Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Natural Remedy For Sore Throat

Having a sore throat? Try this effective homemade remedy for sore throat instead of taking antibiotics and pills.

  • lemons
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
  • honey

Cut up a couple of lemons and put them into the jar. Fill half of the jar. Then grate the ginger into the jar, and over this mixture slowly pour the honey to settle between all the lemon pieces. Keep the jar in the fridge and wait until the mixture turns into jelly.


Take a spoonful of the jelly and add it in hot water. You can drink this tea whenever you have a sore throat.

This homemade remedy is good for 3 months and it is recommended for all ages.

Gluten Intolerant? You May Just Be Intolerant of Monsanto Weed Killer

Scientists suggest that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide is what’s making people have such a nasty reaction to gluten

Gluten has been a major news item for the last few years—not just for sufferers of acute gluten intolerance and celiac disease, but for increasing numbers of people who are seeking to eliminate gluten from their diet for general health issues, weight control, skin health and even mood. As cholesterol and the carbs once were, gluten is the new enemy, to the point that some have claimed it’s a substance that the body isn’t equipped to handle.

I’ve even heard people blame gluten for all of the ails of modern civilization: After all, the cultivation of wheat, some say, is the birth of agriculture, and the ownership of crops goes hand in hand with the ownership of people that characterizes patriarchal, hierarchical civilization. Bread and beer, both products of wheat, people like Terence McKenna have suggested, are responsible for our generally degenerate state.

But all over-the-top speculation aside, a new scientific review has suggested a far more specific problem with gluten: And it has nothing to do with wheat itself.

Rather, the peer-reviewed article “Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance” suggests that the real criminal isn’t gluten but, rather, Glyphosate, AKA Roundup, the Monsanto-manufactured weedkiller used around the world. Glyphosate is sprayed on crops genetically engineered to be “Roundup Ready,” meaning that the crops resist the poison, while any nearby weeds are immediately killed. But that potentially leaves the end-product consumer with two toxic vectors to deal with: not only the Roundup that was sprayed on the crops, but, in some cases, the prior genetic engineering done to the crops themselves.

The review abstract lists the following allegations:

• 5% of the population in North America and Europe suffer from celiac disease and gluten intolerance, leading to nausea, diarrhea, rashes, macrocytic anemia (swollen red blood cells combined with lack of red blood cells overall) and depression. It can also lead to increased risk for thyroid disease, kidney failure, cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, infertility, birth defects and miscarriages.

• Glyphosate is the key culprit for all of this.

• Fish exposed to glyphosate get symptoms similar to celiac disease.

• Glyphosate impairs the enzymes that detox environmental toxins, chelates key minerals (meaning you don’t absorb them), depletes key amino acids

• Glyphosate is often used to artificially “ripen” crops, which the study blames for kidney failures in Central American sugar cane workers.

Bad news for Monsanto, especially after the recent kerfluffle over the prior, extremely controversial Seralini study on glyphosate. Because very little negative research has been done into Glyphosate (because, as activists allege, Monsanto funds nearly all the studies into Glyphosate), it’s been slow going in building a case against Roundup. But this information—which looks much more sound than the Seralini study—may prove yet another arrow in Monsanto’s side.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Becoming a Vegetarian: 7 Foods Your Body Needs If You Stop Eating Meat

By now, we all know that eating rib eye and pork chops isn’t good for our bodies or the environment. It’s an individual choice to go completely vegetarian, but many Americans are cutting back: From 2007 to 2012, American meat consumption plummeted by 12 percent. It’s recommended that protein make up 10 to 35 percent of our daily caloric intake. Essential amino acids, commonly consumed through meat and eggs, are necessary for digestion, growth, and body tissue repair. Having enough vitamin B12 proves even more difficult for herbivores: Important for energy conversion, the vitamin is mainly found in red meat and fish.

So how do we satisfy these nutritional needs without eating meat?


Packed with flavor, this Middle Eastern dip kicks plain old chickpeas up a notch. Not only is it a low-cholesterol protein source; hummus has tons of fiber too. Most grocery stores carry a few ready-made varieties, but with some basic ingredients—tahini, olive oil, lemon, and garlic—it’s also easy to whip up in the kitchen.


Think of it as fermented, healthier tofu. Although tempeh is not as popular as its soy-based protein sister, in Indonesia it dates back to the 19th century. Having three times the amount of protein of tofu, it also contains vitamin B12, an essential nutrient for metabolism usually found in animal products.

Greek Yogurt

Thanks to the recent craze, Greek yogurt no longer carries the sad “food diet” rep. (Really, how healthy can all that added sugar be?) It has a creamier consistency, twice the protein, and half the carbs of regular yogurt. Opt for the plain type, of course, and add your favorite fruits for a tasty snack.


Served as an appetizer in Japanese restaurants, edamame are a great source of protein. Don’t let the unfamiliar name fool you: Edamame are basically soybeans harvested just before ripening. They’re cheap, are easy to prepare (boil in water, and add a sprinkle of salt), and can be found in most freezer aisles. Feeling adventurous? Mix these baby soybeans in a stir-fry or a bowl of udon. 

Hemp Seeds

Chewy and nutty, hemp seeds are a perfect addition to yogurt and oatmeal. Unlike flaxseeds and chia seeds, they contain all of the essential amino acids—ideal for vegetarians and vegans.


Omega-3 fatty acids have many benefits, such as lowering risk for heart disease and cancer, and most people get their fix mainly through fish. But how do fish have so much of the good stuff, anyway? By eating seaweed. Many coastal communities have long relied on and consume it on a regular basis. And with seaweed’s growing popularity in the United States, many supermarkets already stock their aisles with the nutritious vegetable.


Sure, we’re all a little tired of hearing about the magical seed that is quinoa. That doesn’t make it any less wonderful. Cooked right, quinoa makes a great, fluffy substitute for carby grains like rice and oats. It’s packed with manganese, zinc, and iron, minerals more commonly consumed through shellfish. Also, it’s fun to say: kee-no-wah.
[via takepart]

Friday, February 21, 2014

Orange – Star among the Healing Fruits

Botanically, orange is a citrus fruit that belongs to the family Rutaceae of the genus citrus (which includes: pomelo, mandarin orange and grapefruit). The scientific name of the orange is Citrus sinensis.

Oranges are originated from Asia, from where they are widespread over the world.

Orange is a tropical to subtropical green tree growing in height from 5 to 8 meters. It gives fruits that have diameter of approximately 8 inches and weighing 100 to 150 grams every year. Oranges are classified into two categories: sweet and bitter.

Once oranges were very expensive and people have consumed them just for the Christmas dinner. Today, fortunately, oranges are widespread. Orange is known as curative fruit from the old days, and in Ancient Greece was called the God of fruits.

More than a hundred varieties of orange are used in the world. U.S. is the biggest producer of oranges in the world.

Orange is considered as one of the most healing fruits in the world and the most popular type of oranges are the red and the orange. The healing properties of the orange are so broad that voluminous book can be written. It is created for the winter, because they have power to perform detoxification of the body from toxins and to protect against colds.

Nutritional value and medical application

  • Orange as well as other citrus fruits, is an excellent source of vitamin C (providing about 60 percent of the recommended daily dose). Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Consuming foods rich in vitamin C helps the body to develop resistance to infectious agents, and also collects the harmful, inflammatory free radicals from the blood.
  • Oranges are rich in various nutrients. It is low calorie fruit, does not contain saturated fats or cholesterol, but it is rich with fiber and pectin, which are extremely useful for people with obesity. Pectin serves as a natural laxative and thus helps in the prevention of the lining of the colon by reducing the time of exposure to toxic substances, as well as bonding with carcinogenic substances in the colon. Pectin also lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood by reducing the reabsorption of bile acids in the colon.
  • Oranges are a good source of vitamin B group, such as thiamine, pyridoxine and folate. These vitamins are essential in the sense that the body must get them from external sources to supplement the supplies.Orange Fruit
  • Oranges contain several types of phytochemicals. Hesperetin and naringenin are flavonoids that are found in citrus fruits. Naringenin has bioactive effects on human health as antioxidant. It is convener of free radicals, has anti-inflammatory properties and serves as a modulator of the systemic immune system. In numerous studies was shown that this substance reduces the injuries incurred as a result of oxidation of DNA in cells.
  • Orange peel serves as a stimulant to the nervous system, as an asset for stimulating intestinal cleaning, reducing temperature and against intestinal parasites.
  • Oranges also contain a small amount of vitamin A, and other flavonoid antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein. It appears that all these compounds have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is also required to maintain the health of skin and mucous membrane and is crucial for good vision. Consuming the fruit naturally rich with flavonoids helps the body to protect from lung cancer and cancer of the oral cavity.
  • Oranges contain healthy amounts of minerals, such as potassium and calcium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids and helps in the regulation of the blood and the heart function.
Citrus fruits, as such, has long been considered extremely valuable because of their expressed nutritious and antioxidant properties. It is scientifically proven that citrus fruit, especially oranges, because of the abundance of vitamins and minerals, have a positive impact on your health.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Detergent-Free All Purpose Surface Cleaner, DIY Style

This all purpose surface cleaner recipe solves a few problems. First and foremost, it gets things clean and kills germs. But even more appealing, is that it’s free from the harsh chemicals found in all those commercial cleaning products.

It would be great if some scientists could study whether or not fragrances and detergents are addictive. Particularly those found in household cleaning products. Up until the last century, a clean home smelled like vinegar. Lemons. Herbs and oils. But now, it’s that lingering detergent scent and the artificial fragrances that so many people feel are essential to making sure our homes are safe and clean. But nothing could be further from the truth. 

Detergents and artificial fragrances pose serious health risks to your family and the environment. They’re more expensive than they need to be (or should be). And, they’re totally unnecessary.

While it may take some time to break yourself from the expectation of a clean home smelling like bleach or Comet, be assured that the transformation is a liberating one.

Take back your home, and make it clean with this simple recipe for an all-purpose surface cleaner, DIY and au natural style. This recipe is excellent for kitchen counters, sinks, tubs, toilets, faucets and even walls. It’s not ideal for wood floors or furniture, as the alcohol can be drying out and pull off any finish.

What you need
  • 2 cups warm water
  • ¼ cup white vinegar (or a citrus vinegar)
  • 3 tablespoons rubbing alcohol or vodka
  • 2 teaspoons liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
  • 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil. Recommendations include lemon, lemongrass, sweet orange, grapefruit, lavender, basil and tea tree oil. Mix as you like or stick with one scent.

Mix all ingredients into a large spray bottle and shake well. Spray onto surfaces and clean with a soft rag or towel. No need to rinse the mixture off with water.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

8 Most Common Food Allergies and the Foods to Avoid

Food allergies are common, especially among children, and they range in severity. So if something feels off, it may be more than a mood swing. Perhaps what you are eating is contributing to your low energy levels, persistent stomach pain or a recurring rash. Here are 8 foods to avoid if you think you may have a food allergy.

Any food can be allergenic, depending on the individual. If your body develops antibodies that cannot process certain elements, usually a type of protein of a certain food, then your immune system will react, causing all sorts of uncomfortable symptoms. Even something as harmless as a piece of fruit could be allergenic.

The US Food and Drug Administration lists these 8 ingredients that contribute to some 90 percent of all food allergies. Try eliminating the following top-8 allergenic foods, one at a time, to weed out the culprit. They are foods to avoid if you feel like something you are eating may be causing your body to adversely react. Minimize or avoid the guilty suspect once you uncover it.

1. Milk

The most common among children and infants, milk allergy, is an immune reaction to the milk protein casein. This is different than lactose intolerance, which is when the inability to digest lactose, which is found in milk. Many people have a milk allergy and don’t even realize it, because milk is such a mainstay in most people’s diets and we are often conditioned to look at it as a health food.

2. Eggs

Also a very common ailment, egg allergies are more common children. However, it can continue into adulthood. Those with an egg allergy have antibodies that react to one of the four hen egg proteins inherent in the egg white: ovomucoid, ovalbumin, ovotransferrin and lysozyme. Egg yolk allergies are more common among adults. Children often grow out of their allergy. If only allergic to the egg white or egg yolk exclusively, you may be able to opt for the other. Some people are sensitive to egg in all its forms – raw, easy, or over-easy – while others only exhibit an allergic reaction when an egg is in its raw state.

3. Peanuts

Recently, experimental therapy has allowed children with peanut allergies to eat nuts. This highly-controlled study fed children small amounts of peanut flour to the point that they were able to eat a handful of nuts without trouble. While the results are promising, please don’t try this at home! Peanut allergies affect 1/50 children around the world, mostly in high-income countries. It is the most common cause of fatality due to an allergic reaction. The exact cause of a peanut allergy is unknown and may be connected to prenatal diet.

4. Tree Nuts

Like peanuts, which is a legume, tree nuts too can also incite allergic reactions. Approximately 9 percent of children with a tree nut allergy will grow out of it. Tree nuts include walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, chestnuts, macadamia nuts and Brazil nuts.

5. Fish

The most common finned fish allergies are salmon, tuna and halibut. The majority of those who are allergic to one kind of fish are often allergic to another one. Some unexpected sources of fish include Caesar salad and dressing, Worcestershire sauce, bouillabaisse, imitation or artificial fish, meatloaf, barbecue sauce, and caponata. More common than a fish allergy, however, is an adverse reaction to fish consumption due to toxins and parasites.

6. Shellfish

Shellfish are often thrown under the “fish” category, but are actually in a realm of their own. The main shellfish allergen is tropomyosin. Ingredients added during processing can also cause adverse reactions. A shellfish allergy can be fatal, so tread carefully.

7. Soy

Soy allergy tends to happen in early childhood. Fifty percent of the time, though, children will outgrow it by age 7. While soy is often painted as a healthy vegan protein, soybeans can be toxic and are heavily processed. They also can cause allergic reactions, especially among children. Sources of soy include edamame, miso, natto, shoyu, soy-based products (yogurt, mock meat, ice cream, milk, sprouts, cheese, and grits), soya, soybean curd, soybean granules, soy sauce, tamari, tempeh, and tofu.

8. Wheat

Also most prevalent among children, wheat allergy often persists into adolescence. Wheat allergy occurs in those who have developed a specific antibody to one or more proteins in wheat, which include albumin, globulin, gliadin, and gluten.

The Truth About Soy and Tofu

I cook for a mostly dairy-free family, and when I browse for recipes for creamy dishes without the dairy, I often come across some that rely on soy-based foods such as tofu. They sound tempting, but despite the convenience, I rarely eat unfermented soy.

For the uninitiated, soy falls into two broad categories, fermented and unfermented. Unfermented soy includes soy milk, soy nuts, tofu and soy infant formula; fermented soy includes tamari, miso, natto, tempeh, pickled tofu and various fermented pastes used in a variety of Asian cooking techniques. Knowing the difference will help you navigate recipes — and understand why I avoid the unfermented kind. Here's my rationale:

1. Soy is generally genetically modified.
There are a lot of good reasons to avoid genetically modified foods, and soy is one of the most common crops to be genetically modified. Somewhere upwards of 90 percent of the soybean crop is genetically modified. If you want to avoid GMOs, than you will need to avoid most soy products. (I buy organic soy sauce/tamari and natto, for this reason).

2. Unfermented soy contains high amounts of anti-nutrients
Unfermented soy includes anti-nutrients, such as phytate, which can literally block your body from absorbing nutrients. While soy milk may be high in calcium, the anti-nutrients in it can mean that you don’t get the benefits. You can read some of the research I did on the subject of the anti-nutrient, phytic acid.

3. A diet heavy in soy could lead to hormonal imbalances (which could lead to hormonal-driven cancers)

When I first started researching anti-cancer diets years ago, I read a book by a doctor who researched and conducted trials in prevention of breast cancer. One of the chapters in his book presented the sometimes confusing and conflicting research on soy and breast cancer. According to him, too much soy seems to increase your chances of getting breast cancer, and just a little soy in your diet increases it as well. According to him, you had to get the perfect medium in the middle for anti-cancer effects. Good luck on that.

Since then, other research has continued to feed concern regarding soy and cancer. Just one example out of many is a study that showed that women who start to eat soy as adults may derail their cancer treatment. Soy contains isoflavones that mimic estrogen, which some research says is helpful in preventing hormone-driven cancers, while other research shows it can increase your chances of getting cancer. Using soy to prevent cancer is a gamble since there are so many conflicting conclusions from studies.

So what to eat?
I personally follow the Weston A Price Foundation’s guidelines for eating soy. I only eat organic soy (to avoid pesticides and GMOs) and fermented soy (to reduce anti-nutrients) in small amounts. I enjoy tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), miso, natto, and every once in awhile, tempeh.

If you're interested in reading more about these topics, check out these resources, which I found helpful:

Farmacology: What Business Can Learn From Sustainable Farming

Medical and business communities can take surprising lessons from farming and improve employee well-being and productivity.

Frustrated that conventional medicine had little to offer many of her patients, Daphne Miller, a practicing physician and professor of family medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, decided to take a look at how human health is affected by other natural systems. This led her on a journey of family farms, where she wandered through henhouses, carted produce, and dug in the dirt.

Miller's findings, gathered in her book, transformed her thinking about stress, resilience to disease, and how a systems thinking approach in the medical community could save money and enhance people's health. The lessons she found hold insights for the health of business too. Can companies use the vital signs of farms to measure their own well-being? And how do externalities help drive greater sustainability?

Why should a doctor think like a farmer?

Agriculture has everything to do with medicine. In fact, I've come to see the divisions between the two disciplines as mostly artificial and arbitrary, and am now convinced that a farm internship should be a required part of medical training, and vice versa.

First, there's the direct connection between the farms where our food is grown and our bodies. Many of us are familiar with the headline-catching links between industrial farming and our physical health: superbugs spawned on large-scale dairies and cattle operations that threaten to infect us, or the chemical runoff that contaminates our drinking water. But beyond these issues, we pay little attention to how decisions made on a farm, [for instance] the choice of seed [or] soil management, positively or negatively affect our bodies.

My time spent learning from farmers and researchers has made me think beyond food as medicine to farm as medicine. I've learned how healthy soil can produce a healthy immune system, how microbes on the farm can communicate with our resident microbes – our microbiome – how certain grazing practices can produce food that stress-proofs our nervous system, how the terroir in which an herb is grown can influence its medicinal value, or how inner-city farming delivers unexpected health benefits to the surrounding community.

I also discovered that farming at its best offers a radically new way to think about health and healing. For example, the integrated pest management approach used by a winery in Sonoma gave a group of oncology researchers a more ecological way to understand and treat cancer.

Of two organic egg farms, you say that the one with higher production is the less sustainable. What does this tell us about hidden costs?

The farms taught me how we value short-term productivity at the expense of overall health. The conventional egg farm has higher laying rates and the hens produce larger eggs than the neighboring pasture-based egg farm. But when you take a whole host of factors into account, such as egg taste and quality, market price, fossil fuel inputs, worker health, hen health and environmental health, you realize that pasture-raised is the healthier, more sustainable option.

I often see this thinking applied to human productivity. Many of my patients work for companies where the work ethic is one of intense competition, with 60-80-hour work weeks, all in the name of greater annual profits. They tell me they rarely take vacations and wouldn't dream of exercising during their lunch break, as that would be interpreted as a lack of dedication to their job.

These patients mortgage their health in order to maximize their work performance and their revenue; they pull all-nighters, skip meals, eat food that offers fuel but few nutrients, use caffeine to stay awake and then alcohol to go to sleep, and rarely move their bodies except to hop on a plane or walk from desk to car. This approach is not sustainable and eventually leads to chronic health problems, including high blood pressure and blood sugar, weight gain, depression, anxiety and sleep apnea.

Not surprisingly, newer research is showing that this is as unhealthy for businesses as it is for individuals. Maximally taxing employees translates into lower work performance and, in the long term, less financial success.

You make an analogy between factory farming and factory medicine. What are the implications for managing healthcare costs?

Eighty percent of health expenditures in the US are spent within the four walls of a medical institution, and they are spent treating disease. This is consistent with the factory model: consolidate and streamline your efforts for maximal impact. But farm health and human health are not just a matter or treating disease, just as business health is not just a matter of tackling problems. I would argue that in all these sectors our money is much better spent on nurturing our environment – our air, our soil, our social institutions, our educational resources – than on fixing end-stage problems.

You say your farm odyssey gave you a new understanding of "vital signs". Can you explain?

I was fascinated to learn what farmers consider the "vital signs" of a healthy farm ecology: diversity, synergy, and redundancy.

Diversity means not just variability in crops, but also in the populations of microbes and other life forms on the land. Synergy – the whole being greater than the sum of the parts – is why a given farm's success cannot be predicted simply by looking at its discrete components. Redundancy, or self-sameness, describes the emergence of specific designs within each organism and throughout an entire ecosystem. Recurring patterns are a sign of a system's resilience: in the event of a failure, one part can provide backup.

These vital signs – diversity, synergy, and redundancy – are rarely discussed within medicine, but I now see them as helpful ways to describe a healthy human. My friends in business who've read Farmacology tell me that these same vital signs have given them a useful way to assess the health of their company.

Judith D Schwartz is the author of Cows Save the Planet and Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth. More information on Daphne Miller's book, Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us about Health & Healing, can be found here.

Kale, That Special Someone


Finding that special someone is not an easy task. You may try out all different types before you settle on one, if you settle at all! This Valentine’s Day treat yourself (and possibly a romantic partner) to your favorite type of kale. There’s more than one you ask? Yes, yes my friends, there is more than one type of kale. Each type is exactly how we like ‘em – rich, health conscious, and the talk of the town.

Curly Kale: At the top of the popularity chain, it’s known for its distinct qualities. A little ruffled around the edges, but easy to chop when fresh. Some like ‘em younger, and we can’t blame them! The older they get the more bitter to the taste. Yeah, you can say that again.

Lacinato Kale (aka Dinosaur Kale): Don’t be turned off by the slightly wrinkly and firm touch. It is sweeter and more delicate than the curly kind, and holds its texture even after a match with the frying pan! These dark blue-green leaves may be the match for you.

Red Russian Kale: It’s always blushing, but can you blame it? Its red and purple leaves are often described as sweet, yet mild, with a bit of peppery-ness. Be sure to avoid its stem though. Unless you’re looking for a stomach ache – it’s hard to swallow!

Redbor Kale: Last but not least, is the most colorful of the bunch. Known for its looks, the deep red and purple leaves make for a great trophy plant! Yes it is edible, but it doesn’t hurt to sit and stare at each other before bringing out the cutting board.

Be sure to test out each type before making any hasty decisions. You’ll never know what you’re missing out on, unless you step out of your comfort zone! KALE UP!
[via WPRawl]

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Top 9 Health Benefits of Ginseng

Ginseng (Panax) is the name of the genus to which it belongs eleven species of medicinal plants. While in Europe the most famous Chinese ginseng, species of this genus grow in Korea, Vietnam, Siberia and the United States. Most widespread are three types of ginseng – Asian ginseng, called the devil bush (Panax ginseng), American (Panaxquinquefolius) and Siberian ginseng (Panaxsenticocus – Eleutherus).

The Power of Root:

  • Active ingredients of ginseng roots have a number of beneficial effects on the body – from stimulation of the immune system by lowering blood sugar and bad cholesterol.
  • Ginseng has a strong anti-stress effect.
  • Ginseng is used to reduce high cholesterol levels
  • Helps to reduce tension, anxiety and fear
  • Ginseng improves memory and accelerates the understanding and adoption of new knowledge.
  • Used for greater strength and durability.
  • Ginseng works successfully on sexual desire and falls into the category of natural aphrodisiacs.
  • Also ginseng is used for reducing the harmful effects of radiation. Furthermore, it was confirmed that the Russians use Siberian ginseng in the application of chemotherapy with very good effects, especially when it comes to recovery of bone marrow after transplantation.
  • Studies about this plant has shown excellent results in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

This Miraculous Root:

  • Increases energy levels
  • Effective against chronic fatigue
  • Reduces stress
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Prevents many diseases
  • Reduces blood sugar and bad cholesterol
  • Improves comprehension, memory and concentration
  • Acts as a natural aphrodisiac
  • Improves strength and endurance

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Newbies Guide to Fermenting

Lacto-fermented vegetables are cultured vegetables. You've probably heard of sauerkraut, kim chi, and sour dill pickles, right? These are all forms of lacto-fermentation. Many people use whey as a starter but it is not necessary given you use enough salt. You can also make salt-free cultured vegetables without whey as long as you use some sort of acid, such as lemon juice, to prevent spoilage before the lactobacilli take over. Making your own lacto-fermented veggies is so easy that once you start you'll be hooked!

Traditionally lacto-fermentation was used to preserve the harvest and store vegetables for the winter. If you have a garden full of cabbage, cauliflower, beets, carrots, and green beans and don't know how to store them all, consider making a few batches of lacto-fermented vegetables. These veggies can be stored in your refrigerator for months....if they don't get eaten first!

Lacto-fermented vegetables provide a viable source of probiotics (at a cost well below most supplements) to heal and maintain a healthy gut. These beneficial microorganisms attach to receptors in our guts that send a signal to the immune system that says everything is okay, no need to overreact to foods and other things entering the gut, let's keep everything calm. If you are dealing with multiple allergies, chances are your gut is out of balance and is in need of a daily dose of beneficial microorganisms. These crispy, sour, salty vegetables are highly addicting and an easy, economical way to maintain a healthy gut. These vegetables are also important to include daily if you are following our Elimination Diet.

Lacto-Fermented Vegetables

We've tried fermenting all types of different vegetables. We have fun creating different flavors, some spicy and some not. Our current flavor addiction is beet-basil-dill-carrot-garlic. All of these vegetables combined in one jar is out of this world good....even if you thought you didn't like beets! I have tried using a salt brine made up from anywhere between 1 to 2 tablespoons of sea salt per 2 cups of water. I find that 2 tablespoons is too salty and slows down fermentation, so use anywhere between 1 and 1 1/2 tablespoons. It is very important that you use filtered water for all fermentation. Chlorine in water is great for keeping our water supply clean but not so good for allowing beneficial bacteria to grow and not so good for our guts and overall health.

1 glass quart jar with a plastic lid 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt 2 cups filtered water

Any Combination of Raw Organic Vegetables chopped cauliflower chopped beets chopped carrots chopped green beans chopped bell peppers sliced radishes sliced daikon sliced cucumbers chopped turnips chopped broccoli chopped kale chopped onions chopped green onions chopped garlic cabbage leaves (for the top)

Any Combination of Herbs and Spices dried chili peppers black peppercorns bay leaf fresh dill fresh basil fresh tarragon fresh mint sea vegetables (arame or hijiki) - use less salt if using these

First dissolve your sea salt in water in a glass jar or 2-cup glass measure. Then place you favorite combination of vegetables into a quart jar (you can use a larger cylindrical jar or ceramic crock instead, just double or triple the salt brine keeping the same ratio of salt and water). Add a few layers of herbs and spices too. I prefer to keep the peppercorns in the first layer, on the bottom of the jar, so they don't float to the top. Make sure you leave about an inch from the top of the jar.

Then cover with your salt brine, leaving about an inch to a half inch from the top. Fold a small cabbage leaf and press it into the brine so the water floats above it and the vegetables are completely submerged. Cover with a plastic lid (it is best not to use metal as the salt and acids can corrode it, though I have used them occasionally if that is all I have). Screw the lids on tightly. After day 2 or 3 begin to "burp" your jars once or twice daily to let excess gasses escape. You can do this by unscrewing the lid just enough to hear the gasses release and then quickly tightening it back up. You should see a bit of bubbling and some liquid possibly dripping out after about day three, depending on the heat level in your home. I like to place my jars into some sort of container, like a rectangular Pyrex dish, to catch any drips. Set your jars in an undisturbed place in your kitchen out of direct sunlight. I like to store mine on top of my refrigerator.

You can taste the veggies after about five days to see how soured they are. I prefer to let mine ferment for about 7 to 8 days in the winter and 5 to 6 days in late summer. I have also let them ferment for 10 or more days. Just experiment, there is no exact science with fermentation. After your veggies are soured to your liking place the jar (or jars) into your refrigerator where they will store for months.

Use your vegetables to top cooked quinoa, beans, and chopped leafy greens. Serve them atop grilled fish or chicken. Serve them with scrambled eggs for breakfast. I like to add them to salmon or chicken salads made with mayonnaise. And try to restrain yourself from eating the whole jar in one may be a little too much salt all at once! You can also whisk some of the leftover brine with olive oil, a squirt of dijon mustard, and a dash of honey for a probiotic salad dressing!

Organic Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I have curated a wide variety of the best and most interesting organic gift ideas that I could find.

And it just so happens that they come from many of my favorite organic companies.


Having daily access to One Lucky Duck is reason enough to live in NYC.

But not to worry if you don’t live here because One Lucky Duck has you covered. They will ship your Valentine a box of organic, gluten-free, vegan, raw cookies, brownies, and chocolate to anywhere in the country.

The box comes wrapped in pink and red tissue paper and is tucked into a sexy black gift box embossed with a silver duck, complete with red or pink ribbon.

This gift set comes in two sizes, mini love box or big love box, and can be purchased online by clicking here.


Wanting to give someone a Valentine’s Day gift of mental and physical clarity through nothing but juice?

If so, Suja, one of the best pressed organic juice companies in the country, is offering Living Maxwell readers 20% off their 3-day cleanse.

This person will be filling their body with USDA certified organic, Non-GMO Project Verified bottles of goodness, all packed with tons of vitamins and nutrients.

To order this cleanse, click here and use the code VDAY20 at check-out to receive the 20% discount. This offer will be good until the end of the month.


Katie Hess, founder of the Lotus Wei, wants to help rejuvenate and nourish that someone special in your life with her amazing flower essences.

Handpicked from wild-harvested flowers grown in the most pristine conditions around the world, these flowers are infused into flower elixirs, mists, serums, and eco-friendly perfumes for mood-elevating experiences.

Personally, I use Joy Juice and Infinite Love, and think they’re spectacular. Many other people, including Dr. Andrew Weil and Johnny Depp, are also big fans.

To browse the large collection of honey elixirs, aromatic mists, and luscious oils, click here.


From February 10th to 13th next week, Sakara Life, the fantastic organic food delivery service in NYC, is offering a special 4-Day LOVE CLEANSE designed to cleanse, tone, and rejuvenate your body. Here’s what you’ll be getting with this package:

* 4 days of ready-to-eat meals that will fill you with love & light
* Special 25% off of specially selected Fluer du Mal lingerie pieces
* Sakara community class led by top yoga teacher and author Elena Brower
* 2 exercise classes of your choice at any of Fitist’s participating studios
* Daily pieces of Lulu’s raw chocolate made of the finest organic ingredients
* Sakara LOVE notes

Click here for pricing and more information. This package is only available for NYC residents.


When you talk about innovative products in the organic industry, Vermont Soap Organics is always at the top of the list.

And the company delivers another one with its Choco-Luscious Skin Smoothie.

This 100% organic product is made with coconut oil, cocoa butter, beeswax, and rosemary extract, and will leave your Valentine’s skin feeling smooth and moisturized but not greasy.

To order Choco-Luscious Skin Smoothie, click here and enter the code chocomax at checkout to receive a 15% discount.


From the internationally-known organic tea company, Løv Organic, comes a special mellow blend called Løv is Beautiful.

This enticing blend uses white tea, green tea, and green rooibos, and contains two crucial allies in the fight to preserve your skin’s looks, antioxidants and zinc.

To purchase Løv is Beautiful, click here. Shipping is available to more than 100 countries around the world.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Natural Effect

Check out the new Only Organic Campaign! The organic seal indicates that food has been grown in ways that has passed nature’s own test for being good for you and good for nature.

In this hilarious video "The False Advertising Industry" reveals the shocking truth about what is allowed in "Natural" food. As a reminder to not be convinced otherwise, only the USDA Organic Seal guarantees your food contains no Genetically Modified Organisms, no toxic pesticides, and no growth hormones or antibiotics

Food labels that claim a food is "natural" may not guarantee that food is good for you or for nature. In fact, many so-called "natural" foods contain the toxic chemical pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and genetically engineered ingredients that are harming people and the planet. Only the organic seal guarantees that food is being made in ways that Mother Nature intended.

FDA considers "natural" food to mean "nothing artificial or synthetic (including colors regardless of source) is included in, or has been added to, the product that would not normally be expected to be there." But, federal regulators do not enforce the policy. And, many heavily processed foods containing "unnatural" ingredients designed to make food look better or last longer carry the "natural" label.

Some familiar foods using the "all-natural" promise include:

  • Some Greek Yogurt labeled as "natural" is made using milk from cows fed genetically engineered ingredients. Sound natural to you?
  • Despite being labeled "100% Natural", Corn Oil is often made with genetically engineered corn.  
  • "All Natural" chips may sound healthy, but they actually contain genetically engineered ingredients.
  • Granola products can contain highly processed ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup, despite their "all natural" claims.
  • Orange Soda can be "naturally flavored"...despite having high fructose corn syrup listed as an ingredient.
  • Some companies advertise their frozen food products as made with "100% Natural white-meat chicken", even though its chickens are raised with the use of antibiotics. 
  • Some frozen meals say "100% Natural", but really contain genetically modified ingredients. 
  • “All Natural” Ice it really natural? Hardly. It can come form cows treated with hormones and fed a diet containing pesticides. 
  • Turkey Breasts labeled as "All Natural" can use turkeys that have never been outdoors. Sound natural to you? 
  • Cheese labeled as "natural" could have been made using milk from cows injected with hormones, kept in poor conditions or fed genetically engineered food. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Trying Meatless Mondays? 7 Ways to Go Meatless Every Day of the Week

If you are on to Meatless Mondays, kudos to you for taking a step in the right direction. Undoubtedly, you’ve discovered it’s not so terrible, and now that you’ve got some momentum, why not up the ante a little and ditch the meat more often?

While it might be a bit much to expect everyone to give up turkey, cold turkey, it doesn’t mean a meatless meal or two on the other days of the week is out of the question. There are great vegan options for every time of day, all occasions, and any craving imaginable—even meat.

So, here are seven simple ways to go seven days as a part-time vegan.

 1. Fake it. Then, Everyone Is Happy.

Contrary to popular belief, giving up meat and dairy doesn’t mean you have to give up all your favorites. There are great alternatives to nearly every beef-y buffet you’ve grown accustomed to: meatless burgers, cheese-less pizzas, mock meatloaf, and—for the brunch-lovers out there—egg-free omeletes. Not sure about them. Well, devote one meal a week to exploring what we are eating on the greener side of life. You may just dig it.

Recipe Suggestions:

Vegan Omelette: Looking for protein? This has more than the egg equivalent.

Veggie Burgers: 15 Recipes, Countless Benefits—Try a new one every week.

Lentil Loaf—A side of mashed potatoes, a little gravy, and you’ve got a classic.

 2. Forgot Milk? Go Nuts.

How many times have vegans of the world heard the initial gasp of I just couldn’t live without cheese? Usually, this is the deal-stopper for lactose lovers. It still doesn’t change the fact that milk and all those milky products just aren’t quite living up to the hype they once carried. They taste great, but that’s not to say that a nice cashew pepper jack can’t get the job done just as well, maybe even better. A vegan variation means cheese isn’t necessarily off the table.

Recipe Suggestions:

10 Vegan Cheeses That Will Knock Your Socks Off—A taste-testing party.

Vegan Baked Nut Cheese—Got crackers?

 3. Eat Your Vegetables. You’re an Adult Now.

Maybe as children, our palettes were so unrefined as to need casseroles and cream sauces to cover up the fact that we were eating vegetables, but most people eventually reach a point where at least a few vegetables are enjoyable. Then, it’s actually possible, palatable, and potentially pleasing to have a veggie-based—not just vegetarian, but vegetable—meal every day. They are faster to make and increase the likelihood of reaching the daily-recommended dosage. Mom will be so proud.

Recipe Suggestions:

20 Ways to Enjoy Kale, the King of Greens—Nutritious incarnate.

Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup—A big, warm bowl of goodness.

Vegan Eggplant Noodles—Quick, simple, and balanced.

4. One Word, So Many Possibilities: Sandwiches

Sandwiches are the ubiquitous lunchtime choice. They stack up clean and fit nicely into the little brown bags and briefcases. Up until the recent cluster of peanut allergies, there was even a recognized, viable vegan option in the PB&J. But, somewhere between the bottom piece and the top piece of bread, many of us seemed to have forgotten that anything can go between. It doesn’t always have to be meat and/or cheese. There are a whole lot of fast and filling options out there.

Recipe Suggestions:

Chickpea “Tuna” Salad Sandwich—If you’ve just got have something familiar.

The Cracked Sandwich—For a simple, straight-up vegetable stacker.

The Vegan Gutbuster Sandwich—Need something substantial for lunch?

5. Travel Vicariously through Your Food

It’s a big world out there, and a sizable chunk of it goes without meat for every meal, or every day, or ever at all. Why not see what they’re up to? If Meatless Mondays are working out for you (which they must be if you are reading this), then World-y Wednesdays might just be a hit, too. Imagine trying a dish from a different country every week. Would it make any difference if that meal were meatless? Of course not, it’s still providing you with that certain cultural élan you were after.

Recipe Suggestions:

African Groundnut Stew—Ever even heard of this? Sounds funky.

Flashworthy Alu Palak (Curried Comforting Potatoes with Spinach)—Ah, India.

5 Delicious and Surprisingly Meatless Recipes for Taco Tuesdays—Or, Wednesday.

6. Sweet, Fatty Redemption

Yep, meatless dessert is possible. Heck, even dairy-free if need be. Contrary to popular perception, it is downright easy and worthwhile to whip up a vegan dessert. Often, you don’t even have to bother cooking them (and that doesn’t mean a fruit cocktail). Plus, there is the added bonus of getting to pretend it’s healthy. Sometimes, it even is. Regardless, there are vegan options far and wide that will put just the right ending to a beautiful meal.

Recipe Suggestions:

Raw Vegan Chocolate and Almond Fudge—Who needs an oven?

10 Scrumptious Cheesecakes That You Won’t Believe Are Vegan—Try them all!

Simple Vegan Sugar Cookies—Easy. Familiar. Delicious.

7. Get Real. Go Full-on Crunchy.

Meatless Mondays? Articles citing vegan recipes for mid-week dining. You’ve probably even watched some documentaries about the modern-day food industry and the sorry state of factory farming. That might even be why you’re here. Face it: If you’ve made this far in the article, you’re becoming one of us. Strap on some sandals, get some patchouli, and embrace the veggie power. There is plenty of room at the table, so jump right on in to the crunchy, granola wave we’ve been riding.

Recipe Suggestions:

Peanut-Butter-Maple-Pecan and Coconut “Bacon” Granola—Crunch.

Cooking with Tofu + 10 Delicious Recipes—Not just for hippies anymore.

Vegan Cherry Garcia Ice Cream—Ben & Jerry’s…Grateful Dead…the munchies?

5 Things Healthy People Do Every Day Before Work

Adding five things to your day usually means taking more time out of it, right?

Usually. But not in this case.

When the five additional tasks are tailored to give an efficient and healthy trajectory to your day, the result is actually the opposite: more time to do what you love, with less stress, a calmer mind and a body that feels damn good.

Here are your five action steps to feel less burned out and more accomplished when the day is over:

1. Drink warm lemon water.

Jump starting your day with hydration is always a good thing.

Warming it up and adding lemon activates digestion and sets you on the right track having made your first decision of the day in the direction of your health.

2. Move.

Stretch, go for run, do yoga, whatever your flavor. Giving your body some movement first thing in the morning is an energizing, stress-relieving and mind-clearing way to start your day.

3. Meditate (visualize, project, manifest, envision, etc.).

Set the tone of your day with a positive intention and you'll be surprised at how far that feeling carries you.

Whether it's reciting an affirmation or sitting in stillness for two minutes, you'll lift your mood and put a smile on your face. Guaranteed. Visualizing your awesome day ahead of you allows you to create your most ideal day before you even step out the door. Yes, please!

4. Schedule your to-dos.

Yeah, yeah, everyone has a to-do list, that's nothing new. Turning it into an actionable plan is the crucial factor. Here's how:

At the beginning of each week, take your running to-do list and assign each task to the day of the week when it's most likely to be accomplished. Then put them in order, starting with tasks you'll do before work, then on your lunch break, then after work. Start with the most important and go from there. You might find that some of them aren't urgent enough to add, so those can wait.

Adding a few doable tasks to each day takes the anxiety out of what seems to be a never-ending list. Checking off four things in a day feels more accomplished than hacking away four off a long list of 20 that just keeps building.

Planning each task you wish to complete makes your schedule more manageable, helps you remember and gives you someone to be accountable to — yourself! Anytime you can take out on-the-fly decision-making and potential anxiety, it's a good thing.

Allow me to contradict myself for a moment: flexibility is also a key factor here. If you find yourself with less time than expected, don’t sweat it; just find a place to renegotiate where it might fit later in the week. OR, perhaps you didn’t make time for it because it’s not as important to you as you thought.

5. Eat breakfast (and pack a lunch!).

It’s really a no brainer: a hungry person isn't as effective at work, nor is she that fun to talk to. Do yourself (and everyone around you) a favor and at least start your day off at baseline — fed.

As for lunch: when you BYO to work you're doing three things for yourself: saving money, ensuring you're packing a healthy meal and keeping yourself from the starvation-induced impulsive 3 p.m. lunch, which for me can turn into a 30-minute debate on where to go and what to get. What a waste of time!

Now go on with your productive, healthy and happy self.