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BPA FREE: What Does It Mean & Why Is It Important For Moms-to-be?

Are you pregnant or planning to become pregnant and have been worried about the BPA in plastics? Here is some BPA-freeinformation that can help you stay BPA Free and protect you and your baby before, during and after pregnancy.

What is BPA anyway?

BPA is a chemical called Bisphenol A and is the main component of polycarbonate, the hard, clear plastics sometimes used to make baby bottles, food storage containers, water bottles and much more. It can also be found in the lining in canned foods, filters of cigarettes, contact lenses and it even may be in certain “carbonless” receipts, where it coats paper to prevent ink smears.

How Can This Affect Moms-to-be?

  • Baby girls who are exposed while in the womb to BPA’s may develop behavior problems as children.
  • Children of mothers who have the high levels of BPA during pregnancy are twice as likely to wheeze in early childhood, than the children of mothers with the lower BPA’s.
  • Some studies suggest that possible effects from BPA could be most pronounced in infants and young children. Their bodies are still developing and they are not as efficient at eliminating substances from their systems.
  • BPA is an endocrine disruptor. It changes the way our body’s hormones function, mimicking our own natural hormones, estrogen being the main culprit.
  • Two studies have found that adults with the highest levels of BPA in their bodies seem to have a higher incidence of heart problems
  • Women with higher levels of BPA are more likely to have fertility issues.  Studies show higher risk of miscarriages as well.

*Please remember although this list of possible BPA risks is frightening, keep in mind that nothing has been established. The concern about BPA risks stems primarily from studies in animals – more studies need to be done. I don’t know about you, but as a mom I would rather be safe, and use products that are BPA free, than sorry.

What can you do to stay BPA Free?

  • If you are planning a family, to get ready for the baby and a healthy pregnancy, go through your house and toss out anything that contains BPA’s, this will help limit you and baby’s exposure to the chemical.
  • Start using glass water bottles instead of plastic.
  • Limit and or avoid canned foods (Eden Foods claims to use an alternative to BPA)
  • If a mother is unable to breastfeed her child use glass baby bottles or switch to polypropylene bottles that are labeled “5″ on the bottom.
  • Can your own vegetables and fruits in glass mason jars.
  • Look at the bottoms of plastic containers, if you see a 1 or a 7 it is most likely BPA, avoid those.
  • Read your plastic products (toys, bottles, food containers etc) make sure it reads, “BPA free” on the package.
  • Ask your cashier to throw away your receipt.
  • If you wear contacts make sure they are made from BPA free ingredients.
  • When grocery shopping buy whole foods instead of canned foods.
  • Buy BPA Free Toothbrushes.

I hope these tips will help ease your mind and give you steps towards living a life with less BPA. What have you done to limit use of BPA’s?

Organic Teething Biscuit Recipes

My baby is 2 now, and has cut most of her teeth, so I haven’t had the need to use organic teething biscuits for some time now, but when she was teething, I was baking up a storm of different kinds of teething friendly goodies.  With my first two kids I went with whatever my mom used on my siblings and I growing up which was the Nabisco’s Zwieback toast.  Do they still make that? I’m scared to look.  I also remember using a brand from Ger which I dreaded giving my kids because it made the biggest mess.

organic-teething-biscuit-for-babies (300x200)

Photo credit: Abigail Batchelder

That is why with my last baby and now living a healthy lifestyle I wanted to stray from the conventional teething biscuits I once knew and wanted to make my own organic teething biscuits with healthy baby friendly ingredients.   These recipes are very versatile, so you will be able to substitute many ingredients!

Basic Organic Teething Biscuit Recipe

(Best for babies age 1 and up, see note below)

Mix dry ingredients in.  Add in syrup, if using, and melted oil.  Form date-like shapes and put on greased baking sheet or parchment paper.

Bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven. Flip them halfway through so that you have a nice golden crisp on both sides of biscuit. Store in uncovered dish for at least 24 hours which will harden them even more.

*There are many variations you can do with this organic teething biscuit recipe. Try using pumpkin instead of applesauce and add pumpkin spice, or add mashed banana instead of applesauce with a tsp. of cinnamon.   So many options you can try!

Grain Free (Gluten Free) Organic Teething Biscuits

  • 1 – 1/2 cups Almond flour (or try using 1 cup sprouted flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 egg yolks (pastured raised preferred)
  • 1/2 cup purred/mashed fruit (applesauce, mashed bananas, pumpkin, carrots sweet potato etc.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I like to use the non-alcohol extract)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of water

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or use bleach free parchment paper . Beat oil and egg yolks together, mixing well. Add mashed fruit or vegetables.

Add in the rest of the dry ingredients and fold into wet mixture until combined. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more water by the teaspoons. The dough will be stiff but should not crumble. Knead the dough and roll out on a floured surface or parchment paper to form an about 12 inch log. Cut small slices 1/4-1/2 inch thick and arrange on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 20-30 minutes (depending on oven) and flip half way through for even baking.

If you would rather buy your biscuits try this brand.   Have you made organic teething biscuits before, what were you favorite ingredients?

Notes: 

*Most babies’ digestion is not prepared for processing grains especially wheat, before the age of one.  In order to process grains, we need to make the enzyme Amylase. Babies do not make this enzyme in large enough amounts to digest grains until their molar teeth are fully developed. And for most kids this doesn’t happen until they are closer to 2 years old. So, what happens when babies are given grains that they cannot digest? It irritates the lining of their little digestive tract and can have a negative impact on the balance of good and bad bacteria in their tummy. If babies tummy’s are chronically irritated and inflamed this can lead to a host of problems which including food allergies, asthma and even behavioral problems. Many parents (including myself with my first two children) are fed a diet of  cheerios, toast, pasta and other processed foods that have no nutritional value and that are filled with GMO’s, sugar and hydrogenated oils (trans fats), we are leaving less room in their diet for nutrient-rich foods that they need to be healthy.

*Spouted flours – The grains have been sprouted and then dehydrated and finally ground to make flour. This process neutralized the phytic acid in the grains. Phytic acid can combine with minerals in our body (zinc, calcium, etc.) and block their absorption. This can lead to mineral deficiencies and bone loss.

Organic Turmeric: 5 Amazing Health Benefits + Uses

organic turmericLast month I was coming home from a trip on a cramped and full flight.  After holding my body in an uncomfortable position for over an hour, I wound up with lingering pain in my right shoulder.  I tried massaging it out, using muscle balms and ointments and nothing worked.  I don’t like to take prescription or over the counter drugs but after not being able to sleep due to the pain, gave in to using ibuprofen.  It helped with the pain but if I stopped taking it, the pain came back.  I was frustrated and I remembered that I’d heard that organic turmeric was as effective or more effective than NSAID pain relievers.  I had nothing to lose so gave it a shot.  Within 36 hours of taking turmeric regularly, the pain was gone.  I continued taking it for a few more days just to be sure and when I stopped, the pain didn’t come back.  Score for organic turmeric!

While I was taking organic turmeric, I decided to see what else it was good for and I found quite a bit of evidence that it has a whole lot of healing properties; here are just a few:

5 Health Benefits of Organic Turmeric

1 – Natural Antiseptic and Antibacterial

With a general increase in antibiotic resistance, scientists are studying natural compounds for their antibacterial properties.  Studies have shown that curcumin, an active component in turmeric, has antibacterial properties. 1

2 – Cancer Prevention

According to the American Cancer Society, “Curcumin can kill cancer cells in laboratory dishes and also slows the growth of the surviving cells. Curcumin has been found to reduce development of several forms of cancer in lab animals and to shrink animal tumors. “2  Curcumin has been found to be beneficial in both prevention and treatment of certain cancers: lung, prostate, liver, breast, colon, stomach and melanoma.

3 – Prevents and Slows Alzheimer’s Progression

More than 50 studies on turmeric’s effects on Alzheimers show that extracts of turmeric contain a number of components that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function.

 4 – Arthritis Relief

A common treatment for arthritis sufferers are pharmaceutical COX-2 inhibitors.  The COX-2 enzyme promotes the pain, swelling and inflammation that is present in arthritis.  Turmeric contains six different COX-2 inhibitors as well as more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds.  Studies of curcuming for arthritis have shown positive changes in arthritis symptoms.3

5 – Anti Depressant

Researchers have found that turmeric is as effective as Prozac for treating depression.4 Considering the side effects of pharmaceutical antidepressant medications, the use of turmeric is far more beneficial for the body.

How To Use Organic Turmeric

Commonly used in curry, turmeric is a staple in Indian cuisine but it can be incorporated into many other dishes to provide color, flavor, and health benefit.

  • Use in eggless egg salad or tofu scramble for a golden yellow color reminiscent of egg yolk.
  • Bake it into a cake! Sfuff is a middle eastern turmeric cake that is easy to make, festive and delicious.  Find a recipe HERE.
  • Try drinking turmeric tea.  Just simmer 1 tsp of organic ground turmeric in 4 cups of water for about 10 minutes.  Add honey or ginger for flavor and enjoy.
  • Add a bit of organic turmeric to soups and stews – the flavor is mild enough that any richly flavored bean soup, stew, winter squash soup or cauliflower soup will benefit from the addition of turmeric.

If cooking with turmeric isn’t your thing but you still want the benefit, you can take organic turmeric in capsule form.  Just 3 capsules a day will provide you with turmeric’s protective benefits.  Now that you know the health benefits of organic turmeric and some ways to use it, how will you be adding organic turmeric to your diet? Let us know in the comments.

 

References

1. ANTIBACTERIAL ACTIVITY OF CURCUMA LONGA VARIETIES AGAINST DIFFERENT STRAINS OF BACTERIA

2. American Cancer Society – Turmeric

3. Anti-inflammatory Properties of Curcumin, a Major Constituent of Curcuma longa: A Review of Preclinical and Clinical Research

4. Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Eating Healthy: Tips for a Healthy Diet & Lifestyle

Eating healthy is defined many different ways by many people.  Sometimes it can be a little confusing and sometimes, downright overwhelming.  Seems like every few years the media is telling us, “eat a no fat diet”, “stay awayeating-healthy from carbs”, “sprinkle this chemical on your food to make you feel full!” The list goes on and on and on.  So is there really a right way to eat, is there a good diet?   The answer is simply….. YES!  Now to clarify what I mean by ‘diet’ let’s look at the two definitions of ‘diet’.  The first definition of the word diet is the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.  The second definition (which most people think of when they hear the word ‘diet’) is a special course of food to which one restricts oneself to lose weight.

Today we are talking about the first definition: the kind of foods humans should be eating.  Do you know what kinds of food you should be eating in order to be eating healthy?  Well I will give it to you in very simple terms.  We humans should be eating whole foods, a nutrient dense diet.   What does that mean?   Whole foods equal 1 ingredient foods.  That means all your fruits vegetables, meats, nuts, seeds, herbs etc.   If you eat a whole foods diet, you can guarantee that your body will be getting the nutrients it craves.   Now, you may ask, what if I am a Vegan, Vegetarian or Paleo, etc.?   Good question. No matter which lifestyle you lead, you should be following the same rule in order to be eating healthy: eat whole foods.  Did you know that Oreo’s are a vegan food?  Hmm… makes you wonder a little bit doesn’t it.  Most of us know there is nothing healthy about an Oreo cookie. Just because someone is vegan or vegetarian does not mean they are eating healthy. That is why everyone will benefit from a whole foods diet.  Limit or eliminate processed foods.  Try a balance of 80-20 or if you can 90-10 (the bigger number being whole foods and the lower number being processed).  That is a good goal for all who want to be eating healthy to work up to!

Tips to eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle:

1. Eat as many whole foods as you can, shoot for 80% of your meals being whole foods. The average person would benefit from a meal consisting of 40% Carbs (complex healthy carbs from vegetables and properly prepared grains) 30% protein and 30% fats.  We are all different so that ratio might vary from person to person.
2. Shop the perimeter of your grocery store. That is where you will find your whole foods like your produce, proteins (meats, poultry, fish) and dairy.
3. When buying your proteins ALWAYS buy and look for words like:

  • Grass-fed
  • Organic
  • Uncured and nitrate free
  • Free range or pastured raised (pastured are the best eggs)
  • Wild caught fish
    *This will help you get the best quality proteins which will be the most nutrient dense.

4. When it comes to your fruits and vegetables always do your best to buy organic or locally to help out and support the farmers around your area.
5. Don’t sweat it, if you have to buy conventional produce from time to time, just make sure you wash your produce really well to get the waxes and chemicals off.  A good tip is to fill up your sink with cold water and add a cup of vinegar.  Add your veggies and let them soak in the cold vinegar bath for 5-10 minutes.  I do this will almost all my veggies (local, conventional and organic).
6. When buying nuts and seeds always look for the word “raw”. This tells you that they haven’t been heated or treated.
7. Be cautious of the word “Natural” especially if you see this on meats, eggs, poultry, pork and fish. I mean all of that is natural, but in the industry it means that the meat contains no artificial colors, it has been minimally processed and there should be no additional artificial ingredients.  What this label is not telling you is how this animal was raised, what it ate or the conditions this animal lived in. I stay away from most everything that say’s “Natural” and doesn’t back it up.
8. Eat FAT!  People these days are so scared of fat I could write a whole book on this subject alone. Our bodies scream for good fats, not only are they good for you, but having good fats in our diets is absolutely essential.  Here is a very quick list of why fats are essential for our bodies:

  • They are our key source of energy, which is a nice long steady energy burn, unlike sugar which is a quick source (which craves you to want more). Fat burns slow which helps us to have more energy for a longer period of time.
  • Good fats are in every single cell in our bodies and they play a crucial role in our elimination of toxins and healthy fats are responsible for healthy liver function.
  • Fats are essential for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K. Which means if we are taking and or eating foods with these vitamins they are absorbed into our body better if we are eating good quality fats.
  • Fats are also wonderful at managing the inflammation in our bodies.

9. Which fats do I eat then?

  • Fats to avoid at all costs are: Hydrogenated fats, partially hydrogenated fats, highly processed vegetable oils like :  Canola, vegetable oils, margarines and those fake butters like Promise and Can’t believe it’s Not Butter. These fats are toxic and interfere with the roles healthy fats play within our bodies.
  • Instead good fats to add to your diet are organic, cold pressed and unrefined.  Which means the oils haven’t been heated to kill the nutrients.  These include: Coconut oil, Olive oil, raw butter, Grass-fed butters, ghee or clarified butter, fats from pastured animals like lard and tallow, hazelnut, sesame, flaxseed oil, fish oil, hemp and sunflower oils are all good.

10. Limit your sugar!  This is a huge topic and could be talked about alone. I’ll try to shorten it up a bit. Did you know in the year 1810 the average person consumed around 10 pounds of sugar a year.   In the year 2005 the average person consumed an average of 199 pounds of sugar a year.  Go ahead, read that last sentence again….  I was blown away too.  That’s pretty sad isn’t it?  And people wonder why there is so much sickness. Sugar is everywhere and it has many sneaky names too.  Make sure you read your labels and watch out for all these words: Brown sugar, powdered sugar, turbinado sugar, white sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, corn sugar, date sugar, maple sugar, coconut sugar, turbinado sugar. Hidden Names for Sugar: high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, disaccharides, molasses, succanat, polysaccharides, sucrose, fructose, invert sugar, dextrose, sucrose, glucose, lactose, sorbitol, mannitol, honey, malt, malt extract, maltose, maltodextrin, rice extract. If you read the label and one of these is listed in the 1st 3 ingredients then you can guarantee it will be a high sugar product.

11. Fake sugars to avoid:

  • Aspartame aka Nutrasweet, Equal and this one is found in sodas, energy drinks, gum and many yogurts. Aspartame is one of the most studied artificial sweeteners, and has been accused of causing everything from weight gain to cancer.
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup found in virtually everything from ice cream to spaghetti sauces.  It is highly processed from corn which will mostly likely contain GMO’s.  HFCS should be avoided like the plague.
  • Sucralose aka Splenda found in fruit drinks, canned fruit, etc.
  • Agave Nectar has more fructose than table sugar which, which means it’s less likely to cause a spike in blood sugar, but it is more likely to reduce your metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

There is so much to say about eating healthy, so much controversy, but in the end if you just stick to these couple things you can ensure you are doing right for your body.  So to end just remember these few things: shop the perimeter of the store for your whole nutrient dense foods and read your labels.

12 Natural Cold Remedies & Tips for Flu Season

Now that we are in the midst of the cold and flu season I thought I’d share some natural cold remedies to help you avoid getting ill. And if the flu or cold has already caught you, don’t fear, there are many natural ways to lessennatural-cold-remedies-for-flu-season the duration of your cold or flu and lessen those pesky symptoms.  What you might find surprising is that you might have many of these natural cold remedies right in your own kitchen!  No running to the store in the middle of the night to buy a bottle of cherry-flavored medication (which is full of chemicals and dyes).

I’m going to list several natural cold remedies. You pick what works best for you. Try out a few. I use all of these in my own home.

12 Natural Cold Remedies

  1. Elderberry Syrup. I wrote about this a couple months ago when the kids first started school. This is my favorite for prevention.  We are almost 2 months in to the school year and my kids have not had a single sniffle or cough!
  2. Vitamin D is a wonderful too for prevention too. Boosting vitamin D levels can help prevent illness in the first place, and taking several thousand IU a day while sick can help speed up recovery.  I’m in Washington State where we don’t see too much sunshine, so vitamin D is a must over here.
  3. Rest. I know this can be a hard one for busy adults, but most of our bodies healing comes while we are a rest and when we are sleeping so make sure at the first signs of illness, to start resting.  Get the kids into bed a 1/2 hour earlier.
  4. Hydrate! I can’t stress this enough. Drink lots of fluid. Water is the best. Water helps remove waste and flush toxins out of our body and this is especially important when we are sick. Not only does water help regulate our body temperate which is helpful when we have a fever, water actually empowers the body’s natural healing process.  So put down the sodas and juice and drink some water!
  5. Stay away from Junk. This means limit or remove all processed food from your diet while sick, which includes anything in a box, white breads, pastas, sugars and grains.  These all slow down our body’s healing process which will keep us sick for longer. Take out these foods and stick with whole foods.
  6. Vitamin C is probably the most important of all the antioxidant nutrients. When you feel a cold coming on a higher dose than usual can help in your body’s response to fight infection. Also it is known to have antiviral and anticancer effects.
  7. Oil of Oregano is an excellent early defense mechanism when you feel a cold or sore throat coming on. Simply take 3 drops of the oil once per day (you can mix it into a glass of orange juice) and you should notice results within a few hours. Repeat this once per day for up to 5 days until the symptoms are gone. This one works like a charm for me, but it can be hard to get the kids to do this one.
  8. Apple Cider Vinegar. Cold viruses tend to put our bodies into an overly acidic state, which makes it that much more difficult for our immunity to fight those sickies. But taking apple cider vinegar, a powerful alkalizing food, will help not only kill a cold but also lessen or completely take away its miserable symptoms. Mixing a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with warm water, honey, and lemon, and drinking the concoction a few times a day will help speed up recovery.  My kids take this very well. I add in some Vanilla Stevia and it tastes like apple pie.
  9. Neti-pot. This is one of my favorite.  If you have a sinus infection or stuffed up nose this really helps clear that junk out.  Mix 8oz. of spring water or distilled water (room temperate is best) with 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.  Poor in your neti-pot and use. Also if you use this daily, I like to use it first thing in the morning, it will help prevent sinus infections from starting.
  10. Garlic. A powerhouse natural antibiotic, anti fungal, and antibacterial, garlic can tackle almost any illness. For the most potent effect, finely mince 1-2 cloves and mix with a tablespoon or two of raw honey and take it that way. If you chew it, that action will help break down the enzymes in the garlic which will be more readily available. Note: Pregnant women should not take more than 1 clove of garlic medicinally per day. * I successfully healed my strep-throat last year using this method. I used the above method but doubled the recipes and added cayenne pepper and took 1/2 tsp every 1/2 hour (except while sleeping) for 2 days, then 3 x a day until it symptoms disappeared.  My Strep throat was gone in 5 days!
  11. Eucalyptus oil is one of my favorite natural cold remedies.  It is antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and it is a natural expectorant.  When my kids show signs of coughs I put a few drops right onto their feet and rub it in. It works like a charm every time.  Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil such as olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil etc.
  12. Echinacea. Supplementing with echinacea herb not only reduces your chances of developing a cold by more than 50 percent, but can also shorten the duration of cold symptoms by several days. Because it stimulates the immune system and promotes the activation of T-cells, echinacea is an excellent cold remedy, especially when combined with other natural cold remedies I listed.

I hope these natural cold remedies come in handy next time you are facing a cold or flu virus. Remember try different ones to see which works for you.  What are your go-to natural cold remedies?

November Specials at shopOrganic

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, including some products that are great for the upcoming holiday season. Be sure to head up to shopOrganic.com’s Sale section to see all of the November specials at shopOrganic.

November Specials at shopOrganicNovember Specials at shopOrganic

Artisana
Select products 10% Off

Artisana’s organic nut butters are carefully created in small batches to ensure the highest quality.  Their products are always raw, always organic, and always delicious.  Their walnut and pecan butters include the skins of the nuts to provide the most nutritional benefit.  Cashew butter is blended in to increase the natural sweetness and creaminess.  Click HERE to try this November special now.

Aunt Patty’s Sweetners
Select varieties 10% Off

We all know that refined sugars aren’t great for our health.  Aunt Patty’s makes a line of healthy sweeteners from whole food sources.  From the date sugar to honey crystals to coconut sugar and more – click HERE to try them now.

Better Life
Cleaning Products 10% Off

With funky names like Simply Floored and Einshine, Better Life makes cleaning fun, safe and effective.  Their products are environmentally friendly, smell great and work well.  Click HERE to try this November special now.

Better Than Bouillon
All products 10% Off

Just in time for the holiday season we’ve got Better Than Bouillon on sale.  Great for soups, stews, gravies and other holiday recipes.  Add some concentrated flavor to your favorite dishes.  Click HERE to try them now.

Choice Organic Tea
All varieties 10% Off

These organic and fair trade teas will warm you up on a chilly Fall day.  Choice Organics commitment to fair trade practices will make you feel as warm inside as their tea will.  Click HERE to try this November special today.

Farmer’s Market
Canned Organic Vegetable Puree 10% Off

With the holidays just around the corner, its a great time to stock up on canned pumpkin, sweet potato and butternut squash.  Great in casseroles, soups, stews and desserts.  Click HERE to try them all.

Flavorganics
Organic Baking Extracts 10% Off

It’s baking season, the perfect time to stock up on your favorite baking extracts.  Flavorganics extracts bring an extra punch of flavor to your baked goods.  Click HERE to try them all.

Giovanni
Select Body Lotions 10% Off

Giovanni Cosmetics is a family owned company committed to creating only the purest formulations.  Packaged in aesthetically beautiful bottles, their lotions come in scents to please just about everyone with quality you can feel on your skin. Click HERE to check out this November special.

Heavenly Organics
Organic Honey 10% Off

These honeys are produced by a coop of organic farms in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains and throughout Northern and Central India.  With really unique flavors, these honeys are truly organic; the bees do not come into contact with any chemicals or pesticides.  Click HERE to check out this November special.

Mamma Chia
All Flavors 10% Off  

A great on the go snack, Mamma Chia pouches are full of nutrition.  Chia is high in protein, Omega 3′s, and fiber.  Blended with only pure fruit and vegetable purees with no added sugars, these make a great snack for kids and adults alike.   Click HERE to try them now.

Next Organics
Chocolate Covered Fruits and Nuts 10% Off
A decadent treat, Next Organics takes delicious nuts and fruits and coats them in luscious dark chocolate for a little bit of heaven in every bite.  Try these in your candy dish at the office and watch everyone gather around.   Click HERE to try this November special now.

Numi Tea
Organic Savory Teas 10% Off  
At first glance, you may wonder what Numi was thinking creating a line of savory tea?  But one sip and you’ll know – these rich flavors offer a satisfying yet practically calorie free afternoon snack.  Drink these like broth and fool your stomach into thinking you’ve had a meal!  Click HERE to try them now.

OCHO Candy
Full size bars and minis 10% Off  
Made in small batches with great care, OCHO Candy brings back the fun you remember about candy as a kid.  In flavors that will leave your taste buds tantalized, try them in full size bars or mini sizes.   Click HERE to try them now.

Oregon Chai
Organic Tea Concentrates 10% Off 
The original chai concentrate, Oregon Chai brings the flavors of the Himalayas to our cups.  In regular, decaf and a slightly sweet version, warm up on a cold night with Oregon Chai.   Click HERE to try them now.

Road’s End Organics
Gluten Free Gravy Mixes 10% Off  
If you’re avoiding gluten, it doesn’t mean you have to give up gravy this holiday season.  Try Road’s End Organics gluten free gravy mixes for the flavors you love at your holiday meals.   Click HERE to try them now.

Wholesome Chow
Gluten Free Baking Mixes 10% Off  
Delicious gluten free baked goods are a thing of the past.  Wholesome Chow got it right with their baking mixes, offering great flavor and texture in a home baked gluten free mix.   Click HERE to try them now.

Take advantage of these great sale items and more throughout November at shopOrganic.

Avoiding GMO’s Part V: Are There GMO’s in Your Convenience Foods?

In this five part series for Non-GMO Month, we’ll take a look at common food items that likely contain GMO’s and we’ll be offering non-GMO alternatives.  Avoiding GMO’s is quite easy once you know what to look for so we’ll be sharing with you some tips on how to keep your diet GMO free.

Avoiding GMO's

 

Most of us fall back on convenience foods once in a while to feed ourselves and our families when we’re just too busy to make a home cooked meal.  In a quest to make sure we’re feeding our families wholesome, nutritious foods, you’ll want to make sure you’re avoiding GMO’s in these processed convenience foods. Make sure you’re feeding yourself and your family non-gmo meals by using the guidelines below.  Avoiding GMO’s is easy once you know the secrets.

4 Tips for Avoiding GMO’s in Convenience Foods

1 – The easiest way to make sure you are avoiding GMO’s is to buy organic.  This goes for convenience foods and any foods that you’re buying. Any product that has the USDA Organic logo on it is by definition non-GMO.

2 – Look for the Non-GMO Project Verified label on packages.  Even if a product isn’t certified organic, it can be non-gmo.  To be certain, look for this third party verification.

3 – When you’re buying packaged breakfast foods, avoid risky ingredients.  Most supermarket convenience foods contain corn, soy and canola – ingredients that are very likely to be genetically modified.  Some ingredients will be obvious, like corn flour, corn meal, corn starch, corn syrup, soy flour, soy lecithin, soy protein isolate, soy isoflavone, canola oil, cottonseed oil.  Some ingredients are sneaky in that they don’t list what their made from.  These sneaky ingredients can be GMO if the product isn’t organic: amino acids, aspartame, ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, vitamin c, citric acid, sodium citrate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, lactic acid, maltodextrin, molasses, sucrose, textured vegetable protein (tvp), xanthan gum, vitamins, and yeast.  Its a pretty sure bet that conventional supermarket convenience foods contain GMO’s so you may want to read the labels just to see, but I would avoid them at all cost.

4 – Re-define ‘convenience’.  I know, its so easy to tear open a frozen dinner, throw it in the microwave and call it a meal, but in the long run your health and your wallet will be better served by preparing some foods ahead of time so that when you really need something quick and convenient you can pull fresh alternatives out of your freezer.  It’s a great idea to cook in bulk – make a huge batch of organic rice then freeze individual or family sized portions.  Do the same with cooked beans, cooked veggies and fruits.  You’ll be easily avoiding GMO’s by preparing your own food at home with simple one-ingredient foods.  Then, on one of those nights when you just don’t have the time to cook from scratch, you can just re-heat a meal you’ve already prepared and viola! GMO-free dinner!

Avoiding GMO ingredients is easy when you know you have organic alternatives.  The chart above gives you great suggestions for replacements.  For just about any convenience food you can think of, there’s an organic or non-gmo version, you just have to know what to look for!

Are there any convenience foods you just love but don’t know how to find a non-gmo version of? Let us know and we’ll direct you to it!

Organic Granola Recipes: Maple Vanilla &Chocolate Chip

Granola always brings back sweet memories for me.  I remember when I was a kid my dad would come home from work with one of those old tins, (you know the ones that had Christmas scenes on them, and were once full of some sort of Scandinavian cookies) and when he would shake it, we knew exactly what it was!   Not cookies, but my grandma’s granola: simple, sweet and crunchy, the perfect granola!  Now that I’m grown and have a gluten sensitive daughter we have steered clear of granola and my kids’ favorite, granola bars. Steering clear of this isn’t only due to gluten intolerance, but also because often traditional, store-bought granola can be overly sweetened, processed and if you buy it at a conventional grocery store it will most likely contain GMO’s.  We don’t want that.  It’s always best to make your own or buy an organic granola brand which assures you that it is GMO free!

After trying out a few grain free recipes I finally came up with a version of my own organic granola recipe that is kid and husband approved!  I came up with a frozen organic granola bar which is pretty darn tasty too.  I hope you give them a try! 

Maple Vanilla Grain Free Organic Granola

Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 170 (if your oven goes to 160 that would be preferable)

maple-vanilla-organic-granola-recipe-step1

Toss  nuts, sunflower seeds, and dried fruit in a blender or food processor (or chop if you have neither), and process blend briefly, until nuts, seeds and dried fruit are broken up –you want different sizes of the pieces of nuts, seeds and dried fruit, some whole, some broken, some ground. You know, what makes granola, well granola!

maple-vanilla-organic-granola-recipe-step2

Pour this mixture into a large bowl and stir in chia seeds, flax meal, coconut, and cinnamon.

maple-vanilla-organic-granola-recipe-step3

In a small sauce pan, melt coconut oil and butter then whisk in honey, vanilla and sunflower/almond butter until smooth.

maple-vanilla-organic-granola-recipe-step4

Pour yummy liquid mixture into dry, and stir with a wooden spoon until liquid mixture is evenly coated.

maple-vanilla-organic-granola-recipe-step5

Spread maple vanilla organic granola out on a parchment lined baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring halfway through. After 30 minutes, it should be golden brown. Stir again, turn oven off, and let sit in the oven for 20 more minutes. Remove from oven and let it sit out and cool—this is when it will harden and get it’s crunchy texture.

maple-vanilla-organic-granola-recipe-step6

When it’s cooled completely cool, break it up with your hands and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Organic Granola Bars:

My kids and husband love these snacks!  So quick and easy, and no baking required!

All you do is follow the above recipe, but when you get to step 5 let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes then add in the chocolate chips or chunks.

chocolate-chip-organic-granola-recipe-step1

Then instead of spreading onto a baking sheet, I use an 8”x 8” baking dish lined with parchment paper and pressed organic granola mixture into pan.  Stick it in the freezer for 2-3 hours and it’s done!

chocolate-chip-organic-granola-recipe-step2

Take them out, cut them up and keep in the freezer for a quick grab and go snack that your children will love!

Do you make your own organic granola?  Share your favorites in the comments!

Nutmeg: 7 Health Benefits & Creative Ways To Use It

health benefits of nutmeg

Photo credit: David.Monniaux

Typically associated with holiday foods like egg nog and pumpkin pie, organic nutmeg is also great in savory dishes like stuffing, soup and stir fry.  The health benefits of nutmeg may surprise you; from dental health to skin care, to aphrodisiac qualities and more.

7 Health Benefits of Nutmeg

1 – Sleep Aid

You’ve heard of having a warm glass of milk before bed in order to get a good night’s sleep?  Try adding a pinch of ground nutmeg for a more powerful punch. It also helps to promote the production of serotonin.

2 – Acne Treatment

If you suffer from acne or have acne scars, try mixing ground nutmeg with water or honey into a paste.  Apply it to the skin like a mask or use like a scrub and your skin will benefit.  Nutmeg has ant-inflammatory components that will help reduce the redness and puffiness associated with pimples. It will help remove blackheads, make scars less noticeable and make your skin smoother.

3 – Digestive Aid

Since ancient times, nutmeg has been used as a medicinal aid for digestive problems like diarrhea, constipation, bloating and excess gas.  Nutmeg oil helps to remove the excess gas from your gut, providing relief.  If you have regular digestive issues, try sprinkling nutmeg on oatmeal, in eggs, or in a fruit smoothie for breakfast every day.

4 – Dental Health

Along with clove and cinnamon, nutmeg is great for dental health.  It has antibacterial properties that help to protect teeth and gums and the oil in nutmeg is helpful in relieving a tooth ache.  It will also freshen your breath and keep your mouth clean.

5 – Immune Booster

Nutmeg contains trace minerals that are beneficial for immune system health.  It’s no wonder that nutmeg is commonly used in foods that are popular during cold and flu season.  High in potassium, calcium, iron and manganese, it’s a great idea to sprinkle nutmeg on your foods during the winter months.

6 – Brain Health

Ancient Greeks and Romans used nutmeg as a brain tonic, as it can stimulate the brain, eliminating fatigue and stress.  Nutmeg contains a compound called myristicin which has been shown to protect the brain against degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.  It is also helpful if you’re suffering from anxiety or depression and can be effective to improve concentration and focus.

7 – Sex Drive

Yes, one of the many health benefits of nutmeg is its aphrodisiac effects.  Researchers have found that at low dosages it is capable of increasing sexual activity, increasing both libido and potency in men.  Before you go dowsing yourself in nutmeg, you should be aware that at higher doses, nutmeg does have adverse effects and can cause heart palpitations and nausea.

How To Use Nutmeg

Nutmeg can be used for both sweet and savory dishes. In desserts, it adds warm, nutty, holiday-spice flavor to foods like gingerbread and pumpkin pie. It also pairs nicely with meats for a subtly sweet component, and is great paired with vegetables like cauliflower and brussel sprouts. Here are a few ways to get the health benefits of nutmeg into your diet.

Beverages

Eggnog is the obvious choice, but even if you don’t like eggnog, you can add nutmeg to hot chocolate, or hot tea.  Try adding nutmeg to your fruit smoothies for a warming effect.  Add it to hot or cold apple cider.

Proteins

Using nutmeg in savory dishes and on proteins can add contrast to spicy and salty flavors.  A little goes a long way so use a light touch but try nutmeg on roasted chicken, pot pies, omelettes, braised beef, meatballs and more.

Desserts

Aside from pumpkin pie or apple pie, you can sprinkle a little nutmeg into vanilla pudding, try it on ice cream, pound cake, and cookies.  Try adding nutmeg to any dish that you’d normally use cinnamon for a slightly different flavor.

Soups

A dash of nutmeg in tomato soup adds an unexpected depth of flavor do a simple soup.  Try nutmeg in a blended cauliflower puree or winter squash soup.

Vegetables

Try sprinkling a bit of nutmeg on vegetables like sweet potatoes, red potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, winter squashes, cabbage, cauliflower and spinach.

 

Now that you know the health benefits of nutmeg and some ways to use it, how will you be using nutmeg this season?  Let us know in the comments.

Avoiding GMO’s Part IV: Are There GMO’s in Your Holiday Foods?

In this five part series for Non-GMO Month, we’ll take a look at common food items that likely contain GMO’s and we’ll be offering non-GMO alternatives.  Avoiding GMO’s is quite easy once you know what to look for so we’ll be sharing with you some tips on how to keep your diet GMO free.

 

Avoiding GMO's

When it comes to holiday cooking, most of us lean on packaged foods at least a little bit to ease the burden.  We want to make our holiday meals memorable, delicious and healthy. One way to make sure they are healthy is by avoiding GMO’s.  Make sure you’re feeding yourself and your family non-gmo meals by using the guidelines below.  Avoiding GMO’s is easy once you know the secrets.

5 Tips for Avoiding GMO’s in Holiday Foods

1 – The easiest way to make sure you are avoiding GMO’s is to buy organic.  This goes for holiday foods and any foods that you’re buying. Any product that has the USDA Organic logo on it is by definition non-GMO.

2 – Look for the Non-GMO Project Verified label on packages.  Even if a product isn’t certified organic, it can be non-gmo.  To be certain, look for this third party verification.

3 – When you’re buying packaged holiday foods like stuffing, canned pumpkin pie mix, boxed dessert mixes and gravies, avoid risky ingredients.  Most supermarket convenience foods contain corn, soy and canola – ingredients that are very likely to be genetically modified.  Some ingredients will be obvious, like corn flour, corn meal, corn starch, corn syrup, soy flour, soy lecithin, soy protein isolate, soy isoflavone, canola oil, cottonseed oil.  Some ingredients are sneaky in that they don’t list what their made from.  These sneaky ingredients can be GMO if the product isn’t organic: amino acids, aspartame, ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, vitamin c, citric acid, sodium citrate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, lactic acid, maltodextrin, molasses, sucrose, textured vegetable protein (tvp), xanthan gum, vitamins, and yeast.  Its a pretty sure bet that conventional supermarket packaged foods contain GMO’s so you may want to read the labels just to see, but I would avoid them at all cost and choose an organic alternative instead.

4 – Get an organic turkey (or ham).  Even better, find a local turkey farm or pig rancher so that you can talk to them about how they raise their animals.  You want to look for animals that have been fed a non-gmo diet and have access to the outdoors.  The healthiest animals are ones that have been eating their traditional diets so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

5 – Cook with whole food ingredients.  When your mashed potatoes are simply made with potatoes, butter and milk (make sure the butter and milk is organic), you know exactly what you’re eating without looking at a long list of chemical ingredients.  Choosing whole foods over processed foods is one of the easiest ways to make sure you’re avoiding GMO’s.  There are very few whole foods that are GMO, at least for now.  The ones to look out for and buy organic are:  papaya, sweet corn, zucchini/yellow squash, and soy.

Avoiding GMO ingredients is easy when you know you have organic alternatives.  The chart above gives you great suggestions for replacements.  For just about any convenience food you can think of, there’s an organic or non-gmo version, you just have to know what to look for!

Are there any holiday foods you just love but don’t know how to find a non-gmo version of? Let us know and we’ll direct you to it!

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