incorporate enough raw foods (since cooking foods removes most of their nutrients) and do not do dairy.   I am working on transitioning myself to do healthy lifestyle coaching more of the time, because I love helping people so much! Good luck with your journey!


Lonica Eisenbraun

http://www.organiclonicalee.com/

http://www.theorganiccompany.com

click on the RAW "Cheesecake" to see the recipe!