Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Really Love Eggs!

I tend to go on and on about eggs. I try to buy cage-free eggs because they are so much healthier than factory production-line eggs (aka battery cages). I try to have my kids eat eggs everyday. We have them for lunch or breakfast. We also keep boiled eggs in the fridge that they can snack on. When I started my kids on the Weston A Price style, no processed foods diet, they were in the 25th percentile for height. A year later, seriously limiting processed foods, eating eggs instead of cold cereal, they have all shot up to the 75th percentile in height. Two of them also have asthma, and since changing our diet they rarely suffer from asthma attacks. (Less than 1 attack a year for the past two years.) I have no doubt that an improved diet has greatly improved their immune systems and helped their growth and development. Eggs are a healthy, quick and cheap way to improve your families diet.
"Although maligned in nutritional recommendations, eggs are the most nutritious and the least expensive protein source in the grocery store. At only 68 calories, one egg provides about 11 percent of your daily protein requirement. Eggs contain a variety of important nutrients including every vitamin, mineral and natural antioxidant that your body needs. (Those nutrients are enough to feed a growing chick so that it hatches healthy, but one egg is not enough for you to meet your daily requirement!) Studies at many major universities in the U.S. and abroad attest to the egg as an excellent source of protein. Many in the forefront of anti-aging research believe that moderate egg consumption of one per day should be an integral part of a complete anti-aging diet." (Fred Kummerow, PhD, Article: Protein: Building Blocks of the Body, Oct 04, 2011.)
Apparently cage-free eggs and free-range eggs may not be as superior as we thought. The terms "cage-free" and "free-range" do not necessarily mean that the hens will spend any time outdoors, eating or grazing upon a wide variety of natural foods such as grubs and greens. The term "cage-free" simply refers to hens that are not caged and are allowed to roam. Eggland's Best Eggs are advertised as "cage-free" and fed an "all-natural, all-vegetarian feed." This means no access to natural diet. The term "free-range" refers to hens that are allowed access to the outside but due to hen-raising practices and limited access this is quite unlikely. For the egg consumer, this is a problem. It seems we have few options. 1 - Raise hens for eggs. 2 - Purchase eggs locally from a family or farm with whose farming practices we are familiar. 3 - Purchase "pasture-raised" eggs.
"Not only do many people find these eggs to be much tastier, but there is accumulating evidence that the eggs from these hens have better nutritional profiles -- less cholesterol, less fat but more healthy Omega-3 fat, and more of other nutrients such as Vitamin A, lutein, vitamin E, and beta-carotene." (Article by Laura Dolson, "What Is A Cage-Free Egg," March 27, 2009.
Check out this blog on 'Why I Pay $7.50 for a Dozen Eggs." I usually say that these eggs are so much healthier (and tastier) than eggs in the grocery store that they are worth at least 3X as much. Do I plan on paying $7.50 for a dozen eggs? I certainly do not. I know two or three families in town who "pasture" their hens and sell eggs for about $2 a dozen. Until I can raise hens of my own I will support local agriculture! Ready to try more eggs in your diet? Here is one of our families favorite recipes using eggs:
Chilaquiles (Chee - la- kee- less) Ingredients: 10 old corn tortillas (stale or dried out) 1 can tomato sauce (8oz) 8 - 10 eggs 4 oz. shredded cheese (your choice) 1 Tablespoon butter, olive oil or coconut oil salt and pepper to taste. Tear up the tortillas into strips or small pieces. Fry the tortillas in the butter or oil, stirring over med-high heat until the edges are well toasted. Add the tomato sauce and the eggs. Stir until the eggs are cooked. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Top with cheese. Turn off heat and allow cheese to melt. Serve. This can be served with salsa and sour cream if desired. These are good with chorizo as well. There are many more ways to make chilaquiles online.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Go Green Smoothie Girl!

We are loving the Green Smoothie Girl smoothies these days. I just finished reading the Green Smoothies Diet by Robyn Openshaw, which is excellent. Even with all the free information on her website,, and all the free videos on You Tube, the book is a must read.

My husband and I started making the green smoothies to increase the greens and vegetables in our diet. Robyn notes that one of her full size adult green smoothies has about 15 servings of vegetables in it.

We already make Kefir smoothies at home several times a week so this was a great next step for us to add more whole foods to our diet. I bought a Vitamix blender at Costco last fall which I use for the smoothies, whole grain waffles and grinding my sprouted whole wheat. The cost of the blender was offset by my being able to toss the ice cream maker and the juicer. I like it better than my juicer because I know that in a smoothie my family is eating the whole vegetable and fruit, rather than just the juice. You save money on produce this way as well.

One of the things I love the most about the Green Smoothie Girl Diet, is that you can grow almost all of the vegetables you use in your smoothies! This year I am adding Kale, Collard Greens, Chard and such to our garden. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

So a few weeks ago when we began our Green Smoothie Girl diet, I made up the green smoothies in the Vitamix. Suddenly there were threee kids lined up around me with their cups out, ready for their smoothies! To get enough smoothie I let the smoothie overflow to about 100 or so ounces. The vitamix will hold it all when the lid is all the way on.

Here is what is in our smoothies:

We fill the vitamix with water up to the 3 cup line.

3/4 cup frozen broccoli
1 - 2 cups spinach
2 leaves each of Kale, Collard Greens, and Chard
1 whole carrot
several stalks of celery with leaves if possible
6 - 8 whole strawberries (with tops if available)
1 whole pear
1 pink lady apple
1 stem of aloe vera
1/4 of a whole lemon with peel
2 - 3 Tablespoons Agave Nectar
1 -2 bananas

Blend about 1 minute on high until smooth.
Usually the frozen broccoli prevents the need for
ice in our smoothies.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lacto-Fermented Vegetables

I know that several of my older relatives remember the days when pickling their vegetables was done in the lacto-fermented manner. There is a lot of information about lacto-fermentation of vegetables available online but the recipes remain basic.
The basic process of preserving fruits and vegetables through lacto-fermentation occurs when lactobacilli (lactic-acid producing bacteria, which are present on the surface of many living things including leaves and roots of plants growing near the ground.) convert the sugars and starches in fruits and vegetables into lactic-acid.

Lactic-acid is beneficial in many ways. It inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, enhances the digestibility of the fruits and vegetables, increases the level of vitamins, support the growth of healthy intestional flora, contains helpful enzymes and has anticarcinogenic and antibiotic substances. MicrobeWiki, says about lactobacilli "as natural GI microflora they are believed to perform several beneficial roles including immunomodulation, interference with enteric pathogens, and maintenance of healthy intestinal microflora."

A partial list of lacto-fermented vegetables from around the world is sufficient to prove the universality of this practice. In Europe the principle lacto-fermented food is sauerkraut. Described in Roman texts, it was prized for both its delicious taste as well as its medicinal properties. Cucumbers, beets and turnips are also traditional foods for lacto-fermentation. Less well known are ancient recipes for pickled herbs, sorrel leaves and grape leaves. In Russia and Poland one finds pickled green tomatoes, peppers and lettuces. Lacto-fermented foods form part of Asian cuisines as well. The peoples of Japan, China and Korea make pickled preparations of cabbage, turnip, eggplant, cucumber, onion, squash and carrot.
Korean kimchi, for example, is a lacto-fermented condiment of cabbage with other vegetables and seasonings that is eaten on a daily basis and no Japanese meal is complete without a portion of pickled vegetable. American tradition includes many types of relishes;corn relish, cucumber relish, watermelon rind;all of which were no doubt originally lacto-fermented products. The pickling of fruit is less well known but, nevertheless, found in many traditional cultures. The Japanese prize pickled umeboshi plums, and the peoples of India traditionally fermented fruit with spices to
make chutneys. (Nourishing Traditions:The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictorates by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. see

When preparing lacto-fermented foods, use very clean glass jars and lids and preferably organic, nutrient-rich vegetables. Imputies and lack of proper nutrients can result in spoilage. Salt is added to inhibit putrefying bacteria until the production of lactic-acid takes over. Whey is rich in lactic-acid bacteria and reduces the amount of time needed to produce a sufficient amount of lactic-acid for preservation. Using whey will produce more predictable resuls and is especially needed for preserving fruits.

Lacto-fermented fruits should be eaten within two months of preparation. Lacto-fermented vegetables, however, should improve with maturation. They will last for several months in cold storage. Some lacto-fermented products will be bubbly or have some foam on top. This is normal for lacto-fermentation and the foam can be spooned off.

Basic Lacto-Fermented Fruit and Vegetable Preparation

Peel, quarter and slice nurtient dense vegetables or fruit
Place in clean, glass jars (preferably wide-mouth)
Completely cover in solution of filtered water, sea salt and whey. (Per cup of water - add 1 Tablespoon sea salt (never iodized) and 4 Tablespoons whey. If you are not using whey use 2 Tablespoons sea salt.)
Add water to within 1" of top. Seal tightly with lid. Set in warm area (at least 72 degrees) for 2 - 3 days. (Longer if cooler and shorter if your temperature is higher.) Then store in cool, dark place.

You may have to use a weight to submerge some foods. Oxydation will harm your final product.

Whey (from yogurt)

1 quart of yogurt will produce about a pint of whey
(Line a strainer with cheesecloth, let yogurt drain whey into a bowl below, about 24 hours)

Whey (from kefir)

Let at least one cup milk culture with kefir for about 48 hours or until the culture separates. Strain as above.

Beet Kvass Recipe (by Sally Fallon and found at Nourished Magazine online)
This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are loaded with nutrients. One glass morning and night is an excelent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments. Beet kvass may also be used in place of vinegar in salad dressings and as an addition to soups.
•3 medium or 2 large organic beetroot, peeled an chopped up coarsely.
•1/4 cup whey made fresh from raw milk, leave raw milkon the bench it will turn to cheese and whey within a few days (if fresh whey is not available just add another tablespoon of sea salt)
•1 tablespoon sea salt
•filtered water
Place beetroot, whey and salt in a 2-quart glass container. Add filtered water to fill the container. Stir well and cover securely. Keep at rooom temperature for 2 days before transferring to refrigerator.

When most of liquid has been drunk, you may fill up the container with water and keep at room temperature another 2 days. The resulting brew will be slightly less strong than the first. After the second brew, discard the beets and start again. You may, however, reserve some of the liquid and use this as your inoculant instead of the whey.

Note: Do not use grated beetroot in the preparation of beet tonic. When grated, beets exude too much juice resulting in a too rapid fermentation that favors the production of alcohol rather than lactic acid.

Monday, June 29, 2009

EMFs and Health

I came accross an article in a local paper about electrical magnetic fields or EMFs and just had to post. I have heard something about EMFs before and live near power lines and have wondered about their safety. When we bought our home the builders gave us a lot of literature and studies proving and assuring us of the safety of living under power lines, but still we were not completely convinced.

This article has a quote from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences stating:
Electrical magnetic fields are areas of energy that surround electrical devices. Power lines, electrical wiring and appliances produce EMFs. Some people worry about EMF exposure and cancer. A few studies found a link between EMF exposure and a higher risk of childhood leukemia, but the link is weak. Other studies didn't find a link between EMF exposure and other childhood cancers. For adults, studies of EMF exposure from power lines and electric blankets show little evidence of a link to cancer. In adults, EMFs may reduce heart rate and interfere with brain electrical activity during sleep. This may or may not affect your health.

The stories that I have heard involve parents of special needs children, many with Autism or ADD/ADHD who have learned that their children show stress, hightened behavioral problems and/or health problems when exposed to EMFs within the home or when exposed to EMFs outside the home including WiFi and cellular phones or equipment. Some of these parents are going to great lengths, including remodeling or moving to provide a better environment for their children.

This article contains a rebuttal by an expert witness who gives us all something to think about. The witness is Cindy Sage, co-owner of Sage and Associates. Her testimony as quoted in the article says,
"There is very strong evidence of an increased risk of childhood leukemia, leukemia, brain hemmorage, Alzheimer's and ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease."

"Children with leukemia who go home to live within an EMF, their recovery is reduced."

Sage and Associates is based in California and in her testimony Sage notes that she has worked with 30 states and that her company has served as an expert witness in court cases.

She also notes that the power lines would have an EMF that could extend 200 to 300 feet outside of the right of way and that the risk of breast cancer and miscarriage is increased for those who live near an EMF.

(This information is taken from an article, dated, Monday, June 29, 2009, in the Standard-Examiner or online at

Online I found an interesting article that relates to this topic. It can be found at This article outlines some ways we can reduce EMFs in our homes, which likely would benefit us all.

Another interesting article is titled, "I'm allergic to modern living." It tells the story of a woman who apparently suffers with immediate physical reactions to EMFs. She notes that she can't even walk into a shop that offers free wifi without having a reaction. (see article.)

I wonder how much each of us and our children suffer with exposure to EMFs without being aware of the cause. With more and more schools, businesses, hotels and homes being wired and filled with each new technological device the danger of exposure will surely increase and we may show more symptoms with increased exposure.

In the story above the author notes that "Officially...electro-sensitivity (ES) does not exist as a medical condition. Doctors say there is little scientific evidence to back up a link between EMF and poor health. They claim the symptoms, often attributed to flu or viruses, are psychosomatic."

I think that when people have unexplained symptoms they must listen to their intuition and their bodies and find ways to combat the symptoms of modern living. EMF exposure and our bodies reactions to that exposure may be augmenting symptoms of another condition or they may be the source of that condition. Either way, we must follow our hearts to find a path to true health for ourselves and our families.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lacto-Fermented Salsa

Lacto-Fermented Salsa

5 -6 large tomatoes
2 -3 serrano peppers
1 clove garlic
¼ of an onion
½ cup finely chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon sea salt
Jalapeno pepper (optional)
3 Tablespoons whey
Lemon juice of ½ a lemon

Optional – Cooked salsa has a different taste than raw salsa. Grilling the peppers changes the taste of the peppers especially. This step is optional. You may choose to grill some of the peppers and not others.

Place tomatoes, peppers, garlic and onion on cookie sheet. Place under broiler. Broil until toasted. The garlic and onion should be removed first. Next, remove the tomatoes. The skin will split open. Lastly, remove the peppers after turning several times to toast all sides. Place the tomatoes and peppers in a plastic zipper bag until ready to use. This will help steam them and helps in removing the skin.

Finely chop garlic and onion, or blend in food processor or blend with motor and pestle.

Remove peel of tomatoes and peppers. If you have sensitive skin you may have to use gloves. Remove as much peel as possible. (If desired seed tomatoes and peppers.) Grind these with the garlic and onion.

If you are using any fresh peppers, remove seeds and finely chop or grind. Add cilantro. This can be ground or left chopped. Season salsa with salt, whey and lemon juice.

Stir well. Let sit out about 8 – 24 hours.

Fermented salsa has beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and is contains nutrients that are more easily digested than non fermented foods. This salsa can last for months when refrigerated.

After learning about cultured foods I spoke with my grandmother about this. She told me that her mother always left the salsa out overnight. She said that it allowed all the flavors to come together improving the taste of the salsa.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Kefir! More good news!

Recently I read a Thesis by Jillian Elizabeth Powell about Kefir titled, "Bacteriocins and Bacteriocin Producers Present in Kefir and Kefir Grains."

In the thesis the author notes that kefir is a symbiotic colony of yeasts and bacteria. She makes a list of the microorganisms commonly found in kefir, produced as the kefir multiplies. These microorganisms enter the milk during the fermentation process, where they continue to multiply. As I counted the list, there are 36 listed species and subspecies found in kefir, which may vary according to the strain and other criteria. The author notes kefir is anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-mycotic, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. Kefir is also filled with essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids. These can promote healing, cell growth and aid in the maintenance of the body functions resulting in increased energy. The proteins in kefir are partially digested and more easily utilized and when consumed, aid in digestion.

WOW! Thanks to this information, I will be serving up double-portions today! I have read countless testimonies of kefir and will add to them this new-found knowledge.

Update: My mother is now a kefir addict! I shared the culture with her and she started drinking it daily. Sometime later she has learned that if she misses 2 days in a row, her migrane headaches come back. She now drinks her kefir faithfully and is migrane-free! (This benefit has come with a dose of about 1/3 cup per day.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Going Native!

So our family began our changes into the world of native traditional foods about 1 1/2 years ago. We had very little income at the time so we have really changed gradually. Here is what we have done:

• We quit all cold cereal. Instead we eat eggs, sourdough hotcakes or biscuits, mexican food like chilaquiles or chorizo, breakfast burritos, yogurt or kefir, breakfast sandwiches or sprouted granola. We are working on sprouted oats or sprouted hot cereal. Sometimes I make cream of wheat and I soak it overnight. We eat this with sourdough toast and butter.

• We eat dozens of pastured eggs each week. Someday we hope to have our own chickens.

• We abstain from pasteurized meat and cheese. We try to buy grass fed, organic meats and raw dairy products. Usually these are not in our budget but we do buy them when possible. We hope to buy an upright freezer and then a whole beef or whole chickens from a trusted source.

• We made the switch from aluminum cookware to stainless steel and cast iron.

• We use whole milk and raw milk when possible. (We used to use 2%. We also abstain from powdered milk.)

• We culture our milk by adding kefir. We make and use it daily.

• We try new lacto-fermented foods.

• We make and use whey. (We make it from raw milk, yogurt or kefir.) We use it for soaking and for lacto-fermented foods.

• We use local well water.

• We ferment most of our bread products with sourdough. I even make noodles with sourdough. This helps break down the phytate. At this time I use white, unbleached flour from a local mill. Eventually I plan on purchasing a mill and using sprouted whole wheat in my breads.

• We gave up the sodas (mostly) and powdered drink mix and now make lacto-fermented soda, kombucha, and lemon-aid.

• We soak all our grains in water for about 3 days.

• We use coconut oil, palm oil, butter and lard for cooking and baking. We use extra virgin olive oil for foods that are not cooked. (Lard had been hard to find locally- a farmer I met will save it for me if I buy a pig. I would have to render it, which I have done before with what lard I have been able to get. I did find some organic rendered lard online. Also, sometimes I use whatever coconut oil is on the shelf at the local grocer. When funds allow I buy online in bulk (and on sale).

• We use organic maple syrup. We used to buy it at Costco, but they no longer offer organic, so we purchase it online from farms. I usually search out the cheapest. We use grade B- we like the syrupy taste and it is usually cheaper. Eventually I plan to purchase maple sugar. I also would like to use Date sugar. (Back in Indio, we used to go to the Date Gardens for their super -delicious date shakes made with date sugar.)

• We still use white sugar. (In water kefir.) I use agave nectar on occasion. In all our kefir and sourdough recipes we use raw honey. We use a little stevia. We are trying to minimize the sweets and still use white sugar in moderation.

• We supplement our diet with Cod Liver Oil. We also have high vitamin butter oil but it tastes in-edible so next time we will buy the capsules.

• We try not to buy snacks and to make most things from scratch.

This is about it. We plant a garden and grow our own foods. I try to plant those things we use the most such as, tomatoes, lettuce and melons. We also try to buy from local farmers and at the farmers markets. We also have a family rule that when eating with other families we eat whatever they have served and we do likewise when eating out.

When we first started this diet my two youngest children we under the 50th percentile in height. Since then, they have all shot right up. I was surprised that both of my two little ones are now at the 65th percentile in height. I told them, after reading Nurturing Traditions that 'butter makes you grow!'. My oldest son, now 9, pointed this out on our home growth chart. "Look at how much we've grown since changing our diet!" The gaps in growth were obviously much larger. It's hard to see the benefits of healthy living when everyone is healthy, so this observation really pleased me.