Cultured Red Cabbage and Apples

Cultured Red Cabbage and Apples

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Should You Eat Grains?

Art of Gluten-Free Sourdough Baking:
Grains or Not?
By Sharon Kane

Currently in our culture, an extraordinary number of people have digestive disorders and challenges, some involving gluten sensitivity. There are now two well known diets recommending the elimination of grains: The GAPS diet and the Paleo diet.

The GAPS diet recommends removing all grains from the diet for a period of time in order to let the digestive system rest and heal. They believe that this protocol will heal people of the gluten sensitivity, allowing them to eventually tolerate gluten products after they heal. Many people have embraced the Paleo diet which also suggests removing grains from the diet and theorizes that humans are not meant to eat grains.

If you are focused on healthy eating and are trying to heal your body from digestive issues you have probably heard of these diets. For those of us that seem to heal slowly or barely at all, we are always looking for the next food or supplement or diet or practitioner that might help us turn things around. It can be grueling.

I have heard from people that have made progress on the GAPS diet. They will often turn to my book and gluten-free breads as a stepping stone before they reintroduce gluten breads. I have also heard from people that didn't do well on the diet. They were always hungry or their issues simply did not resolve. Some lost an alarming amount of weight and felt like they were starving.

I don't know too many people who practice the Paleo diet although a dear friend of mine has embraced it as a last resort after going through years of tests and different practitioners. She finally was diagnosed with intestinal parasites. Her practitioners are trying to strengthen her body to prepare for the parasite treatment. After many years, her health is finally improving on this diet! Removing the grains has really worked for her although she said she had to get used to the feeling of never feeling full after a meal. The Paleo diet eliminates all grains, gluten-free or otherwise, as well as legumes.

It could be very easy to fall prey to cultural pressure to go grain-free. As I get older, I need less grain at meals. Is it because I'm healing and utilize and assimilate my food better? Is it because I should be grain-free? Is it because humans need less calories as we get older? Is it because my blood type is a grain-eating blood type? (remember the blood type diet?)

As a child, I had blood sugar fluctuations. As an adult, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroid disease, the symptoms of which, mimic hypoglycemia. We now know that these symptoms are linked to gluten sensitivity. Once, I tried going without grains which became a severe blood sugar roller coaster. I simply could not function. Proponents of those diets might say I'm grain-addicted but if grains makes me feel healthy, strong and clear headed and going without them makes me a nonfunctional mess, I don't see eating grains as an addiction or a problem for me.

Some people never need grains at a meal. Some people always need grains at a meal. It seems that for me, grains are fuel...and I need them to feel clear headed and stable. But not everyone seems to need them for fuel.

Those of us who are able to heal on a grain-free diet are fortunate that they have found the next step that moves them towards optimal health. Those of us that heal using other methods are also fortunate for the same reasons, that we move on to the next level of health. That's what it's all about. To get to the next level. And the next. And the next...until we feel good again.

People's bodies are different and people's histories are different. People's bodies need different diets at different times in their lives. No diet is right for everyone, no practitioner is right for everyone and no food is right for everyone.

Our generation has a host of new diseases that have baffled conventional medicine. The answers are coming slowly and seem to have to do with having access to clean food and water while minimizing medication and environmental toxins.

Grains or Not? The answer will always lie with how you and your children react to grains or no grains. Your gut knows what it needs and will let you know, if you pay close attention. If you are the parent of a small child with food sensitivities, until your child can tell you how s/he feels, you must trust your own instinct and observations over the many strong messages out there.

A mother of a young child asked my opinion about something I've heard a number of times:
"Fermentation will completely eliminate the gluten in wheat or rye bread."

This woman's sister was pressuring her to give her gluten-sensitive child sourdough wheat bread, saying it was safe and would not hurt her since it was fermented. The mother was hesitant, given her child's other anaphylactic allergies. This is where I began ranting. I apologized for the rant but she said "Please, I really want you to tell me how you feel about thisl". I ranted and railed for awhile and finally got to a place of composure again whereupon I said:

             "Even if the tests say that fermentation will completely neutralize gluten, the tests still don't speak to the depth of the child's complicated medical history and stressed digestive and immune systems. The tests test the gluten, not the patient. New diseases cannot be resolved with blanket statements that worked in the past, even if they fed people for millennia, like sourdough bread. And you know how committed I am to the concept of sourdough bread!!

I strongly believe in traditionally prepared foods as they dramatically helped me to heal. But so did removing gluten from my diet. Together, they helped me heal. Our current diseases are deeply complex. Our road back to health can be equally complex since we have little information about these diseases upon which to base healing treatments."

New diseases, new theories, new treatments. Our bodies will let us know what works for us. I support you to trust your gut and exercise control over your body as well as your child's body. And keep the faith that you will heal. It makes a big difference!

To learn about how to make healthy and delicious gluten free sourdough bread products check out the author's website . Besides video instructions and cookbooks, Sharon also has a great selection of already made gluten free sourdough breads. I ordered a few of her breads and her cookbook and was impressed at how digestible the breads were.... and tasty too...especially when toasted. I then decided to become an affiliate. I feel that Sharon offers an important service. As a society we need to go back to the healthy traditional ways of preparing foods. Our health is suffering due to our lack of connection to the earth and the food preparation techniques that have sustained humanity through the ages.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Art Of Gluten Free Sourdough Baking

By Sharon A Kane
Review By Marjorie Tietjen

Being able to properly digest our food is one of the main factors which determines the state of our health. Some foods are easier to digest than others  and how we prepare our food can make a huge difference in the availability and assimilation of the nutrients from our food. Proper preparation can also destroy toxins which are naturally present in many vegetables and grains. Traditionally our ancestors soaked, sprouted and/or fermented their fruits, beans, grains and vegetables...and sometimes even meat.

Sharon Kane, the author of  The Art Of Gluten Free Sourdough Baking, discovered through food sensitivity testing that she was intolerant to many foods, including gluten. Sharon loved baking sourdough breads but the gluten in the grains and some of the other ingredients in the breads were stressing her system and making her ill. She was advised to avoid these substances. This news of course was very disappointing. However, the author was not discouraged for long. She was determined to create sourdough breads free of many allergens, including eggs, gluten, and dairy so she could again enjoy the taste, comfort and health benefits of properly prepared grains. Sharon experimented for a year with different flours and starters...with many failures...before she finally created a bread that she thought had the properties she desired. The results of her fortitude and persistence has been greater health, several books on traditional food preparation, online instructional videos, and the Gluten Free Sourdough Company that sells the delicious gluten, egg, dairy, soy free products that she has created.

I first bought the Kindle version of The Art Of Gluten Free Sourdough Baking but then decided it would be easier for me to have an actual hard copy to read and refer it is the hard copy that I will be referring to in this review. First of all, to get people aware of the health properties and other positive qualities of the ancient process of sourdough baking...I will include the 6 benefits the author lists on the back of her book.

1. High Digestibility

2. Excellent Taste

3. Nutrient Density

4. Long Shelf life

5. Economical

6. Allergen Friendly

I would also like to include a paragraph from page 21 of the book which describes why soaking and/or the fermenting of grains is so important.

"Soaking foods mimics the early stages of a seed's germination cycle. A fully mature grain plant has plump grain seeds after a long and bounteous season. The grain seeds are essentially little packages of nutrients protected in a hard shell called a seed coat. The seed's mission in life is to reproduce and needs certain conditions to germinate. A grain seed left on the stalk of a spent plant, or on the ground, withstands extremes of temperature and moisture to allow its seed coat to soften and absorb water which facilitates germination. This process allows nutrients to become available to feed the newly germinated sprout until it has its first pair of true leaves and can make food through photosynthesis. When we soak grains before cooking or eating we mimic this process. The nutrients that would have fed the young sprout now become available to us after soaking."

The flours which are included in her recipes are teff, quinoa, corn, buckwheat, brown rice, and coconut. Sharon lists all the ingredients and equipment that you will need to succeed in gluten free sourdough baking. The author's instructions are very clear and detailed and she also includes photos which demonstrate the different steps and what the starters, batters and breads should look like. Sharon uses minimal sweeteners in her recipes and includes a conversion chart so a person can use the sweetener that best suits their needs. In the photo to the right you are shown what a bubbling starter looks like, what the bread looks like when it is rising and what the finished loaf should look like. This is very helpful in being able to gauge one's progress.

Gluten free sourdough baking uses "starters" to help the bread to rise. The book carefully explains the different properties of the various starters and batters so that the baker knows what to look for. The author includes a section on grinding your own flour. On page 43 there is an important chart which shows the amounts of grain, the amounts of flour it will convert to when ground, and then how much starter that amount of flour will create.

In the process of creating the gluten free starters the author noticed that her starters were going "bad" or becoming moldy. Through further research she learned that you can boost these starters with fermented beverages. Sharon tried using water kefir as a starter and that is when things began to turn around providing her with more successes. She refers to the water kefir starters  as "boosted starters." Kombucha tea can also be used as a booster for starters or if you are not dairy sensitive you can use milk kefir or yogurt.

Everyone has different food sensitivities. Sharon has been asked by others to create certain breads for people with specific allergies and as a result she has divided the recipes into sections. Two of these sections are rice based recipes and rice free recipes.

Some of the delicious recipes included in the book are Pancakes, Banana Walnut Muffins, Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins, Cranberry Nut Muffins, Buckwheat Buns, Herb Sourdough Bread, Scallion Pepper Bread, Mock Rye Bread, Chia Onion Bread, Multigrain Carob Bread, Teff Carob Coconut Bread, Corn Bread, Dessert Breads, Quinoa 100 Bread ...and much more.

Sourdough gluten free breads are denser with a different "old world" texture and taste to them. I find this to be a positive difference. Sharon's breads are more hearty, nutrient dense, filling, and delicious than typical commercial fluff breads. On  Sharon's website she has many baked items for sale, along with equipment, starter boosters, books and more. I have tried her English muffins, muffin tops, dessert breads and I actually tried one of her mixes as a first step in learning sourdough baking. I found the pumpernickel bread mix to be absolutely delicious! I put off making the bread from this mix because I thought I would fail. However, the whole process went very smoothly and the bread was a success! I was pretty impressed with the organization and directions of the mix itself but I was also pretty proud of myself because I actually succeeded in making sourdough bread! The next step for me will be trying one of the recipes in this book with my water kefir made from my new water kefir grains which I bought from Sharon. The author does not use baking powder, baking soda, or yeast in her recipes, preferring the most natural leavening method possible. Sharon advises people to toast the sourdough breads to get the best flavor and texture. When in a hurry I have eaten her breads untoasted but toasting does seem to improve texture and taste.

The book includes sections on definitions, differences between the various flour starters, refrigerated starters versus starters grown on the counter, feeding your starter, different stages of a starter, a large recipe section with photos, how to make chia gel and what it is used for, how to make pizza dough, conversions, troubleshooting, and where to get ingredients and equipment. Sharon shares her experiences and how she has learned from her failures. I am finding the book to be very thorough, easy to read, and written in an enjoyable manner. Everything she does seems to be very organized and well thought out. I admire this quality because I am definitely not an organized person.

Sharon has written this book to empower others to create healthy food in an economical manner. Too many people are experiencing sensitivities to gluten and other foods , which were once considered to be healthy. We desperately need to figure out the main causes of this predicament but in the meantime we must learn to prepare the foods that we can eat in a manner that releases the most nutrition possible. Our ancestors somehow knew that soaking, sprouting and fermenting not only preserved their foods but made them much more nutritious and digestible. I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like more control over their own health which offers less dependence on our failing medical system. To purchase Sharon's book and other products, check out her website . Through her persistent experimentation, she has come up with unique products that will help to improve our lives.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Antioxidants In Food

By Beatrice Trum Hunter
Food For Thought Column
Consumers' Research Magazine

Antioxidants, naturally present in many foods, appear to benefit health overall. They are credited with preventing cell damage linked to the development of degenerative conditions such as coronary artery disease; atherosclerosis; cataracts; Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's, and Parkinson's diseases; and cancers. Antioxidants may promote immune system function, especially in elderly individuals, and retard the aging process. Antioxidants may reduce the susceptibility of undesirable low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to oxidation,which leads to plaque formation in the arteries. Antioxidants help prevent damage to the DNA in sperm, and thus prevent birth defects and childhood cancers.

These favorable features of antioxidants have led to consumer interest in finding ways to increase dietary levels of them, and for food processors to fortify foods with them.

Dietary antioxidants differ one from another, and their functions differ under various circumstances. They are not interchangeable because their mechanisms differ. As illustration, beta carotene, an antioxidant in carrots, does not act the same way as vitamin C, an antioxidant in oranges. However, some antioxidants work in tandem. Examples are vitamin E and selenium. Different antioxidants affect different sites. For instance, beta carotene protects against lung cancer; and vitamin C, against stomach cancer.

Antioxidants combat the harmful effects of oxidation in the body, by blocking the free radical chain reactions that result in cell damage. Free radicals result from normal metabolic processes in which oxygen molecules lose electrons. This creates unstable molecules (the free radicals) that cause oxidative stress. The free radicals attack the body's healthy cells by attempting to find other electrons to stabilize them. This process causes damage to healthy cells unless they are protected by antioxidants.

Currently, Recommended Dietary Allowances have been established for only three antioxidants: vitamins C and E, and selenium. A recent report by the Panel of Dietary Antioxidants and Related Compounds, released jointly by The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), reviewed food components that demonstrate antioxidant effects, in order to establish levels for Dietary Reference Intake (DRI). Vitamin C and E, and selenium are being considered, and carotenoids have been added. These are considered "The Big Four."

Vitamin C scavenges reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (both free radicals) and is very powerful in attacking substances that cause inflammation. Also, vitamin C helps in reacting with other antioxidants such as vitamin E and selenium, and regenerates them back into their natural antioxidant forms.

Vitamin E may delay Alzheimer's disease, and protect against cancer. In diabetes, the increased oxidative stress may be related to a person's underlying metabolic abnormalities, and be relieved by the antioxidant quality of vitamin E.

Selenium increases the protective effects of vitamin E. Among its antioxidant effects, it may protect against advanced prostate cancer.

Beta carotene, from a family of carotenoids, acts as a scavenger against free radicals, and quenches singlet oxygen (a free radical).

Numerous other antioxidants exist in basic foods. Among them are lutein and zeaxanthin. Their molecular structure is similar to beta carotene. At high concentrations, zeaxanthin is an oxygen quencher. Both lutein and zeaxanthin are found in high concentrations in the lens and retina of the eye, as well as in the liver and kidney. An abundant intake of foods containing these two antioxidants has been associated with lower levels of eye disease and lung cancer.

Lycopenes, common in tomatoes, are the most efficient carotenoid quenchers of singlet oxygen. Polyphenols, found in most fruits and vegetables, show antioxidant behavior in tests. Lipoic acid, essential for energy metabolism, permeates cells readily, and may be an antioxidant. Combined with vitamin E, it enhances the antioxidant effect. Lipoic acid is present in spinach and in meat.

Natural antioxidants have been identified in a variety of foods, including many fruits and vegetables; grains; garlic; honey; tea leaves; and coffee and cocoa beans. Also, they have been identified in many plants, such as burdock root, milk thistle, and ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba).

Herbs and spices contain antioxidants. Many food processors now substitute essential oils from rosemary, oregano, and thyme for the formerly used synthetic antioxidants, to keep fat-containing foods from turning rancid. These substances have antimicrobial as well as antioxidant qualities, which may account for their effectiveness in preserving perishable meats in past centuries. Currently, some food processors use vitamin C and E to help keep meats fresh.

The report from the IOM/NAS panel proposed a definition for dietary antioxidants, in order to characterize the properties of these compounds. The panel decided on three criteria: an antioxidant must be found in the human diet; data on the food component must exist in measurable quantities in reliable food consumption databases; and the substance must demonstrate that it decreases the adverse events of free radicals in humans.

Much information is still lacking in identifying naturally occurring antioxidants in foods and their functions. This work will continue to evolve, and reinforce the truth that basic foods offer health benefits, not only from nutrients, but also from other constituents that we have only begun to acknowledge and investigate.


Q. What fruits and vegetables show the most antioxidant activity?

A. Antioxidant activity is measured in Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) in test tube experiments. ORAC is a measurement of the ability of foods to subdue oxygen free radicals. Combinations of nutrients in foods have greater protective than single ones.

The highest ORAC in fruits (in descending order) are prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Lower ORAC levels, but still beneficial are in plums, oranges, red grapes, and cherries. For vegetables, kale and spinach top the list, followed, in descending order, by Brussels sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli florets, beets, red bell peppers, onions, corn, and eggplant.

The author, Beatrice Trum Hunter, MA, has written more than 30 books on food and environmental issues, frequently before widespread public awareness. She was food editor of Consumer's Research Magazine for more than two decades. She is an honorary member of The Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, as well as an honorary fellow of The International Academy of Preventative Medicine and an honorary member of The American Academy of Environmental Medicine. She has been the recipient of many awards, including The Jonathan Forman Award of The Society for Clinical Ecology, The New Hampshire Society for Preventative Dentistry, and The Donnon Pepper Humanitarian Award. She can be reached at 243 Falls Road, Deering, N.H. 03244

CHAGA MUSHROOM ( above) has been found to have one of the highest ORAC values  and can be bought in bulk at Mountain Rose Herbs Below. I make a tea out of Chaga mushroom but I like to call it a coffee because with milk and honey it is a close match. Chaga has a flavor somewhat reminiscent of vanilla. I think its delicious. The same pieces of chaga can be reused  several times. It has many health benefits. Check it out under Bulk Herbs and Spices. If you live in North the northern regions, you may want to forage for it. It grows on birch trees. I found some in the wild in Vermont and was very excited about that.

Cultivating Herbal Friendships

Monday, April 21, 2014


A Fat Regulator In The Body
By Beatrice Trum Hunter
Consumers' Research Magazine 7/99

Leptin, a hormone made by the body's fat cells, is thought to play a role in regulating body fat by acting as an appetite suppressor. Leptin was discovered only as recently as 1994. Researchers are trying to understand its underlying mechanisms. Apparently, leptin not only regulates fat, but seems to have additional roles as well.

When leptin functions properly, it signals the body to stop eating by producing a feeling of fullness. High leptin levels in obese individuals may reflect malfunctioning of leptin.

People with high leptin levels in the blood are more likely to have insulin resistance than those with lower levels.. Insulin resistance is a condition in which cells do not respond effectively to insulin's message to take up sugar from the bloodstream. People with insulin resistance are at greater risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and low levels of beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. These conditions can contribute to heart disease development.

Cholesterol is a poor predictor of heart disease. Some people with normal - range blood cholesterol nevertheless have heart attacks. Measuring blood leptin levels might be a better marker for the potential risk of heart disease in people who show none of the traditional signs associated with this condition, including high blood cholesterol.

Leptin may play a role in diseases associated with a fat abdomen, a feature common in aging. A person with an "apple" shaped body, with fat deposited mainly around the waist rather than on the thighs or hips, is at greater risk of insulin resistance and heart disease.

In rat studies, leptin enhanced insulin's effects significantly. Moderately obese animals, given an infusion of leptin for eight days, ate less and lost weight. The fat loss from their abdomens was greater than from other body parts.

Leptin may regulate weight in young children. Lactating women have lower concentrations of leptin in their milk than in their blood. The breast may not make or concentrate leptin, but passes leptin to the nursing infant from the mother's blood, indirectly through the milk. This finding suggests that the leptin delivered in breast milk may lead to some mechanism that regulates the child's weight later in life. If this is confirmed, it adds yet another benefit, among many, offered by breast milk but not available from feeding formulas.

In experiments with mice, injected leptin helped obese animals lose weight. Could this have similar effects in overweight humans? Leptin passes safety tests, and was injected into 70 obese adult volunteers in the Program of Obesity and Metabolism at Tufts University. All participants were on individually tailored weight- reduction diets that provided 500 kilocalories less than each person's basic daily energy needs. By the end of the first month, all participants lost weight. The amounts lost were proportionate to their leptin intake levels. Those injected with the highest leptin amounts lost an average of nearly 16 pounds each over 6 months. Some participants lost weight at all dose levels, but the amount lost was highly variable.

Leptin may play a role in adult onset type diabetes and in heart disease. A study of 74 healthy men showed that those with the highest leptin concentration in blood were at high risk of suffering from insulin resistance.

Leptin may play an immunologic role. A group of immune cells, known as helper T cells, have leptin receptors (surface proteins that allow a cell to respond to leptin). Leptin encourages helper T cells to secrete certain chemicals that guide the actions of the immune system. For example, they help ward off viruses, bacteria, and fungi. This finding may explain why malnourished people are so vulnerable to many infectious diseases. Malnourishment leads to extensive metabolic and hormonal changes in the body.

Currently, researchers are investigating leptin to learn whether it can prevent malnourished mice from suffering increased rates of infection. If results are positive, leptin could serve as an immune system booster for low birth weight babies who often experience a wasting syndrome.

By leptin's signaling malnutrition or starvation, the body knows when to shut down energy-expensive functions. For example, women with little body fat, such as marathon runners or ballet dancers, often stop menstruating. The body may have interpreted a leptin lack as a signal to avoid reproduction. Falling leptin concentrations in the blood may instruct the body to suspend temporarily the actions of the immune system.

Leptin has been found to play another role, in helping to maintain a balance between the blood supply and the fat tissue mass. Leptin may stimulate the growth of new blood vessels needed when fat increases in volume. Also leptin may spur the growth of endothelial cells that form blood vessels in the maturing egg and early embryo. Also it may spur wound healing. Leptin may be deployed by some cancer cells to recruit blood vessels. If any tumors are found to make leptin, this finding might serve as a useful tool to control tumor growth.

Commonly used weight-control measures such as diet and exercise, as well as drugs, may produce short-term success but not sustained weight loss. For most people, according to Gerald Bernstein, M.D., president of the American Diabetes Association, "weight loss is an ordeal that requires a truly punitive lifestyle that includes a remarkable reduction in calories." The discovery of leptin as fat regulator, as well as its other roles in the body, contributes fresh insights for long recognized problems.

The author, Beatrice Trum Hunter, MA, has written more than 30 books on food and environmental issues, frequently before widespread public awareness. She was food editor of Consumer's Research Magazine for more than two decades. She is an honorary member of The Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, as well as an honorary fellow of The International Academy of Preventative Medicine and an honorary member of The American Academy of Environmental Medicine. She has been the recipient of many awards, including The Jonathan Forman Award of The Society for Clinical Ecology, The New Hampshire Society for Preventative Dentistry, and The Donnon Pepper Humanitarian Award. She can be reached at 243 Falls Road, Deering, N.H. 03244

Sunday, April 13, 2014


I think that the video above neatly and quickly summarizes what is really behind the "environmental movement/sustainability propaganda. While there are many earnest and sincere people out there who are concerned about the environment and doing good work to help protect it, those who are at the top of this movement are really more concerned about profit and control. Many are observing that our rapid fire weather disasters seem to occur in areas that are projected by the U.N Diversity Map to be rewilded. Rewilding means cordoning off large areas and corridors of the country and setting them aside as wildlife preserves....owned by the government or U.N. The people of course have to be moved out.  The tactics being used to move them out are higher taxes and other fees to be paid to Govt/U.N.,possibly wildfires, supersonic tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, droughts, earthquakes, etc. In some circumstances , such as in Nevada, involving the Bundy Farm, environmental excuses are made. Weather warfare technology has become very advanced.

The following 2 map shows the future United Nations Biodiveristy plans for rewilding the United States. Notice the projected rewilding areas in Florida and then check out the 3rd image below this one and compare the two images of Florida. The third image is a Florida wildfire map . It looks like the wildfire map of Florida is similar to the projected rewilding map of Florida. New Age thought conveniently spouts that the end justifies the means. Well...I was always taught what I feel makes more sense...."An evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit" "By their fruits ye shall know them"

I think it will be interesting to observe whether there will be some sort of extreme weather conditions in the future in the area of Nevada where the Bundy Farm is...or whatever other methods may be employed to drive him out of business and off the land. We need our private farmers who care about the quality of the food they raise and the health and happiness of the animal. More individuals need to raise at least part of their own food. By systematically doing away with the small farmer in all areas of our country, the government/U.N is working against "sustainability" through many avenues. They are possibly creating artificial disasters which ruin the land and then blame it on Global Warming, factory farming of our food decreases the health of the land, the people and the animals, transporting food from isolated factory farms to areas of the United States is a very energy wasting practice. We are told that grazing animals are unsustainable but yet we let the buffalo roam. We need manure from the animals on a farm to rejuvenate the soil which in turn rejuvenates us.

We are being fed a bunch of malarkey concerning what is sustainable and what is not. Do you see them promoting individuals to raise what they can in their yards or are we sometimes punished or prevented from doing so due to zoning laws. Lawns create a waste of space ...especially when they are sprayed to keep away healthy nourishing plants/weeds that would otherwise grow there. I'm getting a bit off track here but I am trying to wind up this post by  sharing with the true conservationists that most of us do care about the environment...especially on our private land. I believe we are being lied to as to the true purpose of rewilding and containing humans into stackem and packem human settlements. In order to be truly healthy in mind, body and spirit, humans need to interact wholesomely with the land....which supports them and nourishes them. We cannot do that if we are all cordoned off from nature and are only allowed to go visit it on weekends. Healthy natural environments and interacting with the land creates healthy people and healthy mindsets... who in turn want to take care of the land.

I believe that Kansas and Missouri and the other states which have been repeatedly hit by frankenstorm tornadoes, are being punished for not going along with Agenda 21. Each of these states had bills passed or bills are currently going through Congress which  were/are for the purpose of separating them from Agenda 21. Look up each affected state name in conjunction with Agenda 21 and see if you don't find consistent connections.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


The Flu and cold season is upon us and all we hear through the mainstream your flu shot. And...."this year's flu strain is more dangerous than any other year." Or...the flu is very often deadly...and other scare mongering tactics. Peter Doshi, who once wrote an article for Harper's Magazine on how the CDC trains the media to use manipulative tactics to get the population to be vaccinated, also is concerned about the safety and effectiveness of the flu vaccine. Read about his concerns here

A much safer and more natural way to strengthen and support your body's immune system, without mercury, traces of formaldehyde, animal to take advantage of nature's effective and safe
herbal/food pharmacy. Last year, while shopping in the health-food store, I came across a bottle of
Fire Cider that was sitting in the flu and cold section. I asked the clerks if it was any good and I was told that several customers thought it really helped them and an employee had told her that she was getting sick with a cold, took several doses of the fire cider and the symptoms very quickly disappeared. I decided to try it and was totally impressed. I also aborted a cold in one day by using it. I loved the potent zingy taste and wanted to use it all the time but because it is fairly expensive , I began looking for a recipe so I could make my own. I found a video by Rosemary Gladstar that shows how she makes  Fire Cider and I basically followed her directions. The video is included at the bottom of this post.

The photo at the top of the page features the ingredients I used in my fire cider which I made just the other day. In my previous batches I used cayenne pepper powder as Rosemary often does but this time I had hot peppers from my garden and thought I would try just using one red pepper chopped up as you can see in the photo below.

The list of ingredients that I used (you can experiment with other ingredients) is
horseradish, garlic, fresh ginger, some onions, one red pepper. and natural unpasteurized vinegar with the mother bacteria. You chop all the ingredients fairly small as in the photo above, layer them in any order, leaving a few inches at the top of air space and then pour the vinegar over all to cover. After a few hours recheck the jar. If the ingredients  absorbed some of the liquid just add a bit more vinegar to cover. The video below shows you what proportions might work for you. Let the recipe sit in a dark cuphoard for 6 to 8 weeks while the vinegar draws the healing properties out of the ingredients. Oh yes...and when your remedy is finished steeping, strain the liquid out of the ingredients into a jar where you will be storing it...and then add some raw honey to taste. I use it almost every day as a salad dressing. If I am exposed to someone who is sick or if I feel as if I am coming down with something... I will take a tablespoon in a half glass of water...several times during the day. In the two years since I have begun using this ...along with elderberry tincture....I have not experienced any colds or flu. See this article about the health benefits of elderberry, how to use it and where to buy it.

Now I will go over the basic health benefits of each ingredient in the fire cider.
1. Horseradish: a root with a sharp, hot and pungent flavor.....clears the sinuses! Horseradish belongs to the mustard family and has many healing properties. It is used as an ingredient in sauces, dips and dressings. It works well as an accompaniment to meat because it aids in digestion and is antiparasitic. Horseradish is also a potent antibiotic, an expectorant, cardiotonic, and increases appetite and stimulates the immune system. Some even claim it is an aphrodisiac . Horseradish is a very good preventative treatment for flu,colds, sinusitis, bronchitis and asthma.

2. Ginger: Famous for quelling inflammation and pain, boosts the immune system, powerful cancer remedy, improves digestion, helps headaches, nasal congestion, and nausea

3. Garlic: One of the most powerful herbal remedies. It reduces cholesterol, is an anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral. Garlic thins the blood so it helps to prevent blood clots. Garlic helps to prevent cancer and fights free radicals.

4. Onions: Are a potent source of quercitin which is a strong antioxidant. Quercitin thins the blood, fights asthma, lowers "bad" cholesterol, aids in treating hay fever, diabetes and infections. Onions help to detoxify the body.

5. Hot Peppers: The capsaicin in hot peppers helps to relieve pain and inflammation. Consuming hot peppers may reduce blood pressure.

6. Raw Honey: provides a natural source of energy, promotes restorative sleep, contains antioxidants, supports good bacteria in the digestive system, promotes healthy enzyme activity. Honey is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Slows aging due to its enzymatic functions and can actually regulate blood sugar.

The jar on the left shows all the chopped ingredients covered with unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. That is the state that you store it in for 4 to 6 weeks. Some people let it steep for only two weeks but I figure if I am going to go to all that work I want to make sure all the goodness is drawn out of the chopped ingredients. Every day or so it is a good idea to shake the bottle to make sure all ingredients are in contact with the vinegar. After one day I went to check my brewing fire cider and discovered a turquoise color at the bottom of the jar. This never happened before and my first thought was that the whole batch of fire cider must now be toxic. However, after a bit of research I found out that in some cases garlic when mixed with vinegar can sometimes form this harmless but bizarre color change. Here is a link explaining a bit about this mystery.

The folk medicine book below, by Dr. Jarvis, shares his observations and research concerning the benefit of vinegar in preventing disease. Highly recommend. A very valuable book at an inexpensive price
Folk Medicine: A New England Almanac of Natural Health Care From A Noted Vermont Country Doctor

The following book by Rosemary Gladstar offers many herbal tonics to keep a person healthy.
Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 Teas, Tonics, Oils, Salves, Tinctures, and Other Natural Remedies for the Entire Family
 If you can't find Raw apple cider vinegar with the mother culture in it in you grocery or health-food store, you can get it here.
Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Organic Raw -- 32 fl oz

So...I encourage you to try this simple flu and cold remedy (also helps prevent food poisoning as Dr. Jarvis talks about in his Folk Medicine book) that is cheap and easy to make.
Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dehydrating: A Fun and Practical Way To Preserve and Store Food

Dehydrating foods is a fun, economical, and space saving way to store the bounty from your garden. In fact the whole process can be a bit addicting! Once you begin to dehydrate foods and realize the ease of re- hydrating or just plopping them into soups and stews, you will want to try your hand at many different types of food. If you don't have your own garden you can buy organic produce from local farmers.When there are good sales in the grocery store on fresh or frozen produce, many people take advantage of these deals. I bought bags of frozen peas on sale for a dollar a bag. 8 bags of peas turned into 2 jars of peas when dried. I don't have to find room for them in my freezer and if the power goes out, they are safe and sound. It takes a little bit of electricity to dry them but once they are dried you are able to store them for free.

The jar on the left in the photo above holds  orangy yellow heirloom tomatoes that dried a pretty deeper shade of orange. Dried food , if it is going to be stored longer term, should be kept in a dark dry place. However, if you plan on using them within the year, they look beautiful stored on countertops and hutches....but out of direct light. The jar in the middle contains eggplant on the bottom and dried yellow squash near the top. And of course the jar on the right is filled with dried corn that was once fresh corn on the cob bought from a local farmer.The corn rehydrates well and tastes delicious with butter, salt and pepper! The corn, in particular, will last for years...especially if you pull out the air with either a FoodSaver V2244 Advanced Design Vacuum Sealer, Black  or oxygen absorbers Oxy-Sorb Oxygen Absorbers for Food Storage ....or some people use both. There are special attachments for drawing the air out of jars.  Foods are most often dried in an oven or dehydrator but they can also be dried outside or even in the backseat of a car near the back window. Some people have made solar dryers. This is the dehydrator I like and use.
Nesco-American Harvest FD-1010 1000 Watt Gardenmaster Dehydrator
 Some people prefer the Excalibur food dehydrator...something to do with even distribution of the hot air. However, the Excalibur only has a set number of trays. You cannot add more trays to the machine like you can with this Nesco dehydrator. The Nesco machine holds up to 30 trays. It  has a fan that circulates the heat and it also has a temperature setting which the cheaper dehydrators don't have. The fan is moderately noisy but I just put it in another room where it won't bother anyone. The foods in the jars below...from left to right are Shiitaki mushrooms, peas and string beans. The the photo.... I bought already dried from Mountain Rose Herbs but I have dried my own that are growing outside on logs. When I dried the mushrooms I did it outside because from what I have read about the mushrooms... they gain phenomenal amounts of Vitamin D by drying in the sun with the caps faced towards the sun.
Here are my carrots and peppers. Some veggies, such as string beans are best blanched first before drying while others such as green peppers can be dried raw.

 It's also fun and practical to grow and dry your own herbs. When you grow and dry your own, it is much more economical, fresher, and you know exactly what kind of soil and fertilizer was used. Herbs are fairly easy to grow and have many health benefits. The photo below shows the sage I was drying this year. Aren't the purple flowers gorgeous against the green?
Some of the health benefits of sage are: sage boosts memory, it has antimicrobial properties including anti-fungal properties, sage helps with digestion and the herb is a powerful antioxidant. It tastes great added to food and makes a soothing tea, either by itself or in combination with other herbs.

Nettles are another superior herb/green for the health. I started a nettle patch ...oh...maybe three years ago now from just two little plants that a friend gave me from her patch. I now have enough to dry and last all winter. Nettles spread so if you plant them, put them in a spot where you can mow around them to keep them controlled. Imagine...a health-food weed! Nettles make a wonderful infusion/green drink that is basically free! The dried nettles can also be added to soups and stews...or even crumbled up fine into dishes like chili. They add great flavor and nourishment! Young nettles can be cooked from fresh nettles spinach. But watch out...before they are dried or cooked they will sting! Wearing long sleeves, pants and gloves is a must when gathering nettles.
 The seeds from Nettles (below) are also a very valuable part of the plant. They are collected at the end of the summer and set aside to dry. You don't need a dehydrator to dry them. Nettle seeds are extremely good for the adrenal glands.

My most exciting project for this year was finally having enough elderberries from our own 3 year old bush to dry enough for making a medicinal tincture and with two jars left over of dried elderberries to add to herbal teas. The first photo shows our three year old bush, the next photo shows the berries and the third photo shows the elderberries soaking in alcohol which becomes our winter flu prevention.

The herb I was drying in the photo below is lemon verbena. I cook it with rice and add it to my herbal teas. It is very easy to grow!
I just thought I would add a photo of dried calendula from my friends herb shop. The natural color is just so pretty and soothing.
I suppose late fall is not really the time of year to talk about drying food....but I started this article at the end of August and got sidetracked . You can still find various foods to dry at the grocery store and now you can start planning for what you might like to do next year! If your freezer is too full, try drying some of your frozen veggies and stick them on a shelf somewhere. I used my dried carrots the other day in a soup and I wouldn't have known the carrots had been dried first!
There are many you tube videos on the subject of dehydrating. Check them out and join the fun!

If you can't wait to begin growing your own food to dehydrate.... Mountain Rose Herbs has all the herbs I have spoken of here and much much more.

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

Thursday, November 7, 2013


The first question we need to ask is....what drives the nutrition advice taught to doctors and the public through the Department of Agriculture and other governmant agencies? Are nutritional guidelines determined out of our corporate government's concern and love for the masses or do these guidelines further the profit margin and other political goals? Are the movies, such as Forks Over Knives, unbiased and accurate or are they misrepresenting "studies" and conditioning the public to a diet that in the LONG RUN weakens the body?

For example.....the main idea pushed in the movie "Forks Over Knives" was the implementation of complete veganism...which included no fat, no animal protein or animal products. This means no butter, no eggs, cheese, meat, fish and some people even cross honey off the list because it was made by an insect. The glaring flaw in this movie was the unscientific testimonies represented as an informal study. These testimonies formed the basis of the film's take on what a healthy diet should be. People were asked to give up all junk foods and all animal products. Many people reported amazing benefits on this diet.

First of all, most people will improve after giving up junk food. That step is a no brainer. Additionally, a diet composed of only vegetable food can be very cleanisng for the short term, can help you lose weight and possibly heal certain problems. My contention with the film's advice  is...that the strong impression was given that this type of diet is also good for the long term. How do we know whether the improvements people experienced were tied to the elimination of junk food or to the elimination of animal products? Many ex vegans are reporting ill health and weakened bones when on a long term vegan diet and have switched back to more ancestral diets which include fat and animal products. There was no mention in this movie about the healthy quality of animal fats when the animals were grass fed or wild caught. This was also a glaring omission.

The diet which is being increasingly recommended  or promoted is a low or NO fat diet along with high carbohydrate intake. This advice is extremely contrary to what the human body really needs to function optimally. We have been conditoned to think that eating fat...especially saturated fat ...causes the body to be fat and that it clogs arteries and causes heart attacks, cancer and more. Nothing could be further from the truth. For years now grains and other carbs have comprised the foundation of the Food Pyramid. What has been the result........ a runaway diabetes epidemic, Alzheimers (now considered to be a Type 3 Diabetes) and many other neurodegenerative diseases. The fact that many of our grains have been genetically engineered  adds more danger to a diet so heavily concentrated on grains. To better understand the politics and health issues surrounding this subject, I highly recommend the books... The Vegetarian Myth and Beyond Broccoli. Vegetables are also highly recommended in these books but not to the exclusion of natural animal products. We need a well rounded diet and veganism is a very restrictive unbalanced diet. extreme fad diet.

I love watching my free range chickens graze around the yard. They eat a variety of different foods. They will nibble some herbs from the garden, then some kale and grass...but then of course their protein comes from worms and bugs. Even when I put a treat out for them, they only eat so much of it before moving on to various other plants. In other words they don't gorge on one thing. That has been kind of a lesson to me.

Our brains and cells need saturated fats to function properly. Our brains are largely composed of cholesterol. Our nerves and cells are protected by cholesterol. Our body even makes some cholesterol. Remember the old sayings......"Living off the fat of the land" and "bringing home the bacon"? Our ancestors were much sturdier and healthier than we are and many lived into old age without degenerative disease.Many would eat plain butter on wholesome bread and thrive on it. Perhaps more people died from acute infections but their overall quality of life was much better than ours if and when they ate unprocessed foods. So...I believe ...and history validates... that we need high fat diets with moderate protein from naturally fed animals, few if any grains, NO JUNK PROCESSED foods, and raw milk products (if tolerated) from grass fed animals. We should also include many raw and cooked organically grown vegetables. Contrary to more recent advice to eat everything raw....some vegetables need to be cooked or fermented to inactivate certain plant toxins naturally present in the food. Here is a great article by the legendary Beatrice Trum Hunter which speaks unbiasedly about what foods we should and shouldn't eat raw.

Below is a recent article which reports that Sweden has officially rejected low fat high carb diets.
Another major point in favor of higher fat diets (not manmade or overheated fats) is that in order for certain vitamins and minerals to be absorbed from the vegetables we eat.....fat needs to be added. The idea of putting butter on vegetables is not just for improving taste but it is essential in order for our bodies to absorb certain nutrients. Our ancestors were amazingly more aware of what our bodies really need...and all without chemistry labs, official studies and drug companies.

Please take time to watch the videos below which explain why low fat high carb diets are dangerous.