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Handmade Soaps for Foodies

16 Jan

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Apple Pie

Saponified olive oil, phthalate-free fragrance oil.

$5.10 for approx 2 1/2 oz rectangle

$5.60 for approx 2 3/4 oz oval

Beer

Beer

Beer soothes the skin. It also creates a much better lather. You won’t smell like beer at all.

Saponified extra virgin olive oil, beer.

$7.80 per approx. 5 1/4 oz.

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Cinnamon Toast

 This gentle soap smells like the real thing! My son and I love the scent and feel of this soap.

Saponified olive oil, phthalate-free fragrance oil.

$4.30 per approx. 2 1/4 oz.

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Corn Bread Anyone?

With calendula and plantain infused extra virgin olive oil, this soap is extra soothing to the skin and promotes healing.

Saponified extra virgin olive oil, calendula and plantain herbs.

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Hot Chocolate

A gentle soap for any kid at heart. Kids cannot wait to use these.

Saponified olive oil, goat’s milk, cocoa powder, fragrance oil.

$4 per approx. 2 oz.

St Patty's 1

St. Patty’s Day Beer

Beer creates a better lather and soothes the skin. The scent is mild.

Saponified extra virgin olive oil, beer.

$6.50 per approx. 3 1/8 oz.

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Honey Oat Vanilla

Vanilla Honey & Oats

 Honey moisturizes and oat exfoliates. The vanilla honey scent is light and mild for the small bars, but heavier and stronger for the big bars. This is another popular one.

Saponified olive oil, phthalate-free fragrance oils, oats, honey.

$5 per approx. 2 1/2 oz.

$9.75 per approx. 5 oz.
 Shop Now big

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Finding Balance

29 Dec

I haven’t been posting on this blog for a few months because I end this year a little more tentative than I began. In the beginning of Autumn this year, my dear son and hubby decided on “no more nuts”. This was followed by “no more raw smoothies”. Then “no more raw salads”. In other words, NO MORE RAW ANYTHING.

Gah, had I pushed them too far?

So, I started cooking more and more veggies: in soups, with dressing, steamed, boiled, baked, etc. And, I discovered that my family actually have increased their intake of veggies this way. Dead broccoli is the new fave around here and mushroom miso soup. Surprise, surprise – I even lost a few pounds without all the added fats from nuts.

Cooked to death Broccoli.  Boil till the broccoli breaks apart.  Dress with orange juice or balsamic vinegar, sea salt and olive oil.

Cooked to death Broccoli: boil till the broccoli breaks apart, dress with a mixture of orange juice or balsamic vinegar, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil. My son loves it!

But I’m still a firm believer in RAW, so I slowly but surely added back some old faves after a month or two. Without complaints, we are all enjoying raw fruit puddings for breakfast again, Japanese and Kale salads for pre-meals and lots of coconut smoothies. We are not quite as raw as I would like, but dare I say I have found a new kind of “balance”?

I don’t know how RAW families do it. How do they function in society? How do they enjoy being with family and friends who don’t eat the way they do? How do their kids relate to other kids in the community? My big guess is that they don’t… not really in the same capacity we do. My second guess is that husband and wife have to agree on diet and nutrition principles to make it work for the family. My third guess is that the parents have to impose and work hard to ingrain these beliefs at home (unless the children have allergies and sickness that inhibit their diets). I cannot imagine regular kids not wanting what other mainstream kids can have – unless they don’t have much of a relationship with other kids, and therefore have no knowledge base of what goes on “on the other side”.

My husband recently bought some Maine root beer, a package of cereal and a carton of soy milk. My son’s hoarding some Vegan candy canes and has a new obsession with gum (it was hard finding one he isn’t allergic to).

Our Xmas Experiment: will Santa prefer the processed candy the restaurant gave you or will he prefer the homemade Vegan cookies we baked?

Our Xmas Experiment: will Santa prefer the processed candy the restaurant gave you or will he prefer the homemade Vegan cookies we baked from scratch? We discovered that Santa prefers homemade cookies to processed candy… and even left a small bit behind.

As a Mama, it is hard to let go of control – especially in the kitchen. But this year, I found more peace and happiness at the dining table by relinquishing more control over my family’s diet. I still buy the groceries, prepare and cook our food. I still educate my family on food matters. But at the end of the day, I let go and allow them the freedom to choose what they want to eat.

A little discouraged one day, I asked my husband and son separately if they wanted to branch out from our Vegan diet, they both said “NO”. Are you sure? “YES!” Both look forward to their fave homemade organic and Vegan cooked foods: Mulligatawny Soup, Shepherd’s Pie, Japanese Buckwheat Noodles, Popcorn and Chocolate Chip Cookies. But I notice they too have their fave raw foods. My son was sick recently and only wanted to eat fruit. He prefers to start each day with bananas and he asks for fresh raw coconut milk almost everyday. He will eat a huge bowl of romaine lettuce. My hubby can drink a quart of green smoothie during a meal and he will keep going back for more salad.

I offer my family healthy food, I empower them with current food knowledge, and I model good eating habits. Then, I let go in peace.

Animal Protein versus Plant Protein

29 May

Raw Avocado Corn Salad over Cooked Beans: 1 cup of cooked white beans contains 16g of protein, 1 cup of raw corn has 5g, 1 cup of avocado 5g and 1 cup of tomatoes 1g.  I only need 33g of protein a day, so just this meal alone would be 6g shy of my goal.

In my community of Holistic Mamas, there are, nutritionally speaking, basically 2 groups of families:

1. Those that believe in and eat organic animal based foods and

2. Those that eat organic plant based foods.

The former tend to follow the WAP Diet (Weston Price Diet:http://www.westonaprice.org/). The latter are those who are eating, or lean towards, an all organic vegetarian or vegan diet – especially after watching Forks Over Knives. Now within this latter group, there two further subsets:

a. those who eat a lot of processed and refined foods and

b. those who make most (if not all) their food from scratch.

Among Mamas, there are many discussions as to why their own diets are best. In my view, as you all know, an unprocessed, whole organic plant based diet is best.  Why?

FIRSTLY, BECAUSE ANIMAL BASED DIETS CAUSE DISEASE:

There have been so many studies done to raise awareness as to why (even organic) animal based foods are not health foods. Although animal products have the most similar nutrient composition to our bodies, consuming them promotes disease. I am currently taking Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s Plant-Based Nutrition Course and have learned (or rather relearned from his work in the China Study) that cancer can be turned on and off (from 20% to 5% of total calories) just be increasing and decreasing animal protein in the diet of rats. The same amounts of plant based protein (such as wheat and soy protein) had no such effect. Animal –based foods also contain saturated fats, which cause cholesterol and heart disease. Moreover, animal products cause an acid environment in our bodies, which causes calcium to leak from our bones in an effort for our bodies to neutralize the acids, causing osteoporosis.

SECONDLY, ONLY PLANT BASED FOODS CONTAIN ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS THAT PREVENT DISEASE:

Plant based foods, on the other hand, contain essential nutrients not present in animal foods that we need in order to live healthily. Two of these are antioxidants and dietary fiber: antioxidants, like vitamin C, E and carotenoids, bind free radicals that promote cancer and speed up our body’s aging process, and dietary fiber binds to chemical carcinogens and helps the body excrete these potentially harmful products. They help maintain our health and prevent disease.

THIRDLY, NOT ALL PLANT BASED DIETS ARE EQUAL. ORGANIC WHOLE FOODS ARE DIFFERENT FROM PROCESSED VEGAN FOODS:

As I have said before, I understand why people are attracted to refined and processed vegan foods: they do not require much work or energy. We want to be healthy but we don’t want to put that much effort into actually preparing our meals directly from whole foods. We want things EASY. Consider this though: When a fruit or vegetable is 5 days old, it will contain only 40% of it’s original nutrients. How about refined plant foods?

Refined plant foods have been so drastically altered from their natural state and are not consumed, in Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s words, “in their totality” and therefore in decreased natural plant material quanitites. Other refined foods are processed foods. They include simple carbohydrates (like, white flours and sugars), hydrogenated oils, genetically modified organisms, anything with fillers, artificial food grade chemicals and additives. Most are ready to eat (like junk food or white bread) or require little cooking (like frozen dinners). They are also anything canned, boxed, bottled and packaged. There is a whole niche market dedicated to serving ready made foods to vegans and vegetarians.

THEREFORE, A PLANT-BASED WHOLE FOODS DIET IS BEST.

The thing is though, like most things, it requires work on our part to get something really worth anything. Nutrition is no exception. Plant-based whole-foods are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. They are in their natural state and are not overly processed or altered. Most of the time, you can eat them fresh or they may require some time and attention (like, cleaning, prepping, dressing/marinating, cooking). Dr. T. Colin Campbell states that when we consume foods that have decreased natural plant material, this poses problems for our bodies.

BUT, HOW MUCH PROTEIN IS ENOUGH?

For the average person, 8 – 10% of your total calorie intake is enough.  Surprisingly, professional athletes only need slightly more protein than that.  You can calculate what you need here.

HOW TO MEASURE HOW MUCH PROTEIN WE CONSUME?

According to my instructor at eCornell University, “As long as we’re eating whole, plant foods – no oils and minimal nuts/seeds.  On average, plant foods are 5-10% fat and about 10% protein.  And, if we’re eating whole foods, rather than processed, we’re getting plenty of complex carbohydrates [and enough protein].”

New Year’s Resolutions for 2012

30 Dec

There are 3 ingredients that make eating Raw Vegan food more appealing to transitioning mamas, hubbies and kids: raw sugars, raw oils and sea salt.  It is time for me to decrease my family’s consumption of all 3.  

1. Prepare food with less sugar.

My plan:

  • use less raw sweeteners all together
  • use more fruit (fresh or dried) to replace sweeteners
  • omit any unnecessary sugars all together in Green Smoothies.

Note: I have been successful this past week in serving my boys their favourite Pooh Bear Smoothie without additional dates AND with another handful of greens without complaints!

2. Prepare food with less oils.

My plan:

  • use less extra virgin olive oil in salads
  • use more flax seed oil to replace extra virgin olive oil in salads to increase our Omega 3 intake.
We enjoy our favourite Kale Salad at least once or twice a week and it contains a lot of olive oil.  I have prepared it before by substituting 1/4 of the olive oil with plain water and we loved it just the same.  I am going to try substituting some of the olive oil with flax seed oil too.

3. Prepare food with less salt.

My plan is to:
  • simply decrease our intake of salt by using less of it.  While my general rule is to add 1 tsp sea salt for every 1 pound of food, I want to decrease this to 3/4 tsp.
This will be difficult for me because I love sea salt.  Salt brings out the flavor in food.  Will my family be ready to eat bland food?  I guess more importantly, will I?

There are 2 ingredients that have made the transition into a Vegan Diet much easier for my husband and son: soy and wheat, which has given them the texture and heaviness of animal products they have craved.  These are the 2 ingredients I struggle with the most because of the GMO’s in soy and the gluten in wheat.  

4. Avoid soy and other GMOs.

The contamination of organic products with genetically modified counterparts are increasing, as they are inevitable.  This is scary.  Now I just have to figure out what to do when preparing Asian fare without Nama Shoyu?

5. Avoid wheat.

Dr. Hyman’s Huffington Post article on Gluten opened my eyes on why eliminating wheat is very important.  He writes that “… an estimated 99 percent of people who have a problem with eating gluten don’t even know it. They ascribe their ill health or symptoms to something else–not gluten sensitivity, which is 100 percent curable.” And that a “study comparing the blood of 10,000 people from 50 years ago to 10,000 people today found that the incidences of full-blown celiac disease increased by 400 percent (elevated TTG antibodies) during that time period.”  WOW.
My plan is to:
  • eliminate all wheat
  • then substitute with spelt (although it contains gluten, people with wheat allergies and not gluten allergies, can tolerate spelt)
  • then continue to experiment with and use home-milled gluten-free flours from now on.  Here’s how to substitute for wheat with other grains.

Supplementing a Family’s Vegan Diet is important!

6. A continued search for fantastic food-based vitamin supplements for:

  • B12
  • other B vitamins
  • iron
  • zinc
  • iodine
According to Gabriel Cousens, we all need to supplement Omega 3s, minerals, carnosine, Vitamins A, B12, C, D, K.  I just found his supplement recommendations and will be working from this list!  Note: he doesn’t advice taking nutritional yeast as the B12 supplement because of fungal potential.

On Exercise

7. Continue to exercise better.

My husband is an Exercise Scientist and an Athlete.  Last month, he got me to row 120,000 meters.  I think that is more exercise than I have ever done in my entire life.  And I don’t think I have ever felt as physically well as I do today!  And yet, I took a physical test yesterday that placed me below average for my age range in cardiovascular strength… I was sorely disappointed, but I guess I have a lot of room for improvement in this department!

 

One with Nature

8. Make more time to be outdoors.

My family’s days are not complete anymore if there isn’t at least half an hour each day outdoors, rain or shine.  I/We want more!

What are your and your family’s New Year’s Resolutions for this coming year?

Are Your Kids Allergic To Food —Or What’s In It?

28 Jun

By Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, Executive Director/CEO
Healthy Child Healthy World www.healthychild.org

This week, it’s all about food. A study released by Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine found that childhood food allergies are twice as common as experts previously thought, with one in 13 kids affected, WebMD reported.

The survey of 38,000 was the largest ever to track childhood food allergies in the United States, and found that eight percent of kids under 18 are allergic to at least one food, with peanuts, milk and shellfish as the top three offenders. Previous studies, including a government survey published in 2009, had estimated four percent. Many food allergies are mild, but this new study found that 40% of children had experienced severe, potentially life-threatening reactions.

Why are these childhood staples now considered poisonous to so many? Some are pointing fingers at new introductions of genetically modified organisms. Find out why our kids may not be allergic to food—they may be allergic to what’s in our food—at HealthyChild.org.

Robyn O’Brien’s Patriotism on a Plate

5 Jun

As I watch Robyn O’Brien, I am impressed by her work, how many people she’s reaching out to and how many diets she may be changing for the better.  Listen to her TED video full of real facts and figures about what’s happening to the American Plate.  These are all the reasons to Un-Process Our Children’s Food!

Let’s Un-Process Our Children’s Food

26 May

Let’s Un-Process Our Children’s Food:

prepare everything from scratch and

eliminate processed foods as much as possible.

Organic Candy without High Fructose Corn Syrup... Is it better? (answer below)

Can a Vegetarian Diet be BAD?

I ‘got’ it. I was vegetarian in high school and college because I learned that a plant-based diet was better for my health and for the planet.  But on a vegetarian diet, I was sluggish and gained at least 20 pounds in my first semester of college.  Even my own mother didn’t recognize me at the airport when she came to pick me up for Christmas break.  I had to stand right in front of her, wave my hands before her eyes and say “Hi!”  It is definitely not a fond homecoming memory.

I confess I did go a little food crazy in college. Sugar-coated cereal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Countless dining hall visits for Ranch dressing, Honey Mustard dressing, Mayonnaise, American cheese melts, Pesto Pasta, cookies, ice cream with sprinkles galore at the dining hall. I also got a job at the Student Center Cafe, thinking I would learn how to cook for myself.  Well, I didn’t learn a thing.  The only thing I did learn was how to use the griddle and fryer, slap flat foods together to make sandwiches and slice tomatoes.  Everything else was pre-packaged and pre-made somewhere else. Looking back, I realize that most of the food I bought or ate or touched were highly processed foods – not whole foods.

A Processed Culture

I understand why we are attracted to ready-made convenience foods: they do not require much work or energy.  We want food NOW without having to work for it.  We want to be healthy but we don’t want to put the effort into actually preparing our meals directly from whole foods.  We want things EASY.

The thing is though, like most things, it requires work on our part to get something really worth anything.  Nutrition is no exception – plant-based or not.

The Difference

Consider this: When a fruit or vegetable is 5 days old, it will contain only 40% of it’s original nutrients.  How about processed foods with long shelf-lives?

Plant-based whole-foods are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.  They are in their natural state and are not packaged, canned, bottled or boxed.  Most of the time, you can eat them fresh (washed or not) or they may require some time and attention (cleaning, prepping, dressing/marinating, cooking).

Processed foods, on the other hand, require little time and attention.  Most are ready to eat as is (junk food) or require some cooking (frozen dinners).  They are foods that have been so drastically altered from their natural state.  They are anything canned, boxed, bottled and packaged.  They are foods that are full of preservatives, artificial flavors and artificial coloring. They include anything refined (like white flours and sugars), any hydrogenated fats, any processed meats, anything with soy fillers, artificial food grade chemicals and additives.  

Plant-based processed foods are a whole niche market dedicated to serving ready made Veggie Meats and Veggie Dairy to vegans and vegetarians.  Unfortunately, these are highly processed foods too, containing especially high amounts of soy (most of which is genetically modified).

What’s The Big Deal?

Although we call them ‘food’, processed foods are not readily recognized by the bodyThey are seen as alien matter and our white blood cells will be on attack mode as soon as they enter our system.  Processed foods create toxins in our systems and cause degenerative diseases.  For our planet, processed foods require more energy and packing material.  Most of all, processed foods create more waste.

What’s more? 75% of all processed foods contain genetically modified ingredients – even foods labeled organic!  Of all seeds planted in the US, 93% of all soy, 86% of all corn and 93% of all canola seeds are genetically modified. According to Monica Eng of the Los Angeles Times, their bi-products “have become such common ingredients in processed foods that even one of the nation’s top organic food retailers says it hasn’t been able to avoid stocking some products that contain them.” People are generally unaware of foods containing GMOs: only 26% of Americans think they have eaten anything genetically modified and only 28% believed genetically modified ingredients were sold in stores.

The Ills of GMO

There has not been a long-term human study conducted to prove genetically modified organisms are safe.  A peer-reviewed paper GM Crops – Just The Science by The Non-GMO Project states that genetically modified ingredients:

  • “can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts
  • can disrupt the ecosystem, damage vulnerable wild plant and animal populations and harm biodiversity
  • increase chemical inputs (pesticides, herbicides) over the long term
  • deliver yields that are no better, and often worse, than conventional crops
  • cause or exacerbate a range of social and economic problems
  • are laboratory-made and, once released, harmful GMOs cannot be recalled from the environment.”

Repercussions: Our Children’s Health

Studies have shown that processed foods are contributing to our children’s emotional and/or health disorders.  Recently, processed foods have been shown to adversely affect our children’s intelligence.  And yet, processed foods are still everywhere: in home kitchens, restaurants, cafeterias, and worse of all, they are used as gifts and rewards for children.

A few months ago, my friend Christina told me her children’s teacher at school was still giving Potato Chip parties every Friday for the best performing student of the week.  The kids also received daily Candy Rewards for good behavior.  My niece Lia is only in preschool and candy rewards are there too.  And it doesn’t end at school.  There are always boxed juices, frosted cupcakes and pinatas full of more candy at birthday parties. Doctors visits end with lollipops. People who want to do good, like Cookies for Cancer, raise money for cancer research by selling cookies with vegetable shortening, white sugar, sweetened condensed milk, packaged refrigerated cookie dough and Angel Coconut Flakes. Then there is Easter Bunnies, then Halloween Trick or Treating, then Holiday Sweets…  These are all occasions for highly processed foods with genetically modified soy, corn and canola products no doubt.

What adults are essentially saying to children is “You are so good!  Here’s some junk food that causes disease!” Why does our culture encourage this shameful and imbalanced exchange? Is it correct to reward our good children with processed foods containing empty calories and zero nutrients?  Is it right that we give them foods that negatively affect their future health?  Is it acceptable that by rewarding with these processed foods that children will be more resistant to eating whole foods?  Is it suitable that we are allowing children to crave junk foods by using them as rewards? According to Joanne Ikeda, a nutrition education specialist highly regarded for her work on childhood obesity, these are all the factors why foods (especially candy) must not be used as rewards for good behavior.

What’s A Mama To Do?

After a whole year of my son pestering me for the same lollipops he’s seen other kids eating (“Mama, REAL lollipops not my Banana Lollipops“), I finally ran out of distraction tactics or maybe he just wore me down.  So the other day, this Raw Vegan Mama succumbed to buying organic processed lollies for her son.  He’s only allowed 1 a week, which he rarely remembers and hubby and I conveniently forget to remind him.  The top 3 ingredients are: organic evaporated cane juice, organic tapioca syrup and organic rice syrup.  Not bad, no high-fructose corn syrup at least.  But all 3 ingredients are still processed foods. I sigh – almost defeated.  If you’ve read Is Sugar Toxic? you wouldn’t want your children to consume any kind of processed sugars either.

Resources on Plant-Based Whole Foods Diet

Blue Vinyl, The China Study, The Cove, Diet For A New AmericaFood Matters, Forks Over Knives, Mad Cowboy

Composting For Busy Mamas

13 May

Did you know in North America:

  • 65 % of what we throw away can be composted?
  • we throw away enough food yearly to feed the country of Canada
  • we throw about 660 lbs (300kg) of food each year per person, according to the 2011 report commissioned by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Global Food Losses and Waste?

Did you know:

  • GOOD ORGANIC RUBBISH buried 3 feet deep in landfills DO NOT TURN into soil?  They DO NOT DECOMPOSE.
  •  a banana peel takes 3 to 4 weeks to decompose outdoors on the ground but IT WILL NEVER DECOMPOSE IN A LANDFILL because it lacks oxygen, bacteria and earth worms?

In our house, we fill about 1 or 2 of those 1 pound spinach plastic containers full of kitchen scraps everyday.  I have always felt guilty about putting our organic waste in the rubbish bin that goes directly into the landfill, so I’ve been trying to compost for the past 4 years.

Well, all of my attempts the last few years have failed.

I first turned our garage into a cockroach haven.  I thought an expensive compost machine would be the easiest and fastest solution: plug it in, add equal parts of wet and dry and some soil, leave it alone… and voilá compost!  WRONG – besides the slight roach infestation and the unforgettable stench, it never created compost.  What we received from the machine instead was disgusting compost ‘tea’ that leaked everywhere and ate through our garage floor.  It was the worst contraption I have ever bought.  Supposedly my ‘thing’, hubby kindly took on the chore of cleaning it many times because I found it truly gross and too much work.

Then last year, I decided to vermi-compost.  My mother has her own mini vermi-composting factory in her small scale organic farm. Her worm area never smells and she has compost to give away to friends every Christmas.  How hard could it be?  Excited at my enthusiasm, my friend Christina presented me with her old worm bin and a handful of worms from her compost pile to kick-off my new project.  After following a step-by-step guide on how to create a worm bin, within 2 weeks, I lost all the worms. I found some worms in our garden and put them in, they died after a few days. Persevering, I bought 100 African Night Crawlers, the crème de la crème of composting worms and started all over again.  Well, after a month, they were all gone too.

I wanted to get more worms or one of those compost tumblers but I didn’t want to kill more worms and feared the compost tumbler wouldn’t work either.  So, I guiltily threw all my organic compostable rubbish in the trash again.  My heart would sink every time I thought of MY food that would never decompose in the landfill.

Then I visited my friend Sherri.  Sherri grew up on a farm and composted all her life. After I asked her what gadget I needed, she said with her arms up in the air, “I don’t know why people need to buy all these tools to compost when it’s the easiest thing in the world!  Let me show you!”  So she did.  Sherri merely throws her bananas behind a special bush and doesn’t even cover it up with dry leaves.  She digs up a little bit of the ground and buries citrus peels here and there in her garden.  Her compost pile is nondescript – you wouldn’t even know it was there.  It doesn’t smell and is simply food mixed up with some leaves on the ground. Sherri doesn’t turn it very often and doesn’t even bother covering it with brown leaves. 

The Most Natural Way To Compost

I was eager to try this lazy man’s way to compost… let me tell you, it works, it’s so simple and easy! No need to be intimidated by a simple process and no fancy useless gadgets involved, just a pitch fork. No stench, no cockroaches in my garage, lots of fat earthworms, hardly any work and I already have compost after just 2 months!

Where's My Compost Pile?

Now you see it.

Now you don't.

If you’re a busy Mama and have the space in your yard, this has got to be the easiest way to compost!

  1. Choose any spot in your garden for your compost pile. If you choose the right place, people won’t even know you have a compost pile.
  2. Place some surrounding soil (adds bacteria and microbes), your browns (dried leaves, paper) and pieces of greens (grass, leaves, yard trimming, coffee with filters, egg shells, fruits, tea, vegetable, NOT dairy, fats, oil, grease or meats – although my friend Sherri will beg to differ) on the spot.  Sherri puts all her food waste including bits of meat, fat and dairy in her compost pile without any problems.
  3. Mix together.
  4. Top with more dried leaves to hide it and help with circulation so critters don’t smell it and come for a visit.  Consider a pile 3 ft x 3 ft, as this area promotes heat and breakdown of  organic matter.
  5. Add more scraps and turn once a week to speed the process.  An abundance of insects and fat earthworms are a good sign!
  6. Water it once in a while to keep the pile damp and to speed up the process.
  7. Start another pile if you want your original pile to compost thoroughly.  The first pile will reward you with compost in 3 to 6 months!  Although some say if you cut everything in little pieces and turn your pile often, you can get compost in as little as 2 weeks!

Troubleshooting:

If your pile smells bad, check what you’ve put in it or it is too wet or needs turning.
If pile is dry, add water or add less dry matter. Food may also attract ants when dry.
If pile is damp but not composting, turn it and mix in grass clippings and more woody wastes.

Resources:

Cutting Food Waste To Feed The World – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Everything You Have Always Wanted To Know About Home Composting – New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Global Food Losses and Food Waste – report by Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology

Jane Hiller of Sunoco Recycling in the Midlands – Holistic Moms Network

Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2009 – Environmental Protection Agency

Two Charts Explaining How You Waste Food – Good

Waste in Place – an elementary curriculum by Keep America Beautiful

Waste Decomposition Rates – Green Living Tips

World Wastes 1 Billion Tons of Food Each Year – CNN Money

How Toxic Can Food Be?

3 Jun
Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine,
And Medicine Thy Food.
– Hippocrates –

Having studied Ayurveda Nutrition, I am fully aware that foods we consume must be in the form our bodies readily accept them – organic, chemically free, non-genetically modified and REAL not powdered/boxed/bottled). If we consume too many boxed, powdered, bottled or ‘dead’ foods, our body turns these into toxins as our enzymes are not able to break them down and assimilate them into energy. Instead, they putrefy in the body, create toxins that fill our system and search for weak spots in our body. Once they find a weak organ, the toxins infiltrate cells there, which is how degenerative diseases begin. Once a symptom shows up, it is too late to reverse the destruction on the body.

Last year, I read a Wall Street Journal article that cattle were being fed factory ‘junk’ like Hersheys, cereal full of sugar, cookies, licorice, and tater tots as the price of corn rose. And as we all know, it is already unnatural for cows to eat corn, and now they were beginning to eat junk food too. Little did I know, there were other foreign matter in the feed (read below). Worst of all, people readily buy, prepare and feed toxin filled beef to themselves and their loved ones. This creates a bigger problem for human health – eating toxic meat that will only cause disease. It boggles my mind to think what FOOD has come to – our most basic need has been made so complicated.

Needless to say, we are looking forward to watching Food Inc. this sumer. What is the movie about? Click here for a summary.

While I struggle sometimes to come up with ingenious substitutes to cook and feed my beef loving husband and son, I have found more proof that I must try harder to introduce them to alternatives. I wish it were compulsory for this book to be read by everyone! Here are some eye-opening excerpts from The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and The World by John Robbins:

Studies indicate that vegetarians often have lower morbidity and mortality rates… Not only is mortality from coronary artery disease lower in vegetarians than in nonvegetarians, but vegetarian diets have also been successful in arresting coronary artery disease. Scientific data suggest positive relationships between a vegetarian diet and reduced risk for… obesity, coronary artery disease, hypertenstion, diabetes mellitus and some types of cancer. – American Dietic Association Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets

Drop in heart disease risk for every 1% decrease in blood cholesterol: 3-4%
Blood cholesterol levels of vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians: 14% lower
Risk of death from heart disease for vegetarians compared to nonvegetarians: 1/2
Blood cholesterol levels of vegans (vegetarians who eat no meat, eggs, or dairy products) compared to non-vegetarians: 35% lower

Vegetarians have the best diet; the have the lowest rates of coronary heart disease of any group in the country. – William Castelli

Intake of cholesterol for non-vegetarians: 300 – 500 mg/day
Intake of cholesterol for lacto-ovo vegetarians: 150 – 300 mg/day
Intake of cholesterol for vegans: 0 mg/day
Average cholesterol level in the US: 210
Average cholesterol level in US vegetarians: 161
Average cholesterol level in US vegans: 133

It is true that a small percentage of patients have a hereditary form of arteriosclerosis… but that only constitutes about 5 % of the cases. Most people (have develop heart disease) don’t realy have a hereditary disease. – Michael Debakey

25 yeasr ago, the region of the world with the worst heart disease problem was North Karelia, in Eastern Finland. Today, the region of the world with the fastest dropping rates of heart disease is the very same North Karelia. What happened? The area adopted a “get fit” program, based on reducing cholesterol and smoking through government-sponsored media campaigns, labeling meats and other foods as to their saturated fat and cholesterol levels, and converting farms that had been producing animal products to growing vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables. How much difference did it make? In the past 25 years, heart disease deaths in North Karelia have been reduced by an astonishing 65%.

Most common problem for which people go to doctors in the US: high blood pressure
Ideal blood pressure: 110/70 or less without medication
Average blood pressure of vegetarians: 112/69
Average blood pressure of non-vegetarians: 121/77
Incidence of high blood pressure in meat eaters compared to vegetarians: nearly triple
Incidence of very high blood pressure in meat eaters compared to vegetarians: 13 x higher
Patients with high blood pressure who achieve substantial improvement by switching to a vegetarian diet: 30 – 75%
What patients are typically told when prescribed medications for high blood pressure: You’ll probably need to take these for the rest of your life.
Patients with high blood pressure who are able to completely discontinue use of medications after adopting a low-sodium, low-fat, high-fiber vegetarian diet: 58%
Incidence of high blood pressure among senior citizens in US: more than 50%
Incidence of high blood pressure among senior citizens in countries eating traditional low-fat plant based diets: virtually none

Eating healthfully raises your odds of being well. It greatly reduces your risk of many diseases, and it opens the door to experiencing new levels of joy and passion and purpose in your body. But it can not guarantee that you won’t become ill….

Now some people scoff at vegetarians, but they have only 40% of our cancer rate. They outlive us. On average they outlive other men by about 6 years now. – William Castelli

Death rate from breast cancer in the US: 22.4/100,000
Death rate from breast cancer in Japan: 6.3/100,000
Death rate from breast cancer in China: 4.6/100,000
People in Japan and China eat more fruits and vegetables, les animal products, weigh less, drink less alcohol, and get more exercise than people in US.

Most common cause of cancer mortality worldwide: lung cancer
Impact of risk of lung cancer for people who frequently eat green, orange and yellow vegetables: 20 – 60 %
The vegetable with the strongest protective effect: carrot
Impact on risk of lung cancer among people who consume a lot of apples, bananas and grapes: 40%
Rate of lung cancer in British vegetarian men compared to the general British population: 27%
Rate of lung cancer in British vegetarian women compared to the general British population: 37%

A low-fat plant-based diet would not only lower the heart attack rate about 85%, but would lower the cancer rate 60%. – William Castelli

Most common cancer among American men: prostate cancer
Risk of prostate cancer for men who consume high amounts of dairy products: 70% increase
Risk of prostate cancer for men who consume soy milk daily: 70% reduction
Risk of prostate cancer for men with low blood levels of beta-carotene: 45% increase
Best sources of beta-carotene: carrots, sweet potatoes, yams
Risk of prostate cancer for men whose diet is abundant with lycopene-rich foods: 45% reduction
Best sources of lycopene: tomatoes
Amount of beta-
carotene and lycopene in meats, dairy products and eggs: none
Risk of prostate cancer for men whose intake of cruciferous vegetables is high: 41% reduction

If you step back and look at the data (on beef and cancer), the optimum amount of red meat you eat should be zero. – Walter Willett

Risk of colon cancer for women who eat red meat daily compared to those who eat it less than once a month: 250% greater
Risk of colon cancer for people who eat red meat once a week compared to those who abstain: 38% greater
Risk of colon cancer for people who eat poultry once a wek compared to those who abstain: 55% greater
Risk of colon cancer for people who eat poultry four times a week compared to those who abstain: 200 – 300 % greater
Risk of colon cancer for people who eat beans, peas or lentils at least 2x a week compared to people who avoid these foods: 50% lower
Impact on risk for colon cancer when diets are rich in the B vitamin folic acid: 75% lower

5 – 10 % of all cancers are caused by inherited genetic mutations. By contrast, 70 – 80% have been linked to (diet and other) behavioral factors. – Karen Emmons

The beef industry has contributed to more more deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of ‘real food for real people’, you’d better live real close to a real good hospital. – Neal Barnard

Obesity rate among the US general population: 18%
Obesity rate among vegetarians: 6%
Obesity rate among vegans: 2%
Average weight of vegan adults compared to non-vegetarian adults: 10 – 20 pounds lighter
US children who are overweight or obese: 25%
US vegetarian children who are overweight or obese: 8%
US children who eat the recomended levels of fruits, vegetables and grains: 1%
US vegan children who eat the recommended levels of fruits, vegetables and grains: 50%

Fat ina Burger King Whopper: 40 g
Fat in a Double Whopper with cheese: 67 g
Fat in the average veggie burger found in US supermarkets and natural food stores: 3 grams

Atkins and other advocates of high-protein, high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets claim: high-protein diets improve all aspects of our lives
Scientific realtiy (published in the International Journal of Obesity Related Metabolic Disorders): High-protein diets impair mental functioning

Protein in human mother’s breast milk: 5% ( as % of total calories)
Human minimum protein requirement (according to WHO): 5% of total calories
US Recommended Dietary Allowance for adult protein intake: 10 % of total calories
WHO International Guidelines for optimum protein intake: 10-15% of calories

Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. – Albert Einstein

Some people say, well, if a vegan diet is a healthful one, and if it’s in keeping with our natural relationship to the Earth, how com vitamin B12 , which is necessary for health, is only found in animal products? It’s a good question, and the answer is simple.
Animal products have vitamin B12 because animals ingest plants and/or drink water that are carrying the microorganisms that produce the vitamin. Vitamin B12 is constantly being produced throughout the environment by bacteria. If you were living in the wild, as your ancestors did, you’d almost certainly get plenty of B12 in the water you drank. Nowadays, though, it is usually not safe to drink from rivers, streams and ponds, as they are often contaminated, and most of us drink water that has been chlorinated. If you were living the way your ancestors did, you’d probably be ingesting B12 along with the bits of dirt in the little grooves of your carrots, and on the peels of potatoes and other foods that didn’t get absolutely clean. But today our soils have been sprayed with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, with the result that they are devoid of B12 that once was abundant.

Annual medical costs in the US directly attributable to smoking: $65 billion
Annual medical costs in the US directly attributable to meat consumption: $60-120 billion

Countries with the highest consumption of dairy products: Finland, Sweden, US, England
Countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis: Finland, Sweden, US, England
Calcium intake in rural China: 1/2 that of people in US
Bone fracture rate in rural China” 1/5 that of people in US
Foods that when eaten produce calcium loss through urinary excretion: animal protein, salt, coffee

Antibiotics allowed in US cow’s milk: 80
Antibiotics found in soy milk: none
Children with chronic constipation so intractable that it can’t be treated successfully by laxatives, who are cured by switching from cow’s milk to soy milk: 44%
Actual number of adults worldwide who do not drink milk: 65%

Food irradiation causes a host of unnatural and sometimes unidentifiable chemicals to be formed within the irradiated foods. Our ignorance about these foreign compounds makes it simply a fraud to tell the public that ‘we know’ irradiated foods would be safe to eat. It is dishonorable to trick people into buying irradiated foods. – John W. Gofman

The prevalence of E. Coli 015:H7 is very low. – National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
A report by the United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 89% of US beef ground into patties contains traces of the deadly E. Coli strain. -Reuters News Service

Antibiotics administered to people in US annually to treat diseases: 3 million pounds
Antibiotics administered to livestock in US annually for purposes other than treating disease: 24.6 million pounds

The infectious agent of Mad Cow disease remains infectious even after exposure for an hour to a temperature of 680 degrees – enough to melt lead – and can withstand antibiotics, boiling water, bleach, formaldehyde, and a variety of solvents, detergents, and enzymes known to destroy most know bacteria and viruses.

One of the best things modern animal agriculture has going for it is that most people… haven’t a clue how animals are raised and processed… If most urban meat-eaters were to visit an industrial broiler house, to see how the birds are raised, and could see the birds being ‘harvested’ and then being ‘processed’ in a poultry processing plant, some, perhaps many of them, would swear off eating chicken and perhaps all meat. – Peter R. Cheeke

Traditionally, it took a broiler 21 weeks to reach 4-pound market weight. But today, with the birds having been systemically bred for obesity, it takes only seven weeks for them to reach the same weight.

US pigs raised for meat: 90 million
US pigs raised in total confinement factories where they never see the light of day until being trucked to slaughter: 65 million
US pigs who have pneumonia at time of slaughter: 70%

Current FDA regulations allow dead pigs and dead horses to be rendered into cattle feed, along with dead poultry. The regulations not only allow cattle to be fed dead poultry, they allow poultry to be fed to dead cattle. Americans who spent more than six months in the UK during the 1980s are now forbidden to donate blood, in order to prevent the spread of BSE’s human variant. But cattle blood is still put into the feed given to
American cattle. – Eric Schlosser

Water required to produce 1 pound of California foods, according to Soil and Water specialists, University of California Agricultural Extension, working with livestock farm advisors:
1 pound of lettuce: 23 gallons
1 pound of tomatoes: 23 gallons
1 pound of potatoes: 24 gallons
1 pound of wheat: 25 gallons
1 pound of carrots: 33 gallons
1 pound of apples: 49 gallons
1 pound of chicken: 815 gallons
1 pound of pork: 1,630 gallons
1 pound of beef: 5, 214 gallons

American feed (for livestock) takes so much energy to grow that it might as well be a petroleum byproduct. – Worldwatch Institute

Livestock account for 15 to 20 % of (overall) global methane emissions. – Worldwatch Institute

Global warming has emerged as the most serious environmental threat of the 21st century… Only by taking action now can we insure that future generations will not be put at risk. – Letter to the president from 49 Nobl Prize winning scientists

Click here to read 1992 World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity

By doing nothing, we are choosing a world of pollution and extinctions, of widening chasms and deepening despair, a world where humanity moves ever farther from achieving its highest aspirations and ever nearer to living its darkest fears.
Our other choice is to actively engage with the living world. On this path we work responsibly and joyfully to make our lives, and our societies, into expressions of love for ourselves, for each other, and for the living Earth. In this direction we honor our longing to give our children, and all children, a world with clean air and water, with blue skies and abundant wildlife, with a stable climate and a healthy environment.

In a world where an estimated one in every six people goes hungry every day, the politics of meat consumption are increasingly heated, since meat production is an inefficient use of grain – the grain is used more efficiently when consumed directly by humans. Continued growth in meat output is dependent on feeding grains to animals, creating competition for grain between affluent meat eaters and the world’s poor. – Worldwatch Institute

Two thirds of agriculturally productive land in Central America is devoted to livestock production, yet the poor majority cannot afford the meat, which is eaten by the well-to-do or exported. – Frances Moore Lappe

Number of underfed and malnourished people in the world: 1.2 billion
Number of overfed and malnourished people in the world: 1.2 billion

US corn eaten by people: 2%
US corn eaten by livestock: 77%
US farmland producing vegetables: 4 million acres
US farmland producing hay for livestock: 56 million acres
US grain and cereals fed to livestock: 70%
Human beings who could be fed by the grain and soybeans eaten by US livestock: 1.4 billion
World’s population living in the US: 4%
World’s beef eaten in the US: 23%

Number of people whose food energy needs can be met by the food produced on 2.5 acres of land, if land is producing:
cabbage – 23 people
potatoes – 22 people
rice – 19 people
corn – 17 people
wheat – 15 people
chicken – 2 people
milk – 2 people
eggs – 1 person
beef – 1person

Grain needed to adequately feed every one of the people on the entire planet who die of hunger and hunger-caused disease annually: 12 million tons
Amount Americans would have to reduce their beef consumption to save 12 millions tons of grain: 10%

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. – Anatole France

It is increasingly obvious that environmentally sustainable solutions to world hunger can only emerge as people eat more plant foods and fewer animal products. To me it is deeply moving that the same food choices that give us the best chances to eliminate world hunger are also those that take the least toll on the environment, contribute the most to our long term health, are the safest, and are also far and away the most compassionate toward our fellow creatures.

Neither Monsanto nor any of the other genetic engineering companies appears to be developing genetically engineered crops that might solve global food shortage. Quite the opposite. – Rachel’s Environment and Health Weekly, 1999

You would never allow a new drug to be produced without a clear label, without knowing what company producted it, without knowing exactly where it was produced and even under what conditions, what batch it came from and so on. Genetically modified foods ought to be put in the same category as drugs because of their potential harm. They’re actually even more dangerous than drugs, because after all, we eat a lot more food during the course of our lifetime than we take drugs. Even if there are small effects, they can accumulate over years. And therefore people should have the right to say, ‘I’m not going to eat genetically modified food because I have no confidence that this is going to be safe for the whole of my lifetime. – Biologist Brian Goodwin

At present time in the US, the only sure way to avoid eating genetically engineered food is to eat organically grown food… But since it is not possible for most of us to eat only organic foods, the next best thing is to read labels carefully… Here’s what to watch out for…
– soybeans – most Genetically Modified crop
– corn – 2nd most GM crop
– canola oil -except organic canola oil
– potatoes – esp Burbank Russet, potato starch and flour
– papaya – most non-organic grown in Hawaii are GM
– cottonseed oil – more than 1/2 of cotton crop in US are GM
– squash – some crooknecked squash and zucchini in stores now have been GM
For more information, check out http://safe-food.org/
Also did you know that several types of animals including cows, pigs, elk, deer, raccoon, squirrels, rats and mice, avoid eating GM food?

The USDA has, without telling the public, been allowing into slaughterhouses and into the food chain, animals that have been involved in experiments making them transgenic. These are animals that have foreign genes in every one of their cells, and that have been part of experiments by major… corporations… These are animals with human genes; these are animals that have a variety of viruses in them. They did this without consulting Congress. They did this without making it public. These animals have been in the food chain now since 1995. –Andy Kimbrell

Amount of minerals in organic foods compared to conventional food:
calcium – 63% higher
chromium – 78% higher
iodine – 73% higher
iron – 59% higher
magnesium – 138% higher
potassium – 125 % higher
selenium – 390% higher
zinc – 60% higher

—–

My husband points out that the book is almost a decade old.

Obesity rate in the US is higher than you show. In 2007 it was 27% of US adults according to the CDC. Not 18%.
Also 32 per cent of US children are overweight and 16 per cen
t are obese. Not the listed 25%