Why would someone want to eat an organic vegan food diet?
Study after study shows that eating a diet that is low in animal products and high in fruits and vegetables has a protective effect on disease. By minimizing your exposure to toxic pesticides and herbicides through an organic vegan food diet, you’re well on your way to good health.
A huge benefit to eating this way, especially with a focus on fresh fruits and vegetables is that you can stop counting calories! Seriously, you can eat enormous amounts of food if you’re eating whole organic vegan food.
You might ask – what does it mean to eat organic vegan food, what can I actually eat?
For breakfast, fill your bowl with an assortment of fresh fruits and sprinkle with just a bit of hemp seed or cacao nibs and you’ll have a satisfying and energizing start to your day. This time of year, I’m indulging in gorgeous cantaloupe, fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, plums, mangoes and more. It’s a truly glorious time of year to enjoy an abundance of those juicy summer fruits.
For lunch, try a huge salad – and I do mean HUGE. You can really fill up on leafy green veggies and other veggies like spicy radish, sweet red peppers, carrots and fresh juicy tomatoes. Add some sprouts or microgreens – my favorites are broccoli and clover sprouts and arugula and kale microgreens. Top the whole thing with some garbanzo beans and squeeze fresh lemon juice on top to add some zing to your salad. How’s that for some delicious organic vegan food?
For dinner, why not try a chopped veggie salad? Dice your favorite summer veggies like zucchini, yellow squash, cucumber, red onion, pea pods and tomatoes. Add some chopped fresh parsley and cilantro and make a quick dressing with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and you can eat it as is, use lettuce leaves to make wraps, or top a fresh green salad with your chopped salad.
If you’re just starting, I would recommend following some recipes to start with. It will give you ideas on substitutions that will make your dishes delicious. For instance, did you know that using blended cashews in a soup will make it as creamy as if you used heavy cream? Blending cashews and other nuts and seeds to add to dips, salad dressings and soups is just one great tip you’ll find in recipe books like the ones below:
It’s a whole lot easier than you might think to switch your meals to using more organic vegan food. There are lots of ways to transition. You can start with one meal a day, then two, then all three. You can switch to being a ‘weekday vegan’ and only eat meat and dairy on weekends. You can eat vegan every day for breakfast and lunch and then make a choice for dinner whether you want to include meat. Any way that you start to transition toward eating more organic vegan food will be a benefit to your body. Don’t worry about being perfect, just do better and better every day. Your body will thank you for it!
“If I had known then what I know now…” is something I’ve found myself saying a LOT in the last couple of years since I decided to start living a more organic and healthy life. I especially was saying this after I learned how many harmful chemicals are in all our favorite commercial baby care products (just click here to find out what might be lurking in your favorite baby care ingredients). People need to remember that our skin is the largest organ on our body and it only takes around 25 seconds for any product and all it’s chemicals to absorb into our skin. When my husband and I found out I was pregnant back in 2011, I knew without a doubt this time around I was using all natural and organic baby care products on my baby. I wasn’t sure where to even start in the beginning, and so, for all the other moms and dads just getting started out there I’ve put together three of my top organic baby care products and tips that we use:
Organic Baby Care Products Tip #1: Use Natural Baby Lotion/Oil
I know you might miss that pretty scent of Baby Magic, I know in my family Baby Magic was huge… a baby didn’t smell like a baby if you didn’t have Baby Magic…well that pretty scent sure don’t smell good to me anymore, that exact scent you smell does your baby’s skin more harm than good. Instead start using Coconut Oil. Coconut oil is going to be so much better for your baby’s skin. Not only does it smell delicious, coconut oil is a natural antibiotic and a natural anti-viral as well. Other good options are: Almond oil, apricot Jojoba oil or Lafe’s Organic Baby Lotion.
Organic Baby Care Products Tip #2: Do Not Use Non-Organic Baby Powders
Most baby powders out there contain talc, which is closely related to asbestos and has been linked to different types of cancers. I urge you not to use it on your baby. Instead here is a good alternative recipe at is simple to make and you will be able to breath easy knowing there are no cancer side effects:
Organic Baby Care Products Tip #3: Recipe for Organic Baby Powder
Natural Baby Powder Recipe
- 1/2 C Arrowroot powder
- 1/2 C Organic Cornstarch
- Now you can put that in a little shaker as is, or if you want to boost up the protection you can grind up some dried chamomile flowers and mix it in. Use it just as you wood with any baby powder.
Organic Baby Care Products Tip #4: Baby Shampoo and Body Wash
Your baby has natural protective oils in their skin at are actually better not washed off to often as they protect your baby a great deal. If you need to use a baby wash or shampoo the only product I use for both is Dr. Bronner’s Organic Unscented Baby Mild and just a little bit goes a long way.
What are some of your favorite organic baby care products and/or tips?
Father’s Day is coming up this weekend, and it’s a great excuse to not only celebrate dads but anyone who’s been a father figure in your life. Instead of the usual Father’s Day gifts consider these organic gifts we’ve put together especially for Father’s Day!
Organic Gifts for Father’s Day
Organic Body Care for Men: Personal hygiene is important we all know that, but if you’re not using healthy, organic products your personal hygiene routine could be putting you at risk. This gift basket comes full of healthy, organic grooming products for men, get the father figures in your life to start living organic in all aspects of their lives and not just when it comes to food!
Organic Hot Sauce Trio: I don’t know about your dad, but my dad loves hot sauce and hot foods, and when I think of him I think of hot sauce… So for the fathers or just regular heat lovers in your life, consider this set of organic hot sauces.
snackOrganic Gift Set: Snacking is often listed as one of the hardest parts of switching to an all-organic diet. The problem is a lot of our traditionally favorite snack foods aren’t organic, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of organic snacks out there that are not only healthy but delicious! These gift sets also come in different sizes (small and large boxes)!
Waste Race: repurpose your recycling first! You can use whatever recycling materials you have at the house to create a derby car. There are specific instructions online for how you can make a car from recycled materials, however all you really need is 4 wheels (for example: 4 old/scratched CDs) and a body (for example: an empty soap detergent bottle) and then something to attach them (for example: the handle of an old paintbrush). This is a fun arts and crafts project as not only do you get to make something from scratch but when you’re done you get to race it!
Obstacle Course: setting up an obstacle course can be an outdoor or indoor activity! Use household items to set up different physical challenges for the obstacle course and time how long it takes each member of the family to make it through!
Personalized Pizzas Party: Who doesn’t love pizza? Answer: no one, even people with lactose intolerance sometimes can’t resist pizza! Have the entire family create their own pizzas with their own toppings for a Father’s day dinner. Kids love this as they feel like they are a part of the cooking process when all they’re really doing is putting toppings on the pizza. Find organic pizza crust and other great organic ingredients to make your pizzas that much better!
Backyard Camping Trip: you don’t have to go anywhere to go camping! Set up a campsite in your backyard with tents, tell ghost stories when it starts to get dark, and see how long dad stays outside before sneaking back in to sleep in his own bed!
We hope no matter what your plans or gifts are for Father’s day that you and the father figures in your life enjoy this day! What Father’s Day gifts are you planning to give this year? Are there any organic gifts for Father’s day that we forgot to mention?
I love the idea of Meatless Mondays for anyone who’s looking to eat a little healthier but doesn’t know where to start. Picking one day a week to replace animal foods with plant foods provides an opportunity to think out of the box and one of the easiest replacements for animal proteins is organic beans. Anything but boring, organic beans can be turned in to all sorts of delicious dishes from soups to burgers to pasta dishes and more. Here are some of my favorite recipes for organic beans for Meatless Monday or any day of the week.
4 Easy Meatless Monday Recipes With Organic Beans
Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew with Lemon Couscous (courtesy of Frontier Coop)
2 cups onion, diced
1 cup green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, and diced
1 cup red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups sweet potato, diced
2 cups zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or try this stew with other organic beans like cannellini or baby lima beans)
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
5 cups vegetable stock or filtered water or 5 cups vegetable broth made from vegetable broth powder
6 tablespoons fresh or bottled lemon juice
3 cups whole-wheat couscous
Sauté onion, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper in olive oil in a large pot over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, curry powder, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; sauté an additional 2 minutes. Add sweet potato, and sauté an additional 5 minutes. Add zucchini, chickpeas, diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup vegetable stock, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice; stir well to combine. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. While vegetables are simmering, combine remaining 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock and 4 tablespoons lemon juice in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add couscous, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and stir to combine. Cover, remove the saucepan from heat, and set aside for 5 minutes to allow couscous to absorb liquid. Remove the lid and fluff couscous with a fork to loosen grains. Serve individual servings of stew over couscous.
Black Bean Polenta Pie (courtesy of Eden Foods)
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
15 ounces Organic Diced Tomatoes
4 oz Green Chilies, do not drain
1 cup organic sweet corn, fresh or frozen
1/3 cup Eden Organic Spaghetti Sauce
15 ounces Eden Organic Black Beans, rinsed and drained (or try this recipe with other organic beans like pinto or kidney)
Bring the water to a boil for the polenta. Whisk in the corn grits and salt, stirring constantly until it thickens. Cover, reduce the flame and simmer 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°. Evenly spread the polenta on the bottom and sides of a pie plate. Set aside. Heat the oil in a medium skillet and sauté the onion for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the peppers and sauté another 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the beans, tomatoes, spaghetti sauce and corn. Simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the bean and tomato mixture over the polenta and evenly spread it out. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
Mexican Bean Salad (courtesy of La Preferida)
15 oz. can La Preferida Black Beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can La Preferida Chick Peas, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can La Preferida Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen organic corn kernels, thawed
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup each chopped red, yellow and orange bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped, seeded cucumber
4 oz. can La Preferida Diced Green Chiles
16 oz. jar La Preferida Salsa (mild, med or hot)
1 tablespoon chili seasoning
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tomato, chopped
Place the organic beans, corn, green onions, bell peppers, cucumbers and diced green chiles in large bowl and mix well. Combine the salsa, lime juice and taco seasoning in a separate bowl. Pour over the salad and mix well. Add cilantro and tomato and mix gently. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours prior to serving to allow flavors to blend.
Vegetarian Sloppy Joes
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cups short grain Brown Rice, cooked
2 (16 oz) cans Mexican style pinto beans
3/4 cups smoky BBQ sauce
4 to 6 whole grain buns
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and green pepper; cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add rice, organic beans and BBQ sauce. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until heated through. Serve on buns.
With these four recipes you’ve got a whole month’s worth of Meatless Monday recipes with organic beans to try. What are your favorite ways to eat organic beans? Do you like them mild or spicy? In soups? In salads? Organic beans are so versatile and so full of nutrition and heart-healthy fiber. They’re a staple in my household – how about yours?
My favorite snack for myself and my family are raw nuts. Just a small amount (handful) packs a huge nutritional punch and they are the perfect grab and go snack which makes a busy mom’s life just that much easier. They are great for packing in school lunches, before or after sports activities, long car rides and just great for anyone who’s in a hurry and needs a little snack on the run.
Not only are raw nuts a perfect snack but raw nuts also contain several really awesome health benefits! And I don’t know about you, but given the choice, I’d much rather eat cashews and other types of raw nuts than take any sort of medication.
And so, here are 10 amazing health benefits of consuming raw nuts:
- Walnuts have high levels of vitamin E and are a great source for plant-based omega-3 fatty acids they are full of natural antioxidants and phytosterols which help to break down those nasty free radicals and protect our heart.
- Walnuts may also reduce the risk of prostate cancer, breast cancer and help guard against arthritis.
- Almonds, the skins are rich in antioxidants including phenols, flavonoids and phenolic acids, which are typically associated with vegetables and fruits.
- Almonds are also rich in calcium and help stabilize blood sugar too.
- Brazil Nuts contain a powerful antioxidant -boosting trace mineral called selenium which may help prevent many types of cancers and cardiovascular disease.
- Cashews just a handful or two of raw cashews a day is equivalent to 1 dose of Prozac for mild depression
- Cashews have tryptophan with is the essential amino acid L-tryptophan is broken down into anxiety-reducing, snooze-inducing niacin. Even more important, tryptophan is also made into serotonin, one of your body’s most important neurotransmitters. Serotonin gives you that, good mood feeling.
- Cashews are also high in magnesium which is great for heart health and building strong bones. They are also usually more affordable than the other nuts listed.
- Pecans are high in vitamin E and 18 other vitamin and minerals, research has shown that a regular consumption of these may help lower LDL cholesterol and promote healthy arteries.
- Macadamias: are high in fat, most of it being monounsaturated. They are a good source of thiamine and contain small amounts of Potassium, phosphorus, calcium and selenium.
7 Delicious Ways to Eat Raw Nuts:
1. Make homemade “Larabars” This is my kids favorite, perfect for school, after school snacks, and to take on hikes or family activities. I’ve adapted many of my own recipes from this site.
2. Throw a handful in your smoothies
3. Make nut butters (using a food processor or a Vitamix/Blendtec a Ninja might even do it too)
4. Sprinkled on top of a salad
5. Trail mix: Throw in your favorite dried berries or fruit with a few pieces of dark chocolate.
6. Soaked: Another way to enjoy raw nuts is to soak or sprout them first. Soak them for at least 8-12 hours or overnight in purified water with a pinch of sea salt. This makes them easier to digest, and removes an outer coating that contains a digestive enzyme inhibitor.
7. Milk: We love to make nut milk in our house. If you have a super blender like a Vitamix or a Blendtec you can easily make Almond or Cashew milk.
In a nutshell:
Raw nuts are a powerhouse for nutrition and however you choose to enjoy them, your body is going to reap the rewards. Just remember like with all things in life, moderation is key, so stick to a handful or two a day!
Endorsed by celebrities like Alicia Silverstone, musicians like Ziggy Marley, athletes like Brendan Brazier as well as bestselling author and alternative health advocate Dr. Andrew Weil, Hemp History Week is a time to educate about the benefits of industrial hemp for fiber, food, fuel, paper, building products, plastic and more. Learn more about Hemp History Week HERE. There are lots of reasons why organic hemp is beneficial – let’s take a look at some:
Organic Hemp is good for Our Bodies
Hemp seeds are high in protein and beneficial Omega fatty acids. In fact, they have a perfectly balanced 1:3 ration of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s – a balance that is critically important yet hard to find in most foods. Organic hemp seeds are easily digested, are free of gluten and have no known allergens. As a food source, organic hemp is nearly perfect. Their light, nutty flavor lends itself well to making plant based milk, cereals, granolas, protein powder and more. You’ll find organic hemp as an ingredient in many Nature’s Path products – cereals, oatmeal, granola, granola bars and more.
Organic Hemp is good for Our Earth
As an environmentally sustainable source of raw material for a wide range of products from paper, fabrics, plastics, fuel, building material and food, hemp is a low impact agricultural product as it can be grown without pesticides. It grows like a weed, which is how hemp’s cousin marijuana got its nickname. In case you think that hemp and marijuana are the same thing, rest assured, they are different and I’ll address that a little later.
Since organic hemp can be grown easily without chemical inputs, using it as a clothing fiber it can replace the use of cotton, a crop that accounts for nearly 25% of the pesticide use in the U.S. By shifting our clothing choices to organic hemp, we’re making a significant impact on the planet.
Hemp has even been used to clean up soil contamination. After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, industrial hemp was tested to help clean up the soil. Because of its fast growth rate, hemp showed great potential in cleaning up land contaminated with a number of pollutants from fly ash, sewage sludge to heavy metals.
Organic Hemp is good for Farmers
Hemp can easily be grown organically; it is beneficial for suppressing weeds and building soil, making it a perfect rotation crop. The market for hemp products is nearly a half a billion dollars a year and it is only growing. Since it is currently illegal to grow industrial hemp in the U.S., we are importing all of our organic hemp from Canada. As a crop that grows well wherever wheat grows well, organic hemp would be a boon to farmers in the U.S.
Organic Hemp History
Hemp is one of the earliest domesticated plants known to man and has been crown by many civilizations dating back over 12,000 years. . Archaeologically, hemp dates back to the Neolithic Age in China, with hemp fiber imprints found on pottery dating from the 5th century BC. The Chinese later used hemp to make clothes, shoes, ropes, and an early form of paper.
Did you know that organic hemp is part of our nation’s heritage? George Washington planted hemp seeds in his vineyard at Mt. Vernon from 1765 to 1796. Thomas Jefferson planted an acre of hemp at Monticello in 1811 and promoted its cultivation. In fact, this country’s declaration of independence is written on paper made from hemp. Up until the 1930s, hemp cultivation was legal and hemp was a common crop. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that the US government and media began spreading lies and misinformation about marijuana that its prohibition became imminent. It was banned in the USA under the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 and remains banned to this day.
Dispelling the Myths of Organic Hemp
Although hemp and marijuana are both from the cannabis species, hemp contains virtually no THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. If you smoke hemp you will likely get a headache. You will not get ‘high’. Its THC level is less than 1%, whereas marijuana may contain between 5 – 15%. Consuming hemp products will not cause a false positive drug test.
How to Use Organic Hemp
Available hulled or in the shell, hemp seeds are a great addition to salads, sandwiches, wraps and more. Blend the hulled hempseed into smoothies, use them in oatmeal, granola or other cereals, bake them into cookies and cakes – the uses are nearly endless. I love Ziggy Marley’s roasted whole hemp seeds; they have a crunch that makes the seed pop in your mouth with a burst of flavor.
Use in salads or smoothies for a burst of beneficial Omega fatty acids. Organic hemp oil has a bright green color and a nutty flavor that may seem strong at first. Try using a little bit at a time until your palate adjusts and make sure to store any opened organic hemp oil in the refrigerator.
A great addition to smoothies and protein shakes to up the usable protein in your diet. Try adding a little organic hemp protein powder in baked goods in place of some of the flour – you won’t taste the difference but your body will know.
A great non-dairy alternative to milk, hemp milk provides a creamy texture that is rich and flavorful. Use it in place of dairy milk anywhere you’d use it. Hemp milk is especially good in smoothies and shakes – try it in chocolate to make chocolate shakes for the kids.
Let us know which organic hemp products you’ve tried and how you use them!
In my home our favorite breakfasts are organic smoothies. Why smoothies? They’re fun, they’re tasty, and you can pack so many nutrients in just one drink! Why organic? Organic promises you and your family the least amount of pesticides in your food or in this case your smoothie. Now, I am raising 3 kids of my own so I know sometimes it is hard to buy all organic all the time, and that’s when I use my little trick. The easiest way I remember is like this, “If you eat the skin, always buy it organic, if you don’t then it is okay to go conventional (but I will always advocate that organic is best!). So I always buy all organic berries, apples, lettuce, carrots, and peppers. Now that we got that covered let’s make some organic smoothies!
My son is the pickiest eater in my family…and he knows it too. He wants so bad to like “vegetables” but it’s hard for him to eat them, so what do I do? I put them in his organic smoothies, and yes he knows it and yes he loves them! If you have a super blender (like a Blendtec or Vitamix) you will be able to use about any vegetable or fruit you like or even the Nutri Bullet does a great job. If you are like many who have a standard blender I will give you other options too.
Now I have to be honest, I haven’t measured out my organic smoothies in years, after you make so many you just kind of just get used to the idea of what works. And so measurements have become “handfuls, dashes, and sprinkles”, but I’ll give you some recipe (ideas) to get you started. Feel free to substitute and change things up to you and your family’s preference! Each of these organic smoothies recipes serve about 2 people.
- 1 Cup Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 Handful of spinach or kale
- 1 ripe banana
- 1/2 cup liquid of choice (any juice or milk of choice)
- 1/2 c water
- Ice (if I use frozen fruit then I don’t add much ice, if any)
*Sweetener -if you are like me and still like to add a little sweetness to it, I usually add a few drops of some vanilla stevia or a scoop of raw honey and sometimes a few dates (dates require a super blender)
*My kids love a dash of cinnamon too.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Organic Smoothies
- 1 cup milk
- 2 bananas
- 1 tablespoon cacao powder
- 2 tablespoon honey (or stevia to taste)
- 3 tablespoon peanut butter
- 2 c ice cubes
*If you are watching your calories or fat intake you can use organic powdered peanut which has 85% less fat.
Also if you want more “shake like” organic smoothies, freeze your bananas beforehand. My kids love having this for breakfast. My daughter is also now peanut sensitive, so I make this smoothie for her using almond butter and tastes just as delicious.
- 3 or 4 oranges peeled
- 1 banana
- 1 Handful of nuts (I like cashews, because they are creamy)
- 1-2carrots or 1/2 cup baby carrots
- 1 cup of milk of choice (I like using almond or coconut for a little tropical twist)
- Vanilla stevia (this helps with the creamsicle part of the smoothie, if you don’t have Vanilla Crème Stevia, you can always use a little bit of Vanilla extract too)
- Ice (I usually add a bunch of ice, the kids like this one really cold)
Very Berry Blast Organic Smoothies
- 1 cup liquid (orange juice is good with this one, but I usually just add water)
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1 banana
- 1 tablespoon of Raw Honey (more or less for taste or substitute with Stevia)
Tropical Green Smoothie Organic Smoothies
- 1/2 cup milk (coconut or almond milk is delicious in this)
- 2 cups raw spinach or kale (if you do not have a super blender, might want to steam your kale first)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple
- 1 ripe banana
Green Drinks are all the rage right now, but I hope it’s not just a fad for you, because there are good reasons for all the hype. They are packed full of green goodness, greens have phytochemicals which are essential for proper functioning of the immune system and to enable our body’s detoxification and cellular repair mechanisms that protect us from chronic diseases. If you hate eating greens, smoothies are a perfect way to add them to your diet.
General Rules for Experimenting with Organic Smoothies
- Add 1/2 cup of liquid for all recipes
- Add 1 whole banana (the riper the better) for most recipes
- Many like yogurt in their smoothies, add 1/2 cup of organic Greek yogurt to any of your smoothies, it will give it a creamier, slightly tart taste.
- If you like yours thicker add more ice, for thinner add more liquid
My Favorite Boost of Nutrition for Organic Smoothies:
A tablespoon of any of the following or a combination:
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seed (or meal or even oil if you have it)
- Coconut Oil ( sometimes it will clump because true coconut oil solidifies when cold, so make sure you melt it first and make sure it’s not too hot, then while blender is whirling pour it in slowly)
- Squeeze of lemon packs a good punch
- Fresh ginger (start small maybe a 1/4 of a teaspoon and work up ginger is awesome when combined with greens or oranges)
Hope this guide to organic smoothies helps you on your way to making nutritious delicious organic smoothies you whole family will love!
I’m always on the lookout for new organic foods, I have been for years. It excites me when a product that hasn’t ever been available organic suddenly comes to market. One of the things I like best about being in this industry is being able to identify new organic foods quickly and making them available right away. Since I’ve got my ear to the ground for new organic products, I’ll probably write a similar column every couple of months because I just get so excited and I assume you all will be too! So here’s my list right now:
Othentic Jarred Vegetables – For the longest time I wondered why I couldn’t find organic pickled beets anywhere. I craved that earthy pickled taste but I didn’t want to eat all those added ingredients that are so often in conventional jarred products – the preservatives, the additives – yuck! That’s why I was so excited when I discovered Othentic. Their organic baby pickled beets are incredibly tender and delicious and if you’re a pickled beet fan, I would recommend these in a heartbeat. Not only does Othentic make organic pickled beets, they have a whole line of fermented vegetable salads and slaws. Made using traditional recipes and techniques, they are old world style.
Gimme Seaweed Snacks – One of the big snack crazes to hit the market recently is the toasted seaweed snacks. There’s no denying that they’re incredibly healthy on a lot of levels. For one, they have nearly no calories. They also have a perfect crunch and they melt in your mouth as you eat them. In addition, seaweed provides a range of minerals that we often lack in our diets. Seaweed also counteracts the possibly detrimental effect of eating too many goitrogenic but otherwise healthy foods like broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and kale. Too much of those foods in their raw state can mess with thyroid function and we don’t want that. So if you’re a kale chip fan, why not switch up your snack with seaweed snacks. While seaweed snacks have been on the market for a while now, this brand makes our list favorite new organic foods because it is one of the few that is actually USDA certified organic.
Native Forest Marinated Mushrooms – I have great memories from when I lived in New Jersey of visiting Kennett Square, PA – aka ‘The Mushroom Capital of the World”. There was this little gift shop, mushroom exhibit and tasting room where I literally could have spent all day sampling different flavors of marinated mushrooms. Since I’ve been in the organic industry I hadn’t seen anyone make an organic marinated mushroom – until now. Edward & Sons is sort of famous for finding the holes in the organic market and filling them and they did it again with their Native Forest brand organic marinated mushrooms. Juicy, flavorful and for me, an instant time machine, I could eat a whole jar in one sitting – no kidding.
Good Boy Organics Snacks – This line of new organic products came out just in time for summer picnics and barbecues. BOPS (Baked Organic Potato Snacks) are the first line of certified organic baked potato chips on the market. In classic flavors like sour cream and onion, bbq, and cheddar cheese, they make a great alternative for conventional chips. I was really excited that they also have an organic version of a cheese puff. Called ‘Organicasaurus‘, they’re shaped like little dinosaurs so they’re really kid friendly and fun. And did I mention delicious? Yeah. Definitely on my favorite new organic foods list.
Curry Love Organic Simmer Sauces - Of the new organic foods on my list, this one is actually a new old food. Curry Love came out a number of years ago, was pulled from the market, reformulated and was reintroduced this year. If you’ve tried it before and you weren’t blown away, give them another try. The new formulations are bold, flavorful and have just the right amount of kick. I’m a big fan of big flavors and these simmer sauces definitely deliver. We were especially excited to offer these sauces to our customers as an alternative to Seeds of Change simmer sauces. You may know that last year, shopOrganic removed all products from our site that are made by brands whose parent company donated toward the opposition of GMO labeling. There weren’t many brands that were in that category because we were already pretty picky about our products. Seeds of Change, owned by M&M/Mars, was one of them and so even though their products are organic, unique and tasty, we would rather support a small independent business like Curry Love. We hope you feel the same!
Ziggy Marley Roasted Organic Hemp Seeds – Until I tried these, the only hemp seeds I’d ever eaten were the hulled, soft hemp seeds. The hulled seeds are incredibly nutritious but I found that unless I made hemp milk out of them, their nutty flavor got lost in whatever dish I’d use them in. The roasted organic hemp seeds are completely different. The flavor is stronger and more nutty and the crunch is fantastic – each little seed creates a burst of flavor when you crunch on them. They are definitely one of my absolute favorite new organic foods. I love them on salads or straight out of the bag.
That’s my list of favorite new organic foods – what are yours?
The one product that I cannot live without would definitely be organic coconut oil. This is a staple in my house; I have it in every room and use it for everything. It really is a one stop shopping item, because you can do multiple things with it. Do you remember the Father from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? In the beginning Toula describes her father as, “My dad believes in two things: That Greeks should educate non Greeks about being Greek and every ailment from psoriasis to poison ivy can be cured with Windex.” Now just cross out that “Windex” and insert organic coconut oil and this is a statement I can get behind! In this blog post I’ll share 90 different and amazing uses for organic coconut oil:
Organic Coconut Oil in the Kitchen
1. Great for baking, use it to substitute butter in your recipes
2. Has a high smoke point, great for cooking, sautéing and stir fry’s, very tasty on roasted vegetables.
3. Use in place of butter on your toast, biscuits or muffins, oatmeal, quinoa etc.
4. Great addition to smoothies
Organic Coconut Oil for Personal Hygiene
5. Replace your other moisturizers with coconut oil. I keep a little jar of organic coconut oil in my bathroom. After washing your face apply a small amount to face and neck.
6. Use as an all over body lotion
7. Helps prevent stretch marks during pregnancy
8. Daily use will help prevent age spots, or if you already have them it will help them to fade.
9. Eye make-up remover.
10. Use as an eye cream, apply under the eyes to reduce puffiness, bags, and wrinkles. Use on the lids in the evening.
11. Lubricant – it is an all natural, perfectly safe personal lubricant (not compatible with latex).
12. Shaving – it will help to use before and after. Use before to help prep and soften skin, when you use it after it helps moisturize and sooth.
13. As a natural deodorant but more effective in combination with arrowroot powder and baking soda.
15. Best massage oil you can use.
16. For nursing mommas this is great for nipple cream. In between feedings rub a little on especially if you have cracked or sore nipples.
17. Skin problems- itchy dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, athletes foot.
18. Swimmers Ear – mix garlic oil and organic coconut oil and put a few drops in affected ear for about 10 minutes. Do this 2-3 times a day and it usually works within one or two days.
19. Body scrub – mix organic coconut oil and sugar together and rub all over! Rinse off and your skin will be super soft! You can add in essential oils if you would like a pretty a certain scent.
20. As a naturally SPF 4 for sunscreen.
21. Use topically to aid in yeast infections.
22. To get rid of cradle cap on baby – just massage in to head, leave on for a few minutes and gently rinse with a warm wash cloth or run a soft baby comb gently through affected area and it should come right off.
23. Diaper “cream” this is all I used on my baby. Great for poor baby bum rashes. Also, safe to use with cloth diapers.
24. Directly on the perineum to help heal after birth.
25. Little dab on the lips for a natural chap stick.
26. Deep conditioner, take a tablespoon rub into to hair and scalp, put a shower cap on and leave in for 20 minutes or longer, you can even leave in overnight.
27. To treat lice. Lice hate coconut. If my daughter comes home with lice. I lather up the coconut oil on her hair and leave in for 2 hours or overnight then I use a lice comb to go through her hair.
28. Can help reduce appearance of varicose veins.
29. Whip Shea butter with coconut oil to get a nice body butter cream.
30. If your child gets gum stuck in their hair. Rub organic coconut oil in and around the gum and leave in for 10-15 minutes, then use your fingers to pull it right out… or a comb.
31. Can help resolve acne when used regularly.
32. Healing – when applied on scrapes and cuts, coconut oil forms a thin, chemical layer which protects the wound from outside dust, bacteria and virus. Organic coconut oil speeds up the healing process of bruises by repairing damaged tissues. Plus, it smells so much better than anything from the drug store.
33. Put on split ends to de-frizz hair.
34. To help soothe the itch of chicken pox or poison ivy.
35. Natural baby lotion.
Organic Coconut Oil Health and Wellness Benefits
36. Lower stress level. Run some into your temple in a circular motion. The scent is extremely soothing and helps relieve stress.
37. Oil Pulling, I just started applying this to my daily dental routine and I am loving it.
38. Digestive health- organic coconut oil has anti-bacterial properties that help control, parasites, and fungi that cause indigestion and other digestion related problems such like irritable bowel syndrome. The fat in coconut oil also helps the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, making it for awesome all around health!!
39. Helps increase breast milk and nutrients in breastfeeding moms (3 table spoons).
40. Stimulates/boosts your metabolism.
41. Aids in thyroid function
42. Increases energy, especially if you take with a tablespoon of chia seeds, don’t take close to bedtime or you might have trouble falling asleep
43. Rub coconut oil on the inside of your nose to help alleviate allergy symptoms.
44. Help improve good cholesterol levels.
45. Speed weight loss when taken on a daily basis.
46. Helps increase absorption in calcium and magnesium.
47. Some evidence shows that taken daily can help with anxiety and depression.
48. Can be used on mom’s nipple and baby’s mouth to help treat thrush.
49. Control cravings for weight loss.
Topical Uses For Health Issues that Organic Coconut Oil is known for relieving, aiding or even curing
51. Herpes (both external and internal use)
52. Genital Warts (daily application)
53. Nose bleeds- Coat your finger with coconut oil and then lie down and coat your finger inside your nose. Doing this will strengthen and protect the capillaries.
54. Canker sores
55. Relieve pain and itching if applied to external hemorrhoids.
56. Cold sores
57. Back pain, sprains and sore muscles.
Internal Uses For Health Issues that Organic Coconut oil is known for aiding, relieving or curing
58. Mental alertness
59. Digestive health-A tablespoon taken before each meal can help improve digestion.
60. Dental health
62. Can be taken in warm ginger tea to sooth heartburn or nausea.
63. Asthma, even in children.
65. Boosts immune system.
66. Circulation, if you are feeling cold all the time.
67. Adrenal Fatigue
68. Improvements in menstruation regarding pain/cramps and heavy blood flow.
70. Helps with inflammation in Crohn’s Disease.
71. Hot flashes
75. MRSA (mix with Oil of Oregano).
76. Alleviate gallbladder pain.
78. Can be used to speed healing of fungal infections when taken internally and used externally.
79. Sooth sore throats when taken in a cup of tea.
80. Naturally boost hormone production.
81. As a daily supplement for overall health.
Other uses for Organic Coconut Oil
82. Mix with a few drops of tea tree oil and neem oil for a natural bug repellant.
83. Season cast iron pans.
84. Natural Goo Gone – just mix equal parts organic coconut oil and baking soda into a paste. Apply to the “sticky” area and let it set for a minute. Then scrub off with an old rag or sponge.
85. To condition leather or soften, when rubbed in. (always test a small area first).
86. Furniture or wood polish (again test an area first).
87. Improve your dog’s general skin and coat condition, making it healthier.
88. Rub into hinges of squeaky doors.
89. Mix into your pets’ food for overall health.
90. Have any bronze? Bronze medal perhaps, polish it up with organic coconut oil. A little dab on a cotton cloth will clean and shine it up in no time.
Can you believe one product can do all that?! Just amazing the many uses of organic coconut oil… and I know I didn’t even list them all!! I hope you become a organic coconut oil believer and user now! For those of you who are already aware of the many benefits of using organic coconut oil, did we leave any off the list?
Organic grains are a healthy part of any diet. No matter how you choose to eat, there are organic grains out there that are perfect for you. If you’re concerned about gluten in your diet, you’ll be avoiding organic grains like wheat, spelt, farro and rye, but you can have organic grains like quinoa, rice, amaranth, millet and buckwheat. If you’re eating a raw vegan diet, did you know that quinoa and buckwheat can be eaten raw and sprouted? Even if you’re on a paleo (no grain) diet, quinoa (actually a seed, not a grain) is often considered acceptable.
Let’s take a look at a list of our favorite organic grains:
This South American grain has been cultivated for as long as 5,000 years in the Andes. An ancient food, quinoa is technically not a grain, although we think of it as a grain and cook it in a similar way. This is one of the two organic grains that is a complete protein and is a wonderful substitute for rice or bulgur wheat in pilafs. Quinoa is cooked like rice, with a ratio of 1 cup of quinoa to 1 1/2 cups of water. Try it in tabbouleh or other cold grain and veggie salads. Use it as a side dish in place of rice or potatoes. Quinoa even makes a great breakfast cereal when made with milk or a plant based dairy alternative using a ratio of 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups of liquid. There are a few different varieties of quinoa, the most common being white quinoa. White quinoa has a light texture and nutty flavor and is best tasting when it is rinsed in water before cooking. Red and black quinoa are two other varieties that are a bit more nutty in flavor and a bit denser in texture. You’ll also find what is called rainbow or tri-color quinoa which is a blend of the white, red and black varieties.
Try this recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 2 scallions, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh mint, chipped
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
In a medium pot, cover quinoa in water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow simmer, cover, and allow to cook about 15 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, garlic, fresh mint and fresh parsley. Once the quinoa is cooked, use a fork to fluff and cool it down a bit. Add cooked quinoa, olive oil,lemon juice and salt to the chopped veggies and toss to combine. Chill for at least one hour before serving, preferably overnight, to allow flavors to meld.
A staple food in many parts of the world, rice comes in many, many varieties. You may be most familiar with long grain white rice and short grain brown rice; these are by far the most commonly used varieties in the U.S. By expanding into more exotic varieties, you’ll experience a great variety of flavor and texture. Try basmati rice or jasmine rice (brown or white) for a fragrant variety that pairs well with Indian and Thai flavors. If you haven’t tried Forbidden rice, it is a black rice that when it cooks turns a very dark purple color. It is chewier in texture than other rices and due to its deep, rich color, contains a high amount of antioxidants.
Try this recipe for Coconut Black Rice Pudding
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup Forbidden black rice
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
In a medium saucepan, mix water, rice and coconut milk, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring occasionally. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, make sure to keep a close eye, adding extra water, 1/4 cup at a time, if the rice gets too dry. While the rice is cooking, toast the coconut. Heat your oven to 350°F. Place the coconut on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes or until golden-brown, stirring once during baking. When the rice is cooked to tender, add the sugar and salt. Simmer for two minutes, or until pudding is desired texture. Add a little more water for a wetter pudding; let cook longer for a drier pudding. Spoon into individual bowls and top with toasted coconut flakes.
Quite possibly the most versatile of the organic grains, wheat was key to enabling civilization to grow into the city-based societies that we now know. Because it was one of the first crops that could be grown on a large scale in a variety of climates and was able to be stored for long periods of time, wheat is often considered at the core of civilization. Wheat is a staple food that can be cooked whole or ground into flour for breads, cakes, noodles, pasta, cakes and more. Its versatility extends to its ability to be fermented to make beer and other alcoholic beverages and even biofuel. Wheat has come under a lot of criticism in recent years with the increase in celiac disease and gluten sensitivities. There are many theories as to why those sensitivities are on the rise, from hybridization to increase the gluten content of wheat, to GMO’s causing digestive disorders that make us more sensitive to gluten, to the simple fact that we as a country eat more wheat than ever in a processed state. Before industrialization made it possible to produce breads at the scale and pace that we do now, bread dough was given the opportunity to rise and ferment for much longer. That fermentation process seems to be key in transforming the gluten in wheat to a more easily digested substance in the bread product. That’s why sourdough breads are often more easily digested. Wheat berries can be used to make pilafs and porridges and can be ground to make homemade breads and pastries.
Try this recipe for Mushroom Wheat Berry Pilaf
- 2 tsps olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 lb sliced mushrooms
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups cooked wheat berries
- 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
- 1/2 tsp fresh chopped thyme
- 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 tsp grated lemon rind
- salt & pepper to taste
One of the most ancient of the organic grains, Farro is also known as Emmer or Einkorn. Grown in Italy, Farro is a wild wheat that can be cooked like barley or ground into flour to make breads and pastas. Farro mwas first domesticated 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent and has been found in Egyptian tombs. As an ancient wheat, it has not been hybridized to increase its gluten content and while still off limits for those with Celiac disease, some people affected by gluten intolerance can actually tolerate Farro. Try Farro in soups and stews, as a porridge or risotto type dish.
Try this recipe for Farro Vegetable Soup
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup farro
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 quarts water
- One 15-ounce can pinto or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 large carrots, sliced in half rounds
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pan, heat the oil and add the celery and onion. Cook over medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the farro and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the grains are coated. Add 1 quart of the water and the beans and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Add the carrots and the remaining 1 quart of water. Cover and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes until the carrots are tender. Add the peas, cover and cook an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Another seed that is called a grain, buckwheat is highly nutritious and is the other of the organic grains that is a complete protein. When roasted and cooked, buckwheat is called kasha, a dish that was brought to America by Polish and Russian immigrants. Buckwheat can also be sprouted and eaten raw, as many raw vegans do to use buckwheat in dehydrated crackers and breads. Buckwheat flour is used to make soba noodles and pancakes. This versatile grain is gluten free and despite having the word ‘wheat’ in its name is not a wheat at all.
Try this recipe for Kasha With Bowtie Pasta
- 1 cup kasha buckwheat groats, medium
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup pasta bow ties
Place the kasha in a medium frying pan on medium high heat and toast until you smell the aroma of the kasha. Remove from heat and mix the kasha with the beaten egg. This should be done quickly to ensure the egg doesn’t cook apart from the grain. Be sure all the grains are covered with egg. Place the pan back on the stove and using a wooden spoon, flatten it out a bit, stirring and moving it about the pan until the egg dries and the grains have mostly separated. Set aside. Place a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta bow ties. In a 4-quart heavy stove-top covered casserole, heat the oil and saute the onions until clear. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the salt and pepper and the reserved kasha. Stir and cover. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the kasha is tender, about 10 minutes. In the meantime, boil the bow tie pasta just until tender. Drain well and stir into the kasha. Season to taste and serve.
Yet another of the organic grains that is actually a seed, millet is most known in America as bird seed but it is a highly nutritious food. Traditionally grown in northern Africa, millet is one of the few organic grains that is alkalizing, making it easier than other grains to digest. If you’ve eaten Ethiopian food, you’ll be familiar with Injera, the spongy bread that is used to eat. Injera is made with teff, which is a variety of millet. Less exotic than Injera, you can use millet just like rice or quinoa. It is cooked in a ratio of 1 cup millet to 2 1/2 cups of water, using more water if you’d like a softer consistency for a breakfast porridge.
Try this recipe for Millet Chili
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 (15 oz) can of corn kernels
- 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans
- 1 (32 oz) container of vegetable broth
- 1 cup millet
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
Heat the olive oil in large saucepan. Sauté onions, peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper for 4-5 minutes until the onions become translucent. Add in corn, beans, broth, spices, and bring to a low boil. Add millet and stir. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste and stir. Adjust seasonings and serve, or simmer longer for even better flavor.
Again, Amaranth is actually a seed and not a grain, but it is used just like a grain. Although it looks a lot like millet, when cooked, amaranth has a mushier consistency so it makes a great breakfast porridge or mashed potato substitute. Amaranth can be popped as a snack – just pour some whole amaranth grain into a hot, dry skillet and shake or stir until the seeds pop. With its thicker consistency, amaranth makes a great addition to soups or stews that you may want to thicken naturally.
Try this recipe for Amaranth Grits With Cinnamon
- 4 ½ cups water
- pinch of sea salt
- ¾ cup amaranth grains
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 small apple, cored and chopped
- sweetener of choice (optional)
- milk or plant based milk alternative (optional)
Bring water and salt to a boil. Meanwhile, heat a dry skillet over medium-high flame. When the pan is hot, add amaranth. Cover and shake the skillet to keep the amaranth moving, so that it toasts and pops but does not burn. When about half of the seeds have popped, add amaranth and cinnamon to boiling water. Stir well and lower heat to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Add apple and cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve plain or with sweetener and milk of choice.
Until relatively recently oats were one of the least desirous organic grains for human consumption. Because oats have a low gluten content and couldn’t easily be made into breads, they were overlooked for the more popular and versatile wheat. In recent years, however, many health conscious individuals have turned to oats instead of wheat specifically because they don’t contain gluten. Oats come in a number of varieties from whole oat groats, steel cut oats, and various sizes of rolled oats as well as oat flour. Mainly used to make oatmeal, oats can also be used in baked goods like oatcakes and oatmeal cookies and even oat bread. It is the main ingredient in muesli as well as granola.
Try this recipe for a homemade Cinnamon & Nut Granola
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dried apples, diced small
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts and almonds.
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, add the honey, oil, and vanilla and stir to combine. Pour over the oat mixture and mix with your hands until the oats are thoroughly coated. Spread the mixture in a thin, even layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir and continue baking until the granola is very light golden brown, another 5 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the granola to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Add the dried fruit and nuts to the baking sheet and toss to combine. Store in an airtight container and enjoy within 2 weeks.
And there you have it, our 8 favorite organic grains and recipes to use them in. What are your favorite organic grains?