Monday, May 21, 2007


Here are a bunch of recipes that I use.

You’ll notice that most of them fall into Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Maker’s Diet. For Phase 1, my husband and I mostly ate cooked/baked/grilled chicken/fish/beef with seasonings along with some sort of cooked vegetable at dinner, and I sautéed the veggies and meat in extra virgin coconut oil. We also ate a lot of yogurt and made smoothies using yogurt and organic frozen berries. I also ate tuna for lunch (The Maker’s Diet has a good tuna salad recipe at the back) and snacked on fruits and veggies. We also ate eggs and omelets for breakfast. We only did Phase 1 for a week and then moved on to Phase 3 because neither of us was in bad health or needed to lose weight, so we just did a 1-week cleanse instead of a 2-week cleanse. But you may wish to do the 40-day diet precisely, and, if so, then the recipes below will not help during Phase 1, but may come in handy later. For recipes specifically for Phase 1, and as well as the Phases 2 and 3, see Jordan Rubin’s The Maker’s Diet (in the back of the book) or go to the Biblical Health Institute website to view a variety of recipes by Jordan Rubin, Sally Fallon and others.

Also, just so you know, not all of these recipes call for soaking the flour or using yogurt rather than yeast as Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions often recommends. I am currently in the midst of experiments with more of Fallon's recipes and have not posted them here. But I highly recommend you purchase her book and start experimenting as well.

(Use all organic ingredients as much as possible with the following recipes.)

*Note on honey substitutions: Honey has a greater sweetening power than maple syrup, sucanat, rapadura, or traditional sugar. Twelve ounces (weight) of honey equals one standard measuring cup. In baked goods, reduce the amount of liquid by ¼ cup for each cup of honey used; add ½ teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey used; reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent oven browning. For easy removal rub a bit of extra virgin coconut oil in the measuring cup before adding honey.


Healthy Salad Dressing
1 part organic oil (sesame, peanut or flax seed are good; avoid the oils listed on The Maker’s Diet AVOID LIST)
1 part organic vinegar (or organic rice vinegar or organic apple cider vinegar)
1 part raw honey (unfiltered and UNHEATED) – Organic Food Depot

Mix. Delicious on salad.

Hot Cranberry Punch
4 C. unsweetened pineapple juice (if you can’t find organic, just use regular—at least it
doesn’t have sugar in it)
4 C. Cranberry Juice (Harris Teeter carries it organic)
1/3 C. Raw honey
1 C. water
1 tsp whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick

Tie cloves and cinnamon stick in cheesecloth. Combine all ingredients in crock-pot. Cover and cook on low setting for 4-10 hours. Serve hot, in punch cups.

Protein Balls (snack item)

½ C. Goatein (by Garden of Life, available at OFD)
½ C. Raw Honey
½ C. Peanut butter (organic is best)
½ C. Whole rolled oats (no quick oats)
½ C. Sunflower seeds
½ C. Sesame seeds


Add: Chopped dates (optional), walnuts (or other nuts), and unsweetened shredded coconut.

Roll into balls and refrigerate. You can also roll in crushed granola (unsweetened) before refrigerating.


Banana Bread
(my Great-Grandma’s recipe with my modifications)

½-¾ C. of raw honey
½ C. extra virgin coconut oil
½ C. sour milk (you can use regular milk just add a few drops of vinegar to sour it)
1 tsp. soda
2 C. flour or more, depending on consistency, (I use Spelt) and dash of salt
1 C. walnuts (optional)
2 eggs
3 bananas, ripe (mashed) [don’t use more than 3]

Bake at 300 degrees for 1-2 hours, depending on flour used. Spelt takes less time than Kamut because it’s denser.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
3 eggs
1 c. extra virgin coconut oil (or if all you have is olive oil on hand, you can [though it’s
not the healthiest choice] use ¾ c. olive oil and ½ stick of butter)
3 tsp vanilla
1 2/3 c. honey
3 c. grated zucchini (about 3 medium-sized zucchini or 2 zucchini and 1 carrot (chop in food processor
2 1/3 c. flour (spelt) – at end, add more if needed (don’t want too runny)
½ c. alkaline-free organic cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. alkaline-free baking powder
½ c. nuts (optional)
1 c. grain sweetened chocolate chips (by Sunspire)

muffins – 25-30 minutes @ 350 degrees – makes about 2 dozen
bread – 45 minutes @ 350 degrees (more crumbly)

Start with oil, eggs, vanilla and honey
Add zucchini, carrots
Mix all dry ingredients together first, then mix in to wet ingredients

Add nuts and chocolate chips at end.

Mini-Muffins Recipe
From Michele’s Kitchen
(All Ingredients are Organic)
½ cup Amaranth Flour (Arrowhead Mills)
1 cup Graham Flour (Bobs’ Red Mill)
2 tsp. Baking powder
1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract (Simply Organic)
1 egg
½ cup kefir or yogurt (Lifeway) – this helps it to rise, amaranth flour is delicious and
healthy but doesn’t have gluten in it
¼ cup sunflower oil (Hain)
¼ cup of honey (Southworth)
1 Banana, mashed
½ cup each Just Tomatoes dehydrated fruit, use two berry types

In a medium bowl, sift together the amaranth flour, graham flour and the baking powder. In a large bowl, beat together the vanilla, egg, kefir or yogurt, oil and honey. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually pour the flour mixture into the liquid mixture. Beat for a few seconds, just until the mixtures are blended. Fold in the banana and the fruits. Spoon the batter into oiled mini-muffin tins. Bake @ 350*F for 15-20 minutes or until done.
*****You may use one or several of the following variations on these muffins.
Substitute Pumpkin or applesauce for bananas.
Substitute Safflower Oil for Sunflower Oil.
Substitute Pastry, Rice, Spelt or Oat flour for Graham Flour.
Add cinnamon and/or nuts instead of dehydrated fruit.
Add spice of your choosing such as, cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves.

Pizza Crust
1 C. warm water (I just use a mug and fill it about 2/3 of the way full)
1 tsp. raw honey
1 Tbsp. yeast (Rapunzel is a good brand through OFD, or just regular quick-rising yeast)

Dissolve yeast and honey in warm water, stir. Set aside until frothy.

Pour yeast mixture into large bowl and add:

Flour (I use Spelt, make amazing pizza crust)
1 tsp. salt

Mix. Add more flour if needed to make dough consistency.

Grease your pizza pan or stone with extra virgin coconut oil.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place kneaded dough on pan and spread. Add toppings and cook for 25-30 minutes (depending on your oven). At about 12 minutes, put aluminum foil over pizza to keep cheese from browning.

Blend olive oil and fresh garlic (or organic garlic powder) and spread with brush on the crust.

Rachel’s Cornbread
(mix by hand)

1 C. cornflour/meal (finely ground)
1 C. brown rice flour (or other flour such as spelt, kamut, millet, etc.)
4 tsp. baking powder
1 C. milk
1/3 C. extra virgin coconut oil
1 Tbsp. raw honey
1 egg – don’t over beat (do egg last)

Grease 9 x 9 pan
Bake 425 degrees, 22 minutes


Beef Stroganoff
2 pounds of stew meat
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 8 oz pkg. mushrooms, sliced
Heat on low all day. Just before serving, add half a cup of sour cream.
Serve over rice or noodles.

Chicken and Corn Chili (this one’s really good!)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (16 oz.) jar salsa
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 (11 oz) can Mexican style corn (I just use regular corn and put my own spices in it)
¼ lb dry pinto beans, soaked and cooked (or a 15 oz can pinto beans)

Place chicken and salsa in slow cooker the night before you want to eat this chili. Season with garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Cook 6-8 hours on low setting.

About 3-4 hours before you want to eat, remove chicken from slow cooker, and shred it using two forks. Return meat to the pot, and continue cooking.

Stir the corn and pinto beans into the slow cooker. Simmer until ready to serve.

Crock Pot Mushroom Chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 package of chicken gravy mix (or any gravy mix, sometimes I use a shitake mushroom gravy mix from OFD)
1 cup organic white wine (or 1 cup chicken broth)
1 can of cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup
8 oz. cream cheese

Put chicken in crock-pot. Sprinkle gravy mix on top. Pour soup over that, then pour wine or broth over that. Cook on low all day. 30 minutes before serving, put cream cheese in. When ready to serve, remove chicken and whisk the sauce together. Serve over pasta or rice.

Crock Pot White Chicken Chili
¾-1 lb. (when dry) great northern, pinto, or cannellini beans, soaked and cooked (or 3 15 oz cans)
2 1/2 c. chopped, cooked chicken
1 c. chopped onion
1 1/2 c. chopped red, green, and/or yellow pepper
2 jalapeno chili peppers, stemmed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
3 1/2 c. chicken broth
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
Healthy chips (optional)

In a crock pot combine the drained beans, chicken, onion, sweet pepper, jalapeno peppers, garlic, cumin, salt, and oregano. Stir in chicken broth. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each serving with some cheese and healthy, no-oil chips (see my posting on food available at the Organic Food Depot), if desired, or serve with hearty bread. Makes 8 servings.

Dev’s Chili Con Carne
2 lbs. ground hamburger
1 large onion, diced
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes (drained), or diced tomatoes
½ lb. dry beans (red, pinto or black), soaked & cooked (or 2 -15 oz cans red kidney beans)
1-2 chopped cloves of garlic (or 2 Tbsp. of garlic powder)
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cocoa powder
2 tsp oregano
A dash or two of red pepper powder (don’t get too crazy with it)
Brown hamburger with diced onion and garlic. Drain. Mix browned hamburger with all other ingredients (except beans) in crock pot, chopping up whole tomatoes with firm spatula while mixing in spices. Then add beans (precooked). Mix. Cook on low all day. Serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese. You can serve with healthy chips or whole grain sourdough or sprouted bread.

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup (thick enough to be a chili)
Original recipe yield: 8 Servings

1 onion, chopped
¼ lb (when dry) chili beans, soaked and cooked (or 16 ounce can chili beans)
¼ lb (when dry) black beans, soaked and cooked (or 15 ounce can black beans)
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer (OFD carries organic beer)
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 (8 ounce) package shredded cheddar cheese (or preferably raw cheddar cheese)
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream (or piima cream, see my dairy fermentation posting)
1 cup crushed healthy chips (optional) – (available at Organic Food Depot, see posting)

Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.
Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed healthy chips, if desired.


Honey-Sweetened Cream Cheese Frosting (delicious on Chocolate Zucchini Muffins)
8 oz. cream cheese softened
1/3 cup raw honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Blend until smooth. Ice cake while warm.

Honey-Sweetened Fudge Sauce/Frosting
Blend raw honey with cocoa powder or carob powder until desired texture and flavor are achieved.

Monster Cookies
Preheat to 350 degrees
½ cup extra virgin coconut oil
1 cup Sucanat or Rapadura
¾ cup raw honey
(or you can use 1 & 1/3 cups raw honey and no sucanat or rapadura)

Cream together.
Add 3 eggs and mix. (When cutting recipe in half, use 2 instead.)
2 tsp baking soda. Mix.
1 tsp. vanilla. Mix.
2 C. peanut butter. Mix.
1 C. flour (spelt or spelt/kamut blend). Mix.
4.5 C. rolled oats. Mix.
1 C. grain sweetened chocolate chips (by Sunspire)

Shape into 1.5 inch balls. Press somewhat flat on cookie sheet. Bake 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Makes 5 dozen.
(I usually cut this recipe in half.)

Whipped Cream Topping
(Sally Fallon also suggest an alternative using Stevia)
1 cup chilled coconut cream (or heavy whipping cream)
2 Tablespoons maple syrup, or honey

In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters gently beat the Coconut Cream (or heavy whipping cream) to not quite soft peak stage (The cream must be cold, taken from the fridge). Add the maple syrup or sweetener of your choice. Carefully beat to desired stiffness.


Healthy Pie Filling
(see Pie Crust and other filling recipes and tips below)

3 Options:

1) Sucanat/Rapadura and spelt flour
2) Maple syrup and cornstarch
3) Apple juice and cornstarch (this is my favorite—or a blend of #2 and #3)

When using cornstarch as thickener:
Heat syrup and/or juice to BOILING. Mix 2-3 Tablespoons cornstarch in ¼-1/2 cup cold water and mix into boiling liquid (in a medium sized stove pot, don’t use a small one or it will boil over). Pour over fruit filling. Sprinkle with spices of your choice.

Pie Crust (using extra virgin coconut oil – so good and so much more healthy!)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use Spelt)
1 t salt
1 T. raw honey
3/4 C chilled, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (this is technically not the best choice according to The Maker’s Diet, but I’ve never tried it using ,only extra virgin for the whole recipe)
coconut oil)
3/8 C (6 T) chilled extra virgin coconut oil
1/4 C ice water
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

I use a food processor to combine the dry ingredients with the butter and coconut oil. Put the flour (spelt), honey and salt in the food processor and add the chilled extra virgin coconut oil (broken into pieces). Pulse until the coconut oil is worked into the flour and no large pieces remain. Add the chilled butter and pulse until the largest pieces of butter are no larger than small peas. At this point I dump this mixture into a bowl since I prefer to incorporate the water by hand using a fork. Add the apple cider vinegar to 1/4 C ice water and then add this mixture to the flour mixture, a couple of tablespoons at a time, tossing the mixture with a fork. As you continue to add the liquid the mixture will begin to come together in a ball. At this point you can squeeze the mixture together by hand. You don't want to knead the dough; work it just enough to bring it all together in a cohesive mass. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and smash it down somewhat to make a thick disk. Chill the dough for at least an hour before using.
This crust is absolutely delicious either for double crust pies or for single crust pies where the crust is not pre-baked. I have found from experience that this crust is simply too rich to bake empty and then fill. When I have attempted to bake the pie crust by itself it tends to melt down and slide to the bottom of the pie pan.

Fabulous Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Here is a healthy version of a classic pumpkin pie recipe.

Nut Crust: Makes one 9 inch pie crust.

2 1/2 cups finely ground nuts (pecans are the best, almonds, walnuts or a combination of mixed nuts works very nicely too)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 T to 1/3 cup sucanat, raw honey or natural sweetener of choice - depends on how sweet you want your crust (see my note at the top of this page on raw honey substitution)*
1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil (or butter) melted

Stir together ground nuts, cinnamon and sugar. Mix in melted extra virgin coconut oil. Set aside 1/2 cup of the nut mixture for topping the pie.

Press mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Chill for about 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (either canned or home-made)
1/2 cup maple syrup or or honey
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
(2 Tablespoons flour if you use maple syrup, honey)

Heat the pumpkin puree in a heavy pan, stirring frequently. Add the coconut milk to the pumpkin, continuing to stir. Keep it hot, but don't let it boil. In a heatproof bowl, beat the eggs and maple syrup or honey together. Beat in the dry spices. When the pie crust is ready, beat the egg mixture, while slowly adding the hot pumpkin mixture into it as a thin stream. The resulting mixture will be hot, but you do not want to have "cooked" eggs. Carefully pour the hot pumpkin filling into the hot pie crust. Return to the center of the oven and bake at 400 degrees. If the pie is very full, finish filling it when the pie is part way in the oven with a cup or ladle so that you do not slosh the filling all over. The pie is done when the outside edge of the filling is firm and slightly puffed, but the center is still jiggly. Place on a rack to gently cool, so the custard can finish cooking and set. When cool, add a whipped cream topping.


Stir-&-Roll Pie Crust
1 1/3 C flour
1 tsp Salt
1/3 C Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
3 tbsp cold Milk

Pumpkin Pie Filling
3/4 C sucanat or rapadura
1/2 tsp Salt
1 3/4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice *
2 large eggs
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 12 oz can evaporated milk

Mix sugar, salt, Pumpkin Pie Spice in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl and stir in Pumpkin and sucanat spice mixture.
Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into 9" pie shell. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near,center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours and serve or refrigerate. Makes 8 servings.

• Can use 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp ground cloves
instead of Pumpkin Pie Spice.

Glutenless Crust
2 Cups glutenless flour (buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa)
¼ to ½ Cup extra virgin coconut oil
¼ teaspoon salt
?? water

Mix flour and salt, cut in extra virgin coconut oil, add water gradually until the dough holds together. As with the sprouted crust, I recommend just pressing the dough into the pan, and using waxed paper if you make a top crust. You could also roll out a bunch of mini-crusts and patch them together.

Details and Tips for Pie Crusts
Pies are either two-crust, like apple and cherry, or one-crust, like pumpkin, pecan, and cream. All the above measurements are for a two-crust pie. The top crust is always smaller, so for a one-crust pie, reduce everything by about a third, not by half.

Measurement is only important in the liquid oil crust, because to maintain flakiness you shouldn't add more stuff after stirring. In every crust, what matters is the liquid-solid balance, for a dough that will be pliable enough to roll out but not so wet that it sticks to everything and comes apart. In flaky crusts, you take care of this during the water-adding stage. With sourdough, I start it kind of wet and then add more flour until it's stiff enough. So I generally don't measure at all.

In a two crust pie, separate the dough into two balls, one of them noticeably bigger than the other. After a few pies you'll develop a feel for the relative sizes. Then roll out the big one for the bottom crust.

For a roller, I just grab the nearest wine bottle. In ease of use, it's so close to a rolling pin that it's not worth my trouble to get the rolling pin out of the drawer. (And it's easier to clean!) You will probably need more flour than you think. I spread some on the counter, roll the crust a bit, flip it, roll it more, then add more flour, because the original flour gets absorbed in the dough. You need to keep both sides floured. Start rolling with light pressure and work up to heavier pressure as it gets flatter. What you're aiming for is a circle close enough in size to what you need that you don't have to trim the edges. This is a skill that comes with many crusts. You'll probably get nowhere near a circle and have to trim and patch.

There's nothing wrong with a patched-together pie crust. It tastes the same and you can't even see the patching unless it's on the top crust, and even then it's only going to bother people you don't want to associate with anyway. Even after making hundreds of crusts, I often end up patching because whole grain flour is so uncooperative. Some people take the trimmings and bake them separately (or tragically throw them out), but I use everything in the crust.

So you roll out the bottom crust, wipe a thin coat of oil in the pie pan, put the crust in, roll out the top crust, then put the filling in and quickly put on the top crust and get it in a hot oven. The wetter the filling is, the more important it is to put it in the oven very soon after you put the filling in, or the wetness will soak into the bottom crust and damage it. Some people like to do a little sculpture at the edge of the pie where the top and bottom crusts join. I just press them roughly together. The important thing here is that the filling doesn't run out of the bottom crust and down the inside of the pan. If it does, you'll just get a caramelized spot.

Baking time varies between pies. The temperature is generally 350-400 F, at which a filled crust will be done in around 30 minutes, but the filling often takes longer.

Read More......

Local vs. Organic

Time magazine online recently posted an interesting article on the dilemma of eating local vs. eating organic.

I agree that if you are buying organic oranges that have been flown from California to your local Virginia health food store or supermarket, you may, in fact, be supporting a process that is harmful to the environment. Polluting the air with extra gasoline in an effort to ship organic food to buyers can be taken to the extreme. So choose wisely when you buy. The best option for consumers is to look for food that is both local and organic. It may sound hard to do, but it can be done. Local co-ops like the Organic Food Depot carry fresh, local produce daily, as well as local honey, and other products. Yoder Dairies, as I’ve mentioned before, is a great way to support local dairy in the Hampton Roads area. Yoder also carries local, free-range eggs. The Organic Food Depot carries Gryffon’s Aerie beef and other meats, which are local and grass-fed, and Central Meats provides local meat and fowl as well. Supporting your local (and organic as much as possible) farmers is a good way to ensure that such products remain readily available in your area.

If you find that certain items that you need cannot be found locally, then I advocate purchasing what is most healthy for you. We are stewards of the earth, yes, but we are also temples of the Holy Spirit. So let's make sure our bodies are healthy first and foremost, while continuing to do our best to protect the environment as much a possible at the same time.

Read More......

Friday, May 18, 2007

Maker’s Diet Sweeteners

Find out what the healthiest sweeteners are, where to get them, how to use them and where to look for recipes …

Jordan Rubin’s book The Maker’s Diet lists acceptable sweeteners as:

-Honey (unheated and raw) - (no more than 3 Tbsp. per day)
-Maple Syrup

Although sucanat (dehydrated cane juice) and rapadura (raw, organic sugar) are not included on this “ok” list, they do appear in some of the recipes in Rubin’s book.

Sucanat & Rapadura
In doing some research on sucanat and rapadura, it appears that they do not promote tooth decay as much as refined sugars, and they do not spike insulin quite as much a refined sugars, although they could do so if used daily. They also do not promote yeast growth as highly as refined sugar. These raw cane sugar forms have 85% the sugar content found in commercial refined sugar due to their retaining of natural molasses and nutrients.

The point is this, using rapaduar or sucanat once in a while will not harm your Maker’s Diet lifestyle, but consumption of either of these products is not recommended either while doing a cleanse or in consistent daily quantities.

Sucanat and rapadura can be purchased at most health food stores as well as Organic Food Depot.

Stevia is a South American herb that has been used as a sweetener by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay for hundreds of years. The leaves of this small, green Stevia rebaudiana plant have a delicious and refreshing taste that can be 30 times sweeter than sugar. Very popular in Japan where it has been widely used as a sweetener for over 35 years, Stevia is sold in the U.S. as a dietary supplement.

Stevia comes in powder, tablet, and liquid forms. Of these, the liquid drops are the tastiest. I have found that Stevia powder does not taste very good in coffee, oatmeal or tea, but the liquid drops are quite delicious. And both forms are often called for in Stevia recipes. Stevia can be purchased online, at a variety of health food stores, and even via the Organic Food Depot.

Stevia has been found to be a healthy substitute for diabetics because it does not spike insulin levels.

There are Stevia recipe books available, as well as a number of websites providing free Stevia recipes.

Remember, as always, too much of a good thing isn’t good. The key with Stevia and other sugar substitutes is not to go on eating tons of it as people currently do with refined sugar—we must cut way back and instead use these healthy sweeteners sparingly. The FDA has not yet approved Stevia to be used commercially in grocery-store foods and food products because of a study conducted in which rats were fed enormous amounts of Stevia over a many-month period. This led to reproductive problems, cancer, and problems with energy and metabolism. This study, however, is nothing to be concerned about if you’re using Stevia in moderation as people have done for thousands of years.

Raw, unheated honey is the only form of honey you should be eating. If your honey has been processed, heated, filtered or treated, you are missing out on all of the beneficial living enzymes naturally present in raw honey. Raw, unheated honey has been used to treat ailments for thousands of years. It is delicious when used in cooking and has a greater sweetening power than sugar. Twelve ounces (weight) of honey equals one standard measuring cup.

You can purchase raw, unheated honey at health food stores and now at a few regular grocery stores (but look at the labels carefully). Local health food stores in Hampton Roads, including the Organic Food Depot, sell a variety of raw honeys including Really Raw Honey, Golden Angels Apiary (a local Virginia producer), Garden of Life and others.

Cooking and baking with honey can take a little bit of practice and a little math, but it is well worth it. Click here for Real Raw Honey recipes. Click here and scroll down for additional links to recipe lists.

As a general rule when substituting honey for sugar in baked goods, reduce the amount of liquid by ¼ cup for each cup of honey used; add ½ teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey used; reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent over browning. For easy removal, rub extra-virgin coconut oil or olive oil on the inside of the measuring cup before adding honey.

Once again, you don’t want to overdo it with honey. It is much sweeter than sugar, and it does affect insulin levels. Jordan Rubin recommends no more than 3 Tbsp. per day.

Maple Syrup
Pure maple syrup is not as potently sweet as honey and can be used for more than just topping your waffles and pancakes.

Commercial brands of syrup, such as Mrs. Butterworth’s and Log Cabin, are terribly unhealthy as they contain high-fructose corn syrup. Pure maple syrup, on the other hand, is healthy in moderation and contains zinc and other minerals.

Pure maple syrup is rated by grades: A, B, and C. Grade A pure maple syrup is light amber, grade B is a medium amber, and grade C is very dark and not usually available for purchase as it is used in commercial baking. Grade A maple syrup is the most tasty for things like pancakes. Grade B is often used more in baking.

You can purchase pure maple syrup at most grocery stores, but you can only purchase organic pure maple syrup through health food stores. As I mentioned in another post, I often purchase pure maple syrup (non-organic) in bulk at Costco.

Click here to see a history of maple syrup and its nutritional content.

Here are a few links to maple syrup recipes:

Some of the recipes on these links may call for sugar. Try to avoid those or attempt to substitute the sugar for rapadura, sucanat or honey.

You can find more recipes using honey, maple syrup, rapadura or sucanat in Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions

If you have questions concerning any of these sweeteners, please post a comment. I hope this has been helpful.

Read More......

Culturing Your Dairy

If you read my previous posts on dairy fermentation (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3) and you’re wondering where to purchase a piima culture, read on …

You will most likely have to order a piima culture online as I did.

Moonwise Herbs is one of the places I have found for purchasing a piima culture. I ordered mine from them. They also offer kefir cultures as well. However, if you would like to order a piima culture from Moonwise, do it in the next few days. As of May 21 Moonwise will cease shipping piima cultures until September 2007 due to summer heat.

When you order your piima culture ($12) from Moonwise, it will usually arrive within two days. They charge around $6 for shipping in order to ensure that it gets to you quickly as the culture could be damaged if in transit too long. Once you have your piima culture, you never have to order it again as long as you remember to save some from your starter batch for your next batch.

Along with your piima culture, Moonwise Herbs sends an introductory sheet on how to use your piima. Refer to Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions as well. Fallon’s piima starter recipe, however, calls for one “envelope” of piima culture. Moonwise sends its piima as a starter culture in a little jar, so follow Moonwise’s instructions for creating your starter culture. I believe it is1 pint cream and 1 Tbsp. piima.

After growing your starter culture with the piima sent to you by Moonwise, you can refer to Nourishing Traditions for other piima recipes.

In addition to Moonwise Herbs, Fermented Treasures sells piima cultures in envelopes ($8 ea.). They advertise them specifically for making piima yogurt, but you can use the piima culture for other things as Sally Fallon instructs in Nourishing Traditions. I believe you can order the envelope of piima culture from Fermented Treasures at any time of the year.

Here is an additional link to information on lacto-fermented foods with references to Nourishing Traditions.

And here’s another link to some basic fermenting recipes from Nourishing Traditions, a few which call for piima.

Remember, when culturing your piima use whole-milk dairy products that are either raw or only gently pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized) and nonhomogenized.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pasha Ottoman Bakery & Café - Restaurant With Organic Selection

Pasha is a wonderful Hampton Roads option when eating out while still eating healthy. Their meat, fowl and seafood in many dishes is wild and/or free range. Many dishes are organic— with organic vegetables, rice, sauces, etc.

An average entree for dinner at Pasha is about $12. Not bad, quite comparable to an evening out at Applebee's.

I’ve eaten at Pasha several times, once was on a date with my husband. The atmosphere was wonderful. Two Turkish waiters, who were also obviously very talented musicians, serenaded the guests in traditional Mediterranean/Turkish style. Quite lovely. And the food was delicious.

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Kombucha is a raw, fermented drink containing billions of living probiotic organism, electrolytes, amino acids, antioxidants, etc. It is wonderful for the digestive system as well as a number of other things.

My sister suggested I try Kombucha. I discovered that the OFD carries some flavors in stock and others are available to order through the online catalogue. The brand I have tried and love is called Synergy. It comes in different flavors. My sister’s favorite is the mango. Unfortunately, although the drink IS available at Organic Food Depot, the mango flavor is only available via a split, and I couldn’t find enough people to split it with me this week. So, instead, I just ordered the grape flavor and the guava flavor since both are carried in stock.

A word of warning: don’t shake the bottle. The drink is very carbonated due to the fermentation. It tastes a little vinegary, almost a little like alcohol but not. It fizzes in your throat after a sip. It is a raw and organic drink.

It is actually quite good. I think the guava flavor is better than the grape. The immediate after-taste is the fruit 5% fruit juice that they add to it, and then right after that there’s a fermented after-taste. But on the whole, it’s great. It’s supposed to be fantastic for digestion and some people have even used it to help heal from cancer.

I’m excited that my sister told me about this. I had never heard of it until last week. The Kombucha will be a great thing to have to keep in line with what Sally Fallon recommends in Nourishing Traditions—make 50% of your daily diet fermented, cultured or sprouted foods AND make sure to eat something fermented or cultured at ever meal. Fallon’s word of advice is if your meal will not include something fermented or cultured, then it’s a good idea eat something of that sort prior to your meal in order to prep your digestive system to better break down and absorb your food.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to make fermented, cultured and sprouted foods 50% of my total diet, but I can at least eat them as often as possible. And with Kombucha in the house, I’ll always have something fermented on hand.

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Organics at Trader Joe’s

My thoughts on Trader Joe’s …

Currently there is only one Trader Joe’s in the Hampton Roads area, located in Newport News. I have been there a couple of times, but do not frequent it on a regular basis as it is about a 45-minute drive from where I’m at in Chesapeake.

Trader Joe’s does carry a variety of organic and “all-natural” items. Again, one must really look at the labels. They do carry some organic dairy as well as organic pasta, jams, sweeteners, organic canned goods, etc. However, they do not carry a number of the reliable products and brands that most health food stores do.

Although Trader Joe’s prices are certainly competitive, I am personally a very picky Maker’s Diet shopper, and both times I have visited Trader Joe’s I did not always find what I was looking for as far as ingredients. Their meat selection in the frozen isle is decent though. They have a few of wild/free range items.

If any of you happen to make a trip to Trader Joe’s and have any updated info, let me know.

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Dairy Fermentation & More - Day 3

Here is my account of day three in the process of fermentation (both dairy and other things).

This morning I made porridge with the oats that I soaked in whey and water overnight. It took about 15-20 minutes total, but most of that time, I didn’t really have to do anything. I started by boiling 1 cup of water and ½ tsp. of ground sea salt. Once the water was boiling, I added the oats (which had doubled in size overnight). Then I turned the burner down to low to simmer them. I finished making lunches, started getting ready and came back 10 minutes later to stir the oats. I finished doing some other morning preparations and came back another 10 minutes later. They were done, perfectly moist and absolutely delicious. I put about ¾ cup of porridge in a bowl and topped it with pure maple syrup. Yum! (You can also cut the recipe in half if cooking for only one person and the cooking time will be reduced.)

This morning I also scooped the cream cheese from the cheesecloth, that had been sitting out all night dripping whey, put it in a clean jar and stuck it in the fridge. I put a lid on the separate jar with the whey in it and put it in the fridge too.

I took a taste of the cream cheese after it had had time to chill. It is really quite bland, not at all like the cream cheese that I am used to. The texture and consistency are perfect, just like cream cheese. But the taste just isn’t there. I will have to do some research to see if I can season it or anything to give it some flavor.

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Dairy Fermentation & More - Day 2

Here is my account of the second day doing dairy fermenation (and other fermentation) at home based on Sally Fallon's recipes:

I used 1 cup of my homemade yogurt in my smoothie this morning (Jordan Rubin’s Berry Smoothie recipe from The Maker’s Diet) and it was THE MOST DELICIOUS yogurt smoothie I’ve ever had! As Sally Fallon says in Nourishing Traditions, the homemade yogurt is not as thick as commercial yogurt. But, I have to admit, it is really good in smoothies!

Now on to Whey & Cream Cheese …

I’ve just started a batch of the above using 1 cup of the yogurt I made yesterday. The whey is already draining through the cheesecloth in the strainer. It will probably be tomorrow before my cream cheese and whey are done. With the whey I’ll be able to ferment fruits, veggies, beans, grains, etc.

I have also started a batch of piima cream (sour cream). I took ½ tablespoon of piima starter culture that I made yesterday and added it to about ½ pint of whole cream from Yoder (not ultrapasteurized). It is fermenting in the cupboard now for 24 hours. I’ll use it in my chili tomorrow night.

Soaking beans …

I’m soaking beans for chili tonight. I’ve never done this before. So, I’m experimenting a bit. I put 1 lb. of pinto and red kidney beans (dry and organic) to soak in a large bowl with equal amount of room-temperature water to the beans and added 2 tablespoons of my homemade yogurt to ferment/soak them. They should be ready for cooking after about 8 hours. However, Sally Fallon says 12-24 hours. I hope 8 hours will be enough.

Later …

I have hit a snag with my soaked beans for the chili. I soaked the beans for 8 hours then added them to the other ingredients for my chili (sans remaining water from soaking). It was apparent when I added them that they were going to need more water in order to simmer and expand. I added water, brought them to a boil and then reduced the heat to medium-low. I realized though, after referring again to the soaked-bean recipes, that I probably should have cooked the beans before adding them to the chili. This means my chili will take longer.

1 hour later …

I just checked the chili and it is sticking/scorching on the bottom of the pot–the beans mostly. I’ve added more water, as the other has been absorbed by the beans already.

In the meantime, while waiting on my chili, I am putting organic whole rolled oats to soak for our breakfast tomorrow. I’m trying Sally Fallon’s basic porridge recipe: 1 cup warm water, 1 cup whole rolled oats, 2 tablespoons homemade whey. Cover and let soak at least 8 hours and as many as 24.

I just sampled the piima cream and it delicious! More smooth and sweet than any commercial sour cream I’ve tasted.

3 hours later …

Ok, my chili has now been simmering for 4 hours. I’ve added a total of probably 6 cups of water since first adding the soaked beans to the chili pot. I guess next time I WILL COOK THE BEANS before using them in anything. Ha, learned my lesson there.

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Dairy Fermentation & More - Introduction & Day 1

After looking through Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions, I decided to take a shot at her chapter called “Mastering the Basics” in which she explains how to culture your own dairy for maximum health benefits. I documented my dairy culturing and a couple other food fermentation experiments over a three-day period. Here is my account of the first day:

Sally Fallon’s first recipe calls for something called a “piima culture.” According to Fallon, “Piima culture (also called vili or Finnish culture) is derived from the milk of cows that feed on the butterwort plant. Centuries ago, Scandinavian farmers discovered that milk clabbered better when their cows consumed this herb” (82).

Dairy that is allowed to ferment has been shown to naturally break down “thirty to forty percent of the lactose present […] so that the high lactose content is reduced. However, a special enzyme activity also takes place. Fermented products that are not pasteurized or heated in way that destroy the enzyme activity have significant levels of enzymes that contribute to the digestion of lactose in the intestine” (Dr. Betty Kamen, Health Freedom News in Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions 82).

Although I have had a milk allergy since I was young, I decided to see if consuming homemade fermented dairy would help my body react less to dairy products.

I bought creamline milk and whole cream from Yoder Dairies yesterday. I tipped the creamline jar upside down to get a feel for the thickness of it, but it didn’t move! I was a little nervous because of that. When I got home from work, I shook the jar of creamline really hard and finally saw liquid movement in the jar. I shook it some more and then poured myself a glass. Some congealed cream tried to pour out as well, but I kept that in the jar, put the cap back on, and shook hard again before returning it to the refrigerator. I tasted the glass of milk I’d just poured. Delicious! Now that is milk!

At this point I took the piima culture (in jar) out of the fridge. I had previously cleaned a few mason jars and lids, using hot water and natural dish soap. Sally Fallon’s instructions for fermenting dairy (in Nourishing Traditions) explain that the jars must be “immaculately clean.” When I opened the piima culture jar, I saw that its consistency is very similar to whipped cream cheese, but a bit thicker. I cut the starter culture recipe in half since I didn’t want to use my whole point of cream up for just the starter. A pint is 2 cups, so I measured out 1 cup of cream with an equally clean measuring cup, and then I added ½ tablespoon of piima culture. I stirred it using the measuring spoon and then took my roasting thermometer and turned it on to test the temperature not only in the kitchen, but also in the cupboards, etc.

Piima’s ideal culturing temperature is 72-75 degrees. One of my cupboards was 73 degrees, so I put the starter culture in there cupboard, and I put the remaining piima culture (the original one) in the freezer. Later in the evening, about 2 hours later, I checked the temperature in the cupboard again. It had dropped to 69 degrees, so I took the starter culture upstairs. It’s always warmer upstairs. My bedroom closet registered 73 degrees, so I put the starter culture in there for the night. This morning I checked the temperature in the closet and it is 74.9 degrees. So, once 7:30 p.m. rolls around tonight, if my starter culture looks reasonably thickened, then I’ll put it in the fridge where it’s supposed to firm up.

Once it has done that, I will add a bit of starter to the rest of the cream from Yoder Diaries to make piima sour cream.

Now, on to making yogurt …

I will use 1 quart of creamline milk (must be only gently pasteurized and non-homogenized as well) from Yoder Dairies along with ½ cup of commercial organic plain whole milk yogurt. The instructions say to heat the milk on the stove to 180 degrees. Once it reaches that temperature, take it off the stove until it cools to 110 degrees, then add ½ cup yogurt and mix together. It then says to pour it into a glass, ceramic or stainless steel dish and cover, and then place in oven set to 150 degrees. I will use my Pyrex glass (small) casserole dish. The instructions say to leave the mixture in the 150-degree oven overnight, but since I’ve never done this before, I don’t feel comfortable leaving the oven on all night. So, I’m going to put the mixture in the oven for 8 hours during the day instead. After that it goes in the fridge where you check it every so often, mopping up (with a paper towel) the whey that rises to the top.

I first went to preheat the oven to 150 degrees when I realized that my oven doesn’t heat below 170 degrees! I was concerned, but then I remembered that my toaster oven heats as low as 150 and is just the right size for my Pyrex glass casserole dish. Whew!

I started heating my creamline milk on the stove in a saucepan using my roasting thermometer to check the temperature (the recipe calls for a candy thermometer, but I’m sure a roasting one will do). I began by heating the chilled milk very slowly, stirring periodically. Every 3-5 minutes I’d test the temperature. If it ever stabilized, I turned the burner up one notch. Once on level 8 for my stove (on a scale of 1-10)—the equivalent of about medium-high I’d guess—the milk reached 180 degrees. This took close to ½ an hour. I took the milk off the hot burner and set the thermometer in it. I am now watching the temperature drop …

It has now taken almost 45 minutes to cool the milk from 180 degrees to 110 degrees. Note: when making yogurt, allow plenty of time in your schedule. While waiting for it to cool, I’ve emptied the dishwasher, eaten breakfast, swept the floor, etc. Finally, the milk made it to 110 degrees! I had let my commercial organic plain whole milk yogurt sit at room temperature for the last ½ hour. I added ½ cup of yogurt to my warm milk. Stirred. Then emptied the mix into the glass casserole dish and set it in the toaster oven set to 150 degrees, with a stainless steel toaster oven pan covering it. We’ll see how it’s doing in 8 hours …

Tonight at 7:30 p.m. I checked on the piima starter. It had thickened nicely so I put it in the fridge.

I took the yogurt out of the toaster oven—it had thickened and cultured well. I covered it with the Pyrex casserole plastic lid and put it in the fridge. A few hours later I checked it for whey, mopped up what had collected, and put it back in the fridge. I will try to my homemade yogurt in my yogurt breakfast smoothie tomorrow.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Yoder Dairies

Yoder Dairies is a marvelous resource to those in Virginia Beach and the surrounding areas. Originally owned by a Mennonite family, Yoder Dairies offers very gently pasteurized and non-homogenized milk from cows that have not been given antibiotics or hormones. And their dairy contains no preservatives.

Yoder Dairies is the only place in the area where I have been able to find whole, non-homogenized milk (essential for making homemade, cultured dairy products; see my other postings on culturing your own dairy and/or see Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions).

Their cream, buttermilk and creamline (whole, non-homogenized milk) are all top quality. I have used them to make cultured dairy at home, and it has turned out better by far than anything I’ve ever bought commercially.

They also carry local free-range eggs as well.

Their juices, however, are not organic and are from concentrate, so they are not your best choice for juice.

But the dairy is marvelous, and you can arrange to have them deliver your dairy right to your door!

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Raw Milk in Hampton Roads, Va. and Beyond

While doing research for local dairy, I discovered that though buying and selling raw, non-pasteurized milk is illegal in most states, including Virginia, there is an option called “cow sharing.”

Cow sharing consists of purchasing a share in a cow. There are about 20 shares in a cow. They usually cost around $100 per share, and then around $25-$35 per month to help pay for the care of the cow. In return for your investment, you get at least 1 gallon of fresh raw whole milk straight from the cow every week.

From this raw, whole, non-homogenized milk you can make a variety of dairy products including butter, sour cream and yogurt.

If you are not a resident of Virginia, visit this site to find out about your state's laws concerning raw milk and where you can get raw milk nearby.

For residents if Hampton Roads, Va., there are two farms near the Chesapeake/Virginia Beach area that participate in cow sharing.


- This farm is located in Suffolk, Va. You can purchase a share in a cow through Scott and Alison Wilson, the owners, as well as a variety of other things like free-range eggs, free-range chicken and turkey, pre-ordered free-range beef, etc. I own a cow share through Full Quiver Farm and just love it. The milk is rich and delicious. As someone who grew up with a severe milk allergy my whole life, discovering raw milk has been a miracle for me. For the first time, I can drink milk (raw) and not get sick.


- This farm is located in Ivor, Va., just past Suffolk. You can purchase a share in a cow through them, as well as free-range beef.

There is a lively debate surrounding the issue of raw dairy. Some people swear by it, others believe it’s dangerous. Until I read the research, I was torn on the issue as well. Now, there's no doubt in my mind that raw milk is best. Read the documented research now and decide for yourself.

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Water & Health

Switching to healthier water is a must when starting the Maker’s Diet. Many bottled waters at the grocery store say simply “pure,” “filtered,” or “spring water.” But what does that mean?

As many of you may have seen on the news in recent months, companies that produce these waters don’t always go to that much trouble to make sure they’re pure or filtered. For all you know, the water you drink out of some bottles could be tap water. So, it’s important to find a reputable company who produces distilled water that you can trust.

Water & Health Inc (located on Sams Drive in Chesapeake and on Lynnhaven Parkway in Virginia Beach) is one of the most reputable places in the southeastern Virginia area I’ve found for truly pure water. Water & Health Inc puts their water through a double distillation process. It is so pure, it can sit for years in a jar in the sunlight and never discolor (unlike the city tap water found all over the country including Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Suffolk—which turns varying shades of brown over a period of months while sitting in the sun).

At Water & Health you can purchase a membership at varying levels which INCLUDES a certain number of gallons of water (i.e. 250 gal., 500 gal., etc.). In addition to the water, you may decide to purchase a dispensary system either through Water & Health or at a local Lowe’s or Home Depot. My husband and I purchased our dispensary unit 2 years ago and a $200+ membership with Water & Health and we still haven’t run out of water yet!

You can taste the difference from Water & Health, which is why I so highly recommend it. You may find other places in the area that suit your needs or location better, but always make sure to get tour of the place, find out how they distill/purify their water and price compare.

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The Real Bread Shop

Although breads and baked goods from The Real Bread Shop are available for order online via OFD (for a few cents less individually), The Real Bread Shop store is fun to visit and offers the added benefit of a hole-punch card. Once you buy 12 loaves, you get a free loaf of bread. This is actually a better deal than saving 5 cents per loaf via OFD.

The Real Bread Shop is located in Fairfield Plaza on Kempsville Road in Virginia Beach, directly adjacent to Blockbuster on the corner in the plaza.

The Real Bread Shop uses freshly ground organic flour and local raw honey.

Again, the breads that I stick with in order to stay as close to the Maker’s Diet as possible are the Bible Bread, the Sourdough Bread and the various Spelt Breads.

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Organics and More at Farm Fresh

Within the past two year, Farm Fresh has started to carry organic food produts. The Farm Fresh located at the intersection of Kempsville and Volvo in Chesapeake, Virginia, has the best organic selection I’ve found of any Farm Fresh my area.

A lot of their items are a little more expensive than OFD and Harris Teeter, but they do have a few things at a better price. My favorite peanut butter by Maranatha is less expensive at Farm Fresh than anywhere else, even OFD.

They carry some organic produce, organic canned goods, organic dry good, organic frozen items, and others, etc.

However, Farm Fresh, like Harris Teeter (HT Naturals), now has their own organic brand called Nature’s Best. Beware of this brand. Every product that I’ve seen so far under than brand label, while it does contain organic ingredients, it ALWAYS has sugar in it. I highly recommend staying away from these products, as they are not ideal.

However, Nature’s Best is certainly not the only brand carried at Farm Fresh.

In addition, Farm Fresh carries items in bulk: organic dried fruits, grains, seeds, nuts, beans—and even grain-sweetened chocolate covered raisins. The organic dried figs are delicious, as well as the organic dry beans.

Also, if you feel, as I have, that the products in the organic section of Farm Fresh are limited and sometimes overpriced, you can also look in the regular isles for certain products. For instance, Farm Fresh also has two brands of organic canned tomatoes in the regular canned vegetable isle, AND they are less expensive than the brands carried in the “organic section.” So, it pays to do a little extra research in the regular isles before settling on that high-priced item in the fancy “organic section.”

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A Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Check out the Food News page on (at the bottom of the page) for a guide to pesticide levels in produce so you can shop more wisely when buy organic and/or commercial produce.

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Organics and More at Super Wal-Mart

Super Wal-Marts began carrying organic and "all natural" products in the last year or so. The two locations I frequent are the one on Princess Ann Rd. in Virginia Beach and the one on Battlefield Blvd. in Chesapeake. Not all of the natural/organic items that Wal-Mart carries are the best choices while on the Maker’s Diet (specifically because many of them contain sugar). However, here is a list of the items I’ve found at Super Wal-Mart stores that fall under the Maker’s Diet guidelines, or at least close to them.


- Organic romaine lettuce hearts – less expensive than anywhere else

- Organic apples by the bag – less expensive than anywhere else

- Organic avocados

- Organic lemons or limes (depends on what’s in stock)

- Organic celery

- Organic carrots

- Organic kiwi

- Amy’s Organic frozen meals (Mexican style) – cheapest of anywhere (however, I try to stay away from microwave foods and from the microwave in general, but when in a pinch, we’ve eaten Amy’s frozen meals before.)

- Organic ice cream – has evaporated cane juice in it, but a nice treat once in a great while (Wal-Mart has the best price for the most organic ice cream of anywhere I’ve found so far)

- Organic soups – Amy’s and other brands – best priced organic soups anywhere

- Natural Jams/Jellies by Polaner – fruit juice sweetened (only $1.50, less expensive than either Farm Fresh [$2.49 ea.] or Harris Teeter [$1.99]). We have been buying these to save money rather than buying organic fruit juice sweetened jam, which can get expensive.

- Organic canned beans – less expensive than other places (however, canned beans are not the best, as Sally Fallon mentions in Nourishing Traditions, but sometimes it is easier to use them if one is in a hurry. In the long run, though, it is cheaper to buy organic dry beans and cook them yourself.)

- Organic sour cream, decent price, but not cultured like Nancy’s, and certainly not as good for your or tasty as making it at home yourself.

These are most of the products that I get at Wal-Mart. Be sure when shopping for the best price on something, that you make sure to look at the label to see if it contains sugar. They can get pretty tricky with the labels. I believe Wal-Mart also carries organic frozen vegetables and eggs as well for a good price, probably the best price around.

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Organics and More at Harris Teeter

Here is a list of Maker’s Diet-approved food items available at Harris Teeter stores that I have found helpful and often cost-competitive.

- Organic Peanut Butter (HT Naturals brand)

- Organic canned tomatoes (diced and others) – a few more cents than Wal-Mart’s but Wal-Mart’s organic canned tomatoes have sugar in them, so I avoid them!

- Organic salsa (HT Naturals brand – very good salsas!)

- Organic produce, including peppers, squash, oranges, lemons, limes, apples, pears, onions, potatoes, lettuce, etc. Price compare on the organic produce – sometimes it’s better at Harris Teeter, sometimes it’s better at Organic Food Depot; I usually just stay away from things like fresh organic berries completely because they are so expensive no matter where you get them from.

- Organic brown rice – HT Naturals brand, brown basmati rice (very good!) – best price I’ve found for the most rice

- Organic canned veggies, beans and tons of other things, but the price isn’t as good as WalMart.

- Organic flours, oats and baking items – HT is usually more expensive on these items compared with ordering them online via OFD

- Organic Juice – a few whole, not-from-concentrate juices are available. HT also offers organic juice from concentrate, which I know is a no-no according to Jordan Ruben … but if getting the unfiltered organic juice is just too expensive for you (which it sometimes is for us) we will get our Organic Juice from Harris Teeter … they have a couple different brands, one is less expensive than the other.

- Organic frozen fruit – better price on frozen berries and other fruits on HT Naturals brand than any other brands elsewhere

- Organic, free range beef and chicken, good quality (if you’re a VIC member, the organic beef is a really decent price. The chicken, though, is a bit pricey.)

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Low-Fat Diets Are Not Healthy - Finally Mainstream Nutritionalists are Understanding the Truth

Check out this article on MSN Health & Fitness. Hello, this is what people like Jordan Rubin and Sally Fallon have been saying for years! We need healthy fat in our diets. The key there is "healthy" fats. Things like whole milk, natural fat from healthy, free-range beef, plenty of free-range eggs, etc. Low fat diets can even contribute to infertility in women.

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Shopping at Organic Food Depot (OFD)

The Organic Food Depot—I call it OFD—is a wonderful organic and natural food co-op. It has a number of store/pick-up locations in Hampton Roads. You can go online and sign up to be a member. It's FREE! Once you become a member, you can order products online (orders close on Tuesdays at 10 a.m.) and pick them up in-store on Fridays after 5 p.m. The OFD carries a lot of products in stock, but even more products are available through them online. You can split cases of items with other members, buy items in bulk to get a better price, or simply buy individual items as well.

Listed here are some of the products they carry that are in line with eating according to the Maker’s Diet.


OFD carries a variety of organic produce, much of which is local—everything from grapes, kiwi, oranges, apples, pears berries, bananas, lemons, avocados, onions, potatoes lettuce, mushrooms, bell peppers, spinach, and number of other things. The organic produce I usually purchase from OFD includes
- green bell peppers (the price is better than other places depending on the season)
- baby bella mushrooms
- fresh heads of lettuce (the best prices I’ve found around)
- pears
- red potatoes
- tomatoes
- grapefruit
- grapes
- oranges

One of the most valuable resources for me concerning produce has been the Food News page on This website lists the pesticide levels present in a variety of fruits and vegetables. The things at the top of the list I always buy organic. The things on the bottom of the list I don’t bother to buy organic. This has helped me to balance my budget and make more informed choices. For instance, bananas hardly absorb any pesticides, so I continue to buy regular bananas at the grocery store.


- JUICE: Unfiltered organic juice, with pulp to get the most living enzymes (Golden Acres apple juice is really good. It's local and a decent price, though it isn’t organic. You can get it through the online catalogue if you're looking for this type of “whole” juice.)

- RAW HONEY: Really Raw Honey is the one of the only raw, unheated, unfiltered brands of honey on the market. It is delicious! It comes in a variety of sizes and is in it's natural solid, unheated state. This ensures that the living enzymes contained in raw honey straight from the comb are still active and alive. Another local alternative is Golden Angels Apiary. Their honey is also very good, but very few of their honeys are raw and many of them are slightly heated. However, the latter is less expensive. Choose what works best for you depending on your budget. I use raw, unheated honey in cooking and on cereal, in tea, etc. (When baking, if something calls for 1 cup of sugar, I use about ½-¾ cup of honey—so it’s not a one-to-one ratio. However, when substituting honey for sugar in baked goods, reduce the amount of liquid by ¼ cup for each cup of honey used; add ½ teaspoon of baking soda for each up of honey used; reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent overbrowning.)

- DRIED/CANNED FRUIT, NUTS & SEEDS: organic raisins, a variety of organic dried fruit, organic unsweetened shredded coconut, organic canned fruit, organic peanuts and other nuts, organic seeds—sunflowers seed, sesame seeds and others

- PASTA: Food for Life offers wonderful organic sprouted grain pasta. Vita Spelt offers organic spelt pasta. Bionature offers organic spelt and whole wheat pasta. Tinkyada offers brown rice pasta (brown rice pasta is what I prefer by because it tastes more like white pasta but is so much healthier for you). OFD also carries quinoa pasta.

- SAUCES: Muir Glen Pasta sauces are good and well priced. OFD offers other pasta sauce brands as well. Muir Glens offers a wonderful pizza sauce too. (See recipe blog for Spelt Pizza Crust recipe – coming soon.)

- SPROUTED CEREAL: Food for Life offers sprouted cereals—they are not sweetened, so they are best when eaten them with a little raw honey or fruit. Although the Maker’s Diet prohibits eating any cereal but sprouted grain, OFD does carry a good alternative to Rice Crispies if you have a hard time giving up regular cereal—it’s Brown Rice cereal by Erewhon/US Mills. Technically this is not your best choice as it is processed and no longer a living food.

- MAPLE SYRUP – OFD carries many brands. Some are better priced than others. Just make sure it has no added sugars or corn syrup. It should be pure maple syrup. I usually just look for the best price or try to split a case with other members (See recipe blog for the Healthy Pie recipe – coming soon. This pie recipe uses maple syrup and/or apple juice to sweeten the filling. It’s delicious.) Also, Costco sells Pure Maple Syrup in bulk for a little better price. It isn’t organic, but still very healthy, no sugar or corn syrup.

- OILS: Organic Flax Seed Oil (in the refrigerator at OFD and available online of course); Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil - Nutiva is the brand that seems to be the best priced, but look at the other brands for sales; Organic Olive Oil – Spectrum or Newman’s Own both are well-priced (make sure it’s cold-pressed and unrefined); Rapunzel Pure Organics carries an Unrefined Spanish Olive Oil that looks really good—I haven’t tried it yet. (All of the Rapunzel products are great, their unsweetened cocoa for baking is wonderful.)

- FLOUR: I buy Spelt Flour from OFD in bulk (25 lbs. at a time). So far it seems to me to be the best flour for baking when doing substitutions in recipes. I haven’t yet gotten the hang of baking with Amaranth flour (which you have to leaven with yogurt or kefir, I’m still experimenting with that). Brown rice flour (has no gluten in it, so won’t rise without yogurt or unless blended with spelt flour)—brown rice flour is very flaky and I haven’t really liked it when used in baking. It is very good in pancakes though. Kamut flour is good, but you have to blend it with spelt or it too is too flakey (it also needs yogurt to rise well). I’ve make cookies, breads and muffins, etc. all with spelt flour, using honey instead of sugar and adding nuts or grain-sweetened chocolate chips

- GRAIN SWEETENED CHOCOLATE CHIPS: Sunspire is the only brand that makes these. They are sweetened with malted barely and corn. Technically, the Maker’s Diet doesn’t recommend malted sweeteners because they are hard to digest, but I break the rule once in a while and enjoy some grain-sweetened chocolate because at least it doesn’t have sugar in it. These chocolate chips aren’t as sweet as regular sugary chocolate chips, but I’ve gotten used to them and they’re just as good in cookies.

- OTHER BAKING PRODUCTS: baking soda, baking powders, corn starch, etc. all available through OFD

- TEA/COFFEE: OFD carries a variety of organic teas and organic coffee beans.

- SNACKS/FIG BARS: I know they’re not sprouted, but sometimes it’s hard to find filling snacks you can grab on the go. We sometimes snack on gluten-free, sugar-free fig bars by Barbar’s Bakery. (Although lately, I’ve fallen in love more with organic dried figs available in the organic bulk section at Farm Fresh on Kempsville and Volvo.)

- SNACK/CRACKERS: Midel makes molasses-sweetened Honey Graham Crackers. They're all natural (not organic) sweetened with molasses and honey, no sugar. OFD also sells other crackers online, like Dr. Kracker. I haven’t found very many that don’t use safflower/sunflower oil (not exactly on the Maker’s Diet kosher list), but a number of the crackers have other healthy ingredients like flax seeds. (See Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions book for recipes on making your own healthy crackers.)

- SEASONINGS: OFD carries all sorts of organic seasonings and seasoning packets: fajitas, tacos, alfredo pasta, chili, basil pesto, dips, soup mixes, etc.: But really look at the ingredients on some. Some contain corn syrup or sugar, etc.

- SALSA: OFD has tons of salsas to choose from. Our favorite is by Walnut Acres – Fiesta Cilantro. We buy it by the case.

- SOUP: OFD offers tons of canned soups and broths. But again look at the ingredient to make sure there’s no sugar. OFD carries Amy’s canned mushroom soup – best price I’ve found on this so far. Again, it is also preferable to make your own stock and soup, but sometimes it is difficult to find the time. (Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions has tons of recipes on soups.)

- PICKLES & VINEGAR: OFD carries a variety of organic pickles online and some in the store, I believe, as well as a variety of organic vinegars and pickled/fermented vegetables.

- SALAD DRESSING: OFD has lots of dressing available, but again, check the ingredients. (See recipe blog for a vinaigrette dressing that is delicious – coming soon.)

- CONDIMENTS: OFD offers fruit-sweetened ketchup, as well as organic mustards and horseradishes. OFD also carries the Maker’s Diet-recommended mayonnaise by Spectrum: Omega-3 with Flax Seed Oil.

- SPROUTED BREADS: Food For Life – sprouted English Muffins (delicious!); Food For Life Ezekiel Bread (the bread’s ok, a little dry. Makes really good toast though!); Burger Buns (very good); sprouted Taco/Burrito Shells. In addition, Alvarado Street Bakery is a brand that offers sprouted Taco/Burrito Shells (these don’t break as easily as Food For Life’s), sprouted Bagels, sprouted Hot Dog and Hamburger Buns.

- OTHER BREADS: OFD has bread available from a local bakery called The Real Bread Shop (located on Kempsville at Fairfield Shopping Plaza). Their breads are fantastic, and you save a few cents by ordering the bread through OFD rather than at the store itself. They grind all their own whole organic flour and they sell “Bible Bread,” their version of Ezekiel bread (however their Bible Bread is not sprouted), and many different kinds of organic Spelt Bread. They also make a great Whole Wheat Sourdough. And all their breads use organic flour and only honey and molasses for sweetening. They’re big slices and they’re not dry as some natural bread brands can get. Make sure you stick with the Spelt Bread, the Bible bread, or the Whole Wheat Sourdough – their other breads use regular wheat and unsprouted grains, which are not as healthy or as easy to digest.

- PEANUT BUTTER: Maranatha is personally my favorite brand. (However, although OFD carries it, it is more expensive at OFD than Farm Fresh on Kempsville and Volvo in the organic section). OFD carries other brands of organic peanut butter as well. When shopping for peanut, make sure it is ALWAYS ORGANIC (do this for your raw, loose peanut as well). Commercial peanuts have very high levels of pesticides. Harris Teeter also carries its own Naturals brand of organic peanut butter that is very decently priced.

- CHIPS: Sami’s Bakery - Millet & Flax Pita Chips. In The Maker’s Diet, Jordan Rubin cautions against chips fried in oils, etc. since it changes the molecular structure of the oil, which is not healthy. OFD sells the most delicious alternative to regular chips … these are Millet and Flax Pita Chips. Both the plain and the garlic ones are safe on the Maker’s Diet. Very good, hearty and filling.

- BEANS: OFD sells organic canned beans and also organic dry beans (uncooked) which you can soak overnight for hearty soups. Much healthier to soak things and let them sprout, releasing the nutrients.


- EGGS: (Pete and Jerry’s – good price for organic, cage free eggs) – Wal-Mart also has organic eggs now (less expensive than other places) but they’re aren’t cage free … depends on what you’re willing to spend—at least if they’re organic, then it’s healthier than being commercially raised.

- CREAMS: Nancy’s cultured sour cream, cottage cheese, and cream cheese – lots of living healthy bacteria

- MILK: Natural by Nature Organic Grass Fed Cow’s Milk – I believe this is one of the few places this brand is available in the area.

- YOGURT: Seven Stars Dairy, organic yogurt – Maple or Plain. Both of these flavors have no sugar in them. The Maple flavor is only sweetened with maple syrup. You can also just get plain yogurt and make your own yogurt by blending the plain yogurt with fruit in the blender and adding some honey. Redwood Hill Farms also offers a wonderful organic goat’s milk yogurt with a wonderful honey-sweetened blueberry version. (Goat’s milk digests in 20 minutes rather than 4 hours as with cow’s milk! So, it is a healthy option when doing a cleanse or if you are sensitive to dairy.)

- BUTTER: Organic cow’s butter and/or Ghee if you prefer (both available)

- CHEESE: Morningland Dairy raw cow’s milk cheese is a local dairy that sells cheese through OFD. They offer cheddar, sharp cheddar and Colby cheese. Very good! If you don’t have time to shred your raw cheese, OFD carries many different kinds of organic shredded cheese, but they are not raw.

- BEEF OR CHICKEN HOT DOGS: Applegate Farms – their organic beef or chicken hot dogs have no nitrates added and are organic. The beef ones are particularly tasty.

- TURKEY BACON: Applegate Farms – Organic or all natural turkey bacon (no nitrates added)

- SANDWICH MEAT: Applegate Farms: organic and nitrate-free turkey (offered in a variety of roasting styles including maple and honey, smoked, etc.), chicken, beef.

- FROZEN FRUIT: OFD has a variety of brands.

- LOCAL GRASS-FED BEEF: Gryffon's Aerie – this local company provides a variety of good grass fed meats.

- KOMBUCHA: an organic, raw, fermented Chinese tea drink containting 1 billion probiotic organisms and lots of antioxidants. It is carbonated, sweetened with fruit juice and a delicious substitute to soda and other drinks. It is fantastic for the digestive system.


- OFD all of the Garden of Life supplements mentioned in The Maker’s Diet. My favorite supplements include

o Ultra Primal Defense (“Ultra” is the latest version of Primal Defense, even better than the regular Primal Defense because it has a time release factor and even more probiotic organisms … and even though the instructions on the bottle say to take three a day, once you do a good cleanse you only need to take one or two a day). The Ultra Primal Defense through OFD is the cheapest that I’ve found anywhere, even compared to other online stores. By buying Ultra Primal Defense at OFD you will save at least $5 compared to The Vitamin Shop (but only if you order from OFD via online to get the 15% discount for members).

o The Living Multi Vitamins are good too. They now have them specifically for men and women

o Super Seed – the living fiber powder recommended in The Maker’s Diet.

o Perfect Food (original or green label). This is wonderful stuff too, comes in powder or capsules.
The thing to remember when trying to figure out what supplements you can afford is what will make the most difference for you. For me personally, I take Ultra Primal Defense and Perfect Food every day. I would like to take the Women’s Living Multi but we just can’t afford to do everything. So, I take a regular vitamin and then take the two supplements I just mentioned.


- OFD also offers tons personal care products: natural and organic beauty products and toiletries. I’ve done a lot of research on this subject, especially through Skin Deep on Go to this website to get a better education on what ingredients commercial personal care products have in them and their harmful effects.

You can get just about anything from OFD. If there’s something specific you’re looking for that you can’t find or are wondering if it’s a decent price compared to other stores, just post a question in my comments section, and IF I know the answer I’ll let you know. If I don’t know the answer, go ahead and do some of your own research, price comparing and let me know what you find. Even though OFD offers a lot, there are still items that I can get for a lower price at Wal-Mart or Harris Teeter, and sometimes Farm Fresh.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My Maker’s Diet Testimony & Avoiding Sickness

If you have not yet read Jordan Rubin’s book The Maker’s Diet, or his latest book The Great Physician’s Rx for Health and Wellness, some of the information discussed on this blog may seem odd, foreign or confusing. My advice? Read the book and read the rest of this posting.

The Maker’s Diet is not a "diet" in the sense that it is a way to lose weight, although some people may lose weight especially during the Phase 1 cleanse. Rather, the Maker’s Diet is a lifestyle; it’s about making healthy food choices and learning how to give your body the nutrients it needs. God designed the body, so it is important to know how God intended us to eat.

As a personal testament to the Maker’s Diet lifestyle, I have not been sick with a cold, flu, virus or infection of any kind since beginning it. I no longer have to worry about whether I will lose my voice prior to a concert or performance. I no longer have to worry about coming into contact with a friend who has a cold or the flu. I just don’t catch sicknesses anymore.

One of the biggest keys to this, in addition to eating cultured, fermented and living foods, is avoiding processed sweets and sugars. Jordan Rubin specifically cracks down on this. In our over-processed, over-sanitized, microwavable world of pre-packaged food, there is very little nutrition left. If you look at the ingredients on most labels in the grocery store, just about everything contains sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or some other unnatural chemically created sweetener.

According to scientists, 1 tsp. of sugar is enough to lower the human immune system for 6 hours! Our bodies were not meant to process this kind of stuff. Not only is it very difficult to digest, which can result in all sorts of medical problems, but it also corrodes our teeth and lowers our ability to fight off sickness.

I heard about a recent study done on rats with regards to high-fructose corn syrup. All the female rats that were fed the high-fructose corn syrup over a period of time became infertile. All of the male rats that were fed the high-fructose corn syrup died! Hmmm … and what’s the main ingredient in Mountain Dew and other sodas?

Jordan Rubin’s list of optional sweeteners is minimal compared to what is usually listed on an average prepackaged treat today.

Acceptable Sweeteners (according to The Maker’s Diet)
[organic is always best]
-Unheated raw honey (no more than 3 Tbsp. per day)
-Pure Maple Syrup
-Sucanat or Rapadura (in limited quantities) – available at the health food store

In addition, remember that all white flour, white rice, and any other grain that has been bleached basically breaks down into white sugar in the blood. Foods that have been bleached have no nutrition in them. So, be sure you always read the labels.

In future blogs I will discuss what stores in the local Hampton Roads area carry the types products mentioned in Jordan Rubin's book, and which stores carry the most affordable versions of those products. In addition I will keep track of my own experiments in the kitchen learning to culture my own dairy products and ferment my own grains, vegetables, fruits, beans and other foods. I will also include as a separate blog a variety of recipes that you may find helpful, especially when learning to cook with alternative sweetners and oils.

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