Wrecking whole foods with nasty other stuff

Matthew texted me this photo he took at Walmart, and said, “Can you tell me where to get some pork jowls?”

What the devil are pork jowls and why would anyone eat them? Who makes these signs? Has anyone reading this ever eaten the fatty underbelly of the chinny-chin-chin of a little piggy?

My least-favorite thing ever is taking a perfectly legitimate food, and wrecking it. Collards are lovely greens, great in a marinated salads, as dehydrated chips, as a wrap for some combination of hummus or guacamole, and brown rice and veggies. Or in a green smoothie or juice.

But frying it in bacon fat? This is simply begging for obesity, inflammation, and misery. Not to mention wrecking a perfectly good food.

When a recipe calls for nuts, skip the salted/roasted, and soak some sunflower seeds or (truly raw) almonds, then dehydrate them below 115 degrees. Now you’ve skipped the toxic food in favor of a living, high-energy food, and you’ve lost virtually nothing, taste-wise.

When you want something crispy, make chips out of unsalted, organic, sprouted-grain or corn tortillas. (Organic is EXTRA important with corn, since that means it’s also not GMO.)

If you want some ranch dip, use good fats instead without MSG and salt: mash an avocado, and mix in some salsa, or a tomato, with garlic powder (or fresh garlic).

If you want chocolate, have some fudge made from 1 part non-alkalized cocoa, 1 part agave, 2 parts extra-virgin coconut oil, stir together and refrigerate or freeze. Or there’s our hot cocoa, which is fabulous with coconut milk as a base.

If you want bread, get Manna Bread or Ezekiel Bread. (Sprouted, gluten proteins broken down.) If you like butter, use organic/unsalted, or use coconut oil instead.

We’re formulating an energy drink that uses only whole foods, tastes good, and has NO central nervous system stimulants. Meantime, drink plain green tea sweetened with stevia, and add a spoonful of chia just to make it fun. (Caffeine, yes, I know—far better than Rockstar, Diet Pepsi, or coffee though.) Or drink Crio Bru or Choffy, one of the brewed cocoa drinks. Better yet, if it’s not about wanting something to drink, and it’s more about needing an energy shot, just have a glass of water and a few capsules of Maca when your energy is low.

I have all kinds of substitutions like this. These are just examples, my friends. Don’t quit—it’s a journey, a learning process, and it’s one of the BEST journeys you’ll ever go on.

There are so many ways to substitute whole-foods habits for the lousy habits that are a direct cause of all those “diagnoses” you’ve been lugging around. You’ll acquire a taste for things that are good. It really does happen.

GROUP BUY launching TODAY…..through Nov. 30

Every year, we provide a way for you to get RAW, UNPASTEURIZED almonds in our annual group buy. You can’t get them anywhere else, because retailers can buy only pasteurized almonds from California, Each buyer in our opportunity can buy only up to 100# by providing your name in the order.

What’s the big deal? California has forced almond growers to pasteurize all their nuts above 130 degrees. This kills enzymes. I’m passionate about teaching people to eat nutrient-dense raw plant foods. It’s infuriating that our government wants to pasteurize, irradiate, and fumigate everything with damaging chemicals and rays. So I’m providing you a direct path to a grower who holds out a portion of his crop without heat-treating the nuts. So YOU CAN STILL SOAK AND SPROUT THEM! This turns your high-nutrition food into a SUPERFOOD!

(California produces 85% of the world’s almonds. I’ve obtained truly raw almonds from Spain and Italy before, but they’re tres expensive, and no one likes the slightly bitter taste.)

While we’re at it, we provide about 25 other excellent pantry / food-storage staples, with huge discounts, for you to stock up on for the year.

I highly recommend you stock up on CHIA. It’s a power food, stored easily for long periods at a time with no nutrient loss, has unlimited uses, and the price is going WAY UP this year. We got a great deal. But next year, watch out. Truly, a very good idea to buy as much as possible. Worth its weight in gold in emergencies. I am buying my family a lot.

You can also offer through your buying club,  and get an order together. We have a spreadsheet you can use to mark up prices 20 percent for your effort, so that with 8-10 people participating in your buy, you can earn your own whole-foods staples for free. Check out that spreadsheet tool HERE.

The group buy kicks off TODAY and you can see what’s available HERE. Raw almonds, and a variety of other nuts, seeds, and other staples.

For sure load up on our amazing price on raw, organic COCONUT SUGAR. It is perfect for baking, substitute it 1:1 for any recipe calling for refined sugar. It has high mineral content, better than any other sweetener I know, and is actually a LOW GLYCEMIC food, which is amazing for a sweetener. The 5# bags are great for food storage.

Read the FAQ before sending any questions, and please be aware that we expect to be shipping in early December. That makes this different than normal online purchasing. We are gathering the orders to make the bulk buy (which is how we obtain special pricing) and this means the buy closes on Nov. 30, and we ship between Dec. 1-10.

We’re especially excited because we are launching our own product line of outstanding nutrition products, and EVERY one of them is “Buy Two Get One Free” for the group buy only.

Our GSG nutrition products increase the amount of greens, vegetables, and fruits your family eats, and in ways that taste good and appeal to children. That’s our new GreenSmoothieGirl Green Light, Red Light, and Chocolate Green Light products). (Replace other drink mixes with these powders, where one scoop has the antioxidant power of 20 servings of vegetables / greens / fruit! I’ve also added probiotics, natural plant fiber, and digestive enzymes.) This is different from SunWarrior’s Ormus Greens in that is tastes delicious, and kids love it—and it covers many other bases, too.

They cover your need to store living, sprouted foods against the future, and against emergencies, and getting those tricky, but all-important Essential Fatty Acids covered in your diet, with our Tri-Omega products. Sprouted chia seed, flaxseed, and broccoli seeds. (Add them to green smoothies! You’ll never even know they’re there, and nutrition does not get better than this product.)

We also have Buy Two Get One Free on our brand-new GreenSmoothieGirl Ultimate Minerals product. We used to carry Liquid Light from SunWarrior, but in addition to the powerful fulvic acid, I wanted humic acids, too, for the best complement of fermented, deep-earth, highly bio-available mineral supplements. My hair grows fast and my fingernails are outrageously long, strong, and healthy since I began testing this product. I’m excited about having the concentrated substance you can add to your water, rather than selling a highly diluted version and paying to ship it. One bottle is a one-month supply if you’re using three droppersful daily. After a month of that, you should be able to go to a maintenance dose of 1 to 2 droppersful daily.

And finally, I’ve formulated my own vegan protein powder. It’s hemp protein and split pea protein, but we’ve added medium-chain fatty acids from coconut oil, and the energy and power of the superfood maca, as well. It tastes lovely, sweetens your green smoothie with stevia and no added sugars, and it comes in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Buy two, get one free in the group buy. Three of one flavor, or a Variety Pack with one of each.

So check out the options; you have until Nov. 30 to place your order! We have already placed an order for many of the items that may sell out, based on our history for the past few years, so you should be fine if you order by Nov. 15, and after that, you take your chances. Last year our readers bought 50,000 lbs. of almonds, and this year we’ve bought only 40,000 lbs.

Keep in mind that almonds have gone up about 25% this year, and you well see that across the board in almond products on store shelves. The price we are getting is not only excellent—it’s also the only place you can get TRULY RAW almonds directly from the rancher, this year’s crop, no heat damage to the nutrients.

Depression and Anxiety Nutrition Strategies, part 3 of 3

 

More strategies, if you’re serious about addressing what causes your depression and/or anxiety:

5.      High-fructose corn syrup has to go. I noticed that any HFCS, such as found in candy, drinks, and cheap processed food, caused me anxiety for several days after I ate it. In a few times in my life, when life circumstances were taxing my coping abilities, bad nutrition even contributed to brief, dark depressions.

No treat is worth that. I have studiously avoided HFCS for years. Refined sugar is terrible for anyone with a tendency towards mood disorders, but HFCS is the very worst. Most packaged drinks and candy have HFCS as a main ingredient. It’s in many breads, condiments, soups, and cereals, too. Not only does it create a heavy drain on your pancreas and liver, causing your insulin to go haywire and your triglycerides to skyrocket, but it is virtually always genetically modified, too. You will also pay the price, over time, in your gut health, if you eat products containing HFCS.

6.      Are you getting enough essential fatty acids? 80 percent of Americans are deficient in Omega 3. Many studies link deficiency to depression, since you must have Omega-3 to break down and transmit serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine.

And it’s not just the quantity of Omega 3 that is the problem. It’s the excesses of Omega 6, probably largely because of consumption of refined oils (anyone eating fried foods, chips, etc.), which are high in 6.

To get control of this balance, eliminating toxic refined oil in your diet has to be part of the solution.

The other part is to get 2-3 Tbsp. of chia, flax, and / or hemp seed in your diet. The sprouted varieties of these seeds are more bioavailable than the plain seed or seed oils.

Use 1 Tbsp. chia seed soaked in 3 Tbsp. of water as an egg replacer in a baking recipe. Or make chia pudding.

You can drink 1 Tbsp. chia in a glass of water as an appetite suppressant, if eating later at night is a problem for you. Then, you’re covering your Omega 3 need at the same time. Chia has a phenomenal nutritional profile, in addition to the Omegas—lots of calcium, iron, Vitamin C, and protein.

7.       Is your weight in the “ideal” range? Even ten pounds of extra weight, studies show, can dramatically affect not only feelings of self-worth, but also lightness of mood. Chronically heavy mood is not a natural state, to be accepted over time as simply a part of your personality. It is a problem as biological in nature as multiple sclerosis or asthma are.

Extra weight heavily taxes the endocrine system (hormones), and imbalances of hormones cause depressed feelings—which make it hard to problem-solve life circumstances. And those things contribute to more weight gain—so it’s a vicious cycle! Of course the last 10 lbs. are the most stubborn, but the clear path to getting rid of them is to eliminate white flour and sugar.

You will not miss them like you think you will. I immediately signed on for a second year of my $10,000 no-sugar bet, because when $10k is at stake, I don’t fret over whether to eat the brownie or not. I think about other, more interesting things, like enjoying my friends at the party.

8.      If you are taking SSRI’s or other drugs, consult your doctor before adding any natural, adjunct therapies, because adverse reactions can occur when using both Prozac (for instance) and herbal treatments. The following are the most well-known and well-studied herbs for depression and anxiety.

St. Johns Wort is helpful for depression, with at least 10 active constituents involved in that intervention, especially hypericin and pseudohypericin. It apparently works in part by increasing the activity of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. Drugs do not operate by utilizing metabolic pathways.

Kava is the most-studied as being efficacious for anxiety and insomnia. Kava affects a GABA-receptor-binding capacity and blocks norepinephrine uptake. One study in Germany found it to have effects equal to benzodiazepines, but without side effects.

Other supplements shown to be effective against depression include L-tryptophan, or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HTP).

Their function is to increase beta-endorphins, your “feel-good” hormones. A typical dose of 5-HTP is 200 mg per day, and this supplement can be found online or in health food stores.

Coconut Oil Giveaway and Recipes!

I’ve sent people to Mountain Rose Herbs for their extra virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil, for years. I’ve never had a complaint, because their product is fabulous, and we’ve gotten tons of testimonials about skin conditions clearing and other exciting benefits of beginning to use this lauric acid-rich, medium chain fatty acid (missing in most people’s diet). When I began using coconut oil years ago, my winter-time cold hands and feet disappeared, and I now enjoy good circulation.

I use coconut oil generously on my skin every day. I run 1/3 cup through my hair (it’s long and thick—you may need less) sometimes before I shower, to help deal with the fact that I color it, and blonde out of a bottle is brutal on hair.

I also use coconut oil exclusively in baking, and sometimes in sauteeing. Lots of recipes in Ch. 4 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and other places like Ch. 11.

I’ve blogged about it in the past, and you can search on that topic on this blog.

I asked Mountain Rose Herbs for their favorite recipes, and here they are, enjoy!

Julie’s Amazing Maca Bars (modified by Robyn)

Maca, the ancient Peruvian herb, is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which includes turnips and radishes. It grows at high elevations of 12,000 feet and higher! Used as early as 1600 BC in Peru, the traditional use is for mental acuity, physical vitality, endurance, and stamina.

Another well-known use is as an aphrodisiac tonic that enhances sexual desire, performance, and fertility in men, women, and animals. It’s a highly nutritious food too. It contains: carbohydrates, proteins, calcium, fiber, lipids, iodine and anticancer compounds (similar to broccoli and cabbage). The nutrition alone can have a positive effect on people who are overworked, overstressed, and nutritionally unfulfilled.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw local honey (great for preventing seasonal allergies)
  • ½ cup organic unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seed soaked 20+ minutes in 6 Tbsp. water
  • ½ cup to 1 cup wheat-free flour or arrowroot powder
  • 1 pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
  • ½ cup organic maca Powder
  • 1 cup organic oats
  • 1 cup organic nuts (your choice)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together. Bake at 325 to 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes in a greased  9×12 glass pan. Allow to cool, cut into squares, and enjoy!

Julie DeBord’s Bio:

Julie DeBord oversees the extraordinarily difficult task of managing the production and packaging of nearly all the products Mountain Rose Herbs has to offer! In addition to this, she oversees our tea and spice formulating and created many of our favorites including Herbal Coffee and Firefly Chai.

Erin’s Coconut Kettle Corn (modified by Robyn)

This healthier version of the classic kettle corn recipe will delight any sweet or salty craving. Virgin coconut oil adds a satisfying richness while a touch of sugar coats each kernel with a caramelized glaze. So good, you won’t miss the butter! Fun to make around the campfire after a day by the river or on the stovetop at home, this popcorn is an absolute crowd-pleaser.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup organic virgin coconut oil
  • ½ cup organic popping corn kernels
  • 1 tbsp organic, raw coconut sugar
  • fine sea salt to taste

Directions:

Melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large stock pot. Add the kernels and cover the pot with a lid. Be sure to shake the pot continuously over the flame to avoid burning. When the first kernel pops, add the sugar and cover the pot. Continue to shake the covered pot vigorously over the flame while the kernels pop. This will happen quickly! Once the popping slows down, remove from heat and keep covered until you no longer hear popping. Transfer your popcorn to a serving bowl and sprinkle with salt to your liking. Munch and enjoy!

Erin McIntosh’s Bio:

Erin McIntosh is the Communications Manager at Mountain Rose Herbs and a graduate of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies. She spends her days photographing flowers, concocting herbal treats, and wildcrafting plants in the magnificent Oregon Cascades. www.mountainroseblog.com

My boy makes green smoothies to impress hot girls

Last night my 18-year old son had some hot girls from his school over to…..wait for it….do a green smoothie demo. I mocked him pretty hard. Since he has never made a green smoothie in his life. I guess the hot girl asked him point-blank if he would make her a GS. (Shameful, yes, that I’ve not taught this to my kid. Until last night, they were always made FOR him. Don’t worry, though—he’s had lots of vacuuming and lawn mowing and other tasks under his belt. He does make salad.)

He nervously asked me to train him, before the actual demo event. He also shut me in my office when the kids got here, so I could not embarrass him by laughing at the idea of him demonstrating something he’s never done before. (Not that I would! Muahaha.)

He pulled it off and a gang of teenagers settled into watch The Rookie after their green smoothie initiation.

I should have mentioned a few days ago, for my soda-addicted friends, that if you really have to have a soda now and then, Zevia brand in health food stores is a much better alternative. It’s no superfood. But no artificial colorings or chemical sweeteners or sugars—just stevia sweetened. Carbonation isn’t good for your blood. But—many of the dangerous things I wrote about last week are NOT in the Zevia sodas.

Kristin is on the wagon right now. She promised her brother Todd she’d get off “the stuff.” (That would be Diet Pepsi.) She is drinking stevia-sweetened green tea in the late afternoon now, and she adds a spoonful of chia. This is helping her feel that her mouth has something to do.

Her mouth is used to being entertained by carbonation. So she has to find another party for her mouth. She says the funny little chewy chia seeds make her pretty happy.

If the “party in your mouth” is your reason to drink soda, maybe that’ll work for you.

A FISH STORY: the food, and the oil supplements

The debate over fish, and fish oil, is to me one of the most interesting ones in nutrition in its complexity. We have to ferret out, from the debate, the sophisticated marketing of the fish industry, which capitalized on emerging data 15 years ago that red meat is bad for us. (But fish is good for us, they clamored—and scrambled to provide “data” that this is so.)

Then we must evaluate the sources of fish, in a planet where virtually every waterway is highly contaminated and fish retain mercury at high levels off the coast of every continent. (Canned tuna is one of the most high-mercury foods you can find. I recommend you eliminate it from your diet.)

Then we have to look at farmed fish—even more problematic because they are fed ground-up fish pellets, made of guts and skin and bones. (Also chicken feces and genetically modified corn, soy, and canola oil.) These fish products, then, actually containconcentrated environmental pollutants.

Farmed fish is well documented to be higher in PCBs, dioxins, and other carcinogenic chemicals than wild fish. Most of the fish consumed by humans is now raised in farms. Wild “free range” fish eat plenty of toxins, too—but not concentrated in “fish pellets” like on the farms. Fish in farms are fed chemicals to make them pink rather than their natural grey color, are low in Omega 3’s due to their lack of a natural diet, and are given antibiotics at a higher rate than any other livestock!

And we have to look at the nonsense about fish oil. Does it really prevent heart disease? Everyone accepted this quickly as “settled science” mostly because a few data points were being repeated by so many doctors and so many supplement companies. But now we have 20 years of data and those who look at longitudinal trends know that fish oil has saved us from nothing.

What if a fish died and was floating in the water? Would you eat that fish’s flesh, or squeeze oil from it to eat, even 12 hours later? Of course you wouldn’t. It would be rancid. So says Dr. Brian Clement, N.M.D. and PhD, with whom I spoke in Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale. What if it sat for days, and then you deodorized and purified it, highly refined it, put it in gelatin capsules, and put it into distribution so it sat another several months before you ate it?

You’ve noticed that you burp up rancid fish oil taste for hours after you take yours? Rancid oils are carcinogens. The pharmaceutical companies that produce the vast majority of the fish-oil pills will pacify you by saying, “But we deodorize the oil.” Ah, so they use petroleum products, like coal tar, to mask the rancidity. I ask again, do you want to refine a fish-oil product and cover up the obvious signs that it is putrefied and not appropriate as food?

This is not an effective way to get Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet. Especially when there are perfect plant-food sources that don’t cause you to burp up rancid nasty.

Flax, chia, and hemp seeds are fabulous sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. I recommend having all three on hand. I love sprouted flaxseed to add to green smoothies. (I know of 28 anti-cancer compounds in flax. And this product is sprouted, which increases not only fiber, but also explodes vitamin and mineral content. Flax has 7x more lignans than the next-highest source—these compounds are highly breast-cancer protective.)

You get no fiber in your rancid fish oil caps. I really don’t think it’s a good source for anyone, of Omega 3’s. Save your money and eat some good whole foods instead:  greens have Omega 3’s in small but highly bio-available amounts.

And chia, flax, and hemp are perfect green smoothie ingredients, but I eat them in lots of ways:  roll raw cookies in them or put them in baked products. I love chia drinks from the health food store (one variety of Synergy kombucha is full of it). A spoonful of chia seed at night, chewed well and swallowed, and chased with a big glass of water, will fill up your stomach and get rid of your hunger.