I’ll admit it, I’ve got a sweet tooth. I ditched refined sugars many years ago and have since turned to various natural and organic sweeteners to satisfy that craving.
Most of us know that white sugar has no real nutritional value. But more importantly, because white sugar is so refined, it can rob your body of essential nutrients as it is digested. That’s why, as a general rule, it’s better to eat less-processed foods – they are typically more nutritionally complete and do not rob your body of essential nutrients as they’re digested. Some even contribute to your overall health by providing added nutrients.
So, next time you want to create something that’s naturally sweet and good for you too, reach for one of these alternative organic sweeteners. While some are better than others, you can be sure that organic sweeteners are going to be better than regular sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Experiment and enjoy the new taste sensations you can create, knowing you’re contributing to your health.
11 Favorite Organic Sweeteners
Here is an alphabetical listing of the various natural and organic sweeteners available along with their benefits and how to use them. You might find a few organic sweeteners you’ve never heard of or ones you’re interested in trying!
Agave nectar comes from the agave plant, which grows naturally in the desert southwest and is found abundantly in Mexico. The plant itself is a succulent that looks a bit like a pineapple. The nectar of this plant is obtained by pressing the leaves of the agave plant. Agave nectar, or syrup, is about 50% sweeter than table sugar but has a low glycemic index. It has come under a lot of scrutiny lately because it is highly processed, and while it technically has a low glycemic index, the reason for that is the primary sugar in agave is fructose, not glucose. Fructose can be damaging to your liver and heart. The liver processes fructose into triglycerides, or blood fats, which increase the risk of heart disease as well as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. It also increases LDL cholesterol, promotes the buildup of fat around organs, increases blood pressure, makes tissues insulin-resistant (a precursor to diabetes), and increases the production of free radicals. As a liquid sweetener, agave can be useful in certain recipes, however this is one of the organic sweeteners to use caution with. While we should all try to consume less sweeteners in general, try to consume this one as little as possible.
Barley malt is unique in this list of organic sweeteners in that is made from sprouted barley. It’s a thick brown syrup that has a taste similar to molasses. It can be used as a substitute for molasses or other organic sweeteners. It’s about half as sweet as table sugar, so you’ll need to adjust amounts to taste. It can be combined with maple syrup in recipes to yield a sweeter result. It contains complex carbohydrates as well as minerals and protein.
Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup is made from brown rice and has a slightly butterscotch flavor. It’s about half as sweet as table sugar and can be used in recipes like other sweeteners. It can be combined with honey or maple syrup to yield a sweeter result.
Date sugar is made from dates and comes in a granulated form. Date sugar is a course, brown granule that can be used instead of table sugar. However, date sugar burns easily, so use caution in recipes where high temperatures or long cooking time (stove top or oven) come into the picture. Date sugar contains complex carbohydrates and is fairly high in folic acid.
Honey is made by bees, which extract nectar from flowers. The color of honey depends on the plants from which the bees extract nectar – the color can be a light golden color to a rich dark golden brown. It is about 20-60% sweeter than table sugar, so you should adjust your measurements accordingly. Honey contains complex carbohydrates and some proponents believe that consuming honey from your local area may help reduce seasonal allergies, if those allergies are related to local plant pollen.
Maple sugar is the granulated product made from maple syrup, which comes from the sap of maple trees. Maple sugar is a coarse light brown sugar that has roughly the same sweetness as table sugar. It contains complex carbohydrates as well as calcium and potassium. It can be used in recipes as an equal replacement for sugar.
Maple syrup comes from the sap of maple trees and is a rich, deep golden brown color. It is about as sweet as table sugar and less sweet than honey. It can be used in recipes where sugar is called for and can be combined with other less sweet sweeteners (brown rice syrup, barley malt) for a combined flavor that’s both pleasing and unique. Like maple sugar, it contains complex carbohydrates, calcium and potassium. Maple syrup comes in different grades. Grade A Amber is a light syrup with a mild flavor often used for making maple candy. Grade A Medium Amber has a slightly stronger maple flavor and is most often used as table syrup. Grade A Dark Amber has a stronger maple flavor and a darker color. Grade B, sometimes called cooking syrup, has the strongest maple flavor and some caramel flavor. It is sometimes used as table syrup for it’s distinct (and strong) maple flavor and also works well in cooking. With maple flavor, a B will get you A+ results!
Sucunat (a registered trademarked name) is made from dehydrated fresh cane juice. The process leaves more nutritional components in the product and it contains calcium, potassium and a small amount of iron. It has a taste similar to sugar and molasses. It comes in both syrup and granulated form and can be used in recipes calling for sugar of all kinds.
Stevia comes from a South American plant by the same name and is related to the Marigold family. The leaves can be used, but the most common form found on the market today is a fine white powder that looks similar to aspartame or artificial sweeteners. The powder is 250-300 times sweeter than sugar, so small amounts will provide significant sweetness. Stevia has no glycemic value and does not contain carbohydrates, glucose or any form of sugar. Thus, it is safe for diabetics and has no side effects that artificial sweeteners (and aspartame) can have. Stevia has been used for thousands of years by the ancient people of South America and it is widely used in Japan to sweeten soft drinks, ready-made beverages and tea. It can be difficult to use in baking because it does not caramelize or melt like sugar does and it does not make baked goods crispy or gooey. If you want to use it for baking, look for stevia recipes or experiment, but don’t use it as straight substitute for sugar in baking. It’s great in non-baked products that require sweetening. Interestingly, it also has properties that help prevent cavities, so you can get your sweets and help your teeth all at once. One of my favorite ways to use flavored stevia is in beverages – try some rootbeer, cola, or vanilla creme stevia in some club soda and you’ve got a refreshing ‘soda’.
Turbinado sugar is made from the cane plant, as is white table sugar. Turbinado sugar is slightly less processed than table sugar and through a tumbling process has about 2/3 of the molasses removed from it. This yields a light brown sugar that has the same sweetness as table sugar but is slightly less refined. It contains some complex carbohydrates has a slightly better nutritional profile than refined white table sugar. Of the organic sweeteners in the list it is the most easily substituted sweetener for recipes.
Xylitol, a sweetener made from birch trees, does not require insulin in order to be metabolized so it is a great sugar alternative for diabetics. It doesn’t cause any increase in blood sugar levels or serum insulin response. Xylitol has other benefits as well. It is great for your teeth and gums. Xylitol creates a barrier between germs and your gums and has been shown to be beneficial for dental health. It’s why you’ll find a lot of chewing gums using this natural sweetener. It is also beneficial for sinus health; the antibacterial properties in the xylitol are beneficial for sinus infections. (*Xylitol is highly dangerous for dogs so make sure to keep any xylitol products out of their reach. Even small amounts from candies can be toxic. If your dog eats a product that contains xylitol, it is important to take the dog to a veterinarian immediately. )
What are your favorite organic sweeteners and how do you like to use them? Let us know in the comments!
Now that summer has almost ended and most of our kiddos are back in school, there is one thing looming on my mind… the dreaded flu season. I love it when the kids go back to school, but what I DON’T love is what they BRING home from school: GERMS! With all the onslaught of germs comes the sniffles, pukes, night time coughing and fevers… and what I hate even more is that after one kid gets sick, the other ones soon do too… and it seems to go on forever. Even me, who prided myself on not getting sick had to drag myself to my N.D. last year when I got the flu for the first time in 6 years (and it took me down…hard!). At the end of my appointment my N.D. typed up my “prescriptions” and first thing on the list was Elderberry Syrup.
He began to tell me that a study was done between Tamiflu (a well-known flu medication) and elderberry syrup comparing how they treat the flu and elderberry syrup knocked Tamiflu out of the park! Elderberries contain a ton of healthy properties (including antioxidants, tannins, vitamins A, B, and C, flavonoids, and much more), which help strengthen the immune system, which makes elderberry syrup very effective in treating the flu. But to buy elderberry syrup through my N.D. or health food store it seemed to run anywhere from $15-$20 for a 4-8 oz. bottle. I thought that was a little steep so I decided I wanted to save some money and take a stab at making my own. I did and I was able to make 2 batches (of 16 oz. or more) in what it cost for a 4-8 oz. bottle. What’s even better is that elderberry syrup tastes delicious! It’s not a syrup I have to fight my children to take…they ask for it! Now let’s get started with the recipe!
Elderberry Syrup Recipe
- 2/3 cup dried elderberries
- 3-3 1/2 cup water (distilled, spring or filtered is best, preferably not tap water)
- 2 tbsp. of one of the following : garlic (chopped), Ginger root, dried echincacea)
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks or powder
- 1 tsp. dried whole cloves or 1/2 tsp clove powder (optional)
- 1 cup raw or local honey or local honey
Step 1: Place berries, water, and spices in a saucepan.
Step 2: Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 45-50 minutes. (I was busy with my toddler and mine simmered for around 60 minutes, and it was fine) The liquid will reduce a bit, and that’s perfectly normal.
Step 3: Smash the berries to release remaining juice and strain the mixture, I used a fine strainer here but I have also used a nut milk bag and was able to squeeze a lot more juice out, I was a just a little lazy this time around.
Step 4: Now that the liquid is cooled down a bit, stir in your honey. We do this here because if we did this step in the beginning when the liquid is very hot it would kill all those important flu fighting enzymes in the honey.
There you have it your very own, flu fighting Elderberry Syrup!
Standard dosage for prevention:
Babies – Under the age of 1 should not take syrup which contains honey.
Kids – 1/2 -1 tsp. a daily
Adults – 1/2 tbsp. – 1 tbsp. daily
When the onset of flu or colds strike take normal dosages every 2-3 hours until symptoms are gone. Elderberry syrup stored in a glass container, tightly in the refrigerator will last up to two months!
*Note: In my recipe above I used garlic. I usually use grated ginger or dried Echinacea. I wasn’t sure how it was going to taste with the garlic so I decided that I would grate some organic orange zest purely for flavor. Using the garlic did change the flavor profile but thankfully the kids still like it…just wouldn’t want to pour it over my pancakes. Experiment with the flavors you like!
Do The Math: Making Your Own Elderberry Syrup vs. Buying It
I want to show you how much I spent making this flu fighting syrup I want to break it down for you.
- 2/3 c dried Elderberries = $3.40 (1.70 an oz. at my local herb store)
- Spices combined (unless you are using Echinacea root then it might be a little more) = less than $1.00
- 3 c Distilled water= $0.25
- Raw honey = $3.50 (depending on honey brand you use it could be more or less)
That’s a HUGE savings compared to this and you should yield around 190 tsp or 60 Tbsp per batch!
Oh, one more time with the reminder: I’m not a health care professional (yet, starting school next week though, yippee!) and this blog post does not take place of any medical advice. If you have questions, please consult your health care professional.
Here’s to a healthy flu season! Don’t forget to drink your water. Good tip is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day (for example: if you weight 150lbs drink 70 ounces of water)!
Share with us in the comments what you do to help keep your immunity up during the flu season!
shopOrganic co-founder ponders the question of why organic matters during Organic Harvest Month
In just the past few weeks, I’ve had some remarkable conversations with people when they find out I am one of the co-founders of shopOrganic.com; the topic of ‘Why Organic’ keeps coming up. In one conversation, three women and two men spontaneously started asking questions about whether we offered specific products. Thankfully, my product knowledge (we have over 4,000 products) was strong enough that I was able to answer almost all of their questions – but what it showed me is how many people, who are well-informed on the benefits of organic and non-GMO foods, are still looking for a trusted source for organic products. My takeaway was that we have a lot of upside potential to make shopOrganic better known! In another conversation just last night, I was at a social function for women in leadership in the community (thank you Quarles & Brady for that wonderful event) and when I stood to introduce myself and mentioned shopOrganic.com, there was a fairly loud outburst of chatter – mostly “I need to write that down” and “what was the URL again?” – and my conversations throughout the evening focused around food (my favorite topic) and how clean food is so important to health. “Why Organic” came up again and again as we talked about healthy, clean food choices.
If that’s all I had to report, it would be a short story. But there’s more. In the first event, one woman later told me she was a breast cancer survivor and though she’d always eaten a nutritionally sound diet, she hadn’t really ‘put much stock in organic.’ After her diagnosis, she told me, she got really serious about looking at what she was putting in and on her body. Her answer to ‘Why Organic’, was that organic food, organic body care and non-toxic cleaning products were the only sane way to approach her post-diagnosis life. I’m happy to report she is 100% healthy and cancer-free now, and she is a strong advocate for organic products. It was affirming to hear from her perspective why organic was so vital to the health of our bodies and our planet.
At the event last night, one woman sat down with me and told me how she’d been tired, stressed from work and running ragged for months. She’d been putting on weight gradually (stress weight) and that things just weren’t going smoothly. She had decided about three weeks ago to clean up her diet. She stopped eating a lot of processed foods and moved to cooking more and using organic and non-GMO ingredients – from fresh fruits and vegetables (always important) to organic grains, nuts, dried fruits, juices and more. She said she felt better in three weeks than she’d felt in years and was astounded at how much more energy she had. Her answer to ‘Why Organic’ was connected to her increased energy after eating a much cleaner diet. She clearly came to understand the connection between the things she eats and the way she feels. While that can be said of conventional ‘junk’ food versus a nutritious diet, she took it one step further and also made the connection between chemicals (additives or residual) in conventional foods, even those deemed health, and her own health. She’s convinced that organic food is the most healthful approach and she’s begun incorporating organic food into her diet. She, of course, was thrilled to find out about shopOrganic.com.
These heart-felt conversations made me understand that more and more people are making the connection between their health and the health of the planet. It sometimes is slow going, a one-by-one process, but ultimately that’s how things change. I was heartened to hear these stories and wanted to share them with you. This month is organic month and to celebrate, I’d love to hear your story.
I don’t know about you, but up until a few years ago all I really knew about aloe vera was that it was excellent for soothing sunburns. I had no idea that it was packed with so many other powerful benefits. Some people might even tell you that aloe vera is right up there with garlic when it comes to medicinal healing!
The aloe vera plant is a cactus like plant and is part of the Lily family (Liliaceae) which is the same family that garlic belongs too. When an aloe leaf is broken open it secretes a clear gel-like substance.
Aloe vera has both internal and external uses for our body and it contains over 200 active elements including: minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, polysaccharides, amino acids, enzymes and fatty-acids. It’s been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
24 Amazing Health Benefits of Aloe Vera:
1. Aloe vera is an alkaline forming food. Disease cannot thrive in an alkaline environment. Eating this helps alkalinize the body.
2. Anti-microbial, Germicidal, Anti-bacterial, Anti-fungal, Anti-viral, Disinfectant and Anti-biotic. WOW, if that doesn’t pack a punch on external and internal infections I don’t know what else can!
3. Reduces high blood pressure natural, by treating the cause and not just the symptoms.
4. Speeds up recovery in injuries.
5. Excellent for colon health, it can stop colon cancer in its tracks.
6. Helps treat and prevent Candida infections and other fungal infections
7. Can stop the growth of cancerous tumors
8. Helps slow the aging process
9. Can help lessen visibility of stretch marks
10. Helps aid in digestion (can aid in healing ulcers, also some say it can be a good laxative while others say it helps with regularity)
11. Helps support normal muscle and joint functions
12. Because of the fatty-acids it helps increase absorption of other supplements when taking with aloe vera gel or juice.
13. Great for dental health, can help heal periodontal disease and sooth sore gums
14. Boosts circulation in the body like numb hands and feet
15. It is a natural food preservative
16. Increases blood flow to the brain
17. Prevents kidney stones
18. Helps balance electrolytes which are important for physical endurance and sports, so get rid of that Gatorade and get some aloe!
19. Accelerates healing in wounds, burns and helps soothes arthritis pain
20. Protects body against oxidative stress (free radicals)
21. Very hydrating for our skin, which why it makes it excellent for skin repair and sun damage
22. Aloe vera contains 2 hormones: Auxin and Gibberellins which help stimulate the growth of cells which makes aloe a wonderful choice for healing acne.
23. Lower high cholesterol
24. Can be packed in wounds to help kill the bacteria and protect wounds from infection.
I hope now you will not just think of aloe vera as your topical choice for treating sunburns but as a whole body healer!
Some Notes About Aloe Vera:
- If you have never used aloe vera as a supplement or internally it’s best to start small then gradually increase over time.
- Remember aloe vera is incredibly medicinal plant, usually less is more when taken internally. It may cause adverse interactions with prescription and over-the-counter medications. Always consult your health care advisor with any questions you might have.
Where can you buy Aloe Vera?
Actually you might be able to find it right at your local grocery store. I was surprised to find some aloe leaves in our local grocery market (and it wasn’t even a health food store) If you buy your aloe leaves. Filet your leaves carefully and scoop out the gel.
You can find a wide variety of organic aloe vera gels and juices online.
If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between a jam, jelly, fruit spread, marmalade, conserve, preserve and fruit butter, this guide should make it as clear as jelly.
Jam: A soft, smooth puree of crushed or chopped fruit cooked down with sugar. Jam must contain at least 55 percent sugar and 45 percent fruit.
Jelly: Clear and jelled, this is just the fruit juice and sugar with a jelling agent. Jelly has no seeds or chunks of fruit. Jelly must contain at least 65 percent water soluble solids (sugar) and must be made with fruit juices or concentrates.
Preserve: Chopped or whole fruits cooked with sugar in a way that allows a syrupy base to hold suspended fruit chunks within it. must contain at least 55 percent sugar and 45 percent fruit.
Conserve: A more thickly stewed preserve, often made with more than one fruit.
Fruit Spread: This is like a jam but instead of sugar, alternative sweeteners or fruit juice concentrates are used.
Fruit Butter: A spread of slowly cooked fruit puree with a smooth, soft consistency.
Marmalade: A fruit preserve made from the juice and peel of citrus fruits boiled with sugar and water.
B – Best Brands of Organic Jam, Jelly & Fruit Spread
Bionaturae Organic Fruit Spread: These organic fruit spreads are produced using hand-harvested heirloom varieties of fruit from select regions of Italy. The term “heirloom” describes a variety of fruit, flower or vegetable that has been grown in a certain region for centuries without any hybridization. The flavor of Italian heirloom fruit is sweet, intense and true. It speaks to the pride of the farmers who produce the fruits, and cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the world.
Cadia Organic Preserves: Made with fresh organic fruits at the peak of ripeness, these organic preserves are great on pancakes, waffles, ice cream, muffins, scones or in yogurt.
Colorado Mountain Jam: These organic jams are made with fruit from organic orchards in Colorado. A small family operation, their organic jam is award-winning and has intense flavor in unique varieties.
Crofter’s Organic Fruit Spread: These organic fruit spreads come in kid-friendly flavors and adult varieties as well. From the classing grape and strawbery to more exotic blood orange and pomegranate, Crofter’s offers a great taste at a great value. Try their ‘Just Fruit’ varieties for organic jam without any added sugar.
Eden Organic Fruit Butter: Slowly simmered, Eden’s organic apple butter and organic cherry butter bring the flavor of a home cooked apple pie and cherry pie to an easy to use spread. Great on toast, on muffins, crackers or right from the spoon.
Mediterranean Organic Preserves: Hand made in small batches on a 4th generation Italian family farm, and grown under the Mediterranean sun, these organic preserves are artisan crafted and are packed with fruit.
C – Cooking with Organic Jam, Jelly & Fruit Spread
Aside from the usual PB&J, there’s a whole lot you can do with organic jam, jelly and fruit spread, from sweet desserts to savory dinners, to delicious breakfasts. Here are a few recipes using organic jam that you can try:
Jam Thumbprint Cookies
A sweet treat that kids and adults alike will love.
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 large egg
3 ¼ cups organic all-purpose flour
¾ cup organic jam (any flavor)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add egg, and beat until thoroughly combined. With mixer on low, add flour, and mix just until incorporated. Roll dough into 1-inch balls (about 2 tablespoons each). Place on baking sheets, at least 3 inches apart. Moisten thumb with water, and gently press the center of each ball, making an indentation about 1/2 inch wide and inch deep. Heat jam on the stove until liquefied and spoon about 1/2 teaspoon into each indentation. Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Savory Apricot Mustard Sauce
This works really well as a sauce for grilled chicken or pork
½ cup apricot preserves
2 Tbsp organic spicy brown mustard
1 ½ tsp tamari or soy sauce
1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp grated ginger
Mix together and use as a dipping sauce or as a marinated for chicken, fish, or pork.
These are a great low fat alternative to jelly donuts
¼ cup organic jam, preserve or fruit spread
1 ½ cups organic all-purpose flour
½ cup organic whole wheat flour
½ cup organic cane sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup plain yogurt
¼ cup organic sunflower/safflower oil
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
organic powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Grease the bottoms of 12 standard muffin cups. Whisk the jam in a small bowl until smooth and set it aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt, oil, egg, and vanilla extract until blended. Stir the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients just until the batter is blended. Fill the muffin cups halfway with batter and use a spoon to make a shallow well in the center of each. Fill each well with a rounded teaspoon of jam and then cover the jam with more batter. Bake the muffins for 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean (there may be jam on it). Let the muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes before removing them. Dust the tops with powdered sugar. Makes 1 dozen.
What is ghee? Ghee is a staple ingredient in Indian cooking. You might have also heard it called butter oil or clarified butter. Many people with dairy or butter sensitivities often can still have ghee because in the cooking process (which I’ll show you below) the milk solids are removed (lactose and protein, which people can be sensitive and allergic too).
I started making ghee in my own home a few months ago when my youngest daughter (23 months) started developing a little rot on her teeth. When I took her to see our integrative dentist he wasn’t worried about her teeth in the slightest, but gave me some really good tips to help repair her teeth. One of the books in his office was Weston A. Price’s book titled, “Nutritional and Physical Degeneration”. In his book butter oil (ghee) is a key ingredient to re-enameling teeth because it contains certain fats and activating substances that help bond the nutrients in the body to the bones. Ghee also has anti-carcinogen effects that help protect against tooth decay. Who would have known, right?! It’s been two months of eating ghee and my daughter’s teeth are slowly on the mend. Not only that, ghee is delicious and I cannot imagine eating “Regular” butter ever again.
Here are a Few Other Added Benefits of Ghee:
- Ghee has a very high smoke point which makes it excellent for cooking, stir-fries and also frying.
- It’s excellent on anything you would use on or with regular butter, spread on your toast (how my daughter likes it) in all your baking recipes.
- It has a long shelf life. No need to refrigerate it. You can keep it in your pantry for up to 3-6 months…. but I can’t imagine how… the longest I have mine on my counter is 2 weeks!
- It’s excellent to take with your daily vitamins. Take 1/4-1/2 tsp along with your vitamins to help maximum absorption!
How to make Ghee (clarified butter or butter oil):
Start by using the best butter. I like to use 1lb Kerrygold unsalted butter because it comes from grass-fed pasture raised cows. You can also use organic unsalted butter too.
Unwrap the butter and place in a glass bowl or sauce pan on your stove at medium heat. Bring to a very slow boil (this will take several minutes, so be patient).
Once it starts to boil you will notice a white foam start to form. This is the milk solids that you will be getting rid of.
Now use a slotted spoon and skim off as much foam as you can. Don’t worry if you can’t get it all, because you will strain the rest off later. After you scoop out as much foam as you can, let simmer for 5-10 minutes to completely separate the milk solids from the butter oil. You can tell when this happens when the butter starts to become clearer and you can see the bottom of the pan. Sometimes you might see some milk solids start to turn brown, don’t worry. Again that will all be separated.
Use a fine mesh strainer and slowly poor into a wide mouth mason jar you can also use a funnel in your mason jar. This step will separate the rest of the milk solids from the butter oil. And that’s it. There you have it. Your very own, healthy, yummy, homemade Ghee! Enjoy!
Oh- I forgot to add that you can also buy Ghee if you aren’t inclined to make it yourself. Click here to see my favorite and trusted brand!
Have you ever heard of Ghee? I hope after today’s tutorial that you will pick up a jar or be inspired to make some at home! Tell me how yours turned out!
Each month shopOrganic offers a different selection of sale items so that you can save a little money on the path of making better choices. These specials also give you an opportunity to try some new products that you might have overlooked before. We’ve highlighted some of these great products below. Be sure to head up to shopOrganic.com’s Sale section to see all of the September specials at shopOrganic.
September Specials at shopOrganic
479 Degrees Organic Gourmet Popcorn
All flavors 10% Off
Try this premium organic gourmet popcorn made in small batches in San Francisco using only the finest ingredients. Enjoy both savory flavors like Creamery Butter or Black Truffle & White Cheddar. Try sweet flavors like Sea Salt & Caramel or Toasted Coconut & Caramel. Click HERE to try them now.
Select skin care products 10% Off
Andalou Naturals is the first body care company to obtain Non-GMO Verified certification. Andalou infuses the best of nature and knowledge into mindful and effective products that are good for people and the planet. Their products are made with fruit stem cells which renews skin at the cellular level, blending nature and knowledge for visible results. Click HERE to try them now.
Drew’s Organic Salad Dressing
All varieties 10% Off
Turn your ordinary salads into something extraordinary with Drew’s organic salad dressings. Drew’s takes your favorite classic dressings like French, Ranch and Caesar to the next level with organic ingredients. Upgrade your salads with Drew’s organic salad dressings. Click HERE to try them now.
Organic Body Care 10% Off
Nourish, a line of USDA Certified Organic body care, will delight your senses with their delicately scented skin and body care products. Certified organic deodorant, body wash, lotion, body butter, body polish and hand wash in scents like Vanilla Almond, Fresh Fig, Lavender Mint, Wild Berries, or if you’re scent sensitive, Unscented. Click HERE to try them now.
Specialty Organic Rice 10% Off
From the tender pale green Jade Pearl Rice to dark and hearty Forbidden Rice, to mineral-rich Volcano Rice – make your side dishes extraordinary with Lotus Foods organic specialty rices. Try using Forbidden Rice or the Jade Pearl rice in a delicious rice pudding using coconut milk for extra richness and flavor. Click HERE to try them now.
Organic Jarred Vegetables 10% Off
Imported from Poland and made with simple old world ingredients, Othentic’s jarred vegetable salads and pickles will leave your taste buds tickled with great flavors. The pickled baby beets are so tender and sweet, the spicy vegetable salad is tangy with a kick, the dill pickles have just the right amount of sour and crunch; try them all! Click HERE to try them now.
Organic Tulsi Tea 10% off
In India, the herb Tulsi, also called holy basil, has been widely known for its health promoting and medicinal value for thousands of years. Commonly called sacred or holy basil, it is a principal herb of Ayurveda, the ancient traditional holistic health system of India. Holy basil is known as “The Incomparable One”, “The Mother Medicine of Nature”, and “The Queen of Herbs”. Try them all HERE!
Organic Facial Oils & Chakra Blends 10% off
Creating balance between mind, body and spirit isn’t always easy. It takes conscious effort, focus and practice. Aura Cacia created seven chakra balancing essential oil blends to help you restore balance to your everyday life. Use them in your meditation practice during yoga, include them in a self massage practice, use them in conjunction with chakra sound therapy, chakra color therapy, or simply use them as a fragrance to enjoy throughout the day. Click HERE to try them now.
Aura Cacia Organic Skin Care Oils are gathered from across the globe to bring you the best quality possible. From Moroccan Argan oil to Senegalese Baobab oil, to Kenyan Macadamia Oil, Chilean Rosehip Oil and Vietnamese Tamanu Oil, these skin care oils are extremely beneficial for the skin. Use them on their own or combine with some Aura Cacia Essential oils to create your own blend to nourish your skin. Click HERE to try them now.
Maca is a superfood in its own right and what it is mostly known for is its energy boosting and hormonal properties. Did you know that maca goes back thousands of years and is grown in Peru at very high altitudes? In fact it is the highest altitude growing plant in the world. Maca is actually a root vegetable which kind of resembles a radish or a turnip but more sandy color and is part of the potato/starch family. Maca has a ton of nutritional goodness like; amino acids, carbohydrates, and tons of minerals including calcium, phosphorous, zinc, magnesium, iron, as well as vitamins B1, B2, B12, C and E and it’s high in potassium. Now take a look to see what this superfood can do!
- Helps to balance and regulate out our hormones to each individual person
- Decrease hot flashes in women with Menopause
- Reduce stress
- Normalize sleep
- Encourages muscle growth
- Treat PMS (Mood Swings)
- Help boost energy naturally (and without those coffee jitters or shakes)
- Increases Stamina and athletic performance
- Nicknamed “Natures Viagra” helps to naturally boost and improves sexual function and libido in men.
- Nourishes glandular system (Thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands to name a few)
- Reverse vaginal dryness
- Lessens aches and pains
- Helps slow down the aging process
- Restores balance to the body, especially our hormones
- Helps improve mental awareness/clarity
- Low in calories
How To Add Maca to Your Diet:
Maca’s benefits are usually noticed very quickly after you start adding them to your diet. Remember to start taking maca slowly, starting with 1/2 tsp a day and working up over a week or two’s time until you reach 1-2 tsp a day. It’s actually good to take time off from maca, so your body doesn’t get too accustomed to it. If you take it for a week, take a week off or a month on, month off. Find a good cycle that works for you! Also, keep in mind maca has an earthy, nutty flavor which sometimes can have hints of butterscotch, now here are some ideas for how to add maca to your meals:
- Add to your smoothies
- Mix or blend into your milk or juice
- Mix into your muffin or pancake recipes
- Stir into your hot breakfast cereal
- Add it to your cookie recipes nn bn
- Sprinkle onto your popcorn (especially yummy if your popcorn is popped with coconut oil)
One Last Thing About Maca!
Because maca can have powerful effects on our bodies and to our health remember that it is NOT a drug. It is a plant and it is NOT toxic to our bodies. If you are just starting out in your healthy lifestyle and you start taking maca, you may notice flu like systems, don’t be alarmed. Maca is SO nutrient dense that it is pushing all or “throwing out” all those toxins out of your body to replace with what your body is craving…nutrients!
Have you ever used maca? What was your experience?
You may think of cornstarch as a thickener, and it is – it’s great for makings sauces and gravies but did you know it has a myriad of household uses also? Check out this list of unusual uses for organic cornstarch and be prepared to be amazed. Not only is organic cornstarch economical and versatile, it is very eco friendly, just make sure you’re buying organic cornstarch so you’re not getting GMO corn.
Kitchen Uses For Organic Cornstarch
DIY Baking Powder: If you run out of baking powder, all you have to do is mix 1 part of organic cornstarch with 1 part of baking soda and 2 parts cream of tartar and you’ve got baking powder.
Remove grease spots from walls: It’s happened to all of us, the splattering of grease in the kitchen. To remove grease spots that may splatter onto the wall, sprinkle organic cornstarch onto a clot and rub the grease spot gently until it is gone.
Polish silver: Make a paste by mixing organic cornstarch with water. Use a damp cloth to apply this to your silverware. Let it dry, then rub it off with a clean soft cloth to make it shine like new.
Unstick marshmallows: If you’ve ever bought a bag of marshmallows and they’re all stuck together inside the bag? Add some organic cornstarch to the bag and shake it up. The cornstarch absorbs moisture and the marshmallows will separate.
Create a Perfect Fluffy Omelet: Just add ¼ teaspoon of organic cornstarch per egg, beat well and cook as usual for the fluffiest omelet ever.
Laundry Uses For Organic Cornstarch
Lift a scorch mark from fabric: If you’ve ever left the iron in one spot a little too long, you know the feeling of seeing that scorch mark and knowing you’ve ruined your clothes. Save that clothing by wetting the scorched area and covering it with cornstarch. Let it dry then brush it away and the scorch mark will be gone.
Remove blood stains: Whether it’s on clothing or table linens, you can remove or minimize a bloodstain with this method. Make a paste of cornstarch mixed with cold water. Cover the spot with the cornstarch paste and rub it gently into the fabric. Put the cloth in a sunny area to dry. Once it is dry, brush off the remaining residue. If the stain is not completely gone, repeat the process.
Remove grease on fabric: Blot as much grease as you can with a cloth and sprinkle cornstarch over the stain. Let it sit for ten minutes, and then shake it off. To break up the grease, dab the stain with white vinegar. Launder as normal.
Remove ink stains on fabric: Mix a paste of cornstarch and milk and apply it to the stain. Let it dry, brush off the residue, and launder as usual.
Bath & Body Uses For Organic Cornstarch
Dry shampoo: Even if you’re not ‘no-poo’ (no shampoo) all the time, if you’re in a rush and don’t have time to shower, sprinkle some organic cornstarch on your scalp. Let it sit for a few minutes before brushing out. The cornstarch will absorb the oil and make your hair look fresh. This method also works great for pets.
Sweat & Odor Remover: To absorb sweat, sprinkle on some organic cornstarch. This will also help absorb body odor.
Sunburn, Bug Bites & Poison Ivy Relief: Make a paste of organic cornstarch and water and apply to the affected area. Let the paste dry and then remove with lukewarm water.
Facial Mask: Mix ¼ cup organic cornstarch, 2 Tablespoons milk and 1 egg white. Mix until smooth and apply to face. Let dry for 15 to 20 minutes then rinse off.
Household Uses For Organic Cornstarch
Remove ink stains from carpet: Mix milk with cornstarch to make a paste. Apply the paste to the ink stain. Allow to dry on the carpet for a few hours, and then brush off the dried residue and vacuum.
Give carpets a fresh scent: Sprinkle a little cornstarch on your carpeting. Wait about half an hour and then vacuum normally.
Soak up furniture polish residue: If you wind up with polish left on the surface of your furniture, sprinkle cornstarch lightly on furniture then wipe up the polish and cornstarch and buff the surface.
Make windows shine: Create your own window cleaning solution by mixing 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/2 cup ammonia and 1/2 cup white vinegar in a bucket containing 3-4 quarts (3-4 liters) warm water. Mix well and put the solution in a trigger spray bottle. Spray on the windows, then wipe with a warm-water rinse. Rub with a dry paper towel or lint-free cloth.
Get rid of roaches: Make a mixture that is 50 percent plaster of Paris and 50 percent cornstarch. Spread this in the crevices where roaches appear.
Remove stains on leather furniture. To get rid of oil stains from leather simply apply cornstarch to the oil spot. Leave the cornstarch in place overnight to give the cornstarch time to soak up the grease. The next day use a cloth to brush off all of the corn starch. You may need to repeat to remove the stain.
Save your books You can use cornstarch to help you prevent and kill mildew in your books. Sprinkle cornstarch all throughout the book to absorb the moisture of the damp pages. Let the cornstarch sit several hours or overnight. Then take your books outside and brush the pages clean
Say no to squeaky floorboards: Sprinkle cornstarch in between the seams where the boards are rubbing together and the squeak will stop.
Organic Cornstarch Solutions for Babies & Kids
Untangle knots: Have your kids ever gotten their shoes tied in such tight knots that you can’t get them undone? Sprinkle the knot with a little cornstarch. It will then be easy to work the segments apart.
Make your own paste: The next time kids want to go wild with construction paper and paste, save money by making the paste yourself. Mix 3 teaspoons organic cornstarch with 4 teaspoons cold water. Stir to create a paste consistency. Use with fingers, wooden tongue depressor or popsicle stick.
Make finger paints: Mix together 1/4 cup organic cornstarch and 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling until the mixture becomes thick. Pour your into several small containers and add food coloring to each container and you’ve got finger paints.
Clean stuffed animals To clean a stuffed toy, place the stuffed animal into a bag. Sprinkle cornstarch into the bag, close it tightly, and shake. Take the toys out of the back and brush them clean.
Make face paints: Mix two parts of organic cornstarch with one part of white vegetable shortening to make a non-toxic grease paint. Make different color variations by just adding a few drops of food coloring mix until you get the color you want.
Clean sticky playing cards: Place the cards into a paper bag along with a 2 teaspoons of cornstarch. Shake the bag. Remove cards and wipe them down and the sticky will be gone.
Un-stink shoes: If you’ve got active kids, you know how stinky their shoes can get. Sprinkle some cornstarch inside the shoes to absorb perspiration and odor.
Diaper Rash Relief: To protect your baby from diaper rash, add ¼ cup of organic cornstarch to their bath water. To sooth diaper rash, powder their bottoms with cornstarch after each diaper change.
Remove grease stains from zinc oxide ointment: Use a spoon to scrape off as much of the ointment as you can. Sprinkle the stained area with cornstarch and let it sit for an hour or so. Brush the starch away and treat the stain with a grease-cutting dish soap. Wash in cool water.
Do you have any of your own tips and tricks for using organic cornstarch? Share below in the comments!
Last week we posted a blog post on sea salt recipes for beauty care. This week we wanted to explain the difference between organic sea saltand table salt. Many people don’t think about the little things we’re putting into our
foods, but there’s a big difference between the table salt you’re used to seeing on the dinner table and sea salt.
Sea Salt Vs. Table Salt
Table salt is much like white sugar, highly processed and refined. There is 84 trace minerals in pure sea salt. After table salt has been processed more than 80 of those essential minerals have been removed and in their place they add back into or “enrich” with anti-clumping, anti-drying fillers like aluminum compounds. Potassium iodine is also added because the natural iodine in sea salt was removed during processing. You also might see some kind of bleaching additive too, to keep the salt nice and white. Does that sound like a salt you want to be using in your baking or adding to your meals? I hope not!
Has a whopping 84 minerals and trace elements. It is an unprocessed, unrefined “raw” and truly natural salt which is hand mined in salt caves that were formed 250 million years ago as ocean salt settled in little pockets around the earth. Pretty cool huh?!
The Truth About Salt
You are probably accustomed to thinking that salt is bad for you, period…that is true, to an extent. But it’s table salt who is the enemy. Eating common table salt actually causes excess fluid in your body that can contribute to many different things: arthritis, kidney and gall bladder stones, gout, cellulite. It can cause diabetes and obesity to worsen. Table salt causes blood pressure to rise quickly because the blood is working hard to remove the toxins in that salt away from the heart, that is why some doctors will tell you to limit salt in-take if you have high blood pressure. The preservatives and additives that are added to table salt can do their own damage to our bodies over time, like:
- Kidney, liver problems
- Heart disease
- Thyroid problems
- Muscle cramps
That’s just to name a few! So, if you have table salt in your home right now, I suggest you go throw it out and replace it with some natural sea salt.
The Health Benefits of Sea Salt
Like I said before sea salt has 84 minerals and trace elements and the cool thing is that those minerals and elements are identical to the elements found in our body. Some benefits of using sea salt daily are:
- Builds a strong immune system
- Helps fight acne
- Aids in digestion
- Promotes healthy pH balance in our body
- Helps with nerve stimulation
- Salt contains magnesium, which is important for producing enzymes, nerve transmission, bone formation, forming tooth enamel, and resistance to heart disease and important for babies developing brain
- Promotes sleep naturally
- Promotes blood sugar health
- Anti aging
- Regulates water content in our body
- Helps with circulation
- Great for your skin
- Supports respiratory health
- Good for detoxing
- Helps with proper functioning of the adrenal glands
How to use Sea Salt to Stay Healthy
You can use it just as you would your thrown out table salt.
- Season your cooking
- Sprinkle on your meals
- Add to your favorite baking recipes
- Use to make salt scrubs
- Soothing bath: Add 1/2 -1c of sea salt to your warm bath and soak for 20 minutes. Helps draw out toxins and leaves your skin smooth.
- Drink before bed to help you sleep 1/2 teaspoon to 1 glass of water.
- Mix with warm water to gargle when you feel a sore throat coming on
- Use to make your neti-pot solution: 1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt to 8 oz. of distilled water.
I hope this helped convince you to turn away from table salt once and for all. What is your favorite sea salt and how do you like to use it? Psst! My favorite is Himalayan salt!